Psychological Effects on Injured Athletes by Jonte Brown

[This is a guest blog by Jonte Brown. Jonte is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC with a degree in Sport Management and is currently serving as an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] Being an athlete requires commitment, determination, and most importantly, passion. Sports can dictate an athlete's life and is a part of their personal identity. When you're an athlete, no matter the level of sport, no player wants to be out of competition for any reason, especially if it's injury related. When injured, an athlete is out for a period of time and can't play. An injury is any harm or damage, an act or event that causes someone or something to no longer be fully healthy or in good condition. Injuries can be caused by a number of different factors: overtraining, impact and contact, overuse, poor preparation, poor technique, or improper equipment. As for competition, injuries are most commonly caused by poor training methods, structural abnormalities, weakness in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and unsafe environments. In the words of a coach Herm Edwards, a former professional NFL player and coach, says "There's a difference between being hurt and being injured." For contact sports such as football or basketball, toward the end of the season, into playoffs, all players are hurting due to the grind of a season and the physical nature, but they are still able to play. Although injuries from sports are physiological, many would overlook the relationship between the injury and the psychological issues related to injuries. Athletes may experience a variety of emotional responses and stress upon being injured depending on the severity, it's important that trainers, coaches, and teammates provide a solid social support system. All [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:29:21+00:00 October 20th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

When to Stop! The Cost of Playing Through Injuries by Jonte Brown

[This is a guest blog by Jonte Brown. Jonte is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC with a degree in Sport Management and is currently serving as an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] At some point in an athlete's career, no matter their level, they're going to get hurt. Most injuries require a medical release to return to competition. For an athlete who plays through an injury, he or she is at the risk of effecting their long-term health. Athletes are looked at as role models and heroes for sacrificing their bodies for the glory to win. Why do athletes take the risk and play injured? Maybe to show toughness? Coaches command it. Maybe for fans or the organization, or they just are not willing to miss out. Playing through pain is something that's been experienced by athletes since sports began. Playing with aches and pains are the norm in athletics, especially in contact sports in which players or prospects are sometimes graded on "toughness." Athletes train to control and master their bodies. A injury may seem like a form of betrayal to them because their body isn't cooperating with the physical demands. In reality, the body is telling the mind it needs a break. An individual's mentality has to be very strong to know when to shut it down and get fully recovered when injured to avoid potentially more severe injuries. The sayings, "there is no "I" in team," "get back out there," "suck it up," or "tough it out" are phrases players might hear when they don't feel 100%. The body isn't built to sustain high stress and impact movements for such prolonged periods. That's why the term "father time" [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:29:26+00:00 October 18th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

The Benefits of Blood Testing for Performance

Many believe blood testing is something reserved for when you have a medial problem. The reality is that this is simply not the case and new services and technological advances have made blood testing easily accessible to practical anyone.  Now, athletes, coaches and fitness enthusiasts can use blood testing to ensure they have what they need for optimal performance. Blood testing can even be used to address small imbalances or even predict potentially larger problems before it's too late. Among the benefits, the information from a blood test can help to make changes that will improve metabolism and cognition, optimize mood, build muscle, and reduce inflammation. Blood tests are practically non-invasive and very easy. They require just a small amount of blood but can provide a significant amount of detailed information including what lifestyle changes you need to make with sleep, training and nutrition to optimize your performance. Everyone's blood is different. And within your unique blood are what is known as biomarkers. Biomarkers are indications of your body's status and provide insight on functions and biological changes. Examining biomarkers through blood analysis gives you a 'look under the hood' at your health and fitness and can be an important advantage for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Blood samples in test-tubes A good test will provide you with not just numbers on the biomarkers but meaningful insight in to where you stand against normative population data. This should be based on things like age, gender, activity level. The biomarkers or blood panel you choose to examine should also be selected carefully. The most useful blood tests for healthy individuals involve looking at biomarkers for nutrition status hormones and inflammation. Nutritional tests typically look at vitamin and mineral levels and [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:30:21+00:00 August 26th, 2016|Nutrition Info, Training Info|0 Comments

Barbells and Booze: A Cocktail of Impossibility? by Beau Hains

[This is a guest blog from Beau Hains. Beau is pursuing his Masters of Science in Sports Performance at Louisiana Tech University.  He recently completed his time as a Sport Performance Coach Intern at Athletic Lab with CSCS, USAW-L1, and ACSM CPT certifications] As a personal trainer, I have often experienced individuals who want to reach a certain goal, whether it be performance or physique oriented.  When assessing their basic nutritional habits, I always include asking about their drinking habits.  I do this not for moral purposes, but because excessive consumption can be a hindrance to their training and goals.  Besides the obvious increase in calories, I intend to shed light on how the consumption of alcohol can effect physical activity. Physical Activity and Alcohol Use: Is there a relationship? First, let’s look at the relationship between physical activity (PA) and alcohol use.  After looking at the research, there does seems to be a relationship between how physically active an individual is and how much alcohol they consume, the results may surprise you.  Young adults who participate in moderate-vigorous PA were positively associated with alcohol use (Lisha, Martens, & Leventhal, 2011).  The relationship between PA and alcohol use were the strongest in in adults age 20-25 (college aged), but there was still a moderate relationship in adults from the ages of 26-50.  These results are likely due to social-environmental context which can vary by age.  For example, participating in a recreational sports league may encourage increases in alcohol consumption while exercising. Another factor, that may influence the relationship between PA and alcohol use, is impulsivity.  Impulsivity can be defined as “multifactorial construct that involves a tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:30:42+00:00 August 15th, 2016|Nutrition Info, Training Info|0 Comments

Ring Training by Brandon Hooks

[This is a guest blog from Brandon Hooks. Brandon is a senior at Ferrum College pursuing his degree in Health and Human Performance. Brandon is participating in the coaching mentorship program at Athletic Lab.] The 2016 Summer Olympics will bring about a renewed interest in Gymnastics. The US Women's gymnastics team is expected to excel and is comprised of some of the fittest athletes in the world. Elite gymnasts are superior athletes and thus sparked my interest in the benefits of gymnastic ring exercises. However, rings exercise is not just for gymnasts. These rings are increasing in popularity in gyms as people search for the best total body workouts. Are gymnastic rings the new innovative way to building strength? Gymnastics rings are a functional training tool that builds upper body. In the article, “Effects of suspension training and growth hormone axis”. (1) Researchers conclude from data collected that indicated a suspension training workout using the recommended 30 sec: 60 sec work:rest ratio is sufficient to stimulate the GH axis in recreationally active young adult males. Practical Applications:  evidence supports the use of suspension training as a stimulus for anabolic hormone release, suggesting this is a viable alternative to traditional resistance training for stimulating the anabolic hormones that support recovery and muscle growth. In the article, “Anabolic Hormonal Responses to an Acute Bout of Suspension Training” written by T.P Scheett (2) indicates workouts using 30 sec work and rest intervals, 45 or 60 sec work and 30 or 45 sec rest intervals may likely result in more robust hormonal responses. The data from this study supports the use of suspension training exercise as a viable alternative mode of exercise to traditional resistance training. Suspension training exercise stimulated [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:30:51+00:00 August 12th, 2016|Training Info|1 Comment

A Balanced Look at CrossFit by Brandon Hooks

[This is a guest blog from Brandon Hooks. Brandon is a senior at Ferrum College pursuing his degree in Health and Human Performance. Brandon is participating in the coaching mentorship program at Athletic Lab.] CrossFit is based on functional movements at high intensity such as running, jumping, squatting, pushing and pulling.  Changing movements during the workout at a high level is a key component to CrossFit. The Workout of the Day (WOD) is the set of routines that are going to be performed for the day and is designed to incorporate a broad range of exercises with a specific number of repetitions per exercise. For example: 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 squats could comprise the WOD. CrossFit is high intensity training.  High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) implements alternating short anaerobic bursts of exercise followed by recovery periods. This interval is critical for increased fitness. Research has shown that HIIT provides improved athletic capacity and condition and improvement in fat burning. The question that many ask or wonder is that, is CrossFit really good for you? There have been concerns and arguments that CrossFit isn’t good for you because of the risk of injuries that are involved with doing certain CrossFit movements such as the kettlebell swing. In CrossFit competitions, the kettlebell swings are done to an overhead extension instead of to shoulder or eye level. Doing a kettlebell swing this way increases the risk of injury. I believe the Russian kettlebell swing is better for someone who is not used to doing those movements or in non-competitive CrossFit. I have seen the benefits and the good results from knowing a person that used CrossFit. This guy was a former Division I basketball player, [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:30:54+00:00 August 9th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

Is Sitting the New Smoking? by Laurel Zimmermann

[This is a guest blog by Laurel Zimmermann. Laurel is an Exercise Science major with minors in both Business and Biology at The College at Brockport. She is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab. ] I have always considered smoking to be one of the most damaging things you can do to your body. Why you would partake in an activity that will most likely result in illness and possibly death is beyond me. Every time I turn on the TV, I see a new commercial advertising an anti-smoking gum or the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers portraying individuals with throat cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and many more. The youth are being taught that smoking isn’t cool anymore; it’s dangerous and flat out stupid. What about living a sedentary lifestyle? Do you see commercials advertising the health risks that come from sitting at a desk all day? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines a sedentary lifestyle as “Not participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on at least three days/week for at least three months” (American College of Sports Medicine, 2013). Some examples of sedentary behaviors are sitting, watching TV, driving or lying down. How much time in the past week have you spent participating in these activities? Research suggests, “sedentary behavior has a direct influence on metabolism, bone mineral content, and vascular health” (Tremblay, et al., 2010). One study decided to test participants using an activity monitor. They found that “children and adults in the United States spent 54.9 percent of their waking time, or 7.7 hours/day, in sedentary behaviors” (Matthews, et al., 2008). With increased technology, this problem is only getting worse. Think about it. Kids [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:31:00+00:00 August 2nd, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

The Bread-and-Butter of Flexibility Training by Greg Gustin

[This is a guest blog by Greg Gustin. Greg holds a Master's degree in Health and Fitness from the University of Pittsburgh and is CSCS certified through the NSCA. Greg is participating in the coaching mentorship program at Athletic Lab.] Recently, I attended a camp called “Movement X” led by the Ido Portal team. If you’re unfamiliar, Ido really is a student and teacher of the human body and everything it is capable of doing. I was participating as someone interested in any and all movement, and in gaining new perspective to take back to collegiate strength and conditioning. Toward the end of the second day, I asked how their students are able to achieve such impressive and useful flexibility. The answer was simple. “Loaded progressive stretching is our bread and butter.” Much of what we had done that weekend fell under this category, but I didn’t realize it until far later. In fact, I took that bit of information with me and thought it over for quite some time before really understanding what it meant. It sounded like some advanced technique when their practitioner said it, but the concept is quite simple – achieve a stretched position under load, progress, and repeat. How it Works The general idea behind loaded progressive stretching is to put tissues into an elongated position under load. The load is meant to further the stretch slightly beyond what might be possible in a passive manner and act as a stimulus to the myofascial elements that are under tension. From a muscular prospective, loading an elongated tissue hopes to develop some level of strength at given ranges of motion, specifically those approaching end range. From a neurological perspective, the muscular [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:31:25+00:00 July 29th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments

A Pokestep in the Right Direction by Riley Rogers

[This is a guest blog from Riley Rogers. Riley is a Exercise and Sport Science major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] More than one in three adults in the United States are reported to be obese (2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey). We’ve all heard this statistic or something very similar. It’s intended to startle us. At this point, however, we’re all so desensitized to the facts that we don’t even think twice about it. Obesity refers to a Body Mass Index greater than 30. If we don’t know our BMI, we assume these statistics aren’t talking about us. We picture obese people to be like those featured in “My 600-lb. Life,” who need assistance carrying out the simplest of daily tasks, such as using the bathroom and washing themselves. One woman featured on the show had a BMI of 85.7, putting her in the category labeled “extreme obesity” (BMI above 40). As you can see, the subjects of “My 600-lb. Life” are not what we should picture when thinking of those statistics. Realistically, we should be picturing our family, our friends, and maybe even ourselves. The truth of the matter is: our country is obese and we’re only getting fatter. Gotta Catch ‘Em All In the past week or so, our news feeds have been filled with headlines that read “Teen Playing Pokémon Go Walks Onto Highway And Gets Hit By A Car,” “While searching for Pokemon Wyoming woman finds man's body,” and “Pokémon Go: man quits job to become full-time Pokémon hunter”. If you’ve resisted the urge to click on these enticing headlines, I’ll fill you in. Pokémon Go [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:31:31+00:00 July 28th, 2016|News, Training Info|0 Comments

Are Kettlebells All You Need? by Brandon Hooks

[This is a guest blog from Brandon Hooks. Brandon is a senior at Ferrum College pursuing his degree in Health and Human Performance. Brandon is participating in the coaching mentorship program at Athletic Lab.] Kettlebells are one of the workout tools for helping promote strength and many other bodily benefits. In recent years it has been on the rise and used in many exercise plans. Kettlebell swings are an exercise many personal fitness trainers look towards using in their workouts. Are kettlebell swings effective in a full body workout? There are many speculations out there saying that yes kettlebell swings or exercises help and work, but is there evidence to back up this claim? In a 2012 research study at the Exercise Physiology Laboratory and Center at California State University Fullerton, the effects of kettlebell training on vertical jump, strength and body composition versus that of weightlifting.  The study found that both kettlebell training and short term weight lifting were beneficial to increasing power and strength and there was no significant difference in the benefits of one over the other for increasing vertical jump or body composition. The study did find that weightlifting was more beneficial to gaining strength over a 6 week training period. According to Jeffery S. Harrison, who wrote the article "Applications f kettlebells in Exercise program Design", says kettlebells maybe beneficial for improving cardio respiratory fitness. The research to back this claim are found in a study by Farrer et al. (2) which it was determined that the heart rate response and oxygen cost of performing the kettlebell swing had a greater impact to the cardio respiratory system than have been shown with the traditional circuit weight training. The majority of kettlebell exercises focus on dynamic, total body [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:31:50+00:00 July 19th, 2016|Training Info|0 Comments