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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Experience vs. Academic Education



Practical, hands on experience vs. academic education.

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
- C. S. Lewis

I am a firm believer in the value of experience. Most of what I know today, is based upon my empirical and anecdotal experiences of the past. 

Later in life, my experiences were validated, supported, and confirmed through academics, and scientific research. 

This is backwards concerning the normal learning model. Typically, a person goes to school, then begins working in their field of study, and gains experience. 

I often read, and hear people using the terms empirical and anecdotal incorrectly.

Often, you will hear people using the word empirical to reference academic or scientific research. Anecdotal is commonly used to describe personal experience. 

Incorrectly labeled empirical data is commonly valued far above the lowly anecdotal data.

As you can clearly see by the definitions below, both of these words are closely related in meaning. Both are observation & experience based, devoid of scientific research. 

Empirical data: depending upon experience or observation alone, without using scientific method or theory. 

Anecdotal data: based on personal observation, case study reports, or random investigations rather than systematic scientific evaluation.

I don't care how much academic schooling a person has. 

If they haven't put the time in, hands on, boots on the ground, and gone through the process of trial & error, in any field of study or topic; they are not truly educated on the subject (IMO). 

Experience and science based education together, formulate the best case scenario. If I had to pick between a person with a doctorate degree and no practical experience, or a person with no college and 20 years of practical experience; I'd pick the no college guy 99% of the time.

Having said all that, let me get back to registering for my next semester of courses. 😀

Eric Dempsey 
MS, ISSA Master Trainer

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Overtraining Syndrome in Fitness and Sports

























Overtraining syndrome is a condition that affects athletes, who follow a program which neglects adequate rest and recovery. Overtraining gradually builds with time, and causes the athlete’s performance, health, and mindset to decline. When overtraining occurs, the athlete’s performance decreases, and they develop chronic fatigue, changes in blood lactate variables, a decrease in motivation, neuroendocrine changes, develop an illness, or become injured. Overtraining should not be confused with overreaching. Overreaching is when an athlete completes very demanding training and is fatigued and worn out for a few days afterwards. With proper rest and recovery, the athlete can quickly recover from overreaching. When the rest and recovery is not adequate, the door is opened for the overtraining syndrome to set in. Overtraining is chronic in nature, and develops during the course of a lengthy training program (Bompa & Buzzichelli, 2015).

Athletes train to increase performance. Intense training is required to stimulate the physiological adaptions, which are desired. This intense training requires rest and recovery in order to facilitate the increases in performance. Training programs that follow a proper periodization model, take this into account. When training programs fail to include proper rest and recovery in the training schedule, athletes begin to develop telltale signs of overtraining. These signs and symptoms include fatigued, sore, and tight muscles, a decrease in performance, loss of appetite, increased resting heart rate, irritability, a lack of motivation, and trouble sleeping. There are numerous theories concerning the many different factors that contribute to, and cause overtraining. Some of the theories include low glycogen levels, low glutamine levels, central nervous system fatigue, oxidative stress, autonomic nervous system fatigue, and excessive inflammatory response. All of these theories contribute to understanding the overtraining syndrome. However, existing research has not been able to definitively answer all of the questions (Kreher & Schwartz, 2012).



There is no single way to identify and diagnose overtraining syndrome. There are established ways to look for it. Training logs, recorded heart rates, handgrip dynamometers, and heart rate variability monitors are methods used collectively, to determine if overtraining syndrome is present in an athlete. Other factors that contribute to identifying overtraining include a sudden increase in training volume, intensity, a busy competition schedule, a lack of periodization, or programmed recovery in training schedule, a monotonous training program, and high self-reported stress levels. Outside stressors have to be looked at as possible contributors to overtraining. Questionnaires asking about stressors from home, work, school, relationships and other outside factors can help with identifying overtraining (MacKinnon, 2000).

Athletes can recover from overtraining syndrome by resting, eating properly, staying hydrated, implementing recovery techniques, and by altering the training program until symptoms are gone. It takes different recovery times based upon the individual, and severity of the overtraining. Certain individuals can be more prone to overtraining than others. Athletes should be screened with a risk profile to find out if they have suffered from overtraining before, have a history of medical issues, or are predisposed to any of the symptoms. Overtraining syndrome can be prevented by ensuring that several factors are in place. Some of these factors include early identification and monitoring of susceptible athletes, minimizing known effects, preventing sudden increases in training loads, watching for inadequate dietary intake, managing the competition schedule, individualizing training, periodizing training, and programming recovery training and rest days into the training cycle. By implementing these factors, the risk of overtraining can be greatly reduced (Cardoos, 2015).

References:

Bompa, T.O., & Buzzichelli, C.A. (2015). Periodization training for sports (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Cardoos, N. (2015). Overtraining syndrome. Current Sports Medicine Reports. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2015/05000/Overtraining_Syndrome.7.aspx

Kreher, J., & Schwartz, J. (2012). Overtraining syndrome. Journal of Sports Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/

MacKinnon, L. (2000). Overtraining effects on immunity and performance in athletes. Immunology and Cell Biology. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v78/n5/full/icb200070a.html?foxtrotcallback=true

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Radio Tuesday: Eating Triggers, food journals, and fat loss.



Radio Tuesday: Today, we discussed emotional eating triggers, 
too much protein?, fat loss through respiration, and food journals.

The CPV Ministry is launching a new email newsletter soon, which will 
have a bunch of great content for you.

If you would like to receive this free newsletter, you can subscribe here.

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Radio Tuesday: eating healthy, meal planning, arthritis, posture, and cooking in bulk.



Radio Tuesday: Today, we discussed eating healthy, meal planning, 
arthritis, posture, and cooking in bulk.

Eric Dempsey
MS, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Radio Tuesday: Cardio, resistance training, isometric training and globo gym.



Radio Tuesday: In today's episode, we discussed cardio and 
resistance training, isometric training, intermittent fasting, and
observations from globo gym.

Eric Dempsey
MS, NASM Specialist in Fitness Nutrition

Monday, September 18, 2017

What are Isometric Training and Contractions?


























There are three main types of muscular contraction associated with strength and conditioning training. These types of contractions are concentric, eccentric and isometric. Each type of contraction has a place in training, and there are positive and negative aspects for each. While eccentric contractions provide the highest amount of tension during execution, isometric contractions come in second place, with concentric contractions trailing at third place (Bompa & Buzzichelli, 2015).

There are numerous training programs that are designed around each of the three types of contractions. Numerous research studies have analyzed many aspects of each type of contraction. Much debate has arisen over which type of training and contractions are the best. The data shows that each contraction type has strengths and limitations. A well rounded program should maximize the benefits of each, while avoiding the limitations. Isometric contractions are usually used the least, and are often misunderstood. The research shows that isometric contractions can be used to great benefit when applied properly (Bompa & Buzzichelli, 2015).

The concept behind isometric training revolves around two main methods. The first method is achieving an isometric contraction, by trying to lift a heavy weight that is beyond the muscle’s capability. The second method focuses on trying to move an inanimate or unmovable object. Both techniques result in a static contraction, where the length of the muscle does not change. Isometric training has been around for quite some time. One of the popular strongmen of older times was Alexander Zass. He was a prisoner of war during World War I. During his captivity, he worked on his strength by performing isometric contractions, against the steel bars and chains of his cell. He later went on to sell his isometric training program through mail order courses (Read, 2015).

Some of the first recorded research studies that outlined the benefits of isometric training, occurred in the 1950’s and 1960’s. During this time period, isometric training gained in popularity, and numerous training programs were created. Programs were designed for athletes, fighters, bodybuilders, and strongmen. Programs were even developed for the average, non-athletic citizen (Raizis, 2017).

While isometric training attained its peak in popularity during the 1960’s, it soon faded from the spotlight, and was replaced by many other fitness fads and trends. Some notable fitness icons that promoted isometric training included the great martial arts star, Bruce Lee, and fitness guru, Jack Lalanne. Bruce Lee was well known for a unique isometric exercise, where he attempted to move a steel bar, which was permanently attached to a squat rack. While he obviously never moved the steel bar, he did become so strong, that he put a curved bend in it (Read, 2015).

Isometric training has little functional use, as it is stationary in nature. But it does provide considerable gains in strength. It is also very effective for trunk, core, and abdominal stabilization, and strength. Positive results in rehabilitation therapy have also been shown with isometric training. Because the nature of the contraction is stationary, people who are recovering from skeletal, and bone related injuries can benefit from isometric training (Raizis, 2017).

Some of the other benefits of isometric training include the minimal time, equipment, and space required to perform it. Isometric training is also capable of considerable motor unit recruitment and activation. Many believe that isometric training is one of the more superior methods of motor unit recruitment. The earlier research studies showed that a single session of isometric training per day, at seventy five percent of maximal output, over ten weeks, raised strength levels by up to five percent, per week. Other research concluded that isometric training caused isometric strength gains to continue, even after the training protocol had concluded. Some of the studies outlined that isometric contractions of only six seconds could cause increases in strength, equal to a much larger number of dynamic isotonic contractions. The studies also suggested that in certain circumstances, ten minutes of isometric training could be the equivalent of sixty minutes of regular resistance training (Barry, 2015).

No special equipment is need for isometric training. During the 1960’s, when isometric training was very popular, many companies developed training devices specifically for isometric contractions. This never took off and isometric specific equipment quickly disappeared. Today, isometric training can utilize existing equipment, or body weight. Standard squat racks with pins and safety bars, can be utilized in a number of ways, with common items such as barbells. There are dozens of ways to perform isometric training with body weight alone. An old exercise that was popular once upon a time, simply had people put their hands together and apply force, for a period of time. Large spaces are not required for isometric training. It can be done in a standing, seated, prone, or supine position (Barry, 2015).

Isometric training does have its limitations. When isometric training is performed as the main training method, muscular elasticity, coordination and speed can be compromised. Critics of isometric training often say that this method of training only produces strength gains at specific joint angles, and is therefore limited. Other research has shown that this is not entirely accurate. Isometric training has been shown to produce strength increases for up to fifteen degrees, on each side of the joint angle that was trained (Kubo, Ishigaki, & Ikebukuro, 2017).

With isometric training, most people do not experience the common post workout fatigue, and soreness that accompanies regular resistance training. However, isometric training is said to produce a very deceptive, central nervous system fatigue, which can negatively impact performance. For this reason, supporters of isometric training recommend that training sessions be limited to about ten minutes. Adequate recovery time is just as important with isometric training, as it is with other methods (Kubo, Ishigaki, & Ikebukuro, 2017).

There are certain health risks associated with isometric training. Isometric training is not recommended for people with heart, blood pressure, or circulation problems. During isometric contractions, blood flow to the muscle is temporarily halted, which increases blood pressure. This could be a serious problem for certain people. Isometric training also dramatically increases intrathoracic pressure as contractions are conducted while breathing is momentarily suspended. This increase in intrathoracic pressure could cause medical concerns for people with certain conditions. Medical clearance is recommended for those with blood pressure related conditions, before beginning any isometric training. Some current research does indicate that isometric training, performed under certain conditions, could potentially help to lower blood pressure (Millar, McGowan, Cornelissen, Araujo, & Swaine, 2014).

The recommended method of incorporating isometric training, into a modern strength and conditioning program, uses the functional isometric contraction. This method is used in conjunction with weight training. Significant strength gains can be achieved by using functional isometric contractions. These would be utilized throughout various joint angles, or sticking points, in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and other resistance exercises. Combining isotonic and isometric training together, in a balanced strength program, can provide optimal results for the athlete (Millar, McGowan, Cornelissen, Araujo, & Swaine, 2014).

References:

Barry, T. (2015). Isometric training. Westside Barbell. Retrieved from https://www.westside-barbell.com/blogs/2015-articles/isometric-training

Bompa, T.O., & Buzzichelli, C.A. (2015). Periodization training for sports (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Kubo, K., Ishigaki, T., & Ikebukuro, T. (2017). Effects of plyometric and isometric training on muscle and tendon stiffness in vivo. Physiological Reports. Retrieved from http://physreports.physiology.org/content/5/15/e13374

Millar, P., McGowan, C., Cornelissen, V., Araujo, C., & Swaine, I. (2014). Evidence for the role of isometric exercise training in reducing blood pressure: Potential mechanisms and future directions. Sports Medicine. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-013-0118-x

Raizis, A. (2017). What Are the Benefits of Isometric Exercise? Live Strong. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/473052-what-are-the-benefits-of-isometric-exercise/

Read, A. (2015). Isometric training: What it is and how to do it correctly. Breaking Muscle. Retrieved from https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/isometric-training-what-it-is-and-how-to-do-it-correctly

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Radio Tuesday: HIIT, Grilling, Calories, and Strength



Today, we covered benefits of HIIT, overestimating calorie intake, grilling concerns, and the importance of strength training.

Also check out the new Chaplain Paul Voorhees Ministry website.

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer
Dempseys Resolution Fitness