Fix Your Morning…Get Out of Zombie Mode

By: Kyle Arsenault CSCS

“BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP….SLAM!”

You roll over, rub your eyes and murmur to yourself, “I can’t wait to be back in bed tonight.”

You scramble out of bed, head to the bathroom and jump in the shower. After a quick rinse, you dry off and stumble around like a zombie as you struggle to put on your work  (or school) clothes.

You grab a mug of coffee and a “real fruit” breakfast bar (which is just processed sugar stuffed with sugar infused fruit mush…so straight sugar, which we know is no good for health and performance).

You toss your briefcase (or backpack) in the car and still in zombie mode, which you will be in for the remainder of the morning, head off to work (or school).

If this sounds all too familiar, your morning activities are setting you up for a “zombie like” morning that is not only destroying your physical health, but also your mental well-being. To fix your morning and set you up for a successful, healthy and performance based day, just follow the outline presented below.

Your Morning Fix

1)      Start waking up a few minutes earlier: Believe me, waking up 10-15 minutes earlier will not kill you and will in fact make you feel much better as you will be able to follow the steps below without the “rush”…just get to bed a few minutes earlier!

2)      Try to get to bed and wake up within an hour of the same time EVERY DAY: In doing this you will regulate your circadian rhythm which will allow for a more restful nights rest and as a result, a more energized morning. Also, after a few weeks, doing so allows you to…

3)       Wake up without the alarm clock: When you wake up, GET UP. I have not awaken to the annoying sound of my alarm clock in over 6 months and let me tell you, it is much more pleasant. I still set the alarm just in case, but when I wake up 10 minutes before my alarm, I make sure to get up right away and not play the “just five more minutes” game…and I feel much better for it.

Stop relying on the alarm clock...get up when you wake up!

4)      Get a tall glass of cold water: Most of us wake up dehydrated and then walk around all morning in a dehydrated state, which is the easiest way to reduce performance and remain in zombie mode. Head to the kitchen, grab a tall glass of cold water, your vitamin D and fish oil and drink it down. This will help kick start system rehydration and therefore help kick start your performance.

5)      MOVE: Take 5 to 10 minutes to move. If you can go for a quick walk…the sound of the morning birds singing and the feeling of the crisp morning air will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face and begin your day the right way. If you cannot make it out for a walk, try some quick foam rolling, activations / mobilities or bodyweight movements (glute bridges, squats, push ups, lunges). For more information on this part just shoot me a quick email at kyle@momentumpt.com.

6)      Get squeaky clean: Jump in the shower and do your thing. I’m not going to go into detail on how to complete this part of your morning…hopefully you’ve got that under wrap.

7)      MAKE  breakfast: I know the easy grab and go “foods” ( I don’t consider these items food, but rather artificial substances.) is the way most of us try to fuel our system in the morning. Most of the time you are actually consuming stuff that does more harm than good. Instead try one of the following options.

  1. Omelet (10-15 minutes): I have actually thrown together my omelet, Ezekiel toast and natural peanut butter, my banana and coffee in less than ten minutes…but I did plan (my veggies were already cut, my pan was ready to go and the coffee / tea was brewing as I utilized the amazing auto-brew option on my coffee pot). All you have to do is throw the veggies in the pan, scramble some eggs  and add them to the pan (3-5 farm fresh eggs is best), pop the bread in the toaster and wait a few minutes.
  2. Oatmeal (5 minutes): Check out his post for a breakdown on how to make the perfect bowl of oatmeal.
  3. Whole food protein shake (3-5 minutes): Whole food is the key. Throw some liquid, ice, fresh or frozen fruit, protein powder, spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) and some optional extras (seeds, dark chocolate, peanutbuuter, etc.) in a blender and blend it up (try the magic bullet for convenience and portability for an on the go shake). Here is a link for a protein shake construction guide that is just one of many charts in my E-Book The Other 23 Hours (check it out to find out how you can best maximize your entire day to reach all of your health and fitness goals).

My omelet, toast, banana and coffee...delicious and nutritious!!


8)      Enjoy your food and new morning!!: Being able to sit down and eat your food is great, but I know many of us are too rushed to do so. Just make sure to really enjoy the wholesome and delicious meal you just constructed, grab your meals / snacks for the day and head out the door. Drive, or hopefully walk / bike, safe (forget the damn texting until you get to your destination…even walking and texting can result in accidents!) and enjoy your energy filled, performance based morning.

Get out of the all too common morning ZOMBIE MODE and set yourself (and your kids and family) up for a healthy, performance based and successful day…and life when you string multiple mornings together! Try it out and leave a comment below about your new morning.

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Should Athletes Train In-Season?

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

A common question and concern from athletes, coaches and parents is whether or not athletes should train in-season…and my answer is a resounding YES!!!

 

But as with any training program, there are certain factors that need to be taken into consideration, and during the in-season the focus of the program shifts…but only slightly.

The goal of any performance training program at any time during the year (off-season, pre-season, in-season, post-season or general life for the recreational athlete) is to enhance, or at the very least maintain, performance at that given point in time. And the first factor that has to be addressed is proper and efficient movement.

When in-season athletes are repeatedly exposed to the same sport specific movements during practice and competition without being counterbalanced via an appropriate training program, overuse injuries often occur. And even if an injury is not sustained, the athlete’s performance will decrease as a result of the unbalanced and overworked movement patterns.

The Key to Life and an Injury Free Athlete and Season!

And even with an amazing off and pre-season training program, if the athlete goes into the in-season and discontinues training all together, performance will decrease and injury potential will rise. So again, YES, athletes should train in-season.

So here are a few points that must be considered and addressed with an in-season program in order to keep athletes performing at an optimal level.

1) Proper movement to combat repetitive sport movements and reduce injury risk: As mentioned above, too much of any one movement without a counterbalance will result in an overuse injury. An in-season program (and really every program) should focus first and foremost on proper movement. A base of proper movement is the only way to build optimal and sustained performance!

2) Strength and power maintenance: Although some athletes will actually experience gains in strength and power during the in-season, the main goal is maintenance. We typically observe a decrease in an athlete’s performance as well and an increased injury rate towards the end of a season. A loss of strength and power is a major factor playing into these unfortunate results. But on the bright side, it has been observed that athletes can maintain measures of strength and power with as little as 1 to 2 sets of efficient exercises per movement per week!

3) Training is rehab = rehab is training: This is a phrase used by many of the leading experts in the field of physical therapy and strength and conditioning as it is absolutely true. But I would like to expound upon this statement and state that training is PREHAB for the individual who is not yet symptomatic (experiencing pain). This goes along with the first two points and can basically be broken down to if you train properly all year round, your potential for injury and decreased performance is drastically reduced.

4) Little need for sport specific energy system conditioning: Due to the fact that athletes will be participating is practice and competition 5-7 days per week, there is little need to “condition” these athletes during an in-season training session. They are receiving enough sport specific conditioning within the sport itself (running, sprints, agilities, etc.) that taking valuable training time to try and condition is not only an inefficient use of time, but it is also feeding in to the overused patterns (refer back to point #1).

 

You are if you are spending you in-season training sessions "conditioning"

 

5) Volume must be kept low: Along with point #4, this is probably the greatest difference to an athlete’s in-season program. Total volume must be kept low in order to keep the athlete from over-training (burning out) and to allow for adequate recovery between training/practice/competition. And as stated above, the goal of an in-season program is to maintain the performance measures gained in the off and pre-season. Again, this can be achieved with very little volume as long as the exercise selection (movement) is efficient and individualized to the athlete’s specific needs.

Taking these points into consideration for an in-season training program, athletes will better maintain performance and reduce their risk of injury during the season. An athlete cannot perform well if efficient movement, strength and power are lost…and an athlete will not perform well if they are camping out on the sideline as a result of an unnecessary overuse injury!

 

You won't be having much fun or doing your team much good from the sideline!

 

So…“Should an athlete train in-season?”

Abso…FRIGGIN…lutely!!

Many of our Momentum athletes and parents have recognized the importance of continuing quality training during the in-season, and because of the dedication from these athletes and their parents, many of our athletes continue to experience enhanced performance and reduced injury rates…That’s how Momentum Athletes do it!

And to any athletes, parents or coaches in the athletic world who feel that it is not necessary to train in-season, or who believe that “training is for the off-season,” good luck to you! I truly wish you the best and hope that your season is successful and injury free.

But to everyone else, know what it is that you need to do during the in-season (Yep, from the points above), get your in-season training on, stay healthy and continue to crush the athletic world!

Seminar at Momentum PT: Nutrition for Performance and Health

Performance Nutrition Seminar for the Youth Athlete

 

Other than proper performance training, the missing component for optimal health, performance and success is healthy, performance based nutrition.

Don’t let you or your youth athlete fall victim to poor nutrition. Join Momentum PT Wednesday April 11th at 7pm for the Performance Nutrition Seminar!

 -The athlete, parent and anyone else who attends will learn about proper nutrition and why it is so crucial to success on the field and off.

-Better options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks…eat this not that!

-What an athlete (and really everyone) should consume around training and competition to ensure optimal energy, performance and recovery.

From a parent who attended the last seminar with her youth athlete…

“Molly really likes to compete and she REALLY likes to win!  So, I’ve been telling her for a while now that she needs to fuel her body with the right stuff if she wants an edge in running, swimming, etc. because the competition is just going to get tougher as she gets older.  Some of the information you covered last night is what I have been trying to get across to her as well, but I think it is so helpful for kids this age to get information from someone other than their parents…it really validates the message.  So hearing this important information from you was very helpful.  Her Dad asked her what she thought of the presentation and she said “It was great” without hesitating, so I think you were able to reach the kids in the audience in addition to the adults.  On the way home she mentioned that she wanted to try some of the shake recipes that you talked about.  I think providing the recipes and charts is a great idea so we can start putting your advice to practice.”

The seminar will take place at Momentum PT Wednesday April 11th at 7pm. Admission is $10 per person and a percentage of the proceeds will towards the Sharon Timlin Race for ALS Research.

Space is limited so please call Momentum PT at 508-422-0101 or email Kyle at kyle@momentumpt.com to reserve your seats.

Local Health and Fitness Tips: Prezo Grille and Bar and Momentum PT Save You Time and Your Health

By: Kyle Arsenault CSCS

Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance Training

What prevents most individuals from eating well and exercising on a regular basis? There are a multitude of reasons, but a few of the top reasons I constantly am told include:

1)      Lack of knowledge on what healthy nutrition actually is or how to exercise properly to achieve goals without sustaining injury (Through these articles I am taking care of that part for you!).

2)      Lack of time.

3)      You just plain out hate the thought of healthy food and exercise…sorry but there is only so much I can do to help you with that one!

Since I can’t help you with reason #3, unless you visit me at Momentum Physical Therapy in Milford and start your specialized training program, I will focus on reason #1 and #2. With every Local Fitness and Health Tips article Prezo Grille and Bar and I provide for you, you are gaining knowledge about health, nutrition, fitness and training…so we can check that off the list too.

That leaves us with reason #2; LACK OF TIME! This is a common excuse for not taking care of your health and fitness with proper nutrition and exercise, but luckily for you, Prezo Grille and Bar and I are going to help you with this right now. Let’s get to it!

No Time to Cook a Healthy and Delicious Meal? Prezo Grille and Bar has you covered with a great take out option!…Enter Prezo’s Pizza!

“Wait what, are you crazy Kyle? You are telling me that pizza is healthy?”

Yep, I am…Well, it can be and Prezo’s has done it! Prezo’s offers an awesome option for the busy individual, chaotic family or anyone who just doesn’t feel like cooking on a Friday night after a long week at work.

At Prezo Grille and Bar you can create your own specialty pizza, and best of all, you can choose to have your masterpiece constructed atop a Gluten free crust. You may have heard about Gluten, as it has been a “hot topic” in the health world recently. But if you haven’t don’t worry. Here is an extremely brief summary:

Gluten is a protein found in foods that are processed from wheat and other grain species. Although some have severe adverse reactions when Gluten is consumed (those with celiac disease) it is shown that even without celiac disease Gluten is not the best when it comes to gut health (gastrointestinal / digestion). With poor gut health, nutrients from foods are not optimally absorbed and utilized and when this happens there is a dramatic decline in energy levels, performance, recovery, mood…pretty much everything you need to live a quality life.

Not the best when it comes to your gut health.

But, like most everything else it does come down to the individual, as some can tolerate Gluten very well. However, in many cases I have read about and observed first hand, even those who do not have a diagnosed intolerance to Gluten benefit from limiting Gluten consumption.

So Prezo Grille and Bar is again looking out for your health and performance by offering a delicious Gluten Free Pizza. Build your own and top it with Feta or Goat cheese, grilled chicken (click here to read about the benefits of chicken) and load it up with your choice of vegetables for the healthiest options. Of course you can’t eat the whole pizza and still consider it a healthy option! Try pairing a piece or two with Prezo’s Dinner Garden Salad and enjoy a time and health saving, delicious meal.

Prezo’s Gluten Free Pizza…Saving you time and your health!!

Then with the extra time Prezo’s saves you, prepare yourself for 15-20 minutes of training (exercise) that will provide your body with even more health, performance and aesthetic benefits than your traditional “cardio.”

Traditional cardio where you pick a machine (treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc.) and go at a comfortable pace for an hour is not only extremely boring (to many but not everyone), but it is also extremely time consuming. And to make it even worse, traditional cardio is an inferior method to training when it comes to achieving optimal health, performance and looks (click here to check out a recent piece on the topic).

And since this article is about saving you time while boosting performance and looks, here is what you can  do instead…INTERVAL TRAINING.

You have probably heard the term interval training as it has been a topic commonly discussed over the past decade, and for good reason. In a nutshell, interval training is performing short bursts of higher intensity exercise broken up by short recovery periods. This type of training not only forces your body to more efficiently adapt and progress (become stronger, more powerful, leaner, etc.) but it requires far less time to complete (you can’t work at the high intensities for long!).

Interval training enhances time efficiency…and performance!

Interval training is something we have been using at Momentum Physical Therapy and Performance Training to prepare our athletes for sport specific demands, as well as to help our general population clients lose fat, gain muscle, enhance health and become fit. Here are a few examples and variations of how to perform interval training.

1)      Treadmill, bike (Airdyne is best), elliptical: choose your equipment and work at predetermined intervals. To begin try going as hard as you can (SPRINT!) for 20 seconds, then slow to a comfortable pace for 40 seconds and then repeat. Repeat for 5-15 rounds (5-15 minutes) depending on your fitness level.

 

You don’t need to watch the whole video to see how the intervals work! Fast, slow, fast, slow…

 

2)      Body Weight Circuits: String together a few body weight movements and perform them as quickly as possible with perfect form. Rest for a short period and repeat. An example circuit is 20 bodyweight squats, 10 push-ups 10 lateral bounds and 10 inverted rows as quick as possible, rest and repeat.

 

A Momentum Athlete getting after a body weight circuit!

3)      Specialty Circuits: These circuits can include Medicine Ball Circuits, Sled Circuits, Kettlebell Circuits, Battle Rope Rounds, etc. or a combination. Again perform the exercises as quickly as possible for predetermined reps or time, rest and repeat.

 

 

Battle Ropes at Momentum PT…A Momentum favorite!

**Always make sure to warm up and address individual weaknesses before performing interval training. For more help on how to design the best program for your needs and goals please contact me at kyle@momentumpt.com or call Momentum at 508-422-0101. You can also stop by as we are located on 141 Main St in Milford, MA.

So for a great dish that saves you your health, time and effort, build your own Gluten Free Pizza from Prezo’s. And to achieve the results you have always wanted from a training / exercise routine, try performing interval training along with addressing your specific needs.

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