January 31, 2006
Training in Europe really opened my eyes to a new understanding of intensity. Funnily enough, it is interesting to see the marked difference in the way people perceive nutrition and training from today, compared to 10 years ago. Recently I had realised that I had never really been asked about nutrition or about training regimes as a player growing up in a semi professional environment in Australia. We never had a sports nutritionist or personal trainer to guide us through proper sports science prescriptions for soccer. So when I had an intense session, my body had to deal with it the best way it could for days. What does this mean for your body? What can be done about it?
Working out at super high intensities can increase the oxidative stress on your body, which can lead to free radicals damaging good tissue, and increasing your chances for disease. A fantastic Article by Daniells, S. (2006) shows some fantastic evidence that antioxidant supplements can decrease oxidative damage and increase performance. One study pointed to the effect of a flavonoid supplement using black grape, raspberry and red currant concentrates reduced the amount of free radical damage. Here are some of the findings of the report and other studies related to oxidative stress:
“The antioxidant effect of the beverage could be due to polyphenolic content and not to the vitamin C due to the fact that the placebo contains the same quantity of vitamin C”. Therefore, the natural juice from the fruits in the drink provided the antioxidants needed to fight high oxidative stress in the 30 athletes studied.
Exercise induced oxidative stress is only seen after high intensity or long duration exercise. A 1987 study from the University of Alberta showed that moderate exercise did not affect oxidative stress, and that low intensity exercise actually protected against it.
Next time when you are slugging it out on the park remember the need to consume a drink that is high in antioxidants and that will replenish glycogen stores at the same time. Remember that you also need to consume a drink that re-hydrates you for greater goalkeeping performance.
January 26, 2006
Lately me and the Mrs. have been spending a whole heap of time trying to track down suppliers of Xbox 360 and PSP consoles in Asia to resell on eBay! Yup, we have the almighty eBay bug and I was thinking that because of the steady stream of time spent in front of the dazzling lights of the computer screen, I’m starting to fall back into a the slump of inactivity. This week I was at the physio, and finally (after many moons) the hospital decided to purchase a new isokinetic machine (no i’m not talking about a Cybex piece of equipment) with all the bells and whistles. I can’t quite recall the name of the apparatus but it was a torture contraption that left my leg feeling like jelly after the session was complete. Basically the machine was to measure how much force I could produce (it had it’s own little computer screen) to analyse how much strength I had in my operated leg, and also to give me a nasty workout that didn’t include my thumbs (a la PSP) and helped me burn some calories in the process. I remember some study that I did on the types of muscular actions needed for effective sports performance, and decided to create a short list and description of each as follows:
- Isometric: Applications of force against an immovable object, for eg. trying to push with all your might against a brick wall (I have no idea why I said that!)
- Dynamic or Isotonic: For example the extension of the elbow, when throwing the ball. Dynamic movements can be classified into Concentric (muscles shorten when they overcome a resistive force) and Eccentric (muscles lengthen when they are overcome by a resistive force).
- Isokinetic: Here the speed of the muscular action is held constant due to the speed limiting nature of the resistive equipment (just like the torture machine at the physio). Batman, P. (2004) suggests “While this type of muscle action is not normally associated with daily living skills or sports skills, equipment which can assess force exerted during isokinetic muscular actions, are able to identify weaknesses at specific joint angles and can be used to strengthen such weaknesses”, just like the torture equipment at the physio!
Overall, I can’t complain (when does a goalkeeper not complain?) and although I have some nasty lactic build-up my leg feels much better overall 2 days post my torture routine. I can just see my physio chuckling. I think I will be back on the park very soon at this rate.
January 21, 2006
Me? No not even close, but an official report by the German based International Federation of Football History and Statistics released their formal ratings for the best goalkeeper in the world for 2005 as follows:
1. Petr Cech (Chelsea) 175 votes
2. Dida (Milan) 91
3. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) 78
4. Grégory Coupet (Lyon) 43
5. Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich) 42
6. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) 41
7. Jerzy Dudek (Liverpool) 34
8. Edwin van der Sar (Man United) 32
9. Rogério Ceni (São Paulo) 31
10. Roberto Carlos Abbondanzieri (Boca Juniors) 26
11. Heurelho da Silva Gomes (PSV Eindhoven) 17
12. Igor Akinfeyev (CSKA Moscow) 12
13.= Víctor Valdés (Barcelona) 11
Jens Lehmann (Arsenal) 11
José Manuel Reina (Liverpool) 11
16.= Carlos Montoya (Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata) 10
Oswaldo Sánchez (Guadalajara) 10
Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough) 10
19. Andreas Isaksson (Stade Rennais) 8
20.= Fabien Barthez (Marseille) 6
José María Buljubasich (Universidad Catòlica Santiago) 6
Carlos Kameni (Espanyol) 6
Fantastic to see Schwarzer in the top 20, with his show stopping performances for Australia’s World Cup 2006 entry. Peter Cech had a fantastic season for Chelsea last season. I think that Reina is in fantastic form for Liverpool currently. Buffon dropped a few spots because of injury and one day I hope to see one of my readers in the top 20 too!
January 17, 2006
Today was my first run since the previous week and I have also updated the title because “Road To Recovery Series” was getting a little too monotonous and cheesy! Last week was a challenge and I had a sharp pain in my knee, and today’s run was the same. I live across the road from a very large park, and it occurred to me that there was some fantastic potential to begin using the steps (of which there are an abundance) and some hilly slopes that extend all around the park. The great thing is that I can really visualise myself doing a full circuit training session of hills, steps and sprints. Hold your horses cowboy, one step at a time!
Back to the run. It was a little breath-taking but nonetheless worth the effort, I’ve noticed that I am rating high on my RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) at about 11, which means that I am working at a good effort for my level of fitness (approximately 110 beat per minute). When I got back home I cooked up a storm in the kitchen and had a few quick snacks. My secret super foods menu, consisted of:
- Blackberries & Strawberries: Both are super foods for glycogen replenishment after a tough work out. Full of vitamins, antioxidants and are full simple carbohydrates for quick energy. Berries also taste awesome in low fat ice cream and my cereal in the morning.
- Egg Omlette: 6 egg whites with 2 egg yolks. The whites are packed with protein and the yolk is filled with HDL or good cholesterol. Mixed into this is some fresh chopped tomatoes. Tomatoes are full of lycopene which are a natural source of antioxidants. Funnily enough I was reading an old National Geographic article on the life expectancy of various nationalities that showed Italian people from Sardinia have the longest life expectancy in the world. Guess what their secret is? Many hours of good old manual labour with some fresh, unprocessed tomato sauce for their pasta. A pinch of salt and a dash of pepper completes this energy packed meal.
I am by no stretch of the imagination a chef or a connoisseur of food, but a good hard workout and some healthy foods thrown into the mix is really helping me fight back to full recovery.
January 14, 2006
Ever trained at a high altitude? It can be significant heart stopper when converting your training gains from a high altitude to playing at lower altitudes. I can remember my half year stint in Zagreb with Dinamo where I was training in the snow two times a day and its affect on my cardiovascular system. Coming back to Australia, with its dry heat was very demanding especially with the emphasis of highly aerobic pre-season training. Goalkeeping entails anaerobic strength and power as key ingredients for success. The question needs to be asked, does altitude training really affect anaerobically trained athletes?
Some evidence from sports scientists studying NFL players in the US suggests that altitude does not really affect anaerobically trained athletes. The caveat here is that, players training anaerobically train for strength and power which entails high levels of glycogen utilisation rather than oxygen as a main energy substrate. So the short and sweet is no, training at high levels will not necessarily have an affect on the overall performance of a competitive goalkeeper, because of the anaerobic nature of the position. Conversely, training at high aerobic intensities at altitude can have significant affects on performance and lactate build-up. Here is the skinny on what the lab rats have to say about it:
“When exercising aerobically at high altitude the VO2Max is reduced, even though the athlete is still exercising at a similar percentage of VO2Max. This is caused by a decrease in the oxygen saturation of arterial blood, lowering the partial pressure of oxygen. This stimulates the production of glycogen which increases lactate production” (Batman P. Advanced Aerobic Conditioning, 2004). Remember this handy information the next time you train at high altitude.
January 9, 2006
From the treadmill to the great outdoors, nothing feels more liberating than hitting the park for some fresh air and and a good run around the oval. Finally, I decided to take the baby in the pram, and the Mrs. down to the park for a jog around the field. The physio recommended 10 minutes, believe me it felt like a marathon. My heart rate was pretty high and I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my knee, but I pushed on. Last week I was running on the treadmill and it was funny to see the variance from going through your paces in a controlled environment using gym equipment and how difficult it seems to transfer your aerobic training gains to an outdoor environment.
When conducting fitness tests, personal trainers usually have to test and retest a client in the same or similar conditions a few times over so as to produce a thorough analysis of the clients abilities in that environment. This shows that pre season soccer training is best conducted in an environment that closely matches the environment in which soccer players will most likely play, ie. a soccer field. So my outdoor running foray gave me a good window into what I need to do to get back into peak aerobic condition. Get back out into the wild outdoors and slug it out with the changing seasons.
January 8, 2006
Got no time to waste doing a million and one different exercises for hours on end? Is your training regime becoming stale? Well what about giving super sets a try? The super set is one of my favorite ways of training two muscle groups simultaneously with a no holds barred, balls to the wall intensity. In fact, I really can’t stand doing a huge one or two hour training session, because as a competitive goalkeeper it is not really specific to my position. Super setting allows for focused and intense training sessions when you really have no time to spare. Apart from this, super sets allow you to train both your agonist and antagonists all in one session, so you are gaining a double bang for your buck from your training regime. Another fantastic benefit of super sets is that you can really boost your testosterone levels which help to increase growth. With super sets you also gain a great boost to your metabolism, which can help you burn more fat, and be in a lean competitive state for the competitive season ahead.
Following is an overview of what a super set session entails, are you ready?
Sets: 1-2 sets of 2 exercises for same muscle group, followed by 1-2 sets of exercises for the opposing muscle groups. Eg. working the biceps, followed by the triceps.
Reps: 8-10 reps per set. The 8-10 rep range is a great way of of inducing muscular hypertrophy ie. growth.
Recovery: Little or No Recovery
Frequency: 1-2 times per week
The above session is a great way of boosting your cardiovascular system at the same time, as super sets don’t entail that you take a breather so you can chat to the latest gym babe. Super sets are hard work, and the old adage that hard work means great gains rings true with this killer routine. Give super sets a try to boost a stale workout regime and take your training to the next level.
January 6, 2006
Anaerobic training can allow you to reach top gun speeds and maximise fast twitch muscle fiber utilisation. What can it do for technical ability? Recent research shows that speed training can help increase a soccer players agility and dribbling skills. Muniroglu, D. 2005 “The Effects Of Speed Function On Some Technical Elements In Soccer” showed some significant findings which included:
- Average sprint times for soccer players for 0-15 m, 15-30 m and 0-30 m was 2.25 seconds , 1.85 seconds and 4.14 seconds respectively.
- Soccer players with greater sprinting ability had more meaningful agility values.
- Maximum speed and agility are related to specificity ie. differences in muscle strength qualities etc…
- No real correlation was found between sprinting speed and slalom dribbling values.
So let’s talk in English. How are the above values important for a competitive goalkeeper? Increasing sprinting ability is important for increasing agility and vice versa. Specificity is an important concept also. If we train specifically for anaerobic power activities (like sprinting) we also help increase other attributes such as agility. Cool, this means better goalkeeping. Can’t complain with that. In fact, last year whilst I was doing pre-season trials with a local super league team I had a noticeable decrease in performance because I was not training specifically as a goalkeeper, ie. training aerobically mostly, rather than anaerobically (other factors such as no training structure also played it’s part). Speed is an important function of any sport and that means, increasing your ability to generate more speed can help you in all facets of your sport, from sprinting to meet a player in your 18 yard box and diving to save a ball. Don’t neglect the need for speed for maximum performance.
January 4, 2006
Oh, I caught you guys yawning, huh? Ready to go into hibernation? Well, I’m here to tell you that we all made some promises this year, you know the things we call “resolutions” for the new year. So why is everybody napping? Let’s get resolute, with some fantastic foods for the competitive season ahead. Here is a list of some of the leanest and meanest foods to getting you cut to shreds and creating a goalkeeper colossus…are you ready?
Best Meat Sources
- Cutting Up: Turkey is the low fat bird. 225 grams provides roughly 45 (g) of protein and 2 (g) of fat, compare that to lean beef and you get about 15 (g) if fat and an extra 117 calories. Get gobbling, gobbling.
- Big Mass Gains: Flank steak can help hard gainers add mass. Yes there is saturated fat (bad fat) in flank steak, but small doses can benefit testosterone production. It is also dense in creatine, iron and vitamin B12. Pack this sparingly (once a week) during a strength training program and you will gain some good mass.
Best Fish Sources
- Cutting Up: Pollock (I don’t know what is equivalent here in Australia) is low in fat, high in protein and low in calories. Perfect food for getting ripped to shreds.
- Big Mass Gains: Salmon is super saturated in Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti inflammatory, help spare the loss of glutamine and increase the storage of glycogen. All of these factors boost protein synthesis…which means you grow big time.
Best Vegetable Sources
- Cutting Up: Broccoli and Cauliflower are low in calories and provide indoles, which lower oestrogen levels in the body. Low Oestrogen reduces the need for your body to store body fat. This means you have the ability to get cut easily with your training regime.
- Adding Mass: Peas and Corn are complex carbohydrates that have a whole heap of phytonutrients and fibre. Add to this essential vitamins and minerals with a high calorie yield, you get a powerful source of mass gain.
Best Fruit Sources
- Cutting Up: I love the strawberries. With only 50 calories per 150 g strawberries are a great food for getting cut. They are full of fibre, vitamin C and other nutrients which help fight against free radicals after a hard work out.
- Adding Mass: My parents had a fig tree in the backyard, and figs are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Figs contain benzaldehyde, a cancer fighting compound along with ficin a digestive enzyme that aids protein digestion. 75 g of raisins mixed in your cereal or with slow cooking oats provides 60 g of carbohydrates which is the best fuel for hungry muscles and heavy performance.
(Source:Aceto, C. Best Foods, Flex Dec 2005)
Dinner is served, and with the above food choices you can really help benefit your training regime and take it into warp drive for the coming season. Tanya at I.Ate.A.Pie.net has contributed over at Calorie Counter, her top food picks for 2005. Tanya has a Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutrition, so you know her reviews are going to be great. Check it out.
January 3, 2006
What an ecstatic feeling to be finally back on the treadmill. Today I did my usual physio session but with some bounding movements on the trampoline. I ran at a pace of about 6.2 km/h which I was duly impressed with. I have a home program that I will be starting in the next two days. Tomorrow I will try to get back into the pool again because it has been a tremendous help for my recovery process. The snail’s pace on the treadmill gave my cardio system a kick in the pants, which just showed how unfit I have become. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Finally, I feel that I will be back on the road to full recovery with an eventual return to the soccer field in a few months. Mark over at A Passion For Running has been going through the same feelings of exhilaration of finally being able to run, and the overly cautious tone that something may go wrong again. I feel it too, but if you never take the first step to get back to full recovery, you may end up balancing a brewsky on an overly big belly watching the national geographic channel, because you never bothered getting back into peak condition. As Mark states…Onwards!