When someone is training, whether it be for an event or just to get in better shape, many hours are spent not only planning each days’ activities, but also in working towards a goal. Most athletes spend most of their time making sure that they get enough training hours into each week. A smaller number of athletes spend adequate time ensuring that their nutrition supports their training efforts (which is as equally important as the training itself). However, very few athletes give enough attention and respect to one of the most important parts of training: Recovery. Recovery is the glue that holds everything together. Without this glue, areas in the body will gradually become dysfunctional and begin to fall apart. Physical training, in any form, pushes the body to its limits. This causes the body to breakdown as limits are surpassed and the athlete tries to make improvements; as muscles and other soft tissues are stressed, as in training, they essentially breakdown and cause micro-tears in the muscle fibers. After training, the body responds by building that tissue up stronger than before to support such efforts the next time. This is how muscles become larger and performance is increased. Now, what happens if you put your body through the same physical stress before it has had time to recover? Essentially, you will be breaking down tissue that began the day at 90% instead of 100%. This means that by the time you are done training you will have once again broken down the muscle tissue, but this time to a greater extent since you were not 100% at the start of training. Now, the body is a remarkable machine that can adapt to many situations and learn to cope with many stresses. By no means does this mean that you have to be 100% rested and fresh before each day of training. However, if this scenario is repeated numerous times you can see how eventually the tissue will not be able to withstand the same levels of training. Soon the tissue will be starting the days’ training at 20% and little work can be done before the tissue fails and injury occurs. Recovery is a complex puzzle that requires more than just a little time off. Understanding the importance of recovery and how to implement it correctly into your training plan will not only boost performance, but it will keep you active and injury free. In my many years of clinical practice I have seen numerous athletes competing in a wide variety of recreational and professional sports. Those who pay attention to the various parts of recovery almost always do better in competition. There is a simple reason for this: improved recovery = an increased ability to train harder = better results! In my opinion, the success rates of training programs hinge on the things done when you are not actually training!
2 ripe avocados
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 can sliced black olives
2 garlic cloves, grated
¼ tsp onion powder or 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1/8 tsp cumin
2 tsp tarragon vinegar
½ tsp fresh lime juice
Sea salt to taste
In a medium mixing bowl, mash the avocados. Cut the artichoke hearts into pieces. Mix together all ingredients.
12 oz. baked salmon, chopped
2 eggs or egg substitute
1 small onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tbsp. green onion, minced
1 tsp. spice blend of rosemary, sage, salt, garlic powder, onion powder
1-2 tsp. coconut flour
¼ cup coconut oil or butter
2 tsp. gluten-free mustard (optional)
Combine the salmon, eggs, garlic, green onions, spice blend, and mustard (optional) in a small mixing bowl. If the consistency is runny, sift the coconut flour over the mixture and combine well. Form the mixture into patties. Lightly fry both sides in a frying pan coated with coconut oil.
1 4-6 oz can of water-packed tuna
1 green onion, sliced thinly
½ stalked of celery, chopped
1 tbsp. light mayonnaise (egg & soy free)
1 tsp. chopped olives
¼ avocado, mashed
2 butter lettuce leaves
Sea salt & pepper, if desired
Drain the tuna. In a medium bowl, add the tuna, onion, celery, olives & mayo. Mix to combine. Add salt & pepper, if desired. Cover and place in refrigerator to chill, or serve immediately. Serve on a butter lettuce leaf. Makes one serving.
The Top 3 Things Your Medical Doctor Is Not Testing
Running labs can be one of the best tools to assess heath or uncover disease processes. There are countless things that can be scientifically tested and the technology gets better and more accurate everyday. Most people are surprised to find that some of these tests are even possible and that many health status factors can be tested in the comfort of your own home. The biggest problem is that most of the labs that are typically run for patients are driven by what can be medicated. Unfortunately, this only tells us when we have already reached the stage where we have a disease. Don’t you think it would make more sense to start using lab testing to assess health so that you can avoid the diagnosis of a disease? Well that’s what we are doing at Momentum! There are many different tests that we use to help people correct or optimize their health. Here are three examples of ones we commonly use in our clinic.
Adrenal Status: DUTCH testing
If I asked you to tell me one major thing that impacted people’s health negatively, I’m sure many of you would say STRESS. And for those of you who said that you would be absolutely correct! However, most people have never had their adrenals tested accurately. Cortisol, one of the major hormones produced in the adrenals, is your stress hormone. Your body uses this to help you respond to stressful environments so that you can ‘run from the tiger‘. However, in today’s world we never stop running from the tiger. Accurately testing adrenal function can help uncover a huge piece of the health and/or performance puzzle. DUTCH testing is the newest and most accurate way to assess adrenal health.
Digestive Health: GI-MAP
All of the cutting-edge research is continually uncovering the importance of the GI system in overall health. The ‘second brain’, which is the new name for the GI system, is one of the most important organs in the body. Not only is it responsible for the absorption of nutrients, but it is also responsible for immune system health, hormone production and conversion, and many other critical processes. Ensuring that the GI system is healthy and free of harmful ‘bugs’ is a great way to assess health. The newest technology is called the GI-MAP test. This test uses DNA technology to analyze the sample for bacteria, parasites, and viruses. The testing is extremely accurate and one of the best ways to see if your GI system is compromised.
One advantage of lab testing is that it allows us to create detailed strategies to correct any dysfunctions. The organic acids test is a great test to give you a snapshot of what is going on inside the body. The test we use gives 74 metabolite markers that help show how efficiently numerous reactions in your body are occurring. It helps to assess nutritional deficiencies, antioxidant deficiencies, fatty acid metabolism, yeast overgrowths, neurotransmitter levels, and Krebs cycle (energy productions) abnormalities. This comprehensive test is probably one of the best ways to optimize health and improve function.
These three tests are just a sample of things that can be scientifically tested to truly get a picture of your health. Once we start using labs to improve normal function instead of just reacting to disease, we will be able to help people feel better and avoid many chronic diseases. If you are interested in taking look at your true health status, contact our office today for more information.
Easily Avoid Dozens of Chemicals
I don’t think anyone would argue that using less chemicals is always better. However, most people don’t take the time to really assess how many chemicals they are surrounded by on a daily basis. From household cleaning products to hygiene products, we come in contact with dozens, if not hundreds, of chemicals daily. One simple way to start decreasing this chemical load is to start intelligently deciding what household cleaners you purchase. Instead of just picking up the most popular product or the one at Costco, make the smart decision and pick the one that is best for your overall health. This is a very simple choice and can be done slowly. There is no reason to throw everything out in your house and go buy all new products. Once one of your products runs out just research a better option and make the switch. Most of the time you will not notice any deficiency in how things are cleaned and will be drastically reducing the chemicals around your house.
The Environmental Working Group has made it even easier! The EWG just recently released their 2016 Guide to Healthy Cleaning. They have done all the research and spent countless hours figuring out which products are the safest for you and your family. You can now even download their app which has a built-in scanner so you can scan products while your are shopping. There is really no reason not to buy cleaner products, so get on it! Go to the following link to look at their full list of product ratings:
Making these small changes can make a huge impact on not only your health, but your family’s health as well. You will be reducing your overall toxic load, improving your health, and still keeping your house and body clean!
Cannons and Canoes
One of my favorite quotes as it relates to power creation in the human body I read many years ago in Stuart McGill’s “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance”. When speaking about how the body can generate the most power the book says, “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe”. This image has stuck with me ever since I first read it and seems to simply explain how we need to address the athlete’s conditioning if we want to ultimately create maximum power. The absolute, crushing power of a cannon ball shot from a cannon is unmistakable. If you decided one day that you wanted to create a cannon with more power that could ultimately create more force, the first instinct would be to build a bigger cannon that used a bigger cannon ball. This is often the same instinct that we have as athletes when it relates to our sport. Getter faster on the bike means getting a better bike, a lighter shoe, a lighter wheel, or more aerodynamic frame. To get faster, runners want to get the best shoe and just run more miles. To get bigger muscles athletes think only to lift heavier weights and lift them more often. While all of these things do help to improve the performance of the athlete, the most important piece of equipment is often neglected: the body.
Let’s look back at our example of the cannon. What if all the focus was placed on building a bigger cannon and heavier cannon ball without paying much attention to the stability of the cannon. This is eloquently illustrated by thinking about firing a cannon from a canoe. If you put a powerful cannon on a canoe and fired it, the explosion would cause more energy displaced in the movement of the canoe rather than in the propulsion of the cannon ball. This same principle can be seen with athletes. Too often athletes are narrowly focused on big muscles and better gear, rather than focusing on the stability of their cannon. Remember that the more you stabilize the cannon, the more power you can create when shooting the cannon ball. Any loss in the stability of the cannon directly relates to loss of power in the firing of the ball. This is no different than the human body. If athletes lack proper stability then maximum power can never be created. This goes for every sport: golf, running, cycling, basketball, football, etc. Taking the cannon off of the canoe and putting it on the ground obviously yields better results. For the highly competitive athlete this needs to be taken one step further. Not only does the cannon need to be on solid ground, but it needs to be completely immobilized so that no energy is wasting moving the cannon when fired. This ultimate stability of the cannon allows for maximum force dispersed to the cannon ball.
For the athlete, this ultimate stability needs to be realized not only through the proper fitness training, but also through optimizing the stability of the internal health. Let’s briefly discuss these two:
Proper fitness training for the athlete needs to be very specific to what muscles and movements are involved in the sport. It also needs to build an athlete from the ground-up. This means making sure there is a proper base strength and muscular control from which power and strength can be built upon. It is far too common to see athletes who focus on power and strength, but have very poor stabilizing capacity and fine motor control.
Optimizing internal health is probably never even considered by the athlete as a way to ‘stabilize the cannon’. This is where I find true performance enhancement can really be achieved. Getting bigger, stronger, or faster is completely determined by an athletes ability to recover. This was discussed at length in a previous blog (read here: http://momentumsportstherapy.com/category/sports-and-fitness/) so we’ll keep it simple here. Just know that improving your overall health is the absolute best way to be able to train harder and recover faster. Using specified lab work, precise nutritional intervention, and high-quality supplementation can give athletes huge advantages in competition.
If you are a serious athlete that either wants to compete at a high level or stay in the sport for many years, start to consider that optimizing your health is the first priority to achieving those goals.
Prep time: 10 mins. Cook time: 8 hrs.
- 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source
- 2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- Optional: 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon or more of sea salt, additional herbs or spices to taste. You can also add 2 cloves of garlic for the last 30 mins of cooking
- When using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first for about 30 mins. at 350
- Then, place the bones in a large stock pot. Pour (filtered) water over the bones & add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 mins. in cool water
- Chop & add the vegetables to the pot (except garlic & parsley) & add any salt, pepper, spices of herbs
- Now, bring the broth to a boil. When it has reached the boil, reduce to a simmer & simmer until done (fish- 8 hours; chicken- 12-24 hours; beef- 24 hours
- During the few hours of simmering, remove the impurities that float to the surface; check every 20 mins. for 2 hours to remove this (grass-fed and healthy animals will produce much less of this than conventional animals)
- During the last 30 mins. add the garlic & parsley
- Remove from the heat and cool off. Strain to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable
- When cool enough, store in a gallon-size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use
Pre-Diabetes Mostly Ignored by Medical Doctors
A new study recently published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine states that less than 25% of patients received and lifestyle or dietary advice when labs showed that they had pre-diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most serious and rapidly growing conditions affecting society today. It is quickly becoming out of control and the worst part is that the vast majority cases of Type 2 Diabetes are completely preventable and even reversible if action is taken early on in its development. That’s right, I said reversible! This disease progresses as sugar handling in the body and insulin sensitivity become dysfunctional. Both of these are things that can be changed and improved with the correct advice and lifestyle modifications. The other option, which seems to be the preferred course of action in modern medicine, is to wait until it progresses to full blown diabetes and then just prescribe medications for the rest of the patient’s life. Not only does diabetes cause problems with sugar control in the body, but it also affects almost every other system in the body. Hormone production and brain function are vastly affected by dysfunctions in the body’s ability to tightly regulate sugar. Not only that, but diabetes medications always lead to more medications. Inevitably, blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds, and others to help with associated hormone and mental dysfunction are prescribed to help ‘alleviate’ future complications of a disease that could have easily been prevented.
To make this ‘hit home’ just a little bit more, the OC Register just reported that nearly 50% of Orange County adults have either unreported diabetes or are in the pre-diabetes stage. This is absolutely ridiculous! And studies show that up to 30% of these people will develop full blown diabetes with 5 years. This means that 15% of all Orange County residents will have diabetes within 5 years. Read the full OC Register story at http://www.ocregister.com/articles/diabetes-707589-prediabetes-percent.html
At some point we need to accept the fact that what we are doing is not working. Many disease processes are worsening and becoming more prevalent. Diabetes is just one of them. Autoimmune diseases are growing in number and becoming more common than diabetes. If all autoimmune subcategories are lumped all into one category, autoimmune disease is the most prevalent disease in the world. The BIG question needs to be completely changed! We need to stop looking so hard for new medications to treat the symptoms of worsening diseases. Instead, we need to start spending more research dollars on what is actually causing these diseases in the first place. Autoimmune diseases and diabetes, for instance, are many times created and worsened simply by the foods that we eat. All the new research already shows this, but only functional medicine doctors are applying it. More needs to be done to prevent misleading marketing and to start educating the public on what is really creating so many problems. People can and will make changes if they are actually armed with the correct information. The problem is that Big Pharma and Big Food don’t want you to know the truth. They are making serious money and have no intentions of stopping. However, all businesses are directed by consumer demand. As people start to demand healthier foods and alternative to drugs, big corporations will have to listen. So, start being your own advocate for health. Don’t simply take the advice of the guy in the white coat as truth. Do your own research, ask your own questions, and fight for your own health!