Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Is the Turkey Really Making You Sleepy at Thanksgiving?

By: Joel Luedke

The big Thanksgiving meal (or meals depending on your day) is coming up and along with that comes the almost inevitable overconsumption of food.  It happens to the best of us.  Along with this meal comes the traditional Thanksgiving nap.  This nap has been long blamed on the turkey but is it really the turkeys fault?  He has had a rough enough day the way it is.

The idea that turkey makes you sleep due to tryptophan has been around for a long time.  While it is true that tryptophan is present in turkey and it is true that is a precursor to melatonin and can contribute to sleep it might not be the full on culprit to your post meal nap that you think.  The media boom around this idea is the same as the presence of resveratrol in wine.  While it is true that it is present in wine the levels at which it is might not have all the health benefits you were hoping for.

Now back to the turkey.  Again tryptophan is present in the turkey but there is another potential explanation for why you get so tired after you eat.  First, some basics in digestion.  The blood in your body concentrates where it is present most based on what activities you are partaking in.  In activity your blood focuses it work on the muscles as that is where most of your bodies activity is occurring. When you are eating your blood focuses is work to the digestive tract to help with the breakdown and  digestion of the food.

With all that being said your stomach is highly efficient but with some lines of thinking it can only handle so much of certain types of food at a time.  One line of thinking looks at both carbohydrates and protein as 'concentrated' foods and that the body can only really handle one of these at a time.  This line of thinking also looks at vegetables as very neutral and being able to combine with either food (fruits are another story for another day).

The idea behind this is when you consume large amounts of both protein and carbohydrates in a meal your stomach starts working overtime in order to try and break down both of these foods in combination and that is where things get difficult.  Your body basically starts working overtime in order to accomplish this task and while it doesn't feel like a workout your body is putting out a lot of energy to get this process accomplished.  By some estimates to fully breakdown that huge meal it can take 6-8 hours.

The bottom line of it all.  Do you have to skip Thanksgiving meal or completely change it around?  No that's not what we are saying.  Try this though.  After lunch do you get tired and feel like you need a nap?  What did you have for lunch?  Was it a huge sandwich with fries or a burger?  Did that make you tired at all around 2-2:30pm?  Try switching it up the next day and having a salad or just focusing on protein one carbohydrates for the day.  See how you feel and if that helps with that mid-afternoon 'lull'.

Don't blame the turkey for everything and try some mini-experiments to see how your body responds.  It may be as simple as the food combinations you put together.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mobility Monday: Highly Skilled Sitting

There are a lot of fun things to do around the Thanksgiving Holiday and unfortunately a lot of those things revolve around sitting.  While it is good to relax and take it easy you still don't want all of that to completely wreck your body by being stuck in a seated position all weekend.  Here is a great video to help break down how you can 'effectively' sit to make sure to not get yourself into a complete bind while you enjoy the holiday weekend.

Things It Helps:
-Reducing hip tightness
-Reducing low back pain
-Maintaining free moving hips

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


By: Joel Luedke

Football season started for most back in the middle of August.  No more two a days this year but still plenty of time spent in the athletic training room, the sports performance center, meeting rooms and the practice field.  Take all those things and extrapolate it out over the next 3 months while adding school to the list and that has the recipe for a long season.

Our season at UWL has ended and each year we have the privilege of listening to the seniors talk

about their experience and pass on information and advice to not only the younger players but also the staff that will be back next year.  There seems to always be consistent themes going through those message and one is embrace the grind.  Another is buy into the 'process' and that is what we are going to talk about today, 'the process'.

Very little in life comes quick and almost never easy.  What you do on a daily basis will almost always be a direct reflection on the results that you will get.  Angela Duckworth in her book 'Grit' talks directly about this.  It is the micro improvements on a daily basis that leads to the results you are looking to achieve and the days you don't want to do those little things are the days you need to the most.  That is embracing the grind and adding to the process.

One of my favorite strength coaches out there, Nick Winkelman had the best description of looking at your "job".  In an interview Coach Winkelman discusses his two passions in life, his family and his profession.  He makes it very clear that it is not his "job" as he doesn't believe that description does his work justice.  He is very proud of his profession and embraces that he gets to be in a constant process of evolution and growth in his work.  This outlook has made him extremely successful and a highly respected coach.

I think we all too often forget to enjoy the day to day grind.  We look past what we can get done today in an effort to see what tomorrow might bring us.  Time goes by quickly and we often find out that we thought was going to last forever doesn't and we feel like it slipped away without any of our own control.  When it comes to your life and your pursuit of anything whether it be your profession, your family, or you health make sure to embrace every minute of it.

A phrase I've tried to work in this year and need to continue to improve on it "can I/we do it better".  I tried to work this in not to ever downplay what I/we/my team is doing, that isn't the purpose.  We implemented it as a way of constantly challenging ourselves of can we better the process.  Can we make small changes on a daily basis that will lead to much bigger outcomes.  I think if you add something like this to your life the improvement and success is almost sure to follow.

Embrace the grind, enjoy the process and when it comes down to it, get after it every single day.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Mobility Monday: Heel Cords and All Their Tightness

Ever dealt with tight calves?  Yeah, us too and it can really put a lot of stress on other parts of your body directly tied to the muscle group.  Tightness through your calves can cause you all types of pain and issues in your ankles,  your knees and even going up to your hips.  If you go along with Anatomy Trains tightness in your calves can also contribute to potential headaches.  A long story short, make sure you get to work on these structures.

Things It Helps:
-Ankle Pain
-General Knee Pain
-Calf Tightness

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Study Spotlight: The Efficacy of Repeated Cold Water Immersion on Recovery Following a Simulated Rugby Union Protocol

There are many ways to recovery and some are more expensive than others.  One of the easiest is hoping in a cold tub or some form of an ice bath.  Is it effective though?  This Study Spotlight takes a look at how cold water immersion could help you recover after a heavy duty competition.

What They Did: 
Investigators took a look at how male rugby players responded to cold water immersion (CWI) compared to a control group that did not do CWI after a simulated rugby match.  The markers that were tracked were creatine kinase, perceived muscle soreness, counter movement jump (CMJ) and maximal voluntary isometric contraction on the knee extensors.  These markers were looked at pre, post-exercise, 24 hour and 48 hours following exercise.

The protocol was 2 x 5 min immersions at a temperature  of 10degC (50deg F) separated by 2.5 minutes seater at room temperature. 

What They Found: 
There were several large effects sizes observed for muscle soreness at both 24 and 48 hours post exercise with lower soreness values in the CWI group.  These effect sizes were observed for CMJ at all points in time and at 24 and 48 hour post for maximal voluntary isometric contraction.  There was also a moderate effect size observed for CK immediately post exercise followed by larger effect sizes at 24 and 48 hours post exercise.

What It All Means:
Through all the effects the bottom line is that doing cold water immersion following a simulated rugby match appears to provide enhanced recovery compared to not doing anything. While this study looked only at rugby that basic premise can be applied to most contact sports even if they aren't as violent as rugby.  This is a very simple and easy way to recover and get a jump start on prepping for your next workout and/or competition.  Give it a try.

TAT Article: Cold Water Immersion on HRV 

Resource: Barber, Sean. The Efficacy of Repeated Cold Water Immersion on Recovery Following a Simulated Rugby Union Protocol