Odds of Fitness Success Without Proper Fueling
No matter if you’re one of the most elite athletes in the world or your new to exercise, success at any level is directly correlated to proper nutrition. If you want to stand any chance of tapping into the peak of your abilities, you need to be deliberate about your food intake. Paying careful attention to what your body needs at specific time frames becomes paramount. Any attempt to engage in activities with a body that is screaming for essential nutrients is a recipe for disaster. Making sensible decisions about what you put in your body can ensure that you’re getting the most out of every workout. Interested in learning more about the basics? Continue reading! The three nutrients that everyone should be concerned with are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. You should work on developing a personal strategy that comfortably balances these three macro-nutrients. The operative word being “personal” here. Nutrition is not necessarily a one size fits all recipe. Our cellular makeup is extremely sensitive, which is why the meal plan that helped Jane shed 20lbs may not work for Stephanie or the next person. Carbohydrates Some may argue that carbohydrates are the most critical nutrient for an athlete to consume because carbs fuel muscle. Each time we move a muscle, jump, run or kick a ball, we are using carbohydrates. Your body breaks down carbs into simple sugars and then stores them in muscles and the liver. Earlier we spoke about a comfortable balance. If you happen to ingest more than can be stored in either of these two places, the excess becomes unwanted body fat. When picking carbohydrates for your meals, good options include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. Proteins In order to effectively build muscle, you need to have adequate protein intake. A good muscle to body fat ratio becomes the foundation for anyone looking to succeed in a fitness regiment. Muscle also has a significant role in protecting the body from diabetes. The more muscle you have the more efficiently your body can uptake glucose from your blood stream. Be sure to include protein in your diet daily because our bodies have difficulty storing protein. Protein from animal sources is the easiest way to get complete protein, but plant-based proteins can be a viable option as well. Fat There is a huge misconception that we need to avoid or get rid of fat from our diets. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, fats are essential nutrients and we actually require a great deal of fats in our diets. Next time you go food shopping take a second to look at the nutrition labels. Avoid anything that is highly concentrated with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. Many of you have come to know these fats as trans-fats which are considered very unhealthy. Good options include olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, wild-caught fish, and avocado. Like many people, you may have no idea where to start when it comes to putting together a well-balanced meal. I would suggest starting with an eating ratio of 40/30/30/ (carbohydrate/protein/fat) and then adjust the ratios to best fit your body. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all, but you need to adequately give your body what it needs to perform. This is the only way to increase your odds of achieving fitness success. Good luck!
Breathing And Bracing: Picking The Right Strategy For The Task At Hand
Here at Parabolic, we talk a lot about how we use positional breathing drills to influence mobility and stability. We even talk about how viewing movement through a PRI lens has influenced how we coach and program exercises for our athletes. Justin Moore has written several great articles on how PRI drives our program design and exercise selection. However, one thing we have not discussed is how to actually breathe during your workout to get the most benefit from those things. The perfect positional breathing resets will do nothing for you if you are not using the right breathing strategy to stabilize your body while you lift. There are two main breathing strategies that can be used to gain stability during movement. They are breathing and bracing. First, some definitions as they are relevant to this discussion: Breathing: Mostly focusing on a long and relaxing exhale and proper inhale to use breathing to set the position of our ribcage and pelvis. This is a lower threshold activity, Bracing: A forceful holding of breath that uses a higher threshold strategy to stabilize the thorax and pelvis. This is often the Valsalva maneuver. The important thing to consider here is that there is no right or wrong strategy. There are only appropriate ones for the task at hand. If all you can do are high threshold strategies, then that is a problem. If you can never brace properly and create an appropriate high threshold stabilization strategy, you are probably not going to be petty strong. But you better be able to shut that strategy down after the lift is completed. You also want to make sure you are doing this correctly. So now the question is, when do we want to use each strategy? And how do we most effectively perform each one to get the appropriate amount of stability? Breathing We want to be casually breathing to stabilize our spine during any activities that are not true high intensity efforts. This starts at positional breathing drills and goes all the way up through core activities, assistance work, and also lighter squatting and deadlifting for most clients. We want to breathe properly to stabilize our spine and thorax by putting our major joints in proper positions. This usually requires a full exhale to get rib internal rotation and posterior pelvic tilt. This puts our abdominals and true hip extensors in a position to work properly to stabilize and propel movement. Here we are not holding our breath at all. We can think of an inhalation as a position of extension of the entire system. Inhalation is also a sympathetic event. On the contrary, exhalation creates flexion and parasympathetic tone. If we always create a forceful inhale and hold when we lift, we will probably present with much more extensor tone than necessary. In addition, we might never be able to shut off the sympathetic tone. Our blood pressure will be much higher, and we will tire our much easier. Therefore, it will be much more effective to stabilize ourselves with a lower threshold breathing strategy that allows for a long full exhale. Bracing However, there are times where we really need to brace and hold a powerful inhale to stabilize ourselves. Usually this will happen under really heavy loads for higher level athletes. When we brace, we can create a large amount of air pressure to keep us stable, but this comes with a cost. This is a strategy that only needs to be used for higher level athletes under heavier loads, but for these circumstances it is a must. I am a believer that no-one needs to be cued to brace. They should be shown how to do it properly, and after that it should be reflexive. If the proper steps are not taken through a proper exhale and an inhale from an exhaled position, no amount of cueing brace help them brace. How to Correctly Perform Each One Breathing Breathing during lifting activities that do not require a brace is very similar to how we breathe during our positional resets. Most people present with an extension pattern, so the most important thing is usually to get a long full exhale to internally rotate the ribs. This is especially important any time the arms or legs are moving away from the periphery. As a general rule of thumb, I tell my clients and athletes to get a long and full exhale any time their arms move overhead or their legs move away from them. I only allow them to go through a range of motion that they can exhale through. For example, I have them exhale as their arms go overhead in a kettlebell pullover. As soon as they stop exhaling and start holding their breath, I know they have gone too far and I instruct them to cut the range of motion a little shorter. After the full exhale, there are certain times where we require an inhale to expand a posterior mediastinum.This opens up the upper back and allows the scapula to have a congruent surface to sit on. We do this by asking for an inhale that expands the upper back and ribcage but it is important that this inhale is coming from a fully exhaled position. We need a long full exhale to set our ribs down, and then when we inhale we must do it from that position of full exhalation and rib internal rotation. If we inhale from a position of inhalation, we will only end up extending our spine further which will put us in in a suboptimal position to create true active stability from. Instead we will rely on passive stability from bony and ligamentous structures, which is not what we want to be doing. Bracing When we do brace, we hold a forceful inhale which as we already discussed is a sympathetic event and drives some amount of extension. However, there is a right and a wrong way to go about this. As we also mentioned, an inhale must come from a position of full exhalation if we want to truly stabilize our thorax. If we inhale from an already inhaled position as most of us do, we actually just end up jacking ourselves further into extension. Inhalation is a position of extension, and if we inhale from extension we will have a whole lot of extension. If we do this, we will present with much more extensor tone during lifting, we will not truly have intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic pressure, and we will probably jack ourselves up long term. So when lifting requires a brace using the valsalva maneuver, we MUST first get a long and FULL exhale with rib internal rotation and some degree of posterior pelvic tilt. After that exhale, we should pause for a second or two and then inhale. But here is the kicker; when we inhale we must keep our abs on to eccentrically internally rotate our ribs. In other words, they have to prevent our ribs from flying up when we inhale. If that happens, we just extend our back and will not have the abdominals and hip extensors in proper positions to stabilize our thorax and extend our hip. The air can go two places when we inhale, and the position that we start from is the determining factor. It can go in the front of our ribcage as we extend our back, or we can keep the ribs down and have it go in the back our upper back. We want the latter to drive stability by using air pressure and correct biomechanics instead of relying on extensor tone and passive constraints to stabilize ourselves. Conclusion We are going to get sympathetic extensor tone when we lift. That is a given, but we can stabilize ourselves in a way that will not create any unneeded tone by. This is done by using the appropriate AND correct breathing strategy for the task at hand. We shouldn’t be bracing when we don’t need to be. On most exercises, we should use a relaxed breathing strategy utilizing a full exhale to maintain proper position of our joints which will in turn place the correct muscles in position to propel movement and stabilize. We shouldn’t be using a high threshold bracing strategy on low lever exercises like rolling, dead bugs, planks, and even non-maximal strength training like goblet squats and trx rows. However, there are times when we do need to brace. When we do, we must do so properly to most effectively stabilize our thorax and not place ourselves in more extension and sympathetic tone than which is necessary. Shown below are specific exercises with a good inhalation after a state exhalation before beginning the exercise itself…And then there’s the bad. You will also see exercises with an inhalation from a state of inhalation and how little you will get out of the exercise.
Commitment…It’s Worth It!
The idea of commitment can be very scary for some people, but when it comes to your health, it’s a decision that yields unmeasurable dividends. A true commitment to improved health and wellness requires a deep understanding that the process is a journey. It means that you need to be in it for the long haul; rising above your bad days when you don’t feel like doing anything. It’s about being determined about your health and finding a way to manage your time despite a busy schedule. The journey is more than one time per week or a couple of months. In fact, its more than just a year, a simple pill or magical drink. It’s a lifelong process of self-evaluation; not a sprint to the finish. Take it one step at a time! As creatures of habit we go to great lengths to find the path of least resistance, to find the quickest way to get those washboard abs or “toned arms”. But why not take that same energy and enthusiasm and spread it out over the course of time? This seems like the most logical thing to do, but it requires the most amount of work. Instant gratification has become the norm of society and disillusions people into believe this is the only way. You may be one of those people who over analyzes every decision when it comes to exercising or finds every reason why you simply can’t take the first step. Maybe you’ve started your journey and have taken that leap of faith but miss workouts here and there or make poor meal choices during the weekends. Either way, whether you’re struggling to get started or hard on yourself because of bad decisions, one bad day or one bad meal will not impede your progress, just like one great workout or one healthy meal will not ensure fitness success. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a commitment to the process and every repetition, every bead of sweat, and every decision you make. Believe it or not, even failure is a valuable part of the process. You can’t achieve your goals without everything in between. Consistency becomes extremely important throughout your journey. Building something that lasts over a lifetime means making smart and deliberate decisions and above all, staying committed. If you’re committed, the rest of the pieces will fall into place. So, go get started today and commit to just taking that first step. It’s worth it!
MASTER THE CHINUP: Get Your Entire Body Strong and Sculpted With This Classic Bodyweight Move
When it comes to bodyweight exercises, few are as challenging as the chinup. In one pull you’ll work your back (primarily the lats), arms (mostly the biceps), shoulders, and core. “It’s one of the best body-weight exercises you can include in your exercise regimen because you’re pulling all of your weight vertically, which requires both strength and body control,” says Christian M. Valvano, C.F.S.C., a performance specialist with Parabolic Performance and Rehabilitation in Montclair, NJ. Don’t have perfect form just yet? Follow the progressions below to build strength and train movement patterns so you can soon master the move. START HERE: HALF-KNEELING, SINGLE-ARM CABLE PULLDOWN “Starting close to the ground means you have more stability but are still able to build strength in the core and upper body while training to pull from an overhead position through a stable midsection,” says Valvano. Focus here on keeping your core stable and pulling with your arm and shoulder through their full range of motion. THEN TRY: BAND-ASSISTED CHINUP Loop a band around the bar, and step into the bottom of the loop with both feet. Work on performing isometric holds with your chin above the bar (hold three to five counts), as well as eccentric contractions (slowly lowering back down for five counts). As you progress, place the band under one bent knee for less assistance. FINISH HERE: FULL CHINUP If your equipment allows for a neutral grip (palms facing each other), start with that, advises Valvano. For an even bigger challenge, you can progress to doing weighted chinups (use a weight belt to hang a weight plate and/or chain). A Chinup Consult Place hands about shoulder-width apart on the bar, palms facing body. Using a stepping stool or box can help you get into the right position. Step off the box or stool with control (don’t allow your body to swing) and hang fully down. Brace your glutes and the front of your core to help prevent overextension of the lower back. Pull your elbows toward your hips, keeping a neutral spine throughout the entire movement. Keep your chin tucked throughout the vertical pulling motion. Lower yourself with control until just before locking out elbows in starting position. PULLUP vs CHINUP? Pullups use a pronated grip (palms facing away from the body) slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart. This movement tends to be slightly more challenging and isolates the lats. Chinups use a supinated grip (palms facing body), with hands a little closer together; they use more of the biceps. Original content can be found on Muscle & Fitness Hers website.
TWENTY-TWO PARABOLIC PERFORMANCE & REHAB CLIENTS LAND NFL OPPORTUNITIES FOLLOWING 2016 NFL DRAFT
Parabolic Performance & Rehab, a leading sports performance training and physical therapy practice, has quickly established itself as the premiere NFL Pre Draft training provider in the northeast. Following the 2016 NFL Draft, a total of twenty two players trained and treated by Parabolic will be putting on the pads for NFL teams starting as soon as this weekend. Among the notable prospects, tight end Seth DeValve became the highest draft pick in Princeton University history when the Cleveland Browns took him in the fourth round, the 138th pick overall. Jordan Lucas, defensive back out of Penn State was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round, 204th overall. Immediately following the NFL Draft, there is a mad scramble by teams to sign the top remaining undrafted NFL prospects, these players are identified as “priority free agents” and they are highly coveted. For some perspective, 29% of NFL rosters in the 2015 season were comprised of undrafted free agents. Six of Parabolic’s clients landed in this category, wading though multiple offers before selecting their individual NFL destinations. These players included Steve Longa (Seattle Seahawks/Rutgers), Quentin Gause (Philadelphia Eagles/Rutgers), Keith Lumpkin (Buffalo Bills/Rutgers), Cedrick Lang (New York Giants/UTEP), Randall Jette (Green Bay Packers/Massachusetts), Darren Wilson (New York Jets/Elizabeth City State University), Richard Leonard (Houston Texans/Florida International) and Joe Callahan (Green Bay Packers/Wesley College). Additional opportunities are presented to undrafted free agents as NFL clubs invite a handful of players to rookie mini camp for a try out before deciding whether or not to extend contract offers. Parabolic had 14 clients that were extended mini camp invites, one of which, Rutgers running back Paul James received invites from both the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. The others receiving invites include Sam Bergen (Tennessee Titans/Rutgers), Savon Huggins (Green Bay Packers/Northern Iowa), Angelo Mangiro (New York Giants/Penn State), Gary Nova (Green Bay Packers/Rutgers), Kassan Messiah (New York Giants/Massachusetts), Alex Ross (Atlanta Falcons/Coastal Carolina), Mykhael Quave (New York Giants/Louisiana-Lafayette), Lee Hightower (Houston Texans/Boise St), Jake Schunke (Minnesota Vikings/Towson), Dave Bowen (Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Boston College), Jasen Oden (Atlanta Falcons/Colorado State), and Nick Arbuckle (Pittsburgh Steelers/Georgia State). “We are thrilled that so many of our players made NFL teams,” said Parabolic CEO, Steve Frohlich. “Parabolic has dedicated tremendous time and resources to make certain our athletes are prepared for their combine, pro-day, or workouts. It’s clear they performed when called upon and they deserve all their successes. As a nationally recognized leader in physical therapy, Parabolic has integrated these medical services into our accomplished draft prep program. This integrated system is what distinguishes Parabolic and has proven to deliver our players to the NFL with a clean bill of health.” If you’re interested in learning more about Parabolic’s NFL Pre Draft programming or would like to schedule an interview with one of our staff or NFL Draft prospects, please call Ami Dow at 973-744-2770 or via email at [email protected]
Building A Larger Engine Using The Strength Aerobic Method
The strength aerobic method was first written about by Yuri Verkhoshansky in his book Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches and recently popularized by Joel Jamieson via his book Ultimate MMA Conditioning. The strength aerobic method is used to induce type 1, or slow twitch muscle fibers hypertrophy. This takes places due to the creation of local hypoxia in the muscle fibers, which results in mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondrial biogenesis is essentially the formation of new mitochondria in the cell. This is important because mitochondria houses the production of energy during aerobic metabolism. Therefore, a muscle fiber with more mitochondria will have a more robust engine and will be able to perform greater amounts of work while also improving recovery better between bouts of higher intensityactivity. Since type 1 muscle fibers are primarily powered by oxygenated means, this means they are most effectively stimulated and trained during aerobic metabolism. As such, enter the strength aerobic method. The Benefits of the Strength Aerobic Method 1. IMPROVED AEROBIC CAPACITY By improving the aerobic capacity of local slow switch twitch muscle fibers, it spares the fast twitch muscles. If we only train using the fast twitch fibers, we will immediately tap into them early into a game or match. By training the slow twitch fibers, we prioritize our efforts better and use the slower twitch oxygenated fibers for longer, so we can save our fast twitch explosive efforts for when we really need them. For example, I used this method with my NFL Combine and Pro Day athletes when preparing for their 225lb bench press test. The goal is to do as many reps as possible under aerobic conditions, so that the higher intensity fibers are saved for when they are needed to produce more force under fatigue. The 225lb bench press test is essentially a local muscular anaerobic threshold test, and we use the strength aerobic method to “widen their aerobic window,” so that they can do more work at a lower relative intensity. In a normal field sport setting, this method can allow athletes to perform more work at lower relative intensities, which again allows them to save their explosive efforts for when they need them later in the game. Having power is great, but if you tap into your high intensity efforts too quickly and deplete those resources, you will not last. You need a proper mix of power and capacity, and this method is excellent for training the capacity of specific local muscle fibers to tolerate high volumes of work. 2. IMPROVED MOTOR LEARNING VIA THE RELEASE OF BRAIN DERIVED NEUROTROPIC FACTOR (BDNF) Brain derived neurotrophic factor is a powerful protein of the neurotrophin family that is responsible for neuroprotection, neurogenesis, and neuroplasticity. This protein is released any time our brain creates new neurons or is tasked with protecting already existing neurons. BDNF is released during low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise, and is the primary agent responsible for aerobic exercise’s powerful benefits on improving cognition and motor learning. For years scientists found a link between exercise and brain health, but were unsure as to why. Considerable new research suggests that BDNF is the agent responsible for many of exercises powerful effects on the brain. This research suggests that due to the release of BDNF, aerobic exercise can positively affect the motor learning process and create a suitable environment for learning new skills. BDNF levels can stay elevated for days post aerobic exercise, but they are acutely peaked several minutes post aerobic activity. This means that during and immediately after aerobic training is a perfect time to learn new skills due to the release of BDNF. 3. A LESS THREATENING ENVIRONMENT DUE TO AEROBIC METABOLISM Aerobic pathways are primarily correlated to parasympathetic tone, while higher intensity lactic anaerobic efforts are more sympathetically dominant and create a more threatening environment. In a lactic environment, there is a greater onset of fatigue and threat. Essentially when this happens, the brain becomes primarily concerned with finishing the task anyway possible, while finding alternative respiratory strategies to remain living. In other words, we lose control of our pelvis and ribcage under fatigue because we resort to any compensation strategies possible to get air in and remain breathing. As a result, we lose proper positioning of our hip extensors and abdominals and often end up with more extensor tone during highly fatiguing bouts of activity. Attempting to work on position and movement quality is great, but it is often too late during higher intensity efforts. We must build the patterns in a lower threshold environment, which is what the strength aerobic method provides to individuals. 4. A SLOW CONTROLLED TEMPO HELPS ATHLETES FIND AND FEEL CERTAIN POSITIONS Slow tempos are great for increasing proprioceptive feedback and improving position of an athlete’s joints to optimize the muscles being used. For example, try doing RDLs with a moderate load for 60 seconds with a 303 tempo and a focus on creating a flexion moment with the hamstrings and anterior core and tell me if you feel your hamstrings or not. The combination of the production of BDNF, a reduced threat from aerobic metabolism, and a slow and controlled tempo is an excellent combination to improve stability and motor learning of specific motor patterns while also improving local muscular endurance. How To Perform The Strength Aerobic Method There are several ways to incorporate the strength aerobic method into a strength and conditioning program. They are as follows: 1. AS AN ACCESSORY EXERCISE DURING A NORMAL RESISTANCE TRAINING SESSION You can reap the benefits of the strength aerobic method without having to add in any additional exercises into your athletes program. Simply replace an existing rep scheme with the strength aerobic method during one of their assistance exercises. For example, if an athlete is performing rows or bulgarian split squats near the tail end of their resistance training session, you can have them perform these exercises as strength aerobic exercise without having to change much. Just slow down the tempo and drop the intensity to about 30-40% of 1RM. 2. AS A FINISHER, WHICH REPLICATES THE MAIN MOVEMENT OF THE DAY If an athlete squats as their main exercise of the day, you can have them perform the strength aerobic method as their conditioning. For example, if they front squat as their main lift of the day, they will goblet squat or hip belt squat using a slower cadence and light weights after all of their other strength work has been completed. 3. AS A CIRCUIT DURING AN ACTIVE RECOVERY DAY This is originally one of the ways that Verkhoshansky wrote about using the strength aerobic method. Pick several different exercises for non-consecutive body parts and perform them in a circuit fashion with light weights and a slow cadence. In his book he recommends 8-10 exercises, but I usually prescribe 4-5. An example would be goblet squat, trx row, kettlebell or barbell RDL, push-up, and sometimes I throw in a core exercise or a carry in there. Make sure to stay below 150 BPM during this circuit. 4. IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING YOUR MAX EFFORT LIFT OF THE DAY This is the other way Verkhoshansky wrote about this method. This method is very similar to the complex or contrast methods, but instead of following the max effort method with a set of plyos or the dynamic method, you will follow it up with a lighter set using the strength aerobic method. The goal is to stimulate the maximum amount of muscle fibers possibly. It starts with a near maximum effort set at around 80-90% of 1RM for a few reps to stimulate the fast twitch fibers, and immediately goes into a much lighter set of 10-15 reps done at a slow and controlled tempo to stimulate the slow twitch fibers. Regardless of how you choose to implement this method, here are some guidelines: · Low to moderate intensities (30-40% 1RM) · Slow controlled tempo with no pauses at the top or bottom (202 or 303 tempo) · 10-15 reps · 3-5 sets; add series if needed The goal is to stimulate the slow twitch fibers to grow by creating a hypoxic environment, resulting in mitochondrial biogenesis. To do so, you need constant tension on the muscle, which is where the 202 and 303 tempos come in. There must be no pause at the top or the bottom during a rep. Here is a sample of how I would program this method using all of the variations listed above: 1. AS AN ACCESSORY EXERCISE DURING A NORMAL RESISTANCE TRAINING SESSION A1, Front Squat A2. KB Pullover B1. Barbell Single Leg RDL B2. Half Kneeling Landmine Press C1. TRX Row (Strength Aerobic Method) 2. AS A FINISHER, WHICH REPLICATES THE MAIN MOVEMENT OF THE DAY A1. Front Squat: 5 X 3 @ RPE 8 D1. Goblet Squat: 4 X 50 seconds (303 tempo) 3. AS A CIRCUIT DURING AN ACTIVE RECOVERY DAY A1, Goblet Squat A2. TRX Row A3. KB Deadlift A4. Push-Up A5. KB Pullover 3-5 rounds of 40-60 seconds on/60 seconds off at a 303 tempo 4. IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING YOUR MAX EFFORT LIFT OF THE DAY A1. Barbell Back Squat: 3 x 3 @ 85% A2. Goblet Squat: 3 X 10-15 (303 tempo) Final Thoughts When it comes down to building a large aerobic base, many individuals think of traditional cardio. Hopefully, this gives you some additional options to develop aerobic capacity and slow twitch hypertrophy in local muscular fibers. In addition and possibly more importantly, this is an excellent method to incorporate into your program to help drive proper motor patterns. Always training at a high intensity will generate a lot of fatigue and create high threshold sympathetic strategies, which can result in a lack of movement variability. Training these same patterns in a less fatigued state and less threatening environment can do wonders improving movement variability and therefore movement quality. Original article posted by Historic Performance.
Make Time for YOU this Spring
For many of us who set out to conquer New Year’s resolutions and start fresh, that journey many not be going exactly as planned. Excuses are easy to come by and have piled up. Life and work just seem to always get in the way. Your plan to drop those few extra pounds or starting that new exercise routine may have seemed like a great at idea the time, but you quickly realized that the goals you set are just too far fetched. Well here is a friendly reminder, spring time is right around the corner and there is no better time of year that can motivate you to make a fresh start. There is something to be said when the warm air starts blowing and the birds start chirping. Our spirits become instantly elevated with the ability to finally get outside and tackle new projects, so let’s start with getting rid of the excuses. The most common excuse for avoiding exercise is not having the time to exercise. Time is a critical commodity that far too many of us never seem to have enough of. If the work piles up during the day we find ourselves taking more and more of our responsibilities home with us. The kid’s agenda’s become priority leaving even less time for you. You have to cook dinner, mow the lawn, fix your car, grocery shop, take your dog to the veterinarian and before you even have a second to think about yourself—the day is of over. Was your goal back in January to neglect yourself everyday? That answer should be no, but the hard part is trying to figure out how to avoid self-neglect. Here is a scenario. You’re 8x’s more likely to experience some form of illness or disease with an inactive lifestyle. When symptoms begin presenting themselves you’ll be forced to make an appointment with your doctor, drive to the appointment, wait to be seen, schedule additional appointments if further tests are warranted, and wait at the pharmacy for a prescription to be filled. This all takes A LOT of time, but for some crazy reason we find a way to adjust our schedules and fit all these appointments in. And we should because during vulnerable times our health becomes a priority. So why not stay ahead of all this and make a commitment to accommodate the prevention of illness through exercise? This spring get outside and stop hiding behind your excuses. It will never be the perfect time to start a new exercise routine, the reality is you do have the time; you just have to decide to use it.
Gary Nova Will Be Back at Rutgers’ Pro Day to Continue NFL Pursuit
FARMINGDALE — Gary Nova went from the big man on campus to just another student on campus last fall. And that was fine with the former Rutgers quarterback. Nova, who finished his career as Rutgers’ four-year starter in 2014, was back on campus last fall to take classes. “It was different,” Nova said. “A lot of people were looking at me and stuff, but I really didn’t pay any mind to it. It was kind of like a relief. I didn’t have to worry about practice or anything like that. You just go to class and be like a regular student.” Nova is on pace to graduate in May with a degree in labor and employment relations. “I’m taking classes right now and then I’m done,” Nova said. “Thank God.” Although Nova enjoyed his respite from football last fall, he’s not done with the game. He returned to Parabolic Performance & Rehab in December to begin training for another shot at the NFL. “I’m just giving it another go,” Nova said. “I’ve got a new agent now. The (Parabolic) facility is awesome, so workout here and be around these guys and just give it another shot.” Nova is training at Parabolic with former Rutgers teammates Steve Longa, Keith Lumpkin, Paul James, Quentin Gause, Savon Huggins, Sam Bergen and, as of this week, Leonte Carroo. If Carroo, who is dealing with an ankle injury, decides to run routes at Rutgers’ pro day next Wednesday, the longtime quarterback-receiver connection will be back in action. “It’s cool,” Nova said. “We’ve got a lot of Rutgers guys here so it’s kind of like being part of a little team again. It’s just real fun and I’m just enjoying it.” All of the former Scarlet Knights are training for pro day, when NFL scouts will arrive on campus for evaluations. Nova went through the process last year and was invited to a tryout with the Giants after going undrafted. Nova wasn’t signed by the Giants after the team’s rookie minicamp in May. He remained on the team’s radar, but with Eli Manning remaining healthy all season, there was no need to bring Nova back. Nova, who again is being trained by former NFL quarterback Jay Fiedler, has also generated some interest from the Canadian Football League. Unlike the Rutgers players who finished their careers in the fall, Nova can sign with an NFL team at any point. Pro day will be crucial for Nova, who believes it’s not too late to reach his NFL dream. “I’m still young. I’m 22 years old,” Nova said. “I’ll finish my degree. I’ll have that in my back pocket. I feel like I’ll just chase this until it’s time to give up. But right now, I feel good about it. I feel confident. I know I can play. So I’m just going to keep going.”