Monthly Archives: October 2011

All Carbohydrates Are Not Created Equal

All foods are broken down into a category of macronutrients that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrate.  Some of the latest diet fads place an emphasis on eliminating or overloading on each of these types of food; however, a well-balanced diet needs to contain some of all the macronutrients, as well as vitamins and minerals.

Most people are aware that there is a difference between simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates with regards to how long each will supply your body with energy.  The simple carbs will give you a quick energy burst, but will not last very long,  whereas complex carbs will supply you with a longer lasting energy source for prolonged activity.

The reason why certain carbs act quicker than others deals with how quickly they are absorbed into your bloodstream through digestion.  This rate of absorption is referred to as the Glycemic Index.  Carbs with a high glycemic index such as high fructose corn syrup are absorbed very rapidly, while carbs with a low glycemic index such as sweet potato have a slower absorption rate.  Once these carbohydrates enter your blood stream, the body will either use them for energy, or store them for later use as glycogen.  If excess carbohydrate is present it will be stored as fat.  Foods with a higher glycemic index tend to create a larger insulin response, which is responsible for conversion of carbohydrate to fat.

Maintaining a stable blood sugar level and insulin response has been shown to help prevent coronary artery disease and Diabetes.  It is also the best way to prevent fluctuations in energy levels in between meals.  For a complete listing of the glycemic index of all foods visit: http://www.glycemicedge.com/glycemic-index-chart/

by: Steven L. Bernstein, PT, OMT

Foam Roller Exercises to Prevent Injuries

As an athlete, trainer, therapist, and someone who loves to train, one of the worst fears and frustrations is getting injured.  It is an experience that no wants to go through, but unfortunately it can happen to any active individual and athlete.

Foam roller exercises can be a big factor in preventing minor soft tissue traumas/injuries. Athletes are prone to muscular imbalances or deficiencies that can cause pain in shins, calves, quadriceps, and other lower extremity muscles.  A foam roller can be used for deep muscle massage, which will relax the muscles and will release the tension and possibly any adhesions that occur. Just like rolling pizza dough!  And a foam roller can be used for the upper extremities as well!!!

There are five basic foam roller techniques that the novice may start with:

Quadriceps: Lie over the foam roller with the muscle resting on it. Start from above the knee. Support your weight on your arms with elbows straight. Roll forward and backward along the thigh until you find a tender spot. Hold for 10 -20 seconds. Continue to roll along the muscle, finding tender spots and repeat the 10 -20 second holds.

IT Bands (lateral thigh): Lie on the roller with the top leg bent and positioned in front of you. Start just below you hip bone and roll all the way down to the just above the knee. Go up and down slowly.  This is usually the most tender region to roll and may have a pain associated. Repeat on both thighs.

Glutes (or buttocks): Sit on the foam roller with knees bent and feet flat. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Then lean to the side of the crossed leg. Roll front and back, until you find a tight spot. Hold it for 10 -20 seconds, than continue the exercise until you find another spot. Repeat on both sides.

Hamstrings (back of the thigh): Sitting on the roller (just above the knee back of the knee), support your body on extended arms. Begin rolling from the top of the knee to the glutes. Rotate the leg in and out. When you find a tender spot, hold for 10 -20 seconds.

Calves: Place the back of your ankle on the roller. Support your body on extended arms. Roll from the back of the ankle to below the knee. When you find a tender spot, hold for 10 -20 seconds. Continue to roll searching for tender spots. Move the ankle in and out.

*For greater pressure perform each of these with one leg at a time or use a denser roll.

*Each body part can be worked on for approximately 2 minutes.

If you want to get the best out of your foam rolling exercises, consider these helpful tips:

  • If you suffer from any vascular illness, heart problem or chronic pain, consult your physician before starting any physical activity.
  • Perform these techniques before or after a workout, and prior to stretching after a workout.
  • Avoid rolling over joints and  bony prominences.
  • These techniques will seem like a core workout as well. Positioning may be difficult at first.

No matter how tired you are after a workout, make time for these techniques-you will feel an improvement in performance and recovery.

By: Rocco Ferraiolo PTA, NASM-CPT, SPARQ certified

Cardio Before Weights, Right? Wrong!

Having been a trainer for the past 10 years, I have heard many different ideas about workout programs.

In an “ideal” work out, all exercise participants would start with a general warm-up (5 minutes on a cardio machine), followed by a dynamic warm-up (10 minutes including movement prep, i.e. jump rope, jumping jacks, agility ladder), then enter the resistance training portion (approximately 25-45 minutes). A 20-35 minute cardio routine, working within your target heart rates, would complete the work out. After a cool-down period for approximately 5-10 minutes, stretching would be implemented.

You may ask yourself, why? Well, the body needs to burn through its sugar source before it gets to the fat. Sugar sources are burned when performing resistance training, while fat will be burned during your cardio session.

When structuring a workout, efficiency is the key:
1)  The  purpose of a “warm up” is to increase core temperature, and stimulate the nervous system.
2) The most intensive training should be done first, while your body is fresh. By placing resistance training first, you signal your muscles to trigger the proteins that use calories while you train. Even when you believe that you are “spent” after 30 minutes of weights, your body is ready to burn fat faster than if you were to attack the sugar first.
3)  Cardio to follow.
4) The “cool down” period is to calm the nervous system, reduce heart rate efficiently, and prevent the blood from pooling.

In conclusion, long-duration cardio should not be performed initially. And guess what, if you only have 30 minutes, go for resistance training instead of cardio. More fat will be burned by pushing and pulling weights than going on a brisk walk. Although the person who is dripping buckets on the stair-master is getting a good workout, you are likely getting a better one by getting sore, and not soaked!!!!

And then there is interval or metabolic training…

Rocco Ferraiolo PTA, NASM-CPT, SPARQ certified