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How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefit 1

We can all probably imagine what an off season training program looks and sounds like. It is probably something like this scenario:

You walk into your training facility and you are greeted with the familiar sound of weights clanging off of platforms and the ‘sweet’ smell of sweat in the air. You see someone in the corner desperately trying to catch their breath after setting a new personal best. All the while you can barely hear your own thoughts and the conversations of people talking around you because someone is blasting their favorite “pumped-up” Pandora station.

This scenario just comes with the territory of many off season training programs. Off season training programs are no secret to athletes and to sport coaches, but what about the benefits of in season training programs?

Today, we will reveal the 1st of 3 benefits of training while in season and why it is important to continue to train during this time.  

A well-disciplined, dedicated athlete has already conditioned their body to be ready for the season. But it never ceases to amaze us coaches that once their season starts the athletes suddenly stop their training programs all-together. It is understandable as their schedules fill-up with games and practices.

But as their season progresses, they start to notice that their muscles become sorer with each game and they begin to lose the advances they made during the off-season. Why is it that?

With all the work that athletes’ put in during the off season, it is assumed that everything that they worked on should carry them through their season, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

Why In Season Training? 

During our in season programs we turn the intensity level down. An athlete should be able to devote at least two hours a week for in season training outside of their sport practices, just ask any Division 1 or professional athlete or coach. The answer to feeling and playing your best all season long, is to incorporate a strength and conditioning program!

With that in mind, let’s look at the first benefit of training while in- season. 

Benefit 1)

Maintain off season gains

During the off season, athletes are building valuable strength and power to improve their performance. It wouldn’t make sense to work so hard on your speed, power, and strength development during the months leading up to your season and then completely stop doing those exercises that gave you the advances you needed. 

That is why the goal of in season training is not to improve upon those adaptations, but rather to maintain them.

“Some strength, speed, and power abilities can decrease in as little as two to three weeks, so if you refrained from in-season training for months you will for sure fall behind your opponent later in the season.” – Trenton Clausen

Because of this, the length of sessions and exercise volume (number of repetitions performed) can be reduced. Perfect for the busy in-season athlete! 

As athletes and as performance coaches, we understand that it is difficult to know the right training program, frequency, and duration to continue performing at your best with training in-season. I would recommend that you find a strength and conditioning professional that knows exactly what to do and has experience training high level athletes during the in-season.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we reveal the 2nd and 3rd benefit for training in season. 

How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefits 2 & 3

Written By, Performance Coaches:

Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance
Mike Servais – CSCS, USAW-L1, Performance Coach
Gus Thiel BS, NASM-CPT, FMS-L1, Performance Coach 


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How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefits 2 & 3

The importance of off season training is no secret to athletes and sport coaches, but some don’t fully understand the importance of in season training. Training during an athletes in season provides valuable time to maintain off season gains, reduce the risk of in season injury and aid in faster recovery from practices and games. 

In our previous blog, How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefit 1 Trenton ClausenMike Servais and Gus Thiel discussed the 1st benefit of training while in season – maintaining off season gains.

Today, we will dive into the 2nd and 3rd benefits of training while in season and why it is paramount to continue to train during this time.

Athletes train hard in the off season to ensure they are at their best by the time the season rolls around, but once their season arrives they suddenly stop training as their schedules fill up with games and practices.

As the season wears on they might start to notice that their bodies become more sore with each game and their nagging aches and pains just won’t go away.

Why is it that? With all the work put in during the off season they should feel great all season, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way. The 2nd benefit of training while in season is to aid in reducing the athlete’s chance of sustaining an injury. 

Benefit 2)

Injury prevention is another key factor that we work on in our in season training programs. We must continue maintaining our strength to prevent soft tissue injuries. We can do this through strength training and active recovery methods such as self-myofascial release (i.e. foam rolling), stretching, icing, and rest.

If we are able to maintain our strength and tissue quality during the season we will fend off injuries that can be prevented and keep us on the field of play.

“Athletes that work to maintain their strength, muscle tissue quality and joint health during the season are less susceptible to injuries because their body is more prepared to handle the stresses of the season.”

– Mike Servais

Benefit 3)

The final benefit from training in season is the ability to recover faster from games and practices. Over the course of a long season, athlete’s bodies take a beating. But fear not! A proper in-season program will not make an athlete feel worse!

In fact, getting back in the gym will allow athletes to address this issue by performing soft-tissue work (using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, etc.) to restore muscle tissue quality.

Maintaining tissue quality is vital for joint mobility (ability for a joint to move) and stability (ability to control joint position).

“Always remember that training in season doesn’t mean that your workout program should be put on the back burner. Be smart about your in season programs and your body will thank you later!” – Gus Thiel 

 

Here at Athletes’ Training Center, we want our athletes to be at their best once the season starts. However, it takes discipline and dedication to maintain peak performance throughout the year. We will make sure you feel your best come game time!

Tip: Interested in our in season programs?
Ask about our maintenance memberships or our Free Trial Sessions!

Written By Performance Coaches:

Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance
Mike Servais – CSCS, USAW-L1, Performance Coach
Gus Thiel BS, FMS-L1SP, Performance Coach 

3 Common Push Up Mistakes & How to Correct Them

The push up movement is one that I see many of our members struggle with. It isn’t because they are not capable of doing them.

I think most of the time they struggle because they are not aware of what a proper push up should look like.

We are here to direct you on the right path to doing a shoulder friendly and strong abdominal push up.

Let’s dive into 3 common mistakes that we see our members make when they are trying their push ups.

Mistake #1 – Hands too far forward:

With this mistake, people tend to not use their abs or core correctly. This can cause unwanted stress on other muscles and joints.

Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders when starting and finishing your push up. Refer to image (5).

Refer to image (4). Don’t allow your hands to be placed in front of your shoulders.

Mistake #2 – Hips too low:

It is vital to keep your hips level with your shoulders throughout the entire movement including the start and the finish of a push up. Refer to image (5).

If we allow our hips to drop lower than our shoulders as demonstrated in images (3 & 6) we will produce extension in our low back and not using our abdominals to stabilize our body.

Mistake #3 – Elbows pointed out:

One of the most popular flaws is letting the elbows point to the side as can be seen in image (1). As you can see with this poor technique, when one’s elbows point out to the side their head meets their hands at the bottom position.

This is not good. This can present shoulder pain and is a compensation of poor core control during the lowering and raising portion of the push up movement.

We should shoot to have our elbows angle back towards our waist and our shoulders meeting our hands at the bottom position (2).

 
Along with being mindful of these three flaws, a good way to improve your push up ability is to put your hands on a bench or chair.
 
Once you perform a push up properly on a bench then you can go ahead and move to the floor.  
 
A good repetition range to shoot for is 3 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Pictured above is an example of a good push up with proper form. 

No-Nonsense Solution for Sticking to Healthy Habits

Have you ever found yourself trying to start a healthy habit such as taking a multi-vitamin each morning, but find yourself forgetting the vitamin on the counter at home after a few unsuccessful attempts? Or have you ever told yourself that you needed to drink more water and lose sight of this habit after just a few days? Well, do I have an idea for you…habit stacking!

If you haven’t heard of this idea please continue reading and even if you have you just might learn another trick or two today. Now, let’s think back to when you were a little kid.

I bet your parents continually had to remind you to brush your teeth. I remember my parents doing this every time I woke up or went to bed. At the time I didn’t think much of it, and I bet I even found these “reminders” somewhat annoying. 

I obviously didn’t form the habit of brushing my teeth right away. But still to this day I brush my teeth right when I wake up and right before I lie down for the night. Why do I still continue to do this? Why did all of those “constant reminders” from my parents eventually pay off? 

The answer is habit stacking.

I learned that habit not because I know it should be done twice a day but because I stacked the habit of brushing my teeth with a habit I already had indebted into my life, waking up and before going to bed.

You see, I stacked this habit of brushing my teeth with another easy habit already established in my daily routine until it became a true habit. This is no different when starting a new habit such as drinking enough water throughout the day or getting some healthy exercise habits each day.

Think about an everyday habit you already have created, how about that cup of coffee you drink every morning. Try having a glass of water and your multi-vitamin at the same time you sit down with that cup of coffee.

Before you know it that glass of water and multi-vitamin will be another one of your everyday habits. Or, maybe before you turn on that favorite television show every Monday night, complete 3 sets of 30 second front planks.

If you can take your already established habits and stack healthy ones with them you can conquer anything. Take some time to write down your already established habits and then write another habit you would like to stack with them.

You might be surprised by how easy these new habits are to create with the help of some already easy ones in your life.

Written By: Trent Clausen, MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP Director of Sports Performance

How to “Bulk Up” Your Fruit and Veggie Intake

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants which help protect us from illness, fight off inflammation from exercise, and promote good health. But, it never ceases to amaze me how many of my fitness members say they fall short on incorporating these “super foods” into their daily meals. 

Today, I will share with you some quick and easy tips on how to incorporate fruit and veggies into your daily routine. How many servings of fruit and veggies should you aim for in a day?

Try to aim for 4-5 servings of vegetables and at least 3 servings of fruit each day. Focus on varying the colors of the fruits and vegetables you eat every day because different colors have different amounts and types of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Fruits & Vegetables – The more colorful the better 

– Red: apples, red grapes, cherries, tomatoes, red peppers, and watermelon

– Orange: carrots, peaches, oranges, and cantaloupe

– Green: green apples, green peppers, pears, cabbage, kiwi, green beans, lettuce, broccoli, and spinach

– Yellow: bananas, pineapple, lemons, corn

– Purple/Blue: grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

Are you among the many people that struggle with finding ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet? Try these tips for incorporating these “super foods” into your daily meals. 

Tips: How can I incorporate more fruit and veggies into my meals?

Fruit

– Breakfast: Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice, add fruit to cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal

– Lunch: Pack a piece of fruit to eat over your lunch break

– Dinner: Have a piece of fresh fruit or canned fruit as the main entrée

– Snacks: Eat a piece of fresh fruit as a snack or before bedtime

Veggies 

– Lettuce salad: make a bowl of lettuce, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and other mixed vegetables

– Cooked vegetables: get a serving of cooked vegetables with your main entrée at both lunch and dinner

– Snacks: Snack on baby carrots, fresh broccoli, or celery throughout the day

Why is adequate fruit and vegetable consumption so important? Find out more at precisionnutrition.com.

Written By: Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance

The Fountain of Fitness

5 Things to Start Doing Now

A lot of people are looking for the secret code or magic potion to look, feel, train or perform better. I’m a firm believer that there is not any of that, and it takes consistent effort and formulating habits that will truly help you achieve your fitness or performance goals.

That is why I am going to reveal my Top 5 Healthy Habits that will give you some leeway to not always be perfect. If you can perform these habits at least 80% of the time you will see huge improvements on your looks and how you feel along with improving your daily performance on the sports, in the field or at work.

Top 5 Healthy Habits

 

1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night

7-9 hours is ideal
Keep a consistent sleep schedule even on the weekends
Refrain from TV, computer, or cellphone screen time in the dark before sleeping

2. Drink at least half your bodyweight (pounds) in fluid ounces of liquids per day

Stick to water and lower sugar content drinks
You will also achieve proper hydration levels by eating a balanced and varied diet of fruits/vegetables, healthy fats, whole grain carbohydrates and lean sources of protein)

3. Participate in at least 45 minutes of physical activity five days per week

Strength training, jogging, cycling, playing sports, walking, etc.

4. Perform active recovery/regeneration activities at least five days per week

Foam rolling, massage stick, stretching/mobility exercises, yoga, breathing exercises

5. Choose nutrient dense food over calorie dense foods

Nutrient dense foods have a higher percentage of nutrients per calorie
Nutrient dense foods would be fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber carbohydrates, lean sources of protein. Calorie dense foods would be fried foods, potato chips, bacon, sausage, ice cream, soda, etc.

With these Top 5 Healthy Habits you can start at achieving your goals, but it’s all about consistency.

Remember, “Consistent action creates consistent results.” These habits are just a few that you can adopt to help you achieve your goals. Don’t miss out the many more healthy tips that Athletes’ Training Center has to offer. 

Written by, Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, RSCC

Question: What do you think will be the hardest part of following these Top 5 Healthy Habits?

Surge your Physical Performance

The Perks of Nutrient Timing

First of all, what exactly is nutrient timing and how will it affect my performance?

Nutrient timing: When you consume certain foods at specific times of the day, those acts will provide increased performance levels and improved recovery following physical activity.

Taking advantage of nutrient timing has countless benefits for athletic and physical performance.

Periods of nutrient timing that absolutely need to be taken advantage of are: pre-fueling (before a workout, practice, or game) and post-fueling (after a workout, practice, or game). Pre-fueling and post-fueling are also great times to add in extra calories needed to gain weight or maintain a healthy body weight.

PRE-FUELING – Pre-fueling should take place 1-2 hours and up to 10 minutes prior to the activity.

  • Benefits of pre-fueling are:

Reduce the risk of injury and increase nutrient delivery to muscles due to improved protein balance

Ability to play at a higher intensity and improved mental focus from increase of glycogen storages

Set nutrition stage for faster recovery following activity

Limit immune system suppression

  • Pre-fueling snacks should contain:

Protein (5-15g based on tolerability)

Carbohydrate (20-60g)

Fluids and Electrolytes

  • Pre-fueling snack ideas:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a piece of fruit, and water

Yogurt and Gatorade

POST-FUELING – Post-fueling should take place within 45 minutes following a workout, practice, or game.
  • Post-fueling benefits include:

Maximize muscle recovery/protein synthesis

Maximize restoration of glycogen stores

Restore immune suppression

Increase blood flow

  • Post-fueling snacks should consist of:

Protein (15-20g of complete proteins)

Carbohydrate

Amount dependent on training intensity and duration

High Glycemic Carbohydrates

Fluids and Electrolytes

Print

Written By, Trenton Clausen – Director of Sports Performance MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP

Question: What is your favorite snack during your workout session?

Put Your Heart Into It

Is your workout “heart healthy?” Of course strength training improves the way you look and develops fat free mass, but it can also improve your heart health – if performed the right way. If the right sets, repetitions and rest intervals are applied, your heart can get a workout along with your other muscles.

Three apples with engraved hearts on wood background

We have high demands for our training sessions.  We want to get as much work done in a certain amount of time to achieve a certain heart rate and burn as many Calories, all while with getting stronger. We aim to keep your heart rate between 60-90% of your maximal heart rate to remain in a moderate to difficult physical activity zone. The longer we can keep you in this zone, the more it will decrease your resting heart rate and better the health of your heart over consistent training sessions.

Here is How You Do This:

  1. Group the exercises in a circuit style order and do them with minimal rest until the first set is complete.
  2. Following the first set of exercises, take a longer rest until moving onto the next set.
  3. Continue that formula for several circuits.

After doing this for two to five sets you will see your heart rate climb. This is different from a normal session where you complete one exercise, then sit and rest until you are ready for the next.

We utilize a software system call MYZONE to give immediate feedback on how close you are to your maximal heart rate and how many Calories you have burned throughout your training session.  It is displayed on a screen to allow your coach to constantly use as feedback to know exactly how your session is going and to offer a little more motivation when needed. We want to make sure you are in the right zone to give both your muscles and heart a proper training session.

Written by, Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, RSCC

Under the watchful eye of a coach, top notch programming and immediate feedback from the MYZONE system, you will for sure reach your training goals and receive a “heart healthy” training session!

“Perfection” Is Impossible

Eating Habits – The 80/20 Rule

It would be ideal to be perfect 100% of the time, but let’s face it – we are human and this is impossible. This is also true when thinking of our eating habits. We try hard to eat healthy, but we simply can’t be ‘perfect’ every day and at every meal. I am going to outline a healthy eating strategy that may help you realize you can still indulge once in a while as long as you follow 80/20 rule.

80-20_Diet

We go through the struggles, like having a stare down with a delectable piece of pie, and then we convince ourselves it is too good to pass up so we dive in. This is why we promote the 80/20 or 90/10 rule at Athletes’ Training Center when following eating habits and strategies.

What is the rule you may ask? If we can consistently eat a complete meal of lean sources of protein, fruits & vegetables, whole grain carbohydrate sources, and healthy fats we will make progress on the scale and lose body fat. We know a 100% effort every day is hard to attain, so shoot for 80%.

Once 80% is attainable, shoot for 90%. We definitely want you to be conscious about the food sources you eat throughout the day but don’t go crazy trying to be perfect.

An 80/20 Day outline:

  • Breakfast: Two slices of whole wheat toast, peanut butter, a cup of skim milk, and a banana
  • Snack: Almonds and a cup of water
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breast, a cup of brown rice, a cup of green beans, walnuts, and one chocolate chip cookie (more on this later)
  • Snack: A stick of mozzarella string cheese, an orange, and a cup of water
  • Dinner: Baked pork loin, one slice of whole wheat bread, a cup of skim milk, lettuce salad, French dressing

As you can see during this day you could fit a chocolate chip cookie into your daily food intake, but we are able to make great choices the rest of the day. This is life. We need certain items to stay sane, but don’t let it ruin your daily choices. Remember, it’s normal not to be perfect, and the idea of “perfection” is impossible.

Written by, Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, RSCC

Question: What would be that hardest part of following the 80/20 Rule?

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.