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Fitness Spotlight: Sarah Rippel

Sarah Rippel is a fitness pro with over 14 years experience in the industry.  She's based out of Baton Rouge, LA and one of her biggest activities is as an instructor at the Baton Rouge Adventure Boot Camp.  Now that the weather is getting warmer everywhere, boot camps are popping up all over (I'll be a part of one next month) and Sarah Rippel's looks pretty strong. 

Sarah Rippel's got a big online presence as well.  You can check out her Rippel Effect Training site that features articles, blog postings, workout routines, and videos.  She's also a guest writer periodically for eHow and Trainer Nation.

I'm a big fan of fitness pros that take you along their personal ride as well.  Sarah Rippel is (understandably) in fantastic shape and keeps us updated on her daily workouts and running mileage via Twitter, you can check her out via @fitprosarah.

 You can also check out Sarah Rippel and The Rippel Effect via YouTube - here are a few samples:




Fitness Spotlight: Apolo Ohno

As the 2010 Winter Olympics draws to a close, I figured this was a good occasion to spotlight the workouts and nutritional habits of both a men's and women's competitor.  For the men's spotlight, let's take a look at short-track speed skater and gold-medalist Apolo Ohno. 

After viewing one of his training videos courtesy of Strength Performance Network, I noticed that Apolo's training style was very reminiscent of explosion and plyo drills I learned during my time running track & field in college.  The neuromuscular requirements of sprinters and speed skaters are very similar, both require explosive power along with fast-twitch muscular endurance.  Apolo's workout also features a big emphasis on hip flexor strength, which is another immediate similarity to a track & field sprinter philosophy.

 As I expected, Apolo Ohno seems to have a solid understanding of what sorts of foods make his body perform optimally.  Other than Michael Phelps, I don't think many of us can run efficiently on pizza, pancakes, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Ohno apparently fuels with complex carb sources like oatmeal and brown rice earlier in the day, good lean protein sources like chicken, and of course plenty of leafy green vegetables.      

Ohno's coach, John Schaeffer deserves a ton of the credit, having helped Apolo Ohno shed 16 pounds in preparation for the Vancouver Olympics by closely monitoring his meals approaching the final phases of his training.


Steve Nash's No-Sugar Diet

This may be the first entry so far that is completely self-explanatory, thanks to the title.

 Odds are I don't need to explain to you who Steve Nash is, so instead of repeating his bio, I'll save some time.  I was blown away earlier today when I found out how seriously Steve Nash takes his nutrition and how closely he monitors what foods he eats.  His diet is pretty simple and as "idiot-proof" as it gets:

No sugar.

That's it.  Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate, no calculations, or balancing of macronutrients each day. 

Nash guest-wrote a column for Men's Journal back in December 2009 where he outlined his discovery of what eliminating sugars from his diet could do for his health and NBA career:

"Refined sugars, Dr. Jain told me, impair your immune system. In fact, one teaspoon of refined sugar suppresses our white blood cells for up to six hours, making it a lot easier to catch a cold. I really can’t afford colds during the season, so that’s all I needed to hear: I cut out refined sugars cold turkey. No M&M’s at the movies, no energy bars, no Gatorade — I even had to be more careful when going to Jamba Juice, because sometimes they use sugar-filled juice from concentrate. After a few months, I stopped craving sugar entirely."

"The difference was instantaneous: I slept better, I recovered from workouts more easily, and I had more energy. When we started training camp in September, we were doing two-a-days — four or five hours on the court — and I never got sore. Even more telling is the fact that this summer I traveled all over the world for my foundation, bringing team sports to war-ravaged countries. I was missing out on sleep and still training the whole time, but I never got sick. I’ve got to think it’s because sugar wasn’t wearing me down."


Steve Nash is also a big fan of green tea, one of my personal favorites.  His meals in an average day (aside from a fiber breakfast cereal) generally follow Paleo qualities (lean chicken, fish, lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds).  He even replaces the dairy milk at breakfast with rice milk or almond milk.

There's even a site dedicated to anecdotes around Nash's great nutritional habits and the effects they've had on NBA teammates like Shaq (now with the Cavs) and Jared Dudley.

Aside from being a two-time MVP,  one of my favorite pro athletes, and generally all-around cool guy, Steve Nash is yet another athlete who proves that you can compete at a high level, well into your thirties when you take command of what goes into your body.  More times than not, the better foods that go into your system, the better performances and overall health that will result.

Here's a Nike video where Steve Nash shows off his multi-sport skills:


Link Preview: StrengthPerformance.com

StrengthPerformance.com is the first social network aimed specifically at Strength & Conditioning coaches, with over 3,000 members.  There are coaches from over 260 colleges and universities shown as active site members.  Schools like Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Miami, and LSU are just a few of the examples.

However it serves as a lot more than just a networking or communications tool, with almost 700 training videos at your disposal.  This is one of my favorite features, as there is so much to learn from being able to take a look at the off-season workouts of literally hundreds of different collegiate athletic teams (both men's and women's).  There are even a few training videos of Olympic-level individual athletes like speed skater Apollo Ohno and decathlete Trey Hardee.

The site does require an initial email sign-in, however it's a free site and the email sign-in is purely for notification purposes whenever new videos and content become available each week.

If you're like me and love getting a glimpse at how different athletes (and teams) train for their respective sports, strengthperformance.com is well worth your time.


Fitness Spotlight: Alli McKee

Over the past two weeks I've been helping a friend develop her workout and nutrition program with an eye towards developing lean muscle tone and shedding body fat.  Those goals aren't necessarily unique, in-fact they're fairly common.  The unfortunate part is that even though so many of us have the same group of goals, we rarely find someone whose nutrition or training patterns set them on a direct course towards the physique they want.

Fitness competitor Alli McKee is one of those people. 

I stumbled onto her blog and series of YouTube videos after reading articles by her trainer and boyfriend Nick Tumminello.  Alli McKee's training is a huge departure from so many of the ladies I see each day slaving away on the treadmill or elipticals, or doing dozens of arm curls with 3-pound dumbells. 

Alli McKee trains the way I do, and I've actually borrowed a few drills from her videos to use in my fitness classes very soon.  My favorite class attendees are the ones who love a challenge and don't back down from something that starts out as very difficult.  Particularly the women who ignore classic stereotypes of being intimidated by "heavy" weights or "intense" drills.  That's one reason why I think Alli McKee is worth highlighting.

You can check out her frequently updated blog here and below is just one sample of her many training videos available on YouTube.  I'll also be using her videos as upcoming samples on my Training & Workouts page.