You have probably seen thousands of pictures of individuals sitting in a chair with giant pants that look like balloons. They claim they are working on recovering their muscles, but what exactly are they using? The Normatec.
NormaTec is the leader in rapid recovery—the system gives a competitive edge to the world’s elite athletes, coaches, and trainers. The NormaTec Recovery Systems are dynamic compression devices designed for recovery. All the systems use NormaTec’s patented PULSE technology to help athletes recover faster between training and after a performance.
So how does the NormaTec actually work?
The systems include a control unit and attachments which go on the legs, arms, or hips. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery with the patented NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern. When you use the systems, you will first experience a pre-inflate cycle, during which the connected attachments are molded to your exact body shape. The session will then begin by compressing your feet, hands, or upper quad (depending on which attachment you are using). Similar to the kneading and stroking done during a massage, each segment of the attachment will first compress in a pulsing manner and then release. This will repeat for each segment of the attachment as the compression pattern works its way up your limb.
The NormaTec is used to help athletes recover as quick as possible to get them ready to train again. Are you interested in trying a NormaTec? Call your local Velocity Sports Performance!
Did February Break mess up your training schedule? Do you have a vacation coming up and you don’t know if you can make it to the gym? Try this bodyweight circuit (That you can do anywhere) to stay on track! Let us know what you think! with Coach Steve Calarco
Why should your athlete participate in group training sessions?
Sports are about who can fail the least, and to get good at failing the least we must fail a lot at first. In a group setting you can fail, and are encouraged to fail as you receive corrections from a coach. Athletes in these types of settings get the added benefit of learning from other athletes and their failures. By learning from other athletes mistakes you avoid making the same errors, and with the extra failure the learning curve increases for each individual.
Training with a group also teaches teamwork and accountability. Most sports are team based sports, and the ability of a team to win isn’t based on one athlete’s abilities. As athletes, we need to be the best we can be, but we need to bring the rest of the team with us. Working within a group setting encourages young athletes to inspire others, and teaches them about leadership. Leadership values are hard to teach in a one-on-one setting because there are no other athletes there to fail with you.
The importance of competing is also emphasized in a group session because the athletes are constantly pushing each other both physically and mentally. Learning to compete is a crucial part of athletics. An athlete needs to have the knowledge of competing in order to compete with an opponent. These athletes first learn how to have healthy competition with their teammates, and then they learn to compete with themselves.
There are many benefits for athletes to participate in group training, and by subjecting your athlete to group sessions you are only benefiting them. Remember to keep the groups at a maximum of about 15 to 1 to make sure your athlete is receiving a good amount of attention. After learning how to work with a group your athlete will then be ready for any small group situations as well!
Thinking about big goals can be very daunting. For example, you may want to lose 50lbs. Thinking about that number everyday can be very stressful. Instead, ask yourself what you can do TODAY that is better than yesterday. What positive steps can you take TODAY? What small things can you do TODAY? Achieving a big goal is a process and requires commitment to that process. Each day is an opportunity and should be treated as such. Nothing happens overnight. If you take care of the little things, the big things tend to fall into place. There is no doubt that you are going to run into obstacles in pursuit of your goal. Just remember that these “obstacles” are not roadblocks that require you to turn around or go back. Look at them instead as hurdles that you can, with the right tools and mindset, overcome in order to continue forward. Being able to approach obstacles in this way will help you not only achieve your weight loss or fat loss goals, but overcome obstacles that you will no doubt encounter in other areas in your life as well.
The weekend for most people is when things tend to go awry. The clock hits 5pm on Friday and all hell breaks loose. Your weekends are most likely not as structured as your weekdays and with more freedom comes additional opportunities to either take positive steps forward or take steps backwards. In no way am I saying not to enjoy yourself, but you should be strategic in the way that you enjoy yourself. It would be a shame to undo all of your hard work on the weekend after making so much progress during the week. A little preparation during the week can help you keep your weekends on track. There are a lot of things out of your control, but your preparation is not one of them. In this blog, we will go over some simple strategies on how you can prepare ahead of time to win your weekend.
Structure your weekends
During the work week, your day is structured. You wake up at the same time, take a certain amount of time to get ready and you are on your way to work. At work, your breaks are probably timed and you’re most likely out of work at the same time every day. At that point, you hit the gym and head home for your nightly routine. Take the same approach on the weekend! You don’t have to structure your Saturday down to the minute, but plan out your day. Set an alarm! Not for 6am but maybe set it for 8:30am. You may wake up before then, but at least you’re not sleeping away your day. A change in your daily structure can lead to steps back, missed meals, poor choices and overcompensating at later meals. Don’t fall into these traps. Prepare– because structure breeds freedom. Write that down.
Cook in Bulk
Healthy eating does not have to mean boiled chicken, brown rice and broccoli. I just completed a challenge with a lot of our members here at Velocity Sports Performance where we followed certain nutritional guidelines. During the challenge, we shared recipes through a private Facebook group. It was awesome to see what people came up with and I definitely got some new recipes to add to my weekly menu. With a little creativity, there are so many meal options available to you that are easy, tasty, and healthy. MAKE time later in the week to cook lean protein, healthy carbohydrates and copious amounts of vegetables to have on hand for the weekend. Using this strategy will allow you to quickly put together a healthy meal in no time. Moreover, you should also have healthy snacks ready to go so you can throw them into a cooler if necessary. Some healthy snacks include but are not limited to, nuts, protein bars, beef jerky, lean deli meat, and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Kick Ass at Social Events
Having a social life does not mean you can’t stick to healthy eating habits. There are strategies you can implement to stick to your goals even when you are at a sporting event, out to dinner with friends or at a party. On the day of the event, make sure you exercise. You don’t have to do anything special. A healthy balance of structured resistance training and some conditioning will do fine. Eating in excess and not exercising is not ideal if you’re looking to continue to make progress. You can also eat a protein filled snack beforehand. Doing so will help curb your appetite and prevent you from overeating while you are out. Next, drink a good amount of water before you go out. You be should be on top of your water intake already, but having a good amount of water before you go out will help keep your hunger at bay. Lastly, keep it “business as usual.” No matter what event you are attending or hosting, treat the meal you have just like every other meal: balanced and prioritized with lean protein and vegetables.
Strategies for Dining Out
Check the menu ahead of time. This allows you to choose the best meal for your goals beforehand instead of making a less than optimal dinner choice spur of the moment.
Stay away from mindless eating. While waiting for your entrée, most restaurants will bring out warm bread or chips which can lead to mindless eating and excess calories that you don’t need. These excess calories can actually negate all of your hard work.
Start with a vegetable rich salad. A variety of vegetables will send satiety signals to your brain helping you not to overeat later on.
Prioritize lean protein and vegetables. Make these the focal point of your entrée.
Ditch dessert. Although dessert is delicious, it is excess calories that you don’t need.
The weekend is a challenge for most people, but it doesn’t have to be. Your work week is most likely very structured while Saturday and Sunday are most likely not. With this lack of structure comes an opportunity to stick to and be mindful of your goals or a risk of taking a few steps back. Above, I went over four strategies to help you win your weekend. If you follow the steps mentioned above, you can most definitely optimize your fat-loss progress. I am not saying not to have fun, but I am simply reminding you to be mindful. Remember, you are in control of your own progress. Life is about balance. Own the results you worked or didn’t work for.
By using negative words like HAVE TO and CAN’T we vocalize our fear of failure. Teaching athletes to keep a positive and growth mindset is important because being an athlete means you will fail multiple times a day, and that’s okay! However, you must learn to fail, and not be afraid of that failure. Here are two words that athletes should avoid using to stay in the right mindset.
HAVE TO– Instead of saying have to, say you WANT TO. When we say, we HAVE TO do something we create a belief that someone is forcing us to do something. For example, when a coach gives an athlete a specific workout, and the athlete asks “do I HAVE TO?” This athlete is creating doubt, and does not have the desire to accomplish the workout or their goals. To have a productive training session change your word choice to WANT TO, and the overall atmosphere and morale of you and your teammates will increase. Have a drive and a WANT to work towards your goals, and not do something because someone is making you do it.
CAN’T-Instead of saying can’t, say not yet! This is the most used, and most hurtful, word to our goals and mindset. When we say, I CAN’T, we are telling our brain that our body will not be able to perform the action. We have put up a mental road block on our path towards success. By changing the outlook, and saying NOT YET to something, we are keeping our path clear to continue towards our goals. Coaches may even respond to you when you say can’t with “not with an attitude like that!” If something seems hard try it anyways because you never know what you are capable of until you try.
Are you having a hard time finishing your training sessions strong? Do you/or your athlete feel defeated before even attempting your session? Watch what you say, and try changing a few words in your training vocabulary. Teaching athletes to keep a positive and growth mindset is important for their mental health, and goals.
Failing is part of life and all sports. When we learn to fail, and learn to overcome that failure we learn to have resilience. When we get knocked down we learn to get back up!
You don’t have to train physically every day, but if you have certain goals you need to be disciplined enough to continually “train” your mind as well. Professional athletes never have an off day because they are consistently working towards their goals both physically and mentally. Training daily can have many benefits for your body, and your mentality. If you want to be a successful athlete, you must be willing to put in the work every single day.
When you take a day off from training you are basically saying that “I’m not working on my goals or me as an athlete today.” You are telling yourself that your goals are not important, and they are ideas or things that would be cool if you accomplished them. If you have a goal you want to reach you must work for it every day not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. When you choose to not train you’re pushing your goals further away, and you develop excuses later that turn into habits.
Not every athlete can train every day due to different circumstances, and that is understandable. However, when taking a “rest” day you need to take the proper steps to continually grow as an athlete. Don’t’ be afraid to work towards your goals every day.
We all go through times when things just don’t go our way. We try to break out of it, but no matter what we try we can’t seem to shake it. This could be in sports, in school, at work, or in the gym. It happens to even the best of us.
Here are three ways to help break you out of a slump:
Acknowledge the Slump
Accept it, don’t fight against it. Like getting stuck in a strong current, fighting the waves only tires you and worsens your chances of making it to shore. Fighting it can make a slump last longer and feel much worse. Ask yourself, what are my body and mind telling me? Acknowledge that maybe this is its way to tell you to slow down. The best athletes learn how to take advantage of the adversity that they face and come out stronger as a result.
Write It Out
Try a free-writing exercise where you spend 10 minutes writing whatever you want. The only rule is that you have to keep writing. More often than not, writing exercises like these can help you get to the bottom of any problem you might be having. It takes time to master, but having a daily journal like this can help you understand your habits over time. It is also quite valuable to look back and see if you have had this problem before, and how you dealt with it.
Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)
Don’t throw yourself a pity party. The only people that want to attend are the ones that want to tear you down. When you’re in a slump don’t give into it. Have a positive mental attitude and surround yourself with other like-minded individuals.
Remember everyone gets in a slump. Acknowledging that it happens is the first step to breaking out of it. Try free-writing exercises to discover your habits. This will help guide you in making the right adjustments to break those bad behaviors. Attack your slump head-on with a positive mental attitude and surround yourself with others that exude that same positivity and you’re sure to be a success.
No matter the season, it is important for athletes to stay hydrated in order to perform at their highest level.
However, during the warmer months, dehydration is a very serious topic for not only athlete performance, but general safety and well-being. As the temperature goes up, so too does athlete perspiration.
When an athlete sweats, they lose electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. When an athlete depletes their body of fluids and electrolytes without replenishing them, they put themselves in grave danger.
Here are four dehydration warning signs athletes should take seriously:
Dark Colored Urine With Strong Odor
This is one of the easiest ways to catch dehydration at an early stage. If an athlete’s urine is dark yellow it is a good time to start drinking some water and stop the problem before it even starts.
Prolonged Weight Loss During Exercise
Weight loss of 2% or more during a training session is a good indicator of dehydration.That would be approximately 2.5-pounds of weight lost for an athlete weighing 125 pounds. Weight loss during exercise is not fat loss — so stay hydrated before, during and after training and bring plenty of fluids to games and practices.
Muscle cramps can be another of the warning signs of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Consuming a sports drink like Gatorade during exercise bouts longer than four hours or when under extreme heat conditions can help prevent muscle cramps.This does not mean an athlete needs a sports drink for one hour of exercise — water would be much more beneficial to them than Gatorade.
Dizziness, Nausea and Fatigue
If an athlete is experiencing dizziness, nausea and fatigue, it is important to immediately begin consuming water or a sports drink and rest.Also, it is important to avoid caffeine, as caffeine will increase urine output.
When you recognize any of these four dehydration warning signs, tell a coach or parent and begin hydrating immediately. Have fun and be safe this summer during your training sessions.
Although Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are not as career ending as they used to be, they are still significant enough to greatly impact an athlete’s season and future potential. Because of this, they are obviously best avoided. Although no injury is completely unavoidable, preparation prior to competition is essential to reducing the risk.
Two primary causes for a non-impact ACL injury: inadequate deceleration and poor muscular balance. Deceleration is the ability to slow down and control force production. This is an extremely important skill for athletes to master during training. When athletes lack the ability to decelerate efficiently, they put themselves at risk for a non-impact ACL injury during rudimentary actions like changing direction fast or landing from a jump.
The following tips are essential to include in your comprehensive preventative conditioning program:
Proper Warm-Up: A proper warm up is key for preparing the body for activity.By warming up your muscles first, you greatly reduce your risk of injury during competition of practice.
Strength Training: Strengthening of the hamstrings, quads, core and gluteus musculature can help to maintain upper and lower leg alignment, thus reducing stress and excessive rotation at the knee.
Improve Balance: Single-leg exercises and drills can help to eliminate imbalance differences between the right and left leg.
Controlled Plyometrics: Vertical jumps and plyometric exercises should be included but must be controlled, not allowing the knees to collapse together.This inward movement (valgus collapse) of the knees is a predictor of ACL injuries. Start by using both legs and progress to single leg lateral jumps.
Injury Prevention Screening: Screenings can be a key to possibly identifying individual needs, thus further reducing the risk of injury.Mobility (range of motion) and/or stability (strength-related motor control) asymmetries must be addressed. The Functional Movement Screen and similar objective standardized measures can be used to assess for possible impairment of proper functional movement.
Consistency is key to reap the benefits from a comprehensive preventative conditioning program. For best results, the above listed workouts and training methods should be completed at minimum three times a week.