Must Visit Basketball Courts

Since I love playing ball and also enjoy a bit of travel here and there, I was pretty stoked to come across this article on cool b-ball courts around the world. Some of those courts are more impressive looking than others.

And I’m wondering how this one in Orange County CA is so empty when it’s right there by the beach?! Man, I would love to play me some ball right there by the ocean.

ocean basketball court

Of course, if you shoot wild and loose the ball, then I guess it could end up in the ocean, huh?

And how about that one in Canada? Looks pretty dope, huh? Plus, I could get me some of those maple candies when I’m done playing. Man, I love those things! That and Tim Hortons are pretty much the best things in Canada if you ask me.

canada basketball court

But my favorite out of all of them has got to be this on in Costa Rica…

costa rica basketball court

How cool does that look? And man, that view is crazy right there. Definitely makes me want to take my next vacation down there so that I can get in on this basketball court action. So far, I have only ever played in hotel parking lots and YMCA gyms when traveling. So this would totally take it to the next level for me.

Best Dunk EVER And It’s By A 5’9″ Guy!!

No ya’ll know that I love me some basketball, but what you might not know is that I am secretly obsessed with dunks. You see, this player right here is just too damn short to make that shizz happen. Or so I thought…

Today I came across what has got to be the hands down craziest dunk that I have ever seen. And what is even more crazy – and crazy impressive to a short guy like me – is that the dude making this dunk below is only 5’9″ tall!

Seriously crazy stuff man. Check it all out on the video below.

Yeah, super crazy shizz right there – dunking over someone who is sitting on someone else’s shoulders. Not sure who is crazier here – the dunker or the other two dudes.

Check out this other pic of the action:

Yeah, that’s crazy awesome right there.

Don’t Eat Before Swimming – Fact or Fiction?

swimming

Is swimming within an hour after a meal dangerous? Will it divert blood flow from your stomach to your muscles and cause cramps?

The answer is no! This has been a popular myth quite related to and as popular as the “don’t exercise after eating” myth. These are notorious not because many people believe them but because they are based on false, unproven science.

This myth started in Cuba, where parents tell their kids not to swim right after eating because swimming with a full stomach can lead to cramping. But medical experts have weighed in on this issue, and most of them have nothing to say about it. Yes, they say it’s not dangerous.

What made this myth popular?

According to its proponents, when you eat, much of blood circulation is diverted to your digestive system, particularly your stomach and small intestine. So supposedly your gut is busy receiving more blood after eating, and you should not do anything that demands blood flow during this period.

Exercise, like swimming, is a demanding activity that prompts your muscles to demand more blood flow. So when you exercise after eating, you divert blood flow from your stomach, and this allegedly creates a sort of an imbalance between the blood received by your stomach and your muscles. According to the myth mongerers, cramps ensue because the muscles receive less blood than necessary. This could even lead to drowning.

However, when you look at the data of people swimming after a major meal, you wouldn’t find documentation of drowning due to a full stomach. There is no significant difference between cases of cramping among swimmers who didn’t eat before swimming and those who did.

It seems as though the people who promoted the myth were misled by cases of swimmers who suffered from cramps after eating, whereas ignoring others who headed to the waters hungry and still suffered from cramps. This is called confirmation bias. It’s when you choose evidence that goes well along with your preexisting bias.

Fact is that there is no scientific evidence that links cramps and drowning with swimming when the stomach is full. But many people don’t know this. In fact, ask anyone about it and they would tell you the prevailing myth. It’s hard to dispel myths. When someone just ate lunch and heads to the water to swim and then feels the cramps, they would most likely blame the meal beforehand. Then there goes the relaying of the myth to friends.

So should people swim after eating?

This is more of a personal question. If you like swimming after helping yourself to bagel, and bagel doesn’t make you uncomfortably full, then by all means go ahead. A lot of people just don’t head to the waters while their stomachs are full because they feel full and heavy. Health wise, there’s really nothing to worry about. Don’t even worry about your blood flow getting diverted from your stomach to your muscles. Your circulatory system is quite good at evenly distributing blood throughout your body no matter what you’re doing.

All About Interval Training

High intensity interval training is one of the most talked about fitness methods for fat loss. It’s actually a very simple type of exercise, one that involves moderate exercise alternated by short burst of intense activity. One type of interval training involves a minute of jogging broken by 20 seconds of sprinting.

You may be wondering why alternate between high intensity and moderate intensity workout when you can just go straight for high intensity? Question is, can you? The most fit people, the most experienced sprinters, for instance, can only sustain an incredible intensity on exercises for 10 minutes. For the average person, 20 or 30 seconds of an intense burst of activity will overwhelm them. For people who just started getting fit, 10 seconds may be too much.

Nonetheless, the intense burst of activity taxes the body and activates so many processes, including heightened metabolism and fat incineration. But this rapidly depletes the body of its resources, primarily fuel and oxygen. This is why interval training is coupled with low-moderate exercise in between the intense bursts. The low-moderate phase lets your body recover.

Most fitness experts agree that HIIT or high intensity interval training is much better for weight loss, especially fat loss, than conventional, steady state cardio. The cardiovascular benefits that come with HIIT are much greater than those that come with regular cardio workout. It doesn’t only train the heart and lungs to be more efficient. It also trains the muscles to handle greater physical demand. In addition, the intense burst taxes the muscles so much that it creates micro-tears in the muscle fibers, which account for greater after-burn. Meaning, you keep burning calories after your workout.

For beginners, interval training is an extreme challenge, but it is very efficient. When done properly, 15 minutes of HIIT burns more calories than 45 minutes of steady state cardio.

So how do you go about your first interval training? Here’s the thing. There is no specific set of exercises for interval workout. If you’re a runner, you can alternate between jogging and sprinting. For instance, you can jog for 1 minute and sprint for 30 seconds. You can also do bodyweight circuits. For example, you can alternate push-ups with intense mountain climbers or alternate between burpees and air squats. I like to do my HIIT workout on the elliptical following these tips, but it is up to you.

There is no specific time frame for high intensity phase and low-moderate intensity phase. Depending on your fitness level, you can spend anywhere from 10 seconds to two minutes for each phase. Beginners may have to start with short high intensity bursts (10-20 seconds) and long low intensity phases (30 seconds-1 minute).

Your safety remains extremely important. One mistake beginners do is do much more than their body has adapted for. If sprinting is too much, then don’t sprint. Instead, alternate between walking and jogging or between brisk walking and moderate running, depending on your fitness level. Start at your fitness level. Allow your muscles, joints, and tendons to gradually adapt to increasing demands.

Never sacrifice proper form! Cranking out as many push-ups as many you can in a minute is great for fitness until you sacrifice your form in the last few reps and risk rotator cuff injury.

My Fave B-ball Video

I spend a lot of time goofing on the internet when I should be doing other stuff. A lot of that time is spent messing around on YouTube watching old basketball videos and checking out shoes that I can’t be affording right now. So, I wanna share with you my current favorite basketball related video that I have found on YouTube. Maybe you done see this one already, maybe not. Either way, check it out right below here and lemme know what you think about it.

Playing basketball in unexpected places

Since my favorite thing to do in my down time is get in a little time on the court, I still try to do this when I am traveling. Granted, this is not always possible since I end up staying in hotels and most of them do not have sweet setups for playing in the back parking lot. And other times I might be traveling with only a carry-on bag and not have room to take my sneakers with me.

Traveling overseas also makes it difficult to sometimes find a place to play basketball since soccer (football) is the big sport over there. Still though, there have been a few times that I was surprised to be able to find a basketball court in a country where I was really surprised that they even knew that the sport was, much less offered me a place to play some b-ball.

Well, the country where this happened to me that I was the most surprised was actually the country of Turkey. I know, weird, right? Well, I was staying at a resort that was just outside of Bodrum, Turkey and there was actually a full-size basketball court on the property. It sounds kind of crazy right? I mean, I am not so sure that I would believe it if I had not been there myself and able to play.

Of course, the bad thing is that the summers there are super freaking hot. And, like a lot of Europe, it is hard to find places with air conditioning in Turkey. Plus, there are a lot of blackouts in the region where I was at due to an overload on the power grid. The reason that I told you all that is that I learned the hard way that getting hot and sweaty playing a little b-ball there was not very wise of me since it was hard to get cooled off once I was done. I ended up having to get in the super crowded pool to cool off, at least until the power came back on and I could relax in the air conditioning.

Still though, a crazy thing to think back on – that I actually played some basketball in Turkey with some locals. It was like being in any city in the U.S. except that the people I was playing against were wearing turbans! Craziness, eh? Good times though.

Too sick to play :(

sick day spongebobFor me, basketball is life. So for me to not be playing basketball when I have the chance, well that right there is a big freaking deal. Well, it is definitely big deal time. In fact, that time is right now, bro.

Since the last time I updated, I managed to get myself this damn flu that has been going around. I thought that I was in the clear since I had made it this far without getting sick. But nope, it caught up to me and has kicked me in the ass alright.

Man, I can’t do nothing but lay here on the couch and watch me some Spongebob. God, I love that show. Never gets old no matter how many times I’ve seen the same episode. It is the perfect thing to watch when you don’t feel too good and can’t make it out on the the court to get in some game.

At least it is cold outside and I know that if I could get out there, I would be freezing my ass off. So, that makes this whole thing feel a little bit better.

Where to get those new kicks

basketball shoesWhere do you do your shopping for new basketball shoes? I like to replace mine fairly regularly since they get so much use out on the court. Like a lot of people out there, no matter how many different shoes I try on, I always end up getting myself some sweet new nike basketball shoes. Maybe it is just an old school thing of growing up Michael Jordan was the best athlete in the world and wearing his Nike kicks.

Anyways, that brings me to the point of this – where to go shopping for the new basketball kicks? Back when I was a kid, my mom would take me to the mall and we’d hit up the Shoe Carnival store and score some decent sneakers at a usually cheap price. Of course, these days I cannot find the shoes that I want at discount shops like that.

For me, the first place that I end up going is actually the Foot Locker store at the mall. And one time I managed to score a sweet deal just by dumb luck when I was in  Dicks Sporting Goods store. Of course, if I already know the size that I’ll need and the exact style that I want, then I might just pull up the Nike website and have them shipped to my house. of course, I only do this when I am not in a hurry, otherwise I go right to the mall so that I can have them shoes right then and there.

You know what I wish? I think it would be so cool if Nike would just let you join kind of a basketball shoes subscription service to have them automatically sent to you whenever they have new ones coming out. You’d get your size and you would not have to go to the store, where they might already be out of your size.

Shopping for new kicks

basketball shoesOne area where I probably spend more money than most people in any given year is good shoes for playing basketball. And of course, Nike is where all my money goes when it comes to new basketball kicks. You know, I have actually tried to use other brands of shoes out on the court,  but I just play better when I am wearing a pair of Nikes.

Granted, it might all be in my head! lol You see, I grew up back in the day when Michael Jordan and his air jordans were the hottest thing in pro sports. And seeing Mike out their on the court in his Nikes always made me wanna do exactly the same.

All nostalgia aside, I really do think that they make the best shoes for playing basketball. I really have tried others – usually during those periods where I was short on cash and needed to save a little cash on this hobby of mine. But it really did not matter why I needed to use another brand, cause they just did not deliver the same way.

When I was a kid, my mom used to take me to the mall and we’d hit up the Shoe Carnival store to get some cheap b-ball shoes. These days, I still usually end up at the mall when it is time for a new pair of kicks. But instead of the Shoe Carnival, I head into the Foot Locker to try on the latest and greatest pair of Nike b-ball kicks.

What sucks though are those times when they are out of my size! That is really annoying and frustrating. It really makes me wish that Nike had some sort of new shoe release subscription service so that you could get them auto matically delivered to your home when there is a new style released to the market. You would not have to worry about places running out of your size any more! Of course, it would mean that you’d have to wait to get the shoes, which is lame. I love being able to walk into the shoe store and then leave that day with the shoes that I have had my eye on.

Hotels with basketball courts are awesome

Last week I ended up staying at a hotel in Columbus, Ohio that actually has a basketball court outside. How cool is that?! Okay, so let me tell you about it now. It wasn’t exactly a full size basketball court or anything like that. They just had a hoop set up down at the far end of the parking lot. It was one of those really big, long parking lots so pretty much no one was parking down at that end. Though I do wonder if those spaces by the hoop get used if the hotel is at capacity. I am only thinking about that cause there were actually lines painted for the spaces under the hoop and in the playing area. That would really suck if that is the case.

Anyways, at the end of this parking lot there are just some trees and then a tall fence behind them. So, you do not really run the risk of losing your ball out in traffic or even hitting someone’s car and getting them all pissed off about that. So, that is a pretty cool thing this hotel has got going on. Though I do wonder if they have any rules about when you can and cannot be out there using it cause it could be annoying to guests who are trying to sleep in a little or even going to bed a little early. Cause I think we all know that playing basketball results in a lot of noise from the bouncing of the ball, eh?

It was snowing when I was in Ohio, so there was no way that I would have been able to take advantage of that setup and get in a little basketball workout. Of course, even if the weather had been decent I still probably would not have been doing any playing. Why, you ask? Well, I was talking to the hotel desk employee about how cool it is that guests can play ball and he told me that you have to bring your own basketball in order to play cause the hotel does not have any basketballs that you can use. How lame is that? I mean, I guess if I was staying there a while then I could run over to Target or something and pick up a cheap basketball to use but it is still super lame that the hotel does not offer one for guests. I mean, why even mount the basketball hoop up there in the back of the parking lot if you are not going to give people a way to use it, right? But, I guess if I find myself in that part of Ohio again in the future, that I will have to stay there to get in a little b-ball.