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Your Vertical Training, Nutrition And The Confidence Of Youth
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Your Vertical Training, Nutrition And the Confidence Of Youth

I was watching a civil wartime move called Cold Mountain the other day and there was a scene at the end of the movie that caught my eye and ear. One of the young villains named Bosie is staring down the hero (Inman) while on their horses and debating on whether to fight and shoot each other, or simply move on and live their lives now that Bosie's boss, the primary villain is dead. While debating the advantages & disadvantages with each other of staying to fight or riding away, Bosie matter of factly states “I got one thing on my side…the confidence of youth” right before jumping off of his horse and taking a shot at Inman. Bosie hits Inman, but ends up getting hit himself and dies.

The confidence of youth is a VERY GOOD thing, and can often allow us to perform feats that most would think impossible, but sometimes it clouds our better judgment. When you are young, you think you’re indestructible and you think that things like what you eat don’t matter. You might get away with it for a while, but if you’re an athlete and eating crap food, it will end up catching up to you at some point. Somebody once said “you can’t outrun your diet”. This is very wise advice. I say in the context of this article that “you can’t out jump your diet! “

If I were to say one thing that really got me back into shape and being able to get much of my vertical leap back to its current heights it’s my diet. I mean, I’m 41 years old with a 34” vertical and can dunk better than the VAST majority of young players out there today! When I was in College it was 41”. Is it my genes? Hardly. Nobody can accuse me of being born with incredible hops. Once I figured out that diet is even more important at my age, it made sense for me to radically change what I was eating in order to be as good and active a youth basketball coach that I wanted to be. Little did I know I would regain much of what I lost in my athleticism!

You might be able to get some decent gains (or not) by buying a quality jump program that has some good vertical jump exercises in it, but if you’re eating fast food, cookies, drinking coke and eating all kinds of garbage with sugar, sugar, sugar, you are putting a 25lb weight vest on your body every time you play –it’s just that simple. I’m not talking about just eating carrots and celery every day for the rest of your life, but for crying out loud, there are some good things you can eat out there that don’t taste like rabbit food. What you need to understand is that you don’t need to go on a crash diet and then start eating like crap again, you must understand that everything you put into your mouth has consequences.

Again, does this mean you can’t have a cheesecake or candy bar once in a while? No, but the other 90% of the time should be high quality foods that you like to eat. Believe me there is good tasting food out there that’s good for you, it just takes some time to find it nowadays since most of it is junk. If you eat a good deal of processed fats and refined sugars, cutting them out and replacing them with good fats like the omega threes found in fish, chicken, eggs, grass fed beef, and unrefined foods like fruits and vegetables will make an enormous and noticeable difference in your athletic performance and body physique very quickly. You need to figure out pretty quickly that the standard American diet is extremely unhealthy and it’s time to start thinking about what you’re tossing down your throat.

And no, I’m not one of those vegan nazis that is telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat. I’m just telling you that if you are serious about becoming a better athlete or have plateaued in your athletic performance, then eating better is an ABSOLUTE MUST.

Last but not least, in addition to addressing what you eat, you need to supplement your diet with a high quality whey protein. Much in the same way bodybuilders tout the effectiveness of whey protein for explosive results, it is no different for athletes that want optimum results from vertical jump training. If you want to see your vertical gains literally explode, then Whey protein is the best. As an older athlete and coach, I am able to recover more quickly and am able to maintain some good muscle strength after my workouts which is why my vertical leap is still so high. What is Whey protein? Whey is a complete protein that is easily absorbed by the body to provide you the amino acids necessary to help you build new, lean muscle and to boost metabolism. It’s simply the best quality protein available for athletic performance.

So when you perform your vertical jump workout, it is extremely critical to take your protein both before and after your workout. I will warn you that the VAST majority of the protein drinks out there are pure junk. They have tons of filler in them and taste like chalk, so when looking for a protein drink, it’s important to get a protein supplement that consists primarily of Whey Protein, is processed properly (not heat processed), doesn’t bloat your stomach, and tastes good. If you don’t like the way your protein drink tastes, you’ll dump it pretty quickly.

Bottom line. Eat right, eat your Whey and keep that confidence of youth.


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