Monday, 19 September 2011

outside the comfort zone

Hey all,
It was the first time in 6 months i had heard my own heart-beat, there was a silence, i sat there (waiting for everyone to arrive) laying down and contemplating sleep. This was to be my first proper yoga session and i was nervous - i assumed i would be really crap and fall over to the amusement of my supple instructor and her rubber friends. I was wrong, i did ok and nobody laughed. In fact i really liked it and will make it regular.

A great way to de-stress

Don't worry im not gonna start sipping wheatgrass and complaining about there are no good vegan cafes in Singapore. I liked it because i absolutely needed it - my body needs it. Its challenging and really good for me... winner, winner, chicken dinner.

I wasnt exactly in the zone/moment or in a perfect state of calm, in fact when the instructor (sonja) ask if we were thinking of anything and to cast away thoughts, i was thinking of how Yogi Bear sounds like Yoga and would he ever need to attempt it? the mind is a weird place.

"See ya Boo-Boo... Gotta run to my class!"

After 45 minutes of determined struggle we got to the last movement - a back-bend (which sounds unappealing to someone who has taken up yoga because he has a stiff back) but i nailed it because i had tricep strength and some couldnt because they had none! oh the irony. As Sonja explained the technique of the move, she explained that everything we had done in class that day (twists, holds, stretches) was to prepare and make the back-bend easier. As she said that, i thought 'blog idea'.

Preparing to do work

The 'yogees' (collective group name for annoying rubber people) spent 45 minutes preparing to practise for 1 challenging move and i thought:

"Should we take this philosophy into our own training?"

Maybe 45 minutes for one single move is a bit excessive in the gym environment but that doesn't have to happen. Even 5-10 minutes of planned, selected drills can increase the performance of the big lifts.

For example, Bench pressing

Before a heavy bench press it would be a good idea to prepare thoroughly:

- Activate the surrounding muscles (serratus anterior, muscles of the rotator cuff, scapula, mid traps)
- Manuoevre our feet in contact with the floor to assist the lift (biomechnical advantage)
- Draw shoulder blades together to create a stronger base (support)

Then lift.

Excellent benching technique involves the whole body

Q: So how come that hardly ever happens? A: Poor preparation and lazy training practises.

Other gym examples to use:

Leg training - Blood flow to the lower body (cycle), joint mobilzation (ankle, knee and hip), exercise rehersal (bodyweight squats and lunges, muscle activation (glutes, adductors)

Sample 10 minute leg warm up for heavy leg training

- 5 minutes cycle (light 30s intervals)
- Ankle rolls, knee circles, hip rotations
- 20 bodyweight squats, 20 reverse lunges, 20 side step and touches
- 1 leg glute raise, side band walks, step-over drill


Take home mesage:

1: Determine what the main focus of the session is: (e.g. upper body lifting)
2: Prepare properly for it: (e.g. upper body mobility, muscle activation, warm up/feeler sets)

Not only will this improve your success in the exercise but it will be safer and decrease the chance of injuries.

How long do you take to warm up?

Do you have a general routin or is it focused towards the training? maybe this blog will make you think about changing.

See you next time :)

Check out my new facebook fitness page (currently under development):

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final practise - back bends

everything we did was designed to prepare for the set move of that day, apply this thinking to training.

legs - glute act

shoulders - mobility/stabilzation

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Dog tales

Hey all,

Im officially back writing the blog after as summer break. A busy PT schedule has made me switch priorities for a while and look to concentrate on generating business for myself and not spend so much time doing other things. The blogs will remain shorter and stay frequent, i will be adding them to a facebook page:

Please 'like' this and suggest to your friends who may like it.

The page is still in its infancy but pretty soon it will include videos and articles, a link to my new business interest where you can find a ton of videos and free stuff from a group of talented trainers from the UK. Also links to Herbalife, a supplement brand i have now affiliated with. I am really new to the brand myself but am committed to trying it out and giving my clients/friends the best possible advice towards a healthier lifestyle, Herbalife fills in the gaps regards nutrition.

Anyway, today i noticed something that i thought would be a great blog... My dog, Monkey.

"what you looking at?"

Before turning into a sloppy post about my new best mate, hear me out - i have a point coming. I looked at his life and daily habits and tried to work out if i could learn something about myself. 

A day in the life of a whippet...

- Wake up at 7am and sometimes have a very small meal 
- Light nap around 9am for an hour
- Ideally will walk in the morning with some sprints (usually afternoon)
- Large feeding and bowl of water, with treat
- Longer nap
- Evening feed
- Laze around until bed time and repeat.

Lets break that down...


He eats 3 small meals (all the same food - high protein) omega 3 supplement for joints and snacks on small pieces of fruit/veggies we give him or spare ribs bones.

If every human ate like that, there wouldn't be any nutrition coaches! its almost paleo and perfect for a lean athlete's needs. Obviously if you have crappy food around the house, you will feed your dog the left-overs of crappy food - there is always lots of fresh veggies around so i regularly give him carrots/apples and he loves it. Stick to low calorie/high nutrient snacks.


Dont forget the core training!

Not all dogs are made equal (like humans) but his exercise routine is flawless. 10 minutes of explosive sprints and multi-directional running. Various random jumping. I guess its a bit like fartlek training. Again, if your a lazy git who wont get up and run around with your dog, he will be out-of-shape and reserach shows he wont be that happy

Nothing like a good night's sleep!

Sleep is an important phase of the growth/recovery cycle and this breed of dog loves to sleep - as all top athletes should. When i get a client who tells me they struggle sleeping i almost always now im going to have trouble with them. Be it lack of focus/energy at the gym and the poor lifestyle choices that usually accompany lack of sleep. These clients are notoriously harder to get results with.


Reading all of the above and Monkeys general demeanour, i would hazard a guess that he is a very happy dog. He has virtually no stress (apart from loud noises and local cats) and has a great routine - and he is starting to really grow (taller) and learn (obedience) as he gets older.


My point is that if we try to copy Monkeys' basic exercise routine we would all surely get results. If you are highly stressed, dont exercise, eat poorly and dont sleep well - all areas of your life will suffer. Conversely, if you have a balanced exercise regime, eat 90% healthy foods, take regular naps and get a full nights sleep you will put your body and mind in the correct environment to grow, learn  and improve in all areas of your life.

Is your life similar to Monkeys? Or are you "over-living"?

I know over the first half of 2011, mine was definately NOT and i was worse for it. Now i look to take breaks in the afternoon, take my nutrition seriously and follow a balanced routine that promotes recovery and well as training stress.

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