High-performing athletes who want to gain a competitive edge are increasingly turning to the human performance experts at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute. This highly trained team of sports biomechanists, strength and conditioning specialists, exercise physiologists and sports dietitians uses performance testing and counseling to analyze and improve athletes’ biomechanics, training regimens and nutritional practices, and thus their athletic performance.
Take for instance, the 140-pound high school soccer player who had never lifted weights in his life. After working with one of the Institute’s strength and conditioning specialists following surgery to repair a torn ACL, he now dead lifts 255 pounds. He has returned to play with his club team, stronger than ever.
Consider, too, the cross-country runner complaining of knee problems. After undergoing a gait analysis at the Institute and working with a sports biomechanist, she increased her hip strength to eliminate knee pain and improve her performance.
Then there’s the runner who posted his personal best after following the water intake plan suggested by one of the Institute’s sports dietitians.
“For high-performing athletes trying to maximize their ability, the devil is in the details,” says Charlie Gremillion, a strength and conditioning specialist with the Institute, who holds certification from the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.
“For maximum performance and injury prevention, the little things become a lot more important, such as technique in the weight room, proper nutrition, what you do during practice and how you sprint, cut, jump and land.”
Training More Efficiently
The Institute offers a comprehensive suite of performance tests, including sport-specific packages that can optimize training and athletic achievements.
For field sport athletes, the VO2 max test helps set heart rate zones and tracks changes in fitness over time. For cross-country athletes and those who run consistently, the lactate profile test uses a scientific approach to set pace and heart rate zones for improved training and competition.
Other tests measure body composition analysis, resting metabolic rate and calories used when running or cycling. These tests assist the Institute’s sports dietitians in developing personalized nutritional plans essential for peak performance.
The Institute’s strength and conditioning specialists focus on fine-tuning technique to help prevent injury and move athletes to higher performance levels. Instruction is generally in a one-on-one environment, though the Institute collaborates with club and school teams to provide them with access to this high-level expertise at a minimal cost to members.
An often-overlooked component of improved sports performance is proper nutrition. Eating the right foods at the right times plays a critical role in providing strength, endurance and speed.
“You can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” says Brian Duncan, director of human performance for the Institute.
“We teach the athlete the basic concepts of sports nutrition and how to apply that to their daily training,” says Brett Singer, one of the Institute’s sports dietitians. "We also map out a guide for athletes on how to structure their meals throughout the day, discuss the importance of recovery and how to maximize the results from workouts through best dietary practices.”
With smart counseling from the Institute’s sports dietitians, school wrestlers and rowers have successfully reached specific weight classes in a healthy way. Cross-country runners and swimmers have gained more energy to go the distance.
Singer is particularly astute in designing pregame meals to maximize energy while minimizing the risk of upset stomach related to the combination of poor food choices and pregame jitters.
Being Your Best
When you’re ready to up your game and be your best, visit one of the Institute’s three locations in the Texas Medical Center, The Woodlands and Memorial City or the IRONMAN Performance Lab on Westheimer Road at Shepherd Drive.
Learn more about the human performance testing and improvement services »