Flexibility is an important, yet often overlooked, pillar of fitness. We asked members of the Under Armour Training team what they felt were the most beneficial stretches. If you are short on time, pick a few of these to improve mobility and overall movement.
My personal pick is the seated straddle stretch. Sit in a straddle position with toes pointed up toward the sky. Keeping a flat back and hinging at the hips, lean toward the center and slowly move over each leg.
1. POWER BAND SHOULDER TRACTION
The stretch: Loop the band around your wrist. Take an offset stance and walk back from the rack until you feel a gentle pull (traction) in your shoulder and lat.
— Rich Hesketh, athletic development coach at DECAMAN Athletics
2. TRX FORWARD LUNGE WITH Y FLY
The stretch: With the suspension trainer at mid length, begin standing facing away from the anchor point. With arms directly in front of your body (like Frankenstein), take a long step forward with your right foot, carefully lowering your left knee close to the floor and opening your arms up into a Y position. Brace your core, press down on the handles and return to a standing position.
— Marc Coronel, owner of Open Mind Fitness and master instructor for Trigger Point
3. TRX LOWER-BACK STRETCH
The stretch: Adjust the suspension trainer to mid length and stand facing the anchor point. Walk back until your arms are directly in front of your body, and then fold at hips, feeling a release through your shoulders and back.
— Michael Piercy, 2017 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and owner of The Lab Fitness
4. THE DROP SQUAT
The stretch: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step one leg behind the other and bend both knees. When your front thigh is almost parallel to the floor, return to the beginning posture.
— Tim DiFrancesco, former head strength and conditioning coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge
5. TRX WORLD’S GREATEST STRETCH VARIATION
The stretch: With the TRX suspension trainer at mid length and in single-handle mode, take a half-kneeling position facing away from the anchor point. With your right leg in front, place your left hand in the handles and reach overhead. Push the inside of the right leg outward gently with the outside of the right arm. To improve shoulder mobility, sweep the left arm into various positions along a pain-free, natural arc.
— Kari Woodall, swim coach, firefighter and owner of BLAZE Fitness
READ MORE TRAINER’S FAVORITE
6. SUPINE BAND HAMSTRING LEG SWINGS
The stretch: Place band around waist. Begin lying on floor and place other end of band around your foot. Pull your leg up with the band, so your foot moves toward your head until a moderate stretch is reached. Swing leg back to the ground and repeat.
— Steve Saunders, Director of Performance for the Baltimore Ravens and Founder of Power Train Sports & Fitness.
Trainers Favorite … Stretches was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/trainers-favorite-stretches/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/trainers-favorite-stretches/</a> by Shana Verstegen
5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout
As the saying goes: Abs are made in the kitchen. Of course, time in the gym helps, too. “I think nutrition for optimal performance and recovery has gained recent attention because some high-profile athletes have been public about their nutrition strategies. But the science behind this has been around for years,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, a board-certified sports dietitian who has been a consultant to five professional teams and counsels professional athletes in her private practice.
Chef Lindsey Becker founded Tone House FUEL, a clean-eating program designed to help maximize recovery and boost results for people who work out at Tone House, an athletic-based group fitness studio in New York City. “A balanced, healthy diet with the right key nutrients can help your body become more efficient and enhance your athletic performance [in and out of the gym],” she says. “Consuming the necessary nutrients before and after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair damage or inflammation.”
Below Becker shares her tips for eating to get the most out of your workouts, with additional expert insights from Sass. Use their advice to ensure what you’re eating is supporting your exercise.
We often focus on calories, but nutrients also matter, Sass says. “Certain nutrients help your brain and muscles perform more efficiently, and others are crucial for recovering from the wear and tear exercise puts on your body,” she explains. The best macronutrients pre- and post-workout depend on the type of workout you’re doing, as well as the length and intensity.
“Eating the right foods will prevent you from crashing, boost your performance and help your muscles recover and grow stronger,” Becker says. “On the other hand, choosing the wrong foods could cause cramping, nausea, lack of energy and improper muscle recovery.”
Becker recommends beets, sweet potatoes, oats, spinach and eggs for their varied benefits. “Beets increase blood flow to working muscles, which can improve your workout and boost stamina, and are rich in antioxidants, which help fight the oxidative stress that can come with intense workouts,” she says.
She likes sweet potatoes for carbs, antioxidants and potassium; oats for steady energy and B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy; and spinach because a study found that it may help muscles use less oxygen, which improves muscle performance. And of course the incredible edible egg is a source of easily digestible protein to help rebuild muscles.
Aim to eat something that’s high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat, sugar and fiber 2–4 hours before a workout. Some macros aren’t ideal before the gym. “Eating too much protein or fat close to the start of a workout can lead to cramps or a brick sitting in your stomach because protein and fat take longer to digest,” Sass says. “Also, the goal of a pre-workout snack is to fuel the workout. If the food is trapped in the digestive system, it’s not available to working muscles when they need it.”
That’s why carbs are great — they’re generally easy to digest and provide readily available, easily burned fuel. Becker recommends oatmeal with a sprinkling of hemp seeds (for protein) and sliced banana or a smoothie.
Sass recommends eating 30–60 minutes after a particularly tough workout. However, although improper recovery can make you go into your next workout weaker and increase the risk of injury, you only need to refuel within an hour after hard-core workouts. This isn’t so crucial after a walk or moderate-intensity group fitness class, particularly if you’ll be eating a meal soon after, Sass says.
“Consuming the necessary nutrients after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair any damage or inflammation,” Becker says.
Good advice for anyone, this is even more important for active people because “nutrients are key to performance and recovery, and unprocessed foods are naturally nutrient-rich,” Sass says.
Becker and Sass agree that refined sugars have zero nutritional benefit and fried and greasy foods can be difficult to digest and cause cramping during a workout. So skip that leftover pizza before your morning indoor cycling class.
Great as they are, you shouldn’t only consume these five foods. “Eat them strategically,” Sass recommends. For example, fuel up with oatmeal, sweet potato, beets or green juices pre-workout, and enjoy eggs with veggies and avocado after a morning workout.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/</a> by Brittany Risher
What Your Workout Playlist Says About You
Your workout playlist is so much more than a collection of high-BPM songs. It’s a much-needed source of focus. It’s extra motivation when you need it. And, of course, it’s a window into your soul.
OK, maybe not your soul. But if you gave us a look at it, we could tell you a few things about yourself. Specifically, these things:
Your playlist: Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
What it says about you: You are a) A strong-as-hell female; b) A man who is extremely comfortable with his masculinity; c) Somewhere in-between. Whatever the case, you have our fullest support.
Your playlist: Enough EDM to power several Electric Daisy Carnivals.
What it says about you: You’re getting in shape for an important networking event, by which we mean Burning Man.
Your playlist: Jay-Z. Eminem. Biggie.
What it says about you: You are a hip-hop aficionado of a certain age, and you are more than capable of outworking hip-hop aficionados of a younger age.
Your playlist: “Thunderstruck.” “Start Me Up.” “Immigrant Song.”
What it says about you: Your fitness icon is Mick Jagger. Dude’s 74 years old. How the hell does he still look like that — and still move like that?
Your playlist: James Brown. Curtis Mayfield. Earth, Wind & Fire.
What it says about you: You like your workouts a little funky. A little soulful. And you’re getting fit because it helps you have the energy to do great things. (Including dominating a wedding-night dance floor.)
Your playlist: Shakira. Pitbull. J-Lo.
What it says about you: Your moves in the gym are only bested by your moves in the club.
Your playlist: The Clash. The Ramones. Blondie.
What it says about you: You’re working hard to make sure you can still fit into your vintage band T-shirts. Also, you want to stay strong for the #resistance.
Your playlist: The “Rocky” soundtrack.
What it says about you: You are unafraid of cliches, which is why you’re throwing punches in a meat locker.
Your playlist: Brooks & Dunn. Brad Paisley. Sara Evans.
What it says about you: You were born country, so while you might enjoy spending your evenings on a front porch with good bourbon and a sleeping dog, you also enjoy feeling like you’ve earned said pleasures.
Your playlist: Classical music. Or jazz. Or showtunes.
What it says about you: … We honestly don’t know. But we’re curious to learn more.
Your playlist: “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Family Trip.”
What it says about you: You have kids and you accidentally put on one of their playlists instead of yours. Because you have kids, and this is the kind of thing hurried parents do. Hey, at least it’s uplifting! If you need to go potty, stop! And go right away…
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
What Your Workout Playlist Says About You was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/workout-playlist-says/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/workout-playlist-says/</a> by Paul L. Underwood