WinSport’s new skills centre will enhance instruction in summer camps and programs

WinSport is always looking for ways it can be better than yesterday in its programming and the WinSport Skills Centre is its latest example.

WinSport's Skills Centre will open for camps and programs in July and to the public in August.
WinSport’s Skills Centre is under construction and will open for camps and program participants in July, and in August for the public. 

The skills centre, which opens July 1, is a progression-based network of cross-country (XC) and flow trails, features and loops for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities.

It’s located on the west side of Canada Olympic Park and will feature nine acres of terrain with 14 trails, which include both technical and flow trails along with two skills loops in green, blue and black levels. The Mountain Bike Skills Centre accompanies the existing downhill trail network to form WinSport Bike Park.

The skills centre will be used in WinSport’s mountain bike and summer camp programming.

Andrew Lunt, WinSport’s Manager of Sport Development, says the skills centre will allow instructors to introduce participants to certain features of the downhill trails, so they are able to take the trails with the proper skillset and confidence.

“We are using the skills centre as a progression-based area. Let’s say the kids don’t know how to take jumps or are not used to going over rocks – the skills centre is going to be used as an area where they can get used to those features and get repetitions in on practicing certain elements,” Lunt explains.

Some of the challenging features of the downhill trails are berms and jumps, which Lunt says can be practiced on in the skills centre.

“We’ll put kids through an area for however long it takes, so they can confidently ride the berm and hit the jumps – if you can do it in the skills centre, then you can do it on the downhill trails.”

Unlike the downhill trails, the skills centre allows instructors to train participants in a focused area so participants can gain confidence and improve their skills in a shorter period of time and in a safer environment.

“It allows instructors to teach skills more effectively and allows the kids to progress at their own pace where they don’t have to worry about another group whipping down behind them,” Lunt explains.

Lunt says the skills and confidence riders will gain in the skills centre extends beyond what riders can accomplish at WinSport’s Bike Park.

“When people go to West Bragg Creek, Canmore or Moose Mountain, they’ll find the same features and they’ll and be confident enough to ride them because of the repetitions they’ve had in the skills centre,” Lunt says.

For more information on the WinSport Skills Centre, visit: https://www.winsport.ca/activities/summer/bikepark.cfm

A guide to workout supplementation

By Kent Bastell, MSc, CSCS Strength and Conditioning Coach

Everyday we are bombarded with information regarding nutrition science, especially as it applies to workouts/training. Below is a guide of supplements that I take and regularly recommend to my clients.supplements

Multivitamin – Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) can be acquired by eating a balanced diet, however, I do not know too many people that eat the correct variety of foods to fulfill the requirements. Micronutrients are the foundation for almost all the body’s processes such as growth, metabolism, immune system, energy production, etc. I always recommend getting vitamins in capsule form, instead of tablet form, as the tablet is hard to digest. I personally use the Total Defense 2.0 from atplab.com.

Omega 3 (fish oil) – Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids (our bodies do not naturally produce it – we must ingest it). Omega 6 is thought to be necessary for inflammation, while omega 3 is thought to be anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s defense system, but we know that chronic inflammation can lead to many chronic disease-states. The North American diet usually sees people eat a ratio of 20:1 Omega 6 vs. Omega 3s, meaning that our diets have become pro-inflammatory. The recommended ratio is 2:1 to 4:1. Supplementing with Omega 3s can help balance this ratio. Omega 3 supplementation has been linked to improvements in cognition, brain aging, ADHD, mental illness, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular health, nerve pain, arthritis and more. I prefer to ingest fish oil in liquid form, rather than in a capsule.

Pre-workout: Caffeine – Ingesting caffeine 30 minutes before working out found an increase in physical and mental performance. One to two espresso shots, or a cup of Matcha green tea have enough caffeine to see benefits. Taking pre-workout supplements such as C4 powder or high-sugar energy drinks are typically unnecessary for most people/athletes that workout/train. Caffeine pills are likely excessive, but have been found to be effective at lower doses.

During Workout: Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) – BCAA’s are a broken-down version of a protein molecule. Think of protein as a train. It’s one big linked unit with a string of railcars attached to one another. BCAAs work as if each individual railcar was stripped of its bond and existed on its own. When we digest protein this “stripping of the bonds” occurs to utilize the nutrient. Therefore, BCAAs are more readily available to use than protein itself. Some studies have shown BCAAs have a positive effect on muscle growth and recovery, prevents muscle loss, and may increase energy in athletic performance. However, some researchers are skeptical of BCAAs stating that “as long as you are getting enough protein supplementation during the day, you should get the same effect.” I still recommend people use it to make sure they’re filling any gaps they may have.

After Workout: Protein + carb combination – Have you ever heard of chocolate milk being the best post workout drink? The reason behind this is the carbohydrate + protein combo in this drink. When we train, it stresses our body out and activates the sympathetic nervous system, which releases stress hormones. Prolonged stress in our body causes muscles to breakdown. Eating carbs helps to deactivate the sympathetic nervous system, which pulls our body away from stress. Protein availability helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis, meaning muscle recovery will be enhanced. Another example of a good post-workout meal is a banana blended into a protein shake.

Creatine: Creatine unfairly has a bad reputation. In my opinion, many of the negative results that suggest it is harmful for your liver and kidneys were cherry-picked from studies with poor methodology. There has been little to no human research to support this. Creatine is also found natural in many foods, especially meats. About 90- 95% of creatine is stored in muscles. It acts by binding to and storing phosphates, which in its final form, is called phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is used to produce a large amount energy at a fast rate. If you need to sprint away from a bear, your body will use its phosphocreatine first to give you a big initial energy burst (for about 10-15s). Benefits of creatine include increased recovery from high-intensity training, improved athletic strength and power output, and enhanced muscle recovery. No research has been done on the effects of creatine during growth, so I usually recommend people be 18 before they take it. But for a mature amateur or elite lifter, I think it’s a necessity to cycle during the year, especially during the most intense sessions/blocks.

*For any extreme changes in diet, or for people with chronic illnesses it is always recommended to consult a physician or dietician first. This article is not intended to replace the advice of these professionals.