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Shelley Harper

Shelley graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012 majoring in Integrative Biology and is currently applying to nursing school. She competed on the women’s swim team at Cal and contributed to three NCAA Championship team titles in her four years. Shelley’s interest in exercise physiology was sparked after discovering connections between the materials learned in her anatomy lab and her athletic endeavors. It is her goal to share this knowledge and inspire other athletes to make these connections to help them reach their personal goals. After finishing her swimming career in 2012, Shelley is now a triathlete utilizing her background in exercise physiology to aid this athletic transition.
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Recent Posts

The Importance of Ankle Flexibility for Athletes

Posted by Shelley Harper on Jul 22, 2014 5:25:00 PM

 

An athlete puts hard work in everyday to train their body to perform at the highest level. Ideally the body works as one connected system, however different strains and muscle imbalances can prevent this network flow. Ankle flexibility, while maybe not on your current priority list in terms of training and rehab, is very important to this connected system and thus important for success in sport. From squats in weight lifting to underwater kicks in swimming, ankle mobility and flexibility can increase your force production and improve performance. This post will review why ankle flexibility is so important and provide you will quick and easy ways to improve your ankle mobility.

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Topics: Performance Trends

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and their Impact on Athlete Performance

Posted by Shelley Harper on Jun 19, 2014 8:14:00 AM

Have you ever heard someone talking about how great omega-3s are for your body? Have you seen fish oil and other supplements boasting omega-3 nutritional benefits? I have and because of these claims I made sure to incorporate these fatty acids in my diet throughout college. Looking back, I realized that I didn’t know exactly why I was so adamant about making sure I got in my omega-3s. Back then, I had not done any research on the topic and relied on others claims to fuel my salmon and flax seed consumption. That was the past, and now I have done the appropriate research and am ready to explain to you why you should consume omega-3s and how these fatty acids can improve your athletic performance.

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Topics: Nutrition

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Athletes

Posted by Shelley Harper on May 22, 2014 8:31:00 AM

Massage therapy is the manipulation of the body’s soft tissue and has many benefits for athletes and non-athletes alike. When used correctly, this mechanical pressure can help improve performance, accelerate recovery, and increase overall well-being. In this post, I will explore the benefits that massage can yield and quickly outline different types of therapy.

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Topics: Performance Trends

Eat Breakfast. It will keep you lean, happy and performing well.

Posted by Shelley Harper on May 15, 2014 9:15:00 AM

 

We’ve all heard it: “Eat your breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day!” A breakfast-lover myself, I never understood why someone would skip this nutritious and delicious meal. But then I entered college and experienced the rushed mornings that make it harder (not impossible) to prepare and eat a well-balanced breakfast. Athlete nutrition is not only about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but also about fueling the body for intense training sessions, competition and proper recovery. This post is aimed at reminding athletes that one of the easiest ways to keep their mind and body healthy is to start the day with a healthy breakfast. The benefit to eating breakfast outweighs any perceived reason not to. With a little planning and mindfulness about your morning fuel source, you will be on your way to replenishing glycogen stores, improving your weight management and enhancing your concentration and cognition. If you’re already a breakfast champion, read on to find out what professional athletes are eating in the A.M. to see how you compare!

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Topics: Nutrition

Coconut Water: Is it worth the craze?

Posted by Shelley Harper on May 1, 2014 8:19:00 AM

Coconut water has increased in popularity among athletes in recent years. From post workout rehydration to a quenching beverage on a warm afternoon, coconut water sales have doubled since 2011. Popular brands such as Vita Coco® and Zico® sell their water through slogans like “Natural OOMPH” and their emphasis on the drinks’ pure and natural nature. It also helps that pop culture magazines blow up celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian buying Vita Coco® at the store. Whatever the reason for this newest craze, there is no doubt that coconut water has something to offer elite athletes if mixed in their daily hydration routine.

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Topics: Nutrition

The Importance of Nutrition in Injury Recovery | BridgeAthletic

Posted by Shelley Harper on Apr 24, 2014 8:26:00 AM

Injuries are an inevitable part of athletics. From a mild sprained ankle to invasive shoulder surgery, recovering from these injuries quickly while minimizing fitness loss is a common goal among athletes. There are many strategies to help alleviate the detrimental effects of injury including rehabilitation exercises, rest and, what we will be discussing in this post, nutrition. This often-overlooked factor in the recovery process is important in maintaining muscle mass and overall health throughout the length of the injury and recovery processes. It’s widely known that a well maintained diet is vital to fuel an athlete and provide them with the energy for elite performance, however how does this plan change when an injury occurs? And how can altering one’s diet speed up recovery?

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Topics: Nutrition

How to use your Lactate Threshold to your Advantage in Training

Posted by Shelley Harper on Apr 3, 2014 8:56:00 AM

Throughout my collegiate swim career my coaches and trainers would often bring up the concept of “Lactate Threshold”. I would nod my head having an idea of what they were referring to, but didn’t fully understand the physiology behind this concept. After taking an Exercise Physiology class my 5th year at UC Berkeley, I finally understood this principle and learned its importance in elite level athletics. This post will explain what Lactate Threshold (LT) is and how you can use it to your advantage in training.

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Topics: Performance Trends

How Exercise Increases Cognition

Posted by Shelley Harper on Mar 13, 2014 11:42:00 AM

Most people know that working out is a great way to stay fit, healthy and happy. Additionally, and lesser known, physical activity helps increase cognition. When you exercise your heart- you exercise your brain! Previous studies involving exercise and cognition were focused on decreasing the risk of dementia in the elderly. However, with new technological advances, there is more research showing the cognitive benefits of exercise at all ages. In this post, we will explore these new advances and how they translate to the positive influence on cognition and brainpower.

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Topics: Nutrition, Performance Trends

How Alcohol Negatively Affects Recovery in Athletes

Posted by Shelley Harper on Mar 7, 2014 7:53:00 AM

 

As elite athletes, we take pride in doing everything we can to ensure personal and team success. Whether it’s lifting 5 more pounds than last week or opting out of a weeknight social event to study or sleep- the time we commit to our sport is no small feat. Most collegiate teams train 20 hours a week (the maximum amount regulated by the NCAA). That number grows to over 1000 hours per year of high intensity training. However, one common aspect that many young athletes do not consider with regard to their training is alcohol consumption. In college, our sports nutritionist told us that one night of drinking can undo an entire week’s worth of exercise.

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Topics: Nutrition