Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Secret to Athletic Longevity

Inline_GuestToday’s guest post is written by Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and owner of TD Athlete’s Edge. Tim is a longtime friend of the Primal community, and I’m thrilled to have him contribute today. He’s offered to lead us through a portion of the screening he uses to evaluate players as well as exercises to improve weaknesses. I think you’ll find a great deal to apply to your Primal fitness in the tips, explanations, and demonstrations.

Just the fact that you’re reading this tells me that you’re ahead of the pack. You already have what many don’t: the motivation to get out there, grind workouts, and train your body to be its best day after day. That’s clutch, but unfortunately it’s not enough to keep you ahead of the pack! One of the secrets to helping NBA athletes get ahead and making sure they stay there is a sound movement assessment. A movement assessment is an appraisal of how a player moves before they hit the court. Movement assessments don’t have to be restricted to a defined and organized battery of tests. Although I use something of the sort, I’m also constantly assessing players’ movements as they train, warm up, and play.

Without ongoing movement assessments, you run the risk of sending a player out to compete and perform with underlying limitations and weaknesses. Often these limitations and weaknesses are hidden by the highlight reel athleticism that we all see during game time action. This scenario is a huge problem because as we’re all cheering at their big plays, damage is being done to tissues, structures, or joints that can ultimately lead to debilitating injury.

This doesn’t just apply to high level, high paid athletes. It applies to anyone putting work in at the gym, pounding the pavement, hitting the trails, playing sports, or generally testing the physical limits of the body. I know what you’re saying: “That’s great, TD, but where do I get a movement assessment to know if I’m ready to train and play?” Not to worry—I’ve got you covered!

I’ve put together a series of movements that I want you to test yourself on. I want you to use these to see just how ready you are to train, play, and compete for the long haul.

1. Single Leg Squat

This appears simple but like many “simple exercises” it can be tricky to do right. This is testing your ability to be on balance and strong during single leg stance. No matter what you do for sport, play, or training, you will end up in a single leg stance. You better be able to stay strong and balanced in a controlled setting if you want to perform safely in a dynamic and random setting. Your performance on this test will give insight into your lateral (outside) hip muscle strength and function. Keep in mind that your hip’s ability to perform can make or break what happens at your knee and on down the line. In other words, there’s a lot at stake here.

Coaching Keys:

  • Stand on one leg while you bend the other knee, bringing the heel to your butt.
  • Sit your butt back and down into a single leg squat and return back to standing single leg position.
  • Imagine having a laser pointing out of the front of the knee. Your goal is to keep the laser pointing straight forward.
  • Keep your chest up and back flat.
  • You should be able to get your hips below parallel without knee collapse or allowing your chest tip to the floor.

2. Half-Kneel Stand-Up

This movement looks at your ability to control your body from a split or lunge stance. Even if you rarely perform an activity that requires lunge positions or actions, this test is very important. It generally shows how capable you are of producing power through one hip at a time while controlling your pelvis and surrounding core musculature. This is fundamentally critical during any physical activity. Your hips need to be both appropriately mobile and strong to allow you to perform physically over time. Performance on this test will tell a lot about general hip strength and mobility.

Coaching Keys:

  • Start kneeling with one knee on a pad and the other foot/knee in front of you. The front knee needs to be in line with the rest of the body.
  • Stand up from the lead knee/leg into a single leg stance position.
  • Return back to the start position in a slow and controlled way.
  • Imagine having a laser pointing out of the front of the lead knee.
  • Your goal is to keep the laser pointing straight forward for the entire motion.

3. Airplane

Your core is responsible for holding everything together while your arms and legs do work. That’s the essence of any physical activity. The Airplane test allows us to see how competent your core is while you work to be stable on one leg. It requires one leg to be stable and balanced while you move the body around the hip. The only way this is possible is if your core is operating at a high level. It doesn’t indicate a strong core necessarily, but it does indicate your core’s ability to communicate effectively and in a timely fashion with your hips. If the core is unable to communicate smoothly with your extremities, you’re going to have trouble functioning in any physical activity over a lifetime.

Coaching Keys:

  • Begin by standing on one leg and taking a bow.
  • Place your hands in an “X” across your chest.
  • With your chest parallel to the floor, open and close your hip on the non-stance side.
  • When opening and closing the hip, you should see the same open/close motion at the shoulder. In other words, your hip and shoulder should be completely connected and opening/closing together.
  • Your goal is to open and close the hip/shoulder together at a slow and controlled pace 3 times without losing balance on the stance leg.

Now that you’ve put yourself through your own personal lower body movement assessment, you may have found a few areas that need work. Here are 5 exercises that will help you to bolster your single leg performance and your physical performance overall.

1. Sidelying Single Leg Hip-Drive

Benefits:

This exercise is a great way to strengthen your core and lateral hip/glute muscles. The action of this exercise will challenge these muscles during movement patterns that occur during running. This will help you to refine your running mechanics and performance.

Coaching Keys:

  • Stay tall through the shoulder on the floor side (avoid the sagging on the shoulder).
  • Keep the rib cage away from the floor.
  • Avoid allowing the low back to arch when you touch the hips to the floor.
  • Avoid low back arch at the top of the action.
  • Keep the chin tucked.

How To Use:

Use this as a warm-up to a lift, sport, or any activity. It’s also great as a standalone exercise to strengthen the hips. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-15 repetitions.

2. Elevated Single Leg Squat with Counterweight

Benefits:

This exercise will target your glutes in a single leg position. If you notice that your knee caves in uncontrollably when you do a basic single leg squat, then you need to develop your glutes. The glutes control what happens at your knees and below. There’s a good chance that you’re spending ample time in single leg stance during any physical activity. This exercise will not only help you to develop better control while on a single leg but also better strength, power, and performance from a single leg.

Coaching Keys:

  • Be sure that the counterweight doesn’t exceed ~10lbs.
  • Add resistance or weight by applying a weight vest if the form is perfect with just a 10lb counterweight.
  • Sit your butt back like there’s a chair.
  • Keep the knee from caving in or losing control.
  • Picture a laser pointing out of the front of the chest. Keep the chest facing forward so the laser doesn’t point to the ground.
  • Keep the core tight or the belly button close to the rib cage. This will ensure that you avoid a hyper-arch position of the low back as you drop into the squat.
  • Finish the move in a tall knee position. You want to be statue tall—no less, no more. The knee should be locked out, but be careful of letting this cause a rock-back position through the low back.

How To Use:

Use this as a warm-up to a lift, sport, or any activity. Use a weight vest to add resistance and use this exercise as part of a super set during a lower or total body lift. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-15 repetitions.

3. Medicine Ball Single Leg Deadlift with Rotation

Benefits:

This is a great exercise to train single leg balance the right way. This exercise will challenge your single leg balance in a functional position while your upper body is active. This is what happens in sport and performance.

Coaching Keys:

  • Move the ball across your chest instead of rotating your chest or upper body.
  • Keep your foot still in your shoe or on the ground.
  • Keep your stance leg knee from caving in or moving side to side significantly.

How To Use:

This is a great warm-up for any workout or activity. It can also serve as part of a balance and core specific workout. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-20 medicine ball rotations on each leg.

4. Cable Bowler Squat

Benefits:

The Cable Bowler Squat will strengthen your single leg balance and stability during rotational single leg action. Sport or activity of any kind happens in all planes, so you need to train in all planes.

Coaching Keys:

  • Don’t let the shoulder sag or dip at the bottom of the movement. Keep the shoulder packed with the rest of the body.
  • Be active with the outside leg. Reach the heel up and back behind you at the bottom of the movement.
  • Slowly lower yourself into it. Avoid falling into the bottom position.
  • Finish the move in a tall knee position. You want to be statue tall – no less, no more. The knee should be locked out, but be careful of letting this cause a rock-back position through the low back.

How To Use:

This is a great warm-up for any workout or activity. It can also serve as part of a balance and core specific workout. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions on each leg.

5. Kettlebell Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

Benefits:

This exercise will help you to strengthen the muscles around the hip and the knee while in a single leg position. The glutes, quadriceps, and even the hamstrings are targeted. Developing strength in these areas will help you to protect your lower body and enhance your lower body performance. If you want to avoid lower body injury and train to have better balance, run faster, jump higher, or land better, then you need to be doing the Kettlebell Rear Foot elevated Split Squat.

Coaching Keys:

  • Don’t let the knee drift too far over the toes, but don’t keep it too far behind the toes either. The lead knee should ever so slightly cover up the toes when you look down.
  • Avoid letting the knee cave in during the motion.
  • Keep the core tight or the belly button close to the rib cage. This will ensure that you avoid a hyper-arch position of the low back as you drop into the squat.
  • Finish the move in a tall knee position. You want to be statue tall – no less, no more. The knee should be locked out, but be careful of letting this cause a rock-back position through the low back.
  • Be sure to keep the shoulders from rolling forward while you hold the weights.
  • Select a height of the surface to place the rear foot up on that feels comfortable throughout the entire range of motion of the exercise.

How To Use:

This exercise fits perfect in a lower body or total body lift. Ideally, you should super set or pair this with an exercise that is grip neutral (doesn’t require grip action). Shoot for 3-5 sets of 4-12 repetitions.

Do the assessment, train up the deficiencies, and visit us across all of our platforms (Twitter/Instagram: @tdathletesedge) for more insight on how to perform like a pro for the long haul.

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Q&A With Rebecca Scritchfield, Author of Body Kindness

Visit any bookstore and you will be bombarded with cookbooks and diet books that promise weight loss results in no time flat. But the author of Body Kindness, Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RDN, HFS, is trying to change all of that with one simple concept: being kind to your body. In her new book, Body Kindness, Scritchfield urges people to ditch the crazy fad diets and treat their body with the love and respect it deserves. I was lucky enough to chat with the author and dietitian, and to get the inside scoop about her new book and the message of body kindness.

 

What prompted you to write Body Kindness?

I can trace it all the way back to being a teenager and reading the glossy magazines about how to look good in a bikini. I developed a mindset that you congratulate yourself for the foods you don’t eat and the way you look. For most of my life, I believed that health was about being in the best shape of your life and keeping a low weight.

I genuinely became a dietitian because I wanted to help people get healthy. Deep down, I always thought that was about weight loss. When I had my clients on my weight loss program, it reminded me of my own experience growing up. We would congratulate when pounds were lost, but they weren’t learning how to make better choices or take care of their bodies. I got frustrated because I wasn’t really helping develop long-lasting habits. When I had the opportunity to write a book, I wanted to focus on relinquishing the idea of trying to control your body and adopting what you can control — your habits.

 

The part of the book that resonated the most with me is that “bad feelings are good for you.” How will this book teach people that all feelings have a purpose?

When we feel negative emotion, it gives a signal that we are not safe. We kick into this running mechanism and we don’t want to feel it. When we don’t embrace negative emotions, we implement some way of avoiding them. Some people will numb their pain by comfort eating. But all emotions are there to tell you that you care about something. If you see that negative emotion as a sign that this is something that needs more attention to resolve, then you don’t need to run away from that emotion. You can now engage your rational brain and tolerate that negative emotion. Just breathe a little bit, let the feeling linger and then remove it.

 

I love that Body Kindness shares actionable strategies for combatting emotional eating. Can you share some of those tactics with Healthy Eats readers?

Emotional eating is a behavior that we learn. We teach ourselves that this is something that will make us feel better and it actually does work, in a sense. When we feel these intense emotions, we crave carbs because they create serotonin that helps you relax. It’s a tough situation because carbs give this release that we seek. But in the long term, it doesn’t work because we beat ourselves up the next day.

The number one way to combat emotional eating is to be aware of the behavior. This means understanding that it’s a learned behavior and you can unlearn it. The second you become aware, you are acknowledging that it’s not real hunger and setting yourself up with another choice.

When you feel emotional eating coming on, start with 5 minutes of deep breathing. Our breath is one of the reactions we can control, and it lowers our heart rate and blood pressure. If the breathing doesn’t work, do something else like looking at photos of people you care about. I love this tactic because it reinforces why you want to be kind to your body. Or, try doing anything with your hands, like knitting or sudoku. Sit with that urge without giving in.

 

How does the concept of body kindness fit into a culture where 2 in 3 adults are considered overweight or obese?

The one thing we know not to do is to diet and follow something that isn’t workable for the rest of your life. Diet is associated with depression and weight gain, and it’s a societal sickness that we overemphasize the weight rather than emphasizing the behavior. I advise the focus and attention goes to habits rather than weight loss. If you get better sleep and exercise regularly, you may notice that you are losing weight because you are taking better care of your body. If you improve your eating habits, you’re going to be much more likely to reduce your disease risk and your body may respond with weight loss. I suggest reducing the importance of weight loss and focus on creating behavioral patterns that are in line with someone who cares about their health.

 

Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., is a media dietitian, food and nutrition writer, spokesperson and blogger at Nutrition à la Natalie.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.



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Many Cooks In The Kitchen with Blue Apron

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron

Blue Apron

Cooking alone is fun. Cooking with wine is more fun. And cooking with a group of my friends is a blast! On a recent Friday night, we tore up the kitchen and prepared two delicious Blue Apron recipes to enjoy together. Just look at the concentration here:

Blue Apron

Blue Apron is often described as the perfect date night in, but it also makes a fantastic girls night! It’s so nice to have the kitchen to ourselves and just enjoy the cooking experience together. Because everything you need is delivered to your doorstep, including the recipes and all ingredients, you need not worry about a thing. (Blue Apron even has a wine club where you can have wines paired and delivered with your food too!)

Blue Apron

You have the choice of the 2-Person Plan or the Family Plan when you place your order, and since the Family Plan has 8 servings between the two included recipes, it was perfect for our party of 5. We even had leftovers for lunch the next day!

Blue Apron

I put out a cheese plate for us to snack on while we cooked too.

So we cracked open some wine and unpacked all of the ingredients in our box. Emily and I headed up the two recipes, and we somehow managed to finish them perfectly in sync and had dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Blue Apron

Everyone chipped in to help, whether that was to peel an orange or set the table, and it was truly a fun group effort. The recipe’s checklists helped us keep track of who had completed which steps.

Blue Apron

One of our two recipes was Pesto Shrimp and Gnocchi with Roasted Broccoli, which was fabulous! We made the pesto from scratch, and it was bursting with garlic flavor (be warned!). Very tasty.

Blue Apron

And Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry with Tango Mandarins and Jasmine Rice. This dish was SO GOOD I want to make it again! I loved the sauce with the oranges. Luckily Blue Apron shares all the recipes online so you can make anything you love again.

Blue Apron

The finishing touches.

Blue Apron

Dinner is served!

Blue ApronBlue Apron

We all agreed this meal tasted both gourmet and healthy, and we appreciated all the green veggies as well.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron

Blue Apron offers a large selection of recipes and is always adding new dishes so the menus change every week. They have a commitment to sustainably sourced ingredients, and also now offer a recycling program. There is no commitment to ordering – you can skip weeks if you’re traveling or cancel anytime.

If you’d like to give Blue Apron a try, the first 25 readers will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here

Blue Apron

Blue Apron

Blue Apron

Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post and keeping the girls nights extra fun! 

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Clean Eating Sheet Pan Nachos Recipe

Clean Eating Sheet Pan Nachos Recipe

It’s been a good long while since I’ve done a Simple Recipe. If you don’t know what I mean by that, it’s simply a recipe that doesn’t really require any measured ingredients. You just add… Read more →



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Episode 358 – Dr. Dan Han – Neurogastronomy

The Good Kitchen banner
Sleepcocktails_banner_728x90_LeftThis episode we have guest Dr. Dan Han. Dr. Han is the Chief of University of Kentucky Neuropsychology Service’s clinical section, the director of the UK Multidisciplinary Concussion Program, and an associate professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Join us as we talk about neurogastronomy, food, flavor, and the brain.


Download Episode Here (MP3)

Guest: Dr. Dan Han

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30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

Buy the book

 

Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is available for pre-order now!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks



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No-Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Balls (Gluten-Free)

YOU GUYS. I have your new favorite protein ball recipe right here. I’m telling ya, these No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls are awesome. Awe. Some. You are definitely going to love them! And, like a lot of my recipes, they’re totally customizable to your taste preferences– whether you like dark or milk chocolate, butterscotch or peanut butter chips, or even dried cranberries or cherries. Plus, you can use just about any protein powder you like and really get creative with the flavors. I’ve made these protein balls with vanilla, coconut, and churro protein powder, and ALL three varieties were delicious!

new protein ball recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls

Ingredients:

Directions: Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Roll batter into 12 balls. Refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Makes 12 servings

Macros (per ball): P 5 C 11 F 8

The post No-Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Balls (Gluten-Free) appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.



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