Stunning Swimming Sculpture is Carved From a Single Piece of Wood

t may be hard to believe, but this stunning sculpture was carved from a single piece of wood. Artist Stefanie Rocknak, who you may remember as the creator of that ghostly Edgar Allan Poe sculpture, is behind this fascinating figurative work. Slightly larger than life-size, the sculpture, called The Swimmer, was part of a three piece commission under the project The Triathlete. The other two pieces are called The Biker and The Runner. Each of them show a sense of movement. As Rocknak tells us, “These days, I am not very interested in sculpted figures, or real people, that ‘strike a pose.’ I am much more intrigued by folks who are on their way to or from somewhere. They seem more genuine to me.”

Love how Rocknak captures the moment in time when a swimmer comes up for a breath. Notice the incredible details like the splashes of water and the lines on the hand.

From Stefanie Rocknak’s website

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Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes

A  study called, “Chronic Exercise Preserves Lean Muscle Mass in Masters Athletes,” which you can read HERE graphically illustrates what happens to your muscles (with and without) the type of regular and beneficial exercise that the sport of triathlon provides. The image above  is a cross section of a 40-year-old triathlete’s legs and the associated muscle. But the  other two images are the really interesting and telling ones. As you can tell, the 74-year-old masters triathlete’s legs are not unlike that of the 40-year-old triathlete’s legs. The study’s authors go on to write: “It is commonly believed that with aging comes an inevitable decline from vitality to frailty. This includes feeling weak and often the loss of independence. These declines may have more to do with lifestyle choices, including sedentary living and poor nutrition, than the absolute potential of musculoskeletal aging. In this study, we sought to eliminate the confounding variables of sedentary living and muscle disuse, and answer the question of what really happens to our muscles as we age if we are chronically active. This study and those discussed here show that we are capable of preserving both muscle mass and strength with lifelong physical activity.” They conclude by writing: “The loss of lean muscle mass and the resulting subjective and objective weakness experienced with sedentary aging imposes significant but modifiable personal, societal, and economic burdens. As sports medicine clinicians, we must encourage people to become or remain active at all ages. This study, and those reviewed here, document the possibility to maintain muscle mass and strength across the ages via simple lifestyle changes.” 40 yo triathlete   I am referring to that study in the book i wrote: Triathlon, Loving it is easy

THE COOPER TEST, AN ENDURANCE TEST OF 12 MINUTES OF RUNNING.

The Cooper test is a test of physical fitness that was designed by Kenneth H. Cooper in 1968 for use by the US military. Its execution is very simple. You have to run (or walk) for 12 minutes, attempting to cover the largest possible distance. Before trying this, it would be a good idea for you to consult a doctor, since it is an exhausting test when executed correctly. Also, remember to do a decent warm-up. For the optimal calculation you will want to do the test on a 400-meter running track (0.25 miles). Record holder is Kenenisa Bekele, who ran a distance of 3 miles (4750 meters) in 12 minutes.

MAXIMAL OXYGEN CONSUMPTION VO2MAX
We use the term VO2Max to refer to the maximal amount of oxygen that the body can consume during strenuous exercise, which determines the highest boundary at which an endurance exercise can be performed. Essentially, the Maximal Oxygen Consumption refers to the maximal cardiorespiratory function and it can largely predict the maximal aerobic capacity and endurance. For a precise calculation of the VO2Max, you should go to an exercise physiology lab. However, there is also an amateur technique to calculate it based on your Cooper test results:
(The distance you ran in meters – 504.9) / 44.73
For example, at this test I ran 3200 meters.
3200 – 504.9 = 2695.1
2695.1 / 44.73 = 60.25 mls/kg/min
No matter how much of an amateur technique this is, I would like to point out that for the last 5-6 years I have been going to an exercise physiology lab twice a year to calculate my VO2Max and it always ranges between 57-61 mls/kg/min, depending on the training period.

Cooper test results evaluation

Age group Sex Very good Good Average Bad Very bad
13-14 year Male >2700 m 2400 – 2700 m 2200 – 2400 m 2100 – 2200 m <2100 m
Female >2000 m 1900 – 2000 m 1600 – 1900 m 1500 – 1600 m <1500 m
15-16 year Male >2800 m 2500 – 2800 m 2300 – 2500 m 2200 – 2300 m <2200 m
Female >2100 m 2000 – 2100 m 1700 – 2000 m 1600 – 1700 m <1600 m
17-20 year Male >3000 m 2700 – 3000 m 2500 – 2700 m 2300 – 2500 m <2300 m
Female >2300 m 2100 – 2300 m 1800 – 2100 m 1700 – 1800 m <1700 m
20-29 year Male >2800 m 2400 – 2800 m 2200 – 2400 m 1600 – 2200 m <1600 m
Female >2700 m 2200 – 2700 m 1800 – 2200 m 1500 – 1800 m <1500 m
30-39 year Male >2700 m 2300 – 2700 m 1900 – 2300 m 1500 – 1900 m <1500 m
Female >2500 m 2000 – 2500 m 1700 – 2000 m 1400 – 1700 m <1400 m
40-49 year Male >2500 m 2100 – 2500 m 1700 – 2100 m 1400 – 1700 m <1400 m
Female >2300 m 1900 – 2300 m 1500 – 1900 m 1200 – 1500 m <1200 m
>50 year Male >2400 m 2000 – 2400 m 1600 – 2000 m 1300 – 1600 m <1300 m
Female >2200 m 1700 – 2200 m 1400 – 1700 m 1100 – 1400 m <1100 m

For experienced athletes

Sex Very good Good Average Bad Very bad
Male >3700 m 3400 – 3700 m 3100 – 3400 m 2800 – 3100 m <2800 m
Female >3000 m 2700 – 3000 m 2400 – 2700 m 2100 – 2400 m <2100  m

This article is a chapter of the book I have written: Triathlon: Loving it is easy.

Nutrition During Endurance Competition

Glycogen is the form in which carbohydrates are stored in our bodies and can be found in the liver and muscles.

Since the muscles have a greater overall surface area than the liver, a larger amount of glycogen (referred to as muscle cell glycogen) is stored there. Specifically, adults have about 2.6-3.5 ounces (75-100 grams) of carbohydrates stored in their liver glycogen and 10.6-14 ounces (300-400 grams) in their muscle cell glycogen. One of the processes taking place in the body of an athlete during an endurance race is that the stored amount of muscle cell glycogen can become twice as high as that of people who do not do sports.

In competitions that last over an hour, such as a marathon or triathlon, the glycogen reserve becomes exhausted, making nutrition during the competition an important factor. The stored glycogen (polysaccharides) is constantly broken down and converted into glucose (monosaccharides), which enters the bloodstream to produce energy.

For endurance competitions, the preservation of glucose levels in the blood is of the utmost importance. It is worth mentioning that the brain exclusively uses glucose as fuel, whereas the rest of the body can also count on fatty ac-ids and even proteins. Any kind of disturbance of these levels in the blood results in a decrease in brain function, with symptoms such as dizziness, moving difficulties, reeling, concentration problems, and even collapsing.

Remember the shocking finish of the supreme Swiss ATHLETE (the use of capital letters is for emphasis) Gabrielle Andersen in the marathon for women at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, which is a characteristic example of hypoglycemia.

I will not go further into the field of biology and the processes that take place in the human body during workouts.

However, there are a couple of basic things that every endurance athlete should know and put into practice, in order to avoid hypoglycemia and, by extension, speed reduction or failure to finish an event.

1. Apart from the glucose that originates from the muscle cell glycogen and liver glycogen, isotonic drinks should be another important source of energy during endurance competitions of over one hour. These drinks contain not only carbohydrates in a fluid form, but also electrolytes, which the body loses upon sweating and which therefore have to be replenished. The ideal amount of carbohydrates in these drinks is 6-8%. Less than that is insufficient, while in a higher concentration they are absorbed more slowly, which can lead to stomach trouble. By means of training and participating in competitions of little importance, each athlete should experiment with these drinks and find the one that makes him tick. In my case, for example, during triathlons and half marathons, it works to drink half a glass of isotonic drinks every 20 minutes and one glass 15-20 minutes before the beginning of the competition.

2. Moreover, as I already mentioned, during long-distance com-petitions, the human body does not only use glycogen, but also fat and proteins for the production of energy; albeit in smaller amounts, especially towards the end of the race. Our bodies prefer the energy production from carbohydrates, since it is more efficient than that from fat (which is stored in our bodies more plentifully than carbohydrates). Apart from storing more glycogen, an endurance athlete’s body should be able to mobilize and utilize fat reserves more efficiently. In order to train your body to burn fat, you should add a weekly long-duration and low-intensity run (over 1:30 h) to your training schedule. This kind of training makes the energy production process more reliant on fat than on carbohydrates.

3. Another important factor is: as a rule, endurance athletes should have determined their tactic and the speed at which they will per-form during each race, based on their training experience. They should stick to their plan, and under no circumstances should they get carried away by faster athletes or a sense of overconfidence and increase their speed. Generally, you pay a big price for that kind of cockiness during a race, since he glycogen reserve is exhausted much faster that way. It is better to finish a race according to plan; there will be many other competitions in the future where you can go faster, if you plan it.

4. Endurance athletes have to make sure that their glycogen levels are at maximum levels on the day of he race. In order to do so, they should not tap into these reserves
during the last three days before the competition by training for hours. Their nutrition should have an increased amount of carbohydrates.

This article is a chapter of the book I have written: Triathlon: Loving it is easy.

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What Parents Should Say as Their Kids Perform

By Tim Elmore

In my work at Growing Leaders, we enjoy the privilege of serving numerous NCAA and professional sports teams each year. After meeting with hundreds of coaches and athletes, I noticed an issue kept surfacing in our conversations. Both the student-athlete and the coach were trying to solve the same problem.  What was that problem?

The parents of the student-athletes.

kids perform

You may or may not believe this, but even in Division One athletics, parents stay engaged with their child’s sport, often at the same level they did through their growing up years. Moms will call coaches and advise them on how to encourage their daughter or son. Dads will call coaches and ask why their kid isn’t getting more playing time. Parents will call strength and conditioning coaches and inquire what they’re doing about their child’s torn ligament. Each of these calls is understandable. After all, no one has more at stake than the parent of a performer. They love their child, they’ve invested in their child and they want to see a “return on their investment.” Some athletes refer to their mom as their P.A. (personal assistant) or their agent. I know a mother who watches her collegiate daughter’s gymnastics practice behind the glass, all the while, calling and leaving voicemails for the coach on what should be done for her little girl. I even know sets of parents who moved into a condo across the street from their freshman athlete’s university. They didn’t want to miss a thing, and they certainly didn’t want to neglect to provide direction. I understand this. I am a father of two kids myself.

What we parents may not recognize is the pressure and angst this kind of involvement applies. May I tell you what student-athletes are telling me?

  1. I love my mom, but when she does this, I get the feeling she doesn’t trust me.
  2. My parents are great, but I feel like I have multiple coaches telling me what to do and I get stressed out over it.
  3. I’m getting blackballed by my teammates because my mother keeps texting me and my coach, to give suggestions. I wish she would chill.
  4. I feel like I’m never quite good enough; I can never fully please my parents.

Moving From Supervisor to Consultant

According to years of research on athletes, I believe parents have a more productive impact on their kids by making a change in their style. When our kids were younger, we played the role of supervisor. We were right there on top of the issues. And we should be—they were young and needed our support. As they age, parents must move to the role of consultant. We’re still involved, still supportive, but we allow our kids to grow up and self-regulate. When we fail to do this—we can actually stunt their growth. It’s a bit like teaching our kids to ride a bike. Remember this process?  First, we gave them a tricycle. The three wheels made it almost impossible for them to fall off, and they got used to peddling a vehicle. Then, they moved to a bicycle. It was bigger and had only two wheels. A little more scary. So we initiated them on that bike with training wheels. That prevented bad accidents. Eventually, however, we took the training wheels off, and our involvement became a tender balance of two ingredients: support and letting go. Did you catch that? Support and letting go.

What We Should Say When Our Kids Perform

The most liberating words parents can speak to their student-athletes are quite simple. Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:                                    After the competition:

  1. Have fun.                                                    1. Did you have fun?
  2. Play hard.                                                    2. I’m proud of you.
  3. I love you.                                                    3. I love you.

Six Simple Words…

For years, I wondered what the student-athlete would say about this issue. After decades of work with athletes, Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller found out. They suggest six simple words parents can express that produce the most positive results in their performing children. After interacting with students, they report:

College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response:

“I love to watch you play.”

That’s it. Those six words. How interesting. How liberating to the parent. How empowering to the student-athlete. No pressure. No correction. No judgment. (That’s the coach’s job). Just pure love of their child using their gift in competition.

When I learned this, I reflected on the years my own kids competed in sports, recitals, theatrical plays, and practices. Far too often, I wanted to play a role that added more stress to their life. Instead, I now realize—I just need to love them. And to love watching them play.

From a parent’s view—this is the best way to cultivate an emotionally healthy kid

– See more at: http://growingleaders.com/blog/what-parents-should-say-as-their-kids-perform/#sthash.R2u0etVy.dpuf

Are You Addicted To Training?

US Navy 080910-N-6674H-005 Cmdr. Kristin Barne...

US Navy 080910-N-6674H-005 Cmdr. Kristin Barnes trains for the annual Ironman World Championship triathlon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Triathlete Europe

Ever wonder when friends tell you they’re addicted to running or another endurance activity if you should be concerned or if it’s simply a colloquial way of expressing their high level of commitment to the sport?

When excessive exercise was first conceptualized as an addiction in 1970, two different camps emerged: one championing the idea of excessive exercise as positive because of all the health benefits it produces, and another, which argued that any excessive behavior is an addiction and by definition is negative because of adverse consequences. Current research still suggests that some endurance athletes risk self-destructing through excessive exercise in much the same way chronic drug users risk overdosing.

People who participate in endurance sports often display (perhaps to a lesser degree) characteristics similar to those involved in addictive behaviors, such as substance use, gambling, and compulsive spending. We can draw a fine line between productive commitment to a sport and self-destructive adherence when the behavior becomes excessive.

Endurance athletes often demonstrate excellent time management and pride themselves on having Type A personalities, as evidenced by their task completion, competitiveness and determination when facing challenges. But if such dedication becomes disproportionate and at the expense of other interests, or if problems such as injury, fatigue, irritability and interpersonal conflicts aren’t dealt with, athletes and those around them may suffer.

Exercise does mitigate the effects of anxiety and depression, but if exercise is a person’s only mode of dealing with these uncomfortable states, the anxiety and depression may emerge later or in other areas of the person’s life.

When exercise becomes a preoccupation at the expense of other important areas of life, it can be destructive, both psychologically and physically. For example, in order to maintain their demanding train- ing schedules, endurance athletes often ignore the medical advice to rest while injured. Further, athletes often take it upon themselves to increase their training mileage above that prescribed by their coaches, believing in the doctrines that “more is better” and “no pain, no gain.”

Despite these concerns, endurance training has many benefits, such as cardiovascular health and high self-esteem, and when kept in perspective, training for an endurance event structures exercise into an otherwise hectic schedule. The key is to find balance and remember that exercise is but one element of a happy and successful life.

About The Author: Florida-based licensed clinical and sport psychologist Jason Youngman, Ph.D., is a two-time Ironman finisher and founder of Peak Functioning, LLC.

Triathlon joke

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