Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ready to Ski

Do you love hitting the slopes and cruising through the snow all in the midst of beautiful scenery? If you have ever been out on the slopes, you know how fun skiing is but also how exhausting it can be by the end of the day. Downhill snow sports are some of the most challenging, vigorous, and exciting forms of exercise around.

Skiing is a unique activity in that you can only participate a few months out of the year. It is easy to be excited about getting on the mountain and tell yourself it will just take a few runs to be acclimated but it is important to physically prepare your body in advance.

There are a handful of factors that come into play while skiing. These dynamic factors are the reason a skier can become so exhausted by the end of a long day on the slopes:
·      Changing terrain
·      Shifts in center of gravity
·      Balance
·      Speed
·      Visual perception of terrain

Adjusting to these factors is important for performance as well as reducing the risk for injury. These are basic physical fitness qualities that must be developed to control the dynamic challenges:
·      Endurance
·      Strength
o   Concentric
o   Eccentric
·      Balance
·      Flexibility

Developing all qualities in preparation for a ski trip is simple, requires minimal equipment, and can be added into your regular routine with ease.

Preparing for the slope: 

Cardiovascular endurance

o   A ski run can last from a few minutes to ten minutes. During this time of intense activity, your body will get close to or above your anaerobic threshold followed by periods of rest on the chair lift.
o   To prepare for these bouts of exercise it is most beneficial to incorporate interval training into your exercise routine for increased endurance and cardiovascular recovery.

Dynamic balance

o   The terrain during a ski run varies tremendously. It is important to mimic this in your training.
o   Exercise using a variety of surfaces and equipment for simple body weight exercises that will challenge both balance and stability.
§  Exercise using Bosu
§  Exercise using ½ roll
§  Exercise on grass
§  Exercise on hills

Lower body endurance and strength

o   Skiing requires whole body fitness but the lower half does the majority of work. Concentric strength is needed for push off skating and jumping. The ability for a muscle to eccentrically contract to absorb impact from jumps, bumps and other terrain is just as important.  Also isometric strength is required. Condition concentric, isometric, and eccentric movement for strength and endurance to give the body the ability to maintain performance throughout the day.
o   Focus on performing these movements with:
§  High repetitions
§  All directions
§  Varied speeds
§  Different surfaces
§  Isometric holds


o   As in all physical activities and sports it is important to have both muscular and joint mobility. This will improve performance and reduce the risk for injury.
o   It is important to work on flexibility through stretching but also to increase freedom of movement by training in varied directions.

Correctly prepare for a ski trip and it will be awesome! Remember that preparation continues on the trip and it is import to warm up before your first run. Check out this great dynamic warm-up prepared for skiers from Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Eric Chandler and come back later this week for Drew Sifflard’s blog post on exercises to improve performance throughout the ski season.

Blog post by Ryan Kempson.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spin Heart Rate & Training Zones

Heart rate can be a very beneficial tool for your training.  It allows you to measure the effort of your workout and control intensity and quality without overexertion.

All heart rate training zones are based on max heart rate.  It is not the easiest or safest test to administer, especially to untrained individuals so a standard equation is 220-age (male) and 226-age (female).  Please be aware that this is only a guide.  Your Age Predicted Max HR could be up to 25 beats per minute off!

Next thing to consider are your Training Zones.  In Spinning, we focus on 5 different rides:
  • Recovery
  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Interval
  • Race Day


“Relaxation and energy accumulation.”
During Recovery, you are riding at 50-65% your max heart rate.  No hills, no jumps, only light resistance is used.  The goal of this ride is to focus on breathing, relaxation, and circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body.


“Even application of energy for sustained periods.”
The next zone is Endurance.  Heart race increases to 65-75% max heart rate.  This should also feel fairly easy and a pace at which you can ride forever.  This is where you will ride when focusing on your aerobic base building.  It will increase aerobic capacity, oxygen consumption, stamina, and improve fat metabolism.  A true Endurance ride is completed almost entirely in the saddle with light to moderate resistance but variations include standing flat, seated climb, and standing climb.


“Heavy resistance to develop muscular endurance and power.”
During the Strength training zone, you will be working hard for 5-8 minutes at a level between 75-85% your max heart rate.  The ride focuses on steady, consistent pedaling with heavy resistance to promote muscular and cardiovascular development.  While seated or standing, you should be thinking strong and powerful.  There will be a point between 75-85% when you are switching over from aerobic to anaerobic activity.  This will cause lactic acid to accumulate.  A proper cool down and stretching/foam rolling will be very beneficial to your recovery. 


“Speed, tempo, timing, and rhythm require a substantial fitness base.”
The goal of the Interval training zone is to develop the ability to quickly recover after work efforts.  During intervals, heart rate ranges from 65-92% as you increase and decrease the intensity.  There are 3 types of Intervals:
  1. Aerobic – Work at about 75% / Recovery 65%, 3 to 1 ratio
  2. Lactate Threshold – Work 85% / Recovery 65%, 1 to 1 ratio
  3. Anaerobic – Work 92% / Recovery 65% – 1 to 3+ ratio
One important factor to note about Intervals: If heart rate is not dropping to recovery in the usual amount of time, no further intervals should be conducted.

Race Day

“Peak Performance – sustained “time trial” effort at anaerobic threshold. Requires a substantial fitness base.”
The final training zone is Race Day.  Heart rate is 80-92%.  Race Day is treated like a time trial.  If riders are not 100% physically or mentally ready, they should not participate.

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Nutrient Timing for Resistance Training

Nutrient timing is consuming the right amount of nutrients (carbohydrates and protein) before, during, and after a training session. Knowing what to eat as well as when to eat it is a great tool to supplement your resistance training program. Proper timing will help restore glycogen (carbohydrates stored in the muscle), repair damaged tissue, and speed up recovery between workouts.

When thinking about nutrient timing, there are three phases to keep in mind.

Phase 1

The first is the energy phase. This phase of nutrient timing occurs before your workout even begins. Getting the proper mix of nutrients before you start will help decrease damage to your muscles, and give you enough energy to make it through your session.

The proper mix of carbs (20-25 grams) and protein (~5 grams) should be consumed about 20 minutes prior to exercise. 

            Sample meals for the energy phase of nutrient timing (20 minutes prior to exercise):

                        English muffin + 1 tsp peanut butter
                        1 oz raisins + 1 oz cashews
                        3/4 cup cereal + 6 oz 1% milk

                        8 oz OJ + 1 oz string cheese

Phase 2

The 45 minutes immediately following your workout is known as the anabolic phase.  This is probably the most important phase in terms of nutrient timing.  The longer you wait after your exercise bout, the less effective this phase becomes.  After an intense workout your body is removing waste, repairing muscle tissue, and storing glycogen at a higher than normal rate so it is important to take advantage of this time by consuming the right mix of nutrients; 40-50 grams of carbohydrates along with 15 grams of protein.

            Sample meals for the anabolic phase (up to 45 minutes post exercise):

                        16 oz chocolate milk
                        PB&J (2 slices of bread; 2 tbsp peanut butter; 2 tbsp grape jelly)

                        2 granola bars + 10 oz 1% milk
                        Fruit smoothie (1/2 cup low fat milk; 1/2 cup fresh fruit; 1 scoop whey protein)

Phase 3

The final phase (the growth phase) occurs during the 18-24 hours between your workouts. During this time you should focus on consuming well-balanced and colorful meals that contain a good mix of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

You should not wait longer then 4 hours after the end of your workout to consume a meal.

Blog post by Catie Furbush CSCS.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Intro to High School Athletics

High School athletics provide some of the best times of kid’s life. For many athletes, sports provides a social circle, guidance, support and a way of continuing their education at the next level.  Unfortunately millions of youth athletes experience injuries each year that interrupt the ability for them to reach their highest athletic potential. As athletes grow and the competition becomes progressively more intense, there is a need for methods of training that improve athletic performance as well as reduce the risk for injury.
Many training programs focus solely on strength and speed but strength and speed are only a couple of the essential qualities an athlete needs to possess. There are six essential qualities that must be developed to become a complete athlete and reduce their risk for injury.

6 Essential Qualities:
            Speed / Quickness

Developing these qualities are essential for all high school athletes. While there are always additional sport specific physical and mental skills, the development of the essential qualities puts an athlete in excellent position to master any other sport specific skills that are needed to maximize their potential in their chosen sport.

Stay tuned for more posts related to High School Athletics.

Blog post by Ryan Kempson.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What motivates you?

Why do you work out?

Is it because the doctor told you to? Because you want to lose that holiday ten? Because you want to shave a few minutes off a personal record for that upcoming 5K? To win a "biggest loser" challenge against your coworkers? 

Or is it because it's fun and you enjoy it?

If it's any of the first reasons, you're what sports psychologists call extrinsically motivated--in other words, you're motivated to step it up and sweat because of an external reason or reward. Someone has told you to, you want to look great in that swimsuit for summer, you have some goal that you're aiming to meet.

If it's because you just love working out and the feeling you get from it, then you're intrinsically motivated. People who go out and run just to experience that "runner's high" are in this group. You work out because you love it! That's probably why studies have shown that people who are intrinsically motivated tend to stick to their workout programs longer and achieve their goals more often; if you genuinely enjoy what you're doing, you're more likely to do it and make fewer excuses.

This isn't to say that if you're extrinsically motivated, you won't attain your goals. Most people are a mixture of both extrinsic and intrinsic.  In fact, while intrinsic motivation will get you out to the gym, it's often extrinsic factors that motivate you to push your boundaries through the goals you set, whether it's a new PR or better health goals.

There's a way to get the most out of your workouts through your own personal blend of motivations. First and foremost, make it fun! Try out a new class or group training session, find a new friend who keeps you motivated, try working out with your significant other for a different kind of date idea. Stop thinking of going to the gym as a "have to" and start thinking of it as a reward for yourself--after all, what could be a better reward than taking care of your body?

Second, meet with a personal trainer and talk to them about your goals. They have the experience and the knowledge to not only help you set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound), but to design programs or progressions to help you meet them.

So get out there and make your goals work for you!

Blog post by Ashley Crosby.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Burdenko Method

How do you secure good health, energy, and the right spirit for many years to come? Perform exercise not just to exercise, but exercise to improve everyday life and sport.

The Burdenko Method is a unique, innovative system for rehabilitation, conditioning and training. It has been developed and refined by Igor N. Burdenko PhD over a period of 50 years in both the former Soviet Union and the United States. Many individuals from Olympic athletes to the general public have benefited from this original and extraordinarily effective system.

Igor N. Burdenko PhD at Mashpee Fitness
The Burdenko Method uses a unique combination of water and land exercises to develop the six essential qualities for everyday life and sport. 

Six Essential Qualities:           
  • Balance                      
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance
  • Speed
  • Strength

To optimize results it is important to focus on developing the six essential qualities while practicing the main principles of the Burdenko Method.

  • Work out in water and on land
  • Vary speeds
  • Work out in all directions
  • Practice what you learn regularly with a solid schedule 

The greatest feature of the method is the endless exercise possibilities that are created through the systematic progressions. The Burdenko Method will be a key factor in helping you attain your goals through out rehabilitation, conditioning, and training.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Coming soon!

New Mashpee Fitness Blog coming soon!

What topics would you like to learn more about?

Plan. Progress. Perform.