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!

Are You Explosive Enough In Your Sport?

One of the most important aspects of training an athlete is plyometrics. It is crucial in making an athlete more explosive. Here is the key piece with Plyo’s with young kids. They are great but an athlete needs to be assessed before to correct all of their deficiencies. If an athlete is not strong it is very hard to make them explosive. It’s a very simple equation, you must be strong before you can be explosives. Here are my three favorite plyometric exercises!

Box Jump:

Everyone does this! It’s a great way to train jumping! Here is my biggest tips with regards to box jumps. The landing is the most important part. The landing needs to be soft and you shouldn’t hear it. If you can hear the landing make the box smaller and land soft. One way to spice up box jumps is too jump out of a seated position! My personal favorite way to take this drill to the nest level is to make the athlete jump on que, that’s the way sport is played; very rarely do you get to pick and choose when you want to react!

Depth Jump:

This is an awesome one for young athletes but also older athletes. This is so important on training not only plyometric strength and isometric strength. This exercise allows you not only to learn how to land which is so important, but it teaches your body how to take a load through the ground which is important. One cool way to do a depth jump is to add a box jump too it. Have a player jump off a box take the load thru the ground, then jump up into the air!

4 Dot Drill:

My personal favorite! This drill is basically 4 dots on a mat, and the athletes will jump in different directions from dot to dot. The best way to do this drill is in short bursts, 5-10 seconds. You can make this drill harder by changing the way the athletes faces during the drill, flipping his hips during the drill. My biggest tip for this drill is to make sure the athletes keeps his or her eyes up. You can make them focus on some sort of visual cue!

Plyo’s are so important to creating an all around great athlete. But like I previously stated, young athletes need to be “strong” before we worry about Plyo’s!

Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to schedule a free demo session or to ask about out vertical jump program or our strength and conditioning programs.

Why Men Need To Strength Train As They Age!

Strength training is not just for the young guys and I would argue that as men age, strength training becomes more and more important to maintain muscle function and quality of life.

Due to the natural loss of testosterone with aging, it becomes more difficult to maintain and build muscle mass. Furthermore, in those who don’t strength train to combat this, we generally see a loss of muscle mass as we age, along with a loss of muscle function and decreased quality of life. Easy tasks of daily living such as getting up from a chair, playing with the grandkids at the park, or working on some of our favourite outdoors hobbies such as woodworking or playing in our recreational hockey league become difficult.

While some men tend to do endless amounts of cardio as exercise as they age, I would argue that strength training is just as important if not more important, as muscle mass helps to maintain and increase our slowing metabolism as we age that helps to combat fat mass gain. Furthermore, strength training also helps to maintain our cardiovascular health and can be as effective as pure cardiovascular exercise to prevent heart attack and stroke. 

When combined with a die that includes adequate dietary protein, resistance training in the older years can still promote muscle gain, so even if you are starting to resistance train later in life it still has tremendous benefits.

Here at SST we have a program designed specifically for men over the age of 44 (MAXFITT FOR MEN 44), come in for a free demo class to see how we train our guys to maximize the benefits of strength training as they age.

Using The Gym To Mentally Prepare For Competition.

One the biggest problems with young athletes today is that they don’t know how to completely focus all the time. You can also see it during their competitions. Athletes get out of place or don’t react fast enough because they didn’t see something or couldn’t see something because it was happening to fast for them. Here are three tips to use to increase an athlete’s focus!

Eliminate Technology In the Gym; Athletes and people are way too reliant on technology. When athletes lift, they should not be on their phones. It should not be used in between sets. They do not have cases to their phones during their competition, so don’t let them use a phone during training. When athletes are resting during sets, I teach them how to breath and give them a skill they can us on the field of competition. This is a learned skill set that can be practiced instead of being on a phone.

Quiz Them In States Of Exhaustion; This could be my favorite of all time. When I work with my Offensive Lineman, I often ask them question right when they finish working. They are tired and this is when their brains sometimes don’t want to work. I try and mimic this so that when they are tired they are used to thinking, and it’s not new to them. Something as simple as asking them what 8×7 is when they are huffing and puffing. It’s really simple yet so darn effective.

Simulate Game Situation In Group Training; Make your athletes work as a team when they train as a group. For example when doing the fictional training with hockey players I like to make one athlete of “off” and have one athlete run “on” to start and finish their set. This simulates a shift change. You can also do to with 5 players at a time if you are working as a big group. Something as simple as that will help them get used to stay mentally focused during their competition.

Come in to SST Burlington to put these and more training tips into your training routine!

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.