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. 




Saturday, September 19, 2015

When Sweet Is Too Sweet

Sweets.  There's no doubt, we are a society that loves sweet foods.  Food manufacturers know this, that's why it's a Billion Dollar Business.  Sweet Foods are highly addictive, lack nutrition, and alter body hormones and our blood sugar.  All these factors contribute to that situation we all hate being in- the one where we keep eating the M&Ms, the other where our hand seems to independently continue to reach back into the chips, or you eat the entire carton of ice cream.  Sugar rewrites our body chemistry, and its obviously for the worse.  Foods riddled with highly processed, man-made sugars are problematic and contribute to the major societal diseases that are commonly affecting people in our families or even you reading this:  Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and certain Cancers.  

So, what's the alternative?  The big food companies want you to believe the answer is Artificial Sweeteners.  NOT SO FAST! Those of you reading this please pay attention and take this in.  Artificial Sweeteners are not the answer or the great improvement to the sugar epidemic.  

The Book, "It Starts With Food", holds the position that these artificial sweeteners may actually be more problematic that Sugar.  Why? These sweeteners are designed to deliver a larger amount of sweetness than what can be found in nature.  The Whole 9 guys call these, "Supernormally Stimulating".  Its so sweet that the body doesn't know what to do with it.  
Take a look at these numbers:  

The BIG 3
  • Aspartame (Equal) - 200 to 300 times sweeter than Table Sugar.

Aspartame is also on the EPA's list of "potentially dangerous chemicals".  The reason, it was shown to increase cancer risks in rats.  
  • Sucralose (Splenda) - 600 times sweeter than Table Sugar.  
Sucralose has been shown to decrease levels of beneficial Gut Bacteria.
  • Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low) - 700 times sweeter than Table Sugar.
The "Bad" Gut Bacteria loves sugar.  That's a bad combo:  deplete beneficial gut bacteria and then strengthen the bad bacteria.

If you consume these sweeteners in food and drinks chronically over time, and chances are you will because they are addictive, these empty calorie sweeteners will only cause you to crave more Sweet Foods.  This will begin a bad cycle of over-eating, and it will be highly addictive, highly processed foods.  The dangerous thing is that these "Foods" will replace the nutrient-dense foods you should be eating in your diet.  

What do you do?   Answer = Eat Real Food.  Skip the man-made, processed stuff.  
If you need sweet, use real, local honey as a sweetener.  Grab some organic dates and snack on those.  
Grab some fruit and allow that to satisfy your sweet craving.  
If you have to have sugar, opt for raw, unprocessed sugar.  BUT, realize this- it will make you crave more sweet/sugar.  Be smart and evaluate your overall Goal or Desire.  

Food strips down to a biochemical level as fuel that reaches every cell in our body.  I don't care what you do, Food affects all levels of Performance.  Remember this as we all have so many important things happening day in and day out.  

As always, Jami and I are here to offer benefit to your health.  If you need specific attention from us, please reach out.





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A SWEAT A DAY-COASTAL

Lady is taking it all in. : )

For the update on our move....well, we moved. We are here in St. Augustine Beach, Florida and we are brand new, starting new jobs, finding our way around and taking it all in. Thank goodness Lady likes the beach! She loves to play in the water and get her daily vitamin D..so this is good!

We have just been here for a week so we have yet to establish any routine, familiarity or anything yet!! It's beautiful, it's what we've been working towards, it's scarier than $#!* to uproot everything you know to go somewhere to check out some opportunities and stretch yourself into growth and evolution....voluntarily. But it came down to realizing that we would have regret if we never took that chance we always dreamed about and we weren't willing to do that.: )

This time last year I was starting my FB page. I was feeling alive and inspired and I wanted to share with others things that help me to stay healthy, stay in the game of living a creative life, take lemons and make lemonade and so on. One year later, I am starting another new adventure in a new place.

I decided to do a challenge last year called A Sweat A Day. I did this because I enjoy moving and exercising with others. Alone too....but I love to move and sweat and be with friends. I thought if I enjoyed that then maybe some others do too. Even though we aren't actually together, this is a platform to tune in with some like minded peeps and share and move have a team.

Since we have moved I have not a had regular schedule for movement and it's time to take some action and create new healthy habits in this new place!!! I'll call this one A Sweat A Day Goes Coastal...in honor of change that we all go through.

The idea for this challenge is to have 30 focused days to find ways to stimulate movement, circulations, respiration and perspiration. This can be done in a number of ways ranging from an intense workout to a hot, steamy epsom salts bath. Ideally we want to be implementing exercise into our lives when we can so take the option of saunas or baths or whatever when you absolutely are too wiped out for working out. It's important to note that when we have not slept well, eaten well or if something else in our life is causing great emotional stress, an intense workout is not necessarily a good thing. You want to learn when to workout and when to do restorative exercise or therapies.

When you decide to do a challenge like this, inevitably your voices, habits, patterns, etc that normally get in the way of you reaching your goals will come up. These are the same voices, habits and patterns that will show up and stop you in other areas of your life as well. Just pay attention and remember that at the end of the day...you either got it done or not.....no matter the noise in your mind or life. : )

The intention is to bring into focus, creating a healthy movement routine in your life. When you move and breathe, your mind clears, solutions to problems become known, your body releases wastes, you feel stronger, more confident and accomplished. We all know this........sometimes we need a reminder and a re-boot!!!

We will start on Thursday September 10th and end on October 9th 2015. If you'd like to join, come hang out on my FB page (Jami Lynn McCormack) and move and breathe and share the love!!!!



Thursday, July 9, 2015

McCormack Performance Fitness Supplementation Guide: We All Should, Especially Active Peope

Let's Face it, none of us eat a perfect diet, we are stressed, and we sometimes compound that stress with intense exercise, poor sleep, and environmental toxins we knowingly or inadvertently expose ourselves to.  I would like to keep this Guide to Supplementation basic, but that may be difficult.  All recommended supplements are great synergistically, but you can take 1 of these, 3, or all of them - You decide.  Make the judgement on what you feel you need.  Experiment.  After all, this is about you being the healthiest you can be. 



Here we go:

A Daily Multivitamin - make sure it's high-quality, make it worth the money.  You especially want this to have Vitamins C, E, and the B Vitamins.  This is taken predominantly to prevent chronic disease and detoxify the body.  A whole food vitamin is optimal as it is the most bioavailable with necessary co-factors (Garden of Life brand has some great options)

Fish Oil - 1 to 4 grams daily of a combined EPA & DHA, depending on your activity level and how much wild-caught fish you are eating weekly.  Something to consider about Dietary Fat, Fat makes up every single cell in the body.  We need good fat in our diet and supplementing with Fish Oil can improve nerve, brain, eye, heart and cardiovascular function, and reduce the inflammation process.  Fish Oil can help with joint pain, arthritis, psychological disorders, and decrease the risk of Breast Cancer and Heart Disease.  Fish Oil can also shrink Fat Cells!
(Nordic Naturals brand is a good example)

Vitamin D - Vitamin D3 is what you want, this is what we make from the sun.  The world as a whole is deficient in Vit D.  As we age, we lose the ability to manufacture.  Also, sunscreen affects our ability to convert the sun rays on our skin into Vit D3.  Take anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 IU of Vit D3 a day.  Determine how much you need.  You can have blood work done every 6 months to check your Vitamin D level.  It should range from 60 to 80 ng/ml.  (Now brand, Garden of Life- a whole food option again are a couple examples)

Protein Powder - Whey Protein is the best option.  Animal Protein is more bioavailable than plant proteins, it just is.  There are good plant based options, but Whey is the Best.  Whey contains all 20 amino acids, is the richest dietary source of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), and is high in Cysteine.  25% of the protein in Whey is BCAAs.  Including the key one, Leucine, which is the most important amino acid for stimulating muscle protein synthesis for a stronger, faster athlete.
Back to Cysteine, it is the key building block for Glutathione, the body's master Antioxidant.
Take one scoop of protein (17 to 20 grams) for every 100 pounds of bodyweight.  (I use TrueNutrition.com, but like Jay Robb Whey Protein, Blue Bonnet, Stronger Faster Healthier products too)
It can be overwhelming, go for quality products not marketing hype


Probiotics - We have good and bad bacteria in the gut.  Stress depletes our "good" bacteria. In the past, families would culture foods.  Now, you can find cultured foods- you just have to know what you're looking for.  Our modern diets and the enormous use of Antibiotics deplete the "good" bacteria.  You must replenish this in your diet.  Look for these 2 words:  Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.  This is serious:  NO GOOD BACTERIA IN THE GUT = A SUPPRESSED IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Creatine - This is a great way to improve your strength performance, enhance your ability in high-intensity, short-duration activities, and help for a rapid recovery.  Creatine is also good for muscle mass building, brain, and heart health.  Take 5 grams in 12 to 16 ounces of water, before or after training.  Creatine Monohydrate is what you should spend your money on.  Other forms haven't been studied and are hyped without merit.

BCAAs - the 3:  Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.  Bottom-line, these make you stronger and give you the ability to recover faster.  These increase Testosterone (builds up) and decrease Cortisol (breaks down).  Take 5 to 10 grams per day.

Glutamine - This is the most abundant amino acid in your Gut & Skeletal Muscle.  It does so many things:  enhances the immune system, regulates protein synthesis, stimulates Growth Hormone production, and it's a muscle-builder because it's a nitrogen donor.  Also, this is pretty cool, it builds Glycoaminoglycans (GAGs), which is food for our joints.  This is a great supplement for exercise recovery.  The more Stress in your Body, the MORE Glutamine you need.  Take 0.15 to 0.16 grams per kg of Bodyweight (I know, math).
(All Creatine, BCAAs, and Glutamine I've been using are powder form that I order from truenutrition.com )

Another one that's not a bad idea:
Curcumin - This is the active ingredient in Tumeric and Ginger.  It can ease post-workout muscle soreness caused by oxidative stress and inflammation.  Take anywhere from 250 to 500 mgs on days you feel extremely sore or you suffer an injury.

Again, this is a large list, but you decide what will be the most optimal for your unique health and well-being.  We can recommend brands to those who are curious.