Understanding Sport

There are many people in society with the opinion that sports should have little relevance. Some argue that time, energy and money should be focused on more important things. Many think sport is a silly, money driven industry that provides unnecessary entertainment. Some condemn competition and others fear losing. Others just hold that opinion without much justification.

I have never understood this. Athletics have always been a big part of my life. However, please don’t confuse me as being a world class athlete. I was able to participate on athletic teams in high school because I went to a very small high school on Hatteras Island, North Carolina. Frankly, if I grew up in a city and attended a large high school, I would have never had an opportunity to play the games that I played. But thank god I did.

What I have understood and have always felt, is that sports teaches many life lessons. Examples could go on for days… Sport teaches things like working with others to accomplish a goal. Sport allows you to learn how to compete in a fair way, without stepping on someone to advance. Sport teaches you to accept defeat when you just aren’t good enough, yet motivates you to get up the next day and be better than the day before. Sport teaches effort, dedication and forms character. These things many people already know and understand.

But until last night (note this was written the night after the 2016 UNC VS Villanova national title game) I never understood why sport and athletics were so special. It took me watching my Tar Heels suffering the most heartbreaking loss in program history to teach me why so many people place such a high value on sports.

What I now understand, is that an athletic competition in which an individual is emotionally invested is an emotional roller coaster like none other. Life is an emotional roller coaster, but life’s up and downs usually occur over years, months, weeks and days. Sure, many decisions and events of life happen in the blink of an eye. But typically the emotions of daily life rise and fall much slower than those in sports. In sports, you can be desperate one moment, on top of the world the next, and then, immediately crushed. Many Tar Heel fans know this too well after last night. And for anyone else who loves sports, you too have similar experiences.

Now what we all must understand , is that life goes on. More importantly, we all must understand that these highs and lows in sports are unique. Strangely, the heartbreak should be cherished just as much as the glory; the success as much as the failure. These highs and lows in sport, as well as other events, ad texture to the adventure we call life. This my friends, forces us to grow and become better people. This is why sports matter!
R. Garrett Tandy Jr.
M.A.Ed., CSCS, Titleist Performance Institute CGFI
Personal Trainer
Highlands Country Club
Lost Tree Club
Follow me @GTandyFitness

Dr. Karen Pape, a leading researcher in neuromuscular rehab of those with special needs, specifically Cerebral Palsy, adds my quote to her blog from a recent conversation her and I had.  Check it out!


Check Out This Site

Posted: February 8, 2015 in Thought of the Day

For anyone with an interest in sports performance, corrective exercise or working with those with special needs check out Dr. Karen Pape’s website. Lots of good perspective on human movement. Most of her work is working with individuals who have Cerebral Palsy… None the less, many of these concepts of neuroscience can be applied to human movement across the entire spectrum of movement ability.



Inner City Weightlifting

Posted: December 6, 2014 in Thought of the Day

check this video out from ESPN. What a great organization for weightlifting and helping others…as well as society as a whole.

Understanding Golf Fitness

Posted: December 1, 2014 in Thought of the Day

Golf is a complex sport! If you play, you probably have figured that out by now. In order to be a skilled golfer it takes time, consistency, and dedication. A good golfer improves their skills by taking lessons, playing often and through lots of practice!
An overlooked aspect of playing good golf until recent years, has been a golfer’s fitness level. Today, most good golfers work on some aspect of their fitness in order to improve their game. Strategy, equipment and focus are all important parts of golf. However, your body is responsible for executing the golf swing and the more efficiently the body moves the better you can take advantage of the golf skills you have mastered.
Unfortunately, some golfers might not know where to start, while others may be confused as to which aspects of their fitness need improving in order to help their swing. Sometimes the information regarding golf fitness may be convoluted or conflicting. It seems each golf magazine has a “Top 5 Golf Exercise for You” article in every issue. Though, the key in improving one’s body to improve their golf swing lies in finding the appropriate exercises for the individual and following the same process previously mentioned in regards to improving skills.
One aspect that is most often confused is the idea that simply making one’s muscles stronger will allow them to produce more clubhead speed. While strength is an important concept of creating power it is not the only requirement. Having appropriately mobile and stable joints is a prerequisite for the body’s ability to create power and subsequent clubhead speed. While this concept may be a bit hard to understand, try to imagine jumping high in the air without bending your ankles, knees, or hips. Regardless of the strength an individual’s legs, one cannot jump very high without the joints in the legs moving.
On the other hand, not every golfer needs to improve the mobility and stability patterns in their body. The golf game of one who is already flexible may be best be improved by adding some specific strength or power exercises to their fitness routine. Another individual may only need a few golf specific sequencing exercises to improve their golf swing.

Thanksgiving is here! The time of year where we are supposed to eat as many portions, of as much as we can, of whatever we like, and sit on the couch watching football, with no regret….right? No! Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. I feel we can all find things to be thankful for whether or not our life is perfect. I am thankful for having a great job and to be surrounded by good people. I am thankful to have; a wonderful family, great friends, been born and raised in a small town with a great deal of community support and to now live in a another great small town with equally great community support.
So, what are you thankful for? My guess is that you found something. However, if I were to bet on what you gave thanks for, I would bet you did not give thanks to your body! I am a personal trainer and in my list above, I forgot to list it. Perhaps you gave thanks for your health and we should. Without our health we cannot exist. None the less, our body deserves a separate thank you since it does so much for us.
Without the body we would simply be a mind and a spirit. Our body allows our mind and spirit to be productive. Our minds could not communicate an idea without our tongue, lips, lungs and vocal chords working in unison to produce sound. That idea could not be constructed without our arm, hands, fingers and opposable thumbs to assemble it. Without our body the constructed idea could not be moved to other people for use. Similarly, our spirit could not help a friend, family member or stranger who is in need without our body. We are unable to show affection to others from our spirit without touch, expressions or body language. It is often thought that the mind and spirit are trapped inside the body, but perhaps the truth is that the body actually allows these two entities to be free.
So how do we give thanks to our bodies? For some people who work physically demanding jobs, or who have malnourished bodies, maybe sitting on the couch watching football and feasting on high calorie foods is a way to thank their bodies. For others, to best give thanks to their body maybe a walk before and after your thanksgiving meal is a good idea. A person struggling to lose weight may give thanks to their body by trying some of everything on the thanksgiving spread, but only eating very small portions of those foods. Perhaps you may need to give thanks to an aching body by taking a yoga class or by getting a massage. There are so many ways to give thanks to your body but the key is to think about what is best for your body and then, thank it!

Over the past fifteen years a huge emphasis has been placed on health and fitness. Most of us are very aware that we influence our health through diet and exercise. Usually, health professionals tend to encourage individuals to eat a healthy diet and improve upon fitness components such as cardiovascular health, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, as well as body composition. As a result, most of us who exercise focus on these areas and while they are all important to consider, these components exclude a few pieces to the complete puzzle of health.

Perhaps the piece of the puzzle that ties together all other components of health and fitness is the quality of movement. Some professionals, including myself, would argue that without good movement none of the components above are of much importance. I have observed very few people who move without compensations. Compensations often occur because we spend our day in less than ideal positions such as sitting, driving or using the same motion repetitively in sporting activities. While it is true that in order to be healthy you need to eat the right foods, have a strong heart, have strong capable muscles, and keep your body fat relatively low, if the movement patterns we use on a daily basis are compensatory, long term exercise may be deterred because of pain or a lack of desire to move.

For example, someone with knee pain who needs to improve their cardiovascular fitness may not be able to walk on a treadmill or ride a bike because of discomfort. While this individual’s pain may have come from an acute injury, it is also possible that this person’s knee pain could have been caused by movement compensations throughout their lifetime. None the less, this individual’s knee pain could prevent them from reaching their goals of improving cardiovascular fitness. Perhaps this highlights that our path to moving often should first include moving well.

The first step to moving well is to get out of pain. If you are in pain, you should consult a doctor or a physical therapist. Hopefully, you do not have pain. If you are not in pain, it may be a good idea to get a movement assessment by an individual who understand movement compensations and corrective exercise.

Understanding how people move and how to address movement dysfunction through corrective exercise can enhance an individual’s workout, athletic performance and quality of life. Corrective exercise programs can be designed to supplement an individual’s current workout program whether that person is exercising on their own or with a trainer and can also be designed to bridge the gap between physical activity and a return to every day movement in life and sporting activities.

When the phrase “treat yourself like a dog” is used most of us conjure a negative mental image of various things related to the topic at hand, or perhaps a stray or injured dog that has been neglected. Many of us throw this term around loosely claiming that “he was treated like a dog.” Judging by the popularity of this phrase, it would seem the general consensus is that the life of a dog is rough. While there are numerous dogs that get abused, that live without homes or go hungry, there are many dogs that have it pretty damn good. Often times us humans treat our dogs better than we treat ourselves.
How many times have you seen someone at the grocery store meticulously analyzing dog food to feed their canine family member, and then taken a peek in the dog owner’s shopping cart to only see junk food to be consumed by that person and the rest of their family? Many people make sure their pets get adequate exercise whether it’s letting them run around a dog park or have someone take their dog for a walk. However, the same individual will fail to establish exercise habits for themselves. As dog lovers we make sure our dogs are hydrated, entertained with toys to fetch and well groomed because they are man’s best friend. However, at times we skip these things for ourselves.
So if you want a thought to ponder….I encourage you to treat yourself like a dog. Make sure you are getting proper nutrition and getting some old fashioned exercise. Take a day to relax and let someone scratch your belly …..Or get a massage. Go get that manicure or pedicure you have been putting off because you have been busy. Take a golf lesson or go for a kayaking adventure. Eat peanut butter out of a bone or chase your tail around in circles. Whatever it is that makes you happy, enjoy yourself as a dog would. Treat yourself like a dog!

Lets Stay Cool This August

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Articles, Golf

August has arrived and usually accompanying August is more heat, more humidity and as a result more health related problems associated with the heat. Hopefully, you are reading this because you are active and I also hope you are spending some time outside. I also hope you are taking the necessary precautions to prevent and heed the warning signs of heat stroke and dehydration. Here is some information about these topics.
Dehydration is one factor that can cause a heat stroke and is characterized by extreme thirst, dizziness, loss of elasticity of the skin, and extremely low blood pressure. In addition to dehydration, heavy perspiration, extreme heat, decreased salt intake, and increased physical activity can cause a person to develop heat exhaustion. Symptoms of heat exhaustion, a precursor to heat stroke, include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness and muscle cramps. If these symptoms intensify or the individual stops sweating, has a rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, extreme confusion, hallucination, agitation or disorientation the individual may be experiencing a heat stroke.
Obviously, one of the most important things in preventing dehydration and heat stroke is staying hydrated. Often times we forget to drink fluids because we are not thirsty, we are too caught up in what we are doing, or we are just too busy. However, by the time we feel thirsty it is too late, our body is already parched and we may be putting our bodies at risk of serious health issues. Thus, it is imperative to drink fluids continuously throughout the day, each day. The general recommendation on daily fluid intake is 64 ounces. However, when it is hot outside and you’ve been participating in physical activity or have been drinking alcoholic beverages, more than the average 64 ounces should be consumed.
If you are in a situation where you think someone is suffering from dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke it is important that you have that person stop any physical activity they may be doing. Also, it is important for the individual to drink cool fluids (unless the individual is in shock), find a cool spot to sit or lie down to rest, and apply cold compresses to the forehead, groin and armpits so the body can cool down quickly. If you think an individual is suffering from the symptoms of a heat stroke, emergency services need to be contacted immediately. So whether you’re on the golf course, tennis court, running sprints on the football field or in your yard gardening, please stay hydrated, stay in the shade and stay cool!

Gym Anxiety

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Articles

There are words to describe numerous fears and phobias that an individual may have. Those who have intense fears of spiders are considered to have arachnophobia. Others who have a deep fear of heights call their fear, acrophobia. Believe it or not, there is a scientific fear of the flute called aulophobia. While there is no official nomenclature for the fear of going to the gym, I feel there should be. However, my language skills are not the best so I would not begin to guess what the proper name would be.
The most common terminology used for the fear of going to the gym is gym intimidation or gym anxiety. Those of us who are contemplating beginning a workout routine often have thoughts and anxieties towards exercise and going to a gym. These thoughts can be centered on body image of oneself or intimidation of the body image of those who may be currently workout out at the gym. Another fear people have is that they do not know how to do exercise properly or they do not know how to use the equipment. Some people feel others will judge them because they look unfit or do not know how to exercise properly. Furthermore, people are afraid of getting hurt in the gym.
Many people who exercise often at public gyms may think this anxiety, fear or intimidation is strange. However, it is a real thing. I can remember how nervous, scared and intimidated I was when I first began exercising and trying to lose weight in college. Just walking in the doors of the student recreation center made me feel like everyone in the building was looking at and judging me. I perceived the people exercising judged me as someone who didn’t deserve to use their gym. The reality is that I had the right to be there as much as they did. Also, the vast majority of the people in the gym were not judging me. Over the past 13 years I have spent many hours in the gym exercising and working as a personal trainer and I can tell you, that most of the people I perceived to be staring at me barely noticed me, much less thought negatively of my fitness level or whether I was doing an exercise right or wrong.
None the less, overcoming the fear and discomfort associated with coming into a gym for the first time, or the first time in a long time can be difficult. It’s ok, you have the right to be a little uncomfortable and nervous in a new setting, especially a fitness setting. I can understand that. But, I really hope you don’t let the nervousness keep you away and I think once you come in to workout you will find it is a fun, comfortable friendly place to be. If you have some doubts about how to use equipment, what exercises are appropriate for you, or if you are doing those exercises correctly I am happy to help.