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Finish First Insider, Issue #47
March 02, 2009
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Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Resistance Training Offers Many Health Benefits

By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

In this article, I want to address a training question from a parent of a Finish First Sports Performance athlete. The parent currently performs cardiovascular exercise (running outside, treadmill, elliptical, etc.) at least 3 days each week, and is in fairly good physical condition. The parent is also limited on time, and only has 30-45 minutes on those 3 days to exercise.

The question:

If I had to choose only 1 type of exercise to use to help enhance my quality of life as I get older, what should it be?

Now, as a performance scientist, I know that there are many types of exercise that can be addressed in a 30-45 minute workout that would optimally enhance well-being and quality of life, but, for the purpose of this discussion, I will only go into the detail of one (to point out the many advantages and benefits of one specific type of training). Again, additional benefits may be realized with utilization of multiple training types, but for the purpose of this question, I will only address one.

For this discussion, I am recommending resistance training as the one form of exercise to potentially enhance the quality of life for a healthy young adult cleared by a physician to begin an exercise program AND for an older healthy adult also cleared by a physician to begin an exercise program.

Substantial research has shown that resistance training has not only health benefits, but also performance related benefits that would have a positive effect on functional activities. Possible health benefits and functional performance benefits include: increased bone mineral density (BMD), increased muscular strength, decreased risk/relief of low back bain, increased glucose tolerance and sensitivity, decreased blood pressure, reduced body fat (decrease in fat mass), increased basal metabolic rate, muscular hypertrophy, improved blood lipid profiles, increased muscular power and endurance, improved balance and coordination (through motor performance), increased independence and participation in physical activities, reduction in psychological depression, and improved sleep (2)(3)(4)(7)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(20)(22).

The relationship between the possible benefits and health and/or performance will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

Resistance training is especially important for increasing bone mineral density in healthy young adults, where there is potential for increases of 3%-5% compared to estimates of minimal to none in the elderly (19). Research shows that higher intensity resistance training produce a greater difference (increase) in BMD than low intensity resistance training. Researchers suggest that Measures taken by a healthy young adult to increase bone mineral density may substantially help reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life (19). Other modes of training that would not overload the bone sufficiently for bone growth would not be beneficial for this purpose.

Decreased blood pressure and improved blood lipid profiles reduces the risk of hypertension which is a risk factor for heart disease and/or stroke (4)(12)(22).

Increased basal metabolic rate and decreased body fat both have been shown to contribute to weight loss. Weight gain which leads to obesity has been linked to increased risk of hypertension, stroke, heart disease, cancer, low back pain, reduced functional capacity, and diabetes (3)(12)(21).

Increases in muscular strength, hypertrophy, endurance and power have been shown to combat the age-related effects of sarcopenia (age-related atrophy) (2)(3)(5)(6)(7)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(18)(22). Modes of exercise that do not address strength, hypertrophy and power are limited in ability to reverse the effects of sarcopenia (5)(7).

Resistance training also helps reduce the risk of low-back pain (22)(23). Low back pain in the U.S. has a substantial financial cost through worker’s compensation claims, lost work days, and insurance claims. It has been estimated that low-back pain related issues cost $100 billion or more annually (8).

Improved balance and coordination obtained through resistance training is important in daily functional activities, and leads to a decreased risk of falling in the elderly (2)(12)(18).

Due to increases in functional capacity, and other benefits of resistance training, it has been shown that the elderly may show an increase in independence and participation in physical activities (9). These abilities may help reduce psychological depression (16)(17).

Lastly, resistance training has been shown to increase glucose tolerance and sensitivity, which decrease’s the risk of diabetes (1)(2)(12)(20)(22).

The research presented in this document shows that resistance training provides benefits for various ages of healthy adults, and provides benefits that may not be realized by other modes of training.


1. Physical activity and insulin resistance. Current Nutrition & Food Science. 2007;3(2):157-160.

2. Resistance exercise: Good for more than just grandma and Grandpa’s muscles. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. 2007;32(6):1198-1205.

3. Deschenes MR, Kraemer WJ. Performance and physiologic adaptations to resistance training. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2002;81(11):S3-16.

4. Fagard RH. Exercise is good for your blood pressure: Effects of endurance training and resistance training. Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology. 2006;33(9):853-856. 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2006.04453.x.

5. Frontera WR, Bigard X. The benefits of strength training in the elderly. Science and Sports. 2002;17(3):109-116.

6. Hass C. Prescription of resistance training for healthy populations. Sports Medicine. 2001;31(14):953-964.

7. Hazell T, Kenno K, Jakobi J. Functional benefit of power training for older adults. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity. 2007;15(3):349-359.

8. How-Ran Guo, Tanaka S, Halperin WE, Cameron LL. Back pain prevalence in US industry and estimates of lost workdays. Am J Public Health. 1999;89(7):1029-1035.

9. Hunter G. Effects of resistance training on older adults. Sports Medicine. 2004;34(5):329-348.

10. Hurley BF, Roth SM. Strength training in the elderly: Effects on risk factors for age-related diseases. Sports Medicine. 2000;30(4):249-268.

11. Kraemer WJ, Adams K, Cafarelli E, et al. American college of sports medicine position stand. progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34(2):364-380.

12. Kraemer W, Ratamess N, French D. Resistance training for health and performance. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2002;1(3):165-171.

13. Mazzeo R. Exercise prescription for the elderly: Current recommendations. Sports Medicine. 2001;31(11):809-818.

14. Paterson DH, Jones GR, Rice CL. Ageing and physical activity: Evidence to develop exercise recommendations for older adults. Can J Public Health. 2007;98 Suppl 2:S69-108.

15. Ryan AS. Insulin resistance with aging: Effects of diet and exercise. Sports Medicine. 2000;30(5):327-346.

16. Singh NA, Clements KM, Singh MA. The efficacy of exercise as a long-term antidepressant in elderly subjects: A randomized, controlled trial. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2001;56(8):M497-504.

17. Singh NA, Stavrinos TM, Scarbek Y, Galambos G, Liber C, Fiatarone Singh MA. A randomized controlled trial of high versus low intensity weight training versus general practitioner care for clinical depression in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005;60(6):768-776.

18. Suominen H. Physical activity and health: Musculoskeletal issues. Advances in Physiotherapy. 2007;9(2):65-75. 10.1080/14038190701374718.

19. Tsuzuku S, Shimokata H, Ikegami Y, Yabe K, Wasnich RD. Effects of high versus low-intensity resistance training on bone mineral density in young males. Calcif Tissue Int. 2001;68(6):342-347.

20. Turcotte LP, Fisher JS. Skeletal muscle insulin resistance: Roles of fatty acid metabolism and exercise. Phys Ther. 2008;88(11; 11):1279-1296.

21. Williams PT. Health effects resulting from exercise versus those from body fat loss. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(6):S611-s621.

22. Winett RA, Carpinelli RN. Potential health-related benefits of resistance training. Prev Med. 2001;33(5):503-513.

23. Yeung SSM, Ng GYF. Effects of squat lift training and free weight muscle training on maximum lifting load and isokinetic peak torque of young adults without impairments. Phys Ther. 2000;80(6; 6):570-577.

Eating Healthy On-The-Go

By Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, LDN Finish First Sports Performance Nutrition Advisor

Have you found that eating healthy meals and snacks while traveling is not always easy? Eating out can be a challenge, but it does not mean having to consume high fat, high sugar foods that you would typically avoid. Use the following tips to help you choose healthy options, wherever you are!

Breakfast: This will vary depending on your situation. Are you at a restaurant, a hotel continental breakfast or the food aisle of a gas station? One thing for sure, you need to watch your sugars. Continental breakfasts tend to be filled with high fat, sugar laden strudels and Danishes. This might be tempting but the better option is the plain bagel where you are in control of the condiments. Add a little peanut butter with some juice or coffee for a low fat, moderate protein breakfast to fuel your morning. Another great choice might be fresh fruit, yogurt or a hard-boiled egg.

Are you at a restaurant? If so, choose an omelet filled with vegetables and order a side of whole-wheat toast instead of a stack of pancakes and syrup. A bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit is very filling and good for you. If you want something sweet, try adding a little jam to whole wheat toast. If you are at a service station or a mini-mart, look for single-serving whole grain breakfast cereals and low-fat milk. Nutrition bars might make a good breakfast food substitute, but watch out for extra sugar and calories--read the labels. As a last resort, choose a hot breakfast sandwich or small breakfast burrito over donuts and sweet-rolls. Most fast-food breakfasts are loaded with calories and fat so you have to be careful. If you are at a fast food restaurant, your best bet is probably a breakfast burrito. If English muffins or bagels are offered in a sandwich form (e.g. egg, bacon and cheese sandwich), you can order a plain bagel or English muffin and add some peanut butter and jelly. Nowadays most fast food restaurants offer some variety of fruit. Have that with milk and you walk away with a fat controlled breakfast!

Healthy snacks in the car: The first thing to do if you are traveling a lot is to invest in a travel size cooler and a few ice packs. The cooler can be filled with meals and snacks for the day and is something you can carry with you in the car or on an airplane. You will need to make sure to use icepacks as bags of ice will not be permitted on a plane. Bring plenty of water or other beverage to stay hydrated (but not sugar beverages!) Individually wrapped portions of string cheese can be kept in the cooler with the fruit and vegetables. Bring baked whole grain crackers along on your trip. You can also pack sandwiches made with whole grain bread and peanut butter or lean meats. Keep these in the cooler, too. Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts mixed with dried fruit are easy to take on a trip in either individual bags or larger containers.

Healthy eating at the hotel: Find a local grocery store and buy healthy snack items such as fruit, nuts, or healthy choices from a salad bar or deli section. If your hotel has a microwave, you can find healthier frozen dinners or soups. If your only choice for a snack is the hotel vending machine, skip the candy and chips and look for nuts or microwave popcorn.

Lunch and dinner back at the fast food restaurant! Are you limited to returning to the fast food restaurant for lunch and dinner? Find sandwich shops like that let you select your sandwich ingredients. Choose whole grain breads, lean meats, and lots of vegetables. Many fast food restaurants offer salads, but you need to be careful when you select one. Some of those salads are very high in fat, especially taco salads or those topped with fried chicken strips. Order sandwiches made with grilled chicken rather than fried chicken. If you are looking for healthy carbohydrate choices, try a fast food restaurant that offer baked potatoes or baked chips as sides rather than high fat French fries.

Make a smoothie If you have high calorie needs, such as an athlete faced with multiple games over a few days, it would be wise to be prepared with smoothie ingredients when solid food intake needs supplemented. Bring with you in your cooler a quart of skim or 1% milk, a few bananas and a container of whey protein to prepare a quick homemade shake.

Fantastic Homemade Smoothie or Shake Recipe

By Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, LDN Finish First Sports Performance Nutrition Advisor

Looking to boost calories without fat? Try either a homemade smoothie or shake recipe. No expensive supplements or weight gainers necessary!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake 1 cup vanilla ice milk ½ cup skim milk 2 Tbsp chocolate syrup 2 Tbsp peanut butter Ice ◘Provides 540 calories, 70 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams protein

Strawberry-Orange Smoothie 1 cup orange juice 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt ½ cup dry skim milk powder ½ cup frozen unsweetened strawberries Ice ◘Provides 550 calories, 100 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams protein

Motivational Sports Quotes

It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect it’s successful outcome.
-- William James

To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.
-- Muhammad Ali

If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.
-- Denis Waitley

The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity.
-- Winston Churchill

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Coming Soon at Finish First Sports Performance:

Ice Hockey Optimal Performance Training Seminar

Coming to Finish First Sports Performance in May 2009

The science behind performance training for ice hockey Programming for ice hockey (specific to position, age, gender) Optimal nutrition for ice hockey performance Mental strategies for ice hockey performance such as visualization, attitude, aggressiveness, etc.

More details to come soon...this is a must see seminar!

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Sports Performance Seminars for Coaches, Parents, and Athletes

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

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