Sleep: The Most Important Strategy for Athletes

sleep is the most important strategy for athletes

Sleep is a smart play

 
Focusing attention on sleep is a smart strategy for anyone trying to perform their best.
 
Everyone faces more threats to sleeping well than ever before.  From the rigors of your busy schedules, to added stress in life and work, and from the slumber-stealing use of technology.
 
 
Physical activity puts demand on muscles and tissues. The human body repairs itself during slumber. So it not only helps your body recover, it’s also a surefire performance booster.
 

Sleep powers performance

 
Scientific research clearly has documented the performance enhancing power of quality sleep. In the world of athletics, improving any aspect of mental and physical performance is incredibly valuable.
 
When we have to improve recovery for an athlete, we start here.  It has a wide range of benefits and the cost of missing is immense. It something everyone can be proactive and take control of.
 
If you aren’t getting sleep, then other recovery methods are just a short term fix.  It’s like putting more deodorant on, when you aren’t even taking a shower.
 
It’s just not going to make a real difference!
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
– Vince Lombardi

Lack of sleep increases injuries 

 
One scientific study showed that athletes sleeping less than 6 hours per night were more likely to suffer a fatigue related injury the following day!  
 
Another study showed high school athletes who slept less than 8 hours per night has more injuries. On average, they had an injury rate of 1.7 times greater than those who slept more than 8 hours.
 
As an athlete, you can’t play if you’re on the bench with an injury.
 
For your own health and their future playing career, you need to focus on sleeping well.
 
Learn the benefits of sleep
This video highlights some of the most important ways benefits to1 athletic performance:

The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players 
Mah C, et al. (2011)

Ongoing study continues to show that extra sleep improves athletic performance
Mah C, et al. (2008)

The effect of partial sleep deprivation on weight-lifting performance
Reilly T, Piercy M. (1994)

Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes
Milewski MD, et al. (2014)

How sleep deprivation decays the mind and body
The Atlantic

If you want that six pack, you better understand the fundamentals of fat loss

fundamentals of fat loss

Lots of people want to lose bodyfat and get leaner.  Many hope to get lean enough to show off six-pack abs. If so, you better understand the fundamentals of fat loss.

Unfortunately with all the conflicting information out there it can be hard to know what works and what’s important.  Nutrition, keto, paleo, supplements, cardio, strength, HIIT, CrossFit…?  Its a long list of confusing information.

If you want a six pack, better understand the fundamentals of fat loss.  Sports Performance Director Tim Hanway from Velocity Norwood, shares some of the fundamentals of fat loss.

Coaches Favorite: Kettlebell Exercises

kettlebell

Kettlebells are a great tool which have been around for decades but have become popular again.  And it’s for good reason; they’re versatile and dynamic.  We surveyed some of our coaches to find out what their favorite exercises are with a kettlebell.

Coach Mike’s Pick: Double Kettlebell Clean + Squat + Push Press

The Double Kettlebell Clean+Squat+Push-Press is a full-body exercise complex that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. When done correctly, you develop power through the Clean, leg strength in the Squat, vertical pressing strength in the Push Press, and core strength throughout the entire movement.

Execution: Before beginning, you must keep your core rigid through the entire movement to ensure you don’t hurt yourself.

  1. Start with the two kettlebells of the same weight 1-2 feet in front of you and feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. With knees slightly bent, keep your back flat and push your hips back to the wall behind you and grab the kettlebells tightly.
  3. Take a good breath and “hike” the kettlebells backward between your legs
  4. Stand up as fast you can to snap the kettlebells up and forward into the rack position.
  5. Clean the kettlebells to the rack position.
  6. Take a new breath, slowly squat down with the kettlebells as low as you can then drive up as fast as possible.
  7. Start to press the kettlebells above your head as you reach the top position, using the momentum of your squat to help finish the movement.
  8. Once the kettlebells are straight above your head, take another good breath and slowly pull the kettlebells down to the Rack position.
  9. Once in the rack position, reset with a good breath and prepare yourself for another repetition. Instead of starting with kettlebells on the ground, carefully let the kettlebells “fall” (while still holding them) and again hike them back through your legs and repeat the exercise for as many reps as prescribed.

Velocity Sports Performance on Vimeo.

If your goal is to develop all-around strength, use a heavy set of kettlebells for 3-6 reps. If your goal is to get a solid metabolic workout, go with a lighter set with which you can get in 8+ challenging reps.

Misao’s Pick: Halo

The Kettlebell Halo improves upper body mobility and stability. It is an overhead pattern that requires core stability as well as mobility and stability of the shoulders and shoulder blades.

Execution:

  1. In a kneeling or standing position, hold the kettlebell with both hands by the horns
  2. Brace your core and hold the bell in front of your chest.
  3. Slowly circle the bell around your head clockwise, then counter-clockwise. The movement must be slow and under control.
  4. The weight of the bell needs to be light enough so your torso does not sway side to side or arch.

Velocity Sports Performance on Vimeo.

You can easily progress this exercise by changing the way you hold the bell. Holding the weight with the bell pointing down is easier as the weight stays securely in your palms. If you grip it upside down (with the bell on top) it becomes more challenging because the weight travels farther away from your body, increasing the strain on the muscle due to a longer lever.

Coach Kenny’s Pick: Turkish Get Up

The Turkish Get-Up is great for shoulder stability, overall strength, and just plain toughness. It also can help develop a sense of body control and awareness and test an athlete’s focus.

Execution:

  1. Start laying on your back with your right knee bent and your left arm extended out to the side. Your kettlebell should be on the ground next to your right arm.
  2. Grasp the bell with your right hand and press it up so your right arm is completely straight and perpendicular to the ground.
  3. Keep your eyes on the bell throughout the entire movement.
  4. Roll up onto your left elbow, and then to your left hand.
  5. Push your hips up towards the ceiling as high as you can.
  6. Slide your left leg under your body and come up onto your left knee.
  7. Stand up.

To get back down, simply reverse the movement.

  1. Come down to your left knee.
  2. Place your left hand on the ground
  3. Slide your left leg out from underneath you so it’s totally straight, keeping your hips pressed up.
  4. Let your hips come to the ground.
  5. Lower on your left elbow.
  6. Completely lower yourself to the ground so you are laying flat.
  7. When bringing the kettlebell back to the ground, be sure to use your free hand to help guide it. Safety first.

Now do the same thing on the other side.

Coach Yo’s Pick: Bottom-Up Overhead Press

This series is great for shoulder stability, grip strength, elbow joint health, and core strength and stability based on athlete’s positioning. The Bottom-Up series gives the athlete a different stimulus since the load (kettlebell) is in an unstable position. This will improve overall proprioception (your level of awareness of where your body is in space), and by using different base positions ( ½ Kneeling, Tall Kneeling, Standing, Single Leg, etc), allows athletes to develop core strength and stability. It is a very unique exercise, and the kettlebell is an ideal tool for its execution.

Execution: Before you start, make sure that you have proper overhead mobility and stability and can do basic overhead press exercises with dumbbells or barbell. Once you have that skill, you can start by holding the kettlebell upside-down (bottom-up) right in front of shoulder. Make sure you the weight you use is not more than you can control with your grip alone. You can check holding the bell upside-down in a static position for a while without letting it drop. Ensuring you have basic stability before adding movement is always a good idea and will prevent needless injuries.

Performing the exercise in different positions will work on different elements of core strength and stability.

Coach Gary’s Pick: Split Squat KB Complex

The Split Squat KB Complex addresses muscle activation patterning, neuromuscular control, and dynamic stability of the trunk and lower extremities. This complex will challenge any athlete while reducing the likelihood of lower extremities injuries. This is valuable because more than 50% of injuries in college and high school athletics are knee injuries according to the American College of Sports Medicine. This 4-phased complex also allows coaches to progress athletes based on ability, making it excellent for novices and experienced athletes alike.

Execution:
Starting position – Kneel with your right foot flat and the right knee directly over the heel. Start with the bell on the ground in front of your left knee.

Starting Movement:
Inhale and lift the kettlebell with your left hand to the level of your forward (right) thigh.
Level your hips by pressing the hips forward and Press the forward (right) heel into the ground.
The upper body should remain tall and erect with the chest up and out and the shoulders level and stacked over the hips.

Phase 1: Split Squat – Stand up on both legs while driving your front heel into the ground. Once your legs are fully extended, reverse the motion and lower the body back to the starting.

Phase 2: Clean to Split Squat – Quickly thrust the body upward and bring the bell to the front of your shoulder. With the bell in this position, extended both legs to stand up, again driving your front heel into the ground. Once fully extended reverse the motion and lower the body back to the starting position.

Phase 3: Jerk to OH Split Squat – Quickly thrust the body upward and Jerk the bell overhead with the upper arm tight to the ear. With the bell in this position extended both legs to elevating the body upper, think about driving your front heel into the ground. Once fully extended reverse the motion and lower the body back to the starting position but remaining on the feet.

Phase 4: OH Split Squat to knee drive – With bell overhead and the upper arm tight to the ear, extend both legs to stand up. Once fully extended, quickly drive the back knee up and in front of body then back to the same spot on the ground. Once ground contact is made lower the body back to the starting position but remaining on the feet.

 

Exercise 6: Pistol Squat

The Pistol Squat is a great way to test balance and overall hip and glute strength. It also gives you a clear interpretation of your strength to bodyweight ratio. If you can easily perform the movement as a bodyweight exercise, add a kettlebell.

Execution:

  1. Front rack the kettlebell of your choice. Hold the bell with whichever hand is opposite from your “down” leg.
  2. Load your weight over one leg and slowly lower yourself to the ground on a single leg.
  3. Extend your “up” leg in front of your and keep it from touching the ground.
  4. Load your bodyweight onto one leg and as you drop down into a squat shift the loading glute back and extend the opposite leg forward in an attempt to keep it from touching the ground.

If you want to challenge yourself further, try performing the same movement while standing on some type of balance pad to give your foot an unstable surface to manage.

Coach Rob’s Pick: Single Arm Kettlebell Swing

The Swing is certainly the most ubiquitous use of the kettlebell. Once you have mastered it, try moving onto the single arm swing. This variation adds an anti-rotational component to the explosive hip drive inherent to the Swing.

Execution:

  1. Start with your feet hip-width or slightly wider. The kettlebell should be on the ground about a foot in front of you. Remember that during any weightlifting exercise, it is crucial that you keep your core tight and your back flat. Failure to do so, especially during a ballistic movement like a kettlebell swing is asking for injury.
  2. The weight you select should be lighter than you think you need until you get the feel for the exercise.
  3. Drop your butt towards to floor while keeping your chest up, grasp the bell firmly with one hand and “hike” it behind you, keeping your wrist tight to your body.
  4. Stand up quickly and let the bell rise up to about shoulder height. This part of the movement should be snappy and crisp.
  5. Keep your grip on the bell and let it fall, swinging back behind you while you keep it tight to your body.
  6. Repeat this movement for as many reps as prescribed.

Once you have this movement down, you can challenge yourself by switching hands every rep. To achieve this, let the bell swing up to its highest point, at which time it should be weightless for a brief moment. Have your opposite hand ready to grab the handle as soon as you let go with the swinging hand.

Whether you alternate hands or not, the Single Arm Swing is sure to get your heart rate up, make you sweat, and develop leg strength and core stability. Have fun!

Velocity Sports Performance on Vimeo.

 

4 Myths about Muscle Pliability You Need to Know

Trainer performing graston technique

The term “muscle pliability” has been in the news around the NFL quite a bit. Tom Brady and his trainer, Alex Guerrero, claim that making muscles pliable is the best way to sustain health and performance. How true is that claim? While it’s a great descriptive term, we are going to shed some light on what it really means and how to create muscle pliability.

Defining Words

Our performance coaches, sports medicine specialists, and tissue therapists all find it to be a useful term.  Pliable expresses some of the important qualities of muscle. According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary here’s what pliable means:

Pliable

a: supple enough to bend freely or repeatedly without breaking

b: yielding readily to others

c: adjustable to varying conditions

That’s a pretty good description for many of the qualities we want in the tissue of an athlete (or any human for that matter). The problem is that it’s being mixed up with a lot of inaccurate and confusing statements.

Our Sports Medicine Specialist, Misao Tanioka, says that “the word pliability, in my opinion, depicts the ideal muscle tissue quality. It is similar to suppleness, elasticity, or resilience. Unfortunately, I believe some of the explanations offered by Mr. Brady and Mr. Guerrero have created some misunderstanding of what ‘muscle pliability’ really is.”

Let’s try and separate some of the myths from what is true.

Myth 1: Muscles that are “soft” are better than dense

That depends on what qualifies as “soft” muscle.  Tissue Specialist Cindy Vick has worked on hundreds of elite athletes, including NFL players and Olympians across many sports. “Soft isn’t a word I would use for an athlete. When I’m working on an elderly client, I often feel muscles that could be called soft; they’re not dense. That’s not what I feel when working on elite athletes. Athletes who are healthy and performing well have muscles that have density without being overly tense and move freely. The tissue is still smooth and supple.”

This muscle quality is affected by many factors, ranging from stress, competition, nutrition, training, and recovery. At Velocity, maintaining optimal tissue quality is a constant endeavor.  Proper self myo-fascial release, various stretching techniques, and manual therapy are all part of the equation.

Myth 2: Dense muscles = stiff muscles = easily injured athletes

Relating these terms in this way grossly over-simplifies the reality and is in some ways completely wrong.

You have to start with the operative word: “dense.” Tanioka says, “Dense tissue can be elastic; elastic tissue is resilient to injury. What we have to look for is inelastic tissue.” Cindy Vick adds that “if you mean ‘dense’ to refer to a muscle with adhesions, or that doesn’t move evenly and smoothly, then yes, that’s a problem.”

Scientifically, stiffness refers to how much a muscle resists stretch under tension. It’s like thinking about the elastic qualities of a rubber band. The harder it is to pull, the stiffer it is. If a muscle can’t give and stretch when it needs to, that’s bad.

Imagine a rubber band that protects your joint. When a muscle exerts force against the impact of an opponent or gravity, stiffness can help resist the joint and ligaments from being overloaded and consequently injured.

“I agree with Mr. Brady’s statement about the importance of a muscle’s ability to lengthen, relax and disperse high-velocity, heavy incoming force to avoid injury.” says Tanioka. “However, I think that athletes also must be able to exert maximum power whether actively generating force or passively resisting an incoming stress, which requires the ability to shorten and be taut and firm as well as well as lengthen. The ability of tissue to be durable and contractile is just as important as to elongate and soften when it comes to performance and injury prevention.”

In the view of our experts, it’s not about dense, soft, stiff, or other qualitative words. Instead, they emphasize developing function through different types of strength qualities athletes need.   Athletes must prepare for the intense stress and strain their muscles will face in their sport.  They need to blend the right strength training with mobility and flexibility.

 

Myth 3: Strength training makes muscles short

“It’s an old wives’ tale that took hold when body building techniques had a big influence on strength and conditioning. A muscle can be incredibly strong without sacrificing any range of motion” according international expert and President of Velocity Sports Performance, Ken Vick, who has worked with athletes in 10 Olympic Games and helped lead the Chinese Olympic Committee’s preparation efforts for 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“I’ll give you two great examples: Gymnasts are, pound-for-pound, very strong and incredibly explosive, yet they are known to be some of the most flexible athletes. Olympic weightlifters are clearly some of the strongest athletes in the world and are also generally very flexible. They spend practically every day doing strength training and their muscles aren’t ‘short’.”

RELATED: Why Athletic Strength Is More Than Just How Much Weight Is on The Barbell. 

In fact, proper lifting technique demands excellent flexibility and mobility. For example, poor hip flexor flexibility or limited ankle mobility results in an athlete who probably cannot reach the lowest point of a back squat. Our proven methods combine strength training with dynamic mobility, movement training, and state of the art recovery technology to help our athletes gain and maintain the flexibility and mobility required for strength training and optimal performance on the field of competition.

 

Myth 4: Plyometrics and band training are better for pliability

We hear these types of claims time and again from coaches, trainers, and others who are quoting something they’ve read without much knowledge of the actual training science. Our muscles and brain don’t care if the resistance is provided by bodyweight, bands, weights, cables, or medicine balls. They can all be effective or detrimental, depending on how they are used.

Sport science has shown that manipulating different variables influences both the physiological and neurological effects of strength training. Rate of motion, movement patterns, environment, and type of resistance all influence the results.

Truth: Muscle Pliability is a good thing

Like so many ideas, muscle pliability is very good concept. The challenge lies in discerning and then conveying what is true and what is not. An experienced therapist can, within just a few moments of touching a person, tell whether that tissue is healthy. A good coach can tell whether an athlete has flexibility or mobility problems, or both, simply by watching them move.

In either case, it takes years of experience and understanding of the human body and training science, like that which is possessed by the performance and sports medicine staff at Velocity, to correctly apply a concept like muscle pliability to an athlete’s training program.

8 Kettlebell exercises that will make you fit for life

If you’ve spent any time around a gym, reading fitness blogs, or even scrolling through your friends’ Instagram posts, you’ve probably seen a kettlebell (or KB). You’ve also probably heard people say it is a great tool to make you strong, lean, and fit.

This is true, but how does this cannonball-looking thing work? What do you do with it? Do you just buy one watch the fat magically melt away? Most definitely not.

There is no magic shortcut to the results you want. A kettlebell is a great tool to help you reach your fitness goals, but like any good tool, it must be used correctly to be effective.

Kettlebell Warm-Up

Our kettlebell warm-up moves from simple to more complex exercises will help you master some of the fundamental KB movements. While you might not be able to get into some of the advanced exercises, like the KB snatch right away, with dedication and practice you will quickly feel comfortable performing them.

This is what the Velocity kettlebell warm-up looks like:

  • 20 KB Swings (American)
  • 5 Single Leg RDL (each leg)
  • 10 Goblet Squats
  • 5 Presses (each arm)
  • 8 Thrusters (each arm)
  • 8 Clean & Jerks (each arm)
  • 5 Snatches (each arm)
  • 1 Turkish Get Up (each arm)
  • 20 Swings (American)

So why should you bother to learn how to do all of these exercises? The rumors about the KB are true: with a very short workout you can get incredible results. It can help you lose weight, gain weight, add strength, or just be more active, depending on how you use it.

Buy A Kettlebell

For you to reap these benefits, you must commit. Get your own KB or go to a gym that has some. Even though we coach at a gym with a complete kettlebell setup, many of our coaches like to keep some at home so there’s no excuse not to use one every day.

None of us will get any better if we are not committed to our goals. Part of that commitment is planning around what works for you, and even the coaching staff and Velocity doesn’t always have time to make it to the gym. If you can keep even one kettlebell at home and learn to use it, you have a cheap an effective home gym in your garage or back yard.

Master the Kettlebell Movements

Owning a KB is the first step. The next is learning how to use it properly so you don’t hurt yourself and have a longer list of exercises from which to choose; our kettlebell warm-up is a simple and effective place to start.

The focus is not just learning the movements, but mastering them. As you get good at these basic exercises and understand how best to use the kettlebell, you can begin to create your own workouts. You can combine exercises in any way you like; you can add other exercise elements in like running, jumping rope, push-ups, or anything that excites you.

The possibilities are endless, but you have to earn this this freedom of movement by first learning the basic exercises. Do this, and you will always have a way to strong and fit – with just one piece of equipment.

4 Important Things You Need to Know Before You Do High-Intensity Workouts

hIIT training

High intensity interval training, CrossFit, and bootcamps are all popular and effective ways to exercise. While they are great methods to improve your fitness and performance, there is also a risk of injury if you don’t approach it intelligently.

Results and Risk

These programs often include skilled movements and explosive exercises like plyometrics and other high-intensity movements. Olympic lifts, sprints, power lifts, and variations on gymnastics are also common.

The benefits of these types of exercises are that they stimulate maximal muscle engagement and quickly take joints through their full range of motion. However, the same qualities that make these movements so effective also makes them very challenging if you haven’t been doing much fitness training.

“They are great exercises to get results because they are ground-based, engage multiple joints and muscles groups, and have high intensity” says Coach Ken Vick, high performance director for Velocity Sports Performance. “They are more athletic, but with that comes some risk of injury just as in sport. The key is to know your limits and follow good coaching.”

Keys to Success

Vick says for those who are interested in training this way, there are Four Steps for Success:

Assess your own readiness.

Have you done these types of workouts in the past? Do you have past injuries? Are there limitations in your joint range of motion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to get some guidance before you start. A qualified coach can help assess if you’re ready, and a sports medicine professional can help identify any injury risks and how to alleviate them.

You don’t have to be in great shape before you can start taking these kinds of classes, but you do need to realistically assess your readiness with the help of professionals. They can give you a roadmap to a safe starting point.

Check your ego at the door

One of the benefits of these programs is the energy and intensity that comes from training with a group of people all pushing through a challenging workout together. Be wary that you don’t let pride and ego tell you to push yourself farther than you should, lest you pay some painful consequences.“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard someone say: I knew I was pushing myself too far,” says Coach Vick. “There will always be others better than you at any given exercise or workout. They may be younger or older, male or female.”

The key is to change your focus from competing with others to competing with yourself. Focus on improving your skills, technique, results, and your own PRs and you will not only get better, but you will stay safe.

Find an on-boarding class 

Find a class that on boards you with a coach who can get you involved safely rather than joining an advanced, competitive class. A good coach teaches you the correct mechanics and form for exercises and has variations to adapt them to your needs and skill level.

Know when to stop

Severe pain is always a red flag. While soreness is normal, the amount of soreness you experience with workouts should decrease as your body adapts over the first few weeks.If you experience joint pain, swelling or instability, stop. See a sports medicine specialist for evaluation. They can figure out how to eliminate the pain and how you can correct the underlying causes. They should work with you and your coach to adapt your training so you can keep building fitness while fixing your injury.

Research has shown that when an experienced coach or trainer is involved, the rate of any kind of injury decreases dramatically.

To prevent injury from happening in the first place, it’s very important to perform an active or dynamic warm-up to prepare the muscles to work at high speeds or under heavy loads. Some programs incorporate a warm-up into the workout, while others will show you what to do and give you time to do it beforehand.

Train Harder, and Smarter

Adding the intensity, motivation, and fun of these kinds of programs can inject new energy into your fitness regimen. All of these elements can help you work harder and push your fitness to a higher level than ever before. If you’re smart and follow these four keys, you can reap all the benefits and avoid injury.

Four Strategies to Win the Weekend Coach Steve Calarco

 

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Start with a vegetable rich salad. A variety of vegetables will send satiety signals to your brain helping you not to overeat later on.
  4. Prioritize lean protein and vegetables. Make these the focal point of your entrée.
  5. Ditch dessert. Although dessert is delicious, it is excess calories that you don’t need.

 

Summary

 

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.