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When it comes to halting a rider’s progress both on and off of the track, nothing will stop you quicker than an injury. Unfortunately, for many rider’s, we have either become complacent to injuries and have adopted the mindset that “it is just part of the sport” or assumed that the injury is a result of overusing a particular muscle or group of muscles. With the exception of trauma associated with direct impact, injuries are an imbalance within your performance variables: sleep, food, hydration, training (volume & intensity) and your ability to “absorb” the daily workloads that you subject your body to in an attempt to improve. As surmised by Dr. Maffetone, injuries fall into three categories: mechanical, chemical & mental. Let’s review how each of these categories influence the status of your performance. #1 - Mechanical Injuries Let’s create a scenario. You wake up one morning and when you step out of bed you feel a “slight pull” in the arch of your right foot. You notice it, but you don’t think much more about it because within a few minutes of walking around the “slight pull” dissipates. For the next week, every morning when you take your first few steps, you feel the tenderness in your foot lasting progressively longer and instead of being a “slight pull” it is actually becoming painful to walk on it. This pain is now lasting throughout the day and is beginning to negatively affect your workouts. As you train, your body senses the pain in the arch of your right foot and counterbalances this pain by shifting the way that you walk, stand and land when you run or walk. You know that you should run on your mid-foot, but it hurts too much, so you begin running by landing on your heel (mechanical mistake) and your body adjusts more of your weight to your left leg, this causes increased load levels on your left side and a domino effect of issues. Keep in mind, this entire chain of events wasn’t a byproduct of a high impact injury, instead it is your body compensating to some soft tissue issue that resulted in a loss of biomechanics. The key to avoiding a mechanical injury is a three step process: identify how the problem started, properly address the associated symptoms & implement a system to keep the issue from arising again. Step One: Identify the Difference between the Pain Site & Pain Source If we continue to use the illustration of your right arch in your foot, let’s say that you purchased a new pair of shoes and they didn’t fit properly for the type of training you are doing. Your left foot (notice the opposite side of the foot that hurts) gets tweaked during exercise which results in micro trauma (small tears in the muscle & connective tissue). While there are no symptoms (swelling, hot to the touch, etc.), this micro trauma is sensed by the brain and is immediately addressed with compensation – you shift your body weight from being equally distributed with both feet, to more weight being distributed to your right foot (the eventual site of your pain, but not source of the problem). This distribution of more body weight to the right side of the body puts more loads on the bones and muscles which creates a “secondary compensation”; an excessive amount of load that has to be distributed to keep you upright and able to walk. This excessive load eventually weakens (because of fatigue) both the primary and secondary muscles become so tight (part of the compensation process), flexibility is limited and movement is creating micro tears in the tissue that your brain picks up as pain. When this point of the process is achieved, the muscles are like a tight guitar string and the slightest movement ends up being the “action” that you feel – a muscle tear or chronic tenderness. Solution: find an experienced human performance coach or physical therapist who understands movement associated with your specific sport to help you identify the source of your pain. If you can’t move without pain, you will never be able to achieve your full potential. Step Two: address the symptoms. It is not a rational thought to think that you can correct pain by acting as if it isn’t there – sometimes this means taking some time off! The therapy needed for dealing with symptoms needs to begin with the cause of the pain in the first place. In the illustration of your right foot, you need to source the problem all the way back to a poor fitting shoe that didn’t support your training efforts. Once you are put into the correct shoes, the body will cease making adaptations and compensations – this is the critical step to dealing with the painful symptoms. The body has an incredible natural ability to heal itself once the cause of the problem is properly addressed. As a general rule of thumb, if the injury is acute (you have felt the pain for the first time within the last 48 hours), then apply ice for 10 minutes and then air temperature and manual massage for 10 minutes. If the symptom has persisted for more than 48 hours, apply ice for 10 minutes, moist heat for 10 minutes and air temperature/massage for 10 minutes. Repeat as many times as logistically possible. Step Three: Prevent the Cycle of Pain Before it begins Most racers are able to narrow down the source of an injury quite quickly when questioned. For example, if I ask an athlete how old their shoes are, they are able to tell me that they are 8 months old and not very comfortable to wear. They have literally narrowed down the source of the problem with just a few questions. The problem arises when racers ignore their body’s feedback relevant to pain and not make the necessary (usually easy) adjustments to keep the symptoms from getting worse. When your body provides you an obvious signal – tenderness in your foot for example, stop and ask yourself what is actually going on. If you don’t stop, rest and evaluate what conditions have led to this situation, you will be eventually forced to stop resulting in more down time from riding & racing. #2 Chemical Injuries – Epstein Barr/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome The typical racer spends most of his or her spare time riding, cross training, working/school and spending time with your family & friends. Riding & cross training is as common as eating lunch each day. However, you may notice that it is getting progressively harder to get through a workout or a race feeling strong. Additional symptoms may include irritability, weight gain, craving simple sugar, not sleeping well and getting ill frequently. Though this may not be as “painful” as a mechanical injury, you are chemically injured. Although some chemical injuries may provide symptoms of inflammation, which can be painful, the most common characteristic of a chemical problem is that you feel tired and fatigue quickly when training and/or racing. To properly address chemical injuries, you must first rule out more serous conditions such as anemia (low red blood cell levels), infections or other disorders. To help narrow this condition quickly, a full panel blood test, evaluation of family history and a physical exam by a professional should be performed every three months. A personal schedule that is spread too thin creates an environment where the ability to recover completely is hindered and the stress level placed on your adrenal system becomes excessive. Your adrenal system is designed to adapt and compensate for all the stress that you subject your body to on a daily and weekly basis. With your adrenals not being able to sustain your stress levels, your bodily functions begin to decline. Symptoms include: Ø Blood sugar becomes unstable leading to fatigue Ø The brain is deprived of the necessary sugar it needs, cravings & increased hunger follows. Ø Irritability - because the brain is sensitive to relatively small changes in blood sugar Ø Weight Gain – stress slows down your metabolism which causes your body to shift from using more sugar and less fat for fuel which leads weight gains Ø Suppressed immune system – this leads to frequent illness and lingering sickness Ø Allergies become more common & severe Solution: clean up your personal schedule so that you are doing exactly what you have outlined in your personal schedule to maximize your mental focus and overall productivity. Additionally, add more high quality fat to satisfy your appetite and fuel your body with high quality MCT (medium chain triglycerides) for energy. #3 - Mental Injuries As stated by Dr. Maffetone, “a chemical may trigger impairment on a mental or emotional level.” If the brain becomes distorted from a chemical effect of diet, nutrition, excessive training volume or intensity, a mental injury can occur. Symptoms include: Depression Low desire to train Fearing competition High levels of anxiety Personal life and balance becoming stressful Decreased performance results (even with more effort being put into training) A functional imbalance in the brain’s chemistry is a change in two neurotransmitters: Serotonin & Norepinephrine. The brain’s imbalance may be caused by a mismatched diet, lack of nutrients, or training too hard, too long or too often. Serotonin has a calming, sedative, or depressing effect in the brain. A high carbohydrate (high glycemic) meal, results in more serotonin production. Norepinephrine has a stimulating effect on the brain. A racer who is depressed could benefit from more of this brain chemical. Overtraining frequently is preceded by too much anaerobic work. Anaerobic work creates excessive lactic acid which has been shown to create depression, anxiety and phobias amongst racers. The catalyst for this is an overstimulation of the adrenal glands, and occurs with the release of endorphins. Conclusion The key to optimum performance is to think through how the problems were created and implement a specific process to pull you out of the negative environment and into an environment that yields optimum health, wellness and ultimately performance. Each injury needs to be seen as part of the racer and each racer must be approached individually based on age, experience, status of the injury, how the body responds to therapy and overall goals. Finally, step back and review this entire process. It has taken weeks, maybe months, for your injury to get to the point where you stop and address the issue with therapy. And all along this process, your body has not been healthy and your performance has been negatively affected. Next issue we will discuss: The Anatomy of an Injury: Knees & Ankles. If you have any questions or need anything clarified, please email me directly. Until next time, Train Smart-Not Hard! -Coach Robb About MotoE and Complete Racing Solutions MotoE-CompleteRacingSolutions.com (the world’s largest and most successful moto specific Human Performance Company) is a complete Motocross Performance Training company with a vision of developing good racers into championship level racers through proven nutrition, mental, fitness and performance programs. MotoE currently manages the nutrition, mental, speed, strength and endurance programs for Ricky Carmichael’s GOAT Farm, the Georgia Training Facility (GPF) and WildwoodMX - with more partnerships to be announced in 2018. Led by Head Coach and Founder, Robb Beams, MotoE offers 33 years of success including four-time supercross and three-time motocross champion Ryan Dungey, and current pro riders Jeremy Martin, Adam Ciancirulio, Alex Martin, Isaac Teasdale, Tristan Charboneau and Mitchell Harrison. Current top amateur riders developed by MotoE’s Performance & Nutritional Program include Jordan Bailey, Lance Kobush, Jake Pinhancos, Stilez Robertson, Joshua Guffey and Dylan Greer. If you are frustrated with "gusessing" what to do or why your performance levels are below your expectations, contact MotoE's Customer Service department and request a FREE 20 minute consultation with Coach Robb to see what can be done to get you to that next level of fitness and performance.
Coach Robb posted a blog entry in Speed Through FitnessTo help you get the most from your daily efforts, here are some reminders on how to optimize your training & racing efforts. Eat Prior to Working Out If you eat too soon before you head out, you could be plagued with G.I. (gastro-intestinal) issues. But if your last snack or meal was more than three hours ago, you could run out of energy. The goal is to time your meals & snacks to provide a stabilized blood sugar level throughout your training sessions specific to your intensity levels. Accomplish this by eating every 2 hours after you wake up in the morning. Allow 2 hours after eating a complete meal before exercising – this allows for complete absorption and proper purging avoiding cramping. If you are tight on time, consume 8-10 ounces of Energy Fuel just prior to provide your brain and muscles the easily absorbable carbohydrates and electrolytes necessary for optimum muscle contraction and sweating. Foam Rolling (please use these videos) Use a foam roller before your workout and/or before working out. The direct pressure helps vasodilate (open up) the tissue bringing fresh blood to the muscles about to be used. When you foam roll prior to stretching, you will reduce the activation of the Stretch Reflex, reducing your risk of a pulled muscle. Chronic aches and pains like Achilles tendinitis, planter fascia, etc. benefit from direct pressure before exercise because it increases blood flow & muscle elasticity. Training is more productive when tender/sore spots are warm. Start by rolling with a tennis ball move to a lacrosse ball then manual massage then sport specific exercise. Warm Up Your warm up is an activity that allows the body to transition from inactivity to activity and to distribute the blood flow into the extremities. This distribution of blood warms up the muscles, tendons, cartilage and ligaments avoiding any cramping or tearing. Refuel Immediately after training, your muscles and liver are looking for simple sugar to replenish your storage levels for the next workout. Your window of opportunity is 20-30 minutes after you finish because of an enzyme (glycogen synthase) that is at its highest activity level immediately following exercise. By consuming real food that is easily digestible is the key to optimum replenishment and recovery. By implementing these non sweating performance elements on a daily basis, just adds more tools to help you Work Smart, Not Hard! Yours in health & sport, -Coach Robb
Coach Robb posted a blog entry in Speed Through FitnessDo you struggle with building a nutrition and training program that doesn’t leave you exhausted and flat on race day? During Podcast #13, Coach Robb walks you through the four stages necessary for optimum strength, speed and endurance specific to anything endurance (triathlon, running, mountain biking, road cycling, adventure racing, long distance open water swimming, hiking and climbing, off road motorcycle racing (2 plus hours like BAJA & GNCC). Before listening to this podcast, make sure you have a pen and paper to take some notes. Coach Robb outlines the three main components associated with performance then walks you through four stages associated with building the perfect endurance program: Creating an Athlete Performance Profile, Creating an Athlete’s Foundation for Performance, Performance Evaluation and Performance Development. After listening to this podcast, you will have the ultimate template for optimized endurance specific performance. And as the people’s podcast, Coach Robb answers listeners questions about the benefits of massage, how to control intensity for weight loss and cycling, how to recover from a snowboarding session, benefits of energy gels and blocks during a half marathon and when to review biofeedback indicators. Click the play button below to to listen to the podcast. If you want to be notified of future podcasts & blog entries, be sure to tap the "Follow" button right here on ThumperTalk.
Click Here for the latest MotoE Performance Newsletter. Within this issue: Power of Protein Part 2 - Avoid Cramping & Fatigue and more! If you are looking for a complete nutritional and performance program (to improve speed, endurance, drop fat and build muscle), please visit CompleteRacingSolutions.com. Yours in health and sport, -Coach Robb