Thursday, March 31, 2016

All you need to know about Protein

We know that protein:
  1. It is a component of each cell in the body.
  2. Used to build and repair tissues.
  3. Makes hormones and enzymes

How much protein is needed:
  1. Depends on age, gender and activity levels.
  2. Basic recommendation is 0.8 grams/kg.
  3. Body needs to replenish protein stores continuously.
  4. Trained individual may need higher protein for muscle repair. A safe zone would be more than 0.8 grams/kg to 1.1 grams/kg.

Some other facts:
  1. People have survived more than 40 days without food, hence without protein. However, after prolonged starvation, people could die because of amino acid deficiency.
  2. Some researches claim, protein consumption should not exceed 20-30 grams in a single meal, other present no such claims.
  3. Plant protein comes with less health risk than animal protein.
  4. Excess protein could lead to gout, gastrointestinal discomfort, bad breath.
  5. Estimated absorption rate is 1.3-10 grams protein per hour. Whey protein absorbs faster than casein or any other type of protein.
  6. 30-40% less protein is absorbed when raw eggs are consumed.

Protein sources:

High-protein-foods.jpgmeatless protein.jpg

Andrews.Ryan. All about protein: what is it and how much do you need. Retrieved from

Galan.Nicole. (2016). All about Protein. Retrieved from

Picture. Proteins. Retrieved from

Hemoglobin A1C

When a diabetic mentions their A1c level, what does that actually mean? A hemoglobin A1c test is used to average blood glucose levels in diabetics. These test typically show the average of levels over the course of two to three months. A1c testing helps show the levels of glucose in the body over a longer period of time, and allows the endocrinologist to adjust insulin dosage to keep levels in range.
    Doctors use this method to help make sure that the amount of insulin being injected into the body is properly being used. Unless the patient has a constant glucose monitor, there is no actual way  to tell how much the sugar fluctuates between glucose testing. The average level for an A1c is between 5 percent and 7 percent. During a recent study, it was shown that those with a level below 5.5%, were not considered diabetic. Those with a level greater than 6.2% showed diabetes.1
    It is ideal for a diabetic patient to be below 7% on their A1c level. Only a third of patients with diabetes actually achieve that goal, and even fewer actually reach the target levels.2 Levels greater than 8 percent may cause many risks for those with diabetes. It is important for a person’s overall health to keep glucose levels within the normal range. Complications begin to appear when glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels become too high.


  1. Jeppsson, J. O., Jerntorp, P., Sundkvist, G., Englund, H., & Nylund, V. (1986). Measurement of hemoglobin A1c by a new liquid-chromatographic assay: methodology, clinical utility, and relation to glucose tolerance evaluated. Clinical Chemistry, 32(10), 1867-1872.
  2. Brownlee, M., & Hirsch, I. B. (2006). Glycemic variability: a hemoglobin A1c–independent risk factor for diabetic complications. Jama, 295(14), 1707-1708.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What is a Physiatrist?

What is a Physiatrist?

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians, also known as physiatrists, treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.  
PM&R physicians are medical doctors who have completed training in the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), and may be subspecialty certified in Brain Injury Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Neuromuscular Medicine, Pain Medicine, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, and/or Sports Medicine. 
Specifically, PM&R physicians:
  • Treat patients of all ages
  • Focus treatment on function
  • Have a broad medical expertise that allows them to treat disabling conditions throughout a person’s lifetime
  • Diagnose and treat pain as a result of an injury, illness, or disabling condition
  • Determine and lead a treatment/prevention plan
  • Lead a team of medical professionals, which may include physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physician extenders to optimize patient care
  • Work with other physicians, which may include primary care physicians, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and many others.
  • Treat the whole person, not just the problem area 
Depending on the injury, illness, or disabling condition, some PM&R physicians may treat their patients using the following procedures/services:
  • EMG/Nerve Conduction Studies
  • Ultrasound guided procedures
  • Fluoroscopy guided procedures
  • Injections of spine 
  • Discography, Disc Decompression and Vertebroplasy/Kyphoplasty
  • Nerve Stimulators, Blocks and Ablation procedures—Peripheral and Spinal
  • Injections of joints
  • Prolotherapy
  • Spasticity Treatment (Phenol and Botulinum toxin injections, intrathecal baclofen pump trial and implants)
  • Nerve and Muscle Biopsy
  • Manual Medicine/Osteopathic Treatment
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Complementary-alternative medicine (i.e. acupuncture, etc.)
  • Disability/impairment assessment
  • Medicolegal consulting

Monday, March 28, 2016

Plyometrics Part 3: The Final Step with Lower Body Plyometrics

In recent weeks, we have discussed the history of plyometrics (CLICK HERE), starting from the ground up mentality with plyometric training (CLICK HERE), before examining beginner plyometrics (CLICK HERE). Since we have become familiarized with plyometrics and should have a solid base for plyometric training, it is time to advance our training and knowledge. Once my athletes in my sports have endured 1-2 months of beginner plyometrics (much like the material we have already covered) I begin to get more reactive with them. That term ‘reactive’ refers to the athlete ability to process information, adapt, and react while performing an athletic movement.

Depth Jumps: Two-Leg & 1-Leg

Depth jumps are commonly used exercises in strength and conditioning and in the personal training community as a means to teach explosiveness in the lower body. Depth jumps are not that much more complicated than an exercise you have already mastered: plyometric landing. Stand on top of a box and step off. As you land on the ground with both feet, sit your hips back to “load” them, and jump up. By combining the plyometric landing and a standing vertical jump, we now have the depth jump. Begin at a box of about 12” and progress through your training, going no higher than about 24”. The picture depicted to the left demonstrates an individual performing a 1-leg depth jump. When performing a 1-leg depth jump, I would recommend starting at a smaller box since you won’t have both legs to absorb the impact and forces. For 1-leg depth jumps I would start off on about 4-6” box, and progress to 12” box for 1-leg depth jumps.

Seated Box Jumps
Another advanced plyometric exercise is the seated box jump. The seated box jump takes the reactive, spring-like action out of the jump and teaches you to produce force into the ground quickly (hint: that’s very important to being explosive and being able to change direction!). The
most crucial part of the seated box jump, as with any plyometric exercise, is to land as softly and gracefully as you can. I always tell my athletes that if it’s a quiet landing, it is soft on the joints. If it it's loud, it’s hard on your joints. You can see from the picture to the left that the athlete first is sitting up with good posture, then without rocking backwards, the athlete forcefully extends their legs and jumps upward. From there, focus on the landing and step back down for another rep. A critical part of the movement is to not rock backward and forward to initiate the movement.

In addition to the blog last week, (CLICK HERE) here is what your new plyometric routine should look like:
·    Day 1
  • ·       Plyometric Landings: 2-3 Sets x 3-5 Reps (from various heights 12-24”)
  • ·   Standing Vertical Jumps: 3-5 sets x 3 Reps
  • ·       Depth Jumps (2-Leg & 1-Leg): 3-5 sets x 2-3 reps each                                      
·    Day 2
  • Single Leg Landings: 2-3 Sets x 3-5 Reps (from various heights 6-12”)
  • Standing Vertical Jumps: 3-5 sets x 3 Reps
  • Seated Box Jumps: 3-5 sets x 3 reps
By adding these new additions to your plyometric training team, your athletes will begin to really take flight! It may not be the most exciting or most visually stunning routine, yet this is how it is: simplicity trumps fancy in the world of physical conditioning. By keeping it simple and basic, you have laid a foundation to begin to propel your athlete’s athleticism and future athletic development. We have ONLY covered lower body plyometrics and jumps. Beginning next week, we will look at the flip side of the coin: upper body plyometrics and THROWS! Till next time, wishing you clear flight paths, safe landings and happy lifting.

1AJA EVANS 48” SEATED BOX JUMP []. (2012, June 21). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from
2Baechle, T.R. & Earle, R.W. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.
3Plyometric Training in Sprinters. (2012, May 2). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from website:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blocker/Mover Alignments

Previously we have discussed the basics of the blocker/mover offense. A motion system that relies on the players performing certain tasks assigned to them based on their given role, being a blocker or a mover. Now we will discuss the various alignments which can be used within this system.

One of the alignments in the blocker/mover system is the lane/lane alignment. This means that the blockers are to stay on each lane line to set their screens. This alignment is used when you would like to keep your size advantage down low, allowing your post players more opportunity to post up and look for the ball. Another alignment is the lane/wide alignment. This means that one of the blockers will be stay on one of the lane lines and the other blocker can set screens from the opposite lane outwards to the perimeter. This alignment can be used when you want to draw a bigger defender away from the basket and occupy them with screening action. Another alignment is the wide/wide alignment which is where both blockers are allowed to extend to the perimeter on their particular side. This is effective for stretching out defenses and opening up the middle of the floor. The final alignment is the top/bottom alignment that has one blocker staying on the two lower blocks while the other blocker works the free-throw line extended area.

The blocker/mover offense is more successful when players know and understand their roles. Players with a higher basketball IQ will be more successful due to their ability to properly read the defenses. The chaotic nature of this offense is something that lends to its success and makes it difficult to defend. The lack of pattern and order are the primary reasons it is difficult to gameplan against. This is an offense that has seen success in the past and will continue to evolve and be used in the future.


1Dick Bennett Coaching Record | College Basketball at (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2016, from

2Basketball Motion Offense. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2016, from

Shoulder Injuries: Rotator Cuff Repair

Shoulder repair for a rotator cuff is very similar to the repair of a labral tear.  The athlete will go through a long, arduous recovery that will test their patience and fortitude.  The shoulder is a very complex joint that utilizes many muscles which include the rotator cuff.  The rotator cuff consists of tendons that allow the shoulder to externally and internally rotate and provides the dynamic glenohumeral stability needed to move the shoulder in all the directions that it is capable of moving.  Because of the overall complexity of the joint and the rotator cuff, it is important that the athlete follows a strict protocol that will be created by the surgeon and managed by the physical therapists that will contain the phases of recovery for the athlete.18

The first phase happens within the first two weeks of surgery.  This phase is not very strenuous, it involves passive range of motion (PROM) exercises that the athlete can tolerate.  One of these exercises are usually pendulum swings, where the athlete slightly bends over and allows their arm to hang.  The athlete then uses their body to gently rock the arm back and forth.  The athlete can also begin to do non-resistive active range of motion (AROM) exercises with the elbow and wrist.  When the athlete is not doing these exercises, they should always be wearing their sling at all times and also icing their shoulder as much as possible.19

The next phase is week 2-6 after surgery and this is usually when the athlete will begin to make regular visits to the physical therapist office.  The athlete continues to do the same exercises they were doing in the first phase and also add shoulder pulleys.  Shoulder pulleys involve a pulley  system with a rope and handles at each end.  The athlete then sits in a chair and uses their non-surgery arm to lift their surgery arm as high as they can tolerate or the range that the therapists allows.  The athlete also does a few isometric exercises in which they will bend their arm and gently  push their fist or elbow into a wall.  The athlete will begin to perform active assistive range of motion exercises (AAROM) in which the athlete will use a cane to move their arm in different motions that the therapists has approved.  The athlete will begin to do gentle scapular squeezes to help build a little strength in the shoulder blades.  During all these exercises the therapists will help the athlete to be aware of their posture by  reminding the athlete to keep their shoulder down and back while doing these exercises.  The therapists will also perform manual therapy if needed.  During manual therapy the therapists uses their hands to increase the range of motion on the shoulder.  The athlete should only wear the sling at night and in uncontrolled situations while icing as much as possible.19

Phase three is week 6-12.  The athlete no longer has any limits on the previous exercises.  They can now use the cane to move their shoulder in any direction, they can use the pulleys to bring their arm as high as they can, and they can perform all the isometric exercises.  The therapists will also begin the use of therabands  and AROM exercises like shoulder flexion to help stabilize and strengthen the shoulder.  The therapists will constantly preach postural awareness to the athlete while they do these exercises.  The athlete will no longer need to wear the sling but will still need to be careful that they do not put the arm in any dangerous positions.19

Phase four is from week 12-18.  The athlete will no longer need to do range of motion exercises and isometric exercises, but they will do more theraband exercises and plyometric exercises such as the ball toss.  The athlete will do more dumbbell exercises and the therapists will utilize other machines in the office that will help build shoulder strength and stability.  In this phase the athlete will begin to work themselves slowly back into their team weight room program and sports activities.19   


18Meijden, O. A., Westgard, P., Chandler, Z., Gaskill, T. R., Kokmeyer, D., & Millett, P. J. (n.d.). Rehabilitation After Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair: Current Concepts Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from

19Rotator Cuff Repair Rehabilitation Protocol. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from

Speed-Accuracy Trade-off

What is speed-accuracy trade off?  This is the tendency when doing a task to go for speed or accuracy.  One is sacrificed to support the other.  Meaning in a speed-accuracy trade off, a low speed means higher accuracy and a higher speed means a decrease in accuracy.  We all have experienced this trade-off in some instance.  Maybe it was in sports activities or something as simple as moving your mouse.  Meaning, that the faster you move your mouse the harder it is to click on an icon!!!
        A way one can test the speed-accuracy trade off is Fitts Tapping Test.  The goal of the tapping test is to minimize the number of target misses.  In other words, we try and adjust movement time so that the errors are acceptably small [MT=A+B(ID)].  When the target size is increased, the accuracy requirements are relaxed and MT’s are smaller than when narrow targets are used.  So in simple terms, when the target gets smaller or the distance gets farther we sacrifice time in order to be as accurate as we can.  When the target gets bigger or the distance gets smaller we do not have to sacrifice as much time because the task becomes easier.  Simply, less accuracy, less distance = and increase in speed accuracy tradeoff.
In doing this test what was my assessment of the differing ratio?  It is as follows, when the amplitude and width stayed constant so did the MT.  So very long movements to wide targets require about the same time as very short movements to narrow targets.  MT is increased as the ratio of amplitude to width increased by making amplitude larger or making width smaller, or both.  This leads me right into my next observation.  Was this open or closed loop?  Fitt’s Law describes the effectiveness of the combined open and closed-loop processes that operate in these common kinds of actions, where all the open and closed-loop processes show are operating together.  What this means that it is a combination of open and closed-loop.  There are rapid alterations between open and closed-loop processing.  The open-loop is the initiation of movement toward the target and the closed-loop is the feedback phase correcting errors in the initial movement.  It was closed as a whole 60 tap test and open for each tap loop.
        Is the speed-accuracy trade-off true in all aspects?  No, this leads us into the paradox.  Sometimes, moving faster can make you more accurate.  The general rule is that we trade speed for accuracy (or vice versa) when we make aiming movements.  However, there are some exceptions.  Research suggests that in some instances that faster might be better if the action requires us to move rapidly in the first place.  Some examples of this could be throwing a pitch.  If you try and slow things down to much it could cause you to be less accurate.  The same thing as spiking a volleyball or swinging an axe.  One still does not want to be out of control that will still cause you to be inaccurate.  It means that one might improve their accuracy if they work to gradually increase the speed.  If we gradually increase the speed of our wind-up when throwing a pitch, gradually increase our run, jump, and swing when spiking a volleyball, and gradually increasing the speed of the axe when chopping wood we can be more accurate.

Schmidt, R. A. (1991). Motor learning & performance: From principles to practice. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Books.

To Eat Gluten or to Not Eat Gluten

To Eat Gluten or to Not Eat Gluten
Gluten is a protein composite found in several types of grains, including wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Gluten consists of two proteins … gliadin and glutenin. It is the gliadin part that people react negatively to.1 When flour is mixed with water, gluten forms a sticky cross-linked network of proteins, giving elastic properties to dough and allowing bread to rise when baked (1). Actually, the name gluten is derived from these glue-like properties. When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is coming from some sort of foreign invader, like a bacteria.1 When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is coming from some sort of foreign invader, like a bacteria. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.2  In some cases most people are gluten sensitive which means they don’t experience the amount of pain felt as if you had celiac’s disease but you experience some discomfort in your joints and/ or stomach. Some people experience the “gluten haze” feeling as if you feel tired suddenly and somewhat sluggish. There are many varying opinions and studies as to say whether gluten is beneficial or detrimental to your diet but what is most important is paying attention to the way you feel after consuming foods with gluten and without to get an idea of whether to lower or take out gluten in your diet.

  1. 6 Reasons Why Gluten is Bad For Some People. (2013). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from
  2. What is Celiac Disease? - Celiac Disease Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from

Technology in Today’s Football


    Technology in today’s football plays a huge roll and is essential to many facets to the game. Have you ever wondered why the coaches are wearing headsets or see players looking at tablets on the sidelines?1 It’s because they are getting a direct feed of information from the coaches in the press box and can pretty much see anything that goes on the field at any time and relay it down to the field. Technology has completely changed the way the game is played in that there are video systems such as Hudl2 that can give coaches a plethora of information. With these systems I can make scouting videos of opponents, practices and of past games that we have played. It gives us the advantage to build a strategy during a game week, improve on weaknesses from past games, correct mistakes made during practices.
Going into a game there shouldn’t be much guessing as to what our opponents will do because of the access to information we have now a days. We also have access to videos of high school and junior college players we want to recruit and get a first evaluation of them as a player. There are computer programs where we can create videos to display how great are program is to attract recruits and promote the university. Recruiting itself has evolved into another different animal because of the progress of technology. Social media itself gives coaches the access to almost every player because of the connections social media provides and again is another way to promote the program and the university. Football teams at the division I level have whole departments dedicated not only to filming practices/games, but also promotion of the program and university. Oh and by the way, they are willing to pay good money for those positions because coaches nowadays understand the importance technology can provide in giving their team the competitive edge. As a graduate assistant at Tarleton it is my job to learn as much as I can about the many different technological techniques that I can implement so I know i am giving my team the competitive edge!

1How the Tablet Is Changing Coaching in Football - SportTechie. (2014). Retrieved March 27, 2016, from
2Record, Review, Improve | Hudl | Hudl. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2016, from

March Madness

March Madness

    It’s the time of year that all college basketball fans love to enjoy, March Madness. March Madness is what they call it and the name could not be more fitting for the event. People wager big money on who they believe is going to win the games to friendly bets with close friends and family. The one thing I believe when I watch the tournament is how the seeding of the teams really does not matter. On any given night a team far better than their opponent can lose. These are truly the most amazing games to watch as a mid-major conference team goes out and beats a top five team in the nation live on national television. Every fan is left stunned and not able to acknowledge or accept what just happened.  This is why I watch the tournament for these amazing upsets and knowing that it can happen at any time.  After watching all 64 games, I anxiously await the tournament highlight clip that is played at the conclusion of the championship game with the infamous song, “One Shining Moment” playing in the background, it is at that moment that I realize college basketball is over.    

Middle Tennessee State University vs Michigan State

    MTSU was not even supposed to be at the same level of talent or even worthy of being in the same gym as Michigan State. This tournament is the proof that anything CAN happen and IT WILL happen, it’s just a matter of who will become the victim. MTSU came into the tournament as a 15th seed and MSU coming in as a 2nd seed and favored by more than double digits in points for the game. Upon the start of the game, MTSU came out on fire and it destroyed MSU’s confidence which helped secure a lead that would be a challenge for any team in the tournament to overcome. With the winding minutes of the game, spectators began to witness one of the biggest upsets in tournament history.1

Texas A&M vs Northern Iowa

    This final game of the tournament’s first and second round was possibly one of the greatest games EVER in the tournament's history. Northern Iowa had been leading Texas A&M the entire game. With 45 seconds left in the game the Aggies were down by 12, this would be the set up for one of the greatest comeback wins in history of college basketball. The Aggies proceeded to force 4 turnovers in less than 45 seconds to tie the game in regulation. They  proceeded to go on and win the game in double overtime.2


    I referenced the events and situations of these two particular games for one reason only, if the NCAA would promote, market and televise other athletic events like they do March Madness, their popularity would rise around the world much like the professional sports teams in America. The NCAA needs to look  into options for all the other sports because after March Madness is over, they lose more than half of their popularity due to lack of coverage in the other sports until football season begins.  




Curing Insomnia the Natural Way

Insomnia is referred to as the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Many suffer from insomnia and turn to harmful drugs which have detrimental effects and side effects. While insomnia may stem from a variety of root causes, the most typical causes of insomnia include: stress, anxiety, use or overuse of stimulants, or other medical issues or concerns. Not only does this insomnia take a physical toll on the body over time, but a lack of sleep can lead to anxiety or furthered medical issues.1

You could first try a change in your diet or implementation of the following foods into your daily nutrition intake.
  1. Raw Milk: A glass of raw milk (cow, goat, or sheep) may help you fall asleep and stay asleep. If dairy is problematic for you, avoid this suggestion.2
  2. Vitamin B12-Rich Foods: Green, leafy vegetables and organic meats are high in B vitamins which may help promote deep sleep.3
  3. Magnesium: Magnesium is known as a muscle relaxor. Foods high in magnesium include sunflower seeds, oats, and green, leafy vegetables.
  4. Tryptophan: Turkey contains tryptophan is might be the reason behind that nap following Thanksgiving dinner. Tryptophan contains an amino acid which stimulates serotonin which helps relax the muscles.4

If you do find you are still having problems sleeping or falling asleep, make sure you are avoiding the following.

  1. Foods High in Fats: Fats take much longer to digest than other foods and may result in indigestion. Fried foods especially should be avoided.
  2. Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol right before bed. Drink alcohol in moderation.
  3. Food Allergies: If you know you are allergic to particular foods, avoid eating these foods anytime before bedtime. They may cause indigestion and may keep you awake.
  4. Caffeine: Limit caffeine intake throughout the day and try to not drink any caffeine after noon.

You may also try to incorporate supplements and essential oils into your daily regimen. The following suggestions are recommended for those specifically with insomnia.

  1. Melatonin (1-3 mg half hour before bed)5 : Your brain produces melatonin naturally in your brain and through this production, your body recognizes the feeling of being tired. Try to limit your intake of this supplement. Don’t become dependent on it.
  2. Passionflower (500 mg before bed)6: Passionflower helps to relax the nervous system.
  3. Valerian (600 mg before bed): While some may find valerian effective for their insomnia, others find valerian to be a stimulant.
  4. Calcium and Magnesium7(500 mg calcium and 250 mg magnesium): Magnesium and calcium work together to promote sleep and peaceful rest.
  5. Chamomile and Lavender Essential Oils8: Diffuse these oils before bed to reduce stress and improve your quality of sleep.

In addition to implementing healthy and nutrient-rich foods into your diet, make sure you find adequate time to relax and destress. Read a good book or try journaling. I recommend that you find some way to move your mind from a place of stress, to a place of relaxation. Breathing techniques and yoga are two additional ways to improve sleep and overall quality of this sleep. Finally, while insomnia may be very frustrating and energy draining, there are natural ways to address this issue and normalize a routine of healthy, deep sleep.   


Natural Sleep Aids & Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from

3 Steps to Cure Insomnia Without Drugs - (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from