The Official Website of Jürgen Klinsmann

Shhhh! Go to Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

Charles Czeisler is the Chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham Women's Hospital and Director of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  His methods are fundamental and have brought to light the importance of this under-appreciated aspect of an athlete's regiment.  This article responds to a Q&A with the doctor.

Here is a fun graphic of sleep tendencies between professional athletes and quick facts to help you engage with this important topic.

Finally, if you want an easy way to track your sleep patterns and identify those practices that are hindering or helping your sleep cycles, try these.  The first is a physical sleep diary that you can print out and keep notes in accordingly.  The second is an app (only for iphone, sorry android users) that can track your sleep and wake you up in real time, which is helpful for REM.  It will present you with a personalized and accurate sleep analysis.

Nutrition and Lifestyle Choices for Competitive Athletes

Princeton University (New Jersey, USA) put together this great spreadsheet on the optimal types of food, the effects of "bad" food, the importance of hydration, the effects of alcohol on performance and more.

Don't let this article define your health standards or nutritional pattern though, do your own research. They even say: "Not everyone’s plate will look exactly the same. AVOID comparing and get what your body needs. Play your game, not someone else’s." If you're trying to compete at the highest levels or maximize your health potential this isn't everything, by any means, but it's a good place to start.

Youth Sports and Education

Ann Rosewater has been a long time advocate of human rights and youth development.  During her tenure at the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) she has held positions such as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy.  She also chaired the Steering Committee on Violence Against Women and currently serves as President of the board of the Juvenile Law Center.  

This journal on youth sports is one of her more celebrated essays and explores how athletics at an early age can effect the lives of our young ones .  Scroll through her research and see how youth sports can bolster our children's development.

Mind, Body, Football

In this study from the British Medical Journal, football is proven to be not only a physically nutritious but objectively fun as well.  You don't need full squads or huge fields, the sport is dynamic enough for small groups.  This specific survey focuses on healthy men from all ages as well as (and in more depth) men with certain conditions such as prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes.  Get the numbers, get the facts right here and see what this great sport has given so many of us.

Football training also influenced elderly participants (65–75 years of age), with bone mineral density (BMD) in left and right proximal femur being, respectively, 1.1 and 1.0% higher after 4 months of training. Continuing the training for another 8 months led to further marked improvements in the elderly, reaching increases in BMD of 3.8% and 5.4% in the right and left femoral neck, respectively, as well as increases of 2.4% and 2.9% in the left and right proximal femur, respectively...
Approximately 80% of patients with T2DM are hypertensive, which nearly doubles the risk of adverse cardiovascular events. In patients with T2DM, systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reduced by 9 and 8 mm Hg, respectively, through 12 weeks of football training...
Recreational football improves left and right ventricular function and increases VO2max by 7-15% and even more in 65–75-year-old men.

Exercise, Health and Heart

Over the past 4 decades, numerous scientific reports have examined the relationships between physical activity, physical fitness, and cardiovascular health. Expert panels, convened by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the American Heart Association (AHA),1–3 along with the 1996 US Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health,4 reinforced scientific evidence linking regular physical activity to various measures of cardiovascular health. The prevailing view in these reports is that more active or fit individuals tend to develop less coronary heart disease (CHD) than their sedentary counterparts. If CHD develops in active or fit individuals, it occurs at a later age and tends to be less severe.

A Glimpse Back at Physical Education in 1903

In this excerpt from the North American Review (published 1903), D. A. Sargent describes the state of physical education in American colleges from over 100 years ago.  At times, his observations can seem rather odd - socially and politically outdated - but in his era he was a premier figure in the field of sports medicine.  An M.D. grad from Yale, director of Hemenway Gymnasium at Harvard and later a founder of his own school of physical education under his name.  It just goes to show that times change and will continue so.  With your health, keep in mind the flood of information out there but don't let it dissuade you from evidence.  If its engaging through critical thought, adopt it.

But when it shall be generally known that the object of muscular exercise is not to develop muscle only, but to increase the functional capacity of the organs of respiration, circulation and nutrition; not to gain in physical endurance merely, but to augment the working power of the brain; not to attain bodily health and beauty alone, but to break up morbid mental tendencies to dispel the gloomy shadows of despondency, and to insure serenity of spirit; when men shall have learned that much of the ill-temper, malevolence, and uncharitableness which pervade society arises from feeble health, and that the great mental and moral disturbances which sometimes threaten the stability of a government may be traced to physical causes, then will the training of the body rival in dignity and and importance the training of the mind for the interests of mind and body will be recognized as inseparable.

Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of your cardiovascular and respiratory systems to work properly while under the stress of a challenging exercise session. These systems include your blood, heart, blood vessels and lungs. As you strive to increase your cardiovascular endurance, you may be surprised at how quickly aerobic exercises improve your physical fitness level. Incorporate a variety of cardio exercises into your weekly schedule to reduce your risk of overuse injuries and to maintain your motivation.

Here is an in depth study on the long term effects of cardiovascular neglect and the potential of a healthy, active lifestyle.

Understanding Labels

Nutrition Facts

Common nutrients, such as total fat, cholesterol, and sodium, are required fields. Other nutrients, such as potassium and Vitamin K, are optional and not required to be listed. Each package must identify the quantities of specified nutrients and food constituents for one serving. It is important to note the following:

  • 1 g of fat = 9 kcal
  • 1 g of protein = 4 kcal
  • 1 g of carbohydrate = 4 kcal
  • 1 g of alcohol = 7 kcal

Serving Size

Serving sizes are standardized to make for easier comparison among similar food items. They are expressed in both common household and metric measures. It is always important to pay attention to a serving size. For instance, a serving of chocolate chip cookies is typically 2 pieces. Hence, if you eat 4 pieces, you will need to double the amount of nutrition content listed on the label.

Calories (kcal)

Calories provide a measure of how much energy you obtain after eating a portion of food. It is always important to find out the total calories. Many consumers are surprised to find that a fat-free product is not necessarily low in calories. Similarly, a sugar-free product is not always low in Calories or low in fat.

Nutrients listed

Total fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, total carbohydrate (including fiber and added sugars), protein, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron are required on the label. Other nutrients are optional and may be listed at the discretion of the manufacturer.

In addition to total calories and total fat, a few other nutrients relevant to heart health are important to pay attention to when reading a label. These include saturated fats, cholesterol and fiber. Effective Jan 2006, all labels should also include trans fatty acids.

Percent Daily Values

Percent Daily Values provide an estimate of the percentage of a nutrient from one serving in a typical 2000 kcal diet.

Daily Reference Values Footnote

This footnote reminds consumers of the daily intake of different foods depending on their own nutritional needs.