Sports Nutrition: Eating for Back to Back Competitions


By: Heather R Mangieri, MS, RD, LDN, Sports Dietitian

Finish First Sports Performance Nutrition Advisor

One of the most important times to be at the very top of your game, both physically and mentally is during the final period of a game or during the final game of an all-day tournament. Not having the right nutritional game plan in place leads to both mental and physical fatigue and can ultimately lead to decreased performance or injury.

When you are faced with multiple competitions in the same day, it is important to meal plan so that optimal energy needs are met. To do this, it is imperative that you start the day with a full tank of gas and use your breaks between games to refuel and rehydrate. Use the following tips to help you to be prepared on your competition day:

  • Practice how you will fuel on game day prior to your tournament day. Training is not only a time to work on strength and conditioning your muscles but also a time to train your muscles how to use fuels. You do not want to try a new food on the day of your competition only to find out that it does not agree with you. If a food gives you an upset stomach, it is much better to find that out ahead of time.
  • If you do not already have one, invest in a small insulated cooler and a few ice packs so that all of your foods and beverages can be packed and taken with you. This way you can be sure that you will have adequate foods and drinks to keep yourself well-fed and well hydrated if no other source of energy is available.
  • Pay attention to your pre-competition meal! Make sure to eat a real breakfast no later than 1 ½ hours before your first game. This meal should be low fiber, low fat, and high carbohydrate with a little protein. Some examples include:

◘ English muffin with 1 TBSP peanut butter, jelly or jam and 1 banana.

◘ 2 slices raisin toast with jelly, 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg, ½ cup orange juice

◘ 1 ½ cup cereal (lower fiber is typically better tolerated, corn flakes, rice krispies, cheerios) with 1 cup skim or 1% milk, 1 nectarine

◘ Bagel with 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 cup skim or 1% milk

Remember, everyone’s GI tract is different. Practice is an important part of food selection for game day.

  • Before your first game and during the game, stick to liquids to stay hydrated and keep from feeling too full. Drink water initially, and then switch to a sports drink like Gatorade about 20 minutes before the game. Continue drinking sports drinks when possible during the game. If you know when your breaks will be, it is a great idea to schedule drink breaks. This helps you to remember to rehydrate. Staying hydrated not only keeps you energized but also keeps you mentally focused.

  • Between games it is vital that you refuel and rehydrate. The quicker you can take in some carbohydrates after your first game, the more energized and recovered you will be for the upcoming events. If you only have ½ hour prior to your next event or competition, be sure to utilize sports drinks to obtain adequate carbohydrates. The last thing you want to do is start your next game with a stomach full of undigested food. If your next game is 2 hours away, than start eating solids. A carbohydrate rich meal will be your best success at obtaining more energy. You will want to switch back to liquids (Gatorade) as you get closer to the start of the game. Some examples of easily digested between meal foods are:

◘ 2 slices of bread with 2 slices turkey, banana

◘ Dried fruit

◘ Cereal with milk

◘ Yogurt with fruit

◘ Fig Newton with low-fat chocolate milk

  • After the tournament, refuel your muscles and rehydrate your body! Eat a high carbohydrate snack that includes a little protein within 30 minutes of finishing your tournament. Even if you plan on going out to eat after your game, it is important to get carbohydrates and a little protein into your body within 30 minutes so that you can start the recovery process immediately. Some examples of easy snacks or beverages to meet this immediate need are:

◘ 1 cup chocolate milk

◘ Yogurt

◘ Sports drink with a 4:1 ratio carbohydrate to protein

  • Within the next 1 ½ -2 hours, eat a full meal that including carbohydrates, protein and a little fat. If you have practice, games or a continuation of the competition on the following day, you may need to include an additional evening meal to assure adequate glycogen (stored carbohydrate) for the next day’s events.

How often do you need to train specific motor abilities?

507850869By Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, TPI1

Ok, so what am I talking about?

Specific motor abilities, such as maximum strength and maximum speed just to name a few.

Knowing exactly how often to address these motor abilities and how this relates to in-season demands and volume of training can make a world of difference with optimizing performance in your team’s sport (which is THE goal!).

Over the span of my 15 years successfully training athletes, I have repeatedly expressed the importance of following a well-planned, progressive, evidence based, scientifically sound performance enhancement program. I have also expressed the importance of following the program on an annual basis. That means that training must be continued during the competitive season, in the off-season, and during the pre-season.

While all of that is important, in this article, I would like to focus on the residual effects of sports performance training. In a moment, you will see why this is important and how it ties into a well-planned annual training program.

Residual Training Effects: Defined

First, let’s define residual training effects. According to Vladimir Issurin in his book Block Periodization: Breakthrough in Sport Training residual training effect is “…the duration of the positive effect of the given training after its cessation and how fast you will lose the obtained ability level when you stop training it.” (p. 24, 2008) In other words, if you are specifically training for maximum strength, the residual training effect is how long you will maintain that level of strength after you stop training specifically for maximum strength. This is very important for certain methods of program design.

Also in his book, Vladimir Issurin drafted a table that listed the duration (in days) of residual training effects for different motor abilities. I would like to share them with you.

*Aerobic Endurance has a residual duration of 30± days.


*Maximum Strength has a residual duration of 30±5 days.


*Anaerobic Glycolytic Endurance has a residual duration of 18±4 days.


*Strength Endurance has a residual duration of 15±5 days.


*Maximum Speed (alactic) has a residual duration of 5±3 days.


*(Taken from Table 1.6, page 25, Block Periodization: Breakthrough in Sport Training 2008, Vladimir B. Issurin)

Why is this important?

There are many reasons, especially for the performance scientist when he/she is designing effective programs for his/her athletes. To simply illustrate one reason, take, for example, an athlete who has been focusing on maximum speed for the last 2 weeks. How long can she go without addressing this motor ability again before beginning to lose the desired training effect? The answer is anywhere from 2 to 8 days.

This is also important because training specific motor abilities can now be consecutively planned for maximum output at specific events/competitions. An athlete can stop training for max speed and still reap the benefits from the training for an additional 2 to 8 days.

The benefits of understanding residual training effects are endless. Planning an annualized, periodized program must take these residual effects into account to help maximize the athlete’s specific motor abilities for peak performance.

For details about how to best use residual training effects to maximize your programming, please contact us!

Is Your Golf Swing Efficient?

By Jeremy S. Hoy, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Professional (TPI1)

It’s easy to watch the British Open or any major professional golf tournament and be amazed at how effortlessly (most of the time) the golfers seem to hit the ball and how much control and consistency they have during the rounds.

None of this happens by accident.

Occasionally we also get to see a golfer break down over the course and become less consistent, or never really find the groove for that day.

None of this happens by accident, either.

According to the Titleist Performance Institute, with 1000s of hours of analyzing the worlds top golfers, there are three things that lead to efficiency breakdowns:

  1. Poor Mechanics—teaching professionals use video swing analysis to isolate mechanical breakdowns
  2. Poor Physical Conditioning—golf fitness coaches/professionals use physical screens to isolate any limitations in the body.
  3. Poor Equipment—use club fitting to determine the best specifications for the player

The Titleist Performance Institute certified golf fitness professional is responsible for utilizing specific physical screens and working to prevent efficiency breakdowns.

An efficient swing, or one of the main keys to great ball striking, is a good kinematic sequence. This is the correct sequence or pattern of the hips, torso, arm, and club, firing in that sequence at point of contact or ball strike. This is the sequence for an efficient swing, which is crucial for consistency and accuracy.

Additionally, for great ball striking, you will need good segment stabilization (stability in each segment during the sequencing), and square face contact of the club.

Inefficient movement, poor kinematic sequencing, and/or lack of stability all can directly contribute to one of the major swing characteristics (or faults).

It is the job of the Titleist Performance Institute certified golf fitness professional to screen for physical limitations that could create inefficient movement, poor kinematic sequencing, and/or lack of segment stability. Once these limitations have been identified, a customized program can be created to work to correct these issues, and help create a more efficient golf swing.

(I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book, even if you are able to meet with a TPI certified golf fitness coach–lots of great information about how the body works specific to golf!)

For information about specific golf fitness programs offered at Finish First Sports Performance, you can reach us at

Please stay tuned for more articles about the swing characteristics and different physical screens that are used to correlate with each characteristic.

“I would highly recommend Finish First Sports to anyone who is looking to improve their sport specific performance and overall physical conditioning. I was looking to make my golf swing more efficient and was extremely satisfied with the workout programs and results. My core strength, flexibility and kinesthetic movements all improved which has positively affected my ball striking, balance and endurance. The workouts are tailored to you and really focus on what is important and what you are trying to achieve. If you are serious and not looking for the easy way out, Finish First is for you.

–Drew Bohn, PGA Professional

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

Pic from

Pic from

By Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES

In an attempt to satisfy your cravings for something sweet, try this recipe from Dr. John Berardi, in his book Gourmet Nutrition. He suggests it makes a great post workout snack.  Try it out and let us know what you think.


  • 6 Scoops vanilla whey protein (120g protein)
  • 1 Cup dextrose
  • 1 Cup maltodextrin
  • 1/4 Cup malt-sweetened chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal (Rice Crispies)
  • Splenda, to taste (about 1/2 cup granulated, or 12 packets)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp butter salt
  • 1/2 cup water


In a large bowl combine the whey, dextrose, maltodextrin, chocolate chips, Splenda, and butter salt.  Mix completely; press into an 8×8 inch baking dish coated with olive oil cooking spray.  The dough will be very sticky, so the best method for spreading evenly into the baking dish is to use two large spoons coated with olive oil cooking spray.  Push the bottom of the spoons onto the dough and push them in opposite directions, until the dough is spread evenly.

Just before baking, press the puffed rice cereal into the top of the dough.  Do not mix the Rice Crispies into the dough earlier, or they will become soggy and lose their crisp.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings: 6

(I highly recommend getting your own copy of Dr. John Berardi’s book, Gourmet Nutrition, for a huge list of healthy recipes and cooking recommendations for getting your eating habits under control!).

Q&A with Former U.S. Olympic Strength Coach Kevin Ebel

object_40.1369912151.831Throughout my 15 years in the fitness and sports performance industry, I have met and heard 100s of coaches and ‘experts’ speak about different training topics. While most of what has been presented was very basic and general information, sometimes with ‘original’ terminology (usually done for marketing purposes), occaisionally I came across a few people who were absolute gems and truly were experts in the industry. These were the coaches that had the most impact, and the biggest influence on how I train my athletes today, especially the programming methods and styles used to get results with even the most advanced athletes. Anyone can produce results with mediocre athletes, but it takes an skilled and educated coach to get results with the best athletes.

Quite possibly the most influential athletic performance (strength and conditioning) coach in my professional career has been Kevin Ebel. Kevin has an impressive resume, including years as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY. (I had the fortune of coaching under him In Lake Placid).  I can honestly say, after being in this industry for such a long time, and meeting countless coaches, that Kevin has forgotten more than most coaches will ever know, and has trained more high level athletes than over 95% of coaches still active. I have learned that it is often the coaches you don’t hear about that are making the biggest difference and doing the ‘Big Things.” Those who make the most noise are usually just making the most noise, and moving around hot air; these are the so called-experts, and unfortunately the ones influencing so many young aspiring coaches in the industry. (Note: Stop blowing around hot air and let your athletes and your results speak for you).

As a coach, there are very few strength and conditioning coaches capable of discussing training the nervous system, or neurological training for elite sports performance, like Kevin (I think Tom Myslinski and Buddy Morris are 2 additional mentors with a similar understanding).

Take a minute to review the coach profile about Kevin Ebel. I would suggest reaching out to him if you are interested in learning a ton about optimally training athletes.

What is your name?

Kevin Ebel


Where did you study?

University of Minnesota, BS Kinesiology, emphasis in Exercise Physiology, University of Minnesota, M.Ed., emphasis in Sports Management

Do you feel that your formal education helped prepare you for your career path?

Formal, not so much, biomechanically and physiological yes. On the practical and implementation side of practicing the science, you can’t learn that in school. Hands on volunteer, internships and graduate assistantships help you learn how to apply the book smarts fully.


What Certification(s) do you have?

CSCS. I used to have USAW but they kept changing their recertification qualifications and weren’t consistent with all members on what they needed to be considered certified so I stopped it.

Where do you currently work?

I own my own business, NTS Athletic Development.

Where have you worked in the past?

I interned and GA’d at the University of Minnesota. From there I was an intern, then Interim Strength Coach then Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Winter Sports for the United States Olympic Committee and Head Strength Coach for USA Women’s Hockey. From there I was the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Performance One Athletic Development in Columbus, OH.

What experiences have helped shape you as a coach?

I would have to say there are two major occurrences in my life/career that have shaped my coaching philosophies. The first is the time I spent at the University of Minnesota. Don’t get me wrong, I love the school. But back then the main S&C coach I worked under influenced me greatly. From him, I learned everything not to do with athletes. We had more injuries in the off season than in-season due to the training he implemented. However through that time there, the Olympic Strength Coach was the exact opposite of the guy I worked under. I learned a great deal from him on the importance of programming and technique.

The second thing that solidified my coaching style is when I became severely injured from years of not training with perfect technique. Doctors had said I would never be able to train again due to my back injury. There was no one occurrence that did it. It was due to years of training poorly. I spent a year retraining my body on how to move more effectively and become more stable. That experience opened my eyes to how important it is to ensure that all athletes utilize the correct muscle recruitment patterns and keep their entire body balanced and in check.

Can you explain what your role is with your current team/athletes?

In the private sector, things are a lot different. The ability levels aren’t always there. With young kids, it’s about teaching them how to move more efficiently and effectively while staying stabile to reduce extra and wasted movements and energy. With older, more experienced athletes, it’s about getting them to their optimal levels of ability and showing them what they are truly capable of. Often having to reinforce proper mechanics along the way.

For adults, it’s keeping them focused and motived to push themselves to their potential. Often they don’t realize how much they can actually do. You have to get them out of their comfort zone.

What coaches have influenced you?

Hands down, going back to the University of Minnesota, Brad Arnett, who was the Olympic Strength Coach at the time I was there; who went on to the Head S&C and Arizona then now has his own private place near Madison WI.

Aside from that, many Eastern European block countries who do things right. The problem with America is, “Supersize everything.” What they do works, we’ll do more, not always the case.

What different training methods do you like to use? Or, what is your coaching philosophy?

It’s not about how much weight you use but how well you move it. Neurological training is my focus. Learn how to move properly with the least amount of effort, recruit the proper muscles to do the movement, then get them to fire faster. Technique is key. I want you to work hard in your training, but I don’t want you to learn to be a hard worker. Hard workers aren’t always the most athletic.


What was the coolest experience you had as a strength coach?

Hard to say – opening the eyes of an NFL Rookie of the Year player to realize he didn’t have to work as hard but could be better; helping set the record for number of medals won in the Olympics; helping an athlete who didn’t think she was good enough to compete in college and get a D1 scholarship; or helping a non-athlete youth develop more confidence in his life for the first time because he saw progress and leadership in his workouts.


What is a typical day like for you (I know, strength coaches don’t have typical days…)?

A lot different than it is in the collegiate or professional setting. I do a lot of programming work as well as financial and business related things in the AM. Then on some days head in to work around 11:00 to set everything up for the day. On those days I usually work till 9:30pm. Some days I do work all day on the computer, phone, e-mail, etc. and head in for 2:30 and work till 7:30. However, due to help from my staff, I am able to get out some times and perform other work for other side businesses I run as well as spend time and help with family affairs.

I would have to say this is unique though in the private sector. Many private places are open from 5:30am – 10:00pm.


What are the 3 things you like the most about what you do? NA


What is your biggest frustration with this industry?

No consistency in training methods, teaching, and certifications. Everyone thinks they know best. There is no set standard. The NSCA was founded to provide Strength Coaches with credibility. However, it’s turned into a for profit machine. Just because you are certified, doesn’t mean you know what you are doing.

Add to that all the other personal certifications out there who think they can train athletes as well with no educational requirements as well as all the trending places like Cross-Fit who think they know/can do the same thing as long as you pay them the money for cert. or franchise rights.


Do you have any suggestions for making the industry better?

Set a standard based on science and biomechanics, not on trends and money because Americas problem is, “I want it now and I want it fast”.


For those readers who don’t know the difference, can you tell them what the difference is between a strength/performance coach and a personal fitness trainer? (maybe just give main differences)

Easy – education! A Strength Coach MUST have at minimum a BS, in most cases, many have a Master’s degree. Personal trainers – all they need is a HS diploma and weekend course and a desire to train hard.


Any advice you would give someone looking to get started in this industry?

Honestly and sadly, the first thing I always advice volunteers or interns is to reconsider their field of study. I don’t usually advice students to go into this field due to the inconsistency and headaches it produces. Too many parents or coaches (who’s full time job is teaching math) think they no more than you. When with the USOC, everyone wanted my advice. Now in the private sector, every Middle school and High school coach thinks they know more than me cause they played sports in HS and want control of the team. Add to that the fact that the NSCA certification is so diluted and most high priority jobs are given to people who have connections rather than who know the most and has proven themselves.


Do you think requiring a license to practice would help clean up the industry?

Sure, only if there were a non-profit organization out there who didn’t care about numbers and actually set themselves aside from everything else out there and provided constancy. If that could ever happen, ¼ of the people would become certified and everyone who hired those people would have to become more educated. I can’t tell you how many times I heard of people losing out on a job because someone who used to be roommates with someone and likes to work out got an NFL or NHL job. Or a former athlete who I trained was trying to make a comeback in some minor league got a call from a relative and he gets a job to train at the professional level, even though he didn’t know how to train himself for a tryout.

Bottom line, sadly to say, it’s about who you know, not what you know. 98% of those out there don’t know they don’t know.

Be An Informed Consumer in the Fitness and Sports Training Industry


Former Navy SEAL Firearms Instructor, Chris Sajnog

By Coach Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES

With the vast amount pseudo-science and flashy, well written, well designed, and extremely well marketed fitness and sports performance websites saturating the internet, magazines, and television, it has become extremely difficult to sort through all the BS and truly find a coach or company that is honestly interested in helping you, experienced, and just completely honest.  While I will be writing many more posts in the future about the state of the fitness and sports performance industry in the different sectors (private, collegiate, high school, professional, etc.), I wanted to quickly kick this off with some food for thought.

I recently purchased and read, at a friend’s suggestion, How to Shoot Like a Navy SEAL: Combat Marksmanship Fundamentals

As someone who has been around guns my entire life, and has been shooting for as long as I can remember, I found this book a nice little gem that offered some sound fundamental advice that provided insight into not only the world of shooting competitively but also combatively, and how shooting fundamentals vary and make more sense in each world.

But also, as a lifelong student of performance training and coaching, and all things explosive and dangerous (which also mean safe and secure when in the right hands and utilized for the correct reasons), I tend to pull content out of books that I find can translate well to the performance training and coaching industry.

For the purpose of this post, I really liked the way that the author assembled his thoughts and verbiage in the beginning of his book, and felt a strong connection with the message he was conveying, and often felt like he was talking to me, and talking for me about the situation in the coaching/instruction industry.

Original content from How to Shoot Like a Navy SEAL: Combat Marksmanship Fundamentals

Edited content changes and commentary reflected in transition from firearms instruction and shooting industry to fitness/performance coaching industry. If you don’t have Chris’s book, I highly recommend picking up a copy.

(Most of what is written below is taken from his book, with changes made and specifically directed to the fitness and performance training industry.)

There are a wide variety of fitness and sports performance coaches out there; some are good and some…not so much. The quality I’ve seen ranges from great coaches that I continue to learn from to others who have no business in any part of this industry, but have been marketed well, have abused the buddy system, and have been fooling people for years. I don’t want you to think that I’m saying I’m the best or anyone else is the worst, I just want you to make an educated, informed decision anytime you’re seeing instruction to thinking about how they are as an instructor/coach, not just a former athlete, or self-proclaimed guru (if you check out the testimonials by performance coaches on most training websites, you will find a lot of the same names on each other’s websites—this is called trading testimonials, or scratching each others backs to make it look or sound like their product is just super—in reality, its just a bunch of coaches doing each other favors and misleading or fooling the customers!).

If I played football I’d want Vince Lombardi as my coach, not Aaron Rogers. Just because Rogers can pass well, doesn’t automatically mean he can teach you how to do it and vice versa for the greatest coach of all time. Just make sure you find out about their method of instruction and their science/educational background. Do they insist on perfection of your fundamentals or do they insist on showing you cool-looking techniques that they saw on the internet or some TV show or some flashy, gimmicky stuff that someone famous endorses (who is being paid to endorse, by the way)? If you’re training just so you can shoot cool videos you can post on YouTube, that’s one thing, but if you want to be a true master, and be the best athlete you can be, or get the results you want from your fitness training, then take a step back and check your fundamentals.

What will eventually cause the downfall of any training program are a trainer’s lack of commitment to the fundamentals or the students’ lack of insisting on its instruction. Rarely are instructors critical of minor details of the mechanics of specialized training for sports performance, which will eventually cause beginners to try and jump forward to the more advanced training techniques. In the end, this will lead to an athlete who might look cool, but never seems to get any better, or gets injured.

As in instructor, it’s natural to want to show my students more advanced training exercises and techniques, but in the long run, I’m doing them a disservice. Based on the value I add, my professional experience, and market rates, they’ve paid a lot of money –so I want to show them how good I am, but my goal is to make them better athletes and perform great and I can’t do that when I move away from the basics (fundamentals) too quickly and onto the advanced material. Training is about making my students better, not about me!!

In athletics/sports performance training, you really need to nit-pick the fundamentals of movement and training technique and insist on them relentlessly with every exercise, in every workout. If you do this, you will be impressed by your progress and your mastery of the training exercises. The sooner you learn the mastery of the fundamentals is the key to more effective performance training, the sooner you will become a truly better athlete. By just committing to the basics of performance training, your training will improve, you’ll progress quickly, and you will gather an immense amount of respect from those around you.

Make Your Own Healthy Protein Bar


By Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES

I am often approached by athletes and fitness clients looking for suggestions about healthy protein bars or snacks to include into their daily routine. Due to the lack of regulation of the supplement industry, it is difficult to know exactly what is in the majority of the products stacked on the shelves. Thankfully, Dr. John Berardi, in his book, Gourmet Nutrition, shares a tasty recipe for making your own protein bars, with a low level of difficulty. Try it out and let me know what you think.

The Mixed Nut Bar


¾ cup pecan meal

¾ cup almond meal

¼ cup walnut pieces

2 whole omega-3 eggs plus 2 whites, beaten

6 scoops vanilla whey

¼ tsp salt

Splenda, to taste (optional)


To make the pecan and almond meal, process nuts in a blender. Mix everything together in a large bowl, and continue stirring until all of the ingredients have mixed together thoroughly. Spread the dough into an 8×8-inch baking dish coated with olive oil cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes at 350-degrees F.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories (k/cal)                                 379

Protein (g)                                         32

Carbohydrate (g)                              9

Fiber (g)                                 4

Sugars (g)                              2

Fat (g)                                                            26

SFA (g)                                   3

MUFA (g)                               14

PUFA (g)                                8

Omega-3 (g)              .4

Omega-6 (g)              7.4

Prep Time – 15 minutes

Servings – 6


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