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Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): An Under-Recognized Sports Health Disorder

We previously wrote about the Female Athlete Triad, and provide below an update. While most commonly found in female athletes, it’s been discovered that male athletes can also have a form of this problem. So a broader term has been in use recently, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S).

RED-S is a serious health condition typically affecting teenage athletes. It’s made up of three key components (“the triad” for female athletes):

Low energy availability, sometimes associated with an eating disorder (females and males)
Abnormalities in the menstrual cycle (females)
Low bone mineral density, sometimes leading to stress fractures or osteoporosis (females and males)

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Low Load Resistance Training For Strength And Bulk

It’s commonly believed that the best way to build strength and increase muscle size is to use heavier weights and a small number of repetitions, with multiple sets. While we believe that’s an effective strategy for active and healthy young adults, it can pose some problems for adolescents and adults age 50+.

Research shows that contrary to the popular belief, resistance training with lower loads and higher repetitions is also an effective way to gain strength and muscle bulk, but with the advantage that it can be very joint-friendly.

For adolescents with open growth plates and active older adults perhaps with arthritis, the lower load training is an attractive option.

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Post Workout Protein: What Your Muscles Need

Continuing our theme of return to sports and fitness after the coronavirus layoff, we’d like to briefly touch on the usefulness of dietary protein after your workout as a key factor in assisting your strength gains.

There’s some difference of opinion on this point, but we believe that taking in about 20gm of protein within the first 30 minutes after finishing your workout is the best time to take your protein.

Further, we believe protein intake after a workout becomes even more important as we age, and there are several natural food options available to help you.

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Active Recovery: The Next Piece In Getting Back To Sports

I wrote last week about some simple strategies to ramp back up to fitness and sports activity after a Covid-19 layoff. This week I’ll briefly discuss another important concept in your road back, active recovery.

Active recovery is a process through which you use light exercise, tissue mobilization techniques, and even sleep to improve your recovery from more intense exercise sessions.

When done correctly, active recovery will lessen muscle soreness and improve your energy levels heading into the next day.

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Why “Load Management” Matters. Ramping Back To Sports After Covid-19 Layoff.

I’ve been writing about trying to keep up with some amount of exercise during our stay-at-home limitations. While many of you have found ways to maintain- and even improve- your fitness levels, the reality for many folks is that there was simply no way to keep up with fitness levels during our recent restrictions.

So now as we start gradually easing restrictions on outdoor sports and fitness you’ve got an opportunity to get some of your lost fitness back. But a few words of caution are in order here: getting back too fast, with too much load, and too soon is a recipe for an injury.

A sensible approach calls for a restart at about half intensity from your previous level, and then ramping up each week. In professional sports the phrase used for this type of limited activity is “load management”. It works for all of us.

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Sunshine’s Magic

The days are getting longer, the weather is generally decent, and many states are starting to ease restrictions necessary to limit the spread of coronavirus. This means that for many of us it’s possible to spend a little bit more time outside now in sunshine.

There are many positive benefits from appropriate amounts of sunshine, including improved mood and likely benefits on your immune system.

By following outdoor precautions it’s possible for many of us to now start feeling sunshine’s magic.

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A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Last week several states announced that they will gradually start reducing the physical and social distancing measures currently in place. That means that there’s the possibility of return to fitness and sport activities. No one has a playbook on exactly how to do this, so you’ll likely find many different state and local regulations on how this will be done.

We should all be aware though that this won’t be like flipping a light switch and turn everything back on the way it was before the virus restrictions. No, much more likely are modified restrictions on physical distancing and strong attention to hygiene.

How fast gyms reopen and team practices resume will be complicated, but for everyone who’s been going a bit bonkers there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Did You Get Hurt In Your WFH Workout? Now What?

It was bound to happen. This week I did a video visit with a woman trying to do the right thing. She was doing a WFH workout early in the morning before her kids woke up, doing some countermovement jumps. What she didn’t count on was the small toy car placed behind her where she hadn’t thought to clean.

What do you do when an injury happens these days? Most doctors’ offices are closed to in person visits. You should avoid ERs if at all possible. So if you’ve been injured, now what?

There are good options. You can start with our Good To Go app, which can guide you through the severity of your injury. If it’s truly serious then an urgent care facility or ER is still a good option. Then there are video visits with orthopedic or sports medicine providers. Finally, it might just need a bag of ice, a little rest, and you’ll fine.

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Wellness Influencer Or Snake Oil Peddler?

There’s so much upheaval in our personal and business lives now so it’s only natural that we’re on the lookout for the fastest possible solution.

We’d encourage each of you to be particularly vigilant regarding unproven quick fixes, often promoted by social media influencers. The influencer is exceptionally skilled at avoiding language that could be interpreted as “medical treatment”. The rules regarding the regulatory environment and affiliate disclosures are vague, providing an opportunity to take advantage of the unsuspecting. Every one of us knows the saying, “if it sounds too good to be true…”. 

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Can You Get A Little Bit Better?

Can you find a way to keep a strong mindset and improve yourself in spite of the physical restrictions all of us are under? We’re all hopeful that by following the physical distancing guidelines currently in place that we can minimize the tragic consequences of the coronavirus. As of today, the strategy seems to be working.

But we likely still have a few weeks of physical distancing ahead of us. I’ve written previously about the opportunity to use this time positively if your circumstances allow. If you have equipment at home perhaps you can improve a technical aspect of your sport, and even if you have no equipment you can build strength and flexibility that should be helpful once we restart sports and group fitness.

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