Proper hydration is essential for athletes. Extended periods of time training and performing a sport can lead to dehydration if not addressed. Dehydration is defined as losing fluid in a greater amounts than 2% of body weight. When dehydration occurs, the physiological strain on the athlete, as well as the athlete's perception of effort needed to perform an exercise task, increases. It can cause deterioration of the mental and cognitive performance, too. The decline of performance is relative to the magnitude of heat stress, exercise and the individual's unique biological characteristics.
Early signs of dehydration can be general: fatigue, headache(s) and confusion. Eventually, it can become a risk factor for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, according to The Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness.¹
Hydration needs vary from athlete to athlete. Different environments and physical activities require different hydration needs. Sweat contains electrolytes and water - both must be replaced! Also, prolonged exposure results in sodium loss through perspiration. It is important to replenish your body’s fluids, electrolytes and sodium levels.
The American College of Sports Medicine has developed the following fluid replacement recommendations:²
Individuals can monitor their hydration status by employing simple urine and body weight measurements.
Fluid replacement before exercise, if needed, is meant to start the physical activity at “normal” body water and electrolyte levels.
Fluid replacement during exercise is meant to prevent excessive dehydration (weight loss greater than two percent from baseline body weight) and to avoid excessive changes in electrolyte balance in order to avert compromised performance.
Fluid replacement after exercise is meant to fully replace any fluid and electrolyte losses.
The above list is the main reason we have our athletes weigh-in and weigh-out each and every day. Whatever weight you lose during a workout is water weight that needs to be replaced. For every pound of weight you lose during a workout, you need to replenish with 16 oz. of water.
Your choice of beverage will also affect your hydration status. Depending on your sport and exertion, water will not satisfy your body's true needs. Many “sports drinks” on the market are formulated to easily deliver electrolytes, fluids and carbohydrates to the body. According the the The Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness*, “studies have shown that athletes, including children, consume more fluids and stay better hydrated when the liquid is flavored.” Not all sports drinks are created equally, though! Athletes should always research what they're putting into their bodies.
We Want To Know: Are you loyal to a particular brand like Vitamin Water, Gatorade or Powerade? Or do you prefer just water?
The Lateral Med Ball T-Position Throw is the second exercise in our T-Position progression with our athletes. The concept is the same: to coordinate the body to be more explosive in rotation, load it. However, the amount of rotation is over a longer arc than the linear position, resulting in higher speeds and more force that must be absorbed.
THE SET UP
The athlete will set their feet wider than shoulder width and perpendicular to the wall with knees bent.
The elbow should be up and in line with the ball on the driving arm.
Fingers turned up toward the sky.
The ball should be at or just under chin height (shot put).
The athlete will rock back (limited rotation) to the side of the drive arm.
Spending as little time as possible at the end of the load, the athlete should rotate to throw the ball violently against a wall (think start throwing the ball before the load is able to stop).
Let your body follow through in rotation. If you catch the ball off the wall, back up and let it bounce to you.
Make sure that the athlete's head stays with the back hip. Often times, athletes want to lead with their head which results in poor rotational mechanics. That isn’t to say that there is no forward movement. As the hips move into the front leg, the head just rides the back hip. Focus on firming up the front leg for maximal power output.
Plyometrics involve repetitive power jumping with quick force production. When muscles lengthen, then immediately shorten, they provide maximal power for an athlete. Plyometrics are an ideal style of training for athletes looking to improve speed and power with varied intensities. When you immediately follow an eccentric contraction with concentric, or “muscle-shortening” contraction, your muscle produces a greater force. This is called the “stretch-shortening cycle.”So that all sounds like something a basketball player would benefit from, right? They need to be powerful and explosive when skying for a rebound, contesting a jump shot or even shooting from 3-point range. This is all true. However, basketball players get the plyometric training they need while playing their sport, so extra plyometric training in the weight room isn't necessary. More does not equal better in this instance.
Okay, so how do you fix this? Easy - practice variations. Two variations to work on are the snatch pull from the floor and the high snatch working into the catch as shown in the video. Now get to work!!
Everything athletes do - from training, to sleeping, to what they are putting in their body - are all small, important pieces to a much bigger puzzle. One vital piece is nutrition and with this month's Trigger Focus being Nutrient Density, I figured I'd address an important question: "Are all calories created equally?" The simple answer is, of course, no. To explain why, I did a comparison case study on what 3,000 calories looks like: healthy, nutrient-dense foods vs. a beloved fast food chain that starts with a 'W' and ends with 'hataburger.'
“ Don’t talk to me about recovery when you're living out of a fast food window .”
I can still hear my collegiate strength coach telling me this as though it was yesterday. He was right, my nutrition habits were trash; I was so used to eating whatever I wanted because I was young, so I thought my body could handle it. I can probably count on one hand how many of us even knew the term ‘nutrient density’ let alone what it meant. So today we are going to EQUIP you with this knowledge.
Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. A.K.A getting the “biggest bang for your buck”. Why is nutrient density so helpful? Because it gives you concentrated amounts of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients , to name a few. Adequate consumption of foods high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals is essential for a healthy immune system and for empowering your body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms. This helps protect you from cancer and other diseases. Nutrient-dense foods also provide necessary micronutrients - which are highly overlooked - that are important co-factors in reactions that produce growth, repair tissues, and increase oxygen transport. Being deficient in this will negatively affect performance and could keep you from reaching your athletic potential.
Now let me show you the difference. 3,000 calories at Whataburger looks something like this: