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Why Performance Nutrition is so very important. . .

Let’s be honest. Although most of us like that our workouts make us stronger, healthier, feel better, etc., the main reason we’re doing it is to look better. We want that six-pack, tighter butt, bigger chest, bigger biceps, you name it. So, we go lift heavy weights over our heads, run fast, jump high, and work up an intense sweat. But then what happens . . .

Working out intensely gives us an intense appetite. And we think its then okay to go home and gorge ourselves on whatever we have lying around the house or what’s readily available at the local drive-through. We think to ourselves, “I must have burned thousands of calories!” Well, you actually didn’t. You probably only burned a couple hundred, no more than a slice of bread or two. And you damaged your muscle tissue enough that it is in desperate need of some branch chain amino acids (ie protein) for repair as well as some carbohydrates to facilitate the repair process.

So, why the exercise? Is it actually doing anything…

Deadlifts and Squats versus the Stability Ball: What is the best way to train the core?

Go into any commercial gym these days and you will find a core training class centered around training done on an unstable surface such as a BOSU trainer, a wobble board, or a stability or Swiss ball. Originally intended for rehabilitation and physical therapy programs, stability core training has made its way mainstream gyms and sports conditioning programs over the last decade with many fitness experts touting its benefits. However, recent studies have shown that these stability exercises have little to no advantage over traditional weightlifting exercises.

In a study published by researchers at Appalachian State University, it was shown that the squat and the deadlift produced more activity in the trunk muscles (abdominals, obliques, and lower back) than three stability ball exercises specifically targeting the same muscles. It was concluded that the stability ball exercises (quadruped, pelvic thrust, and ball back extension) did not provide enough stimulus for either increased…

When to Stretch and Why

Sara Fleming, BA, MS, ISSA CFT

Stretching is generally viewed as beneficial. However, the type and timing of the stretch can have a positive or negative effect on the person doing the stretching depending on their activity. Dynamic stretching before a work out helps muscles warm up and increases their range of motion and elasticity prior to exercise. Static and/or proprio-neuromuscular-facilitation (PNF) stretching after an exercise and/or during the cool-down phase of a work-out can help restore a muscle’s range of motion after repeated contractions, correct a range of motion for correct form during a lift, and may help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

It has been hypothesized that static stretching immediately prior to athletic competitions requiring power and force may actually diminish performance. (Shrier, 2004) In addition, Shrier hypothesizes that static stretching can cause an anesthetic (pain reducing) effect on injured muscles, increasing the performance …

Performance Nutrition

Performance Nutrition
Sara Fleming, B.A., M.S., ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
*Sara is not a licensed or registered dietician

Most of us are exercising for one of two reasons: To get bigger, or to get smaller. Some of us are exercising for both of those reasons, ie increasing our lean body mass while getting rid of the flab. This task can seem quite daunting, but the truth is, changing our body composition takes place mostly in the kitchen and not in the gym. If we overfuel our bodies with too much, poor quality, and/or the wrong kinds of nutrients, we will not be able to reduce our bodyfat stores. Likewise, if we under fuel our bodies with inadequate micro and macro nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals, we risk overtraining* and fail to reach our fitness goals no matter how long and how hard we may work. For that reason, nutrition is every bit as important to your fitness regimen as your exercise prescription. Seeing a registered dietician for a personalized nutr…