Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sports Psychology Masters Program and Job Options

Sports psychology is a growing field. A general definition of sports psychology would be learning to use the brain to accomplish maximum sporting performance. There are several common tools used in sports psychology, and as more is learned about the way that people respond to different tools, they will continue to change and develop accordingly. Much of the information learned about sports psychology is through academic learning, and several schools offer a sports psychology masters program.

Goal setting is one of the most important tools used in sports psychology. It is the process of setting an ideal for what you would like the future to be, and then determining ways to make that ideal a reality. By setting goals that are clearly defined you are able to tell more quickly how well you are doing in achieving those goals. Measuring your successes becomes easier when you set goals, and it provides motivation when those goals are either met or not.

A second tool used for sports psychology is imagery. Imagery is basically training with your mind. Using imagination is the basis for imagery, and can boost performance in sports by allowing you to practice when injured, pre-experience the achievement of goals, and mentally prepare for an athletic event and anything that might go wrong, without having to actually experience it physically.

Focus and flow, or how to achieve perfect concentration is the third tool used in sports psychology. In order to achieve what they call “flow” there are several factors which need to be in place. Some of those factors are the ability to perceive that your skills are good enough for the task you are looking to do, your competition is not too easy and therefore you do not become bored with it, you are in a relaxed environment, however, you are very alert, and you are not easily distracted. Being able to handle stress, avoid distraction and being fully focused on the task at hand are all very important. Focus and flow are at the very heart of sports psychology.

There are many different types of jobs which are available in sports psychology. Speaking to someone in your area, or researching online the different paths you might take can be very helpful in determining whether sports psychology is a career you might wish to pursue.

Certainly a sports psychology masters degree program, or a PhD program benefit in being able to find a job in this field, and working with any professional sports teams is certainly a competitive field. The rewards of working with a team, and becoming a part of that team are certainly many, and this is part of what drives people to become involved in a job in sports psychology.

Weight Loss: Customize, Personalize, Spice up!

You know you have weighted, err, waited more than enough. So you decide to get yourself started on some weight loss programs and regimens. In all likelihood you would draft yourself with the ones that promise you sure-hit quick weight loss tips.

So you sweat and strain with your chosen weight loss program, perhaps ecstatically so at the start. Sure your body gets all aching with all your joints and knuckles cracking in epic proportions like ungreased door hinges of horror movies.

Looking at yourself in the mirror, you cringe at the sight of this blob staring back miserably at you still with the extra flabs flapping around somewhere there. You sigh in exasperation. Whatever happened to the weight loss program that promised to sculpt your body to whistle-bait shape? You scream in desperation. You know you have just been weigh-laid, err again, way-laid by some pseudo weight loss masters.

Truth is, we tend to pattern our weight loss mindset after the mentality of that of some backyard gym instructors. We torture ourselves with the age-old dictum “No pain, no gain.” Let’s face it, while it did miracles for Rocky, it sure did get him crippled (or, killed) in the final picture.

We are no Rocky. We are ordinary human beings with not-so-ordinary day-to-day affairs. Some are multi-tasked like the housewife who has to master doing diapers in one hand, pitching copies in the other, while applying tantric massage on her hubby with her feet. All throughout she is troubled between going for weight loss surgery and taking weight loss pills.

“No pain, no gain” is foolishly macho and downright false. Of course, there’s bound to be some discomfort when you’re just getting started with your own weight loss program, and later when you start to reach out for new weight loss goals.

But there’s an important difference between discomfort and pain. Learn it. Listen to your body say, “Moderation in all things.” Pain means injury. Pain makes you quit the weight loss program.

If you don’t like your chosen program of weight loss exercises, you won’t stick with it. It will become a chore, you’ll slack off and finally give up the entire weight loss program. Tailor your weight loss exercise to yourself, not to what others do or to some false image generated from within or without. Of course when you’re just getting started, weight loss may seem like a chore. But appearances are not always reality. Realize that your body and mind would always prefer being a couch potato, and will rebel at the thought of exertion in the weight loss program, so you’ve got to give any form of exercise a chance to grow on you before you start analyzing whether it’s for you or not! The key is to turn weight loss exercise into play, then you’ll succeed and persist. Lack of joy makes you quit.

So spice up your own program of weight loss exercises by customizing it according to your our own weight loss needs. Variety is still the spice of weight loss. You should’nt be satisfied just with pounding the pavement or sweating in a gym. Variety makes you learn how much you’re capable of. Play around, pick and choose, experiment with your own customized personal weight loss program.

Whatever weight loss exercises you choose from the following, try to get your heart rate up to about 70 percent of your safe maximum. You can do that by using this formula: 220 minus your age equals your Maximum Safe Heart Rate. Keep it at this rate for a solid half-hour. Don’t go over the 85 percent rate for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Of course, heart rate doesn’t figure into strength builders such as weigh lifting.

Note : The calories-burned figures that follow are for a 110-pounder. A 154-pounder should add on another 28 percent to that number, while a 198-pounder should add 55 percent.

Walking : Calories burned at 2 mph is 145 per hour; 3 mph is 235 per hour; at 5 mph is 435 per hour.

Jogging : Calories burned at 5mph is 530 per hour which is roughly about a 12-minute mile.

Jumping Rope : Calories burned is 600 calories per hour.

Swimming : At 30 yards per minute (about one lap of an Olympic-size pool), calories burned is 330 per hour.

Water-walking : Calories burned is 360 per hour in a fast game.

Bicycling : Calories burned at 10 mph is 390 per hour.

Aerobic Dancing : For low impact, calories burned is 240 per hour and for moderate impact, 350 per hour.

Square Dancing : Calories burned is 350 and up – way up! – per hour.

Table Tennis : Calories burned is 450 hour.

Rowing : Calories burned is 600 per hour.

Cross-country skiing : Calories burned at 10 mph is 600 per hour.

Weight Lifting : Calories burned is 250 per hour.

Martial Arts : Calories burned is 620 per hour.

You really won’t know what you like unless you try it. And if you haven’t tried it don’t knock it. Try mixing gardening with walking, housework with rowing, bicycling with weight lifting, dancing with martial arts, table-tennis with cross-country skiing, outdoors with indoors, team sports with solitary sports. Without variety, humans get bored and stale. They stop reaching. Boredom makes human beings quit.

5 Ways to Improve Strength Training for Runners

runner’s training includes a number of things to build endurance, flexibility and to prevent injury. Runners need strength training,however, to improve their speed. A runners strength training usually involves weight lifting combined with endurance training. Here are 5 simple tips to improve a runners strength training.

One way to greatly improve your strength training is to focus on the proper form when doing weight lifting exercises. Using the proper form will ensure that you are working the right muscles and will help prevent injury during training. You should focus on the form and motion of the exercise first with a very light weight. Once you have the correct form, add weight to increase your strength training. It helps to watch yourself do the exercise in a mirror so you can analyze your form.

A runner’s strength training program should emphasize balance. Our muscles typically work in pairs so you need to make sure that you are working both sets of muscles and in the proper proportion. For example, our quadriceps and hamstrings complement each other. Distance runners will need to work them more equally where a sprinter might put more emphasis on the quadracep.

Your training program needs to have periodic lulls to maximize your strength training. A runner’s strength training should follow a cycle of some sort whether it be in days, weeks or months. This gives both the mind and the body time to rest. It also helps condition both mind and body for peak performance on a cyclic basis. It is usual for these cycles to culminate in competitions or marathons so that a runner is at their peak fitness right before an event.

Give your muscles proper rest and recovery. Strength training works by tearing down muscle tissue. When you lift weights and work your muscles, they develop small tears in the muscle fibers. The process of repairing these small tears is what makes you stronger. Your body needs time to do its repairs or you may injury your muscles rather than improving your strength. Any muscle group should have a minimum of 24 hours rest before it is trained again. This is why it is typical to rotate strength training by working the upper body one day and the lower body the next. Make sure you’re getting your sleep while training too. Lack of sleep will run your body down and make it harder for your muscles to recover.

Finally, you need to be consistent. To be successful, you need to do your strength training regularly. Work out on the same day. You do not want to have big gaps between workouts. If you skip days or vary your schedule too much, you will not get the results that you want. You also need to be consistent with how much weight you add and how frequently you add weight. Keep a journal of your workout so you know how much weight and how many repetitions of each exercise you are doing.

The Cross Fitness Training – Important Facts You Might Not Be Aware Of

Cross fitness training is a combination of different routines to create variety in your workout. Experts in sports medicine consider this like a more holistic and balanced method of achieving health and fitness inside a relatively shorter duration of time. For example, if you wish to build stamina, you can choose to do basketball, biking and swimming on different days of the week. This lets you have a variety of exercise trainings that’s sure to be fun and fascinating to do. In the same time you also get your desired workout goals. Here are a few of the most common benefits of this cross fitness training:

It conditions all parts of the body. The variation in exercise that you simply give your body allows it to develop different muscles. You do not only concentrate on one muscle but all the muscles within your body. As you shift from one activity to another you get to exercise different muscles group providing you with a far more balanced training.

It prevents boredom. A common problem about carrying out a too regimented exercise is when you lose interest about this. This makes you lose your interest thus making you wind up quitting. In cross fitness training, there is a wide selection of exercises you can choose from so every day is interesting and varied. Surely, the different routines will always make you appear toward your workouts.

It’s very flexible. In cross fitness training, your exercise schedule isn’t fixed. Say, circumstances beyond your control stop you from doing all of your regular morning runs around the block you can think of other equally productive trainings to complete. You can play lawn tennis at night or do swimming in the afternoon. Continue reading

Beauty is Everywhere

As I look out into the world, I see so much to be grateful for. Surrounded by beauty, I am left in no doubt that we live in a spirit filled world that is becoming more authentic in the beauty that it is able to appreciate. For so long we have come to define beauty on a superficial level, but as we grow, so will our ability to appreciate beauty grow within us.

With this, understand that only can we recognize and appreciate what is truly beautiful when we have unified with the essence of our own beauty within ourselves. So many struggle to find the beauty in the world when they look outside. Fearful of what they will encounter, they see a world filled with anger, hostility and ugliness, and because this is what they see, this is what becomes real for them, and they continue to live as their self fulfilling prophecy would have it be.

Neglecting their own beauty, they have swallowed a nightmare pill which alters dramatically the world in which they see. Turning away from the spirit, they have chosen to embrace the ego, which sees things always in a distorted light. With power and strength to gain for itself, the ego is devoted not to searching for beauty, but to finding that which can build it up in the eyes of the world. Concerned with the physical world and pleasing those within it, it is not at all interested in the wisdom of the spirit.

Not wanting to be the protagonist in its own demise, the ego has a vested interest in keeping the true source of beauty from your eyes. Not wanting you to experience the awe that beauty inspires, it seeks to keep you in a state of boredom where you ask no questions of life. Asking no questions, you cease to interact with life, and you deprive yourself of the answers that God wants to give to you. This is what it means to be reactive to life, and to suffer in the process.

Called to be proactive, we do not grow in our experience of life, if we have closed ourselves off to what it seeks to teach us. Wanting to show us the beauty in the world and in ourselves, it is a willing teacher, but a teacher has no role to occupy without a student in attendance. This is why we must be open-minded in beauty’s presence. With much to give, there is much to learn about the beauty of God which manifests itself in all things.

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What this means to me is that each of us has the capacity to find beauty in different things. What some label beautiful, others might label ugly, and vice versa. But does it really matter what verdict is passed on whether something is pleasing to the eye or not? What matters absolutely is the seed of beauty to be found in all things that God has created. With the beauty of the creator pervading each of his creations, that beauty is definitely there to see. The question then becomes what is the quality of the vision of the observer?

Many are capable of seeing the beauty in all that surrounds them, but even more are not. Selective in what they ascribe the label ‘beautiful’ to, these people have chosen to honour the mind above the heart, which is all to discriminating. Seeing more than the mind is capable of seeing, the heart knows that it is futile to judge, because it realizes that judgment passed on that which appears in a diminished light is falsely condemned. Seeing only a portion of the whole, much is misunderstood; and embracing only a part, much is rejected as irrelevant. See in this, the dangerous game that we play when we choose to have the ego’s eyes be the filter with which we view the world.

Seeing only fragments of beauty that it has contaminated through its own judgment, much is discarded, and even less honoured, for God cannot be seen by that which despises his presence. Wanting you not to see him, the ego will lead you to label as ugly, much that is beautiful in appearance and substance.

Intense in its loathing, the ego is not always rational in its judgment, and even in its certainty, it misses much to be appreciated. See in this how the ego’s arrogance often leads it to abandon that which could otherwise serve it. Cursed in its blindness, it makes not for wise counsel to the one who searches for a deeper experience of life.

Wanting to experience love, one must consult the heart, being the centre of beauty inside the self. Being not separate from God, it is the gift that God has given us to enjoy the world. Blessed with much, we can find much joy when we look upon the world with spiritual eyes. Hindered not by that which are the ego’s shortcomings, we can see the love behind the barriers, and the distinctions which make the miraculous commonplace.

Blessed in spirit, we must not take for granted that which is capable of teaching us who we truly are. Endowed with wisdom, all of God’s creations are capable teachers, and assuming not a separate identity from him, they are models to be emulated. With this, learn that beauty is distorted as the separation is affected. So as you travel far from him, so will your ability to experience beauty diminish in strength.

Concerned primarily with attaching labels in the moment, what eludes you is the beauty inherent in entering the moment. To enter the moment, is to join with God in your heart, and see what he sees in the physical world. With all that he created being good, you are then able to see the love that pervades everything in the light of the spirit. Appreciating everything just as it is, you understand that it is enough and that the ego does not have to be invited to enhance what is complete in itself.

Complete, the gifts of God are holy in what they hold and what they deliver. Endowed with beauty, they bring to the lost man, much that is invaluable. Longing for God, those who are lost, suffer in their desperation. Convinced of their own ugliness, the memories of their eternal beauty slip into the past. But the past is not lost forever, for every illusion stands to be corrected, and as a partner with eternity, it will not fail to reveal itself in a touch that the moment has in store, for the child who sees clearly now, not yearning for more.

One of the most memorable times that I recall beauty touching me deeply was in Florence when I went to see Michelangelo’s David. I had heard from many people how wonderful this classical piece of sculpture was, but hearing a second hand account doesn’t really prepare you for the effect that it has on the soul, when you see it in person. To say that I was taken aback by its beauty would be an understatement. I was left absolutely speechless! To think that one man saw this masterpiece in that block of marble and saw it as his purpose to bring it to life for all to enjoy is awe inspiring to me.

But as I was standing there, just gazing up at the masterwork, I knew not the distraction of thought that attempted to persuade my mind to intellectualize how the work was brought to life. This allowed me to centre myself and let the profound beauty that emanated from the shiny white surface, move my spirit powerfully in the moment. And as I just allowed the moment to touch me, I felt for a moment just how Michelangelo must have felt with the chisel in his hand and the spirit in his heart, for as I am not alone with my pen, he was not alone with his tools, for with every incision had God’s hand revealed itself so gently and lovingly.

All in all, I spent about an hour in the company of David, listening only to the silence which was my teacher. And as I meditated on what had greeted my senses, I felt a deep sense of appreciation begin to emerge, and as my eyes began to well up with tears, my constant companion placated my fears that I would miss something, a moment, which taught me who I am, not alone in war, but beautiful and fair.

To know Michelangelo must have been to be in the company of a great lover. Here was a man who made it his life’s purpose to serve the world by making manifest in physical form, the love that he carried inside. How else can you explain it? To look into the eyes of David is to know without a shadow of a doubt that he was conceived in love, and because it was this love that filled Michelangelo’s heart, the conception was inevitable.

With this, understand that love never leaves beauty unexpressed, for that is not love’s way. And in the same way that love will never leave beauty unexpressed, so will it never leave the witnesses to that beauty untouched, for the heart that was inspired to bring the beauty to life, is in no way separate from the heart of the witness who has seen in that beauty a clear image of themself revealed.

See in this, how all embodiments of beauty carry a reflection that is not one dimensional. If you were to observe a rose, you would be moved by the beauty of that rose, but what has moved you is not limited to the petals, stem and thorns which make up that rose. What you receive from that rose is an experience of the beauty of nature which is in no way separate from all that the rose is, because nature is the essence of its being. And as it is with the rose, so it is with you, because nature is the very essence of who you are. As God has breathed life into the rose, so has God breathed life into you, and in it you get a glimpse of not only its glory, but your glory as well, which is a stranger not to the glory of God.

Endowed with all that is beautiful, do not doubt what is yours to give, and as you awake from your slumber, so will your brothers and sisters enjoy a more peaceful rest. Not tormented by their hideous nightmares, a new joy will emerge in the form of a dream that is not isolated in how it comes to bless them. As beauty multiplies, so does its visions, in the mind that has unified itself with the heart.

Filled with this love, joy replaces sorrow and gratitude replaces judgment, for as the Lord has spoken, you need not open your mouth to speak. Speaking in glorious tongues, you are left in no doubt that what he has to say is real. Beautiful in its composition, it is undeniably powerful in its resonance. Teaching your heart, the mind finds rest, subsumed by the grace that has cradled it, and when it awakes, immense beauty awaits it, in both its relationship to the physical and the infinite which know no divide. Being what beauty has conquered, love has done its work, through the eye of the spirit that cannot be blinded to the world’s worth.

What is Sport Psychology and How Can it Help Your Game?

Sport psychology is something that we often hear about, but may not know exactly what it is. It is the principles of psychology used in a sport setting.  Consultants look at how psychological aspects control an individual’s physical performance, and how competition in sport affects their psychological development, health, and well-being.

Unfortunately, it is often viewed as something necessary for the weak-minded competitor who has “issues.” The reality is that the mental game of sports affects every athlete, no matter what their strengths or weaknesses may be. This discipline can help any athlete strive to meet their potential.

Fencing is one example sport that can be used: Fencing is both a physical and mental game. Fencers prepare for the physical game by developing muscle memory through repetitive bladework and footwork drills. The mental game is obvious to fencers; however, little is done to train this large portion of fencing. The majority of fencers who utilize specific psychological training are Division I fencers (Athanas, 2007). Consequently, many competitors are not fully prepared to meet all of the demands of their sport.

There are many benefits from working with a consultant. Applied sport psychology professionals are interested in how participation in mental skills training can help an athlete’s development throughout their competitive career. The athlete may have trouble reaching goals, have an injury, or confidence difficulties. Through sport psychology, an athlete can gain the “mental edge” to reach their goals, recover from injury, or gain confidence. Techniques that are commonly used in sport psychological practices include (but are not limited to) imagery and visualization, relaxation, goal setting, building confidence, learning to focus, and regulating energy levels.

Through learning and practicing these techniques, fencer has the ability to reach their potential.

You may be wondering how to get started. However, you don’t want to fall prey to scams. There are many people who claim to be “experts” in psychology but lack the proper training and education.

It is recommended that you only work with legitimate professionals. Before investing any money, ask the consultant questions about what their client population is, what their educational background is, if they are specialized in working with athletes, and how long they have been involved in sport psychology. Only certified consultants are recognized by the Association of the Applied Sport Psychology.

It is important to point out that athletes of all divisions and experience levels can benefit from sport psychology. By working with a sport psychology consultant, you will be able to fortify your weaknesses and improve your strengths through mental skills training. Every sport has both physical and mental components. Many athletes  already toughen their bodies through practice and physical fitness. Toughen your mental game through practicing applied sport psychology.

Reduce Blood Sugar – With 3 Sure Tips

Though there are many more threatening problems in live associated with diabetes, reducing blood sugar involves simple steps. If you are prone to diabetes and anxious to get more of latest information on diabetes about how to reduce blood sugar, you can better grab here what you aim at. Myself being a diabetic for the past few years back, I can better suggest you the ways and means to beat diabetes with least effort. If you take just three steps you can confidently reduce your blood sugar and beat diabetes with zero cost.

Step 1: Reduce sugar intake

The major problem is to get used to having low sugar diets to reduce blood sugar. In this regard, you must have a diabetic diet meal plan comprising a genuine list of diet foods low in sugar. When you purchase food supplements from stores, pay attention to read out the label on the food packet and understand about the ingredients contain in it. You must confirm whether the supplement suits your condition just to the required level of percentage. Specifically you must choose that product having low percentage of sugar.

Step 2: Eat small meals

Eating small meals frequently at regular intervals four to six times a day helps increase body metabolism and enhance digestion system. Cutting down food size of portions to a minimum and keeping off the joys of delicious meals can ensure reduce blood sugar and fight diabetes. Cutting down on food intake is not a fun! Indeed, it is the best way to promote body weight loss that can help keep off diabetes. To ban all foods that contain sugar is not sensible. It is just making an emphasis for reducing sugars by way of reduced food intake without loss of total calorie intake in a day.

Step 3: Have exercise Program

If you have daily exercise routine then you are fortunate to have more chance for reducing sugar levels. The blood sugar’s percentage in the blood stream is pulled down. Your exercise need not include running that exhausts your energy. It will suffice that you just spare 20 to 30 minutes for daily jogging exercise. That way, you are sure to feel better yourself and reduce blood sugar as well. If you feel to have exercising with instruments, better you go for gym where you can avail the assistance of a trainer in planning your exercise just to your need.

Winter Sports Massage Therapy – Your Body’s Kneads

If you participate in winter sports, your body can benefit from sports massage therapy. Interestingly, the average skier or snowboarder, or other winter sports “athlete” is not an athlete. If you are the typical “weekend warrior”, enjoying your winter sport for fun and recreation, then your massage needs will differ from a competitive athlete’s needs.

Snow is settling on high Colorado peaks. Folks are getting anxious to play their favorite winter sports. These include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe hiking, cross-country and telemark skiing, and others.

Your muscles on slopes.

As you start to play, your muscles react to the new challenge. New workloads can leave you sore. Sometimes you “feel the burn” as you cruise down a long trail. Sometimes the soreness is not felt for up to 3 days after strenuous activity. This type is called delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Unlike competitive athletes, soreness can have a much greater impact on the adventures of recreational athletes. If you enjoy your sports while on vacation or on random weekends, your muscles may be in different stages of conditioning throughout the winter.

Sports massage styles and your needs.

Sports massage is often misunderstood as a massage style just for competitive athletes. It is also commonly mistaken for Deep Tissue and massage of intense pressure. However, sports massage depends on the conditioning of the muscles that experience it!

Sports massage will involve firmer pressure when athletes are in training for an event, but not when the event date is approaching soon.

However, since deep bodywork is not advised when a recreational athlete has recently finished their activity, firm sports massage will be applied less often during typical winter sports!

A trained, certified sports massage therapist learns your muscles’ needs and applies techniques accordingly. If you just ripped down a half-pipe on your snowboard, and your quads and arms ache with “over-endorphinating”, then your skilled sports massage therapist will use relaxing strokes and loosening stretches. They may use gentle pressure and a slower pace.

Other styles of massage that relax muscles and loosen joints after activity include:

* Thai, also known as Thai-Yoga

* Hot stone, or “Contrast” with both hot and cold stones

* Relaxing Swedish

As you ascend to your favorite endorphin highs this winter, enjoy sports massage. The right style of sports massage can prepare your body for greater adventures!