Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lolo Jones & Lawrence Willis Pictures/ Video

As promised, today I'm posting some pretty cool photos and videos from the LSU Alumni Gold meet from mid-April of this year. The pictures are of Lolo Jones, an american 100m hurdler, and the video is of Lawrence Willis, an american triple jumper. Both of these athletes are accomplished professional Track & Field athletes that have represented their country, former university's, and fans extremely well over the years. I was lucky enough to be able to capture this media where I was in attendance as both a researcher and coach. As a coach, both the men's and women's teams from Northwestern State were competing, but mostly I was trying to collect some data on triple jumpers for an ongoing study I'm working on. If you're interested in finding out more about the study, there is an abbreviated version here which served as my masters thesis. I'm hoping to have the rest of the data I've collected (another 35 jumpers or so) analyzed and written up in the next couple weeks, at which point, I'll be working on getting it published.

Anyways, back to the point at hand. When I got to the meet, I wasn't intending on filming Lolo's race, but I happened to be up in the filming station waiting for the collegiate triple jump finals to start. Since the opportunity presented itself, I just switched my camera over to rapid shot and recorded the race using still shots. I recorded the start of the race at 40 fps (frames per second) which isn't considered overly fast, though still faster than a traditional camera, hence the large amount of movement between frames. Because I really wanted to get some close up shots, I decided to just focus in on the start, and based on my zoom level, was able to get the first four full steps or so (depending on the lane). In case you don't recognize her, Lolo is in all black in lane 5. Finally, she blew the field away winning the race at 12.71 seconds, a full six-tenths of a second faster than second place (Tamika Robinson of Illinois), breaking her own stadium record (set in 2008) by one-hundredth of a second.

Next up is the video of Lawrence Willis. His triple jump form is almost textbook and is a beautiful display of athleticism, strength, and power. This was actually his first jump of the day, and thought he got close, he wasn't able to better it on any of the remaining five attempts. The official distance was 16.84m, or 55'3". I haven't yet digitized the recording in order to measure everything, so I don't know the actual distance or true phase ratios, but the jump appears to be hop-dominate (third phase) by a considerable margin. In fact, you'll notice that he almost jumps out of the lens view which was kind of a mess-up on my part. Based on how the athletes were looking during warm-up, I wasn't sure if we were going to see a 55' jump, but after Lawrence's first jump I adjusted the camera some just in case he happened to have a high 55' or low 56' jump. For the recording, I filmed at 210 fps (7 times faster than a traditional camera) which is why there is so little room between frames. In order to help make the video easier to watch, its played back at 30 fps. What this means is that the video below is actually playing back at one-seventh the speed of the real time rate. All-in-all, this was a great jump and I hope ya'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Busy Start to the Week!

I thought Terrieha would want to spend the weekend relaxing with each other, but I couldn’t be more wrong as she kept driving me to work around the house and yard all weekend long. We decided that we should probably take a day off from working out so on Saturday morning we went for a short trail run at Keisel Park and then took Sunday off. Unfortunately, we spent the rest of the weekend unpacking and setting up our office. For some reason, this room has seemed to take the longest out of any other in the house. I don’t know if it’s because of all the paperwork or the size of the room (it is quite small so finding the right place for something can be extremely difficult). There is also the problem that even though Terrieha and I have been together for over six years, we’ve never spent the time to thoroughly organize, condense, and combine our two sets of files, largely for good reason: I LOATHE paperwork! I tend to think of myself more as a big picture kind of person so I knew this was going to be a challenge for the two of us.

After almost two days, we finally had everything worked out and somewhat manageable in the office. Below are some pics of it. First off, the green was NOT our doing; it was completed by the previous owner for some unknown reason. With all of the work going on around the house, I really haven’t felt like taking on another painting project just yet…so in a few months, I’ll get around to making it a more neutral color. The big posters are research posters from Terrieha’s and mine masters degree. Feel free to check out more information on them here. AND yes, I know the paint color is really horrendous, but that is easily changed…and will be!

CIMG1282 CIMG1283 CIMG1284

On another note, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (the same SIL that stayed with us for several weeks earlier this summer) got into town in on Monday for a few day stay. Most summers, my MIL returns to her roots and stays at her family’s property in the western part of Virginia. Since we actually hadn’t gotten to see Terrieha’s mom since our wedding, and her mom hadn’t seen our new house, the proximity of Auburn to her mother’sIMG00099-20100726-1746 return path to Florida made for a great opportunity for some catch up time! So far, one of the best things to happen is that we were able to convince the MIL that Tigertown was a tiger exhibit, put together by Auburn University, and that she would be able to pet a real tiger! Though I know the petting part isn’t possible at LSU, they do have a similar exhibit for Mike the Tiger so it wasn’t that farfetched. To say the least, it was hilarious to see her quivering in her shoes like the cowardly lion. For those that don’t know, Tigertown is not a tiger exhibit, but rather a large shopping center made up of primarily big box stores. The most danger we had yesterday was when my SIL, Tabitha, straddled one of the concrete lions and tried to ride it like a bull! Though the climb up was quite treacherous for her uncoordinated self, it didn’t up like this.

I know today’s blog was a bit of a diversion from the normal material, but don’t fret, life will return to normal tomorrow. I have some great photos that I took of Lolo Jones at an LSU Invitational earlier this year. They really exhibit great sprinting form and catch about the first 10 meters of her start. I also have some great videos of triple jumpers, as well as barefoot running, that I have taken that I will get posted in the next week or so. Since I feel like staying busy, coming up in the next days will be the debut of my Fitness & Training page. While I don’t want to give away too much just yet, it will be similar in format to my research page in that it will be in a state of constant development containing an ongoing list of new publications. Hopefully, it will be a great source for individuals to seek out exercise and program design ideas.

PalmSpringsGoatTrails-15JAN05-03 Finally, I’d feel guilty if I didn’t post anything about my workouts for the past few days. Yesterday was a two-a-day with a morning workout consisting of 6*300m at about 85% [I walked 200m (3 to 3:30 minutes) for recovery]. The evening workout consisted of some tennis with Terrieha and Tabitha. This morning was a brutal hill workout: 1 mile warm-up, then 2 sets of hill repeats. Each set consisted of 4 climbs and three descents of the same hill. The hill was about a quarter-mile in length and on an 18% or so grade. Each set took about 8:45 which is a slight improvement from the week before. In case you’re wondering, no workout tonight…hopefully! :-D

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Balancing Your Need for Fitness and the Trend of “Hero Workouts”

I’ll be the first to admit it: I have a lot peeves and I’m more than willing to get on my soapbox singing loud for all to hear. Since I am aware of how personality works, I’ll often just rant to my wife in order to blow off some steam, at which point, I’ll let it go and move on. But, and this is a big one, the following two items are issues that Ponderhave bothered the crap out of me for years: walking for exercise and what I have termed “hero workouts.” I’ll get to more of an explanation on both later, but I wanted to let it be known that I was originally planning to discuss these items separately. After mapping out the plan (in my head) for the walking for fitness article, I realized I was going to sound like one heck of an insensitive dick (careful!) to a lot of people. So I tabled that one for a little bit and switched to the “hero workouts” piece; yet again though I realized I had a problem, only this time I was going to come off as a failure of a coach. I fought over this for a while (again, in my head), and decided that if I merge the two, that perhaps I’d come off as just a dick for a coach, which is probably more in line with my true persona. Since we’re now all caught up on my internal strife and better understand where I’m coming from, lets start the education process for the day!

Treadmill-workout-for-beginners One of the most frustrating items in the world for me is when I walk into a park, gym, or other fitness oriented location and witness a large group of able-bodied individuals, decked out in full workout clothes (with a water bottle and IPOD in tow), walking! Bear in mind, I have no problem with this mode of exercise for individuals with noted orthopedic or cardiovascular problems, or even individuals that are in the beginning stages of a workout program, but what I have trouble understanding is how the human body’s main mode of transportation has parlayed itself into a mode of exercise for so many twenty or thirty-somethings. What happened to going out for a short run, game of pick-up, climbing stairs, or just doing something that plain old makes your body sweat, burn calories, and taxes the cardiovascular system!!! I’m well aware of the American Heart Association’s and the American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for Physical Activity & Public Health and that normal-to-brisk walking constitutes moderate intensity exercise. But guess what: hiking, stair-climbing, aerobic exercise, bicycle, rowing, and any other number of countless exercises can meet these minimum recommendations as well. Further, since these are the minimum recommendations for maintaining our health, why are so many people willing to accept the minimum (assuming they even walk at least 5 days/ week) when they are in their physical and mental peak (again the twenty or thirty-somethings)!We should be celebrating our two or three decade old bodies by challenging them to do things that we won’t be able to complete during our fourth, fifth, or sixth decades of life. By no means, am I advocating that every man, woman, and child need to become marathon runners, Olympic weightlifters, or diehard fitness enthusiasts. Rather, I believe that we should use fitness and exercise as an opportunity to push ourselves, sweat a little, and ease some of the carnal stress that we build up during our daily rush hour and cubicle filled lives. With that being said, I have always been extremely wary of supporting the adoption of “Hero Workouts.”

Hero workouts is a term that I came up with myself, though I highly doubt I’m the first person to use it. By my definition, a hero workout is something that ignores all physiological, biomechanical, or nutritional logic for adaptation. Rather it is a mass compilation of exercises and self-inflicted punishment designed for no other reason to determine who is the most mentally tough (crazy???) person in the group. One of the more popular groups out there is a program known as Crossfit which has branches all over the country. In Colorado Springs, there was a running (really it was more like crawling) route known as The Incline that I would crossfitoccasionally participate in. The incline was simply an old cog railroad that was a mile in length, gained over 2000 feet, and had an average gradient of 41%. My PR was somewhere around 38 minutes which is halfway decent (though there is a freak of nature that can do it in 18 minutes). My big gripe with these programs is not so much with the participants, but more the practitioners that design and promote them as a great workout for all. I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been known to design workouts for my athletes intent on making them puke, though it was always meant to break through some type of mental barrier or teach a lesson (For instance: don’t go out drinking all night on Thursday, because I’m going to kill you at 5am on Friday). For most people, even accomplished athletes, these hero workouts are extreme and they serve as a type of release of that carnal stress that I referred to earlier. While I can totally empathize with that feeling, the point of certain exercises (e.g. Olympic lifts, plyometrics, speed work) often get lost during these programs. Rather, they’re thrown together in a manner meant to fatigue you, raise your heart rate to new levels, and leave you crawling on the floor. If that is what you are seeking, then by all means, go get it; but, realize what you’re doing. Hero workouts are an overload to the body’s system, and if the workouts are done correctly, eventually it will break down, or if not done correctly, you’re missing the point of the workout itself (though they’ll never admit this). Anybody that instructs another that trying to do as many power cleans as possible in one minute will make you more powerful is either lying to you, themselves, or both. It’s no different than somebody telling a new runner that they should run 26.2 miles everyday if they want to run a fast marathon.

In the end, I guess I would like everyone to heed this piece of advice: Just like a great scholar does not makes a great teacher, a great athlete (by way of looks or on-field success) does not make a great coach. It takes a greater understanding of exercise science, but also, an ability to critically think about the process at hand. In the end, if you’re seeking changes in your lifestyle, seek out an educated, licensed, and credentialed individual with a track record of long-term success. Anybody can put together a workout, but it takes dedication to create a masterpiece such as this…or this!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cheeburger Cheeburger: Not what I thought!

Yesterday, Terrieha and I had a little free time so I decided to work on my honey-do list. In the midst of a painting project, I realized I needed to make a run up to the hardware store as I was quickly running out of caulking and primer. We had eaten a late breakfast since I had dragged my love out for a little cycling workout in the morning. I grew up a cyclist, so this is probably my number one passion; unfortunately for my wife her runner legs still haven't quite adapted to the idea of high cadence RPM's. Anyhow, it was now about 1:30pm and I thought it would be a good opportunity to try a new restaurant in downtown Auburn: Cheeburger Cheeburger. Admittedly, I knew nothing at all about this restaurant, but based on it's name and location (between a Greek Restaurant and Pita-Pit AND plus being in a college town), we thought it might be some type of healthy/ vegetarianish type of "burger" restaurant. As soon as we walked in, I knew we were wrong (MAJORLY)! Basically, Cheeburger is a replication of an old-fashioned diner that serves HUGE Angus burgers, milkshakes (over 300 different kinds), and other similar diner food. Though I knew it would without a doubt upset a former professor of mine, Bob Seebohar, who constantly preached about the need for athletes "to eat so you can workout rather than workout so you can eat," I knew I had another grueling working coming later in the what the hell!

In order to ease some of the guilt, Terrieha and I decided to share a 10 oz burger and a medium order of onion rings. I must say the food was great, though my stomach did get a little upset from the grease (which is why I don't like to eat out much). BUT if you're up for something new, I would highly recommend it. Just an FYI: they're not just limited to the Auburn area (much like I thought) as they have locations all over the country (total news to me!).

In case you're wondering, we did actually go out for a second workout of the day, though we had to change plans a little bit. We were originally planning on running stadiums at Jordan-Hare Stadium on AU's campus (with Gator of course), but after getting in a couple warm-up laps around the walkways, we were promptly kicked out by some construction staff. Apparently, they don't like to keep the stadium open for people. This is much different then our time at UF, and very sad to see, which left Ben Hill Griffin Stadium open almost all of the time for people to look at, work out in, or relax in. As great as Auburn has been so far, this is just another reason why UF will always be number one in my heart! Sooooo, after getting kicked out we decided to go play tennis for a little while (we brought the rackets just in case this happened). We had a great, very intense game for about 45 minutes. Wonderful time! In fact, this morning my legs were still a little tight when I went to go warm-up for my sprint workout on the track.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Homemade White Pizza...and the Best Fails of 2009!

Yesterday was pizza night for us, but instead of going out or ordering delivery Terrieha made a white pizza. While I won't post the recipe that she utilized, you can find it on her blog by clicking here. Personally, I find the pizza's that she makes to be far superior to any store bought ones, but I could be slightly biased. We first started experimenting with our homemade pizza's while living in Colorado. The Whole Foods near our townhouse sold whole wheat dough (with true whole grain!) and it was just too good to pass up. However, while living in Natchitoches, LA we were lucky enough to find any fat-free items, much less true healthy food options! Alas, Auburn rescued us by reuniting us with Publix, a divine grocery store from our Florida days, and Earth Fare, an organic market similar to Whole Foods. This made getting the items for our homemade pizza far easier, so earlier this week, Terrieha bought some for us. As I said earlier, be sure to check out her blog for the's divine!

On an even lighter note, yesterday I sat in on a Biomechanics of Sport Injury class that my advisor at AU is teaching. Before you ask, I'm not taking it, I'm just that big of a nerd! Well sometimes we have a tendency to get side-tracked when discussing or viewing videos of injuries. Anyhow, the class started off yesterday with the video below, entitled the Best Fails of 2009, and I found it far too funny not to share. Originally, I thought it was a compilation of the Huffington Post, an internet based newspaper, but then realized it was actually created by College Humor. Either way, I hope you enjoy it. It should provide you with at least a few minutes of good laughs!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Article for mothers...and a speed workout!

Yesterday, I promised to post some information for all of the mothers and MTB out there. In this weeks edition of the ACSM's Sports Medicine Bulletin, there was an article discussing the correlation of a mothers aerobic fitness and physical activity levels during pregnancy and her child's BMI levels during pre-adolescence. Of particular interest is that the authors found an inverse relationship between a mothers current aerobic fitness and her child's BMI, body fat percentage, and waist circumference during years aged 8 - 10. For more information, please check out Active Voice: More Maternal Physical Activity May lead to Leaner Pre-Adolescent Children. It's a fairly easy read and won't take but a couple minutes.

Personally, I'm working on my reviving my own research study at Auburn that I was forced to table while at UCCS. Essentially, I'm looking to analyze the effect that bilateral or unilateral training has on the lower extremity and the development of leg dominance, particularly during high force production situations. Currently, I'm working with my advisor at AU to see if we can make some changes in order to make it a more manageable study for us as this was a previous issue with it at UCCS. Because it will be a training study, securing long-term commitments from
participants is a must. I'll post more as it develops. I'm hoping to have a write-up completed sometime by late spring or early summer of next year.

Finally, I had an amazing workout this morning. Because of our HUGE backyard (we live on 1.25 acres), I'm able to do most SAQ style workouts at home. It was a nice change of pace from the track or bicycle. Of course, my pup Gator was there pushing me the entire time. All-in-all, the workout took about 60 minutes, consisting of a series of middle distance sprints, numerous agility drills, and a few ladder combinations. Sound like fun, huh? :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So many exciting things going on!

Even though I had every intention to, I wound up not getting around to posting yesterday. I had to take my nephew up to Atlanta so his father (my brother) could take him back home to Florida. Then I had two former athletes contact me needing help with their respective programs: one is a fifth year D1 athlete recovering from a major surgery earlier in the year and the other is a first year D1 athlete. As a coach, I always try hard to connect with my athletes which has always made leaving or changing schools one of the hardest things for me. Luckily, I'm able to keep in contact with most of them. I feel its important to let them know that I'm always willing to help them when I can, with many of them taking me up on that offer. Of course I have to be careful not to take money out of my pocket as coaching is still my main occupation, but its a line I have been trying to tread carefully. :-)

For the better part of a month, my wife and I had two resident athletes as both my sister-in-law and nephew were staying with us while on their summer vacation. Currently, their both preparing for the upcoming high school XC season. Their both starting to show some promise as distance runners, though I think it may be another year or so before they're developed enough to compete on the state level in Florida. Anyways, it was interesting having two hormone filled teenagers living with us for that long, much less having to coach them at the same time (normally we just coach them over the internet). I wound up doing a lot more distance running then I normally do as, Terrieha or I would act as their pacers during track
workouts. I never make any bones about it: I'm a big, powerful, sprinter...period. I'm good at it and I enjoy it, but I had to throw that out for a few weeks as we were really trying to get them to break through some plateaus on their paces. We'll see how it develops...only about another month till they start official practice.

Nonetheless, life is finally getting back to normal for my wife and I. We have the house to ourselves for a few weeks until our new roommate moves in. This morning we went out for a little trail run at Keisel Park. If you're in the Auburn area and enjoy running, walking, or just discovering new places, this park is a must for you! It is located only about 5 minutes from campus has some great trails, though admittedly they aren't overly technical. One of the best things for us is that the park allows dogs to be off-leash as long as they're under voice control. Our youngest dog, Gator, is an extremely energetic dog who loves to workout with us. She is one the best, and worst, motivators to continue pushing yourself during distance or sprint workouts. If I could harness just part of her physiology in a bottle I would become a rich man by selling it.

When I got home, I finally had a chance to break into the peaches we bought at the AU Farmers Market last week. It may have taken them some time to ripen, but it was worth the wait. My post-workout meal consisted of a wonderful glass of Florida orange juice, everything flavor bagel thin, with jalapeƱo jelly (from the farmers market as well), finally topped with peaches. It was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend attending the market as they have some great, original, products at considerable savings. Plus, you can help some of the help local farmers! :-)

Tomorrow I'll have some research of interest for all of you mothers or mothers-to-be out there, plus a little bit about some research I have coming up, so be sure to check in on that.