I was recently asked the question, "How has the journey been so far?"
Well, it’s the beginning of April, so it’s been about three months since I started my journey here at DST.
I had no clue what I wanted to do with my degree after graduating from UTSA last December. A mutual friend introduced me to Dennis "DK" Koenck who told me that his company was looking for a business intern, so I applied and got an interview with Josh Graber, the Director of Business Operations. I showed up dressed as a business professional because this was my first big interview right out of college. I remember meeting Poppe (Kevin Poppe, Director of DST North) that day and him telling me "nice tie." Turns out, I was a little overdressed for the interview!
Beginning the new year, I was your stereotypical “new guy” at the company: a little shy, timid, and uncertain of myself. Eventually, I opened up and started to fit in nicely with the staff here. Since I played baseball in high school and club ball in college, I knew I should be working out, but I could never find the motivation to do so consistently. When I started working at DST, I knew that I should take advantage of what was in front of me: a top-class weight room, helpful trainers, and great motivation from the entire DST staff.
I started out using a generic program designed to get me moving and sweating. Then one day as Josh, Rachel (another business intern), and I were brainstorming during a meeting, we decided to challenge each other to a health and fitness competition utilizing the trainers we have on staff. Josh teamed up with Sammy, Rachel teamed up with Stephen, and I teamed up with Garrett. And thus, the DST Three Month Challenge was created. We would be competing against each other for three months to promote DST and our trainers. We were each assessed, took a BMI test, and all took before photos to compare when we’re done.
We decided we needed more than just pride on the line, though. The losing team has to bear the shame of singing karaoke in front of our summer camp -- Oh, and the other teams get to decide the song! If this wasn't going to motivate me, I don’t think anything would have!
So Garrett and I got to work. He built me a personalized training program along with a nutrition plan. He couldn’t stress enough to me that I needed to commit to the diet in order to thin down and get strong. So I did.
The first day I weighed in at 203 lbs, which is considered overweight for my height. I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. The first day was honestly the toughest because I was extremely out of shape and I hadn’t trained hard in over five years! I was able to tough it out and finish the first week without actually dying. I can't even express to you how sore I was. When I got home that first night, I couldn’t get up from my chair without immediately falling back down. Day one was so bad my legs had given out on me!
Another surprise to me was just how hard it is to stay to a good diet! It’s tough to cook and eat as healthy as Garrett wants me to! My first time meal-prepping for the week took me over five hours to shop, chop, and cook all of my food. 5 weeks in, I’ve cut that down to 3 hours, which is a big difference.
Typical Day :
Breakfast Shake: 1 scoop of protein, a cup of strawberries, half a cup of blueberries, two cups of milk, and 5 macadamia nuts.
My first snack is an ounce of deer sausage, half an orange, and 15 cashews.
Lunch is a bag of frozen veggies (broccoli, water chestnuts, and carrots steamed), usually 5 ounces of chicken, a handful of grapes, a handful of carrots and a cup of strawberries.
My second snack of the day is the same as my first snack, 1 oz of deer meat, the other half of orange and 15 cashews.
Dinner is 5 ounces of meat, a cup of onions that I steam with 12 spears of asparagus, and a half cup of green peppers. A cup of strawberries or half a cup of watermelon and a handful of grapes with 25 peanuts or 15 almonds.
I’ve never had what you’d call a “healthy diet” so this was all very new to me, but it’s been a huge success so far.
So here we are, halfway through our challenge, and I feel great! My weight is down to 191, I've lost a little bit of my belly, my arms are toned again, and I haven't felt better since my senior year of high school. I’m motivated to stay active and competing against some pretty awesome people is motivation as well. With Josh already in good shape and Rachel just coming back from Iceland after playing professional soccer there, I knew this competition was going to be challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I need Garrett to push me hard, but I also know I have to bust my butt to get on their level. You have to be resilient and relentless if you want to be successful, and this challenge has definitely tested me on that.
The kettlebell windmill is a great exercise that improves many traits at once. We all know that mobility, stability, and strength are vital to optimizing sport performance. Any time we can accomplish all these physical attributes at once is ideal to maximize training time.
Thoracic spine rotation is something that many athletes lack and is necessary for optimal sports performance. As a throwing athlete, thoracic spine mobility is imperative to attaining separation and fluidity in the throwing motion. Elbow and shoulder health is also very much dependent on the thoracic spine doing the job it is intended to do.
Shoulder stability is also very important as the shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the body. Good control and alignment of the joint can help to prevent many common injuries that athletes face in sports like baseball. Throwing a baseball is the fastest motion in sports, and therefore extremely stressful. Proper stability will ensure that the shoulder can withstand the repetitive stresses and avoid the common overuse injuries.
The windmill also helps to improve lateral core stability where the oblique’s resist against unwanted movement of the spine. When sprinting, many athletes lack the necessary core stability to maintain posture. This is evident when the athlete exhibits a lateral hip hike or an unnecessary side bend of the torso. Stability through the core will ensure that all force is being put into the ground as it should and not lost, thus achieving maximum velocity.
Physical Principle: Tempo
By Sammy Knox
When discussing tempo in training, we are referring to the speed at which we execute the exercise. Training with different tempos is important because it will provide the athlete with a different stress, therefore causing a specific adaptation to that stress. There are three different tempos we utilize in our training because there are three different types of muscular contractions.
Isometric – a muscle that does not change in length while contracting
Concentric - a muscle that is shortening in length while contracting
- The better you are at eccentric strength (a slow descent in the squat), the better you will be at absorbing force. This is important for both preventing injury and increasing performance. When sprinting, we want to spend very little time on the ground while still being able to apply enough force to be fast. The stronger the athlete is eccentrically, the better they will be able to achieve this.
- Isometric strength (holding the bottom of the squat) is beneficial to being a well-rounded athlete, as you are required to hold static postures under high forces and velocities while sprinting. Our core muscles must be strong isometrically during sprinting and other athletic feats to transfer force in the most efficient and effective way.
- Concentric strength (standing up from the bottom of a squat) is all about force production and can also be referred to as “starting strength.” This is very important in the acceleration phase of sprinting, which is the first 10-20 yards. This is the case since we are not able to utilize the stretch reflex as effectively to propel us in the direction we want to go; therefore, we must use more concentric strength to get us going.
As you can see, all three tempos are important and useful for athletes to develop maximum strength.
We will be announcing several ways that we, and the rest of the DST family, can provide support and aid to those affected by Harvey, so be on the lookout for a series of announcements on ways you can get involved.
Physical Principle: Movement
Of all our physical principles, movement is the most important building block we have. While the concept is simple, the implementation is, unfortunately, often overlooked in many athletic development programs.
We approach movement as a core foundation of everything we do. Before an athlete can excel on the field/court, they must first be able to move efficiently. Because of this, we take all our athletes through an in-depth bio-mechanical assessment in which we look at an athlete's:
"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."
- C.S. Lewis
In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over reaction drills. The athletes don't know which direction they will be cutting before starting each rep, so they will have to react to whichever direction Kyle points. They also won't know if they'll be taking two steps, three steps, or four steps before the cut. We make sure they attack vertically and then react to Kyle's hand, still focusing on being explosive each change of direction.
Speed and agility drills should focus on explosive movements and cutting from all parts of the foot because, in competitions, athletes are going to cut from all parts of the foot. This is training one part of the foot - the outside edge. We want to train and improve movements that are sport-specific and will improve in-game performance.
In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over the outside edge cut. To start this drill you will only need three cones. We will first work on the three-step cross over with our back leg staying nice and tight to our body as it comes up and over to change direction. After that, we will work in a heiden at the beginning of the drill to work on deceleration and acceleration coming back through that cut. Here we are really focusing on sticking the landing each time and driving out into the outside edge cut drill.
We do this drill to help in our outside edge cuts. More than likely we are cutting and opening up in one direction. The benefits of this drill are to help feel the outside edge of the feet, it teaches athletes how to bring the knee drive up and over, and it helps athletes with motor control/skills.
In this exercise of the week video, we will be going over the inside edge cut on the ladder. To start this drill you will need two ladders set up side by side. If you’re starting on the left side of the ladder your right foot will start in the box. Next, we will cross over with our left leg keeping a high and tight knee to our body into the next ladder. After that, we will step outside the ladder with our right foot. Here we are really focusing on inside edge of the foot.
We do this drill to help in our inside edge cuts. More than likely we are cutting and opening up in one direction. While going through the ladder, we are also focused on body lean - always towards the center of the two ladders. The benefits of this drill are to help feel the inside edge of the feet, it teaches athletes how to bring the knee drive up and over, and it helps athletes with motor control/skills.