Posts in Performance Training
What cause a muscle to feel tight? Should I stretch?

I get asked almost daily about muscle tightness or stretching. Stretching has a certain place in our culture that’s up there with juice cleanses as a supposed elixir of life. Something tight, or hurting? Stretch it out! Need a morning routine, warm up routine, or cool down routine? Let’s throw in some stretching. Have a new injury? Must be from some tight muscles. Right?

Well… maybe. As always, the truth is complicated. The sensation of muscle tightness, or needing to stretch a muscle, is actually a complex neurological phenomenon.

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Let's Talk Pro, bro

As as Registered Dietitian and athlete of the most frequent questions I am asked by my clients, gym mates, friends, family and strangers is, “Should I be using protein powder, if so which one?!”. Just kidding strangers don’t actually ask me this... because that would be weird. But everyone else does. So here is my long answer in a big nutshell.

But first, what is protein?

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Low Intensity Training and the Maximal Aerobic Function Test: Measuring Aerobic Fitness and Nervous System Function

Testing strength standards is fairly straightforward: can you lift a certain weight for a certain number of reps, or not?

However, measuring cardiovascular and aerobic function can be more complex. Of course, there's a straightforward race or time trial -- how fast can you go over a certain distance -- but this does not consider different cardiovascular energy systems, or the role of mental fortitude, for example.

Even more complex is measuring nervous system function. Do you live and work primarily in a sympathetic state (more hype, more stress, faster-paced sprint efforts), or a parasympathetic state (resting and digesting, slower aerobic efforts)? This is important to consider as it can be a window in both the effects of our training, and how we are coping with all of the other stresses present in our lives. 

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Performance Training Standards: How we progress our athletes over time

Central to our Performance Training program and thought process is progression: How to we make sure that you get from A to B? How to we develop an athlete over time to ensure that they are well-rounded, resilient, durable, and capable?

It's a tricky question, and many people have experienced problems from a lack of proper progression. These can include:

  • Improvements early in a program followed by a plateau.

  • Getting injured soon after started a program.

  • Excelling in one specific area or domain with little carryover or ability in others.

  • Fizzling out of a program because you didn't see "where it was going."

While we want to encourage exercise and physical activity in all of its shapes and forms -- our healthcare system would have much fewer issues if more people were more active -- at EVOLVE, we want to be more nuanced, and not simply exercise for the sake of exercise. A training program has a progression model in mind. It's easy to write a hard workout, but more challenging to adequately and appropriately challenge an athlete over time.

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