Drink Up

With the summer heat already upon us I think it is a good time to talk about the dangers of dehydration. Dehydration is caused by losing more fluids than you are taking in. When this happens your body is starved of water and other important fluids that are vital for it to function correctly. According to Web MD the symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness, confusion, decreased urine output, and inability to sweat. Infants, young children, and older adults are most prone to dehydration.

One thing that can be extremely dangerous in the Phoenix area is how dry it is. When the air is very dry your sweat evaporates quickly. This can be misleading as it is hard to tell how much fluid you are really losing. You should be drinking around 120 oz of water a day. This number should be increased if you are physically active or the weather is hot. Athletes should help fight off dehydration by hydrating before practices and events. So everyone help make this a safe summer and stay hydrated. -Casey Cuppy, Assistant Speed Specialist for Sullivan PROformance

Time to Coordinate

Webster Dictionary defines coordination as, "proper order or relationship, harmonious combination or interaction, as of functions or parts." Developing coordination in young athletes may be one of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of strength and speed training. Pat Rigsby, head of the IYCA, viewed the concept of speed and strength training in a different light. He defined speed as "coordination training to let them (athletes) apply the greatest force in the shortest time," and strength training as, "coordination training with resistance." I believe these definitions are spot on.

Nearly all gains made by athletes in the first few weeks of strength training occur because of motor unit synchronization which is essentially coordinating your nerves and muscles to work together while also recruiting muscles that have been lying dormant. This motor unit synchronization is also a crucial part of speed training in the first few weeks. As a speed coach, you should focus on resetting or re-coordinating the body, and recruiting the latent muscles with your mechanics training. You are in essence, "fixing" the bad mechanics and synchronizing the body to move as correctly and efficiently as possible.

There are many ways in which you can help your young athlete improve their overall coordination. Simple activities such as jump roping or playing hop scotch can help make a tremendous difference in their athletic development. Anything you can do to stimulate and challenge them physically as well as mentally is going to help your young athlete improve. -Casey Cuppy, Assistant Speed Specialist for Sullivan PROformance

The Dirty Dozen

While the majority of us believe that eating fruits and vegetables are always healthy, it has now become evident that not all fruits and vegetables are created equal. What most of us don't know, is that our beautiful and perfect fruits and vegetables have been grown not only with inadequate nutrients in the soil, but dosed in toxic pesticides. Then, when we eat these fruits and vegetables, we are not necessarily getting the wonderful nutrients we thought we were getting, and we are also exposed to very toxic and harmful chemicals. According to the Environmental Working Group, there are 12 fruits and vegetables that are especially harmful because they contain the most pesticides and chemicals of all the fruits and vegetables grown non-organically.

The list of "the dirty dozen" include: Apples which are the most toxic and is extremely important that these be bought organically. The list then continues with celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines that are imported, grapes that are also imported, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, and last but not least kale or collard greens. More information and the list can be found at: The Dirty Dozen

Therefore, when buying the fruits and vegetables on this list, make sure they are organic. Whether you buy these fruits and vegetables organic or not, before eating any fruits and vegetables, it is important to wash them very well in a fruit and vegetable wash or with white vinegar in the wash water. This helps to remove the toxins as well as bacteria and bugs that may be living on the organically raised fruits and vegetables.

The good news is that there are also fifteen fruits and vegetables that are called "clean" which do not need to be organic. This list includes onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangos, sweet peas (frozen), asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, and honeydew melon.

Additionally, it is good to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. Typically few if any pesticides are used by local farmers (but it is good to ask if they are used), these fruits and vegetables are typically sold much fresher than those that are transported from other states and do not risk being sprayed when they come across the state border. Additionally, they are grown "in season" and offer the greatest source of nutritional value.

For more information about the dirty dozen and clean fifteen click here.
-Joelle Fox, Assistant Program Coordinator for Sullivan PROformance

Genetically Modified Foods

Some of you might have heard the term “genetically modified” or GMO but not understood why it was being used or what it meant. GMO stands for “genetically modified organisms” and applies to foods that have had their basic building blocks or DNA changed through genetic engineering (Disabled World, 2009). According to WebMD, many conventionally grown vegetables and about 60-70% of processed foods have at least one ingredient that is genetically modified. Genetically modified crops can include potatoes, corn, tomatoes, soybeans, sugar, and dairy. This modification is done for the enhancement of particular traits such as increased resistance to herbicides and nutritional content. While it may seem like a good idea to modify our crops, there nearly forty health risks caused by eating these foods including allergies, exposure to toxins, and antibiotic resistance as noted by Worldcat.org.

What to do: when going to the grocery store, be aware of the foods you are purchasing. When purchasing fruits and vegetables, it is important to read the labeling system. If the number starts with #8 followed by four numbers it means it is genetically engineered and stay away. If the PLU starts with the #4 it means it is conventionally grown and may or may not have been genetically modified so be cautious, especially for the vegetables noted above. If the PLU starts with the #9 followed by four numbers, the product is organic and should be safe. When purchasing processed foods, take time to read the labels and make sure they say organic and NON- GMO.

Here are some websites that give a good explanation. Consider taking a few minutes to read more about these GMO foods that are becoming commonplace in our diets. GMO Monsanto -Joelle Fox, Assistant Program Coordinator for Sullivan PROformance

The Myths About High Fructose Corn Syrup

As some of you may have seen on TV commercials, “high fructose corn syrup is good in moderation”. While that may be true for some foods, it is not true for high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is associated with “empty calories” which means it is lacking vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or essential fats. Therefore it has NO nutritional value. According to Dr. Mark Hyman in his book, Ultra Metabolism, this so-called sugar not only lacks nutritional value, but is “toxic” and a huge contributor to weight gain and metabolism problems.

HFCS affects the body by quickly entering into the bloodstream and triggering hormonal changes, chemical changes and even increasing one’s appetite. Dr.Robert Lustig, a professor of Clinical Pediatrics from the University of California, San Francisco has also found that HFCS can even create a neurological and biochemical shift in the brain equivalent to alcohol leading one to not only become high, but addicted. Since high fructose corn syrup is found in nearly all processed foods including soda, cookies, condiments, ice cream, protein bars as well as sports drinks like Gatorade, we may all be creating our own personal addiction to this very damaging substance. HFCS is also said to be huge contributing factor to the obesity epidemic that is occurring in the U.S.

There are some easy changes we can all make to improve our athletic performance by avoiding these “empty” and even “dangerous” calories. For snacks, buy raw fruits and vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds instead of processed foods. When looking for something to drink, consider drinking 64oz of water a day instead of sugary drinks. Learn to READ LABELS when you shop so you know what you are buying. Focusing on these simple but healthy habits will go a long way to keeping you fit and performing at your best. -Joelle Fox, Assistant Program Coordinator for Sullivan PROformance

Discipline is Overrated……

You wish discipline was overrated. Discipline is the key ingredient to developing world class athletes on every level. I continue to hear this statement from more and more athletes around the country. I remember I had an NFL veteran tell me that he would rather “look cool” than focus on his technique and discipline. Now that might sound funny but its no laughing matter when your constantly losing the battle on the playing field or court. Discipline is a way of life and as adults I feel that it is our job to instruct and show how long lasting, enduring discipline can develop the habits needed to be successful at everything we possibly do. -Will Sullivan, Owner

The Best Know How To Do It……

I love to put my athletes through pressure filled situations because that is the only way I can see if what we have taught will be applied when everything is on the line. What good is it to invest in Sullivan PROformance to get you better and you never push yourself past “your past”. My best athletes at every level know how to get in the zone and focus on the task at hand in a successful manner. I say in a successful manner because tons of athletes know how to focus but very few can envision high level success happening for them. A year ago today I stopped dividing my athletes based on age now I divide them based on efficiency and hunger. I want to breed success, the only way I know how to do that is honest feedback whether its positive or negative and competition at every level. I make everything a competition. Its not about the athlete who “hates to lose” its about the athlete who is willing to push himself past the threshold of the voice in his head and the weight of his heavy legs and lungs that will win the majority of his battles….that is what we do here at Sullivan PROformance ….turn ok into good, good into great, great into superior and superior into the standard by which every athlete is judged. -Will Sullivan, Owner

The Difference is Night and Day

In the past 2 years, I have consistently heard this phrase from my athletes, parents and coaches, “The change in my performance has been night and day.” Sullivan PROformance has developed into one of the premier speed development and position training manufacturing centers in the country. You read that correctly….”manufacturing.” We can only develop what you already have however, we have found our niche in pulling out potential in some of the most interesting athletes. The most interesting aspect of all this is that we are getting better as a company. We are helping athletes reach their potential at the highest levels and helping them realize that there is more left in the tank. The expectations for success have never been higher and I wouldn’t want it any other way. One of our secrets is that we are upfront and honest with every athlete we train. I can’t turn a elephant into a cheetah but I can make an elephant a better elephant and the cheetah a better cheetah. Alot of people may not agree with our “teaching” type of approach. We expect high level execution and an no quit attitude every single day. We have sent our trainers to some of the top performance centers in the country just to see if we are behind or ahead of the curve so that we can continue to provide the most current systems of efficiency and effectiveness in athletic development. Thank you for continuing to support us and what we do for all of our athletes. -Will Sullivan, Owner

What is a Competitor?

When I watch an interview with an athlete and they begin to talk about his background. There is always a clip of a coach, family member or friend stating this one fact, “that they hate to lose.” If I ask anybody if they like to lose, of course, everyone would say no!!! A “true” competitor will do whatever it takes to win within the confines of the game. A competitor relishes the challenge and understands that in the end that you gave everything you had…. blood, sweat and tears. Most will never reach that level because at the top there is sacrifice. A competitor understands that he must never back down no matter what the obstacle he is facing will cost him. He truly understands that failure is not an option and that to lose means to get up and fight again and again and again until he is victorious. A competitor believes in himself and his abilities to win every single time against all odds. This is my definition of a competitor. -Will Sullivan, Owner

How I Became a Better Athlete

People like me are popping up everywhere, claiming that they have the cure to your child’s athletic problems. The cure is…better PE and participating in multiple sports. When I was a kid, I played or participated in soccer, football, basketball, softball, kickball, tennis, badminton, dodgeball, swimming, teatherball, tag, tumbling, dancing and archery all in PE. I couldn’t wait for PE, it was my favorite part of the day. Because of my exposure to these sports I begged my mom to put me on a club team but my mom like other parents couldn’t afford it at that time. However, I had a neighborhood full of kids who were competitive and couldn’t wait to brag about how bad they beat you. Now, fast forward to my senior year in college at Bowling Green, I was thinking about making the switch to playing defense for the first time in college, I had started 3 yrs. at wide receiver but I knew if I wanted to play in the NFL that I had to play cornerback. I was having a conversation with one of my teamates who also played intramural basketball with me and he said, “I’ve seen the way you play defense on the basketball court and your footwork is real good, I’d go for it.” I became a starter on defense, and playing basketball gave me a huge advantage playing cornerback because I understood angles and hip reads. If I had not played basketball my footwork would have failed me, If I had not played badminton my hand-eye coordination would have failed me, If my PE teacher didn’t make me get on a balance beam or have me performing tumbiling exercises I would have failed as an athlete. Athletes and parents alike please don’t despise the days of adolescent athletic development. -Will Sullivan, Owner

Why Can’t You Find Kids Playing Outside Anymore?

I saw that the NFL is promoting the NFL Play 60 for kids. I was encouraged to see that the NFL is assisting in the healthy lifestyle of a young athlete. However, I believe that the epidemic that is spreading throughout the country is that parents aren’t playing with their kids anymore. What happened in the past is that parents would play with their kids in the front and back yards of America now parents are pushing their kids in their rooms to play video games just so that they won’t bother them after a long hard day at work. As adults, we have enabled an inactive generation of kids. I became active because my step-dad on occasions took me outside and simply played football with me and he would also take me to the basketball court on occasions to watch him play basketball. I did own a nintendo but it was after I finished my work and it was in moderation. Kids will not become better athletes because they are participating in one sport. Every sport offers a different developmental piece of an athletes fine motor skills. Dedicate yourself to playing with your kids a couple of hours a week and you will be investing into the future development of your child. -Will Sullivan, Owner

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