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Monday, 28 September 2009

Joslyn's blog spot - When you really shouldn't exercise!!

Sorry to brag!! But I spent the past week in Sydney and the weather was absolutely amazing. So amazing indeed that I took myself to Bondi beach each day to do the Bondi beach to Coogee beach run. Lotsa steps, and rather a few too many inclines!!

Anyway, on Wednesday morning I woke up to this:

Yes the orange hue was spread far and wide, and I was indeed scratching my head! Not being a Sydney resident I was a little bemused as to exactly what I could see before me. A forest fire sweeping the City? Was I still dreamland? A a sand-storm, of course, silly me!

Needless to say my Bondi-Coogee undulating run was not going to happen!! So instead I opted for a spot of squatting and lunging in the living room. I was horrified to hear however, that joggers did attempt to run in the dust-filled air putting themselves at great risk. Some called it dedicated, I called it pretty silly!

I have heard many an excuse for not exercising: a little over-indulgence the night before; my dog ate my running shoes and other likely stories, but putting your health at risk when trying to be healthy is not a smart option.

I doubt we will suffer any sand-storms here in Blighty, I fear the only storms will be of the rainy variety as Winter looms - super!

Have a good week!

Picture courtesy of Highranger on Flickr

Thursday, 24 September 2009

45 the new 25!

The average age of my client is about 45. Often they reminisce of when they were 25. I spoke to a gentlemen last week who is 44 and still dominating guys younger than and breaking records on the way. He is a 5time Commonwealth World Champion as well.

Here is David Morgan in action:

So no more complaining about being too old people. We'll be tacking "King Kong" soon.

The intention of training

Today I just wanted to make a very quick, very simple point about training. You've probably seen BJ's blog about 'owning' your training - 'man'-ning up as he likes to put it and taking some responsibility for what you do in your training as well as your nutrition and recovery time etc.

Well I'd like to add to that and say that if your intention in training is to work hard, perfect your technique and get the most out of every session then the progress you see will be so much faster than if you simply turned up and went through the paces, hoping that we're going to have enough good intentions for you.

Take the warm up for example. The med ball warm up sequence, including the toe taps, leg rotations, scorpions and kneeling leg rotations is a common feature of our sessions for most of our clients. In the vein that familiarity breeds contempt many of our clients could be accused of 'going through the motions' - not really giving much to the warm up, as well "it is a warm up and we do it every session so I'll just get it done as quickly as possible".
However if you were to work as hard as you could throughout the warm up - whether or not you could manage a heavier ball, you should find yourself coming out of the other side sweating up a storm, with your abs already hurting and quite puffed out. If you engage all your muscles, extend through every movement, accelerate and decelerate each movement the warm up should become a hard workout in itself. Now how many of you can say you felt that way after the warm up each time? And how much more would you be getting out of your sessions if you put that much commitment and intention into everything you do here?

Til next week.


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday - 9

Right so the last of my crazy weekends is over and thank the heavens for that! It was all getting to the point that I thought I was going to just pack in and die. Not in a metaphorically speaking sense of the word, I mean actual death arriving before the big pearly gates (hopefully at least!) As I alluded to last week I'm going to start carb cycling. This is basically a way of eating where your carb in take changes from day to day. You have a high day, medium day and a low day. If you're a real psycho you can also do a very low day!

This is good for a few reasons, namely the fact that you are (as a result of cycling your carbs) getting in a different amount of calories each day. On top of this if you put it on to an 8 day rotation or so then no 2 weeks will be the same, or at least not for a very long time. You're body has got absolutely nothing to get used to. Now the carbs should come from low GI sources, fruits and only on the high day get from pasta and rice and such.

So I'm looking forward to starting this all up again, all I have to do is work out my daily numbers and I'm good to go. The only thing is that it does take a bit more prep work, but that is the only real sacrifice. I think as far as different diets go, this is a pretty good one to follow.


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Effect your mental attitude - exercise!

Every year I try and go off on a mini holiday on my own - 3 or 4 days is enough - just to press the reset button. Over the years I've found the most effective 'reset' comes from a few days of pure activity...and interestingly enough the biggest benefit is always my mental health.

I don't go away with the specific aim of losing weight, exercising hard or working through a specific mental/emotional problem, and these mini breaks are never centered around a class of some sort, as I want to be truly alone during the day. Often I pick mountain biking and head up to Scotland with nothing more than a tent, my bike and my mobile (purely to let people know where I am and that I'm safe). What transpires throughout they day, as I'm hurtling down hills trying not to fall off my bike, sweating my way up mountain paths...and every now and then stopping to admire the that many of my niggling problems, similar to those that affect us all in life start falling into perspective. I don't actively think about them, I don't actively ignore them, they just start to work themselves out.

Exercise - especially if you are really enjoying yourself - can have this effect. You don't have to find a couple of days to get away on your own. The message in this is that fun, all consuming exercise helps to bring your body - and mind - back into balance, into a position where perspective shifts to make things more comfortable. Ultimately we are all animals, and the chemical and physiological reactions that occur through regular activity don't just benefit us physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.

Till next week.


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Responsibility and ownership continued...

Last week I had a rant of types about taking responsibility and ownership of training and your bodies. This week is somewhat of a continuation.

This weeks rant leads into discipline or Roman disciplina, which the Roman armies believed was what set them apart from all their barbarian contemporaries. It was disciplina that meant they held their shield walls together and survived against greater numbers. Disciplina carried to belief in their values and ideals.

Discipline is not only about getting your training done. It's also about all the little choices. It's about having the discipline to resist that biscuit or cookie. It's about saying no, it's about deciding to just do it as a corporate giant directs (Nike the Roman Goddess of Victory). You've heard it before
take the stairs, do your homework, avoid sugars!

You know somewhere in the depths of your grey matter what you should or shouldn't do. Have some disciplina and make the right choice!

BJ Rule

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday - 8

This week, I have mostly been thinking! I've had a less than perfect few weeks, what with birthdays and what seemed to be endless weddings.

My hardship is nearly over now but jumping on the scales I had a slight shock to say the least. Now I don't usually weigh more than certain amount, give or take a kilo but I shot up by a fair old amount. I also don't usually care what the scale reads but seeing as my training isn't really geared towards putting on weight I thought that immediate action had to be taken. Now I will be the first to admit that with the incesent amount of birthdays and weddings the food has been less than perfect and the booze has been much higher than normal. So in my mind this is a very short term thing but there was still some stuff I could do.

So I started by cutting my carbs right down. A few sandwiches had snuck their way in to my diet and along with the amount of drink at the weekends I had been having it was all getting a bit too much for my poor body to take. So out went the carbs and up went the protein and I actually started to get my good fats back in there. Within the space of 2 days I had lost 2kgs. Now I will again be the first to admit that of those 2 kilos a fair amount will probably be glycogen stores and with it some water weight. Speaking of water that went back up again too. You need to get water in if you want to lose body fat, helps to flush it out.

Now obviously I still have a little go to get back to semi-normality for me but I've still got a birthday here and there coming up. So what I've decided to do is this, I've decided to be super squeeky clean during the week. Eat well, eat often and not over eat. I'm also going to start carb cycling again, just to keep my body guessing. So, I'm going to do well during the week (so they'll be my low-medium carb days) and then have a high carb day at the weekend (to try to negate some of the drink) If I can still lose some body fat then that would be ideal, if I can at least maintain where I am I will take that though. I will see how it goes over the next few weeks and report back to you. I have no idea if it'll work but if it does then I might just be a genius! I wouldn't hold your breathe though!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Joslyn's Blog Spot - I'm amazed at what the body can do

Ta da, I'm back after a 2 week absence. (The first week being the bank holiday Monday, and last Monday I was in Dublin on a course improving my prodding techniques). In between that time I have been exposed to the amazing talents of both street dancers in Paris and then 'free runners' (the guys that jump buildings and climb up walls and stuff) at the Thames festival in London.

On both occasions I was totally mesmerised by the strength, flexibility and agility these guys exhibited with the intricacies of each movement. To hold your body sideways whilst in a semi-handstand takes some mighty core strength that obliterates any plank on a sturdy mat! As I walked into work this morning I wondered just how many passers by had forward rolled or cartwheeled in the last one, five, ten years? Less than 5% at a guess. It's sad that we lose our ability to let go and play a little as we get older. How many of you have picked up a skipping rope here at the studio and commented on not having skipped since you were at school? We have succumbed to sitting at desks and taking back-pain as a sign of age, not poor posture and lack of movement.

Anyway in a bid to increase my play I am on the hunt for a gymnastics class to do a few forward rolls and cartwheels! I will consider myself a body movement ninja when I can support my lower body in some elevated contortion whilst "resting" in a handstand!

Have a good week!


(in the spirit of my September absence I am away again next Monday, but will be back the following)

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Don't be a food bore!

This is another blog, where I'm speaking from experience. I recently realised that I am becoming a food bore...on several levels.

The first is that when I look at my weekly shopping list all the same foods keep appearing - blueberries, avocados, chicken, fish (usually salmon), tomatoes, feta, cucumber (I'm a massive greek salad fan)...well I won't bore you with the rest, but it made me realise that I need to shake it up a bit. Now nothing on that list is naughty, and in fact most of it is down right healthy, but that said the body likes variety - you've all seen me go on about variety in training and life in general, and it should apply to food too. Blueberries are by far the best berry out there... but mixing it up with strawberries, blackberries and others means your body gets a shock of new antioxidants, your taste buds wake up and you keeps your body adapting to new things.

So get out there and experiment with some new recipes.

The other way that I'm becoming a food bore - and this is worth focusing on if you're getting serious about your food - is that I only check up on my macro nutrients list from day to day. What's my ratio of protein to carbs? How much fat have I got in? etc etc. The danger in this is that you end up living off protein shakes and fish oils, taking all the fun out of eating - which should be a pleasure.

So a few thoughts that I'm applying to myself that you might like to consider:

Protein doesn't only come in the form of shakes or chicken... think legumes, pulses - even protein dense carbs like quinoa help you get your portions in.

Vitamins don't only come from fruit... get a variety of veggies in too - berries are the best, but put a variety in there.

Breakfast protein doesn't only come in the form of eggs - I've reintroduced kippers and absolutely love em.

Experiment with a new recipe each week to keep variety in - and remember that salads come in more varieties than just Greek! (although it is yummy!)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

One month to go...

I mentioned on a previous blog that I'm competing in a Kettlebell Sport Comp on the 4th of October. Well if my maths is right that is 4weeks from last Sunday.

How am I getting on you might ask?... OK, I think. I'd really like to hit 100Jerks (with 2*24kg) and 200Snatches (1*24kg 100 left hand, 100 right hand). My best numbers to date are 70 Jerks and 120 Snatches so I have a long way to go!

Training for this comp only really began properly last Friday, so I really don't know what's going to happen. What I do know is that I should be able to make some real progress in the next 4 weeks.

The Rugby League season finished last Wednesday so this has given me time to get some serious training in. I managed a really good Jerk session in on Monday- with thanks to Tim and Kat from the Trojans, and a decent Snatch session yesterday. Today I played around with Indian Clubs for shoulder mobility and to do something. Tomorrow night is a Trojans lifting session, so I should be able to get decent Jerk and Snatch work done. Friday will be Snatch practice.

I should be able to chip away at the numbers I hop to achieve. I'll keep you updated with my progress. I know you'll be waiting with baited breath!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday - 7

I had been having a slightly relaxing week last week on the training front. This was until Friday when I was getting a bit ancy and needed to lift some weight. Had a pretty good session and boy did it show over the weekend! I do forget and am always amazed at how much a) it hurts after a little lay off(!) and b) that just doing something different to your routine really makes it challenging and fun.

I decided to do a more full body type of workout (at least in essence) and let me tell you I was aching (in a good way!) all weekend and into yesterday. Now I like to think of myself as a seasoned professional when it comes to lifting weights but it really threw a spaner in the works. Think I'm going to have to throw a few more of those into my weekly torcher sessions I put myself through!

It got me thinking that I probably should change up my workouts a little bit. I am guilty of having a prgramme, making some good gains with it and then sticking with it for far too long.

God you guys are so lucky that we just do that automatically for you!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Using your sessions as an educational experience

I was thinking today about how I got into Personal Training - it's a little like many things in my life. I decided I was fascinated by the mechanics of how the body worked and little by little I took steps (unknowingly at the time) which led to me deciding to do a course in PT and Sports Therapy and BANG - before I knew it I was a Personal Trainer.

Basically after leaving a school which insisted on taking over your life with sport (no less than 3-4 training sessions a week on top of PE and extra training whenever I made the cross country or athletics teams - accidentally I might add), I decided I really did like being active and joined a gym. Now I'll admit readily that I'm a bit of a nerd, but the attention I paid to all the instructions my instructors gave me was probably bordering on the anal - and if there was ever a lack of clarity I never hesitated to ask why. Thereafter - working out on my own in the gym - I was frequently subjected to questions from other people training who assumed I was a professional because my technique was so measured, and when asked I often knew why we perform exercises in the way we do. It was after this that it occurred to me I find a lot of this stuff very interesting and why not spend time in a gym earning money rather than spending it. That and an inbuilt inability to sit still all day, and a positive hatred of staring at computer screens dictated the next move.

So why am I going on about all this to you? Well to really progress at you training you need to approach it like an educational experience, a training course if you like. You should come out at the 'end' with a better understanding of how your body works, the best nutritional plan for you and what to do should things go off the rails slightly.

All our clients, without exception, are intelligent people who have reached a certain point in life whereby they can afford to come training with us. They didn't get where they are by simply doing things by rote and following orders. Question us, work out why we get you to do what we do (we'll always have an answer), research things and be savvy - don't believe what you read in the Daily Mail over an article from the American Medical Journal - and question even that.

Exercise and nutrition tips you get in the media are often at least a decade behind the accepted wisdom amongst professional athletes and a lot of the time are down right wrong. All of us are regularly researching, reading articles, updating our skill base and making sure we don't sink into the trap of assuming what we 'know' is right. There is no reason why you shouldn't be doing the same, but you have an added bonus - you have us, and half the time we'll be doing that portion of the work for you.


Take some responsibility!

Too many people, make too many excuses, far too much of the time! This can be concerning work, relationships, training, getting fit, being overweight or not having enough money.

People need to take some ownership and responsibility- they need to toughen up. Excuses are easy to come by and toughness mentally and emotionally is often lacking.

I've just spent a year doing the strength and conditioning for a Championship 1 Rugby League team. The core group of players have been tremendous, but they have been severely let down by the rest. Too many guys on the training park and in the weights room are always looking for excuses, they come to training with ready made 'reasons' as to why they can't do any 400ms, or Malcolms, or why squats are bad for them. It's no surprise that when the going gets tough in the 60th minute of an 80minute game that these same people can be found putting their hands up looking to be replaced.

Some of these guys continually talk about how all the other teams are bigger and stronger (they're not), and how they must be on some type of performance enhancing substance (they're not). The reality is that the guys in the other teams don't make excuses, they have taken responsibility and ownership. They do their weights, extra probably, they eat well and they aren't so keen to make excuses and put their hands up.

Rugby League is a tough sport. And as a result everybody at sometime in a game questions what the hell they are doing out there. It's how people respond to those questions that makes a difference. Do you make excuses as to why you aren't going to man up or do you take ownership of your actions?

Life isn't much different. Life isn't exactly easy, nor is training or losing weight. When someone is trying to lose weight everytime they put something in their mouth they're having to battle, to make a decision whether or not to take ownership or make an excuse.

What are you going to do? Take some responsibility I hope!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday - 6

Okay so as I hope we all knew and abided by yesterday was a bank holiday and everyone should have been enjoying the sun! This of course threw me off though as I was driving back from a weekend away and my local gym was closed. Therefore no deadlifting could be done. No matter though, I'll just have to slot it in at some point during the week, or if I'm feeling really naughty, leave it till next week.

I am leaning more toward the latter and no it't not down to laziness (well not completely anyway!) I've been going heavy on my deadlift for a few weeks now and it would probably be a good idea to give, not just my muscles a rest but my central nervous system (CNS) a rest too. I have been feeling a little bit tired of late and having a long weekend away has meant that I haven't managed to catch up on my rest in the slightest! Now whether I take my own advice is yet to be seen. It is easy to fall in the trap of working and working with little to no rest and blowing yourself out. I'm usually massively bad at this. I'll train, train and train some more, working so hard to get those gains and forget to take a rest or sometimes feel bad about it so just don't (which is a lot worse!) Chances are having a week off will not send you backwards and in the majority of cases will actually allow you to get some proper rest and might just be the thing you need to break that plateau or make your gains come quicker.

Just remember that it's not while your training that your gains will be made, it's in your rest periods that the magical improvements take place.

P.S please don't think this means you can slack of every other week, it doesn't! Having a slow week once in a while though is always a good idea!

Until next week my peeps J

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