What do Professional Athletes use to recover and heal faster?

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Darin Shapiro Orbital 540
Pic Andy Laz

Written by my good friend Jimmy Tiblier who knows injury and recovery better than most.

Throughout my experience in athletics, I have been through much injury and recovery. I’ve come across many different healing modalities, and after spending time with world champion wakeboarder Darin Shapiro of www.ridethespot.com, I learned about many devices and methods that accelerate healing and minimize pain to get me back on the water faster. Here is a list of the top ten most helpful tools I have been using. All of these devices or modalities have inherent risks so please consult your physician before using these tools and techniques.

1.) TENS Unit- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator. I use this device multiple times daily. The device helps interfere with pain signals in the brain, bringing relief to the patient. This device also promotes blood flow to the area being treated which promotes healing.

2.) MENS Unit- Microcurrent Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulator. This device works similarly to the TENS unit, but runs at a much lower frequency. The MENS unit sends an electrical current through the damaged tissue to create a specific frequency at the cellular level. This unit helps athletes with wound healing, tendon, and ligament repair, as well as more severe degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis by matching the frequency found naturally in healing tissue.

3.) Qigong- (Chi Gong). Qigong refers to a form of Chinese medicine, but there is a device that is considered a Qigong therapeutic massager. The device rests on your chest or injured area and recreates a tapping frequency that promotes healing. The frequency mimics the tapping of the Qigong practicioner’s hands. Not only does this help with pain, but also relaxation.

4.) Trigger Point Therapy- Essentially, trigger point therapy focuses on finding the areas where muscles tend to get sore (knots), and attempts to soothe the area by rubbing the knots out. This can be done with a foam roller, laser trigger point devices, muscle sticks, and even lacrosse balls.

5.) Sacroiliac Belt or SI Belt- This device was developed by a doctor who focuses on sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The belt sits around the hips and constricts them in a way that provides extra support for the pelvis and spine. I train with mine on, and Darin uses his when he wakeboards and trains. Check out Serola Belts for a quality product.

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Cupping

6.) Cupping- Cupping is an ancient Chinese medical practice that involves releasing tension from our muscle fascia (the network of fibers that hold our muscles in place). Cups are placed on the body and air is removed from the cup via flame or pump, thereby creating pressure inside the cup, allowing the fascia to be stretched and released.

7.) NET- Neuro Emotional Technique. All injuries have some emotional component involved, whether we care to admit our emotions or not. Anger, fear, anxiety, and even nostalgia are just a few examples of emotions that NET targets. NET uses muscle testing and specific homeopathic products to work through the emotion that is holding the athlete back from being 100% healthy.

8.) Ice and Heat- I shouldn’t have to emphasize the importance of ice post-injury. Ice is crucial within the first 4 days of an injury. Ice brings analgesia (pain relief) and decreases swelling. I use a Breg Kodiak ice machine because it comes with accessories for specific body parts (i.e., hip, knee, etc.), allowing for more efficient cooling of the area. Heat can also be used to soothe chronic injuries that have been bothering the athlete for a longer period of time.

9.) Decompression and Inversion tables- I use my inversion table to release abdominal and lower back tension. Hanging upside down from your ankles may not be the best form of relief for everyone, but can be beneficial for many, therefore I emphasize extra caution when using these two devices. Decompression tables are often found in a chiropractor’s office. The doctor releases tension and pain by pulling your legs and hips away from the upper body. Both provide similar results, but the decompression table tends to be safer, especially when performed by a chiropractor.

10.) Soft Tissue Massage- Massage helps me in countless ways, including flexibility and mobility. Massage also helps break up scar tissue, promotes blood flow, relieves myofascial trigger points, reduces swelling, and helps with toxin drainage. Massage is a must if an athlete is trying to stay healthy or accelerate healing.

Although injuries can be common in wakeboarding, you’ll be able to get back out there sooner by making use of these tools. They really do help and I am experiencing the benefits firsthand. Thank you Darin, Heather, Kien, and Kai’a for your guidance, wisdom, love and laughter.

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micro current & qigong

Supplement your wakeboarding with nutritional support by World Wakeboard Champion Darin Shapiro

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Darin Shapiro Wakeboarding in the surf

By request I have put together a list of supplements that I believe have helped me throughout my wakeboard career.  Proper supplementation helps with injury recovery as well as performance and a feeling of well being. I recommend doing extensive research on anything you put into your body as the internet has no shortage of info on these listed supplements.

I choose supplements that have no synthetics and companies that do research themselves with their own labs.

1. Chondroisamine. This is a great supplement for Joint Support, a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin. I like the fact that it contains super dioxide dismutase, an excellent antioxidant. This product is a must for wakeboard knees!

2. Infla-zyme. This product contains natural enzymes which help decrease inflammation in your body. When you take a lot of abuse doing sports this is what I prefer to take instead of Tylenol or Advil. I take it on an empty stomach as I want it to break down the inflammation in my tissues as opposed to my food.

3. Core level Adrenal. This an Adrenal support supplement which I take for the purpose of recovery and well being. When we are actively involved in sports we tax our bodies and our Adrenal glands. Caffeine, alcohol, and stress are amongst the long list of things that drain this important little energy pump. I take this supplement on an empty stomach as well.

4. Vitamin D3.  I take 800IU of D3 daily for a long list of reasons. It raises testosterone levels and helps our bodies absorb calcium, iron, phosphate and zinc as well as many more minerals. D3 is produced in the body through sun exposure. I stay covered up and limit my time in the sun since I have had Melanoma. Therefore, I get my Vitamin D through supplementation.

5. Fish Oils. An antioxidant and anti-inlammatory powerhouse.

6. Protein. We are mostly vegetarian in this house so we get lots of our protein from nuts and soy shakes. Occasionally we have fish or eggs but usually steer clear of animal meats. For every pound of body weight you should have .5 grams of protein. Ramp that up with your activity level. Some days I will mountain bike, workout, surf, trampoline train, and wakeboard. A day like that should put me at 1 gram of protein per lb. of body weight. This is for men and slightly lower for women.

7. Multiple Vitamin/Mineral. I have always taken a comprehensive Multi which I will change up almost every other month to provide my body with new foods. Check out “Shaklee” daily packs or “Da Vinci labs” ultimate spectra.

8. Water. Don’t for get water as an essential mineral!

9. Massage, meditation, and relaxation. All very important things to supplement your health with.

10. Rest. This just may be number one.

Find supplements that feel right for you and learn as much as you can about what you put into your body. Stay healthy and happy shredding!

 

Going back to competitive Wakeboarding at 40 by wakeboard legend Darin Shapiro

The last 6 months of my my life have consisted of training, training, and more training. I have decided to go and do what I thought I would never do as I thought competitive wakeboarding was a sport for teenagers and twenty somethings. After my 5 year old starting riding and asking me to ride I thought “hey this is fun but that doesn’t give me the right to think I could go out and have any kind of chance competing against the best guys in the world” but, as I went out and rode something amazing happened.

The wakes had gotten way bigger and the boards have gotten way better than what I remembered! For the most part what I was trying to accomplish years ago was quite a bit easier going now. I was having so much fun and the harder stuff felt easier than I had remembered.

But, I am 40. I have been trampoline training a couple of hours per week, I’ve been putting in 5 hours a week in the gym, I have been mountain biking a ton and riding the cable and boat. My diet is mostly vegetarian or fish and I’m religious about the quality and type of supplements I take which I have researched for years.

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Darin Shapiro
pic: Tanya Pavlis

Where does this put me as far as being ready to take on the Pro Wakeboard Tour at my age? I have no idea but I love being in the best shape of my life and riding a wakeboard with virtually no pain especially considering that I have been going pretty hard in my book. Kelly Slater is the best example I can give about what can be accomplished in watersports at 40 plus. Though surfing is different in regard to what type of load we put on our bodies he is the “bees knees” and I am immensely inspired by Kelly.

I have reminded myself daily that I love this process and trying to up my game has got me feeling more alive than ever. I challenge everyone out there to challenge themselves because that is where I find the most happiness and I hope you do to!

5 Tips on learning new wakeboard tricks by Darin Shapiro

1. Most basic wakeboard tricks can be learned at slower speeds first.

2. Try perfecting a trick over one wake before going fully wake to wake.

3. If you decide to try the trick over one wake at slower a slower speed you may need to adjust the wake. To make one side of the wake clean, move the people or weight in the boat towards the foamy side and it should clean up.

4. Learn tricks progressively. Think baby steps and don’t be in a rush to learn the big stuff until you’ve mastered the basics.

5. Get some expert advice from your local board shop or visit Ridethespot.com in Orlando for the real thing.

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Darin Shapiro
pic: Furguson

If at first you don’t succeed try doing what your coach told you the first time!

 

Top 5 reasons to wakeboard by World Champion Darin Shapiro

1. You don’t get dirt in your mouth when you get pummeled.
2. When its glassy it feels like snowboarding on powder.
3. Holding onto the handle too tightly or letting go can be used as a metaphor in life.
4. You always feel better after getting in the water and riding minus the water in your privates.
5. It’s fun to share good times with friends and if your not careful
you just might get your bell rang.
Have fun and don’t take your ride too seriously!
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Getting kids started wakeboarding from wakeboarding dad Darin Shapiro

Introducing wakeboarding to kids can be a difficult ordeal. Watersports in general can be a bit daunting for kids and parents as well. Here are a few things that I have picked up on which have helped me and my little guy have fun on the water.

First of all I would like to make it very clear that I consider my son’s wake boarding his own deal not mine. I allow him to choose how and when he rides, not me. I offer it and if he accepts we then charge it, if not then others will ride and only if he asks after that does he ride. We are talking about a 5 year old here.

I got him familiar around the back of the boat swimming around and standing on the platform with the engine running for a few seconds every once in a while since I knew the engine noise freaked him out a little bit.

I pulled him across the garage carpet floor using the rope with him in his board for nearly two years. From 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 years old.

We did a little bit of tubing at slows speeds for a while as well. We are lucky to have Orlando watersports complex nearby so I took him to watch other little kids learning to ride as well.

One day it rained and I pulled him across a puddle in the yard. If you have a shallow shoreline you can pull them along by holding the rope and jogging down the shore. That was about the time the switch flipped and he was ready to try the boat. To prep him for the boat, we stood together on the platform with the boat in gear (please only do this under extremely controlled conditions with an experienced driver using the most caution)  and hung half of his board off the edge and held a short rope with my hand, the handle end in his. I let him get used to the feeling of the board being in the water (partially) and the growl of the engine. I could tell he was excited but scared so we stopped there.

A few times later he started riding behind the boat at 5. We got to that point with no water in the face, no crashes, no major fear, and no tears.

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Darin & Kien Shapiro at the “Gravel Tour”

Kids are young, theres no need to rush sports when they are so little. Let them tell you what they want to do and they will have fun. If you want them to excel in a sport just put them around other kids who are into that sport often and let them go!

Come see us at Ridethespot.com if your down in Orlando for the full enchilada!