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Health & Fitness

STAY ON TRACK this silly season

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The Silly Season is upon us!

This is the time of the year where all your hard work in the gym comes to fruition, only to be compromised by those festive Mince Pies, colourful Candy Canes and celebratory after-work drinks. It’s a fun time, an exciting time and in Australia, unfortunately, Christmas coincides with Summer. Which means, after your Christmas feasting and drinking, you will at some point have to expose those thighs or expanding belly in order to not die of heat stroke.

Help is here! There is a way to avoid the dreaded Christmas belly, if you stick to a few simple rules.

DRINK WATER
Drink a glass between alcoholic beverages, and aim for around 2L of water over the day as well to stay hydrated. Had a bit too much to drink last night? Try a glass of water with a nip of apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of lemon in the morning to kick start that fresh feeling.

MAINTAIN YOUR GOOD HABITS
Those good habits you’ve built all year should be fairly easy to maintain over the silly season. Eat home cooked meals when you can. Include protein in every meal. Include vegetables in every meal. Try not to associate a good time with over-indulgence. Be prepared and meal prep if you know you have a massive week ahead. If you have parties to attend all weekend, just make your weeks immaculate with your nutrition and training.  Aim to get enough sleep to combat afternoon sugar cravings (6-9hrs).

TRAIN
Probably one of the most important parts, don’t stop training just because it’s holidays. You may just have to juggle your time a little better and MAKE TIME to train. The best time I found to fit in training is first thing in the morning, as your events and catch ups with friends are more than likely in the afternoons. Why not have a catch up with a friend over a walk or exercise??

Exercise increases happy endorphins, burns calories and reduces stress. The perfect combo for the silly season.

80/20
When at events, before grazing over those delectable platters, work out which ones you want or would enjoy the most, and which ones probably aren’t the healthiest s you aren’t just scoffing all of them. Stick to the seafoods, grilled meats, colourful salads, nuts and the protein dense options.

WALK IT OFF
Spend time with your loved ones on a lovely walk before sitting down for hours eating and drinking. Wake up early and embrace the holidays with a morning stroll. Walk the dogs/babies/kids. Get out and about with accidental activity (hello Boxing Day Sales).

NOPE I AM ENJOYING MYSELF AND EATING AND DRINKING WHATEVER I WANT SONI.
Ok, that’s totally fine. See you at the end of January for our 8 Week Challenge 😛

 

Coach Soni

Mobility is the spice of life

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Your body’s mobility can have a big impact on your life. Without good mobility – that is, the ability to move freely and easily – your quality of life suffers, just ask someone with a nagging injury that limits their movement.

Who doesn’t want to live life to the fullest? To be pain and injury free? That said, I’m a realist and know niggling injuries are sometimes going to creep in, no matter how hard you try and how good you are with your stretching, foam rolling etc.

 Move Mindfully

Injuries happen, sometimes they are out of your control. But, if you go to tie your shoelace and you throw your back out, or pick up the kids and hurt your neck – these annoying and quite often debilitating injuries may be within your control to prevent. You CAN minimise the chance of injuries happening and it’s surprisingly easy to build the body awareness you need in order to do so.

Tips to improve your mobility

Here are a few simple ways to improve your mobility and enjoy life, injury and pain-free.

  1. Spend less time sitting down.

When you spend a lot of time sedentary your hips, lower back, shoulders and neck are going to stiffen up reducing the range of movement, which will negatively impact mobility. Consider getting yourself a stand-up desk or spend a few minutes stretching every half an hour. I’ve heard of people setting a ‘movement’ alarm every hour to get them into the habit of this.

  1. Practice strength training through the full range of motion.

Training through a full range of movement is going to improve and keep your mobility and flexibility. The more your body moves through its complete range, the more comfortable it becomes in those positions allowing more freedom of movement.

  1. Do weighted mobility training.

Weighted mobility builds joint strength and flexibility through full range of movement. It strengthens your ligaments and tendons to increase resilience in the body. This is better to do before training than static stretching.

  1. Drink more water.

This one might not sound as obvious but dehydration can cause muscle tightness and cramping. In hot and humid climates where sweating occurs most of the day, try adding a sugar-free electrolyte to keep yourself balanced. If you eat healthily and aren’t getting enough sodium, try adding some coloured salts to your meal.

  1. Learn to recognise and reduce stress triggers.

Stress or anxiety can cause your body to feel tense which restricts mobility. Stress plays a big role in lower back and neck pain but is easily avoided. Being mindful of your stress indicators eg. tense shoulders, frowning or biting your nails will help you know quickly when it’s time to relax. Make a conscious effort to recognise the triggers. If you need a tool to help you clear your mind, download this great free mindfulness app from Stop, Breathe, Think.

 

Get out there and live.

Coach Cogs.

Stop training like your mate!

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It’s all about context….

As I coach I pride myself on applying the knowledge I have learnt to help each INDIVIDUAL achieve their desired result. Years of research onwards and findings have NOT changed. We still look at a client and take into consideration a list of factors, which ultimately determine what type of program they should be running through.

Let’s say a new client ‘Bob’ walks through the door. We find out what Bob wants, we get a run through of his history (training, injuries, lifestyle, habits) and we take him through an initial screening, where we dive into simple movement patterns which help us to determine movement deficiencies and issues that we can provide drills to improve and reduce their risk of injury to yield greater results. Now without running Bob through this process…….we have NO IDEA what he needs. We put Bob at high risk of injury, increasing movement deficiencies and ultimately making his training life a whole lot harder. No one wants to make their process towards a result any harder, nor should they want to be in a higher risk of obtaining injuries. This is the FIRST example of how we make a program ‘individualised’.

SECOND…..genetics!!!! You MUST understand this from DAY 1 of training…..we are all different. Here’s is my all time favourite example to use with squatting. Most of us are on instagram or Facebook right? Most of us have probably seen those crazy asian weightlifters……they squat like 200 kg’s for reps with a smile on their face, but they only weigh a mere 50kg!!! It’s crazy right. Now I never take credit away from them because they work their absolute ass off and earned it….but they are MADE TO SQUAT! Short legs and torso, means shorter distance and greater power (remember this is obviously in combination with their hard work, programming and muscle fibre make up). Now compare this to someone who’s tall. They have LONG ass femurs, the distance to squat increases so creating power and strength already becomes harder. Maybe we have someone with long shins, so squatting to full depth becomes even more difficult. Now these just some of the many variables that will changes EVERY individuals movement patterns.

Over the years of coaching my list is still growing! Im still learning more and more about the amazing human body and how different everyone is, so I have an open mind. Unfortunately what my open mind doesn’t have time for is b*&ls$#t! The BS of training everyone the same, or forcing positions that they shouldn’t be in or……well the list goes on!

The point here is that its important to focus on yourself. Never look at someone else and compare. Aspire to someone but always think, are you realistically able to achieve that with what you have? Are you setting a realistic timeline? Just make sure you take into account factors that will influence your outcome.

Sometimes you gotta put yourself before others…

Coach Cal

Don’t be a 90%er

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Lately, I am seeing so many of us fall within literally inches or seconds of completing a task. Finishing your plank 2 secs before your goal time, walking the last 50 meters of a 10 km run, doing 1 less rep then intended, allowing the momentum of the bike or rower to tick over the last calorie.

It begs the question, why is this? Is it because our thinking comprises of; task is basically completed? Close enough is good enough. I’m too exhausted. Or maybe you think, ‘That’ll do’.

Yes, I’m using examples of training and fitness here but think about the broader impact of always being a 90%er. What are you missing out on in other areas of your life by not giving your all – think about it in relation to your career, relationships with your family and friends?

Instead, how about thinking how lucky you are to have been able to do the 90% already – and that you GET to smash through the final 10%. This applies across all areas of your life.

That’ll Do, Won’t Do.

Does it make sense why we would do this? Many of us have the attitude, “that’ll do”. But it really won’t do if you want to live a full life. Do you have more to give? Or are you happy with mediocre and settling for less than you really know you’re capable of?

Let’s list a few examples to show the real impact of being a 90%er, where this “that’ll do” attitude just seems completely absurd.

  • Spending 12 months training for a marathon and stopping at the 40km mark on event day.
  • Taking 6 months to complete a 5000-piece puzzle and no worrying about the last 20 pieces.
  • Not bothering to add in the all-important references page/s to a massive assignment
  • Weeding your entire garden and leaving the last 3 visible weeds to grow.
  • Washing up the dishes but leaving the cutlery dirty
  • Washing the car and not cloth drying it

These seem crazy to think, right? But why is ok for most of us to think like this on “less important tasks”. Why do you believe it is ok to stop or even worse quit early?

This can be a little damaging to our overall outlook and approach to life. It’s something I’m working on myself as we are all not perfect. But as long as we try to recognise these thoughts and hopefully watch them come then go into our conscious mind which will give you more internal strength for next time we want to complete a task.

Complete the task

Our brains are more likely to remember uncompleted tasks, truth! And it’s has a name, the “Zeigarnik Effect”.

So, next time you want to quit, stop or tell yourself that “that’ll do”, think of how this could begin a spiral of negative thoughts and actions and the impact that will have on other important areas of your life.

Dig into your tank and pull through with as much as you’ve got and finish strong. Apply this to everything you do in your life – whether it’s at work, doing the laundry or working out.

Be your biggest fan. BE A 100%er

Instead use affirmations and positive self-talk and say them out load (seriously!), “I’m strong, I’m resilient, I’m determined” or “I will feel amazing in my nice clean shiny car” or “I’m so proud of myself for completing that 5000 piece puzzle”. Talk to yourself AS IF you have already completed the task.

Just think… if you could get to the end of each day and say ‘I gave it my all today, 100%, in everything I did’, imagine how rewarding that would be? If you can already confidently say that you do this – tell me, how does it feel?

Co – Founder Jason Clark

Prepare Your Body

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How much do you prepare your body for training??
A few weeks ago I did a Hand Balance workshop with Andrii Bondarenko. Andrii joined Cirque du Soleil with tremendous accomplishments in Sports Acrobatics and Circus Arts. A many-time national champion of Ukraine, Andrii’s international accolades include World Cup & World Championship medals, the highest conceivable achievement in Sports Acrobatics.
After doing the workshop (which was AWESOME!), one of the biggest takeaways was making sure that the body is properly prepared before training.
I asked Andrii if he had ever been injured and asked his thoughts on training with injury. His answer was interesting; yes he had been injured because mishaps do happen, but he explained the importance of preparing the body.
He said “GET THERE BEFORE THE INJURY”
Meaning we should all be taking measurements to ensure that we don’t get injured and that our bodies are well and truely ready to work.
This is why stretching and mobilising plays such a significant part of your training. It’s not a side dish that we order from time to time. It’s part of your main meal. Stretching and mobilising is preparation in itself wether it’s done before training, after training or a day dedicated solely on stretching. Because over time as you become more flexible and mobile, your body becomes more suited to train. This is what prepping is all about.
Obviously Andrii’s training is different to most and don’t require the same amount of time or the same kind of prep that he does. However, we all need to make sure that are bodies are in the best condition to train.
This means not getting complacent when you do the same mobility drills that you have done before. Rather than just going onto auto-pilot and moving through the exercises, be mindful of what that exercise is trying to do and listen to the coach. If the exercise is trying to open up the hips, then think about getting into that stretch a little bit deeper each time.
This means getting into the Stretch Therapy, Movement or Yoga classes. If you aren’t allowing time for yourself to stretch then book into a class and make yourself accountable. You have access to all this so utilise it.
Happy Training : )

Are You Blessed With An Injury?

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So you’ve hurt yourself. You saw an expert and they confirmed your worst thoughts, it’s tendonopothy/burtitis/strain/inflammmation/some other annoying achy injury. You have two options:

  1. Whinge/complain/cry to everyone in sight. Throw in the towel. Cancel your gym membership. Eat a tub of ice-cream.
  2. Realise it’s a sign from your body that you are doing something wrong. Maybe you have been over-working that particular muscle group, maybe you sleep with poor posture, maybe you hunch at work, or maybe you aren’t engaging the correct muscles when you train etc. Let’s change your mindset to realising that an injury doesn’t mean failure.

Let’s look at the steps you can take to turn this around!

E D U C A T I O N 
Use this injury as a chance to LEARN! Learn as much as you can about it. What caused it? What muscles/bones/tendons surround it? What are the best rehabilitation exercises for it? What are you doing in your daily life that may have contributed to the injury? How do you prevent it from occurring again?

S L O W  D O W N
Listen to your body. If there’s pain, there’s usually a reason why.

S E E  T H E  E X P E R T S
Your body is the only place you have to live. Take care of it. See the experts!! If you are sick, you see a doctor. If you want a great hair cut/colour, you see a hairdresser. There’s no time to GUESS and think “She’ll be right”. Chances are, she won’t be right. If you train through pain you are setting yourself up for further injury and even arthritis as you age. See an expert in the field. Think Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath, Exercise Physiologist, Podiatrist etc. If you are unsure who to see, ask your coach.

L I M I T A T I O N S
You now need to learn where your limitations lie. Of course it’s pretty cool to squat 100kg. But does that heavy squat contribute to tight hips which in turn gives you pain in the lower back? Maybe re-assess and try 90kg squats with perfect form, rather than a bad 100kg. Are your pull-ups irritating your neck? Why not try making them easier by using a band or doing assisted pull-ups with perfect form rather than pump out horrible tough pull-ups. Be OK with having limitations. Be OK with not being the best/strongest in the gym. Your body will thank you.

R E – F O C U S
So you’ve hurt your shoulder/wrist/knee/ankle. Take this time to re-focus on other body parts. The days and times when you would normally be training these areas, look at other areas of your body that you can improve. You may have a sore shoulder, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on hip mobility and hamstring work. Spend more time on flexibility or mobility. Strengthen those weak rhomboids. Pick a few things you CAN do, rather than what you CANNOT do.

Life isn’t linear. Embrace the injury as a new journey towards your goal.

Soni Jay 🙂

Chef’s Top Tips

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Long time member and ex-chef Adrian Bridge shares some of his tips that he’s learned over years in the kitchen. We certainly learned something new from the below tips:

  • Always bring your cooking equipment up to temperature before putting your produce in to cook and don’t overcrowd the pan. Crowding the pan leads to steaming or stewing and lowers the temperature of the pan so you won’t get the caramelisation you’re looking for.
  • Bring your meat to room temperature before cooking. It relaxes the meat, this will speed up cooking time and promote even cooking throughout.
  • Always rest your meat after cooking. Wrap the meat in the foil and let it sit for approximately five minutes. This allows the juices to settle before you cut into the meat. The meat will continue to cook while it is in the foil so if your cooking steak and prefer medium steak, you should take it off when it’s medium rare.
  • Its ok to cook in batches, not all vegetables cook at the same speed. Some recipes will say add this then add that and keep cooking. Experiment with this as not all recipes are correct. Some softer vegetables can be sealed first then added towards the end if you want to retain shape and colour.
  • Taste as you go and season as you go, you should know what the dish tastes like before serving it. Sometimes a little more salt or a dash of spice lifts a dish up. Don’t be afraid of salt since you’re cooking a fresh meal instead of eating a packaged one.
  • I also add some fresh herbs if required at the end of the process just prior to serving to maximise their flavour.
  • When blanching/ cooking vegetables in boiling water like broccoli, ensure water has come to the boil and don’t overcrowd the pot when cooking, put a lid on to bring it back to the boil quickly. Do not overcook, you want to retain the flavour in the vegetable not the water, remove from the heat prior to overcooking. To rapidly cool down have a bowl of ice water ready, strain the hot water off the vegetables and quickly put them in the ice water, this will retain flavour and colour. Once cold strain and place on paper towel to dry out. Great for when meal prepping.
  • Put a wet paper towel under a cutting board to stop slipping.
  • Before you cook, have everything measured, peeled, chopped, pans greased etc and clean as you go.

In It For The Long Term

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Sometimes you don’t have to make every session the hardest session ever! Sometimes just rocking up and getting it done is all you need to do to keep progressing. 

If you’re feeling stressed out, overly anxious, didn’t get enough sleep, feeling run down and like you’re about to get a cold, then smashing your self in the gym is going to make you feel worse. This isn’t a cop out and you have to be really honest with how you’re feeling on the day. Assessing your body and how you feel as you warm up and start getting in to the workout is very important. If you’re feeling great and full of energy then go ahead and smash it! If your body is telling you otherwise then listen to it, it’s giving you warning signs.

The way we program is based around progression over months and years…not days and weeks. If you take an easier day here and there it wont have any negative impact if you’re consistently making it to training. We don’t write workouts, we write training sessions and training plans with progression as the core focus. Anyone can write a workout that will get you sore and sweaty…that’s easy! But to write a training plan that will take someone towards their goals…that’s an art.

Sometimes an easier day here and there can be a good thing so don’t beat yourself up over it. Think about the big picture. Where do you want to be 1 year, 5 years, 10 years down the track? Not next week.

One of my favourite quotes is “look at training as if you have to move a big pile of dirt. Some days you get a shovel, and other days you get a spoon. But as long as you get to move a little dirt each day, you are moving towards your goal” – John Welbourn – CEO Power Athlete

 

Train smart,

Coach Cogs

4 Ways To Reduce Risk Of Muscle Strains

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  • Avoid over-doing it – Too many times I see people who have decided to carry all their groceries in one trip, or pick up a huge box of something on their own or dive straight into a 20km run after 6 months off. It always seems silly to decide to do those things in retrospect, but making two trips or getting a mate to help you lift something can save you weeks of pain, discomfort and inconvenience. Prevention is better than a cure!

 

  • Avoid being still for too long – As animals, we didn’t evolve to sit behind a desk. Our bodies are designed to move, lift, run, jump, climb and swim. Prolonged sitting or standing means our muscles stiffen up, so when we ask them to perform a task they can falter and tear. So make sure you’re balancing your desk job with plenty of scenic walks to the printer/bathroom/break room!

 

  • Strengthen your muscles – Resistance training is a sure fire way to prime your muscles to withstand the forces of day to day life. Being strong and flexible means that they can handle anything you throw at them. The weaker a muscle is, the easier it is for it to be overloaded and tear. It’s all about starting small and being consistent with what you lift, so you don’t over do it (see point number 1!)

 

  • Recover well – Muscles, like any parts of our bodies, need some time off every once in a while. Challenge them with strength training, move them through their movements with mobility and stretching exercises, but then remember to care for them as well. Plenty of sleep and de-stress techniques like meditation can relieve muscle tension. Ensure you’re rehydrating with both water and wholefoods containing electrolytes to avoid cramping and fatigue. Chat to your physio/coach/trainer and make sure you’re employing rest days and de-load weeks into a training program to make sure you’re not going to crash and burn in a few weeks time.

 

Isabelle – Physiotherapist at The Movement Team

Planning the perfect nap

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We resisted as kids but love them as adults!

Having an afternoon siesta can have many health benefits and can improve mood and performance. If you don’t like to take naps from fear of waking up feeling worse or effecting your sleep later that night then timing your nap can help.   

There are 5 stages of sleep and it takes around 90 minutes to complete all 5, this includes a light and deep sleep state. The length of a full sleep cycle differs from person to person but making sure we don’t wake up during a deep sleep state is the key to a good power nap.

Lets go through a quick summary of each stage of sleep:

Stage 1

This usually last around 10mins. It is the stage where your muscles haven’t fully relaxed yet, you still have a sense of awareness and It’s quite easy to be woken up. During this stage people can experience what is know as the ‘Hypnic Jerk’ Which is an involuntary twitch of the muscles just as you start to fall asleep and this is what can cause you to awaken suddenly.

Knowlege bomb – Some say that the ‘Hypnic Jerk’ is a reflex that humans developed during the evolutionary process to prevent them from falling out of trees as they slept in them.

Stage 2

This lasts for about 20mins and it becomes harder to wake up towards the end of this stage as your body prepares to go into a deep sleep.

Stages 3 & 4

These two stages are considered a deep sleep state. The difference between the two are the types of brain waves they produce. Waking up during these stages is what can gives you that groggy and disorientated feeling. 

Knowlege bomb – It is in this deep sleep state that you produce your Growth Hormone (GH). This is a hormone that is essential for recovery and muscle growth. This is why it is important that we get good sleep. Substances like alcohol and caffeine can effect deep sleep and the prevent the release of GH.

REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

This is the final stage before you complete a full sleep cycle. It is the stage which you are at your deepest sleep. However your brain activity is similar to that of being awake, even though your muscles are paralysed. This is where you you have your most powerful dreams and lasts for about 10minutes.

Once you complete a full sleep cycle you start the process again. However, you spend less time in a deep sleep state and spend more time in stages 1 and 2 as morning approaches. Each stage will start to decrease and you will alternate between light sleep and REM.

So….whens the best time to take a nap?

Based on the time frames of the 5 stages of sleep. 10-20mins is an ideal nap time to wake up feeling more refreshed. If short nap isn’t going to cut the mustard, then a full 90 minute sleep cycle will help you feel more revived and avoid that sleep inertia.

Happy napping  : )

 

Coach Alex