The Compex team are delighted to welcome Pau Capell to our roster of athletes. Pau is a 2x Ultra Trail World Champion and will now have an army of Compex training and recovery products to help him #FeelNextLevel.
We sat down with Pau to discuss his life, career and new affiliation with the Compex brand.
Compex: Welcome to the Compex Team, Pau! Please could you explain to the Compex audience something about yourself? What is your background?
Pau: I am a professional Trail Running athlete and also an engineer, but I never got to work on it. After recovering from a cruciate ligament and meniscus injury at the age of 20, I discovered Trail Running and from then on I discovered a parallel reality. I have always been very athletic, loving both football and tennis. This quote chases me: "Fight for your goals and love what you have”. I think it is essential to have a strong balance between the dreams that you have and the people with whom you want to achieve them. For me, family and friends are the most important things, so if they can they always accompany me to the races.
Compex: How did you get into doing sports?
Pau: It all started because of my parents. I remember being a kid and practicing sports with them. I have always played football and tennis, always at the amateur level, but the best thing was practicing them with my parents and brothers and being able to share this passion with them. In addition, I am passionate about the sea and I have also competed in sailing.
Compex: Which Compex products do you normally use?
Pau: I use muscle stimulation to recover from intense training sessions, but I hope to use all the products that Compex has recently released on the market.
Compex: How does Compex help you find the competitive edge?
Pau: In recovery, a lot!
Compex: Tell us a quote that describes your way of life
Pau: Fight for your goals and love what you have.
Maelys (24) is a French osteopath, influencer, & fitness advisor, who always loved to learn about nutrition. She has studied it so much that she wrote some eBooks with healthy diet option, to keep having pleasure eating whilst still matching your fitness goals. Her latest one called “Life Is Sweet” has some great recepies if you are a sweet-tooth person who wants to stay in shape but still enjoy desert.
Today we will go down the list of 9 famous stereotypes about nutrition with Maelys. Let’s eat some knowledge together!
Stereotype #1: Avoiding carbs to lose weight.
Maelys: “This one is very easy to understand, because it is all about balance. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll likely gain weight. However, if you burn more calories than you eat, you’ll most likely lose weight. You’ll maintain if you burn as much as you consume.
Now, you can eat 2.000 calories of burgers, if it is your maintenance intake, you will not gain or lose weight (we do not advise that obviously). Your carbs are on the nutrients chart and, such as protein, fats and others, they are not responsible for gaining or losing weight. Calories are.”
Stereotype #2: Training on an empty stomach is better for weight loss.
Maelys: “It is not optimal. Going for a training session on an empty stomach will have your body use muscle resources, which is more likely to degrade muscles. This is often counter-productive for the body. I suggest eating a little bit of carbs and a little bit of protein about an hour before training. Give your body a little bit of fuel, you’ll need it.”
Stereotype #3: Fresh-fruit juice equals eating a fresh fruit.
Maelys: “This is not true for two reasons. Drinking juice means that the fibers inside the fruit have been broken. You’ll end up having less nutrients and losing lots of the benefits of fibers.
Another simple thing to consider is the quantity of fruit that you need to make a juice. You’ll probably need 5 oranges to make a glass of orange juice, and that means a skewed energy balance in the end.”
Stereotype #4: Whey protein powder is considered Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).
Maelys: “This one is very simple. Protein powder is not a drug simply because they are found everywhere (chicken, eggs etc.). They are only a time-saver when it comes to consuming protein after training for example, instead of bringing your chicken breast when you are not that hungry post-workout.
However, they should never replace all your meals! You should get the majority of your protein from whole food and leave the powders post-training.”
Stereotype #5: Vegan protein is better nutrition than regular protein.
Maelys: “There is a big misconception about vegan things being always absolutely better for the body since they are technically better for the environment. There are lots of anti-nutrients in vegan protein, which prevent the body from assimilating all the nutrients in food.
I am not saying that being vegan is bad and you shouldn’t, but that just doesn’t make vegan protein better than regular protein. Keep an eye on your macro-nutrients if you are vegan, in order to avoid deficiencies.
Stereotype #6: Eggs are bad nutrition for cholesterol levels.
Maelys: “You have organs in your body that are made to work. If you bring too much cholesterol into your body, it will lower cholesterol synthesis. On the other hand, if you do not bring enough to your body, it will produce more itself. The body levels your cholesterol very well, and it does not matter if you eat 1, 2, 3 or 6 eggs per day.
However, if you already have a cholesterol problem, this is where you should be careful with your diet. Otherwise, you are all good.”
Stereotype #7: Do not eat after 6pm if you are trying to lose weight.
Maelys: “About 90% of people workout after work, so usually around 5 to 8pm. In order to recover well, you need food and sleep. If you train late but then you do not eat because you heard it is bad after 6pm, you are not optimizing recovery. And if you do not train late, it is still a question of energy balance. Eating the number of calories that your body need in order to match your goals is really what matters when talking about losing weight.
If you train late and do not feel like eating a full solid meal afterwards, you can substitute that with a rich protein drink like a smoothie. However, I really do not recommend going to bed with an empty stomach especially after training. You won’t sleep well, and your body will have a rough time recovering.”
Stereotype #8: White meat is healthier nutrition than red meat.
Maelys: “Technically, yes. White meat is very healthy, but red meat has such great features for the body. I would advise eating roughly 750g of red meat per week top. There are great things from red meat that your body needs, but it is not the best source and that is why you shouldn’t eat more than about 750g per week.”
Stereotype #9: Energy drinks are great for performance.
Maelys: “I really don’t recommend energy drinks for performance. I don’t think they are optimal. Sure, they have caffeine and energy components, and sure you might feel pumped before training. However, you are mostly paying the brand (usually expensive) for something that is not necessary.
If you really need a pre-workout boost, I recommend making your own at home. Coffee is great, adding a little bit of salt in your water also for a great pump, but let’s be honest… your motivation is the best pre-workout there is, and should fuel you better than any energy drink on the market.
Alexandre Vallot (28) is a French coach in Paris. He has been coaching for 6 years now. From pro athletes to regular folks trying to simply stay in shape, he likes to train anyone with a purpose and a desire to progress in their fitness journey. He does not only want his clients to be motivated while he coaches them, but he wants them to create a mindset that they will carry forever.
Today we go down the list of 5 important factors to consider when you want to get back in a training routine after a long break: your nutrition, your training plan, your routine, your relationships, and the goals that you have.
1 – Back to eating healthy
Weight is not the number one indicator of your fitness level and you should not stress about it too much unless you compete in a sport with weight classes. However, weight can be a way to measure your eating habits, which can tell if you have been eating less or more. Therefore, keeping an eye on your weight can be beneficial. Being inactive for a long time can lead to some unwanted weight gains.
What is your tip for people going back into training regarding their eating habits?
ALEX – First of all, it really depends who you are talking to. If we are talking about an experienced person, it is “easier” to have a strict approach. Usually the person knows what it takes, and you can be stricter for the first couple of weeks in order to really get back to the shape you want.
However, if you are talking about an unexperienced fitness enthusiast, you cannot cut back too fast. You need to take steps, otherwise it will not last. I like to not use the word “diet” as it sounds scary to most people, and just talk about making small adjustments day after day. First cut the extra drinks, then dial back on the snacks, add some veggies etc. But if you cut too much too fast, you risk ending up in this “new year resolutions” type of vibe, where goals vanish after a month.
2 – Finally training again
No matter the reason, not being able to train for awhile is going to have effects on your body and your mind. Some people will feel (too) excited about going back to the gym and may risk injuries. Some people may have lost the motivation and will find it hard to go back. For all those cases, how do you get back into training mode?
ALEX – You should not imagine going back to the gym as the perfect scenario where you are motivated, you are stress-free, you perform the same… Things have changed ! However, one thing that has not changed is how beneficial “moving” is for your body. Whether it is 10, 30 or 50 minutes, moving at least twice a week will do wonders. Your motivation will come back slowly but surely and seeing your body change and adapt is the best boost you can hope for.
However, do not try to do too much or too complicated too soon. Same as the nutrition part, take steps towards coming back to your routine. Those steps can include a training partner or a coach! This is the best way to stay motivated as you are now accountable to someone else. If you are a Compex user, use the Compex app to plan your training sessions, share your results with your friends and see your progress.
3 – Going back to a routine?
Lots of people have a fitness routine. You train around the same time of the day, you eat at the same hours, you sleep about the same amount every night etc. When that has been broken for a while, people may be lost when it is training-time again! How do you help people get back to their routine?
ALEX – You need to realize that in this situation, time is your best friend. Getting back slowly but surely is the best recipe to a successful come-back. You should also be open to changes in your fitness routine, and not desperately want it to be the same as before. Adding new movements and training methods can do wonders to your body. So why not start by trying something new? Bodyweight workouts, yoga, Compex-Training… You used to be a gym-rat that loves pumping weights? Try new sports and workout methods, your body will love it.
4 – The influence of your close friends
The fourth point may be left aside by a lot of people but is more important than we think. The influence that our friends and family have on our choices in life is huge. You cannot stop talking to people just because they do not motivate you, so how do you deal with your closest relationships when it comes to your motivation to be healthy?
ALEX – Like you said, you cannot stop talking to people just because they do not agree with you, otherwise you will not keep many friends! There are two different types of people in my opinion. First is the closest friends, then you have the people around you that are the closest to your training habits. Your friends might be party-people and maybe you get invited to diners often. However, the most important is: where do you train? Do you have a coach? Are these friends also training buddies? Having friends to party-with is not an issue, as long as you have a fitness circle to stay right on track with your goals. Once again, it is all about balance
5 – Defining your goals
Setting goals can be challenging. The way you write down a goal can instantly tell whether you will be successful or not. We hear often people say, “I want to be stronger” or, “I want to lose fat”. These statements are never to be fulfilled. The reason is: they cannot be measured. 1kg of fat lost will not make you happy. However, you still “lost weight” and according to your goal, you are successful. But we all know this is not how you will be happy. How do you help people set goals the best way possible?
ALEX – For me, the first step is defining who do you want to become. Do you want to be a professional athlete, do you want to be a fit mum, do you want to look good at the beach… These are all different approaches. When you have defined that, you can create a ten-step plan towards your goal. These steps must be small challenges, attainable, measurable, and realistic. For example, your first step could be “Eat three whole fruits per day this week”, or “Exercise 20 minutes, three times this week”. These steps are measurable and realistic, they will open the path to success in your fitness journey. I know it sounds all Instagram-ish but setting goals measurable and realistic goals is the number one key to success.
Jeremy Leroux is a French triathlete and influencer. He has been in triathlon since 2016, originally coming from the running world. Once a friend lent him a bike for a little while, he fell in love and thought "why not give this thing a go?". Today he is looking at Ironman distances and hopes to be on the starting mat as soon as possible.
Today with Jeremy, we break down how to get ready for your first triathlon. Getting started, investing in the right equipment, training splits and race day prep… we will cover it all and hopefully you’ll learn some helpful tips.
1 – BREAKING DOWN TRAINING AND NUTRITION
Compex: How many times do you train per week during race prep, and how do you split it between the three disciplines?
Jeremy: 15 to 20 hours, I try to bike 3 to 4 times per week, and about the same for running and swimming.
Compex: For someone who is looking to get started in triathlon, would you advise hiring a coach? Joining a group? Or simply figure it out on your own?
Jeremy: I think it depends on people. If it is your first one and the goal is just to have fun, asking advice around you can be enough. Read, document yourself and look at what others maybe doing. However, if your goal is to get better in the sport, joining a team is great because you have a coach and teammates. Your trainings are well put-together, and your teammates push you to perform every day. This is the optimal choice for long term.
Compex: When you start training for your first triathlon, should you focus on one discipline more than the two others? Or should you equally share time between the three?
Jeremy: I think that you should always train all three of them equally, unless you feel very weak in one of the three disciplines. It is always better to train your weaknesses more than your strengths. However, there is no shortcut. Training, regularity and patience will be your keys to success.
Compex: Often people get overly excited when starting a new sport, which is understandable. How important would you say it is to not over-train and add rest days to your week of training?
Jeremy: Your body needs to recover. Having a coach is better because he or she will plan your recovery times. If you don’t have one, listen carefully to your body and what messages it is sending you. I know you’ll want to do more and more, but this is the best way to put too much stress on your body and run out of gas, or worst, get injured.
Compex: Should you train transitions between disciplines?
Jeremy: Of course, there are specific sessions where your focus is on the transition, going from the swim to the bike, or from the bike to the run. I would say at least once a week, on shorter distances, but with a race day intensity!
Compex: In a sport where you need plenty of calories for those long efforts, how important would you say your nutrition is?
Jeremy: Of course, it is very important to stay on track with your nutrition. You need to fuel your body correctly in order to perform well during your training sessions. Make sure you have some cheat days occasionally though; it is good for the body and for the mind (laugh).
2 – INVESTING IN THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Compex: Where would you say we should start looking when getting ready for our first triathlon, and how much are we looking at in terms of investment?
Jeremy: Since it’s the first and you don’t know if you’ll keep doing it after your race is over, maybe do not invest in the most expensive stuff. Get a good road bike that you are comfortable with (this is where you’ll spend the most time probably). Then look for a good swimsuit for open water, and maybe a couple of accessories for pool sessions in order to work on technique. Lastly, find a good pair of shoes for your running, and your set! As you get better, it will get more expensive for sure, but to start, you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
3 – STEPS TO YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON
Compex: In your preparation, do you think there is any interest in partaking in shorter distances to test yourself, like a local 10km, a swim-run etc?
Jeremy: If you’ve done your training right, I don’t think that is necessary unless you are training for an Ironman, in which case it might be useful to train or shorter distances like a half marathon. In the case of a first race, I would say maybe do your own mini triathlon to train transitions and race day paces. You’ll be fine!
4 – GETTING SET ON RACE DAY
Compex: Morning comes, and the stress is there. Any tips you could give us to embrace the race day jitters?
Jeremy: That is completely normal! Even if you are just doing it for fun, you’ll feel the stress for sure. Embrace it. You’ve done the training, you’ve put in the work, so stay focused and have some positive thoughts. Breathing can really help with stress as well, so make sure you are calm and relaxed. Something that might help take some stress off your shoulders is making a race day checklist. I always do that, so I don’t panic if I forget to bring something with me to the race.
Compex: What is your go-to race day breakfast?
Jeremy: I highly recommend not changing your breakfast habits. Changes are the best way to stress out more. Stay in your routine. For me it’s oats and nuts with Greek yogurt, some fruit and dried fruit, and coffee of course. For an Ironman, I like adding some rice for digestion purposes throughout the race.
Compex: Since we are talking about very long efforts, how do you manage eating throughout the race?
Jeremy: I usually know at which point in the race I’m taking my little gels or bars. I also make sure I drink about every 10 minutes on the bike. It is very important to have a plan, so you don’t run out of energy at some point, and so you don’t eat too much at once.
Compex: Do you warm up for the swim part the morning of the race?
Jeremy: For sure, I always warm up for the swim if possible. If not, I’ll use resistance bands to wake up the muscles, massage stiff areas with my Fixx 1.0 and maybe even use the warmup program of my Compex to make sure I am ready to go.
Compex: What is the most important thing to focus on before your race?
Jeremy: There is not one particular thing. Stay focused and don’t forget to enjoy the experience. You’ll probably remember your first triathlon forever, so soak it in while you can!
And there you have it! Tips, tricks and motivation for your first triathlon. Let us know if you’ve used any or if you found any of them particularly useful. Compex is looking forward to hearing about your first triathlon story!
Matt Jaggard, Head of Strength and Conditioning with the Delgado and Lee Pro Tennis Academy explains how Compex devices can be used to prevent ankle injuries and how to optimise recovery and rehabilitation if an ankle injury occurs.
LinkedIn: Matt Jaggard
If you are an athlete of any kind then it is likely that you have experienced a very painful ankle sprain or strain. This is a highly common injury within court sport athletes. Compex can aid you by helping to prevent this type of injury from occurring and also whilst recovering if an injury has been experienced.
So how can the use of a Compex muscle stimulation device help?
First of all we need to take a look into the anatomy. This will give you a clear understanding of how the body works, what you need to target and why.
The peroneus muscles also called fibularis muscles or peroneals or peronæus, are a group of muscles in the leg. While the muscle group exists in many variations, it is normally composed of three muscles: peroneus longus, brevis and tertius.
These muscles help control key actions around the foot. They will need to be strong and robust allowing you to resist and control the very actions they allow you to perform. Something that the use of a Compex device can enhance whilst training. The reason that the use of Compex is highly effective with this set of muscles is that they are very difficult to activate.
So where are these muscles located and what do they do?
Strengthening and Injury Prevention
You can train these muscles either statically or through a range of traditional ankle mobility, stability and strengthening exercises. Simply place Compex electrode pads on the peroneus muscles and selecting frequencies between 45-70Hz. This will help to increase muscle volume similar to that experienced whilst training for hypertrophy by promoting optimised tissue formation.
Once a period of adaptation for increasing muscle volume has been completed, traditionally 6-10 weeks. Moving into a strength phase for a similar length of time would be recommended. This requires your muscles to be exposed to frequencies between 75-100Hz.
Completing these two phases routinely will continually allow for the peroneus muscles to increase in volume and strength, making you more stable and helping you to prevent ankle sprains and strains.
Acute Injury Management and Rehabilitation
If you have experienced an ankle injury, the peroneus muscles along with tendons and ligaments around the foot and ankle would have been stretched, strained and damaged.
The use of a Compex device can not only aid with strengthen the muscles as highlighted above. They can also aid the recovery process.
During the initial phase of recovery, dealing with inflammation, Compex can help to reduce muscle soreness (1Hz). Additionally, muscle pain can reduce (5Hz) and capillarisation increased (8Hz). These varying levels of increased blood flow will help improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the damaged region. We recommend to place the electrode pads around the site of the injury (ankle and foot) rather than the peroneus muscles unless major trauma has also occurred in this area.
During the second phase of recovery with Compex, the profilation phase, frequencies between 10-35Hz can help minimise stiffness. Minimising muscular atrophy can help to manage lingering discomfort and swelling.
Once the symptoms have subsided, just like with any traditional rehabilitation, it is time to start remodelling the muscular tissue within the area which has been effected. Firstly by increasing muscular volume (45-70Hz). Then increase strength (75-100Hz) which are both mentioned in more detail above in ‘Strengthening and Injury Prevention’.
Ariane Brodier is a French actress and author, very active on her social media. She has two beautiful toddlers (3 and 1) and loves talking about her mum life. More than 600k people follow her daily routine on Instagram.
She has always been active her entire life. Before her first pregnancy, she was into martial arts and fitness, working out about 2 to 3 hours every other day, with some running in between. Ariane is what you can call an active mum!
1 – ADAPTATIONS DURING PREGNANCY
Even if you are a fitness freak and you love to train every day, pregnancy will slow you down. That is completely normal, and you should not stress about it. But how do you adapt your workouts to still get a good session in?
ARIANE – First of all you should know that some sports should be avoided during pregnancy. Anything with an impact can have negative effects on your child, such as running or jumping. However, if you love cardio, you can still get your heart rate up without jumping, with an elliptical machine for example. We hear too often that you should not train during pregnancy and this is not true! Staying active will do wonders to your body when you are pregnant. Obviously, you are not pushing your limits at this stage of your life and you should not strive for performance.
If you want to stay active during pregnancy, make sure that you are doing it the right way. Stay close to your doctor during this period of your life, they will give you the best advice to continue your fitness journey while pregnant.
Were you able to stay motivated the whole time, even with all the changes that your body went through?
ARIANE – You know, when sport is something that you enjoy, I don’t think it is that hard to stay active. You should see training as a fun moment for you. However, if you do not feel like training at the gym or doing your regular workouts, how about trying new sports? For me, it was the opportunity to get into swimming for example. It was a new workout and made me feel very good. That is why I encourage you to use this period of your life to try new things that you might love in the long run.
Your body changes during pregnancy, and you cannot do anything about it. Was there a turning point where you realized “I have to accept that my body changes”?
ARIANE – It is a little scary at first as this is something you are not really in control of. But being pregnant is such a magical experience that you quickly accept how your body changes. Enjoying this experience of becoming a mother is so much more important than losing your abs for a couple of years. No matter what, your body will be different after you have your child, the sooner you accept that, the better you will go through the changes.
As a fitness enthusiast you probably had some sort of understanding of how nutrition works and made sure that what you ate was on par with your goals and your fitness routine. How did that change during your pregnancy, and how did you make sure you did not gain too much weight?
ARIANE – You know, working out is never the hard part in a fitness routine, nutrition is! 70% of your progress is made through nutrition. The one thing you should absolutely be careful with is refined sugar. Whether you are pregnant or not it is not good for you, but in a case of a pregnancy, you should especially avoid it. Other than that, do not stress about it to much. Make sure that what you eat is the best quality possible, have some healthy fats along the way for the growth of the baby, and always remember that the health of your child will partially reflect how you ate during your pregnancy.
2 – GETTING BACK AT IT AFTER THE BIRTH
First thing first, when were you able to exercise again after giving birth?
ARIANE – Before you go back to your running and your jumping and the rest of your workouts, it is detrimental that you go through perineum rehabilitation. This can last 1 to 2 months depending on how your pregnancy went. During that time, I went back to my best friend the elliptical.
I also made good use of my Compex after I went through perineum rehab. It is a fantastic accelerator and it helps you tone your abs faster. It works your muscles deeper than with a simple abs workout, it is convenient, and you see results quickly after giving birth.
Every mum in the world knows that having a child is a full-time job. How do you deal with things like lack of sleep, being interrupted in your workout etc.?
ARIANE – My favorite thing now is the well known “Morning Routine”. I like to work out first thing in the morning, before breakfast, it works well for me. This is because I used to be very tired throughout the day and even if my kids were asleep. I had some time for me, I could not find the motivation to train. Getting up early and committing to working out was my only way to make it work. It was like “ok, now it is 5:30am and you are awake. Let’s make the most of the next hour, because you know you will not do it later in the day”.
I would also like to point out that you can use this opportunity to try out new sports again. Do not stress about a routine, as having children and a routine are usually things that do not go together (laughs). Be ready to adapt and things will go well.
Were you able to quickly go back to your eating habits or did you face any challenges?
ARIANE – Breastfeeding will not let you go back to normal: it makes you SO hungry! Your body needs fat to produce milk, and you will want to eat a lot, all the time. But the way the body works this out is incredible. Keep eating healthy, stay away from refined sugar and everything will be alright.
It depends on people, but having someone to guide you through this period of your life can be beneficial. We often think we are doing things right, but having an external person overlooking can help you with the choices you make daily.
Let’s end on a positive note here and talk about how you perceive your body after giving birth. Your body has changed and even if there are things you can do, you said that it is necessary to accept that you will not go back to 100% what you looked like before. And that is fine! Are there any tips you can give to young mothers to help go through that process of “accepting who you are now”?
ARIANE – When you become a mother, your focus shifts from “yourself” to “your kids”. You lose some of that “care” that you only had for your own body before. It can be harder for some mothers as the changes we go through can be very different from one woman to another. But becoming a mum is a whole new status and that is the most important thing to remember.
I love the “I am who I am movement” these days. It's a movement that highlights the fact that no matter what you look like, how much you weigh. As long as you are doing everything to becoming the best version of yourself, you are on the right track and you should be proud of yourself! Find things to challenge you daily and always enjoy the process. The smile of your children will always be more valuable than the best set of abs.
Matt Jaggard, Head of Strength and Conditioning with the Delgado and Lee Pro Tennis Academy tells us about the negative effects of air travel and how to negate these effects to maximise performance on arrival.
E-Book: International Travel and Tournament Preparation for Tennis
LinkedIn: Matt Jaggard
Air Travel and Improving Athlete Readiness with Compex
If you are an athlete competing at the top then it is highly likely that you will be exposed to a vast amount of international air travel. Travel days are not easy and they are certainly not rest or recovery days which is a point of view I have come across all too often.
Travelling has the potential to, and almost definitely will have an effect on your physiological and psychological state. The research is clear in demonstrating this with both short-haul and long-haul travel.
Direction of travel Time Zones Crossed Flight Time Findings N/A 0 1hr Enhanced cardiovascular stress. Heart Rate, Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure, Rate Pressure Product (Heart Rate x Systolic blood pressure) and Mean Blood Pressure all altered significantly. Psychological and physiological stress contributing to travel fatigue East 6 9hrs 20m Autonomic Nervous System activity assessed via Spectral Analysis of HRV. Reduced function on arrival, full volume and intensity recommended after 3 days East 5 7hrs 50m Athletic function only effected on days 3, 4 & 5. Measures back to baseline on day 6. Delayed effect. West 7 11hrs 30m Autonomic Nervous System activity assessed via Spectral Analysis of HRV. Delayed effects of travel, reduced volume and intensity recommended for day 3 East & West 7 15hrs 30m Irrespective of travel direction, reduced maximal sprint and counter movement jump performance was evident up to day 3 and 4 following travel, respectively
Fig 1. Psychological and physiological information collected on various flight lengths and directions. 1, 2, 3, 4
As you can see from the table above, athlete readiness can be immediately reduced after what seems like a simple 1hr commercial flight. Addition to a number of performance markers are heavily effected for up to 5 days following longer flights.
Competition normally start just days after arriving at a new destination. This means negating the negative effects associated with air travel should be the number one priority for all athletes. Therefore, this will help improve readiness on arrival and reduce the need to manage travel fatigue and drastically alter training plans prior to competition.
Combating the negative effects of travel and aiding athlete readiness
Compex recovery and massage programs which help increase blood flow are available on all Compex Muscle Stim products. This can be effective both during and after short or long haul flights.
Research has shown that whilst using Compex devices, frequencies between 3-9 Hz can demonstrate a 181-276% increase in blood flow5. Moreover, this will help combat the thrombosis experienced during air travel. As a result, this helps to negate negative physiological effects associated with travel and improve athlete readiness on arrival.
To explore international travel in more detail, looking at how to adapt to perform when acclimatising to heat, altitude or after crossing multiple time zones you can learn more from Matt’s book ‘International Travel and Tournament Preparation for Tennis’ with the general principles applying to all athletes and sports.
2 Botek, M., Stejskal, P., & Svozil, Z. (2009). Autonomic nervous system activity during acclimatization after rapid air travel across time zones: A case study. Acta Gymnica, 39(2), 13-21.
3 Fowler, P. M., Knez, W., Crowcroft, S., Mendham, A. E., Miller, J., Sargent, C. H. A. R. L. I., ... & Duffield, R. (2017). Greater effect of east versus west travel on jet lag, sleep, and team sport performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
4 Thornton, H. R., Miller, J., Taylor, L., Sargent, C., Lastella, M., & Fowler, P. M. (2018). Impact of short-compared to long-haul international travel on the sleep and wellbeing of national wheelchair basketball athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(13), 1476-1484.
5 Zicot, M., & Rigaux, P. (1995). Effect of the frequency of neuromuscular electric stimulation of the leg on femoral arterial blood flow. Journal des Maladies Vasculaires, 20(1), 9-13.
We hear from Managing Director of Stronglines Physio Clinic, Fred Braithwaite, as he tells us how Compex assists them on their mission to rehabilitating their clients.
Compex is an awesome product. We have used it at Stronglines for years. We have used it post surgically, to facilitate muscle recruitment and to utilise eccentric overload without direct joint stress. We like it because it works and it fits perfectly into the rehab process.
At Stronglines we are very selective with the clinical intervention we use. Often products that physio’s use are trying to replace hands on treatment or apply some mystical powers to the area with very little clinical reasoning at all. Compex is NOT this.
Compex is unique in its ability as it is not trying to replace anything. It acts as an adjunct to accelerate treatment and allows the therapist and client to work together toward a common goal. It is the only clinical intervention that really facilitates active rehabilitation. Aside from it being the best in the market, it also has products available for both clinicians and clients. This makes it clinically relevant and applicable as the client can take home the benefits from using it in clinic.
We view it as a useful clinical tool to facilitate 3 main things:
#1 MUSCLE INHIBITION (see video)
- In the first clip you see near total involuntary contraction of the quads. The Compex is extending the knee joint almost entirely. For the client, it is uncomfortable yes, but it gives fantastic input and the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.
- Even if there is total 100% muscle inhibition we can fire it up and gain some afferent input as well as stimulating all muscle fibres to help prevent as much atrophy.
#2 NEUROMUSCULAR REPROGRAMMING (see video)
- The second clip is a patterning exercise, this a nice way to create or reinforce the engram without excessive load but offers a real challenge for lower limb control also.
- The electrodes are on the glute and quads in this
- Once the muscle is firing we can put it into a functional pattern and use Compex to turn the heat up on it.
#3 MUSCULAR CAPACITY (see video)
- The third clip is a squat to build capacity in the movement. The Compex creates a massive eccentric component which will bring on serious DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) with very little volume or intensity.
- The electrodes are on the glute and quads for this.
- Once the muscle is patterned we can build capacity with very little loading. Whilst the Compex is on there is little fatigue, but the eccentric component creates superb adaptation.
#4 ECCENTRIC OVERLOAD (see video)
- The fourth clip is an example of loading with Compex. Again you can use relatively low loads but yield high stimulus with Compex.
- The electrodes are again on the glutes and quads.
- Get the most from the protective and restorative effects of eccentric training using Compex. The DOMS from Compex are second to none! This means micro trauma, which means supercompensation leading to a solid recovery.
With all these benefits clinically, you can also use it to recover from sessions with the massage settings. That’s why we love Compex. It is so useful for all clients, from post-surgical, to athletes, to weekend warriors it has a huge potential application.
Dr Sue Knowles is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, who works for Changing Minds UK (www.changingmindsuk.com), and an author of self-help books for young people.
Top Tips for coping in Stressful Times:
1) Getting a good night’s sleep – Sleep is so, so important for your health and wellbeing. Maybe use this opportunity of being in lockdown to think about and improve your sleep routine, and you’ll see a big impact upon how you generally feel. Start by asking yourself, am I getting enough sleep every night? Do I have a proper bedtime routine? Do I generally go to bed and get up at about the same time? Is my bedroom an appealing place to sleep? (cool, dark, quiet). Then start to make little tweaks to your sleep routine and notice yourself start to feel a little more refreshed each day.
2) Closeness and connection – We need closeness and feelings of connection with others – it’s what makes us human. Although it can be hard to be physically close to others right now, think carefully about how you can continue to connect. It might be sending a text, photo or video, checking-in with friends or family, sending an email, or having a videocall, or finding ways to play games together online. You may even want to go old-school and send a letter.
3) Keep up with our exercise – For lots of people, exercise is one of the best coping strategies. It can relieve stress and tension, help us to ‘let go’ of the day, make us feel physically better, and improve our mood. It can also be an important part of our daily routine. Although you might not be able to exercise in the ways that you usually would (such as going to the gym) seek out other ways to exercise and be creative.
4) Self-soothing – One of the best ways to make ourselves feel better, is to find things that help us to feel soothed. Is it snuggling with a blanket on the sofa, having a bath, having a bowl of warm comforting soup, sitting in front of an open fire, or kneading dough? Everyone is a bit different, so you can have fun exploring what works best for you. For example, some people prefer warmth (a hot water bottle, hot bath etc.) and others prefer the cold (a cold compress or icy cold drink).
5) Opposite emotion – One way to alter our emotional state, is to do things that play into the opposite emotion. For example, if we’re feeling sad or low, it can be useful to watch a funny film/comedy show, read an uplifting book or listen to a high-energy playlist. Or if we’re feeling angry, we can listen to calming music and try to relax our bodies.
6) Release any tension – When we get stressed, angry or anxious, we tend to hold this emotion within our bodies. Sometimes we don’t realise that we are feeling this way until we do a body scan. Try checking in with your body right now – how am I feeling in my body? Am I tense? Are my shoulders relaxed? If you feel any tension, gently let it go on each outbreath. Slowly notice your body start to relax. Other useful ways to let go of any tension are doing progressive muscle relaxation exercises or having a massage.
7) Tune into the here and now – When going through a stressful period, we might notice that our minds race, and our thoughts feel overwhelming. But when we can calm our minds, this can help us to feel much better, more in control, and reduce feelings of stress. Mindfulness is a technique that helps us to pause, quiet our minds, and ‘be aware’ in the present moment. There are lots of great apps out there with guided meditations that you can use, or you might want to try out the ‘breathing mindfulness exercise’ below.
8) Remember what works for YOU – We have often been through tough times in our lives and have somehow learned ways to get through them. Try to think back of what has helped you to cope in the past: what did you learn from that experience? What strengths can you draw upon now to help you to cope with what you are currently going through? What coping strategies can you use again?
9) Be kind to yourself – In this stressful time, the headlines suggest that society is generally being more empathic and compassionate. It’s absolutely true that lots of people are going out of their way to care for, and support, other people. But sometimes, we forget to do this for ourselves. We can continue to hold unrealistic and high standards for ourselves, when we would never expect this of others. It’s important to remind ourselves that we are going through this too, and that “It’s okay to not be okay”.
Find a comfortable position, whether you are lying down or sitting on a chair. If you’re sitting, make sure that your back remains straight, but allow your shoulders to gently drop. Notice your eyelids starting to feel heavy and gently close your eyes. Feel your body becoming heavy and allow it to sink down into the chair or bed. Acknowledge a sense of your body and mind slowing down. When you’re ready, bring your attention to your breathing, breathing in slowly…and out slowly.
Bring your attention to your chest, feeling it rise gently on your in-breath, and fall on the out-breath. Continue to focus upon your breathing, staying with each in-breath and each out-breath.
Every time you notice that your mind starts to wander, as it naturally will, gently bring your attention back to the feeling of the breath. If your mind wanders from the breath a thousand times, then your job is simply to gently bring your attention back to the breath each time, gently and compassionately.
Now, when you feel ready, gently bring your attention to your nose. Feel the cold air rushing through your nostrils on the in-breath, and the warm air rushing out through your mouth on the out-breath. If you find it hard to focus, perhaps swap this around, and breath in through your mouth and out through your nose.
Finally, when you feel ready, bring your attention to the whole breath. Notice how the cold air rushes in through your nostrils, how your chest rises and falls, and the warm air rushes out of your mouth. Be with each breath for its whole journey.
To end the mindfulness exercise, slowly bring your attention back to the room, gently open your eyes, and wiggle your toes.
To receive 20% off Compex Muscle Stim units, use the code: WELLNESS
In these challenging times, many of our Compex Practitioners are still available to offer online or telephone appointments. To book a paid appointment please use the contacts below:
020 8372 5926
The Physio Clinic Bristol - Pete Tang
£25 an online session or FREE for any NHS employees
5 Valleys Physio
Contact: Geoff Twinning
Prime Performance Physiotherapy
Guy Rogers – 01949 485084