5 Tips to Build Muscles and Gain Strength

Almost everyone wishes to gain muscles and increase their body strength. However, not many people succeed in their quest to develop remarkable body shape. Muscle building requires much more than just the regular workout sessions and diet. You must reschedule your meal timings as well as workout routine according to the body part that you target from time to time. Along with this, proper sleep and recovery is the prerequisite to ecstatic muscular regeneration and gains. You might want to rethink the kind of exercises to focus on during the muscle gain spree as well.

Keep reading to know the effective tips that will make you gain as well as retain muscle for a longer duration.


1.   Stick To Multi-Joint Exercise


Bodybuilding is a matter of consistency and top-notch patience. Apart from this, even the kind of workout you perform determines the positive results in the long run. You must target the bigger muscle groups by performing multi-joint exercises. Instead of focusing on one exercise, try doing a set of multiple exercises like squats, lunges, planks, and butt bridges. Not only will this improve your joint health, but also help you build strength in no time. That way, you can perform high-intensity workouts without any hassles. Make sure to adhere to the workouts that involve the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle joints.

Ideal Exercises

  • Squats are the wholesome exercises that target multiple joints as well as muscles simultaneously. It works several muscles like quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Along with this, the joints like knee, ankle, and elbow also undergo significant movements with these exercises.
  • Planks, the workouts that help you develop the core strength and target the core muscles are highly beneficial in muscle gaining spree. Some muscle groups like the obliques, rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, and core muscles strengthen with a few sets only.
  • Lunges are yet another commendable exercise targeting your knee joint and leg musculature significantly. Make sure to try out the various types of lunges like side lunges and forward lunges for faster results

    2.   Increase The Protein Intake

    • Leguminous Plants are a rich source of protein and provide almost half the total protein intake recommended for muscle growth. You must eat the beans, lentils, and soy foods to gain muscle in no time.



      One of the most important components of the muscles is amino acids. To gain muscles faster, you need to consume more protein than contain innumerable amino acids. Make sure to incorporate more protein in your diet for top-notch muscle growth as well as regeneration. You might want to increase the protein intake after workout sessions to help in muscle recovery and repair processes. During the workouts, the muscle fragments tear up and undergo extensive Damage. With the heavy protein meals, you can increase the repair, which helps in better muscle gain as well as retention. For optimal results, you can buy sarms to boost muscle recovery procedure significantly. Around 1.5 gramsper kilogram of body weight of the protein is ideal for the people who wish to gain muscle and attain a muscular body.

      Protein-Rich Foods

      • Leguminous Plants are a rich source of protein and provide almost half the total protein intake recommended for muscle growth. You must eat the beans, lentils, and soy foods to gain muscle in no time.
      • Nuts & Seeds are yet another amazing proteinaceous snack option that you can consider between the meals. From groundnuts to walnuts, every type contains top-notch levels of proteins for better body shape.



    3.   Devote Time For Recovery



    Often, workout enthusiasts tend to overlook the importance of muscle recovery and regeneration. If you think that you can gain muscle just by exercising day and night, then you’re wrong. Your body adapts to the replication of muscle cells during the time you rest and recover from the heavy sessions. In case you don’t give your body the time to rest, you might undergo chronic musculoskeletal disorders and malfunctioning. Along with this, it slows down the growth of muscles and decreases the muscle gain significantly.




    • Repairs the Micro-Tears In Muscles that develop during the extensive workout sessions. Also, it promotes muscle regeneration as well as replication which fetch the much-needed muscle gain.


    • Promotes Muscle Retention owing to an increase in the muscle gain process. This makes the life of muscle cells much longer than usual.


    4.   Carb Cycling


  • Source

    Instead of reducing the carbohydrate intake, you need to reschedule the times when you consume your carbs. The best time to incorporate more carbs into your system is right after the workout session. Make sure to take around 8 to 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. You might want to increase the carb intake in case you level up your bodybuilding spree. This is because your body needs glycogen to generate energy which increases your efficiency in the gym. For top-notch and faster muscle gain, make sure to eat your carbs after the workout. Also, make sure to stay away from the foods containing artificial sweeteners like sodas and desserts.



    Healthy Carbohydrate-Rich Foods


    • Oatmeals contain high levels of carbs along with the fibers that help in better digestion. Also, it provides the much-needed glycogen to meet the energy requirements.


    • Sweet potatoes & Brown Rice contain significant levels of carbohydrates and other nutrients essential for building muscle.


    • Fruits like berries, apples, peaches, and bananas contain top-notch carbs and help in providing energy in no time. It’s always beneficial to munch on some bananas or apples after your workout to replenish the lost energy.


    • Veggies rich in carbs like Tomatoes, Asparagus, Spinach, and Broccoli are highly essential to meet your energy goals

      5.   Focus On The Workout Volume


      Instead of performing the high-intensity workouts, you need to focus on performing the medium-intensity workouts multiple times. A minimum of 10 to 15 repetitions of one particular workout is ideal for better muscle gaining and strength building. Also, make sure not to take more than 30 to 45 seconds of break between each repetition. High volume training helps in fetching better endurance and makes you gain commendable strength. That way, you can easily perform high-intensity workouts without fail. Keep doing the same workout until the saturation point to stimulate your muscle cells to gain muscle significantly.



      • Joint Damage subsides due to high volume training. This makes you last longer in the gym and doesn’t cause any joint-related disturbances.


      • Promotes CNS Functioning which in turn accelerates your performance and increases the duration of your workout. With better reflexes, you can continue to train without feeling lethargic, sore, or confused.


      • Increases Strength develops better endurance about the workout sessions. Also, it prepares you for the long workout hours and maintains a top-notch immunity. To gain muscle faster, you must promote endurance and stick to high volume rather than high-intensity exercises.


      Bottom Line


      Muscle training is all about developing strength and staying consistent throughout the journey. You might feel like giving up now and then due to excessive soreness and lethargy. However, you must continue to perform the medium-intensity and high-volume workouts to see faster results. Apart from this, you must eat more protein and steroids preparations to gain as well as retain muscles for a long duration. Prefer to consume the carbs after your workout session as it replenishes the lost energy in the gym. Refer to the muscle-gain tips mentioned above to develop the muscular body type with few efforts.

      By Jessica Smith

7 Benefits of Pairing Yoga with CBS

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/F2qh3yjz6JkSource: https://unsplash.com/photos/F2qh3yjz6Jk

Cannabis is a complex herb having over 100 different cannabinoids and terpenes all acting and reacting differently in our system. Marijuana has long been a part of traditional healing. Out of many compounds, CBD has interested many medical scientists and practitioners off lately. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in cannabis, CBD shows no psychoactive effects. So people are more open to using it for its therapeutic properties.


Glorified as one of all solutions to many health problems, people want to explore more about its uses and benefits. Various alternative medications and therapy fields are also fascinated by the effectiveness of this herb. When combined with yoga, it can lead to manifold benefits.

1.   It can help you relax

Our endocannabinoid system has CBD receptors that bind with the cannabinoids in CBD and help regulate nervous system activity such as managing mood and reducing stress. It also helps regulate GABA, the neurotransmitters in our system that can help control brain excitability. Thus one can easily relax into breathing exercises during their practice.

2.   It helps you to sustain poses and postures

Some of the yoga poses require a lot of flexibility that can be difficult to maintain. In some instances, you may have to sit in a posture for a long duration of time. Frequently, you may notice pain, inflammation, and stiffness in your muscles. CBD oil shows anti-inflammatory properties and can come useful in managing pain. The topical application of CBD oil can lead to its absorption through the skin pores and bind with the receptors around it, thus reducing pain. You can topically use CBD oil in an affected area to relieve strained muscle instantly.

3.   Enhanced Physical Sensation and mindfulness

Our brain is responsible for our cognitive abilities, body function, and memories. Also, many thought processes keep the brain overtly active, avoiding it to relax or concentrate. CBD can calm your brain and help reduce those consistent brain chattering. This also means one can be mindful and also make a good muscle mind connection. To ensure high-quality CBD products, make sure you buy from reputed marijuana Canada retailers only.



Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/r40EYKVyut

4.   Improved sleep cycles

Sleeplessness disturbs the natural rhythm of our bodies. While yoga can help us align our energies better, certain disciplinary changes in our lifestyle can give us a hard time initially. A perturbed night sleep can hinder your practice the next day. A meditator might fall asleep during relaxation exercises and again find difficulty to catch sleep at designated hours. This cycle can continue unless you balance your sleeping rhythm and cycles. CBD oil can help you sleep better and can help in curing typical conditions like insomnia. It restores your sleep cycle so that you wake up active, all set to kick your routine efficiently.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/CwIU33KGTo

5.   It can help improve your digestion

Yoga practices are often accompanied by simple eating habits, for the basic reason that any digestive issues can make you uncomfortable and break the flow of your practice. CBD can help steer clear many of your digestive issues such as pain, inflammation, and bloatedness. It can also help in better absorption of the better absorption of nutrients from the food by eliminating any soreness in the digestive tract.

6.   It can help you deal with past trauma

Our past experiences and stress imprints remain in our memories. Yoga and breathing exercises are relaxing and sometimes they lead to the release of stored emotions. Sometimes, these emotions can be difficult to deal with, especially in people with a history of PTSD. With the help of CBD and continued practice, one can gradually learn to liberate the pent up stress and memories.


7.   It can help you stay happy and balanced

A time comes in your yoga therapy when everything sails smoothly. Your body is flexible enough to sustain poses, and you may feel at ease with various asanas. Your mind works in perfect conjugation with breathing exercises, and there is orderliness in your session. Introducing mindfulness and positive imagery can boost your happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, and you want that feeling to sustain. Though CBD cannot replicate these hormones in your body, it can help your brain to absorb them better. So, when you pair CBD with your yoga practice, you know your body can create as well as absorb dopamine better. Thus one can experience a happy, balanced feeling throughout the day.

      The bottom line.

CBD can enhance your yoga in many ways. It can soothe your mind and body to help you get better results. There are several methods to inculcate CBD in your routine. One can take it in the form of a sublingual tincture or cook with the CBD oil. Also, vaping is one of the quickest ways to get CBD in your system. However, The time and the dosage of CBD might vary hugely from one person to another. So, you may administer it under the guidance of the expert.


By Lisa Dey


Overcoming Fear of Positive Transformation

Many people feel insecure when they hear of making changes. The thought of change has triggered the emotional mind of many over the years and these triggers have often hindered transformation and success.

Positive change is merely the ability to modify your ways in order to make improvements. You can use a variety of techniques in order to transform your personal characteristics. Transformation occurs by amending patterns, behaviors, habits and thinking.

The fear of change is often an illusionary state of mind. Many people fail to challenge their fears making it difficult to get through the day.

Making positive transformations is rewarding, since it builds self-esteem and strength of character. We can use visualizations to make constructive transformations.

Start with visualizing yourself. Focus on the negative and positive. Are you a negative thinker, or a positive thinker? If you are negative, then work harder at building your self-esteem and confidence. It will empower you to make personal transformations that lead you to success.

Positive change occurs by sticking with your plan while working to achieve your goals. For instance, if you intend to lose weight, then you must stick with an exercise routine and dietary guidelines. You must adjust to something new. When transforming behaviors, habits and thinking to productive patterns, it brings much greater rewards.

When you stay stuck in an unchanged pattern, it encumbers you from achieving success. Face fears directly to make productive changes and it will guide you to building self-esteem.

People with low self-esteem are often afraid to transform, which is clearly linked to the fear of accepting difference. Change, even when positive, can create discomfort because it is something different than what we’re used to. We must be open to accepting change by retraining the mind.

Self-analysis can help you make positive transformations while building self-esteem.

To make constructive changes and eventually transform, start by assessing the self. Self-analysis is the ability to evaluate the self. Often when one goes through this, they find issues they did not know existed. For instance, discovering being afraid to be alone. This is a common fear amongst many people, yet many do not realize that this fear is embedded in the subliminal and unconscious mind. By self-analyzing, one can discover his or her fears and work to eliminate the problem.

When one self-analyzes, often he or she can make positive transformations and build self-esteem by expressing his or her feelings and thoughts. This person can accordingly admit to his or her admissions while recognizing his or her qualities and the way that one behaves. Throughout the process, you actually become closer to yourself, which then builds self-esteem. By becoming closer to self, you can focus on personal achievements and gratitiude to build a stronger strength of character. You will find satisfaction within yourself by ding this often.

Self-analysis makes it possible to discover the feelings that make you feel uncomfortable, something often avoided for obvious reasons. By facing these issues and confronting and understanding your fears, you will often be better able to remove obstacles and roadblocks to your success.

By Dr. Robert Inesta DC L.Ac CFMP CCSP
Westchester Sports & Wellness
ViaVitae Health

Overcoming Fear of Positive Transformation


Which Motivation Style is More Effective?

A young tennis player just hit a crashing forehand to win a championship match. Parents, relatives, and coach run to congratulate him. From the sidelines, we hear all sorts of complimentary comments: “you played so well,” “you are a great player,” I knew you were going to beat him,” your strategy for the game really paid off,” and “what a super effort!”

Praising is often indicated to be a strong motivating factor for young athletes to continue participating in their chosen sports. On the one hand, young athletes love to receive every ounce of positive attention. It makes them feel pumped up and ready to go again. On the other hand, praising the athlete vs. the effort are two very different things.

Ego Focus vs. Skill Focus

Ego focus occurs when an athlete’s self-perception is primarily derived from his/her ability or natural talent over effort. A young basketball player, who is taller than his teammates, exudes confidence as he is better able to get more rebounds, run faster, and steal more balls than his teammates. Winning over his competitors is used as his measure of competence. His talents are verbally reinforced by the coach and parents, whose remarks focused on how great he is and what a fine future he will have. This young athlete completely embraces the well-intended praises as he continues to display strong, and often time flashy ball handling. Even when the team loses, he hears that he is not responsible to carry the team all by himself and losing just happened as the team puts too much expectation on him. In essence, to be seen as a winner becomes the essential ingredient for an ego focused athlete.

Skill focused emphasizes on the incremental completion of tasks to achieve a greater level of competence. The same basketball player embraces his learned skills to achieve his best and uses constant valuable game and practice feedback to make adjustments and learn through the process. The game is used as an experiential laboratory where the learned experience is used to make constant improvements. Irrespective with the end result of the game this athlete, who also seeks to win, is praised by coaches and parents for his effort, ability to stay focused, and positive display of team cohesion.  Consequently, the foundation to achieve best results is based on the constant improvement of skill development.

It is normal for athletes to embrace a combination of both skill and ego focus. It may well be that a tennis player is very determined to follow a program routine to enhance fitness and skills during practice, but becomes more ego focused when competing at a high-level championship final, having more visibility from college coaches, playing against a home town rival or competing for a scholarship.

What’s most important is that in a performance event, where an athlete may easily be tempted to be absorbed by his/her ego, a coach becomes a strong leader to help steer the focus toward regaining task-involving cues.

A comment like, “work hard at every point, hitting the ball deep into the back of the court just like you very well did during practice” helps an athlete to bring attention to what she has more control over and feels more confident about. On the other hand, had the coach said, “your ranking in better than hers, hence you will do great!” brings a very different message. The tennis player may feel pumped up at first, but, when feeling game pressure, anxiety creeps in and negative thoughts will follow. From that moment on, it becomes that much more difficult to mentally remain in the game.

In a recent interview, Rafael Nadal shared his mental approach toward practice. He said, “I do not go to practice unless I have a goal in mind to work on.” Rafael is the perfect example of the athlete whose talk-focused approach has propelled him to win multiple grand slam titles. His work ethics span around the constant improvement of his tennis skills, the enhancement of his fitness levels, and placing careful attention to his nutrition and dietary needs.

Where do you measure your Ego vs Task Focused orientation? Take a look at the link below and do your own assessment.


Ego or Task Focused?

Athletes will be well advised to shift their attention toward the development of a task focused mindset. The development of practice routines and learning from each playing experience are the essential skills that foster confidence and trust. An athlete that fully embraces his/her skills looks at challenges as an opportunity to grow rather than an invitation to avoid.


Alex Diaz, PhD

Sports Mental Edge ©

I Hate January

I went to the gym this morning. It was packed with more than triple the number of people that are there on a typical Saturday morning. My interval training class was crowded making it physically challenging to avoid being crushed with other sweaty bodies. Everyone was in my space. I don’t like jockeying for sp ace when I am working out. I go to the gym partially for he social aspect of seeing other motivated individuals
and friends, but more to work out.


I don’t like that parking is difficult when I get to the gym in January. I don’t like that I
have to sign up for some classes in advance or else I will be blocked out. I hate in the
locker room that I have find a locker way in the back corner and on the top row because
all the other lockers are taken. I can barely find an area on the mat to warm up and
stretch out. And after my crowded class, even the showers are packed. So, should I
leave my gym and find somewhere else to work out? Maybe I should just work out at
home? No need, because February is around the corner.

After 3-5 weeks from the start of the new year, the resolutions will fade back into
oblivion for 11 more months. The overcrowded conditions will no longer exist.
Everything will go back to where it should be. Did you know that only 25% of people
keep their new year’s resolutions for 30 days and only 8% for the year? This is a sad


So how do you keep working out and not be part of the majority who give up? You need
to answer the question of what is your motivation. What works is making small changes.
Don’t jump on the elliptical for 45 minutes when you haven’t even done a 20 minute
work out. Build up to your goal and make it realistic. If you do too much too soon you
are more likely to give up and more importantly more likely to get hurt. Getting hurt will
set you back in achieving your work out goal and makes you more likely to quit.

Another way to keep your resolutions are to have a friend or two commit to it as well.
The days where one of you is lazy, the other person will be your motivation. If you don’t
work out you will not only disappoint yourself but your friend also. A work out buddy is a
very effective technique.

Writing down your goals and work outs will also keep you going to the gym. Use a
calendar program and write down a day in advance what exercises you will do or the
time you are planning on going to the gym. I like the app MyFitnessPal which is free and
allows you track your weight, foods, and work outs. Watching yourself achieve your
goals will push you to keep going.

If you made resolutions it is up to you follow through and achieve them. Decide if you really want to succeed or are willing to quit. Remember most people won’t pursue their goals for more than a few weeks so stick out the crowded gym until February when the herds will thin.


Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA

Director Orthopedic Surgery Westchester Sport & Spine at White Plains Hospital Center

What Should I Know About Cholesterol?

High cholesterol is prevalent in our society, and many people are confused about how to eat to control the levels in their blood. Cholesterol is made by the body in the liver, and it is also ingested through the consumption of animal protein, such as meat, eggs, and cheese.

Our body needs cholesterol for many of the its metabolic processes. Cholesterol is a part of cell membranes, and it has a role in the production of vitamin D, hormones, and bile acids. Bile acids are used to break down fats during the digestive process. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to plaque formation, whereby plaque sticks to the walls of the arteries and causes atherosclerosis. This may lead to coronary artery disease where the arteries are narrowed and blocked.

When we have our dietary cholesterol taken, we usually look at the total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (high density lipoproteins), LDL cholesterol (low density lipoproteins), VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol, and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol,” carries most of the cholesterol to your body cells, and when the level is high, it can cause a buildup of plaque and clog the arteries. HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) is responsible for transporting cholesterol from the body back to the liver, which then removes it from the body. VLDL cholesterol mainly carries triglycerides, which can also lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood which are stored in fat cells for energy in the body, but they also can contribute to atherosclerosis.

High cholesterol levels are usually caused by an unhealthy lifestyle including poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, and smoking. Additionally, cholesterol levels tend to increase with weight and age. High levels have also been associated with family history and race. Historically, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended restrictions on the intake of dietary cholesterol, trans fat and saturated fat (especially from eggs), which can potentially increase cholesterol levels in the blood. However, a study published in Circulation found that after reviewing 17 studies, there did not seem to be a significant association between dietary cholesterol and heart disease or egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, the new guidelines from The AHA do not limit daily cholesterol level anymore. The old standard was to consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol for the population at large and less than 200 milligrams for those with a history of high cholesterol. Instead, now the focus has become focusing on the diet as a whole and choosing whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and nuts rather counting the amount consumed every day. As far as eggs, two studies published in 2018 show that eggs do not raise the risk of heart disease and may even be protective. The AHA guidelines still restrict eggs to one per day for those with heart disease and two per day for those with normal cholesterol.Besides the research on eggs, some recent research has shown that saturated fat may not impact CVD risk as originally thought.

The take home message is moderation. Eat a diet with healthy fats, plenty of fruits and vegetables and some lean protein. Exercise and maintain a healthy weight and don’t fixate on any one part of your diet or lifestyle – look at it as a whole.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5577766/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30084105

by Denise Groothuis MS RD CFMP
THE ARENA and MAZE Center for Men’s Health

Track Your Success

If you want to get in shape, work out. How simple is that? Easy to say, but hard to do. You must find what motivates you. Most people respond very well to schedules and routines. That is why I recommend putting your workouts in a calendar before you work out. This works best if you write out a week or month in advance. If you have in your schedule spin class Saturday at 9:30AM you are much more likely to go then if just say I will go work out at some point over the weekend. Having a buddy also helps. Someone to push you when you are feeling lazy will give you the external motivation when it isn’t coming from yourself. Also, having someone you are pushing will motivate you to not quit.
I make going to the gym part of my daily routine every day except Thursdays. It is the way I start every day and it as much a part of my morning as breakfast and brushing my teeth. On the weekends I book a class at the gym and work out with a friend whenever possible. If I miss a day, I feel bad. The days where I don’t feel like going, I just push through and 100% of the time I feel better afterwards. I like to work out in the mornings, but whatever time works best for you is fine. Just make it a part of your day.
Another trick to motivate you is to document your progress. You can document your workouts and see how many times you have gone. You can also track results like weight loss or strength gains. Seeing progress is a reward. Some people like to post their results and see this as motivation, but I would hate to disappoint all of my followers.
For one of my sons when he was in high school, he wanted (needed?) to get in shape for soccer. He was relatively small (genetically my fault) and needed to make size and strength gains. We both committed to working out together in the basement 3 times/week for 3 months. There were days I had to fight with him to motivate him, but once he started actually seeing gains he was hooked. The first time we lifted, he benched 40 lbs. and curled 10lb dumbbells. He was tearful at how weak he was. He told me his friends could bench over 150 lbs. I knew he wanted to quit and give up, but he also knew he really wanted to be on the soccer team. He pushed through.
We documented every work out including what exercise, how much weight and how many reps he performed. The first 2 weeks he was in pain and was constantly whining and complaining. But then something happened. His form improved and he actually wanted to work out more. He wanted to increase the weight and was able to do so. He was dramatically improving. Six weeks into working out, I videotaped him curling shirtless and sent it to his big brother who never says anything positive to him. He simply replied, “WTF, is that Ty??” At the end of 3 months he was able to bench 120 lbs. for 6 reps and looked bigger and much more defined. It was noticeable and he was ecstatic with his results.
You know where you want to get and you already know how to get there. All you need is the push. Use a calendar and set a schedule in advance. Find a buddy or class that forces you to go. Use a trainer if you need one. Document your progress and hard work. All of these steps will keep you on the track to better health.

Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA
Director of Orthopedic Surgery
Westchester Sport & Spine of White Plains Hospital

Being Benched: Mental Readiness Tips

How to Go from Being BENCHED to Being YOUR BEST

If there is one role athletes dislike is that of playing the bench. It is often frustrating, upsetting, feels unfair, and it is very hard to get motivated. Athletes feel under-appreciated and wonder when it will be MY chance to start.

Whether they are replaced in the middle of a game, assigned to be a bench player or lost their starting position due to an injury, it is not fun, at all, to watch the game they love from the sidelines.

As challenging as it is, being on the bench actually provides an enormous opportunity to gain mental strength. How you use this role can positively shape the athlete and person you aspire to be. Let’s look at these 3 mindset lenses.

1.    YOU are the one who really moves the needle

All winning teams have strong supporting role players. They are the ones who push hard for starters to excel, cheer teammates to stay focused, and provide motivation for one extra push. Starters often rely on this energy to continue fighting to not give up.

Benched players can often unite or split teammates based on his/her attitude. A team-minded benched player becomes positively contagious to teammates. But an angry benched player is a distraction to other players and coaches. As a benched player, you play a pivotal role to create a strong team atmospher

2. Embrace the unfairness as it will make YOU stronger

If you allow your frustration to take over, it will spill over onto the team and coaches. How YOU choose to respond to unfairness shapes your character. In sports and life, there are many factors outside of your control. You can get mad, disengage from team members, and get angry with the coach; however, all these reactions are yours. And, none of them help you to build positive character. Instead, by accepting the dislike of being benched you will be able to move past the frustration to positively learn from this experience.

Unfairness IS part of your game. It sometimes plays against you, but sometimes it plays in your favor.  As challenging as it is, look at ALL the positives. You can use this time to learn from other players’ techniques, observe in more detail the opponents’ weaknesses, carefully hear how your coach coaches, and do a self-evaluation on areas of your game you need to continue improving. More often than not, most of our learnings come from making adjustments after disappointing experiences.

3.    Accepting your bench role speaks louder about YOU

We all totally agree that being on the bench is the last place you want to be. You’ve been dedicated to your sport to play it, not to be seated by the sideline. But, if you are replaced and benched, nobody wants to be near to or hear from a complainer in a team.

Demonstrating unacceptable behavior will only isolate you from your teammates. On the other hand, accepting with dignity your coach’s decision and use this moment to cheer for your teammates will, by far, enhance yours and your teammates’ role. There is plenty of time to later ask your coach about how to improve for next time.  In the meantime, cheer as you’d like to be cheered.


Alex Diaz, PhD

Sports Mental Edge©



The Hype About Green Tea

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world; in fact, it is the most widely consumed beverage after water. The main types of teas are green, black, white, and oolong, and Pu’erh. All tea varieties come from the plant Camellia sinensis, but the leaves are oxidized and processed differently. Herbals teas, also known as tisanes, do not come from the same plant source and instead originate from spices, flowers and leaves of plants including fruits and herbs.

Green tea has very high levels of antioxidants since its leaves have not been fermented. It is especially high in flavonoids, which have been shown to have many health benefits, including a decreased risk of heart disease, lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, decreased inflammation, improved memory and reduced risk of cancer.

There are may different types of green tea, but matcha green tea has been getting a lot of recognition for its health benefits, especially as a fat-burner and cancer-fighter. It is finely concentrated ground up tea leaves that possess more nutrients that steeped green tea. Additionally, it has a higher level of chlorophyll and amino acids since the tea plant is covered for 3-4 weeks and is not directly in the sun.

Matcha is known to be high in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a catechin, which is a type of antioxidant. Some research shows that may promote weight loss, as was shown in a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It may also boost exercise performance, and help to protect against diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Additionally, matcha is high in L-theanine, which is an amino acid shown to help with anxiety and induce calming.

While matcha green tea has more caffeine than other green teas, it still has less caffeine that coffee. It is high in many beneficial compounds and is worth adding to a healthy diet.

Denise Groothuis MS RD CFMP

Avoiding Burnout

“Should I be concerned that my 15-year-old boy may burnout after being immersed in soccer for the past 10 years? He is putting in a lot of time and I know he loves the game, but sometimes he seems like wanting to quit.” Young athletes are playing the same sport year-round at a very intense level. They compete, practice, plus dedicate gym time as if they were professional athletes. On top of these commitments, they need to meet academic requirements, including attending school and doing homework that barely leaves them with time to sleep. But, should we be concerned that they may crash and burnout?

There is no question that the athletic stakes are much higher than ever before. To earn an athletic spot at a top university is becoming increasingly challenging. NCAA coaches are constantly in the look-out for the best athletes as their respective conferences are also becoming more competitive. The better their athletic program, the more funding they will get. Hence, coaches are selectively looking for the best athletes and they know that if a high-school athlete competes at the varsity and club level, he/she has, by far, much better chances of being recruited.

There are three factors that, when combined, lead to burnout: 1- sport specialization at a very young age; 2- the unfamiliarity of using effective stress management coping skills; and 3- the proliferation of social media as a tool to remain socially connected.

Sport specialization at a young age

An athlete younger than 12-year-old, who plays one sport for more than 8 month/year to the exclusion of participating in other sports, and has limited free playing time is specializing in sports.  Playing just one sport significantly increases the chances of muscle burnout. One of the major concerns is the muscular repetitiveness that often leads to torn muscles. At a young age, muscles are not quite developed, yet, which leads to an increase in injury. The number of ACL surgeries has double in the past 15 years. Although the medical field has made tremendous progress in orthopedic surgeries, there is always the underlying concern that the young athlete may develop fear of re-injury. By then, their own fears will get in the way of returning to compete.

Unfamiliarity of using effective stress management coping skills

Some young athletes learn skill development very quickly. Others happen to be physically strong. In either case, they tend to use those gifts to their advantage and stand out over other competitors. Additionally, many athletes follow Vince Lombardi’s motto, “winners never quit and quitter never win.” Hence, their belief system is to continue plowing along at full speed, and when this strategy begins to fail, then it is time to go even faster. As the competition becomes more intense, these athletes eventually meet equally gifted athletes who give them a run for their money. Unless they have worked on how to properly use sport psychology strategies that prepare them for before and during the game, they will be overwhelmed by the stress of competition. More often than not, those upsetting and frustrating feelings are either ignored or minimized. However, we know that feelings do not go away and will reappear when facing similar situations. Their lack of being able to emotionally navigate challenges eventually leads to underperforming.

Proliferation of social media

The speed with which social media has taken the “space” of these young individuals is beginning to be quite concerning. The greatest loss is in their limited time to personally interact with one another. Instead, social media interaction has overtaken their way of communicating and engaging. Its consequence is that the human nervous system needs the on-to-one interaction to develop its capacity to regulate emotions. It is a physiological requirement, not a personal preference. The less their interaction, the less developed their capacity to navigate stressors and remain focused. If their nervous system is not developed enough to manage competitive stress, then they will be more likely to quit out of frustration of under-performing given their learned skills and talents.

How to avoid burnout

The most important reason for pursuing a sport is because it is fun. The motivation to continue making progress and follow the demanding training and competitive schedules must come exclusively from the athlete, not the adult, coach or teammates. We call it, intrinsic motivation. It is born from within, not from outside. It is the player who needs to embrace to its fullest the grinding of pursuing a sport out of fulfilling his/her own goals, not somebody else’s. In accepting these challenges, stressors will come up. Learning how to be mentally ready and able to negotiate the pressure of competition will greatly enhance the athlete’s abilities to trust and focus. Equally important, learning when to peak, how to rest, and what to eat provide tools excel. When young athletes achieve their goals, it promotes confidence. Intrinsic motivation is a personal experience that can be taken anywhere else in their life.


Alex Diaz, PhD

Sports Mental Edge