Is Yoga Beneficial for Athletes?

Yoga is really starting to get more recognition in the world of sports. There is a growing number of professional teams, athletes, and coaches that recognize yoga as a fundamental part of their training.

Don’t dismiss the importance when you hear the word ‘yoga’ and relate it to the requirement of flexibility. If you’re a good athlete, your body should be tight in the right areas. That tightness is a result of your training and is what helps you generate the right amount of power and strength.

Yoga isn’t only ‘yoga’ if you can contort yourself into some magnificent expression of a pose, in fact, as an athlete, going too deep into a pose can be counterproductive. Regardless if you can touch your toes or not, the benefits of yoga for athletes still exist. As you will see below, the benefits are vast, and hopefully, they bring a greater understanding of why yoga is quickly becoming an integral part of the sports world.

Flexibility

The repetitive movements involved in performing a sport concentrates tension in specific areas of your body, which reduces your range of motion and your ability to move and perform with the greatest efficiency. Yoga can help to reduce the impact of that repetition by focusing on those overused muscles and releasing excessive tension. Maintaining flexibility in areas that are prone to holding tension improves ease of movement, meaning you can maneuver your body in ways that are most effective for generating strength and power.

Strength

Sport-specific repetitive movements also have the consequence of continuing to strengthen certain muscles while others remain underdeveloped. This creates muscular imbalances, which in time can be a precursor for aches and pains, poor range of motion, and even injury. So, while your sport can indeed make you strong, it develops strength only in areas that are required by your particular sport. On the other hand, yoga addresses your undeveloped muscles can restore balance back in your body by promoting full-body strength.

Power

Yoga helps improve performance by promoting efficiency of movement and thus the ability to generate more power. The combination of strength, flexibility and proper body mechanics allows your body to move, recruit muscles, and transmit force in the most efficient way.

Endurance

Breathing and maneuvering your body around into several different poses that demand balance and strength improves your body’s respiratory capacity, improves your circulation, and teaches you how to conserve energy by becoming more efficient with your movements. This will help you pace yourself appropriately for the long haul.

Balance

Many athletes come into the gym and make the comment that they “have bad balance” as a reason why they can’t complete and exercise. Incorporating balancing poses in yoga helps to strengthen the many stabilizing muscles that serve to protect your body. Improving your overall balance can also bring confidence to your movements, improve recovery from stumbles and, prevent injuries and develop greater control of the way you move your body.

Injury prevention

Injury prevention not only allows you to keep performing your sport now, but it also extends the amount of time that you’re able to participate in it. The strength, flexibility, and improved body mechanics that you gain from a consistent yoga practice help maintain healthy joints, which are common injury sites from repetitive sports movements. Nothing derails performance like an injury can. So, doing what you can to stay injury-free puts you in a place where you can continue progressing in your sport without any unnecessary diversions.

Exciting News!

Yoga classes starting at SST Burlington

For more details either CLICK HERE and we’ll keep you updated OR

Email – bskinner@sstcanada.com

Mental Resilience

Having a strong, focused, and resilient mind is invaluable to an athlete and can make the difference between success and failure. With athletes constantly training to push their physical limits to the max, it’s often the one with the greatest mental strength that perseveres. Learning to stay focused and composed as you step outside your comfort zone is a valuable skill as an athlete, especially when the pressure is high. New poses, uncomfortable sensations, and resolving to be still are all aspects of a yoga practice that help build mental toughness and sets you up to excel when faced with a challenge.

Recovery

As an athlete, it can be easy to focus all your efforts on ‘pushing’ to reach that new level of performance, and therefore struggle to allow time for rest and recovery. Taking time to rest can be almost unbearable for those who just always want to be on the go. Yoga is an excellent tool for both passive and active recovery. It can relieve physical and mental stress, gently release tension, and give your body an enjoyable break from the demands of your sport. Sports require an enormous amount of repetitive contractions, which makes a slow-paced or restorative practice a great way to restore balance by countering all that contraction with expansion. In addition, a consistent yoga practice can improve your circulation and lymphatic flow, which means that it can speed up the time it takes for your body to recover from your last training session.

Body Awareness/Proprioception

Athletes know how important it is to be in tune with their bodies. It’s important for you to know when it’s time to pick up the pace, slow down, rest, or even take a step back when something’s not feeling right. Since a big part of yoga is learning how to stay present throughout your practice, a consistent practice can improve your understanding of your body. With a heightened awareness of your body, you’ll begin to pick up on its cues and learn how to move with more efficiency. This can help you determine the appropriate level of effort you need to execute a particular move; preventing you from overusing or underusing energy, as well as steer you away from injury.

Stress Relief/Relaxation

The demands of performing a sport, regardless of if it is is for pleasure or competition, is stressful on your body. Your body is working hard to help get you to that peak performance. Sport demands a lot from your heart, muscles, bones, joints, mind, and more, and just like your phone needs a restart every once in a while, so does your body. A yoga practice can be used to balance that stress with some relaxation. Not to mention the anxiety and pressure that comes along with competitive sports! Yoga can help you better manage your response to stressful situations and flush those stress hormones from your body.

Exciting News!

Yoga classes starting at SST Burlington

For more details either CLICK HERE and we’ll keep you updated OR

Email – bskinner@sstcanada.com

Grilled chicken and pineapple skewers

Grilled chicken and pineapple skewers

The perfect combination of sweet and savory! and a great way to get in a little extra fruit.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup tamari gluten free soy sauce or regular soy sauce is fine
  • 1/2 cup 100 percent pineapple juice Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 chicken thighs trimmed of fat cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pineapple thinly sliced
  • cilantro for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Trim the chicken thighs of all fat and cut into one inch pieces.
  • Whisk together first six ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
  • Preheat grill.
  • Put chicken into a plastic bag and top with marinade. Place in the refrigerator overnight or for at least one hour.
  • Thread chicken on skewers alternately with thinly sliced pieces of pineapple. Discard marinade.
  • Place on a hot grill for about 6-8 minutes on the first side. Flip over and cook until done or until an instant read thermometer reaches 175 degrees about 6 – 8 more minutes. Watch closely.

Notes

Nutrition
Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 2049mg | Potassium: 483mg | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2.1mg

Easy Fresh Spring Rolls!

Easy Fresh spring rolls

These are a fun and fresh way of getting your veggies (or fruit) into your diet and are super easy to make!
Prep Time 25 mins
Servings 5 Rolls

Ingredients
  

  • Dipping Sauce
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • Spring Rolls
  • 8 clear edible rice paper sheets
  • ½ lb. cooked peeled, deveined shrimp, shopped if desired
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup cooked rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 bunch cilantro washed

Instructions
 

  • Dipping Sauce:
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until use.
  • Spring Rolls:
  • Dip a sheet of rice paper wrapper into a pan of warm water until rehydrated, about 5 seconds. Lay on a clean, flat work surface.
  • Lay a small amount of shrimp, carrot, cabbage, vermicelli and cilantro down the middle of the rice paper sheet.
  • Carefully roll the spring roll burrito-style, tucking in the sides, and folding the closes part of the rice paper towards the opposite end. Use caution when rolling, if rolled to tightly the spring roll will split.
  • Place completed spring rolls on a plate, serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Notes

Variations
Many ingredients are suitable for this recipe including snow peas, avocado, fresh basil, mint, cooked pork or chicken, tofu for our vegans out there and bell pepper. For a fun change try slicing up some fruit and using a chocolate dip sauce.

Versatile overnight oats!

Overnight oatmeal

One of the best things about overnight oats is how easy they are to customize! Whether you need them to be vegan, gluten-free, or lower in sugar, the swaps are simple and require no extra effort.

Ingredients
  

  • cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Rolled Oats heaping
  • cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • ½ cup Blueberries fresh or frozen, see notes
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds or ground flax meal
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • add pinch Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup or honey

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Spoon into a pint or half-liter jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Close and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight, before eating.

Notes

If you go the frozen route, you will want to back off on the added milk just a touch—by about a tablespoon—since the fruit will release some liquid as it defrosts.

Traditional Ratatouille

Traditional ratatouille

Ratatouille combines a large volume of late-summer vegetables that have different cook times. If you tried to throw them all into a pot at once, none of the veggies would have a chance to caramelize, the eggplant would fall apart by the time the zucchini is tender, and your ratatouille would probably never meet its full potential.
This recipe is a little different. We’re going to roast the vegetables until they’re deliciously caramelized on the edges and a little dehydrated (no squeaky or mushy zucchini here). Then, we’ll add those perfectly roasted veggies to a simmering fresh tomato sauce.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds Ripe Red Tomatoes 6 medium or 4 large
  • 1 Medium Eggplant 1 pound, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 Orange large red, or yellow bell pepper, about 8 ounces, cut into 3/4-inch squares
  • 1 Medium-To-Large Zucchini about 8 ounces, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 Large Yellow Squash about 8 ounces, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil divided, +1 teaspoon
  • ¾ teaspoon Fine Sea Salt divided, more to taste
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic pressed or minced
  • ¼ cup Fresh Basil chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes more or less to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • to taste Black Pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with one rack in the middle of the oven and one in the upper third of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up, if desired.
  • To prepare your tomatoes, remove any woody cores with a paring knife. Then, grate them on the large holes of a box grater into a bowl (this is easiest if you hold the tomato at a diagonal), and chop any remaining tomato skin. Or, blitz the tomatoes in a food processor until they are broken into a frothy pulp. Set aside.
  • On one baking sheet, toss the diced eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly coated. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer across the pan, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and set aside.
  • On the other baking sheet, toss the bell pepper, zucchini and yellow squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer. Place the eggplant pan on the middle rack and the other vegetables on the top rack. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and caramelizing on the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, and use a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula to stir any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan into the mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
  • Once 15 minutes are up, remove both pans from the oven, stir, and redistribute the contents of each evenly across the pans. This time, place the eggplant on the top rack and other vegetables on the middle rack.
  • Bake until the eggplant is nice and golden on the edges, about 10 more minutes (the eggplant will be done sooner than the rest). Remove the eggplant from the oven, and carefully stir the eggplant into the simmering tomato sauce.
  • Let the squash and bell pepper pan continue to bake until the peppers are caramelized, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Then, transfer the contents of the pan into the simmering sauce. Continue simmering for 5 more minutes to give the flavors time to meld.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon olive oil, the fresh basil and red pepper flakes. Crumble the dried oregano between your fingers as you drop it into the pot. Season to taste with additional salt (I usually add ¼ teaspoon more) and black pepper.
  • Serve in bowls, perhaps with a little drizzle of olive oil, additional chopped basil, or black pepper on top (all optional). Like all stews, this ratatouille’s flavor improves as it cools. It’s even better reheated the next day. Ratatouille keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 days, or for several months in the freezer.

Socca “Pizza” with Fresh Chickpea Pesto

Socca “Pizza” with Fresh Chickpea Pesto

Versatile chickpea flour (which happens to be gluten free) may not be as beloved as standard all-purpose—but we think that may be about to change. It's used to make socca, a Mediterranean chickpea pancake, which we top with a fresh chickpea pesto and goat cheese to turn it into a socca pizza. While it isn't a pizza in the technical sense, it still satisfies cravings for something doughy and cheesy.

Ingredients
  

  • For the Socca:
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove finely grated
  • Pinch cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the Chickpea Pesto:
  • 8 ounces 4 cups whole fresh green chickpeas, shucked (1 cup)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh chervil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove roughly chopped
  • For Assembly:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled (¼ cup)
  • 1 serrano chile thinly sliced
  • Chopped pistachios for garnish
  • Mâche rosettes for garnish
  • Chervil leaves for garnish
  • Flaky sea salt for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Make the socca: In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients together until a smooth batter forms. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, make the chickpea pesto: Bring a small pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Season the water with salt. Add the fresh chickpeas and cook until tender, 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chickpeas to the ice bath. Once cool, drain the chickpeas and remove their thin shells around the green centers. Transfer the chickpeas to a small food processor with the remaining pesto ingredients. Pulse until a smooth paste comes together, then season with salt.
  • Assemble the socca pizza: Preheat the broiler with the rack 6 inches away from the heat source. In a 10-inch ovenproof, nonstick pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Pour the batter into the pan, swirling to cover the entire surface, then transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the socca sets, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven. Spread the chickpea pesto over the socca and dot with the goat cheese. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is slightly golden, 4 minutes more. Transfer the socca to a board and top with the sliced serrano, chopped pistachios, mâche and chervil. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with flaky sea salt, then serve.

Two-step sausage and lentil salad!

Two step sausage and lentil salad

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pkt Garlic & Herb Beef Sausages
  • 2 x 400g cans brown lentils rinsed, drained
  • 250 g cooked baby beetroot cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup Coles Marinated Danish Fetta drained reserving marinade
  • 60 g Spinach

Instructions
 

  • Heat a greased frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, for 8 mins or until cooked through. Halve diagonally.
  • Arrange the lentils, beetroot, fetta and spinach on a serving platter with the sausage. Drizzle with 1/4 cup (60ml) of the reserved marinade and season to serve.

What’s Just As Prevalent As The Gender Pay Gap? The Gender Injury Gap!

We are all familiar with the misplays of the month and have all seen just about every way possible to injure yourself or someone else. Based on the amount of televised sport being predominantly male, you might think that sports injuries are more common among male than female athletes.

That may be true for college and NFL football players, since nearly all are male. However, girls and women are actually more prone than men to suffer many of the most common sports-related injuries. There are a variety of reasons for this “gender gap,” but there is much about it that remains uncertain. But the recognition of this gap has led to innovative efforts to prevent injuries among women in sports including but not limited to getting young girls into strength and conditioning programs from an earlier age much like their male counterparts.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main structures in the knee that provides stability under stress. Injuries of this ligament are up to 6 times more common among women than men. A number of other sports-related injuries are also more common among women such as:

  • Ankle sprain. This is one of the most common sports injury, but it’s particularly common among women.
  • Shoulder injuries. Ranging in everything for inflammation/irritation to rotator cuff problems.
  • Knee injuries. These include irritation under the knee cap (called patellofemoral syndrome) and ligament damage (including tears to the ACL), which is especially common among soccer and basketball players.
  • Stress fractures. These are especially common in the foot or lower leg (tibia) among women with the “female athlete triad,” a combination of inadequate calorie and nutrient intake, irregular menstrual periods, and bone loss. Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, contribute to this triad.

Keep in mind that theses are only a few of the most common injuries seen and much more research is required.

Why are women more prone to these injuries than men?

We have more theories than answers. The most common explanation is that it’s due to basic differences between the bodies of men and women. For example, the typical female athlete, as compared with her male counterpart, has:

  • higher estrogen levels, along with less muscle mass.
    • greater flexibility (due to looser ligaments).
    • a wider pelvis, which alters the alignment of the knee and ankle
    • a narrower space within the knee for the ACL to travel through.

Some other important factors to consider are the following:

  • Less early access to strength and conditioning programs.
  • Female athletes also tend to have a higher pain threshold and are likely to play through pain and injury.
  • Social pressure to look/act “feminine”

So if you have a daughter or are an athlete yourself, the current research points at three main options in injury prevention.

  1. Early access to strength and conditioning programs and coaching.
  2. Healthier relationships with food. (also results in better nutrition).
  3. More female focused and lead research!

Looking for speed, strength, agility and vertical training? Come in to SST today to find out how we take care of our female athletes!

Cottage Cheese and acorn squash toast!

Cottage cheese and acorn squash toast.

Farmer cheese is basically a very dry cottage cheese with most of the whey (liquid part) pressed out of it. Its texture is very similar to ricotta Farmer cheese is low-fat, has low levels of lactose (so those who have difficulty digesting dairy would most likely have no problem with it), has descent levels of protein, and is super mild and versatile. It’s most common usage is for fillings in Eastern European dishes such as blintzes, but here I’ve used it as a spread on toasted bread that you can top with a wide array of vegetables, fruit, seeds, etc.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Slices Toasted rye bread Or any other bread
  • 100 g Farmers cheese or regular cottage cheese
  • 1 Acorn squash
  • 2 tbps Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Toast bread of choice to desired color.
  • Spread a tsp cottage cheese over toast.
  • Acorn squash prep
  • Roast the squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (easier cleanup) for about 20-25 minutes until the squash is soft. Let it cool and just peel off the skin with your fingers- it will come off very easily! Spread the farmer cheese on toasted bread (pumpernickel, whole grain, rye, sourdough).
  • Top with the slices of squash, and finish with salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to add some crunch, extra protein, omega-3 fats, and magnesium!

Notes

A faster option is to just add a drizzle of honey to the cheese. Eat this before or after a workout, for breakfast, or as a side with your favorite soup. Enjoy!
 

Protein Pancakes!!

Protein Pancakes!!

If you’re looking for the perfect thing to eat post-workout, then you must try my easy protein pancakes recipe. These contain 26g of protein per serving. Banana's and walnuts are my favorite toppers!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Scoop Protein powder
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 80 ml Milk
  • Fruits to serve

Instructions
 

  • Add the Protein Powder, Banana, Baking Powder, Egg and Milk into a blender. Blitz to form a smooth batter.
  • Heat a drizzle of Oil in a non-stick frying pan over a low-medium heat on the stove.
  • Slowly pour the batter into the pan for each individual pancake. Leave to cook (usually for 1 minute) until bubbles form on the surface of the pancake.
  • Flip the pancake and cook for a further minute then remove from the pan.
  • Repeat the process to use up all the batter. Stack the pancakes then top them off with the Fruits. Enjoy!