Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Switch: How Can Getting Injured Be Good For You?

Monday, November 15th, 2010

How can this be good?

How can this be good?

If you asked me this question a couple of years ago, I would look at you sideways and maybe even attempt to give you the backhand smack.

There is no situation where being injured can be good for you!

Right? Or is there?

Before I move on, I encourage you to read Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard (Chip and Dan Heath) which is a book that got me thinking and looking at things differently. I t allowed me to look at some negative situations from a positive outlook, being able to see what good can come out of it. Powerful stuff!

First off, I suck at being injured! I can be sour a lot of the time and not that nice to be around. I’m a hyper person, so taking away my ability to do what I want when I want to (a.k.a. restrictions) made me anxious and irritable.

I used to be that way anyway. This time around it has been different. (more…)

How To Take A Basketball Player From Intramural To All Star Performance: Part 1

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

This post will be a longer post……if you don’t want to get better and don’t give a s@*t if THIS happens to you…

My name is Freddy and I DIDN'T work on my performance

My name is Freddy and I DIDN'T work on my performance

Then DON’T read this!

How many basketball players out there are frustrated with their level of performance?

How many are sitting on the bench a lot more than they would like to?

Maybe it’s the fact that you’re getting blown by, dunked on and dominated on defense?

I’ve felt every one of the above!

I even gave myself the whole “must be the genetics” talk. But it was just a cop out!

A large part of my life was (and still is) dedicated to basketball. I played from as young as I can remember and started going to basketball schools as well as joining a junior team by  the time I was 11. From there I played through high school at the highest levels, got a college scholarship and started 4 years, the later on played professional ball in Europe, not to mention countless street ball tournaments and just cutting short of winning the Nike Battlegrounds Slovenia. I also played in the NBA Summer Pro League 5 years ago before completely dedicating myself to strength and conditioning. (more…)

Creating A Complete Training Session in 30 Minutes

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Some people really are that busy...

Some people really are that busy...

I used to think training sessions last as long as it takes to get them done.

I thought my program design was effective and efficient and would cover all the bases in a short amount of time. Whatever short meant to me that is.

Then came along a number of busy professionals who wanted to get in 30 minute training sessions (I never thought anyone could be that busy, I realize now even with my own crazy schedule sometime it is possible), no more, period!  They also wanted to have the best of everything: mobility, tissue quality, explosiveness, strength, muscle building, conditioning, fat loss, a new wife/husband, etc.

It’s almost easier to hook them up with a new wife/husband than get all that achieved in 30 minutes!

This is gonna take some Harry Potter type stuff, so I’m throwing all the ingredients in the cauldron and cooking them up:

- 3 ounces of Tissue Quality

- 1 lb of Mobility

- 2 tbs of ExplosivenessSAQ (Speed, Agility, Quickness)

- 1 lb of Strength

- 5 lbs of Metabolic Conditioning

- a pinch of Mental Toughness

Stir thoroughly for 5 minutes with the temperature set at “hot as hell”….. sprinkle some added Hocevar Performance magic and…VOILA! (more…)

Excuses – Just Say No!

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

You ever ask yourself “why do I complain so much?”

You should!

I have, and it reminds me to re-program my brain and stop making excuses. Every one does it, it’s just that some people do it more than others AND some actually take action in spite of having the “excuse”. The one’s that do are the people that are successful, whether in training, life, business, relationships…. or dodge ball (if that’s your fancy).

Whenever you feel sorry for yourself, find inspiration in others that could have many more excuses than you but decide they will not be defined by them.

I started thinking about this as I was sent a link to an article about this years CAF Inaugural Paratriathlete Camp, which invited and sponsored one of our Renton Results boot camp members Tony Smith.

Tony is the tallest of the crew, as are his achievements!

Tony is the tallest of the crew, as are his achievements!

Tony lost a leg in a car accident but you can’t notice because he kicks so much ass! (more…)

Where is Luka Hocevar?!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In all honesty, right now I’m on Lake Chelan, Washington for a 4 day weekend….

Getting some inspiration from the view

So don’t feel to bad for me :)

But I feel like I need to let everyone know what has been going on since the New Year as I have negelected the blog and haven’t been on top of providing great information as I promised. For that I deserve a backhand slap and if you see me feel free to give me one (just mention what it’s for so there won’t be any “misunderstandings” and I don’t go Hulk on your ass!) (more…)

Barefoot Training, Seattle Workshops and Anything Else I Can Think Of

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Just finished my first training session wearing the Vibram Five Fingers and I feel great! After around 20 minutes into the session the “weird” feeling went away and I honestly felt like I was barefoot.

I shouldn’t get too sore since I wear Nike Free’s 5.0 most of the day, as well as doing a bunch of barefoot dynamic warm ups.

Since a bunch of people have been asking what the hell I’m wearing on my feet and why, I’ll touch on why you should start switching up your shoes and start working towards doing a lot training barefoot. (more…)

How To Fix Your Aches and Pains While Warming Up

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

If you hang around training forums on any reputable training site, you’ll notice that the highest percentage of questions is directed towards fixing aches and pains (for example, go to the EliteFTS site and you will see the Q & A section filled with questions about fixing injuries, aches and pains).

The truth is that a large number of the aches and pains people experience whether before, during or after training (especially if you’re not doing any training) are a direct result of bad posture, overcompensation, repetitive movement, tightness, weakness, muscles that don’t activate, a crappy training program, etc.

Many of the issues you may be experiencing can be fixed without having to go under the knife or visit a sacred shaman in the mountains of Tibet. What you do need is a training program that is catered towards your goals and addresses any issues you are experiencing. (more…)

Warrior Training

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

As I am watching MMA on TV I realize that these athletes are the modern gladiators. I have a high level of respect for these warriors especially because I have had the opportunity to train some high level mixed martial artisits and I can tell you that they are some of the most dedicated athletes.

When I talk about warriors, most people will understand this as the definition of someone who engages in battle or desires combat. This is one of the descriptions, but I believe that the greatest warriors have shown us that being a warrior is also about gaining control over oneself in all aspects of life.

“Go to the battlefield firmly confident of victory and you will come home with no wounds whatsoever.”  – Samurai General Kenshin Uesugi

Since the rise of the MMA and movies such as “300″ the warrior is once again in the forefront. Many forget that there have been many famous cultures that have glorified the warrior, the Spartans, the Romans, the Persians, the Vikings and the Samurai were societies that were famous for the development of their warriors. The reason that many of those legends have been passed down to this very day is the impact that they had on history. The question is whether you want to leave a leagcy for future generations? Do you think you have what it takes to be a warrior?

“Given enough time, any man can master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior that can master bothe……and surpass the result.” – Tien T’ai

Believe it or not, anyone can develop the physical fitness, mentality and strength of charachter of a warrior, whether you are an MMA fighter, athlete or regular Joe. I think that it all starts with training. I am talking about both the body and mind. For me the physical training is where it starts (for some people it may be getting the right mindset before beginning anything) as it is where I have my peace of mind. One of the things that I believe in is giving it your all every time, knowing you did not leave any effort in the tank, whether it be training or anything else you encounter. Hold yourself to the highest standard and you will achieve the highest goals. The warriors that have become legend had quite a few things in common, one of them was training to be the best at what they do. They commited themselves with everything they have. Now ask yourself if you are giving your everything in the goal that you want to achieve? Think about if you applied the warrior mindset and effort into waht you are doing?

“Hard training, easy combat; easy training, hard combat.” – Marshal Suvorov

Modern Day Warrior

Andrei Arlovski

I apply warrior training in my athletes (and everyone else) training sessions and it takes them to another level of performance physically and mentally. Remember that you cannot train muscles every single day bit you can and should train the mind every single day! To contol the mind is to to control your own thoughts and that means controlling  your own actions……………

There is a warrior in all of us. Are you going to resurrect him/her?

My favorite quote on being a warrior:

Out of every hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there,

Eighty are just targets,

Nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them,

for they make the battle,

Ah, but the one,

One is a warrior,

And he will bring the others back. - Heraclitus

If you want to unleash the warrior in you then let me know.

I will be giving you a peak into some of our warrior training……..coming soon!



Just Get Strong(er)! Relatively Speaking….

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I tend to observe athletes a lot nowadays, whether it is on the court or in the weight room. I have noticed that there are more and more weak athletes. When I talk to them, many tell me that they want to get stronger for a certain sport, yet they seem to use methods reserved for bodybuilding and putting on a lot of mass. Now there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with putting on more muscle but we have to make sure that the muscle is going to be functional and carry over to improvement in prerformance. What many athletes fail to realize that the primary goal should be improving relative strength (in quite a few instances putting on mass is a must also……and they do go hand in hand if you train right). Relative strength is the strength to bodyweight ratio. I will give you an example of two athletes as this will explain things easier:

Athlete A:  weight 250 lbs, 500 lb squat

Athlete B:  weight 175 lbs, 437 lb squat

In this case everyone would say that athlete A is stronger, which is true in a way…….he is absolutely stronger, but he is not relatively stronger. Athlete B can squat 2.5x his own bodyweight while athlete A can squat 2x his bodyweight, which shows that the former has better relative strength. I am pretty sure that athlete A has better performance on the field/court! So how come more athletes (and trainees in general) don’t use more relative strength methodologies? Most of it stems from myths and misconceptions that get passed down from coaches, trainers, even the “huge guy” in the gym, that have always done it a certain way so that is the way everyone should do it.

Olympic Rings

I would say that this is a good example of relative upper body strength. You may bench 400 lbs, but you sure as hell aren’t doing that!

When it comes to these situations I always advise for the athletes to start lifting in the lower rep ranges (heavier weights, 1-5 reps) so that their body can also start making neural adaptations through which they will become stronger and also create more potential for growth (when I mention that I know it should raise the interest for those that were looking at me crooked when I mentioned the lower rep ranges). That does not mean that you will be lifting strictly in the low rep ranges, as it is important to lift through different rep ranges depending on your sport and also the goals you are trying to achieve. That is why I love the conjugate method of periodiazation (Conjugate training means to “couple” – you are combining training methods to develop different abilities simultaneously, for example…..strength, speed, functional hypertrophy).

Another way of improving relative strength is by reducing body fat percentage and putting on some functional muscle which would in essence lead you to around the same bodyweight yet with more horsepower. I was discussing some nutritional strategies for athletes here.

Now I know some of you are thinking why should I put all this focus into improving my relative strength when my sport requires a lot of aerobic or anaerobic endurance, agility and/or power. Where is the catch? The fact is that maximal strength is the foundation for all the other attributes! For this explanation I will use an analogy from Eric Cressey’s (genius) Off Season Training Manual.

Imagine you represent two different athletes with an 8 oz glass (Athlete A) and a 4 oz glass (Athlete B). For the sake of this discussion, the size – capacity – of the glass is our maximal strength. In essence, the more strength we have, the more specific physical attributes (fluid) we can put in our glass. These attributes include power, strength, endurance and agility – all of which can be limited by insufficient strength.

This is a shortened version of the example but I hope that you get the point – improve your maximal/relative strength and stop lifting pink dumbells.

Nutrition for Athletes

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

I am bringing up nutrition for athletes because I have been noticing that athletes are eating and looking like crap. I have been keeping track and more than half the athletes I assess have high body fat percentages and don’t really look very athletic at all. After some questioning I find out the one’s that are out of shape, do not know or care about what they put in their bodies. Maybe I should rephrase that, they believe somehow that as long as they play their sport and throw some weights around, it doesn’t matter what they eat. After a short pause, my response is usually ………WHAT?!

After calming down, I ask how serious they are about getting better at what they do and explain how important nutrition is for body composition and performance. You will notice that those two go hand in hand most of the time – especially when we are talking about high level athletics. Some athletes just want to know how to get a “six pack” and some want to take their performance to another level. Either way, whatever will motivate them to eat better and think about what they are putting in their mouth. For the performance oriented I will give this example to make them think about how much of a change lower body fat percentage makes:

Athlete A:  200 lbs, 18% Body Fat ………………. 36 lbs body fat, 164 lbs lean body mass

Athlete B: 200 lbs, 10% Body Fat ………………… 20 lbs body fat, 180 lbs lean body mass

So at the same bodyweight athlete B is carrying 16 lbs less body fat and 16 lbs more muscle. Who do you think is stronger, faster, more conditioned. I would put my money on athlete B, actually I would bet athlete B would CRUSH athlete A on the field/court. On top of that athlete B would look a lot better without his shirt on and have a more successfull summer with the ladies (if he is not a total idiot off course).

                                                       Olympic weightlifter     
                                                          Great performance & bettter love life

I am going to list some of the things I consider fundamentals of proper nutrition for athletes (also anyone that is serious about improving their performance and body composition).

Overweight athlete

How much better could he be with better nutrition?

1. Fuel Your Body for Performance. Eating enough calories to maintain strength, high energy levels and help recover from intense training sessions. If there is a need for fat loss then calories will be somewhat restricted (never below 20% of maintenance or 500 calories) but there will still be an emphasis on nutrient timing so that the body can recover from tough workouts and the athlete can maintain lean body mass.

2. Eating Enough Protein. I can’t emphasize how important this is. You should be eating ample amount of protein whether you are trying to lose body fat or build muscle. Protein has a high TEF (thermic effect), so we burn more calories digesting it as compared to carbs and fats, this is why it is a good reason to eat a higher protein diet when trying to lose fat. And we all know that protein is the building block of muscle so if you want your grandma to ask what happened to you over the summer then you better start eating at least 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight (200 lb athletes, min. 200 g of protein). Failure to consume enough protein is really throwing progress out the window. You choose.

3. Consuming Lower GI Complex Carbs. Carbs are also important but they are a little harder to properly implement than protein. Most athletes have a problem with eating too many refined carbs (any refined carbs is too many!), which means they have processed and drained of their nutritional value, the only thing being left over – sugar. When you choose carbohydrates, try to keep them as close to their natural state as possible. Choose foods like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, Flax or 12 grain breads, large flaked Steel Cut Oats, Yams, Sweet Potatoes, and bran cereals. Depending on your goals, amounts of carbs will vary. Let me repeat this again though, processed food will wreck havoc on your performance, feeling and body composition.

4. Up the Fat. Whoever has a smile on their face, this doesn’t mean go and eat fries and cinnabons. I am talking about essential fats, Omega 3-6-9. I would advise everyone to eat fish three times a week or more. Next time you are atthe store get some of these on the list salmon, herring, trout, sea bass and mackerel, as they are all good sources of Omega 3′s. I think that the majority of people should supplement Omega 3′s also just because it will be tough to get enough from regular nutrtion and many fish in stores are farm raised and do not have the nutrients that wild fish have. Omega 9 fats should come from olive oil, avocado’s, nuts and olives.

5. Eat 5-6 meals a day. If you want to put in muscle then you have to eat and eat frequently, so 5-6 meals a day are a must. Thing is, if you want to lose fat then this is also the way to go as more frequent eating will boost the metabolism and avoid the body from going into starvation mode and reduce cravings throughout the day and in the eveining.

6. Drinking enough water. We all know that water is essential to life, so why are we not drinking enough of it? If you put the soda (or fruit juices and coffee) down and replaced it with water you would be on the right path. When I say water I mean water – no substitutes. Water will help you eliminate toxins from the body, prevent many different health conditions, help in cell volumization, and help reduce body fat levels among others.

7. Take a Multivitamin. Micronutrients play a major role in many different functions in the body. These include such things as protein absorption, regulation of your heartbeat, hormone production, regulation of your immune system and much more. The majority of athletes are malnourished when it comes to vitamins and minerals and their performance suffers considerably without them even knowing the cause. Bottom line, take a good multivitamin/mineral formula!

8. Eliminate Junk Food. You didn’t see this one coming did you? This includes fast food, candy bars, potato chips, ice cream, cookies, desserts, pie, fatty cuts of processed meats and enough sugar to put a mountain gorilla into a diabetic coma. These foods have absolutely no nutritional value and it is wrecking your body from the inside out! Having these foods every once in a while is fine if you can control the craving but otherwise don’t keep them around you period.

9. Increase Fiber Intake. Most people are fiber defficient and I have found that athletes are not any better. I don’t want to overwhelm you so how about starting of slow and then icreasing the intake. Just by adding a cup of dried oats to your breakfast a few times a week, adding some vegetables to your meal plan a couple times a day, and throwing in a piece of fruit with your snacks can really make a difference in getting this fiber train started.

10. Use a Protein Supplement. The reality of eating 6 full food meals per day for most is very tough if not near impossible. But at the same time we can’t let our performance go down the drain because of life’s daily chores. One very easy way to get in all your protein requirements is to take in 2-4 protein shakes per day. This way you are still just eating your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner like the rest of the free world. As I mentioned above, you need to get 1 gram per lb of bodyweight of protein/day, so the protein supplemets will really help you get up to that number (majority of athletes are not even getting half of that!)

11. Eat your Fruits and Vegetables. Your mother already told you that but now I’m telling you and you better step it up. They contain a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals that are essential for proper body functions as well as performance. They also contain fiber, which if you read above is another thing that athletes are deficient in. Let’s not forget the all-important anti-oxidants that they provide to the athlete. Since most athletes are part of intense training, they need even more anti-oxidant protection then your everyday couch potato. This is because intense training can increase free radical production in the body.

I hope that these fundamentals shed some light on what your nutrition should start to resemble. Throw away your golden arches t-shirt that you got for being a loyal customer, re-read this list everyday and take your performance to another level starting with what you put in that machine – your body.

In the future I will elaborate more on nutrient timing and some more advanced nutritional strategies for the serious athlete.