Today, there is a lot of attention being given to pre-workout supplements, post-workout nutrition, protein powders, and so many other areas of nutrition. In all of this discussion about nutrition, there has been one detail that has failed to get the attention it deserves. All life on Earth - from vegetation to mankind - is completely dependent on one element. Without water there is no life. And without sufficient water, our bodies are greatly hindered.
Our bodies are made up of nearly 60% water. When we see just a 1% drop in body weight due to water loss, an athlete’s performance begins to decline. Because of this, it is crucial for athletes to understand sweat rate, fluid needs, and hydration status. All of our cells hold water, but different cells hold varying amounts of water. Bones contain about 22% water, fat is an estimated 25% water, muscle cells are roughly 75% water, and our blood contains almost 83% water. With two major players in athletic performance and recovery (muscle cells and blood) being composed of at least 75% water, it is easy to see why hydration plays such a major role in athletic performance and recovery.
Determining our hydration status and understanding our fluid needs takes a bit of work at first, but once it’s done, maintaining the habit becomes simple and effective. Once you understand your needs for water during and after exercise, it becomes a habit that will be part of your daily activities.
There are three main steps in the process of maintaining proper hydration:
1. Determine your hydration status.
2. Calculate your sweat rate.
3. Calculate your fluid needs.
While this seems like a lot of work, it’s not as hard as it might sound.
1. Determine Your Hydration Status
How do you determine your hydration status? First, DO NOT use thirst as an indication of hydration status. Thirst is a poor indicator of your hydration because it is a delayed effect of dehydration. You will not feel thirsty until you’ve already lost 1-2% of the water in your body. The easiest way to make sure of your hydration status is to check the color of your urine in the morning. When you are properly hydrated, your urine color should be a pale yellow color, similar to lemonade. If the color is closer to apple juice, you need to increase your water intake. When the color of your urine is pale yellow, you should weigh yourself so you know what your body weight should be when you are properly hydrated. After you’ve determined a baseline body weight while hydrated, you can use that weight as an indicator of your hydration status. You should recheck this about once every two weeks to keep up with fluctuations in your body composition, which can affect body weight and hydration status.
2. Calculate your sweat rate.
Once you have determined that you are hydrated, you can move on to the step number two, calculating your sweat rate. This is easier than it sounds. To calculate your sweat rate, weigh yourself immediately before and after a workout, practice, or game. The difference between your pre-workout weight and post-workout weight is your sweat rate. Knowing your sweat rate will help you determine how much water you lose during a workout, practice, or game, which allow you to replace that water so that your body functions and recovers optimally. There are a couple of tips for getting the most accurate sweat rate. Weighing yourself with as little clothing as possibile before and after is the best way to get an accurate sweat rate. Always weigh with your shoes off, and try to weigh with lighter clothing.
3. Calculate your fluid needs.
Now that you have determined your hydration status and calculated your sweat rate, you can move on to calculating your fluid needs for rehydrating yourself. For every pound you lose during a workout, you need to drink 16oz of water. However, your body can only absorb about 16 to 24oz of water into the tissue per hour. This means that if you lose 4lbs of water in a workout, you can’t drink 64oz of water at one time and bring your body back into a proper state of hydration. You will need to drink a minimum of 16oz of water for the next four hours to rehydrate yourself.
What’s At Stake
.5% Water Loss - there is an increased strain on the heart.
1% Water Loss - there is reduced aerobic endurance.
3% Water Loss - there is reduced muscular endurance.
4% Water Loss - there is reduced muscular strength, reduced motor skills, and heat cramps.
5% Water Loss - there is heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, and reduced mental capacity.
6% Water Loss - physical exhaustion, heat stroke, and coma.
10-20% Water Loss - death.
When you use the three steps to create a plan for maintaining a proper state of hydration, you can optimize your performance and recovery from training.
Weigh before AND after training or practice.
For every pound you lose during a workout drink 16oz-20oz of water.
Your body can only absorb 16oz-24oz of water per hour.
Scapular push-ups are a basic exercise designed to target the serratus anterior muscle which is a mover in protraction and upward rotation of the scapulae. While the scapular push-up is not necessarily the most ideal way to target protraction and upward rotation, it is a good beginner’s exercise to gain awareness and control of the scapulae, and specifically, the serratus anterior.
Three Coaching Cues:
Start in a plank position with the elbows under the shoulders and a neutral spine.
Slowly descend into scapular retraction (bringing the shoulder blades together or pinching) without compromising a neutral spine.
Press the elbows into the floor and drive into protraction (taking the shoulder blades as far apart from each other as possible or push apart).
The scapular push-up can be used as an assessment or a reinforcement technique within a strength program (especially for younger athletes).
If you go to your favorite search engine and type the word “leadership” in the search bar, it’s going to pull up thousands of articles and quotes online on the subject of leadership and characteristics of great leaders. You’ll find pearls of wisdom from world leaders, sports figures, legends and icons past and present.
I don’t presume I can give better insight into the subject of leadership than so many greater men and women have already done. Instead, I want to take what has already been said and try to apply it to our everyday lives -- to give tangible examples on how to live into the principles of leadership.
Leaders Have A Clear Vision
“Action without vision is only passing time. Vision without action is merely day dreaming. But vision with action can change the world.” - Nelson Mandela
It’s essentially impossible to lead when you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing. Without a goal or purpose in mind, it’s also very hard for anyone to “buy in” to you as a leader. When you have a clear vision worth working toward, I believe you’ll find yourself alongside others working to help you achieve that vision.
No matter where your leadership role is -- on a team, in a business, or within your family or group of friends -- you’ll have a much greater impact if you can cast a clear vision and plan on how to get where you want to go.
Leaders Build Relationships
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Take a brief moment to think of the best leaders you’ve had in your own life. I’m willing to bet whoever just came to mind had a few of very important things in common:
Who wants to follow someone who doesn’t care about them? I’ve heard several horror stories about people who hated their jobs because of how terrible their boss was. In the vast majority of these cases, the issues were personal not professional -- they didn’t feel valued or cared for as individuals.
If you want to achieve your goals and fulfill your vision, you’ll need the help of a team. To keep that team in tact, you need to invest in each and every one of them. Don’t just tell them, but show them they’re valued and build a personal relationship with them. In short, treat them the way you want to be treated.
Leaders Empower Others
“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” - John Maxwell
That theory was put to the test here at DST this past year. When the Los Angeles Angels reached out to our owner to join their staff, Lee could have passed on the opportunity because he was needed here. Instead, he took the interview knowing full well what the results here could be. That decision instilled great confidence in our team. By moving forward, he conveyed his trust in us to thrive without him here.
Empowering others is a process. It means focusing on the what and not the how. It can mean giving up control and relying on others to operate in their own styles and methods; or letting others make changes, try new things, and even fail on their own. But it’s an ability leaders need to ultimately succeed. Because at the end of the day, leaders aren’t making followers...
Leaders Make Other Leaders“True leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.” - Tom Peters
Physical limitations can create mechanical issues. Increasing the range of motion through the thoracic spine creates separation so force can be transferred without “energy leaks”. You can’t have sufficient rotation when you are stuck with a rounded upper back posture. The Baby Hip Bridge exercise helps increase range of motion through the thoracic spine. Here are the three keys we’re looking for in the Baby Hip-Bridge:
1. Thoracic Spine Rotation:
If we lack thoracic rotation, our arms will drag to try and create separation. In addition, to make up for a lack of thoracic rotation, we will sacrifice lumbar stability to maintain an upright torso. Sufficient mobility in the “T-Spine” (upper back) allows essential separation of the hips and hands during your swing, throws and pitches. Lack of thoracic mobility can also cause anterior shoulder issues in pitchers, who compensate for lack of range by creating external rotation in the wrong places such as the shoulder joint.
2. Shoulder Stability: The shoulder is a tricky joint because it has to provide adequate stability while maintaining full mobility. This exercise focuses on keeping the shoulders in a stacked position, and can create strength through stability added with thoracic rotation.
3. Psoas (Hip-Flexor): Proper hip mobility while pitching plays a significant role in avoiding shoulder and elbow injuries. When the hips are stuck in an anterior pelvic tilt, it can block off internal rotation as needed to generate force on the mound.
Physical Principle: Stress
By Sammy Knox
Stress is the body's way to react to a challenge. When we talk about stress in our workout programs, we're talking about different ways to challenge our athletes' bodies to get stronger, faster, etc.
Depending on an athlete's program, we're going to prescribe different levels of stress (or loads) to help increase strength, explosive power, or stability (control). There are a number of different factors that go into the stress levels our athletes go through in their workouts -- these factors include the athlete's in-sport goals and their bio-mechanical abilities. Before we can gain strength and increase speed, we must first make sure our bodies are able to handle the stresses necessary to reach our goal levels of strength and speed. Once we are in the right position, we'll give our athletes' bodies the necessary levels of stress (in varying degrees and phases) to work towards their end goal.