Regular Exercise Reduces Anxiety

The anxiety that often accompanies a chronic illness can significantly interfere with the healing process and adherence to the treatment plan. But regular exercise can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, a new University of Georgia study shows.

Research found that exercise sessions greater than 30 minutes were better at reducing anxiety than sessions of less than 30 minute. But surprisingly, programs with a duration of between three and twelve weeks appear to be more effective at reducing anxiety than those lasting more than 12 weeks. The researchers noted that study participants were less likely to stick with the longer exercise programs, which suggests that better participation rates result in greater reductions in anxiety.

“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that physical activities such as walking or weight lifting may turn out to be the best medicine that physicians can prescribe to help their patients feel less anxious,” said lead author Matthew Herring, a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology, at the UGA College of Education.

As reported in Science Daily, “The patients in the studies suffered from a variety of conditions, including heart disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer and chronic pain from arthritis. In 90 percent of the studies examined, the patients randomly assigned to exercise had fewer anxiety symptoms, such as feelings of worry, apprehension, and nervousness, than the control group.

“We found that exercise seems to work with just about everybody under most situations,” said study co-author Pat O’Connor, professor and co-director of the UGA Exercise Psychology Laboratory. “Exercise even helps people who are not very anxious to begin with become more calm.”

You can see the tremendous value of exercise goes well beyond body image and weight management.  By reducing anxiety and depression, exercise goes a long way toward healing the body.  Healing starts with the mind and exercise enables the mind to perform its magic for the body!

Dr. Jack Singer is a Certified Sport Psychologist and Professional Speaker, based in Southern California.  He consults with athletes and teams all over the U.S. and Canada.  You can speak with Dr. Jack  by calling him at 1-800-497-9880 or email him at:  drjack@askdrjack.com

Benefits of Rebounding

All of us probably have some fond memory of bouncing on a trampoline when we were kids. Little did you know, you were actually rebounding – a fun way to burn calories even as an adult! Believe it or not, bouncing up and down offers a safe, low-impact workout for any age and fitness level.

Benefits of rebounding have been shown to include:

  • Stronger musculoskeletal system due to increased G-force (gravitational load)
  • Faster metabolism
  • Improved digestion
  • Increased blood flow

Today’s mini-trampolines offer a portable, quick and efficient way to get in shape. Take for example our PlyoRebounder. We’ve joined forces with Todd Durkin, ACE Personal Trainer of the Year and trainer to leading NFL and MLB athletes, to show how PlyoRebounder offers dynamic, high-energy “plyo-training” for users of every ability. Add medicine balls (up to 20 pounds) to work on slow and quick response plyometrics and upper and lower body agility training. Or hop on top and start jogging or bouncing to get a cardio workout with a stability handle for balance, just in case.

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*Article from Total Gym Inside.  To learn more about the Total Gym Inside visit http://blog.totalgym.com/

What I Have Learned At Fitness Quest 10

When I first found out about Fitness Quest 10 I knew it was a place that anyone in the fitness world would love to visit.  You look at their website and the video pops up on the screen with kids, adults, and even NFL and MLB players doing exercises on equipment that you have never even seen or heard of.  You investigate further and realize the variety of services they offer from personal training and sports performance conditioning all the way to nutritional counseling and physical and chiropractic therapy.

As a hungry and motivated college senior I knew that I had to apply for an internship with Fitness Quest 10. Being from a small town in North Carolina, I thought my chances of getting an internship were slim to none, but I had to try.  When I received the phone call informing me that I would be a FQ10 intern during the summer of 2010 I could not have been happier.  I packed up my car and drove across the country not knowing what to expect.  When I arrived at Fitness Quest I was welcomed with wide open arms.  Everyone was extremely nice and did all they could to help me.

During my first week at FQ10, Todd was hosting his LIVE 3.5 day mentorship.  To be honest, I didn’t even know what that meant.  Little did I know, in one short week at FQ10 I learned more than what one year of college could have ever taught me.  As a person who had been a personal trainer throughout college, I assumed I knew everything.  I knew all about exercise prescription, periodization, blah blah blah.  I began to get bored with training because I thought there was nothing to learn.  Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. Coming to FQ10 has opened up my eyes so much more.

During my first week I learned about Optimal Performance Bodywork (OPB), which is a program of stretches that Todd created and all FQ10 trainers perform after one of their phenomenal workouts.  Not only is this program good for a client’s flexibility, it also really makes them feel better after a session.  Additionally, OPB can help a trainer really connect with their client and make them want to come back and continue training with you. 

I also learned many new exercises that can translate to the functional lives of many clients.  Functional training is huge at FQ10 and while many people think of functional fitness as “sissy”, it can greatly help you in any aspect of fitness from strength, hypertrophy, and endurance to speed, acceleration, and power.  It has not only changed the way I workout, but also the way I train my clients.  Functional training is truly the future of exercise.

The one thing I have learned at FQ10 is the power of motivation, encouragement, and how important it is to serve and work for your community.  FQ10 trainers inspire their clients throughout their sessions in hopes that the client will leave their session feeling uplifted and ready to take on the grueling day of work, school, or whatever the day has in store for them.  Their positive attitude and willingness to inspire and motivate you is what separates FQ10 trainers from the average ones. 

The knowledge I have gained from FQ10 far exceeds what I can put into words, and it will truly help me in my professional endeavors throughout my life.  Thank you Fitness Quest 10!

The Importance of Nutrition For The High School Athlete

One evening I was talking to one of my high school athletes in the athletic development camp that I teach. During the workout, I casually asked him, like I do with all my athletes, what he ate during the day. Keep in mind I was training him at 7:00 p.m. The kid said that he had had a bowl of cereal (and not the good kind) for breakfast and a slice of pizza for lunch. That’s it! Three things came to mind as he listed his food intake—what a bunch of crap this kid has had so far today, I can’t expect this kid to execute and perform the drills I set for him if he’s running on low and inefficient energy, and his response is what I hear all too often from athletes his age.

The high school years are a great time for most boys and girls. Most don’t have to get a job, they don’t have any financial responsibilities, they don’t have any kids, and they don’t have any particular long-term worries. It’s a better time for athletes because they’re playing a sport they enjoy, and in most cases, this leads to a positive social interaction among their peers. They’re asked to do a few things—play well, get solid grades, and stay out of major trouble. I believe there’s one major thing high school athletes should strive to be—educated in nutrition.

There are many reasons why high school athletes should be well-verse in nutrition, many of which are non-sports related. It’s important for any athlete to know the effects certain foods have on sports performance. They need to understand that the energy they get from wheat pasta with marinara sauce (good energy) is far different from the energy they get from a Taco Bell burrito supreme (bad energy). Ultimately, what type of food an athlete consumes can vastly affect practice and on field performance in a positive or negative manner. I often tell my athletes that you can’t always directly control the outcome of the game, but you can always control your preparation for the particular contest by being mentally focus, hydrated, and rested and having good energy on board. The saying is so true—failure to prepare is preparing to fail. Nutrition is a major part of preparing for athletic success. The main objective I have for any high school athlete is to understand what foods provide good energy and what foods provide bad energy. Along with this, they should all have a basic understanding of how the three macronutrients—fats, carbohydrates, and protein—affect the body.

Good nutrition pertains to many aspects of life. For one, healthy eating is part of a positive lifestyle. The earlier kids understand how foods can affect their lifestyle, the better off they’ll be as they enter adult life. Often times, I have adult clients who are striving to lose weight but struggle because they’ve developed poor eating habits during their pre-adolescent and adolescent years. How athletes eat can also affect their school work. If they’re low on energy due to a lack of eating or a poor quality of eating, their ability to recall information for a test or essay can be severely hindered.

More importantly, being nutritionally conscious is a microcosm about choices. In life, you’re always presented with choices. Within this, you have good choices and bad choices, and with any choice, there are consequences. A good choice will lead to certain outcomes, most of which will be desired. However, a series of bad choices could lead down a difficult path. So whether it’s a choice about nutrition, drug use, or school, young kids need to understand that the choices they make can have an effect on their overall life.

So if your athlete is presented with Taco Bell or wheat pasta with marinara sauce before a game, does he have the knowledge to know the difference between the two and understand how the choice of one can affect his performance? Life is about choices, and it’s never too early to learn.

Jeff King is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer at Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. Jeff has worked with many young athletes ranging from ages 8-18 and has experience working with athletes from a variety of sports. Jeff’s main goal in working with young athletes is to teach them the basic principles of strength and conditioning which will allow them to develop a multitude of skills while minimizing their risk of injury.

The Truth About Vertical Jump

As a strength and conditioning coach, I work with many young basketball players and one common question that parents and coaches frequently ask me is what can be done to improve their son’s, daughter’s or athlete’s vertical jump? Every time this question is raised, two thoughts come to my mind. First: I want to show the coaches or parent some basic drills to help establish a foundation for their child or athlete. Second: I contemplate the pragmatism of the expectations for the child or athlete. Many adults want their child or athlete to have an unrealistic, “out of this world” 40 inch vertical jump. So before addressing the issue of ways to improve a vertical jump, I will first take the time to address all who feel their child or athlete can attain this “out of this world” jump.

There are many uncontrollable factors that contribute to a person’s ability to being explosive vertically. Genetic factors such as muscle fiber type, muscle attachment, and lever arm length, all play a role and contribute to explosive power. Lets face it parents, no matter how hard your child works or how much you want them to jump high, if they do not have the right muscle fiber type, optimum muscle attachment, and lever arm length, they are not going to attain eye-popping vertical jump numbers. The sooner coaches and parents grasp this concept, the more realistic their expectations for their child or athlete will be. If you did a poll on the most vertically explosive NBA players and asked them when they were first able to dunk, you would find many of the players were able to sometime during their junior high years. Is there any type of special training these athletes participated in order for them to be able to dunk at such an early age? Other than playing basketball, you would find the answer to be “NO.” They most likely had minimal if no type of strength training at this point of their lives. These athletes simply struck gold and have the right combination or physiological and neural factors. I like to call these athletes “genetically blessed.”

However, every athlete may not be graced with a natural 40 inch vertical jump and there are ways to improve and become more vertically explosive. In terms of young high school athletes, I always say to them, “the best way to improve your vertical jump is to establish a strong foundation.” A basic exercise to achieve this improvement is by practicing and being efficient at a two-footed box jump. In performing a box jump, an athlete’s main focus should be to jump with a control countermovement with both arms and legs, and land with proper mechanics (an athletic stance with a soft landing). Repeating this drill along with a general strength training program allows for an athlete to become neuromuscular efficient, thus recruit more muscle fibers (recruiting more muscle fibers increases the ability to generate power). Once the athlete is proficient at this particular plyometric exercise, he/she can then progress to more challenging plyometrics such as single leg jumps, depth jumping and bounding. For young athletes, progressing basic strength and jumping mechanics as well becoming more neuromuscular efficient allows them to maximize their jumping potential while minimizing the risk of injury. All coaches should incorporate these basic fundamental principles when dealing with young athletes in regards to improving vertical explosiveness.

Jeff King is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer at Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. Jeff has worked with many young athletes ranging from ages 8-18 and has experience working with athletes from a variety of sports. Jeff’s main goal in working with young athletes is to teach them the basic principles of strength and conditioning which will allow them to develop a multitude of skills while minimizing their risk of injury.

Free Speed Camp At Fitness Quest 10

Fitness Quest 10, a premier health and human performance center and named a top 10 gym in America, voted by Men’s Health, wants to help you achieve your fitness goals.  Take this opportunity to experience the world-renown program that has taken many youth, high school, college, and professional athletes like LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees to the next level. 

What:    First Step Quickness and Speed Camp

Who:      Boys and Girls ages 8-13

When:    Saturday June, 26 9:00am-10:15am

Where:   Fitness Quest 10

*Cost:    FREE
*limited to 20 participants

 

 Call 858-271-1171 to sign up today!

Navigating The College Recruiting Process With Confidence Part II

Here’s the link to Part I which highlighted two critical questions to ask yourself as a student-athlete:

1. What type of college experience am I looking for?

2. What are your key college decision factors?

In Part II you will steps to realistically evaluate yourself as a student-athlete.

Attention student-athletes:

Have you ever asked yourself: What level of athletics is right for me?

Attention parents:

Have you ever wondered what level of athletics would be the right fit for your son or daughter?

Here are some simple ACTION STEPS you can take to get a realistic idea of what level of athletics and academics is appropriate for you or your student-athlete.

3. Student-athlete evaluation:

A. Talk to your coaches: As student-athletes, you need to talk to your high school and/or club team coach to express a desire to play college sports and ask them for an HONEST evaluation of your potential to play at the college level. Also ask what areas need improvement to reach your full potential on and off the field.

B. Talk to your academic counselor: Ask them for an HONEST evaluation of your academic standing and make sure you are academically qualified for college.  To do this, go over the academic guidelines that different colleges are looking for including GPA, SAT, and ACT scores.

C. Get tested / evaluated: Attend a combine, camp, showcase, or training facility where you will be objectively tested.  This is the only way you can compare your athletic ability and skill level with other athletes.

D. Get a highlight video: College coaches don’t have the time or budget to travel to many games and evaluate athletes in person.  If you provide college coaches a 3 – 5 minute highlight video and a resume with all of your athletic and academic information, they can evaluate you much more efficiently.  We recommend getting your video and resume online so you can easily email coaches.

Click to below to view SportsForce profile and highlight video examples:

* Football, Basketball, Softball, Baseball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Field Hockey

E. Evaluate & research college athletes / teams: Watch college athletes and teams compete in person, on TV, and over the Internet.  See first hand what the caliber of play is at the DI, D2, D3, NAIA, and junior college level.  Visit college sports websites to see the biographies of the athletes and their high school sports statistics, awards, and achievements (ex. High School statistics, height, weight, All-State, All-League, All-County).

F. Evaluate and compare yourself to other athletes: Try to realistically evaluate and compare yourself to other student-athletes who are both older than you or your same grade level.  Ask yourself, “Am I as good as they are right now athletically and academically?”  If not, do I have the same potential to reach their ability?

GOAL = Get clear on where you are and what you should focus on to reach your college sports goals

Reference our SportsForce College Recruiting Guide to learn more.

* FREE Sign up click HERE

To get more advanced college recruiting tips, strategies and advice visit our website and RESOURCES section. 

Article courtesy of SportsForce, Home for professional College Sports Recruiting Profiles, Highlight Videos, Tips and Tools – www.sportsforceonline.com