Tag: athletic training

What Exactly is V02 Max?

Many of you may have heard the term “V02 max” thrown around when talking about your cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness, but I’m sure many of you are all wondering the same thing…What exactly is V02 Max and should I get mine tested?

WHAT IS VO2 MAX?
VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximal or exhaustive exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. VO2 max is one factor that can determine a person’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. It is generally considered the best fitness assessment tool available to accurately identify the appropriate training intensities specific to your fitness needs/goals.

HOW IS IT TESTED?
Determining your V02 Max involves a graded exercise test on a treadmill. The test begins at a light intensity and gets slightly harder each minute until you reach near maximum exertion. The subject wears a mask and the volume of air expired along with the percentages of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the expired air are measured. From this, we can determine the following:
■ Peak oxygen consumption
■ Calories burned during exercise at different heart rates
■ Aerobic and Anaerobic Thresholds
■ Target intensity zones

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES?
VO2 testing is the best way to measure your cardio fitness and maximize your workout. Each person has a unique optimal training zone. Exercising at different levels of intensity will meet different fitness goals. Some intensities burn more fat, some increase endurance, and some focus on strengthening your heart. As you may know, the calories burned calculated on cardio machines are not known for their accuracy. Some machines are even known to bump up the calorie readout by almost 25%! Furthermore, machines do not always take into consideration all the factors in individual fitness levels and the specificity of the exercise, so relying on these machines to give you an accurate calorie and heart rate count can hold you back from attaining your goals if your not careful. Also, many of the charts you see on exercise equipment displays target heart rate based only on age. V02 max testing measures your precise target heart rate, then calculates your personal target intensity zones and how many calories you burn in each zone. These zones give you the precise heart rates necessary to optimize each level of exercise and maximize your results, so you workout smarter, not harder.

By knowing your V02 Max you will in turn be able to:
■ Burn more fat
■ Maximize your workouts
■ Eliminate training plateaus
■ Decrease fatigue and injury potential

WHO SHOULD TEST THEIR V02 MAX?
Anyone who is looking to lose weight, maximize the potential towards their workouts, improve performance or most importantly, help make fitness goals attainable. Although many individuals would benefit from knowing their V02 max, it is especially valuable for those involved in sports where endurance is an important component in performance, such as:

■ Cycling
■ Rowing
■ Cross-country skiing
■ Swimming
■ Running

With spring approaching quickly and marathon/swimming/cycling season underway, now is the perfect time to maximize your potential and workout smarter, not harder!

Pilates for Squash Players: How to Improve Your Game

At Seattle Athletic Club, we are widely recognized for our superior squash program. More than 500 members compete in tournaments, and many people seek out our club to study with the legendary Khan family. Coincidentally, Seattle Athletic Club also has an excellent authentic Pilates program. All of the instructors have graduated from the most rigorous authentic training program, under the tutelage of master teachers hand-picked by Joseph Pilates and his protégés. The common denominator here is the availability to receive the best cross-training method in addition to the best squash instruction.

So, how can Pilates improve your squash game? Racket sports, by nature, are repeatedly one-sided. Half of the body, generally speaking, is used more than the other half. Also, the rotation required in the torso, let alone the extremities, is significant in the game of squash. Furthermore, the mental focus and physical stamina required in squash is crucial to the outcome.

Pilates is designed to work the body evenly, building strength in the torso to aide in the mobility of the entire body. A program of specific exercises will work the body more uniformly in order to prevent overdevelopment of one side. The custom Pilates workout will also strengthen the deep abdominal muscles providing a stable base from which to hit the ultimate ‘kill shot’. The range of motion through the middle of the body is improved upon during every Pilates exercise, as the core initiates all movement. The shoulders and upper back, typically a difficult region to stretch, will gain flexibility through precise movements that will subsequently enhance far-reaching swings, and your ability to reach that drop shot.

The focus required for your Pilates workout will increase your focus on the court. The ability to decelerate in your Pilates workout in order to develop the specificity of the work, will inherently improve your concentration in any fast paced sport. You will, perhaps, be able to anticipate and prepare shots that were once more hurried and less skillful. Also, the breath control that is essential to your Pilates workout, will enhance your innate ability to find that last energetic lungful in order to successfully complete the game.

The benefits of Pilates will follow you through your daily routine, condition your body so that you stay injury-free, and will clearly aide in the mastering of your chosen sport. Squash is a challenging game of athleticism, and Pilates is clearly a ‘straight drive’ to your success!

Training Outdoors in Cold Weather

The time is here for the weather to change with winter rolling in, and the days getting darker faster. Exercisers can still take their workouts outdoors to beat the winter blues, and stay off the couch. Going outdoors and exercising with the proper gear allows you to get moving around, giving the body a chance to adjust to the changing season and get revved up for the day.

Go prepared

  1. Dress in layers- avoid cotton-use polypropylene & fleece
  2. If you have asthma wear a face mask or scarf
  3. Cover your head 30 to 40% of heat is lost through your head
  4. Use sunscreen to protect skin & lip balm – remember wind chill goes right through you
  5. Keep hands & feet dry, use wool to keep feet and hands warm

Getting Started
Now you are motivated and have your layers on, and skin protected; it’s time for the outdoors.

  1. Try to head into the wind – less likely to get chilled on way back from your exercise.
  2. Drinks fluids before, during, and after – you are sweating so watch out for dehydration.
  3. Use a headlamp not just for your own ability to see, but for others to see you most likely you will be in the dark.

Staying motivated during the winter can be fun, rewarding, and good for cabin fever. You have the knowledge, and fortitude to meet your goals, of staying active not sedentary. For many people winter outdoor exercise is great for solitude, and quiet time.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #10 Visualization/Believing

Visualization/Believing
The great athletes know when they have given their best, put in the time, listened to their bodies and believe that they are ready. They show up on race day to execute what they have prepared to do all season and nothing distracts them from this mission. The race becomes the “easy” part because the “hard” work has already been done. They have mentally and physically prepared themselves for their race and have no doubts. I know an athlete is ready when they can give me a detailed description of how their race will unfold to a T. They have it all lined up, have visualized it over and over and know exactly how they will feel, look and breathe each step of the way.

Train on, keep believing, follow your journey.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Training Tips for the Skinny Guy

Most gym goers are people looking to shed a few pounds and tone up problem areas. However, there are also those guys and gals who want to put on some mass and gain some size. For those people it may seem like no matter what they do they can’t gain any weight. When I started playing college football I was 6’5” and only weighed 180 lbs; I was going against guys that were 140 lbs heavier than I was. By my senior year I had gotten up to 255 lbs, all through the gym and eating. Now many of you may not want to gain that much weight in the gym, but here are some types to help start the process of adding muscle to your frame.

Get in the weight room and out of the cardio room. If you are starting off without much body fat and trying to add muscle, cardio will hinder you in every way. Doing cardiovascular exercises will zap you body of the needed energy required to build muscle. Try cutting your cardio sessions down by one or two days and making those days weights days.

While working out, concentrate on working the larger muscle groups in full body exercises such as squats, deadlift, bench press and shoulder press. By activating the larger muscle groups your release the largest amount of testosterone (your natural muscle builder) into your blood stream; which is then transported to all your other muscles, to be utilized during the rest of your workout.

Train in lower reps with higher weights and more sets equals muscle building. You should try to be from 6 to 1 rep per set, from 75% of your one rep max and 3 – 5 sets of each exercise (you will need larger rest periods). This will help you build muscles and strength.

Eat, muscles burn three times as many calories as fat; meaning they require a lot of good sources of protein to allow them to grow. Studies have shown that the optimal time to ingest protein is within 45 min of finishing your workout. Now don’t cut all the carbs completely out too, protein is going to utilize that to help build muscles as well. Keep fresh fruit and veggies available as you eat your protein.

Finally probably the most underutilized muscle building aide is sleep! Our muscles and body repairs itself during REM sleep. Meaning that if we don’t even get close to the recommended 8 hrs of sleep our body does not repair itself fully, leading to sickness and injuries as well as not fully healed muscles. Try to get as much sleep as possible, allowing your muscles to fully recover and grow.

For those of you who have tried over and over to gain muscle, it can be done. It takes training correctly for muscle gain (commit the time in the gym and you will see results) and making habit changes that will aide you in every aspect of your life. Try adding the tips above to your workout and see where your body goes! If you need any help with any of these tips or want to hire a trainer to get you going in the right direction please feel free to contact the Fitness Director Jacob Galloway at jgalloway@sacdt.com.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #9 REST

REST
Great athletes know when it is time to REST. It is a balance of work, family, play and train. Athletes forget to REST when training is not calling and good athletes know when it is time to put the legs up . Recovery is also the additional element on swim/bike/run!

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Why Am I So Prone to Ankle Injury?

A common injury to both athletes and non-athletes is an ankle sprain. This is usually caused by landed on an uneven surface which causes the ankle to twist, stretching or tearing the ligaments that hold the foot in place. The most common form of an ankle sprain is when the foot turns in, damaging the lateral (or side) ligaments. Medial ligament sprains are rare and usually occur with a fracture to the tibia caused by the foot turning out.

There are 3 grades of severity for ankle sprains:
Grade 1

  • Some stretching or minor tearing of the ankle ligaments most likely lateral
  • Mild pain
  • Mild swelling around the bone on the outside of the ankle
  • Some joint stiffness or difficulty walking or running

Grade 2

  • Moderate tearing of the ligament fibers
  • Moderate to severe pain and difficulty walking
  • Swelling and stiffness in ankle joint
  • Minor bruising

Grade 3

  • Total rupture of ligament
  • Complete instability of joint
  • Severe pain
  • Severe swelling
  • Extensive bruising

The recovery from a sprained ankle can be quick or can last months depending on the grade of sprain and your active involvement in rehabbing the injured area. Your best bet for assisting with a quick recovery time is to initially use R.I.C.E.

Rest the injury to reduce the risk of further injuring the ankle. Some therapists advocate partial weight-bearing as soon as tolerated to help rehabilitation time.

Ice will reduce the swelling and increase circulation to the injured area. Place ice on the ankle first thing following the injury for 15 min. Repeat this every 2 hours.

Compression will also assist with reducing swelling and bleeding.

Elevation uses gravity to help reduce bleeding and inflammation by allowing the blood to flaw away from the injured site.

The next step in recovery is to do rehab on your ankle working on stretching and strengthening those injured muscles, tendons and ligaments. The most important part of rehabilitation of an ankle injury is range of motion. Great exercises include making circles with your feet or spelling your ABC’s in capital letters with your feet. Make sure you have something close to you for balance and keep your core engaged. The calf muscle usually tightens following an ankle injury for protection so gentle stretching will aid in a faster recovery time. Make sure you stretch both the Gastrocnemius (large calf muscle) and the Soleus (smaller calf muscle that attaches below the knee).

Stretch should be felt throughout the whole calf muscle.

Stretch should be felt in the lower part of the leg closer to your heel.

Stability and core exercises are also an important aspect to the rehabilitation and strengthening of an ankle injury. Such devices as the Bosu and wobble boards place the ankle in a “controlled chaos” which trains the body how to react to situations that may damage the ankle. These tools will strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the ankle and should be incorporated into any exercise routine for someone who has suffered this kind of injury.

What ever grade ankle sprain you have; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation are the first tools to a rapid recovery. After that a good rehab program involving range of motion and strengthening, perhaps utilizing a Bosu/wabble board, should be your second step. Ankle sprains can be a continuous problem and should be addressed sooner rather than later. If you would like more information on ankle rehab or strengthening please contact Thomas Eagen.

Seattle Athletic Club Downtown Diversifies with TRX

Recently Fitness Anywhere highlighted the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown’s commitment to diversifying workout options for our members.

Located one block north of the historic fish markets in Seattle, Washington, the Seattle Athletic Club (SAC) opened in 1982 and quickly became downtown Seattle’s premier health and fitness destination. Under the direction of internationally renowned squash pro Yusuf Khan, the club drew squash enthusiasts from across the region and is still recognized today for its superior squash program. In addition to squash, the club offers athletic training in a variety of other areas including court sports, MMA, triathlon, golf and youth training, and on the group exercise side, their robust curriculum boosts programs like BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, BOSU Blast, Endurance Cycle, Power Sculpt, Sports Conditioning and Zumba.

SAC prides itself on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry trends. They pay close attention to clients’ demands and interests for new classes and equipment, which keeps the club evolving with the industry. One such client request was TRX Suspension Training, which SAC introduced in March 2009. Members lapped up this latest offering.

“After my first TRX training, I was hooked!” says member Cathy Garrison. “In a 45 minute workout, TRX strengthened my core muscles to the point of fatigue and at the same time provided an amazing cardio workout. TRX has stepped up my fitness level.”

Currently, three instructors at SAC have taken a TRX Suspension Training Course, which has proved invaluable to them as they continue to incorporate the TRX into their clients’ workouts on a daily basis. “The TRX adds more diversified training for our members. More tools in the tool box helps the members reach their goals,” says personal trainer Katrina Yniguez (performing the TRX Pike above).

The SAC trainers perform circuits with the TRX and other equipment such as kettlebells, jump ropes, BOSU, medicine balls, agility ladders, cones, hurdles, etc. Because the trainers have different areas of expertise, they each work with a unique demographic on the TRX, from young athletes to clients in their mid 30s to 50s to seniors. Regardless their skill level or goal, all clientele have achieved noticeable results from TRX Suspension Training.

Member Margie Duckstead frequently recommends TRX to her fitness-minded friends, citing it as one of her favorite ways to strength train. “I feel less likely to get injured than I do with certain free weights and equipment,” says Duckstead. “It provides great results and is enjoyable in the process.”

From its initial launch, the TRX class offering at SAC has evolved in multiple ways: increased frequency from three days a week to five days and now including one-on-one training sessions; increased visibility to a higher traffic area at the club; and improved anchoring with the TRX MultiMount, which allows up to 10 people to train at once.

Seattle Athletic Club stays committed to continuing to offer members ever-evolving and improved fitness programs and equipment, and the versatility, effectiveness and fun afforded by the TRX Suspension Trainer goes hand-in-hand with this mission.

Visit our TRX Playlist on our YouTube Channel for more great exercise demonstrations.

If you are interested in trying out the TRX Suspension Training, contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway at 206-443-1111.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #6 Listening to Your Body

Listening to Your Body
This is for in training and in racing. Recognizing signals that something is “off” and dealing with it.

Your training program is a guideline, but if something feels “tweaky” knowing that your body needs a break at that time rather than trying to push through the workout to “do more” can lead to injury later. As for racing, listen to your body cues and respond to them appropriately instead of waiting until it is too late (ie: fueling properly, pacing well, and staying on your game plan for the day).

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #5 Considering Factors and Elements

Considering Factors and Elements
From experience, I can tell you that no race is the same, even if it is the same race from the previous year. In the sport of Triathlon, there are so many variables on the course that play a roll on race day. Bouys drift, swim distances are mis-marked, winds blow in all directions at different times and shifting intensities, road surfaces change with weather, etc. The good athlete considers these elements before beating themselves up over not getting a PR or not showing time improvements. In fact, the good athlete keeps their head in the game at these times, while the less experienced athlete throws in the towel before the race is even complete. Mentally prepare yourself for all conditions so there are no surprises on race day!

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.