This program is based on intense exercise and colorful nutrition.
It differs from all other diets by its inclusion of exercise as a required component.
Exercise is the single most important ingredient of a healthy diet. Those who exercise are healthier than those who don’t.
In addition to fueling exercise, plants are natural methods to minimize the pain and inflammation that result from exercise.
As opposed to pharmaceutical drugs, which athletes habitouly use to repress inflammation.
While I regularly prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs to combat acute inflammation, I find them dangerous in the management of chronic inflammation and a better alternative exists.
Some natural approaches provide pain-relief through the act of exercise itself.
These programs share one common trait; they were all developed by non-medically trained athletes.
Their inventors were functional anatomists, kinesiologists, exercise physiologists, biochemists and even a voice coach. They each developed a unique methodology based on natural posture and functional movement.
Exercise healers base their therapy, not on biomolecular reactions as medical doctors do, but on common sense. They don’t treat muscle pain as a series of inflammatory reactions involving prostanoids, antioxidants and cyclooxygenase enzymes. Instead they treat muscle pain as a failure to maintain and support the skeleton in its normal, upright position.
To reverse this stress, they created a series of exercises that strengthen the muscles that help athletes resist the force of gravity and maintain proper posture. These exercises stimulate the full spectrum of muscles supporting the spine.
This program fully embraces this approach and highly recommends these innovative training regimens. These Healers should be commended for the enormous contribution they have made to the library of medical knowledge.
During exercise, the body is exposed to a level of stress that has no equal in life. To illustrate how extreme this internal condition is, consider that a very high fever of 105 degrees, a point where the core temperature is near death, increase the body’s metabolism by 100 per cent above normal. By comparison, during a marathon, an athlete’s metabolic rate climbs to an astounding 2000 percent of normal.
Exercise is physical activity that strengthens the body and maintains fitness. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens the oxygen delivery or cardiopulmonary system of athletes. Intense exercise increases their level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), thus increasing the desirable carrier of cholesterol.
Exercise over time, lowers blood pressure and promotes health.
The body responds and adapts to intense and daily exercise through a combination of cellular, sub-cellular and molecular events. There is a biochemical interrelationship between energy metabolism and oxygen delivery.
Exercise also requires the removal of metabolic waste products and the dissipation of heat. The adaptations made by an athlete’s biological system in response to improve performance, speeds recovery and prevents disease. By a combination of nutrition, conditioning and good genetics, athletes can remain younger and healthier, longer. In addition, the use of self-correcting forces through a program of self-healing exercises can relieve pain.
The programs that are described in the following pages are all excellent exercise regimens. The choice of one over another is a matter of specific conditions in the athlete. These exercise are a form of medical treatment. Their review is intended as an introduction for athletes. Those who are interested in any of the program should consult with their doctor or medical caregiver.
In order to achieve their goals, athletes require intense exercise as part of their Diet. Intense exercise of the high-grade, aerobic variety depends on endurance, which is the result of an efficient metabolism. Intense exercise of the anaerobic variety depends on muscle strength and does not require improved oxygen uptake or improved metabolism. But order to perform at a high level, all athletes requires flexibility and freedom of movement.
To improve the performance of intense exercise this program recommends a program of glycogen sparing, mass hydration and resistance training exercise. Flexibility is linked to the recovery from previous sessions of exercise. Rest is the best way to heal.
To support recovery from exercise, botanical anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and proteoglycans are recommended.
Self-healing exercises are postural exercises that help athletes recover and prevent further injury. These exercise protocols support the natural posture of the body. Their goal is to restore the natural curvature of the body.
During the course of an athlete’s life the ability to maintain proper posture becomes compromised. Athletes compensate causing structural imbalance.
The goal of a biomechanical exercise program is to reverse that process using the core energy of the body to correct the muscles of the skeleton.
These programs are common in fitness circles and include Pilates, Yoga, Alexander Technique, Core Performance, Scientific Core Conditioning, Functional Therapy, Egoscue Method, Rolfing Structural Integration and Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT).
The most important exercises they have designed are those that strengthen both the large as well as the small stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back. The purpose of core training is to strengthen the muscle groups that stabilize the skeleton, the platform from which an athlete’s arms and legs move.
Good athletes prepare their bodies by eliminating their weakest links and reinforcing their core or power center. These exercises have changed the way trainer’s train. Enlightened trainers have learned how to use physical therapy and kinesiology to heal. In fact, they have become Healers.
The Pilates Method was developed by Joseph Pilates, who as a child, suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever.
To correct the physical effects these diseases produced, Pilates created a regimen of exercises to strengthened and elongated muscles for the purpose of returning them to normal function..
During World War I, he altered a hospital bed to create a prototype exercise table where patients could begin their recovery while exercising on their backs. This invention would evolve into the Trapeze Table, one of the main components of his method of exercise. He also invented the Universal Reformer, a device equipped with straps and springs to provide resistance.
The primary purpose of the Pilates Method is to experience the sensation and movement from the inside out. His exercises are a series of sequential and carefully performed core movements, each designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles involved. Carried out correctly, these movements increases tone, flexibility, postural alignment, coordination and endurance.
All athletes will improve their performance in their respective sport by incorporating one of the various incarnations of the Pilates method into their exercise regimen.
The Athlete’s Diet pointed to the changing types of food eaten and the sedentary workday as the origin of chronic diseases.
Many chronic disease are caused by poor diet, excess inflammation and lack of movement. The Athlete’s Diet incorporates the best exercises from the different schools of biomuscular exercises into the daily exercise routine of an athlete in order to maintain health.
The four principals of the Diet are outlined below.
1. The Athlete’s Diet requires intense, daily exercise, not the two or three times a week that many athletes’ busy schedules allow. Nor the thirty minute, brisk walk that doctors recommend.
2. The Athlete’s Diet emphasizes botanical foods because they minimize inflammation and prepare the athlete for the metabolic consequences of exercise.
3. The Athlete’s Diet recommends physical activity that includes a combination of resistance training, aerobics and functional exercise that uses static postural positions. The exercises are those designed by Chek, Egoscue, Verstegen, Santana and Pilates.
4. The Athlete’s Diet requires proper hydration, rest, replenishment and recovery following exercise
Athletes are built as upright vertebrates. Their bodies contain bones, which provide a skeleton or framework upon which soft tissues attach. The function of the skeleton is to provide stiff, rigid resistance to the force of gravity and still provide enough flexibility for movement.
A cranium that protects the brain centers the skeleton. An S-shaped, flexible column of bone supports the cranium. The column appears strait when viewed from the front or back.
The column is made of a series of vertebra (odd shaped bones) joined together by a series of ligaments and disks. This gives the vertebral column some flexibility and protects the spinal chord from injury.
The flexible head sits between two shoulders. Each shoulder articulates with an arm that is made up of three bones. The three bones are joined by an elbow. The lower arm articulates with a wrist, from which a hand is attached.
The connection between the shoulders and the hips is via the trunk. It is made up by the vertebral column and the large muscles of the back and abdomen. The strength of this connection helps keep the skeleton remain balanced.
Two hips anchor the trunk. Each hip articulates with a leg. The leg is made up three bones joined at the knee. The lower leg articulates with an ankle from which a foot is attached.
Normal posture maintains an erect and slightly curved spine with the two shoulders and two hips parallel to the ground. The longer an athlete can remain in this position the better the body can resist the forces that cause injury.
Once an injury occurs, athletes will develop compensations to reduce the load on the affected structure. This unconscious response is more serious than the injury itself. This is similar to arthritis where the cellular response to inflammation is more damaging than the actual injury.
The Athlete’s Diet is based on exercise and considers the only good exercise is one that is performed correctly.
Exercise regimens like yoga, Pilates and Alexander techniques require expert teachers. Other exercise programs require trainers to assure correct posture while exercising.
Programs that use exercise precisely to correct posture are reversing the imbalances caused by incorrect posture. The inactivity of certain muscles, cause a cascade of events that result in the sagging of an athlete’s body under the force of gravity. These biomechanical exercise programs have opened up a new direction in healing and pain management. The exercises they devise, stimulate muscles that have been inactive and caused the skeleton to misalign itself.
Programs that use natural posture and breathing techniques to strengthen the body can prevent injury and heal those that exist.
Programs, developed by Chek, Santana, Egoscue and Verstegen, have revolutionized the concept of functional exercise. They use exercise as a method to promote good, healthy posture. They use exercise to realign the skeleton by stretching it back into position. This, they accomplish, by functional exercises.
Functional exercises are a series of gentle stretches, functional stretches. These exercises, together with isometrics stimulate inactive muscles. Once muscle function is restored, they return the body back to its upright position. This restores joint mobility and range of motion.
By correcting muscle imbalances, these exercises improve health. These exercise are recommended for their healing potential and because they help athletes build muscle and prevent injury. Athletes as they age, allow certain muscle groups to become inactive. Exercise can return the body to its correct posture by stimulating inactive muscles.
F. Matthias Alexander was an Australian actor and teacher who developed a method of vocal training for singers at the start of the twentieth century. Alexander focused on breathing and ways to have the mechanism function more effectively. Because of this focus on breathing Alexander's students improved their respiration. Alexander discovered that breathing and vocalization are linked just as all body functions are linked. Good habits promote good function bad habits cause dysfunction.
The Alexander Technique is a method that has been used for over a century. What began as an improvement in voice modulation became a methodology to re-education the body and eliminate bad habits.
Alexander created a method for learning how to consciously change bad habits of coordination. Coordination according to Alexander, includes movement, posture, breathing and tension. Alexander believed that the mind and body, operated as an integrated entity. Alexander believed that habits, whether physical or mental in nature, were all combinations of both.
He observed how habits of excessive tension and inefficient coordination affect emotions and thought. Alexander evolved his technique from a method of vocal training into a method of breathing re-education and then into a comprehensive technique of psychophysical coordination.
The Alexander Technique does not depend on exercise like Egoscue or spiritual healing like yoga. It does not depend on the manipulations of the body or manual healing techniques like Rolfing. Alexander technique views the body as a set of pressure points to be individually stimulated. A teacher is required to guide a student through proper movement. This includes using proper tension and postural patterns. In this way, the student thinks about the active movement and uses their unconscious intelligence to effectively change their bad habits.
Early in the twentieth century, a pioneer in the field of movement exercise, Ida Rolf, PhD, invented a methodology to restore length to the skeleton.
Rolfe believed that chronic shortening of the body was the result of strains, injuries and bad habits. These events produced compensatory adjustments including the misalignment of bones and joints. Rolfe believed that the body was best organized when it was perfectly vertical and able to withstand the force of gravity.
After many years of trial and error, Dr. Rolf created a ten-session sequence of soft tissue manipulations that patients could use to realign the hard tissues of skeleton and thereby improve its function.
These soft tissue manipulations were designed to free the body from compensations to better supports the skeleton to withstand the effect of gravity. Dr. Rolfe theorized that the use of fingertips, knuckles and elbows when applied to soft tissue would release the inherent tensions of misalignment and returns the body to its natural balance.
Rolfing or Structural Integration as it is called, is practiced throughout the United States. All types of people, including athletes, use Structural Integration.
It is a non-pharmaceutical way to relieve chronic pain or correct a limited range of motion and flexibility in a digit or limb.
The pain can originate in the back, neck, shoulder or knee and can be caused by a host of reasons including repetitive strain injuries, poor coordination, imbalance or the aftereffects of an unhealed injury.
Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) is a program of exercises designed to correct body alignment. This is done in anticipation and preparation for exercise. All exercise.
MAT exercises support the weakest link in the body. This allows the link to function more efficiently while minimizing pain. Muscle weakness, as opposed to muscle tightness limits the joint’s range of motion.
Muscle tightness is a consequence of muscle weakness. Muscle weakness causes the surrounding muscles to remain contracted in an attempt to support and protect the affected joint. This tightens the muscle and causes a strain on the joint.
These programs strengthen the weak muscles to remove the instability. When the protective contractions that the tight muscle experienced are removed, the joint’s range of motion is increased. These muscle-activated exercises thus result in an increase in range of motion, as well as increased stability.
These programs depend on an increased mobility and joint stability for their success. It is the foundation behind improving joint function and minimizing arthritis. These therapy and exercise procedures provide an approach to achieve proper skeletal function.
Peter Egoscue discovered an important role that muscles play in controlling posture. By strengthening these muscles, athletes improve their health. Egoscue exercises or e-cycersises as he calls them, are self-healing exercises.
In response to a wound incurred in Vietnam, he developed a method to restore posture. Egoscue realized that the absence of movement caused imbalances in the body.
The Egoscue method stresses the return to proper musculoskeletal function. Egoscue achieves this through a series of exercise that strengthen and improve the alignment of the skeleton. Egoscue’s postural exercises are part of a highly effective training program that minimizes the risk of injury.
Egoscue created a series of low-impact exercises to stimulate inactive muscles to realign the bones of the skeleton. These exercises are simple but require a long time to perform. In addition they are needed on a daily basis. None of the positions are difficult to maintain, they just need to be maintained for a half an hour or more.
Egoscue’s method is a true form of preventative medicine and highly recommended by The Athlete’s Diet.