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Top 10 Fitness Blogs for Beach Volleyball Players

Top 10 Fitness Blogs for Beach Volleyball Players

This has been a week of pleasant surprises and I just received another one: chape.fitness has been selected as one of the Top 10 Fitness Blogs for Beach Volleyball Players by beachvolleyballspace.com I am very honored to have been included in this list, among other great blogs, certainly greater than mine. If you follow this blog, you could say, Chape does not write about Beach Volley, what does he do on that list?

The truth is that no matter what sport you practice, you have to get fit. You will have to do specific training, but you can not forget the basics. I think the description offered in the list about this blog, perfectly summarizes what you can find here and certainly was the intention with which I started it.

Beach Volley Space is a great website where you´ll find anything related to Beach Volley: News about the best competitions in the world, the Olympics, events calendar, find beach volleyball groups near you, and interviews with the best world players like:

  • Tri Bourne (Berlin, 2014, Grand Slam, Gold; Toronto, 2016, World Tour Finals, Bronze; Qinzhou, 2018, FIVB 3-star, Gold).
  • Dain Blanton (Los Angeles, 1997, World Championships, Bronze; Sydney, 2000, Olympic Games, Gold).
  • Marketa Slukova (Ostrava, 2018, FIVB 4-star, Gold; Vienna, 2018, FIVB 5-star, Gold; Hamburg, 2018, World Tour Finals, Silver).
  • Brandie Wilkerson (Ostrava, 2018, FIVB 4-star, Silver; Warsaw, 2018, FIVB 4-star, Gold; Gstaad, 2018, FIVB 5-star, Bronze).
  • Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii ( Asian Games, 2018, Silver; Gstaad, 2018, FIVB 5-star, 5th; Tokyo, 2018, FIVB 3-star, Bronze).

Just to name a few…

An amazing website that you should not miss if you like Beach Volleyball. I am very happy that these guys have considered my blog as worthy of being followed by the fans and players of this beautiful sport all over the world.

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What Can We Learn from the Nutrition Requirements of Basketball Players

Basketball Nutrition

Playing basketball is an effective way to burn calories, and consequently, burn fat. As explained before in ‘How Effective Is Basketball at Burning Fat?’, playing the sport is “one of the most vigorously active sports in which you can participate; therefore, it is “a super way to burn away unwanted pounds.” Playing basketball is physically draining and that is why players have to keep certain nutrition requirements so they can compete at a high level.

Basketball players nutritional requirements

In this regard, common knowledge suggests that basketball players must have large stores of carbohydrates from healthy food, like whole grains, fruit and vegetables. The paper ‘Carbohydrate Requirements of Elite Athletes’ underscores the importance of carbohydrate intake, stating that a “key factor in coping with the heavy demands of exercise faced by elite athletes seems to be carbohydrate intake.” In other words, carbohydrate intake affects performance. Players who have consumed enough carbohydrates will have enough energy to play at a high level, while players with insufficient carbohydrate intake will generally tire easily, as they will have very little energy once their carbohydrate stores are depleted.

Fat is needed too, but in much smaller amounts. It is utilised during the game’s less intense moments, when players stop play after a whistle or when they jog during the quiet moments of a game. What happens is that the fat is used in the production of aerobic energy, which is mostly to facilitate recovery. This process reduces fatigue, thereby allowing players to go full-tilt once more when the intensity picks up. 

Protein is another important nutrient that basketball players need. The Association of UK Dietitians explains that protein “is required for building and repairing muscles and plays an important role in how the body responds to exercise.” In other words, protein is a perquisite for both muscle building and recovery. As any basketball player knows, building muscle is key due to the physicality of the game. Recovery, on the other hand, helps players train and play frequently across a short space of time. 

Two famous examples

Given these nutritional requirements, it’s no surprise that elite basketball players take their nutrition — and by extension, their diet — seriously. Take, for instance, the Gasol Brothers, arguably Spain’s best and most popular exports to the National Basketball Association. Pau and Marc are very particular with what they eat, cognizant of the fact that they have specific nutritional needs. Marc is very hands-on with what he eats, especially with his history of being overweight. The younger Gasol tried various diets, and his decision paid off; he has slimmed down considerably, and is now widely regarded as one of the best big men in the league. 

Another player known for being notoriously particular when it comes to his diet is LeBron James, a nemesis of the Gasols in international competition. LeBron James earns £61.5 million (€7.17m) a year and the four-time MVP is the second biggest earning sports star in the world. His talent is obviously undeniable, but his devotion to fitness and nutrition certainly helps his cause. Curiously, James went with a drastic no-carb diet prior to the 2014–2015 season. That diet, admittedly, is contrary to the carbs-as-fuel point raised earlier, however, James, like the Gasols, is an elite-level athlete. That means his nutritional requirements are a bit different from the requirements of other basketball players. Not to mention, athletes like James and the Gasols know how to utilise and optimise their energy systems so that they are fuelled both aerobically and anaerobically. 

Conclusion

Needless to say, nutrition is key to great on-court performance. Conventional thinking, would suggest plenty of carbohydrates, a good deal of protein, and some fat. Then again, you should always assess your individual nutritional needs and find out what best works for you.

Article written by Vanya Banks for chape.fitness

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Muscle Fiber Types

Muscle fibers
Are you a better distance runner or sprinter? Have you ever wondered why is that so?
 
The answer is simple: muscle fibers.
 
Skeletal muscle is composed of different muscle fibers and these are composed of functional units called sarcomeres. Within each sarcomere are the myofibrillar proteins myosin (the thick filament) and actin (the thin filament). The interaction of these 2 myofibrillar proteins allows muscles to contract.. Each myocyte contains many myofibrils, which are strands of proteins (actin and myosin) that can grab on to each other and pull. 
Muscle fibers

Muscle Fiber Types

There are three types of skeletal muscle cells:
Fiber Type
Contraction Speed
Time To Peak Power
Fatigue
Color
Type I (slow twitch)
Slow
100 milliseconds
Slowly
Red
Type IIA (fast twitch oxidative fibres)
Fast
50 milliseconds
Fast
Red
Type IIB (fast twitch glycolytic fibres)
Very Fast
25 milliseconds
Fast
White
  1. Type I fibers are characterized by low force/power/speed production and high endurance, The slow twitch muscle fibers are more efficient at using oxygen to generate more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) fuel for continuous, extended muscle contractions over a long time. They fire more slowly than fast twitch fibers and can go for a long time before they fatigue. Therefore, slow twitch fibers are great at helping athletes run marathons and bicycle for hours.
  2. Type IIB fibers are characterized by high force/power/speed production and low endurance. These fast twitch fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create energy and are the “classic” fast twitch muscle fibers that excel at producing quick, powerful bursts of speed. This muscle fiber has the highest rate of contraction (rapid firing) of all the muscle fiber types, but it also has a faster rate of fatigue and can’t last as long before it needs rest.
  3. Type IIA fall in between the two. These fast twitch muscle fibers are also known as intermediate fast-twitch fibers. They can use both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism almost equally to create energy. In this way, they are a combination of type I and type IIB muscle fibers.
This range of muscle fiber types allows for the wide variety of capabilities that human muscles display. On average, people have about 50 percent slow twitch and 50 percent fast twitch fibers in most of the muscles used for movement.

Motor Units

Muscle fibers are organized into motor units grouped within each muscle. A motor unit is simply a bundle or grouping of muscle fibers. When you want to move, the brain nearly instantaneously sends a signal or impulse through the spinal cord that reaches the motor unit. The impulse then tells that particular motor unit to contract it’s fibers. 
 
The body recruits the lower threshold motor units first (slow-twitch), followed by the higher threshold motor units (fast-twitch) and continues to recruit and fire motor units until you’ve applied enough force to do whatever it is you’re trying to do regarding movement. When you are lifting something extremely heavy or applying a lot of force your body will contract practically all the available motor units for that particular muscle.
Type I muscle motor units contract less forcefully and a little slower then type II motor units and they reach peak power slower. This is why you can sit and eat all day or play Playstation all day and never get tired!
 
The type II motor units are capable of greater levels of absolute force than type I and also fatigue a lot quicker. Type IIA and IIB are capable of roughly the same amount of peak force, but the IIA fibers take longer to reach their peak power in comparison to type IIB.
 
Fast twitch fibers don’t like high volumes or long durations of work. They don’t even like a high frequency of work. If we go back to our ancestral roots, fast twitch IIB fibers were used only in times of stress situations. These would include running away from a predator, fighting, chasing food, or other brief explosive muscle action. They were only active for a few minutes per day at most. Since they weren’t used often the body had no real need to sacrifice them for a more efficient fiber. Sedentary people are the same way and have more fast twitch IIB muscle than athletes as the use of their fibers is limited and there is no need for their bodies to make more efficient adaptations.

Changing size or fiber type composition

Muscle fibers can adapt to changing demands by changing size or fiber type composition. This plasticity serves as the physiologic basis for numerous physical therapy interventions designed to increase a patient’s force development or endurance. There is evidence that muscle fibers not only change in size in response to demands, but they can also convert from one type to another. This plasticity in contractile and metabolic properties in response to training and rehabilitation allows for adaptation to different functional demands.
 
Fiber conversions between type IIB and type IIA are the most common, but type I to type II conversions are possible in cases of severe deconditioning or spinal cord injury.
 
Less evidence exists for the conversion of type II to type I fibers with training or rehabilitation, because only studies that use denervated muscle that is chronically activated with electrical stimulation have consistently demonstrated that such a conversion is possible.
 
Changes in the muscle fiber types are also responsible for some of the loss of function associated with deconditioning.
Some of the loss of muscle performance (decreased force production) due to aging does not appear to be only due to the conversion of muscle fibers from one type to another, but largely due to a selective atrophy of certain populations of muscle fiber types. With aging, there is a progressive loss of muscle mass and maximal oxygen uptake, leading to a reduction in muscle performance and presumably some of the loss of function (decreased ability to perform activities of daily living) seen in elderly people. Age-related loss of muscle mass results primarily from a decrease in the total number of both type I and type II fibers and, secondarily, from a preferential atrophy of type II fibers. Atrophy of type II fibers leads to a larger proportion of slow type muscle mass in aged muscle, as evidenced by slower contraction and relaxation times in older muscle.
 
Fortunately, physical therapy interventions can affect muscle fiber types leading to improvements in muscle performance. Physical therapy interventions can be broadly divided into those designed to increase the patient’s resistance to fatigue and those designed to increase the patient’s force production.
 
Evidence is lacking to demonstrate that type II fibers convert to type I with endurance training, although there does appear to be an increase in the mixed type I and IIA fiber populations. Researchers have found that type I fibers become faster with endurance exercise and slower with deconditioning.
 
High-intensity resistance training (high-load–low-repetition training) results in changes in fiber type similar to those seen with endurance training, although muscle hypertrophy also plays an essential role in producing strength gains. Initial increases in force production with high-intensity resistance training programs are largely mediated by neural factors, rather than visible hypertrophy of muscle fibers, in adults with no pathology or impairments. Even so, changes in muscle proteins, do begin after a few workouts, but visible hypertrophy of muscle fibers is not evident until training is conducted over a longer period of time (>8 weeks).
 
Although the trends in fiber type conversions are similar for endurance training and resistance training, differences in physiological changes that occur with each type of exercise are also important. Endurance training increases the oxidative capacity of muscle, whereas training to increase force production of sufficient intensity and duration promotes hypertrophy of muscle fibers by increasing the volume of contractile proteins in the fibers.
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The Warm-Up

Hello, dears!

I´ve just found a new video editing app that I think you may like too. It´s Lumen5 and turns your blog post into videos with no effort and lots of fun. You enter the link you want to convert and they find related images and animations. You choose what you like, edit a little bit, add your logo, find music, and ready to download and share!

I started with one of my oldest articles. Never forget the importance of warming up before a workout, match or competition. Btw, do you want to try this app? Visit Lumen5.com :)

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New study: Effects of energy drinks

There is a new study on the effects of energy drinks and the conclusion is not good news. Peveler, WW, Sanders, GJ, Marczinski, CA, and Holmer, B. have been published their study to determine the effect of 3 different energy drinks on cardiovascular and performance measures. It is important to recognize the difference between these new products and traditional soft drinks such as coffee, tea, sports drinks (such as Gatorade), sodas, juices, or flavored water.

“Fifteen recreational runners completed 5 trials. The first trial consisted of a graded exercise protocol. The 4 remaining trials consisted of 15-minute economy trials at a treadmill. An hour before subjects ingested 1 of the 3 energy drinks or a placebo. HR, BP, VO2, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded during the 15-minute trial.

Fifteen-minute systolic BP readings were significantly lower in the placebo trials in relation to the 3 energy drink trials.

  • There were no significant differences in diastolic BP and HR.
  • There were no significant differences found in VO2 or RPE measures.
  • The findings show no performance benefits under the conditions of this study.
  • However, there does appear to be a significant increase in systolic BP.”

Translated, performance is not a reason to drink energy drinks. Caffeine and taurine will not enhance your performance. Your heart will beat faster and this may induce you to think you´re performing better. False impression.

Actually, if you take a look at a previous study (John P. Higgins, Santi Yarlagadda, and Benjamin Yang. Cardiovascular Complications of Energy Drinks), there is no reason at all to drink these beverages. This study concludes that energy drinks are “associated with complications not only patients with underlying cardiovascular conditions but also in young people.”

It would be a disaster if doing sports, trying to perform better, you get serious health issues because of a bad choice. Choose traditional: water, juices, sports drinks, and enjoy the process of a healthy living.