NJ

Are You Ready For Spring Sports

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The crack of a baseball blasted over the fence; the whack of a golf ball blasted off the tee; the sound of lacrosse pads smashing against each other. These are all signs spring is in the air, and with it, spring training for many of our children.

Are you ready?  Are you physically ready for the season?    Not just ready to run sprints on the first day of practice, but strong enough to complete day-in and day-out for the next 3 months.

are-you-ready

We’re encouraging our student-athletes to follow their training guidelines, eat healthy meals and drink plenty of fluids, and most importantly, listen to their bodies. Minor aches and pains from training and activating those dormant muscles are normal, but prolonged pain that causes difficulties with your training regimen is not and may be a sign of injury.

More than 2.6 million children are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

Sadly, many of these injuries can be prevented through proper training, which MUST include muscle prep activities such as foam rolling and stretching.

Athletes must listen to their body as spring training gets underway and see your healthcare professional when those minor aches persist. There are so many treatment options as basic as the use of ice packs and cold compresses to myofascial release which will improve your injury recovery.

These are a couple steps to stay healthy during spring training and through the season:

  • Get a physical. Ask your primary care physician to give you a physical exam. He or she can then clear you for participation in your sport.
  • Seek support. Your school has athletic trainers, use them. They can guide your training efforts and help you safely prepare your body for your sport.
  • Protect yourself. Use the correct protective gear for your sport – helmets, knee and elbow pads, goggles, ankle braces, etc. Make sure your protective gear fits, is worn correctly and is in good condition.
  • Practice your form. This can prevent many sports-related injuries resulting from improper swings, kicks, throws and other sports mechanics.
  • Make sure you hydrate. Prevent dehydration by drinking lots of fluids, preferably water. Sports drinks are OK, too.
  • Get enough rest. Your muscles need some time off to heal and ultimately help you get stronger. Plus, resting prevents your muscles from becoming overused which can lead to injury.
  • Take care of your head. All concussions are serious. They can lead to a host of problems including, but not limited to, nausea and vomiting, headache, mood swings, altered sleep patterns and more.

Spring training brings with it renewed championship hopes and dreams. Do your part to make sure you perform your best this season without having to experience an avoidable injury.

As always, K2 is here to help you get ready for the spring season!!  You can check out our schedule  at http://www.k2strength.com/schedule.html.

If you are looking to take your game to the next level and stay strong all season long…… K2 is the place to be!

Please call me if you have any questions and / or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kevin Haag
908-803-8019 (Call or Text)

 

A Low Carb Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Save Your Life

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A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. It is high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables.

There are many different types of low-carb diets, and studies show that they can cause weight loss and improve health.

This is a detailed meal plan for a low-carb diet. What to eat, what to avoid and a sample low-carb menu for one week.

A Low Carb Diet Meal Plan

What foods you should eat depends on a few things, including how healthy you are, how much you exercise and how much weight you have to lose.

Consider all of this as a general guideline, not something written in stone.

The Basics

Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, high-fat dairy, fats, healthy oils and maybe even some tubers and non-gluten grains.

Don’t Eat: Sugar, HFCS, wheat, seed oils, trans fats, “diet” and low-fat products and highly processed foods.

Foods to Avoid

You should avoid these 7 foods, in order of importance:

  • Sugar:Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream and many others.
  • Gluten Grains:Wheat, spelt, barley and rye. Includes breads and pastas.
  • Trans Fats:“Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
  • High Omega-6 Seed- and Vegetable Oils:Cottonseed-, soybean-, sunflower-, grapeseed-, corn-, safflower and canola oils.
  • Artificial Sweeteners:Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates and Acesulfame Potassium. Use Stevia instead.
  • “Diet” and “Low-Fat” Products:Many dairy products, cereals, crackers, etc.
  • Highly Processed Foods:If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.

You MUST read ingredients lists, even on foods labelled as “health foods.”

Low Carb Food List – Foods to Eat

You should base your diet on these real, unprocessed, low-carb foods.

  • Meat:Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and others. Grass-fed is best.
  • Fish:Salmon, trout, haddock and many others. Wild-caught fish is best.
  • Eggs:Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
  • Vegetables:Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and many others.
  • Fruits:Apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries.
  • Nuts and Seeds:Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • High-Fat Dairy:Cheese, butter, heavy cream, yogurt.
  • Fats and Oils:Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil and cod fish liver oil.

If you need to lose weight, be careful with the cheese and nuts because they’re easy to overeat on. Don’t eat more than one piece of fruit per day.

Maybe Eat

If you’re healthy, active and don’t need to lose weight then you can afford to eat a bit more carbs.

  • Tubers:Potatoes, sweet potatoes and some others.
  • Non-gluten grains:Rice, oats, quinoa and many others.
  • Legumes:Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, etc. (If you can tolerate them).

You can have these in moderation if you want:

  • Dark Chocolate:Choose organic brands with 70% cocoa or higher.
  • Wine:Choose dry wines with no added sugar or carbs.

Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and may provide health benefits if you eat it in moderation. However, be aware that both dark chocolate and alcohol will hinder your progress if you eat/drink too much.

Drink

A Sample Low-Carb Menu for One Week

This is a sample menu for one week on a low carb diet plan.

It provides less than 50 grams of total carbs per day, but as I mentioned above if you are healthy and active you can go beyond that.

proteinrules

 

Monday

  • Breakfast:Omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
  • Lunch:Grass-fed yogurt with blueberries and a handful of almonds.
  • Dinner:Cheeseburger (no bun), served with vegetables and salsa sauce.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast:Bacon and eggs.
  • Lunch:Leftover burgers and veggies from the night before.
  • Dinner:Salmon with butter and vegetables.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast:Eggs and vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
  • Lunch:Shrimp salad with some olive oil.
  • Dinner:Grilled chicken with vegetables.

Thursday

  • Breakfast:Omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
  • Lunch:Smoothie with coconut milk, berries, almonds and protein powder.
  • Dinner:Steak and veggies.

Friday

  • Breakfast:Bacon and Eggs.
  • Lunch:Chicken salad with some olive oil.
  • Dinner:Pork chops with vegetables.

Saturday

  • Breakfast:Omelet with various veggies.
  • Lunch:Grass-fed yogurt with berries, coconut flakes and a handful of walnuts.
  • Dinner:Meatballs with vegetables.

Sunday

  • Breakfast:Bacon and Eggs.
  • Lunch:Smoothie with coconut milk, a bit of heavy cream, chocolate-flavored protein powder and berries.
  • Dinner:Grilled chicken wings with some raw spinach (salad) on the side.

Include plenty of low-carb vegetables in your diet. If your goal is to remain under 50 grams of carbs per day, then there is room for plenty of veggies and one fruit per day.

If you want to see examples of some of my go-to meals, read this:
7 Healthy Low-Carb Meals in Under 10 Minutes.

Again, if you’re healthy, lean and active, you can add some tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as some healthier grains like rice and oats.

Some Healthy, Low-Carb Snacks

There is no health reason to eat more than 3 meals per day, but if you get hungry between meals then here are some healthy, easy to prepare low-carb snacks that can fill you up:

  • A Piece of Fruit
  • Full-fat Yogurt
  • A Hard-Boiled Egg or Two
  • Baby Carrots
  • Leftovers From The Night Before
  • A Handful of Nuts
  • Some Cheese and Meat

Eating at Restaurants

At most restaurants, it is fairly easy to make your meals low carb-friendly.

  1. Order a meat- or fish-based main dish.
  2. Ask them to fry your food in real butter.
  3. Get extra vegetables instead of bread, potatoes or rice.

A Simple Low-Carb Shopping List

A good rule is to shop at the perimeter of the store, where the whole foods are likelier to be found.

Organic and grass-fed foods are best, but only if you can easily afford them. Even if you don’t buy organic, your diet will still be a thousand times better than the standard western diet.

Try to choose the least processed option that still fits into your price range.

  • Meat (Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, bacon)
  • Fish (Fatty fish like salmon is best)
  • Eggs (Choose Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs if you can)
  • Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Lard
  • Olive Oil
  • Cheese
  • Heavy Cream
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt (full-fat, unsweetened)
  • Blueberries (can be bought frozen)
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Fresh vegetables: greens, peppers, onions, etc.
  • Frozen vegetables: broccoli, carrots, various mixes.
  • Salsa Sauce
  • Condiments: sea salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, etc.

I recommend clearing your pantry of all unhealthy temptations if you can: chips, candy, ice cream, sodas, juices, breads, cereals and baking ingredients like wheat flour and sugar.

6 Amazing Exercises that Will Improve Athletic Speed

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By: Coach Lee Taft

Exercise #1 Medicine Ball Side Throw Progression:

A. Standing side throw– The athlete will face sideways to the wall in an athletic stance with the ball at chest height and elbows out. (stand roughly 10-12 feet away depending on the bounce of the ball)

  • Using the backside leg to drive the hips forward and taking a small step toward the wall with the lead leg…
  • Explosively drive the ball, keeping the back elbow up so the shoulder doesn’t get injured, into the wall.
    • The focus of the exercise isn’t so much on throwing, it is on understanding being in the best stance to drive the off the back leg like a lateral shuffle.
    • If the athlete is too narrow in stance or standing too tall the power production will be limited.
    • This exercise needs to be done on both sides

B. Forward shuffle side throw– The athlete will back away from the wall roughly 6-8 feet further. The exercise will be performed the same as the standing side throw but the emphasis changes to lateral speed:

  •  The athlete will shuffle one to two times staying in a good stance and then driving off the back foot and transferring the speed into the throw.
  • The athlete must use the back foot to push down and away to generate more speed on the throw.
    • If the athlete does not have a good athletic stance (foundation) they will not generate enough force to gain benefits.

C. Backward shuffle side throw– Same exercise but now the athlete will shuffle away from the wall. Start the athlete only 6-8 feet from the wall.

  • The athlete will shuffle aggressively one to two times away from the wall and plant aggressively to throw the ball.
  • This is the most important exercise of all to reinforce the athletic stance and the importance of plant leg angles.
  • If the plant leg of the back leg is too narrow when attempting to stop the throw will be weak.
  • The athlete wants to still get forward movement when throwing. I like to do 2-4 sets of 3-5 reps on each side. The exercise has to be intense. The wt of the ball, experience of the athlete, and skill level determines the sets and reps.

 

This is the stationary version of the Side Medicine Ball Throw. The forward shuffle throw and backward shuffle throw would still get the athlete back to this position. The backward throw crucial for teaching deceleration angles. If the plant is poorly done the throw will show it. Great feedback drill.

 

Excerise #2 One arm One leg tubing row

This is a great speed exercise because it focuses on both deceleration (which is what most quick athlete do better than other athletes in athletic speed) and acceleration.

a. The initial position is having the athlete squat/bend on one leg and resist the pulling action of the tubing. The decelerators are kicked on.

b. Then the athlete quickly stands and pulls on the tubing while driving the knee up. This recruits the accelerators.

c. The extra benefits of the this exercise is the balance and stability ttraining.

We normally do 2-4 sets of 5-8 reps per side. Slow down into the squat/bend and explosive up.

 

Exercise #3 Reactive Shuffles and Crossovers

In this shot the athlete is ready to react and shuffle or crossover in the direction the coach points. This is a real live setting for athletes to develop their skill and for coaches to use great feedback.

a. The athlete will get into a loaded athletic stance and be prepared to shuffle or crossover (already determined by the coach) and react to the coaches point.

b. This type of exercise is great for athletic speed development because the athlete must randomly react. The athlete will use his or her innate abilities. If a mistake is made the coach can easily correct and have the athlete reproduce a better pattern for many reps.

I normally will do 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps. The athlete will react out to the cone and get back as quick as possible for one rep. Because I am after speed I will allow decent rest so the athlete isn’t completely pooped out.

 

Exercise #4 Resisted power skips

I like resisted power skips for speed because it increases force production and extension of the hips.

a. The athlete must learn to drive hard to move the resistance of the tubing yet maintain good posture for acceleration.

b. The athlete will learn to coordinate the arms and the legs during this exercise. It isn’t easy at first.

c. The biggest benefit is that more muscle fiber gets recruited when attempting to power skip. This is the goal to generate more acceleration speed.

I like to perform 3-6 reps for 20 meters. This is enough distance to get enough quality push offs yet not too far to get overly fatigued and change mechanics.

 

Exercise #5 Pure acceleration starts

To increase the mechanics and efficiency of accelerating from various starts you must practice them.

a. I will use falling starts, get ups, box starts, parallel stance starts, and many other variations so I can coach the athlete on the proper technique.

b. The goal is to be consistent with leg and arm action as well as acceleration posture.

c. If the athlete has breaks in his or her form they can be addressed quickly.

I like doing 2-3 different stances and 3-4 reps of each. Plenty of time is available to teach the form well.

 

Exercise #6 Cutting skills

Teaching cutting is a great way to improve the efficiency of the athlete in athletic speed. Most court and field sport requires so much in regards to change of direction it is important to address it.

a. The first thing I want my athlete to understand about cutting is the reactive nature of it. There is not enough time to think about the cut. Just do what comes natural and we can correct mistakes if they present themselves

b. The athlete must learn to make the cut by re-directing the cutting foot outside the width of the body that meets the angle they cut will be made at. I do not want the athlete to purposely drop low with the hips if the cut must be quick and not real sharp.

c. If the cut is sharp and the athlete must come back then the hips may lower slightly but only enough to control the center of mass.

d. The key to cutting is to create separation if an offensive player and to close the gap if a defender. The better body position you have and foot placement the better the results

I like to do 3-6 reps of 2-3 different variations of cutting:

a. Speed cuts

b. Sharp cuts

c. Rehearsed cuts

d. Random cuts

e. Jump stop cuts

f. Spin cuts

g. More…

Yours in Speed,
Lee Taft

True Functional Training for Lacrosse

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True “Functional” Training for Lacrosse

By Brian Yeager

The term “functional” training has become a very trendy method of training over the last few years. In both the fitness and sports conditioning fields, many so-called experts have stretched this idea to the point of my great amusement. I realized that the industry had gone over the edge when I attended a seminar and the speaker outlined how he trained a motocross racer to perform better off jumps on the track by having him leap onto boxes while swinging heavy dumbbells upward as if pulling on handlebars. Now I’m not a mechanic, but I’m pretty sure that the bike is largely responsible for the jumping part. So in this article, I would like to introduce some techniques I have used successfully with my athletes that have produced greater levels of “functional” performance.

All of us have seen the large Nordic men on ESPN pulling trains, throwing cars, and picking up small buildings. They are examples of what being truly strong looks like. If these men did not have “functional” strength, the would be quite incapable of performing in the events that they do so well. Over the last several years, modified exercises that closely emulate much of what they do have found their way into the strength and conditioning programs of progressive thinking coaches in a variety of sports. These training exercises provide greater levels of overall strength and conditioning as well as mental toughness and what I view as real core strength. You often hear about core strength in relationship to the abdominal region, but I feel that as an athlete, if your ankles, knees, and hips are not strong, you will be unable to generate force from the ground to reach the midsection. The strongman exercises do just that. Upon adding these to your training routine, you will feel much more powerful and grounded on the field and you will definitely notice the ability to display force over the course of a game.

The first exercises is the farmer’s walk. This is very simple to perform and I believe very underrated as a tool for improving sports performance. It will improve your anaerobic conditioning dramatically, increase grip strength, as well as strengthen the ligaments in your ankle and knees. The easiest way to do these is just by grabbing a really heavy pair of dumbbells and walking with them, either for distance or time. I suggest that if you are in great condition you use heavier dumbbells and aim for short distances with explosive speed. If you are really strong but are carrying around some extra insulation, you will benefit greatly from lighter weights and carrying them for distances anywhere from 50-100 yards. Two or three workouts of this a week, and you’ll be ripped in no time at all. When training the farmer’s walk, always look in the direction you are heading and take short, choppy steps. One variation you might want to try to increase abdominal strength is to use one dumbbell heavier than the other and alternate sides each set.

The next exercise is my favorite, sled dragging. The sled is an excellent tool for developing explosive leg strength and power. As with the farmer’s walk, it can also serve as a fantastic method for raising an athlete’s level of conditioning while improving strength levels. There are also many variations that can be done with the sled to work the upper body. The main two exercises that I use with my athletes are forward and backward sled dragging. Forward dragging with the sled attached via a belt around the waist really targets the hamstrings. You want to keep an upright posture and walk with powerful, driving steps. Using an attached rope, you can also drag the sled backwards. Driving explosively backwards, taking short steps, pull the sled backwards. I like to tell my athletes to visualize punching the ball of the foot into the ground. Again for stronger athletes in need of conditioning, this can be an excellent tool when used for moderate to longer distances of up to 100 yards. If your strength is lacking, load up the weight and go for explosive pulls of no more than 20-30 yards. I purchase my sleds from EliteFTS.com as they have been using them with athletes for years and make a sturdy, durable product that should last for a long time. One other variation that I like to use with my players is lateral sled dragging. You can purchase two dog collars at your local pet store and attach them to the dragging rope that comes with the sled. Putting the collars around your ankles, you can pull the sled sideways stepping first with the outside foot and them with the inside leg. This will improve your ability to explode laterally past your opponents or stay in front of them when on defense.

Next, we are going to discuss improving balance and core stabilization. I promise that you will not be required to stand on one leg while juggling lacrosse balls. The strongman event that is my favorite for improving these qualities is the Super Yoke. If you can picture that yoke that farmer’s used to use to carry heavy buckets of water, you’ve got the right idea. Because the weights will begin to sway as you walk, you can see right away how this would work the core and your ability to stay vertical. There are many ways to utilize this implement including intentional stopping and starting, moving side to side, and backwards. One of the most challenging drills with the Super Yoke is to set up a slalom course and have your athletes manipulate the course, either for time or distance. The Yoke is a good tool for correcting strength imbalances in the legs.

And now the king of all strongman events, tire flipping. I have found no better tool for developing explosive strength in my athletes, regardless of their sport than with a good old hunk of rubber. Tire flipping is an excellent tool for conditioning during intensification and accumulation phases of training. Tire flipping has a great transfer of power to most combative sports, and the last time I checked, lacrosse falls into that category. When flipping tires, be sure to focus on driving through the tire explosively, rather than trying to deadlift it. With the tire lying on its side, position the feet about one foot away from the tire. You should feel like you’re falling into the tire. Your grip width will depend on the tread, but the wider your hands are positioned, the higher your hands will be on the tire when you flip it up on end. Have your chest pressed against the tire with your chin resting on top. Then, imagine driving the tire up and forward at a forty-five degree angle. Your shoulders and hips should rise at the same time. If not, then the load is too high. Perform the movement as explosively as possible to build that ability to crush an attacker on defense or blow by a stunned defensive player en route to the goal. Make sure to use cleats when training on grass and be careful that if you miss a lift, the tire does not fall back on the knees. If you need to develop strength, use heavier tires and perform a high number of sets for low reps. If you want to improve strength endurance, use a smaller tire and go for distance or time.

As far as periodization goes, I like to use strongman training in two different ways. At the very beginning of an athlete’s general physical preparation, these exercises serve as a great tool for building overall conditioning and stamina. In this case, you would keep the loads relatively low and use an accumulation of either distance or reps. This will improve your anaerobic conditioning and tolerance to lactic acid. When used closer to the season, keep the volume load and slow build intensity to maximize your ability to display your hard earned strength on the field. You can choose two exercises and perform one of them every five days on a alternating schedule. For example, on Monday you could do the Farmer’s Walk and on Friday, flip tires. Change up the movements every 3 weeks to avoid plateauing and keep yourself mentally fresh. These drills are very taxing and the last thing you want is to dread the workouts due to boredom. Try incorporating these exercises into your off-season training and I can guarantee you will see and feel a difference on the field. And more importantly, so will your opponents. Remember, train hard or go home.

Prevent Knee Pain…Now

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When spring sports starting TOMORROW, I figured I would give you a few exercises to help strengthen your knee joint.  We ask a lot from our knee joint. It’s a movement stabilizer that connects the foot and ankle to the core. Knee pain can limit movement and reduce mobility and agility and lead to injury.

Too many corrective knee exercises focus on strengthening the VMO—the teardrop muscle on the inside of the knee. But the VMO actually plays only a small role in controlling movement of the kneecap. You really need a mix of exercises that strengthen both your hips and your thighs.

Try the following exercises to develop a strong and stable knee for all activity.

Single-Leg Squats (Figures 1a and 1b) and balance exercises (Figure 2) work the gluteus medius, the muscle just above your hip bone. When this muscle is weak, the knees fall inward and put stress on the inside of the knee joint.

 

Single-Leg Squat

Single-Leg Squat – Figures 1a and 1b

 

Balance Exercise

Balance Exercise – Figure 2

Supine Bridge (Figure 3) and different Lunges strengthen the extensors such as the gluteus maximus and hamstrings—important muscles used in acceleration movements like running. Lunges also put the body in a similar position during deceleration. These will make you more athletic during cutting and changing direction activities.

 

Supine Bridge

Supine Bridge – Figure 3

Reactive Neuromuscular Training is a technique that requires a high level of body awareness. AnInline Lunge with low-resistance tubing (Figures 4a and 4b) basically tells your body to correct bad movement habits. Use resistance that gives you the feedback without fighting the exercise.

 

Inline Lunge with Resistance Tubing

Inline Lunge with Resistance Tubing – Figures 4a and 4b

References:

Kushion D, Rheaume J, Kopchitz K, Glass S, Alderink G and Jinn JH.  “EMG activation of the Vastus Medialis Oblique and Vastus Lateralis during four rehabilitative exercises.” The Open Rehabilitation Journal (2012): 5, 1-7

Cook G, Burton L, Kiesel K, Rose G, Bryan M. “Anatomical Science versus Functional Science Movement.” Functional Movement Systems (2010).

Reinvent your approach to eating and transform your body

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It’s time to  end the debate of all debates.

You want to lose weight, gain muscle, and  change your body—but without worrying about whether you’re eating the right  foods. After all, countless diets pronounce that they provide the ultimate  solution to your goals. Only problem is, they all differ in the types of foods  they suggest, the timing of meals, and how much you can eat.

But all  diets are dependent on one common factor: macronutrient composition. That is,  the protein, carbohydrate, and fat content in the foods you eat. Macronutrients  are the single most important factor that determines a diet’s success or  failure. Every diet has its own macronutrient manipulation. On one end of the  continuum are the low-carb diets, such as Atkins and Protein Power (and some  variations of the Paleo Diet). More towards the middle are diets like The Zone  and South Beach. On the other end of the continuum are high-carb/low-fat diets  such as Pritikin and Ornish.

So who’s right? Recent evidence in the  International Journal of Obesity suggests that the diet you can stick to best is  the right one – regardless of the exact breakdown of macronutrients. But this  still leaves questions about how to determine your needs to simplify eating.  Consider this your final answer, and the guide you need to finally determine the  most effective plan for you.

Hitting your goal for the day is the most important aspect of  eating protein, whether it’s for fat loss, building muscle, or just maintaining  your weight.

The Eating Guide

Are you a calorie counter who wants an even  more focused plan? Once you figure out how many calories you want to eat per  day, use this plan from Alan Aragon (alanargon.com) to balance your  macronutrients and drop fat fast.

Key
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories

Protein
Eat one gram of  protein per pound of your goal body weight.
So if you  want to weigh 200 pounds, you’d eat 200 grams of protein per day for a total of  800 calories.

Fat
Remember,  the amount of fat you want will depend on many specific factors. As a rough goal  on a fat loss plan, eat .5 grams of fat for your goal body weight.  Using the 200 pound model, you would consume 100 grams  of fat per day, or 900 total calories.
If you find  that this is too much and you gain weight (reminder: fat does NOT make you fat),  aim for .3 to .4 grams of fat per pound of goal body weight. Listen to your body  and you will see changes.

Carbohydrates
Carbs are dependent on how much protein and fat you  consume in your diet. That is, you’ll eat carbs to fill in the remainder of  calories needed in your diet.
Using the formula above,  let’s say you wanted to eat 2500 calories per day.
Add  your protein (800 calories ) and your fat (900 calories) and then subtract it  from the total number of calories you want to eat (2500-1700 = 800 calories).
Divide the remainder number of calories (800) by 4,  and you’ll have a target number of carbohydrates you should eat (200 grams).

Therefore, on this sample diet you’d eat:
200 grams of protein (800 calories or 30% of your  diet)
100 grams of fat (900 calories or 40% of your  diet)
200 grams of carbs (800 calories or 30% of your  diet)

PROTEIN

WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT   Protein is the major structural and functional component of  all cells in your body. Proteins literally play a necessary role in many of the  biological processes that allow you to live and function. Not to mention, about  25 percent of your muscle mass is made up of protein—and the rest is made up of  water and glycogen (your body’s stored form of carbohydrates). So it’s no wonder  why so many diets place a heavy emphasis on protein. But the reason you need to  eat so much is simple: Unlike other nutrients, your body can not assemble  protein by combining other nutrients, so enough must be consumed in your daily  meals in order to achieve your desired health and appearance.

BIGGEST MYTH Despite what you might  have heard, your body can process a lot more protein than you think in each meal. Like a big steak dinner? Don’t worry, you can handle it. The most common  claim is that your body can only handle 20 to 30 grams per meal and that the  rest will go to waste. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The idea that your body can only handle limited amounts  of protein was one of the initial reasons why people began eating meals every 2  to 3 hours. It was a tactic designed to prevent wasting food, while also raising  your metabolism. However, science has proved that your body can take as much  time as it needs to digest and absorb protein and utilizes all of the nutrients  appropriately. With the exception of a massive protein binge—where you consume  more protein in one meal than your body can handle in an entire day—you can feed  yourself larger doses as part of a healthy approach to your diet.

ADDING PROTEIN TO YOUR DIET  While  most people think that protein is most important before and after your workout,  this isn’t true. Hitting your goal for the day is the most important aspect of  eating protein, whether it’s for fat loss, building muscle, or just maintaining  your weight. Setting your protein goals is a fairly simple process. Research  shows that a range of .5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is ideal  if you are active. If you want to be even more specific, a good general  guideline is to eat about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass  (LBM). However, most people don’t know or can’t reliably measure their LBM. As  an alternative, consume 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight.

That means if you’re a fluffy 200 pounds and want to be a  lean, toned 180 pounds, simply eat 180 grams of protein per day. Learning what  food intake amounts to 180 grams of protein – or any macronutrient – is a matter  of tracking your intake.

Food journaling software like LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate  can help you record how much protein you’re really eating.

THE BOTTOM LINE The pitfalls of  under-doing protein far outweigh those of overdoing it. Meeting protein  requirements is particularly important when you’re trying to lose weight because  protein is the most muscle-sparing and metabolic macronutrient, and it also  keeps you full.  If you struggle to achieve your protein target through whole  foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and milk products, you can easily  supplement your diet with protein powder (whey, casein, or egg). There’s no need  to nitpick over the precise distribution and timing of protein throughout the  day, just concentrate on the total for the day, and consume protein at doses and  times that suit your schedule and personal preference.

FAT

WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT    Fat is a major fuel source for your body and has multiple  functions, such as helping your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, regulating  inflammation, and hormone production. Like protein, fat is considered to be  nutritionally essential because certain fatty acids (linoleic acid &  alpha-linolenic acid) cannot be sufficiently produced by your body for survival,  and thus you must fulfill your needs by eating fatty foods. That’s right. Read  that sentence again: You must eat fat. Although essential fatty acid deficiency  is uncommon among adults in developed countries, the consumption omega-3 fatty  acids is often too low for the purpose of optimizing health and preventing  disease.

BIGGEST MYTH Let’s settle the  score once and for all: Fat does not make you fat.

Once  you get beyond that myth, there are many other misconceptions that could steer  your eating habits in the wrong direction. Most notably, many people still  believe that saturated fat is a dangerous substance that causes heart disease  and should be avoided. This myth has survived for at least the last 3 decades,  and has refused to die despite numerous studies that have shown that saturated  fat is actually good for your body. In a recent invitation-only scientific  consensus meeting, the Department of Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen  determined that saturated fat does not need to be avoided. What’s more, a recent  review failed to find a link between saturated fat and coronary heart disease.  More importantly, it’s not just that saturated fat isn’t bad; the scientists  found that eating saturated fat benefits your health.

That doesn’t mean that all fats are safe. The Dutch  analysis found that excessive trans-fats (from hydrogenated vegetable oils in  shortening, commercial baked goods, and refined snack foods) still pose a  significant threat to your health.

ADD FAT TO YOUR DIET   The best way to prevent heart disease is to simplify your  diet. Eat more whole and minimally refined foods, including an increased  proportion of vegetables, fruits, and nuts—and know how to balance your omega-3  fatty acids. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 0.5-1.8 g/day of  combined EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 fatty acids with potent heart-protective  properties. This intake can be achieved by either consuming two to six one-gram  capsules of fish oil, or by having roughly three to six ounces of fatty fish per  day. Vegetarians should realized that achieving the same EPA  and DHA levels  with flaxseed oil is a much less efficient process, requiring roughly double the  dose.

THE BOTTOM LINE Unfortunately,  there isn’t a gold standard for the amount of fat you need in your diet.  Instead, it should be determined on an individual basis. The most recent report  by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that you  eat at least 20 to 35 percent of your total calories from fat. But realize that  eating slightly more than this won’t cause added fat storage as long as your  total calories match your goal for weight gain, loss or maintenance. If you  still want a target, divide your weight in half and eat that many grams of fat.  So if you’re 180 pounds, you would aim to consume 90 grams of fat per day.

CARBOHYDRATES

WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT   Carbohydrates have many functions, but their main role is to  provide energy to the cells in your body. Carbohydrates are unique because they  are not considered essential. That’s because your body can synthesize its needs  from non-carbohydrate sources though processes called gluconeogenesis and  ketogenesis. As a result, the other foods you eat (proteins and fats) can be  converted into energy, meaning that your general survival does not depending on  eating carbohydrates. As mentioned before, this can’t be said about amino acids  (protein) or essential fatty acids (fat)—both of which you need to obtain from  foods.

Still, while carbohydrates technically are not  essential, you do need them when living an active lifestyle. Not to mention,  fruits and vegetables are two of the most important sources of carbohydrates,  and both provide nutrient-rich calories that protect against disease.

BIGGEST MYTH Carbs do not make you fat.  (Picking up on a theme?)

Ever since the low-carb craze  began in the early 1990s, carbohydrates have been demonized as the cause of the  growing obesity rates. And while a low-carb diet does have many health benefits  and can lead to lasting weight loss, there is no “metabolic advantage” to going  low carb. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical  Nutrition compared a low-carb diet with one that was higher in carbohydrates.  The result: There was no difference in weight loss or changes in the ratio of  muscle-to-fat. What’s more, when researchers compared a low-carb diet with a  low-fat diet (and higher in carbs), they discovered that neither was better at  boosting metabolism.
You can analyze studies and research  all day, but the bottom line is simple: You can eat carbs and still lose weight.  The diet you choose will be largely dependent on many personal preferences and  eating styles, and whether it’s low carb or higher in carbs, both strategies can  be equally effective at creating change.

ADD CARBS TO  YOUR DIET Generally speaking, if you’re active you need  anywhere between one to three grams of carbohydrate per pound of lean body mass.  The carbohydrate requirement tends to range more widely than the other  macronutrients because it’s largely dictated by how many calories you’re trying  to eat per day, and your total amount of activity. In other words, determining  the right amount of carbs is really the fourth step in your diet plan. First,  figure out how many calories you need, then set goals for proteins and fats.  Once you establish those guidelines, then your remaining calories for your  weight goal should be filled in with carbs.

THE BOTTOM  LINE Carbohydrates, just like fat and protein allotments,  should be comprised mostly of whole and minimally processed foods. For most  people, carbohydrates are a form of dessert. And if you’re eating healthy, about  10 to 20 percent of your total calories can basically come from any foods you  want. Your choices among carb-dominant foods (fruit, milk, starchy vegetables,  non-starchy vegetables, grains, legumes) should be based on your personal  preference and tolerance, while maintaining as much variety as reasonably  possible. As a rule of thumb, eating two to three fruits and two to three  vegetables per day will usually fill up the majority of your carbohydrate  allotment, while providing beneficial nutrients that will help your overall  health.  Easy enough, right?

 

Why Olympic Lifts

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Why Olympic Lift?
By Wil Fleming
There is a large portion of coaches that don’t think Olympic lifting has any benefits whatsoever. These coaches believe that the benefits of Olympic lifting is over blown, inflated and doesn’t really pertain to athletes. They cite the time it takes to teach athletes the lifts (too long they say), and they cite risk vs. reward (they say the risk is too great for too little reward). This post is not for those coaches, if you are one of those coaches, then I applaud you for creating more explosive, faster and more dominant athletes while not using Olympic lifts. This post is for the coaches that are doing the Olympic lifts or on the fence about these lifts, that need more ammunition when discussing their programs or want a final piece of the puzzle to commit to training their athletes with these lifts.

Type II muscle development

Type II (Fast twitch) muscle fiber is the golden currency for successful athletes. Greater type II muscle makes athletes more explosive, and faster. Type II muscle fibers are part of high threshold motor units and only react to high output activities, so curls with the 25 lbs dumbbells are not going to cut it. Olympic lifts are high power movements and recruit type II muscle for activation, the more explosive movement is used the more preferentially these units will be recruited. There are movements that replicate the power output of Olympic lifts, but don’t hit on all the other great parts of Olympic lifts.

Improved coordination

The Olympic lifts are a great display of coordination and motor skill for all athletes. There is a precise control of the body that is necessary to complete these lifts. While this coordination is not identical to that required by any other sport nothing else in the weightroom is an identical match to sporting events either. This coordination does center around the hips and legs, similar to many other sporting events.

Improved power characteristics

The completion of the Olympic lifts includes full extension of the hips and knees in an explosive manner. This improvement has great carryover to hip and knee extension power in other areas of athletics. Athletes that are trained extensively in the Olympic lifts show improved rates of force development which greatly improves their power creating ability.

Improved force absorption

Often overlooked, receiving the bar overhead or at the chest requires the athlete to absorb force. This is the piece of the puzzle that can really make the Olympic lifts something that keeps athletes healthier. Most displays of power in the field of play must have a corresponding need to absorb force upon landing, Olympic lifts above other displays of power in the gym can provide this.

Success elsewhere

There are some athletes with whom I do not use the Olympic lifts. Those athletes that have a history of back pain or back injuries would be first among them. For younger athletes (12-14) I teach the Olympic lifts only as a skill, something to be improved upon by repetition not by weight used. For other athletes that are able, the Olympic lifts can serve a great role