ISSUE #104


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"If it isn't written, it isn't a goal. Period. It may be a wish, or a vague desire, or a fantasy, but it isn't a goal, and you're not likely to achieve it. Structure your goals around controllable events as much as possible. Why would you try to build a great body, business, or life without first defining your goals, then mapping out the route to your goals?" - Charles Staley, Strength Coach

1 - Healthy Food & Fat Loss

According to a recent study, "Consuming a diet high in fruit, vegetables, reduced-fat dairy, and whole grains and low in red and processed meat, fast food, and soda was associated with smaller gains in BMI (body mass index) and waist circumference."

This means that over time, people that followed a whole-food nutrition plan were able to reduce the increase in the size of their waist. Your mom was right all along! Eat your fruits and vegetables and stay away from high-fat fast foods.

Newby, P., et al. Dietary patterns and changes in body mass index and waist circumference in adults. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 77: 1417-1425, 2003.

Next up, Walter Willett from Harvard University promotes a similar diet of plant oils (instead of animal fats), whole grains and high-fiber carbohydrates (brown rice and wheat pasta) instead of processed carbohydrates. He also recommends plenty of vegetables and fruits, and healthy protein sources (fish, poultry, nuts and legumes) instead of red meat and high-fat dairy products.

In his lifestyle recommendations, Willett suggests a daily multivitamin, moderate alcohol consumption and regular physical activity. NOTE: You must consult with your doctor on these additional lifestyle recommendations.

Based on the above guidelines, experts recommend sample meals such as: "A slice of fish (the oilier, the better) cooked in garlic, shallots, onions and tomatoes, served with broccoli and washed down with beer, wine or a mixed alcoholic drink. Finish with fresh fruit and a steaming cup of tea."

In conclusion, these experts stress a diet low in bad fats, heavy on vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and daily physical activity. Hopefully this simple and healthy lifestyle approach will garner the media attention it deserves.

2 - Interview with Brian Grasso on Athletic Development

Brian Grasso is the President of Developing Athletics. Developing Athletics is a progressive company that specializes in educating athletes, coaches, trainers and parents on the concepts of functional conditioning and athletic development. Brian has produced several educational products that are available on www.developingathletics.com. Brian is also a contributing author to the e-book, "Secrets of Female Strength & Conditioning" available at www.grrlAthlete.com.

CB: Brian, what are your coaching commitments?

BG: Right now I am involved on different levels with several sport teams and individual athletes. I am working as a conditioning and nutrition consultant to a couple of internationally competitive figure skating teams, both in the United States and Canada, a state-ranked dance team and couple of youth soccer programs.

I am also providing some therapeutic support for several individual athletes here in Illinois. On an individual basis, I am working with a few different athletes on a consulting level. Right now I am having a lot of fun working with an Olympic speed skating hopeful up in Edmonton, Alberta.

My main directive currently though is in product development and education. I have recently produced a website - www.developingathletics.com - and from it sell a variety of my products.

My book, Complete Functional Conditioning, is currently available and several other athletic development products (such as videos, DVD's and audio CD's) will also be available soon. All of these products are intended to teach trainers and coaches how to best develop athletes through the application of scientific principals.

CB: What is your competitive background?

BG: As a kid, I played everything! I suppose you could say that I excelled specifically in football. I was a regional all-star a couple of times and would have played college football if not for a serious back injury. It's taken me nearly a decade to find the right diagnosis and rehabilitation route, but I feel great now.

I have trained a lot in the martial arts over my life and have competed a lot recently in Ju Jitsu tournaments. I won back-to-back heavy weight Mid-western championships (2001, 2002) and qualified to compete in the World Championships of Pankration in May of 2003.

CB: What are the best training techniques for the younger athlete (age 14-18)?

BG: The ages 14 - 18 represent the transition from athletic formation to specialization on the athletic development paradigm.

Multilateral and athletic development exercises should still be performed daily (i.e. basic movement drills, agility, spatial orientation skills, etc.), but at this age incorporating some basic weight training such as the Olympic lifts (i.e. cleans, high pulls etc) would be a good idea. In general, weight training and bodybuilding have become entirely too popular as methods of conditioning for young athletes.

In my book, Complete Functional Conditioning, I discuss the fact that all sport is depended on movement, and therefore the conditioning efforts of young athletes should be focused on developing movement skill.

Training and developing young athletes is a science that goes largely unused in the youth sporting world. Young athletes are not little adults; they have very particular physiological and emotional development patterns that must be understood in order to develop optimal athleticism.

Between the ages of 14 - 18, the Olympic lifts could be taught (under close supervision) and slowly perfected (train the movement first before adding any significant load - this could take weeks).

Core strength should be developed and focused on. Incorporate functional and movement-based exercises involving FitBalls, medicine balls, BOSU balls and wobble boards. As a general rule of training young athletes, always train the core of the body and then work out towards the periphery.

Within this age range (14 - 18) a phenomenon which is grossly neglected is the reality of growth spurts. Athletes can growth several inches between 14 - 18 that will certainly serve to retard previously strong biomechanics and movement abilities. Be patient and continue to prescribe movement-based exercises. The more multilateral exercises prescribed during a growth spurt, the more quickly the awkwardness of the growth spurt will subside.

CB: What do you recommend as off-season training for athletes that are under 12?

BG: There shouldn't really be a designation for 'in season' or 'out of season' for young athletes. The job of a young athlete (and his/her parents and coaches) is to develop multilateral athletic skill in all areas of athleticism.

Confining a young athlete by calling them a 'hockey player' or 'basketball player' and instituting in and out of season training habits will serve to retard their development as athletes in general.

Between the ages of 6 - 10, athletes should be concentrating on developing fundamental athletic and movement-based skills. Learn how to run, jump, throw, skate and peddle a bike. Emphasis should be placed on developing proficiency in all athletic skills, not performing endless numbers of repetitions of particular skills.

CB: Thanks for the insight!


The information on cbathletics.com is for education purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health-care professionals. Consult your physician before beginning or making changes in your diet or exercise program, for diagnosis and treatment of illness and injuries, and for advice regarding medications.

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