Monthly Archives: April 2012

Finding a Health Club That’s Right For You

Some people are self proclaimed gym rats.

Others would be happy to never step foot in a gym. Either way, many people see the benefits associated with a fitness club membership. The International Health, Racquet Sports Club Association reports that nationwide 21 million Americans currently belong to health club of some type. This figure is projected to reach 40 million by the year 2010. If you are one of the 19 million who will join a health club in the next four years, there are some simple criteria and steps that will help you make the right choice.

Criteria For Choosing A Health Club

1) Location

– Choose a health club that isn’t too far from home and work so that you don’t have an extra excuse not to go. Think about how far you are comfortable driving for other tasks in your life such as the grocery store or the dry cleaners. Choose a club that is located within your driving comfort area, and you’ll be more likely to add a trip to the gym into your daily or weekly routine.

2) Programs

– Examine your fitness goals and preferences, and choose a club that offers what you desire. If you need to lose weight, choose a club that offers programs on weight loss and nutrition. If you enjoy swimming and tennis but don’t want to perfect your dead-lift technique, a local swim and tennis club or YMCA might be right for you.

3) Staff

– Find out if the club hires professionally certified fitness instructors. Also, if you are interested in nutrition counseling, massage therapy or physical therapy, see if the club offers trained professionals in those fields.

4) Equipment

– Choose a club that has a wide variety of well-maintained equipment. Consistent fitness often relies on variety, and you will want access to several types of machines and workout tools such as mats and fitness balls.

5) Maintenance

-The entire club should be clean and safe. Make several visits to the club to see how well-lit the parking lot is. Examine the locker rooms to make sure they are well staffed and cleaned regularly. The club should provide cleanser and towels in the workout area so that members are encouraged to clean up after their workouts.

6) Contract Terms

– Health Clubs vary greatly in their contract offerings. While some clubs will ask you to sign a contract for a year (or more), many clubs offer month-to-month memberships if you sign up with an automatic monthly payment. Determine what your ideal contract term would be before signing on the dotted line.

7) Child Care

– Many clubs offer free child care. If this is a concern for you, choose a club that hires trained child care professionals, and has a clean, well-maintained child care facility.

8) Hours

– Many clubs are open 24 hours a day, and offer discounted rate for those who will come at off peak hours. Examine your schedule and determine when you are most likely to work out. Visit the club at several different times during the week to determine the busiest hours, and whether there will be a wait for equipment.

Steps To Take To Find A Health Club

1) Research

– Ask your family, friends, and co-workers about their health clubs. Does any club stand out with a good or bad reputation? Also, conduct an internet search on health clubs in your area. Are there any new, innovative clubs? If you prefer a national chain, is there one nearby? If you prefer a small, locally owned club, where might you find one?

2) Prepare A List Of Questions

– When you go to visit the gym for the first time, make sure it is clear that you are interviewing the sales person and not the other way around. The following list was prepared by Mayo Clinic for prospective gym members. Don’t be shy about asking the following questions:

a) How old is the exercise equipment?

b) How often is the equipment replaced?

c) What type of continuing education is provided for or required of staff?

d) What are the busiest times? What fitness areas are most crowded? At what times?

e) Are class sizes limited?

f) Are any additional fees imposed, for example, for towels or the swimming pool?

g) Does the facility offer amenities such as free parking or on-site child-care services?

h) Is entertainment available, such as televisions or personal music stations?

i) How many interactions during a workout can you expect from staff?

j) What types of personal consulting services are available? For example, are there personal fitness trainers or nutrition consultants? What qualifications do these staff members have?

k) Is the facility equipped to handle emergencies? For example, are staff members trained to give first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation? Do they know how to use an automated external defibrillator?

l) How much does membership cost? What are the opt-out policies? What are billing cycles?

3) Get A Temporary Pass

– Most gyms will grant a two week pass upon request. Get as many days as you can for free, and use the gym just as you would if you were a new member. Does the location work with your routine? Are there any pieces of equipment you wish you could use? Are there classes that fit your schedule?

4) Follow Through

– Once you have signed up for your membership, it is your responsibility to get yourself to the gym. Some clubs offer buddy systems, personal trainers or group classes that will keep you motivated to work out. It might be worth an extra initial investment to ensure that you will visit the gym regularly once you are a member.

One reason gym membership has soared in the past few years is that there is a wide variety of fitness clubs. Some clubs are small, neighborhood establishments with a more cozy setting and back-to-basics equipment. Other clubs offer such varied amenities as SPA treatments, gourmet meals, child care, rock climbing, squash and tennis. The sky is the limit with today’s facilities. The hardest part of your new workout many be narrowing down the field and finding the club that’s right for you. Ask the right questions, and you’ll soon find your match.

Is Online Fitness Coaching Right For You?

Can fitness coaching help you lose weight, build muscle mass and get into great shape for 1/3 of the cost of a traditional personal trainer? Over the years, the traditional route to building a better body typically meant joining a health club or gym and signing up for a few personal training sessions with the trainer on staff. While this “old-school approach does work well for some people, it can be very expensive just to lean the basics like, how to perform exercises correctly and how to work certain machines,let alone trying to get a grip on how to piece together an effective weight loss or muscle building program. Fortunately there is a unique new trend hitting the internet that’s putting a unique new spin on getting into top notch physical shape for an affordable price – online fitness coaching.

How Personal Fitness Training Used To Work

With traditional personal training, you pay a per hour fee (typically in the range of $55 – $75 an hour) which covers your time with a personal trainer. During this hour, you can track changes in your physique through body measurements like body fat testing, plan out future workouts or hit the gym for a one – on – one workout with your trainer.

While the traditional personal trainer approach does work, it’s easy to see how it can get expensive fast! With most fitness programs requiring a commitment of at least 2 – 3 months in order to see any serious changes to your body, you can expect to drop $1300 just for the pleasure of visiting with your trainer 3 sessions a week for 2 months. Typically this cost does not include any sort of customized fitness program or consulting outside of your scheduled training sessions.

How Online Fitness Coaching Works

With online fitness coaching, you typically get access to a fitness professional as well as complete workout programs and nutrition advice for a fraction of the cost of off line personal training. While you don’t get to actually go to the gym with your personal trainer, you do get to print off customized workouts and meal templates, watch exercise demonstration videos and ask your trainer any questions that you have about your program for a small monthly fee. Instead of paying per hour like you’d have to in a gym, you can typically ask unlimited questions, have your trainer tweak your training programs and sometimes even give your trainer a call for a small monthly fee. Basically, you’ll get access to your trainer 24 – 7 in order to get the help you need as you progress towards your goals without having to spend a crazy amount of money in the process. It’s a great new way to get fitness and training help when you need it without having to spend thousand of dollars in the process.

Is Fitness Coaching Right For You?

It’s hard to say if fitness coaching is the best fit for your specific needs, but chance are that if you simply want access to a personal trainer or fitness expert to answer your questions and create a customized fitness program for you without the hassle and expense of one-on-one training sessions, then online fitness coaching may be a great option.

Is Exercise Therapy a Solution for Back Pain Treatment?

Exercises are considered one of the best way to cure back pain. The best way to cure a disease is to find the cause behind it. The pain might occur anywhere in the spinal cord. There are different regions of spinal cord where the pain can occur like lower back or upper back. The time for which the pain persists may also vary. Therefore the first step is to diagnose and find the particular region where the pain occurs. But the mere fact is that, there is no magical cure for such pain. We can work to reduce the pain and participate normally in day-to-day activities.

Proper footwear can potentially prevent and reduce back pain. Every time your feet hit the ground a reacting shock is experienced by the spinal cord. Any biomechanical imbalance in the process causes lower-back pain. After approximately 500 miles the shoes tend to lose their shock absorbing capacity. So it is necessary to keep a track on how long you have been on these shoes and change it before the soreness begins. Other than the structural misalignments, unequal leg length might also be a reason for the pain. So it is safe to diagnose the pain as soon as you start experiencing it.

The muscles in the back help to support the spine and body. Strengthening these muscles will help treat and prevent back pain. Core exercises strengthen back muscles and abdominal muscles, taking pressure off of the back. This could potentially reduce or eliminate lower-back pain.

In most of the cases lower-back-pain is caused by improper postures. In this case the pain is due to imbalance and not because of weaker back muscles. This results in compensated body movement. The only way to solve the compensation is to re-balance the body by providing proper instructions to the body. We need to show muscles how to engage properly. As the body go back to balance the lower back pain will leave you forever.

There are a variety of therapeutic treatments available to people who suffer from different back injuries. Choosing the correct combination of therapies is the key element of any treatment program. Therapy options will probably include pain relief in the form of pain medications or something more exotic such as acupuncture. Physical therapy and chiropractic care will also be options to consider which can not only relieve pain but also help prevent future injuries. By avoiding activities that aggravate back problems, learning to properly lift heavy objects, using a firm mattress to sleep on and using correct posture, back injuries and pain can become a thing of the past.

Lowering Cholesterol Level – 8 Easy Diet Tips

Reality shows are becoming the talk of the town these days with their natural presentation and real emotions with no pre-written scripts like the other television series. They unfold naturally in the course of viewing and inspire you for one and many things. One such hot-seller these days is – The Biggest Loser.

Inspiring its viewers to become healthy and fighting fit once again, the contestants on this show are an interesting bunch of overweight people comprising both men and women, working out thoroughly and following strictly balanced diet. They are working out with full devotion to reduce their weight. At the end of each week, 1 player is eliminated. The winner would be the one who sheds of the most pounds in three months and he/she shall be in for a prize worth $250,000. He/She shall also win over a golden second chance to live a healthy life.

These individual are fighting for much more than money – their own life and health – after all, health is wealth. If you pamper your body well, it can give you much more than what the Dollars can get you.

Work outs are considered to be the healthiest way of reducing fats in the body. This is perhaps the fastest way of cutting down those excess deposits beneath your skin but after the work out what you require is some energy back up. This meal that follows right after the work out must be a real balanced diet with the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, etc. This meal would repair the damaged tissues of the body, refuel the individual and lower their body’s cholesterol.

While lowering the cholesterol won’t just happen overnight, observing proper diet along with exercises help you lose those extra pounds and considerably cut on the cholesterol levels.

The key cause of heart diseases as the doctors suggest is cholesterol. High cholesterol level in the blood can not only lead to heart attacks but also several weight problems.

Let us first understand what this cholesterol is – It is a waxy fat-like substance naturally made in the liver of our body. Though cholesterol holds a thorough ‘bad guy image,’ surprisingly it serves many vital functions for our healthy living.

The following are some examples that if taken after a workout would help you minimize your blood cholesterol:

1. Those of you who prefer having bread after the work outs, consider substituting the regular bread with wheat bread, as certain ingredients in your regular bread are rich sources of the bad cholesterol. Wheat bread is much healthier.

2. As nuts also help a great deal in lowering the cholesterol levels, try having the sandwiches with low fat peanut butter.

3. Fruits are perhaps the best source to lower your cholesterol levels. The experts advise you to consume the fruits as a whole rather than pealing of the skin or making them in to a juice. Studies suggest that eating the fruit in its natural form keeps their natural fibers intact that add to your health. For instance, apple – just wash it and have it.

4. After your gym session, instead of spending some extra Dollars, simply hold to a home made packet containing Some cut sticks of carrot or sliced tomatoes. These can be made within no time and packed in some plastic container. This made perfect food to push off to your office directly from the gym.

5. Returning back from the work, all of us crave for some filling food. Here have some chicken or fish that is baked in a microwave or simple steamed. The experts explain that fried food is full of cooking oils that tremendously shoot up the cholesterol levels. So try cooking with other means rather than frying.

6. Add a lot of vegetables to your meals.

7. Garlic and onions are quite easy to prepare and these as the studies explain are majorly helpful in lowering our liver’s cholesterol production.

8. The last meal of the day must end with some yogurt in the dessert. This would leave you satisfied and light.

The Five Attributes of a Great Personal Trainer

Your time has come. You have made the commitment to get back in shape. And you want to do it as quickly, safely, and painlessly as possible. You are in a good place.

Now it’s time to choose.

When it comes to starting a fitness routine, you have options. You could join a fitness club and try to figure out what all of that equipment does. You could join a fitness “program” and be forced to progress at a pace that works for the class you join, even if it’s not exactly the right pace for you. Or you could hire a personal trainer and have that trainer design a custom fitness routine based on your goals and current level of conditioning.

Without a doubt, working with a personal trainer is the fastest, safest, and most effective way to get in shape. Whether you are getting in top shape for the first time, or getting back to your
‘fighting weight’ from your college days, a personal trainer will make the process fast and easy. Best of all, you will never have to figure out what all that equipment does (and you will avoid getting hurt using it the wrong way) and your workouts will be private one-on-one sessions full of encouragement and significant progress.

But how do you find the right trainer? Is a man or a woman better for your situation? Will the trainer make allowances for your age and current fitness level or just try to make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? And, perhaps not least importantly, what about the cost – can you afford your own personal trainer?

Having been a personal trainer since 1987 (and having trained many other trainers) allows me to share the five attributes that all great personal trainers have in common. There is no doubt that working with a personal trainer is the fastest, safest, and most rewarding way to get in shape. And by using the checklist below, you will be able to quickly find the trainer who is just right for you!

You can consider these five traits your shopping list when interviewing a personal trainer to work with you:

1. A SINCERE DESIRE TO HELP YOU

Great Personal Trainers have a sincere and enthusiastic interest in helping people improve their’ lives through fitness. They will be genuinely interested in hearing about your exercise background and your fitness goals. They will be energized by the fact that you have decided to make fitness a part of your life.

There will be days when you may lack the desire to have a good workout. Perhaps you slept poorly the night before or had a calamity at work. Your Personal Trainer will provide the energy and motivation to get you through your toughest days. The days you feel great, your Trainer will help you achieve goals you thought were impossible.

The Great Personal Trainer is more than an individual who designs your workouts or simply teaches you new exercises. You and your Personal Trainer become a team dedicated to empowering you to reach previously unattainable levels on your lifelong journey in fitness.

2. MEET THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR

How does the Great Personal Trainer find out about your dreams and goals? They ask you! Every Great Personal Trainer has exceptional communication skills.

Your initial meeting with your Personal Trainer should cover your goals, your medical history, your schedule, your previous and current exercise habits, and anything else that might affect your workouts. Upon greeting you for each subsequent workout, the Trainer will gather information from you to ascertain your energy level, your general mind-set, any lingering effects from your previous workout, and your particular level of motivation for that day.

All these questions will be answered through verbal and often non-verbal communication. The communication will continue throughout your workout and adjustments will be made to instantly customize your program to maximize the efficiency of each session with your Personal Trainer.

3. A NATURAL-BORN TEACHER

The Great Personal Trainer is also a wonderful teacher, perhaps the best you have ever encountered. Unless you have a substantial background in exercise, you will be learning many new ways to change your body through fitness. Great Personal Trainers are skilled teachers, accustomed to working with a varied clientele and able to explain a single concept from several different points-of-view.

They are used to adapting their teaching style to fit each client’s learning style. If you don’t understand a concept or are having a difficult time with a new exercise, the Trainer will approach the situation in a way that makes sense to YOU. You will be made to feel comfortable with something totally new to you in a very short period of time.

Learning proper exercise technique is one of the keys to a successful workout program. Amazingly fast progress is the payoff for finding the right Personal Trainer for you.

4. A PERSON OF SOUND REPUTATION

Great Personal Trainers do very little in the way of paid advertising. Why? Because every client he has sends him referrals. He has no need to pay for advertising because his business is built upon the best kind of marketing, word-of-mouth advertising from his or her very pleased clientele.

You will need to seek out a Great Personal Trainer. The best way to find one is to ask a friend or acquaintance who has recently undergone an inspiring physical transformation. Another way to locate a Personal Trainer is to contact the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-LIFT.org), the American Council on Exercise (ACEFITNESS.org, or the American College of Sports medicine (ACSM.org). Locating a Trainer through one of these organizations does not mean they are exceptional but will provide you with a list of trainers in your area to interview.

Once you contact the Trainer, ask for references. You should get glowing reports from the clients of a Great Personal Trainer.

5. A FITNESS EXPERT

A Great Personal Trainer will be well-versed in exercise physiology and will have the experience and credentials to prove it.

Just having the knowledge and the skill to pass the required testing does not make a Personal Trainer exceptional. As an example, what do you call the person who finishes last in his medical school class? Doctor. But there is a big difference between an intern and a board-certified specialist. When your health and wellness hang in the balance you want the most experienced doctor you can find.

And so it goes with Personal Trainers.

You want someone who excels at customizing creative and motivating workouts for you, not some Personal Trainer who basically serves as your own personal “repetition counter.” You want an expert with experience, credentials, and a long list of happy long-term clients.

Your decision to get fit again is a wise one, and one that will lead you to a longer life and more enjoyable days on this Earth. I applaud your decision and wish only the best for you.

Please feel free to print this article right now and use it as a checklist when shopping for your own Personal Trainer. It is my gift to you and will help save you time (and possibly money too) when finding a Personal Trainer in your area.

No matter how you do it, let me encourage you again to make fitness part of your daily life. I know you can do it, and I know you will love the results!

The New Rules of Triathlon Coaching

The paradigm has shifted for triathlon coaches. You may be a triathlete looking for a coach. You may be a triathlete evaluating your current coach. Or you may be a triathlon coach struggling to get better results for your athletes. Whoever you are, it is crucial that you are aware of critical evolutions in the triathlon coaching industry – evolutions that are going to directly effect your success in the sport of triathlon, whether you’re a coach or an athlete.

New Rule #1) Workouts Are Not The Holy Grail.

In the day of training plan wizard writing software, libraries of pre-written triathlon programs, and a glut of free online workouts, it basically takes a chimpanzee to tell a triathlete when to swim, bike and run (that, or good copy-and-paste skills on the computer). With technology, the complete amateur coach can now design training programs that rival the guru expert coaches of triathlon.

So workouts are not the holy grail. Any triathlon coach on the face of the planet can deliver you effective workouts in a timely fashion. But here is the catch: it takes a wise and seasoned triathlon coach to intertwine a triathlete’s swim, bike and run routines with changes in lifestyle, health, social obligations and injury status, and an even more knowledgeable coach to diagnose and correct nutritional and biomechanical deficiencies and errors that are impeding an athlete’s progress.

Do not assume as a coach that because you give an athlete some semblance of a workout plan each week or each month that you are doing a good job. And do not assume as an athlete that because you are paying a few hundred dollars a month you are getting a customized plan. Is the plan periodized? Does it change with an athlete’s changes in fitness and availability? Does it constantly test and evaluate the athlete, and give the athlete feedback?

If not, it is a lazy plan.

New Rule #2) It’s No Longer About GPS and Heart Rate.

Once upon a time, the only data a triathlon coach inspected was distance, speed, power, heart rate, and occasionally a few more advanced factors and mathematical combinations of those.

This is no longer the case.

A triathlon coach needs to be looking at the recovery status of their athlete, and that should include the ability to examine oxygen saturation status, heart rate variability, hydration, testosterone:cortisol ratios, amino acid levels, and caloric balance.

A coach needs to be looking at the internal performance factors of their athletes, and that includes iron levels, vitamin D levels, magnesium and electrolyte status, fatty acid ratios, body acidity, candida or yeast, and food allergies and intolerances.

A coach needs to be able to see and give specific direction to fix locked sacroiliac joints, imbalanced muscles, weak shoulder stabilizers, hypoxic tissue areas, and power deficits.

Can you as a coach do this? Do you as an athlete have these options from your coach? Every parameter I mentioned above is 100% testable and 100% sharable with a coach, whether or not a coach lives in the same town as an athlete. If a coach is not providing these as options to an athlete, the athlete is getting the short end of the stick.

New Rule #3) Teams Are Paramount.

A triathlon coach cannot and should not be a lone wolf. Every coach should be surrounded by a team that can help the athlete get results, and that team should include a sports medicine physician and/or orthopedic surgeon, a chiropractic physician, a registered dietitian or sports nutritionist, a massage therapist, and when necessary, a naturopathic physician.

A coach must have full access to a team with collective expert knowledge that goes far beyond what you could provide to an athlete on their own. A coach must be able to call a doctor on the phone and ask them about an athlete they are coaching, check in with a nutritionist to deliver a triathlete’s logged meals, and refer an athlete to a higher power when necessary.

If there is no evidence that a triathlon coach has the ability to reach beyond their knowledge and speak about an athlete’s status with experts in specific healing and nutritional fields, then there is no evidence that the triathlon coach is fully equipped to get ideal results.

New Rule #4) Experience Matters.

Triathlon coaching is becoming quite sexy, and, as a result, throngs of young sports science graduates and multi-sport hobbyists are rushing to obtain certifications with the equivalent of a few local sprint triathlons under their belt. Once a website, a sandwich board, or a Yellow Pages advertisement has been posted, the triathlon coach can then sit back and wait for gullible triathletes to hire their smiling face – the triathletes completely convinced that the word “certified” denotes “expert status”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In evaluating a triathlon coach, an athlete should look at how many triathlons the coach has done, the distance of those events, the final results of those events, the number of years spent coaching, the number and range of athletes coached, and even the time spent traveling and experiencing the unique changes travel can impose upon circadian rhythm, hydration status, and performance levels.

When it comes to triathlon, a piece of paper or certification stamp means next to nothing. If a coach can’t tell an athlete what to do when they drop their electrolyte capsules during a race and need an alternate salt source without flipping their gut, the coach needs to go do a few more races and spend a bit more time in the trenches.

New Rule #5) Communicate Or Die.

A triathlon coach must be able to respond within 24 hours to changes in the triathlete’s health, injury status or social life and make instant changes in that athlete’s program to allow the training plan to effectively continue without interruption of the final goal. The coach must also be able to dynamically program an athlete’s workouts on a weekly basis, constantly moving and shuffling the swimming, cycling and running workouts based on the athlete’s needs, while still achieving the big picture goal.

In the age of the internet, Skype, e-mail, text messaging and cell phones, there is no excuse for a triathlon coach to not be able to communicate with an athlete and instantly respond to an athlete’s needs. Do you, as a triathlon coach, provide this type of communication to your athletes? Do you, as an athlete, get this type of communication from your triathlon coach? If not, then a line needs to be fixed or replaced.

So those, folks, are the new rules of triathlon coaching. The triathlon coach should take these words to heart and examine their business model to determine whether they are doing everything possible to get the best results for the athlete, and the triathlete should give serious thought as to whether the money being spent on a triathlon coach is getting them everything they need…or just a plan in a can.

Becoming a Personal Fitness Coach – The Internet Way! Huh?

Becoming a personal fitness coach for many starting about 2 years ago has a whole different kind of twist to it, if you are speaking about doing it online. In the online model which is quite revolutionary one is just designated as a “personal coach”. Technology such as the internet has provided huge opportunities for people to get fit, stay fit and make some serious cash along the way.

Special Note: If you are one of those you are looking for a personal fitness coach then might I suggest looking into becoming a personal fitness coach for yourself and look at the potential of helping other get fit as you are getting fit.

We all have recommended a product or service to someone along the way in life. This is no different! The idea is that since you are getting fit and healthy, you can become a shining star example to others and get compensated for it!

No Special Education: No special degrees, education or certifications are required for becoming a personal fitness coach and the extra income that it could generate for you can be represented by quite a dramatic increase in income to you bank account!

24 hour Product Store: The true power behind taking advantage of what the internet now offers is that you will also be provided with a 24 hour fully operational store for your customers to buy from. And, of course you can buy you health product and a severe discount, since it is your store!

Ready to Go Help: For you as well as others that you may refer they will have access to online menus, diets, special insider tips, videos and a whole array of fitness and help oriented products, goods and services that could you and your customers get blow out result!

An Income for You: Most such opportunities pay you on the basis that as long as you have customers buying from you, they are permanently yours! But, hold on a minute it could get even better for you!

Customers Provided: Yes, you read that right! IF you qualify some of these new and refreshing opportunities give you customers every month who are already buying product. This obviously is quite exceptional!

Sports Massage – An Introduction

Whilst it does have some aims in common with other forms of massage therapy, the usual experience in conventional massage is to aim to restore the normal function when someone is injured. But in sporta there is no ‘normal’ and athletes are always looking to improve and gain a competitive edge. Most athletes aim to reach a level of performance they can never achieve.

A Sports Massage therapist has great potential to assist the athlete to become better, rather than merely normal. In striving to be better, the athlete attempts to systematically increase the level of training and thereby subjecting the body to gradual and controlled overuse. This overuse can often create imbalances and problems in the soft tissues, which if ignored may become chronic. Clearly this may hinder the athlete’s performance and/or rate of improvement. Sports Massage can become a key ingredient in an athlete’s success and this is why top competitors incorporate it as an integral part of their training regime.

So what is Sports Massage? McGillicuddy(1) defines massage for sports as “the specific application of massage techniques, hydrotherapy protocols, range of motion/flexibility protocol and strength-training principles utilized to achieve a specific goal when treating athletes”. He considers that there are three principles that are vital to understanding what type of Sports Massage to apply to an athlete at any given time.

These principles are:

· Timing
· Technique and
· Intent

The timing of when massage for sports is related to when the massage is applied, is it pre-event or post-event, during a maintenance period or possibly post-injury when rehabilitation is required. The technique refers to what massage/stretching/strengthening methods the therapists employs to attempt to achieve the intent, the desired outcome.

The intent of pre-event massage is to warm up the muscles and to get blood flowing through the muscles. The massage techniques generally used are petrissage, vibration, percussion, compression, muscle broadening strokes, etc. With post-event massage, the intent is assist in the recovery process by increasing venous and lymphatic circulation to assist with removal of metabolic by-products and thereby decreasing muscle soreness so that the athlete can return to full training faster. The massage techniques would include effleurage, compression, petrissage, passive movements and light stretching. The intent of maintenance massage is to keep the athletes muscles and tissue in optimum condition and is generally scheduled at a regular frequency (be it weekly or fortnightly), closely married to the athlete’s training program.

Thus Sports Massage is not about going deep nor it is learning one technique. The requirement for the therapist is to apply the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time, which takes education, skill and experience.