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Five Superfoods To Boost Your Training

As an athlete, businessman or super mom, you are always looking for a competitive edge. When it comes to your diet, you should employ the same strategy. Superfoods are foods that have more benefit than the energy they provide from carbs, fat, and protein. Superfoods contain vitamins, minerals, and other key phytonutrients that support your training, making these foods even more worth your while to eat. By incorporating these foods in your diet, you are giving yourself an advantage in your training and recovery. 

1.Reduce Soreness and Improve Healing with Tart Cherry

Tart Cherry extracts, powders, and juices have proven to be beneficial for athletes. Studies have found numerous benefits including reduced muscle soreness after training, 

Tart cherries are also naturally rich in melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle in our body. Consuming tart cherry extract in the evening after a training session should promote sleep and recovery. 

Studies have shown benefit with doses of 16oz (480mL). Use that as a starting point and see if you can enjoy the benefits of tart cherry!

2. Metabolize Estrogen with Broccoli

High estrogen levels is not ideal whether you are a male or female athlete. Estrogen promotes the gain of fat mass. Broccoli contains a substance called 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) that is capable of metabolizing free estrogen. Consume broccoli at any of your main meals. Just make sure to cook it properly to optimize digestion and absorption.

3. Recover Post Workout with Kiwi and Pineapple

Kiwi and pineapple are two great choices for a post-workout carbohydrate. These fruits are high glycemic and will quickly replenish muscle glycogen and hydrate the body after training. They also contain high levels of antioxidants that help eliminate the waste generated from exercise. Pineapples contain enzymes that can aid digestion and compounds that benefit eye health. Both of these benefits are very important to consider if you are training hard. Shoot for 1-2 cups of these superfood fruits immediately after exercise.

4. Control Cravings and Boost Your Health with Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains a powerful compound called cinnamaldehyde which follows into a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. Cinnamaldehyde has been shown to effect ghrelin secretion and gastric emptying of the stomach making it a great tool to support healthy weight maintenance. Cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity, helping the body store more carbohydrates as glycogen, and preventing a sharp rise in blood sugar. It is also a powerful antioxidant that may help eradicate bacteria, viruses, and possibly even cancerous cells in the body. Cinnamon goes great on so many foods and is an easy way to incorporate its valuable benefits into your diet.

5. Gain Lean Muscle with Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are a superfood and can truly be a meal in themselves. They contain healthy fats, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and are a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Brazil nuts are high in the antioxidant and mineral selenium. Selenium has been found to improve levels of luteinizing hormone, which is required for testosterone production. Consume 2-3 of these nuts daily to get the required dose of selenium and all the other benefits of this super nut.

There you have it, five amazing superfoods for athletes. If you want to learn more about eating to improve your health and performance we would be more than happy to help!

Debunking 3 Big Stretching Myths

Stretching is one of the most misunderstood practices in the realm of fitness and sports performance. A long standing staple in many training sessions, it is commonly performed incorrectly, performed at the wrong time, or avoided for the wrong reason. 

By the end of this article, you should be able to see the benefits of stretching and how to place it into your routine. Let’s take a closer look at what stretching is, when to do it, and debunk 3 of the most common myths about stretching. 

Myth #1: Stretching makes you weak.

Stretching is sometimes avoided entirely. Especially by athletes who are concerned with losing strength or experiencing a decrease in performance. Holding long static stretches before executing a high intensity lift or movement may have an impact on the stretch shortening cycle of the muscle. 

Most folks, however, are not going to hold a long passive hamstring stretch and immediately pop up into a heavy set of back squats or deadlifts. Proper stretching of the muscle requires breathing, relaxation, and a parasympathetic state to be performed correctly.

Odds are that what most folks consider stretching is more like jamming their connective tissues, ligaments, and joints into aggressive end range of motion and uncomfortably holding them there until the pain is overwhelming. The positions are wrong. The intensity is too high. The body doesn’t relax. Stretching is not achieved. 

Performing proper stretching has actually been shown to improve strength as the muscle is able to contract properly and generate force through a greater range of motion. But when and how should it be done? Let’s move on to myth #2.

Myth #2: Stretching should not be performed before exercise or sport.

Stretching before exercise or sport can actually increase performance. The key is knowing how long to stretch. A meta-analyses of studies around stretching and the ability to generate strength or power in subsequent effort found some pretty clear data. 

Holding stretches for less than 30 seconds had no negative effect on the ability to jump, sprint, or produce force in resistance training movements.

Holding stretches for 30 seconds or longer lead to decreases in the ability to produce force with longer stretch times leading to more significant decrease.

Key Takeaway: Perform dynamic stretching and short duration static stretching before exercise or sport. Take the muscles through a progressively increasing range of motion to improve circulation and prepare the body for performance.

Myth #3: Stretching increases risk of injury.

Based on the first two myths being debunked, you probably know where this one is heading… The idea that stretching increases risk of injury is tied in with the lack of knowledge around proper timing and execution of stretching protocols.

We’ve already established a dynamic stretching and short duration (< :30 seconds) static stretching routine can help prepare the body for performance, but there is a huge benefit to longer duration static stretching post workout and during active recovery sessions. By addressing some commonly tight muscles like the pectoralis or psoas, we are able to correct our bodies posture and alignment. Stretching these two muscles helps provide stability to the hip and shoulder joints and can significantly decrease injury risk. 

So now that we’ve debunked some of the common myths around stretching, you should feel confident about incorporating stretching into your training. If you need help with stretching, mobility, or any other training needs, consider connecting with one of our trainers to find a plan that works for you!

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