Archive for October 29, 2017

Taylor Dent’s Fitness Game Plan

taylor dent

How One Tennis Pro Stays on Top of His Game for the Court

Men’s pro tennis star Taylor Dent has been served more than his share of physical challenges in recent times. Some of these have taken him away from the game he breathes longer than he’d prefer. Still, as a dedicated Southern California athlete, Dent perseveres in the overall fitness regimen that has seen him through past seasons and remains his resource to rebound on court. Here he outlines some of the training and exercise philosophy that have been key in his tennis performance:

On training routines and daily schedules while on home turf:

Dent maintains daily sessions with a trainer at the nearby community college: “We’ll be over there by about 7:30 in the morning for an hour and a half, doing different agility, plyometric drills and speed drills—I’ll do a lot of sprints with him. Then I’ll go and get some breakfast, and go play tennis for about an hour and a half, work on some stuff, go get some lunch, come back, hit some more tennis balls. A friend of mine’s father runs a public court, so I just go over there and practice. So, normally I’m practicing twice a day and work out out once early in the morning.”

On doing efficient tennis drills:

“I’ve had the best success when I’ve practiced ladder drills, where you sprint to one cone, jog back to the first cone then sprint to a farther cone, jog back and sprint–where you only get a little bit of rest and then you repeat that motion. If you go on a long five-mile jog, when do you ever do that pattern? I’ve never seen it happen—everybody’s usually sprinting, then relaxing for a few seconds, sprinting, then relaxing. So I’m a big believer in using those cones, and things like the medicine ball. One of the best things is just to have a buddy get a basket of balls and then just feed balls to you, like you would in a match, and just push you hard—like you would be in a match—and just get used to a faster and faster pace. It’s not like when you’re a wide receiver where you sprint down the field and then you get to jog back and have a minute break, or even get sent off the field for 10 minutes. Here, you always have to be moving, and most of the time the heart rate’s up hard—you know, you’re going 130 or 140 beats a minute, so you’ve got to be pushing yourself pretty hard.”

On working with a buddy system and connecting to the ideal trainer:

Dent works on training with his father, former Australian player Phil Dent. “Francisco Montana from the USTA (in Miami) used to travel with me a lot, but it’s tough with him living in Florida and me living out here,” he points out. Another resource he’s found is a local buddy who’s a top amateur player himself: “I’ve got my buddy Tom, who used to play at University of Arizona, out here, and he travels with me now all the time. Just someone that can work on stuff with me—like, guys on the tour don’t really want to spend time on my game, understandably, so I’ve got to get my buddy out there and work on the specific stuff that I want to work on, that’s important to my game.”

On having a former pro player and tennis pro trainer as a father:

“I think that what I made up for in a lack of play time I did make up for in just the amount of practice,” he asserts. “Dad would have me out there twice a day, not long sessions, but he made the effort and gave me some good insights.”

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Stone Age Living Today

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The theory behind following the lifestyle of Stone Age people is that the human body is genetically coded for that kind of existence. It’s a way of life that involves lots of exercise and a diet far removed from what is typical today.

Living like a Hunter-Gatherer

The “Hunter-Gatherers” or “Paleos,” as they call themselves, try to eat as their ancient ancestors did. It’s a diet that was outlined by Ray Audette in his 2000 book Neanderthin.

Audette observes that humans are the result of millions of years of evolution, but agriculture developed only 10,000 years ago. Mr. Audette’s argument, is that our bodies are adapted to process the kind of food our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. As he puts it: “I don’t eat anything except what I could get if I were hunting on the African savannah naked with a sharp stick.”

A Diet Rich in Meat

Eat as much wild meat as you can, Mr. Audette advises. Eat a pound of bacon for breakfast, some pemmican (a Native American dried and powdered meat and fat dish) for lunch, and another pound of meat and some cabbage for dinner.

John Durant who lives in New York’s Upper East Side tries to follow this diet. Writing in Der Spiegel (February 11, 2010), Philip Bethge quotes Durant as asking “What did people eat back then? How did they move about? And what does it mean for us today?”

Durant’s answer is that Paleolithic people did not eat sugar or carbohydrates. There was certainly no chocolate, pizza, cheese, or any processed foods. There was fish and wild animals, and there were berries, nuts, vegetables, fruit, and seeds.

Followers Take up Evolutionary Fitness

Another aspect of Stone Age life was a lot of exercise. People had to move over large distances in search of their food, and they had to be agile enough to survive an encounter with a saber-toothed tiger or an angry wooly mammoth.

Arthur De Vany is a follower of the caveman lifestyle and the creator of Evolutionary Fitness (EF). He is a retired economics professor who describes himself on his website as,

“A former professional athlete and life-long student of exercise and metabolism, he is a living example of what he teaches at the age of 72 he is 6’1”, 205 pounds, and has less than eight percent body fat.”

The essence of EF is “Brief moments of high intensity” exercise mixed in with longer periods of lower-intensity exercise. De Vany says this “follows the natural patterns of all wild living things.” And, the fitness program is not onerous; the Der Spiegel article says De Vany “exercises no more than twice a week, and for barely an hour each time.”

Cave Dweller Training Camp

For those with a desire to take up the challenge of living a Stone Age lifestyle in the 21st century there are plenty of helpers. One is Erwan Le Corre, an early devotee of the concept; he calls it “Natural Movement” – or “MovNat.”

Le Corre runs a jungle training camp in Brazil that sounds like a cross between wilderness survival and extreme sports. Le Corre told Men’s Health Magazine in an article entitled “A Wild Workout for the Real World” that his course is “about rediscovering our biological nature and releasing the wild human animal inside.”

It’s all part of trying to reproduce in the modern world what formed the daily routine Stone Age people.

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What is Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy?

benign prostatic hypertrophy

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is the presence of an enlarged prostate gland, a condition which is more prevalent in older men. Men who suffer from BPH experience many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer; however, BPH is non-cancerous and the presence of this condition does not mean that a man is more likely to develop prostate cancer in the future.

What is Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)?

Although BPH is common in older men, many may still ask “What is BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy)?”

BPH is the inflammation or enlargement of the prostate gland. The risk for developing BPH increases with age, because as men get older, their prostate enlarges. The reason behind this is attributed to changes in hormone levels. As men get older, the amount of active testosterone in the blood drops, resulting in a higher proportion of estrogen, which is suggested to promote cell growth in the prostate gland and lead to prostate enlargement.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), BPH is prevalent in more than 50% of men over age 60 years and in around 90% of men over the age of 70 years.

Location of Prostate Glands and Relationship to BPH Symptoms

The prostate gland is located behind the rectum and below the bladder. This gland surrounds the urethra, which is the thin tube that carries blood from the bladder to the outside of the body. The main function of the prostate gland is to help produce semen, which is also transported from the body during ejaculation via the urethra in men.

When the prostate gland is enlarged by a condition, such as BPH, it impinges on the bodily functions in that region. As such, BPH symptoms include many urinary-related symptoms that are also often seen in men who have prostate cancer.

BPH Symptoms and Warning Signs of Enlarged Prostate

The most common BPH symptoms are problems associated with urinating, as the enlarged prostate pushes on the urethra and bladder. BPH symptoms include the following:

  • difficultly beginning to urinate
  • a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • waking up multiple times in the night in order to urinate
  • the sudden urge to urinate
  • frequent urination
  • pain when urinating

If the bladder does not completely empty, a urinary tract infection can occur. Some men may also experience blood in their urine, which occurs becuase blood vessel are broken on the inner surface of the enlarged prostate or a sudden streching of the bladder.

How to Distinguish BPH Symptoms from Prostate Cancer

While men who suffer from BPH experience many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer, BPH is non-cancerous and the presence of this condition does not mean that a man is more likely to develop prostate cancer in the future. However, a man who is experiencing BPH symptoms must first undergo some screening tests, such as a PSA test and DRE (digital rectal examination), in order to rule out the presence of prostate cancer. As such, any man who experiences BPH should seek help from their doctor.

While one-third of all mild cases of BPH can be resolved without any treatment at all, when a man in inconvenienced by his BPH symptoms or the condition is posing a problem to his health, pharmacological drug therapy can be employed, with surgery reserved for more severe BPH cases.

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