Recovery

Green Protein Smoothie Recipe

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I make one of these shakes every morning so that I have it ready to drink after my workout for the day. Whether it's weights, cardio, or yoga, your body needs protein to repair the muscle "damage" that occurs while working out.  Exercise breaks down muscle. This requires a fresh infusion of amino acids to repair and build that muscle back up to be even stronger. If you're lifting weights and not consuming enough protein, it's almost counterproductive. Protein also helps build enzymes that allow your body to adapt to endurance sports like running and biking.

One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pinpointed 20 grams as the best amount of post-workout protein to maximize muscle growth. Be sure to consume your protein smoothie within 30 minutes after your workout.

Ingredients:

2 handfulls baby spinach or Kale (switch it up each day)

1 tbl. spoon Maca powder

1 tbl. spoon Chia Seeds

1 tbl. spoon Ground Flax Seeds

1/2 cup Organic frozen berries

1 tbl. spoon liquid Glucosamine Chondroitin

1 scoop Jay Rob Egg White Protein powder (vanilla or unflavored)

1/4 cup Aloe Vera Juice

1 tbl. spoon Coconut Oil  *unrefined

How to: 

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Smooth Moves: Massage for Your Golf Game

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Bodywork and Your Golf Game

By: Michelle Schneider

 You're standing over an easy 3-foot putt on the 18th green, $20 riding on dropping the ball in the cup. And yet all you can think about is that sharp twinge in your lower back, that pesky crick in your neck and the growing tension in your hands--which have a death grip on the putter.

How did this happen? Didn't you take up this game to relax?

"We Type-A personalities all seem to be attracted to golf--then we get out on the course and tense our muscles and stress out," says Marilyn McAffee of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Massage--and her massage therapist Muriel Hattori, in particular--have been godsends, McAffee says. "I consider massage a joy not just for my golf game but for my whole life." McAffee, 63, is a former U.S. ambassador to Guatemala who now is president of the Jacksonville, Fla., chapter of the nonprofit World Affairs Councils. She reluctantly admits that her handicap is closer to a 23 than the 19 she once carried. "I tend to work hard, and I tend to play hard. I tense up, grip the club too tightly, swing too hard, punish myself by hitting the ball as hard as I can even though my muscles are tense."

 Hattori works that tension out, loosening McAffee's muscles and allowing her to relax, and to take deep, calming breaths. "So, of course, the ball goes farther because my swing is more effortless."

McAffee is one of a growing number of golfers--especially those who wield their clubs only on the weekend--who have seen how massage can improve not just their game, but their lives.

 "People love this game so much that they just have to play, even though they're hurting," Hattori says. She's one of northern Florida's massage masters, based at the famous Marriott at Sawgrass golf resort in Ponte Vedra, home to the PGA headquarters. "Try to tell a golfer to hang up their clubs and take up chess. No way. They're going to play until their body finally gives out on them."

Hattori--whose client list includes an impressive lineup of pro football players and PGA tour golfers--says her approach to massage is the same no matter who's on the table.

"I have to get to know your body so I can fine-tune it," she says. "The best thing a golfer, or anyone who's in pain, can do is find a massage therapist who they're comfortable with, and one that they can work with on a regular basis. It's the consistency that will give you the best results." 

Golfers routinely report pain in their lower backs and hips, tight hamstrings and stiff necks. "One major cause of injury among the golfers I see at the resort is that they've saved up for months to come play, and they're so eager to get out there, they just start whacking the ball as hard as they can, without warming up," Hattori says. And, many tourists have crammed so much work into the week before their vacation "that they're even more tense and stressed than they normally would be."

Hattori knows that not everyone can afford a massage every week, but that doesn't mean they can't start immediately to improve their flexibility and begin to lessen their chronic pain. 

"Those weekend golfers must get into a daily stretching routine at home," Hattori says. "It is one of the most effective ways to start getting your body in shape. I tell them to stretch for just one minute every morning and every evening--just one minute. While you're brushing your teeth, put one leg at a time up on the counter by the sink and stretch it. You can incorporate stretching into your daily routine without it adding extra time."

This stretching takes the pressure off, Hattori says. "If you tell them they have to stretch 15 minutes twice a day, and they only get 10 minutes in, they feel guilty, or like a failure. But if you tell them they only have to do one minute twice a day, and they end up doing 10, then they feel better about themselves." 

For golfers, Hattori suggests a massage therapist who not only knows your body's specific aches and pains, but who also knows the sport. That way, he or she can design a stretching routine tailored just for you and your game.

"Freddy Couples (14-time PGA tour winner) always had trouble with his back, so I recommended he do a classic cat stretch on a regular basis." (In the cat stretch, you are on your hands and knees and then alternately arch your back, then make it concave.)

Hattori and other massage therapists agree it's also critical to stretch not only at home, but before teeing the ball up on the first hole.

Lynn Teachworth, a massage therapist from Orlando, Fla., whose clients include pro golfers Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Ernie Els, says the best approach is to stretch until you feel your muscles are warm, play your round of golf and then stretch again--longer and deeper. That's when you'll get the most benefit from stretching, and there's no risk fatigue will dent your game. "A little stretch before and a lot after -- that's the winning formula," Teachworth says.

If you have a major tournament just around the corner, massage therapists recommend you come in for a tune-up before the big event. Ideally you should get a massage 10 days before, and then again three days before the tournament.

Pre-event massage involves a lot of intense stretching, not gentle, soothing strokes, Hattori says. "Before a game, I'll use strong, aggressive stretching. You leave the soothing massage for afterwards, because then you want your client to feel like they're in la-la land. Beforehand, you don't want la-la land, you want them to be loose and limber but focused."

Hattori says it's important to keep the game in perspective. "The whole idea of golf is to have a good time. That's the secret," she says. "If you feel good physically, it's easier for you to have a good time, and I can help with that. If you go out with the right frame of mind--that you're going to have fun--then you'll relax and play better."

 McAffee agrees. "I can't imagine not having my Muriel massage every two weeks. Sure, it helps me with my golf game, but it also just makes me feel so much healthier. She doesn't just get all the aches and pains out, she takes all the tension away. It's so relaxing that I feel I'm connecting my body with my mind. I'm becoming fully integrated--it's such a wonderful feeling."

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring 2003.

July's Dish: Olympic Fuel: Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

The recipe was developed by top sports nutritionists USOC's Colorado Springs headquarters. This dish is recommended after moderate-intensity training days.

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  Ingredients:

1 1/8 pounds diced chicken breast

1 1/2 ounces each:

hoisin, soy, and fish sauces

3/4 ounce minced garlic

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

9 ounces Thai rice noodles

2 1/4 teaspoons of diced jalapeño pepper

1 1/2 ounces of white vinegar

3 tablespoons each:

chopped green onion and cilantro

1/2 cup of bean sprouts

How To:

Add 1 1/2 quarts of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 1/8 pounds of diced chicken breast and 1 1/2 ounces each of hoisin, soy, and fish sauces, plus 3/4 ounce of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Simmer on low heat for an hour.

While cooking, soak 9 ounces of Thai rice noodles in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. 

In a small bowl, mix 2 1/4 teaspoons of diced jalapeño pepper with 1 1/2 ounces of white vinegar; in another small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons each of chopped green onion and cilantro.

Blanch the noodles in a pot of boiling water and drain.

In separate bowls, top 1/2 cup of noodles with 1/2 cup of bean sprouts, 1/2 tablespoon each of the jalapeño and green onion mixtures, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Spoon 3 ounces of chicken and 6 ounces of stock over the noodles and serve. Makes six 12-ounce servings.

The Benefits of Massage

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Bodywork Goes Beyond Relaxation
As you lie on the table under crisp, fresh sheets, hushed music draws you into the moment. The smell of sage fills the air and you hear the gentle sound of massage oil being warmed in your therapist's hands. Once the session gets underway, the daily stressors and aching muscles fade into an oblivious 60 minutes of relief, and all you can comprehend right now is not wanting it to end.

But what if that hour of massage did more for you than just take the pressures of the day away? What if that gentle, Swedish massage helped you combat cancer? What if bodywork helped you recover from a strained hamstring in half the time? What if your sleep, digestion, and mood all improved with massage and bodywork? What if these weren't just "what if's"? 

Evidence is showing that the more massage you can allow yourself, the better you'll feel. Here's why:
Massage as a healing tool has been around for thousands of years in many cultures. Touching is a natural human reaction to pain and stress, and for conveying compassion and support. When you bump your head or have a sore calf, the natural response is to rub it to feel better. The same was true of our earliest ancestors.

Healers throughout time and throughout the world have instinctually and independently developed a wide range of therapeutic techniques using touch. Many are still in use today, and with good reason. We now have scientific proof of the benefits of massage -- benefits ranging from treating chronic diseases and injuries to alleviating the growing tensions of our modern lifestyles. Having a massage does more than just relax your body and mind -- there are specific physiological and psychological changes that occur, and even more so when massage is utilized as a preventative, frequent therapy and not simply mere luxury. Massage not only feels good, but it can cure what ails you.

The Fallout of Stress
Experts estimate that 80 percent to 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Massage and bodywork is there to combat that frightening number by helping us remember what it means to relax. The physical changes massage brings to your body can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. Besides increasing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, massage lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, improves injury recovery, encourages deep sleep, and increases concentration. It reduces fatigue and gives you more energy to handle stressful situations.

Massage is a perfect elixir for good health, but it can also provide an integration of body and mind. By producing a meditative state or heightened awareness of the present moment, massage can provide emotional and spiritual balance, bringing with it true relaxation and peace.

The incredible benefits of massage are doubly powerful if taken in regular "doses." Researchers from the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami, found that recipients of massage can benefit even in small doses (15 minutes of chair massage or a half-hour table session). They also note that receiving bodywork two to three times a week is even more beneficial. While this may not be feasible, it's nice to know that this "medicine" only gets better with frequency.

What It Does
In an age of technical and, at times, impersonal medicine, massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive, and humanistic approach based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. Following is a brief list of the many known, research-based benefits of massage and bodywork:

  • Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs,
  • Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body's natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer. Furthermore, increased circulation of blood and lymph systems improves the condition of the body's largest organ -- the skin,
  • Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles,
  • Reduces spasms and cramping,
  • Increases joint flexibility,
  • Reduces recovery time and helps prepare the body for strenuous workouts, reducing subsequent muscle pain of athletes at any level,
  • Releases endorphins -- the body's natural painkiller -- and is proving very beneficial in patients with chronic illness, injury, and post-op pain,
  • Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred,
  • Improves range-of-motion and decreases discomfort for patients with low back pain,
  • Relieves pain for migraine sufferers and decreases the need for medication,
  • Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reduces shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion,
  • Assists with shorter labor for expectant mothers, as well as reduces the need for medication, eases postpartum depression and anxiety, and contributes to a shorter hospital stay.

The benefits of massage are diverse. No matter how great it feels, massage isn't just a luxury, it's a health necessity.

 

Hot versus Cold Therapy

There is often confusion following an injury concerning whether to apply cold therapy or whether to warm the area. The answer depends on the type of injury you have sustained.

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Acute Injuries

Acute injuries are those which result from traumatic incidents (a fall, twisting movement or direct blow for example) and are immediately painful.

When an acute injury first occurs, bleeding, inflammation, swelling and pain must all be controlled. Ice should be applied as soon as possible in order to cool the tissues, reduce their metabolic rate and nerve conduction velocity and cause vasoconstriction of the surrounding blood vessels.

Ice should remain in contact for up to 20 minutes at a time (dependant on the size of the area being treated and the depth of the injured structure) and be re-applied regularly, every 2-3 hours.

Following approximately the first 3-5 days of an acute injury, once bleeding has stopped and there are no signs of inflammation, you may wish to alternate cold and heat treatments. That is apply cold for 10 minutes, followed immediately by 10 minutes of heat. Doing this causes massive increases in blood flow to the area as the vasoconstriction caused by cooling reverses when heat is applied, resulting in an influx of blood to the damaged tissues. Ensure all bleeding has stopped before applying this technique. Blood is vitally important in providing all of the energy and nutrients that the body needs for repair.

Chronic Injuries

Chronic injuries usually do not present with a sudden onset. They tend to gradually build up over a period of days, weeks or longer and are often caused by overuse or biomechanical abnormality. A chronic injury can also be caused by an acute injury which fails to heal due to a lack of, or inappropriate treatment.

Heat therapy should be applied for 15-20 minutes in the form of hot water bottles, a warm damp towel, heat rub or commercially available heat pads. If using something such as a hot water bottle, ensure a suitable layer of protection is placed over the skin to prevent burns.

In general heat should be used to treat chronic injuries, to help relax tight, aching muscles and joints, increase elasticity of ligaments and tendons and increase the blood flow to the area. Heat therapy can also be used prior to exercise in chronic injuries to warm the muscles and increase flexibility.

The only time ice should be used on chronic injuries is after exercise, to reduce any residual swelling.

Massage Therapy for Those Who Exercise

Research findings from American Massage Therapy Association (AMTAMassage.org)

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Sports massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance. Many professional and collegiate athletic programs employ or contract with massage therapists, and sports massage has been sought for many years by athletes of differing backgrounds for multiple reasons.With the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines being very clear that activity is essential for people to be healthy, sports massage can be recommended to those individuals who participate in exercise programs as well as professional and collegiate athletes.

Research has shown that in relation to exercise and athletic participation massage can:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Help athletes monitor muscle tone
  • Promote relaxation
  • Reduce muscle hypertonicity
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improve soft tissue function
  • Support recovery from the transient immunosuppression state
  • Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high-intensity exercise.
  • Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise
  • Improve exercise performance
  • Decrease delayed onset muscle soreness
  • Be the most efficient intervention for maintaining maximal performance time in subsequent exercise tests when combined with active recovery from maximal exercise
  • Reduce serum creatine kinase post exercise
  • Reduce swelling
  • Reduce breathing pattern disorders
  • Enhance athletic performance
  • May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly

Individuals who participate in exercise and athletic programs who seek enhanced performance, improved conditioning, faster recovery, injury prevention, and assistance in maintaining peek fitness can benefit from massage therapy given by professional massage therapists working within their scope of practice.

Click here to read this article in full, along with Research References.

How Massage Heals Sore Muscles

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A massage after vigorous exercise unquestionably feels good, and it seems to reduce pain and help muscles recover. Many people — both athletes and health professionals – have long contended it eases inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces muscle tightness. But until now no one has understood why massage has this apparently beneficial effect.

Now researchers have found what happens to muscles when a masseur goes to work on them.

 Their experiment required having people exercise to exhaustion and undergo five incisions in their legs in order to obtain muscle tissue for analysis. Despite the hurdles, the scientists still managed to find 11 brave young male volunteers. The study was published in the Feb. 1 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

On a first visit, they biopsied one leg of each subject at rest. At a second session, they had them vigorously exercise on a stationary bicycle for more than an hour until they could go no further. Then they massaged one thigh of each subject for 10 minutes, leaving the other to recover on its own. Immediately after the massage, they biopsied the thigh muscle in each leg again. After allowing another two-and-a-half hours of rest, they did a third biopsy to track the process of muscle injury and repair.

Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — inflammation — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells. So the researchers screened the tissue from the massaged and unmassaged legs to compare their repair processes, and find out what difference massage would make.

They found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. “The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis,” helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.

Dr. Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said that massage works quite differently from Nsaids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce inflammation and pain but may actually retard healing. Many people, for instance, pop an aspirin or Aleve at the first sign of muscle soreness. “There’s some theoretical concern that there is a maladaptive response in the long run if you’re constantly suppressing inflammation with drugs,” he said. “With massage, you can have your cake and eat it too—massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery.” 

“This is important research, because it is the first to show that massage can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines which may be involved in pain,” said Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School. She was not involved in the study. “We have known from many studies that pain can be reduced by massage based on self-report, but this is the first demonstration that the pain-related pro-inflammatory cytokines can be reduced.” she said.

Getting a massage from a professional masseur is obviously more expensive than taking an aspirin. But, as Dr. Field points out, massage techniques can be taught. “People within families can learn to massage each other,” she said. “If you can teach parents to massage kids, couples to massage each other. This can be cost effective.”

Dr. Tarnopolsky suggests that, in the long run, a professional massage may even be a better bargain than a pill. “If someone says “This is free and it might make you feel better, but it may slow down your recovery, do you still want it?” he asked. “Or would you rather spend the 50 bucks for a post-exercise massage that also might enhance your recovery?”