Back to Back Issues Page
Finish First Insider, Issue #60
June 08, 2009
Welcome Back

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.

10 Tips to Better Sleep for Optimal Recovery

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

Summer time is now here...BBQ, grillin, pool parties...intense off season training. Without the routine of school, many athletes will have sporadic sleep patterns, and may find themselves coming up a little short on quality sleep.

Due to the fact that summer activities may interfere with getting the quality sleep needed for optimal recovery, I am going to re-post an article that I wrote last year about how to get better sleep. Remember, hard training needs to be balanced with quality sleep for better recovery and regeneration.

When discussing sleep, it is particularly important to understand that the greatest value is in getting deep sleep. Scientists say that there are 5 stages of sleep, beginning with light sleep, then moving on to deep sleep and finally REM sleep. Deep sleep occurs in stages 3 and 4. You can only get to stages 3 and 4 by first experiencing stages 1 and 2. All too often, our sleep is disrupted throughout the night, limiting our amount of deep sleep. Each time we are disrupted, we begin again at stage 1. It takes about 90 minutes for a complete cycle of stages 1 through 5. This is optimal: deep, uninterrupted sleep.

So, why is deep sleep so important? This is where the body goes through natural restorative processes such as the release of growth hormone, which plays a major role in tissue repair (such as muscle). Not getting restful sleep and allowing the body to get to stages 3 and 4 denies the body of the best natural recovery methods available.

10 Tips to Better Sleep:

1. Make your room as dark as possible. Remove or eliminate any light sources such as computer monitors, TV’s, night lights, etc. If you cannot get the room really dark, you can try using a sleeping mask.

2. Make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature. Set the room temp to the way you feel most comfortable when you sleep. Our sleep cycles have a sensitivity to light. When our eyes and brain senses light, it sends a signal to “wake-up”, making it more difficult to get the deep sleep needed for optimal recovery.

3. Don’t eat high carbohydrate meals or snacks (or high glycemic foods—foods that digest quickly or spike your insulin levels rapidly such as white breads and starchy carbs) within 2 hours of going to bed. An acceptable snack would be something like a handful of almonds and an 8 oz glass of milk. The almonds have a slow release fat which will be metabolized slowly during the night, helping to fight any hunger pangs that might normally creep up during your sleep.

4. Remove any potential distractions or disruptions from your room (such as phone ringers, dogs barking, etc.). Remember, it is key to have uninterrupted sleep.

5. Add white noise from items such as fans, humidifiers, etc, or wear earplugs. It is important to keep it as quiet as possible. I know many people who like to fall asleep to the sound of the TV. Quite often, they are disrupted several times throughout the night by loud infomercials, flashy lights or other distractions from the TV. Replace the TV with a fan if you need noise.

6. Relax the mind and body before going to bed. It is almost impossible to fall asleep within 30 minutes after an intense workout. Relax the body, and relax the mind. Read a book, or meditate (really nice if you have a massage chair!) and prepare the mind and body for sleep.

7. Avoid too much caffeine consumption. Also avoid caffeine consumption after 2pm. Consuming large amounts of caffeine will have an effect on your sleep. If you are having trouble staying awake, try some physical activity. Do a few push-ups, sit-ups, stretch, jog around the room, jumping jacks, berpies, etc.—I think you understand.

8. Go to bed and wake-up at the same time every day. Consistency here is the key. The human body/mind likes consistency. Getting use to sleeping and waking at the same time daily helps create a rhythm and helps you achieve deep sleep on a more regular basis.

9. Get 8-9 hours of sleep daily. I know this is very tough for many of us, but studies still show that this is optimal. 9 hours is more preferred for teenagers or college athletes, while 8 hours is preferred for adults. If you cannot get 8-9 hours of sleep, refer to Tip #10.

10. Schedule your sleep in 90 minute intervals to help promote getting deep sleep. If you know you can only get between 4 and 5 hours of sleep on a given night, set your alarm for 4.5 hours. Waking up at the end of a sleep cycle (90min) will help you feel refreshed. Waking up in the middle or at the beginning will make you feel more sleep deprived and tired throughout the day.

Much has been written over the years regarding sleep studies and sports recovery. Taking advantage of your sleep as a recovery tool is a great way to help optimize your athletic performance. For more information about sleep and performance, please contact me to schedule an educational session. You can reach me at 412.787.5070 or

Size Does Matter: Understanding Power to Weight Ratio

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

Rarely do I counsel an individual that is not, in some way concerned or interested in their body weight. Whether working with weight management and weight loss clients or athletes, it is sometimes important to turn away from the number on the scale. That’s not to say that weight does not matter- especially to athletes that want to increase their speed. The reality for many athletes is size does matter, but not necessarily the way that you may think.

Power to weight ratio (PWR) is the power that a person generates (their strength) divided by their body weight. It is the ability to generate the greatest force and aerobic power, in the most efficient manner. This is a very important concept when considering sports such as mountain climbing, running or cycling. A person can raise their power to weight ratio by becoming lighter, while maintaining or improving muscular strength.

Consider this example: a cyclist weighting 200 pounds is climbing up hill using 100% effort. Another cyclist, weighing 150 pounds can maintain the same speed using only 75% effort. What happens when the individual with the higher power to weight ratio begins to cycle at 100% effort? You guessed it! They will pull ahead in the race. In theory, athletes with a highest power to weight ratio will ride (or run or climb) faster than a person with a lower ratio.

Before you start plotting how you will shed the pounds, there is more to consider. Body weight reduction could also have a negative impact on your power to weight ratio. Simply focusing on weight loss without focusing on activities to improve muscular strength, can and will negatively impact your performance. The focus of your training and weight management program should be changing your body composition. That is, decreasing body fat without losing any lean mass. Measuring your body weight on a scale may not be enough to determine improvements to your strength to weight ratio. Checking and monitoring your body composition (body fat percentage) is a key component to determining if the weight changes you experience are positive or negative.

One you have identified a training program that will stimulate lean muscle mass, it is important to consider how you will feed your muscles and preserve your hard work without over doing it and storing unwanted fat. Remember that the food that you eat counts and the timing of your meals is very important.

Improving your power to weight ratio is really a combined effort between diet and training. Some athletes, those that are already lean, may need to focus on improving their PWR by increasing their lean muscle mass. This will result in positive weight gain. Other athletes may need to focus on improving their PWR by reducing body fat. This may result in shedding a few pounds. Evaluating your training program and nutritional regimen is the first step.

So, before you step on the scale and start recording numbers, remember, there is more to it that that!


Due to the volume of athletes currently using the Finish First Sports Performance world training headquarters, all athletes are required to schedule all sessions prior to arrival. In the future, if an athlete shows up without first scheduling for a session, there is no guarantee that s/he will be able to use the facility at that time. If the facility is at capacity, the athlete will need to come back for his/her session at a later time. At Finish First Sports Performance, we are taking all measures necessary to prevent overcrowding and help ensure the safety of the athletes and the quality of the programs. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to continuing to serve you.

How to Schedule Workouts Using the Online System

Due to the volume of athletes currently using the training facility, and the expected returning college athletes over the summer, you will need to begin scheduling your workout sessions in advance. It is recommended that you do so online. The Finish First Sports Performance coaches will have access to the sessions calendar to see when you are scheduled. When you arrive to the facility, it is also important to use your fingerprint to check in to the system. Below, you will find the correct way to schedule online. It is also now possible to make payments online, and check your training history. Please call if you have any questions.

1. Go to

2. Scroll down the left and under “Additional Services” you will see MEMBER LOGIN—click on that

3. A new window should pop up and on that window click on ATHLETE

4. Unless you have logged into the system before, your login ID is: last name-first name, and your password is: last name. So for John Smith, his login ID would be smith-john, and his password would be smith. You will be prompted to change your password so that only you may know it—write it down and don’t forget it—if you do forget it, please let Jeremy know so he can reset it.

5. Once logged in, on main screen you will see a box/button on the right titled “REGISTER FOR CLASSES”—click on this.

6. You can register or change your scheduled time up to 24 hours before the session. Any changes that need to be made within 24 hours of the session need to be made by calling Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

The online system works best with Internet Explorer (most recent version).

Motivational Quotes

"Greatness does not approach him who is forever looking down."
-- Hitopadesa

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
-- Albert Einstein

"Teachers open the doors, but you must enter by yourself."
-- Chinese Proverb

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination."
-- Tommy Lasorda

Township Of Moon 4th of July 5k Run & Walk

Date: Saturday, July 4, 2009

Time: Race Day registration at 6:30 - 7:30 am 5k Run starts at 8:30 am 5k Walk starts at 8:40 am

Location: Cherrington Corporate Center/Commerce Park 1700 Beaver Grade Road Moon Township, PA 15109

Fees: 5k Run $15 through June 15, 2009 $20 after June 15, 2009 & race day $15 for 5k Walk

Register or find more info at

(1998) Team Pittsburgh Aviators Golf Outing Fundraiser

For more information, please see contact info below.

1998 Pittsburgh Aviator 2009/2010 Fund Raiser Golf Outing - Hickory Heights Golf Club Monday, July 20, 2009, 11:00a

Registration Form

Contact Name:


Daytime Phone:


Player Name:

Player Name:

Player Name:

Player Name:

Check one
 $125 per individual

 $500 per foursome

 $150 Tee Sponsor (sign wording)

Make checks payable to: “Pittsburgh Aviators” – Memo: 1998 Birth Year AA Fundraiser (Tax ID 43-2109948)

Return this form with full payment by June 30th, 2009

Chris Alger
1998 Aviator Fundraiser
119 Yorktown Road
McMurray, PA 15317

412-721-8954 (cell); 724-942-6944 (fax); (e-mail)

Thank You for Your Support

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

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

Back to Back Issues Page