Tag: true ap

7 Lame Excuses

Adults…this one’s for you.

Whenever we don’t want to do something like exercising we tend to think of creative excuses to get ourselves out of it. Excuses serve a simple purpose: to relieve some of the guilt associated with not doing whatever it was we said we were going to do.

Ultimately though, these excuses start to add up and disempower and diminish our lives. If you really want to do something, you will make time for it instead of making excuses.

Here are seven of the most common and disempowering excuses that people give for not joining our adult fitness program. Let’s look at each of them and how to overcome them one by one.

1. I am not fit enough. 

This is probably the biggest fear of most who are considering joining a new program. Lucky for you, True AP’s Adult Fitness Program is geared for all fitness levels from beginner to advanced. We welcome all ages and all fitness abilities – our youngest current participant is in their 20’s and our oldest is in their 60’s!  Our coaches are there to work with all fitness levels and will have modifications and advancements of every exercise. You can work as hard or as easy as you want…it’s your workout! But, we promise we will push you to your limits!

2. I cannot afford it. 

Our classes are extremely affordable as our pricing breaks down to $5-$8 per session! Realize, you are working with a certified fitness professional in a personal / individualized setting. Every time you participate, you will get results & that’s why you train – TO GET RESULTS! The better question is… How much time and money have you wasted on fitness memberships, vitamins, supplements, books, and fitness products trying to achieve your fitness goals?

3. I will start next month.

The problem is, next month you will have the same excuse. Think about it…how many times have you ALREADY used that excuse? The longer you wait, the harder it becomes! FORM NEW HABITS TODAY!

4. I don’t have time.

Sorry but this is just another excuse, nothing more. We all have responsibilities, but there’s nothing more important to you and your family than your health. If the only time of the day to exercise is at 5am, then get up early and make it happen. It’s painful at first, but you’ll thank yourself afterwards and feel much better for the rest of the day. Our classes are 1 hour out of your 24 hour day and likely no more than 3 hours of your 168 hour week! You have time, you need to make time – it’s all about your PRIORITIES!

5. I don’t like running.

Great! We don’t like running either! In fact, we do very minimal running during class. Any running that we do is under 30 yards.

6. Exercise is hard work.

Ask any current participant how they feel before, during, and after each training session. My guess… Nervous. Challenged. Accomplished – in that exact order! BUT, just because you will be pushed harder than you can push yourself on your own, doesn’t mean it won’t be the most fun you’ve ever had working out! “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”

7. I am a member of a gym.

Great! BUT our training program will get your more results in 1 month than you will get in 1 year on your own at the gym. You get a certified coach and individualized instruction every single time without the expensive cost. No gym can give this to you.

THE PRE-HOLIDAY SHRED starts on November 4th in Hagerstown, MD! Flip the script this year and lose fat when everybody else is getting sloppy and pounding Halloween candy 👻🎃.Click the direct link here: trueap.com/shred to signup and get ready to lose 5-8 lbs of fat before 🌽Thanksgiving. 

Developing Mental Toughness in Young Athletes

One of the greatest compliments an athlete can get is the label “mentally tough.” Mental toughness isn’t a quality people are born with. Rather, mental toughness is a skill. Just like any other skill it can be learned.

Coaches and parents are in an ideal position to help young athletes develop a healthy philosophy about success and an ability to handle setbacks when they occur. By teaching mental toughness lessons to kids, adults can give them a priceless gift that will benefit them in many areas of everyday life.

Here are some specific attitudes that can be communicated to young athletes.

  1. Creating Interest and Keeping It – I use a simple metaphor to build interest. I tell athletes to see sports participation like putting pennies in a piggy bank. Every time they show up to practice, that investment pays off with wins and success in the future. After students see their time as valuable, it is harder for them for them to quit or to give less than 100%. Your athlete will feel like they have invested so much, they will go the extra mile when the time comes to dig deep.
  2. Model/Encourage Consistency – Show your athlete what it means to have a confident attitude by continuing to do what you say you are going to do. Your athletes will see you as a consistent force in their life. They will want to honor that commitment by upholding their end of the bargain. Your athlete will have the tools to avoid the pitfalls of modern life, as they model your ‘show up’ consistency. Your athlete will see you as a model to follow, a consistent hero.   
  3. Proper Goal Setting – Develop the Why – Setting goals with your athlete allows you to define where they want them to go. Without a clear destination, nobody gets where they want to go. Setting goals allows athletes to judge progress and arrive at a specific destination.  Learning goal setting is a tool that carries them far beyond sports. What it would be like to congratulate your athlete for reaching their goals this season?     
  4. Expect and Prepare for and Dealing with Adversity – Learning to handle adversity is one of the key skills a human needs to learn. To become a high-achiever, athletes must learn to use tools for handling adversity. To be honest, achievement equates to adversity. True mental toughness comes from the ability to stay positive and on task at the worst of times. Teaching this to your athletes will be a part of your legacy as a parent or coach.
  5. Process oriented not ends oriented – Accomplishing goals is about achieving tiny things over time. Athletes learn that it’s not all about winning. It’s more important to show up and over time you will win through the application of the process. Focusing on the process rather than focusing on results fosters maturity. Establish a system to deliver small victories on a regular basis. These steps lead to guaranteed achievement.
  6. Having and keeping the right attitude – The athlete with the best approach to his attitude will win every game, even if he gets outscored. Attitude is the foundation of every aspect of sports from training to game-day. Teaching attitude comes before you teach a kid how to score. If your kid has a bad attitude, you don’t have a player, you have a problem. We do not win by accident. Attitude gives birth to victory. It is in those moments where we have to dig into some untapped well of strength that we cross the line between student and champion.

Mental toughness is a skill, and any skill can be learned.  Ultimately, mental toughness is built through habits, just like any other skill.  The habits of consistency and positive attitudes produces mental toughness.  Habit is built through the choices we make daily.  Mental toughness is a choice.  You have to consciously choose to persist until the choice to persist becomes a habit.

Plan for a Purposeful Pre-Season

While the fundamentals of the game haven’t changed, the way basketball players at all levels train to enhance performance has changed greatly in the past 15 years. The game today requires true basketball athleticism – a unique combination of strengthpoweragility, reaction, quickness, and conditioning.

A basketball player’s athleticism is the foundation of their entire game. 

If a player can improve their strength, power, agility, reaction, quickness, and conditioning, then they can perform the skills of ball handling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and defending at a much higher, more efficient level before fatigue sets in.

While it’s true not all players have the genetic potential to be as athletic as Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Every basketball player can make improvements to their athleticism. Keep in mind, basketball athleticism is not just sprinting fast, jumping high or dunking.

With proper and purposeful training, players can make impressive improvements in their hand/eye coordination, footwork, acceleration/deceleration, reaction, strength, mobility, and conditioning level.

Check out this video:

Just as a player’s athleticism is the foundation of their game, the pre-season is the foundation for the upcoming season. What players do from the start of the school year until the day of the first practice will determine the type of season they have.

Your pre-season workouts need to address basketball athleticism and prepare players for the actual demands of the game! As simple as that may sound, many pre-season training programs lack this crucial component.

There are 3 important purposes for pre-season training:

  • Reduce the frequency and severity of injuries
  • Improve performance on the court
  • Have fun and build team unity

If any exercise, drill or concept you use this pre-season doesn’t meet at least one of these three… then it is a major waste of time. 

There are 6 primary movements in basketball:

  • Sprinting
  • Backpedaling
  • Defensive sliding
  • Jumping (and landing)
  • Pivoting
  • Lunging

Boston Sports Medicine Performance Group broke down a basketball game and observed the following:

  • Average player’s heart rate: 165-170 beats per minute
  • High-intensity sprints occur every 20-30 seconds
  • 100-plus high intensity sprints per game
  • 40-50 maximal jumps per game
  • Change in movement every 2-3 seconds
  • 30% of time is spent defensive sliding
  • 15% of time is in high intensity

As you can see, basketball is game of quick, explosive bursts of multi-directional movements with short bouts of rest. In order for your pre-season workouts to be truly purposeful, they need to prepare players for these very specific demands.

Do you need help designing or implementing your basketball team’s pre-season workouts? The staff at True Athlete Performance brings a wealth of valuable experience after years of extensive work with youth, high school, and college players.

Our passion, enthusiasm, and innovative training techniques make us some of the areas leading experts on productive training for basketball players. We hope you consider the work we’ve done, the programs we’ve developed and the teams we have helped! 

The Perfect Warm-Up

Knowing how to warm up effectively can be the difference between your players surviving the preseason and thriving in the regular season or your players stumbling through the season due to preventable injury.

Traditional warmups take athletes through a series of static stretches. There’s value in traditional stretch-and-hold, or “static” stretching if done properly and done after a workout. However, static stretching routines performed before exercise increase flexibility only for a short time. There is little scientific evidence that such routines improve performance, reduce delayed-onset muscular soreness (DOMS), or prevent injuries.

The main purpose of warming up is to prepare your body for the upcoming movement. At TrueAP, we progress through a “Movement Prep” process of activating or “waking” the muscles, dynamically stretching them, and then exciting them so it is easier to call on these muscles when needed. As opposed to a traditional warmup, Movement Prep actually makes you stronger and produces long-term flexibility gains. You actively elongate your muscles in a series of movements, which can improve balance, mobility, and stability. Think of it as warming up with a purpose.

Movement Prep increases heart rate, core temperature, and blood flow to working muscles. By strengthening muscles in this new range of motion, you stabilize all the tiny muscles that hold the joints together. That will improve posture and performance and decrease potential for injury. Just doing Movement Prep alone can make your body stronger and more stable, and can also help increase speed and power output. Performing Movement Prep will allow you to keep pushing your body to the level needed while reducing the risk of injury. 

Check out TrueAP’s “Quick Guide to Movement Prep” and start using our sample routines today!

4 Movements to Add to Your Warmup

There’s a drill that takes just six seconds to perform, but yields significant speed, power and agility benefits. This high-speed exercise is called “rapid response” because you’ll move faster than ever before in your training. 

Want to improve quickness on the field? Rapid response. Want to make sharper cuts on the court? Rapid response. Here’s why: Quickness isn’t just about how big and strong your muscles are, but how efficiently your brain can communicate with your body. Rapid response drills challenge both your muscular system and nervous system to function in tandem and with precision, allowing you to move faster and under control.

An example of “rapid response” is quickly moving your feet back and forth over a line. It lasts all of about six seconds, but improves footwork, coordination, and quickness. You’ll also become more skilled at disassociating one foot from the other while maintaining proper posture. On the field, disassociation will help you make sharper cuts and juke past your opponents. Off the field, you’ll move better, and with more coordination, in any activity.

Since “rapid response” drills prepare your brain and body for activity, they’re best performed towards the end of your dynamic warm-up (a.k.a. Movement Prep), either before a training session, practice, or game. And because they’re so fast, you don’t need to worry about them wearing you out.

Try the sample routine below as part of your Movement Prep. Perform each drill for 6 seconds, putting forth maximal effort. Rest for about 30 seconds, and then repeat before moving onto the next exercise.

Rapid Response Workout

Movements                   Sets       Reps            

Rapid Fire                         2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/1_ggtF6ZFDk  

Linear Rapid Fire               2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/cfO2nttnljU

Pogos                                 2            6 sec           https://youtu.be/2Yknh0peyGI

Lateral Pogos                     2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/Ty2B3hBrEOE

5 Ways to Instantly Become a Worse Athlete

Follow these 5 easy steps, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a slower, weaker, burned-out athlete.

1. Don’t Sleep

Arguably the easiest step to becoming a worse athlete, don’t get enough sleep! Most already do this without even trying. But while sleep is important for human beings in general, it is essential for athletes. While you sleep, your body metabolizes glucose, which helps your muscles recover from a hard training session. So if you’re getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, your muscles won’t recover as quickly. Awesome, right? But that’s not all—lack of sleep can also lead to moodiness and anxiety, which can affect your performance on game day. Bottom line: don’t sleep enough, and you will DEFINITELY be able to tell a difference in your athletic performance – the wrong kind of difference.

2. Don’t Rest

Rest refers not to sleep, but to taking a purposeful break from training. And it’s one of the quickest ways to deteriorate your athletic ability. Taking rest days—complete days when you’re not even doing active recovery or cross-training—gives your body a chance to repair small tears in muscle caused by resistance training, and build new muscle tissue from protein ingested after training. Your muscles need a pause from the constant breakdown that occurs when you strength-train in order to rebuild themselves stronger. By skipping your rest days and going all-out in the gym 24/7, you’ll be on your way to developing symptoms of overtraining: extreme muscle soreness, extreme fatigue, depression, and susceptibility to illness and injury. Awesome, right? So build in rest days or you’ll be the coolest athlete wearing a knee brace or missing practice from a sinus infection.

3. Don’t Eat

Yeah, just stop eating. Your body needs the nutrients and energy in food to do basically everything: repair organs, fight off diseases, and build muscle. If you really want to see a decline in your athletic performance, simply stop eating enough calories to maintain your high activity level! Not eating enough is a simple, easy way to sabotage your athletic career—closely followed by eating the wrong stuff. Meeting your calorie requirements solely with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos will definitely leave you not feeling like sprinting for your full 90-min soccer game. 2,500 calories worth of Vanilla milkshake never makes my long runs any easier. Oh, don’t eat after training either. Physical activity depletes muscles of glycogen, made from carbohydrates, so if you want to make your muscles sore and mad, don’t eat anything within 30 minutes to 2 hours after training. 

4. Don’t Warm-Up

Make sure you go into practice, the gym, or the competition completely cold, and you’ll be well on your way to injury and decreased performance. 

5. Don’t Train on a Periodized Program

Periodization programming peaks athletes for their sport at just the right time. DO NOT do this if you hate being amazing. Don’t train on a periodized, customized, sport-specific training program. A periodized program means that your workouts change depending on the day, week, and season of your athletic year—off-season training looks a lot different from pre-season training, because your body needs different types of conditioning for these phases. To train to perform during a given season, you must be using a periodized training program. If you go into the gym and do the same workout, same rep count, same weight, over and over again, your body will stop responding to the stimuli of training and you will plateau!

And there you have it! 5 easy ways to instantly become a worse athlete. Practice each one faithfully, and I promise you will never be the best athlete on your team—and that’s a guarantee!

Basic Nutrition for Sports Performance

Young athletes have very unique demands – school, sports, and training.

There is a way to improve each of those 3 things – FUEL the body with proper nutrition!

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet

Here’s some more specific nutrition tips for Young Athletes…

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates should be the staple of a athletes diet. The key is to focus on quality. There is a huge difference between white bread and whole grain, high fiber bread; a sugar coated cereal and oatmeal; French fries vs. sweet potatoes. Focus on the quality of the carbohydrates. 

For example, definitely eat breakfast, but try a whole grain based cereal with some fresh fruit for the nutrients and fiber. Something like oatmeal instead of Fruit Loops or Cocoa Pebbles.

Sandwiches should be made with whole grain bread, rather than white. Snacks can be whole grain crackers with peanut butter, fruit or veggie sticks with peanut butter, etc. The list can go on.

The focus of carbohydrates should always be on foods that provide a few grams of fiber per serving (exception is milk and yogurt, which are very healthy and carbohydrate based, but provide little, if any fiber). 

Fruit and vegetables are also critical for a high performance athlete. Kids often shy away from them and parents don’t always push them. However, research has suggested it can take as many as one dozen times to determine if a child likes a particular food. The key for a parent is to introduce kids to as many of these nutrient dense, colorful foods as possible! 

Protein 

Of course protein plays a very important role! One important message is to make sure you always focus on food first – not protein supplements. High quality protein sources include:

  • Fish and other seafood
  • Low or non fat milk or yogurt
  • Chicken and turkey breast
  • Lean red meat
  • Mixed nuts
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Natural peanut butter

Should young athletes take a protein supplement?

The better question is:

  • Do they need a protein supplement? No.
  • Will it make them into the next college or pro athlete? Of course not!
  • Can it be beneficial and a healthier option than many of the alternative high sugar, high fat foods marketed directly towards children? Absolutely!

But food first as whole foods provide more nutrients than any supplement does or ever will be able to provide.

Fat

Fat is another crucial nutrient for athletes. The key, once again, is to focus on quality. Fat also provides a lot of calories, which can be important for very active, young athletes who need more calories than most to develop healthy, strong bodies.

Here are a few fats to choose:

  • Fish
  • Whole eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Raw mixed nuts
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Avocados and more

There you have it. Nutrition basics.

Feed your body. It’s a machine. To be the best player, you need to train and eat like the best athlete in the world.

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet

10 Most Common Problems with Sprint Form and How to Correct It

Common Problems and Corrections of Sprint Form:

Problem: Upward Emphasis or Not Swinging Arms Back Far Enough.

  • Correction: Have the athlete pretend he/she is holding a hammer in each hand and pounding nails into a wall directly behind him/her.
  • Main Point: The faster the arm is swung backward, the faster the leg will pull forward.

Problem: Shoulders Shrugged/Upper Back Tension.

  • Correction: Have the athlete consciously relax the traps and shoulders to allow more natural movement. Practice in place looking into a mirror.
  • Main Point: Upper body needs to stay relaxed. Tension can inhibit the free motion required for optimal speed.

Problem: Side-to-Side Arm Movement.

  • Correction: Have the athlete practice in front of a mirror to help him/her understand that this movement is causing excessive trunk rotation. The path in which the arms travel begins with the fingertips even with the chin. The hand should reach the midline of the body, but does not cross. The hand will then travel backwards until it is completely behind the hip.
  • Main Point: There should be limited lateral movement, as the focus should be on forward and backward movement emphasizing the backward motion.

Problem: Cross-Over Knee Drive (crossing the knees inward over the midline of the body)

  • Correction: Explain to the athlete that the legs travel in one plane of movement, it’s like riding a bike. Working in front of a mirror may be helpful.
  • Main Point: Knees need to travel in a straight path.

Problem: Lack of Knee Drive (During Acceleration 10-20 yards)

  • Correction: Likely needs to strengthen hip flexors and core. Hip flexors raise the thigh and core stabilizes the pelvis.
  • Main Point: Need to forceful knee drive getting hip 70-80 degrees in relation to the body.

Problem: Toes Point Inward or Outward

  • Correction: Likely needs to improve ankle flexibility, hip flexor strength. Muscles imbalances in hip internal and external rotation may all need attention.
  • Main Point: Toes need to point forward and should be in line with the knee and hip.

Problem: Over-striding (plant foot too far in from of the body)

  • Correction: Explain that the athlete needs to keep a tighter knee bend as the knee drives during each swing phase.
  • Main Point: During acceleration (first 10-20) yards the foot should strike the ground slightly behind the body. After the first 10-20 yards, the foot will strike slightly in front of the body.

Problem: Under-striding (short, choppy steps)

  • Correction: Cue the athlete to increase the distance between their thighs on each stride. Likely needs to improve hip flexor flexibility.
  • Main Point: Stride length comes from by pushing off the ground harder and fully extending hip, knee, and ankle and driving the forward knee to high knee position.

Problem: Landing on Heels (many larger athletes have a hard time with this)

  • Correction: Make the athletes aware of the issue. Coach athlete on proper foot strike through high knees drills, wall drills, etc.
  • Main Point: The heel will almost make contact with the ground, but athletes should be coached to stay on the ball of the foot because no weight should be taken by the heel.

Problem: Ankle Plantar Flexed (pointed down, leads to over-striding)

  • Correction: Coach the athlete to pull the toes to the knees. Coach the athlete to barely keep the heel from hitting the ground. Practice with high knees, butt kicks, wall drills.
  • Main Point: When foot strikes the ground, the ankle needs to be dorsiflexed (pointed up) in order to deliver a high force into the ground.

 

 

3 Moves to Maximize Your “Off Day” [Cheat Sheet]

Here’s 3 mobility moves to make the most of your training so that you’re faster, stronger, and fitter when you go to your next training session.

Think rest days are for resting? Then you’re doing them wrong.

Now, I’m not saying you need to do an hour-long workout on your days off. I’m just saying you need to move.

If you’re serious about changing your body, feeling better, and making serious gains in the weight room and on the field/court, then “mobility” moves are a must.

After all, you’re only as strong as how well you allow yourself to recover.

Here’s how to do it: 

===> DOWNLOAD [Mobility] Cheat Sheet

Perform the following 3 moves in a row. Do a movement for 2-4 minutes (or 1-2 minute per side for single-sided movements) before moving on to the next one.

  1. Overhead Squat
  2. Worlds Greatest
  3. Pretzel

If a move feels extra challenging, spend more time on it. It can take 2 to 5 minutes to fully release a restricted muscle.

Here’s what these mobility moves will do:

  • Address common problematic areas such as poor thoracic (upper-back) mobility, bad ankle mobility, tight hip flexors, and a weak core and glutes 
  • Promote additional blood flow to sore or stiff areas 
  • Prepare your body for its next training day without causing fatigue 
  • Make you feel like a million bucks

Do this circuit two times a week for one month and I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your training. 

===> DOWNLOAD [Mobility] Cheat Sheet

Foam Roller Flow Routine (FREE Cheat Sheet)

Grab your foam roller and flow between 10 self-massage moves that hit your whole body. 

This routine will improve tissue quality and break up scar tissue, adhesions, and knots.

It’s ideal for tight muscles and achy joints and best performed pre/post-workout and anytime of day.

===> DOWNLOAD [Foam Roller] Cheat Sheet

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Perform each move for a minute with no rest between moves for 10 total minutes. Switch sides at the halfway 30-second mark for all single-sided exercises:
  1. Quadriceps L/R
  2. Hamstrings L/R
  3. Adductors L/R
  4. TFL/IT Band L/R
  5. Glutes L/R
  6. Calves L/R
  7. Shins L/R
  8. Shins (Lateral) L/R
  9. Lats L/R
  10. Thoracic (Upper/Mid-Back)
  • Pay attention to which areas of your body are most sore and tight and be sure to spend extra time on these areas at all other times pre/post-workout. Prioritizing your self-massage in this manner will provide you the biggest bang for you buck.
  • For knee pain, focus on #1, 4, 5 
  • For shoulder pain, focus on #9, 10
  • For back pain, focus on #2, 3, 5, and 10. #10 is also great for improving posture.
  • If you run/jump a lot and/or suffer from shin splits, focus on #6, 7 and 8.

I simply cannot stress enough the importance of daily self-massage. It will make you feel better, move better, and perform better.

If you’re serious about changing your body, feeling better, and making serious gains in the weight room and on the field/court, then “self-massage” days are a must.

After all, you’re only as strong as how well you allow yourself to recover.

===> DOWNLOAD [Foam Roller] Cheat Sheet