team sportsWhether you are playing pickup games at your local park, in a recreational league, or play in highly competitive settings such as collegiate or pro sports, participating if a sport can have many effects.  Every athlete may have their own reasons for playing a sport, whether it is for the enjoyment of competition, camaraderie with teammates, or glory in victory.  However, playing sports can have both positive and negative effects, depending on the athlete and sport being played.  Let’s take a look at some potential benefits and negative effects.

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Athletes and sports organizations have been used to pitch products.  Everything from clothing to barbeques, athletes have held influence over consumers.  However, it wasn’t until the introduction of the Chuck Taylor All-Star by Converse that athletic products became a part of the consumer mainstream.  Chuck Taylor helped redesign the shoes to be used for basketball, revolutionizing sportswear and creating a style that went beyond just sports.

Nike took things further by capitalizing on sports icons to sell products for both athletes and consumer who began wearing athletic wear as a part of casual fashion.  Largely in part by the launch of the Jordan Brand with Michael Jordan, the use of athletic wear by consumers exploded.

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sports agentAre you interested in getting into the sports industry?  If so, you will be joining many other young professionals and students who are pursuing an education (and hopefully a career) in sports management.

The sports industry is a rapidly growing field that is expected to grow by over 145 billion dollars from 2010-2015 alone.  There are a ton of opportunities available that include sports media (both traditional and the ever growing social media outlets), sports marketing and sponsorship, and even college and university positions.  While there are a huge number or opportunities, the competition for them is just as high, if not higher.  So what can you do to break into the industry?

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For those of you out there who have been following my blog closely, you know that I was keeping tabs on up-and-coming Penn State quarterback Christopher Scully. It was almost guaranteed that this kid was going to be one of the first picks in the upcoming NFL draft and we would see a lot more of him over the next couple of years. Seriously, he could have really turned around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the New York Jets. Well, it now seems Scully has scuffed his “All-American” persona and who knows where his career stands presently.

Police reports show that two days ago, Christopher Scully and seven male friends, all under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, broke into a Pennsylvania planetarium at approximately 3:00AM. Scully and his gang attempted to trigger one of the available laser light shows to no avail and instead broke three computerized goto telescopes (valued together at over $156,000 according to telescopeobserver.com). It is still unclear in the early investigations exactly how much damage Scully himself caused or if the others who were with him were to blame. Regardless, it is known that the Pennsylvania planetarium, PennStars, is suing all the young men for damages and on top of that, Scully himself was charged with cocaine possession by the state of Pennsylvania.

PennStars’ representative, Janice Markins, stated that the three telescopes were purchased only six months prior under a state grant that supported astronomy museum expansion. She went on to say that the museum does not have a high enough surplus of funds to fix what was damaged and the grant money was a huge win for the planetarium. As an aside, I remember back when I still worked as a physical therapist for a non-profit organization and had to fill out a grant application for new equipment. It was terrifying and grueling, so I feel for the people at PennStars who probably put a full two months into writing and securing that grant.

So now we have a kid, on the verge of graduating college and becoming a huge football star go off and screw up a fantastic opportunity. What I would like to know is what motivated this break in. Doesn’t Christopher Scully have a full schedule of school work and two-a-days? Doesn’t he have plenty of opportunities for a nice night in with a lady friend instead of hanging out with seven other guys?

In my opinion, I can guarantee that a huge profile name like Christopher Scully’s will somehow be cleared and he will still manage to be a big draw during the next NFL draft. However, whichever franchise does decide to hire him, if any, runs a gigantic risk. He may be young and fruitful now, but who is to say he does not have a drug problem and anger issues based off the current accusations. Drafting him could be a huge disaster for a struggling team that is in desperate need of a quarterback. I guess now we will just have to wait and see what happens.

There is no doubt that Super Bowl XLIX will go down in history as one of the wildest Super Bowl games of all time. I am not a huge fan of football but I will admit that all the excitement around me on the days leading to game night got to me. This of course, lead me to joining my friends in the local pub full of Patriot fanatics last Sunday to watch the game.

 Here are a few of the highlights of Super Bowl XLIX from the point of view of an ex-sports agent:

1. The Commercials

There are some people who watch Super Bowl games just for the commercials. Sponsors really put a lot of effort in making sure their few seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl will be well worth their money because it's their chance to get their brand out there. After all, millions of Americans tune in on game day. This year, it seems that these companies well all out in making sure their commercials are funny. I'm sure the funniest Superbowl commercials of all time will include a couple from this season.

2. President Obama talks Super Bowl

In an interview days before game day, President Obama was candidly asked about his opinion on the upcoming game despite the fact that his team was already enjoying their off-season. He declined to name which team he was rooting for but he did give his honest analysis of the match up. Who thought the Commander-in-Chief could actually talk football?

3. Katy Perry's Phenomenal Halftime Show

Many will argue that when it comes to Super Bowl halftime shows, nothing will ever beat Madonna's performance in 2012. I neither agree or disagree with this but one thing's for sure, Katy Perry nailed it! I had goosebumps when she started "flying" as she was singing Fireworks as the finale of her performance. It was amazing! Not something I will forget anytime soon.

4. Bryan Adams Scores

No, I'm not talking about Bryan Adams the singer. Rather, it's the Labrador Retriever named Bryan Adams on Team Ruff. This little rascal is the second puppy of all time to ever score by kicking a field goal at the second quarter of the game. It was adorable!

5. The Patriot's Win 28 to 24

The fourth quarter of the game began with a 10 point deficit in favor of the Seahawks. You wouldn't believe the amount of tension present in the pub that I was in! That's understandable of course, seeing as every single person in the room was rooting for New England. However, Tom Brady did not disappoint the fans as he threw a pair of touchdown passes within 8 minutes before the sound of the buzzer. Thankfully, the Patriots knew how vital it was that they held on to their lead until the end.

Needless to say, Tom Brady was named MVP for Super Bowl XLIX for his outstanding performance.

I have been to hundreds of games throughout my career by I have never felt the tension and joy of winning from the spectator's point of view. Congratulations, New England! For the Seahawks, better luck next time. 

I’m proud of the work I used to do as a physical therapist and love passing along knowledge from that time in my life, as it can be extremely helpful to people. One of the things I recommend to folks with injuries is ultrasound therapy. Most people haven’t ever heard of it before, but it’s a large and growing pain treatment option.

If you’re just hearing of this for the first time, I’m sure you had two initial thoughts:

  • “I thought ultrasound was just for pregnant women”, and
  • “I’m skeptical that this is legitimate.”

I’d love to have the chance to provide you with additional information that could change your mind. First, ultrasound technicians are highly trained and well equipped to administer therapy. They are also highly paid and well regarded for their expertise.

Still not convinced? Here’s everything I know on the subject. Hopefully you’ll come around to it by the end of this post!

How Does Ultrasound Work?

To put matters simply, ultrasound works by using ultrasonic therapy. That is a fancy way of saying that sound waves that are produced in the ultra high frequency range are used to treat certain medical conditions that happen internally within the body.

These sounds cannot be heard by the human ear but are quite effective in some instances. A special machine that produces sounds within this frequency range is used and applied to the affected area of an individual where treatment needs to occur.

There are two different types of treatments. The first is to strictly apply sound waves within the ultrasonic range and the second is to combine this with heat. This method is used to treat a number of medical conditions which will be discussed in following chapters.

Benefits of Ultrasonic Therapy

There are many benefits to using ultrasonic therapy. First and foremost, one of the biggest benefits is the ability to help people who have tried other forms of medical treatment but have seen relatively little success.

This type of therapy may provide the avenue that they have been looking for and if so, it can be tremendously beneficial to those particular individuals. However, the benefits do not end there. The use of ultrasonic therapy can also allow patients to be treated with far less pain than some more traditional treatments.

Patients are also able to heal faster from this type of treatment. This is especially effective when someone is being treated for an injury that involves a lot of scar tissue because ultrasonic treatment can actually soften the scar tissue and help restore free range of motion where it might otherwise have been impaired indefinitely.

Uses of Ultrasonic Therapy

In truth, there are a number of uses for this type of therapy and the list of things that it can be used for is growing each and every day. Typically, it is used for pain management. This can come from a variety of different problems such as certain diseases or old injuries that cause chronic pain.

The use of the therapy, especially when combined with heat, may be able to alleviate some of the pain and allow a person to live a more normal life. As a direct result, it is an effective treatment for many injuries to the musculature system. It is especially effective for treating tendons and ligaments that have been stretched or torn and are causing the patient to have a great deal of pain.

It is also frequently used as a form of cancer treatment and can also be used quite effectively for treating blood clots and other types of circulation issues. As the treatment becomes more mainstream, there is little doubt that it will be used for additional medical conditions in the future.

Having a disability can be hard as society sometimes tends to shun those who are disabled, but at the same time others also admire them. While this may seem like a double standard, it’s different people that feel differently towards the disabled; some may see them as a burden, while others admire their strength and ability to overcome the challenges that life has thrown at them. Im Dong Hyun, a blind archer set a record of 699 out of 720 points in the first round during competition at the 2012 Olympic Games. Despite his disability, he stunned millions of spectators with his ability to accurately hit his targets with his high end recurve bow.

Why Disabilities can be an Advantage

Im Dong Hyun is a perfect example of why being disabled doesn’t have to get in your way of achieving extraordinary things, as he helped his South Korean team to win gold at the Olympic Games. It shows others that they can still achieve their goals, as despite having bad eyesight, Im was able to go on to set a record. He may have a disability, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t still doing everything that everyone else can do. Im’s left eye vision is 20/200 while his right eye vision is 20/100, meaning that he has to be ten times closer in order to see an object up close, compared to people with normal vision of 20/20. He doesn’t wear glasses either, because it only makes him more uncomfortable. He relies solely on making distinct differences of the bright colors of his target. The target has black, blue, red and yellow rings, and based on Im’s observations, the bright colors on the target looks as if they are colored paints dropped into water. He just tries to distinguish between all the various colors in its target.

Im’s statement may sound almost unbelievable to those with perfect vison, as with his eyesight the way it is he even has a hard time reading the newspaper at an arm’s length. He has learnt, however, to adapt to his disability and doesn’t have any problem hitting a target that is similar to the size of a grapefruit and at a distance of seventy meters away from him.

It bothers Im how people distinguish him as being blind as he doesn’t view himself as being disabled, and doesn’t even rely on the help of a guide to get around. He also feels uncomfortable when people say he is disabled and he doesn’t welcome the interest people have in him about his condition.

How the Audience Reacted

The record that Im set at the Olympic Games has become a great moment in history and will certainly leave its mark. It has shown that people with disabilities can still achieve the same as people without disabilities, and in some cases can even do better than them. Im has proven that he can turn the tables to his advantage, and even though his sport requires incredible concentration, sight and focus, he has overcome the disadvantages that he faced to come out on top. In addition, Im has inspired thousands of people, with and without disabilities, to pick up archery equipment and start they own archery journey.

A common issue with athletes in any sport is they become susceptible to certain skin conditions due to extreme training regimen that result in chronic dry skin. So what link, if any, exists between skin care and athletes’ performance?

Millions of athletes around the globe suffer from skin disorders, with eczema, psoriasis and dry skin being the most common forms. Anyone who suffers from an irritating skin condition knows that you can be left feeling miserable, and at a loss as to how to gain calm, relaxed and healthy skin – not to mention the detrimental effect on training and competition performance.

If you have exhausted all kinds of treatments only to continue to be uncomfortable in your own skin, you may want to consider a water softening system to encourage healthier, less irritated skin.

Your skin is your first and biggest defense system that you own against illness and infection. It acts as a barrier to protect your muscles, nerves and blood vessels. It also protects your internal organs from injury and illness (which is always a risk when competing in sporting competitions). Your skin acts as a temperature regulator by preventing heat loss, as well as playing a vital role in fluid control.

Due to the enormity of the tasks that your skin is responsible for, it’s crucial to keep your skin healthy and intact so that it can work at it’s optimum level to keep you healthy from the inside and outside. When your skin begins to breakdown, you are putting your body at risk of injury and illness.

By taking care of your skin during, and after sporting events (including training) you may see a substantial increase in performance. Here’s a few critical pieces of advice:

The Worlds Most Common Skin Conditions

There are multiple types of conditions that cause problematic skin issues and that are on the increase in people around the globe. Most skin conditions create similar symptoms such as, redness, itchiness, hot or flushed skin, and dry, flaky patches. The most common causes of these irritating symptoms are eczema and psoriasis – Those who suffer from these conditions know the efforts required just to get a little relief.

For professional runners in particular, these skin conditions can mean painful rest and relaxation periods between events, which can decrease motivation and confidence on the track.

Keeping your skin soft, supple and moisturized is a key factor in managing these conditions. Along with over-the-counter treatments and those your doctor may have prescribed, there is more you can do to help ensure you are helping to heal your skin to it’s former glory.

A little unknown trick for helping manage a skin condition involves the use of a water softening system – many professional athletes are doing it, so it must be helping.

What Is A Water Softening System?

The water supplied to your home (whether by well or city water lines) contains certain minerals that create hard water, which is very capable of drying out your skin. The most common minerals found in unfiltered water are iron, calcium and magnesium mineral ions (the levels of these depend on where you live and the supply of your water).

A water softening system runs the water through a filtering system using sodium ions as opposed to the calcium and magnesium. This exchange using the sodium is what softens the water throughout your home, from the kitchen to the bathroom and even to your washing machine.

So how does a water softener help?

If you have never gotten complete relief for your skin condition, you may want to consider adding a water softening system to your home. Soft water will mean softer, less irritated skin for many people who suffer with skin conditions from using the water on a regular as a result of showering and drying.

You may notice a difference in how your skin looks and feels soon after the water softener is installed or it may take a couple weeks: it all depends on how irritated your skin condition is.

Softer clothes helps skin irritations:

Your water softener also works to soften your clothes as you wash them, removing harsh chemicals and minerals that create more irritating fabrics. Less irritating fabrics on your skin can enhance skin healing and a decrease your level of skin irritation dramatically.

Taking the above advice into consideration, it can be said that installing a water softener should be a last resort if you’re suffering from dry and irritated skin. Some water softening systems are more effective than others, so it’s recommended to read some online water softener reviews before purchasing: visit the Water Softener Critic for more information.

NOTE: as magnesium is particularly important for endurance based activities, make sure that you’re taking a magnesium supplement if drinking the water which comes from your water softener.

Athletes are considered nothing short of celebrities. I have dealt with plenty of them at work and treated many more for various injuries ranging from cuts to concussions to broken bones and torn ligaments. In some cases they require surgery, in other cases, they just need to be treated to make sure that they can still perform well the next day or on the next scheduled game.

It is of course expected that some sports cause more injuries than others. It is a common misconception that non-contact sports result in the least amount of damage; however, even the competitive ones can cause a lot of damage due to repetitive movement. For example, tennis players do not engage in contact sports but the damage to their bodies can really be painful and long-lasting. Torn ligaments, dislocated shoulders, and so many more can be brought about by many hours or repetitive and rigorous training. Athletes are known to push themselves, sometimes beyond their limits, and this is why sports therapy has become a lucrative career.

Hydrotherapy is one such treatment that helps.  Just to be clear though, I am not referring to plain showers or soaks in the tub. There are Jacuzzis with really strong jets of hot water that are used. To arrest pain, ice baths are also recommended. This especially true for players who need to rebound or renew their strengths almost immediately. As part of Matt Smith’s epic soccer training (see training videos here), athletes are recommended to rest and undergo therapy to help the muscles repair faster and regain their strength. There’s also physical therapy in cases where surgery or implants have been used. The muscles are taught how to perform their regular functions through repetitive movement. Strength training is also necessary in order for the muscles to be able to do all of the things they were once able to do, such as walking or supporting the weight of the person.

Surgery or implants is often a worst case scenario and often means the end of an athlete’s professional career. Very few athletes can come back to regular routine after having sustained massive injuries. Some of them become mentors or coaches but it is an exception to have someone return to being a professional athlete after such damage has been experienced.

As someone who has been exposed to the world of sports for many, many years, I have seen countless athletes rise and fall. Some are able to stay in the industry as respected consultants or mentors to younger athletes, but others move on and continue leading their own private lives. It is admirable how some female athletes have also stayed youthful looking. I bumped into one and she told me that she had been using Lifecell cream, see link here, to reverse the sun damage she had sustained during her tennis playing days. It is admirable because she looks so much younger than when she was always under the sun.

With my practice thriving, I expect to see more athletes and celebrities inside my office. Triathletes and runners abound and one of them is bound to sustain some kind of injury – big or small and call me in for a consultation. I’d be most happy to help in any way I can. 

It may not be me, and it may not be you, but in today’s world there are thrill seekers all around us. Somewhere out there are people who are constantly looking to challenge themselves and push the limits of what is attainable. The result is a new breed of extreme sports that have been created and developed in recent years. These sports may be too much for the ordinary person to handle, but there are others who have no fear when it comes participating in these borderline-crazy sports. From paintball to BASE Jumping, here’s a look at six extreme sports that you’ve probably never tried.

Paintball – Playing paintball is a great way to have fun, but it’s not for everyone. The object of the game is to tag the players on the other team with your paintball marker, (also known as a paintball gun). The paintballs fly at high speeds and hit hard, so it’s not for the faint of heart. The game involves strategy, tactics and speed to move from one shelter to the next. Its a great time.

Street luging – Street luging is like going down a waterslide, except for the fact that you’re riding on top of a long skateboard, and instead of water, you’re sliding down a long and winding paved road. Street lugers lay flat on their backs and stay as still as possible as they zoom downhill, reaching speeds of up to 90 mph with no brakes, no way of turning back, and no way of bailing midway through. Obviously, the road will be closed and free of cars, but that does little to take away from the terror of flying downhill uncontrollably. Of course, the thrill seekers that do this feel nothing but pure excitement on the way down.

Train surfing – This is downright dangerous and probably shouldn’t be done, even with proper supervision, but it’s also the perfect activity for urban thrill seekers. All this sport entails is climbing on top of a train and either standing on the roof or hanging onto the side while the train is in motion, most likely at a high rate of speed. The goal is to avoid falling off the train, and those that fall off and lose the game could face serious consequences to their health.

Heli-skiing – Skiing isn’t the safest sport under normal conditions, but heli-skiing takes the lack of safety to an extreme level. This sport requires a helicopter dropping off the skier at the top of a mountain that has not been previously snowed upon. There is no pre-designed course, which makes the ski experience unique, but also incredibly difficult and dangerous due to unpredictable weather, high winds, the threat of avalanche, and no medical or search and rescue professionals around in case something goes wrong. Of course, for those that pull it off successfully, there are few things that can top that kind of thrill.

BASE jumping – Buildings, antenna, spans, and earth (BASE) are all potential destinations for thrill seekers to jump off of in this sport, during which participants use parachutes to ensure they land safely on their way down. Part of the danger is that most BASE jumpers go to places where they’re not supposed to be and where jumping is not an approved activity. Not only are these jumpers risking their lives in dangerous locations while hoping their parachutes go off, but they are also risking arrest on their way to the jump sites.

Free solo climbing – Rock climbing is frightening enough even with the proper safety equipment and a partner by your side, whereas free solo climbing takes things to the next level. Free solo climbers like to tackle cliffs without the aid of safety gear, as they rely solely on their rock climbing skills to prevent them from falling off and having their adventure end with a splat. It takes a lot of guts to try, not to mention great amounts of skill, a high level of confidence, and perhaps a bit of luck as well to avoid a disastrous ending when one goes free solo climbing.

In all the years that I've worked as a physical therapist and a sports agent, there is one thing that I've noticed – most athletes have damaged teeth. This is even more true for athletes who play in the big leagues. These athletes really give life to the saying "Fight tooth and nail". Let me give you one example. One of my very first clients as a sports agent was a basketball player. For the sake of privacy, let's name him John.

John ran into an accident during an exhibition game in the streets of Queens, New York in honor of a charity he was supporting. What happened was, a member of the opposing team tried to steal the ball from him but caught one of his feet instead and this caused them to lose their balance. They both tumbled on to the concrete but it was my client who fell face first.

John suffered a little cut on his upper lip and chipped one of his front teeth. Being the professional that he is, he insisted on finishing the game after his cut was treated. They won the game that night and it wasn't until he was in the shower room did he notice how bad the chip was.

When he got home to Atlanta the following morning, he went to see his dentist to see if something could be done to save his tooth. Sadly, his dentist informed him that this type of repair could only be done by a specialized dentist. He was then referred to a cosmetic dentist who was famous for veneers in Atlanta. Luckily, John was able to secure an appointment with the cosmetic dentist that very afternoon.

During his appointment, the cosmetic dentist informed him of his options. He could either get composite or porcelain veneers fitted. John wanted his veneers to look as natural as possible so he opted for porcelain ones. Problem was, the dental lab technician in charge of creating porcelain veneers in Atlanta was at another one of his labs in Georgia and wouldn't be back for another week. In the meantime, John would be fitted with temporary veneers until the permanent porcelain ones were ready.

John got his porcelain veneers fitted after 3 weeks of waiting. Since he was wearing temporary ones that looked almost identical the entire time, no one actually noticed that he had damaged his tooth some weeks ago. From then on though, John made a point to never forget to wear a mouth guard during games.

The point of my story? Professional athletes work very hard to bring home the trophy after every game. The amount of hard work they put in is something that is often underestimated because those who don't know any better think: "How can they call that work? They're playing games and get paid millions for it!"

The truth is, they are always at risk of getting physically injured especially in the mouth area  because it is the least protected. Veneers are very common among athletes but in severe cases, tooth implants may be the only way to go. Implants are more common among those who play combat sports like boxing or MMA. If you know anything about tooth implants, you'd know how painful that type of procedure can be. That said, people should be more sensitive and avoid underestimating the amount of work athletes have to put in to keep fans entertained and sponsors happy. 

In a runner’s dream world, every step of every mile is completely pain free. There’s nary an ache, cramp, or broken toenail in sight. Sadly, as a runner, I can tell you that the reality of it is that most of us deal with slight (or not so slight) aches and pains on a pretty consistent basis. A tight hamstring here, a sore knee there, an ankle twinge, or a tender foot, are just a few of the most common culprits that hinder our morning run. If you’re tired of the annoying aches sucking the fun out of your runs, use the following information to prevent common injuries and get back to pounding the pavement.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is the irritation of the cartilage under the kneecap. Speaking from personal experience, it’s quite painful and incredibly aggravating to deal with. About 40% of all running injuries are knee injuries and an average of 15% of all runners experience the agony of runner’s knee at least once per year. It typically flares up after a long run (or during a long run) or while trying to climb a set of stairs. You can run through it but it’s generally recommended that you take an extra day between runs and work on strengthening your quads and glutes. Use swimming or the elliptical to rehab it, use squats and lunges (to strengthen quads and glutes), hip flexor exercises, and tape to help prevent it.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is just a fancy name for small tears that occur in the tendons and ligaments that run the entire length of your foot. The pain usually feels like the bottom of your foot is bruised and is most excruciating when you first get out of bed in the morning. Runners with very high or low arches, runners who don’t wear the right shoes, and long periods of standing can put you at a higher risk for this problem. A weak core and tight hip flexors can also contribute to the problem. When you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis a complete break from running is your best bet for healing quickly and by quickly I mean within 6 months at best. Rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle does wonders for this issue as well as using foam-rollers and sitting cross legged while gently pulling back on your toes. Prevent this problem by wearing the right type of running shoe for your foot type (click here) and using a foam-roller on a regular basis.

Achilles Tendinitis

Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel. When this tendon becomes irritated and tightens under too much stress it can cause a great deal of discomfort. Runners that try to do too much too soon or have weak calves often fall prey to this common running injury. This is not an injury to run through. If you experience any pain during or after your run, stop. You need to start icing regularly and using heel drops to strengthen your calves. Strong calves are the best prevention method against Achilles tendinitis. Wearing compression socks during a run can also be beneficial for preventing flare-ups.

Shin-Splints

Shin-Splints are despised by runners everywhere. Most runners will experience this achy pain at least once during their running career. Shin-splints are usually the result of running too many mile too soon into your training, so if you’re experiencing any pain in your shins, back off and let those bad boys rest a little bit. Rest and ibuprofen are the best things you can use to relieve the pain. Taping your shins is another great way to get some relief. Taping up for a run works pretty well as a preventive measure too. Once or twice a month try participating in a sport like soccer or a fitness activity like CrossFit training. The lateral movement uses your muscles differently than when you run and will help reduce your risk of getting shin-splints.

Hamstring Problems

When your hamstrings are too tight or too weak to power you up a hill, extend your leg, or bend your knee, you’re going to notice it. Hamstring problems often pop up when the muscle is weak, often due to the problem that the hamstring is too long or too short. If you experience sudden strong pain and bruising chances are you just pulled your hamstring and are going to be on the sidelines for a while. If the pain is less severe, it’s most likely due to overuse. Either way, hamstring problems are pesky and painful. They take a long time to heal so the best thing to do is avoid hamstring problems at all costs. Keep ‘em strong with one-legged hamstring curls and prevent them from becoming too tight by using a foam-roller post-run. Use bridges to keep your hips, glutes, and hamstrings strong and prevent the likelihood of ever encountering this problem.

An urban bike or fixie bike is the most popular type of bicycle among city dwellers. It is pleasant on the eyes, durable, and very easy to operate. You see, fixies do not come with a gear shift. All you need to do is pedal to make it move. This is why it has become very popular among those looking for a greener and healthier way to get around the city.

Last week, I met with a couple of professional cyclist friends of mine for lunch and one of them arrived in riding an Urban Fixe fixed gear bike. He informed us that he was test driving it for a couple of days as a favor to a friend who owned a bike shop. I asked him what he thought of it as professional cyclist. He said it was a great bike. It was easy to use and very functional but he does have one issue with it. Apparently, fixies that come right out of the box do not have front wheel breaks.

I have heard about fixie bikes but I've never been interested enough to know more about them. I didn't know that they didn't come with breaks. How then, do you stop a fixie? You use your feet. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how dangerous that can be especially if you're riding a fixie in the city.

However, you can have front wheels installed on your fixie and that would definitely make riding one a lot safer. But that would be an extra expense and this type of bike is not exactly cheap to begin with. Furthermore, it's like changing the reams of a car that already has beautiful 22" stock alloy reams.

Also, this idea didn't seem to sit well with my professional cyclist friends. Their point of argument was the  fact that fixie bikes don't come with gears. This means, a rider wouldn't be able to gradually reduce his or her speed before pulling on the break handles.

This shouldn't be a problem for professional cyclists who know how to backpedal but imagine if a fixie rider suddenly pulled on their break handles in the middle of a busy street? The rider would easily flip over and could get seriously injured. That said, fixie bikes are definitely not for amateur cyclists let alone city dwellers looking for an alternative way to commute.

Why then, are fixie bikes popular among urban dwellers? Well, they do have some benefits to riders. First of all, it gives them a better sense of responsibility because they know that they don't have as much control as they would with a geared bike. As such, they know better than to push their speed.

Next, fixie bikes are definitely better health wise because riders would need to pedal constantly. You see, this type of bicycle does not afford cyclists the ability to coast, even on a flat surface. Lastly, the look and feel of fixies are suitable for city streets as opposed to full geared bikes.

So is an urban bike worth your money? Like all things, it would depend on your level of competency in riding a bicycle. In my honest opinion though, this type of bicycle was made for the velodrome and for bicycle riders who know what they're doing. 

One common misconception about athletes is that they live the high life. Being an ex-sports agent, I know that this isn't exactly true because I saw how my clients broke their backs at practices to ensure that they are in tip top shape come game night. Of course, sports fans don't really see this because all they see is how their favorite athletes perform during games.

If you have big dreams of becoming a professional athlete, here are a few pieces of advice that can help you on your way to stardom and stay at the top.

1. Practice! Practice! Practice!

I know that sounds like a cliché but it's true. Practice really does make perfect. Never ditch practice because you spent the night partying with your friends at the watering hole. In the first place, you shouldn't have stayed up so late knowing that you have to be on the field early the next morning. Additionally, make sure to always give your best in the drills. Those are meant to strengthen your endurance and stamina. Bringing your A-game to practices will allow you to push your capabilities further and further.

2. Be Committed

Always commit yourself to the games 100%. It does not matter what you are going through and if it's only an exhibition game and nothing's at stake. Keep your mind on what you are doing at all times. Some of my ex clients made the mistake of not fully committing themselves to their profession once the dollars started rolling in. This of course, cost them their careers. Don't make that mistake.

3. Find Healthy Outlets for Stress

This is where booze, drugs, gambling, and women usually come in. Dozens of athletes have allowed themselves to be sucked into this dark hole. Don't be one of them. There are many ways to relieve stress and ultimately, spend your money.

Gardening is one of them. I know, that sounds really boring. But the fact is, it is an excellent stress reliever and can be expensive too if you're looking to blow your cash. Read lawn mower reviews and purchase the best mower your money can buy. The same goes for the other types of tools and equipment you need to invest in. You can also buy imported plants and grass if you want your garden to be the envy of all gardeners.

4. Live Healthy

I cannot stress this point enough. Your body is your only tool in your profession. It is only natural that you take very good care of it. Don't do drugs, don't drink too much, and really, eat healthy! It's okay to indulge in unhealthy but oh-so-delicious food once in a while but remember to maintain a balanced diet the rest of the time.

5. Don't Forget to Have Fun

The best part about being an athlete is you're doing something you truly love and enjoy. Sadly, there are athletes forget that this is the reason why they got into the profession and why they are so good at their game. This usually happens when the big bucks start to flow and all they can think about is the money. Try your best to not get yourself into that situation. It will the appeal of the game out from you and you will no longer enjoy what you are doing.

Prospective MMA Fighter
The primary goal of most prospective martial artists, is becoming a successful mixed martial artist. However in order to do this, not only do you need training, but you also need to impress someone who is deeply involved in the MMA organization.

Basic Combat Skills
– To start out, there are three basic combat skills a mixed martial artist should know in order to be able to compete successfully. One for instance is called grappling. Grappling is primarily used to take down an opponent and keep him down for as long as possible. Striking consists of punching and kicking and is used when you want to attack your opponent before he attacks you. It is important do this affectively because you do not want to tire yourself out with a hit and miss. This gives the opponent leverage to think about their next move. The next move, is called avoidance. Typically, this is one of the most important skills to have. If you can block a punch or dodge and move out of your opponents way quick enough, there is more time for you to make a move that will benefit you in the fight and result in you to win. All three of these skills can be beneficial in an MMA fighters career.

Training
– Another way for fighters to become professionals and develop their skills is to seek additional training by learning Muay Thai or a martial art. It deals with body contact and is much similar to the style of an MMA fighter. Joining a class or becoming apart of a group at school where you can train four to six months can help as well. With frequent practice and valuable lessons, you will see a difference in your abilities in the long run.

Apart from working out and practicing frequently, it is never a bad idea to follow a meal plan to help you reach your goal quicker and more effectively. Eating the right foods can increase your endurance, make you a stronger competitor and a more valuable asset to the team. Most MMA fighters diets consist of healthy shakes, chicken breast, salmon, and egg whites to name a few. They eat five to seven small meals throughout the day and drink a lot water. It takes some discipline to limit the amount of sweets they intake, but is not impossible.

Fight Team
After much preparation, most aspiring MMA fighters join fight teams after they have decent martial arts skills under their belt. These teams are trained under coaches and have connections to mixed martial artist promotions or gatherings. Just like many sports, fighters have to pay their dues and be qualified to be on the team. It is a great way to hone your skills and also network with individuals already in the industry. As fighter continue to progress, they can become eligible to compete in more prestigious competitions such as Wrestling World Champions or NCAA wrestling championships. If a prospective fighter wins these events, they will be on their way to becoming a professional MMA fighter.

In addition to this, there are a few more steps to take to actually receive the title of a professional, but one step after major winnings with a fight team is being able to receive the privilege to fight in an amateur MMA fight. Trying out for an amateur fight and winning the fight is a main key. Fighting a variety of different opponents and winning allows the big leagues to see that you are a force to be reckoned with. With multiple winnings, self promotion and building a fan base should not be too difficult.

“All in all, becoming an MMA fighter can be challenging and take time if you really want to be a success, however, if it is truly a dream, all the hard work and dedication in the world will make it worthwhile.” – Alan Belcher Professional MMA fighter.

The popularity of MMA fighting has sky rocketed immensely. Big names and big numbers are all over this exhilarating sport, both inside and outside of the caged circle. However, when it comes to being a success inside of the cage, there are ways to start out and ensure a lengthy career in the world of MMA fighting.

A good fighting base to start out with such as judo, Karate, muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or amateur wrestling is essential when taking on this type of sport. This full contact form of fighting involves a lot of physical activity and mental endurance. These are the focus of the martial arts part of training; however, there is another side of MMA that involves specific moves and techniques that are unique to the sport.

Many of the moves that the fighters display in this sport include such moves as clinching, elbowing, punching, kneeing, striking, and body throws. There are also elements of traditional boxing and kickboxing mixed in, as well as elements of traditional wrestling with moves like takedowns, holds, reversals, and submission holds. All of these elements are mixed together in a poetic display of flying legs and fists in the cage. If you find that you enjoy and are skilled at this type of fighting, the next step is to start networking.

Visit local gyms and clubs to find the people who are currently training in MMA. These fellow athletes are the link to training schools, coaches, and other fighters with the same interests. Opening up conversation with these fighters in training will also allow you to get an inside view of the sport and the opinion of someone who is already fully involved in the sport. Visit the prospective schools or programs and check out what they have to offer for the type of training in which you are interested. Chose the route that you feel most comfortable with, and go for it full steam ahead.

Once involved in your training, the most important thing to do is to listen. Paying attention to even the smallest details could mean the difference between winning and losing a battle. The sport of MMA fighting is a specialized type of fighting that differs slightly from other types of fighting, and the tiniest of details may be your key to breaking that hold or forcing your opponent into submission.

The importance of learning when to tap out is essential. Winning every battle is a near impossibility, so it is necessary to know your physical limits and what you can handle. Trying to push yourself physically farther than you can go will result in injury. The act of tapping is far better in a bad situation than ending your MMA career because of pride. Putting all of these fighting elements together forms a strong and stable MMA fighter for years to come.

Now that the essential foundation has been set, it is the time to find a fight. Trainers and coaches often have connections within the fighting community that they call. There are often fights advertised on the internet, or there may be advertisements at local gyms or boxing venues. After securing your bouts, it is necessary to build your following of impressive wins and submissions to show.

Showing your skill in the ring with a number of impressive wins will get the attention of connections that may skyrocket you right into the MMA circle. The secret to staying there involves constant training, selective bouts, and determination. Staying healthy, stealthy moves, and intense training are the best bet when it comes to longevity in this sport.” – Pedro Sauer Mixed Martial Arts Trainer.