15

Dec

My beautifully ugly obsession – The good, the bad & the ugly of Ironman Triathlon.

Shark – Bike – Bushfire – Run

Ironman Western Australia – Part 2, The Race Report

So here is, the race report for IM Western Australia.

I tried to keep it short, but the day was just so unbelievable that it was hard. The journey was one I’ll cherish forever. It has shown me strength I never knew I had. I hope you enjoy.

Its been nearly 2 weeks since the big day and I’m still trying to find the words to express how I feel about the whole experience.
It was such a whirlwind from the moment I left Melbourne right through to crossing that finishing line.

I can honestly say that once I hit the first stage of my taper, 2 weeks before the day, I was so proud and confident of what I had achieved over the past 6 months. I was proud of the commitment I had shown to my training, health and overall the whole process. To me getting through the months, weeks and days of training was the hard part. I knew that if I committed to the process, come race day, it would be the easy part.

The week leading in was pretty crusiey, work definitely kept my mind busy. Packing the long list of equipment for the event, then keeping up with short easy sessions to keep the body ticking over. It felt so good to see the body freshen up, to have this amazing fitness I was feeling ready and excited.

We left home for our flight to Perth bright and early on Thursday morning for our expected departure at 8:00am. While we jammed packed ourselves into the taxi; my partner Scott, Coach Katee and her husband Mick with all our luggage plus 3 bikes, we were pumped to go. On the way we all received a text message saying our flight has been delayed. Cool, no worries, 2 hours is nothing. Upon arrival at the airport when checking in we were then told our plane had mechanical issues and we were being redirect to Sydney with now a 4 hour delay. Not ideal, but ok what can you do. After getting through all that we sat down to enjoy our coffee when Scott received a text to state we were required to now board a flight to Canberra within 20mins of it leaving. WHAT! After confusion and no answers as to why we were headed there, we were on our way. No word of what was happening with our luggage. We landed in Canberra and still they were unable to tell us what was going on, other than we weren’t flying to Perth until 7:00pm.

So 10 hours now to burn in the Australian Capital Territory.
I remember reading in my notes on my training program the instructions for Thursday were to keep cool, hydrated and off my feet. Turns out we spent the day touring around on our feet and very stressed as we still didn’t know where the luggage was.

A phone call from my coach when she had landed in Perth (the flight we were supposed to be on also) made my day. She was standing at the conveyer belt in Perth with our bags and Mick had collect my bike. PHEWWW!!!

Finally boarding the plane to Perth, we were delayed another hour. Ahh what the hell is another hour hey?! Scott and I finally made in to our motel in Perth at 1:00am.

Friday we made the 3 hour trip down to Busselton, south of Perth. I just couldn’t wait to get there. As soon as we arrived I was straight down to the expo to check myself in. This was like no other check in I’ve experienced. As I was a ‘first timer’ the beautiful volunteer called out to the others and next thing they are all cheering and ringing their cow bells. It was an incredible feeling. They too were as excited as me. I signed my life away, got weighed and was on my way. Straight to the merchandise tent. Quick look through we then went to check out the famous jetty. It was BEAUTIFUL! Just like the photos. The vibes around the town were amazing, I’ll never forget it.

That afternoon a few of us went for a quick spin on our bikes to check they were all good from the flight and to have a quick look over the bike course. It was my first taste of the imfafous Busselton wind. Boy it was strong. But hey, I had plenty of training in wind. That wasn’t going to make me worried.

Saturday was a busy day. Our Tri club, Holistic Endurance got together to do a swim, ride and run. The water was stunning, seeing star fish, turtles, sting rays and even a dolphin swimming underneath us. The water was cool, calm and clear. I couldn’t wait to be out there swimming around the jetty. Off on our ride, it was hot already. Again an insight into what we would be facing on Sunday. A chance then to run on the course, along the coast. Not only did this help settle the nerves but it also made the fire in my belly burn big for what was about to come.

After what felt like forever packing all my gear in to appropriate bags, one allocated for all my bike gear the second for my run gear. Plus two bags for special needs that would I would have access to on the bike and run course if i needed. We set off to drop my beloved bike and gear into transition.

From there outside it was like trying to find a needle in a hay bail, there were bikes everywhere! I loved seeing so many people wanting to achieve the same thing I did. Transition is actually very carefully organised, numbered and labelled. The time spent in transition I was able to visualise how it was going to work, where to enter, where to exit. Also have I mentioned how amazing the volunteers are? They were everywhere being so helpful.
After that, everything was completed there was nothing else to do other than relax. Everything was done. Such a strange feeling, something I had been waiting to feel for such a long time. This was it.

A quick visit to see the boss Luke and his family who had flown over to spectate (how cool is that but the way) definitely helped distract me from what could happen on Sunday. Chatting about the whole process of what we had been through and what lay ahead of me, it was such a good time to reflect.

It certainly was an early night for me, I was always curious if I’d get much sleep the night before and Ironman, as in past before previous events, this has not been the case. Turns out I slept like a log!

Waking up at 4:00am, the day was FINALLY here. I remember Scott turning over and saying “Its your Christmas Day.” He was so right, everything I has dreamed about doing was about to unfold.

Well at least I thought it was…

We arrived at the the event and there were people everywhere! I walked straight into transition and dropped all my food, water/electrolytes off at my bike. All was good. I then started hearing announcements being made over the speaker that there had been a shark sighting at the jetty. WHAT THE HELL! Were they serious? Surely not, surely they would scare it off and we would be on our way, this is my Ironman Day. When no announcements had been made the vibes in transitions were getting worse, people talking about what might or might not happen. All we were told was to stay at our bikes until further notice. I remember looking down at my watch and it was nearly 7:00am (our start time) and starting to get anxious, this was our start time we should be in the water, how I thought the day would unfold wasn’t going to plan.

We were finally told that the swim was NOT going ahead. I was honestly devastated! Surely the shark would leave once we all started?

So new plan, we would start on the beach front and every 6 seconds, 2 people were allowed to start. This was to ease the congestion in transition and on the roads. My friend and I waited out in the sun for over an hour. That sun was beaming down on us, it was hot and I was beginning to get hungry. This didn’t make me feel positive at all. I made a new plan for my nutrition, for when I finally got to my bike. 2 hours after our original start time I was out on the bike, it was now 9:00am.

This was the best feeling ever getting out there, we had finally started. I was doing an Ironman.
The first 90km I was having the time of my life, speed was good, nutrition and hydration perfect. I was back to the 90km turn around point in no time. Seeing Scott an my best friend Sara was the best feeling ever. It was definitely heating up though, I was collecting water bottles at each aid station and pouring it over my head, face and back to try and keep cool.

There is about 20km on the bike where I have no recollection of what happened. What I do remember is looking down at my Garmin and it said 110km, from that point on I was in trouble. I started to feel really sick in the stomach. My water was hot, my food melting. Nothing I put in my mouth was satisfying me. I still had 70km to go.

Approaching the 135km mark I start to see a lot of smoke coming from a fire, I thought to myself how strange it was that they were allowed to burn off on such a hot day?! As I came closer to the 135k turn around, someone was calling my name. I couldn’t make out who it was, I was starting to feel so delusional. First I thought it was Scott, it couldn’t be. As I got closer I could see it was my boss Luke and his wife Lisa. They were cheering so loud for me, I was thinking so myself, stop cheering, stop it. As I turned the point I looked over to Lisa and told her I was really sick. She could see it in my face that this was not one word of a lie.

Little did I know that the smoke I had seen earlier was coming from an out of control bush fire. It was headed very close to the bike course. The heat it was projecting towards us was unbearable. Later I found out that it clocked 40 degrees out on those roads.

Nothing improved on the bike, passing aid stations to collect water bottles that were just as hot as the ones I already had. It had nearly been 1.5 hours with me vomiting and unable to keep anything in. I had vomited all over myself, over my bike, still riding. This was bad. I pulled over and this beautiful man stopped to ask if I was ok, he could see I was unwell. I didn’t know what I needed, nothing was working. He offered to get the ambulance, I knew that if he did get them, my day was done. I wasn’t ready to quit yet. I managed to tell him I needed to get back to transition. That was now my goal, it was all I could focus on. He told me to get on my bike and follow him back. So I did. His direction was what I needed, I was unable to make a rational decision. I was finally making my way back to what I thought was transition. In the distance I could see my coach and other athletes from Holistic Endurance, cheering for me like crazy. Again in my mind I was telling them to stop, I was failing, don’t be happy for me! I pulled in as I thought it was transition, got off my bike I was really distressed as I could not cool myself down. I felt like I was cooked from the inside out. I explained what had happened as best I could, I didn’t know what to do. This part is a bit of daze to me, but I remember Coach Katee saying to me, the choice to continue was mine and she would support me with whatever I decided. The look in her eyes, I knew it wasn’t good. She gave me a bottle of crisp mineral water that was so cold that I wanted to skull, but knew I had to sip or it would come up. She also gave me very clear instructions what to do next. To get to transition, cool down by standing under the hose, eat and drink something. And most importantly, that I had this!

I got to transition and Scott was there on the sideline, I couldn’t even look at him, I was so disappointment with myself, I knew I had let him, my coach myself and everyone back home down. I hated this! The volunteers took my bike and I wobbled over to the guy with the hose and I stood there while he sprayed me down from head to toe. This was heaven. I walked over to get my run bag and got organised. The volunteers gave me iced water and help me put it down the back of my top and under my cap. Part of me didn’t want to run, how could I possible get through a marathon? I had been vomiting the past 2 hours. I remember looking around and there were girls everywhere looking as sick as I was. Some vomiting, some crying, some encouraging us saying we could do it. One girl close to me was hysterical, she was so distressed with the whole situation. It actually made me feel uncomfortable. I had to get out there and at least try. I walked out and again got hosed down with water, then spotted a familiar face. Mick (coach Katee’s husband) he had followed me in since seeing me get off the bike. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I know it was encouraging. Katee and him both believed in me that I could at least try.

So I did, off I went. Out on the run! The crowd along the beach as just insane. The vibes they were giving me made me forget about the past 6 horrendous hours, I was doing this. I was going to give it my all. They were cheering my name, hi fiving and running alongside me. An incredible experience. I got to the first aid station where I took a piece of watermelon, it was the best tasting watermelon I’ve ever had. Finally something that my body would take! The next thing I knew I was passing through more and more aid stations. One of my favourite parts of the run was seeing Katee and the HE crew, I was smiling (and probably crying) I could see the joy in them that I hadn’t given up. I was doing this. It gave me so much strength to keep pushing.

I then saw another another spectator/friend Paul who was on this bike motivating us along the path. He rode alongside me for what felt like eternity. Constantly checking in, telling me to pick it up. He distracted me from the pain I was in. My body was hurting and I was still burning hot.

The minutes, the hours and the KM’s passed, the sun was setting and I was just focusing on the next thing. Get to the aid station, pass that KM. The tiniest goals, felt like the biggest. But ticking them off gave me more strength, it was rewarding. I needed to keep distracted.

On the final 3km of the run I could see a friend ahead, Shelly. I’ve know her as long as I’ve been in the triathlon world, she was walking. I needed to get to her. I did, I told her we had to get to the finish line, we were nearly there. We ran/walked that last 2km before finally hitting the beginning of the finishing shoot. We were there.

I cannot explain the thrill of it, running down that red carpet, lights flashing, the tunes pumping, people cheering for me! I wanted to stop and just watch, take it all in. I wanted this moment to last forever, but I also wanted this whole experience to end. I was hurting.
I could see my name on the top of the finish line banner, Pete Murray calling my name. It was everything I had imagined, however the feelings were 100% sweeter. I had finished. I did it!

A volunteer grabbed me and asked if I was ok, I had no idea if I was. I could see Scott, Katee and the support crew by the sideline, they gave me my finishers towel and walked over to them. Katee had my medal and she out it over my head and hugged me.

I had finished, it was over.

By this stage I was very emotional, seeing everyone so happy for me. I was so happy for me. I have never felt so proud of myself, than what I was feeling in that moment. I had beaten all the demons in my head, I had delt with all the curveballs that were thrown to us, I had overcome the thought that I was going to give up while out on the bike. But, I didn’t.

I DID IT!

It was hard to comprehend what had happened across the day, the sharks, the bushfire, the heat. Everything was/is a blur. But I know I am so pound of myself for finishing what I had started.

The following day it was important to debrief. I had said I was never doing it again. That I was done. After many chats and reminiscing, I found out that over 700 athletes (from 2,600 including the 70.3 athletes) pulled from the event. That someone hit a kangaroo on the bike (could this be anymore Australian). That temperature were much higher than what was predicted, much higher, 36 by 12:00pm.

That the conditions we were faced with were very challenging, some saying worse than Kona.
This helped me not be so hard on myself, sure my times were slower than anticipated, but I did the day as best as I could. I nailed the training leading in and looking back, it was the experience of a life time.

So my response has now changed when people ask if I’ll do it again. From “never again,” to “Cya in May at Cairns Ironman.”

I want to experience the whole thing, swim, bike and run. I will not stop to I am an Ironman.

So, my quest to become an Ironman continues.

I CAN AND I WILL BE AN IRONMAN

7

Dec

Fun or Fitness?

Here’s how you can have both (& more).

When I was thinking about my second contribution to the RevoPT Blog many topics seemed to come into my head. I’d write the first paragraph and find myself stalled. I wondered why, as I’d found my first experience writing quite easy (with some help editing/reviewing).  If you’re interested in checking it out you can find it here: Get your head right to get your body right.

Suddenly, during a chat with a mentor of mine, it hit me.  I was trying to be guided by the industry and what I thought people needed to know, not what I wanted to say.  This lead me to question my personal journey and where I wanted to take it in 2018.

The reflection process that followed produced the content you’re now reading, ‘Fun or Fitness? Why not both.’, I have battled this question ever since I moved to Melbourne.  Trying to constantly find a balance between enjoying myself and looking after myself.  I’d be lying if I said I have always prioritised the latter.  More recently however I have found myself struggling to stick to a ‘training routine’, ‘weekly plan’, ‘fitness regime’, all things I thought were a poor reflection of myself as a personal/group trainer and coach.  Reviewing my past month, I wanted to prioritise my time so I could focus on four key areas which I highlighted would help me lead a more fulfilling lifestyle; enjoyment (fun), movement (health), challenges (motivation) & environment (support).

ENJOYMENT –

This underpins why we should undertake a task.  We need to make sure what we are doing whether it be training, working or socialising is prioritised by enjoyment.  This is about the development of positive association with these tasks which are important for positive lifestyle and personal wellbeing.  Cooking is the first example of this that I can think of that many of us, myself included, can struggle with but it’s something that can have a huge impact on not only what we eat but our energy levels, quality of sleep, joint & muscle health and many more.  Setting aside time to cook is often hard because we see it as another task, but we don’t think outside the square to make any positive association.  Some things I’ve done to make sure I cook but don’t get bogged down include; play music, listen to podcasts, watch videos on YouTube or (and this is a hard one) get my house mates involved for some team work/bonding.

Another example of prioritising enjoyment through your fitness journey would be the inclusion of yourself to a group or team.  Therefore, I love the small group training environment RevoPT can provide people.  Get to know others around you, to celebrate with them as you and they achieve their goals.  If this doesn’t appeal to you then look at joining a team.  Personally, both environments have provided great enjoyment to me and I always make sure to join in where and when I can, especially within my friendship group if there is an opportunity to play social sports games, what better way to stay fit than by having fun with your friends?!

MOVEMENT –

It’s commonly understood that movement each day is good for our health.  However, the guidance around what exercise to do for what benefits is all dependent upon who you talk to and sometimes when you talk to them (trends are prevalent within the industry).  Perhaps we have overcomplicated it? Simply some days I feel better just for a light walk, solid stretch or informal movement of my body into positions which it feels good or happy.  This comes with practice and developing a connection to understand your body better.  Some days I know I don’t feel up to training and I used to force myself to do something in the gym (but why?).  Then one day I decided why not just go for a run? (sun is also important!)  The next week, I encountered the same problem.  So, I did some bodyweight exercises in my backyard.  Then come week 3 I found myself just at times incorporating simplistic movement on my off days, the ‘rest days’, sometimes finding myself staying in positions for up to a minute or two.  These positions would then leave me feeling better and left me with a greater respect of the principle time under tension.

I think, for a portion of time, that my ability to listen to the body and what it needed with regard to movement was compromised.  I felt like it wanted to do something but maybe not 50 calories on the bike or 50 reps of a back squat.  I’ve found myself feeling better throughout the second half of the year and I put this down to not having set ‘workout’ or set ‘rest’ days.  I let my mind and body decide each new day what we are going to do and I’m much better for it.  This doesn’t mean I do not train hard, I believe I am now training smarter and more specifically.  The three things I would encourage everyone to do when looking at their movement are; establish intent, body awareness and time under tension.

CHALLENGES –

These are designed to keep us motivated and on our toes.  Ready for whatever might come up each day.  Whilst being mindful of stress and placing importance on relaxation when required, it’s important that we stay sharp and I’ve found challenging myself no matter how big or small, mental or physical helps me to do this.  Some of the challenges I’ve set myself through 2017 have been; writing my first (& second) blog entries, Rowing 500m <1.30, Ski Erg 2km <7.30, Bench Press 100Kg (maybe next year), Clean & jerk 100Kg, Snatch Bodyweight (maybe next year), expanding my network/career (VFLW S&C coach) and 20 mins mobility each day (almost!).  So, as you can see we can’t always get what we want and you can’t do everything.  The key here is that you can try!  Some challenges you will fail, some you will succeed but it becomes more about setting them and finding out more about who you are, what you enjoy and all you are capable of.

Whilst you might not be successful in every challenge at least you can say you tried, you trained, and you committed to it.  Those three things are more important to leading a positive fitness journey than the result itself.  The other thing I do regarding my challenges is talk to people who I know have tried and I gauge my sense of reality.  Sometimes this can show I’m overly ambitious and at times not capable but without having these conversations I wouldn’t know.  The same as without trying to complete these challenges I would not have known if I was capable or learnt the lessons that I have.  Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, be excited to explore what you are capable of both inside and outside the gym.

ENVIRONMENT –

This is my final point but arguably most important. To make sure we feel positive about whatever it is we do we must ensure we surround ourselves with the right environment.  This is different for all individuals but for me I’m more inclined to read/write/study if it’s raining, eat veggies if it’s cold, fruit if it’s warm and I’m more inclined to exercise if the sun is out.  These are all examples of the natural environment but what about the area around you?  Are you more inclined to exercise if you feel safe? if you have someone to talk to? Short and sweet, RevoPT get the results we do due to the environment we provide.  Our environment is inclusive, positive and results driven.  We provide everyone with the opportunity to better themselves, are constantly giving constructive feedback, tips to guide people and encouragement to keep you working yourself to your best and we provide the structure to let you track your progress and keep on updating your goals.   However, we make sure you get lots of variety to keep the environment interesting, fun and fresh.  All of this key to providing you with enjoyment, movement and challenges.

Another example of a fantastic environment is the Victoria University (Western Bulldogs) Women’s Football Program. I’ve never been a part of a club that is made up of individuals that are driven and united from the top down.  They’ve set an incredible example for me regarding work ethic, honesty and trust.  Three key pillars which I believe help foster the environment that I am now lucky to be part of as Strength and Conditioning coach.  So why am I mentioning this and how do these three pillars relate to the everyday person and their journey in search for the right environment.  Work ethic will be improved if you are surrounded by people you respect and people who respect you so keep an eye out for this and next time you think ‘I’m going to beat this person’ remind yourself that it’s their effort lifting your work ethic, this is a great sign you’re in a good environment (competition is healthy).  Honesty should be able to be applied from both your trainers and yourself.  We should be able to push you harder if we think you’re capable of more.  You should be honest with us if there’s something you’re not enjoying or if you know you can’t give absolutely everything.  Having an honest relationship with the trainers at your gym will make for a more enjoyable experience.  Finally, trust is super important in your environment.  Trust that you’re safe, you’re doing what’s required to meet your goals and that you’re always welcome at the gym.

To summarise the above I guess this is my personal reflection on my past couple of working years in Melbourne.   Something I encourage you to all do is REFLECT then RESPOND.  My quote when I started my RevoPT journey was ‘change is the best thing you can do’.  I stand by this as I believe change comes in many forms and can provide all of the above-mentioned keys to a good journey to a stronger, fitter and healthier version of yourself.  Change can lead to increased enjoyment, different ways of including movement, provide challenges and give you a fresh environment to come to each day.

None of us are perfect and nor should we aim to be, however this should not leave us in a place where we don’t strive to be enjoy, move, challenge and be in a great environment each day.  We can make the choices to make sure this happens and it all starts from taking away these finals points from this blog.


ENJOY- what you are doing and where your journey takes you.

MOVE- listen to how your body feels and move with it! Be conscious in what training or movement you think it requires.

CHALLENGE- the sky is the limit, the world your oyster.  Look at the small and the big picture. We can take on a challenge each day.

ENVIRONMENT- find the one that makes you enjoy, move and challenge yourself!

Congratulations on your 2017, celebrate it but get ready. 2018 can be anything you want it to be, it’s up to you!

Have a great holiday season and enjoy the company of those around you,

Nathan

23

Oct

What I learnt from taking time off from training due to injury.

There are always two sides to an injury…

Until June this year, life was going well and work was busy. I was on a roll with my training (Strength and Conditioning 3x/week, Yoga 3 – 4 x/week, Martial Arts training 5 – 6 x/week) and I was looking forward to making my debut in a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu competition.

In a single moment everything changed due to fracturing my right hand. I wish I had a cool story to explain the injury; in fact I’ve kept the story private from most people. I could, however, be encouraged to discuss this further in another blog post…

As a personal trainer, training is pretty much my life. I train myself, my clients and I am constantly participating in courses to learn new methods to implement into my own and my clients training. I don’t do the job because of money; I do the job because I am passionate about health and exercise and the benefits that it can bring to someones life. I enjoy being healthy, feeling good and moving my body to its full potential. Everything that I implement into my own training, I then pass on to my clients and enjoy seeing them make the same progress and results. I actually get more pleasure from seeing my client’s results than my own!

My world fell apart when the doctor told me that I was unable to use my right, and dominate, hand for 6 weeks. Worse, I was told to not put body weight on it for 10 weeks and absolutely no contact sports for 12 weeks. The x-ray showed that my hand was broken, but it felt like my soul was broken too.

Previous to the injury, I had been training so hard. I was getting results with my lifts in the gym and I was nearly ready to compete in my first BJJ (Brazilian Jui Jitsu) competition. I’ve had time out from training before, due to other injuries and things like overseas holidays and I know the drill. When you start up training again, it can make you feel a little depressed. Being unable to complete as many reps, or lift as much weight as you once could, feels like a huge step backwards. Not being able to push your body to its full potential makes training feel wasteful or at least all of the work you had put in previously a waste. So when training is your life and it’s something that you’re passionate about, not being able to reach a goal fast enough can be extremely demotivating.

Even though I couldn’t train how I used to, mainly focussing on my upper body, I knew that there were other things that I could do. I aimed to focus on training my legs and my core. I believed that I was going to be able to train the same just without the use of my right hand. Although I tried to remain positive, I found myself in a depressing rut.

Simple everyday tasks had become a huge challenge – like showering, making my bed, putting on clothes, food prep, cleaning the house and many more. At first, I was frustrated and angry but I knew that a negative attitude would not get me anywhere. I knew that if I wanted to be happy and get through the next 12 weeks without going insane, I was going to have to see the bright side of the injury. So I began to think – we have two hands, why do we limit ourselves to one? I viewed my injury as a blessing in disguise. Rather than seeking help with my small everyday tasks, I persisted to practice with my left hand and after a couple of days I began to see improvements. It wasn’t long before I was writing with my left hand, and even though it looked like a child’s writing, I was proud to say that I had done it!

While my left hand was becoming stronger, my right hand was learning how to move my fingers again. I was attending my hand therapy appointments and practicing what the therapist suggested religiously. As a qualified electrician and personal trainer, I knew that regaining full control and mobility over my right hand was critical. I made my recovery non-negotiable and was extremely motivated to regain strength in my right hand.

Every hour I would do my finger movements and after each appointment with my specialist I would be introduced to new rehabilitative exercises. These were the most simple exercises and essential to my recovery. I cannot stress enough as to how important it is to the recovery process! Whatever the doctor said, I did! If he told me to rest and not do anything, I did! If he said move your fingers this way 10 times every hour, I made sure that I did! I set an alarm and an appointment with myself to ensure success.

Even though I was making progress, I was still not training how I used to. I am a big believer that movement is medicine and I was having withdrawals due to not getting the same dose as I was prior to my injury! Like most people when they miss training, or be absent from something that they are passionate about, it tends to drive them a little crazy. It can make them feel anxious or depressed. In times like this, we need to rely on someone to help us get back onto our feet. We need someone to keep us accountable and motivated. At the end of the day, life goes on and the universe continues to move, we need to choose to get up and keep moving otherwise we can get left behind and not feel any better than before.

I have personally had a PT for about a year and have achieved great results through training with him but dealing with an injury saw my results go downhill fast. I wanted to try and get some strength back before him and I started training again so I took it upon myself by doing some basic bodyweight exercises. Once again, I found myself having bad days, motivation was low and training sessions were missed.

I knew that starting back with my trainer was going to be tough – especially the first couple of sessions due to DOMS. I knew that by booking in a PT session, I would keep the appointment and get results faster, rather than taking it upon myself which had been previously unsuccessful.

The first few sessions were hard and I was extremely sore afterwards! I continued to push through, even when I didn’t want to, and it wasn’t long before I started to notice positive strength results in my legs. My PT sessions meant that I wasn’t skipping anything and it kept me motivated to train. After a few sessions I began to train my upper body, I also noticed that there wasn’t a massive drop in my performance, that I was actually stronger than I initially thought. I was focussed and persisted with my training and it wasn’t too long before I was nearly back to the same strength levels prior to my injury.

Everything was slowly starting to get back to normal with my training and recovery process, I could now see the light and the end of what was a very dark tunnel.

I am now back into my pre-injury intense training routine and registered to compete in my first BJJ competition on the 27th of October – Pan Pacific IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the Biggest comp in Australia and what I’ve been told is a great one to make your debut in!

Everything that my injury has taught me, I have applied into every aspect of my life, I still enjoy using my left hand for basic tasks!

There is always two sides to everything in life and if you want to get through the tough times, you need to try and find the bright side. It is always there, even though you may not see it at first! Sometimes though, you need help to see it – that’s when you can rely on a trainer, friends and family. When you’re struggling with an issue, physically or mentally, please don’t hesitate to seek help because there is always someone out there to help you through the ups and downs of life.

5

Jul

Strategies for Improving Exercise Motivation

 

In our fitness journey which is very much like life we face many upsides and downsides. These moments can be driven by outside influences, intern changing our mental state and as a result we find ourselves putting things off or deferring them.

If this becomes a habit we could find ourselves inactive and in a cycle that becomes very hard to break.  I’ve seen this over the years coaching and training many age groups and people so I wanted to share with your some strategies to overcome these barriers and help you get on the right path with your training.

Goal Setting  

Set yourself a goal work on a timeline easiest way is then work with a plan and try to execute accordingly. Your goal can be a simple task eg be able to do fifty push ups and daily increase if your number of repetitions can aid to get you there.

Partner Training 

Find a training partner so as to work as a team within yourselves to keep each other motivated as you are less likely to not train if you feel like you are letting someone else down. With your partner you can have a forfeit system for example if one doesn’t make a training session they have to donate to charity or be a physical task that you both despise like burgers.

Event Registration 

By registering for an event e.g. a Fun Run this assists in going for the goal and unite an easy way to find a partner or a group to work in with to achieving this particular goal. Training for an event like Spartan or Tuff Mudder, Color Run as these will have specific timelines in which to work towards.

Incidental Training

Examples of a simple way to assist ourselves to keep moving could be to walk or cycle to work or alternatively if we drive or use transportation then do part of your journey walking eg get off two stops earlier on the train to travel some of the journey being a bit more active.  Take the stairs instead of the lift or even go for walks at lunchtime or walk the dog etc.

Create an Event 

Create an event around you and your friend or work colleagues eg the last Sunday of the month you go to the 1000 steps this could start with two people and then expand as you go along. Also run a mini boot camp like going to the local park and you have to set up circuits again if this becomes an annual event it will build up or just go to the park and play a game of frisbee or a soccer match

8/ 12 week Body Challenge 

An event like this can really assist in covering a lot of the ideas stated before which can be the event, partner training, goal setting utilizing a clothing item that may want to wear again at the end of the event or a brand new purchase as a reward for achieving a goal.  Make sure to measure and weigh yourself at the beginning possibly half way through and definitely at the end of this cycle as this generally will help you see the progress as you go along.

Join a Team

Join a team sport which could be just once a week as this may then inspire you to make additional changes to do more activity to support your role within the team. sports you could take up for example mixed netball, indoor soccer, trampolining ( Bounce ), touch rugby, soccer, afl.

Summary

These are a few strategies that can assist us in changing our mindset and inert assisting us to stay motivated to ultimately keep moving we only need to take very small steps to reach our long term goals if we can find ways to utilize some of these suggestions over the winter months ahead we will find it much easier to sustain over the Autumn and Summer months ahead.

1

Jun

How strength training has saved me from a crippled spine.

I was a pretty scrawny little kid.

I was always skinny and athletic. Never sat still.

You could count my ribs pretty well throughout my whole childhood. My mum and dads grocery bill however would prove that I ate like a horse. I just didn’t sit still for too long.

As I reached my early teens however my mum started to express concern around my spine and my under developed musculature of my upper back.

I had extremely winged scapular so physiotherapy was sort out for me to begin the process of strengthening my scapular and the muscles of my upper back and shoulders to better hold my posture in place.

Later on it was noted that I had some significant scoliosis as well. Nothing serious enough for drastic intervention to be made but enough for some treatment to be had.

Personally, I was never too concerned about either and went about being my healthy, happy, million miles and hour kid/teen. I played a lot of sport, my focus particularly on footy.

When I turned 16 I got my first gym membership. I’ve always had a part time job since I was able to work, so getting myself into the gym was something that if I made a priority, it was my call and my parents would always support my decisions.

Beach weights were the flavour for a 16 year old teenager. Naturally! I trained with one of my closest childhood friends.

We seemed to make a bit of progress in the gym and although we were working our hardest on our ‘Beach muscles’, through some good guidance we managed to stay pretty well balanced with our bodies.

As time progressed I actually ended up starting my career in the fitness industry at that very gym!

15 years later (wow!) I am now focusing predominately within my own training on Olympic Weightlifting. This is actually a sport where being mobile, yet strong is a huge benefit. I have some aspiration on competing soon and have started to post some numbers that I am a little proud of after around 2 years of focusing on this style of training as my priority. Here are a couple of recent PB’s I have managed after working closely with my coach, Lester Ho, on my individual strengths and weaknesses.

I am a washed up local level footballer with an injury list longer than I should bore you with here. The most serious of which being a shoulder reconstruction after a series of football related dislocations.

I train hard, but also look after my body regularly with massage, physiotherapy treatment when needed and regular visits to my osteopath, particularly over the last 18 months.

Recently my Osteopath and I were discussing my joint hypermobility. I am and have for most of my life been quite flexible. Something that I thought my time in the gym focusing on this type of flexibility work had brought about. It was not something that I thought was typically un-common. Just something I thought I had brought about with diligence.

This is kinda how I feel after a solid strength training session. 😉

However, my spine in particular is very mobile.

This is not necessarily a good thing.

So, what is hypermobility?

Joint hypermobility syndrome is a condition that features joints that easily move beyond the normal range expected for a particular joint. The joint hyper-mobility syndrome is considered a benign condition. It is estimated that 10%-15% of normal children have hypermobile joints or joints that can move beyond the normal range of motion. Hypermobile joints are sometimes referred to as “loose joints,” and those affected are referred to as being “double jointed.”

Being more mobile and having more range of movement means your joints are also more unstable. When you are working toward snatching more than your body weight over your head, you must do this with the right preparation and caution as it can create issues with your shoulders, hips, spine and even elbows if done incorrectly.

However I now know that my time in the gym and my active lifestyle since I was young has probably prevented me from being a crippled mess at the age of 33.

Whilst I have suffered the odd impact based injury like my shoulder reconstruction my spine is in incredible shape (according to my osteopath anyway) for someone as mobile as I am.

You see, all of the resistance training I have been putting my body through since I was 16 has helped to transform myself from a skinny kid with winged scapula to a reasonably well developed strong father (#dadstrong not #dadbody).

In fact, the joint trauma injuries and hypermobility might make a little more sense retrospectively. If my shoulders weren’t as mobile as they were, traumatic injuries brought about by impact like my shoulder dislocations might have been a little less likely.

So after this very long winded introduction to my condition and where i’m at now, if you’re someone who suffers from a similar condition should you just hit the weights hard and stiffen up?

Hell no!

Should you you start yoga and stretch out a heap whenever you’re stiff and sore?

Double hell no!

It’s about finding a balance between your mobility and building strength in the areas that you are lacking, especially strength in your end range/weakest point of the rep.

Many people with hypermobility natural are putting their bodies at more risk of joint related injuries as their connective tissue doesn’t provide them with as much rigidity as that of others. So many of them get stiff and sore regularly. Generally if people are stiff and sore regularly the common held belief if that something along the lines of yoga will assist to to stretch out… This is, in isolation, one of the worst things you can actually do.

It will only cause to further loosen of your slack connective tissue and put you at a greater risk of a ligament or joint injury through weak or sloppy support structures.

Yoga can be effectively added into a training regime for someone with hyper mobility but only if you are doing the things you need to do to become more stable in the areas of need. This can be a very individual thing.

Adding in more spine strengthening work such as pilates or any structural strengthening work can be the key. The more you learn about your body and the more aware you can become of how you move and where your restrictions and weaknesses lie, the better you can address them.

This little guy is now the main reason I want to keep myself fit, healthy and injury free.

For me, my shoulders, ankles and spine are both incredibly mobile, my hips however need a bit of work.

So for me, doing all I can do to strengthen my spine and a unit and the retractors of my scapular works well for me to become less prone to injury. Supporting the stabilising structure of my ankles is also a focus.

The exercises you want to look at mastering as a minimum are:

  1. The Deadlift
  2. Barbell Back Squat
  3. Strict Press
  4. Pendlay Row

Diligently focusing on what you need as an individual is the key to being fit, healthy and strong as you age no matter who you are. This can be incredibly individual. So if you’re wondering what you might need for yourself, specifically seek out the advice of a strength and conditioning coach who can first assess where you’re at and then design a structured training program to have you progress towards your goals.

Or get in touch. I can point you in the right direction and would love to hear from you.

Luke

30

May

Who is RevoPT and how are we different?

RevoPT is a Strength and Condition, Personal Training, Group Training and Functional Fitness gym dedicated to helping you create the strongest, happiest and healthiest version of yourself.

Group Training can be many different things depending on where and when you train but with us at RevoPT we have some specifics we focus that set us apart and will help you to really maximise what you are getting out of your training and will ensure you enjoy yourself along the way.

We focus on the following things so that you can focus on you:

What classes do we offer? We offer a plethora or classes, and you get the opportunity to chose what fits for you. Or we can help you to build the perfect training week for you with a complementary coaching appointment with our goal setting specialist.

So what classes do we offer?

HIIT – High Intensity cardio vascular focus class. Design to get you fit, quickly.

Pure Strength – Fundamental strength training. This will help you get stronger throughout your whole body.

MetCon – Resistance Training and high intensity work design to build your work capacity.

Strongman – Functional Resistance Training. No matter who you are you will enjoy strength training like this.

Primal Movement – Body Weight high intensity work stripping back the fluff and getting you working hard.

Mobility – We understand that when you move better you achieve more. This class will look at you restrictions and help you to improve them.

The Hustle – Expect the unexpected. We want this to finish of your working week with the toughest class of the week

Bootcamp – Everything and anything. Mostly done in groups or teams. A great way to train on your weekend.

BoxFit – High tempo, fitness based boxing class. This will really get your heart rate up.

Small class sizes – a maximum of only 12 per class. You can book all of your classes in quickly and easily via our smart phone app or via our website. Whichever option suits you best.

We find this number to be the optimum of interaction with all of the hard working, encouraging members of our community and supervision, motivation, coaching and care from our experienced trainers and coaches.

Get your copy of our App by following the link in the image.

Quarterly body composition testing – How do you know unless you know? We have the friendly folks from Melbourne Body Composition Testing visit our studio once every 13 weeks at the beginning of out latest round of programming to test and measure exactly where you are at with you body composition so that you can set some goals for your next block of training. This is done using the latest technology and something we find to be invaluable.

Strength Training – a huge focus for us is getting people strong, no matter what level that start at. We believe that no matter who you are, increase you level of strength will hold you in good stead to be able to enjoy more of life! Wether you are a 25 year old female just looking to tone up, or a 40 year old man looking to drop weight both of you will be benefited by increasing your level of maximum strength out put. It will help to keep you injury free, help you to burn more fat at rest by building lean muscles mass and help you to move better through greater body awareness and coordination.
Coaching – everybody is here to get better. Full stop. Whether it is to drop 5 kilos, to build 5 kilos, to get 5 minutes faster or to go for 5 minutes longer we want to help you to get there. We do this by learning what makes you tick and then coaching the shit out of you! What motivates and drives you might be something totally different from the next person so our elite team of trainers needs to treat each of you as an individual. We do. Our number one priority is to have the very best team to help you to achieve your goals. We have put a huge amount of focus on developing our team to an elite level where you can be confident that you are getting the best possible coaching for you to achieve what you have set out to. You can read a little about each of the members of our team on there details Personal Trainer profile on our website here.

Movement – no matter who you are you can move and perform better. We understand this and as such we have dedicated Mobility classes to help you to focus on this. If you’re tight, stiff and restricted you can’t move as well as you should. If we address this, you’ll start to move better. If you move better you’ll be able to do more. If you’re able to do more you’ll be able to achieve more! If you’re able to achieve more you’ll be able to do more of whatever life has to offer you. This makes us happy!

Community – Above all, development of our strong community is at the forefront of all that we do. No one is left behind. No one is forgotten. It’s the whole reason that RevoPT exists and something we are very passionate about. Everyday we get to spend time with people that make us tick, that work hard, push themselves and focus on getting better everyday. We would love you to become one of those people. We make sure you work hard, but it’s just as important to us that you’re having fun while you do it.

Programming – Our programming is meticulously thought out and programmed well in advance to ensure cohesiveness across the board. Everyone of our classes works in conjunction with one another. We offer truely Unlimited memberships enabling you to be able to attend our studio multiple times per week or even per day focusing on very different aspects of your goals.

Think what we offer might be the right fit for you?

We think so.

So, take us for a test drive!

Book your free first visit here:

You can view our full class timetable on our website here or view and book on the go via our smart phone app for iPhone or Android.

Want to know a little bit more of what we’re all about? Watch this: