Off Day Training

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

Recently I had an athlete pose the question, “Can I do some more push-ups?” He then went on to explain that he used to be a little bigger and wanted to get that “look” back. After seeing the smirk on my face he quickly added, “And I don’t want the extra push-ups to interfere with my recovery and training here (Momentum).” He is a very bright kid and could tell that I didn’t much care if he wanted to work on his beach body for the ladies…and hell, we are about to get a Noreaster in October, so the beach is going to have to wait.

But on the other hand, I completely understand. Although he is training to improve his athletic performance, he, as most any other teenage male, would not mind turning heads when he is frolicking around on the beach in his cute little speedo…I mean, making a sweet tackle to save his team from losing the beach football championship. In all seriousness, when programmed correctly and supported by a sound nutritional program, performance training will not only result in reduced injury risk and athletic enhancement, but you will also find yourself spending a few more minutes in front of the mirror in the morning.

And to get back to the question, some extra push-ups would be something that I would actually encourage this athlete to do on his off days (days away from Momentum). Off day programming is a component of training that can drastically enhance or decrease training results. So how can we make sure that our off days are working for us?

You gotta know what you want before you do it

1) Define your goals: In order to determine which exercises and how much of that exercise you perform on your off days, you must first define your goals. For this athlete he wanted to provide enough stimulus to result in some muscle hypertrophy (growth) but didn’t want to hinder his recovery from his primary training.

2) Make sure you consider movement and balance: Along with our primary training sessions, our off day training should be mindful of our strengths and weaknesses as well as our movement needs. We need to program our off days to still be conducive to achieving muscular balance, efficient movement and proper posture. The athlete in this example has forward rounded shoulders and spends a lot of his time either sitting at the desk in!? school, or on one leg during sport. Push-ups would fit nicely with this athlete as the push-up, when coached and performed correctly, is more of a core and upper back exercise. Still, this athlete would want to incorporate some more pulling and single leg work to balance his body.

3) Consider competing demands: Competing demands simply means that you can’t do it all, all of the time. Since this athlete has three primary training sessions per week plus 2-3 days of basketball per week, he can not perform his off day training at a high intensity and expect to recover, adapt, experience positive results and stay injury free. Instead he must perform just enough work to result in positive adaptations, as well as…

4) Make sure nutrition is kept in check: This is especially true for those who are looking to reduce body fat but stay injury free and on top of their training game. When we have the goal of weight loss and enhanced aesthetics we have the tendency to train hard every day of the week. Because the body is not given time to recuperate, this type of training will quickly lead to unwanted aches and pains and eventually injury. Instead, reduce the intensity on the off days and just make sure the nutrition is clean and true.

So there you have it. A few considerations for off day programming. And to give you a more concrete example, this is an off day program that I would design for this athlete:

1) Full Foam Rolling, Activation and Dynamic Warm-up (including movements such as lunge variations, single leg reaches, acceleration technique, etc)

2) Half speed change of direction technique drill (5-10-5, T Drill, etc)  x 2/direction

3a) Push Ups 3 x submax reps (perform as many reps as possible with perfect form and leave a few in the tank…don’t go to complete failure)

3b) Single Leg RDL Band Row 3 x 10/side

3c) Split Stance Horizontal Abduction 3 x 6/leg/side

4) Your Choice (definitely a beach body muscle) 2 x submax reps

What a good off day program will do for you

This template will provide the athlete with some good movement work that will allow him to address his weaknesses, reduce his injury risk and provide him with a little extra stimulus for his mirror muscles. In any case, just like primary training sessions, off day programs should incorporate movements and intensities specific to the individual.

What do you do? We would like to hear about the training you like to perform on your off days. Leave a comment below and go to www.facebook.com/momentumpt to post any questions you would like to see covered in furture blogs.

It’s The Little Things

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

 

Small things...Big Difference

 

I know you’ve heard it before, but it truly is the little things that make all the difference. Whether we are talking about training, nutrition, relationships, careers or life in general, it is the little things that make the difference between happiness and sadness, sickness and health…success and failure. Too many times we get caught up in the big, and often times overwhelming picture. We don’t take time to slow down and truly appreciate the small things, that day in and day out accumulate and affect our lives. But we are lucky. We are lucky because it is the sum of these many small
components that shape our overall lives. And what does this mean for us? It
means that each and every day we have the ability to choose whether or not to
work on a few of these little components to better the lives of others, as well
as our own. And for this reason I wanted to give you a few small things, that
if you choose to work on, will result in a dramatic difference.

1)      Don’t hit the alarm: When the alarm goes off GET UP! Even better, make sure to
put the alarm out of arms reach so you have to get up to turn it off. From
there, walk to the bathroom and do your morning thing. Next, drink a glass of
water and construct yourself a healthy breakfast. A veggie omelet or a bowl of
Super Oatmeal is a good start.

2)      Let those you love know it: Before you head to work or school, let those you
love know it. Give them a call, leave them a note or even better, throw your
arms around them and let them know you appreciate and love them. This little
act goes a long, long way.

 

Winnie the Pooh and crew could teach us a few things

3)      Replace your grains with greens: This is a principle we have been talking about a
lot recently, and for good reason. To increase your health and performance
nutrition is crucial. Try replacing some of those processed carbohydrates
(cereal, bread, pasta, rice, crackers, chips, etc) with some veggies. Instead
of a massive dish of Zitti with some Chicken and Broccoli, try a dish of Chicken,
Broccoli, more Broccoli and a little Zitti. Just by replacing some of the pasta
with more broccoli you are providing yourself with more nutrition and less
physique spoiling processed carbohydrates.

4)      Keep Moving: “The best posture is an ever changing one.” To give yourself a
better chance of not developing overuse injuries (which can be sustained
through repetitive postures) keep moving. Don’t allow yourself to literally be
shaped by your occupation or school desk.

5)      Plan, Prepare, Portion and Pack: Another important concept that has come up time and time again is the 4 Ps…If you take time to plan, prepare, portion and pack
your meals/snacks in the beginning of the week you will not only save yourself
time during the week but you will also ensure that your health and waistline
stay in check.

6)      Take some time for yourself…everyday: Every day you have to take 20 minutes to yourself. Whether you are sitting in a peaceful place, walking outside or
taking a power nap, take 20 minutes to just relax. It will do wonders for the
rest of your day.

 

You don't have to meditate...just relax

 

7)      TRAIN: What is training? Training is planned exercise that will help improve physical well-being as well as mental health and performance. This doesn’t mean you have to get under a heavy barbell (although if you are moving correctly under it, a
heavy barbell is not a bad thing at all). There are numerous ways to
train…bodyweight, bands, medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, ropes, sleds
and more. No matter your method, as long as it is conducive to your goals and
mindful of your movement experience, it can be argued that training is the most
important factor to achieving and sustaining a healthy and successful life.

8)      Get to sleep: It is when we are sleeping that our body and mind are recovering
from the rigors of the day. Making sure to get enough sleep (7-9 hours) is
critical to health and performance. Something we all know but something that
the majority of us can work on.

So there you have it, a few little things that make a big difference. If you are already addressing all of thesecomponents, at least 90% of the time, pick a few other things and try to workon those. You will notice that when you focus on a few of the little things,the big stuff comes together. Stay healthy, perform well and enjoy life by
taking care of the little things first.

 

Let's hear your thoughts

What are the little things YOU try to accomplish daily in order to live well, be happy and enhance overall performance? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Great Minds Think Alike

By Kyle Arsenault

Ok, so I am not saying that I have a great mind, but what I do possess is a drive to continue to grow and develop into the best human performance professional I can possibly be. For this reason I am constantly reading, writing and trying to implement the most up to date information about training, injury prevention, nutrition, etc.

 

Always Thinking...

 

But I am not the only one, and it is always nice when some of the top minds within the industry are reinforcing the same principles we are applying at Momentum PT. Over the past couple months Momentum PT has provided two nutritional seminars that were developed to educate our athletes (everyone at Momentum PT is considered an athlete in my eyes) about proper performance nutrition. One of the main themes was that it is the processed (man made/manipulated) carbohydrates that are really wreaking havoc with our health and performance. But, this does not mean ALL carbohydrates are evil and in fact NATURAL carbohydrates are an important component to a performance and health based nutritional program.

 

Not ALL carbs are evil, but beware of the processed junk...they will take a bite out of your health and performance!

 

Brian St. Pierre is one really smart dude that is constantly on the forefront when it comes to sports/performance nutrition. He has recently put out a two part series that describes how society likes to point fingers and make extreme generalizations when it comes to health and human performance, especially nutrition. In this series Brian discusses how carbs, just like fat, are not ALL bad and most importantly not equal in quality. Read Why Pointing The Finger At Carbs Is Missing The Point Part 1 and Part 2 to further reinforce the principles of healthy and performance based nutrition that we have been covering at Momentum.

And if you would like your very own copy of the Winning Nutrition seminar series that took place at Momentum PT over the past couple months, leave a comment or contact me (kyle@momentumpt.com). Enjoy the articles and continue to question, research and learn…an educated mind is a powerful mind.

Another Great Seminar at Momentum PT

Momentum PT would like to thank all of those who attended the seminar last night: Winning Nutrition – Healthy Weight Management for Performance and Success. The seminar was another great success that was full of great information, questions, donations for the Milford Food Pantry, raffle prizes and a great Grilled Vegetable Platter from  J&L Catering of Medway, MA.

The platter was perfect as it was not only delicious, but it was a healthy snack option for all of those who attended. If you need any catering J&L has many great options for every occasion. Check them out at www.jandlcatering.net.

 

The J&L Platter was broken into too quickly to get a picture...but it looked, and tasted, even better than this!!

 

We would also like to again thank the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce for providing the projector for the seminar.

And to the winners of our raffle…CONGRATULATIONS; They won some great prizes including two 20 minute nutritional coaching sessions, two “bring a friend for a week” passes where the winners will be able to bring along a friend to join them in their training, free admission to the next Momentum PT seminar and a 50% off haircut as an awesome gift provided by Kerriann Williams of Salon Colour in Milford, MA.

And just in case you missed the seminar here is a brief recap of the information discussed last night:

–          When our goal involves weight loss or weight gain we must take in less or more calories than we expend throughout the day

–          Caloric expenditure is affected by age, weight, height, gender, activity level, meal frequency and more and can be manipulated by various methods as discussed last night

–          There is no better way to help enhance you fitness goals than the combination of efficient performance training (not becoming a “hamster on the wheel”…thanks Eric) and proper nutrition; they work hand in hand and without one the other will not result in the most optimal gains towards your goals

–          There is a certain ratio and quality of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that should be consumed throughout the day during certain times to better achieve your overall goals and health

–          “Replacing grains with greens” and “If its there you will eat it….good and bad!”

–          PLANNING, PREPARING, PORTIONING and PACKAGING your meals is critical

–          Being a smart shopper, using a list, recognizing certain nutritional pitfalls/traps and utilizing a food journal are just a few things we can do to address the nutritional piece of the puzzle

–          How to utilize these principles 90% of the time in order to feel, look and perform better

 

Pyrex: a great tool for setting up your meals/snacks for the week...Plan, Prepare, Portion and Pack your way to health and overall fitness

 

Again, this is just a brief recap. There are some topics missing from this list as well as the great Question and Answer session that took place after the powerpoint presentation was complete. But luckily…we recorded the entire seminar so you can have access to all the great content and Q&A as wells as the informational handouts accompanying the seminar. Email Kyle at kyle@momentumpt.com if you would like a copy of the seminar.

And if you would like more information about the additional ways Momentum PT can help you achieve your optimal health and fitness go to the Supplemental Services Page…and check out Kelly’s Testimonial about her experience with the Grocery Store Trip at the bottom.

Thank you again to everyone involved in the seminar last night and keep an eye out for the next seminar. Also, be sure to LIKE US on Facebook (on the right of the page) in order to stay up to date with what is happening at Momentum.

We would love to hear your thoughts about the seminar. Leave you comments and/or questions below!!

Practice What You Preach Part 2

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

A few days back I was watching the channel 5 news and they had a “breaking” story about health and fitness. So while I was washing my dishes from my morning feast (which consisted of a 3 egg veggie omelet, a slice of Ezekiel toast with Teddies Peanutbutter, my fish oil and vitamin D, 8oz of black coffee and a glass of water) I turned up the volume on my boob tube and listened in. Come to find out the “breaking” story wasn’t that breaking at all. Rather, it reinforced principles I have been living my life by, and advising others (family, friends, athletes, clients) around me to incorporate for the past 6 years.

The news story was covering what they termed “normal weight obesity.” Basically the researchers had concluded that even when someone is considered to be of “normal weight” in accordance to the Body Mass Index, they can still have an unhealthy percentage of body fat…something many, myself included, like to term “skinny fat.”

“Normal Weight” according the BMI, but still a bit around the midsection

These individuals are still at a higher risk for developing diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. even though they are of “normal weight.” The reason being that they walk around with a little extra layer of thermal insulation (FAT), all while not maintaining a sufficient amount of muscle mass. And many times they carry it around the midsection, which science has suggested places us at an even higher risk for certain disease and illness. They explained this by proposing if there is fat on the outside, there is fat on the inside and many of our vital organs are located about our midsection.  The excess internal fat affects the workings of the organs, thus placing us at a higher risk for potential health problems. The solution…replace body fat with muscle! Big surprise? Not really. An even bigger surprise is how they suggested we go about this body composition shift (again, me being a bit little sarcastic).

 

1) Stay away from “whites” : Simply put, do not eat anything processed. So it is out with the pop tarts, frosted flakes, white pastas and rice, white bagels, cookies, most crackers, etc. Stay natural and stay healthy.

2) Eat more healthy fats: Consume higher amounts of the “good” fats (omega 3s) such as those from eggs (the whole egg), fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. These fats have shown to help combat excess storage of fat and promote enhanced health parameters.

3) Interval Train: Training a high intensity interspersed with recovery periods has shown to be more beneficial to overall fitness and a more favorable body composition. So replace the monotonous, put a gun in mouth and pull the trigger “cardio” with more efficient high intensity interval training…BATTLE ROPES ANYONE?

 

 

There it is, nothing revolutionary but none the less important. I live by these principles (90% of the time…it is always good to cheat once in a while) and have been advising my clients and peers to do the same. It is always nice when science supports your philosophies and advice, and according to this recent study, continuing to practice what I preach will allow me to lead a healthy life free of illness and disease…or at least give me a better shot.

So to combat the “Skinny Fat Syndrome,”stick to your resistance/performance training, stay away from the sugary processed carbohydrates and add some healthy fats to the diet. Its nice to know that you are working to stay healthy, also, not looking too bad without a shirt is always a plus when the summer time rolls around.

 

Health and Aesthetics…Doesn’t Get Much Better!

Practice What You Preach Part 1 of 2

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

I am sure that many individuals wonder if the professionals who offer them guidance concerning health, performance, nutrition, injury prevention, etc actually follow the principles they prescribe themselves. And this is for good reason (just thinking about the doctor who tells you that you need to shed a few pounds but are themselves overweight).

I'd be hesitant too

Simply put, if you actually look the part and practice what you preach, you hold more credibility as individuals will be more likely to trust your word. As a “fitness” or “health” professional you should consider yourself a walking example of your work…which may be a good or bad thing for some.

Recently I attended a business function where I had the opportunity to be put to the test whether or not I actually practice what I preach. I was able to have my skin carotenoid levels scored via the The Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner.

Some Pretty Cool Stuff

Carotenoids are an important category of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect us from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that we are exposed to everyday, and when left unchecked, can cause a multitude of health concerns. Again, we are exposed to free radicals everyday, but it is when we are overexposed to them that they cause excessive damage to cells which can lead to a detrimental health effect over time. But what exactly causes free radicals to appear?

Environmental pollution, improper nutrition, processed foods, high body compositions (excess fat), stress (mental and physical), and more. What can we do to help protect ourselves from free radicals?

To protect yourself from free radicals avoid pollution and toxins (smoke as well as 2nd hand smoke, food preservatives, etc), be careful of too much exposure to direct sunlight (some is good for vitamin D levels), utilize proper nutritional practices especially eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies and limiting your intake (and even better, completely eliminating) processed foods and supporting your nutrition with some quality supplements (fish oils, vitamin D, greens, chia seeds).

Taking these factors into consideration, the two ways to help improve your battle with free radicals is to:

A) Reduce your exposure to the NEGATIVES

B) Increase your exposure to the POSITIVES that promote higher levels of antioxidants

And there it is, do I actually practice what I preach and lead a healthy lifestyle based on proper nutrition, performance training and physical activity?

Well, not to toot my own horn (but I will give myself a pat on the back), my score…54,000!

54,000...not too shabby

The average score for other individuals tested was around 15,000. As you can see the 54,000 places me in the top category of the population when it comes to caretonoid levels. What does this mean? I am less likely to experience the negative effects of excessive free radical exposure (cell damage which increases my chances for illness and disease and limits my overall performance). I’ll take that. And all it takes for me to have a better chance at remaining healthy: Following my own advice…

1) Follow healthy nutrition principles and consuming a wide variety of fruits and veggies (much of this was covered in a recent seminar I presented and more will covered in the upcoming seminar. For details check here.)

2) Train / Exercise (performance training to enhance overall physical capacity)

3) Stay active throughout the day (performing needed corrective exercises every hour and walking, etc)

4) Do not smoke or expose yourself to other toxins such as unwanted preservatives and added sugars found in processed foods

5) Try to destress during the day such as a quick 20 min power nap or meditation (meditation could simply mean being quite for 20 mins…I need to get better at this one)

6) Use proven supplements to enhance** the power of your nutritional intake (fish oil, vitamin D, chia seeds)

**supplements are to enhance proper nutritional practices, not replace them

7) Maintain a healthy body composition by consistently implementing the above principles

So there it is. Simple guidelines I follow to remain healthy, lean and performing at my highest levels possible by limiting my exposure to excessive amounts of free radicals (as well as other benefits). A skin carotenoid scan isn’t necessary but, its pretty cool how all this crazy technology stuff works, and even cooler how it reinforces the principles of healthy, performance promoting living.

Keep and eye out for part II…

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