flickr | shoot luke

flickr | shoot luke

In Part 1 of this 4 post series I described looking forward to enjoying family/friends, mindfulness, a new favorite/healthy option for my sweet tooth and having more conversations with my athletes in 2016. Let's get into the next section of what I'm looking forward to this year:

RELATED: 16 Things I Plan to Enjoy in 2016 - PART 1

5. evolve my Performance monitoring toolbox

Helping people perform better no matter what "performance" means for them is my deal - that's what I love doing. This requires better insight into athlete/patient/client well-being or limiting factors. The core of this process will always be listening, conversing and gathering subjective reports. It's should not come as a shock that giving a person the opportunity to tell you how they are doing leads to the most reliable awareness of...how they are doing.

RELATED: Monitoring the athlete training response - subjective self-reported measures trump commonly used objective measures. A systematic review.

That all being said, we live in an environment where new technology-based objective measures appear each day. A rock solid performance monitoring toolbox provides a more granular subjectively look and objectively into the person to help coaches and clinicians make better decisions during high performance preparation. The question is what objective measures actually make this process better and/or easier? Here are a few that have my attention and I plan to enjoy learning more about:

Plantiga - Smart insoles for your shoes: Plantiga is a promising smart footwear insert that has the ability to give foot-to-ground insight. Seeing how much force one leg is producing versus the other, ground contact time changes and more during activity could provide a deeper perspective into monitoring workloads and workload tolerance. I plan to enjoy watching this foot-to-ground technology evolve as it looks to enhance how we monitor human performance. 

Masimo Mighty Sat - Trouble-free measurement of pulse and blood oxygen levels: This technology is new to the sports performance world but has long been a trusted tool in the medical/hospital setting. 10-15 seconds after popping it on your finger, you can get valuable information related to how oxygenated your blood is, pulse rate and more. I plan to enjoy watching this technology merge with and enrich the sports performance world.

RELATED: 4 Strategies to Navigate Sports Science and Wearable Device Technolog

FatBurn Factory FitMetrics System - A unique device that quantifies your Fat-Burn Efficiency: Dr. Cate Shanahan is so smart that the internet Googles her when it has a question. I've been lucky to have had the opportunity to work with her and soak up some of her knowledge since she's been the Lakers consulting nutritionist over the past 4 years. She recently opened the FatBurn Factory outside of Denver - a clinic where she specializes in helping people achieve weight loss and/or disease reversal through diet and fitness.

One of the primary principles behind her approach is to help patients become more efficient at burning their own body fat. In other words help them to become fat burning machines! Now your saying "yeah TD sounds good but how do you put a number on fat burn? Funny you should ask, and the FitMetrics System is the answer.

This device can tell you how efficient your fat burn skills are by reading carbon dioxide exhaled/oxygen inhaled during rest and activity. The more sugar you burn, the more CO2 byproduct there is. More CO2 in the cell makes the cellular environment more acidic - more acid, more bad! I plan to enjoy being able to quantify fat burn and exploring how this can help optimize well-being/performance.

RELATED: Burn Fat with Fat, Not Sugar

dr. cate shanahan guiding laker players through her fat burn efficiency test

dr. cate shanahan guiding laker players through her fat burn efficiency test

6. sleep

Sleep is low-hanging fruit in your quest to be healthier and generally more of a rockstar but it's often overlooked. To access that low-hanging fruit, you have to take sleep more seriously and treat it as a skill that can be improved. As I traipse across the country from one NBA city to the next, I cross a lot of time zones and often see 1, 2 or 3am on the clock before my head hits the pillow. This makes getting good sleep about as easy as selling salt to a slug. Because of this, I've had to hone my sleep skills more than ever in order to keep up. I plan on enjoying great sleep in 2016 and here are some of the tools I will use to help me: 

RELATED: The Importance of Sleep in 7 Tweets

  1. Masked man: I'm not afraid to admit that without my sleep mask, I'm lost. Light pollution in your bedroom or sleep environment can spoil your sleep without you even realizing it. I use this beauty from Bucky to block sources of sleep interrupting light that lurks in the bedroom.
  2. Big fan of sleep: Ambient noise is soothing and helps to drown out abrasive noises that can kill a good night's sleep. That's why I almost always sleep with a fan on, but also because I like to stay cool at night. This became a problem when I was on the road and didn't have a fan. I had to find a fan that was travel friendly but had enough juice. I came across this one from O2COOL a few months back and haven't traveled without it since.
  3. Pad my sleep stats: As I mentioned, I prefer to sleep in a cool room - typically 64-66 degrees F is my preference. This seems to be an ideal temp for most folks although everyone has a personal sweet spot. I don't stop at making sure the thermostat temp is cool though, I make sure the surface I sleep on is cool too. Chili Technology has me covered in this department! Chili Pad goes on top of your mattress and circulates water through at your desired temperature. They also make a Chili Gel Cooling Mat. This helps me because often my wife is cold but I'm hot so the Chili Pad Technology allows me to keep my side of the bed at my sweet spot. 
  4. Blue light blues: It's no secret (especially to informed readers like you) that gazing into your device's blue-light emitting screens after dark can stunt melatonin production and suck the life out of your ability to sleep well. It's also no secret that setting your phone or tablet aside after a certain evening hour is easier said than done. One of my solutions to this dilemma is these handy blue-light blocking screens from LowBlueLights.com that can be customized for any size device. That way if I need to be on my phone/tablet for work or if I just can't put it down (my wife says this is normally the issue), at least I'm minimizing blue-light pollution!

RELATED: Orange Glasses - Sleep Solution or Ridiculous?

RELATED: Short Sleep Duration and Weight Gain

RELATED: Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes.

7. it's just perfect bar

Game days in the NBA can be long. I looked it up - a day that starts at 8am and ends at midnight officially qualifies as long. Ensuring that players and staff (myself included) don't hit that feared "hangry" state during long game days requires that I keep tasty, hunger-busting food on hand. One of our favorites is Perfect Bar! I plan on enjoying plenty of Perfect Bars in 2016. 

8. more footwork, agility, quickness, speed and plyometric Action in my training: 

RELATED: Zoid Fitness Agility Trainer

If you want to be quicker, more agile, faster, jump higher or generally be more of a stud athlete, get stronger - end of story. Well, not quite the end of the story. Once you have a solid foundation of strength then you need to translate that strength into athleticism if that's what you're going for. Nobody's going to confuse me for a stud athlete anytime soon but there's always room for improvement and don't forget: every human is an athlete and every athlete is human! That's why I plan on enjoying more drills like this one in my training:

Stay tuned for Part 3 of what I plan to enjoy in 2016...


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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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References:

Lely, S. V., & E. (2015, January). Blue Blocker Glasses as a Countermeasure for Alerting Effects of Evening Light-Emitting Diode Screen Exposure in Male Teenagers. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(14)00324-3/fulltext

Milewski, D., Skaggs, D., Bishop, G., Pace, J., Ibrahim, D., Wren, T., & Barzdukas, A. (2014, March). Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes. Retrieved February 01, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25028798

Patel, S., & Su, F. (2008, March). Short sleep duration and weight gain: A systematic review. Retrieved February 01, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18239586 

Sew, A., Main, L., & Gastin, P. (2015, September 9). Monitoring the athlete training response: Subjective self-reported measures trump commonly used objective measures: A systematic review. Retrieved February 1, 2016, from http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/09/09/bjsports-2015-094758.abstract 

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