Mind, Body and Soul

SkiTrax - - Contents -

by Lori Mey­ers, Dr. Andy Reed and Beth Mans­field

War­riors, Come Out to Play - Part Two of Two by Lori Mey­ers

Just in case you are com­ing late to the game this month, here is a re­view of Part 1.

Skiers are war­riors, out there in all sorts of con­di­tions and us­ing all the skills that ski­ing re­quires. Of course, re­spect your own lim­i­ta­tions and ap­ply align­ment ad­just­ments that work best for you. Be a wise war­rior and choose what will make you strong, bal­anced, flex­i­ble, fo­cused and injury-free. All as­pects of a good skier. There are no short cuts – prac­tise with your heart, not your ego.

Within each of these NEW WAR­RIORS, there are mod­i­fi­ca­tions to choose from or you may add your own to make the pose work for you. Play­ing with the war­riors will lead you to where you need to be and to ben­e­fit most. This can change over time so do not stop play­ing. Like ski­ing, yoga is for life. All vari­a­tions change the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the var­i­ous parts of the body. It is good for the body to open at dif­fer­ent an­gles as mus­cle fi­bres have dif­fer­ent an­gles, too. Ev­ery­body has a dif­fer­ent ge­netic com­po­si­tion so mus­cle fi­bre and soft tis­sue length will vary as will the skele­tal struc­ture. This af­fects joint mo­bil­ity.

Here are some vari­a­tions you might want to con­sider or go with the “clas­sic” style of pose.

All these new war­riors can be tran­si­tioned to from War­rior I, II or III

Strength Train­ing for En­durance Ath­letes by Dr. Andy Reed

In the last is­sue of Sk­itrax mag­a­zine, I dis­cussed the role of strength train­ing in en­durance sports. Not only can re­sis­tance ex­er­cise make us faster at our cho­sen sport, it can also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the like­li­hood of injury. By pro­gres­sively in­creas­ing the loads our mus­cles and ten­dons are able to tol­er­ate, we can not only im­prove our ab­so­lute strength – the max­i­mum force our tis­sues will tol­er­ate be­fore they fail – but we can also make our bod­ies more `fa­tigue-proof', and less injury-prone, by chang­ing our fi­bre type, in­creas­ing the size of our mus­cle fi­bres, and train­ing our brains to re­cruit more mus­cle fi­bres to work in a given ex­er­cise.

In the past, con­flict­ing ad­vice has been given to en­durance ath­letes with re­gards to the value of strength train­ing. There is of­ten con­cern that `bulk­ing up' will worsen our per­for­mance, but in the real world this sim­ply doesn't hold true. There is now a wealth of ev­i­dence that not only can con­cur­rent strength and en­durance train­ing lead to greater per­for­mance gains than en­durance train­ing alone, but that favourable changes in body com­po­si­tion oc­cur which op­ti­mize, rather than hin­der, our en­durance. What does a strength pro­gram for en­durance ex­er­cise look like? A well-de­signed run or ski pro­gram ebbs and flows in terms of vol­ume and in­ten­sity, with the aim of build­ing a good base, then pro­gres­sively adding in more chal­leng­ing and spe­cific work­outs, build­ing in de­fined rest pe­ri­ods, and ul­ti­mately peak­ing just prior to a pre­de­ter­mined event. This is what is known as pe­ri­odiza­tion, and a strength pro­gram takes a sim­i­lar ap­proach. A strength pro­gram for en­durance ex­er­cise typ­i­cally ex­cept Fallen War­rior. It is best tran­si­tioned to from Down­ward Dog. (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Ex­alted war­rior (Peace­ful or Re­verse war­rior) Vi­parita (in­verted, re­versed) –

Done with a part­ner hold­ing the top hands if flex­i­bil­ity al­lows. If not, you can be joined to your part­ner by us­ing a strap. Twist things up on your own, and re­volve it from a high or low lunge po­si­tion.

Danc­ing war­rior – Both hands reach over­head or hands to hips, then the torso is tilted to­ward the back leg. The torso is the same as in Ex­alted, just the arm po­si­tion changes.

Hum­ble war­rior Bad­dha (bound) asana (pose) – If you can­not clasp your hands to­gether be­hind your back, use a strap to help open chest and shoul­ders. Try the arms in ea­gle vari­a­tion as you bow for­ward.

Fallen war­rior (Phoenix or Dy­ing war­rior) – There is an op­tion to bring the hip to the floor and then pos­si­bly con­tinue into a torso twist reach­ing through in a ly­ing po­si­tion.

Re­treat­ing war­rior Skan­dasana – The heel is ei­ther on or off the floor. You can bend par­tially through the knee of the weighted leg or fully flex it. The ex­tended leg and the toes can be on or off the floor.


Lori Mey­ers, BPE, is a life coach and yoga/pi­lates in­struc­tor.

should con­sist of sev­eral phases: strength en­durance, ba­sic strength, strength and power.

In the first phase, a gen­eral strength pro­gram is un­der­taken to pre­pare the ath­lete for the more vig­or­ous train­ing to fol­low. Higher vol­ume train­ing is un­der­taken – typ­i­cally, three times per week, with a higher num­ber of up to 10-15 rep­e­ti­tions per set. Usu­ally, a work­out con­sists of three or four sets of four or five ex­er­cises with sim­i­lar move­ment pat­terns to our cho­sen sport. This phase may last two or three months, and as we progress, higher loads with fewer rep­e­ti­tions are in­tro­duced. Typ­i­cally, ev­ery fourth week will be used to re­cover and to en­hance adap­ta­tions.

As the ath­lete moves to­wards more spe­cific race prepa­ra­tion, the vol­ume of strength train­ing is typ­i­cally re­duced, whereas the in­ten­sity is upped. Strength work­out fre­quency is typ­i­cally twice per week, with three sets of three to five rep­e­ti­tions of each ex­er­cise. Heav­ier loads and more ex­plo­sive lifts are uti­lized in this phase, which may be two to three months in du­ra­tion. Fi­nally as the ath­lete ap­proaches race sea­son, load­ing is typ­i­cally re­duced but vol­ume is main­tained at twice a week. The aim is to fa­cil­i­tate re­cov­ery but main­tain the strength gains achieved ear­lier.

For those look­ing to delve into the specifics fur­ther, an ex­cel­lent free ar­ti­cle is avail­able on­line, with ex­am­ples of spe­cific ex­er­cises in the April 2015 edi­tion of Strength and Con­di­tion­ing Jour­nal, “Strength Train­ing for En­durance Ath­letes: The­ory to Prac­tice”.

Dr. Andy Reed, sport-medicine physi­cian, Team physi­cian, Cana­dian cross-coun­try, biathlon and para-nordic ski teams

Op­ti­mize your Im­mune Sys­tem for Sport Per­for­mance

Those of us un­der­tak­ing pro­longed bouts of ex­er­cise cou­pled with in­ten­sive train­ing reg­i­mens are ski­ing the fine line be­tween peak phys­i­cal health and im­paired im­mune func­tion. De­spite the plethora of nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments that claim to boost im­mune func­tion, ev­i­dence cur­rently sup­ports a daily eat­ing pat­tern that meets en­ergy needs with nu­tri­ent-rich foods and bev­er­ages to counter the sup­pres­sion in im­mune func­tion that oc­curs fol­low­ing ex­er­cise (Glee­son et al., 2004). Sport-nu­tri­tion strate­gies that can pro­tect im­mune func­tion fol­low­ing pro­longed stren­u­ous ex­er­cise are shown in the fig­ure above:

Here are some sport-nu­tri­tion strate­gies that you might con­sider to op­ti­mize your health and per­for­mance “in the tracks” this sea­son.

1. Time the in­take of car­bo­hy­drate-con­tain­ing foods around train­ing ses­sions to avoid car­bo­hy­drate de­ple­tion dur­ing ex­er­cise and to fa­cil­i­tate re­cov­ery fol­low­ing ex­er­cise.

a. Pre-work­out: Eat a snack of fruits/veg­eta­bles, an­i­mal/plant pro­tein or starchy food (i.e., fruit smoothie, beet hum­mus with veg­gies, lentil-veg­etable soup).

b. Dur­ing work­out: Eat a car­bo­hy­drate-based snack shortly af­ter train­ing to start the re­cov­ery process. Sport bars, gra­nola bars, fruit yo­gurt and low-fat milk smooth­ies are nu­tri­ent-packed car­bo­hy­drate-con­tain­ing choices.

c. Post-work­out: Add pro­tein-rich foods to your post-work­out car­bo­hy­drate-rich snacks/meals (i.e., yo­gurt with fruit/gra­nola, fruit-flavoured ke­fir on ce­real, poached eggs on toast, veg­etable fri­tatta) to op­ti­mize re­fu­el­ing.

2. Eat a wide range of nu­tri­ent-dense foods pre-, dur­ing and post-work­out.

a. Eat small serv­ings of pro­tein-rich food (meat, poul­try, fish, eggs, tofu, milk/soy milk, yo­gurt, legumes, nuts/seeds) at each snack and meal (larger ath­letes and male ath­letes will need more) to make sure that you get all your es­sen­tial amino acids, B vi­ta­mins, iron and zinc.

b. Put more dark-green, orange/red and pur­ple/blue veg­eta­bles and fruits on your plate at snacks or meals to max­i­mize your in­takes of Vi­ta­min C, folic acid and an­tiox­i­dants.

c. In­clude whole grains and ce­re­als daily for iron, mag­ne­sium and se­le­nium – three nu­tri­ents known to main­tain a strong im­mune sys­tem.

d. Choose fatty fish (i.e., sal­mon, lake trout, sar­dines, her­ring, mack­erel) af­ter your two tough­est train­ing ses­sions a week for an im­mune-en­hanc­ing source of Omega-3 fats. 3. Fo­cus on func­tional foods. a. Main­tain the good bac­te­ria in your gut by reg­u­larly con­sum­ing pro­bi­otic-rich foods such as yo­gurt and ke­fir with ac­tive cul­tures and fer­mented foods (e.g. pick­led veg­eta­bles and sauer­kraut).

b. Feed the good bac­te­ria liv­ing in your di­ges­tive sys­tem with pre­bi­otic fi­bres found in car­bo­hy­drate-rich whole-grain wheat-based breads and ce­re­als, oat­meal and legumes and fruc­tans found in ba­nanas, honey and maple syrup.

c. Choose two to three cups of Vi­ta­min-d-for­ti­fied yo­gurts and fluid milk/soymilk daily to get Vi­ta­min D, and top up your in­take with a Vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment of 400 Iu/day if you are older than 50 years of age.

by Beth Mans­field, PH.D, RD

Glee­son, M, Nie­man, D and Ped­er­sen, BK 2004, “Ex­er­cise, nu­tri­tion and im­mune func­tion.” Jour­nal of Sports Sci­ences, 22, pp. 115-25.

El­iz­a­beth (Beth) Mans­field is a sport di­eti­tian and ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist with Peak Per­for­mance in Ot­tawa, Ont.

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