Traits of a Good Coach

November 29, 2013

Athlete feedback after the swim

Athlete feedback after the swim

A successful coach has numerous roles; mentor, role model, counselor, friend, advisor, subject matter expert, leader, manager, cheerleader, therapist, as well as know sports medicine, rehab therapy, sports psychology, organizational behavior…etc., etc., etc.

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All too often you’ll read articles or hear discussions about the importance of electrolytes for endurance athletes.  Electrolytes are ionized minerals that conduct electrical impulses and action potentials (e.g. contraction of a muscle), and are present throughout the human body.  Simply put, the balance of the electrolytes is critical for normal function of cells and organs.  A majority of the focus has been sodium (Na+), calcium (Ca2+), and potassium (K), which will be discussed in other articles.  Unfortunately, magnesium (Mg2+) is often overlooked, yet plays a critical role for extended bouts of muscular contractions and cramp prevention – just as much as the other three.  Most people do not realize that magnesium plays an important role in Ca2+ and oxygen (O2) transport throughout the cells of the human body.  In fact, more than 300 nerve impulses and enzymatic reactions require magnesium as a co-factor.  Besides Ca2+ and O2 transport, magnesium can directly affect sodium and potassium inter-cellular transport throughout cells as well.  Longer and more intense exercise can deplete magnesium levels.  Mg+ is excreted primarily through sweat and urine, therefore, cold fluids (empty out of the gut faster) are the preferred choice for replenishment during exercise.  Regardless of the type of sport or exercise, muscular contractions could not consistently occur without magnesium’s presence.  Through aerobic and anaerobic metabolism – glycolysis occurs, in short, oxygen is delivered and utilized via magnesium.  Therefore, O2 delivery to working musculature and energy production in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (the source for all energy production) would not happen without magnesium presence.  Magnesium is found in unrefined whole grain breads and cereals, as well as green leafy vegetables, lentils, peas, beans, nuts, and seeds.  Meat, fish, fruit, dairy products, and processed foods are poor sources for magnesium.  Magnesium imbalances may often be caused by things such as diuretics (e.g. caffeine), alcohol consumption, sweat loss, and both high intensity and endurance (or extended periods of) exercise.

For athletes, especially those training and racing in endurance sports, magnesium deficiency indicators may be one or more of the following:

 

  • abnormal muscular weakness
  • muscular cramping and “locking”
  • muscular spasms
  • impaired glucose breakdown (for ATP/energy production)
  • inability to sustain exercise intensity for extended periods
  • irregular heartbeat (e.g. elevated performance heart rate)
  • disorientation and confusion

 

Conversely, excess magnesium is filtered by the kidneys; however, if overly excessive, kidney function is adversely affected.  When this occurs, just as with deficiency, side effects may surface in the form of muscular spasms, and as I call it, muscular “locking”.  Through proper monitoring, athletes can often supplement with 300-900 milligrams (mg) per day without contraindications.  Larger dosages as in 700-900mg, should be broken up into 2-3 dosages throughout the day with food.  Female athletes should supplement at the lower end of this range, and don’t normally require any dosage above 300-400 mg.  If O2 uptake increases are a result, no matter how minor, could (for example) improve a cyclists sustained power output.  At ~5,500 revolutions per hour, such impacts may facilitate improved performances over normal homeostatic processes.  In summary, if you’re an endurance athlete or you exercise for either long periods or extremely high intensity, look for beverages that not only have calcium, potassium, and sodium, but ones with magnesium as well.  If you’re cramping during longer training sessions or races, and have ensured that the other three are being replenished, then there’s a good chance what you’re experiencing is attributable to low magnesium levels.

Todd Parker is a former Professional Triathlete and holds
a Masters in Exercise Physiology from San Jose State University. 
Todd is an exercise physiologist, certified cycling and endurance
sports coach, strength coach, and personal trainer.  You can reach
Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , 215.80.Coach (215.802.6224),

or at his secure website https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ 

 

Page 6 contains my article I was promising – on Magnesium, an Important but Often Forgotten Electrolyte… in Endurance Racing Magazine’s November/December Issue (See link below for the November/December Issue).  Pasted below is the article that I contributed.  If you have any questions about what I call “The Big 4”, or endurance sports training and racing in general, feel free to contact me at TP2Coaching@gmail.com

http://go.epublish4me.com/ebook/ebook?id=10054635#/0

 

Magnesium:
An Important but Often
Forgotten Electrolyte
by Todd Parker, MA, MS
Magnesium is a mineral, like sodium, calcium, and potassium,
which all are important to maintaining electrolyte balance
in our bodies. Magnesium, however, is often overlooked
as a mineral which plays critical role in cramp prevention.
In fact, muscular contractions could not consistently occur
without magnesium’s presence. Because it plays such an important
role as our bodies produce energy, it is important to
work toward maintaining healthy levels of magnesium.
Magnesium imbalances can be caused by things such as
diuretics (e.g., caffeine) and alcohol consumption. As with
most endurance exercise, longer and more intense exercise
can deplete magnesium levels, which can lead to cramping.
Biochemically speaking, as we exercise, magnesium aids our
bodies to utilize oxygen. Therefore when magnesium gets
depleted through exercise, electrolytes must be replenished
for the body to produce the energy which fuels us during
intense exercise.
For athletes, especially those training and racing in endurance
sports, magnesium deficiency indicators can include one
or more of the following:
▪ abnormal muscular weakness
▪ muscular cramping and “locking”
▪ muscular spasms
▪ impaired glucose breakdown (for ATP/energy production)
▪ inability to sustain exercise intensity for extended periods
▪ irregular heartbeat (e.g., elevated performance heart rate)
▪ disorientation and confusion
You can get magnesium into your diet with unrefined whole
grain breads and cereals, green leafy vegetables, lentils, peas,
beans, nuts, and seeds. Meat, fish, fruit, dairy products, and
processed foods are poor sources of magnesium.
Magnesium is excreted primarily through sweat and urine;
therefore, cold fluids (which empty out of the gut faster) are
the preferred choice for replenishment during exercise.
Conversely, excess magnesium is filtered by the kidneys;
however, if overly excessive, kidney function is adversely affected.
When this occurs, just as with a deficiency, side effects
may surface in the form of muscular spasms, and as I call it,
muscular “locking”. Through proper monitoring, athletes
can supplement with 300-900 mg per day without contraindications.
Larger dosages, as in 700-900mg, should be broken
up into 2-3 doses throughout the day with food. Female
athletes should supplement at the lower end of this range,
and don’t normally require any dosage above 300-400mg.
Increases in oxygen uptake, no matter how minor, could (for
example) improve a cyclist’s sustained power output, which
can facilitate improved performances.
If you’re an endurance athlete or you exercise for long
periods or with extremely high intensity, look for beverages
that not only have calcium, potassium, and sodium, but also
contain magnesium. If you’re cramping during longer training
sessions or races and have ensured that the other three
minerals are being replenished, there’s a good chance what
you’re experiencing is attributable to low magnesium levels.

Todd Parker is a former Professional Triathlete and holds a
Masters in Exercise Physiology from San Jose State University.
He is an exercise physiologist, certified cycling and
endurance sports coach, strength coach, and personal trainer.

You can reach Todd at TP2Coaching@gmail.com