Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Confused by supplements

Possibly the most asked frequently asked question in both sports and the fitness industry that can be heard in gyms everywhere is…

“What supplements should I take?”

Well, an experienced coach or trainer’s answer should be,  “Sir/Mam, can I get a better look at what foods, and drinks you consume on a daily basis? And can I see what kind of training program you are currently working with? Can you tell me how much sleep you get per night? May I get a gauge on what other stressors in your life may possibly be affecting your overall health?”

So often people jump the gun and answer this question from a confused client improperly. The coach or trainer might say…

“So bro… you want to lose weight or bulk up?”

A great question to eventually ask, but not before gathering a host of other, more crucial information. This “gathering of info,” will most likely, considering the society we live in today, reveal a couple of things.

1.) The person asking for supplement information has a less than stellar diet which shows that needs to improve first and foremost.

2.) The person asking for supplement information doesn’t train hard or often enough to warrant the no2boostingniteroxide thing-a-ma-bob with a fancy label he or she wants to buy.

If you are reading this, and secretly you know that this is you, the uninformed consumer, rest easy. Your wallet does not have to suffer that impending loss in order for you to see the results you are after. It will, however, require something of you…

eat sleep exercise

A change in common belief. A change that puts most supplements at the bottom of the priority list. A change that will make you put real food, training hard, and resting optimally at the top of the health totem pole.

Once these changes have been made habit, only then will supplements become a true weapon for you. Here are a few that we recommend you implement with your now, hopefully bulletproof healthy lifestyle.

WHEY PROTEIN POWDER- One of the more standard supplements to include in between or in your daily meals, whey protein, will help fill in the gaps when you arent getting enough or would like some extra clean calories throughout the day. There are a number of delicious recipes to choose from out there, but for those looking for a start, check  this  out from the guys at Scrawny to Brawny. It’s a free PDF for you to download and make some awesome shakes. It’s no secret that it will help you add lean muscle, lose fat, and help your recovery in between training sessions.

Recommended Brands :

                                  jay robb protien biotrust pic

FISH OIL- Another very highly researched product, fish oil has proven to improve the health of people all over the globe. Taken from the tissue of cold water fish, the oil has many benefits. Among them are decreased inflammation, increased cognitive ability, and decreased risk for cardiac disease. As an athlete, I enjoy the fact that it helps me bounce back quicker from games or training sessions by decreasing the inflammation in my body. Here are two of our favorite brands.

Recommended Brands :


GREENS SUPPLEMENT- If you already get more than enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, then I truly commend you. These are two of the most overlooked food groups  in any diet, including really good ones. Even very advanced athletes and ultra fit people frequently lack consistency in this area. This is why a quality greens product derived from real fruits and veggies is highly important, especially when training hard or when optimum nutrition isn’t available. I like to consider it my “nutritional insurance” in case I don’t quite get the vitamins and minerals I need.

Recommended Brands :

athletic greens

biotest superfood

It’s tough writing an article like this, knowing that what most folks need is more knowledge about a real quality meal plan with whole foods being a priority. I feel it’s necessary though to weed you guys through the nonsense, and the marketing ploys that try and sell you products that may be even detrimental instead of positive for your wellbeing.

No, we are not doctors here at showmestrength (Not yet! Founder, Matt Kramer is currently in Chicago attending med-school), but we have been through alot as athletes, and we know what works well for us. Give some of these great products a try, you won’t be disappointed if of course you are eating and training like an animal as well!

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never stop learning

These reads of the week come from a selection of the gurus from whom we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to personally learn from. Their continued contributions to their respective areas is no accident and inspirational to us; they continually challenge themselves to learn more and evolve as scientific progress dictates, even though they already practice on the edge of discovery. Please take a minute to catch up on some of their contributions!

1) Developing Young Athletes by Mike Robertson– Once again, Mike frames this tremendous discussion through his life experiences as a young athlete himself, a father to a young daughter, and a strength coach of many young athletes.

Follow Mike on twitter here

2) Shoulder Adaptations Over the Course of a Baseball Season by Chris Beardsley and posted by Mike Reinold– In this detailed research review, Chris thoroughly covers the whole host of issues which manifest in the throwers arm over the course of a season. These are the major reasons why we care so much about proper training and preventative care! Mike, the Boston Red Sox Head Physical Therapist for years, also shares his insights on the review.

You can follow Mike here and Chris here

3) Should Baseball Players Bench Press? by Tony Gentilcore– This is an article we are so thankful was written in such detail! Just this week, I was asked by one of the athletes I coach, why we don’t do bench press for 45 minutes like his football playing high school friends. Well, this post by Tony could not have come at a better time and I know I will be referring people directly to this article often!

You can follow Tony here on twitter

4) Invincible Immunity by Eric Cressey– A post from 2009 that we were recently reminded of and is very fitting considering the high impact that the flu is expected to have this season (as long as the world doesn’t end first!). A well researched and presented reminder of things you can do to get healthy and stay healthy!

You can follow Eric here

Show Me Strength’s Posts of the Week

Check out our posts from this week including the Monday Motivational Reads, a post from Chad about Throwing Progressions from the Ground up and Matt’s surprising review of why you might not want to use a weighted bat in the on-deck circle after all.

Thanks for reading this week!

A bit belated, but we have been spending time synthesizing some the great ideas that came from @showmestrength‘s attendance of the 1st Annual Fall Seminar at Cressey Performance.  We are now excited to share Part 1 of it with the Show-Me Strength community!

The packed-house day (although Hurricane Sandy promted early evacuations, not caused by Tony’s jokes) consisted of 7 tremendous talks from CP strength coaches Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore, Chris Howard, and Greg Robins, nutritionist Brian St. Pierre, as well as associated physical therpist Eric Schoenberg and chiropractor Nate Tiplady.

20121130-130224.jpgWhile the entire scope of the event would be too lengthy to cover fully, the hope is to highlight the overall message of the event, as well as the top lessons learned from the talks in order of presentation.

A common theme of the talks can be summarized by the quote recently offered in our last post:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” -Albert Einstein

Many emphasized the necessity of re-thinking previous methodologies, re-considering others, and keeping an open mind to new treatment and strengthening protocols. Along these lines, each of the presenters
made it very clear the need for integration, recognition, and cooperation amongst the various areas of expertise- strength, nutrition, physical and manual therapy, and medicine- in order to effect the greatest benefit to athletes. At facilities like Cressey Performance, the results acchieved speak volumes to the power of such interactions between fields of expertise.

Eric Cressey, MA, CSCS- Understanding and Managing Congenital Laxity

CP Strong

As commander-in-chief of Cressey Performance, Eric spoke of his experience training elite professional, college and high school baseball players as well as other clients.  Drawing from his ample client base, he spoke of “tightness” and how that presents especially in the baseball population.  “Tightness” presents for a variety of reasons- muscular shortness, protective tension, neural tension, previous injury, soft tissue restrictions, protective spasms, or issues with inadequate stiffness at adjacent joints- just to name a few.  Lots to consider when evaluating clients!  Here are some knowledge bomb highlights:

Recognizing the intricate interaction between stiffness and flexibility and it’s role in determining mobility
-NEED to assses each athlete individually
-some athletes might appear to be “stiff” but really just lack the ability to create the necessary stability within their range of motion in order to utilize their full physical range of motion

How to effectively use “stretching”
-important not to overdo stretching
-rarely does one need static stretching
-use static and dynamic stretching to “get long” but very important to lock that in with strength training

Brian St. Pierre, CSCS, CISSN- The Food Freakshow: What will you be eating into the 21st Century?

As a certified Precision Nutritionist, former CP strength coach, and one of the most inquisitive minds when it comes to sifting through current research and trends in nutrition, Brian spoke of concerns with the future of food, as well as some great general PN based guidelines to consider when advising clients.  Before you discount what he has to say below because of the picture, don’t worry, he didn’t suggest feeding them insects, just yet!

Interesting and controversial methods of food enrichment- Yum!
-algae farms for nutrition
-adding flu fighting nanotechnologies to milk
-genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)
-stem cell beef –> not too far off in the future!
-other meat substitutes “mini-livestock” a.k.a insects
-high in protein, iron and calcium
-as population grows exponentially, we may one day resort to cultivation of insects as a source of nutrients (who wouldn’t want a insect protein shake?!?)

PN guidelines to follow
-focus on lean proteins, vegetables
-be reasonable when it comes to starches and fruits, and healthy fats
-focus on WHOLE foods!
-LOW or no calorie beverages- ditch the sugar sports drinks!

Nate Tiplady, D.C.- Manual Therapy: What we know, what we don’t know and the most effective ways to get people better

Nate, utilizing his varied background  presented a great overview of many manual therapy techniques which we have found as professional baseball players help tremendously in maintaining proper range of motion, and to help clear up mobility issues which may get in our way.  Both Chad and I have utilized Nate’s expertise for arm maintenance and it is worth exploring some of these options, as outlined below, to see if they may be of use in your training plans.

from Loghmani, MT et al. Instrument-Assisted Cross-Fiber Massages Accelerates Knee Ligament Healing; J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2009; 39(7); 506-514.

from Loghmani, MT et al. Instrument-Assisted Cross-Fiber Massages Accelerates Knee Ligament Healing; J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2009; 39(7); 506-514.

Fascial Manipulation
-utilizing treatment (applying pressure) to the connective tissue which creates a continues matrix of structural support surrounding the body

Active Release Therapy
-soft tissue/movement based massage technique
-utilizes specifically directed tension with movement patterns

Graston Technique
-patented treatment method using stainless steel instruments
-mechanical load on tissues has been shown to increase healing of tissue
(see study right which shows a comparison between MCL ligament healing with Graston (C) versus without (B) compared to a healthy ligament)

Joint Manipulation
-application of high velocity low amplitude thrust to the vertebrae or extermity joint
-goal is to restore restricted range of motion and influence surrounding structures
-not something that can be learned in a book or weekend course, so it is important to develop networks of expert professionals for clients

Finally, Nate mentioned a tremendous video about the “Healing Power of Touch” which is unfortunately a dying area.  Definitley worth a watch:

Check back for Part 2, where four more great talks will be highlighted:

Eric Schoenberg, MSPT, CSCS- Out with the Old: A new model for preventing injury and improving performance in the throwing athlete

Chris Howard, MS, NSCA-CPT, CSCS- Program Design Considerations for the Young Athlete

Greg Robins, NASM-CPT, RKC, CSCS- How Strong Does An Athlete Need To Be?

And last but certainly not least,

Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, CPT- Deep Squats: Are They Worth It?

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Steve Jobs


The point of this article is to act a little bit like the people in this quote by Mr. Jobs. I want to challenge some of the status quo in the baseball world. I’d like for pitcher’s to stop doing what everyone else does, and start doing what works when it comes to their development.

Pitchers young and old continue to get injured at alarming rates. They continue to get sore for long time periods, complain of stiffness, and are often not truly ready for the next time that they take the hill.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein 

I’ve seen this over and over in many different forms throughout my career both as a player, instructor, and coach.

It’s not uncommon to see players do things or act in a certain way that might be comfortable, normal, or accepted in their group of peers or teammates.

I always have the conversation with every pitcher that I encounter about how they recover from their outings. It doesn’t matter if the person is one of my high school pitching clients or a fellow professional ballplayer, the discussion with the ones who are always experiencing the same issues and complaining of the same things often goes like this…..

Me- Hey man. I was wondering what you like to do after you pitch to recover and feel good as soon as possible. Thoughts?

Sore/unsuccessful pitcher- I don’t know. Sometimes I ice of it hurts or if I threw a lot.

Me- Does that make it feel better?

Sore/unsuccessful pitcher- I’m not sure. I think it takes away inflammation. If its extra sore I’ll take some Ibuprofen.

Me- What about getting bloodflow or range of motion back into your arm?

Sore/unsuccessful pitcher- Well for that I run to flush my arm out. That helps with recovery I think.

Me- Does it?

Sore/unsuccessful pitcher- Well I see everyone else running and icing….

Me- Gotcha

Not such a smart idea now, huh?

The conversation with a super successful player is always different. I won’t bore you with another dialogue rundown, but the 2 points they always make known are……..

1.) They know what works for them. Everyones different, and no two routines are alike.

2.) They are open minded only if it will benefit their progress.

Although I haven’t reached my ultimate goal of getting to the big leagues, I feel like in the grand scheme of things as a pitcher, I’ve been pretty successful because these two traits are always constant.

Here’s what works for me when it comes to post-game (immediately after game) recovery

FIRST- Replenish calories on a large scale and replenish lost liquids.

There’s plenty of times where I come out of the game so amped up that eating is the last thing on my mind, but then I’ll catch myself and remember that it’s just another day and I have to stick to my routine. I try to have a diesel protien shake loaded with everything good with a focus on calories. Then I crush a heavy dinner with a focus on meat, veggies, and a carb source like sweet potatoes, baked potato, rice, or quinoa. I realize that this isnt always possible, but the main goal is always calories and hydration.

Obviously your plan will change a bit if you have a few pounds to lose, but replenishing nutrients is still a must.

– After your post-pitching meal is a good time to take your vitamins! I stick to a multi, fish oil capsules, and vitamin d.

SECOND- Getting some bloodflow back to my pitching arm.

1.) I do something on the very light side for shoulder exercises. The two I like the best are external rotations with light tubing in a scapular plane and light dynamic stabiliations. I learned these from my strength coach, Eric Cressey, who understands the way of the shoulder better than anyone I know. I just try to make sure I don’t overdo it after the game, as my main goal is to get some extra blood back into my arm.

2.) I try and get a trainer or teammate to help me with some light soft tissue, or I’ll do some rolling on my own. Check out more specific strategies in my soft tissue troubleshooting post here.

THIRD- Get range where you need or have lost range.

1.) Light static stretching only on areas that tend to lose range of motion (ROM). For example, I tend to lose some mobility in my throwing elbow from a supination point of view (opening up palm to sky). Some pitchers simply lose extension, but I’ve needed to focus more precisely on the supination of my forearm, as it tends to get junked up. Shoulder wise, I simply check to make sure my internal rotation hasn’t gone by the wayside with a nice easy sleeper stretch (NO CRANKING INTO A FULL ON STRETCH!!! VERY IMPORTANT). Once checked, if it’s a bit tight, I’ll do a bit more soft tissue and then check it again.

I follow the same protocol for for my hips and hamstrings. For my hips, I like to check them with a lying knee to knee stretch, and with my hamstrings, an easy band hamstring stretching on the ground. If tight, more soft tissue!

So in a nutshell, that’s what I do after each outing. Be your own judge as to how much or how little works for you. For me, it varies on how much I’ve thrown, what the conditions were like. Was it hot? Cold? How much did I sweat? How did I feel in the game? Before the game? After the game?

All these questions will guide you to your own customized post pitching routine. My advice is to continue to soak up information and techniques that work for you. Do not under any circumstances think you have it figured out. Do not go along with what is the norm just because your teammates do that. Let them be average.

 “I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered into this world into defeat, nor does failure course in my veins.  I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd.  I am lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny.  I will persist until I succeed.” ~ Og Mandino

3 Nutrition Tips to Right the Ship by Chad Rodgers

Posted: September 17, 2012 by cmrodgers100 in General, Nutrition, Training

It’s human nature. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Sometimes life gets into the way of our eating regimen, and presents us obstacles that ruin our attempts to consistently eat clean. I see it over and over with family, friends, and clients alike who truly put the effort and dedication into creating healthy eating habits, only to get sidetracked by something else that takes the attention away from whats most important, and that is what you put into your body. I’ve had this happen in the past, but after spending time with some of the most successful healthy eaters, I’ve learned how to make my diet bulletproof to any turbulence that may happen in my life.


1.) Prepare your food on Sunday :

Stocking up on the essentials, and making quick, nutrient dense meals in bulk are the keys here. What are my essentials, you ask? Whole eggs, frozen mixed veggies, frozen fruit medleys (no sugar added), canned beans and lentils (calorie dense and excellent protein source) unsweetened vanilla almond, hemp, or coconut milk (all healthy bases for protein shakes), mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts…most seeds and nuts provide enough healthy fats to fill out your diet), poultry type of choice, beef of choice, and coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for cooking. With these items in your house, there already is no excuse to look and feel awesome.

Now, with healthy, locked and loaded fridge and cabinets, you’re off to an excellent start. To take it a step further, I encourage making a big batch of food that is ready now. My favorite has already been mentioned here on this site by Matt Kramer. It’s an amazingly healthy and delicious chili recipe by the wife of former Cressey Performance strength coach, Brian St. Pierre. Here is a link to the ingredients and cooking method.

The most awesome chili ever

By preparing a big batch of chili, or some other nutrient packed, high protein meal in bulk before the week starts, you have set yourself up for a successful series of days eating well. When something pops up, and you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you now have some awesome food ready and waiting to be crushed.

2.) Cut out the carbs that do nothing for you

Empty calories, processed junk, and foods that claim to be healthy with fancy marketing are surefire ways to drift astray from a successful diet. Unfortunately, these foods tend to be the most readily available, and therefore the most convenient. Pastas, breads, sugar loaded coffees, sports drinks and sodas can all be destructive to your health and performance goals.

Here are a few alternatives:

a.) Ezekiel bread and wraps REPLACING toast, pastries, and tortillas- Sprouted grains that replace flour, and tasty breads/wraps/pastas that are high in protein makes this stuff cool by me.

b.) Quinoa REPLACING pastas and rice- Quinoa is packed with protein, dense in fiber, and offers a low carb, tasty option to add to into a diet. I like it for adding good calories into my lunches and dinners that already consist of a meat and veggie.

c.) Black coffee with vanilla protein powder and cinnamon REPLACING whatever fancy cappuccino you get at Starbucks. My strength coach, and most consistent healthy eater I know, Eric Cressey introduced me to this alternative. It’s absolutely delicious.

3.) Narrow down your supplements

Most athletes and people I know in general, are constantly confused about which supplements to use. The first thing I tell them is that if you are using supplements to fix an average or below average diet, then you are missing the boat. First comes the quality food, then come the supplements…….slowly. People tend to fall for fads and stacks of supplements which is totally wrong if you don’t have the basics of an awesome meal plan in place. Once you feel solid in this aspect, then we can move onto starting some things to supplement an already stellar diet. Here are the essentials for those looking to start.

a.) high potency and purified fish oil- The benefits of taking fish oil are outstanding for anyone. As an athlete, it helps me fight inflammation and maintain good cardiac health. It is however, not limited to these benefits. It’s one of the most researched supplements out there. I recommend Carlson’s Norwegian brand. It’s actually pretty tasty.

b.) A quality greens product- Lets be honest, we probably aren’t fitting the optimal amount of fruits and veggies into our meals each and every day. My favorite insurance policy in case I don’t get enough is a product designed by my friend Chris the “Kiwi”. Its called Athletic Greens. Just put a tablespoon of this awesome stuff in water everyday, and you have yourself the most nutritious drink you’ll ever have. I’ve felt like superman ever since I added this to my morning routine.

c.) Quality Whey Protein- If you are training hard, eating right, sleeping well, and just being diesel in general, then It won’t harm you to add in a couple scoops of protein during the right times of day. During training, post training, and pre bed are good times to make a shake or blend in some of the powder into greek yogurt. My favorite protein out there is Jay Robb’s whey protein. Delicious taste, no artificial sweeteners, and protein that comes from grass-fed cows equals an excellent addition to anyone looking to get better.


In closing, remember that no matter what your goals are on the field or in the gym, it all starts in the kitchen. If we work as hard there as we do at developing in the weight room, then you’ll stay on track. It’s a disservice to yourself and those working to make you better if you eat like crap. Make it a part of your life to the point where eating excellent food becomes a habit.

I hope you found these insights helpful to making your goals more of a reality.

Happy 2012 from Show-Me Strength!

The New Year always brings new years resolutions and goals- that time of the year where many attempt to change their habits but more often than not, revert back to their own previous ways. The first step to seeing a resolution or goal through is to put it in writing and get it out there to friends and family who can help guide you and hold you accountable if need be. Here are a couple great New Years articles to inspire you and your business for 2012:

My Resolutions for 2012- Tony Gentilcore
10+ Ways to Rock 2012s Face Off- Rog Law
100 Ways to Create WOW- Todd Durkin

Instead of doing more of the same (although I do have goals written down) I’d like to do more of a reflection of 2011 and what I’m thankful for in my baseball career.

2011 was a tremendously exciting year for me as I made the transition from a released catcher/first baseman into a pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization. My winding journey (more…)

One of my most favorite quoted athletes of all time, Yogi Berra, once said, “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.”  Granted his math doesn’t quite add up, but there is a subtle sense in his madness.  I’d like to adapt this favorite quote of mine to training and say that “Fitness is 90% nutrition, the other half is physical.”  Here’s why:

Nutrition is one of the most important, arguably the most important part of any proper training program.  You can train hard and train smart, but if you are not supplying (more…)