When Should You Eat Before Playing Sports?

Timing and planning are everything when it comes to deciding when to eat prior to playing sports. Eating too much before a big game can leave you feeling tired or unmotivated. On the other hand, eating too little before playing sports can leave you feeling dizzy and weak. The decision of when to eat is largely based on your personal preferences.
Eating prior to playing sports can increase your energy and provide you with vital nutrients and energy. Eat foods that are easily digestible — including carbohydrates. However, eating too much right before sports may leave you feeling sick. If you are going to eat a big meal, allow four to six hours for your meal to be digested. Avoid foods that are difficult to digest — including foods that are packed with fats and proteins.
Sharon Howard of ESPN Training Room indicates you can eat a light snack prior to participating in sports. Snacks can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to be fully digested. The digestion rate depends largely on the types of foods you consume. Howard recommends a snack packed with carbohydrates, which can provide you with energy without upsetting your stomach. The choice of whether or not to snack is going to be based largely on your own personal preferences. Some athletes enjoy a small snack, while others will avoid foods for hours prior to participation in a big game or meet.
The best way to decide when you should eat before a game is to experiment with your eating schedule and practices for your sports team. Avoid experimenting before big games. Try eating a snack high in carbohydrates and decide if you feel more energized. Opt for a liquid snack — such as a smoothie. Drinking liquids can help replenish your muscles, keep you hydrated and allow you to feel full before a game without having to eat a large meal. Consider the type of practice or game you will be participating in. For a light practice or workout, try eating a snack an hour beforehand. For an intense practice, workout or game, stop eating several hours before the event.
ESPN Training Room recommends snacks that contain between 40 to 100 g of carbohydrates. These snacks should also be low in fat. Consider eating yogurt, muffins, sports bars, fresh fruits such as bananas, vegetable soups, milk, sports drinks or pretzels prior to athletic participation. Avoid consuming sugary drinks or food before and during sports; sugar will not give you energy and may result in a stomachache. If you need a boost during a sports game, try consuming a sports drink or small snack — with 30 g of carbohydrates or less. Snacks and drinks should be spread out over 30-minute periods.

What are the Benefits of Video Analysis in Sports?

Video analysis, a commonly used tool in modern sports, can provide a training boost for individual and team competitions. Coaches and trainers analyze video from live action and training exercises, and the results of their careful analyses provide helpful feedback for the athletes. Thanks to video analysis, athletes can gain a competitive edge, correct faults and maximize their strengths.
Injuries are a part of every sport, but with the help of video analysis, you can help prevent reinjury and new injuries. The technique you use to run, swim, hit the golf ball or throw a pitch sometimes is a contributing factor in sustaining an injury. With video analysis, you can study your technique and pinpoint areas that must be changed to avoid injuring yourself in the future.
By watching video analysis of individual or team performance, you can discover weaknesses that may be holding you back. Pick an area in which you are struggling and watch games or matches to find trends and patterns you can change. A basketball team may be vulnerable defensively on the outside, a golfer may hook his iron shots or a pitcher may stride too far on his delivery. Once the weak link is discovered, it can be modified and improved upon.
One way that using video analysis can help improve your performance is to watch the best in your sport play the game. Studying hours of video of the best player at your position or in your sport will showcase habits the player uses on a regular basis that help him succeed. When you have pinpointed some of the techniques of the best players, you can work them into your own game.
One of the most common ways video analysis is used is to prepare for upcoming opponents. Watching video of tomorrow¡¯s pitcher or next week¡¯s opponent teaches you their strengths and weaknesses, and enables you to formulate a game plan to deal with them. Mental preparation is an important factor in any athletic event, so knowing what you¡¯re up against beforehand can give you an extra advantage.

Gatorade Vs. Water

Sports drinks such as Gatorade promise better athletic performance, but in some cases they¡¯re not really necessary. Water does the trick in many cases. In fact, there¡¯s a reason Gatorade is called a sports drink;-it was developed to help athletes involved in a rigorous football training program. Everyday exercisers don¡¯t necessarily work out with the intensity or duration needed for the carbohydrate and electrolyte benefits of Gatorade.
You don¡¯t necessarily need a sports drink to replenish your body during short workouts, says David K. Spierer, assistant professor of sports sciences at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Water usually works just as well¨Cespecially if it¡¯s ice cold, because it empties from the stomach faster that way. When you exercise for more than an hour, however, you need to replenish your electrolytes. ¡°At that point in time you start to see a little bit of a decrease in sodium and potassium. Replenishing is helpful,¡± he says. Examples of electrolytes are calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium, according to the National Cancer Institute. Sports drinks with 4 percent to 8 percent carbohydrate and 0.5g sodium/L are more effective than water for the longer bouts of exercise, according to the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Gatorade is a 6 percent carbohydrate beverage.
Hydration during exercise is important. The body¡¯s best defense against overheating is sweat evaporating from a person¡¯s skin and water evaporating from the respiratory system. Adequate hydration is critical for temperature regulation and maintaining blood volume. Too much fluid loss can cause dehydration. Becoming dehydrated impairs athletic performance because it increases fatigue. Fluid losses of as little as 2 percent body weight can hamper athletic performance, according to Gatorade Sports Science Institute. The American College of Sports Medicine and National Athletic Trainers¡¯ Association recommend hydrating before exercise as well as during and after workouts, whether it¡¯s with a sports drink or water. The standard recommendation is 500ml two hours before activity, 150ml to 250ml every 15 to 20 minutes during activity, and 450ml to 675 ml for every 0.5kg of weight loss a person experiences after an activity.
A University of Wisconsin study found that people who drink Gatorade and walk on a treadmill for 90 minutes in hot conditions have a lower rate of perceived exertion than those who drink water. There¡¯s good reason for that in cases of prolonged exercise, reveals a Texas Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs report. Using a drink that provides carbohydrate and electrolyte replacement along with fluid leads to better carbohydrate utilization in the body–and thus better exercise intensity during prolonged timeframes–when compared to either water or no fluid intake. The council also concluded that using an electrolyte replacement makes for better hydration than water during prolonged exercise.
Gatorade is more appealing than water to many people because it tastes good. People, especially children, are likely to drink more fluid during sports if the drink is flavored, according to a Texas Medical Association report. Most fluid and electrolyte replacement studies show that kids and grown-ups often don’t meet their fluid needs during exercise. “If you’re going to encourage children and young adults engaging in sports activities to drink fluids, remember that they will drink more volume of a flavored drink than they will plain water, if both are offered,¡± report author Michael E. Speer, M.D., told USA Football. Speer is a former TMA Council on Scientific Affairs chairman.
Sports drinks have become a multibillion-dollar, heavily-marketed product. Some of the biggest sports stars are recruited to promote them. In 2000, Gatorade brought in over $2 billion in sales, and since its introduction many new competitors have come onto the market. Sports drinks are more expensive than water or alternatives such as diluted fruit juice, are not needed for every workout, and also can have consequences if overused. For example, the Texas Medical Association reports a case of potassium-induced ventricular arrhythmia in a football player who took in 5g potassium daily due to sports-drink overuse, meaning his heart rate or rhythm became irregular. Sports drinks such as Gatorade are also higher in calories, says the Hughston Sports Medicine Foundation.
University of Florida researchers started testing a drink that combined water, electrolytes and carbohydrates on the Florida Gators football team in 1965. Their goal was to prevent cramping and dehydration. The drink, now called Gatorade, is credited with helping team members increase endurance and improve from a 7-4 record in 1965 to 9-2 record along with an Orange Bowl championship in 1967, according to USA Football.

What Is Better Jogging or Sprinting?

Both jogging and sprinting provide you with a wide range of health benefits. Each cardiovascular activity can help you lose weight, improve heart health and elevate your mood. Decide on your overall fitness goals to determine whether jogging or sprinting is a better option for you.
Jogging is a low-intensity, long duration aerobic activity. This is a steady-state exercise, meaning the rate of intensity stays the same throughout the exercise. Joggers place less stress on their bodies and can exercise for longer periods of time compared to sprinters. Harvard Medical School notes a 185-pound person jogging at 5 mph can burn up to 355 calories in 30 minutes, making jogging a calorie-burning exercise which can help shed fat.
Sprinting involves running as fast a rate as possible for a short distance. Most sprinters usually train by running for 100- to 200-meter stretches. These athletes have chiseled, highly muscular physiques similar to a bodybuilder’s. Sprinting is an anaerobic activity involving short, intense bursts of exercise followed by rest periods.
Sprinting would help an individual who wants to improve power and strength as the explosive bursts of exercise help to develop your musculature. The exercise also helps boost your metabolism as much as moderate intensity activities like jogging, making it an effective weight-loss exercise. Jogging improves your cardiovascular health and lung capacity but eats away at lean muscle tissue.
Consider following a resistance training regimen, including free weights, to augment your cardiovascular training campaign. Focus on compound movements like squats, dead lifts and bench presses to increase lean muscle mass and boost your metabolism. Before starting a physical fitness program consult a physician.

Top Rated Football Cleats

The sphere of football cleats is in constant flux, with new materials and manufacturing technologies emerging every few years. Hundreds of models saturated the market each year, with each brand claiming to offer special advantages over the others. This article offers a look at five of the shoes with the highest post-consumer ratings, and compares key features like sole composition, cut level and mold type. Based on consumer reviews, these four models have the highest value of any football cleats on the market.
The AdiZero 5-Star 2.0 made waves in 2011 when the 7.4 oz shoe briefly held the title of the world¡¯s lightest football cleat.This super-light thethermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)-based shoe features molded (non-detachable) spikes that are rounded with the intention of increasing their linear traction (push-off) while limiting rotational traction (turning resistance). True to its title, several styles of this shoe earned a five-star consumer rating from Dick¡¯s Sporting Goods. While EastBay.com users gave it four stars, Sneaker Report awarded the sophomore version of AdiZero the number five slot in its football cleat countdown. The Adidas website shows a perfect consumer rating for this shoe.
This molded cleat is a high-top model, which provides the extra ankle support often sought by linemen or players with a history of ankle injuries. Even with these ankle guards, Under Armour maintains that the Highlight, which weighs a mere 10.4 ounces, still pushes the edges in speed and flexibility (See Reference 9). While Sneaker Report listed it in the number two slot for best football cleats, the Highlight garnered four stars from EastBay customers and five stars from buyers on the Dick¡¯s Sporting Goods website. Consumers on Under Armour¡¯s website gave the Highlight a 4-star rating.
The Alpha Pro is a 12-stud molded cleat that comes in the mid-cut design, and sports an ultra-light TPU-based outsole. This shoe weighs a skimpy 11.8 oz., in part thanks to the foot-hugging nylon fibers in the upper that comprise Nike¡¯s minimalist Flywire technology. The Alpha Pro scored four stars from Dick¡¯s Sporting Goods and five from from EastBay.com, and landed the number seven spot on Sneaker Report¡¯s best football cleats list. Customers on Nike¡¯s website gave the Alpha Pro a 4.4-star rating.
Nike¡¯s ¡°Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly 2¡± is a mouthful to say the least. These super-light, 10.4 oz cleats are constructed with a carbon fiber outsole and a phylon insole designed to protect the foot from impact. The Carbon Fly is available as either detachable or ¡°TD¡±. Flywire design uses a minimal amount of synthetic fibers to hold the foot in place, cutting down on weight (See Reference 6). This cleat earned a four star rating from buyers on EastBay.com and Dick¡¯s Sporting Goods and garnered Sneaker Report¡¯s number one spot for football cleats. Nike reports a 4.1 star rating for buyers of these cleats,

Royal Jelly & Weight Loss

Sweet, gooey royal jelly is the subject of many bold health claims, most of them exaggerated and not backed by scientific research. Though preliminary studies have indicated some potential health benefits from royal jelly consumption, weight loss unfortunately is not one of them. If it’s a supplement you would like to try, however, it also will not counteract any weight loss programs you currently are trying.
Royal jelly is a thick, milky substance secreted by worker bees that serves as the primary food source for queen bees and their larvae. It’s a mixture of honey, pollen and enzymes produced by the worker bees. You can find it in health food stores around the world or through several companies that market the product directly. They sell it both in a liquid form, spreadable like jelly, and as a supplement in pill or capsule form.
Royal jelly does contain nutrients, albeit nutrients you can easily find in other food sources. A single teaspoon of Y.S. Organic Bee Farms Royal Jelly, about 10 g, contains 36 calories, mostly from carbohydrates, according to LIVESTRONG.com’s MyPlate. A 1 tsp. serving contains 8 g or carbohydrates and 6 g of sugars. Nutrients include protein, amino acids and B vitamins. Calorie count and content will vary slightly by brands, so check labels to be sure.
Royal jelly vendors claim a wide variety of healthy benefits. One major marketer, Bee Alive, promises “increased energy, vitality and stamina,” while others promise better resistance to disease. Few promise direct weight loss as a benefit, though it could stand to reason that increased energy would result in more exercise and thus weight loss. You should be skeptical of any royal jelly marketer promising weight loss, as that, along with most other claims about the substance, is not backed by any scientific research.
Given royal jelly’s relatively low calorie count, lack of saturated fat and smattering of nutrients, it generally will not offset any of your weight loss attempts. Like many other so-called miracle foods, however, neither is it any sort of magic bullet to weight loss. It might help with other diet-related issues. Preliminary studies have shown it might help lower cholesterol, for example, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Royal jelly is labor-intensive to produce and thus comes with a hefty price tag, however, so the resulting benefits might not be enough to justify the high cost.
Consuming royal jelly can cause potentially dangerous allergic reactions, particularly if you have known allergies to honey, bee pollen, poplar trees, conifers or ragweed. These reactions can range from mild stomach problems to severe asthmatic reactions or even death. Additionally, royal jelly is susceptible to contamination with harmful bacteria. As with any food supplement, always seek a doctor’s advice before adding royal jelly to your diet.

The Best Youth Shoulder Pads

If your youngster has signed up for a football league, you’ll want to protect him with the best sports gear available. For most football players, this means donning quality shoulder pads, compression gear, gloves and a helmet. You may be tempted to use hand-me-downs or team equipment, but some gear, such as shoulder pads, really need to be fitted to an individual to provide the best protection. So if you’re in the market for some football pads, there are a few features to look for to make sure you’re making the best purchase.
The first consideration when purchasing shoulder pads is your player’s position, because different positions require different functionality. A quarterback will generally want low-profile, lightweight pads that allow for maximum speed and movement. Punters and kickers can also wear quarterback pads because they allow for the greatest mobility. Skilled positions, such as running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs, also need lightweight gear, but their shoulder pads should offer slightly better protection. Linemen require the heaviest, most durable pads to protect their bodies against hard tackles and hits.
During summer practices, temperatures on the field can become unbearably hot, especially under heavy shoulder pads. In hot climates, a major consideration when purchasing gear is breathability and heat retention. Purchase pads that allow enough room for slight air circulation to prevent heat from becoming trapped against the skin. A 2008 study from the “American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine” found that cool air circulating between an athlete and his pads can dramatically reduce core body temperature . Cutting-edge gear utilizes the same technology used by space programs to protect astronauts. These materials, specifically aluminized polyester, can even be inserted into existing shoulder pads to make the gear less hot for players.
The best shoulder pads must be properly fitted to a player. Youth sizes range from extra small to extra large and are based on weight, shoulder and chest measurements. You can use a tape measure and size chart to give you an idea of the right size, but it’s critical to actually try on the gear to make sure the pads you select provide enough coverage during play.
According to recommendations made by Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports, shoulder pads should always be used for the athlete they were fitted for. Unless an athlete outgrows his pads or the become damaged, keep them in the same pads to ensure that the gear is providing the best possible protection. Be sure to regularly inspect the plastics and other materials of the shoulder pads for frays, cracks or loose rivets, and replace them as soon as these signs of wear appear.

American Football Training Drills

Football practice develops the skills and techniques needed for players to block and tackle, as well as carry and catch the ball. The drills a coach employs should be designed to improve the individual’s performance and the team’s overall production during games. Training must include physical conditioning for hitting as well as drills for stamina and wind. An organized practice will include drills for all aspects of the game, such as offense, defense and special teams.
One-on-one blocking drills teach offensive and defensive players footwork and hand technique. Two players take their stance facing each other. At the whistle, offensive players are taught to get into the defender¡¯s chest and drive with the legs to maintain contact. Defensive players must learn to manipulate the blocker with their hands and upper body weight to get through the block.
The box drill conditions players to hitting and teaches defensive players proper tackling posture that¡¯s important to preventing serious injury. In addition, offensive players learn how to protect the football. Set the drill with four cones that form a box 5 yards square. Players line up at opposite sides of the box, and one is designated the ball carrier. At the whistle, the coach hands the ball to the ball carrier, who attempts to make it to the other end of the box. The player at the opposite end of the box must make the tackle within the cones. Players rotate so all have an opportunity to carry the ball and practice tackling.
The 2-on-3 passing drill teaches offensive backs and receivers how to run crisp passing routes and make catches against defenders. In addition, defensive backs and linebackers develop pass coverage skills. The drill includes a quarterback with two wide receivers, and two defensive backs in man-on-man coverage with a linebacker in the middle. At the whistle, receivers run three-step slant routes over the middle and the ball is thrown to either receiver. The coach may elect to include tackling or limit the drill to hand contact only. The ball should be thrown to both sides during the course of the two-on-three receiving drill.
Wind sprints develop speed, stamina and lung capacity. Players line up on the goal line in a three-point stance. At the whistle, players sprint hard for 8 yards and reset on the 10-yard line. Allow two seconds for all players to get set and blow the whistle again. Continue the drill for the length of the football field and have all players jog a lap to cool down. Sprints should be conducted at the end of each practice to allow players recovery time.

Exfoliating Foot Creams

Over time, the skin on your feet can become hard and thick and create unsightly layers on your heels and toes. This can be especially problematic when summer rolls around and you begin wearing sandals or open-toed and open-heeled footwear. Although a pedicure can make quick work of calluses and ugly skin, an at-home exfoliating cream can also help, reports Oprah Winfrey’s “O” magazine.
Barielle’s foot cream was ranked as the best foot cream by “InStyle” magazine’s beauty editors. They loved its heavy-duty texture that’s rich in emollients to soften and hydrate your feet. The manufacturer adds alpha hydroxy acids, which work as chemical exfoliants to slough off dead skin and exfoliate your feet. Dr. Bradford Katchen, a dermatologist reviewing the foot cream for the magazine, also liked its herbal extracts like lemon oil.
Philosophy’s exfoliating foot cream is designed to target hard, cracked skin on your feet. As emollients like fatty acids soften your skin, salicylic acid and glycolic acid, forms of beta hydroxy and alpha hydroxy acids, respectively, penetrate your skin cells to loosen them and help get rid of flakes. Additional beneficial ingredients include eucalyptus oil.
Sheril Bailey, a celebrity manicurist writing for “InStyle” magazine, ranked Kerasal’s exfoliating foot treatment as the best on the market. The product itself is very simple. A heavy emollient base made of white petrolatum and glycerin create a moisture-rich seal around your cracked, dry feet to hydrate them. Meanwhile, urea and salicylic acid help dissolve dead skin for softer results.
PPS Footcare’s Akileine Exfoliating Foot Cream is a salicylic acid peel used to dissolve hyperkeratosis, calluses and hard skin on the bottom of your feet. To use, smooth the product on your damp feet and allowed it to dry. As you brush off the dried product with a pumice stone or foot file, the product exfoliates your skin to slowly slough away calluses and other problematic skin conditions.

Fun Football Drills for Kids

While most children in youth football leagues enjoy playing the game itself, they may lack the patience required for all of the drills and conditioning they need to make them into football players. A good coach will take the age of his players into account, and find fun ways to motivate them, so that the drills themselves seem like games that the kids will want to play.
While this is a drill for quarterbacks and receivers, most youth football leagues will train kids to play all positions, so it is a drill that can be practiced by the entire squad. Divide the squad up into quarterbacks and receivers, and pair them off, with each pair standing about 10 yards apart. The coach then controls the drill by shouting out a sequence of commands, at which the quarterback or receiver is to perform a specific action, and then both players will freeze until the next command is given. The one exception is with the commands to throw and catch the ball, as the coach should give these commands sequentially without a pause in between, and the receiver is to catch the ball as soon as it is thrown without pausing to wait for a command to do so. The commands, in order, are as follows: Ready! (quarterback assumes throwing position), Go! (quarterback throws ball to receiver), Catch! (receiver catches the ball, then freezes until the next command is given), Tuck! (the receiver secures the ball, keeping his head down and eyes on the ball), Toss Back! (the receiver throws the ball back to the QB). This drill can be repeated three times, once with a low ball, once with a medium one and once with a high one.
Have all of the players form a ring, then choose one player to stand in the middle. The coach will throw the ball to one of the players in the ring and that player must then try to run the ball across the circle. The player in the middle, the “bull,” must try to stop the runner with a tackle. If the runner makes it across, the bull remains in the center for another turn. If the tackle is successful, the bull then joins the ring and the runner takes the center spot. The coach then throws the ball to another player in the ring, and the drill continues from there. Although some leagues and school districts have banned this drill as being “too dangerous,” it is no more dangerous than any other type of full-contact drill. The coach should take care, however, when throwing the ball, to select a receiver who is not significantly smaller than the tackler, and should not let this drill go on for too long, with any one player being tackled multiple times.
This is a drill meant for summertime practice, at the end of a hot day. When the kids are running ladders, have some parents or other helpers lined up on each side, armed with small water balloons. The helpers are to toss the balloons at the players, and as each player is hit, he is out. The last player to be hit is the winner. As the fastest, most agile runners tend to be the ones who can avoid the balloons the longest, this drill really seems to motivate the kids to do their best. It also has the benefit of allowing everyone to cool off after the workout and can itself be used as a motivator. Perhaps you could even allow the kids to throw a few water balloons at the helpers after a successfully completed drill.