Life Is A Hurricane!

 

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

 

 

For the second year in a row, here in the great Northeast we got smacked around by a monster storm. In fact, this year they are called Hurricane Sandy the “Perfect Storm” (more like a perfect pain in the rear).

Just like last year, about 75% of the TV channels were continuous coverage of the storm track, current damage, future predictions and recommendations on what to do during the storm. The experts encouraged preparation for the storm by making sure we had enough water, flashlights with batteries and non-perishable food items in the event of a power outage.

And just like last year I chose to prepare. But for me it was no big deal as it was just like any other week…with or without Mother Nature wreaking havoc.

As I have written about before, preparation is the key to successful health, fitness and performance, especially when considering nutrition.

Here is exactly what to do to prepare for the “storm” (and almost exactly what I do every weekend) to ensure that you are not condemned to consuming cans of cold chili, processed boxed “food” or bacon infused K9 grub…

 

 

Healthier than Mickey D’s? Think about it!

1)      Go Shopping: You need to purchase healthy food items in order to eat them. Click HERE for a health and performance based grocery list.

2)      Cook Your Protein (Meat): Bake or grill your meat (or prepare in any other healthy manner). For simplicity you can salt and pepper to taste or cover with your favorite herbs/spices. I like to bake or grill my meat while I…

3)      Chop and Store Your Veggies: To cut your time in half (Yep…pun intended), purchase a veggie chopper. It was the best $10 investment I ever made. Chop your veggies and store them in glass storage containers (such as Pyrex) for easy future use and…

 

The best $10 dollar investment you’ll ever make…saves half the time!

 

4)      Prepare Some Meals: If you don’t mind eating salads for at least one meal per day, compile a few and store them in the fridge for healthy and delicious grab and go lunches. Throw some of your veggies on a plate and cover to slash time prepping your morning omelet and compose another plate for dinner the next night (or throw it in pan/pot/crockpot). By doing these simple steps you have guaranteed that your next few meals will be good to go and conducive to a healthy and fit body.

 

 

 

3 salads, 3 mixed veggies ready for salad/stirfry/etc, omelet plate for morning, dinner for that night and 10lbs of chicken (thighs and breast)…Oh Ya!!

 

**Bonus Tip: Most of my family, team (co-workers) and my athletes ask me how I can eat the same salad every day. What they don’t realize is that almost every salad is different. I switch up the protein (chicken breast/thigh, steak, pork sirloin steak, tuna) and the veggies, and THE MONEY MAKER is switching the dressing. I make my own dressings by mixing together combos of liquids (vinegars, hot sauces, lemon/lime juice, mustards, etc) and spices/herbs (parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, cumin, etc). Try it out…the options are endless and make it easy and satisfying to eat a salad or two per day.

5)      Plan the Week: You don’t have to throw together every meal of the week all in one day…just plan on what it is that you are going to make and WRITE IT DOWN!

6)      Repeat: Plan to repeat this process every weekend.

 

It may seem like a lot if you are a busy parent, in-season athlete or individual who thinks they have better things to do than get or stay healthy, but without your health you have NOTHING!!

The time it takes to go through these steps is far less than the time you would spend prepping each meal individually (I have clocked in under 3 hours from shopping to compiling my meals…it may take 20-30 minutes for each meal individually!).

And even more importantly, you will be less likely to spend time in the gym working off unhealthy options (the pizza tire around your waist), combatting heart disease or diabetes (from all of the processed garbage), being gassed on the field or court during an athletic event, or talking with your kids about why you can’t get outside and play with them (because you are too damn out of shape and lethargic from the “easy and time efficient” food options).

 

Many things in life are simple…maybe not easy, but definitely simple.

 

There will always be a Hurricane Sandy in life, especially concerning nutrition. But if you prepare for the nutritional storm, you will be more likely to make it out alive and well…figuratively and literally. Share this with your family friends by email, Facebook or Twitter to give them out too!

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5 Ways to Determine How Much Exercise You Need

 

By: Kyle Arsenault CSCS

 

When it comes to training (exercise), there definitely is a point of diminishing return. What I mean by this is that there is only so much training that can occur before results no longer progress, and in some cases begin to deteriorate. So what is this magic amount of training? 60 minutes per day? 30 minutes per day? Neither? Both?…

Like most everything else in life the answer to this question falls under the “it depends” category. This is a main reason that your training needs to be individualized. There are many factors that come into play when determining the right amount of training.

Below are a few factors you need to take into consideration to best determine how much training needs to take place in order for you to reach your goals and stay healthy, as well as an example training day.

 

 

1)      Training Goals: First and foremost are your goals. If you are simply looking to become healthier, place yourself in a better position to avoid injury and look a bit better in a bathing suit, you may not have to train quite as much as you thought. According to this REVIEW of a recent study, individuals who trained for 30 minutes a day compared to a group that trained for 60 minutes a day experienced the same results with regards to weight loss and other healthy markers. Although the study was based on an “aerobic conditioning” protocol, I have seen this work for resistance training as well. But if you are a competitive athlete, or looking to be the next Arnold, you will likely have to train a bit longer to reach your goals. Our athletes train for 45-75 minutes per session depending on…

 

2)      Time of Year: As mentioned above, our athletes typically train for 45-75 minutes per session depending on their goals and the time of year. For our in-season athletes, I like to keep the intense work to 30-45 minutes 2-3 days per week. Athletes in the off-season can generally handle a little more volume as they don’t have as many competing demands from their sport. In this case I like to have athletes train for 60-75 minutes 3-4 days per week. The same can go for a general population athlete. If it is the busy season at work, the kids schedule is absurd, the holidays are rocking your world or life is just flat out beating you down, it is wise to spend less time training as too much accumulated stress will be detrimental. If you have more time then you can take it. But in either case training should still take place, and be extremely efficient.

 

 

3)      Efficiency: Depending on how focused you are and how your program is designed will also play into how much time you need to spend training. At Momentum PT we key on focus, not only to keep our athletes on task, but also to limit injury and get the most from every exercise. We also like to perform non competing exercises together as this allows our athletes to get more done in less time…the definition of efficiency! For example, you could alternate a sprint technique drill with a core exercise without negatively affecting the results of either in order to maximize time. And we always make sure to conduct a movement specific warm as part of our individualized program for the best results in the least amount of time.

4)      Nutrition: Simply put, if your nutrition is up to par, you will not need to spend hour upon hour in the gym working off the Big Mac from Mickey D’s. It takes a lot less effort NOT to burn off the 700 plus calories you will consume from this infamous sandwich. Instead, establish healthy nutrition habits that promote health and fitness success, and abide by them 90% of the time (cheat 10% to maintain sanity…it is OK!). And if you are in the Milford MA area, definitely stop by Prezo Grille and Bar for the“Momentum PT Healthy Choice Special”…you will enjoy a great tasting meal that is also conducive to health and performance!

 

5)      Physical Activity: And just as with nutrition, the more physically active you are throughout the day the need for an extended training session decreases. Get up and move…period. You will utilize extra calorie and keep yourself from sustaining poor postures (sitting is killing us!). Our bodies were built to move!

For more information on how to maximize your entire day to achieve the body you want, click HERE.

 

 

Key Points:

-If you are a competitive athlete you will likely need to spend a little more time training than the average Joe or Jane. But really 30 to 75 minutes 3-6 days per week is the range for 95% of the population depending on…

– If you are in-season or life is crazy nuts, 30-45 minutes of training a few days a week is plenty as long as you are efficient. 2-3 days of more intense training interspersed with lighter/recovery days is optimal if it can be implemented. After a movement specific warm up, pair non-competing exercises for the best results and highest density.

– If you take care of your nutrition (eat real food first!!) and are physically active throughout the day (move around at work, go for walks, take the stairs, park the car further away, play with the kids or Todo, etc) the time spent training can be slashed. It all comes down to balance. Do some of each and you will have an easier time staying fit, healthy and looking good.

So to wrap this up, here is an example program that can be performed to help enhance strength and rev up the metabolism. It should take you no longer than 30 minutes to complete…perform with perfect form and repeat 3 days per week with 3 other days of recovery/conditioning days for the best results.

 

Soft Tissue Work (2-3 Minutes)

Foam Roll: Quads, IT Band, Adductors

 

Activation and Dynamic Warm Up (5 Minutes)

Leg Marches, Glute Bridge, Wallslide, Walking Lunge

 

Resistance Training (20 Minutes) ; Go back and forth between the paired exercises for a total of 3 rounds each before moving on to the next pair.

 

Pairing 1) Squats x 8-12 reps & Planks x 20-30s

Pairing 2) Split Squats x 8-10 reps / side & Side Planks x 20-30s / side

Pairing 3) Mountain Climbers or Push Ups x 30-45s seconds x2 (10s rest between) & 1 Arm Cable Row 8-12 reps / side

 

**Again, make sure form is perfect and you push yourself so that you are completing each set of the exercises with only a few reps left in the tank.

 

 

There you have it…a better understanding of how much training you actually need. And for any questions or clarification or to set up a training session just email me at Kyle@momentumpt.com or call Momentum PT at 508-422-0101.

Fixing Your “Tight” Hamstrings

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

One of the most common complaints among our athletes (competitive and general pop) is the feeling of “tight” hamstrings.

The reason I am putting quotes around tight is that in most cases the athletes hamstrings are not actually tight, but rather they are relatively stiff. Not only are they usually not actually tight or short, but the hamstrings are lengthened due to an anterior tilt of the pelvis. When the pelvis is in a position of anterior tilt, the hamstrings are put on stretch (lengthened) and give a feeling of a tight hamstring.

There is a constant battle taking place at the pelvis and when the pelvis is pulled out of alignment, or the muscles controlling the hip (hamstrings, erectors, hip flexors, CORE, etc) are not activating at the correct time in the correct fashion, the pelvis will be pulled out of optimal alignment. When this happens injuries such as back pain, hamstring strains, abdominal strains, etc are more likely to occur and performance will  be compromised.

Coming back to the hamstrings and the “tightness,” what is usually taking place is a reliance on the hamstrings to control or stabilize the pelvis because the deep core musculature is not doing its job properly. This causes the hamstrings to work overtime and places more tension on the hamstrings, ultimately causing a feeling of “tightness.”

Watch the video below to better understand the concept of relative stiffness and hamstring “tightness.” You will also learn how to check if you actually have tight or stiff hamstrings. Then read below to see how you can fix your tight hamstrings.

If you discover that your hamstrings are actually tight or short, some static stretching of the hamstrings is encouraged post training.

With many cases, when you find that you have a stiffness issue, the best way to fix your “tight” hamstrings is to “relax” the hamstrings and stiffen the core through proper core training…and this is how.

1) Foam roll: foam roll the hamstrings in order to decrease hamstring activity…check out the video at the end of this POST on how to foam roll.

2) Train the core properly: Proper core training starts with activation patterns for the deep musculature (supine core taps, bent knee fallouts, etc…for more info leave a comment below) and then you must perform exercises that target the core the way it was designed to work. Check out this POST for a few exercises that efficiently target the core.

After a few weeks of “shutting down” the hamstrings and “turning on” and strengthening the core you should notice a marked decrease in hamstring “tightness.” With less stiff hamstrings and a stronger core you will experience greater comfort throughout your day, reduce your potential for injury and enhance overall performance.

Do you suffer from hamstring tightness? Leave a comment below…or any questions for further clarification.

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