<![CDATA[ryantakagi.com - Blog & Podcast]]>Tue, 28 May 2019 17:44:00 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[My conversation with Professor Luc Beaudoin on sleep]]>Sun, 24 Mar 2019 23:03:35 GMThttp://ryantakagi.com/blog--podcast/my-conversation-with-professor-luc-beaudoin-on-sleep


  • Major psychobiological influences of sleep
  • Chronotypes
  • Aligning with your own circadian profile 
  • Transitioning into sleep/Sleep onset
  • sleep cycles
  • 25:15
    • As sleep progresses, more time is spent in REM sleep. 
      • more likely to remember morning dreams, because they are more frequent
      • Sleep pressure decreases as soon as we start sleeping
  • 26:15
    • Adenosine — chemical responsible for sleep pressure
  • 26:25
    • Caffeine 
  • Single night’s sleep vs segmented sleep patterns
  • Transitioning out of sleep
  • Emotions & insomnia 
  • Questions from the crew
    • 44:15
      • What is the relationship between mental health & sleep?
    • 46:25
      • What are some strategies to calm worries and anxieties before sleep?
    • 48:30
    • 55:15
      • What strategies help us fall asleep after waking in the middle of the night?
    • 58:15
      • Is there such a thing as too much sleep?
    • 1:00:00
      • What is the ideal nap length?
    • 1:01:05
      • Is quality of sleep affected by sleeping drunk?
    • 1:01:45
      • Is quality of sleep affected by dehydration or hunger
    • 1:03:55
      • What are the long term effects of under-sleeping, and can you compensate by getting more the next night or on the weekend? 
    • 1:06:45
      • What is the ideal sleep environment? 
    • 1:10:00
      • As you get older, do you need less sleep?
    • 1:11:10
      • Do you solve problems in your sleep?
  • 1:12:20

<![CDATA[The Right Workload to Avoid Injury]]>Thu, 17 Jan 2019 22:33:57 GMThttp://ryantakagi.com/blog--podcast/the-right-workload-to-avoid-injury

How do training and competition workloads relate to injury? This question was recently addressed in several articles published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Workload is the total amount of stress applied over time. When an athlete trains or competes, they are exposed to various workloads. The nature of the workload and characteristics of the athlete (predisposition) together determine an individual's susceptibility for injury during any given training session or competition.


  • The ideal training workload maximizes improvements in fitness and minimizes fatigue, illness, injury, and overtraining.
  • Too much or too little stress can increase the risk for injury. Sudden spikes in workload also increase risk for injury.
  • Identical external training loads can have different effects on two individual athletes.
  • Avoid spikes in workload greater than 10%. 
  • Monitor the individual effects of external workloads through athlete check-ins.

​The Predisposed Athlete

Multiple factors may predispose an athlete to injury, such as:
  1. Previous injury
    1. A previous injury (especially if incompletely rehabilitated) increases your risk for another injury. Makes sense, right? Previous injury increases risk due to weakened structures, and through compensation -- for instance, loading your left leg more to avoid weight on your  injured right leg.
  2. Modifiable factors
    1. Aerobic power: your ability to transfer oxygen from the environment to working muscles.
    2. Muscular strength: the ability of your muscles to produce force.
    3. Neuromuscular control: your ability to move well in a variety of challenging and novel environments -- assessed by Chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals.
      1. To move, signals from your brain are sent to your muscles via nerves.
      2. Your brain also keeps a copy of the expected sensory experience, and compares actual movement to expected movement. Did you move the way you intended?
      3. Joints, muscles, skin, fascia, and other structures send information to the brain about actual movement.
      4. If the nervous system or any of the structures above are functioning sub-optimally, your ability to move well decreases.
    4. Tissue resilience: your tissue's (ligaments, tendons, etc.) ability to resist being stretched, compressed, bent, or otherwise.
    5. Nutritional status: the quality of your diet, and the level of key nutrients obtained from food and maintained in the body to support important metabolic processes; such as those processes that optimize power, strength, and resilience.
    6. Psychosocial factors: your ability to cope with the demands of exercise, to manage stress, and to respond to social stimuli or pressures. 
    7. Other: sleep quality, toxin exposure, immune status, etc.
  3. Non-modifiable factors
    1. Genetics
      1. Arguably modifiable through epigenetic processes -- changes in DNA function (replication and protein synthesis) without changing the DNA sequence.
    2. Age
    3. Sex
    4. Anatomy

​The Susceptible Athlete

Increasing workload (the total amount of stress placed on an individual over time through training and competition) results in both increased fitness and fatigue, and either positive adaptation or injury (negative adaptation). Three factors are commonly manipulated to alter training workloads -- frequency, intensity, and duration. Remember that a key principle of training is individuality -- athletes respond to external loads differently based how characteristics of the external workload interact with their individual biomechanics and physiology (their predisposition).

​Athletes who are exposed to sudden or chronically high external stress are susceptible to injury. These kinds of workloads decrease an individuals ability to adapt, and overwhelm their capacity for improvements in modifiable risk factors -- tissue resilience, neuromuscular control, etc. Interestingly, chronically low workloads can also increase risk of injury... not enough stress for adaptation, or the stress does not resemble competition stresses.
  1. Fitness & Fatigue
    1. As workload is increased, so does fitness; the harder you train, the stronger you are.
    2. But, you may also notice that the harder you train, the more recovery you need. Elite athletes who train 3 times per day reach high levels of fitness, but they also experience high levels of fatigue.
    3. An old rowing coach explained it like this -- as you train, fitness increases, but so does fatigue. Rest results in reductions in fitness and fatigue; but, fatigue decreases at a faster rate. So, training makes you strong, and rest makes you fast! This explains (in part) the idea of periodization or the idea of tapering before a race where the goal is to maintain fitness but lessen fatigue. See the graph below.
  2. Adaptation
    1. For change to occur, good or bad, the system needs to be stressed.
    2. The body is good at progressively adapting to workloads that are slowly increased.
    3. To avoid injury and promote positive adaptation, workloads should be increased no more than 10% per week.
  3. Injury
    1. When workloads, training environments, or rules of the game challenge the system in a way that does not allow adaptation, injury may result.
    2. Sudden increases in workloads increase injury risk... such as that 20k run after taking it easy for 6 months.
    3. Chronically low workloads can also increase risk for injury. Low workloads don't stress the system enough for beneficial changes in fitness or for preparedness in competitions.

Finding the Right Workload 

Considering all of the above, how do you find the right workload?
  1. Talk to experts. Find a personal trainer or coach who you trust who can help you modify the frequency, intensity, and duration of your training sessions to prepare you for competition. Engage health care practitioners in conversation regarding previous injuries and modifiable risk factors.
  2. Understand that workload is the interaction of your unique physiology with the external environment. Everyone responds differently to the same environmental stimulus.
  3. Physiological markers such as heart rate variability or heart rate recovery and psychological markers such as the POMS questionnaire may be used to monitor workload.
    1. Some symptoms of overtraining: persistent or worsening fatigue, irritability, depression, loss of weight, recurrent infections, salt cravings, sugar cravings, and reduced performance despite adequate rest.
  4. An athlete's well-being should be monitored with questions relating to mood, stress levels, energy, sleep, diet, and soreness in commonly injured areas for their given sport.


<![CDATA[Return to Sport]]>Wed, 16 Jan 2019 21:54:51 GMThttp://ryantakagi.com/blog--podcast/return-to-sport

In a recent article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 17 expert clinicians discussed key issues in, and presented recommendations for, return to sport decision-making. Here’s a link to the article. If you are a coach, athlete, or clinician, I recommend taking a look. The following is a summary.

What is return to sport (RTS)?

Return to sport is just as it sounds, returning an athlete to their sport after injury or illness. But successful RTS may be defined differently by those who are involved--coach, clinician, and athlete. Collaboration is important as RTS is a process of shared decision-making. Several contextual factors guide RTS. These include: type of injury, age of the athlete, sport played, physical requirements, level of participation, significance of upcoming competitions, and social and financial costs. 
Return to sport is not a decision that occurs at the end of a rehab program, rather it is a process that parallels recovery. There are three elements of RTS:
  1. Return to participation
  2. Return to sport
  3. Return to performance

Framework for RTS

A couple templates can be used to guide RTS. These include the StARRT framework and Biopsychosocial model. The StARRT framework is a 3 step process that includes the following:
  1. Assessment of health risk (what is the load a tissue can handle before it fails?)
  2. Assessment of activity risk (what is the expected load on tissues for a given activity?)
  3. Assessment of risk tolerance (what contextual factors [see above] influence risk?)
The biopsychosocial model considers biological, psychological, and social factors that may impact treatment and RTS. Pain is experienced by the person. Past experiences, fear of movement, expectations for care and RTS, and emotions all impact the pain experience. This is why predicting a timeframe for RTS can be so difficult. 

Recall in a previous post that gradual and progressive overload is a key principle of training. This principle applies here too.

What is the Health Practitioner’s Role?

Using the above framework, clinicians can help determine readiness for RTS. In addition to treating and monitoring injury recovery, Chiropractors may use functional tests that challenge physical ability, including capacity to react and make decisions while fatigued. These functional tests are designed to replicate the sport experience. Psychosocial readiness should also be assessed. Talk to a practitioner you trust for more information.


Ardern et al. (2016). 2016 Consensus on return to sport from the First World Congress in Sports Physical Therapy, Bern. Br J Sports Med., 50(14)
<![CDATA[My conversation with with Dr. Ashley Miller about youth anxiety & depression.]]>Fri, 04 Jan 2019 19:46:34 GMThttp://ryantakagi.com/blog--podcast/my-conversation-with-with-dr-ashley-miller-about-youth-anxiety-depression
0:30 Introduction
1:45 Meaghan Stratford
2:08 Dr. Ashley Miller
3:40 Defining anxiety
  • “Anxiety is not pathological. Anxiety is normal. We need anxiety to survive.”
4:32 Body alarm analogy for anxiety
5:58 Defining depression
7:05 Differences in diagnosis of anxiety and depression between kids and adults
8:40 Physical symptoms in anxiety
9:35 Causes of anxiety
  • “Belonging to a group and doing well in school are the two big things that matter to school-aged kids”
10:49 Transition points where anxiety may be more common
11:45 Common causes of depression
13:24 Role of lifestyle factors (sleep & physical activity)
  • “Most of our kids are chronically sleep deprived.”
15:26 Participaction report16:20 Social media influence
  • “There is such pressure to be available all the time.”
17:30 Recognizing anxiety and depression in your kids
19:49 Other than parents, who recognizes a change in a child’s behaviour
21:21 Resources for friends
22:03 Management options for anxiety
25:25 Management options for depression
Dealing with Depression (http://dwdonline.ca)29:35 Questions from the crew
  • What age does anxiety become most noticeable in youth?
  • Do kids grow out of their anxiety?
  • Has there been a noticeable increase in anxiety with more screen time?
  • Is mindfulness and meditation something and offered and encouraged among youth?
  • Dr.Vo - Mindfulness for Teens
  • Kelty Mental Health
  • When diagnosing anxiety, what is the process of deciding if the patient should go on medication?
  • Can you recognize depression in children at the very early stages in life?
35:03 Concluding thoughts
<![CDATA[Principles of Athletic Training]]>Thu, 03 Jan 2019 18:49:28 GMThttp://ryantakagi.com/blog--podcast/principles-of-athletic-training


  • Is the exercise environment safe?
  • Do the participants know what they are getting themselves into?
  • Risk for injury can be reduced when individuals understand both how an activity should feel, and the proper technique behind a movement.
  • Research and talking to experts can be beneficial.

Progressive Overload

  • The body is good at gradually adapting to increased stresses and loads. These stresses need to be progressively increased over time.
  • A one time overload, such as a 60 minute run, following inactivity has the potential to cause injury.
  • To gain strength and endurance, muscles need to be progressively and consistently loaded beyond what is normal.


  • If the goal is to run a 4 minute mile, training on the rowing machine will probably not produce the desired results.
  • Adaptations to the body are specific to the type of activity performed.
  • Therefore, the goal of the individual should determine the type of activity performed.
  • It should be noted that while some activities may not provide the greatest benefits, they may provide complimentary benefits. For example, endurance training on the rowing machine will translate some benefits to endurance running.


  • We are not all built the same, therefore a great program for one is not necessarily a great program for all.
  • Individuals can have markedly different needs, and respond differently to the same training bout.
  • The ability to identify areas in need of development is a great asset for both individuals and coaches.


  • Consistently training hard -- at high intensities with large volumes -- can result in maladaptations.
  • It is important to cycle through periods of high intensity and periods of low intensity.
  • The body needs time to recover and rebuilt itself.


  • Unfortunately, when a training program is reduced or stopped, the recent improvements made are reversed.
  • Fitness reaches a level that meets the daily demand.
  • Elite athletes who demand 15+ workouts per week from their body reach high levels of fitness.

Minimal Stress

  • Often, individuals train close to their physiological limits during exercise sessions.
  • A good training program considers all aspects of life, and allows time away from exercise, or encourages less stressful exercise sessions when needed.
<![CDATA[Health]]>Thu, 03 Jan 2019 04:25:42 GMThttp://ryantakagi.com/blog--podcast/health

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." ~ World Health Organization (WHO)
"Health is ... seen as a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities " ~ The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion
“The fundamental conditions and resources for health are: peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable eco-system, sustainable resources, social justice, and equity. Improvement in health requires a secure foundation in these basic prerequisites.” ~ The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion

Health Promotion

"Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment." ~The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion

Health Education

"Health education is any combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes." ~WHO
Health education plays a large role in equity and empowerment (Green, 2008):
  • It facilitates the development of values and skills required for people to make healthy decisions and take action.
  • It seeks to make individuals and communities aware of the need for policies in support of health and health choices.
  • Health education needs to be directed towards not only individuals and communities, but also decision makers, those who are in a position to create change.