Random Thoughts

September’s Random Thoughts…

Ankle Braces

I was at a family party on the Sunday before Labor Day, and I noticed my Aunt’s niece had an ankle brace on. The purpose of an ankle brace is to keep the ankle supported and secure during a strenuous activity like during a game or practice. Hanging out with the family by the pool is so far from strenuous! I see it more and more kids ALWAYS wearing an ankle brace because their ankle “feels better in it”. Despite the brace giving your ankle support, it is actually causing more harm than good. If you are someone who always wears your brace you are weakening your ankle because the brace is doing everything your ankle and muscles should be done. That is why your ankles feel better with it on. Athletes’ ankles will never strengthen unless you get them out of the brace and their fancy shoes, and start working on balancing while using their own muscles. If you have to wear a brace wear it during practice or games.

Fasting 

A big diet fad has been intermittent fasting which is going anywhere from 12-16 hours of not eating and then eating during a small window. The science behind fasting is that once your body uses all of the food in your system for fuel it will switch over to fat for the remainder of the fast. Once that occurs your body is supposed to use ketones for fuel which can assist with your metabolism, improve brain function, and helps normalize insulin levels. 

Fasting could be very helpful for you to reach your health and fitness goals, but there are factors to take into account. If you are an athlete I would not recommend fasting more than 8 hours, and I recommend that be during sleep. Athletes are training 6-7 days per week, and many athletes are playing their sport, strength training, and also going to school. That means they need fuel in order to handle the constraints of their day. Lastly, athletes must eat anywhere from 3000 to 5000 calories a day to maintain or gain for their sport, so if they only have a small window to eat they most likely will miss out on valuable calories. 

Managing Stress

Stress is real! If you do not want stress to take over and you would like to prevent any negative side effects of stress it is important that you understand how to manage it. I had a college athlete ask me about in-season training and ways to recover better after games and practices. It is important to understand that if you are doing something that stresses the body out everyday you will never recover from all of that work. What I mean by that is if on Monday you hard practice, Tuesday you have a hard lift, Wednesday you have another hard practice, and then end the week with a game when did your body recover? It didn’t! When stress builds up your body stays stuck in a sympathetic state, and that means cortisol levels remain high. When cortisol is high it can break muscle tissue down, disrupt your digestive system, and also hinder your ability to sleep. All of which you do not want if you are an athlete. My first recommendation to an athlete is to have hard days, but also have lite days so you can actually recover. Lastly, I always stress (no pun intended) sleep more, eat more whole foods, and drink more water.