Monday, March 27, 2017

Long Term Athletic Development

Long term athletic development is the formula to make your child the most prolific athlete they can possibly be.  This is NOT A QUICK FIX.  We are talking about a minimum 10 year process.
Parents, there is only one time to do this right.  The developmental process only happens once.
You need a coach who understands this and can get them set up for optimizing performance.

Movement stimulates Brain Development.  We need to get our kids moving at an early age.  While there are efficient techniques to optimize skill, it is important to let your young kids take the time and work through movement patterns.  Let them challenge themselves with the movement, balance, and coordination components to get from point A to point B.  Young people need a variety of motor skills to perfect in order to ensure future athletic success and injury prevention.

You want a well-rounded athlete.  The way to set this up is to allow a child to play multiple sports in their childhood.  This exposes them to multiple movement patterns and the psychological dynamics of how to be a teammate and how to win and lose in competition.
Even if you have a child who is an excellent golfer, I train and treat them as an Athlete.  They are an Athlete 1st and a golfer 2nd.  On that note, golf is definitely an athletic sport and it's time to realize that the more athletic an individual is, the better golfer they are able to become.
Golf is a late-specialization sport.  There are a number of PGA tour pros who excelled in other sports and then picked up and learned the game of golf in their late teens.

If we take a young kid and shove the game of golf and only golf down their throat at a young age, we run the risk of them hating it later on in their teens from burn-out, over-use injuries to their body from the repetitive nature of the swing, and them missing out on developing fundamental movement skills from playing other sporting activities.
When a child is young, I focus on teaching them Fundamental Movement Skills.  Things like: running, skipping, hopping, agility and balance drills, throwing, kicking, striking, spatial awareness, coordination, etc.
After they have a strong base with that, we move into Fundamental Sports Skills.  These skills are sport specific to make them more athletic.  It involves more advanced forms of throwing and striking drills, drills that help them better understand body sequence and rhythm in action.
The combination of these two developed over the years provide a young athlete with their "physical literacy".  This foundation lays down the abilities for stamina, speed, strength, mobility, and power.
As stated before, if a child specializes in one sport early, and only that sport, they miss out on developing all the fundamental movement skills.  They develop what's known as proficiency barriers.
When children are young there are windows of opportunity to teach them certain athletic skills.
These "windows" are more open during certain years of their developmental age.  
It is the job of the Coach to understand the difference between developmental age and chronological age.  Failure to understand this eliminates the potential of so many good players.
There are factors at play behind the scenes of Long Term Athletic Development.  These factors are:

  • the influence of hormones
  • strength development
  • nervous system development
  • the differentiation of muscle fiber types
Like I said, this is not a quick fix.  This is a long process that evolves with the child through childhood and adolescence.  It is a blend of faith in the knowledge of the coach and a team developed among coach, student, and parent.  
The Titleist Performance Institute philosophy is to develop athletes first, teach golf-specific skills second and most importantly create a love for the game.
This is a fun process.  Allow the kids to think, develop, have fun, and decide what they want out of their athletics.  With so many factors at play to get this right, let's set the young athlete up for success!




Keith McCormack is a certified personal trainer and golf-fitness specialist living & working in St. Augustine, Florida.  He loves working with all types of individuals but knows the basic fundamentals should never be overlooked.  He takes a holistic approach to his training whether he's working with a high-level competitive client or a person looking to move better through life.

Monday, February 27, 2017

LOW BACK PAIN - DO YOU HAVE IT?


Michael Boyle is a strength and conditioning coach in the Boston area.  He is an expert in the field, author, and a highly sought after speaker.  He is also a mentor of mine and someone whose methods I study and replicate.
I was reading in one of his books this morning and came across something I'd never heard of and it got me thinking.  I'm paraphrasing here but he basically said, people who suffer from low back pain don't really have a weak back at all.  Actually, they have a strong lower back.  The pain is usually a result of the fact that there is dysfunction in the hip joints.  The person has either hip mobility issues or hip musculature deficiencies.  They may even have both (probably do).  This dysfunction means that the body has to compensate in some other area to create the movement that the individual is trying to make happen.  In this case, the area affected and taking on the load is the low back.  It's working overtime and actually getting stronger but at what cost?  The low back muscles are not big, they are actually postural muscles built more for endurance.  When we give them the job of the powerful Gluteal muscles or hip muscles, they get over-used and painful.  This area of the body is typically required to be an area of stability, but all to often, we try to get mobility and rotation out of the lower back.  The anatomy of our lumbar spine is not built for very much rotation at all.  This is suppose to happen at the hips.

Here are a few stretches to open the hips:






So, if you have low back pain, maybe it's actually related to hip issues.
Try to loosen those joints to create new levels of ranges of motion out of them.

We are active creatures, we were built to move - some at more intense measures than others.  The fact is that MOVEMENT is vital for optimal health.  We owe it to ourselves to discover if we have movement deficiencies that are leading to common aches and pains.
Get a health assessment, see a trainer, physical therapist, or chiropractor.  Move your body pain free and enjoy life.

Special thanks to the works of Michael Boyle who inspired these thoughts.

I'll sign off with motto of some outdoor company I can't remember but like:

GO - DO - BE

Sunday, March 20, 2016

What Do We Do With the Glycemic Index?

FACT:  We must eat Carbohydrates.  These supply the body with it's preferred energy source, Glucose.
Today, we have Paleo Diets and High-Protein Diets that may cause people to not get enough Carbohydrates on a daily basis. Our Central Nervous System must have Glucose readily available to operate at it's functional level.  Without it, you experience brain fog, headaches, and lethargy.
The Glycemic Index is a guide that ranks different sources of Carbohydrates on their ability to influence a person's blood sugar (Glucose).
The deal is that we must take it for Face Value, an Index that gives us an idea of what these carbs do as they metabolize into our system - the influence it has over our individual Blood Sugar Level. 
The Glycemic Index (GI) is useful for understanding how the body breaks down Carbohydrates.
We can't assume that just because a Carb ranks high on the Index that its "Bad."  There is really a time and place for a lot of different Carbs in our diet.  For Athletes, this is definitely True.
Just to lay it out there- the numbers show scores of 55 and Less is LOW on the GI.
56 to 69 is in the moderate range.
70 and up equals the HIGH range.
100 is the standard that is measured against- this is Table sugar or a piece of White Bread.
What we all are fighting against is the dreaded "Crash."  The result of eating too many high-end GI carbohydrates in one sitting.  We have all been here before and know the feeling.
What are examples of high-end Glycemic foods?  White bread, doughnuts, raisins, bagel, graham crackers, pretzels.  Of course, highly-processed, sugary candies fit into this category also.
When you "Crash," this equals low energy and jeopardizes anything you want to do that's productive.  If you are an athlete depending on these types of "Carbs", forget it.  Athletes have to be very diligent in their planning for Nutrition intake.
How do we use the Glycemic Index in our favor? Like I mentioned, take it for it's face value as a guide.  The truth is that these scores are for the isolated food itself.  We must realize that this number will change as it's influenced by a cooking process or combined with other foods.  Also, an individual's Insulin Response may have different timing than someone else.
For these reasons, we can't get too wrapped up in these numbers.  BUT, there is benefit.  This index can help us control blood sugar levels.
As an athlete, I can use this guide to prepare before workouts with my Carbohydrate consumption.  Before activity, I can stick with the moderate to low range Carbs so that I have more sustainable energy that provides glucose in a steady manner.  If there's ever a time for the higher glycemic foods, it's post activity or exercise.  This is the time when the body is replenishing depleted glycogen stores.
It's about timing.  1 to 2 hours post activity is my recovery window.  I want the Carbs to replenish my blood sugar and protein to reward my muscles.
If I have 20 grams protein, I have at least 40 grams of Carbs.  Please understand that this is not free-reign to go crazy with the BAD, PROCESSED stuff.  Unfortunately, if you go this route you are filling your body with things that are void of nutrition.  Your body just worked hard in your sporting event or workout and gets nothing of benefit to refuel and reward afterwards.

One of the great aspects of sticking with the Low and Moderate number GI foods is that these foods typically are Whole Foods (AKA Real Food).  It's not the overly processed stuff that can sit on a shelf for 6 years.  There are exceptions; dates are an excellent snack but have a huge GI score.  I personally think that dates are a great treat post-exercise.
Another great thing about the lower number foods is that they have good amounts of Fiber included.  Fiber is beneficial to the Digestive system and provides Satiation.  These foods really help us regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Try to find Carb Foods that will give you 3 grams Fiber/serving.  This is SO IMPORTANT! If you have a happy Gastrointestinal system = you have a happy body!
Take Home:  Don't get too tripped up over these numbers.  Eat a variety of Carbs but time when you eat them according to you activity and time of day.
Eating is meant to be enjoyed and much like the rest of life, should have checks and balances.

Jami Lynn and Keith McCormack are Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coaches through the CHEK Institute.  They have a passion for good food, quality movement patterns, fresh air, and the companionship of loyal canine friends.  They love to offer assistance, support and accountability to anyone in need of their expertise.  
You can find them on this blog or @ GOpeakperformance@gmail.com
Check out Jami Lynn on Facebook at Jami Lynn McCormack

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Build Your Golf Athlete

Power Starts From Below

How to Really Create Rotational Strength for the Athlete

There's a saying in Baptiste Yoga, "Root to Rise".  Meaning, for true strength, one must ground themselves, establish a foundation if they ever want to soar. 
Like a tree, my golfing athlete must develop a strong connection with the ground. They must set strong roots because the golf swing is a dynamic 100 mph gust of wind that will take them all over the place if not. 
It starts with stability.  The training program must have exercises that develop both static and dynamic stability.  Stability really means the ability to maintain alignment in the presence of an outside force.  We must be able to establish a level of stability whether we are holding still or in a movement pattern.  Stability is a matter of strength, and with such an athletic movement as the golf swing, there has to be a good amount of lower body strength to have a consistent golf swing. 
Take a look at this:

This Golf Athlete is doing a Single-Leg Deadlift variation that demands balance, stability, grip-strength, and a strong core. 
Rotation starts from the ground up.  And, before we ever want to send the body through very dynamic levels of mobility, we need to make sure we can resist rotation with strong levels of postural stability.  That means I need adequate core strength to accomplish an important goal that is important for dynamic sport and everyday life = Maintaining a Neutral Spine, which protects my back form injuries and pain.
As he goes through this movement pattern, he slowly pushes his back leg back and keeps his chest and back leg working at the same rate (one goes up, one goes down).  He keeps his spine straight (neutral) throughout by maintaining a stable, braced core.  He balances on the post leg getting a big stretch through his hamstring.  As he drives back to hip extension, he pushes through the ground, keeping the barbell close to his body, and squeezes his glutes as he comes back to complete hip extension.  It's a great movement that develops Unilateral leg strength, mobility & stability through the entire body, balance, and grip strength.


 When we think of rotation we typically visualize the torso moving in an axial pattern, spinning from side to side.  We can't get trapped into thinking that the upper body is solely responsible for the ability of the torso to rotate.  You see so many weekend hacker golfers using their arms and shoulders to develop any kind of power in their golf game.  This leads to an inconsistent club swing path, less power, and future arm and shoulder injuries.  The arms are never intended to be prime muscle movers in dynamic functional movements.  In the case of golf, tennis, and baseball the arms express the power we created from the ground up (from the ground, low body, core, arms, club, and finally, ball- the entire kinetic chain).  Our rotation actually happens like the strength and power we develop- from the ground up.  Look at this movement that Jessel is doing to the right, it's a Stability Ball Russian Twist with a weight plate as the external load.  This definitely works side to side chop power, but before he ever moved in an axial pattern, Jessel has to stabilize his core, push through the ground with his feet, and squeeze his glutes to maintain hip extension and to protect his lower back.  Then, the dynamic rotation happens....Hmmmmm, a lot like the golf swing.  His rotation and power production starts from below.  If he didn't stabilize with his lower body and core, he would spin out of control off of this stability ball. 
Much like the Deadlift variation, a top goal with this Russian Twist exercise is to maintain a neutral, braced spinal position- the same thing he must maintain in his golf swing.  Train this in the gym, develop the muscle memory, and the body knows what to do when you put it through dynamic demanding movements like the Golf Swing.

Root through the ground, respect your connection through the foundation you create for your movement patterns.  Power and rotation start from the ground up.  If you are not training stability exercises and developing lower body strength, your ability to rotate and create sufficient power is probably lacking. 


 

Keith McCormack is a Certified Golf Fitness Expert through the Titleist Performance Institute and uses his education to teach people about strength and conditioning, holistic lifestyle management and nutrition, and overall better movement pattern habits.  He loves working with rotational athletes and improving their sport performance.  You can find him at GO Headquarters gym in St. Augustine, Florida and at GOpeakperformance@gmail.com


 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Should We Consider Golfers Athletes?

Is the Golfer an Athlete? Short Answer = Hell Yes!

It's time to respect what the competitive golfer has to do physically to hit a tiny ball into a tiny hole that's hundreds of yards away.
Dr. Greg Wells, the Director of Sport Science for the Royal Canadian Golf Association says, "Golf is a physically demanding game that requires Power, but at the same time, incredible precision and complexity". 

Golf demands that the body has joint mobility, muscular flexibility, muscular stability and endurance, strength and power.  This is for golfers across the board- the weekend hackers and the ones playing for paychecks.  If you lack a physical requirement for an efficient swing, your body compensates.  You have a swing fault, deficiency, or body compensation.  The PROs just hide their deficiencies better and make the game look easier.  Another key is that now it's so common for the professional guys to be using fitness specialist to locate physical deficiencies and fix them with proper exercise. 

Dr. Wells also says, "During the swing the average male recruits 30 LBs of muscle and uses nearly every single joint in the body to produce 2,000 LBs of Force in less than half a second".
This is definitely an athletic movement from your feet to your fingers. 
Paul Chek says, "Amateur Golfers achieve approximately 90% of their Peak Muscle Activity when driving a golf ball".  He goes on to explain this type of swing with the driver is also replicated with the irons as well, some 40 plus times a round.  This type of muscle recruitment is like going in the gym and lifting a heavy weight that you could only lift 4 times until you fail (your 4 rep max) 40 plus times!
Golf is physically demanding on the body, for the PROs, and for the weekenders riding around in carts between each shot.  Even the most efficient swing on tour is demanding to the body.
Physical conditioning will prepare the body for these physical demands and sports performance.  Swing faults or body compensations demands even more from the body and eventually lead to breakdowns and injury.
Train a golfer with a scientific approach that is specific to the individual golfer's needs - not all bodies are alike.
Build strength with functional movement patterns that will transfer over to the biomechanical nature of the golf swing.  A physically-able and prepared body is harder to injure.







Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Secret Sauce to Controlling the Blood Sugar Drama

It's the perfect storm:  you slow down in the Activity Department, you eat an Unhealthy Diet, and the Tissues and Hormones in the body Experience a Communication Breakdown.
Blood Sugar Tolerance is a real issue, especially as we get older (and I will explain this as you read on).  Blood Sugar or Glucose comes from carbohydrates that we eat in our diets.  We need Carbs, just the right sources (Low-Glycemic fruits and vegetables, roots, and tubers - not packaged Crap marketed as food that makes you ride the above image).
Digestion breaks down these Carbs into individual sugar molecules that enter the bloodstream as Glucose.  The body wants to maintain a level of this Glucose in the Bloodstream, and that level is 5 grams - that's 1 teaspoon! (not much, right).  The body has to have glucose in the bloodstream, after all it's the only fuel source for the brain, and the brain needs to be working so you can survive (unless you want to live a life in Politics, I kid, I kid, HA!).  Okay, bad joke, maybe?  Anyways, The hormone Insulin, sometimes called the "Master Hormone", has the duty to regulate the glucose in the bloodstream.  It signals the muscles to take in and utilize this glucose as energy. And to an extent, both skeletal muscle tissue and the liver will take in glucose and store it in clumps known as Glycogen.  Once they have stored all they can, the glucose is transformed into Triglycerides and stored in Fat cells.  This type of stored fat is problematic as this goes on and on...... 
Something very important to catch here is the fact that Muscle Tissue is very tuned into the Insulin Hormone, it's SENSITIVE to it.  We want these two always on the same page.
A problem that comes up for us, especially as we age, is that we lose Muscle Tissue due to inactivity.  We stop moving, exerting ourselves, and challenging our muscle tissue.  For a lot of people the muscle tissue is replaced with FAT.  The muscle tissue becomes less sensitive to Insulin, the beta cells of the Pancreas in turn push more Insulin out into the blood to control the high Blood glucose levels. High Blood Glucose levels by the way can be Toxic, remember the optimal level is only 5 grams!
As this process goes on, the Beta Cells of the Liver tire out, they are overused - the communication breakdown occurs. The body can't make Insulin anymore and you've punched your ticket for Adult-Onset Diabetes (Type II).  Hopefully you catch this early and can manage it with proper diet and an exercise regimen.
2 things to point out:  It's natural as we age to lose SOME of our ability to manage blood sugar levels, the beta-cells get worn out due to years of eating sweet foods. We can help this by eating better sources of Carbohydrates in our diets and also making sure we get enough Fiber.  Fiber is dense, will satiate our appetite, and help make our Colon Healthier.  Another thing, how much fat we store above the waist-line is a key indicator on our Blood Sugar/Body relationship.  The more you have here (both men and women), the greater the risk for Diabetes.

So here's the Secret Sauce, the Keys to Take from this:

Muscle is the MOST METABOLICALLY ACTIVE tissue we have in our body.  Muscle tissue is very sensitive to the hormone Insulin.  I said earlier that inevitably as you age you lose a little glucose tolerance.  You can help this process by adding more muscle tissue, even as you age, where the opposite, losing muscle mass seems to be the norm.  Adopt a routine of Strength-building Exercise into your life.   The more muscle tissue, the more blood sugar gets stored as beneficial Glycogen and you will have the energy when you need it.   You have to keep the ratio of Muscle to Body Fat in check to avoid Diabetes.  This new exercise habit will hopefully burn some of that fat that has accumulated above the waist too.  You don't have to have the Blood Sugar Drama, and the key to controlling this potential drama is MUSCLE. 




Sunday, October 11, 2015







Hey Everyone!! I wanted to write a quick blog post since we have not put out our October newsletter yet. As you all know, Keith and I have moved and we are in the midst of a lot of changes right now. This post is basically to say...WE ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Us as people, and our work. We will both still be utilizing our Facebook pages and posting blogs here and there and we need a little time to figure some things out in a new place.  Stay tuned..we love you.