12

Jul

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!

27

Jun

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

1

May

Instaneck?

Is your Instagram addiction affecting your performance in the gym?

Chances are, you’re reading this on a mobile device. You’ve been staring at your screen with your neck tilted forward and your arms in what can only be described as ‘the T-Rex’. Chances are, it’s not news to you that spending long amounts of time on your phone or laptop isn’t great for your posture. And it’s almost certain that quite frankly, you gave up trying to spend less time on your phone or computer a long time ago.

Forward neck, rounded shoulders and a hunched upper back are all the result of prolonged periods of device use. Even more worryingly, as of recently these well-known signifiers of living your life online are turning into severe real-life conditions. Studies have reported a rise in cervical and lumbar spine injuries and even thumb ligament issues due to overuse of devices! If forgetting to look up from our screens are having this effect on our posture in general, how does this translate to our performance in the gym?

Getting fitter, lifting heavier and progressing with health in general has plenty of it’s own challenges. Now add in tight hip flexors. Shortening of the hip flexors due to prolonged sitting affects your range in squatting movements, not to mention making it harder to fire up your glutes and leads to weakness in the lower back. And if you were wondering why just holding the barbell for a front OR back squat is more painful for you that doing an actual squat, chances are your upper back muscles are too tight to create good rack positions, and your shoulders are rounded making it almost impossible to keep your elbows up. Not only does this hinder our progress, it also means longer recovery times, as the muscles that are already tight and overworked from sitting in a squat position all day and frozen in the ‘push position’ (from holding a tablet or phone) are put through more of the same (but with weight!) during a workout.

So what can we do to negate the effects of Text Neck and T-Rex arms? Firstly, limit the amount of time in one sitting that you spend using your device. Keep drinks or snacks in a separate location so you have more reasons to stand up. Secondly, STRETCH. If you know for a fact that you are tight in certain areas and are someone who trains, 2 minutes before and after a session is not enough. Invest in a proper warm up routine and flexibility techniques. Lastly and most importantly, look up! When was the last time you looked around you while walking down the street as opposed to at your phone? Try it, you might find a few new cafes to Instagram your meals in. And while you’re at it, stand a little taller, you look good when you’re not looking down.

–  Quincee

References:

How Poor Posture Affects Your Health and Athletic Performance | BoxLife Magazine. (2018). Boxlifemagazine.com. Retrieved 1 May 2018, from http://boxlifemagazine.com/5193-2/

Hughes, A., & Labs, S. (2018). Can too much screen time affect your kid’s posture?Screen Time. Retrieved 30 April 2018, from https://screentimelabs.com/is-excess-mobile-device-use-harming-your-childs-posture/

Joshua M. Ammerman, M. (2018). Is Your Cell Phone Killing Your Back?SpineUniverse. Retrieved 30 April 2018, from https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/ergonomics/your-cell-phone-killing-your-back

Jung, S. I., Lee, N. K., Kang, K. W., Kim, K., & Lee, D. Y. (2016). The effect of smartphone usage time on posture and respiratory function. Journal of Physical Therapy Science28(1), 186–189. http://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.28.186

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.