Benefits of Sports Massage for Bootcamp Athletes

At BootCampSF we train you the way coaches train athletes. Each day is a different workout, and includes a combination of cardio training, cross-training, and strength training. BootCampSF workouts are designed to constantly challenge your body in unexpected ways, and this can often result in sore muscles — especially if you’re new to training. So before you reach for the medicine cabinet to ease your aches, consider soothing those muscles with a sports massage.

What is a Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a systematic manipulation of your body’s soft tissues and geared toward individuals who are physically active. A variety of movements and techniques are used in a sports massage. These techniques include: the Swedish style massage, stroking, kneading, rhythmic striking, stretching, and trigger points, among others.(1) This kind of massage can relieve pain, as well as help athletes recover from workouts and injuries more quickly. Even non-athletes can reap the physiological and psychological benefits of sports massage therapy.

Why are Sports Massages Beneficial to Bootcamp Athletes?
Reported benefits include:

Increased:
○ Sense of wellbeing
○ Blood flow
○ Flexibility
○ Joint range of motion (ROM)
○ Elimination of exercise waste products (lactic acid)

Decreased:
○ Muscle tension
○ Neurological excitability (nerves more relaxed)
○ Chance of injury
○ Recovery time between workouts
○ Muscle spasms

Heavy exercise can often result in muscle microtraumas. Meaning, minor swelling may occur due to small tears in the muscle. Sometimes the swelling and tears create delayed onset muscle soreness. According to the American College of Sports Medicine(2), delayed soreness can develop 12 to 24 hours after strenuous exercising, and may produce the greatest pain within 24 and 72 hours. Sports massages help lessen the swelling associated with the microtraumas thereby easing the muscle soreness. In addition to that, sports massages can relieve soreness because they promote blood flow to the muscle which removes lactic acid and waste buildup.
Also, increasing blood flow keeps the muscle tissues loose, so that different layers of muscle slide easily over each other. You can also reduce the amount of scar tissue while increasing flexibility and range of motion.

Stress and Pain Reduction
Possibly the best benefit that comes from a sports massage is its ability to reduce and manage stress. When you receive a sports massage, your body releases the neurotransmitters called endorphins.(3) According to Touch Research Institute endorphins are released by two centers of the brain known as the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. This release becomes a natural pain reliever. Endorphins that are released due to having a sports massage help to lessen anxiety, improve mood, provide pain relief, and enhance your overall state of wellbeing.(4)

In Conclusion
Sports massages help speed your recovery time and alleviate pulls, strains, and soreness. They have also been linked to reducing stress putting you in a better mood.

Consult a primary care physician before attempting any form of massage therapy. If your doctor advises that a massage is right for you, find a licensed massage therapist who is nationally certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork or the American Massage Therapy Association.

Sources
1) Massage Today: https://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=10712
2) American College of Sports Medicine: http://smiweb.org/
3) Touch Research Institute: http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/AdultMassage.html
4) Prevention.com https://www.prevention.com/life/a20461789/how-massage-helps-with-depression-and-anxiety/

Sports Drinks vs Water — Which is better for you?

Fitness experts remain undecided about the effectiveness of sports drinks after exercise. Some experts believe they’re too full of sugar to do any good, while others claim they’re an effective way to replace bodily fluids lost while working out. What do we think? Well, it depends. Let’s dive deeper into what sports drinks are and let you decide what’s right for you.

Sports Drink Defined
What is defined as a sports drink? A sports drink, or “energy drink,” is any beverage meant to rehydrate, boost energy, and replenish electrolytes lost in sweating. All sports drinks contain water, sugar, salt, carbohydrates (sugar), and potassium. Some drinks contain extra ingredients (like amino acids) to help build muscle mass. (1)

Side note: Beware of the hundreds of “energy” drinks on the market. Many of those drinks claim to be sports drinks, but actually contain more sugar and caffeine than is necessary for anyone trying to lose weight through a workout.

What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential to ensuring that your body’s cells are working properly. In the world of nutrition, we use the word “electrolyte” to refer to minerals dissolved in the body’s fluids, creating electrically charged ions. The electrolytes that are the most important in nutrition are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. (2)

Unless you’re exercising vigorously, you lose only a few electrolytes when you sweat. Normal electrolyte loss can be replaced by drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet. Yet when you have a really hard workout and sweat a lot, you may lose too many electrolytes. If you are doing moderate exercise in a very hot environment, you may also lose electrolytes that can’t be replaced by drinking water alone. This is where sports drinks come in.

Since sports drinks contain sugar, they can help replenish electrolytes lost during a workout, and can also give you a boost of energy. But that doesn’t mean you should guzzle them down before and after each exercise, because like we said above, one concern with sports drinks is that they deliver unneeded calories. Some contain 150 calories, the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar.(4)

Conclusion
Experts recommend drinking up to three cups of water for every pound of weight lost while working out. But that may be difficult for some people because they don’t like drinking large quantities of water at once. So if you’re one of these people, opting for an energy or sports drink is going to lead to better hydration.

But you don’t need a sports drink to recover from a workout. Drinking water along with edible sources, like energy bars or fruit, contain just as many carbohydrates as sports drinks. If you choose this option, you can drink plain water to hydrate.

Sources:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_drink
2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-are-electrolytes/
3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/sports-drinks-and-exercise.aspx
4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trade-sports-drinks-for-water-201207305079

Importance of sleep after BootCampSF wakes those muscles up!

BootCampSF utilizes a wide variety of exercises resulting in a satisfying total body workout. This means you will need to take special care in training-recovery which includes getting a good night’s rest. Sleeping well after you exercise makes your muscles and tissues stronger and helps prevent fatigue and injury. Your muscles learn to adapt to training, but rest is actually when those adaptations are taking place. Plus, with adequate sleep, you’ll perform better as an athlete. And on the flip side, there is solid evidence that exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.

To get more out of your sleep, try these tips:

Power Down the Electronics
The glow from electronics pass through your eyes and delay the release of melatonin which is the sleep inducing hormone.

Turn In a Little Earlier
Get as many hours of sleep before midnight as you can (there’s an empirical belief that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight).

Stretch Those Muscles
In addition to relaxing you, stretching releases built-up tension which is great before trying to get some shuteye. Stretching can help you fall asleep fast, as well as help prevent sore muscles in the morning.

Enjoy a Hot Shower
Taking a hot shower 90 minutes before bed can help you sleep better reports Men’s Fitness. After you’ve been in the hot water, your body temperature then cools down which is a signal to sleep.

Create a Sleep Routine
Get in a regular sleep-wake cycle. In other words, go to bed and wake up the same time every day. Then keep to it! When you change this pattern, even if you actually get more sleep, it can negatively affect the impact on recovery.

In Conclusion
World renowned sleep expert, Dr. Mark Rosekind, says, “There are lab studies that show that if you’re an eight-hour sleeper and you get six hours of sleep, that two-hour difference can impact your [athletic] performance so that it equates to how you would perform if you had a 0.05 blood-alcohol level.”

To get the most out of your BootCampSF workouts, the proper amount of recovery and sleep is imperative. Along with a balanced diet and our intense exercise program, getting the right amount of sleep may be the last ingredient to help you decrease body fat or increase muscle mass and strength. We suggest you strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Importance of Good Balance

We’re all searching for balance in our lives. Balanced minds. Balanced diets. Balanced work lives. But have you thought about the importance of having a balanced body? A good sense of balance is critical to preventing injuries and accidents.

At BootCampSF, we carefully consider the types of exercises used in our programs to make sure your muscle groups stay in balance. We also build core strength which is crucial to good balance. In addition to the abdomen, core strength includes strong hips, ankles, and gluteal muscles.

Sometimes you may not be aware you have weak balance, so in addition to BootCampSF classes, we also recommend you doing balance and core exercises a few times a week.

Flamingo Stretches

Hold back one leg and balance on the other foot for about 30 seconds, then switch. Repeat three times. Try moving as little as possible while doing this stretch. Focus your eyes on an object in the distance while standing on one leg to help keep you balanced.

Leg Swings

Stand on left leg and raise the right leg three to six inches off the floor. Then swing your right leg forward and backward, while keeping your arms at your sides, touching the floor for balance, and keeping your upper body straight. Next, repeat without allowing your foot to touch the ground. Lastly, swing the right foot to the right side while extending the left arm. Switch legs and repeat.

Keep Up The Core

You can do sit ups, crunches, and other ab exercises to keep your core in shape. By doing so, it will support your weight when you’re trying to hold still and balance.

Watermelon: Post Workout Muscle Soreness Prevention

Oftentimes, BootcampSF is a high intensity workout and you may feel the effects a few days after the workout is over. Muscle soreness is common, but with proper rest, recovery and nutrition, it can be eased and sometimes eliminated.

Watermelon is an excellent choice to help relieve muscle soreness due to the high content of the essential amino acid L-citrulline. It is also found in garlic and onions; however, watermelon is our top choice, as the high water and electrolyte content hydrates the body and helps flush out toxins.

“Lactic acid builds up in muscles when intense exercise necessitates energy production faster than oxygen can be delivered” (Riva, 2013). The amino acid L-citrulline is able to remove lactic acid faster than at the normal rate, which means faster recovery time. The amino acid has also been noted to improve blood flow throughout the body, rid the liver of ammonia and other toxins and lower blood pressure.

Watermelon helps replenish glycogen, which is what your body relies on during exercise. “According to a U.S. Sports Academy article by Gregory Tardie, PhD, there is a two-hour window after exercise that is optimal for carbohydrate replenishment, after which glycogen synthesis slows to about 2 percent per hour. However, Tardie suggests that consuming 50 g of carbohydrate every two hours after intense exercise raises the rate of replenishment to 5 percent per hour. Four cups of watermelon contain about 50 g of carbohydrate, perfect for post-exercise glycogen replenishment” (Matte, 2017).

We recommend simply blending watermelon and a bit of ice with a splash of water if needed in a high speed blender to create watermelon juice. Consume within 2 hours post workout to reap the benefits mentioned above.

Sources: https://www.medicaldaily.com/watermelon-juice-amino-acids-could-help-prevent-post-workout-muscle-soreness-248103
https://www.livestrong.com/article/441460-watermelon-after-a-workout/

The benefits of circuit training: torch calories without getting bored

Circuit training, much like we practice in boot camp, is an excellent way to keep your workout interesting while maximizing calorie burn and fat loss. We work outside during our BootcampSF workouts, which gives you the added benefit of soaking up the sun’s rays to boost Vitamin D and put you in a good mood.

There are other important benefits to circuit training; we’re able to achieve intense results in a relatively short amount of time. Our workouts last an hour, which is an optimal amount of time to combine cardio, resistance training and flexibility. You’re able to challenge your entire body during a class, and it’s proven that high-intensity interval training combined with lifting increases metabolism and leaves you with an awesome after burn effect that causes your body to torch calories for hours after the workout has ended.

According to the European Journal of Applied Physiology, circuit training workouts “prompt a higher degree of post-exercise excess oxygen consumption, or EPOC, than traditional cardio workouts. EPOC refers to the metabolic boost your body retains in the hours and days after your workout, and it can be a significant source of additional calorie burn.”

This type of training is also proven to burn more fat by improving insulin sensitivity – this type of training helps keep insulin levels low so that fat can be mobilized and burned.

As with any high intensity workout, post workout nutrition is key to recovery and reaching your fat loss and strength goals. It’s important to consume a source of carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit within 45 minutes of completing your work out. Be sure to replenish with a 3:1 ratio of carbs and protein for ideal muscle repair.

We recommend a super food packed green smoothie as a satisfying post workout meal. The raw cacao is full of antioxidants and may help lower bad cholesterol and decrease inflammation. Try out the recipe below and let us know in the comments what you think:

Post Workout Superfood Smoothie

Ingredients:
2 handfuls spinach and/or kale
½ banana
1 Tbsp. raw almond butter
12 oz. almond or coconut milk, unsweetened
1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
Water as needed
Ice, optional

Directions: Add all ingredients to blender, blend until smooth & enjoy!

3 Core Moves to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Did you know that lower back pain is quite common? According to a study conducted by the UNC School of Medicine, more than 80% of Americans will suffer an episode of low back pain in some time in their lives. However, there’s no need for alarm – lower back pain can be relieved and prevented by strengthening the core muscles.

Core muscles are the support system for your spine and lower back, and if the muscles are weak, your posture may be misaligned causing too much pressure to be placed on the lower back. If there is weakness in the core, hops, gluten and/or hamstrings, the body is thrown off balance and the lower back may be forced to pick up the slack.

Generally speaking, three types of lower back pain may be experienced, and may be temporary or ongoing. The first is a muscle spasm, which appears as pain that comes on suddenly. The muscles will feel ‘locked up’ so to speak, and it may be hard to move. Second is a shooting pain in the lower back and down one or both legs, indicating sciatica. There are no spasms associated with this type of pain, as a pinched nerve is normally to blame. Finally, a general aching across the entire lower back may be caused by arthritis, which is a form of inflammation, or weak muscles from a lack of activity.

One of the best low impact core strengthening exercises that can be practiced is the plank. There are many variations of the exercise, including a forearm plank, a plank done on the hands with the arms extended straight and a side plank variation. If you are new to the exercise, start with a :20 second hold and gradually increase by at least :5 seconds with each practice.

Back extensions are also an excellent way to target the core – specifically the lower back portion. The exercise may be completed on a back extension machine, but, if you’re like us, you prefer to work outside in the sunshine! We recommend lying on the ground on a mat or towel (or the grass, if you prefer) and reaching the arms and legs out as far as you can stretch. Slowly lift the arms and legs up and away from the body simultaneously and then lower back down. You’ll feel the entire back side activate to complete the exercise. These may also be referred to as the “superman” exercise.

Our third choice is the bridge, or hip raises. Lie on your back on the floor with knees bend and feet flat on the floor. Engaging the glutes and hamstrings, raise the hips up toward the sky, pausing for a few seconds before lowering back down. If you have tight hip flexors, this is an excellent stretch to practice.

And as always, keep moving! Getting a workout in at least a few times per week will help you easily increase your core strength and ease any lower back pain you may experience. Sign up for one of our classes and join the fun!

Good Mood Foods: Nutrition to Balance Hormones

We all have our ups and our downs, it’s natural. Those days where we feel lost, unmotivated, heavy, and maybe even sad. We are humans after all, and you’re allowed to feel these things. However, while you are going through these occasional downs, there are ways to help your body, and your mind, feel better. By eating natural foods and healthy fats instead of turning to sugar and processed carbohydrates, you’ll begin to feel reenergized in no time, and the list below includes some of the top nutrition powerhouses.

Who doesn’t love an avocado? In guacamole, on toast, on a salad, as a salad dressing, they’re great for all meals! But what you might not know about avocados is that the healthy fat content helps your brain run properly by balancing your hormone levels, ensuring that the correct amount of each is being produced without interference. By including avocado in your diet, you can be sure that you will not only receive the proper amount of fat intake, protein, potassium, and various vitamins, but you will feel better while consuming it.

Raw nuts such as brazil nuts, almonds, and cashews all have high levels of serotonin, which is the feel good chemical in your body known to increase happiness and motivation. So, if you’re feeling down, eat some raw nuts of your choice! Look for the unsalted varieties on the shelf. Also, avoid eating too many as the body utilizes quite a bit of energy to digest them. Enjoy in moderation!

You always hear about the health benefits of leafy greens. Swiss chard is a top pick, as it’s loaded with magnesium. A majority of Americans are magnesium deficient, and it is a nutrient that is responsible for the biochemical reactions in the brain that boost energy levels. It’s best to get on the green bandwagon and start enjoying Swiss chard in salads and smoothies.

Speaking of greens, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts aid the liver in ridding the body of excess estrogen. Throw kale, cabbage and bok choy in the mix and you have a wonderful source of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Last, but definitely not least, is asparagus, which is actually one of the best sources in the plant kingdom for tryptophan, a prime nutrient involved in the creation of serotonin. Which is, of course, that feel good chemical in the body we talked about earlier. By having asparagus in your meal plan for the week, you are indeed increasing your happiness by upping the key nutrients in producing feel good hormones.

It’s always best to keep a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats and carbohydrates in your diet. Remember, the more color you eat the better you will feel!

Can You Go Overboard With Your Workout Program?

Here at Boot Camp San Francisco, we’re all about celebrating hardcore workouts and the energizing feeling of accomplishment that comes from getting fit and healthy. However, as with anything in life, there’s also a balance needed. Keeping in balance is tough. Going “overboard” can mean straying too far to the left or to the right. On one hand, you can be too easy on yourself and fail to make the progress you could have made. On the other hand, you can be too hard on yourself and end up with an injury that you could have avoided. It depends on your personality which side you’re likely to stray to. However in this article, we’d like to address the people who are likely to push themselves too hard.

If you’re naturally hard on yourself, you probably simply tough it out no matter what amount of pain or discomfort you’re experiencing. You exercise your insane willpower in pursuit of your goals, and you usually reach them. You get such a thrill out of reaching a difficult goal that it makes the journey worth it. You say to yourself, “Pain is just weakness leaving the body,” and then you make your body do what you tell it to do, no matter how much it protests.

Up to a certain point, this is an awesome mentality to have. However, it’s also possible to take just one step beyond that point and stray too far. So here are a few well-intentioned cautions if you’re always hearing your friends and family beg you to take it just a little easier.

1. Listen to your body.

It’s one thing to push through a bit of pain and fatigue. It’s another thing to have your body screaming at you to stop because something is seriously wrong. The trick lies in knowing the difference. If you’ve been out of shape for years and you’re just starting to get back into working out, a much milder level of physical exertion could seriously hurt you. More seasoned athletes are typically much more aware of the level of exertion that they can—and can’t—handle. Either way, listen to your body.

2. Listen to your instructor.

One of the great things about a boot camp workout is that you have instructors and fellow athletes who are all joining forces to motivate each other and press one another to new heights. There are days when you need that voice from outside yourself telling you in confident tones, “YES, you CAN do one more rep.” (Let’s face it, more people are on the other side of the continuum, where they don’t know what they can accomplish because they stop when it hurts and therefore fall short of tapping into that last five or ten percent of their full potential.) However, if you ever hear an instructor asking you to do less, you should pay attention to their request. It would be a rare thing to hear, but if an instructor feels strongly enough that you are going to do damage to yourself that they ask you to lighten up, you should realize it is a serious request.

Push Yourself Appropriately With a Boot Camp Workout at BCSF

Join us for our outdoor workout sessions and enjoy yourself while making big strides toward the fit and toned body that you want. Sign up today.

Are Boot Camp Workouts for Kids?

More and more kids are at risk of obesity, lower muscle strength, poorer coordination, and shakier balance than kids in generations gone past, because fewer and fewer kids are getting enough exercise. Children used to spend more time outside, and they seemed to naturally stay fit through the fun and games that they played with their friends. After all, they were so full of energy, they were almost always running, jumping, climbing trees, and pursuing adventures that built their balance and coordination.

Now, though, many kids stay indoors almost all the time. They spend a huge portion of their day sitting rather than moving around. They fill their free time with activities that don’t involve much physical movement, like video games, texting, or using the internet. In a way, it’s hard to find a way to do anything different, because parents don’t feel safe letting their kids go outside unsupervised. Unless your children are in an organized sport, like soccer or gymnastics, they may not be getting the exercise they need.

If you’re a fan of boot camp yourself, you may have wondered if something like that would be good for your kids. Here are some of our ideas for how you can encourage your kids to build their muscle tone, core strength, balance, and agility through a boot camp-style workout at home.

1. Make it fun.

Any interaction you have with your kids is a potential for them to have either a positive or a negative experience. If you are dishing out “drill instructor” commands to your kids with a huge dose of love and a twinkle in your eye, they’ll eat it up and probably play right along with a “Yes, sir, right away, sir!” Stay far away from the territory of showing frustration at them or belittling them for poor performance. Remember that they’re just kids. Praise and laughter will go a long way towards encouraging your kids to want to participate every time.

2. Take inspiration from your Boot Camp San Francisco workout

When you attend one of our workouts, you’ll notice how our instructors use ingenuity and creativity to turn every piece of grass and concrete into unique workout equipment. Do the same things with the items in your backyard. Let your kids invent moves, too.

3. Incorporate lots of tried-and-true moves

Your kids need cardio, bicep strength, and core muscle development just as much as you do, so don’t skimp on classic things like jumping jacks, pushups, and crunches. It can be simple and still be effective.

4. Gamify your kids’ workout

Any time you introduce an element of competition, it makes the workout a lot more fun. However, don’t make your kids compete against each other, because unless you have twins, the age difference will create an unfair rivalry. (And even if your kids were the same age, competing against each other can create unhealthy animosity. You don’t want that.) Instead, try creating a system where they earn points that count towards a reward like getting ice cream or going to the zoo.

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We hope these tips have been helpful. Join us at Boot Camp San Francisco for hardcore workouts that will leave you energized and motivated to come back for more.