The Case for Rest

There’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment after leaving your training session completely exhausted. Whether you ran a new PR, benched the most weight of your life or had an extremely good practice session, it feels good to push yourself and succeed.

This blog, however, is meant to remind you that you can’t do that each time and maintain a healthy lifestyle. ‘No pain, no gain’ has a lot of truth to it, but rest days are just as important as hard workout days. Here’s why:

Recovery

Without a proper recovery period, muscles simply can’t perform at their peak ability. Sometimes that recovery period can be up to several days. Soreness is a great indicator that your muscles are damaged and need to recover. Not allowing your body to properly recover simply means that your muscles won’t perform at their best the next time around, leading to worse results and discouragement.

Injury

Overtraining can lead to injuries. If you think taking a few days off to recover is difficult, just imagine an injury sidelining you for weeks. But the chances of that happening go up when the body isn’t allowed to recover properly. Fully recovered muscles come back stronger, meaning they can withstand more. Chances of injuries go down when you rest.

Ultimately, rest days are simply listening to your body and investing in your future performance. If you’re sore, tired or mentally drained, it may be your body telling you to take the day off. If you truly want to improve, take it’s advice.

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Tackle Turkey Day with Ease

Some people treat Thanksgiving like an annual marathon (for those of us that don’t actually run them), starving themselves beforehand and mentally preparing by visualizing eating all that delicious food. It’s easy to do, after all, because everything on the dinner table tastes fantastic.

This year, though, we’re hoping you follow a smarter Thanksgiving Day nutrition plan. You can still enjoy all your favorites without feeling like you need to be rolled home afterward. So without further delay, lets start game-planning for this marathon.

Breakfast

That’s right, breakfast. It’s easy to think skipping breakfast is the smart move because that means you can eat more later. However, that’s a trap that leads to overeating and a general feeling of hatred towards your past self. Eat a balanced breakfast on Thanksgiving morning with a carbohydrate, protein and color option. We promise you’ll feel better at the end of the day.

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Thanksgiving Plate

We’ve arrived at the main event. Building a mountain on your plate may seem like a good idea, but it’s best to pace yourself. Eat slower to better gauge how full you’re getting and don’t stuff yourself. Remember, pumpkin pie is still to come, and you want to save room for that. Similar to your breakfast plate, you want 1/3 of your meal to be carbs, 1/3 to be protein, and 1/3 to be colorful veggies. If you feel comfortable, don’t get seconds. You can box that food up and eat it later!

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Hydrate and Exercise

Hydration is key when eating big meals. Sometimes when the body says it’s hungry it’s really craving more fluids. Make sure you’re drinking adequate water throughout the day and during your meal. You’ll also want to get some form of exercise. Whether you hit the football field in the morning or go for a walk after dinner, make sure you’re doing something. A large meal followed by sitting on the couch is not only terrible for you, it also makes you feel terrible.

With your game-plan in place, the only thing left to do is execute. Follow this guide and you’ll be good to go Thursday and the rest of your holiday weekend.

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The Sports Medicine Fellowship at SVSP

St. Vincent Sports Performance is already known as a destination for athletes who desire an all-encompassing approach to their sport participation needs. The sum of the parts, including sports medicine, sports rehabilitation, sports nutrition, sport psychology and performance training, is greater than adding each of these alone.

Having these aspects of sports performance housed under one roof makes SVSP an ideal location for training other performance specialists. Sports Medicine has been recognized as a medical specialty for over 20 years. Training to become a sports medicine physician requires a one-year fellowship in an accredited program after completion of residency as well as board certification. St. Vincent Sports Performance received accreditation for its fellowship in 2012. Since then we have trained five sports medicine physicians and a sixth is currently in the program. All five prior fellowship graduates have obtained board certification in sports medicine on their first attempt.

During the one year of training, our sports medicine fellow is part of the team. Finding the right fit for the team is crucial to a successful fellowship program. When selecting applicants to interview, we assess several factors. The most crucial of these is demonstrating a desire to be involved with sports and active individuals. This can include assisting with a local high school in providing medical coverage or volunteering medical services at mass participation events such as a marathon or triathlon. Other factors that go into selecting candidates include rotating in sports medicine electives, attendance of sports medicine conferences, scholarly activity that is relevant to sports medicine and performance on medical board exams.

Training an outstanding sports medicine physician is an easier task when that physician wants to be part of the program. Fellows are selected through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Each year, we interview about 10 candidates for one fellowship position. Those candidates will also interview at other programs across the country. The candidates then submit a ranking list of their programs to the NRMP and the fellowship programs do the same for their list of candidates. The NRMP then integrates those lists so that each candidate and each program will get the highest ranked match available. Not all candidates match to a program and not all programs match a candidate. SVSP’s fellowship program has successfully matched all six years.

Once the match process is complete, the task of educating the fellow falls on all of us at SVSP. We are blessed to have an outstanding network of providers within our walls and some outside our walls to take on the task of educating the fellow. Our sports medicine physicians train the fellow in diagnosis and management of sport-related conditions. Our sports rehabilitation team educate the fellow on rehabilitation principles as they relate to sport. SVSP sports dieticians and sport psychologists also educate the fellow on their areas of unique expertise and how to best utilize their services.

Education also occurs outside the walls of SVSP including orthopedic clinics, radiology centers, sidelines and training rooms. The fellow will also function in the role of a team physician. The primary opportunities exist working with Marian University, Butler University and a local high school. Teaching and scholarly activity is also an expected component of the fellowship. The fellow will have the opportunity to teach residents, medical students and other post-graduate students. Scholarly activity may include original research, review articles, textbook chapters, peer-reviewed journal authorship or in-depth case presentation.

At SVSP, training a sports medicine fellow is a rewarding experience. It is an opportunity to give back to a field that has given us so much in our lives. We all had our own mentors and advisors we looked up to and this is an opportunity to pay that back. In addition, training medical professionals is a way for SVSP to give back to our community locally and across the state or beyond. Our fellows may stay and practice locally, may practice in other parts of the state, or travel to other states. Regardless, a well-trained sports medicine physician can be a valuable asset to any area or community and we are happy to help in this manner. So, in addition to our primary areas of service, medical education is another way SVSP is Defining Sports Performance.

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Keep the Common Cold Away

As the weather gradually shifts from warm to cold, another type of cold becomes prevalent. It turns out, one of the easiest ways to prevent getting sick is eating the right foods. 70% of our immune system lies within our digestive system. One key to a strong immune system, then, lies in the foods we put into our bodies. Prebiotic and probiotic are important terms to keep in mind.

Prebiotic 

Prebiotic foods contain complex sugars that help fuel the probiotics. Some common foods with great prebiotics include: asparagus, onions, beans, oats, quinoa and wheat.

Probiotic

Probiotics help fight off any unhealthy or diseased bacteria within our digestive system. Examples of probiotics are: yogurt, cheese, pickles, miso and soy sauce.

You can certainly get both in supplements, but getting key nutrients through real food is the healthiest way to ensure overall health. Even with these foods in your diet, there is still the possibility of getting sick. If you do come down with a cold, hydration is extremely important. Other food options such as broth based soups, hot teas and honey can help when you are under the weather!

 

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S.C.R.A.M. Goal Setting

Goals drive us to become better, and knowing how to set them can make a huge difference. Our Sport Performance Psychologist Dr. Chris Carr uses the acronym S.C.R.A.M. to help with proper goal setting.

Specific

Setting specific goals is the first step. For example: if you went to the gym, a very specific goal would be to do three sets of 8-10 repetitions at 90% of your max weight. That is much different than saying “I’m just going to go lift some weights today.” Start with specific goals and it will be easier to maintain your focus throughout.

Challenging

A challenging goal pushes you. It’s not something easy like, “I just want to get through practice”, but it’s also not something so challenging that reaching it doesn’t seem realistic, even at your best. Challenging goals should push you just past what you’re comfortable with, but don’t push you so far that you’ll be frustrated if you don’t accomplish them.

Realistic

Being realistic with your goals simply means you understand your best. You are aware of what you’re capable of and set goals based on that standard. No one person or athlete is the same, so understanding your best is essential to goal setting.

Adjustable

There are unforeseen road blocks that can pop up while in pursuit of our goals. Sometimes the gym is shut down, you get a minor injury or something else requires your attention. Make sure you can adjust your goals and have plans in place in case your ideal conditions change.

Measurable

Lastly, goals should be measurable. At the end of a workout or competition you should be able to know if you did or didn’t achieve your goal. If you didn’t, don’t consider it a failure. Simply re-adjust for next time based on what you learned.

 

 

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Pre and Post-Competition: What to Eat and When

If you want to perform your best each time you step onto the field, you’ve come to the right place. Athletes use many methods to get ready to compete, but one of the easiest ways to ensure you’ll perform is by eating the right things before and after. It’s as simple as this: put in good stuff and you’ll get good stuff out of it. So without further ado, let’s reveal the pre and post-game secrets:

Before

The meal before your competition should be consumed two to four hours prior to go time. Carbohydrates should be the main focus of the meal, with a good amount of protein as well. Two to four hours leaves plenty of time for digestion but you’ll still carry the energy from a carb-heavy meal with you into competition. Then, 30 minutes before you start, top off your energy levels with a carb-focused snack.

After

After victory, it’s time to refuel your body. Aim to get another carb and protein heavy snack or meal within 30 minutes of finishing. This is especially important if you have multiple competitions in the same day. Chocolate milk is a great post-game drink and you can also chow down on a light meal such as a sandwich.

Hydration 

The last key to a great day on the court is hydration. Muscles are made of 75% water, so hydrating is directly related to how well you move. On an average day, it’s recommended you drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces. It should be more on game day. That means a lot of water, and if you grow tired of drinking water, sports drinks like Gatorade are beneficial as well. Also look for food and drinks high in sodium, as salt prevents cramping.

Focus your efforts on these three things on game day, and you’ll be ready to perform at your optimal level. When you’re physically prepared to dominate, you can be mentally confident you will.

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A Mindset of Sacrifice

Traveling with USA Track and Field during this year’s world championships has allowed me to learn a great deal from the athletes in a unique environment. During preparation for the championships I sat down with Kara Winger, a three time Olympian and the American record holder for javelin. I asked her several questions about what athletes sacrifice and was fascinated with her response.

I specifically asked: “I am amazed at what athletes ‘give up’ or commit to. What do you think of when talking about commitment to your sport?”

She responded with this:

I’ve always been very intrinsically motivated, so when I think about commitment to sport, it’s about bettering myself and not a whole lot else. People get wrapped up in discussing the sacrifice of athletics, but I’ve never seen it as a burden. To me, it’s an opportunity to do something totally weird and different than you ever thought you’d be up to, see the world, and challenge yourself in ways you don’t expect. Maybe it’s partly being 31, but I’ve always loved lots of sleep, I enjoy feeding myself well, and I like to measure my improvement in anything, not just athletics. It’s not a difficult commitment in my mind to see if I can be the best at something, and I’ve been in the sport long enough to know that friendships formed and experiences gained along the way make the effort that much more worth it. 

The only things I feel like I give up are time spent with loved ones in the summer and outdoor adventures that I long to have someday. But I’ve also learned to prioritize time with loved ones when I have the opportunity (off-season and holidays). Smaller-scale outdoor activities help me recover from sport, mentally and physically, so I work those in too. I don’t think everyone gets to figure out that time is precious this early in life, but I truly have sport to thank for that, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Instead of focusing on the sacrifice that she has made she is clearly focused on the reward that she gains by the profession that she has chosen. Athletes at this level give up so much. They always are eating, sleeping and living with performance in mind. I know several that set an alarm so that it reminds them to go to bed on time, clearly conflicting with activities in the evening. We often don’t see this type of commitment because we are not living with them on a daily basis.

Personally, I have now been on the road approximately 18 days of a 25 day trip. This is time away from my family that I cannot get back, but I am inspired by Kara’s words. I also had an amazing moment on this trip when Amy Cragg placed third in the women’s Marathon. She is the first American woman to win a medal at the marathon distance since 1983. I was honored to hand her the flag at the finish line.

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More Sleep = More Effective

Professional athletes and fitness fanatics alike are constantly searching for ways to improve, sometimes trying anything and everything. Some of the best ways to improve your athletic performance are completely within your control, however, and you don’t need to try expensive or cutting edge techniques. That’s right, we’re talking about things like mental prep, nutrition, and sleep.

Sleep is perhaps the most underrated element to athletic success. Athletes like Lebron James and Roger Federer have stated they aim for 10 hours every night. Sleep not only recharges you, but it is known to help prevent diseases and injuries. Research has shown that getting less than six hours of sleep means you’re four times more likely to catch a cold. Other studies have indicated that young athletes getting inadequate sleep were more likely to become injured. That doesn’t bode well for continued success on the field of play.

Sleep is important for any athlete but particularly for middle, high school and college athletes. We recommend getting at least eight hours each night or more leading up to competitions. If you struggle to get that much each night, try taking naps during the day. Sleep improves focus, recovery and overall health. To take your game to the next level, don’t skimp on the z’s.

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St. Vincent Sports Performance Names Nick Inzerello Director of Sports Performance

INDIANAPOLIS (July 17, 2017) – St. Vincent Sports Performance, one of the country’s leading sports performance centers for Olympians, professional athletes and everyday athletes, has named Nick Inzerello as Director of Sports Performance.

Inzerello will lead day-to-day internal operations and help SVSP continue to provide an exceptional customer experience. He will oversee areas including rehab, sport psychology, nutrition, certified athletic trainers and high performance coaches.  

For the past 14 years, Inzerello has worked for USA Football in various roles, most recently spending more than five years as senior director of partnerships and education. During his tenure at USA Football, he served as a member of its leadership team and helped build the organization into football’s National Governing Body.

“Nick’s experiences across the sports landscape has shaped his operations portfolio,” SVSP Executive Director Ralph Reiff said. “Nick demonstrated an acumen for health care in his leadership of USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, which revolutionized American football.”

A player safety initiative developed by Inzerello, Heads Up Football has been adopted by more than 7,600 organizations impacting 1.2 million youth and high school players. The program certifies 140,000 youth and high school coaches each year.

Prior to joining USA Football, Inzerello oversaw athlete marketing for the United States Olympic Committee and worked as a member of the USOC delegation at two Olympic Games (Sydney in 2000 and Salt Lake City in 2002).

Inzerello played football at Northwest Missouri State and graduated in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies. He received his masters of business administration from Ohio University in 2016.

 

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The Work Isn’t Over When You Leave the Gym

It’s a great feeling walking out of the gym after a hard workout. You feel tired but also a sense of accomplishment and pride. But if the hard work ends as you exit, you’re not maximizing your fitness plan. The work on the field or in the gym is important, but recovering from that work is equally as important.

The prime time to start recovering is within 30 minutes of your workout. Your muscles are strained and tired, so refueling them right away is important. Focus on food and drinks that have high protein and plenty of carbohydrates to replace the glycogen stores (fancy word for energy) that you lost. These types of recovery snacks help you replace energy levels, repair muscle damage and rebuild muscles, making them stronger for the next time.

There are plenty of tasty options that accomplish this. A protein shake after your workout is a great way to get lots of protein into your system quickly. Chocolate milk is another excellent option for quick recovery. String cheese with pretzels offer good sodium as well, which helps prevent cramping. Apples or bananas with peanut butter also have a good protein/carb balance. Your first meal post-workout should also have plenty of healthy proteins and carbs. Avoid fast or junk food after a workout, as they offer little recovery benefits.

The work doesn’t stop after you’ve finished your last mile or cranked out your last rep. Plan ahead, have your recovery snack ready and reap the benefits of your hard work.

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