Firestorm Competition Team

From Edward Chang: A Gift Of One Perspective

Those who are part of a Parkour Competition Team require more recovery and proper care of their bodies than the average person.

I will present some of my understandings from my years in the medical and performing arts fields. Be aware that all information provided should not be misconstrued as medical advice in any way shape or form.


First and Foremost: Nutrition and Sleep


Macronutrients are nutrients that the body needs in varying amounts, and they include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Of the three macronutrients, protein is the most important for maintaining a healthy body.

Protein is essential for building and repairing myocyte, also called muscle tissue, and it can also be used for energy if needed. Most people need about 0.8 grams per kg of body weight (0.36 grams of protein per pound). You can get protein from both animal and plant sources. Animal sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

The FDA also recommends that people consume between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates per day. This amount can be adjusted based on your activity level and whether they are trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight. Carbohydrates are the body’s major source of energy and are essential for proper metabolism. They can be found in foods like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. Consuming too few carbohydrates can lead to fatigue and low blood sugar levels.

Now, there has been a bad rap with carbohydrates. So let me clear the air. Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Carbohydrates usually can be ranked by their glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream. High-glycemic foods are broken down quickly, while low-glycemic foods are broken down more slowly. Generally, we want to consume as much low-glycemic foods as possible to keep blood sugar levels controlled at a steady rate. Consuming high-glycemic foods regularly can lead to diabetes when the body can no longer adjust to spikes of blood sugar levels.

High-glycemic foods in general include anything with highly processed sugars such as the added sugars you find on nutrition labels. White flour based products are also considered high glycemic as well as white rice. Low-glycemic foods are general contained in whole grain foods, quinoa, and brown rice. You may look up the glycemic index of different foods online. Each of them will be slightly different but you can get a general idea of how they rank better by looking at multiple sources.

As for fat, if you're worried about getting enough fat in your diet, don't be. You'll probably get enough from the proteins you eat. Just avoid transitional fats as they have been linked with cardiovascular diseases.

The same could be said to avoid red meats and highly refined and preserved foods for other health related reasons that you are more than welcome to look into. But honestly, I haven’t got the time to go over the complexities of each one.

Counting Calories

I generally don't recommend counting your macronutrients. It is rather impractical to keep track of every day and I would rather enjoy eating than stress out about it unless you are going for physique.

It is more prudent to count macronutrients for one week. Make slight adjustments for a month. Calculate again for a week and keep going until you feel there are diminishing returns. Yes, this means ignore the daily recommendations. They are recommendations. Every body is different and it is unlikely that everyone will peak at the same levels.

Please do not try to go on a full on diet right off the bat. The body does take time to adjust to any changes to dietary intake. Going cold turkey to any change can cause unnecessary pressure for the body in terms of balancing homeostasis mentally and physically. I could say the same of increasing training loads. You don’t want to go from 1 hour of training a week to 6 straight up. That is just mental. Change your diet slowly and steadily, letting your body get used to gradual adjustments.

Before and After Training

Before training, it is best to have consumed some small portion of protein of about 10-20 grams. You may also consume some complex sugars as well. This should provide adequate fuel by the time it comes round to training. Don’t eat a full on meal. Just a snack.

After training, make sure to get in some small portion of simple sugars during or immediately after training. And then consume a decent quantity of proteins after. You will need the simple sugars because the body is starving for energy at those times. It will allow the body to have some form of energy right away to prevent myogenesis. Basically, the consumption of muscle tissue for energy. This will also help the body gain time to initiate reactions for lipogenesis, consumption of fat.


People need around eight hours of sleep per night. Regardless of what you may have heard, you will need 90 minutes REM which takes 8 hours. Sleep is important for recovery because it allows the body to repair itself and to recharge its energy stores. It also helps to clear the mind and to consolidate memories. Without enough sleep, people can become irritable, have difficulty concentrating, and may even start to experience hallucinations. I have known people to start having symptoms of their bodies shutting down due to lack of REM putting them at risk of hospitalization. Sleep is probably more important than your actual training.


Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is the most recommended way for financially tight individuals to assist with recovery and injury prevention. However, foam rolling incorrectly or unsafely can result in just as many problems as you are trying to resolve long term.

With foam rolling always make sure to hold proper posture. You are not trying to teach the muscles to relax in a flaccid posture. You want muscles relaxed with an active position. The muscles that are tight happened while you were being active. Not while you were sleeping in bed. I find it wholly unnecessary to condition muscles to relax when you are sleeping.

Also, never ever foam roll over the spine. The spine is the most delicate and intricate structure apart from the neck. Trying to adjust, manipulate, or apply force to the spine without understanding the anatomy can result in serious complications. Even trained professionals can make mistakes when it comes to spinal adjustments, manipulations, and force application.

If you need some videos on where to foam roll and how to foam roll you can check out the following YouTube channels.

Massage Therapy

Massage is great for therapeutic purposes only. Remember that massage therapists are not considered medical professionals, so all conjectures made during therapy should not be considered as medical advice.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is practiced by the medical community. It is based on scientifically suggested techniques and methods. Practices can include but not limited to physical therapists, doctors of osteopathy, and chiropractors.

You can think of manual therapy as extremely advanced massage therapy without oils, lotions, or creams. It is basically massage that does not target imaginary knots, lactic acid buildup, or other myofascial dysfunctional claims. Instead, it is aimed at carefully controlled reconditioning of muscle tissue to relive biomechanical forces based on biophysical principles. It takes years of study and a great understanding of not only anatomy but biochemistry, physics, pharmacology, and other related subjects.

Cautionary Note

Note that despite myofascial manipulation techniques(massage techniques) being widely used in the medical community, it is not heavily understood or well researched. The community has a proposed mechanism and theory based on other findings that have sound research and evidence behind it. So please do your own critical thinking and research to come to your own conclusions.

I know that is so contradictory to what I stated earlier in terms of using myofascial manipulation techniques to help with recovery. Think about this. Old medical sciences, like Traditional Chinese Medicine, are based on anecdotal evidence without scientific rigor. It works because there has been enough accumulation of anecdotal evidence. Some of old medical theory is defiantly nonsense now because they have been debunked though scientific research and advancement in human reasoning. A perfect example is bloodletting. We definitely don’t believe that if you have the flu we should drain your blood because it’s gone bad. Or do you, I have no idea. Western medicine is a system that requires time, effort, and money to conduct sound research to identify sound reasoning to explain the phenomena of the world around us. This takes a very long time. So you may think of myofascial release techniques as anecdotal tradition that works for now that most believe works but is still waiting to be processed to be formally supported with reasoned thought.


Scientific Rigor in Research and Marketing Fads

When it comes to marketing fads, they are abundant. They litter the pseudo science community and seep into the scientific community all the time. It is prudent to be careful about these fads. This has included claims based on Himalayan sea salt, aromatherapy, Epson salt baths, astrological signs, ice baths, cryotherapy clinics, and more.

There are some ways to prevent giving into pseudo sciences. Or basically, claims that are based on scientific reasoning but not on research.

Placebo effect

It is one of the most powerful and influential effects that can be applied to any human condition. The placebo effect is when you believe something is truly affecting you when in reality there is nothing happening. Many studies will implement the placebo effect to measure if a medication or treatment is actually working. For example, there is a medication that is being given for arthritis. One group is being given the actual drug while the other is being given a sugar pill. Neither group are told about which one they are receiving. If the study compares the two groups and find that the group taking the sugar pills are reporting feeling just as well as the group taking the medication, the medication would be deemed as not effective.

If a study does not contain a control for the placebo effect, it is likely the study is trying to manipulate variable in favor of a specific outcome.


Always be on the lookout for studies that do not have randomized participants. If a study indicates all participants are girls, or all participants are boys, or all are physiology majors, etcetera then their maybe implied bias in their study. For example, a study is being conducted to see if a new shoe that Nike has put out is going to increase jump distance. One half of their participants are girls and the other half are boys. They give the new shoes to the boys and an older model shoe to the girls. I don’t really feel like that would fairly represent if the shoes would be better.

Sample Size

Always make sure the amount of participants in the study is rather large. 1 person is not likely to represent everyone on earth. The same can be said of 5. In statistics, the magical number that has been decided is 30.This is the number that has been decided given that we can’t take a large enough sample of the population to participate in study at any given time. As I am not part of the statistical community of scientists I have no clue or understanding how this number came to be. But you are more than welcome to look it up.

Physical Therapy The Number One Choice

If you ever get injured the chances are you will be sent to a physical therapist if you opt out of medication. They are the most researched and supported method by far for treatment of any myofascial related issues. There job is to train you to move functionally. Or in other words controlled movement in various unstable conditions and environments with varying levels of agility and speed. It is also the number one reason across all medical clinics for people coming in with myofascial dysfunctions. However, remember they will only help you to the point of no pain with full range of motion. They will not help with prevention of returning back to their offices. In general, most medical professionals will not treat unless broken.

If you have no pain and full ROM the recommendation of some physical therapists will be to undergo functional training for prevention purposes. This means continual training to control your movements with full engagement of upper kinetic and lower kinetic chains.

Kinetic Chain Checkpoints

In order to explain kinetic chains, there is some anatomy that you do need to know and understand. It would obviously be highly impractical to try to teach anatomy though a blog. Not only that, there are so many varying levels of understanding of anatomy that it would take me years to duplicate all the research and materials I have studied and have yet to study. I have included some videos instead incase you are interested. However, in general I would recommend going to a physical therapist at least once to have them evaluate your movement postures and give you some recommendations of what to work on or find a functional trainer.

Or you can always utilize what is already on your home base. Gabe teaches an excellent calisthenics class and he can defiantly help you with a proper form for a start. From what I have observed, experienced, and heard, Coach Matt also pays particular attention to form.


Running on hard surfaces is generally not recommended. It is very hard and impacting on the joints, especially without proper running form. You may have noticed an increase in ankle and knee pains. That being said, Coach Q does make an excellent point. We will be running on concrete in reality and it is part of parkour training. I completely agree. It is the same with martial artists training on a mat with cushy pads and wide open spaces when in reality a fight can really happen anywhere where you won’t have cushy mats, you won’t get padding, you won’t have space, and you may be facing a weapon. Now preferably of course I would prefer to run away as fast as humanly possible. So I like to train for a fight in various situations and make sure I can run away like heck.

To prevent injury with training, I would highly recommend making sure you grab the floor with your feet. Grip it like you mean it. That should prevent the majority of injuries, but it is very hard to do at the same time that you are running and it is easy to forget. I forget all the time and I have flat feet so you would think I should no better. Nope, we are all human. I am just as likely to have poor mechanics as the rest of you.

In terms of running mechanics there is a debate about toes to heel or heels to toe. So, I can’t give you a definite on that. However, what I usually do is heel to toe with my foot rolling outward, then inward toward the big toe just like how you walk. I make sure to engage the hamstrings and fully extend the hamstrings. That is if I am not pressed for time. If I am pressed for time I am going with just make sure to grab the floor with my feet and forget it.

As you can tell, I know a lot but am also a very practical person.


One of the most common mistakes we see in health care is that people stretch without strength. This means can you hold tension and create force in the stretched position. Being flexible but not having the postural muscles to hold that position can lead to sprains due to the tendons being unstable. Tendons become unstable because they have been stretched instead of the muscle. To prevent stretching the tendons instead of the muscles, ensure you engage the muscles you are stretching.


Another important piece of training within Firestorm curriculum. I completely agree that it should be there as it is part of the posture for advanced movements when you get into mostly blue rank and above for allot of the classes at Firestorm.

However, some of us lack the ability to get to a bridge from table top. This can be very dangerous as it indicates to me you don’t have the strength and flexibility together to be entirely stable. This can put undue strain on the joints.

Remember that flexibility or hyper flexibility without strength this a recipe for a disaster.


Extra: Communication

I have noticed this with the competition team. We tend to bein our own space when we are training. There seems to be a lack of spirit to help each other out. For example, when we are all told to go balance on a rail while parents night out was occurring there was a lack of moving and sharing a space. I felt it would be nice to have each other call out spaces and help their teammates find a space. Also, when teammates are struggling with skills try to encourage and hep them instead of starting and not saying or doing anything. When practicing freestyle please don’t just call out the space you need but have others call it out as well and make room for you. In theater we commonly use parroting to make sure everyone is on  the same page such as “10 minutes till places” will be called out by the director and the cast is expected to call back “thank you 10”. Now I know it is very hard to openly communicate. I have struggled all my life because I had child hood traumas that make me a very silent person that doesn’t like to interfere or raise my voice. I am working on it day by day. But as a team I feel like we need to be way more strict on communication to make sure we truly come though as a team. I mean I feel like we should be the team that everyone wants to join. But that is just me.


Final Note:

Please remember that all that has been noted here is just my interpretation from my experiences. You are more than welcome to completely disagree with me. I expect you to. You have to make your own decisions in life. What will work for me may not work for you. You experiences may tell you a different answer than mines. Different people interpret different experiences differently. My job, my only job, is to do me and share who I am in hope that it may help you discover who you are and who you need to be. If you believe everything I say here to be complete and absolute trash go ahead. I want you to question me. How can I grow if you don’t? How can we grow if we don’t challenge each other? All I ask is that we communicate.

If you have any questions or concerns let me know before or after training. I usually will be around an hour before training.

Edward Chang

Creative Director

Maya Angelou Research

Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist who worked tirelessly to promote equality and opportunity for all. She is best known for her work as a writer and poet, but she also played an important role in the civil rights movement. Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1928, and she grew up in Arkansas. She experienced firsthand the racism and bigotry that were prevalent in the South during this time. In 1951, she moved to San Francisco, where she became involved in the civil rights movement. She worked with other activists to protest segregation and discrimination. Angelou was also active in the women's rights movement, and she helped to create opportunities for women of color. Her work has inspired millions of people around the world, and she continues to be an important voice for social justice.

Her first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, made her an international literary figure and helped start her impressive career as a writer, speaker, and film producer.

She is best known for her autobiographical works, which detail her upbringing in the American South during the 1930s and 1940s. Angelou's work is widely acclaimed for its honesty and insight into the human experience.

Throughout her life, she received numerous awards and honors for her writing and activism, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

My interpretation of Maya is that she was very renaissance creative. She dabbled in many art forms, from dance, song, and writing, and even film and television production. She was very true to herself and was honest about how she felt showing it through her actions. I felt that she represents a great role model for those creatives that are looking to be true and honest with themselves.

Would she be a great role model for me? I am not quite so sure. I have not established an emotional connection. I have many role models from my past and I find that each role model has something to give, but each role model cannot truly embody who I am. That is my job. My big take away from her life is that I can be comfortable that someone has made a career being a Renaissance creative. It plagues my mind less and less that I have made the wrong decision to dabble in so many arts. But it still does plague me none the less. How much I have gone through because of my troubled past - medical arts, theater arts, performing arts, liberal arts, martial arts, digital arts, film and production, software engineering. I have learned so much from understanding so many disciplines that I feel like a lost bird. Again, it is a great comfort that Maya Angelou has come before me and followed her heart. Like the majestic birds, or aves, as we biologists call them, I explore the world with speed, grace, and beauty with marginally less regret than before.

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