Archive for myofascial release

Miracles are meant for the movies…

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

I can never truly decide what people believe. I always assume that they don’t believe the commercials, the tabloids, and some of the daytime talk shows. Unfortunately, I think many still do. There is no acai berry secret weight loss diet. There is no grapefruit makes-my-belly-go-away diet. Body transformation is about making the difficult decisions on a daily basis, not miracles. Here are the major keys to changing the way you look, feel, and perform. You can’t follow one and not the others, they all interact together.

Don't even think about it

Nutrition – You can’t get lean without it, but you can stay lean with low levels of exercise if nutrition is spot on. Ask a professional for some input about the ways that you can manipulate your diet to enhance fat-burning, muscle building, and recovery. Once you get the ‘rules’, it’s about keeping disciplined. There will be at least one tough decision per day about a snack, or meal that you want to buy instead of eating at home, or eating something you packed. Those tough decisions are the ones that lead to great results. If you are willing to invest in your health and body, go here and buy their system. It is probably the best combination of educational materials about nutrition, rules to follow, cooking instructions, and of course delicious recipes. Don’t worry about calories, worry about eating quality foods with as few ingredients as possible! The portions will take care of themselves. One thing you want to avoid, is cutting out all fats. I know a lot of people do fat free in everything and get blinded by calories and grams of fat. There are essential fatty acids that your body needs on a regular basis. Also, making sure you have plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids can actually promote fat loss, so keep them in your plan! [If you don’t ingest healthy fats in your diet, your body will assume you’re not getting any and hold on to the fat you have!]

Exercise – Everyone always wants that perfect fat-burning workout. There are many ways to skin a cat. I’m not saying that you can’t program for fat loss, but for most people, they don’t need to get too specific. It’s always about moving more and sitting less. Also, you could probably use a boost in intensity. Intervals over steady-state cardio might give you a big performance boost if you aren’t used to that type intensity from your conditioning work. Adding in a brisk walk every other day, especially in a fasted state (like before breakfast!) can do wonders for increasing fat loss during a transformation. For your weight training, there are a few different strategies that work. You can do circuits and complexes that essentially combine intervals with resistance training, or you can focus on hypertrophy and strength and just make sure you are doing some conditioning work later. Sometimes it takes introducing loads your body has never felt before to see change, whether its getting big or leaning out.

Recovery  – The biggest key to making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life, is being able to recover optimally from each training session. Being sore and tired just discourages you from being active again. Invest in the little things like foam rollers, massage sticks, lacrosse balls, and stretching bands. Do this work regularly. It helps keep you injury free and reduces stress on the body’s tissues. You want to feel as good after you train as you did before, so that tomorrow you are excited and motivated to be active again. Contrast baths/showers are also effective, as are saunas and focused work from a soft-tissue specialist/manual therapist. Since most people should have a good list of dynamic warmup exercises to get them ready to train each day and maximize range of motion in their joints, having a workout where you cycle through all of these a couple times for 30 minutes is a great way to enhance recovery, practice certain athletic positions and improve blood flow throughout your body. If you want a good self-help guide to soft-tissue work, check out this amazing project.

Supplements – This is the one we’ve been waiting for. What is Kim Kardashian taking these days? Brad Pitt? Chaz Bono? Well, I’m not entirely sure, and at least one of them probably requires a prescription. This section is the most optional of them all. You can use certain supplements to help boost progress, but its the first category you can do without if you are on a budget or merely simplifying your approach. As always multivitamins should be a staple for anyone active. Cover your bases. Next is a decent protein powder. You should carry around 3-4 scoops in a ziploc bag or a piece of tupperware, so that you are ready in case you get hungry at a time when a snack isn’t packed. It’s also good when you are travelling, as you really only need water and a bottle to make it work. Fish oil pills or liquids provide those essential fatty acids I talked about earlier, which are very important for staying healthy and burning body fat. I highly recommend these ones. Green tea and green tea extract are helpful supplements, just remember the active ingredient, ECGC works synergistically with caffeine, so a good cup of brewed green tea is the best choice. Other than that, go check out this article to find out more about peri-workout nutrition.

The Good Stuff

Stress/Sleep – Finally, the more stress you carry, the harder it is to transform your body, therefore, meditate, drink tea, read, get a massage, and most importantly sleep. Sleep is where most of the body’s adaptation to exercise occurs, so it’s imperative that you get plenty of it. Don’t forget to smile. You get to choose whether a particular event will bum you out or if you’ll shrug it off and get back to work. Don’t take everything too seriously, it may be wearing your body down!

I know this one was a little long, i just wanted to remind all of you that when you are looking to accomplish something with your health and performance, it is important to remember that it is a JOURNEY, not a quick program or supplement. Live hypertrophy, live fat-loss, live high performance. You can’t have it both ways. Plan for it all!

It’s About Getting Better!

Breaking Down Barriers

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

We talk ad nauseum about different strategies to get the results you need for improved performance. Sometimes you need to spend more time working out, and sometimes you need to cut back on your time but increase your intensity. For a lot of people, both of these strategies become too much. We break down and become exhausted and possibly injured. You know the more often you work hard, the better you become, but your performance reduces drastically as the week goes on. So what to do?

                                                                                                                       

Here are 5 strategies to increase the frequency of high intensity work.

1)  Build Your Stabilizers.

     By this I am simply talking about 3 major areas that control much of your movement. Upper back (scapulae) region, hips, and core are very important areas to build up some strength to keep you healthy. If you cant use these areas properly, you will never have enough stability to maintain proper posture during major lifts. Also, these tend to be the muscles that get overloaded first with a hard workout. If they aren’t strong, they will be sore all week and keep you from repeating some lifts later in the week.

2) Dynamic Warmup.

   A great dynamic warmup helps open up all of the joints that you jam up while sitting at your desk all day. It stretches certain muscles, activates others and teaches you appropriate movement patterns. Add in the benefit of increasing body temperature, and you have a great foundation for a great lift.

3) Post-Workout Shake.

Very few people take advantage of the post-workout nutrition window. If you don’t know what to mix, find a premixed solution like EAS Myoplex, Cytosport Musclemilk, or Dymatize Xpand Post. If you take in the right nutrients post-workout, you improve your rate of rehydration, glycogen replenishment, and muscle synthesis. Add these 3 things together and you’ll improve the way you feel and perform the day after a good workout.

4) Self-Massage.

Whether it is a foam roller, The Stick, a tennis ball, or TriggerPoint Therapy products, self-massage does amazing things for recovery. First, the pressure on your muscles from the different implements provides a relaxation effect to lower the resting tension in the desired area. Second, the act of massage improves blood flow to the area, clearing out the byproducts of exercise and bringing in fresh nutrients and oxygen. Not only is this good to keep the muscles you just used from getting overly tight or sore, it is also a great way to work on some of your postural issues. Think of it as me time, to keep your body primed for action.

5)  Nutrition.

If you want to do quality work, feed your body with quality food. Don’t look at the people who are already 6% bodyfat and eat at mcdonald’s for your nutrition recommendations. They do well DESPITE their diet, not because of it. If their body is burning up fuel like its nobody’s business, then they can even use junk as an energy source with little negative effect. You’d be kidding yourself though if you thought that they wouldnt benefit from nutrient rich, quality foods instead. Don’t waste your time. Eat well.

Do the behind-the-scenes work if you want to train hard ALL WEEK. 4-6 weeks of quality work can bring some absolutely amazing results to anybody!! It’s About Getting Better.

Razor’s Edge is Representing

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

It’s official: Razor’s Edge Performance is going to bring some awesome to the National Invitational Combine in Toronto this coming friday. I’d like to wish Willie and Mario luck in showing off their athleticism and skills for the attending CFL scouts. Both of these guys have been working their tails off and we’re proud to say they train with Razor’s Edge Performance.

Not only do we have athletes showing themselves off and measuring up to competition this week, in a way we’re also doing the same. This is our first year doing combine prep with CIS players. This is exciting because it’s a whole different type of training. Training an athlete over a long offseason for their sport is much different than a 2 month intensive program for a specific battery of tests. Not only is strength and power essential but the technical aspect of all of the tests cannot be overlooked. These athletes are training for agility, power, top end speed, lateral speed, explosiveness, as well as a significant mental component. That’s a lot of different things to try and focus on in such a short period of time! Due to the strenuous nature of this type of training, recovery is crucial. That’s why it’s important to have our guys eating and drinking well as well as taking care of their soft tissue, mobility and flexibility.

For those of you who don’t follow football or the scouting aspect, you now have an idea of the immense effort needed for such a short time. This is essentially the biggest job interview of their life thus far and depending on their success, may be the only one. The days are winding down and we’re excited to see Willie and Mario show off all their hard work. Look forward to a post next week with their results and other observations from the NIC and CFL E-Camp this coming weekend.

NOTE: Here’s a video of Willie’s results at the NIC.

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

In-Season Maintenance

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , on October 11, 2010 by razorsedgeperformance

The fall marks an important point for most sports. This is the overlap between many summer and fall sports that are finishing up with the winter sports that are just beginning. We can already see a big difference between the two: the winter athletes are in peak physical condition and the fall athletes are trying to survive the full season. There’s such a focus on off season strength and speed development that athletes and trainers forget about the important aspects of in season maintenance. No matter how big or strong an athlete gets, it makes absolutely no impact if they’re injured. Thus, the focus of any in season maintenance program should be directed at injury prevention and maintenance. Here are 5 tips to help you or your athletes get the most out of their hard work in the off season.

Diet and Nutrition
One of the biggest differences between off season and in season for most athletes is an increased volume of competition. For professionals this means more games or practices but for student-athletes work and school can also be factored in. This increased calorie expenditure can have a very bad effect on weight management, especically loss of muscle mass. For this reason, full recovery between games or practices is essential for a competing athlete. As is always the case, protein is extremely important for recovery, however, complex carbohydrates become much more important in season for fuel as well as glycogen restoration. An athlete’s in season diet should have a much higher intake of carbohydrates than their off season diet. As far as liquids go, water becomes increasingly important since dehydration is one of the biggest performance killers. Although no one wants to hear it, alcohol should be eliminated for its numerous performance degrading symptoms.

Get Cold
I’m here to tell you that you can make the club from the tub. That’s right, get into a cold tub after practice or competition to help preserve your body through the long season. Using ice or an ice tub after intense bouts of athletics can help reduce inflammation and thus improve recovery for the next practice or game. This is especially important if you begin to notice small injuries: tightness, bruising, charlie horses. It’s important to keep in mind that inflammation and other byproducts of exercise will stay in your muscles until you clear them out. Getting on these early will help minimize the effect they may have on your season.

Get Loose
One reason the competition season is hard on the body is that it usually consists of very high volumes of repeated movement patterns. This can lead to all kinds of injuries and problems. Be proactive and spend significant amounts of time stretching and taking care of soft tissue. Getting massages or foam rolling can help limit knots and trigger points. Muscle pulls occur above or below a knot, so remove the knot to eliminate the risk of muscle pulls and tears. Don’t forget about joint mobility, maintaining range of motion throughout both your joints and muscles will keep an athlete healthy and performing at their best.

*Learn more about this in our “Art of Self-Massage” series

You Snooze, You Win?
How many times have you heard about getting adequate sleep? Hopefully enough that I shouldn’t have to get too specific about why it’s important. The competition season adds an incredible amount of stress to an athlete, napping and getting adequate sleep will help reduce stress and keep energy levels high throughout the season. Also, don’t forget how important sleep is for important things like growth hormone and testosterone; Keeping these hormones high will be very beneficial to your performance. Another aspect I have yet to mention is the mental game, that aspect many people discuss that’s so difficult to quantify. Make sure you or your athlete has blocks of time set aside to clear your head from sports or school. This can be through reading, meditation or listening to music. Don’t forget the important connection between the mind and body.

Keep Training
For some, the competition season is only 2 months, but for others it can be as long as 6-8 months. You’ve been training aggressively for the entire off season specifically to improve body for competition. If you stop training, you’ll minimize the positive effects you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Firstly, you want to make sure you continue your strength training to avoid any losses in strength, power, and muscle mass which may occur during the season. On top of that however, there’s nothing stopping you from continuing to improve throughout the season. Make sure to speak to a qualified trainer or strength coach in order to direct your in season training. There’s a very fine line between improving and over training, especially during the competition phase. Don’t flush away the pipes or six pack you worked so hard to achieve in your offseason.

These 5 tips are meant to focus on one specific thing: this is meant to be your peak, you should be doing anything and everything possible to make sure you’re at your absolute best. Taking care of these 5 things I’ve set out will go a very long way in making sure that you can do just that, maintain your peak. Don’t forget, it’s About Getting Better!

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