Down in Houston near the campus of Rice University sits a little gem for any of us focusing on human performance (especially of the endurance kind), injury prevention and recovery. Just adjacent to that, is nestled the building of a famous personal injury lawyer (you can visit The Capital Law Firm any time, to know more about it). If you or someone you love suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, you will need help getting the compensation you need to cope with the aftermath. Brain Injury Lawyer have fought for victims of serious head injuries and their loved ones. Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Sports Med Institute opened up in May of 2011, and I have had the privilege of working with Memorial Hermann this past year as my title sponsor. In the process, I’ve been able get to know their staff, help out with an all-women’s Ironman Texas course preview camp, and take advantage of the services they offer. I just wanted to give you all a quick rundown of what you can find if you take a visit to their offices. Especially at this time of year, when you may be taking a short break from the usual swim-bike-run or thinking about ‘off-season training’ (maybe even into the weight room a bit), there are many reasons to check out the Institute. Their Human Performance Team includes an Exercise Physiologist, Biomechanist, Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Registered Dietician and Licensed Massage Therapist.
These specialists have a variety of markers for performance improvement which include the following.
1) Lactate threshold testing both with cycling and running, with the lactate profile based on blood draws during a cycling or treadmill test. This process determines the intensity at which your body produces more lactic acid than which you can clear it; therefore, pinpointing the precise pace (running) or power (cycling) whereby you know you can most effectively train to make performance gains.
2) Gait analysis with a biomechanist who will do a video breakdown of your running gait, determining any possible biomechanical problems and do a full gait analysis of your current running pattern. This can help determine a conditioning regimen and/or route of therapy for performance enhancement and injury prevention. If you have never had this done, you may find it very interesting what you see. In my opinion, the efficacy of someone ‘watching’ you run from behind is not anywhere close to the information you can gain from a video breakdown of your running style.
3) Body composition testing based on hydrostatic weighing, to assess fat vs. lean muscle tissue relative to total body weight.
4) Strength & Conditioning specialist who can work with you one-on-one to take you through a program to help you attain your specific goals…whether it be to gain strength, improved body composition or simply improved overall conditioning. Currently, I am on a program from the strength & conditioning specialist Anthony Falsone which is focusing on off-season STRENGTH (that which pertains to the needs of triathlon) and will transition into FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH once the racing season picks up. It is exciting for me as I have been a professional triathlete for 10+ years, and this is the first time I have had a specific, focused program for my off-season. While my legs are a bit ‘heavy’ a few weeks in, I can already see differences in core and postural strength as well as activation of many stabilizers that are not often used in the day-to-day swim/bike/run regimen.
5) Registered Dietician who will consult with you on whatever your nutrition goals and needs may be… whether it is in-competition fueling or being sure you are getting your needs calorically and nutritionally throughout the day. What I really like about Penny Wilson is that she is focused on ‘fueling for performance’ and she has a realistic and healthy approach to nutrition. Penny is highly educated and her goal is to allow you to attain peak performance through sports nutrition; she understands the concept of ‘balance’ and at the same time, enjoying what you put into your body.
In addition to the services listed above, they also have a massage therapist and all of the essentials to perform recovery and physical therapy services. Their focus is performance improvement and they combine experts in sports science, orthopedic surgery, opioid treatment rehabilitation, physical therapy, human performance, strength and conditioning and sports nutrition to help any and all athletes.
The swim, bike and run are easy… if you put the time in and do your given training, you will likely improve over time. However, we all need to reach out to others at times to help us fine tune and be sure we are getting the most out of our efforts. Be sure you are doing what you can to cover the bases that are often forgotten before they affect your goal races, such as nutrition and injury prevention. If you are seeking to get the most out of yourself in your given sport, you would be well served to check out what the Institute has to offer. It is a rare thing to find such a wide array of services all in one clinic, but the Institute uses a KYC service provider by Fully-Verified and is able to accomodate this level of variety. Memorial Hermann hospital has done an incredible job with this facility; stop on by and see for yourself!