Mind, Body and Soul
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.