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  1. Welcome To The Beginning Of The Season, Now Be Careful! How's that for a backhanded invitation? I know that many of you are on the verge of digging out of the drifts and getting on the course for the first time this year. You will have a great time! Your swing may be winter-rusty, but who cares, you are finally playing golf. For some of you, opening weekend at the course means 18, or maybe 36 holes a day. Your brain is fiending for more and more golf. Give it what it wants. Winter really sucked this year! Then on Monday, you'd get out of bed and hope to ditch work and play again, but that whole move-the-body-thing isn't working so well. You ran your golf engine in the red too soon. No gentile warm-up; no smooth transition from couch-time to golf-time. Nope, you played with the gusto of youth, and now you are feeling the no es bueno of your enthusiasm. Basically, you are in a place of pain because your body wasn't ready and isn't recovering quickly. What if you had a tool that could help you recover from physical activities faster, perhaps getting to a place of fitness where you avoid the pain in the first place? What if that tool involved electrical stimulation? “Have You Heard of Marc Pro?” That paraphrases an email that came into my inbox a while back. To paraphrase my reply, “no, what's that?” (My mastery of dialog is strong! I really should be working on a screenplay...) From the Marc Pro site: The Marc Pro is intended for muscle conditioning by stimulating muscle in order to improve or facilitate muscle performance. The Marc Pro is not intended to be used for therapy or treatment of medical diseases or medical conditions. I had heard about TENS machines before, and had a vague idea about how they use electricity to get rid of muscle fatigue. The Marc Pro sounded a bit like that, but muscle conditioning and facilitate muscle performance sounded like something more. So I took them up on the offer to try one out as a part of my fitness project. Anything that can help me boost my muscle performance, especially after sessions of weighted lunges, or extended golf weekends, is definitely something I am interested in trying. The fact that there is a whole page about the Marc Pro and the golfer on their site definitely added to my interest. Using The Marc Pro For anything to be useful to me, it needs to be easy. The Marc Pro fits that description. Basically, you attach the electrodes to the unit, and to your targeted muscle group, and then you turn on the Marc Pro and let the muscles begin their little dance. The Pro's of The Marc Pro Design Small Lightweight Simple controls for intensity and time Large, easy to read display Excellent instruction book Fully functional carrying case It really is easy to set up. You have two different channels that you hook up to two pairs of electrodes. You then place the electrodes on the muscles you want to work. Here are two of the pages showing the pairings I have used most often: Once attached, you dial up the intensity as high as you can tolerate, set the timer (usually 30 min for me) and then let the Marc Pro do its work. If you find that the contractions are not really hitting the muscle that you are targeting, just move the electrodes a bit. You can tell when you hit the sweet spot. What does it look like in action? Check out this video that I shot. Ignore my random hairiness and winter tan. I think that it is cool to watch the Marc Pro in action, though the wife does make me cover up my legs with a blanket if we are watching TV together while I'm hooked to the unit. You can follow THIS LINK to see a whole bunch of electrode placement options on some very fit models What is the Marc Pro Doing? First, let's look at the “from the company” info. From the Marc Pro site: The basis for post exercise recovery is the normalization of tissue through the movement of nourishment and waste. Marc Pro is specifically designed and excels at this particular task. The Marc Pro muscle conditioning device creates unique, strong, but completely non-fatiguing muscle contractions that set off a cascading series of physiologic events. We call this a Muscle Activated Recovery Cascade, or “MARC™” for short. The process begins with the activation of Nitric Oxide (NO), which dilates blood vessels and leads to increased flow delivering more oxygenated blood and nutrients to the area. The lymphatic and venous systems also require and benefit from localized muscle activity. Because of this, using the Marc Pro after physical activity helps move the related waste and deoxygenated blood away from the fatigued area(s). This exchange of nourishment and waste, without stress or fatigue, accelerates the recovery of the muscle. OK, so the Marc Pro causes the muscles to pump, increasing circulation to and from the muscle. This brings in O2 and removes “waste” and thus accelerates muscle recovery. Basically, circulation is enhanced, so recovery is enhanced. Does the electrical stimulation build muscle? Again, from the Marc Pro site: There are many EMS products that claim to create “six pack abs” or “explosive strength” while sitting on the couch, but these claims do not match the philosophy or beliefs of Marc Pro and the data given to support these claims is highly questionable. Additionally, those who have tried such methods report that the attempt can be extremely painful. The experts at Marc Pro have more than thirty years in the electrical stimulation industry and our consultant team has been involved in the fitness and strength industry even longer. With all of our combined experience, we have never seen real and/or practical evidence of muscle building while sitting on the couch. Marc Pro is not designed to build muscle on its own. The fact that we don't even attempt to do so allowed us to greatly alter our root technology to focus and be more ideal in the movement of nourishment and waste; the keys to recovery and conditioning. With that said, by decreasing the downtime between workouts training can occur more frequently. By being more fully recovered for your next workout your training can be more effective. And by conditioning with Marc Pro your muscles can do more before breaking down. All of this allows Marc Pro to significantly increase the benefits of your existing workouts. A recent study indicated that using Marc Pro during recovery enhances the effects of resistance exercise by increasing muscle strength while decreasing the feelings of muscle fatigue. That was a direct cut-and-paste from the Marc Pro site, but I think that it's an important concept for the unit. The Marc Pro is not intended to be like one of those infomercial belts that gives you abs without exercise. No free ride there. Using the Marc Pro will not build muscle, but it will help you to recover more effectively. That means that when you hit the gym the next time, your muscles are in better shape, thus you can workout more. That should lead to more muscle, but you do still need to go to the gym. You can read more of their exercise science material HERE What Did I Notice? OK so my living room is not equipped to measure nitric oxide, or angiogenesis, but it is able to measure my level of soreness. Some days after training, or maybe a day or two after training, my legs are so blasted that I walk like a gunfighter around the house. Playing golf has traditionally led to soreness in my left lower back (poor left hip range of motion). That spot has gone from sore to screaming twice in the past. Now when it gets sore, its iced and no-golfed immediately. So, I used the Marc Pro to hit the low back, quads, hamstrings, and calves, usually pairing quads with one of the other three for the 30 minute sessions. Does it do what it claims? Again, I don't have objective evidence, but the subjective scoring indicates that this thing is the real deal. When I have been sore, using the Marc Pro decreases the duration of the soreness, both in the legs and in the back. The contractions in the small muscles of the back are not as dynamic as the quad contractions, but they seem to be working. I'll keep using the Marc Pro, and not just because watching the muscle jump is cool. It is cool though. I see the Marc Pro usage as another component of a good fitness plan, golf or otherwise. I am hoping to play a lot this season. If the Marc Pro speeds up recovery time even a small percentage, that's time I can spend on the course. Cost The Marc Pro unit is a pricy $649.95. You can get 12 payments of $54.16 and it comes with a money back guarantee. Dropping the $650 may be tough all at once, but the payment play makes it about $2 a day. I know that is the kind of thinking that makes us all buy expensive things on payments, but the difference here is that using the Marc Pro could lead to playing more golf. I would gladly pay $2 per day to play more golf, and to not be as fatigued after playing. Final Thoughts I wish that I could give you some hard facts about the physical improvements from using the Marc Pro. The studies on their site provide some of that stuff; I just like to be able to do that myself. This is just a situation where I can't give you a definitive fact set. Do I think that it does what they say? Yes Does my soreness go away after using the unit? Yes Am I more rested and ready for my next round or training session? I think so Will I continue using the Marc Pro even now that the review is over? YES! The real test will come later this spring and summer when I hit my two-rounds-a-week pace. If I make it through August without a back spasm and lock up, that will be fantastic. Will I then give total credit to the Marc Pro? Probably not entirely, but it will have likely played a role. The Marc Pro science looks good, and it seems to be doing what they claim. All I can tell you is that I'm definitely continuing to use it and that I'll keep you posted. Read more about the Marc Pro at their site: HERE
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