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COACHES CORNER

Welcome to Coaches Corner.  This is a space for our team to share their experiences, education, expertise, and more!

Contact us with any additional topics you'd like to learn about.

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GOOD SLEEP

Did you know you burn calories while you sleep? Sleep is an essential factor to reaching optimal performance. While we all need different amounts of sleep based on our activity levels and age, overall no training program will function at its best without proper recovery and restoration. When you sleep you’re burning calories, regulating your hormones, resting your heart and repairing cells and tissue. This is essential for building muscle and even recovering from injuries! Sleep assists with cognitive processing, memory, reaction time and injury prevention. Generally, athletes should aim to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. But what is quality sleep?

 

SLEEP STAGES


When we sleep our bodies go into 4 different stages of sleep: time while we are awake, light sleep, deep sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. These stages of sleep offer our body different forms of recovery and different amounts of caloric burn (BMR- calories burned at rest). Overall obtaining a certain amount of Deep sleep and REM sleep each night is essential for our wellbeing. During both Deep sleep and REM sleep our body processes new memories and enhances cognitive functioning, which boosts our immune systems. During this time the body is able to repair tissue and build muscle. During REM sleep the brain is active, the heart rate is elevated, and there is an increased level of  protein production. During this time our brain requires the most energy, as the brain is exhibiting the highest level of activity, meaning we burn the most calories during REM sleep. This is also when we dream. Increased Deep sleep and REM sleep help us to wake up feeling the most recovered.  Without adequate Deep sleep and REM sleep it is very hard to fully optimize your training. Did you know that our environment and sleep set-up contribute to our sleep quality and hygiene?

 

SLEEP HYGIENE

 

While it’s nearly impossible to guarantee a good night of sleep each night as things like stress, time, body temperature, digestion and much more can interact with sleep, there are ways to set yourself up for good sleep hygiene. Here are some recommendations:

 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime

  • Spend time away from a screen before going to bed

  • Leave yourself a window of time to digest your food before falling asleep

  • Avoid overtraining

  • Limit stressors

  • Set your bedroom to a cool temperature

  • Turn off screens and lights to ensure a dark space

  • Make a wind down routine to de-stimulate after the day

  • Develop a consistent bedtime and wake time


 

SLEEP PRIORITIZATION 

 

If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your holistic wellness, practicing strong sleep hygiene can drastically improve your training and recovery. Try implementing some of the suggestions above and see how your energy feels during your training and throughout the day. Good sleep can improve your mental and physical health and wellness. 

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HYPERTROPHIC

Muscle Hypertrophy – Super hot topic as of recently, and it seems everyone wants to know what is the optimal protocol to FINALLY start looking like Ronnie Coleman. There’s lots and lots
of information out there regarding hypertrophy protocols, what is most effective etc – In this post we’ll break down what exactly muscle hypertrophy is, why it’s important and what the main drivers behind it are. **Spoiler alert** like many, many things in the fitness/strength and conditioning industry – the answer comes across a continuum and “optimal protocol” will be dependent on a number of different factors.


So let’s dive in, what exactly is muscle hypertrophy and how is it initiated? When it comes to muscle hypertrophy, it is defined as “an increase in muscular size, which can be achieved through exercise. Two main factors contribute to this physiological phenomenon such as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibrillar hypertrophy.” (Bernardez-Vazquez et al.) – in
common terms, muscular hypertrophy is the growth of muscle cross sectional area, the sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy refers to two different functions of muscles and their growth. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy means the muscles capacity to store Muscle Glycogen (CARBS) is increased during hypertrophy – More on this and the downstream metabolic effects 
in a different post. The Myofibrillar hypertrophy means that you have more actual units of muscle to contract and produce force to move an object! So by inducing muscle hypertrophy you are increasing your bodys capacity to STORE energy for work to be done and it’s capacity to produce force during said work.. It’s a real win win!


OK so the boring stuff is out of the way now, and the real question is; how do we INDUCE muscular hypertrophy? The answer, per usual, has a bit of nuance to it – Resistance training is considered the holy grail for increasing muscle mass, with practitioners playing with three key variables:


1. Mechanical Stress – External load being placed on the musculature and moved through space
2. Metabolic Stress – Process that occurs during exercise in response to low energy availability, leads to metabolite accumulation and hydrogen ion accumulation in muscle cells
3. Muscle Damage – The sum of mechanical stress and metabolic stress placed on the muscle, mechanical stress will place muscle damage on the myofibril complex itself and metabolic stress on the bodys ability to clear out waste products


So with these 3 key drivers being behind muscle hypertrophy, what is the best mix/composition to accomplish this? Generally, practitioners will play with Volume of work, Intensity of work and Frequency of work in order to accomplish muscle growth. The good news is, there’s a LOT
of researchers that have undertaken the painstaking task of trying to figure out which variable is the most important driver of change. In his systematic review, Roberto Bernardez-Vazquez reviewed 14 meta analyses, comprising of 178 primary studies and almost 5000 participants. The TLDR of the entire study was the when volume is equated, volume, frequency and intensity can all be played with in order to induce a hypertrophic response.


The general recommendation for volume is that you should prescribe 2-3 sets per exercise, covering ~10 weekly sets for each muscle group per week (this can include compound lifts etc) – The work in this volume should always be done to within 4-6 RIR (Reps in reserve) AT MINIMUM.


When it comes to frequency and intensity, when volume is equated these variables can be played with in any shape or fashion and hypertrophic response will be induced. General recommendations for hypertrophy training for my clients might look something like this:


1. Lifts heavy things REALLY well, high tolerance for systemic stress
    a. 4x6 @ 75-85% w/ 2-3 RIR
2. Loves long, slow burning workouts, not a ton of neural drive/capacity to produce force or stress tolerance
    a. 3-4x12 @ 65-75% w/ 2-3 RIR
3. Powerful athlete, highly trained, high capacity for stress
    a. 6x4 or 8x6 @ 75-90% w/ 2-3 RIR

Hope this helps everyone understand a bit more the mechanisms behind muscle hypertrophy, some of the variables taken into considerations by coaches when programming for hypertrophy and some protocols and suggestions for your strength training!


As always, if anyone has any questions or are looking for remote training/programming feel free to reach out!

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9302196/

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High Protein Talk - A series

Whether you are new to building muscle or refining your nutrition, protein is key. For effective fat loss and muscle gain, prioritize high protein intake. “Toning up” is synonymous with building muscle and losing fat, and diet plays a crucial role in this process.  Having more muscle on your frame will aid your fat loss. The more muscle, the more calories burned at rest, letting you eat more while feeling satisfied and strong. 

 

As a Certified Personal Trainer, I have assisted individuals across diverse age groups and genders in achieving the goal of shedding body fat and gaining muscle simultaneously. While I am not a registered dietitian, this knowledge is derived from personal experiences and discovering effective nutritional strategies for my clients. At JET, we approach nutrition from a holistic fitness perspective, providing balanced and successful macronutrient guidance.  

 

Undereating, especially inadequate protein intake, is as detrimental as overeating when the goal is sustainable muscle building and fat loss. Without enough protein, muscles lack the necessary resources for repair and growth. You will constantly be tearing your muscles down in the gym, and giving them nothing to be replenished with. While eating in a caloric deficit typically results in weight loss, the composition of that weight loss matters. If your protein intake is inadequate, causing most of the weight lost to be muscle, your body may store more calories as fat in the long run. You will feel defeated and hungry because you are training like crazy, not eating enough, and pissed off at your lack of results! It is frustrating, we have all been there. You cannot be afraid to eat… especially protein! 

 

My recommendation, if you are feeling overwhelmed by all this high protein talk, is to meet yourself where you are at. In our JET mobile app, you can track how much protein you are eating each day. Try tracking over the course of 2-3 days to get an idea of your current protein intake. If this is overwhelming, start with some pictures of the foods you are eating. Put them all in the app (or a photo album) and when you feel up to it, give yourself an estimate of your daily protein intake. Adjust gradually; a general guideline is eating your ideal body weight in protein (1 g per 1 lb). Depending on a person’s weight and how much protein they are currently eating, I would recommend starting somewhere that is realistic, even if it is far less than that. If you find you are eating significantly under 100 g per day, have that be your new goal! If you are already on track, consider your ideal body weight, or use a macro calculator and select the high protein option.


 

Ways to Sneak in Your Protein & Stay on Track

It can be very daunting to get in your protein goal so here are some tips I made for keeping myself on track throughout the day

 

  1. Eat all three meals - I know, maybe you aren’t a breakfast person. But if you want to eat over 100 grams of protein in a day it's going to be hard if you miss a whole meal. Start with just a protein shake, a yogurt, even a protein bar if making breakfast isn’t your thing. 

  2. Have 2-3 high protein snacks per day - Your body will benefit more from breaking up your protein intake throughout the day rather than having two or three super high protein meals.

  3. Keep protein snacks with you to ensure you hit your protein goal even on busy days - Linked below are some of my favorite bars, yogurts, shakes, turkey jerky, etc

  4. Make sure you are getting natural protein, not just supplements - As someone with a sweet tooth I have definitely been guilty of eating processed high protein sweet-tooth cravings and neglecting natural proteins. 

  5. Try to get started on your protein early in the day. If your first meal is 12pm (given you wake up much earlier than this) how are you supposed to fit all of your protein into half a day?

  6. Understand that you will not hit your protein goals all the time. Give yourself the weekend to relax and not worry too much about it. If you are on track during the week, going out to eat on the weekend to spend time with friends will not totally undo your hard work

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Energy systems:
Making Mitochondria
Cool Again

Repeat after me: The Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell body?

 

In the past 5-10 years there has been a surge in a number of exercise modalities; everything from Crossfit, to HIIT style like F45, pilates, barre, barreyoga, barryoglates, numerous aerobic modalities and more. The question (at least to me) that remains is, which ones are the most efficient and effective for the general population to utilize? I.E. how do I get the most bang for my buck in terms of adaptation from an acute and chronic perspective and promoting longevity. 

 

This is where everyone’s favorite Middle School Science character comes into play, the all-powerful Mitochondria.

 

Similar to fitness modalities, the understanding of the role and prevalence of mitochondria in the body’s systems has gained serious traction in the past 5-10 years. Researchers and Human Physiology experts have started understanding and recognizing that “the dysregulation of mitochondrial function and cellular bioenergetics are hallmarks of many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD), metabolic syndrome, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease” (San-Millan 2023). In his paper, San-Millan goes on to discuss that although we understand mitochondrial dysfunction is a marker in these diseases, the exact origins of mitochondrial dysfunction remains a mystery.

 

So thats great, but why is it important in the context of fitness? Enter stage left, Energy Systems - without diving into too much detail as we want to keep the spotlight on mitochondria, think of energy systems as 3 tiers of fuel your body goes through in order to keep producing energy for work. These systems burn out on a time basis, the highest tier usually lasts 10-15s, middle tier 15s - 3 minutes, and third tier anything beyond 3 minutes.

 

And now back to mitochondria (we missed you), they are the important player here and as it turns out, multiple different modalities of energy systems training aid in the production and increasing the efficiency of our mitochondria:

 

Long, Slow Distance (LSD)

Anything ranging from 15 minutes - multiple hours, will help increase intracellular mitochondrial content (Hughes et al., 2018). In other words, it actually catalyzes mitochondrial production. 

 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT has become extremely popular in recent years, and for those who don’t know HIIT is anywhere from 30 seconds - 3 minutes of high intensity work, followed by a short, low intensity rest interval and repeated for 20 minutes to an hour. HIIT training has been shown to increase both mitochondrial production (number of mitochondria) and mitochondrial respiration (efficiency of mitochondria). (Hughes et al., 2018).


 

Sprint Interval Training (SIT)

Lastly and one I think underutilized is Sprint Interval Training or SIT. SIT involves up to 30s of maximal intensity work, followed by a 60-90 second rest to allow for maximum output. SIT workouts have also been shown to increase mitochondrial respiration!

 

So when it comes to bang for your buck in exercise, looking through the lens of what can help promote longevity for clients and practitioners alike - Tap into the power of the mitochondria and these three exercise modalities (LSD, HIIT, SIT) to increase both mitochondrial content and efficiency!

 

If you have any questions on the above info, or want to inquire about coaching/training in Boston or remotely click the link below!

 

References:

 

San-Millán, I. (2023). The Key Role of Mitochondrial Function in Health and Disease. Antioxidants, 12(4), 782. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox12040782

 

Hughes, D. C., Ellefsen, S., & Baar, K. (2017). Adaptations to Endurance and Strength Training. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 8(6), a029769. https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a029769

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