Friday, February 27, 2015

Three Simple Strategies to Stay in Touch with Recruits

by Jon Newman-Gonchar, Assistant Coach at Iowa State University


Every year, as the season approaches, a recruiter’s job becomes that much tougher. Here are three simple strategies for staying in touch with your recruits:

1. Team update:  How’s the team doing? Send out a team update including brief news on the team’s activities, a season outlook, and a spotlight description of a day in the life of a team member during preseason training.

2. Let them know you are there:  Invite out-of-town recruits to attend a match when your team is competing in their area. This is a great way for your recruits to feel connected to you and your program.

3. Keep organized:  Prepare three to five form emails before the season begins. Schedule dates to send out these missives to ensure your recruits are hearing from you throughout the season. For those who subscribe, some of the newer recruiting database services function nicely for this purpose.

By adopting some or all of these suggestions, you will be able to better connect with your prospects, and provide the much-needed correspondence required to demonstrate that your program remains firmly interested in them as future student-athletes at your institution.
 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Slight Change to your Typical Squat

by Lindsey Smith, Founder of Moxie Strength & Nutrition

A former libero at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, I am a wellness activist, personal trainer, group fitness enthusiast, clean eating advocate and fanatic of life. I created Moxie Strength & Nutrition as a platform to share my group fitness teaching schedule, but as my passion for health & fitness grew so did Moxie. I am on a mission to partner with small to medium sized corporations to bring uplifting wellness habits to work; creating rejuvenated employees, vibrant work cultures and healthy bottom lines.


Add an isometric hold to the standard squat to increase time under tension, muscle recruitment and ultimately increase muscular strength for explosive activity. 

There are numerous variations that an athlete can apply to a traditional squat to help improve their power, efficiency and technique. What I believe to be one of the most straightforward yet effective variations to the squat is the pause squat.

During a pause squat, the athlete comes to a complete stop at the bottom of the movement, performing an isometric hold in the bottom position (also known as in the ‘hole’) for X time (1,3,5 or 7 seconds). Subsequently, the athlete explodes out of the ‘hole’ to complete the squat. This can be performed with the front, back, dumbbell and/or kettlebell squat. For the sake of this demo we are going to stick to the standard back squat.

Perform standard back squat, but it is important that the athlete uses a lighter weight as it is much harder to come out of the ‘hole’ from a stationary position than it is from one fluid motion in a standard squat. Execute the squat and come to a complete stop in the bottom position, below parallel. At this point one, can play around with the pause time under tension, from 1,3,5 or 7 seconds. When holding the pause, it is very important that the athlete remains tight in the hole. Getting loose or losing form, in the hole can lead to lower back rounding and falling forward during the concentric aspect of the squat. After the hold the athlete will explode up to the starting position - that is one rep.



Benefits of the Pause Squat
The primary benefit is building muscular strength and power out of the hole. In volleyball, athletes are commonly exploding upward from a bent-knee position.

Additionally, stopping the squat at the bottom causes the legs to have to work much harder to push back to the starting position. This is because a pause gives the legs greater time under tension, and increases muscle recruitment. As the fast twitch fibers continue to fatigue during the pause, slow twitch fibers are recruited in order to help stabilize the body in the ‘hold’ position.

The more one performs pause squats, the body and brain will adapt to recruiting slow twitch muscle fibers and one will continue to build strength in the supporting squat muscles - lower back, hips and abs – this bodes well for an athlete’s overall squat numbers and strength in other movements.

Furthermore, because holding a pause takes away the stretch reflex (that ‘bounce’ felt when one drops down and explodes up rapidly). Ultimately, the combination of time under tension and muscle recruitment results in greater strength and more POWER from having to drive out of the hole. This will
translate well to an athlete’s explosive abilities on the volleyball court.


Recommended Reps, Sets and Pause Variables
Start by doing less weight and holding the pause for longer, then slowly increase weight and decrease pause time.

Week 1-2: 3 sets of 5 reps, 50% (1 rep max/weight) using a 7 second pause
Week 3-4: 3 sets of 4 reps, 60% (1 rep max/weight) using a 5 second pause
Week 5-6: 3 sets of 3 reps, 70% (1 rep max/weight) using a 3 second pause


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snack Attack: Energy Bars that are Actually Healthy



by Lindsey Smith, Founder of Moxie Strength & Nutrition

A former libero at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, I am a wellness activist, personal trainer, group fitness enthusiast, clean eating advocate and fanatic of life. I created Moxie Strength & Nutrition as a platform to share my group fitness teaching schedule, but as my passion for health & fitness grew so did Moxie. I am on a mission to partner with small to medium sized corporations to bring uplifting wellness habits to work; creating rejuvenated employees, vibrant work cultures and healthy bottom lines.



Three  tips to selecting the most nutrient dense granola bars with the fewest ingredients, and top picks from the ever-expanding granola bar isle.

Granola bars are the utility player of snacks: they are versatile, handy nibbles that can tackle a variety of snacking situations, from pre-game fuel to mid-tournament munchies. But not all granola bars are created equal, and unfortunately these on-the-go fuel sources can be loaded with more sugar than a candy bar and so low in fiber and protein that you have to eat 2-3 bars to even tickle your hunger.
So when faced with the ever-expanding granola bar selection at the grocery store, how do you pick a smart snack over a masked candy bar? Here are my top three suggestions:
  1. Read Labels – Sugar First. The first thing I check on the label is grams of sugar; if it’s over 12 grams, I think of it as a Snickers bar. Then, I read the label to see where the sugar is coming from and opt for bars with only natural sugars like honey, pure maple syrup, dried fruits and nut butters.
  2. Fiber and Protein Second. After sugar, I look for grams of fiber and protein; the more the merrier here as fiber and protein will slow digestion and keep you fuller longer.  
  3. Investigate the Ingredients List – Less is More. The fewer the ingredients the better and always look for ingredients you recognize.
   



Top Picks from the Ever-Expanding Granola Bar Isle

Kind Bar – Madagascar Vanilla Almond   


Ingredients: Mixed nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts), honey, non GMO glucose, chicory root fiber, crisp rice, Madagascar vanilla, soy lecithin.
Sugar: 4 grams
Fiber:  5 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Other perks: GMO free, gluten free, dairy free, no added sugar alcohols, sold at most major retailers
#kindbar #kindawesome


    Core Meals – Raw Almond Raisin or Raw Walnut Banana (Vegan options available)



Ingredients: Whole oats, almonds, whey protein concentrate (milk), raisins, water, vanilla beans.
Sugar:  10-13 grams
Fiber:  6 grams
Protein:  16-17 grams
Other perks: USDA Organic, gluten free, non-profit organization, no added syrups/salts/oils/flours
#coremeal



       WholeMe – Date Me




Ingredients: Organic dates, pecans, organic eggs, almonds, organic coconut oil, pure vanilla extract, baking soda, salt.
Sugar: 12 grams
Fiber:  4 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Other perks: Grain free (paleo), gluten free, soy free.
#WholeMe #DateMe #betteryou
 

     GoodOnYaBar – Peanut Butter Raw Honey


   
Ingredients: Organic crunchy peanut butter, organic raw honey, organic sprouted flax, organic sesame seeds, organic hemp seeds, Celtic sea salt, organic vanilla.
Sugar: 10 grams
Fiber:  4 grams
Protein: 10 grams
Other perks: GMO free, USDA Organic, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, non-profit organization
#goodonyabar #youmatter
  

Evolution Fresh – Roasted Soybean, Pepita & Almond Harvest Bar




Ingredients: Roasted soybeans (soybeans, sunflower oil, salt), pumpkin seeds (pepitas), almonds, organic agave syrup, brown rice syrup, ground almonds, organic brown rice flour, vanilla extract, sea salt.
Sugar: 5 grams
Fiber:  4 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Other perks: gluten free, sold at Starbuck’s coffee shops
#EvolutionFresh #EvolutionHarvest


 Clif Kit’s Organic – Cashew



Ingredients: Organic dates, organic cashews, organic almonds, sea salt
Sugar: 15 grams
Fiber:  3 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Other perks: USDA Organic, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, no added sweetners/sugars, sold at most major retailers
#CLIFbar #MeettheMoment


 LARABAR – Pumpkin Pie






Ingredients: Dates, cashews, almonds, dried pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg.
Sugar: 17 grams
Fiber:  3 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Other perks: GMO free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan, kosher, sold at most major retailers
#LARABAR




 
      GoMacro Bar – Sweet Rejuvenation Cashew Butter

 



Ingredients: organic brown rice syrup, organic cashew butter, organic puffed brown rice, organic cashews.
Sugar: 9 grams
Fiber:  0 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Other perks: GMO free, USDA Organic, gluten free, dairy free, soy free.
#GoMacro


Homemade Nut & Seed Bar

 


Ingredients: organic almond butter, organic raw honey, organic quinoa, organic sunflower seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, organic pecan, cardamom, cinnamon.
Other perks: Grain free (paleo), gluten free, dairy free, soy free, homemade with love so you can feel good about fueling your body with real food made by you!
#homemade



**Note images were taken from bar manufacturer’s websites (links provided).