Dr. Kyle: The Facts On Foam Rolling

Foam rolling or self-myofascial release is a common technique that is used to reduce the sensation of muscle soreness. It is most often performed by placing a foam roller on the ground and rolling a particular muscle out using your bodyweight to compress the tissue. This has been used extensively in the past decade as a form of muscle recovery pre or post workout.

Is foam rolling all its hyped up to be?

I have recently come across some not-so-hot reviews on foam rolling and its effects on muscle recovery and performance. Before coming to any conclusion, I decided to consult the latest research.

Here is a short list of the potential Pros and Cons of foam rolling to help you decide for yourself:

Cons:

• Foam rolling can apply excessive pressure to the tissue. Too much pressure can cause muscle and nerve cells to rupture. Foam rolling with small diameter rollers or lacrosse balls can exceed tolerable cell pressure (1).
• Foam rolling will not break down scar tissue. Scaring is produced by strong fibrotic connections between cells that can withstand forces produced by self-myofascial release techniques.
• Foam rolling has little effect on increasing mobility and may even increase pain in the process.

Pros:

• Rolling can speed up recovery. Extended foam rolling sessions can increase blood flow to the area and enhance nutrient exchange and clearing of cellular debris.
• Reduces inflammation and causes draining of lymphatic pooling.
• Foam rolling may have minimal positive effects on sprint times and overall athletic performance (2).
• May increase proprioception (joint position sense) immediately prior to exercise (3).
• Foam rolling releases tightness. Sustained external pressure stimulates the nervous system to decrease muscle tone.

Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of information out there on foam rolling, some good and some not so good. Much of the research I read showed conflicting results making it difficult to draw conclusions. Here is a list of my best recommendations:

• Keep it light! Gentle-moderate pressure will generate positive stimulus without causing cell damage.
• Target specific areas of muscle stiffness to enhance recovery and decrease muscle tone.
• Foam roll after your workout to decrease inflammation.
• Supplement foam rolling with stretching, corrective exercises, muscle activation and soft tissue therapy techniques.

Have questions? Visit my Instagram page @drkylearam or email me at drkyle@forwardhealth.ca for more information!

https://www.instagram.com/drkylearam/

References:

1. Gonzalez-Rodriguez, D., Guillou, L., Cornat, F., Lafaurie-Janvore, J., Babataheri, A., de Langre, E., … & Husson, J. (2016). Mechanical criterion for the rupture of a cell membrane under compression. Biophysical journal, 111(12), 2711-2721.

2. Miller, K. L., Costa, P. B., Coburn, J. W., & Brown, L. E. (2019). THE EFFECTS OF FOAM ROLLING ON MAXIMAL SPRINT PERFORMANCE AND RANGE OF MOTION. Journal of Australian Strength & Conditioning, 27(01), 15-26.

3. David, E., Amasay, T., Ludwig, K., & Shapiro, S. (2019). The Effect of Foam Rolling of the Hamstrings on Proprioception at the Knee and Hip Joints. International Journal of Exercise Science, 12(1), 343-354.

Dr. Kyle: Why You Should Use The Sauna

Everyone enjoys a day at the spa for some much-needed relaxation, but did you know that time spent in the sauna may actually increase muscle gains?

Originating in Finland, this traditional passive heat therapy is becoming increasing popular world-wide. Saunas are often used for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain as well as headaches. Recent evidence has suggested benefits for high-blood pressure, neurocognitive diseases and pulmonary conditions.

Emerging studies have found a protective effect for cardiovascular disease with regular sauna use for both men and women. It turns out, the more you use the sauna the better. More time spent sweating it out, the more health benefits!

Need any more reasons to hop in the sauna?

Sauna use has also been associated with increased net protein synthesis. This is why amenities such as saunas and steam rooms have become more common place in gym and fitness facilities. After your workout may be the best time to jump in the sauna and here’s why:

1. Intense short-term heat exposure stimulates the production of heat shock proteins that reduce muscle degeneration cause by oxidative stress.
2. Produce Growth hormone for increased lean muscle mass.
3. Increased NO (nitric oxide) availability to promote blood flow and circulation.
4. Decrease inflammatory pathway activity and free radical production.
5. Improve insulin sensitivity, allowing your body to utilize glucose more efficiently.
6. Enhance the production of BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) which synthesizes new brain cells.

Essentially, saunas stimulate the bodies autonomic nervous system in order to maintain a constant core body temperature in extreme heat. Short durations of heat stress induces adaptive mechanisms similar to exercise and have profound physiological effects.

It has also been found to help with anxiety, depression and improve parasympathetic function! Who doesn’t want a little extra mental clarity in their life.

For any questions or comments please email me at drkyle@forwardhealth.ca and be sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook page @drkylearam.

References:

Hussain, J., & Cohen, M. (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1857413. doi:10.1155/2018/1857413

Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor, S. K., Khan, H., Willeit, P., Zaccardi, F., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2018). Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study. BMC medicine, 16(1), 219. doi:10.1186/s12916-018-1198-0

Dr. Phil Shares: 6 Most Important Tips for Building Muscle

6 Most Important Tips for Building Muscle

Whether your goal is to get bigger and stronger, or improve power and explosiveness for sports, you want to see progress — and pronto.

But building muscle efficiently requires more than just putting in time at the weight rack. Along with your strength training regimen, diet and lifestyle choices all play important roles.

But before you even start thinking about how to build muscle, it’s instructive to know the primary factors that determine just how much of it you can gain.

3 Factors Affecting Muscle Growth

These are the main criteria dictating increases in muscle size, or hypertrophy — and two of them are outside your control.

Sex

Simmer down — we’re talking gender. The male persuasion unsurprisingly has a decided advantage when it comes to building muscle. That’s due in large part to far greater levels of testosterone and a higher red blood cell count among men than women, who typically have to go to more extraordinary lengths to gain size.

Genetics

Similar to the way it governs how much hair you get to keep, heredity determines how much muscle you can develop. Thanks to genetics, a segment of the populace is born with a higher number of type II, or fast-twitch, muscle fibers, which have the greatest potential for growth.

Training Specificity

The factor you can change — and the one we’ll spend much of this article focusing on — is the approach you take to your workouts overall. There are different protocols that distinguish lifting for mass from lifting for strength.

Generally speaking, lifting very heavy weights in low volume is how to gain strength, and lifting moderately heavy weights in high volume is how to gain muscle.

Woman doing benchpress

How to Build Muscle: The 6 Most Important Things You Can Do

For those seeking tips on how to gain muscle, here are some strategies to get you started.

1. Perform multi-joint exercises

Resistance training is the most efficient way to build lean mass — especially if you pack your workouts with big, compound (multi-joint) moves like the squat, bench press, lunge, and pull-up.

“You can certainly build muscle with all types of moves, but a strong base in multi-joint efforts, at least some of the time, is a good idea,” says Michael Ormsbee, Ph.D., interim director of the Institute of Sports Science & Medicine at Florida State University.

Science agrees: Compound exercises cause the greatest increase in testosterone, a key muscle-building hormone, according to researchers at the University of Connecticut.

2. Eat more protein

Now that you’re lifting weights, you need to consume more protein to promote muscle repair, recovery, and growth since amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are necessary to build muscle tissue.

When you’re planning your high-protein meals, 20 grams of protein is the optimal amount generally accepted for muscle growth. Research has found that the body doesn’t use much more than 20 grams for muscle-building at any one sitting. Around 80 grams of protein per day (or, four meals containing 20-grams of protein each) is about right for most people.

If you want to calculate the optimal protein amount for you and your goals, Beachbody recommends 0.5 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of desired lean bodyweight per day, depending on exercise intensity. (The harder the workout, the more protein is needed for growth and recovery.)

If you have ambitious muscle-building goals, such as committing to Beachbody’s Body Beast program, shoot for the higher end of the range by adding one or two additional protein-rich snacks to your day.

Shakeology is a great way to sneak in additional calories and nutrients and contains 16 to 17 grams of protein (depending on the flavor).

3. Don’t just lift heavy

When you lift heavy weights or do explosive exercises like sprinting, you target the type-II muscle fibers we discussed earlier. But studies show that type-I fibers (a.k.a. slow twitch — the kind used in endurance activities ) also have growth potential, so don’t ignore them.

Once every week or two, target those type-I fibers with low weight, high rep work (e.g., 3-4 sets of 15 or more reps per exercise). Or simply follow a Beachbody program such as Body Beast21-Day Fix, P90X, 22-Minute Hard Corps, or The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, which have that kind of variation built in.

4. Get plenty of shut-eye

Shoot for a minimum of seven hours a night. Getting less than that on a regular basis can cause you to rack up sleep debt, which can put the brakes on protein synthesis (a.k.a. muscle growth) and increase protein (read: muscle) degradation, according to a study by Brazilian researchers.

Plus, you won’t reap the full benefits of human growth hormone, the levels of which spike while you’re in dreamland. Have trouble sleeping? Try these natural tips on how to get good sleep tonight.

5. Increase weight responsibly

You need to challenge your muscles to trigger growth, but you also need to be smart about how you go about it. If you increase the amount of weight you’re lifting too quickly, you’ll increase your risk of injury. But if you do it too slowly, you’ll shortchange your results or hit a plateau.

So how do you strike a balance? Pay attention to the effort you’re exerting. If you’re lifting with perfect form, and your last few reps an exercise feel similar to your first few, you know it’s time to reach for a heavier weight.

6. Allow time for recovery

Muscles grow between workouts, not during them, so make recovery a priority. In practice, that means eating healthier, consuming more protein, and not overtraining. Take at least one to two days off per week to allow your muscles to fully recover.

“Training too often or at too-high an intensity too frequently — without rest and recovery — can actually hurt your muscle-building efforts,” says Ormsbee.

Your move: Take at least one to two days off per week to allow your muscles to fully recover, and maximize the effectiveness of your downtime by doing light cross training (e.g. hiking, cycling) or activities like foam rolling and yoga.

If you are patient, focused, and consistent with your workouts and recovery, you will see results.

In addition to consuming more protein, there are a number of nutritional steps you can take to bulk up responsibly.

1. Increase calories

“No one can be in a significant calorie deficit and gain muscle,” says Albert Matheny, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab.

To find out how many more calories you should consume to gain weight, determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight — your baseline — then add 300. And if you’re following a muscle-building program like Body Beast, add the recommended calories outlined in the guide.

2. Strike the right mix of macros

Whether your calories come from carbs, fat, or protein goes a long way in determining whether your weight gain comes from muscle or from fat.

An easy and relatively fast way to gain muscle is bulking first, then leaning out, which is the idea behind programs like Body Beast. Using this method, you only have to focus on one thing at a time — building, then getting lean, versus trying to increase mass while simultaneously limiting fat gain.

To increase weight gained from fat, your macros should emphasize carbohydrates and fat, since it’s the most calorically dense macronutrient. The bulk of that fat should come from unsaturated sources such as avocado, olive oil, and salmon.

3. Focus on post-workout nutrition

Generally, you should consume about 20 grams of protein with some carbs shortly after a workout. One way to get the right mix is with Beachbody Peformance Recover, which combines time-released proteins and phytonutrients to aid recovery and reduce muscle breakdown.

During the post-workout anabolic window, you’ll also want to limit fats, which can slow the absorption of protein. While there is some recent research that suggeststhe window may actually extend up to several hours following exercise, there’s no harm in getting nutrients in early as long as you’re sticking to your overall caloric and macronutrient goals.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Post Workout Massage–What You Should Do After Your Next Workout

We have all been there…..we went to the gym and did an endurance cycling class or went for a run and ran the hardest that we ever have and all that we can think about is how sore we are going to be the next day.  This muscle soreness is often what deters people from continuing their intense workout routines because they don’t want to be sore the next day.  But this does not have to be the case.  Having a massage after any  workout can ease post workout muscle soreness.  Did you know that even a ten minute massage after a training session or workout can improve your rebound time or post work out recovery? Check out this excellent article in Men’s Fitness  to see what the research says.

After a period of hard training or exercise  there will be an accumulation of waste material and possibly some micro trauma with slight swelling in the muscles. The tissues will also be nutritionally depleted and some may be in need of repair. By stimulating the blood circulation through the strained muscles with massage therapy, all these situations can be helped.  The waste is removed more quickly and completely and more fresh blood from the arteries arrives to supply the repair and nutritional needs. There should always be a rest period after exercise to allow the recovery process to take place, and a massage greatly improves the quality and effectiveness of such rest. It is the quality of rest that is the key to effective training and regular massage therapy treatments that enables more endurance workouts  at a higher level and with less injury.

By having a massage after your workout the conversation no longer has to be on how sore you are going to be, rather on how good you feel and how much quicker our muscles recovered so that you could duplicate the same workout the next day at the same intensity with no kick back pain.

So the next time your are running in the Forward Health neighbourhood at Preservation Park  or at your next cycling class at Movati fitness in Guelph,  why not consider working a massage therapy treatment into your workout routine?  Kick up the intensity in your workout without the worry of being sore for days later. After all , your massage therapy at Forward Health will take care of that.The-Function-of-a-Running-Shoe-18356134