Friday, November 26, 2010

"Shovel Down Pasta" Carbo loading for athletes

Athletes are always on the lookout for great recipes. This pasta recipe is one of my favorites. It can be served at room temperature, and goes great with chicken or red meat. I prefer to use bowtie, fusilli, penne, or spaghetti cut in half. I grew up in a Greek family and learned to cook without recipes; I learned by taste! Experiment, use your senses, be a little loose, taste as you go. Have fun with this recipe... Most of my athletes shovel it down!


1 lb. Pasta-Prepare al dente -cool, put in bowl
8 to 12 oz. crumbled feta cheese
pkg. basil chopped (or to taste)
chopped green onions, at least 5 (to taste)
crushed garlic (use fresh, to taste)
dried Italian seasoning
chopped Italian parsley (to taste)
prepared julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil (to taste)
cherry tomatoes (optional)

Toss ingredients, with large spoon or with your hands. The pasta must be cooled so the feta cheese won't melt. Serve at room temp.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Reading the Body of an Athlete"

I began the fine art of formally reading the body of the elite cyclist at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 1983. Under the watchful eye of veteran soigneur, my first mentor " Famous Amos Ottley", I began a life long quest to observe and treat athletes beginning with the members of the U.S. Cycling Team. These techniques involved not only using my eyes, but all of my senses.

It is a never ending area of fascination and learning for me. I not only find bio mechanics, pre-and post-effort needs, and increasing recovering rate personally enriching information, but knowledge worth sharing.

When I observe an athlete I am intaking everything as a whole, like a head to toe scan as they approach me. How are they walking? Their gait? Posture. Head position. Shoulders; are their shoulders anteriorly rotated? Is one higher than the other? Do they have over-development of particular muscle groups? Obvious discrepancies in size; Arms; right compared to left dominance. Legs; right compared to left quadriceps/ hamstring ratios and gastrocnemious and soleus development discrepancies. Are they over-developed in either tibialis anterior? Feet; do they pronate? Supinate? Wear functional orthotics? Knees; How does their Q-Angle look? Their eyes; are they bloodshot, yellow, dull? Do they have puffiness or dark circles? Mouth; are they in ketosis? Can I smell it? Are they hydrated? Lips cracked, mouth parched, tongue consistency? Are there salt stains on their clothes after an event? Skin; what is the overall 'look',energy coming off of their face?

When you massage athletes like I do, you do not have to even speak their language if you are proficient in body work to 'listen to the tissues'. I had phenomenal teachers from all over the world instruct me in talking to the body. Each person's body should be listened to each individual time they are on your table. Our bodies are not static beings, they are ever changing, always needing different tuning. A dehydrated body feels like beef jerky slabs under the skin. Whereas a hydrated body feels more juicy.

One of the quadricep muscles, the most lateral one called the vastus lateralis might need deeper work in the center of the belly one day, and less at the distal end. Recently, my X-terra runner Kim ran a 50-mile rough terrain course with rocky creek beds and lots of vertical climbing; that same muscle might need more work higher up at the proximal end. I palpated her leg and felt the more contracted areas. I would listen to what she needed by touching the fibers. Were they taut? Swollen? Had I observed that she walked in 'stiff legged'? Was her knee hurting because her pelvis was rotated anteriorly? Was her knee tracking 'off', beginning from her back and causing all the hip flexor and quadriceps muscles to 'pull' everything 'up'? Hmmmm?

On the Pro-Tour we would sometimes have to pull up next to a rider in the peloton who was bonking, while they held onto the car. One soigneur would drive and the other would assess the rider. I remember so many times hanging out of my team car window, pinching the jaw of my rider to open his mouth and squeeze liquid glucose polymer in. I would even rub his throat to initiate swallowing, and when I could see his eyes 'turn on the fire' again, Id know the glucose stores were up....I could read it.

We had to read when to do glucose IV's and when to push the calories in the Grand Tours. We could feel our riders body fat dropping from January training camp to the Tour de France in July from 7% down to 4% or 3%. By the Tour, they would be exhausted from eating, because the demands were so great.

There are so many variables involved in each athlete's training and competition. I find that in my private massage practice the same variables exist in our lives, whether we are athletes or not. We must all be observed and listened to. Not only looked at, and touched, but heard with our hearts. Reading the bodies of professional athletes has helped me to better care for my clientele. After all, we are all champions at something!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Take an Invigorating Post -Training/Race Wash Down with Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Peppermint Soap

All athletes should know about Dr. Bronner's Liquid Peppermint Soap and my special pick of synthetic loofahs for their post training and racing shower! Nothing is worse than drying off and finding dirt on a white towel when you think you've cleaned off the road grime, sunscreen, and liniments. The simple solution to this dilemma is to start using Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Peppermint Soap. It comes in many other fragrances, but this one is my top pick for many reasons;
refreshing, invigorating, and stimulating to the senses. Over 95% of the athletes that I work with, amateur and professional, prefer the peppermint. However there is a niche for "the blend method", ie blending different scents of Dr. Bronner's like peppermint with lavender, or peppermint with eucalyptus, etc. You can experiment; this soap literally cuts grease and grime away! If you find that this soap is a tad drying, then you can do a quick "chaser" with an organic moisturizing soap before you step out of the shower. Or do a "chaser" of lotion or both. It's up to you.

Exfoliation of the skin is essential. I recommend using a synthetic loofah with Dr.Bronner's. Synthetic loofahs as opposed to "real" loofahs are a healthy choice (synthetics don't get moldy). My favorite types are: loofah gloves, loofah mitts, and loofah wash cloths. The loofah wash cloth is great for hard to reach areas of your back. I recommend purchasing "Bass" synthetic loofahs or as they call them "exfoliation mitts and skin towels".

In order to get a "proper cleanse" with Dr. Bronner's, you want to lather up with the loofah. First, pre-soak the loofah with water, add a spoon size of Bronner's soap and begin vigorously lathering your body in a circular motion. It helps to turn off the shower while doing this to allow the Bronner's to sit for a minute or two and break down the grime. Be careful to not get the suds in your eyes or nose. For the uninitiated, the peppermint oil might be a bit too strong for the face. And of course, with experience and familiarity you can determine if you need to add more or less Bronner's to your liking.

Synthetic loofahs and Dr. Bronner's can be purchased from fine health food stores and online. Dr. Bronner's can also be purchased at Trader Joe's!

Every athlete should travel with a small bottle of Dr. Bronner's and their choice of synthetic loofah tucked nicely into a large ziplock bag. After a long ride or run it always feels good to wash off and feel that tingle of cleanliness that only Dr. Bronner's soap can give. Ahhhh.....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recipe for "Light Legs"

Before a long ride or a race, one way to help your legs feel fresh and light is to take two Anacin and sublingual B-12 about one hour prior. Dosage for B-12 can vary from 500 to 2000 mcg. The Anacin contains caffeine and aspirin. These products will "lighten your legs" by the caffeine and aspirin's effect, combined with the nervine tonic of the B-12. Do not try this the day of a race! Try it first on a long training ride. If you like the way you feel, then use it on a race day. These products are meant to be used ultimately for increased recovery and peak performance.

Another great product is Berocca Performance, by Bayer. These are effervescent tablets containing B vitamins with added vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. On the Pro-Tour in Europe, the riders took Berocca Performance two times a day; once in the morning, and once after the race. This product is phenomenal! It is not available in the United States and can be purchased on-line. I have found the prices through Bayer New Zealand pharmacies to be fantastic. You will notice an unbelievable feeling of rejuvenation from the B vitamin content in Berocca. Start with just a morning or afternoon dose, but not after 5 p.m. as you could feel a bit "too" rejuvenated! Berocca can be used as a B supplement to your vitamin regime. It is not necessary in the recipe for "Light Legs." Experiment! Good luck!