Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chocolate Milk as a Post Workout Supplement?

The benefits of post workout drinks have been known for many years. The ingestion of a carbohydrate/protein mixture within thirty minutes of working out has been shown time and again to increase the body’s ability to recover from exercise. The problem is that supplement companies have taken this knowledge ran with it. They have pretty much flooded the market with their version of recovery nutrition. So, a very common question I get, as a personal trainer, is “What kind of recovery supplement should I take?” People are usually shocked when I tell them to save their money and go get some chocolate milk! Think about it, what’s present in most post workout shakes? I’ll tell you: High glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates and fast absorbing protein. Hmmmm kind of sounds like chocolate milk to me! The only difference being the milk protein (casein) is a slower absorbing protein, but that has not been proven to be significant. The most important thing you get from the drink is the carbs anyway.

To further prove my point, I would like to show you this. The study was performed on cyclists and compared chocolate milk to a carb replacement drink (I’m assuming it’s something like Gatorade or Powerade) and a fluid replacement drink (pedialyte?). Here’s another article in which the author compared chocolate milk to Biotest’s Surge Recovery Drink. For recovery and price, chocolate milk won on both occasions. The only area where Surge was superior was convenience. Most people don’t like carrying milk around in their gym bag.

Here’s another way to look at it: These two didn’t have Biotest or Waxy Maize and they seemed to do just fine!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Resistance Training the Myocardial Infarction Patient

I’m going to preface this post by stating that I am not a physician. I’m a personal trainer and sports performance coach. You should consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

This post is kind of a follow up to one of my previous posts.

I’ve noticed that the most common prescription at cardiac rehab centers is walking for their patients following a myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack). While I know that it is important to implement cardiovascular training, I've always wondered why they aren't doing resistance training. Are they afraid they'll valsalva causing them to have an aneurysm and stroke out? What about EPOC? I've always thought that the heart is a muscle and you should exercise it as such. So, I did some research and found that cardiovascular training combined with strength training elicited the best results. In this study published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, they state:

"Combined training soon after MI improved aerobic and muscle fitness more than cycling alone, and was performed without complication."

In this study, not only did the test subjects increase muscular strength, their VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake) also increased more so than the group who just did cardiovascular exercise. So, for the MI patient, find a qualified trainer and start picking up those weights!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

10 Things I like

I've been writing quite a bit about things that I dislike on here. So, for a change of pace, thought I'd write about some things I like. Here they are (in no particular order):

1. Ab Rollouts – I’ve become a pretty huge fan of this exercise. After reading most of Stu Mcgill’s research, I’ve come to agree that the main function of the abdominal muscles is for isometric and eccentric contractions. Basically, it’s for stability. So, over the last year, I have pretty much phased out all versions of crunches and sit ups from my training programs and implemented a progression of swiss ball, ab wheel, and barbell rollouts. Let’s be honest, do we really need to get better at bringing our ribcage closer to our abs? Don’t think so. And guess what, I don’t have any current clients with back pain…..NONE!

Apparently, the Simpson and Ludacris are also big fans of rollouts

2. Deadlifts – I’m pretty sure that deadlifts can cure AIDS. Ok, maybe not, but I like them that much. Think about this: How many times per day do you have to bend down and pick something heavy off the floor? Isn’t that something you would like to get better at?

3. The Overhead Press – How many times do you find yourself lying on your back, pressing weight off you? Hopefully, it’s not that often. So, the obvious choice for a functional press would be an overhead press with the feet firmly planted on the floor.

Axle Press

4. Planks – Planks are a great exercise for torso (core). I use them as part of my movement prep. Here’s a torso stability video I put together that includes rollouts, pollofs, and planks.

5. Pollofs – Pollof presses are one of my favorite exercises for rotary stability. These are very beneficial for baseball, football, and golf athletes, as well as the general population.

6. Glute work – Love doing glute work. Most people today spend their entire day in the seated position. This will result in weak or inhibited glutes. For most people, that means knee or low back pain. As an added bonus, most clients like it when you make their abs and glutes sore!

7. Face Pulls – Face pulls are a great exercise for scapular stability. I see a great deal of clients who present a protracted shoulder girdle. Adding in this and other scapular stability exercises will greatly reduce the occurrence of shoulder pain. Here's a great video from the diesel crew on face pulls.

8. Horizontal Pullups – I like Charles Staley’s 180 rule. If you want to do the correct thing in the gym, do the exact opposite of what everyone else does. I guarantee that if you walked into commercial gym right now, most of the male patrons will be bench pressing. So, in opposite land, this means you have to do horizontal pullups and bent over rows. Most people don’t get enough of either.

9. Foam Rolling – Along side proper hydration and nutrition, Self Myofacial Release (SMR) is one thing that I have found to aid tremendously in recovery. A foam roller is the cheapest massage you’ll ever get!

10. T – Spine Mobility – Increased thoracic spine mobility will have a tremendous impact on your ability to overhead press. It will also lessen the rotary stress on the lumber spine, which will result in less occurrence of low back pain. Mike Boyle wrote a great article with T – Spine mobility drills here.
There you have it. 10 things I like and incorporate into every training program I design.
Thanks for reading!