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Rory McIlroy, taking the proper rest

The Masters gets under way this week on April 9th and the world’s number one player is taking some time away from competition. Rory McIlroy will have been “off” nearly three weeks before he hits his first drive at Augusta. Like other top tier athletes, McIlroy knows that tapering before a big competition helps reset the body and the mind and puts you in a position to excel.

 

Marathon runners have used tapering for years to give their bodies a chance to rest before pushing themselves during the big race. The idea behind tapering is that coming into an event well rested allows you to maximize the strength and fitness gains you’ve made over the previous weeks or months of training.

 

Of course, McIlroy has not been sitting around. He’s been practicing at Augusta with his dad and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, having fun on the course, getting used to the lay of the land, taking nothing seriously. It’s a mental and physical rest.

Rory and Tom Brady a few weeks ago at Augusta National

Rory and Tom Brady a few weeks ago at Augusta National

 

For some athletes, however, tapering can be difficult, because the decrease in training leaves them feeling antsy and, in some cases, sluggish. There’s a fear of losing your edge, causing some serious pre-competition anxiety.

 

Like McIlroy, keeping your mind and body “in the game” is the key. While he’s tapering, he’s still playing golf. Just not at the same intense level that he’ll undoubtedly be playing during competition. Tapering is the time to refine technique, no matter your sport, and get a good feel for your desired competition pace.

 

Of course, taper length varies from person to person, and depends on the athlete’s preferences and the length of the event. For runners, a taper for a half-marathon might last a week, while a taper for a triathlon might be four times as long. The Masters is kind of a golf marathon, with play stretching out over 72 holes, that’s four complete rounds over four days.

 

For most folks, truly perfecting a taper plan requires a degree of trial and error. If the taper period is too short, you didn’t get enough rest. Too long, you run the risk of losing not only your mental edge, but also your physical conditioning.

 

So, most trainers and coaches suggest that you maintain a consistent number of training days per week. If you usually work out five days a week, continue that during the taper, but reduce volume by cutting training time (or distance) in each workout.

 

Look at it this way- pushing yourself each and every workout, with no rest, is like running a car engine 24/7. It’s only a matter of time before it (and you) break down. Do yourself a favor and build some taper time into your workout schedule.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Crack of dawn, or after dark? The best time to workout

whenshouldiworkout

Quite a few of my clients lately have been asking me- when is the best time during the day to work out? Some like to get up before dawn for a run. Others could never bring themselves to break a sweat before noon. The truth is that while there could be some calorie burning advantages to working out in the early morning- it’s certainly not for every one.

 

Why? Well, I like to work out early, but my body clock is probably not the same as yours. Your body’s circadian rhythm determines whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, and there’s not much you can do to change that.

 

The earth’s 24-hour rotation governs your circadian rhythm. The rhythms influence pretty much everything about your body- blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels and heart rate. All of that plays an important role in whether you’re ready to exercise or not. Of course, most of us also have to take into account our work schedules and family obligations.

 

Bottom line- the most important thing you can do it to choose a time of day you can stick with, so that exercise becomes a habit.

 

Why early morning? That could be best, especially if you have problems with consistency. Get your exercise in before other pressures interfere- like work and family.

 

Of course, to feel like exercising in the morning, you need to have a good night’s sleep. Good, regular bedtime habits help get your body ready for rest so you can get your eight hours. Late night physical activity or eating late can sabotage your body’s urge to sleep.

 

For some people, lunchtime is the best time to exercise, especially if they enjoy company, like co-workers who are willing to hit the gym or take a run or a walk. One thing to keep in mind- eat after you work out, not before. If you eat before, the blood that needs to go to your muscles is going instead to your digestive tract to help you break down that meal. Remember what your mom told you about swimming? Wait 90 minutes after a heavy meal to work out.

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You don’t have to be an expert on circadian rhythms to determine the best time to exercise. Simply try different times of the day. Work out in the morning for a few weeks, and then try lunchtime, then early evening. Discover which time you enjoy most and which makes you feel the best? Then, make every effort to keep that appointment with yourself.

 

Most importantly is to find a time that makes working out a consistent part of your life.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Rory McIlroy – Golf’s new piece Masterpiece

The newest April 2015 issue of Golf Digest headed to the newsstands next month features Rory McIlroy on the cover, portraying Michelangelo’s statue of David- wearing a kilt. And, you could say the 25-year-old is a dead ringer for the real thing.

 

Rory McIlroy 2015 April Golf Digest

Rory McIlroy 2015 April Golf Digest

McIlroy has made the transition from a chubby unfit golfer to ripped athlete. Weighing around 170 pounds, with 10% body fat and not quite six feet tall, the golfer often tweets and puts up Instagram pics of his gym routine- one snapshot from last year had him back squatting 280 pounds. Not exactly what you would expect from a PGA Professional.

 

His workout routine is very intense- five times a week, lifting heavy weights for 90 minutes. He  does intense cardio work, sprints,  swims, and bikes. Rory actually never worked out until he strained his back about four years ago. Now, he’s dedicated to staying fit and injury free.  His first trainer noticed many muscular imbalances from a weak lower back to a weak left leg.  Rory’s workouts often include corrective exercises to maintain a balanced body.  Along with the corrective exercises Rory does a lot of single side isolation work.

2rory squat 2rory with 280 lbs

His trainer says they vary the workout every six to eight weeks. That’s important so that muscles don’t get overused and the routine stays fresh so you can continue to challenge yourself.

 

And, the benefits aren’t just apparent in the cover photo. McIlroy is also hitting his drives longer and harder- getting more yardage off the tee. He’s gained about 20 pounds of muscle, which puts more solid mass behind his swing. It’s simple, when there’s more mass, you can hit harder and get results.  It doesn’t hurt too that Rory has incredible stability and balance thru impact.

 

You’d have to guess that just like the clients I work with, McIlroy is feeling pretty good about himself. When you train hard and get results, you gain confidence. After all, look at what he’s achieved.  He’s completely remade himself by getting into shape and becoming the Number 1 player in the world.  Move over Tiger Woods golf has a new fitness freak.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQmDISgjry8

 

Rory McIlroy Sample Workout:

5 Minute stationary bike warmup

8-10 minute active warmup and stretch

3-5 Minutes of plyometrics

5-10 Core and Rotational Work

60 Minute Intense Workout

  • Heavy Squats
  • Heavy Deadlifts
  • Single Leg Split Squat
  • Pull-ups
  • Presses

10 Minutes of Intense Metabolic Conditioning

Cool Down

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Golf Sports Performance Specialist

 

Lose weight, clean out your refrigerator

stateofslim

One of my clients is trying to lose 15 pounds by May for her trip to the Kentucky Derby with the Colorado Diet. She cleaned out her fridge this week and gave me all her temptations. That’s one way to rid yourself of temptation.

What’s the Colorado Diet? It’s an easy to follow program that’s aimed at resetting your metabolism.

The diet is outlined in the book “State of Slim,” written by two doctors at the CU Medical Center. The plan is pretty simple- eat healthy and exercise more. It’s a sixteen-week program that promises to help you lose around 20 pounds.

The book includes recipes, sample menus and an exercise plan that will have you exercising 70 minutes a day by the end of the four months. If you’re just starting out, that might sound like a lot of activity, but the plan slowly ramps up the time you spend working out.

The authors don’t really want to describe the Colorado Diet as a diet, but a lifestyle change. Colorado is the leanest states in the nation. And, it’s not necessarily because we eat better (at least not all the time), but we hike, bike, swim, run, ski- we move. The mountains and our open spaces are great incentives to get outdoors almost any month of the year.

Still- what you put in your mouth matters. That’s why my client cleaned out her fridge. The Colorado Diet advocates what I’ve been telling the clients I work with for years- eat smaller meals more often, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and have the right carb and protein mix at every meal.

Whenever I work with someone new, I always ask them to keep a food diary for a few days so they (and I) can see exactly what they’re eating. Making a few small adjustments, such as, high-protein Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt, will make a difference.

The bottom line, with diet or exercise, it’s better to start out slowly than to try and make all the changes all at once. That’s a recipe for failure.

You can check out the Colorado Diet here: http://www.stateofslim.com

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Step Away from the Juicier, Grab Some Bone Broth

It’s the newest thing in healthy eating, but your grandmother probably knew all about it. She most likely had a full pot simmering on the back burner.

Bone broth- some folks call it stock- is the first new big health craze of 2015. The trend has been quickly gaining traction all over the world, and is now right here in Colorado.

What is it? Exactly what it sounds like. Broth made from animal bones. Used as stock in soups and stews and other recipes, you can buy it ready made at some grocery stores, online, or at Denver area restaurants. And yes, you can make it at home.

What can bone broth do?

• Reduce joint pain and inflammation. The glucosamine and chondroitin in bone broth can encourage the growth of new collagen, help repair damaged joints, and reduce pain and inflammation.
• Help with bone formation. You’re drinking (or eating) what’s basically bone in liquid form. Calcium, magnesium, collagen, and phosphorus. They all help bones to grow and repair and are the perfect way to fight osteoporosis.
• Support skin, hair and nail growth. The collagen and gelatin in bone broth support hair growth and help to keep nails strong.
• Relieve stress. Amino acids in bone broth can be very calming. (and can help you sleep).

Three Boulder fooderies- Fresh Thymes, Blackbelly and Cured- have jumped on the bone broth bandwagon are preparing and selling broth by the bowl or cup or by the quart.

http://denver.eater.com/2015/1/21/7861995/bone-broth-trend-crashes-into-boulder-with-three-new-options

You can make your own bone broth at home- it’s pretty simple. Even though it has to simmer for hours, it only takes a few minutes to get it started.

The most important thing is to get high quality bones. Wild, grass fed, organic, or at least all natural chicken, beef, pork or fish bones. Remove the meat and put the bones in the pot, cover with fresh water, add a splash of apple cider vinegar (to help extract the minerals from the bone). Now simmer for 3-24 hours. Or, put it in a slow cooker.

Make it better by adding any or all of the following: garlic, onions, vegetables like carrot and celery and herbs. When it’s done, strain out the bones and vegetables and divide the broth into usable potions. It will stay good in the fridge for about 5 days and in the freezer for months.

Here’s a how to guide: http://wellnessmama.com/5888/how-to-make-bone-broth/
And, a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fmSfaORNq0

More Great research

https://www.cognitune.com/bone-broth-benefits/

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness