Author Archives: Luke Scott

Super Dad!

An interview with father, partner, professional and marathon runner Travis Stevens post his Berlin Marathon performance.

For this month’s blog we have interviewed Trav Stevens, a member of the RevoPT community. Not only is Trav a long distance runner, but he works full time, is a young dad and partner to Jayne another member of the community here at RevoPT.

In this blog we see what happens behind the scenes for a young family to and what it takes to be able to continually participate in marathons across the world and compete at such a high level.

We are super proud of Trav’s efforts during the Berlin marathon and we look forward to seeing what the futures holds.

Trav, this is marathon number 8 for you, tell us how this build was different to any that you have done before?

Yep, Berlin was number 8. Three of the six ‘World Major Total’ completed so far. I’ve done Boston in 2013, Tokyo in 2015. 3 more to go.

As for the build, nothing changed in terms of the method to what I’ve done previously. I basically pulled out my 12-week program from Tokyo 2015 where I did my Personal Best time of 2:54. Following on I’ve had a 3 year break.

The only thing I changed in lead up to that 12-week program was running longer on my slow long runs for at least a 20 week period to get my body used to the distance and time in legs again.

The major difference in preparation was not having a chance to run another marathon event for 2016/17 season as my son was born Feb 2016. So, it was going to be a bit of an unknown as I was training very solidly before he came into the world.

Now I run with a pram as part of training and it works out well. It’s added strength and resistance and I get to make a morning of it with Joshua at a park run for example.

What challenges had you faced in the lead up to Berlin? How did you overcome them?

Like other marathon stories, there are always challenges along the way, the biggest ones included;

  • almost a 3 year lay off between marathons, therefore having to build my endurance up again, followed by regaining speed endurance
  • not increasing my training load too quickly
  • not knowing how my body would react to strength training twice as week plus running 5-6 days a week at the same time
  • pacing myself correctly for the marathon
  • not being able to make it to the Crosbie Crew’s (my running group) training speed session and therefore training for the majority on my own

What made you decide to tackle Berlin over many other marathon choices?

I have completed two world marathon majors so my partner Jayne said ‘I think it’s about time you got back into marathon training’ (as she knows how much I love it).

(World Marathon Majors is a series of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world: Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon.)

I narrowed it down to Berlin or New York then decided on Berlin. From there I applied once the lottery opened and was lucky enough to gain entry that way.

I want to run all 6 majors by the time I’m 40 years old (I turn 35 this December) 3 down, 3 to go (London, New York and Chicago).

In the lead up to Berlin you incorporated Strength and Conditioning into your weekly program, how do you think that contributed to your success?

I found it helped hugely with recovery for me as it’s been a long time between endurance events.

Session to session and day by day recovery was enhanced and I didn’t dread some running sessions once the big kilometre weeks hit in my program as I knew the strength was there to help me complete those runs.

I’ve suffered chronic calf tightness in past marathon preps and it never eventuated in this preparation. I feel a lot stronger in the muscle fibres.

I completed my strength work via online programming as it was more efficient for me being a parent. Plus, it meant I could train from home and when it suited me.

What do you enjoy most about running?  What keeps you coming back for more?

There a few reasons, the main ones being;

  • the health benefits
  • getting outdoors
  • very time efficient sport, can put my runners on and go from my front door, even more so as a parent now I can take the pram out
  • encouraging and positive environment of athletes
  • the physical and mental challenge of running at speed over an endurance event
  • finding out how far can I push myself
  • that I can include my son Joshua in my training with the pram

You created your own running plan; how did you find this? What did you learn from doing it this way?

For my 1st marathon I just used a free mobile app and used that as my plan.

After that I decided the only way to improve more was to join a running club. I googled running clubs in Melbourne and came across the Crosbie Crew. From then I have used their training template but had made slight adjustments to make it work for me.

The key take outs are including 1x speed/endurance session per week, 1x goal marathon pace/tempo session a week, include absorption (recovery) runs, mid-week long run and a Sunday long run. For me this resulted in an 80/20 training method.

80% slow, 20% marathon pace or faster.

Who is on your ‘team’ that you would like to acknowledge?

My team includes;

Firstly Jayne (my partner) “team work makes the dream work”

It’s a big juggle to get all my training in. Jayne is very understanding with the time requirements plus recovery and I can’t thank her enough!

My mum and sister Erin looking after Josh when they could so I could get training in if I was stuck for time.

Tim Crosbie, my coach puts in a huge amount of time into the crew and recreational running in Australia has been there a as quality sounding board over the years.

Yourself, JLB have been great with strength programming, very understanding with how my body was reacting to different exercises and adjustments were made accordingly. 

What advice would you say to any Dad out there who might be thinking of running his first marathon?

My advice would be;

  • be flexible with your training plan
  • get 7-9 hours sleep a night
  • running big k’s in past preparations I would always get the flu in my taper weeks, I invested in a sports nutritionist who found I wasn’t eating enough. Ever since then, I have never been ill through a prep. So, nutrition is paramount.
  • find a gel brand that works for your stomach and practice using them during your long runs
  • ensure you have the time required (part time effort will end in part time result) planning and mapping out the months required with your wife/partner/family
  • goal setting – finishing, pacing correctly, time orientated or not?
  • find yourself a massage therapist/osteopath
  • purchase a foam roller and spikey ball
  • rotate runners with two pairs (small things become the big things)
  • there is no substitute for time on the legs
  • mix up the surfaces you train on
  • slow increments in training volume, 10-15 percent increase in volume per week
  • once a month have an absorption week reduced volume and intensity
  • complete a couple of half marathons in the lead up over a 6 month in lead up

How do you juggle the many hats you wear; Dad, partner, son, not to mention work all into your week?

Nothing is ever perfect, being a parent, my training regime has evolved. I think of it as a guide then plan. Things such as a sick child, sleepless nights are out of my control.

Missing a session or two won’t destroy your whole preparation! Training big volume, it’s always trial and error with balance so work out what best for your situation.

My 1st priority is always my family then try to fit in running in around that.

I’ve made sacrifices to be able to do the training, for example I must be willing to train early before work or late at night. I have even run to work and run home as part of training at times as well as train during my lunch breaks.

The take home message is overall it’s about finding balance and something that will suit you and your circumstances.

We hope this has given you a bit of an insight into what it takes to fit in training for one of the worlds biggest marathons into an already packed schedule. Thanks so much for sharing your experience of Berlin with us Trav and all the best for your preparation ticking off those next big three!

Get your system ROWing!

Here is what you need to know

– These pieces of equipment are unlike typical cardio machines. They will gas you immediately whilst having little to zero impact on your joints

– There are a variety of workouts you can do using one or all three of these pieces of equipment.

– Intervals can range from Time, Distance and a combination of the two. This article will show just how creative you can be.

Growing up and throughout my initial years as a fitness trainer, I was not too charitable when it came to the use of Cardio machines. Gyms for many years and even in present time are always full of treadmills and cross trainers which in my opinion were very isolated and didn’t have much carry over or bang for your buck. However With more years in the industry I have learnt the value of machines such as the Rowing machine or Erg and just how versatile and effective it was.

A little about me

Late last year I ruptured my ACL (Anterior Cruciate ligament) In my knee whilst training in Freestyle wrestling. I had been lucky to not suffer any significant injuries growing up as I played a lot of competitive sports and through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling I had until December last year been injury free.

I had surgery In February this year and whilst I am starting to work my way back into running. With a significant injury such as an ACL tear It has limited me over the months. As a result My Conditioning has suffered immensely right until I decided to give Cardio machines a go. This is where I am going to share my love once again for Cardio equipment and Interval training once again!

So what makes interval training on the Rower so special? Why the love for this piece of equipment  of equipment?

– First of you can get in a lot of work in a very short amount of time

– It is non weight bearing and won’t cause the type of stress that running or sprinting would on a treadmill

– Following on from point two, The stress is distributed over your entire body and it won’t tax your lower body like treadmill running would

– It is a tough fitness challenge that can be used to help you recover from heavier and more taxing workouts which involve squatting and deadlifting

With all these points mentioned above it is fair to say that Interval training and using the Rower has my tick of approval BUT is it for everyone?

Here are some contraindications for using the Rowing machine

– You Have symptomatic lower back pain or a history of disc pathologies (Includes repeated flexion/extension of your spine particularly under compressive loading

– Hip pain of any sort. The full flexion of the rowing machine can flare up an exacerbate any injury you have.

– You sit for long periods a day (8-10 hours) This point is raised if you plan on spending large periods of time on the machine Over 20 minutes. However with a focus on doing intervals on the machine this should not be an issue but it is something to keep in mind. 

Are there other pieces of equipment which I can do instead of the Rower if any of the contraindications listed above apply to me

– Yes you can! The other two pieces of equipment which you can use to substitute the rower or do with are the Ski Erg and the Assault Bike.

Workouts that can be done on the Rower, Ski Erg or The AirBike

As mentioned above, using any of the three pieces of cardio equipment for short duration  intervals are most effective. Here are some workouts you can add to your training. Like any workout make sure you do plenty of warming up including mobility and activation work and lastly be prepared to work!

1) 30 seconds on 30 seconds off for 1KM

– One of my go too workouts on either pieces of the equipment. For the Rower and Ski erg it is a program already in their custom workout tab. You will row for 30 seconds as fast as you can and then rest for 30 seconds. The goal is to get to 1KM.

2) Meter Ladder 500-400-300-200-100 wth 60 seconds rest between sets.

– This is another low volume, shorter duration style of workout that is a bit easier to suffer through as the distance is slightly decreasing each round.

To Flip this you can also do this by making it an ascending ladder of 100-200-300-400-500 metres too.

3) 3x 1Min Max Outs with 2 minutes Rest

– This one will leave you red face, wheezing and gassed! A great finisher to any workout as it really empties the tank.

Set the Rower/Ski/Assault Bike to a 1Min timer and as fast as you can try work through as many metres as possible. Once complete take two minutes completely off and then repeat. A good target s aiming for 1000m overall for the 3 rounds!

4) Calorie/Meter Target Followed by an active rest

– This workout can be done by setting a distance lets say 10 calories on any of the pieces of equipment and during a rest perform 10x push ups, chin ups, squats etc. You can be pretty creative with this one. Best way to do this workout is a Every minute on the minute where you must complete the target followed by the active rest within the minute window before repeating. Do this for 5-10 rounds and you will be spent!

Interval Training is a very effective training method and when done correctly can have great carry over towards anyone’s training. Give it a go and you will be surprised on just how much volume you can accumulate in a short period of time!

Performance, persistence… and budgie smugglers.

We are a performance based gym. We predominantly work with people who have some type of performance goal in mind.

Whether that be to get stronger, to perform better at their chosen sport, to stay injury free while competing or to get the very best out of themselves as they compete or in their daily lives.

We also work with many people who are not competitive at all and focus on helping them to be able to enjoy their day to day life and to tackle any of the current or new challenges life may throw at them and enjoy them to their fullest. Like a desk bound tech entrepreneur tackling his first marathon, an 80 year old retiree setting a world record or a stay at home domestic engineer pulling a double body weight deadlift.

These things won’t pop up on your walk with your dog but if a friend asked you tomorrow would you like to hike throughout the grampians this weekend, would you be ready?

If you got the opportunity to go snowboarding, skiing or surfing this weekend would you be confident that your body would cope?

If you got the chance for a weekend on the beach in Hawaii would you be confident enough to rock out your best budgie smugglers or bikini?

We are not a body sculpting gym.

We are not a body building gym.

We are not a physique gym.

We are not a weight loss program.

We are not a body transformation centre.

We are here to help you to perform at your absolute best. We want to help you to get as strong as you possibly can.

We want to help you to become as fit as you possibly can by increasing your steady state and power endurance.

We want to help you to become supple and flexible yet strong throughout great ranges of movement and feel confident to tackle challenging tasks.

We want to empower you with this performance mindset to eat and fuel your body in a way that supports these outcomes, eating nutritious whole foods from a diverse range of sources.

We want you to focus on the practices that help you to recover well from each training session by being conscious of your sleep, movement, rest and work outside of the gym.

We want you to listen to your body and not thrash yourself when you’re under enormous stress loads either at work or within your personal life.

We want you to be able to achieve all that your desire in your professional life because your body and mind feel fresh, healthy and capable of the day to day rigours of your career.

What we want as a by product of all of this is for you to earn a body that you are proud of, that others notice and enjoy a level of health that is at your body’s pinnacle.

We understand that while everyone who walks through our door does not do so because they want to lose 5kgs or drop 5% body fat what we ALL want regardless of how many kilos we have been able to add to the barbell or how many seconds we have been able to shave off our 2k row, is to look better naked!

So whilst our focus isn’t on the aesthetic outcomes, the by product of all of your hard work, is that by following the process and continuing to put in place all that will enable you to perform at your body’s peak you will obtain the physique of a highly tuned athlete with the capability of one.

We want you to be strong, fit, mobile and to look the part.

That’s what we believe in.

Find your best fit and you’ll find your ultimate fitness

Where do you or why do you train where you train?

Like most people, when I first joined a gym, it was not for fun. It was because it was something I thought I ‘had’ to do.

I’ve been a competitive athlete for as long as I can remember, and until the age of 17 a large chunk of my days were spent sprinting on a track or trying to get a ball into an absurdly located hoop. Like a lot of young athletes, after graduating high school I felt aimless without the structure of classes and training. Oh sure I was still active, but after such a high level of activity for most of my life the drop in intensity affected me in ways that I did not anticipate. I no longer had to wake up early for practice, so I stayed up later. Without school and team trainings, I had to actually make plans to see my friends (ridiculous, I know). Worst of all, as expected when someone goes from training over 12 hours a week to not at all, my body started changing… So I decided to join a gym.

Joining a gym used to conjure up a bleak image of rows of treadmills, and oversized men grunting, in a room of mirrors whose sole purpose was to make you unhappy with yourself. When I did first join a gym, the reality was not far off at all, aside from the perky music constantly blaring to mask the sounds of discomfort. Luckily, that is no longer the case. Unless that’s what you’re into which is fine too. But sometime in the last decade or so, the definition of ‘fitness’ changed. Somewhere between activewear as acceptable streetwear and goji berries becoming a household staple, the concept of a gym became a much broader term, with Crossfit boxes, Yoga studios, Functional training studios like our own RevoPT, and everything in between. Exercise has became less about putting in the man hours against ones will, and more about what KIND of person YOU are, (and want to become).

I think we’re better and fitter for it!

Humans are tribal animals, always searching for a sense of belonging. Whether you are an accountant with a high stress work environment, a stay at home mum covered in pureed peas or a night owl of a university student, there is a training community for you. Or hell, you might even find more in common with someone from one of these other walks of life than you ever dreamed of. The right gym for you is no longer just the place that is located the closest with the cheapest membership. That is not what keeps someone going back. The place we choose to train is where someone else smiled and introduced themselves at your first class when they saw you were nervous. Where a guy you had never spoken to in your life cheers encouragingly at you that you can do it when you thought you couldn’t. The place you choose to train is where the other mums share the appreciation for some time to yourself and say they’ll see you next week.

The actual type of exercise, be it a 45-minute HIIT session or a 90 minute strength grind, is and always will be a factor in the progress you’re achieving, but that almost becomes a peripheral factor in your overall wellbeing. The connections we build within the wall of the places we choose to train at are what keeps us going back. Before you know it YOU are the person introducing yourself to a new face. YOU are the one shouting encouragement to someone you’ve never spoken to. And along the way you have become physically stronger, you’ve gotten leaner, and your energy levels are back up.

Seeing many of the bonds and friendships formed here at RevoPT between people from all walks of life that had never met before is one of the many highlights of working in an environment with a culture such as this. People regularly catch up out side of the gym, for fitness based activities but also simple social outings. This might not be the main reason you to start working towards a healthier version of yourself but I’m pretty darn sure it’s going to help you get your butt to the gym on those days that dragging yourself in here seems almost impossible.

That, in my humble opinion, is one of the main reasons why we choose to train where we train. So if you are still stuck in a cycle of dragging yourself to a gym and seeing no progress, or simply struggling with motivation incessantly, perhaps it is time to consider that it isn’t that exercise is just ‘hard’, but that you have yet to find the place that serves who you are on your strength and fitness journey.

Find your tribe!

Strength, Stamina and… Suppleness?

The three S’s that make up what it means to be fit and healthy, but before studying to be working in the fitness industry, strength was pretty much the only S that I was interested in and that featured in my training regime.

Before I became a PT I was working as an electrician, only interested in being strong for work and looking good down at the beach. I made the career switch to become a trainer a couple of years ago and it was during my studies that I learned about the other two S’s of fitness.

I knew being fit was good for you, but the importance of stamina became clear to me when I got back into boxing a couple of years ago. It was only then that i realised being fit and having Stamina was something I needed if i was going to last more than one round.

Playing team sports throughout school meant that you never had to be super fit to do well, because you would have your teammates to cover your back if you needed it, or if you knew your sport well you could manipulate your position and lacking in fitness and still be a successful contributor to the team. Boxing on the other hand, well, there’s no one that you can sub in and have your back when you’re out of breath, It’s just you vs your opponent till the end! It was then when I started to introduce some Stamina training into my Strength routine and it was not long before I noticed improvements in my fitness when I was boxing.

I started to introduce flexibility and mobility work into my training plan after hearing one of the boxing trainers say to me one day “Matty, you’re a little too tense, just relax and let your punches flow smoothly. Your striking will become much less predictable”. It was a very simple request but I found performing this basic task a little difficult. He then suggested “maybe you try out the yoga class we run here. It might help you loosen up and relax”. What a perfect up sell! I took the fries with that…

Yoga was something I would have never considered doing in the past but after hearing about all the health benefits from stretching and meditating and knowing this may improve my boxing so I could soon step into the ring, I thought why not give it a go.

I knew I needed to stretch more. I was always tight from training but never made time for the third S “suppleness”. I thought that if I went to a class I would have no choice but to participate in a good hour of stretching. I was struggling to do a lot of the yoga poses at first, but luckily for me, doing yoga at a martial arts gym meant there was a lot of other beginner students and people like me who were really tight and struggled with some of the basics.

Just like strength and stamina training, it was only a matter of time before my suppleness improved. After a couple of months of 1-2 yoga classes a week and stretching for a couple of minutes after my strength sessions and my flexibility had improved dramatically!

I was finally able to do most of the yoga poses, my posture had improved, I was recovering faster from my strength sessions and not pulling up as sore. I also found myself in a more relaxed state not just while I was boxing, but throughout the day!

Unfortunately for most people (including myself until recently) suppleness is nearly the most overlooked and neglected S out of all three areas of health and fitness. We always focus on being stronger, faster and fitter, but why not more mobile and flexible? Why do we always overlook joint health until we are injured and have pain?

Flexibility can be defined as the range of motion that a muscle has before it reaches end range, or the ability to move muscles and joints through their full range of motion. The more flexible we are means the greater our range of motion during our lifts resulting in a larger area of the muscle being worked. This improves our muscle blood flow resulting in faster recovery time from our strength training. Being more flexible also reduces muscle tension resulting in a decreased chance of injury.

If you find yourself in a certain position for too long, you’ll notice the tightness in certain areas. If you are a person that is in a position for a long period of time, you may want to be doing regular stretches which oppose the contracted muscles in those positions. Doing so will assist with keeping correct posture and helping your body to be better balanced.

If you’re like myself and find it hard to make time for stretching, try our mobility classes that run on Thursdays. It’s a great way to finish off a big week of strength training and reset the body and also to start to increase or improve the areas in which you might be lacking in movement. Generally we focus on a different area of the body each week and test out your mobility and flexibility to combat being stuck in those common bad posture positions.

If you think you could be doing more stretching or you’ve considered the thought of what it would be like to be a bit a little more flexible and more mobile but you’re not sure where to start, please don’t hesitate to ask a trainer for some help and specific guidance on what you should be doing to assist with achieving your other health and fitness goals.

Thanks for reading and make sure you leave me a comment if you have any questions at all.

Thanks.

Matt

Running? Here are the top 5 tips to stay injury free from JLB!

We are fast approaching the running season with some of Melbourne’s iconic running events.

Run 4 Kids, Great Ocean Road Running Festival, Run Melbourne and Melbourne Marathon to list a few.

These great events see our running volume and intensity beginning to ramp right up. So I’m here to give my top 5 tips to help you make the most out of your season and see you running personal bests rather than rehabbing injuries.

1. Make a Plan

Like the quotes says ‘failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’

When it comes to long endurance events, preparation is key. Knowing exactly what is required from you as the athlete will set you up for success. Acknowledging the distance and respecting the training. By making a plan you are able to look at the training process as a whole. What is needed to get you to the start line and to conquer the race. For many this may include getting a coach for guidance, or developing a week by week program to follow over the build. Whichever direction you decide, ensure that throughout that plan you are adaptable. Life happens, which can cause some sessions to be missed. And thats ok, as you have a overall plan of attack. One missed session in scheme of a 12-14 week build is ok.

While making your running plan, researching what the course is like, does it have hills, is it flat or is it on a trail? Whichever it is, replicating those conditions in training will enhance your result come race day. Finally when planning, what month does your run fall in? Will it be hot or in the cooler months? Ensure you get training in similar race day conditions will also set you up for success.

2. Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is how our bodies adapt to the volume of training. When it comes to running, to often I have heard of people going from 1 run to 4 in a week and very shortly after that becoming injured, Their bodies simply weren’t conditioned to that amount of training in such a short period of time. As I said previously, acknowledging and respecting the distance is crucial. Slowly increasing the kilometres and time spent running each week, allows the body to adjust to the impact of running and in return build a strong cardiovascular fitness level. Every 2-3 weeks ensure there is a deload week where your body has a chance to recharge and recover from the previous amounts of running.

Progressive overload is also a great way to approach your running if you feel like you have hit a wall. If you don’t seem to be getting any faster in your runs. We tend to be creatures of habit, doing the same thing over and over. Or in this case running the same route or same distance each week. By changing the intensity or duration or adding hill repeats to the run will push our bodies that little more and increase muscle speed and strength which will improve our overall performance come race day. Again this is done progressively over the build to maximise the benefits of adding the different intensities.

3. Include Strength Training

A hot topic in the endurance world is strength training. This is absolutely key to include if you are running. Strength training will enhance and protect your body against the impact that occurs when running. Targeting the muscles through the hips, glutes, legs are core that will help develop strength and power while keeping the body in balance. The stronger you become from strength training the more resilient your body becomes from the repetitive movements of running. Also the strength training can aid in improving your run efficiency, allowing your to run for longer and finishing faster.

4. Activation and Mobility Pre Sessions

Consider activation and mobility pre and post sessions as injury prevention. If we get our muscles firing pre run we are setting ourselves up for the best possible session. Activation through the muscles we create blood flow, more oxygen is sent to the working muscles warming them up to allow them to be stretched freely rather than stiffening up, think of the muscles as an elastic band.

Activation and mobility exercises should be completed prior to the workout, completing movements or muscles groups that are used in the session this will ensure connections from central nervous system to the muscles are ready for activity.

5. Sleep

Sleep is where the magic happens. Its when and where our body recovers from what occurred that day and the training sessions involved. Running depletes our energy, fluid and can slowly begins to breakdown our muscles. Therefore quality sleep is essential to ensure our bodies are recovering so we can back it up the next day without feeling fatigued.

Sleep quality can be improved by reducing disturbances by wearing earplugs and sleeping in a cool, dark room. Following a pre-sleep routine of relaxing activities, avoiding light exposure from screens in the hour before bed, avoiding stimulants such as caffeine after noon and alcohol in the evening may increase your sleep quality and duration.

I hope these tips can help you have your best running season yet. I’d love to hear from you about what protocols you use to help keep your body injury free.

Happy running,

Jaimie-Lee