Preventing the Scars of Swungover

Introduction

What if I told you that you could go to a dance weekend and social dance all you want and minimize the normal physical repercussions? I’m saying no dehydration, no overly sore muscles, achy feet or joints. The physical ailments that used to plague you after a dance weekend before shall never plague you again. Start incorporating these habits when you travel and your lives will forever be changed! 

Ok, I’m getting a little carried away with my Matrix-like monologue but I’m SUPER excited about the information I’m going to share with you all.  At the Great Southwest Lindyfest and Lone Star Championships I took the opportunity to test a theory that I’ve had for a good while, as I’ve started to dive more into corrective exercise and nutritional supplementation in regards to my own training.  I figured there’d have to be a way to apply that knowledge in a manner to assist dancers, and then it hit me: RECOVERY.

What Does it Mean to be Swungover?

I figured I should probably define “swungover” as there could be dancers reading this who’ve never gone to a weekend event, dance camp, or danced nearly every song at a dance.  If you have done these things I’m sure you dealt with the soreness, aches, and pains that are common after swing dance events. This condition is what we call being Swungover.  My dance friends have defined the symptoms as extreme fatigue, sore muscles, and achey feet and joints. There’s a list of mental symptoms as well but I haven’t figured out how to deal with those. I find myself being sad that I won’t get to see my out of town friends at my next dance here in Dallas (you people know who you are).

Weekend Dance Event Protocol vs. Pre Dance Event Protocol

This article is split up into 2 sections with subsections underneath each one. The first one is about habits and things you can do during the dance weekend to help lower the physical scars that come with (as Bobby White puts it) “binge Jitterbugging.” The pre-dance event protocol mainly focuses upon the habits you can take on during the months leading up to a dance event to help prepare your body for the stress that it’s going to be put through during the event.

Weekend Protocol

Ok, I’m starting with the thing that most people will be able to adopt easily and that is weekend protocol. The weekend protocol is pretty much actions you can perform throughout the dance weekend to help prevent chronic aches and pains that you may have for a few days after the event has concluded. The four factors that are always my biggest concerns throughout the weekend are Sleep, Nutrition, Hydration and Stretching.

Sleep: Ok, I know most of you are thinking “How are you going to put sleep on there, man?! No one sleeps at exchange weekends, and especially not at Lindy Focus.” I know sleep is by far the hardest one to manage. I was trying to dance till 3 or 4 am each night at Lindyfest this past weekend, but still somehow get enough sleep to enable me to be up for classes and at least sit, observe, and take notes. We must remember that getting a good amount of sleep is what allows our body to repair itself after all that dancing, as extra protein molecules are produced. Sleeping will also improve one’s memory, so if you’re looking to retain that awesome variation pattern that Todd and Laura taught you or the concept Michael and Nina went over (Shout out to Mobtown!!!) you’re gonna need some sleep.   A lot of different sources that I’ve looked at agree that the average adult needs around 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  This article, Benefits of sleep, touches on other benefits of sleep. Though I know sleep is a rare commodity at events, as people tell me that the fact that I can get 6 hours each night is amazing, I dug up an article on the benefits of power naps. A lot of the benefits that you’ll read about are the same as a full night’s sleep, but if you sleep poorly during dance weekends taking naps in your spare time can spark creativity, boost learning, and lower stress. I’m totally taking a nap before my next competition, that’s for sure!!

Nutrition/Hydration: If sleep is the thing that recharges a dancer’s batteries, nutrition fuels a dancers engine. The food that you put into your body is absolutely crucial for your energy levels and recoveryProtein  plays a huge part in repairing your muscles which are working hard as you dance. Carbohydrates are a necessary and good energy source for your muscles (which continually contract during a song) and allow the body to metabolize (fancy word for burn) fat and energize the central nervous system. Also, don’t forget the under appreciated dietary fat that’s the most efficient energy source we have, and also helps us to absorb vitamins that are crucial to a lot of basic functions–most commonly fighting off free radicals in the body that cause us to get sick. Now nutrition is a tricky thing because by law as a Personal Trainer I cannot make a eating plan for y’all, but I can give general information on the direction you can go, so I’m going to let the Eat Well, Live Well Guide from Lifetime fitness speak for me: http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/storage/Eat%20Well%20-%20Live%20Well.pdf (copy and paste the link if it isn’t clickable) The pdf gives general information on the each macro nutrient and good sources for each one. What I’m leaving out?

Of course, Andre Johnson, is hydration. Make sure you’re staying hydrated, people, because water is 60% of our body and aids in flushing toxins out of our main organs. The Mayo Clinic  recommends that men drink 13 cups a day or 3 liters and women drink 9 cups per day or 2.2 liters. Now this will vary by person due to body size and weight, but these are general guidelines. Now during events we need to be drinking more during exercise, adding 1.5-2.5 more cups…I say eff that and grab a big ole gallon jug and just take some swigs from it every 2-3 dances before going back out on the dance floor. This should be done regardless of if you’re thirsty or not. Once you’re thirsty you’re already putting yourself behind the 8 ball as you’ve lost 1-2 percent of water in your body. You have to be constantly hydrating as I shouldn’t have to remind people about the sweating that goes on at events. *Shudders* I still have nightmares of 2014 Kansas City Stomp sometimes. MY PANTS WENT FROM GREEN TO BLACK, PEOPLE! But it was a great event, though. Vine Street Rumble was a phenomenal band and I’m going back again this year. The organizers of 627 Stomp did a great job, so check out the website.

Supplments:

Now I did something different this event which I’d recommend for other dancers to give a shot, especially if you workout 20150312_123720[1]and take supplements. I totally recommend taking your protein powder and blender bottles with you. Also, a container of Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA’s). This is great stuff to use going into a late night, because the protein shake is a filling snack to get you back on the floor quickly and the BCAA’s help the muscles recover as well.  Pictured below are the supplements I took with me. I used Syntha 6 protein: 1 scoop is 22 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs and L Glutamine (amino acid aids in recovery), and I have Lemon lime Amino 1 from Muscle Pharm, and a very potent BCAA blend–one scoop yields 10 grams worth of BCAA’s while most only yield 5 grams. Supplementing really kept me away from the “O my goodness, my legs are gonna fall off!” feeling.

Stretching: Now if there is anything I’d had to say was the real MVP of the weekend it was the fact that I actually took the  time to go through a post-dance stretching routine before heading off to bed. Like I said in my post about flexibility, stretching and Myofacial release can easily be overlooked because, to be honest, it’s kind of monotonous.  But so needed. Outside of improving flexibility stretching is crucial because it helps improve circulation of blood throughout the body, which is a big deal when talking about recovery. Improved blood flow allows for nutrients to be delivered to muscles and waste to be carried out of the body. Also, with the help of a foam roller you can combat pattern overload and myofacial impediment. This is when adhesions form in your soft tissue from from repeated movements and these will impede not only good movement but also stretching. Fascia encases your muscles, so if the fascia is impeded so is the muscle, which is why adhesions in it prevent smooth movement patterns.  Normally some type of joint pain is involved.  Achy knees, ankles, and feet anyone? Every night before leaving the ballroom I’d roll out on my foam roller and stretch the muscles I’d just rolled out.

Below is a playlist of the muscles that I roll out and stretch after dances:

I took various videos from different Youtube Channels that I utilized in researching for training clients or friends who have questions about certain things. So those are the things I did that kept me pretty upright during Lindy Fest. I’ll admit that two things that I’d change would be to have a multivitamin to keep my immune system up and going with the shortened sleep, and add a joint supplement to deal with inflammation. I had some mad wicked tendonitis flair up in my right knee and fortunately it didn’t affect me during my Jack and Jill Finals (videos to come).

Pre Event Protocol

Now in the tradition of having one blog post section be incredibly long and another being incredibly short, I think it’s only important to keep that going. Outside of the fact that all the above tactics should be habits that we should incorporate in our everyday lives and especially on our dancing days, I’m reflecting back on why I haven’t been incredibly sore after dance events. The number one thing I have to point that to is the amount of exercise that I do leading up to events. I predominately focus on resistance training with free weights, weight stack machines, and cable machines. Now the reason this is important is because I feel that I overload my body in the weight room which allows it to sustain the stressors of dancing over this long period of time.

If you go back and read how weight lifting can transform your dancing you’ll see I’ve discussed how weight training improves your bone density and tinsile strength of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This makes you less susceptible to injuries as you continue to overload the muscular skeletal system. There are a number of different ways you can go about doing this. I have included one workout by request that takes minimal amount of equipment in my at home stabilization workout , which is a great start for people who’ve never taken on any type of resistance training. An even better way to go about this conditioning is to do basic body weight exercises in a circuit fashion rather then training in a horizantal loading fashion , where you do all the sets for a particular movement before moving to the next one. Circuit training or vertical loading saves times and does more for cardiovascular endurance but I think the horizontal loading does more for specific areas. Here’s an example of the training template I’ve been using from T-nation.com. I’ve been utilizing a Body building program because it utilizes heavy weight for strength but good volume and varied sets for endurance. For those who either don’t have access to a gym or equipment I’m posting 2 videos of a High Intensity Interval Training body weight workout and body weight circuit workout from Funk Roberts and Nick Williams.

I enjoy how he designs his workouts and explains them and you can do the workouts along with him.

And now for a fun workout featuring Nick Williams and Bobby White getting some gains!!

Shout out to Alexis Strickland from Houston, Texas for sending me this on Facebook

Conclusion

So for a little bit of recap for things to consider when you head to your next weekend event. Make sure you take some nutrient dense snacks to fuel your body and muscles, get as much sleep as possible and when you need to take a nap. Make sure you take a bit of extra time to stretch before you dance and after dancers, trust me your muscles and joints will thank you for this later. I’d totally recommend investing in a foam roller and tennis ball to perform the rolling techniques I have in the above videos. Those you can get at your local sporting goods stores and last and not least drink water early and often. If you do all of these things I’m sure your physical symptoms of being swungover will decrease dramatically.

I hope that covers enough information for y’all and hope this brings up a number of questions. Keep your eyes peeled for an article Yehoodi is putting out on Health and Lindy Hop as I was asked to answer some questions and provide advice for Lindy Hoppers all around our great scene. I look forward to it and hope y’all take away some great tips from this article.

Love ya’ll and God Bless 🙂

Advertisements

Lindy Hop Resolutions

Let me start this off first by saying *clears throat* HAPPY LINDY FOCUS DAY!!! 

For us who aren’t there, that means we’ll be reading facebook post, after facebook post, after facebook post from the people we know who are in attendance. So it’ll kind of seem like we’re there but not at all really…not even close. During this time it’s easy to just sit and sigh at the fact that you’re missing out on this awesome event. Instead let’s  take a page out of the quote from probably one of my favorite fictional characters all time….Barney Stinson. Instead of getting sad for not being at Lindy Focus how about we be awesome instead, so was born Lindy Hop resolutions. 

Lindy Hop Resolutions started because I never really did New Years Resolutions outside of me taking on one to Deadlift on a regular basis while training but other then that I only do this for my dancing. I’d set out things that I really want to accomplish and pretty much try to make it happen by the end of the year. The biggest one I set for myself was to learn some tap dancing and thanks to Falty and Delilah Williams, I learned how to put some tap dance moves into my lindy hop and solo jazz. Ever since I started doing this I’ve seem to get more out of my dancing because I have a specific task with a time limit on it. This is a period of time to focus and really find out what it is that you want from your dancing and set out the task to do it. For 2014 I focused on being an encouraging to young dancers in our scene, start teaching in Dallas and Choreograph 2 pieces (I only choreographed 1). A lot of my resolutions were more milestone wise and focused on strengthening the community and getting me out of my comfort zone.

2015 is all about the process. I did a lot of focusing on outcomes as I really only had fun in 3 competitions this year as having fun was a goal and that fell by the way side tremendously. Got myself thinking about too many outcomes when my success and confidence as a Track Athlete comes from a good process of preparation. So most of my resolutions focus on the process of improving my dancing and building the community.

2015 Lindy Hop Resolutions

  1. Take at least 1 private lesson per Quarter- putting myself in a situation to really have my dancing dissected isn’t the most comforting thought but if i can learn to watch myself dance on video objectively. This will be something that pays dividends.
  2. Practice minimum 3 times a week- I know the great dancers are putting in more time then this but the mind set is to start out small and as my confidence grows so will the number of sessions.
  3. Participate in at least 1 group practice per Quarter- Practicing with a group of people can benefit me way more then just on my own. I need to cut down on being a loner
  4. Travel and house with dancers I already know- I tend to bond more with dancers when i ride with them to an event or we stay in the same housing. This can help create deeper bonds in not only the local community but the national one as well.
  5. Believe that I’m a talented dancer and instructor- I never want to be an arrogant prick but I do need to realize that I possess talent. Am I the best Hecks no but do I have an ability to inspire others hecks yes and I need to believe in myself but be willing to listen and always learn

Conclusion

So there you have it my brothers and sister who aren’t at Lindy Focus. My decree to y’all is to not feel lowly or jealous (even though Lindy Focus is the bees knees from what I hear). Instead of getting sad let’s commit to getting awesome.

Love you all and dance inspired and be inspired 🙂

I’m Back!!

Well, I realized it’s been quite sometime but had a lot of hiccups with my job and so much so it led me to leave that job. I had a new Department Head for Personal Training come in of which required me to work more. This left me less time for writing because I only got one off day instead of my usual 2 off days. Also, they really weren’t teaching me the business or telling me what I was doing right, they were just talking about sales numbers. My biggest pet peeve is terrible coaching and I got a lot of that at this job so I jumped ship about a month ago but I have some fun videos of interviews that I did for some other jobs of mine. 

 

Iron Tribe Fitness had fun interview process but gave me the opportunity to get some videos to y’all so you can actually see who I am and watch me workout.

 

I was recently hired by 24 Hour Fitness as a personal trainer there and have freedom with my schedule to travel, compete and do more dance instruction in the evenings. Here’s a sample of what I want to do more of in the future via video post. I’m gonna be posting videos by using my phone so if the quality is kinda crappy my apologies. I’ll get a respectable video camera with money from my new job.

 

That summarizes my absence and hope ya’ll are excited for the things ahead. I’ve still been conducting experiments while away and my next blog is going to cover what I’ve been doing. God bless and love you all and feel free to ask me questions.

 

 

 

 

What happens when you have an energetic Lead, a Heart Rate Monitor and a near endless Resource of Follows?

Introduction

Years ago a friend of mine had a debate of how much of Lindy Hop was Aerobic cardiovascular training (low intensity with oxygen) or anaerobic cardiovascular exercise ( moderate to high intensity without oxygen). For years I always speculated because with a lot of the explosive movements utilized in the dance, I had my qualms with a utilization of ONLY low intensity aerobic training by dancers to improve endurance. Which led me to a pretty awesome and fun experiment utilizing a heart rate monitor and follows from all over the mid west.

The Experiment

When I became a Fitness Professional at Lifetime, we’re required to have our own heart rate monitor. Us wearing the watch is part of our uniform so we can show them off to the members and show them the different functions rather then just tell them about them. I was equipped to see how exactly the cardiovascular system functioned during a night of endless dancing. I wanted to figure 2 things from this experiment 1. How many calories do I burn in one night of dancing and 2. was Lindy Hop primarily aerobic or anaerobic.

With this in mind, I decided that one night I’d go to a dance with my heart rate monitor ready to track my heart rate through out the night and track the number of calories burned. After utilizing the information gathered from a peak VO2 treadmill test at Lifetime, I knew exactly when I’d be working aerobically and anaerobically based on my heart rate. I tracked calories burned and heart rate zones on my Polar RS300  (web link to see what it looks like). The watch breaks divides my heart rate into 5 Zones. Zone 1 is a warm up zone that teaches the body how to burn fat more efficiently, Zone 2 is where I build my aerobic endurance, Zone 3 is where I then start to become  more anaerobic utilizing more carbohydrates to function this is where anaerobic endurance is improved, Zone 4 is nearly “balls to the walls” this is how you improve your VO2  at this workload one can only last really a minute at best unless they’re an elite level endurance athlete. Zone 5 represents my absolute maximum and really I shouldn’t be getting that high honestly.

I conducted this experiment twice the first didn’t render enough data going to the  dance  BAM, which is a  dance that is focused on intermediate and advance dancers in Dallas takes place last Friday of every month. There were too few people and so I didn’t dance very frequently and other people weren’t dancing much as it was mostly a practice and experimentation kind of night. Due to that my heart kept plummeting out of my registered zones and I really never got my heart rate up above the bottom of my Zone 2. So the simple answer to this problem; go to a dance with more people and by more people I mean follows. What better event to go to then a workshop weekend that is follow focused!!

All Follow’s Eve Friday November 1st, 2013

Ok, so here’s the situation All Follows Eve was put on by the lovely ladies of the  Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate. There follows were able to get instruction from the fabulous Laura Glaess, Miranda Longaker and Joanna Lucero.  With that we had the pleasure to rocking out to the Solomon Douglass Quartet with Allyson Dreyfuss. Along with all follow performances from the Houston Hepcats (Houston, TX), Dallas Divas (Dallas, TX) and Shiny Stockings (Witchita, KS).

In short ya’ll should come dance in Fort Worth. Now I did the experiment on the Friday evening dance because I didn’t want my watch to clash with my threads Saturday evening. The rules were set, I was going to dance just about every song the only time I could miss was to change shirts and I’d get water while finding my next dance partner (I have this down to a science). This was easy to do as I attempted to dance with every follow at least once as the night went on but it was like they never stopped walking in. It literally seemed endless great classes and I ended up getting great results dancing with follows from Minnesota, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma, Kansas City, Wichita, Kansas and more. Learned a great deal from the classes on being more attentive as a lead and allowing my follow to shine as a dancer. Ok, back to the results and findings.

Results

Now I danced just all but 4 songs through out the entire dance missed 1 because I had to check in and put my shoes on and make sure they were tied tight enough. The other 3 were all for shirt changes with this minimal rest I succeeded in burning 1600 calories in that single dance. Now while looking down at my watch through out the night, I spent the night mostly in my Zone 2 heart rate zone, which makes a good claim that the dance is mostly aerobic cardiovascular training.

Conclusions

Based off the evidence presented you can conclude that low intensity cardiovascular training would be sufficient to help improve a dancers endurance to hold up for an entire night of endless dancing. Though 2 things that happened over the weekend that I know I need to take a look into again. I feel that training for a lead and for a follow may have to differ as they have different stresses on their bodies. I found when I followed my heart rate was higher then when I was leading but I didn’t start following till the end of the night and that could’ve been because of Cardiac Drift as I was able to keep my activity level the same and so my heart rate went up. So in the future this same experiment would need to be done with an experience follow or myself following for an entire night to see if cardiovascular training needs to be more intense for a follow then it would for a lead. Also, try a night where there is faster music overall, live bands tend to be faster then dj’s because while dancing to the Solomon Douglass Quartet, I realized I had more lactic acid building in my legs after dances, which side effect of anaerobic conditioning and the cause of that burning sensation with prolonged sprinting. So it leaves room in the future for this experiment to be done with a live band performing to see where my heart rate goes with overall faster music. So with this in mind you can plan out how you want to do your cardio and if you have any specific questions be sure to let me know because there is way more to cover on this subject. I just wanted to put out this experiment to get peoples wheels turning. Love ya’ll and God Bless 🙂