The List 1.2: Prepping the Body with Confidence
The List 1.2
….And we’re back! If you are just checking out for the first time, I suggest you to read my first post as this will be a continuation from my initial blog.
Today, I will go into detail of the ‘Health’ section of the list, why they have earned their place, how I incorporate throughout my day and some information hopefully you can find useful and bring into your day to day life propelling you to be the best version of yourself.
Stretching has been a huge foundation in my growth ever since my Russian coach unexpectedly pushed on my back and declared his this thick accent “Dustin, you need to stretch if you ever want to become a good libero. I took it as a challenge to see how I could push by body, making it a part of my everyday routine while finding 4 benefits of stretching push for peak performance from my body.
Increase range of motion. Especially in volleyball, repetitive athletic movements can reduce your range of motion by tightening the muscles and tendons. A certain tension is required, but too much tension and a decreased range of motion can ultimately lead to injury and reduced quality of performance. I’ve found that stretching done regularly can increase the range of motion allowing my body to fold or bend to counter odd plays that require a quick decision.
Increase muscle tone. Using the muscle’s strength in passive resistance, stretching accelerates the speed at which the proteins that make up the muscle fibers are synthesized. Your body gains muscle tone, strength, and resilience this way.
Relieve Stress. Stretching before bed relaxes your muscles and prepares your body for sleep relieving tension that builds up in your muscles throughout the day. Stretching at night as part of your wind-down ritual can help you fall asleep faster and have a more restful night while serving as another opportunity of increasing your flexibility
Prevention. Stretching decompresses your back as well as your joints, this prevents injuries while accelerating recovery of the joints, tendons, and muscles. Teamed up with rolling and a lacrosse ball, you are able to stay one step ahead of any looming injuries.
How I incorporate stretching
After morning power, after evening training and again before bed are times when I commit to getting in a good stretch, a book that has helped me shaped my knowledge and routine is Stretching by Bob Anderson.
Foam rollers have picked up steam lately as I have seen them pop up more and more throughout professional teams in Europe but it hasn’t always been that way. Luckily for the guys at USA Volleyball and I our trainer was ahead of the curve and got us on the path of rolling out before and after practice during the summer 4 years ago.
One of the main benefits of foam rolling is breaking up scar tissue and adhesions between the skin, muscles and bones. This benefits the body as you can put targeted pressure on your fascia, releasing trigger points where you're feeling pain. Fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in our body. Without proper mobility, fibers of the fascia become cross linked and they bind to muscles and nerves, inhibiting normal motion and causing pain.
Notice I didn’t mention stretching before training.. A lot of research is suggesting that static stretching prior to exercising is not beneficial and could actually be injurious. This research is suggesting that static stretching be performed after exercise, when muscles are relaxing and returning to their normal length. Starting a workout is a great way to prepare the body for movement and allows you to get deeper in each position. By ending the workout foam rolling, you'll recover faster, rebuild muscle and an increased range of motion.
How I incorporate rolling
Before (faster, more powerful movements) and after (long and slow movements) training. Areas I foam roll before and after training: Upper Back, Calf, Hamstring, Glute, IT Band, Quad, Groin
As i mentioned before in the first post, I’ve experimented with my diet and one of the biggest, unexpected results have come from eating food uncooked throughout the day. ‘Raw’ is referred to food that has not been cooked or food that has not been heated above 40 °C (104 °F) but I will go throughout the day, without adding any heat to my food.
The idea is to eat raw nutrient-dense whole plant-based foods until my last training of the day, which I will then have a cooked plant-based meal.
There are many different degrees and versions of a raw foods diet, but, in general I will make a lot of smoothies, nice cream, or just simply snack on raw fruits and vegetables. The big benefits from eating a plant based raw diet is it is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Many foods are more nutritious when eaten raw, as heat degrades some key players, including vitamins C and B6.
For me the biggest take away is the digestibility of eating a raw food diet and using smoothies as fuel throughout my day. Smoothies are a great way to pack in a lot of nutrients all at once in an easy-to digest form. Digestion takes energy (in fact 80% of our energy goes back into digesting food). So, taking a break from digestion will both give your digestive system a rest and leave more energy for my next training and bypassing an afternoon nap.
How I incorporate raw
2 frozen Bananas, 2 dates, 2 cups of Kale, 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon, 1 tbsp of almond butter, ginger root, tumeric root, black pepper, 1 tsp of ashwagandha & either water or plant based milk.
Spice it up even more? Add pumpkin seeds, maca, goji berries, spirulina, chlorella, hemp seeds.
Toppings: buckwheat sprouts and fresh fruit.
I only started juicing in 2016 as my Professional club only could train at 18:00 or even sometimes at 20:00 and I wanted to forgo my afternoon coffee to make sure I could get quality sleep. Fast forward to this year and it’s made itself into my daily routine helping me escape an afternoon nap, while giving me the proper energy to take with me to evening training.
Juicing gives me a more efficient way to absorb vegetables which are loaded with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It also removes the insoluble fiber from vegetables and fruits. Removing the insoluble fiber allows for increased absorption of specific health promoting phytonutrients including enzymes, while the soluble fiber persists into the juice.
By removing the fibers and consuming fruits and vegetables in liquid form I’m able to crush a ton of vegetables and reap the benefits of the minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients they have to offer.
It’s also an easy way to help me incorporate fresh ginger and tumeric into my diet which play a big part in keeping my immune system and inflammation in check.
Ginger helps by breaking down the accumulation of toxins in your organs and cleanses the lymphatic system while the curcumin in turmeric is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level and has effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs without the side effects.
How I incorporate Juice
I have two juice recipes that I go back in forth with helping me to push past any sluggishness that may confront my afternoon. First juice: 2 cucumbers, 2 handfuls of kale, lemon, coconut water to taste. Second juice: 2 beets, 6 carrots, pinky sized tumeric, ginger, 1/2 apples to taste.
I started using spirulina in my smoothies 2 years ago and I haven’t looked back.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae is a freshwater plant consumed alone can be a painful experience but like Apple Cider Vinegar can have a powerful effect lowering blood pressure, lowering chances of having a stroke and reducing cholesterol.
I find the most benefit from spirulina in it’s power to help the immune system (promotes cell regeneration, it helps wounds heal quicker, and makes recovery from illnesses occur faster) reducing inflammation (sources of Gamma-linolenic acid, one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents in nature )and improving digestion (eases the passage of waste through the digestive system, thereby reducing stress on the entire system. It also promotes healthy bacteria in the digestive system)
How I incorporate Spirulina
I’ll dump a tablespoon of spirulilna into my morning green smoothie. It’s a simple way to keep my body running properly and to help me be one step ahead from disease and soreness.
See you for 1.3 where I will go over all the categories that relate to the mind! If you're ready to create your own list, I suggest starting small with 3-5 items and building your way up.