Shari Duncan

Tag: Injury Prevention

WATER: The most powerful of all Supplements
Shari

by on May.01, 2010, under General Nutrition, Natural Bodybuilding, Supplementation

Plentiful and Inexpensive….but too often overlooked and underutilized.  Have you had your 8 today?

If you are not drinking your water, you are missing out on an essential element of sports nutrition.  Getting enough water into your body cannot be stressed enough; it is necessary to maintain good health, stamina and fuel for building muscle.

So why is water so important?

The human body cannot make or store water so it is necessary to drink water throughout the day to replace what is eliminated. Water makes up makes up 60-70 percent of body weight and is involved in almost every bodily process. When you work out, you may lose 4 cups or more of water through perspiration.  Of course , type and intensity of the workout and climate are factors into the amount of water lost through exercise.

Water flushes out toxins and other metabolic waste products from the body. Bodybuilders and others on high protein diets must take care to get in extra water to reduce stress on the kidney and liver. Adequate water also aids in digestion, nutrient uptake and it primes the body for fat loss.  If water consumption is in short supply, the body will begin to “hoard” it and store it which will make your skin look soft and “puffy”.  When you drink plenty of water, you will retain less water, making you look less bloated and more “ripped!!

Water not only serves to lubricate the body but is also essential as an insulator and protector of joints. It is actually a shock absorber for the joints that get stressed even on a regular

The MOST powerful of all Supplements..  Drink Up!

The MOST powerful of all Supplements.. Drink Up!

day, but even more so when you start resistance training or bodybuilding.  Drinking plenty of water ensures that the joints are surrounded by plenty of synovial fluid, which is the lubricating fluid surrounding your joints and assisting in movement. Water also serves as a protector for the tendons, so if you continue exercising while becoming dehydrated, you could be causing damage to the tendons. They need lubrication just like any moving parts on a piece of machinery.

How much water?

Everyone should drink about 8 glasses of water a day. Experts maintain that you should drink 0.6 ounces of water per day per pound of weight. (Body weight in lbs x .60).  So a 200 lb man would require 120 oz of water every day.  If you workout; or are involved in sports, plan to increase your daily consumption.

Be certain to hydrate before, during, and after physical activity.  Within an hour or so of training, drink a few glasses of water so you start well hydrated. While training you can drink a glass or so of water for every 15 minutes you train, especially if you’re sweating it out.

Dehydration is more common and can be more serious than you might think which is why it is important for you to be able to recognize the symptoms. It is most important to learn to avoid the onset of dehydration by simply keeping yourself well hydrated.   One easiest way to know if your are hydrated is to notice the color of your urine.  Dark colored urine is a first sign that you may not be taking in enough water.

Know the signs of dehydration

  • Your throat begins to feel sore and your voice may turn hoarse.
  • A burning sensation in your stomach.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • You develop a headache or migraine.
  • Dry mouth, and/or lips
  • You feel tired.
  • Your hands may feel cold.
  • Your skin feels dry.

To prevent onset of dehydration, begin drinking water first thing in the morning and drink steadily throughout the day.  Sipping, not gulping.  Be more conscious of you water intake when outdoors or involved in physical activity.

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Weight Training Injury?…. Key to Recovery, Keep Active
Shari

by on Apr.21, 2010, under Fitness, Motivation, Natural Bodybuilding

No need to turn into a couch potato if you get injured.  Look for alternatives, get back out there and keep fit!

Injuries are an unwelcome reality when involved in sports.  As we train, over train and push through plateaus, we’re bound to stumble across some injuries. They come in all shapes and sizes, and range from muscle tears to tendonitis. Failure to warm up, sudden cooling off, overload, improper movement and poor nutrition all contribute to weight training injuries. It is important to learn how to differentiate the positive pain of deep muscular burn from the warning pain of injury.

Many small injuries can be managed by Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (R.I.C.E.) Also elevating the limb helps restore blood flow to the injured area.

R I C E.... Remember this to treat minor sports injuries

R I C E.... Remember this to treat minor sports injuries

No matter the type of injury you have, there are usually alternative exercises that can be done while still resting the injured area   For example, if you cannot perform weight bearing activities during the initial rehab phase, try doing upper body interval workouts, and / or stationary cycling. What’s important is to remain physically active and maintain some level of fitness so when the recovery period is complete you are ready to return to action as soon as possible.

If the injury is serious and not responding to first aid measures, medical intervention is recommended.

When time is lost in the gym, it not only limits you physically but also affects you psychologically .  The challenge is to keep as safely active as possible. Physical rehabilitation  not only helps the body recover and regain strength but just as importantly helps in alleviating frustration and in keeping a peaceful frame of mind.

Be sure that medical clearance has been given before resuming activity in the weight room. Most physicians and training coaches believe in resuming activity as soon as possible. Depending upon the nature and severity of the injury, it is vitally important to maintain some degree of the pre-existing fitness level. Take it slow, gradually working back to your routine, focusing on getting blood flow back into the injured area.

The best way to prevent any sport or gym related injury is to stretch properly and execute the exercises with strict form.

Train Smart! You can do several things to minimize injury at home or in the gym:

  • Don’t lift weights that are too heavy for your stage of training,
  • Do use a spotter or buddy to help whenever you are lifting heavy.
  • Do lift with appropriate technique for the exercise, and
  • Don’t utilize potentially dangerous exercises unless you are sure you can handle them
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Hurts so Good?… Post Workout Muscle Soreness
Shari

by on Feb.27, 2010, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding, Strength and Agility Training

Muscle soreness is an unavoidable side effect of strength and endurance training.

After a hard workout, most people begin to experience soreness in the body parts trained within 24-48 hours. This type of pain is called “delayed onset muscle soreness” or DOMS and can last several days to a week. The primary cause of DOMS, according to most exercise physiologists, is from tiny tears that occur in the muscle as a result of high intensity exercise – especially resistance training.  DOMS is a normal and expected outcome of physical exercise.  The only way to eliminate DOMS is to avoid exercise.

When you work out you literally “tear down” muscle tissue fibers.  (These are microscopic tears -& very different from the medical definition of a torn muscle). During the days after the workout, the muscle begins to rebuild itself. However, the muscles must be given enough time to recover and as well as adequate nutrition. This rebuilding process creates a “new” muscle that is bigger and stronger than before. This is how the cycle of building lean muscle occurs.

It is important to differentiate between the burn felt during/after the workout from the pain of an injury. Soreness should not become debilitating or prevent you from participating in sports or performing daily tasks.  This type of “good sore” is a sign that the muscles were worked – & that muscle tissue was broken down during your training session. As a result, you will begin to become stronger and your muscles will grow.

DOMS is greatest, but not exclusive, to beginners new to exercising. Over time, the body will adapt to the workload imposed on it and the less sore you will feel.   If you continue to repeat the same workout over and over again, it will eventually cease to make you sore. AND you will cease to make any progressThis is why it is important, no

Dramatic changes to workout routine & intensity will bring on DOMS!

Dramatic changes to workload & intensity will bring on DOMS!

matter how long you have been training to change up your workout routines often.  Progressive overload is key getting stronger and building muscle.

Each time you “shock your body” with a new workout program, new exercises, new techniques you’ve never used before or in a long time, expect the soreness to return. Sometimes the amount of soreness from a change in your routine can be severe. So remember to go easy the first day on a new program and build intensity gradually or you may push over that line from “good sore” to “bad sore”.  Severe muscle soreness probably means you overdid it, which will happen from time to time.  In most cases is not reason for alarm.

Reducing the Effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

If you train intently, you will be sore post work-out.

The goal is to reduce the DOMS effects and keep to your workout schedule.

WARM-UP/ STRETCH – The benefits of warm up before and post workout stretch are numerous and should never be overlooked or their value underestimated.  Warm up and cool down properly and build your workout program gradually to minimize DOMS.

REST:  Remember, a little soreness is expected; it is a sign of a good workout and eventually the soreness will go away.  Rest and allow the muscle groups worked to recover for a couple of days before working them again.

MASSAGE/ Hot Bath / Heat / (heating pad) will sooth sore aching muscle and reduce inflammation and pain.

WATER:  Drinking extra water helps to flush toxins and other byproducts of muscle breakdown that occur during heavy exercise.

VITAMIN C /E – antioxidants are proven helpful in dealing with muscle soreness and recovery. Your muscles produce more free radicals during exercise. Supplementation with antioxidants C & E will slow down the oxidation process, which in turn reduces fatigue and soreness.  A healthy supply of these nutrients help to minimize pain the day after a workout and will speed the healing process.

SUPPLEMENTATION:  Glutamine and BCAA’s (Branched-chain Amino Acids) are known to assist in muscle recovery and repair.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES: – (Ibuprofin) – like Motrin will alleviate symptoms for sure. I usually try to use these as a last option to the ones mentioned above.

PROPER NUTRITION: The fuel we give our bodies have a significant impact not only on performance but also in the muscle building and recovery process.  While proper nutrients will not prevent or give instant relief from muscle soreness, it is essential for the muscle repairing process. By consuming the right balance of nutrients before, during, and immediately following workouts, you can minimize the amount of muscle protein breakdown incurred during workouts and maximize the rate of post-exercise muscle protein repair and rebuilding. This principle is known as nutrient timing and is topic that will be discussed more in depth in future blogs.

**If soreness persists many days, or you suspect an injury, see a doctor. Otherwise for mild to moderate exercise related soreness, some combination of rest, anti-inflammatory, hot water/heat, massage, and drinking plenty of water will handle it.

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Facts about OVERTrAINING….
Shari

by on Feb.14, 2010, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding

Over-training occurs when we strive to improve performance and train beyond the body’s ability to recover.

Many athletes train too hard and too long. Over training takes place when muscles are not given the necessary recovery time. Unfortunately the desire to improve often results in over training. Many spend way too much time in the gym. When their efforts fail to give them results, they increase their workout time. And when that doesn’t work, they increase it more and eventually become frustrated, deciding that they just can’t build muscle no matter what they do. But, what is so difficult for many of us to grasp is that muscles will not grow or become stronger without sufficient recovery time.  —In fact, quite the opposite takes place. Performance suffers, and often injuries occur.

training log

Keep a training and nutrition log to monitor gains and progress

Athletes strive to push to maximum ability in order to improve. However, when training exists without allowing  for recovery time,  muscles stay in a stressed condition. It is normal for muscles to be sore when worked hard but be aware that there can be a fine line when balancing training intensity and overtraining.

In order to maximize and obtain desired results, it is vital to plan rest cycles into your training plan. This will help prevent overtraining. During the rest period:

  • eat carbohydrates
  • get a full night’s sleep
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • eat carbohydrates

Adequate rest cycles helps the body fully recover glycogen storage in muscles and liver, and enzyme systems within the muscle cells. During the rest period these systems overcompensate for the workout, which (if you have sufficient rest) causes your muscles to increase strength. The recovery period is very important to avoid overtraining muscles.

The Dangers of Overtraining

Simply stated, overtraining is when the body becomes overwhelmed by the demands being placed on it and is often referred to as “burn out”.

Muscles must be given time to heal. Recovery time varies by individual and the intensity of the workout. If your muscles seem to stay sore, take a break from training.

When the body incurs more damage than it has the opportunity to repair and rebuild, we become in danger of overtraining syndrome.  The goal of weight training is to initiate small tears in muscle tissue with the expectation that the body will then repair and rebuild that tissue to be stronger. These tears are necessary to stimulate muscle growth but they are, even if just temporarily, muscle damage.

If the body is not allowed the opportunity to adequately repair this damage,  overtraining ensues. OTS (overtraining Syndrome) is a progressive condition. If the training cycle continues beyond the body’s repair capabilities, OTS will continue to advance and further averting gains in the gym.

Symptoms of Overtraining:

Train Hard ...But Rest & Recovery is Vital for RESULTS!

Train Hard ...But Rest & Recovery are Vital for RESULTS!

Be receptive to the symptoms of muscle overtraining. Some of the signs are:

  • increased fatigue
  • physically tired
  • exercising often but not improving
  • chronic and persistent sore muscles
  • pain in tendons when moved
  • lower resistance to colds, sore throat
  • easily angered; depressed

How much rest does the body need?

The rate with which the body can properly repair and rebuild muscle tissue will vary by the individual.

Determining the correct training volume and intensity, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of rest and recovery are all factors to be taken in to consideration.

To avoid OTS, give the body the opportunity to repair the damage

You must give the body adequate rest.

Supplementing with glutamine has also been shown to speed up recovery.

The intensity in which you train impacts how much recovery time you need. If the ultimate goal is to increase muscularity and gain mass,  then training must be done with maximum intensity. That said,  and done correctly —  a mass gain training session places great stress on the body.

To achieve maximum muscle gain, you must respect the value of adequate rest to the muscle building process. To work past a plateau, increased training can sometimes be effective but just as likely; backing off may be the answer to restarting muscle growth.

Proper nutrition is vital to recovery for strenuous workouts. Diet plays a huge role in any muscle building program. It helps regulate hormone levels, provides energy, and provides the raw building blocks used to create new tissue.  A couple of very important things to consider: Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast is very catabolic, and can promote muscle loss. Don’t allow too much time between meals – eat small, frequent meals. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you have to constantly feed your body quality foods so that it never has the chance catabolize muscle tissue. Eat every 2-3 hours to ensure that your body remains in an anabolic state.

Rest and recovery is essential when it comes to avoiding over-training. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, and try to keep to a consistent schedule. As for recovery time, incorporate days off between weight training workouts. Try to have one rest day between strength-training sessions, and do not train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

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CORE Training: PLANKS
Shari

by on Dec.12, 2009, under Fitness, Stretching / Flexibility

A solid core minimizes your chances of injury, corrects muscle imbalances and provides you with a pain-free better posture.

Plank

The plank is the most fundamental core exercise. It is the basis of many progressions to challenge and develop your core to its full potential. Not only does it strengthen the abdominal muscles but also works all the core muscles — the back, hips, etc.. Beginners can start by holding the position for 10-15 seconds, gradually increasing the time to one minute.

————————————-

Start: Lie flat on your stomach. Place your elbows and forearms on

Engage all core muscles, keep back & buttocks flat for maximum effect.
Engage all core muscles, keep back & buttocks flat for maximum effect.

the floor. Your elbows should be aligned right below your shoulders.

Begin the motion: Lift your hips up so your body is parallel with the floor. Your forearms to fists and the balls of your feet should be the only body parts touching the ground.

It is very important to not arch your back during the plank. Always make sure you feel the muscles in your abdominal area doing the work.

You should have your core drawn in tight and your glutes tightly contracted. If your form breaks down, stop, rest, and repeat.

Progressions are listed below. Make sure you can perform the most basic core exercises before you progress. This means you should be able to hold the static positions comfortably for a minute before progressing.

Beware of Cheating!

Remember to not let your hips and back sag. This exercise is only effective if you work to maintain a flat line from your shoulders to your feet.

Side Plank

Start: Lie on the floor on your side. Position your elbow directly under

Work to keep all muscles engaged & your body in a straight line
Work to keep all muscles engaged & your body in a straight line

your shoulder.

Begin the motion: Raise your body until it forms a straight line, with a straight spine. Hold this position while you maintain a drawn in core and contracted glutes. The side plank should be performed on both sides.

  • Beware of Cheating!

  • Remember to keep your body in a straight line, tightening your abs and butt muscles.
  • Try these variations to increase the difficulty and further improve stabilization of Core muscles

    Single Leg Plank

    Hold the plank position. Lift one leg off the floor. Make sure your foot is not externally rotated and your toe is pointed straight down toward the floor.

    Single Leg Abduction Plank

    Same as above. Abduct (bring away from body) the leg which is off the ground. Again, make sure your foot is not externally rotated and your toe remains pointed straight down towards the floor. This is difficult!

    Dynamic Side Plank

    Hold the side plank position. Slowly drop your hips until they touch the ground then bring back to original position, repeat.

    Weighted Side Plank

    Same as above. You can hold a dumbbell or weight plate on hip to increase the difficulty.

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