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KT Tape Athletes on the USA Womens Water Polo Team have one almost every competition there is to win in water polo over the last decade- except for Olympic Gold. USAWP Coach Adam Krikorian has revolutionized their training and competition as the quest to take the top of the podium in London next summer continues:
It's not that Lolo Silver wasn't already a world-class athlete and in what the rest of us mere mortals would consider great shape. Among her many accomplishments, she was the leading scorer for the winning U.S. women's water polo team last summer at the FINA World Cup, with 11 goals.
Then again, the American women's head coach, Adam Krikorian, had promised the U.S. women that over the course of this winter, water polo's off-season, they would -- at his direction -- come to know what it was like to get in amazingly, ridiculously phenomenal shape.
Water polo demands ferocious mental will. That mental edge is rooted in physical toughness. It's at once that simple and that complex.
The U.S. women's water polo team has won virtually everything it could win over the past decade -- with one exception, Olympic gold.
At the close of the 2010 season, the U.S. women were the No. 1 team in the world. To be atop the podium at the close of the 2012 London Olympics, however -- that is the manifest goal, and that's why Krikorian undertook at the start of 2011 a studied journey to take this team where it has never gone before.
It is, indeed, a journey. It can't be anything but. It's essentially a new team, a younger team and -- let there be no doubt -- Krikorian's team.
Which means it's of necessity going to be a long and winding journey. And a compelling study in both coach and team dynamic.
In sports, there can be no guarantee of anything. Beyond which, water polo is just too hard. If anyone in the American camp needs a vivid reminder of how hard, there is always Sydney and 2000 for a reminder -- one goal shy, just one very late goal, from gold.
That said: Krikorian, who came to the U.S. team from UCLA, is quietly but assuredly confident in himself and his means. The players have seemingly bought into his program. Already, there is about this U.S. women's team a buzz, a feeling, a hard-to-describe sense that they are a band of sisters on the road to history.
Perhaps the rest of the world doesn't know it yet.
But they do.
"Definitely," Lolo Silver said at practice this past Friday at their home base, a military base -- for real -- at Los Alamitos, Calif.
"We have all been pushed past anything -- pushed mentally and physically past anything we thought possible. Even the girls who have been to previous Olympics haven't had this sort of training this far away from the Olympics. It has us focused and it has us getting together and it has forming friendships that are going to last forever."
At the outset, Krikorian made plain that despite the team's many past successes every spot on the roster was up for grabs.
No one was guaranteed a spot -- not even Brenda Villa, arguably the team's marquee player over the past three Olympic Games. She, like everyone else, would have to earn her way onto the 2012 Olympic team.
"Brenda has done a good job. She has gotten herself in probably the best fitness level she has been in, in a very long time," Krikorian said as he monitored the team, split into squads of three doing catch-and-shoot drills in the Los Alamitos pool.
"She has put herself in a pretty good position at this point. But," he emphasized, "there's no out here that's guaranteed a spot."
Of course, Villa was not among the women in the pool that day. She was nine time zones away, in Italy, playing for her club team, Orizzonte -- though Krikorian and the other Americans had just come back from playing against her, in an exhibition in Italy, but also with her, in another exhibition, against a team in Holland.
For extra fun this week in Los Alamitos, several of the women had started wearing 7 1/2-pound weight belts during their morning practices. Understand -- that is, in the pool. They were swimming or treading water or doing those shooting drills wearing those belts.
"Those are our new little gifts," Lolo said. "To help us improve our leg strength."
Over the course of the winter, practice started at 7 and ran until 10, running again from 1:30 in the afternoon until 4:30, with a variation in the schedule on Wednesdays, to break things up.
There was time for both basic conditioning and for strength training.
Over the course of the winter, in a 200-yard swim test, Silver shaved 40 seconds off her average time.
At that level -- that is a huge drop.
She was hardly, however, alone.
Elsie Windes, who scored five goals during the 2010 FINA World Cup, is also 40 seconds faster now.
She said, "I did things I thought I couldn't -- things you thought you couldn't do but you did, and with your teammates."
Tanya Gandy, a standout at UCLA and who joined the U.S. national team in 2009, who scored five goals at the 2010 FINA World League Super Final, cut a full minute off her time.
"I still think the clock was lying," Tanya said. "It was good to see -- I didn't think I could get that fast. And I can get faster. It's very motivating to know how far you can come and how you can be pushed. Every day you can be pushed. It's testing you. It's testing your mental state."
"Maybe," Lolo Silver said with a shy smile, referring to Adam Krikorian, "there's a method to the madness."
To view the entire article, visit the USA Water Polo website (photo Alan Abrahamson for USA Water Polo).
At the season-opening FIVB World Tour Event in Brazil, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh debuted for the first time in 2 years, and almost took home the gold. The two-time Olympic gold medalists took sliver in the tournament, and celebrated with Kerri's boys Joes and Sundance! (Kerriwalsh.com picture)
Read and watch the details of the match from Kerri's own website below:
The USA is back...with a vengeance. Proving that America is still strong, despite the domestic pro tour's bankruptcy last year, three American pairs nestled into the final four at the season-opening FIVB event in Brasilia, Brazil.
While the home country favorites Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca lead with the gold, six US women rounded out the next three finishes.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, two-time Olympic gold medalists, narrowly lost to the Brazilians in the championship match. America's pop culture darlings, who competed, for the first tim eon the international circuit since 2008, were edged by the top seeded couple, 21-16, 15-21 and 15-12. In front of a highly partisan crowd in the thousands, the seventh-ranked May-Treanor and Walsh, who just resumed their partnership last month, nearly won their 39th FIVB tournament.
These two tandems battled each other during the seesaw contenst, where the lead was exchagned several times in each set. In the end, the Brazilian's strength, bolstered by their play in the recently ending Brazilian domestic tour, proved too much for the newly formed couple. With the score knotted at 12-12 in the final set, the favorites slammed kills to reach the top of the podium.
"We are very proud of our play in Brazil. We are frustrated but Juliana and Larissa are the top team in the world right now and that's where we want to be again in the future. We haven't played together for over two years, but we did well all things considered," said Walsh in a FIVB press release.
To read more, click here.
Along with Joe and Sundance, we at KT Tape are excited to watch Misty and Kerri's quest for their third Olympic gold! To watch the final moments of the gold medal match in Brazil, see Universal Sports video converage on KerriWalsh.com:
Congratulations to Christy G. who won our weekend giveaway! Choosing a winner was very difficult given the awesome stories we read from each of you, so stay tuned for more opportunities to win FREE KT Tape coming soon! In the meantime, check out Christys KT Tape success story below:
I was getting ready to run Moab 1/2 marathon thinking
.. Shin splints
Before boarding the buses, I felt empowered like Superman ready to kick some butt. I had my secret weapon, stashed in my utility belt (aka my duffle bag ) safe and secure, waiting for me for dangerous events facing my arch enemy The evil and over powerful Shin Splints.
The evil Shin Splints and his crew were no match against my secret weapon The almighty and powerful KT TAPE !!!!!!
I pulled out the Blue KT TAPE and. .. BAM, KAPOOOOWWWWW, WAAAZZZAAAMMMMM the evil Shin Splints was stopped in his track, warning his side kicks save yourself you are no match against Christy and her secret weapon K ..T Ttttttttaaaaaaaaaappppppeeeeeeeeeee ..
I finished the race strong and pain free.
My KT Tape gave me the support, structure, and confidence I needed to run my whole race without any fear.
Tune in next time for when Christy and her secret weapon KTTape battle against the mean and never forgiving Stiff Back.
(KT Tape theme song, sing lyrics to Spider Man Theme)
KT Tape, KT tape, everyone wants to use my KT tape, running high running low, KT tape gives pain the BLoW!!! Look out pain here comes KT Tape -
Congrats, Christy! Stay tuned for more opportunities to win KT Tape soon!
At the end of March, two members athletes from YogaSlackers adventure team traveled to New Zealand to teach a weekend of yoga, slacklining, and acrobatics. While they were there - they managed to fit in just "a little bit of training" between their sessions throwing each other through the air and balancing on 1" pieces of webbing.
They used KT tape to keep themselves healthy, especially on the 60 km mountain run of the Famous Kepler Track.
Jason suffers from chronic IT band fatigue, that he says; "usually flared up after intense Acro practice, but we really wanted to do this run on our last day in New Zealand...so I taped up both knees, put on my compression tights and hoped my knees IT bands would make it though as I tried to keep up with Chelsey. It worked - except for the keeping up with Chelsey! I am still waiting for the KT Tape technique that will make me faster!"
Have you run a marathon or half-marathon in 2011? How did KT Tape help you perform your best?
Tell us your story, and you could win a free roll of KT Tape!
Just write up your race experience with KT Tape and post as a comment on this blog, and you will be entered to win!
Comments will be judged by KT Tape team members and winners will be announced on Monday, April 25th here on the blog.
Comments will be accepted through Sunday, April 24th at 11:59 p.m.
Weight lifting is widely accepted as a vital key to healthy training and lifestyle, but do light weights really make a difference? Author Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell for Livestrong.com highlights some of the benefits that even just light weights can bring to your training:
A light weight lifting or strength training routine is designed to tone muscles and help slow age-related muscle loss rather than beef up muscles.Training with light weights can improve your basal metabolic rate, which helps burn calories more efficiently. Regular strength training has a number of other potential physical and mental benefits.
Exercises with light weights are typically performed with a higher number of repetitions and sets, which aims to improve muscle shaping and endurance. Heavier weights, in contrast, normally involve shorter number of repetitions and sets to help increase muscle size and strength. Light weight lifting can be performed with free weights, dumbbells and various types of lightweight tubing that will provide resistance when stretched.
Disease Management/Injury Prevention
Strength training along with aerobic exercise can help you manage, and in some cases prevent, conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis, Harvard Health Publications reports. Strength training places stress on the bones, which can increase bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis and decrease the likelihood of bone fractures in the elderly. Strength training also helps protect joints from injury and contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.
Weight lifting may enhance emotional well-being, the Mayo Clinic notes. A study published in 2007 in "Women and Health" by T.B. Adams and colleagues at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Gilbert, Arizona, found that "strength training exercise was positively associated with perceived health and modestly negatively associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation." The study involved a national sample of college females during the Spring 2002 and 2003 semesters. The authors noted, however, that further research is needed to endorse strength training and aerobic exercise as a treatment for mental disorders. Strength training also may improve mental clarity and a sense of independence in older adults, the Cleveland Clinic reports.
You may reap the many potential benefits of light weight lifting with two or three 20- to 30-minute training sessions a week, according to the Mayo Clinic. At least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking or swimming should accompany a strength training routine. Talk to your health care provider before starting a new workout regime especially if you have been sedentary.
To read the complete article and learn more about weight lifting, visit Livestrong.com.
The Counter Attack is the official podcast of KT Tape sponsored athletes: the USA Water Polo National Team.
The latest Counter Attack podcast is now live featuring 2004 Olympian Genai Kerr. Genai talked about his start in water polo, making an Olympic team, his UC-Irvine days and more. Enjoy.
Click here to tune into this episode of The Counter Attack!
Grete Waitz, who lost a six-year battle with cancer early today, was the world's most humble marathon superstar. She never, ever called attention to herself. But through her efforts and example, particularly in the New York City Marathon, which she won nine times, she turned the marathon into a worldwide, female-friendly urban phenomenon.
She was also as warm and personable as a friend as she was steely-tough in a race. We saw this most clearly in the 1992 New York City Marathon that she ran side by side with Marathon race director Fred Lebow, her partner in marathon promotion. Waitz had often noted that she thought it more difficult to run slowly than fast. She said this in praising the middle- and back-of-the-packers. She said she didn't think she could run a four-hour marathon.
But when Fred needed her on the day, between his cancer battles, that he decided to make his only tour of the great five-borough marathon, Grete was unhesitatingly there. Looking pained indeed at times over their slow pace, she ran and walked every step of the way with Lebow. Their hand-in-hand finish next to the Tavern on the Green will forever be the New York City Marathon's most emotional moment.
I was lucky enough to know Grete from the start of her marathon career. The morning after her first NYC Marathon win in 1978, I called her hotel room from the lobby below. I said I'd like to interview her so I could bring more information to the readers of Runner's World magazine. Anyone else would have slammed down the receiver without a world. Nosy journalists!
She said yes, and a few moments later her husband, Jack, opened the hotel room door for me. The room looked like any runner's room after a week of living in itcrap all over the place. T-shirts, sweatpants, and shoes all over the place. Grete was on the phone to her school principal back in Norway, trying to explain why she needed a couple of additional days off. She had to be interviewed by the newspapers and appear on something called "The Today Show." She had no idea what this was, but people from the marathon thought it was a wonderful opportunity to tell the U.S. audience about their event.
After the phone call, she tidied up the room while answering my endless questions in her then-awkward English. She couldn't have been more gracious or helpful.
A year later I visited her in mid-winter in Oslo. She was still teaching, and I could scarcely believe how simple and arduous her life was. There were no trips to Australia or New Zealand to train in the sun. She was running hill repeats on an ice-slick sidewalk beside a busy thoroughfare. (In the winter of 1984, I would visit the young Joan Benoit in Maine, and observe many of the same qualities.)
It's hard to believe that Grete died the morning after the most historic Boston Marathon of all time. Boston has been an Adidas-sponsored marathon for decades, and I often emceed Boston Marathon clinics that featured Grete, a lifelong Adidas runner. As her English improved, her natural warmth and humor emerged. She was not the stern Nordic woman we had imagined for so long. Listening to her words, particularly the hapless story of her own single Boston Marathon start (she was leading at 22 miles when she dropped out, her legs shredded by the downhills), which ended with an epic failure, the audiences enjoyed many laughs.
This morning, when I told my wife that Grete had died, she said: "That's typical that she waited until Tuesday. She probably didn't want to detract from the excitement of the races yesterday." So true.
Grete had such a long, wonderful career that we all have hundreds of memories of her. When I close my eyes, I see her pigtails swishing rhythmically like a metronome as she churned up First Avenue in New York. I think I will always see those pigtails.
Grete Waitz was a pioneer, a pacesetter, a pathmaker. We cannot make too much of what she contributed to our sport. She gave and gave and gave, and asked nothing in return.
Or maybe just this: That we should treasure every mile.
To read more, click here.
Shin splints is an injury almost every runner experiences at one time or another. KT Tape can be used to treat shin splint pain both during and after running or sporting activity, but it can also be used preventatively. In addition, check out these shin splint stretching tips from Rick Braver, D.P.M. on Active.com that will help prevent shin splints going forward!
Runners often develop shin splints when increasing mileage or when adding speedwork to their routines.
The following exercises, courtesy of Rick Braver, D.P.M., will help prevent shin splints:
Three shoe-shopping tips
When you shop for shoes, do these three things:
What is your vote? Do you have a favorite pre-workout meal? Hana Feeney, MS, RD, CSSD of Canyon Ranch sheds some light on the healthy ways to eat before a workout for optimal performance. Here is an excerpt from Active.com:
Should you eat before working out? Is it better to exercise on an empty stomach so that you tap into your fat stores and burn them away? What if you have a sensitive stomach? Should it be carbs or protein or both?? So many questions!
The bottom line: When you eat carbohydrate-rich foods before exercise, you will perform better--mentally and physically--during your workout. The question then becomes, what works best for your body?
Choose low-fiber and low-fat foods before exercise. Try to eat at least one hour before beginning your workout. Skip the peanut butter and high-fiber dry cereals before your workout. Fat and fiber hold food in the stomach longer and with your sensitive stomach, you want the food that you eat before a workout to be digested and out of your gut when you start exercise. Best low-fat, low-fiber foods:
Trying to Burn Fat?
While it is true that exercise on an empty stomach allows you to burn fat during exercise, this does not translate to a reduction in body fat. When the body is burning fat for fuel during exercise, it inevitably means that you are working out at a lower intensity. What does that mean? It means that you are burning fewer calories per minute of exercise.
To really blast through fat stores, you need to be in the carbohydrate-burning zone. When your body is using carbohydrate to fuel exercise, it means that you are burning more calories per minute. When carbohydrate isnt available, your intensity drops, both physically and mentally. Exercise on an empty stomach generally feels much harder. Choose a satisfying meal or snack, but keep the high calorie additions to a minimum if you are trying to lose body fat. Give yourself 30-60 minutes to digest and then hit a high intensity workout. Best lower calorie, carbohydrate-rich foods to blast fat:
Protein to Build Muscle?
Eating protein-rich foods before exercise wont necessarily lead to bigger muscles. Focus your attention on protein-rich chicken, salmon, turkey and Greek yogurt for after your workout when your muscles are more receptive to the powerful muscle-building affects of protein.
Before any workout, you need carbs. Carbohydrate powers exercise, especially high-intensity workouts like weight lifting. You can blow through your glycogen stores (carbohydrate stores) during a heavy lifting workout. When glycogen levels get low, mental and physical energy will drop. When trying to build muscle its a good idea to incorporate small amounts protein into every meal and snack, provided that you arent sacrificing carbohydrates. Choose pre-workout meals and snacks that provide carbohydrate and a bit of protein for extra calories to build lean mass. Best muscle-building options:
Prime your body for exercise by choosing carbohydrate-rich foods for your pre-workout meal. When possible, give yourself at least 30 minutes to digest the food and absorb the nutrients. Experiment with which foods work best for your body.
To read more on eating healthy, view the entire article on Active.com.