Do you want to look like an athlete?

Everyone wants a body like an athlete, and yet don’t eat or train like an athlete!? Training like an athlete is important because athletes can move their bodies like no one else can. Your body is meant to be mobile, versatile, and freely moving – so why not train it to be like that, isn’t that why we exercise? To look feel good and look good?

Eating like an athlete is just as if not more important as training like an athlete. Our 1hr a day we spend working out is only 4% of your day. What you choose to do and eat the rest of it is what can make or break the training goals you have set for yourself. Here are 3 reasons why training and eating like an athlete is important;

1. Better Mobility Athletes need to have more mobility in order to achieve the best performance in their respective sports. Can you imagine a hockey player who can’t do a skate cross-over? Transitioning to your reality…with better mobility comes a better quality of life. Mobility allows you to move more freely while easily doing the simple things in life which a lot of people take for granted. climbing up an uneven step, lift a laundry basket or reach into the backseat for a bag…mobility helps with all of that, not to mention all the fun things we like to do like playing with our kids, going swimming on vacation or taking the dog on a hike etc. We all should be mobile and yes even into “old age”.

2. Better Looking Body; For the most part, athletes generally look really fit and athletic. They have put in the hard work and it seems as though their efforts have paid off. We all know that most people would like a better looking body, but are you willing to put the work in for it? I am not saying you have to put in 10 years or 10,000 hours like an athlete, but a 1 hour workout about 3-5 days a week will do the trick. As a trainer that struggles with their weight, I know the feeling of the extra wobble you want to just go away and I can promise you that if you are willing to put in the time for yourself, you will feel 100 times better the next time you put on a pair of shorts in the summer!

3. Better Nutrition; Athletes keep their nutrition in check a lot more than the general population. This is because their sport demands it. Empty calories and processed foods do not help fuel performance in their respective sports. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a treat occasionally, (careful), but athletes keep their macro-nutrients in check. This means getting an adequate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Athletes also make sure to consume their micro-nutrients as well like; iron, zinc, selenium while getting their essential vitamins too. Eat like an athlete, not only will you be healthier, your digestion, skin and mood will better!

So why do we look at athletes and want what they have so badly but instead of doing a scaled down version of what they do, we drink laxative teas, eat fake food, do mostly cardio or lesser work outs. Stop taking advise from your friends, they are not qualified and please watch out for companies that promise fast results with little change to eating or exercise habits.

CLICK HERE to find out more about how we train our clients to be more mobile, stronger and healthier!

Flipping the switch.

An athlete’s life is different from most people;

There is a lot of pressure to preform from a young age. You may get a few injuries and your time is so carefully planned so that you can fit in school, homework, practice, friends and competition. Yet outside of these seemingly negative things, you can gain so much more than what you would expect. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you have spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your best. You develop a routine and learn how hard you can push your body. Some athletes get to see more of the world when they travel to games and for some, an extra opportunity in colligate levels!

Then one day, it’s all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you’ll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you’re no longer an athlete. you forget what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something bigger than yourself. It may hit harder in part because by playing you realized that competing was an escape and helped you become who you are.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you and see your family in the stands. It’s simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head.

So make as many memories as you can and enjoy every moment of play because when you leave sports behind, you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as you will miss the game, be thankful for everything it brought you. It teaches you how to be a good friend, respect others around you, and to push yourself to discover what you are capable of.

Enjoy it while it lasts and make the best of the skills you learned while you were an athlete!

EmailBskinner@sstcanada.com for more information on our facility or to book a complimentary demo session!

Resistance Training & Bone Health; What You Need T Know!!

One of the lesser known benefits of resistance training is the huge benefits it has for bone health. While the best way to set yourself or your child up for success is physical activity throughout the lifespan (especially in the bone growing years), resistance training can also play a tremendous role in strengthening our bones.

Our bones, much like the rest of our body respond to the stresses we place upon it. This is why when we lift heavy loads or resistance train our neuromuscular system responds to this stressor (resistance training) by building stronger musculature and supporting structures. This is the basis of all training, the body adapts to the demands we place upon it, and if we stop progressing the training stimulus, our body does not adapt and we plateau, or don’t further increase our strength.

Bone responds very similarly to resistance training and progressive overload (while the cycle is much longer), studies have shown improvements in bone mineral density (BMD) (a key marker in bone health) in as little as 16 weeks of a resistance training program in elderly adults.

As we know osteoporosis and osteopenia are huge issues that aging individuals experience (especially in post-menopausal women), where the risk of fractures can significantly impact an individual’s activities of daily living. While the best way to combat this is to build strong bones in our youth, a recent meta-analysis has also shown that resistance training in post-menopausal women is effective in increasing BMD in the femoral neck and lumbar spine (Zhao & Xu 2015), two common areas of fracture in elderly women.

While nutrition also plays a key role in setting us up for great bone health, resistance training in youth, but also as we age is extremely important to live a long, healthy and functional life!

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to get more information to work with one of our coaches to help you progress your training, maximize your functional abilities, and get SST strong!

Reference:

 Zhao, R., Zhao, M. & Xu, Z. Osteoporos Int (2015) 26: 1605. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-015-3034-0

Are You Falling Behind in Your Sport While The Rest Of The Team Advances?

It could be your off-season training. The off-season is the time to check in with yourself. It’s time to identify your weaknesses, inefficient movements and bad habits; to then clean them up. The importance of the right type of training during our season can not be understated. Proper sport-specific training in any sport is the key to an athlete’s performance.

​Off season training tends to be under-appreciated, we see a tendency for most athletes to just stop doing what they are doing when the season is over. I understand the relief of a couple of days or weeks off however, It’s really important after a break to then get back to work! Off season is almost more important for the success for the next season than the season itself. We can clean up bad habits, we can learn new ways to move and become more mobile for the next season. And we can lift some weights to get stronger so we aren’t trying to build strength during the season and can rather focus on technique!

We have to understand that the “in” season is only for maintaining our physical abilities and keeping the strength we achieved during the off-season. So, if you aren’t involved in a strength and conditioning program, you may not be keeping up with the rest of your team or competitors. Change your mindset and lifestyle and not just train for an event or next season but train for life… So, when you are 70+ years old you can do the sport you love without limitations and nagging pain.  When we do proper off- season training supervised by somebody who understands the movements and demands, you will enjoy the next season and not feel like you are falling behind every year.

And the off-season training can be fun too! Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule your free demo session and learn about how SST can help you prepare for your next season!

Using Physical Activity To Help Your Mental Health!

Playing a sport can be something a person does for fun or for a competitive reason. Playing sports is so good for the mind and body; It helps keep you emotionally and physically healthy! Here are a couple tips to help your mental health via sports!

Our lives are so busy nowadays that there is not much time to get a workout in anymore, but you need to find the time! When we sleep for 8 hours a day then work for another 8 hours (or more for some of us), that doesn’t leave much time to get a workout in and do everything that a person wants or needs to do on a daily basis! Having to work for a living makes most people very tired and effects their mental health. Using sports or working out is an amazing way to keep yourself not only physically healthy but mentally healthy!

Most research into this has shown a direct correlation between stress levels and activity levels. Not only do we produce natural pain killers and stress combating hormones; we also develop a sense of confidence and self worth ( this is especially true for women and children). Its been long studies the many benefits of physical activity on mental health, everything from hiking in a forest to intense gym sessions. Most studies conclude that our minds need physical activity to stay healthy.

A lot of people work very stressful jobs where they don’t do anything physical, they are just using their minds all day long and that can actually weaken the mind and immune system. For example; It is very easy to get stressed sitting at an office job 8 hours per day, going home feeding the kids, walking the dog and grocery shopping. Its easy to get burnt out and sick. To combat this, during the day mix in a couple of pushups every hour or go for a walk around the block (or office if you cant leave) to keep the blood flowing! I have also had clients go for a jog during their lunch break to really get the body going!

Some people work very physical jobs, such as fire fighters or even pro athletes. Sometimes the last thing these people want to do is workout, which is understandable! I suggest doing some type of Yoga to not only get a light workout but to get into the zone and just relax. For those of you working in isolation all day, without any person to person contact, I suggest signing up for an intramural sport or group training! This is awesome as it will give you the person to person contact that your brain needs, also you will get a great workout in and have some fun!

Having a job and going to work is something that we all have to do to live! But we cannot let our mental health be affected! The best way to stay mentally strong is make sure you are staying physically active!

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule a free demo session of one of our group training classes to keep you mind and body strong!

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Bars

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Bars

These pumpkin pie bars are the perfect healthy dessert for any fall occasion! The crust is made from almond flour, warm fall spices, and maple syrup. These dairy-free pumpkin pie bars are healthy dessert bars are perfect for a healthy Thanksgiving dessert or if you’re just looking for a little something sweet.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword bars, healthy pumpkin pie, Pumpkin pie, sweet treat
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 9

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups almond flour superfine
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • FILLING
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and lay parchment paper in the bottom of an 8×8-inch cake pan. Spray parchment paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the crust by mixing together all crust ingredients, forming a ball. Transfer dough into the greased pan and use your hands and/or a spatula to spread dough to the edges of the pan. The key is to make sure the crust is relatively the same thickness all around, so the spatula comes in handy especially for the edges.
  3. Place crust in the oven at 350ºF and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While crust is baking, make the filling. Add coconut sugar and pumpkin puree to a large bowl. Mix until combined. Slowly add eggs to the pumpkin mixture. Then add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well.
  5. Remove crust from the oven and carefully pour pumpkin mixture over the crust. Place pan back into the oven and bake at 350ºF for 24-28 minutes*.
  6. Let pumpkin bars cool for at least an hour. When you are ready to remove bars from the cake pan, simply lift the parchment paper up out of the pan. The bars should easily come out of the pan. Place bars on a cutting board and cut into 9 squares.
  7. For the whipped topping, add whipped cream ingredients to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk ingredients on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  8. Add a healthy dollop of whipped cream onto each bar when ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

Time varies by oven.
Nutrition information does not include whipped topping
NUTRITION
Serving Size: 1/9 Calories: 144 Sugar: 15 Sodium: 58 Fat: 7 Carbohydrates: 17 Fiber: 1 Protein: 3

Female Athletes; No you wont look “Bulky”

We seem to always talk about how women need to look instead of how well they performed; its why I think a lot of women are still scared to lift weights because they don’t want to bulk up. The ideal feminine body is thin and while ‘flab’ is not desired anywhere; toned muscles are desirable in legs as opposed to a ‘bulky’ upper body.  This pressure is unfortunately put into the minds of young female athletes that are already under pressure for many reasons (such as doing well academically, peer pressure to “fit in” and many pressures they put on themselves).

This is a problem because they need to do a specific training program that is designed to train them to be effective in their sport. A lot of people walking into our doors ask for programs for training speed and explosiveness. Often we find that the athlete first needs to work on muscular strength before we can ask their bodies to perform better in those explosive movements required in their sport. The reaction most women give is the looking bulky excuse.

We want our athlete’s attention on what their bodies are capable of doing, what they can accomplish rather than what their bodies look like. Aim to improve the function of overused muscles and joints by stretching and releasing them and strengthening the underused muscles this allows us to balance the different demands placed on an athlete’s body given their particular lifestyle. Not to mention, women (without the assistance of drugs) don’t have the hormone profile to look bulky.

Resistance training is not designed to change the looks of their bodies but to alleviate pain and improve mobility in whatever activity/sport they are interested in. This does not mean that we all will look the same—that is already predetermined by our genetic make-up. A young athlete that sits at a school desk during the day, might also be a competitive soccer player and thus, the bodily requirements for balancing both school life and training need to be considered. Many athletes also need considerable muscle strength and thus, should embrace visible musculature. We all need muscles to have enough strength to support our bones, but the amount of strength in specific muscles can vary greatly depending on each individual’s needs.

Instead of worrying about ‘bulking up,’ we could celebrate the muscles that enable us to do what we want to do. Be proud of the muscles that allow us to perform well in our sports and allow you to function in everyday life without pain and to move smoothly in a variety of situations. Muscles are necessary for poised movement, not for ‘the looks of body.’ They should, thus, be appreciated as important parts of anyone’s beautifully moving body!

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule a free demo session to find out how we make our athletes stronger!

BCAA’s – what, why and how?

One of the newer supplements on the market making claims to improve cognition, decrease muscle breakdown, promote muscle protein synthesis and improve exercise performance is branched-chain amino-acids (BCAAs).

But… what are they? BCAAs are essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine (ones we cannot synthesize ourselves and must consume) that can be oxidized within our muscles, especially during exercise. These amino acids are the most important amino acids for muscle protein synthesis, as leucine itself is a direct stimulator of muscle protein synthesis independent of exercise and it is important to make sure we are getting adequate amounts in our diet before considering supplementation.

While most of the research into BCAAs has been done in rodents, some interesting data has recently surfaced regarding their effect on exercise in humans. Mainly the ingestion of BCAAs before, during or after exercise has been shown to increase intracellular and arterial levels, and to prevent muscle protein breakdown, where some studies have even demonstrated less delayed-onset-muscle-soreness (DOMS) following exercise. BCAAs are also an important fuel for our muscle cells during exercise, and since levels decline with exercise, it makes sense to use them as a supplement during and/or after workouts.

When combined with a resistance training program and enough protein intake, BCAAs have been shown to help to increase lean muscle mass and lower body fat percentage. It should be noted that a lot of the research into BCAAs, is through one off studies and research is just starting to tease out the effectiveness of them but nevertheless there are some intriguing early results. Come into SST to find out how, when, and what BCAAs we use with our athletes and clients to help improve exercise performance and body composition!

References: All About BCAAs Precision Nutrition Andrews, Ryan (2018) Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle during Exercise Shimomura et al. (2004) The Journal of Nutrition

Email us at Bskinner@sstcanada.com to get email notifications on our upcoming nutrition and supplement clinics!

Make Dynamic Stretching A Part Of Your Routine.

The term dynamic stretching comes down to movement based stretching. In other words, the individual uses a swinging or bouncing movement to extend their range of motion (ROM) and flexibility. The force of the bounce or swing is gradually increased but should never become uncontrolled.

What is Dynamic Flexibility?

The term dynamic flexibility refers to an individual’s absolute range of motion that can be achieved with movement. In other words, how far you can reach, bend or turn by using velocity and momentum to achieve maximum range of motion. As all sport involves movement of some kind, a degree of dynamic flexibility is essential!

The difference between Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching?

Although there are many different ways to stretch, they can all be grouped into one of two categories; static or dynamic.The main difference between dynamic stretching and static stretching is that static stretches are performed without movement. In other words, the individual gets into the stretch position and holds the stretch for a specific amount of time. While dynamic stretches are performed with movement. There isn’t one way, nor one type of stretching is better than another. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the key to getting the most out of stretching lies in being able to match the right type of stretching to the purpose, or goal you are trying to achieve. For example; For warming up, dynamic stretching is the most effective, while for cooling down, static and passive are best.

The best time to use Dynamic Stretching

One of the main purposes of dynamic stretching is to prepare the body for activity or sport, which is why dynamic stretching is so effective as part of a warm up routine. Please note though, that dynamic stretching is not THE warm up, is it only PART OF a warm up. A proper warm up has a number of very important key elements. These elements, or parts, should all work together to prepare the individual for physical activity and minimize the likelihood of sports injury.

Improve your Dynamic Flexibility.

It’s important not to rely on just one type of stretching all the time. You need to know which type of stretching is best for the goal you’re trying to achieve or the individual you’re working with. When you can match the right type of stretching to the individual and their goals, you’ll always get a better outcome.

Come into SST to learn a safe and beneficial dynamic warm up routine.

Woman In Rugby

On Sunday I attended a conference about coaching the female athlete. Hosted by the Burlington Centaurs Rugby Club.

Primarily the focus was on how to effectively coach female athletes and the different strategies that will keep them not only performing physically but also taking care of the athletes on a psychological level to maximize performance.

It was a very productive and positive experience from beginning to end. It was great to listen to representatives from:

… to name but a few.

Although I think the highlight for me was listening to Jane Kirby-Addeo talk about how representation matters. We need more female athletes, coaches and board members to usher us into the next era of women’s sports. Hearing her speak about her journey only makes me more hopeful that we are heading in the right direction.

Jane Addeo (nee Kirby)
President of the Fergus Highland Rugby Club

Another positive for me was seeing the male coaches both speakers and attendees that came to the event and to see how much passion and care each of them put into training their female athletes! We are all responsible for ensuring out female athletes are taken seriously and given an equitable chance in their sports as I believe this is key not only to their early lives and sporting careers but also to the confidence they develop off the field and will be taking with them into the real world. Although I fully believe we need more female representation, the men that stand with us are equally important.

Although I was approaching the conference as a strength and condition coach whereas most of the attendees are coaches of (mostly) female rugby teams, the information was very transferable to my needs as it was to everyone else. When we talk about injury prevention, psychology, coaching strategies and representation; each person was able to take away a new piece of valuable information. We are all learning and striving to be better each and every day; that is one of the core values here at SST and was so wonderful to see it in so many people over the course of the day!

The day was time well spent, THANKS CENTAURES RUGBY CLUB