Friday, September 11, 2015

Final Prep!

     The Beast is this Saturday! You’ve done the training, now it’s time to perform and see the fruits of your labor. Be sure to check the Barber Center website for details about packet pick-up, and event-day info pertaining to wave times and shuttle transportation. Check out the obstacle names and what you think they may consist of, as well as the map showing their locations. The Barber Center website does a great job taking care of these details. My contribution will consist of pre-competition nutrition, hydration, stretching, foam rolling, and attire.
      I recommend carb loading one to two days prior to the event. The Beast is 10 miles through the sand, so it’s imperative that your glycogen (stored glucose) is sufficient in providing you with the energy required to get you through the event. The number of grams of carbs varies between individuals, but generally ranges from 200-400 grams/day prior to the event. I use the Whole Foods Co-Op for their energy squares in the bulk foods section. They contain a number of organic seeds and nuts for packing in the quality calories and carbs. Bananas and Kind bars are always good for fueling your body, as well as figs and dates. I regularly use Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookies from the Vitamin Shoppe. They’re all-natural, non-GMO, and a great source of carbs. Along with carb-loading, you should drink about 1 gallon of water each day for the two days prior to the event. Drink at least 1 quart (32 oz.) of water and 50 – 100 grams of carbs Saturday morning. There will be water and Gatorade throughout the course. 
     I recommend stretching your hip flexors, hip adductors, hip abductors, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves thoroughly Friday night and Saturday morning. Accompany these stretches with foam rolling of the same muscles you’ve just stretched. Roll each of your feet over a tennis ball, especially in your arches, to alleviate pain and tightness in your feet. You can even use a tennis ball on your quads, hip adductors and abductors for areas that the foam roller is unable to release the myofascia.

     When it comes to your attire, you want to have full range of movement in your arms and legs. So, don’t wear layers, wear a single layer of a t-shirt/sleeveless or compression top depending on the weather. You are going to get wet, so make sure the material is a tight-fitting dri-fit top and bottom. You may want gloves, but it is not necessary for everyone. If you choose to do so, they should be fingerless lifting gloves. This is to enhance your grip as well as to allow proper drainage of water out of your gloves. I recommend a pair of running shoes or cross-trainers, and I do not wear socks. Socks get wet and may cause blisters. The important thing is that you are comfortable and that you are wearing the attire in which you have been training. Best of luck and see you on the course!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Beast on the Blog: Addressing Performance Anxiety

     Sport psychology is the subdiscipline of exercise science and is utilized in understanding the influence of behavioral processes on specific movement skills.  By tapping into the psychological processes taking place as we prepare for a competitive event, we can better understand and address the factors that may hinder our performance. Everyone responds differently to challenges and the possibility of failure. It all comes down to anxiety and how you overcome it in order to perform at your optimal level to achieve success. First, we must understand the definitions of the types of anxiety.

State anxiety – A subjective experience of apprehension and uncertainty. It’s a negative experience, but may have a positive influence on performance.
Trait anxiety – A personality variable relating to the probability that one will perceive an environment as threatening. Individuals with high levels of this type of anxiety exhibit thoughts of failure.
Cognitive anxiety – Negative thoughts.
Somatic anxiety – Physical responses such as tense muscles, elevated heart rate, and upset stomach.
     I’ve found that the two best ways to address these types of anxiety, are through self-efficacy and motivation. Self-efficacy refers to the level of self-confidence you have about a given skill, task or event. The more confident you are about your abilities, the less you will be concerned about certain stressors attributed to your event.
The two types of motivation are intrinsic and achievement:

Intrinsic motivation – The desire to be competent and self-determining.
Achievement motivation – Relates to the athlete’s wish to engage in competition, or social comparison.

     These types of motivation can be further broken down into the motive to achieve success (MAS) and the motive to avoid failure (MAF). The MAS athlete thrives in situations that have a 50% probability of success. The MAF athlete prefers situations that are either very easy or so difficult that they are not expected to succeed. 

     With all of this information, it’s imperative to identify the type of anxiety that best exhibits your competitive nature. Next, is to figure out whether or not you are confident in your abilities through the training you’ve done in preparation for the Beast on the Bay. Once you’ve covered that, you can then move on to how you are optimally motivated. Whether it’s through achieving success or avoiding failure, you can thrive in either state. It just becomes a matter of addressing it appropriately and effectively. You’ve put in the training and you wouldn’t be doing something as challenging as the Beast on the Bay if you were truly afraid of failure. So, have confidence in what you’ve accomplished in your training and do your best to extinguish negative thoughts. Enjoy the Beast!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Beast on the Bay Blog: Carb Loading

     The purpose of carb loading is to enhance muscle glycogen prior to extended aerobic endurance exercise. The theory was developed in 1931 and has taken a variety of forms since its induction into the fitness realm.  First, let’s talk about why we call them carbs in the first place. Carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen with the acronym of CHO, hence why we’ve shortened the structure to “carbs.” Their primary role is to serve as an energy source and can be classified into three groups according to the number of sugar molecules they contain.
     Monosaccharides – glucose, and fructose (fruit)
     Disaccharides – lactose (dairy), and sucrose (table sugar)  Limit these sugars as much as possible.
     Polysaccharides (complex carbs) – fiber, starch, and glycogen (stored glucose)
     Glucose is the most common monosaccharide and is found as circulating sugar in the blood. The storage form of glucose is called glycogen, of which 2/3 is found in skeletal muscle and 1/3 in the liver. It’s the glycogen that is the most important when referring to carb loading. The intent is to overload your glycogen stores so that it can be broken down into glucose and utilized for energy during the physical event. The most accepted method of carb loading with the fewest side effects (water retention, weight gain, digestive issues) is 3 days of a high-carbohydrate diet along with tapering exercise the week before competition and complete rest the day before competition.
     The following table is an easy and effective way of gauging your carb intake for a given workout or event. The Beast on the Bay will take you between 1.5 and 3.5 hours, depending on your aerobic conditioning. 10 miles at a pace of 3 mph would take 3 hours and 20 minutes. Most people with adequate training should pace between 4 and 6 mph, which would take between 1 hour and 40 minutes and 2.5 hours. Based on the recommendations presented in the table, you should consume 4 -6 grams of carbs per kilogram of body mass (BM). To calculate this amount, use the following equation: BM/2.2 x 4. For example, I weigh 86 kg and should therefore consume 345 grams of carbs per day for the three days prior to the Beast. This is assuming that I am giving my best effort for the entire 1.5 hours. If I were just walking, I would only consume about half this amount. It’s imperative that you find out how your body reacts to high carb consumption prior to the week of the event so you can make adjustments as necessary.

-Dave Hopkins, M.S. ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CSCS
Fitness Supervisor
LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center
5401 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Snacking for Training

Beast on the Bay Blog:  Snacking for Training

     A great way to prepare for training and recover from training is by snacking on nutrient-dense foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and low in saturated fat. I usually train first thing in the morning between 5 and 7a.m., but if I have to train in the afternoon, I like to eat lighter throughout the day. I’ll snack on bananas, peanut butter, almonds, and Kind bars in preparation for my afternoon workout. I try to consume 300-500 calories every 3 hours with at least 1 gallon of water per day. I use a vegan protein powder after my workouts, which uses split-peas as the protein source.

Shake recipe: Approximately 500 calories
2 scoops split-pea protein powder
1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1 banana
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
6 ice cubes
The following foods are my favorite snacks and the ones I routinely use for dietary and training needs.

1)  Chia seeds – Put 2 tbsp. of these in a glass or bottle of water in your refrigerator for about 3 hours to allow them to absorb as much water as possible. Chia seeds are a perfect post-workout recovery drink as well as a great way to stay hydrated through the night for your morning exercise routine. They have 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat per serving (2 tbsp.).

2) Peanut butter – I live on peanut butter. I use it in my shakes, with apples and bananas, and I make my own peanut sauce for chicken, steak, noodles and rice. It’s a great source of healthy fats and some protein. Its high caloric value helps fuel my long runs and keeps me satiated throughout the day.

3) Almonds and natural almond butter – I have a giant jar of almonds on my refrigerator from which I grab 2-3 servings per day (1 serving = 1 handful). Almonds are a great source of healthy fats, some protein, and help keep you from getting hungry throughout the day.

4) Coconut oil – I use this along with minced ginger and minced garlic every time I cook vegetables, noodles or quinoa. It’s in solid form in the jar when you get it, so just use 1 tbsp. in the skillet and it melts down quickly. It’s a source of saturated fat, which should only constitute about 10% of the fat you consume per day. It tastes great and it is known to enhance satiety (helping you feel full and stave off hunger.) 

**For more information about the benefits of healthy snacks and some great ideas for on-the-go snacking, you can check out the Newark Nut Company on their website at

-Dave Hopkins, M.S. ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CSCS
Fitness Supervisor
LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center
5401 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509

Friday, August 14, 2015

Beast on the Bay Blog: Myofascial Release

     Knee pain is a common among those in any running program—including those training for the Beast on the Bay. Any time I’ve experienced knee pain, I have been able to resolve it with a technique demonstrated below: self myofascial release and trigger point therapy.
  Myofascia is a type of connective tissue that covers and protects structures in the body, including  muscles. The other types of connective tissue are tendons and ligaments. When the myofascial develops knots, it will pull at one or both ends of a muscle, at its origin and/or insertion. This will cause pain at the hip, knee, Achilles tendon and feet, when referring to the lower extremities. You can also experience discomfort in your neck and upper back due to tightness within this connective tissue.   

  Think of knots in your myofascia as wrinkles in a dress shirt. To get rid of the wrinkles, you can’t stretch them out, you have to iron them out, and this is the strategy behind foam rolling and other types of myofascial release. Foam rollers come in a variety of models, but the three most common are white (least dense for rehab), blue (moderately dense), and black (most dense). I use a black roller every day and I recommend the same to everyone else. The following descriptions are for the primary areas of focus for myofascial maintenance and repair.

     Hold each position 1 – 2 minutes for each side. If pain is felt, stop rolling and rest on the painful area for 20 - 30 seconds. The exercises can be performed 1 – 2 times daily.

 Iliotibial Tract (IT Band)
Position yourself on your side lying on the foam roller. Bottom leg is raised slightly off the floor. Roll just below hip joint down the lateral thigh to the knee. This area should address most lateral knee and hip pain.

Begin positioned as shown with foot crossed to opposite knee. Roll on the posterior hip area. This will also help with sciatica. 

Place hamstring on the roll with hips unsupported. Feet are crossed to increase leverage.

Body is positioned prone with quadriceps on the foam roller. Keep abdominals in a drawn-in position and keep gluteus tight to prevent low back compensation. Roll pelvic bone to knee. This area helps with patellar tendon pain. 

Extend the thigh and place foam roll in the groin region with body prone on the floor. This will address medial knee pain.

Position yourself on the side with arm outstretched and foam roll placed in axillary area. Movement during this technique is minimal.

Cross arms to the opposite shoulder to clear the shoulder blades across the thoracic wall. Roll mid-back area on the foam roller.

In addition to these examples, you should also use the foam roller on your calves. Use the same technique as demonstrated for the hamstrings. You can intensify the effect of the roller on your calves by crossing your ankles. This should help with Achilles pain and plantar fasciitis in your feet. 

-Dave Hopkins, M.S. ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CSCS
Fitness Supervisor
LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center
5401 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509

Friday, August 7, 2015

Beast on the Bay Blog: Sport Psychology

When training for any competition, it’s important to understand how the mind can influence physical performance. First, you want to strive for the “ideal performance state,” which is the goal of every athlete. In this state, you do not use negative self-talk, you have a strong feeling of efficacy (confidence in exercise ability), and an adaptive focus on the task-relevant cues (performing when it counts). The ideal performance state consists of the following characteristics:

1. Absence of fear – especially the fear of failure
2. Not thinking about or analyzing performance – reliance on trained motor patterns
3. Narrowing of focus on the activity you’re performing
4. A sense of effortlessness – creating an involuntary experience
5. A sense of personal control
6. Distortion of time and space – time seems to slow down, which may be attributed to our eyes seeing more frames per second, allowing us to respond or react with greater precision
  The ultimate goal for the athlete is to be confident in their abilities and “just let it happen.” Walter Payton, one of the greatest running backs of all time, said:  “I’m Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when it comes to football. When I’m on the field, sometimes I don’t know what I am doing out there. People ask me about this move or that move, but I don’t know why I did something. I just did it. I am able to focus out the negative things around me and just zero in on what I am doing out there. Off the field I become myself again.”
      The notion of motor skill learning consists of 3 stages through which the athlete progresses:
      1.        The cognitive stage - the effortful and conscious regulation of the movement.    
      2.       The associative stage - the athlete has to focus on the task, but they’re less concerned about the details of the movement.
      3.       The third stage is automaticity - the mind is relaxed and the skill is performed automatically without thinking.  With proper instruction and training, the relaxed mind filters out all irrelevant cues and focuses only on what is relevant to the task required of the athlete.

       The concept of the “ideal performance state” directly relates to how you perform in the Beast on the Bay.  Most people might be hesitant about embarking on a 10-mile obstacle course on the sand.  It is the desire to challenge yourself physically and mentally that sets you apart from the rest of the world that is satisfied with the status quo. Invest yourself in your training and in proper instruction and you will reach your goal in completing the Beast on the Bay. When you come upon an obstacle, you will “just let it happen” and rely on your training and ability in successfully completing each obstacle and stretch of running.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Overtraining and detraining

     Overtraining can be defined as excessive exercise resulting in extreme fatigue, illness, or injury. Excessive exercise may come in the form of insufficient rest, recovery, and/or nutrition. Overreaching refers to overtraining performed over a short duration and can be corrected with a just a few days of rest. It can be a vital component of a training program, when used to overwork the body and then taper to rebound in performance. When used correctly, overreaching can result in improved strength and power. However, when performed unintentionally, it can result in decreased performance and possible injury.
      Overreaching can lead to overtraining syndrome, which is referred to as staleness, and may consist of a plateau or decrease in performance. This syndrome can last as long as 6 months, and the two types are sympathetic (elevated heart rate) and parasympathetic (decreased heart rate) overtraining syndrome. The most common mistake in a training program is the progression of either the volume or intensity at a rate that is above the individual’s capacity. There have been instances of mood disturbances associated with overtraining syndrome. These disturbances may persist as decreased vigor, motivation, confidence, concentration, and elevated levels of tension, depression, anger, fatigue, anxiety, and irritability.
      Detraining is the cessation of anaerobic training (sprinting, resistance training) or extreme decrease in frequency, volume, intensity, or combination of the three. This can result in losses in performance and physiological adaptations associated with resistance training. Detraining can occur in as little as 2 weeks and potentially sooner in well-trained athletes. You may experience strength decreases and a loss in muscle mass as the detraining period progresses. Strength losses should return to previous levels, once the athlete has restarted their training program.

     At this point, you should be at least a month into your training program for the Beast on the Bay. As with any new type of training, it’s easy to go all out and not allow ample time for recovery between sessions.  It’s imperative to understand the difference between training, overtraining and detraining. Obviously, the goal in any training program is to focus on the variables associated with the event you’re training for and avoid anything that may deter your desired outcomes. A properly structured training program consists of appropriate levels of intensity (%max heart rate), load (weight), volume (sets and reps), and frequency (training days/week).  The rate of progression in intensity throughout your training program will dictate whether or not you become over-trained.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Beast on the Bay Blog: Aerobic Endurance Training

The Beast on the Bay requires a combination of energy systems from its participants and thus, must be implemented in a training program. The types of aerobic training programs are as follows:
1. Long, Slow Distance Training (LSD)
                LSD training is also known as “conversation exercise”, because you should be running at a pace that is conducive to being able to carry on a conversation with someone. The physiological benefits of this type of training include enhanced cardiovascular and thermoregulatory function, improved oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle, and increased ability in using fat as a fuel. Too much of this training may be disadvantageous to competition, due to the lower intensity.
2. Pace/Tempo Training
                This type of training is also known as “threshold training” or “aerobic/anaerobic interval training” and should be at race competition intensity or slightly higher. You can perform this program in two different ways, steady and/or intermittent. Steady pace/tempo training is continuous for approximately 20-30 minutes at an intensity that is slightly above race pace. Intermittent pace/tempo training is referred to as “tempo intervals”, since is consists of shorter bouts of exercise with small recovery periods between intervals. In both programs, if the workout seems fairly easy, it’s better to increase the distance, rather than the intensity.
3. Interval Training
                This type of training enables you to work at intensities close to VO2max for a longer duration than would be possible at a continuous high intensity. The work intervals can be as short as 30 seconds, but preferably between 3 and 5 minutes. It’s imperative that you have already established a solid base of aerobic endurance training prior to performing an interval program. 
4. Repetition Training
                It should be performed at intensities greater than VO2max, with the work intervals lasting from 30-90 seconds. This program relies heavily on anaerobic metabolism, so you will need ample time to recover between bouts. With this program, you can expect to acquire greater running speed, enhanced running economy, and improved tolerance of anaerobic metabolism. It’s also beneficial for the final stretch of an aerobic event, when you really want to give your all.
5. Fartlek Training

                This is a combination of the four other types of training previously discussed. It calls upon basically all systems of the body and helps in changing up your daily training, by reducing the monotony of your workouts. It may enhance VO2max and lactate threshold, while improving running economy and fuel utilization. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Here's to Cheers!

     Barber Beast on the Bay Cheer Zones are back and bigger and better!  We’ll have more Cheer Zones this year that all have great surprises in store for participants.  Not only will they be cheering you on, but they will be adding to the fun and encouraging participant involvement.
     Last year, participants selected the Gannon Ultimate Frisbee team as their favorite cheer zone.  The Frisbee players are back and they’ll have an energetic tunnel to run through, just like the ones athletes run through at sporting events.  This is sure to get participants pumped up for the beastly challenges.
     Since most of the course is on the beach, why not have a little bit of beach fun? Gannon University’s Alpha Sigma Tau will be throwing a beach party.  When you arrive at the party, will you hula with them, or sing along to the beach-themed tunes? This cheer zone will be sure to get you in the mood for the water and sand ahead!
     The Waldameer hill near the end of the course is known to be a tough challenge for participants who are already worn out by the Beast.  It has earned its title, “Heartbreak Hill.”  Don’t be cruel, you say? No—we wouldn’t let you face this alone! The Erie Playhouse will be there with the cast of Elvis Has Left the Building for some gyrating and a spectacle that will give you the final boost you need.  You will also find the Erie Playhouse and the casts of All Shook Up and The Little Mermaid at other points of the course to keep you energized and pumped up for the obstacles ahead.

     Do you know a group that would be interested in forming a Cheer Zone?  Prize money is awarded for the top three winners selected by Beast participants!  Sign up at or email questions to

Monday, July 20, 2015

Krauza’s Krazies Beast on the Bay Training Schedule 2015

Cost: $5 donation to Barber National Institute for each workout attended. Money will be collected at the start of each workout.

Workouts will be one hour in duration, rain or shine. Please come dressed for the weather conditions of the day. Bring water, towel, and a willingness to work! We will get wet during the beach workouts, but we won’t be swimming. You do not need to be a strong swimmer for the beach workouts.

Please continue training during the week in between workouts. You may continue your training with the outdoor workout group Team Adrenaline. See Dr. Steven Krauza for details on price, time, and location of the Team Adrenaline workouts.


July 18
Shades Beach
7:30 AM
July 25
Frontier Park
7:30 AM
August 1
Stull Center, PI
7:30 AM
August 9 (Sunday)
Sara’s, PI
7:30 AM
August 15
Iroquois Elementary
7:30 AM
August 22
Stull Center, PI
7:30 AM
August 29
Frontier Park
7:30 AM
September 5
Beach 1 Parking Lot
7:30 AM

Friday, July 17, 2015

Beach Training

     If you haven’t already, it’s time to start training at the beach. You want to do a combination of strength (body weight exercises) and cardiovascular (sand running) training. Your time at the beach is more important than your time in the gym, since the beach is where the Beast takes place. You’ll be surprised how much the sand can break down your legs and tax muscles you aren’t used to using when you run on pavement. The sand acts as a shock absorber for your joints, but it requires far more muscle activation from your core and legs.
     Sand running becomes easier the more you do it, due to the micro adjustments your body makes. You want to adopt more of a shuffling running gait, as opposed to the gait you utilize on pavement.  When you shuffle, you glide across the surface of the beach, making you more energy efficient and effective in your speed. It’s imperative that you don’t run along the water and instead, stay up on the beach closer to the tree line. The sand along the water is completely saturated, which can cause you to sink and make it more difficult to run. The water’s edge is slanted, causing more stress on your knees and ankles than when you are on a flat surface. When you run along the shoreline, you will be running almost twice as far than if you run up on the beach. The shoreline is a winding path, so by staying up on the beach, I run a straight line and I’ve been able to pass a large number of participants that were running along the water. Since your feet will be getting wet, I recommend not wearing socks with your running shoes. Socks cause a lot of friction when they’re wet, and that friction can cause blisters. Sand is going to get in your shoes no matter what you do, and bare feet will adapt more efficiently.
     Your strength training regimen should involve body weight exercises, which are listed in the following table.
Jumping Jacks
Leg Lifts
Bear Crawls
Low Crawling
Mountain Climbers
Alligator Walks

     In my Beach Boot Camp program, we perform each of these exercises partly submerged in the lake water, at the level of our knees. Jumping jacks at this depth, activates your abductors and adductors due to the water resistance. Mountain climbers and push-ups at the water’s edge, are more difficult due to the water pulling away the sand out from under your hands, requiring more abdominal strength. I recommend including a sand bag or weighted back pack for enhancing your beach strength training program. With these included, you can then perform exercises from the following table.
Squat w/ Shoulder Press
Power Clean
Bicep Curl
Lunge w/ Shoulder Press
Supine Chest Press
Running w/ Weight (25-50 lbs)
Farmer Walks
Bent-Over Row

     We do the majority of our training from Beach 6 to Beach 8 and utilize every natural obstacle along the way. My favorite location is just after Pettinato Beach, and it’s a large sand hill that we use for bear crawls, sprints and loaded carries. It’s perfect for both strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. If you don’t live near a beach, I suggest finding any type of hill, whether it’s made of pavement, grass or dirt. It will definitely be a beneficial component of your training regimen. 

-Dave Hopkins, M.S. ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CSCS
Fitness Supervisor
LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center
5401 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Nutrition of a Beast

Proper nutrition is essential to any training program. You will need to adequately prepare with food before you work out, during your workout, and after your workout for recovery. By breaking your sessions down into durations, you can plan your pre-workout meals more easily and effectively.  Your nutrition plan should be measured by the amount of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) you consume. Along with macronutrients, are micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), electrolytes (sodium and potassium), and water. We’ll start with carbs and work our way to hydration.
Carbs are the primary source of energy for endurance activities and should be the focus of your diet when your workouts are at least an hour in duration.  Carbs are broken down into glucose during digestion and then stored in the form of glycogen in your muscles and liver. It is the broken down form of carbs that is most important for your training session and should be consumed the day prior. Here’s a list of healthy carbohydrate sources:
Whole Grain/Wheat Breads
Sweet Potatoes
Brown Rice
Fruits (bananas, blueberries)
Whole Wheat or Gluten-Free Pasta (quinoa, brown rice)

The following table can be used as a guide for determining grams of carbs you should consume the day before a training session. If you’re running more than 8 miles, you should consume a simple sugar (gel, GU chomp, gummi bears) during your run every 45-60 minutes. Water intake should be before you feel thirsty (8 ounces) and taken regularly (10-30 minutes) throughout the session.

 Healthy fats are next on the list of importance for endurance activities. Fats can be divided into groups of saturated (animal fat, and tropical oils like coconut), monounsaturated (olive oil, and peanuts), and polyunsaturated (soy, corn, sunflower, and safflower oils). Fats should constitute between 20% and 35% of the total calories consumed per day, with less than 10% coming from saturated fat sources. If your daily fat consumption is below 15%, you may experience a decrease in metabolic rate and muscle development. Here’s a list of foods consisting of healthy fats:
Peanut Butter
Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Safflower Oil
Sunflower Seeds
Almond Butter

Protein is imperative for muscle development and preservation. Daily recommended intake for protein ranges from 0.8 g/kg – 2.0 g/kg of body weight, depending on activity level of the individual. The key is to start at the low range of the spectrum, see how your body responds for a couple weeks and then increase gradually. Here’s a list of healthy protein sources:
Sirloin Steak
Ground Turkey 94%-99% Lean
Tofu or Tempeh
Protein Powders (Whey, Casein,
Split-Pea, Brown Rice)
Fish (Salmon, Tilapia, White Fish)
Shellfish (Shrimp, Crab, Scallops)

Water intake for men should be at least 3.7 L/day and 2.7/day for women. I recommend drinking up to a quart of water before you go to sleep and up to a quart as soon as you wake up. Electrolyte consumption should be 2 – 4 g/day for sodium, and 2 – 4 g/day for potassium. Coconut water has 18% of your daily potassium requirements and bananas have 14%. Drink 1 pint of water for every pound of weight lost during your session for fluid replacement. Every body is different, so it’s important to transition gradually into any nutrition program.  

-Dave Hopkins, M.S. ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CSCS
Fitness Supervisor
LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center
5401 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Plyometric exercise refers to quick, powerful movements, using both the natural elastic components of muscle and tendon, and the stretch reflex. By integrating plyometrics into your training program, you will enhance your ability to successfully complete the obstacles in the Beast on the Bay. You will be jumping up and over obstacles, which will then require you to safely land on the other side. In order to safely perform these movements, you need to adept with takeoffs and landings in a training setting. So, I’ve put together a number of warm-up drills and exercises that will address these skills. The following table consists of examples of plyometric warm-up drills.

Mimics running movements
Emphasizes posture and movement technique
Toe Jogging
Heel doesn’t touch ground
Straight-Leg Jogging
Minimize knee bending
Allow heels to reach glutes
Emphasis on quick takeoff and landing
May be multidirectional (forward, back, side, diagonal)

Plyometric Exercises for the Lower Body
Jumps in Place
Jumping and landing in the same spot without resting between jumps
Emphasis on vertical component
Standing Jumps
Emphasis on vertical and horizontal component
Maximal effort with rest between jumps
Multiple Hops and Jumps
Emphasis on horizontal component
May form a zigzag
Multidirectional movement
May be single-leg or double-leg
Box Drills
Jumping on the box or stepping off and landing
May be single-leg, double-leg, or alternating legs
Depth Jumps
Emphasis on landing, then immediately jumping vertically, horizontally, or onto another box
May be single-leg or double-leg

To establish a plyometric training regimen, we have to address frequency, recovery, volume, program length, and progression. Frequency refers to the number of training sessions per week and can range from 1-3, with 48-72 hours between sessions. Due to the nature of plyometrics requiring maximal effort to improve anaerobic power, it is imperative to have adequate recovery between repetitions and sets. For example, recovery for depth jumps may be 5-10 seconds between repetitions and 2-3 minutes between sets. Work-to-rest ratios are a great way to determine recovery time between sets. Ratios of 1:5 to 1:10 are common for plyometric training. So, if the drill requires 30 seconds of work, you should rest anywhere from 2 ½ -5 minutes until you perform another set. Training volume refers to sets and repetitions per workout session and is expressed as foot contacts on a surface, or distance covered.

Plyometric Experience
Volume in Contacts Per Session
Beginner (no experience)
80 – 100
Intermediate (some experience)
100 – 120
Advanced (considerable experience)
120 - 140

The length of your plyometric program should range from 6-10 weeks, which gives you plenty of time between now and the Beast on the Bay. Throughout your program, you should be increasing training frequency, volume, and intensity by way of progressive overload. As intensity increases, volume decreases. Reassess these aspects of your program every 2-3 weeks, to ensure that you are improving either the number of foot contacts, or distance covered per session. I know that you will enhance your performance in the Beast on the Bay by employing the drills and exercises I’ve listed. Please contact me with any questions.  

-Dave Hopkins, M.S. ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CSCS
Fitness Supervisor
LECOM Medical Fitness & Wellness Center
5401 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509