When you want to lose weight, the pounds never seem to come off fast enough. But it is important for long-term success in keeping the weight off to have a slow and steady approach to weight loss. Extreme diets leave you starving and cranky, sluggish and drained, and set you up for failure. Remember that you have to find what works for you and you should focus on losing 1-2 lbs/week at the most. Some guidelines for healthy weight loss are that it needs to be a lifestyle, not a short-term diet. Find support from friends and family to help you in your journey. Set short-term goals to help keep you motivated through the process. And use tools, such as a food diary, to help track your progress and keep you on track. Below are some tips on how to succeed on your weight loss journey and stay happy and healthy in the process.
1. Avoid common pitfalls. Don’t cut out entire food groups and don’t severely cut calories. Your metabolism with slow down and the weight will come back on quicker if you do this. Also, don’t give up if you splurge or give in to a temptation. Keep your head and get back on track. And don’t give in to diet companies and their promises…you will only be disappointed and dissatisfied.
2. Stop emotional eating. Recognize your emotional triggers and respond with healthier choices. When you are bored, stressed or lonely, find other ways to de-stress and reward yourself, such as reading a book, taking a bath or calling a friend.
3. Tune in when you eat. Pay attention while you are eating and avoid distractions when you eat. This can help prevent you from overeating.
4. Fill up on fruits & veggies. High-fiber foods are higher in volume and take longer to chew, but they also take longer to digest so you feel fuller, longer. Fruits & vegetables have a high fiber and water content which makes them hard to overeat or eat too many calories. Try adding fruit to cereal and veggies to your omelet. Fruits & veggies to consume in moderation: breaded or fried, salads drenched in dressing, dried fruit and fruit juice.
5. Indulge without overindulging. Combine your treat with other healthy foods, i.e. ice cream with fruit. Schedule your treats and make your indulgences less indulgent, i.e. swap butter and oil for applesauce when baking. Make sure you engage all your senses when eating your treat! And don’t ban any foods because it will set you up for failure.
6. Take charge of your food environment. Set yourself up for success by controlling when you eat, how much you eat, and what is available to eat. Serve yourself smaller portions, cook your own meals and don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
7. Make healthy lifestyle changes. Get plenty of sleep (shoot for 8 hours) and plenty of exercise (30 min/day – break it up into 10 min increments). Drink more water because thirst can be confused with hunger. And try turning off the TV!
Other things to consider are taking care of yourself by controlling your stress and taking time to relax and recharge. Stress can sabotage weight loss because stress hormones can cause your body to store fat. Find ways to de-stress to help you stay healthy and sane! Good luck!
When you are trying to eat healthy, you don’t want to go to the grocery store without a list or when you are hungry! Set yourself up for success! Here we will discuss ways to choose healthy items at the grocery store and what healthy items you can find in each aisle.
The first thing to remember is to shop the perimeter and spend most of your time in the produce section! The aisles in the center of the store contain all the snacks & “junk food” that are high in calories and low in nutrients. When you are in the produce section, choose a rainbow of colorful fruits & vegetables. Make a goal to try a few new fruits & veggies each week to get an assortment of antioxidants, vitamins and lots of fiber!
When you get to the meats section, remember to choose the lean cuts of meats (round, top, sirloin, tenderloin) and avoid poultry with skin. Also try to include lots of fish (frozen is just as good as fresh) to get omega-3 fatty acids.
Dairy foods are a great source of calcium and vitamin D and you can avoid lots of fat by choosing the low-fat or non-fat options. Try to get 3 servings of dairy a day and if you’ve never tried Greek yogurt, you’re missing out! Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt and has no artificial sweeteners. It has a thicker consistency and there are tons of fruit varieties.
When you get to the breads, cereals & pasta, you want to focus on the whole grains and avoid the highly processed items. Try oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, barley and whole-wheat breads & pastas. Look for items that have 4 g of fiber per serving.
You can get into trouble in the canned foods aisles if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Canned fruits, veggies and beans are good to have in your pantry to add to salads, soups, pastas or rice dishes. But you want veggies that have no salt added and fruits that are in their own juices (not syrup)! Tuna is another great canned food that is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and low in calories.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re at the grocery store:
– Convenience is worth the extra cost (i.e. pre-cut fruits and veggies).
– Choose real foods (i.e. 100% whole grain or 100% fruit juice).
– Avoid foods that contain more than 5 ingredients.
– Stay clear of foods with cartoons on them.
– Choose cereal on the top few shelves. They have less sugar and are higher in fiber and protein.
Remember, plan ahead and take a few hours on the weekend to cook meals for the week. It will help you be successful in eating healthy. Now make a list and get to the store!
Blinding top speed….. Rapid change in acceleration….Explosive lateral movement….Lightening fast response. These are the qualities that the top basketball players possess. It separates the best from the rest. But whether it is basketball, football, soccer, tennis, rugby, or track and field:
Lateral, Linear, or Vertical Movements skills make a Champion.
It is known as SAQ (Speed, Agility, and Quickness).
SAQ is rapidly becoming one of the most important segments of successful training/conditioning for top athletes, trainers, and sport franchises. Previously, great demonstration of these skills was attributed to the genetic gifts the performers possessed. While it is true that some athletes are born more gifted than others, natural genetics is only part of the formula. Directed training and nurturing is the rest, through years of experimentation and implementation, training methods for SAQ have been developed. The programming is now coming of age.
SAQ programming is a process focused on enhancing the athlete’s capability to utilize their genetic gifts and reap the benefits of traditional training. It bridges the gap between raw strength and explosive movements. SAQ builds upon the conditioning base of previous training. The major distinction between SAQ and traditional training is the emphasis on the neuro-muscular system. In other words, teaching the brain and the body teamwork.
All skilled body movements are controlled by an individual’s brain. In order for skilled movement to occur, the brain must send the muscles the appropriate signals. This means activating the right nerves at the right time. Breakdowns in this process result in uncoordinated or ineffective movement. Therefore, training programs must devote time to developing neurological firing patterns. SAQ programming concentrates on improving the individual’s neuro-muscular system so that the initial movement, whether it is lateral, linear or vertical, is automatic, explosive, and precise. For example, a point guard moving rapidly to his or her left in an efficient manner to stop a defender from penetrating.
SLOW ELECTRICAL FLOW = SLOW MOVEMENT
The specific drills can be done with easy to use equipment such as mini-hurdles, quickfoot ladders, balance boards, medicine balls and such. The drills must concentrate on foot work timing, hand-eye coordination, power, technique and acceleration in a variety of directions and environments. This improves the athlete’s movements required for her for basketball. The programming also needs to include unique practice sessions designed to maximize the effects of SAQ drills and minimize injury. The results are an athlete who is better prepared for the demands of her sport, position, and environment.
SAQ can be incorporated and focused on during the off season, in season and post season programs. Each phase is very important to the player’s training regimin to enhance the sport specific needs of the athlete. SAQ encompasses explosive training, resistance training, hand-eye coordination, quick-hand instruction, balance, perception, multi-directional movement, acceleration, and velocity training. These training methods improve physical performance in all sports through better preparation of the athlete for the demands of competition.
Important facts to remember while training are the knowledge to teach and work with the athletes in a safe environment and not just toss the equipment out and mimic some drills you have seen, along with, “more is not always better”. Many times the “toys” seem very interesting and players end up getting injured rather that reaping the benefits of the training. With proper body position and foot contacts, the athletes will get better with each workout!
Below are some guidelines that have worked in training the high school, collegiate and professional players.
The following is a sample program in content and format to start your players on the path to becoming better athletes. This program uses various training tools; floor ladders, flexi cords and harnesses, plyometric boxes, hand weights, hurdles, a variety of balls, and weighted training vests. Many “tools” can be substituted to enhance the training and get the desired results.
Neuromuscular/Speed, Agility, Quickness (SAQ)
Sample Beginning Program 4-6 weeks (each training day should consist of Dynamic Flexibility, linear or lateral foot speed drills, change of direction and a few explosive drills)
3 days a week, 1 –1.5 hours per day
Dynamic Flexibility and Warm-ups: Stretches with movement mixing in static stretching which allows the players to get their muscles warmed up and firing like they will once they step on the floor; 15-20 min.
Change of Direction: cone drills both linear and lateral with multiple changes; 15-20 min.
Lift Mechanics: Mini-hurdles/micro-hurdles, linear and lateral drills, along with vertical hops and jumps; 15-30 mins.
Running Technique Drills: lateral slides, turn runs, backpedal; 15-20 mins.
Speed and Explosion: running technique drill, speed drills (runs/skips/strides) and max speed work, power metrics (jumps and hops); 15-20 mins.
Foot Firing Drills: ladders linear and lateral; 15-30 mins.
* Note: Programs may be adjusted to emphasize linear, lateral or vertical formats on any day, but must include some work in several of the above to continue reinforcement and progression in a comprehensive pattern. These programs should be implemented and instructed by someone knowledgeable and qualified.
by Jackie Ansley
Coaches are always trying to motivate their players to work hard. As athletes get bigger faster and stronger, getting an edge over your opponent is more crucial. Therefore, as athletes work to get an edge over their opponents and become committed to put in extra hours to achieve their goals, their tendencies to overtrain become prevalent. So many times athletes are so driven and think that more is better. Once an athlete gets themselves into this cycle their workouts start to get less productive and many times their bodies begin to break down. As their strength coach/basketball coach responsible for monitoring their progress and workouts, it is important to know and understand just how much “overtraining” can affect an athlete’s body.
Overtraining is a condition where the body has performed too much work without balancing the workload with enough sleep, rest or nutrition to adequately recover from it. It is often referred to as “staleness” and is most common in endurance-trained athletes or athletes not allowing appropriate rest in between workouts. Overtraining can be very difficult to detect in an athlete, but there are many signs that can be observed to indicate when an athlete has trained too much. The most easily detected sign of overtraining is an unexplained drop in performance that cannot be resolved by a couple of days of rest. If an athlete starts to struggle with workouts that had previously been well tolerated, they may be experiencing staleness. If the performance drop is accompanied by any of the other following signs, suspect overtraining. Other signs include:
- Sleep disturbances (poor-quality or restless sleep)
- Lack of interest in workouts or daily activities
- Muscle soreness that does not go away normally
- Injuries that do not heal
- Elevated resting pulse (taken before getting out of bed)
- Decreased appetite or Nausea
- Weight loss
- Frequent infections
- Mood disturbances: irritability, depression
Often the psychological symptoms are present before the physical, however, distinguishing them from other possible causes is hard. Hence, identifying overtraining requires paying attention to all possible indicators, watching to see if the athlete shows more than one of the above signs.
Prevention of Overtraining
Prevention of overtraining is the number one role of a strength coach/basketball coach working with athletes in an intense training program. There is a fine balance between providing the body with enough stress to insure positive adaptations and over stressing the body and causing staleness. Careful monitoring of workout intensity, progression and rest is the best way to prevent overtraining.
Assess an athlete’s training program to determine if they are getting enough rest days. One rest day per week is minimum, and if the training intensity is high, more rest may be needed. To determine training intensity, look at the athlete’s RPE, training load, and volume of each workout. Also consider these factors over the course of a week and a month. Sustained high intensity training (usually more than 3 weeks) is more likely to result in overtraining. To prevent overtraining, alternate hard and easy days during the week, and mix easier weeks in with harder weeks each month. Workout monotony can also be a factor. Repeating the same workout for extended periods of time, may contribute to staleness. Incorporating exercise variety or cross-training into the workout plan adds diversity that can prevent overtraining.
Other factors not associated with the actual workout plan also affect the athlete. Poor nutrition from eating on the go or getting stuck in a redundant pattern of food choice can deprive the body of the necessary nutrients to recover from exercise. Working with a nutritionist or dietician is recommended because of the complexity of the problem. As a strength coach, you should also be aware that social stress such as relationship problems or lack of support could also affect an athlete and contribute to the onset of overtraining by reducing the body’s ability to adapt. There may be little you can do to assist with these problems, but referral to the appropriate resource may be necessary.
Overall, overtraining is a complicated problem, difficult to detect until it has already affected the athlete. Recovering from overtraining depends on the extent of the problem. Short term overtraining, also called overreaching, can often be resolved with a few days of rest. Long term overtraining is much more difficult to overcome and may take weeks or months before the athlete is ready to return to intense training. Prevention is essential, and proper programming can reduce the chance of an athlete experiencing the setback of overtraining.
Knowing how to get the most out of a workout where quality is the focus verses quantity is so vital. Take for example vertical explosion. Training can give an athlete a significant increase in their vertical but more is not always better. Athletes get so excited by the increase they tend to want to jump and jump and jump some more to achieve a higher reach. This will directly cause a breakdown most commonly resulting in shin splints or stress fractures or even knee injuries. Monitoring the amount of jumping along with the rest and recovery is so vital. Our muscles need time to recover and rejuvenate to perform at their peak performance.
Below are some recommended reading materials to better understand recovery and rest so overtraining will not put your athletes behind in their training and performance. Peak performance is the goal so remember quality is the key in getting the most out of the training sessions.
Foster, C. (1998). Monitoring training in athletes with reference to overtraining syndrome. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 30, 1164-8.
Kentta, G. & Hassmen, P., (1998) Overtraining and recovery. A conceptual model. Sports Med, 26, 1-16.
Lehmann, M.J., Lormes, W., et al. (1997). Training and overtraining: an overview and experimental results in endurance sports. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 37, 7-17.