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Friday, 30 April 2010

Bank Holiday and Cricket = Perfect

Anyone that hates me mumbling on about cricket look away now!
Spent a lot of this week not lifting heavy but conditioning myself ready for the season. This Saturday (weather permitting) is the start of the league season, which means I (as captain) need to score some runs.
So partly i did not want to go into Saturdays game suffering from the weeks training but also from the week before i chose to give myself a rest week.

I fully agree on Katie's blog this morning - having a rest week has a great affect on the body, mind and soul. I didn't train as well as I was hoping last week. Whether I was lifting too heavy or just wasn't there mentally but to be honest the sessions weren't enjoyable, as I knew I wasn't at my best. So after that week I had 2 options. Stick with it, drop the weight, eat well and push through – or give myself a rest week and come back stronger next week?
Obviously I'm not saying every time you feel a little drained take time off but listen to your body and what its asking from you.

Anyway I highly recommend you all take this 3 day weekend as I time to chill, drink lots of water ☺ and come back feeling great on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend all...


Life happens.

So I have two weekends left before my triathlon season starts so you would think that this long weekend would be a really training hard one but no, this weekend my full training schedule in mainly consisting of a hen do in Newcastle and a trip to my boyfriends aunts house in the country. You would think that this is not ideal for the training bank balance or my actual bank balance but what is important to remember is that, as my mum always says "these things happen" and "just make the most of the situation".

There has been some scientific evidence to suggest that there in a little physiological improvement to just mentally rehearsing an exercise rather than actually doing it. This weekend while the other girls are giggling over the normal Hen Do games I will be testing this theory and visualising my laps around Richmond Park and laps in the pool.

So my point is, where there is a will there is a way. Life happens so work with it rather than worrying about things you can't control. On the scale of life, a weekend off my training is not going to make that much difference to my triathlon season as long as the rest of my weekends of preparation I am committed and work hard. I have scheduled in this weekend break as a time off from training so I can hopefully actually come back stronger and fresher for my final week training before the first race.

I hope you all have a great long weekend. See you on the other side of it.


Thursday, 29 April 2010

Don't despair

Hello to one and all again :)

Another long weekend one day away! Are you ready?

I woke up this morning thinking hell yeah, I feel like lifting some heavy weights today! After not being able to get to a 100kg deadlift by the end of March, feeling defeated and broken with a sore knee and shoulder I finally felt like doing it again. Got myself to the studio, did the morning sessions and went for it ... 87.5kg later ... rubbish!!! 92.5 stayed on the floor again. I went straight in for 92.5kg as I know I can do 90 as I have done it before. After the second attempt I closed my eyes and saw a big red sign flashing at the back of my eyelids...

No no no I thought to myself, no more frustrations. And actually I must say I was not as disappointed as I was last time 92.5 stayed on the floor. I guess the initial journey towards my PB was fun and seemed way to easy sometimes jumping 5-10kg up each time I tried. Now I know that I must work just that little bit harder and work on my mental approach to the bar too as I know that it stayed on the floor not because I was not strong enough to lift it but because I was unconsciously afraid of it...

Well oh well. I left it at 87.5 and moved on to some narrow press ups and ring pulls. Doing 55 of each in a pyramid from 10-1 my body felt like it had a good workout. What pleased me even more is that at least a third of the press ups I did on one leg which takes me just that little bit closer to my next goal - one hand press up!

It feels good being back into proper training after a few March set backs. I've also been keeping a food diary for the past 3 weeks in order to keep myself on track in the run up to my secret holiday and I must say it is paying off already. The idea is no cheating during the week, which simply means no sweets, low carb, home cooked food for lunch etc. If I don't have a home cooked lunch I have a few options depending on whether it is my workout or non workout day lunch that I can replace it with. Weekends are a bit more relaxed with little treats being allowed but nothing over the top, minimum booze and eating out only every now and then. My body already feels much better and looks good, so it only confirms what I was thinking of for the past few months. All those tiny little treats during the week (a biscuit here and a piece of chocolate there) really do make a difference in getting your beach bum ready for the sun!

Enjoy your long weekend everyone and I'll be back next Thursday.

Marta :)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Thoughtful Tuesday - 33

Today is going to be a little mish mash of a couple of things I've been thinking about. Firstly though, a little update on last weeks training and I'm pleased to report it all went pretty well. Considering I had my de-load week non of my strength had decreased and in many lifts I probably should have pushed up a pb. Everything just felt a little better. I definitely don't do enough de-load weeks and I will start to program them in to my training a lot more.

I was reading one of my favourite blogs the other day and was searching through the back catalogue if posts and stumbled across one which had a link to a very interesting video. The video is of a Stanford University professor who conducted a study on the effects of 4 different diets, Atkins, Orson, Zone and the LEARN diets and is presenting the results (video below). That last one is basically the government recommended diet. Now this professor (Nick Gardner) put them up against each other to see what happened. The results were very compelling and that is for a few reasons that Nick Gardner goes in to himself. It is a great video, it is a little long but if you do find the time to watch it I would. He presents the findings very well and is actually quite funny. I don't want to spoil it but basically after the study has finished the Atkins diet comes out on top (although it ends up being more of a revised Atkins than a true Atkins, which I think is better anyway) Now that is no surprise to me but it is to Nick Gardner who is a long life vegetarian and so for him to come out and say that a diet composed of high fat, high animal protein and relatively low carb is a testament to him as a researcher and to the extra credibility to this study. Another interesting fact was when they got all the women in for this trial, a lot of them stated that they had tried these diets and they didn't work for them. The researchers made sure that the women read the books that they were assigned to follow and to then have a "coach" to help them understand what they had to do. Many of them then came back and said that they had completely miss understood the diet the first time round and that they hadn't actually done the diet in the first place. I think this is quite important as most of the time people who say they are dieting or are following a diet in many cases just plain aren't.

The actual presentation is an hour long with 15mins of questions at the end, so if you have the time please watch it! If you don't, then make some!

Secondly I was reading just today that apparently chocolate has been linked to depression. A study has found that people who regularly eat chocolate are more depressive. Now this to me actually kinda makes sense as chocolate does seem to have a slight endorphin releasing quality so people who are depressed could naturally crave the things that make them feel better. That whole "comfort food" thing. Problem with this is obviously it is drastically bad for you and this will probably add pounds to your body and will probably just make you more depressed! Anyway I just thought that was interesting and probably not that surprising.

Until next week!


Friday, 23 April 2010

Marathon Madness

Marathon Madness

Marathon Sunday is one of my favourite Sundays of the year. When I was a kid I would be up early on a Sunday to eat before I went training, my mum and I would sit and listen for that music and then the marathon would begin on the Beeb. Back then, I would only see the first hour of the race before I had to leave. I would then meet my athletic club buddies and we would discuss the races so far and return later, exhausted from our Sunday morning hill session to see who had won. I would tune in again to BBC Sport in the evening to watch the full round up. This is how my marathon Sunday continued until I gave up Sunday hill sessions at University and was able to go and watch the race for the first time.

The marathon is an incredible feat for anyone. It is a long way. I always say that I think it is more or a car ride distance than a run, which although a joke is kind of true. This is why I think marathon Sunday is so amazing and it is in our capital city. When you watch the clock ticking in the corner of the TV and listen to Steve Cram and Brendan Foster discuss the mile times you think wooww. Their elites mile pace is faster then I could run 400m these days and they bound along with such ease. They are incomprehensible to me; the speed they run for 26.4 miles is extraordinary.

Then we come to the 'Masses' as they call it, from the serious amateur to the fancy dress rhinos. They are just as astounding to me as the elite if not more so. When I hear the varying reasons that people run the race it makes me feel so incredibly humble and often incredibly lazy! There are people that have literally never run before, they enter this, train and train and train and train and run the distance. It really makes me think that anything is possible with a bit of hard graft and a few blisters.

I fully recommend getting yourself to somewhere on the course (see web links below). It is a carnival atmosphere and if you get there in time to see the elites run past it is absurdly brilliant. Later in the morning as the masses pass everyone cheers, eager to see friends, relatives or even minor celebrities. I know I am being a little bit / a lot cheesy but it really does bring me out in goose bumps to see so many thousands of people enjoying this 'crazy' sport and how elated the competitors are to finish even in the haze of exhaustion. It makes me smile to see the spectators supporting the runners to continue when they look sore and tired and how one athlete will help another in their time of need. It really is a sign that true sportsmanship does continue somewhere.

So my message for this week is try to watch the marathon, either on TV or on the streets and enjoy it, be motivated by it and be kind to finishers on Monday when they can't walk - they are all incredible. - the BBC info page. It has links to where to watch / facts / weather ect.

Good luck to all those competing.


Whether Weather affects us?!

Before I start, what great weather we are having for the last 10 days or so! I have just got back from being outside doing some flyering and everyone outside including myself seem a lot happier and more inclined to take a leaflet with smiles on their faces.

So we have all heard the term "feeling under the weather." But is this scientifically proven...

Examples of this relationship include altitude and ears popping, pollens in the air and asthma or sinus infection, sunrays and skin burning or skin cancer, cold weather and heart attacks, and gloomy, dark weather and depression. We also know that heat packs or hot showers can relax the muscles around the joints and relieve stiffness and pain for some. We also know, ice packs can ease the inflammation in the joints themselves.

There is such a thing called Barometric pressure (or Atmospheric Pressure), now this is the force that is exerted on objects by the weight of the atmosphere above them. The theory relating the 2 is that when the Barometric pressure drops any inflamed joints will swell then when these joints swell up it can irritate the nerves around the joint and cause you pain and discomfort.

The Barometric pressure will decrease as you get higher and can also change when the weather changes. If air temperature falls, the air pressure will increase as cool air sinks towards the ground.

So to sum up if the theory is correct our joints will be a lot better in cooler weather (Higher Barometric pressure) than it would in the summer.

BUT... If the weather is warmer then your circulation will be better and any swelling will be carried away a lot quicker than it would anytime during the cold weather!

Unfortunately, at the end of this research who knows what's better for the joints but the fact more people have smiles on their faces is better!!!

P.s The warm weather had no great affect on my cricket last weekend when I got out for a 'duck'... Must have been the decrease in Barometric Pressure, :)


Add some spice...

Spice up your life!

All of us like a little bit of variety in pretty much all that we do. Doing the same thing day in and day out can lead to boredom and stagnation. Our bodies as well as our minds need variation and new stimulus in order to grow and develop.

For best results from our training we need a certain amount of consistency mixed with the right amount of variation in order to get the results we are looking for. Results however are task specific. If we want to lift heavy weights we need to lift heavy weights, if we want to run far we need to run far.

However with this acknowledgement of specificity we must realise that doing the same thing day in and day out will not always yield results. In fact the opposite can occur and the body may suffer from pattern overload and overtraining. This is where mixing our training up with the right amount of variation can be really beneficial. It can be the just what the doctor ordered to break training plateaus.

I mentioned both specificity and variation above and both are extremely important and getting the balance right is crucial. As discussed earlier if you want to lift heavy weights you need to lift heavy weights- this is the specific bit. However always bench pressing the same way for the same numbers and the same sets and reps with the same hand positions isn’t the only way forward, in fact doing the same thing may even lead to regression and injury as discussed above. If you make small alterations; which can include changes to sets and reps, hand position, incline or decline of bench as well as weight your progression will continue.

Changing exercises is also important. Now this doesn’t mean that if you want to get stronger in the Squat you need to start doing Pull Ups (you should be doing them anyway!). You need to keep performing the Movement. For example if you have been Back Squatting for a number of weeks, start performing a Front Squat, or a Sumo Squat, or an Overhead Squat or a Squat from Pins, or a Squat with Chains- you get the idea. Alternately completely mix up your sets and reps try a 20rep Squat protocol, try a Russian Squat Programme, try a Powerlifting template varying maximal and dynamic Squat days. Changing your footwear while you Squat can also be useful. Wear lifting shoes for a block then try Squatting bare foot for another.

Obviously specificity and variation doesn’t just apply to Squatting and Bench Pressing. This can apply to Bends, Pushes, Pulls and Rotations. For every major movement the list of exercises is endless. As long as safety is considered why not give something a go.

As long as you stick to sound training principles and as long as you keep progressing add a little spice and mix it up! Don’t reinvent the wheel just make enough changes to keep that wheel spinning faster and faster! Your body will feel better for it and so will your mind!

What does this mean to clients at One PT? Be prepared to go outside!!!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Go on have a doughnut for breakfast!

Last Friday, Katie was talking to you about how media are trying to tell us something that they want us to believe through 'catchy' titles and a bit of controversy. Well, here we go again! On Monday we were hit by some seriously scary news on BBC website yet again, claiming that "Many cereals have more sugar than desserts"... They talk about how nation's favourite Crunchy Nut or Coco Pops or even Special K have more sugar in them than ice cream or a slice of chocolate cake.

How comes, you'd automatically think - we've been told for so many years that full of vitamins and minerals cereals are the best thing to have for brekkie. And how quick and easy is that to have in the morning ... Box out of the cupboard, bowl, milk, spoon, DONE!

What would you think if I told you that yet again we have all been fooled by massive cereal making corporations and our own well trusted (NOT!) governments.

Let me explain. To start with any processed, man made cereal will always be nearly 100% sugar! Most of us will associate sugar with the white or brown grainy substance we put in the morning cuppa. Well that is one form of it. Looking from the nutritional and biochemical angle all carbohydrates divide into:

- simple carbohydrates (all referred to as sugars)

monosaccharides - glucose, fructose, galactose

disaccharides - sucrose, lactose and maltose

- complex carbohydrates

polisaccharides - multiple carbohydrate molecules joined together in long, complicated branched chains

- fibre (soluble and insoluble)

Now, most cereals consist of simple and what's even worse, refined carbohydrate. Even if you choose the whole grain option it's not actually a whole grain produce you are going for but a processed artificial version of it which your body does not really know what to do with anyway. Sometimes cereal producing giants will go as far as simply putting some food dye into the cereal to make it look darker, therefore healthier. The same trick applies to bread believe it or not. Therefore knowing as little as the above carbohydrate forms it becomes simple and clear how it actually is possible for the beloved cornflakes, rice krispies or whatever you would usually munch on to be full of sugar ... well it's all sugar, DOH!

Next thing is that you may want to think to yourself, ok now that I know what a cereal actually is - simple carbohydrate, what is fruit then? Well it is simple carbohydrate too and it's also full of vitamins and minerals, but those that were perfectly put together by nature, not made in a lab. When was the last time you saw a cereal field when you went to the country?

Now, that you may find controversial but I would actually go as far as choosing good quality ice cream over cereal, simply because it will have some fat in there that will slow down the sugar release to the blood stream reducing insulin spikes (contributing to body fat storage). That is of course if the only choice was either cereal or ice cream. And no, I am not trying to tell you to have doughnuts or ice cream for breakfast.

Looking at some history, cereals only came about in the second half of the 19th century and the first ever cereal was produced in 1863 in the United States and was named 'Granula'. Now, human digestive systems adapt to new substances in the diet very slowly. Just think of how long have humans been eating meat, fruit and veg for... millions of years. Cereal grains in the North West only boomed about 3000BC together with the agricultural revolution. That is still nowhere near enough for human genomes to adjust and get used to it, which is even worse when talking about breakfast cereal that have been around for less than a century and a half. It may be worth to mention that before cereal age, traditional breakfast consisted of cooked eggs, bacon, sausage and beef, yet obesity was nonexistent.

In the BBC article I am ranting on about, we're being warned about making wise choices and reading the labels... Well those of you who are following my nutritional escapades may well remember one of my first blogs back in October, where I was talking about how reliable food labelling in this country actually is. For those who have not read it before, don't be blinded by the traffic lights - enjoy! What about some common sense then?

Also, the Kellog's spokeswoman claims that breakfast cereals are low in fat (ARGH!!!), low calorie (double ARGH!!!) and a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre (well, yeah, the artificially man made rubbish). She also claims they are the primary source of some nutrients such as iron for children in the UK." What else would you expect her to say if nothing else but cereal fills up her pocket every month ...

Dear Ms Spokeswoman, what about making your kid organic eggs and soldiers (rye bread of course) with some steamed spinach (isn't that a primary NATURAL source of iron after all) and a juicy, fresh piece of fruit for breakfast? I'll go for that, thank you!

Till next week.

Marta :)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Thoughtful Tuesday - 32

Right so I've just come off my week of de-loading and am itching to see how I now perform in the weights room. So just a quick little re-cap, I have still been training except I have been keeping the weight pretty light and haven't been killing myself. Although still on a couple of occasions I still felt very tired which is a good indication to me that I needed the rest! I was starting to feel a little achy in my joints from all the heavy lifting and that has all gone. I'm feeling very refreshed and ready to go. So, like I said, I'm looking forward to seeing my performance in the weights room. So I will have to let you know how that all goes next week.

I also decided to not only have a de-load week from training but also a slight de-load week from being so strict with my food. So I had a few treats here and there, didn't worry about the amount of food I was getting in and generally just ate what and when I felt like it. Similarly to my training, I think it was about time that I had a prolongued period of non-strictness. Instead of a day here and there I wanted to do a long period. This should get my body un-used to the dieting and (hopefully) kick start it all again this week. We shall see how it goes and I shall keep you informed!


Monday, 19 April 2010

Joslyn's Blog Spot - Let the Carb Loading begin!!

OK, just 5 more sleeps to the marathon, and I have begun carb loading!! if you haven't heard of it before, carb loading is basically loading your system up with carbohydrates 2-3 days before the run so that you are carbed up to go the distance. But in order to fully untilise the carb load, you have to comepletely deplete the system of carbs so that when you do start eating them again, your body holds on to them as it thinks it won't get any more for a while post-carb depletion. It's also a method that claims to reduce the chances of hitting the wall, that awful I can't go on feeling that you usually get at about 20 miles, joy!!

So here's what I'm doing for the marathon on Sunday:

On days 1 (Monday), 2 (Tuesday) and 3 (Wednesday) before the marathon, completely deplete carbs, no porridge for breakfast, no chicken with your rice, you even need to stay away from the fruit bowl!! This is kind of tough, expect to snap at people when they say good morning, and generally treat you with kindness.

On days 4 (Thursday), 5 (Friday) and 6 (Saturday) before the marathon, load it up!!!! Porridge for breakfast, fruit as snacks (obviously with a little protein thrown know the drill), chicken and rice for lunch, and fish and veggies with sweet potato for dinner. You feel SO full after the carb depletion, but you've just got to do it. Now is not the time to be counting calories, you are determining getting through the race with some serious carb storage, not whether you add an extra pound or two on the scales!!!

I did this in just 4 days last time which also worked, 2 days of depletion followed by two days of loading.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Week 2

In week 1 I revealed my past as a science communicator and in this addition I am about to vent my frustration about some poor science communication in the media last week. The headline read:

Five-a-day has little impact on cancer, study finds BBC website

'Five fruit and veg a day does not significantly reduce cancer risk: research' Telegraph

And so it continues…

When I heard 'Questions over 'five-a-day'' on the radio on my way to work my ears pricked up as I'm sure many of yours did. The headline is impressive and leads you to believe that the 5 fruit and veg a day that we have been led to believe is essential for our health over the last few decade is potentially a fallacy. Maybe we can all live off meat and pasta forever we all instantly think. But NO, this is not what the story was about; this is simply how they try to grab your attention so you buy the paper. It makes me angry that the headline really bears not resemblance to the content of the story. The majority of the actual articles I found about this paper read pretty well in content and clarity but I am unsure how many people in the population will have read them in their entirety rather than just being led by the wow factor of the headline and simply deduced that they no longer needed to eat anything which has the potential to photosynthesize!

So for those that did not actually catch the story, here is what the research found. The study was of 500,000 Europeans from 10 countries. The scientists collected data of the dietary habits and lifestyle choices of these participants and analysed them against cancer incidence and mortality figures. The results showed that only 2.5% of cancers could be averted by increasing fruit and veg intake. This slashes the previous suggestion that up to 50 % of cancers could be averted by eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

I'm not sure about you but in comparison to averting 50% of cancers, averting only 2.5% of the disease does seem like a weak association so why shouldn't we all stop eating our nominal fruit and vegetables each day? Well there are several reasons but to begin with lets look at what the numbers really mean from this study. Averting 2.5% of the population from cancer by eating fruit and veg actually works out at about 7,000 cases a year, does that seem like slightly more significant number? Starting to think about those carrots yet?

Top academics are also keen to suggest that there are specific substances contained in certain fruit and vegetables that if harnessed, could still have an important, protective effect on the body from cancer. For example there is substantial evidence that suggests lycopene from tomatoes may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, while chemicals in broccoli are thought to stimulate a gene which protects against bowel cancer. Health experts also say that fruit and vegetables are also still beneficial in obesity which is an established risk factor to cancer just by virtue of taking the place of more calorific fare.

We now know that this study shows that eating fruit and vegetables can only decrease your risk of cancer by a small (although still significant amount) but what we really MUST not forget is that there are many, many other diseases than just cancer that fruit and vegetable have a positive effect on. If I was to say to you "there is no scientific evidence to suggest that as an adult drinking water will make you grow taller", would you stop drinking water or would you think that there are lots of other good reasons to drink water and continue? It is the same thing, there are many reasons to eat fruit and vegetables, cancer was never the sole motivation but would you have sat up and listened if the head line had read:

"It's still a good idea to eat your five-a-day but remember that fruits and vegetables are pieces in a much larger lifestyle jigsaw." Yinka Ebo Cancer Research UK

In conclusion to my vent, I do understand the reason / need for a catchy headline despite disagreeing with them but my point is please don't just take the headline as gospel, especially if it seems too good to be true. Read the entire article before you start cutting out the fresh stuff and going straight for the meat counter!

Vent over!


Friday, 16 April 2010

Magnetic Bracelets

Hello to you all and hello to the start of Summer...
Now you might be asking what is a magnetic bracelet?

The bands are supposed to balance the Ions in our body...What are Ions? An Ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge.

You will find Negative-Ions from in nature through plants, waterfalls, rainstorms and forests, which we don't have a lot of in London!
We absorb alot of Positive-Ions from electrical equipment such as Mobile Phones, Computers etc that we all use a good percentage of our working days.

These bracelets release Negative-Ions, which our body absorbs and therefore balances out the Positive & Negative Ions in our body...Believe it?
When testing these bands I was asked to stand on one leg and hold my opposite hand out. My hand was pushed down with force and naturally I had to put a foot down to stop myself falling over over several attempts. I had Negative-Ion producing wristband on for 5 mins then the same experiment ended with me managing to control the force whilst still standing on one leg. Was this my brain sending signals that I should be able to withstand the force applied or the Negative-Ions over powering the Positive-Ions and resulting in better balance?
These are bands are currently being used by athletes such as Rory Mcilroy (Golfer) Michellie Jones (Tri-athlete Medalist) and many more.

I am very tempted to purchase one of these bands and see if it makes me a great batsman in this years fast approaching cricket season...We can only hope!

One Japanese company has done extensive research on the Wristbands and have seen positive feedback:

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?

Happy Thursday! One day to go ...

I was going to babble on about something completely different today. Actually something quite similar to what Jamie talks about in his blog - a week off training. As a quick update on my 8 week before holiday plan I have decided (well, was kind of forced to) take some time off as my weak links had enough and pretty much told me to take it easy. This week had been full of epsom salts baths, lots of stretching and good food. Rest is after all essential!!!

Anyway, a conversation I had with a couple of my clients this week made me think a little bit more about how we actually perceive and see ourselves. Not being an average client or potentially the biggest client ... Some of those comments made me think of what self perception actually is. Browsing the internet I have come across this definition:

The definition of our SELF is our IDENTITY. Thus, we shall define SELF-PERCEPTION as a process of identity formation through sensory perception. This is commonly known as our self-concept and self-awareness. Whereas, self-esteem is the perception of the individual's own worth as a being. It includes one's knowledge of personal development and self-image. Our self-perception allows us to understand our actions, feelings or behaviour.

Looking for self perception quotes, this particular one by Anais Nin really appealed to me:

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are"

I also remember reading somewhere that how we see ourselves is actually a collection of other peoples' views and comments that we experience throughout our lives. Doesn't it make sense?

There is no such thing as 'not an average client' or 'the biggest client'. We are all so individual and so different. And I am not even talking here about the three different biological shapes, (endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph) that to some extent genetically determine the physical appearance of our bodies. Interestingly enough just a few weeks back with one of the fitness industry magazines I receive through the post came a special issue solely dedicated to self image and body perception. It scared me reading some of the quotes from student workshops run by the Girlguiding UK. Have a look:
  • among 16-21 year olds, one in two would consider surgery to change their appearance
  • from the age of 10 or 11 the most prevalent concern for young girls becomes 'being thinner'
  • of those who would undergo some form of procedure, 12% would consider invasive procedures such as gastric band or cosmetic surgery and 5% would consider botox
Crazy!!! I think a good summary to all this would be a conversation I had with Jamie not so long ago. He put it out this way: 'win the battles, lose the war'. Well, our will to make our body better and nicer, bigger or thinner will be a string of small battles - our goals (yes make them SMART) and one big 'body perfection war' we are destined to lose. But remember there's no such thing as perfection, there's no such thing as a template or a recipe for a perfect body, there's no perfect body shape either. The war should only keep us going and striving to make what we have that little bit better so no other peoples' views can shatter our fortress - our self perception that is. So love what you have, be proud of yourself and always strive for that little bit more. Isn't that what keeps us going?!

Till next time.

Marta :)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Thoughtful Tuesday - 31

Okay so this week I've decided to go on something that is called a de-load week. Now a de-load week is pretty much what it sounds like, I'm still training but at a lighter load. This is for a couple of reasons. Primarily about two weeks ago I started to feel that while my workouts were good, I felt that my progress was starting to slow a little. Last week, my progress had definitely stopped and I was feeling very sore and aching in slightly the wrong places. I have been training really very hard for the past few months really without a proper break from all the heavy lifting. I've had the odd day or two here and there but not a substantial period of non-heavy lifting. So this is what I've decided to do this week.

By dropping the weight down a fair amount I will still be able to train but I don't want to do it at the same intensity. My body and my joints need a bit of a rest. So instead of completely taking time off I'm going to give my body a rest from the heavy stuff. This should still allow my body to recover. I am also thinking that I will throw in some support exercises that will work my many weak points that I usually don't do and really should do! After all you are only as strong as your weakest part so I really should work on those! I'll see how this week goes and if things aren't as good as I would like I might even take a complete week off from training.

Now some of you may be thinking why do you need to do a deload week or even take a full week off training. Now I've been training and lifting weights for around 11yrs before that I've been playing sport since I was 5. Although it is all very good for you and weight training can sort out many different problems with the body and prevent a multitude of problems, constantly packing on hundreds of kilograms on your back, in your hands puts a lot of stress through your body. No matter how used to it you are and how strong or structurely sound you maybe this constant battering will start to take its toll. A deload week or a week off will allow your body to recover and get back to normal and you can even throw in a lot of corrective exercise too.


Monday, 12 April 2010

Joslyn's Blog Spot - Backwards Running...

Last Friday I covered one of BJ's clients for him who has had a couple of operations on his legs and is very diligent both with his exercise and rehabilitation. He was talking to me about backwards running and how amazing it made him feel - standing taller, feeling better, and better mobility across the joints were but some of the benefits he had to report after some backwards running experimentation in Hyde Park.

I spent the first half of the weekend in Worcester and thought I would give it a try!! So off I went to a trail with some long stretches of dirt track interspersed between evil hills! You start off with very small paces backwards on your tip toes, and once your confident that you're not going to fall over or that you don't look too silly, you can start going faster. I probably ran about a kilometre backwards in total and certainly did feel very different!! I had an accident when I was seven which meant that I had to have my big toe on my left foot amputated and as a result have always sort of run on the outside of my foot. After backwards running, I was able to run normally on my left foot after 24 years, not bad for a kilometres worth of effort!!

I plan to write in more detail about why I think backwards running interspersed into your training is so beneficial, but for the sake of the blog I will mention just a few points and elaborate on them in a later article.

1. Stimulation and use of the VMO. One of the many benefits reported to come from backward running is the reduction in knee pain and any knee injuries. During the backward movement phases you are constantly working the vastus medialis obliques muscle which is the innermost (towards the midline) of the four quadricep muscles. It is usually weak due to tight lateral muscles in the thigh from sitting down and poor movement patterns,and can result in knee maltracking and ITB pain. VMO is unique in that its working range is through just 30 degrees of knee flexion. The following diagram from show slow forward, fast forward, and backward running respectively at the start of the movement:

In the backwards running image to the right you can see the knee in flexion, followed by full extension in the diagram below by the end of the phase and hence full contraction of the VMO muscle.

You'll also notice the complete upright posture of the body in both backwards running phases in contrast to the forward fall of the body in the other two.

2. No deviations in foot fall allowing for repatterning when moving forwards again. Without having to think very much about it at all, backwards running puts your body in perfect alignment from head to toe. Most forward runners have either a neutral, pronated, or supinated foot fall. As I mentioned, to subconsciously avoid the area of injury on my foot, I run on the outside of my left foot. Backwards running allowed me to place my foot in a neutral position for the first time in as long as I can remember.

There are other points that I will cover in the article to follow. But it must be noted that some of the benefits you may get from backwards running will be different for each person. How would I implement it into a training regime?

1. Find a spot of soft grass, dirt or sand. It is NOT recommended to run on hard concrete, on a busy road or on a treadmill, safety is first here.

2. Stay on your tip toes throughout the movement and keep your steps small.

3. As you gain confidence you can take larger steps and go faster!!

Intersperse it with normal running, and side skips if you feel a little self-conscious. Do let me know how you get on with it, I can't recommend it enough!!

Hello to all...

I'm the new Personal Trainer at One. Although I have already been working for about 4 weeks this is my first installment on the blog so I thought it would be best if I introduced myself.

I qualified as a Personal Trainer back in January and since then I have also attended course in nutrition for weight loss and nutrition for personal conditioning.

Those who have met me already will realise that I'm not a fresh 18 year straight out of school so what have I been doing all this time and how did I find myself at One as a Personal Trainer? Well that is a good question!

I spent my young years participating in any and every sport that was going. I finally settled on athletics and spent much of my youth freezing cold, running cross-country in the winter and in circles on the track in the summer. At University I quickly switched from track running to hockey so I could play in a team and potential drink more!

I went onto graduate from Imperial with a BSc in Biology and I then I did an MSc in Science Media Production. From there I entered the wonderful world of documentary making where I stayed for 7 years. I specialised in making mainly scientific and medical films although I did venture into sport and entertainment on occasions. I got to work for all the major broadcasters on many primetime series and filmed all over the world. Some programmes I worked on included: The Truth About Food, Trauma, Sport Relief, Super Doctors, The Money Programme and Fat Nation.

After 7 years of working contracts and being sent last minute anywhere in the world from Manchester Airport to West Java, to film anything and everything I decided that I wanted a career that I would still enjoy but be more stable. I wanted to continue using my scientific brain and working with people but also combining it with my passion for sport and fitness. So here I am and so far, so good!

There is an endless amount to learn about the body, about how to train and to feed it but I am looking forward to having a good go at learning as much as I can.
Anyway, that's enough about me. I'll be looking forward to meeting more of you in the very near future and finding out more about yourselves.

Until next time...


Easter Weekend away.

Easter Weekend away.

If you have just read BJ's Blog below this is going to sound terrible...

I spent my weekend in Newquay for my brother's stag do. As I have just mentioned this did not consist of any training part from running around an open field during Sunday morning's paintball activity (which I have bruises to prove).

We travelled most of the day on Monday so Tuesday I woke up still tired so I had a small breakfast and went out for a run then finished with some Squats and Pull and Press. The whole workout took about 45mins but with no rest and surprisingly after a shower and something to eat I was full of energy.

I hope you all had a great weekend and it wasn't as naughty as mine, but as Joslyn said in her previous Blog "...a little slip up won't destroy your physique goals and sometimes, it can actually do you some good."
So on that note I have the 300 workout this week which I am primed and ready to edge closer to Jamie's time.

See you all very soon


Thursday, 8 April 2010

Stop, think, slow down, move on ...

So here I am, back after my long awaited break in Devon. It's gone way too quick, but at the same time when I walked into the studio this morning it felt like I have not been here for a while. That made me think the goal of my short break was achieved! Chilled out and relaxed back into the training world. I managed to do a couple of very beautiful and scenic walks, ate loads of good food and drank a little bit too ;)

Visiting the Lydford Gorge and the White Lady Waterfall was truly amazing and a good reminder of how much I love walking up the hills and watching the nature living its life around me. Stunning!!! If you like your food like I do and ever happen to be in Tavistock, make sure you have dinner at Browns hotel. Words can't explain...

Next day took us to the coast. Driving to stunning Dartmouth, then to Torcross, where we stopped for lunch (the most amazing fish and chips I have ever had!). Stuffed to the limits, up the cliff and to the rocky beach to listen to nothing else but the waves. All I needed being away from the big smoke... It really calmed and cleared my mind, I wish I could have a little private sea to listen to just outside my window.

A short visit to the Riverford organic farm to buy some goodies and back to London on Wednesday afternoon. Time well spent and I am already planning coming back to Devon for more walking some time soon!!!

Looking at all the other blogs so far this week it looks like everyone is doing a bit of a summary and self talking. I spent quite a lot of time thinking and self talking over the long weekend and it was truly the right time to stop, think, slow down and as Jos said in her blog ... move on! Also as of Monday I am on an official 8 week countdown to my summer birthday holiday, therefore I am embarking on a challenge to get my beach bum and tum the way I want it (not that it's far off anyway, haha)! After a bit of a painful month of March (more about it next week) I am back in the game once again so watch this space for updates!

Till next week.


My Easter Weekend...

Wasn't it great to have a 4 day weekend last weekend? Happy Easter!

Jos and myself went to a friends place in Edelthorpe, Nth Yorkshire. As well as the customary eating and drinking that we tend to do when we visit these guys, we also got plenty of training done. Our friends live on a property with horses, fields and plenty of hills- the perfect training environment.

On Friday our friends took us to a new property they are redeveloping. As it is being redeveloped there was plenty of 'things' lying about for me to play with. After a warm up from Jos the guys ended up doing sprints around a field. I decided to have a play with a Railway sleeper and a tree. I started doing front squat and presses and did a total of 30, before moving on to pull ups on the tree where I also did a total of 30. By this stage my lungs and body were hurting. It was then time to move the sleeper about a bit. Next on the menu were 80ms of walking lunges with the sleeper across my shoulders- this ruined me. The sleeper was awkward and kind of heavy for this many lunges, but I managed just. I finished off with 30press ups and a 300m run around the field. I was done. The workout was great fun, training in the elements added an extra something to it!

On Saturday as I had brought a 24kg Kettlebell with me, I did a few circuits which included swings, snatches, cleans and presses. In the afternoon I did a superset of 10 Burpees, followed by a 300m up hill run. I find Burpees reasonably easy but they really take a lot out of you when you run after them. This had both my lungs and legs on fire! I did 3 sets of this couplet.

On Sunday I took myself for a 25minute run around the 'Gallops', this was to get some blood flow to my legs which were sore from the work over the last couple fo days. When I got back to the house I had another play with my Kettlebell and as well as the work I did on Saturday I also threw in some windmills.

On Monday I decided to join Jos on a longer run. Jos is preparing for the marathon and this was her long day. I joined her half of her run which meant I did 7.5miles as opposed to Jos' 15miles. This was quite a hilly route. I did it as much as a test as anything else. I don't do any of what people consider to be conventional 'cardio', the last time I did any running was last August where I was doing short sprint training, the last time I ran more than 400ms before this weekend was over 2years ago. I managed 12kms- I put this down to strength training and bodyweight circuits- it wasn't in world record pace, but it was done. I like doing runs like this every once and a while to assess my cardiovascular fitness and as proof that you don't need to train with long runs to be able to do long runs.

Overall a good 4days of training which almost balanced all the beer, wine and chocolate!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Thoughtful Tuesday - 30

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter weekend and fully enjoyed themselves. I know I did! I have to admit that I think I may have gone overboard with the excess of food and alcohol but then again, I'm usually so strict that I also think that it doesn't matter. I think that once in a while it's good to completely let everything go and not be so obsessive with what you eat and drink. Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you should do this all the time but once in a while, in a blue moon, it will not only do your body some good to not be so restricted but also good for your mind. Dieting down and being strict can be very psychological and can be very harmful to your mind as you are constantly having to say no all the time. Especially in the type of world we live in with fast food, convenience food, sweets and the lovely people who constantly offer you snacks. Anyone who has tried to go on a diet knows the people I mean. The people who offer you a block of chocolate, the people who ask you out for a beer or glass of wine, seemingly being nice but in my view are secretly trying to sabotage you. That may be slightly cynical but if they were actually just being nice they wouldn't have a go when you refuse, they wouldn't keep on and on at you to go along with their suggestion, they wouldn't try and undermine your convictions. The bottom line is that they are trying to lead you astray and break your will because they know that they don't have what it takes to do what you are doing and want to prove that you can't either. You know what also, sometimes you do falter and fall off the wagon, but the most important thing to remember is that a small slip shouldn't let you fall down the cliff, you should scramble back to your feet and start climbing straight away. It's not a big deal, as long as you don't let it ruin the rest of your actions.

Sorry I kind of went off on one there but my point is that a little slip up won't destroy your physique goals and sometimes, it can actually do you some good.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Moving On...

As mentioned in last weeks blog last Sunday the 21st March I competed in a Kettlebell Sport Competition. My results were mixed, I was happy with my Jerks where I hit a PB, but disappointed with my Snatches which were 40 on my left hand and 55 on my right hand.

The Snatches were quite poor really- last night at training I did 51 on each hand and it was quite comfortable. Sometimes I think too much when it comes to my own lifting. During the comp I was trying to slow down so I could last longer, I ended up fatiguing my left shoulder. Last night at training I just powered them out and I felt like I could have gone on for longer. Anyway it's something I'll be working away at all year. I have another demonstration/ competition on the 22nd May so hopefully I'll have 'broken the back' of my snatches by then.

This last week of training has been a good one, I've gotten back into a good mix and variation of training. Over last weekend I took myself to the park. On Saturday I did some track and incorporated backwards running at Gospel Oak Track- interesting and something I'm going to look more into. I then finished off with Pull ups and Dips I did 30 and 50 respectively, not in one go, just in clusters and taking rest as needed. My Pull ups were ordinary. With most of this year training has been made up of Olympic and Kettlebell Sport lifts so my pulling has suffered- a lot of work to do! On Sunday I took myself to London Fields where I did Pull ups, Dips, Fat boys and Press ups. Monday was Parkour which involved more Pulling and Pushing (if this had been neglected for 3months I've made up for it in my last 3 sessions!). Tuesday I took a rest and then Wednesday was BB Snatches, Front Squats and KB Snatches. Thursday was a Trojans session with Tim and Kat and I put some time into my Snatch with good results as mentioned above.

Today (Good Friday) I'm up in Edelthorpe which is Nth East Yorkshire. The plan over the next four days (outside of fresh air, food drink and watching sport on the telly) is to do a mix of Kettlebell Snatches (I brought a 24kg), push ups, pull ups, dips, running and finding anything else I can push, pull, throw, lift, climb or jump. It's gonna be fun, I'll keep you posted.

Anyway the next four days will be fun and the next months more so. I'm excited and looking forward to my training. Watch this space!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Walking, walking, walking ...

Hello everyone, the long weekend has finally landed!!!! Woooo hoooo! Well... it kind of has for me, you probably have another couple of hours to go! Push through and we're there :)

Hope you all have nice and relaxing activities planned. Make sure you take some time off to re-charge those seriously abused energy batteries!

I am off to Dartmore in Devon for my first walking escapade in the UK. Being such a mountaineering and walking enthusiast, it's crazy thinking that I have been in the UK for nearly 6 years and have not gone walking or trekking here once. Well there is a valid reason for it... I am simply too much in love with the Polish Tatra Mountains that I've not been able to resist going there since I was 10. I've been walking and hiking with my mum (another great mountaineering enthusiast ... no wonder I am such an outdoor freak) for the past 21 years (gosh I am getting old!!!). I can not explain the feeling when you get high up there, far away from all the civilisation, noise and buzz of the city. Beautiful!!!

The reason I am talking about walking today is obviously our May 3 Peaks Challenge that to be honest is not that far away. A month and a half to go so you better start getting ready and training for it! Nearly a marathon distance to walk in a day.

Katie has put together a list of training walks in and around London so give her a shout if you need ideas. We also have a great training plan for those of you who are joining us so beware! It will start after Easter. A helpful what to take with you list is also in the making.

For those of you who have not heard or seen the beauty of Polish Tatras here you go, a few snaps from my previous trips.... Awwwww... I am getting all emotional and soppy! They are beautiful, aren't they?

Have a wonderful Easter break everyone and I will see you all soon.

Marta :)

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