One pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound a week, a person should consume approximately 3,500 fewer calories per week. This can be done by reducing the daily intake by 500 calories per day (500 x 7 days will provide a deficit of 3,500 calories per week). To lose 2 pounds per week, a deficit of 1,000 calories per day is required. If this seems impossible, physical activity also contributes significantly to weight loss. The deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories can come from a combination of increased physical activity and reduced intake on a daily basis.  Drop 250 calories from your daily caloric intake and burn 250 and there’s 500.  So, as an endurance athlete, if you go out and burn 3,000, and take in 2,000 – 2,500, there you go, you’re on your way towards a healthy 1-2 pounds per week.  The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1-2 pounds per week as a healthy level of loss, and I concur wholeheartedly with this amount.  The keys are to establish your lifestyle changing habits that are healthy and nutritionally appropriate, set realistic goals, and place visual reminders of these goals and where you headed.  For me, I have found it very effective to make a PowerPoint Slide with a few large bullet comments summarizing the goal(s) and a few pictures of yourself racing or some of you and your sport idle(s) who you’d like to emulate.  Post it in a few places that you’re sure to see it every day.  Stay focused on smaller “stepping stone” goals that’ll help you succeed your long-term goal, and reward yourself now and then, because you have to live and enjoy life.  Good Luck!

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

Been out for a long hard training session, but don’t want to spend lots of time fixing a nutrient rich recovery snack?  Fix a bowl with a good whole grain cereal, milk or yogurt, and top with some fresh fruit and nuts.  This tasty post-workout snack will refuel your body with the complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat that your body needs to recover, repair, and maintain your strength gains.

Take care of your body by incorporating a quality post-workout refueling regimen, and your muscles will reward you in the future.

Train Smart, Recover Smarter – starting with the first step – you’re Refueling!  Coach Parker

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Have a long and intense training session ending close to lunchtime and not sure how to refuel well?  Consider some quality carbs such as pasta with good lean protein such as shrimp, chicken, or lean beef.  That’s a good power-recovery lunch that will replenish the glycogen stores (stored sugar fuel simply stated) and the necessary protein to help repair muscle damage.  A good spinach or arugula salad with some tomatoes, carrots, nuts or sunflower seeds… with a simple olive oil, lemon juice, and sea or kosher salt will provide some great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and electrolytes. Whenever we have intense training or racing, there is some minor microscopic tearing of muscle fibers; however, when adequately repaired and recovered – bounce back with new added strength and endurance.  The protein and recovery time will repair and help prepare you for subsequent training/racing in the days and weeks to come.  Also make sure that water is a major component for the remainder of the day.  Adequate hydration is a 24/7 deal; however, after a considerable amount of work, it becomes even more critical to recovery and cell repair.

Train Smart, Refuel Smart!

Stay tuned for lots of other refueling examples that will cover various lengths and intensities of training sessions and races.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Recovery, do you know how to recover adequately between intervals, sets, workout sessions, microcycles (1 week), mesocycles (2-6 weeks), training phases (multi-month periods)…?   If not, you simply will not reach your true performance potential (period).    Stay tuned for follow-on articles on this topic.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Breath Control Training

April 2, 2012

Let’s talk about Breathing (Breath Control Training).  Often called relaxation response or relaxation breathing, which was developed by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School back in 1975, although several cultures claim to have been using breathing to relax the mind and body for numerous centuries to millennia (i.e. Chinese with Thai Chi, Indians/Pakistanis (Indus Valley) with Yoga)…etc.  It is important to learn how to use deep (diaphragmatic) breathing techniques, remind yourself to “breathe” when you observe rapid shallow breathing, and incorporate Breath Control Training into your routines.  By making breathing part of a warm-up routine, it will aide in relaxing or easing the daily tension buildup that can often accompany you to training and races.  After making breathing a conscious part of daily training, you’ll soon catch yourself when “stressed” and breathing in a shallow manner.  Furthermore, Williams and Harris argue that “breathing is the simplest and most effective technique for reducing over-intensity (Williams & Harris, 1998).”  Close the door, turn off or lower the lights, and go to it.  Below are some commonly used breathing techniques that may be performed lying down, sitting,  or standing:

• If standing, stand with your body erect, feet approximately shoulder-width apart, arms and hands relaxed down at your sides.  • Focus on lower abdomen, which should be like a small balloon. • Take in a slow, long, deep breath in through nostrils, imagining the balloon inflating slowly.  You will fill the lower lungs first, and then your shoulders will rise as you begin to fill your upper lungs. • Hold a few seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth (pursed lips), and imagine the balloon gently deflating. • Repeat at least 10 or more times when performing the exercise. • You should feel more relaxed, perhaps loose and a little lighter. • Practice this technique throughout day, especially when you catch yourself feeling stressed or anxious. • With practice, you’ll become cognizant of your breathing when it becomes shallow – indicating anxiety or stress, and be able to perform this breath control technique to aide in relaxation, focus, and attention. • Eventually, you’ll develop the “habit” or automatic response, and subsequently be able to achieve relaxation more quickly.

If you want to discuss on my Coach Parker site on Facebook, feel free to join us there as well.  Train Smart!  Coach Parker

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Coach-Parker/122623211181590

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Mental Imagery has been around for over 130 years, with German researcher and Professor Wilhelm Wundt often being named as the originator in 1876.  However, in the psychological application sense, was not fully revived in the United States until the 60’s and 70’s (Holt, Horowitz…).  Sometimes called Mental Practice or Visualization, Imagery is a systematic process of using your imagination in order to guide your thinking in a positive way.  Specifically, you use your mind like a video playback device to correct technique, see yourself successfully coping within a stressful environment (e.g. competition), as well as visualizing optimal performance.  While visualizing the performance, you can make it seem as though you feel light and effortless, while performing a fast, strong, and confident race.  Imagery is an effective method to re-visit  performance goals and dreams, or re-familiarize yourself with a race course, the warm-up area or route you plan to take, your race day routine…etc.

Positive thoughts through the use of imagery are an important component of training and racing efforts, and if learned well, imagery can sharpen focus to more quickly pick up on relevant cues, correct faltering technique, motivate, and adjust intensity.  Research has indicated that imagery results in subliminal neuromuscular patterns being present, (and although much less prominent), are identical to those when actually performing the exercise.  In effect, it’s giving the mind and body a rehearsal of proper form and desired performance without physically performing the task.  The visualization aspect of imagery can be externally or internally oriented.  By this I mean, external is comparable to watching yourself perform by viewing a video, while internal is a perspective view from your eyes – as if the camera was imaging what your eyes see.  Below are some suggested steps to begin performing mental imagery.

  •  Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted
  • Assume a comfortable position that will easily allow you to let go and relax
  • To become more relaxed, first perform some relaxation breathing exercises (10 or so slow deep  inhalations through the nostrils, held, and slowly exhaled through pursed lips (See Breath Control Training))
  • Before getting to the sport  images, first learn and practice visualizing a specific object such as a stop sign.  A stop sign is a good      choice and is often an image used to initiate Negative Thought Stopping.  Once you can readily (from a starting point or “blank page”) visualize the stop sign, then move  on to sport specific imagery.
  • Visualize a scene of your running (for example).  Depending on where  you are (pre-season, preparation phase, competition phase…) you may choose  to imagine yourself in a familiar upcoming race, a particularly challenging      training route, or perhaps successfully coping with the stress and anxiety  on race day.  See yourself successfully performing and feel the enjoyment that it brings.
  • When a negative image (i.e.  falling, executing poor technique, shoelace coming untied…) enters your visualization, stop, “rewind the tape”, and go back and see yourself performing successfully.
  • End each session with a few slow  deep breaths and open your eyes before getting up.
  • Start with 5 minute visualizations or imagery segments with small breaks in between.  Review/discuss what was visualized, and      provide constructive feedback to your coach/athlete.
  • Once you’re rather proficient, you can quickly relax and get into a 20-30 minute imagery session.  A good session of this length can allow  you to recap positive successful performances, correct negative trends in technique or coping skills, prepare more thoroughly for an upcoming  important race, or even maintain technical skill proficiency while injured.
  • Lastly, once proficient at      imagery, you can rather easily enter a visualization state and perform a short session prior to a race.  For   those who benefit from this type of routine, many will review the course or their successful race strategy one last time – as a final tune up.  In addition, as with Goal-Setting,  Mental Imagery training sessions should be oriented on process and performance rather than outcome.    

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags:

I’ve decided that this aspect of training and competing is so important, that I’m going to break it up into smaller bites or tips, which could result in the series lasting for 20-30+ installments.

Establish challenging, realistic, and quantifiable performance goals – ranging from daily short-term, intermediate weekly – monthly goals, to long-term goals that may encompass the entire season or perhaps even years down the road.  By setting a goal that is unrealistic, the likely results are that the athlete won’t “buy in”, anxiety will increase, motivation will decline, performance won’t be as optimal, and the athlete may even decide to quit.

Establishing goals is more than just writing them down.  Effective Goal-Setting must place commitment to the vision and lay out strategies to achieve them.  Strategies are specific daily and/or short-term goals that progressively work towards achieving ultimate long-term goals and dreams.

  • First, sit down one-on-one with your athlete (or as the athlete), review training progress, previous season performance accomplishments, and develop a series of short-term goals that lead toward successfully achieving long-term season goals and aspirations.  Make sure that goals are event-specific.  Event-specific goals focus training on improving particular aspects, as well as overall performance in the event(s) in which they will compete.  
  • Ensure goals are realistic and quantifiable.  Goals such as “I want to drop from 22:00 to 16:00 minutes for my 5k time”, or “I want to improve this year”, are not realistic or quantifiable (respectively).  Based upon a previous best time, coupled with the event only being 5 kilometers, the first goal is an unrealistic season goal.  The second doesn’t specify how or how much the athlete wants to improve, and therefore doesn’t establish a benchmark to plan and progress towards.
  • Emphasize goal orientation on processes and performance more so than outcome.  By only establishing outcome goals, if the athlete “loses”, then motivation and focus decline, rather than learning and improving from  process and performance orientations.
  • Put goals in writing so that both athlete and coach may continually review and monitor progress.
  • Ensure that daily training and periodic training markers (i.e. timing specific distances e.g. 400m, 1 mile…) are structured to capture performance improvements, progress, or decline.  Otherwise, you’re just “wingin’ it” and hoping you’ll improve and achieve goals.
  • If goals are done right, athletes will know just as well as coaches whether they are accomplishing established short-term goals, and to the extent which they’re progressing.
  • Establish an overall goal support network so that others are aware of and can support and encourage goals (i.e. performance outcomes).  A typical network may include coaches, spouses, parents, and teammates (when applicable).
  • Provide constant relevant feedback to your athletes on how they are progressing towards goals.  This is where quantifiable performance oriented goals make it easy for coaches and athletes (even self-coached athletes) to track progress!

Train Smart!  Coach Parker

Categories: Default

Tags: ,