Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pre-Tourney Eating: I Disagree With BLW

Note: I have a lot of respect for Ben. He's a really smart guy and a wonderful human being. He first publicly posted his pre-tournament eating recommendations almost five years ago, and I'm guessing they were written well before that. Much of the science is wrong, but his recommendations do make some sense.


Monday/Tuesday: Protein Loading
Why: Body cycles protein slower than other food constituents. Protein loading allows storage of long-term energy.
What to Eat: 3/4 meals per day, with at least one meal being primarily a main protein source (meat, eggs, tofu). Better if two meals focus on protein. Avoiding fat is nice, but no more necessary than any other day. Omelette for breakfast, chicken or fish for dinner will do it, as long as everything else is balanced.
When this will help: Throughout the weekend, but primarily after burning through daily reserves. Think "second-wind" on Saturday/Sunday afternoon.

Your body is very efficient at storing energy as fat and can store essentially an unlimited amount. Your body can store a few thousand calories worth of carbohydrates as muscle glycogen. Your body is not very good at storing protein. If you are gaining a pound of muscle per week (that's 50 pounds per year), your body is only actually storing about 15 grams of protein per day. If you eat a large amount of protein in one meal, most of it will end up being used for energy or converted to glucose. Also, If you are using stored protein for energy, that means you are breaking down muscle, and that's bad.

Your body is constantly breaking down and rebuilding muscle. The difference between the two rates can be measured by nitrogen balance:
This measure is an indication of the state of protein anabolism [building] or catabolism [breaking down] in the body. Positive nitrogen balance refers to the situation where the dietary intake exceeds the amount of nitrogen lost from the body by excretion, exfoliation, and so forth. Under theses circumstances-which are seen during childhood growth, pregnancy, and recovery from illness [and muscle building]-net synthesis of body protein and thus retention of nitrogen occur. In conditions of caloric inadequacy, as in prolonged fasting, the body proteins will be broken down to provide for energy demands and gluconeogenesis; hence, less nitrogen may be taken in than that which is excreted. This state is termed negative nitrogen balance, and it will be observed in wasting diseases or when dietary protein is inadequate in quantity or quality. The omission of a single essential amino acid from the diet, for example, will result in negative nitrogen balance, since the presence of every natural amino acid is required to maintain the biosynthesis of proteins. [from Essentials of Human Nutrition, p.214]
Basically, you want to maintain a positive nitrogen balance as much as possible so you can repair damaged muscle. This logic lead to recommendations from bodybuilders that you need to eat large amount of protein every 2-3 hours, but that really isn't necessary. As an athlete, you should eat about 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (0.65-0.9g/lb) to maintain a neutral to positive nitrogen balance. Eating more than that probably isn't going to improve protein synthesis, but there are other benefits to a reasonably high protein intake.

Take-away point: You should eat a moderate amount of protein with every meal, every day.

Wednesday/Thursday: Vitamin Loading
Why: Body processes require vitamins to function. These cycle more quickly than protein, but can still be stockpiled during the week.
What to Eat: At least one large, complex salad each day. Focus here is on eating balanced meals that will allow intake of excess vitamins and minerals. Drink a smoothie. Balance the other food groups, make sure you get some protein (especially because you will likely be recovering from a practice or workout on 3-4 of these days). Steam, don't boil, your vegetables...and drink the juice. A Vit C pill isn't a bad idea. Garlic is amazing.
When this will help: Any injury or illness you pick up over the weekend needs to be fought off quickly, which your body is fully able to do given the right materials. Saturday night you body will heal as fast as you allow it to through what you eat on these days.

Me: Vitamins from fruits and vegetables are good for you. Your body can store fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), so a large amount once a week will have the same effect as smaller amounts daily. Your body can't store water-soluble vitamins (B and C), so you need a continuous supply. If you consume large amounts of water-soluble vitamins, your body takes what it needs and you lose the rest in your urine.

Here's the nutrition information for a pound of mixed salad greens (try eating a pound of mixed greens in one sitting):

There's a lot of good stuff there, but you aren't really loading up on many vitamins. If you want to give your body sufficient micronutrients, you need to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables.

Take-away point: Eat lots of vegetables and some fruit with every meal, every day.


Thursday Night/Friday: Carbo Loading
Why: The levels of enzymes that use carbohydrates to make energy can be raised by intaking large carbohydrate meals, and this will also store energy in the short term in sugar form.
What to Eat: At least one full meal of a carbohydrate like bread, pasta, or rice. The more "hippie" it is, the better, meaning go for whole-grain instead of bleached white. Keep balanced meals. Get more fluids to help digest (and to hydrate). Keep hydrated, but DO NOT drink gallons and gallons of water solely. This throws your mineral/water balance out of whack just as much as losing all of your water. Actually, pounding salt-water mixes helped a former team of mine. Hyperhydration is a serious threat in hot temperatures: it manifests as the same symptoms as dehydration (cause the same water/mineral imbalance is happening) or as heat exhaustion except without the raised body temperature.
When this will help: Your maximum stored energy will be on Saturday, and this might give you an extra boost in terms of energy usage.

Me: Real carbohydrate loading can require you to consume 3000+ calories from carbohydrates per day. Since your body stores 3 grams of water with each gram of glycogen, carb loading can cause you to gain 5-10 pounds of bodyweight. There's a lot of evidence that carb loading improves performance if you aren't able to eat during prolonged exercise. If you're able to consume carbohydrates during exercise, carb loading probably isn't necessary.

The day before a tournament probably isn't the best time to completely change what you're eating. If you get everything exactly right, you may benefit from carb loading and manipulating your salt/water intake. Getting it wrong could result in indigestion, cramping, or other bad stuff.

Take-away point: Stick to basically your normal diet the day before a tournament. If you're going to carb load, figure out what's going to work for you by trial-and-error. Don't try it for the first time the day before Sectionals.

Saturday Morning: Pre-Game Meal
Why: You are about to play 4 games. You must have fuel.
What to Eat: A mix of carbohydrates, simple sugars, and protein. Fruits/vegetables will help keep mineral levels high, but right now you are mostly concerned with energy for the day. Pancakes/waffles make for good carbohydrate energy. Do not neglect protein, though- fats and proteins make for longer energy throughout the day. No sense in crashing after game #1. This is why Sausage McMuffins and the like are more than just a humorous choice- they actually give a pretty good spread of carbs, protein, and fat.
Those with "weak" stomachs will want to eat at least an hour before you hit the field to allow digestion and give blood that localizes to the stomach time to spread back out. This requires, of course, that you get up earlier.

This is pretty much right. You should eat a meal that's mostly easily digested carbohydrates with a some protein and minimal fat. Your body has plenty of fat stored if it needs it, so you don't need to worry about eating fat for energy.

To give your body time to digest before you play, you should eat about three hours before game time. If you're eating smaller meals, you can eat a bit closer to game time.

Take-away point: Eat a high carb, moderate protein meal before your first game. Give yourself enough time to digest the meal before you have to play.

On-Field Meals: Recovery and Fueling
On the field, you need a mix of fluids and food. Quick energy like "Goo" is great when you have to have it now, but if you can, try to eat immediately following games, to maximize digestion. Drink sports drinks or something similar to keep water/mineral levels high. Get some protein: sausage or Clif Bars are good for fat/protein intake. A head of lettuce (green) is basically like eating a cup of water with a vitamin pill in it. Pickles, a tried and true favorite, are great for salt (minerals) and for vitamins from the vegetable. Drink more.
Do not allow yourself to EVER feel hungry on the field. Hunger will lead to your body pulling resources back for safety, leading to lowered energy availability. Eat before you are hungry.

Me: During a tournament, you may be playing for 8 hours straight with only a couple 10-15 minute breaks between games. You need to be consuming a lot of calories, but at the same time, you don't want to be running around with a lot of food in your stomach. Similarly to your pregame meal, you don't really need any fat. You want to be getting lots of carbohydrates for energy, along with some protein to aid in recovery. This is a very good summary of what you should be eating and why. The recommendation is:
As a baseline, start by ingesting 30g carbohydrate and 15g protein (in 500ml water) per hour of training. This means if you’re training for one total hour, you’re sipping your 30g carb and 15g protein drink during that hour. And if you’re training for two hours, you’re sipping your first 30g carb and 15g protein drink during the first hour and your second 30g carb and 15g protein drink during the second hour. And so on…
Since you don't want to have lots of food digesting in your stomach, it's best to get your carbs and protein in liquid form. You can do a sports drink mixed with some whey protein powder. Chocolate milk actually has a pretty good mix of carbs and protein.

If you're drinking mostly sports drinks, you probably don't need to worry about getting extra salt (electrolyes=salts). If you're drinking mostly water, you should add some sea salt. I mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a gallon of water, and use that for my carb+protein drinks.

Take-away point: Drink 30g of carbs and 15g of protein during each hour of playing.

Saturday Night Meal: Recovery Mode
One day down, one to go. You need to heal all the damage you have done and maximize your chances of waking up Sunday feeling good.
Eat soon after playing. Cagging at the field is fun, but you have a 90-minute "glycogen window" after exercise in which to replace sugars, or else the body will start to break itself down to feed metabolism. If dinner is going to take a while, eat something right then, to stave off the breakdown.
Eat a balanced meal. You need some of everything to maximize your recovery: minerals, vitamins, protein, carbs. A big plate of Mexican food gives a great mix of resources. Indian food is good. Saltworks II is optimum. Drink water and sports drinks.

Me: I completely agree with this. Since you don't usually end up eating dinner until several hours after you finish eating, you should have a meal composed of mostly carbs and protein before you leave the fields. For your dinner a couple hours later, eat lots of healthy foods. You've been eating lots of carbs throughout the day, so you shouldn't need to load up on carbs at this meal. You should eat a good mix of carbs, protein, and fats, and include some fruits and vegetables. I don't think there's any need for sports drinks at this time.

Take-away point: Eat a meal of carbs and protein right after you finish playing. Eat a big balanced meal a couple hours later.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Science says

If you lift, you will:
1. Run faster (pdf).
2. Jump higher.
4. Get injured less.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sun's out, guns out.

It's not just about being jacked and tan.

Athletic Performance and Vitamin D
Results: Numerous studies, particularly in the German literature in the 1950s, show vitamin D-producing ultraviolet light improves athletic performance. Furthermore, a consistent literature indicates physical and athletic performance is seasonal; it peaks when 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels peak, declines as they decline, and reaches its nadir when 25(OH)D levels are at their lowest. Vitamin D also increases the size and number of Type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers. Most cross-sectional studies show that 25(OH)D levels are directly associated with musculoskeletal performance in older individuals. Most randomized controlled trials, again mostly in older individuals, show that vitamin D improves physical performance.

Conclusions: Vitamin D may improve athletic performance in vitamin D-deficient athletes. Peak athletic performance may occur when 25(OH)D levels approach those obtained by natural, full-body, summer sun exposure, which is at least 50 ng·mL-1. Such 25(OH)D levels may also protect the athlete from several acute and chronic medical conditions.

A few more articles:

In the winter, it's basically impossible to get enough vitamin D. In Tacoma in December, you need to be out in the sun for over two hours per day to get the necessary amount. I take 6000 IU per day during the winter and on days I don't get out in the sun.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Goal Setting

This semester, your coaches won't be doing a whole lot of telling you what you need to be doing. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so it's important for each one of you to figure out for yourself what you should be doing.

What do you want?

These are your outcome goals. Things like "I want to make the A team," "I want to stay healthy," "I want to be able to throw a low-release IO forehand," and "I want to get really jacked and tan." It's helpful to have a list of these goals written down somewhere and keep them in the back of your mind, but they don't provide you with much guidance on what you should do on a daily basis.

What behaviors are associated with your goals?

These are your process goals. These are the things you have complete control over. Some examples are things like "lift three times a week," "don't come to practice hungover," "foam roll every day," and "throw for X hours a week outside of practice." Make a list of these goals, stick a copy on your wall, and carry a copy in you wallet.

As an example. here are my current process goals:
  1. No off days.
  2. Post something every day on my workout blog.
  3. Foam roll/SMR every day.
  4. Record everything I eat (using Fitday).

Sunday, August 23, 2009


1. The UPS listhost is not good. We're going to be moving to a Google Group soon. Sign up below. Use your account if you just want to send and receive emails. If you want to be able to see the archives and do other stuff, you need a Gmail account.

Google Groups

Subscribe to UPS Ultimate


Visit this group

2. Players are going to be taking a larger role in running practices this fall. If you are a returning A team player who does not want to be involved in running practices, please email me. If you are anyone else, and you want to help run practices, please email me.

3. We're also going to be dividing up the club organizational work. If you want to help organize travel, fundraising, sponsorship, practice scheduling, running a tournament, or anything else you can think of, email Eli (eritchie@...). If you want to help with recruiting or fall lifting, email Kyle (ksleeper@...).

4. Sign up for Tacoma Hat League here. There will not be a Thursday night men's league. Do not sign up for the hat tournament on September 12. We'll be running a freshmen tournament and doing other awesome stuff that day.

5. We'll be doing A/B team stuff differently this year. We'll be more specific about the selection process later, but here's the basic idea:
  • Everyone will be practicing together fall semester. We'll have a big Sunday practice and several smaller practices during the week.
  • We're anticipating getting enough new players that we'll be able to send three teams to tournaments.
  • At the end of November, we will divide into a ~25 player Alpha Squad and a ~25 player Beta Squad. Alpha Squad will have mandatory workouts over winter break and will have a spring schedule pretty similar to what the A team did last year. Beta Squad will have a less intense schedule.
  • For preseason tournaments, we will take ~14 players from Alpha Squad for the A team, ~14 players from Alpha/Beta Squads for the B team, and ~14 players from Beta Squad for the C team. The A team won't be the same players at every tournament.
  • Shortly before Sectionals, we will pick the final A team for the College Series. We probably will take a team of about 15 players.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Postmen vs. Sonoma State

Stanford Ultimate Invitational, Day 2, March 8, 2009 from doug greenwood on Vimeo.

Defenses were:
  1. Force Middle for X+3 (poach handlers for first 3) to force forehand
  2. Force Middle for X+3 (poach handlers for first 3) to force backhand
  3. Longbow for 3 to Spoon for X+1 (trapping forehand) to force forehand
  4. Longbow for 3 to Spoon for X+1 (trapping backhand) to force backhand
  5. Longbow for 5 to straight up for X to force forehand
  6. Longbow for 5 to straight up for X to force backhand

My comments:
  • 0:43 - Missed bid leads to breakmark huck and score. Was bidding a good decision here?
  • 1:00 - Looks like Crab run badly. Horizontal cuts across to the open side usually are poor risk/reward.
  • 1:26 - As soon as Kip sees Gspence cutting into his lane, Kip should be busting deep to set up an under cut as soon as Gspence catches the disc.
  • 2:20 - Great mark by Baatz. Notice Tranholt right next to him talking. Notice the rest of the sideline players 20+ yards away from the action.
  • 2:55 - Gspence should be sprinting to get dump set in the right place.
  • 3:00 - Decent huck look. Will probably could have had an open breakside huck if he had cut actross to the break side for the dish
  • 5:02 - I'm not sure this is what Gspence wanted to throw, but the huck could not have been placed any better. Will's defender never has a chance. We also have a cutter making a deep cut down the open sideline at the same time. What's he looking for?
  • 6:37 - What's Cead taking away on the mark? Where's the sideline help?
  • 7:23 - Not a good decision on the huck. Kip's 40 yards downfield, there's no lane to throw to, and Cead has to throw with a weird release to get around the poach.
  • 8:05 - Kip should be looking to create space instead of standing still.
  • 10:45 - Cutters are coming in way to close to the disc.
  • 11:00-11:15 - Luke is awesome. Really smart cutting.
  • 11:55 - We move the disc immediately after the turn and get an easy score.
  • 12:45 - Good stuff happens when nobody holds the disc for more than 2 seconds.
  • 16:50 - If Gspence lays out and catches his D, he would have looked really cool.
  • 17:00 - Tranholt has an easy, wide-open forehand, but decides to throw a really difficult breakmark backhand.
  • 18:07 - Tranholt is wide open going deep. Huck was a reasonable decision, hitting a poached Luke probably would have been a better decision.
  • 18:45 - I don't like the IO there.
  • Our man defense is pretty bad. We give up under cut after under cut to the open side.
  • Watch the entire game again, but this time just watch Luke. He almost never cuts for the player with the disc. Instead, he's always looking to create space for other cutters and set himself up to get open in a couple passes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Podbox Invitational - 4/25

Captains meeting at 3:50.

  • Stall comes in at 5.
  • Picks are legal.
  • Rolling subs.
  • Must clear the disc on every score or change of possession.
  • Make it, take it.
  • Spikes are mandatory after scores if you are winning by 3+.
  • Sun's out=Guns out.
  • 1st Place - Bottle of cranberry drink
  • 2nd Place - 100 burpees each
  1. Pod D - Apocalypod (baby blue)
  2. Pod A - Anthropod (white)
  3. Coaches - UPS-C (pink)
  4. Pod C - Podrasaurus-Sex! (black)
  5. Pod B - Peas in a Pod - (green)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Westside for Skinny Bastards

This is the template I suggest you use for your summer lifting. You can also download a pretty PDF of the same info here.

You get to choose what exercises you want to use. You should rotate exercises every 3-4 weeks. I suggest you stick to pullup variations for your max effort upper body exercise.

As always, do a dynamic warmup before you lift. You should try to arrange your lifting schedule so you play Ultimate on your upper body days.

Offseason Lifting Goals

From most to least important, your lifting goals for the offseason should be:
  1. Don't get injured.
  2. Get strong.
  3. Don't get fat.
I will be making some suggestions for summer workout templates. However, you can do any program you want, so long as you keep these goals in mind.

In order to quantify your progress, I've come up with a Relative Strength Index (RSI). To calculate your RSI, you need to know:
  • BW=Bodyweight
  • FS=2 rep max full (below parallel) front squat
  • CU=2 rep max chinup from dead hang (including bodyweight)

Hypothetical Fat Coach (HFC) weighs 195, fronts squats 265 for 2 reps, and can do 2 chinups with 60 pounds of added weight (255 total). HFC's RSI=(265+255)/195=2.67.

You should test yourself every 4-6 weeks. If your RSI is increasing, keep doing what you're doing. If it's not, you should try something different.

RSI strength standards:
  • <2.0 - Shit
  • 2.0 - Suck
  • 2.5 - Good
  • 3.0 - Great

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Early Offseason Lifting

Before you start lifting heavy, it's a good idea to take 1-2 weeks and do some lower intensity lifting. I suggest doing the following Escalating Density Training workout two times per week.

EDT guidelines:
• Biomechanics: EDT is based on the concept of doing progressively more work from workout to workout. Therefore, it’s critical that your exercise biomechanics (i.e., technique) are consistent on every workout. If you perform strict curl form on one workout and loose form the next, you aren’t really doing more work (the arms at least!)

• Each workout consists of 2 PR Zones of 15-minute duration each, separated by a short (5-minute) rest period. In each PR Zone, you’ll perform two exercises, for a total of 4 exercises per session.

• In each PR Zone, you’ll perform these two antagonistic exercises in alternating fashion, back and forth, using the same weight for all sets, until the PR Zone has elapsed.

• Sets/Reps/Rest Intervals: This is where EDT is truly unique. Most people will find it most productive to do higher repetition (but not maximal effort) sets and shorter rests at the beginning, and then gradually progress to fewer reps per set and longer rest intervals as fatigue accumulates. As an example, you might begin by performing sets of 5 with very short (10-15 second) rests. As you begin to fatigue, you’ll increase your rest intervals as you drop down to sets of 4, then 2, and as the time limit approaches, you might crank out a few singles in an effort of accomplish as many repetitions as possible in the time allotted.

NOTE: Do not perform early sets to failure, or even near failure. My recommended starting point is to do 1/2 of what is possible (e.g., 5 reps with a 10RM weight) at the beginning of the time frame. As the time limit approaches however, you’ll find yourself working at or near failure as you attempt to break your rep record.

The workout:

PR Zone 1 (15 minutes)
A1. Step-up into reverse lunge (alternate legs each rep)
A2. Chinups

PR Zone 2 (15 minutes)
A1. Pushups (on knuckles, hands shoulder width apart, palms facing)
A2. Inverted Row

360ish days...

Here are some things you can do now to start preparing for next year:

1. Take a week or two to relax and give your body a change to recover. Do some light lifting, go play pickup.
2. Without looking at what you wrote four months ago, do a new self-assessment and set goals for the summer. If you want comments, send it to .
3. Sign up for the Sockeye/Voodoo Combine.
4. Find a club team for the summer. Play/practice with the best open team that will take you. Sean might be figuring out what's going on in Tacoma sometime soon.
5. Get in the gym and get really strong. More details on lifting coming soon.