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Steve Francis Dunks or How to Increase Vertical Jump

Did you see Steve Francis in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest? Then he finished as the runner-up to Vince Carter with some sick dunks. Actually, he had a 44-inch vertical at that time! That’s right, 44 inches! Besides Vince Carter (45-inch vertical) Stevie Franchise had the highest vertical in the league at that time! And in case you didn’t know – the guy is only 6′ 3”!

“I never dunked on Shaq or Mutombo. But I got ‘Zo. Never got C-Webb. I got Patrick Ewing, Vin Baker. I remember those dunks because those guys are always saying, “You ain’t going to dunk on me,” and things like that. But I got them!”

– Steve Francis

So, how do you get such a sick vertical? As a start, it’s important to know that being able to jump high is the result of a combination of these things:

– Natural ability

– Leg strength

– Explosive power

– Overall athleticism

That means, if it’s not in your genes, you probably won’t ever be able to jump like Steve Francis. Then again, none of us can. But no matter what your vertical leap is now, you can always make it better. For motivation, just take a look at Steve Francis’ workout back in the days – it’s a

4 days a week, one hour a day workout (running and playing basketball not included, = additional 3 hours a day). Every day consists of different exercises, only certain exercises like jump rope are done every time.

Day 1 (Monday):

– Jump rope (300 jumps)

– DynaDisc figure eight Step onto a pair of discs (they look like deflated dodge balls) holding a ten-pound medicine ball. (15 figure eights in each direction)

– Seated reverse crunch Sit on a flat bench with your legs sticking straight out over the end. Supporting yourself with your arms, lean back until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the bench and slowly bring your knees up to your chest, keeping your upper body stable. Slowly return them to the start position to complete the move. (2 sets of 15)

– High knee-raise sprint Sprint the length of a basketball court staying on your toes and lifting your knees as high as possible. (20 sprints)

– Leg curl (2 sets of 15)

– Seated leg extension (2 sets of 15)

– Hip abduction (2 sets of 10)

– Hip adduction (2 sets of 10)

– Stability-ball dumbbell chest press Like a standard chest press but while lying with your back on the ball to get in a little more work on the core. (2 sets of 10)

– Dumbbell front raise You’re now getting into the part of the workout designed to really carve up the shoulders. Making sure your arms remain just outside of shoulder width, raise first one, then the other, for one rep. (2 sets of 15)

– Dumbbell lateral raise To work the outside of the shoulder, stand bending slightly at the waist, holding a weight in each hand, your palms facing each other. Raise your arms to the sides until they’re parallel to the ground, then return. (2 sets of 15)

– Rear deltoid dumbbell raise Lie face down on a bench set to a 45-degree incline with weights in each hand, your arms hanging off the bench and slightly bent. Keeping that same elbow bend, raise your arms to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, then return. (2 sets of 10)

– Single-arm dumbbell row Now for the back of the shoulders, hold a weight in your right hand, lean over, and place your left hand and knee on a bench for support. Keeping your back slightly arched and your shoulders parallel to the ground, draw the weight-bearing elbow up toward the ceiling, then return. (2 sets of 10, then switch sides and repeat)

– Stationary bike (25 minutes)

As for the vertical jump exercises, besides the common exercises like jump rope and calf raises, Steve used some special, very effective exercises.

Here is an example:

Stand straight up, and jump as high as you possibly can without bending your knees (your knees will bend slightly). As soon as you hit the ground, jump back up gain, and repeat this motion a number of times. This exercise is extremely effective at strengthening your lower leg muscles.

Keep in mind that vertical leap is part leg strength and part explosiveness. In fact, the explosiveness part is the more important of the two. It’s not about the size of your leg muscles, or how much weight you can put up in the gym. It’s about your athletic ability, coordination, and your ability to explode up and off the ground.

For the rest of the jumping exercises and crucial things to know about vertical jump (f.e. why often what you “don’t” do is more important then what you “do” do) please take a look at this page I strongly recommend:

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What Are the Benefits of Using the Treadclimber?

The treadclimber is a versatile piece of gym equipment that has the ability to combine the benefits of the stair stepper machine and a treadmill. It is a great choice if you are looking to introduce some cardio activity to the existing strength training workout. Here are several benefits of using the treadclimber machine:


The treadclimber is a great option to increase the daily cardio activity. Even a moderately active session of 30-60 minutes per day has the potential to help lower the risk of heart disease, increase the ability to burn calories, make an improvement in good cholesterol (HDL) levels and lower the blood pressure. Overall, the cardio benefits of this machine are regarded as its major strength.

Muscle Tone

The legs perform a constant stair-stepping action while using this piece of equipment which can play a significant role in toning the muscles in the legs. The treadclimber provides a movement that is quite similar to walking up stairs or uphill. This can benefit the major muscle groups such as the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and calves.

Weight Loss

A consistent workout plan that makes use of the treadclimber is certain to help in your attempt to lose weight. For instance, a 25-30 minute workout at a speed of 3 miles per hour has the potential to burn about 315 calories. By losing weight at this pace it is possible to drop nearly 1 pound of body fat per 9-10 days of working out.

The treadclimber is more efficient at burning calories than the stair climber and treadmill. It is believed the treadclimber can burn up to 3-1 / 2 times more calories than a treadmill and near 35% more than using a stair climber.

Versatile use

Similar to the star climber, elliptical machine and treadmill, the treadclimber makes it possible to increase the level of intensity or difficulty. This makes it much easier to exercise at a comfortable level when first starting out, and later increase the difficulty level when the body gets used to the workout. By increasing the intensity it is possible to avoid a plateau and make sure your body gets the most out of each and every workout.

Are there any negatives

In addition to the many positives of using the treadclimber, there are also a few issues that may limit its usage for some people. For instance, it is not designed to be run on and there before the pace may be too slow for some. Also, the weight limit on these machines is generally limited to about 300 pounds.

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Bodybuilding – When And How To Take Your Creatine

Potentially the most popular bodybuilding supplement on the market is that of creatine. Creatine has been used for many years by those looking to help build muscle mass and get more from their workouts.

By helping to restore the CP stores in the muscle, taking creatine allows you to work out longer in the gym and for an extended period of time. Without it, you may find your workouts begin to lag, and as such, you don’t experience nearly the same muscle building results as you would have if you were

using it.

But one question that many ask themselves is exactly how they should be taking creatine. Is it best to take before a heavy weight lifting workout? Or should it be spread out throughout the day? And what foods or drinks should you have it with? All are common questions that are asked.

When To Take Creatine

For most people, taking creatine immediately following a workout will be the best method since this is when your muscles are going to be most receptive to taking up nutrients – the creatine along with them. Creatine gets stored better in the muscle cells when an insulin spike is present, and as such, if you are drinking a post-workout beverage with dextrose, adding creatine is a very smart idea.

Taking it with juice also works, but keep in mind that juice is about 50% fructose, which has no effect on insulin levels at all. Taking it with straight dextrose is a more effective approach.

When you are in the loading stage though and taking 20 grams per day for the first five days, then you’ll want to spread this out into 4 even dosages so that you are not as likely to experience stomach upset.

Creating and Low Carb Diets

For those who are trying to build muscle while following a bodybuilding lower carb approach, creatine can still definitely be used, but keep in mind it might be taken into the muscle cells slightly slower than if you had taken it at another point in the day.

Keeping Muscle Creatine Stores Full

Finally, the last critical thing to know about creatine is that in order for it to actually be of benefit for you, you must keep your muscle creatine stores full after the loading phase. If you are going to approach your supplement protocol in a haphazard effect, taking it just every now and then, you likely are not going to see many benefits from supplementing with it.

After the loading phase is complete, you must be sure to then continue on to maintain yourself by taking in 3-5 grams of creatine per day thereafter, depending upon your current body weight (heavier individuals will need more).

So, if you’re currently contemplating creatine – or are taking it but not in the right way, give these points some consideration. Taken correctly, creatine can make a big difference in the results you get from your workout.

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Bodyweight Training – The Feared 8 Count Bodybuilders

Why do so many people fear the dreaded 8 count body builder? Because they are a brutal bodyweight exercise that have been used in the military by the Elite Navy Seals.

I have read and bought many books on military training on every part of the military. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and they all show the exercise the 8 count body builder as one of the exercises that help get them in great shape.

But one book a Navy Seal training manual talks about how every Friday they would have to do 1×100 of this brutal exercise. And how the Seals hated it, I read this many years ago when I was just making a transition from weight training to bodyweight training.

I thought how hard could it be? First time I did it I managed 60 of these bodybuilders and thought about never doing them again. But, there was no way that was going to happen I was on my own mission to do 100 in 10 minutes and accomplished it.

What made me want to know more about these and the fact that the author of the book left out the feared 8 counts out of the workout section because how brutal they are. I liked that. If he left it out because he hated them I wanted to do them.

It’s been many years and I still do them and it is still a feat to accomplish 100 in under 10 minutes. My best was 600 in 1 hour and 100 in under 15 minutes wearing a 40 lb weight vest.

These are tough workouts and the exercise will work your body pretty complete. I have combined 8 counts with bodyweight squats and also used a combo using bodybuilders and a jump rope, both are amazing fat burning and strength building workouts.

If you just managed 50 of these beast the average man would not be average anyone who is a little skeptical drop down for some right now and see how many you can get in 1 minute or 2 minutes I think you will be surprised.

The only down fall is that most people will never do them as a regular part of their workout, and the reason is they are very demanding. You can be like everyone else and do everyone else s workouts; you know the workouts designed by the average man for the average man.

You want to be elite? You train and do the exercises that the elite train with!

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Jack LaLanne’s Diet and Exercise Routine

Francois Henri LaLanne’s (1914-2011) famous diet and exercise routine paved the way for him to become an American health icon. He opened the first public gym in Oakland, Ca and is best known for his TV show on fitness. But, he started out as a junk food addict as a kid until he was embarrassed by a failure to pass a routine physical exam in school. This upset and motivated him to attend health lectures that re-directed his life.

WORKOUT: LaLanne’s workout routine began with a series of stretches in bed as soon as he woke around 5am. He then went to one of his weight rooms, one had free weights and the other had weight-lifting machines. He worked the lower body one day and the upper body the next and the entire routine was changed every 30 days. After 90 minutes of weight lifting, he went to the pool for swimming and water exercises for another 30 minutes.

DIET: He ate only two meals a day. The first meal was at 11am after the workout and the second around 7pm usually at a cafe with his wife. His breakfast consisted of fruit, oatmeal, broth, and four egg whites.

His restaurant dinners began with a salad of 10 raw vegetables and four hard boiled egg whites. Fish was consumed almost every night and roasted turkey occasionally. He ate no other types of meat and did not snack between meals. His juicer became popular because Jack just couldn’t eat that many raw vegetables. He found juicing made it easier to consumer the large amount of veggies he wanted.

VITAMINS: In addition to a disciplined diet, Jack took 40 to 50 vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. It’s too long of a list to print here, but can be found on his website. However, he never relied on supplements to replace any foods, he just view it as an “insurance policy.”

ALCOHOL: Being a Frenchman himself, he believed in drinking wine because he noticed that the French tend to live longer in their wine culture. He allowed himself this pleasure apart from his discipline and was even know to get drunk at times.

He published his last book when 95 years old, Live Young Forever that influenced me to change my breakfast to oatmeal and raisins-his favorite. He passed away a little more than a year later at 96 years old from pneumonia.

CONCLUSION: There are areas of contention in his routine. It’s true that Jack placed weights ahead of aerobic exercise. In his diet, he derived most protein from egg whites and fish rather than more diverse sources. His heavy vitamin consumption may have not helped much as absorption rates were lower then. And he probably drank a bit too much at times. But, it’s his long term devotion to a healthy diet and challenging exercise that set him apart.

Allen, R. 4-8-15 Jack LaLanne Workout Retrieved from

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There Is No Wrong Way To Meditate: Breathing Meditation

I never knew if I was meditating correctly. It’s hard to jump into something you’ve never done before, and when asking for guidance only finding ‘enlightened’ answers. I would ask if I’m doing it right, and all I would get is that there is no wrong way of doing it. You see, I needed confirmation along the way, that I was on the right path. What’s the point of picking up a habit, to realize when it’s set, that it’s the wrong one?

Well with meditation it’s somewhat true. There really is no “right” way of meditating, but there are certain techniques that can be followed. You will find that you enjoy one particular meditation style over another, and after you try a couple you will realize that there really is an underlying pattern; you really do end up clearing your mind.

So how does it work?

Well even though there are many ways to meditate, I will share with you my favorite one! I have first hand knowledge, and though I practice different forms of meditation at different times, I prefer this method. Now it would help if you were to think of mediation like you would of a workout. Is there only one way of doing cardio? Of course not! But there are proper ways to run, or to swim or to do jumping jacks, to ensure maximum efficiency. Is there only one way of losing weight or gaining muscle? Of course not, but there are rules to diets, and there are proper ways of breathing as you lift weights. With that let’s move on to:

Breathing Meditation

I place this one first because it is perhaps my favorite. I was fortunate to try Vipassana Meditation where I learned to sit still and, you guessed it, breathe! Begin by sitting in a dark room, preferably early in the morning, or late at night, when few outside noises would disturb you. Your objective is to pay attention to the sensations at the tip of your nose as you breathe in, and breathe out. You need to stay away from distractions, because, especially when you’re starting out, your mind will look for every opportunity to skip to something else. We live in a society where we expect our senses to be bombarded with stimulants, and your mind is ready to move quickly from one thought, or idea to another. Meditation fights that. You probably don’t pay attention to your thoughts as you go about your daily routines, but when you close your eyes, sit in a comfortable position and focus on the sensation of your breath at the tip of your nose, that’s when you notice how hectic your thoughts really are.

Now don’t worry if you have a lot of questions about the technique. It’s very simple, just pay attention to your breath. Even if you are doing it wrong (which you can’t) you will still be meditating. Meditation is focusing on something simple. That in turn places you in the now, and calms your mind, but it’s possible that until you experience it, you will be unable to relate. Still, I will share with you my experience, and you can give it a try.

My first time

Well let’s begin with me sitting in a room full of people that have been meditating in this way for years. I however listened to the instructions, closed my eyes, and started breathing in this meditative way for the very first time in my life. Since the technique seemed so simple, I felt that I needed to know if I was doing it right. I was able to follow along with the sensations as I breathed in and out, and then in again, and all of a sudden my mind was questioning the technique. I would again breath in and out twice or at most three times, and then I would imagine telling my friends about the mediation.

In fact, I probably spend more time thinking about anything other than my breathing, during my first meditative session. It’s natural though. That’s just the working of a busy mind. I learned to catch myself each time my mind would trail off, and bring it back to observe the sensations at the tip of my nose. I would go for longer stretches at a time, now maintaining my focus as I inhaled 6 times, then longer, and longer still. This process was long. I tried not to move and was uncomfortable. I couldn’t keep my mind focused so I grew frustrated with my seeming onset of ADD, but eventually I improved.

For me meditation is just a repetitive task, and a successful technique is one whose effects I feel upon completion. My mind did feel clearer and I was more relaxed, every time I finished meditating.

Good luck and I hope you really enjoy your meditative experience.

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Top 5 Cycling Workouts

While any riding will help there are some workouts that are more effective than others. Some rides are to get your ready to train. Others are to help you recover. But there are certain key workouts that require a lot of effort and payoff with big improvements. Spring is just around the corner so here are the top 5 workouts that will improve your speed, endurance and help burn the winter pudge by spiking up your metabolism.

Warning: As with any exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to do intense exercise.

Velmax Intervals

These are power based intervals I created based on research on increasing VO2 max and thresold power. To do these properly you will need a power meter and have tested your functional threshold power. These are among the hardest intervals I have ever done so if you have less than a year of training under belt or are coming off a layoff, don’t do these as you will probably throw up if done correctly.

The performance gains from these are quite rapid so the prescribed intensity is for the first time you do these intervals. Usually each workout you will increase either the number of intervals or wattage you do them at after the first workout.

Warmup 15-20 minutes

Velmax intervals

30 seconds at 135% of FT power / 30 seconds easy Repeat until you can’t sustain the wattage.

As wattage fluctuates I would usually set a target and when you can’t sustain 10-20 watts below that level the workout is over.

For example, if your threshold is 300 watts then your Velmax target for your first workout is 405 watts. It’s okay to go above but don’t drop below 400. When you can’t keep it above 395 watts, the workout is over and cool down. The first time you do these it is common to only get 15-20 repeats. Keep the same wattage target until you can get over 30 repeats. When you can up your wattage for the next workout by 10-15 watts.

Athletes I work with have gone from averaging 400 watts for 18 intervals to 450 watts for 31 intervals in just 3 weeks. This translates into increased higher sustainable power, higher sustainable heartrates and better recovery ability from hard efforts.

The reason they work so well is that the 30 second work period really drives the heartrate up but the 30 second recovery isn’t enough for your heartrate to come down much. With each interval your heartrate and oxygen usage keeps going up until you hit your Vo2 max. The recovery time is enough for your legs to clear a bit allowing your to do more work than you could if it was continuous. This allows you to accumulate a lot of time at your maximum oxygen capacity eliciting a rapid improvement in your cardiovascular system. While very effective, I once again to not try these if you aren’t used to intensive training.

Tabata intervals

Tabata intervals are named after the doctor who did the research into the effectiveness of short high intensity intervals versus longer, moderate exercise. Tabata describes the interval protocol. 20 seconds work/ 10 seconds rest repeated 8-10 times. Dr. Tabata’s research showed these intervals to be the most effective for eliciting improvement in both the aerobic and anaerobic system.

The key is the maximal efforts with shorter recovery periods. Incomplete recovery leads to an increase in oxygen debt leading to and improved ability to process oxygen. In a six week study these intervals done 5 days per week increased VO2 Max by 13 percent, aerobic capacity by 14 percent and anaerobic capacity by 28 percent. This is with only 20 minutes of exercise a day including warmup and cool down.

20 seconds hard / 10 easy spinning X 10 repeats = 5 minutes of hell

Then ride easy for 5 minutes and do it again.

Gauge you effort level based on your current fitness level. If you are new to cycling or just getting back into go about 80% instead of all out. If you have been training regularly give each 20 second interval a 100% effort. Don’t try to pace yourself, just attack each interval like its the last in the set.

If you are using a power meter you want to target 150% of your functional threshold power for the 20 second hard efforts. When you start do just one set of intervals but as your fitness increases you should increase the number of sets you do.

4 X 4 intervals

Norweigian researchers Hoff & Helgerud have found you can get better increases in cardiac output from frequent high intensity exercise than longer but less intense training. The basis of Hoff & Helgerud’s endurance training theory is the 4×4 interval. This means 4 intervals of 4 minutes each, at 85-95% of HR max (for top endurance athletes between 90-95% of HR max), with low-intensity breaks of 3-4 minutes. This is training which is meant to give the biggest increases in VO2max âEUR” which according to Hoff & Helgerud is the deciding factor for endurance (something I only partly agree on but anyway).

The theory is based on training the heart at maximal Stroke Volumes to expose it to maximal shear stress – conditions which are only reached at the highest heart rates. Why 4 minutes? Apparently it takes over 2 minutes for the heart to reach maximal stroke volume under these conditions, so you need to keep working for a longer period of time in order to get maximal training effect here. They have found that intervals that last longer than 4 minutes usually mean a drop in intensity and are therefore less effective.

The researchers had the athletes doing multiple days in a row of just 4×4 intervals (up to 18 sessions in 14 days) with 2-4 weeks of lower volume training to facilitate recovery, while still maintaining the gains without as much work needed. On average subjects saw a.5% improvement per workout.

The experiments have led to large increases in VO2max, up to 10% increase in the course of the experiment for already highly-trained athletes. If you are training with a power meter or heartrate monitor do the intervals as follows: Warmup 15-20 minutes. 4 min at 120% of your threshold power at high cadence 100-110rpm or build to your maximum heartrate from the fitness test.

– Recover for 4 minutes

– Repeat for a total of 4-6 times.

– Cooldown for 10-15 minutes

Muscular endurance intervals

This workout is good for increasing force development. Putting out a lot of power is the combination of pedal cadence and gear selection. Aerobic conditioning and pedaling drills will let you spin, and this workout will help you be able to do it in a bigger gear. This workout is great because it works the cardiovascular system and really works the legs. In time your legs won’t get as tired from sustained hard efforts.

While doing the low rpm intervals focus on being smooth and relax your upper body. If you have knee problems switch to higher cadences until your knees don’t hurt.

Do this workout twice a week with at least two days between workout as your legs will take longer to recover from this workout than higher candence aerobic riding.

Warmup 15 minutes building up top end of your aerobic range (90% of your average heartrate from your fit test) Cadence 90-100 rpm.

Work set 5 X 10 second stomps with 3 minutes recovery between efforts (choose a hard gear, slow to walking pace and then stomp on the pedals trying to accelerate as hard as you can for the 10 seconds). 5 minutes easy riding after the stomps followed by 10-30 minutes at 70 rpms at the top end of your aerobic zone. (If you are using a power meter this will be 85-90% of your Functional Thresold wattage). Cooldown 10 minutes easy spin to clear the legs and gradually bring down the heart rate.

Threshold intervals

Your Functional Threshold (FT) for practical cycling purposes is the maximum heart rate or power you can sustain for about an hour. The higher your threshold power the faster you can go for a sustained period without having your legs blow up on you. Very simply, the way to raise your anaerobic threshold is to ride at your threshold heart rate or power for progressively longer periods. These are hard but effective. If you have done the fitness test you will have calculated your anaerobic threshold heart rate and/ or power if you have a trainer or on-bike meter that measures wattage.

Start with 2 X 10 minutes at your threshold heart rate with 5 minutes recovery between intervals.

Each week increase the amount of time of the intervals by 2 minutes until you are up to 20 minutes each.

To increase from there look to add a third interval or multiple days of threshold intervals in a row. This can be very taxing but when you recover from the workouts you will be stronger.

Mixing it up

While you will get your biggest improvements in fitness from high intensity workouts there is still a need to longer and easier rides. While you can build great endurance performance with the workouts listed above, if the events you do are long (ie. over 2 hours), you need to get your body used to spending that kind of time on a bike. As well, lower intensity rides are great in promoting physical and mental recovery. Sometimes it’s hard to push yourself hard enough to get the training benefit from intervals because of mental burnout, so mixing up your training is a great way to keep fresh mentally and keep progressing physically.

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Exercise Routines For Fat People

Here are 2 great exercise routines for fat people. A big mistake a lot of trainers and “weight loss experts” make is that they give 1-size fits all routines for everyone. Wrong… overweight people will often get injured on these type of programs. If you have more than 25 pounds to lose and you want a program that helps you to lose weight fast and over the long term while minimizing the risk of injury, then this article may be the answer to what you’re looking for.

Exercise Routines for Fat People

1. Focus on just 1 exercise

Look, right this minute, you’re just trying to lose weight. Not have the best body in the world. So you don’t need to do a bunch of different things. Instead, focus on 1 thing that is good for weight loss and make it work for you. This can be many things. Here are a few safe things for overweight people.

Walking up and down stairs for 15 minutes non-stop, jumping on a mini-trampoline during 5 different tv commercial breaks, doing jumping jacks during tv commercial breaks, and walking on a 15 degree inclined treadmill for 25 minutes.

Those are all great ways to lose weight while minimizing your injury risks.

2. Take 2 exercises and jump back and forth between them

You can take the above exercises I mentioned and switch up between them. Say for example… during 1 commercial break you’ll walk up and down the stairs in your house. Ok, then the next commercial break you’ll do jumping jacks in front of the tv. And so on. You can spread out the workouts… they don’t have to be during consecutive commercial breaks. Just sneak them in wherever it works for you.

These are 2 exercise routines for fat people that are proven to work and they won’t put any undue injury risks on you.

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Avoiding Stress Before Cheerleading Competitions

Cheerleading competitions are awesome and really stressful on everyone involved. Here are some ideas about how to keep your stress level down whether you are a competitor, coach, or parent.

First, be prepared. The best way to combat the stress of competition is to have a routine that everyone on the floor has mastered and feels confident completing. From stunts to tumbling passes, make sure that everyone’s timing is dead on perfect several run-throughs before you load the vans to head out to the competition. This means making sure that practices count, and everyone is present for every practice. No excuses. Even participants who might not feel the greatest can come in and watch and spot so that they are aware of any last minute changes.

Second, make sure your squad is prepared with what they need. Does the routine require props (signs, megaphones, poms, flags, etc.)? Make sure they are loaded in the transport the night before you have to leave.

Triple check everything!

Third, make sure competitors have everything they need for the uniforms they are wearing. Buy the jumbo-size slider bags (2.5 gallons). Have participants bring in what they need (Shoes, midriff, shells, skirts, socks, hairbows, spankies). Neatly pack each complete uniform in a slider bag. Label the bags with each participants name with a permanent marker. If available, pack extra uniform pieces in different sizes as well. Keep all of the uniforms together! Don’t give them to the participants until it is time to get ready!

Fourth, pack the make-up kits. Make sure that you have decided on a make-up color scheme and eye pattern before you get to the competition. Don’t experiment when you are at the venue! Have a dress rehearsal one night the week before competition. If your squad uses hair pieces, include them in the rehearsal and pack them up with the make-up kits. If not, make sure you plan accordingly for hair rollers or curling irons for the style that your squad is using and pack plenty of hairspray. Go full out with uniforms and make-up. Run the routine a few times through for parents and students. Some squads charge admittance as a fundraiser and invite the school and community. They may offer a spaghetti dinner or hot dog supper along with the entertainment. After the run-through, it’s the perfect time to pack the uniforms. Everyone is together, and it makes it so much easier.

Keep two accordion folders with copies of the registration information. Give one to an assistant coach or trustworthy parent. Make sure that schedules, payment confirmation, and any other pertinent information to the competition are kept in the accordion folder.

It is important to keep the parents feeling as little stress as possible as well. Their kids are performing in front of a lot of people. They have probably put a lot of time and money into cheerleading at this point. They want a good return and a happy kid when it’s all said and done. Make sure they have directions to the venue, a schedule for the events with their squad(s) times and stages highlighted if possible, a set meeting place for before the competition and after the competition, a schedule of the awards ceremony, and a list of possible places to stay and eat if it is an overnight competition. Many parents like to “book” together when it comes to travel arrangements. Make sure they know where the squad will be staying well in advance so that this is an option for them. Make sure that you keep the parents in the loop at all times about possible changes to schedules or venues. You can set up a phone tree, but don’t count on that always working. Use email, text alerts, and Facebook notifications to alert parents to what is going on with the event.

Preparation Checklist:

1. Routine has been successful at practice several times with no errors.

2. Each coach has a least two copies of the competition music.

3. All props are accounted for and packed.

4. There are two folders with all registration information.

5. All uniforms are packed and labeled and transferred together.

6. All make-up kits are packed.

7. All parents have several ways to contact them to keep them up to date with the schedules.

8. Room reservations (if necessary) are paid in advance and confirmation is in hand.

9. Departure time allows for delays, hair and make-up issues, and possibly a few run-throughs before the competition.

10. Participant waiver forms are in hand with insurance information. Many times these are sent in earlier with the registration. Keep a copy with you!

Some helpful hints for the multi-tasking coach:

1. Use Vaseline on teeth to keep lips from curling up and sticking. Funny, but it works!

2. Use hairspray sprayed on the upper thigh and buttocks to keep spankies from riding up during the routine.

3. Artist brushes work really well when applying eye make-up. The longer handles allow you to work without being right in the girl’s face.

4. Use hairpieces if the squad can afford it. They are so much easier than trying to do hair for every competition.

5. Make-up is always the same for the girls. Same colors and “designs” on the eyes or face.

6. Bring extra hair pins, extra hair ties, and extra safety pins!

7. Don’t get emotional in front of the squad before the competition. Don’t freak out when someone drops a stunt in the practice time. Don’t start crying or laughing hysterically (whichever may be your coping). Wait until they are off the competition floor. If someone makes a mistake, try not to dwell on it. They will fell bad enough when it happens.

8. If you can afford it or the parents would like to help, have a small gift for the kids when they are done. Even if it’s just a keychain or a stuffed animal to help them commemorate their achievement of competing, it will mean a lot to them.

The more you are prepared, the stress you are going to feel. The less stress you feel, the less stress the participants will feel!

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Pros and Cons of Circuit Training Workouts

For sure, every person would love to enjoy sumptuous food laid on the table. Somehow every person also loves to shed their excess fats in the body. Bulging tummy and fatty limbs are not so-sexy, so the best solution is to:

• Get the proper diet for weight and fat reduction

• Perform daily exercise to burn the excess calories

For sure, it is entirely different if you love to gain weight and loss fats. Most of the time, some people associate weight gain with excess fats. While it is true that fats can increase our body weight, protein can also do the same. The latter is desirable as it signifies a healthy body while fats, as you know it, is dangerous to health.

As for the exercise, one of the most recommended is the circuit training workouts. It is a form of exercise that entails the performance of intensified aerobics as well training workout to enhance endurance and resistance. The term ‘circuit’ refers to a series of work-out for the different parts of the body. Circuit training workouts sound good to those who want to keep their body in tiptop shape.

Circuit training workouts have the advantages and disadvantages too. To wit:


• Provides a total exercise program for the whole body

• Does not require expensive exercise equipment

• Can be done in groups, with the more experienced ones helping those beginners and with the supervision of the fitness instructor

• Can be customized according to your preference


• This work-out targets weight loss through fat burning. This is not the kind of work-out for those who are building weight through muscle toning

• As this work-out is typically done with groups, and there is tendency that there might be some who cannot go along with the routines and may also not be able to execute the exercise properly.

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