Life in Color

You could call fruits and vegetables the superheroes of the food world. They fight off that pesky extra weight and protect our immune system and bone health. Fruits and veggies are high in both water and fiber and help cleanse the body of unwanted cholesterol. It also turns out that each color of fruits and vegetables have distinct benefits to the body. So when building your next plate, try to integrate as many colors of the rainbow as possible:

Reds are great for heart health, which is easy to remember. Tomatoes, apples, and watermelons are great examples. 

Oranges and Yellows support the immune system and also help eye health. Some examples are oranges, carrots and bananas.

Greens help prevent cancer and improve bone health. Eat some spinach, kale, kiwis and avocados.

Blues and Purples offer antioxidants that help with memory function and disease prevention. Examples include blueberries, grapes and blackberries.

 

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SVSP Back on the Road With USA Football

Each summer one of USA Football’s national teams participates in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Championships and each year St. Vincent Sports Performance is right there providing premier medical support along the way.  Last year, Chad Gabbard and I traveled to Harbin, China, with the U19 national team. This year, it’s the women’s national team on their quest for gold.

Sarah Luken and myself have spent the past week at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, working with the team through training camp.  As it is every year, it’s been amazing to watch how quickly individuals from all over the country come together as a team in such a short time.  In my opinion, football is the ultimate team sport, and with the bond this team has forged so quickly, the U.S. is well on their way to another solid performance.

This squad of 45 women represent 15 different states, and ranges in age from 21 to 47 years old.  One thing that makes working with the women’s national team a bit more challenging is the fact that nearly all of the players have just finished up their regular season back home or are in the middle of their playoffs.  In fact, about half of the team reported to camp the day after they just played a game.  This adds to an already delicate balance of getting in the practice time we need, along with making sure they have time to rest and recover before we head to Canada and play three games in eight days.

Needless to say, the training room has been a popular place.  When not on the field, in meetings, or at meals, chances are you’ll find Luken and I in there doing everything we can to help these ladies stay healthy and able to perform their best.

Today is our last day of camp.  We’ll finish with an “ice tub party,” get all our supplies packed back up, and get ready to head north of the border tomorrow morning.  Saturday afternoon we open up against Mexico.

Stay tuned.

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Want more energy? Do this

Busy schedules that include work, kids, appointments, workouts and much more can seem to zap energy right out of us. So what is the key to starting your day off with an adequate amount of energy? Look no further than the most important meal of the day.

After a good night’s sleep (equally as important to having energy) you lose glycogen levels. In fact, you normally wake up with a level around 40-60%. Glycogen equates to energy, so in essence you only have half the energy you normally do after waking up. Eating breakfast is extremely important; here’s how to make sure it’ll work.

Carbohydrates

The first ingredient you’ll want in your breakfast is carbs. Carbs are quick-burning, giving you an immediate boost. Items such as oatmeal, whole grain waffles or cereal and English muffins or whole wheat toast will give you that quick energy boost. Don’t neglect carbs when it comes to starting your day.

Protein

To compliment the carbs in your breakfast, you’ll want to pack some protein in there as well. Unlike carbs, proteins are slow-burning and give you lasting energy throughout most of the day. Without protein, your breakfast energy won’t last long. Grab some nuts, make some eggs and eat some Greek yogurt or peanut butter to get the protein you’ll need.

 

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Three Creative Ways to Stay Hydrated

Summer, at long last, it here. And with it come a plethora of outdoor activities that weren’t able to be enjoyed in the winter months. One key to enjoying a safe and active summer is hydration. Our muscles are composed of roughly 75% water, and depriving them of fluids can be detrimental to performance. So whether you’re an athlete in the midst of training or someone who simply enjoys the outdoors, here are three creative tips to ensure you’re drinking enough:

Carry a Bottle With Ounces Labeled: 

A good indication of how much you should be drinking on a daily basis is to divide your body weight in half and convert that number to ounces. Seem like a lot? That’s because it is. That’s what your body needs daily to be at its best. Carrying a water bottle with the ounces labeled on the outside is an easy way to see exactly how much you’re drinking and can help you keep the proper pace.

Try Flavoring Drops and Packets: 

There are plenty of these products on the market, and most of them are extremely low in calories and sugar. Adding flavor to your water is a great way to make hydration easier, plus you can mix up flavors to ensure you never get bored with the taste.

Infuse Your Water With Fruits or Herbs: 

Adding natural ingredients to water can give it a splash of flavor. Citrus, like oranges, limes and lemons work well. You can also try cucumbers or some mint leaves to add refreshment. All of these add a healthy punch to your water and make it more enjoyable to drink.

Hydrating doesn’t have to be boring or become redundant. Add new flavors, track your intake and enjoy those summer activities with a full tank of water in your system.

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Mental Prep: Gain the Edge Before You Compete

Spending hours on the field and in the gym are certainly going to help you improve, but one of the most neglected areas of training is the mind. So before you step into the arena, spend some time preparing away from practice. Here are two areas to focus on:

Composure

“Butterflies” really do exist for everyone and are completely normal. What’s important is how you manage them. Physical strategies such as relaxation or deep breathing techniques can work, as well as mental ones like self-talk, an inner dialogue to remain positive and confident.

The way we think, feel and speak to ourselves is impactful on our performance. Be aware of your own inner dialogue and use statements that are confidence-builders.

  • “I am prepared.”
  • “I am knowledgeable.”

Avoid statements that add pressure or lead to worries about the outcome.

  • “I have to nail this!”
  • “If I don’t do well, then…”

The key to composure is to keep your thoughts focused on the present and what is within your control.

Visualization

Confidence does not come from the absence of pressure or adversity, but rather knowing you have the tools to perform well despite these challenges. Your confidence level stems from a variety of sources – past performance, preparation, goal achievement, feedback from others, and self-talk.

Another chief confidence-building tool is visualization.

Just as a driver in the Indy 500 will imagine the opening laps of the race before their ignition is even fired or a quarterback imagines the routes the receiver will run before the ball is snapped, you, too, can visualize the scenarios in which you will perform.

Imagine yourself performing calmly, assuredly and successfully. What does your goal look like? Visualize yourself performing in a way that achieves it. Highlight what you did to make that happen.

Most importantly, have a plan for how you will practice and implement these skills!

Your perspective ultimately determines how you “perform.” When the pressure is on, mastering these skills will allow you to be better composed and more confident, which will set-up the success that follows.

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2017 Summer Training Schedule

Register today for any of these programs and make 2017 the best summer ever with SVSP!

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How do I Stop a Plateau?

It is one of the most frustrating things in the world to feel as if you are stuck at a certain point in athletics; when you can’t improve upon a race time, your vertical jump height doesn’t increase, or you’re not able to add more weight to your back squat.  This phenomenon is commonly referred to as a plateau, and a suggestion that has frequently surfaced to remedy the situation is a “never-do-the-same-workout-twice” strategy.  This strategy, often called “muscle confusion,” involves doing many different types of training to keep your body guessing and “confuse” your muscles into continued growth.  What people who follow this type of training often fail to realize is that our muscles receive orders from the brain and are not independent structures that become bored and stop producing results after a few weeks.  We have to be smart with our training, the stressors on our body, and the stimuli that we send to our muscles.  If we are constantly switching things up in a weight training program, our bodies will not have time to adapt and improve.  So, how do we prevent a decline in performance?  How long should we actually be performing exercises before we switch things up?  If you have ever wondered about plateaus, here are a few ways to make sure that you are maximizing your training and seeing results consistently over time.

Work with a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach

One of the biggest benefits of a proper strength & conditioning facility is that you have a coach who programs based on your individual needs.  This should involve periodized strength & conditioning programming that involves a build without plateau, peaks for when you need them, and monitoring/adjustment of programming as needed.  Knowing which exercises to perform, how many sets and reps you should do, and how often these variables should change is extremely important in training.  Because of the importance and complexity involved in strength & conditioning programming, having a qualified professional to guide you is imperative to long-term athletic success.

Become great at the basics

You do not need as much variety in training as you think.  If you consider how you train in sport, it involves repeating the important skills over and over again in practice to perfect your technique.   To a certain extent, this same concept needs to be applied in strength training.  Your body must learn to efficiently and safely move through basic movement patterns: squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, and rotate.  There are many different variations of exercises that fall into these basic categories, but it is important to master the basics and allow adaptations to occur before progressing to a more complex version of an exercise.  You need a solid foundation for sport, and your exercises in the weight room should be selected based on function and usefulness to you as an individual, and not on the complexity or attractiveness of the movement.

Protect your body from injury

Training should be pain-free and should include movements that help protect against future injury.   This includes: performing a warm-up that will prepare you for movement and is specific to your movement deficiencies, including soft-tissue work into your daily routine, ensuring that areas of the body that are supposed to be mobile are, ensuring that areas of the body that are supposed to be stabile are, etc.  Your Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach will help you identify where the “leaks” in your system are and prescribe movement patterns that will increase your efficiency as an athlete and prepare you for the demands of life and sport.  Preparedness is the key to injury prevention!

Train as an individual

Not everyone should be doing the same warm-up or strength training exercises, just like not every athlete will need to work on the same sport skill for the same amount of time as everyone else on the team.  Your body is unique, your training needs are different, and what works for someone else will not necessarily work for you.  For these reasons, it is important to listen to your body, perform the exercises that work for your anatomy and training needs, and learn what works to make YOU better.  The movements you perform do not need to rigidly follow a universal model of training or even be “sport-specific.”  They must be specific to you and need to be intentionally placed within your programming.  Within the confines of energy, time, etc., it is important to be intentional with training to optimize opportunity for improvement.

Rest, eat properly, and hydrate

Maximizing your athletic potential involves making smart decisions both on and off the field/court/etc.  You need to make sure that you’re drinking enough water, fueling your body with the proper nutrition, and sleeping/resting enough.  While some may struggle with consistency and drive, others find themselves losing momentum because they are doing too much.  Non-stop training, or training that isn’t done well, will eventually wear on you regardless of how accomplished you feel.  Not only will you feel the physical effects of overtraining, but the mental effects as well.  It is important to establish healthy habits early to set yourself up for success.  The sooner you start, the sooner you will be able to reap the benefits.

In conclusion, “muscle confusion,” is not the answer to avoiding plateau.  It is possible for your improvement to waver, but it is NOT possible to confuse your muscles into avoiding the drop.  Your body will need to slow down or stop during your athletic career, but there are steps you can take to manage your health and prevent a decline in performance.  Focus on the things that you can control and reach out to qualified professionals for the answers that you don’t have.  Have you experienced a plateau before?  Are you wondering what you can do to try to prevent one?  Contact us and let us know how we can help!

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Brain power: tips to mentally prepare for competition

Great athletes put in hours practicing, eating right, and sleeping for success. The best athletes, however, also spend adequate time harnessing the power of their minds. Sports go beyond physical capabilities, and often wins and losses can be traced to mental strength. Here are some tips from our very own Dr. Chris Carr regarding mental preparation:

  1. Begin your imagery of competition the night before; visualize success, great plays and victory.
  2. Focus on deep breathing during the ride to the event.
  3. Use music to focus and visualize making great plays.
  4. Keep your thoughts on the present…one play at a time.
  5. When you have distractions in your mind, create some type of release by visualizing yourself destroying those distractions.
  6. Write down a cue word that you associate with your own optimal performance and have it on your wrist or someplace easily accessible for reminders.
  7. Use the same routine before every game or competition.
  8. Love the game and enjoy playing.

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SVSP Hires Dustin Williams as Performance Rehabilitation Specialist

INDIANAPOLIS (March 16, 2017) – St. Vincent Sports Performance (SVSP), one of the country’s leading sports performance centers for Olympians, professional athletes and everyday athletes, today announced the hiring of Dustin Williams as performance rehabilitation specialist.

Since 2011, Williams, a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, has served as associate athletic trainer and head athletic trainer for cross and country and track and field for the University of Arizona. Before going to Arizona, Williams spent five years as assistant athletic trainer at Brigham Young University.

“Dustin has a familiarity and a deep history with college and elite athletes which makes him a perfect fit to join the SVSP team,” SVSP Executive Director Ralph Reiff said. “He has proven himself as a highly skilled athletic trainer and has worked elbow-to-elbow with some of our current team members.”

In his new role with SVSP, Williams will travel to events around the world supporting SVSP clients such as USA Track & Field, USA Gymnastics and USA Diving. He will triage injuries, assign a plan of care, begin immediate rehabilitation programs and nurture athletes back into their field of play. He will also serve as the athletes’ advocate in communicating training matters with coaches, agents and family, while based in Sacramento, California.

Williams holds a master’s degree in exercise science from Utah State University. His wife, Jillian Camarena-Williams, is a two-time Olympian in shot put, representing Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Miley.

About St. Vincent Sports Performance

St. Vincent Sports Performance has supported and helped develop world-class athletes since 1987. The first and largest hospital-based program of its kind in the United States, St. Vincent Sports Performance employs over 60 athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians, certified strength and conditioning specialists, licensed sports psychologists and registered sports dietitians. Together they have trained athletes at every level from middle school, to Olympians, to the NFL and NBA, to Motorsports and NCAA athletes. Learn more at definingsportsperformance.com.

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NFL Nutrition: 6000 Calorie Meal Plan

Training for the NFL is no small task, a process that requires dozens of workouts and massive amounts of food. Our NFL Combine trainees just finished their eight week program, and now it’s time to prove themselves as contenders at the next level. In order to get to this point, however, they endured 88 grueling workouts and ate 3,000-6,000 calories a day. Think you could eat 6,000 calories a day? See for yourself:

Breakfast:

-5 scrambled eggs with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and 1 cup spinach

-3 cups oatmeal with 1 cup berries

-1 cup fruit juice

Mid-Morning Snack:

-2 slices whole wheat bread with 3 tbsp peanut butter and 2 tbsp jelly

-1 large apple

-30g protein shake

Lunch:

-1 large tortilla filled with 1 cup rice, 6 oz chicken, 1/2 cup beans, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 2 cups lettuce and salsa

-1 apple

-1 banana

-12 oz water

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

-1 smoothie with 12 oz rockin refuel vanilla, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup spinach, 3 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 apple sauce squeeze pouch

-10 peanut butter filled pretzels

Dinner:

-1 apple

-1 cup of berries

-1 cup zucchini

-3 cups brown rice

-8 oz chicken breast

-12 oz water

Midnight Snack:

-1 rockin refuel

-1 cliff bar

-4 clementines

-skinny pop (100 calorie bag)

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