25

Jun

A moment two years in the making…

So, two years later here we are, back for part 3 of my Ironman journey.

If you’re interested, or to freshen up your memory, you can get up to date on parts 1 & 2 below.

To say it’s been a roller-coaster of a journey is an understatement. There’s been a lot of ups but some very low lows.

As I sit here and reflect on the past 2 years, I’ve learnt so much about myself. These challenges have taught me things that I may never have learned if I’d had an easier and smoother journey. I’m so grateful.

Returning from Cairns this time last year with a broken clavicle and 4 stitches in my face, I was absolutely gutted. My race before that, was in Busselton WA, 2017. A cancelled swim due to shark sightings and a shortened bike course due to bush fires left me deflated from the day. I felt I had not truly becoming an Ironman.

I couldn’t help but wonder why this was happening, why was each race ending with me feeling so broken, both physically, mentally and emotionally. It made me feel so out of love with the sport, something that had given me so much joy the past 5 years.

While I was recovering from my injury I didn’t think that continuing on with these big events was something I ever wanted to do again. I will never forget the feeling when I got back on my bike for the first time in over 3 months after my shoulder recovery. I was so underwhelmed. I hated it. After not pushing it too much, I decided I’d just let it be, that desire might return later on.

Thankfully it did. Over time I started craving being back on the bike, being with my tri buddies. I started tossing up the idea of getting back into some races. After much debating and discussion, I decided that I did want to have another crack at Ironman. It turns out I wanted it more than ever. But I was only going to do it if I could convince my best friend Sara to do it with me.

With over 6 months from race date, Sara and I made a pact. We were going to do this. It was on!

As the weeks flew past, I felt like I was regaining some of that fitness I had lost, but boy it felt harder than I ever remembered.

Starting from a lower base of fitness than ever before plus trying to rehab an injured shoulder was posing it’s challenges.

I was trying to find the balance of not over doing the shoulder but also not fluffing the process of preparing for what is one of endurance worlds toughest challenges. This is where my coach gave the greatest guidance. Adam from Beckworth Racing was a huge mentor for me throughout the year. I’m so grateful for his work. As the weeks due closer I was starting to feel my best, things were coming together. An Ironman build is truly unique and getting to the end in good health and uninjured was always my aim.

6 weeks out from IM Cairns I raced a half ironman distance (1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run) in Port Macquarie. Boy I’m glad I pencilled this race in!

It was another big learning day for me. Trialling nutrition, race strategies and testing how the body was feeling. Safe to say I was excited to be racing and may have overdone the bike on a tough hilly course which compromised my run.

After that race I made significant changes to my nutrition and my bike plan leading into Cairns.

It was soon time to fly to Cairns, heading up the Tuesday before. It was certainly a nice change in weather. The cold weather had really set in in Melbourne so 25 and sunny in Cairns was just perfect. A few short sharp sessions to keep the body ticking over helped nicely. It’s amazing to seeing the town transform into Ironman Village. Athletes from all over the world here to do the same thing you are. There is such a buzz around.

On the days leading in to the race the weather wasn’t great. It was all: wind, rain, sun, repeat. However it wasn’t anything I hadn’t already trained and prepared for back in Victoria.

The night before Ironman I had the worst sleep I think I’ve ever had before a race. It was an early start in Palm Cove, alarms off at 5:00am to begin the final prep before we were to head down to the swim start.

The sun started to rise, we could see the water was actually the best it had been all week. Still not amazing, but better than the day before. The wind was up, but again we knew that.

One thing I’ve learnt from racing, is wasting energy on being nervous is exactly that, wasted energy. Deep breaths and focusing on the immediate next task at hand kept the nerves at bay. Sara and I suited up and got in for a quick warm up swim, the water temp was cool and refreshing. We were ready.

A rolling start on the beach was slow but exciting, watching people enter the water knowing that they had begun their Ironman journey is great to watch. In we went at around 8:00ish am. Bring it on, 3.8km of challenging open water swimming. There was a lot of people in the first 200m trying to find their momentum as they were swimming into the waves. It was hard at the start but I knew it would settle, just breathe and pass them until I found my groove. The swim was honestly the best part of my day, I was wrapped with my time in those conditions, and to think this time last year I was in a sling unable to move my arm for 13 weeks! It was pure joy!

Straight out of the water, trying to clean the famous Palm Cove mud from my face, I was so happy to be running into transition, I felt so good. Getting on the bike was a slow exit, with lots of other doing the same. Seeing familiar faces who were cheering me on was awesome! Now it was time to settle in for a very scenic 180km on the bike down the Captain Cook Highway. My plan was consistent heart rate (especially on the hills) nutrition and hydration. With the Port Mac’s Half Ironman experience in the back of my mind I feel like I achieved my goals for the bike. My time was slower than expected but I feel the last 70km stretch from Port Douglas back to Cairns challenged me. With a tough head wind I knew I needed to reassess to save my legs for the run. As I was getting back into Cairns city I was so close but the wind was making me feel slower and slower. It was just head down and pedal, focusing on who was ahead, trying to catch them until I was on the esplanade. I was so pumped to see people as I flew down the last 3km. 180km ride was complete.

Transition was heaven, having the beautiful volunteers help you get ready to run, offering food and water, tying my shoe laces. Its only brief but their kindness really gives you such good vibes to get out running.

Running out of transition and onto your last leg is the best. Having friends and family there all cheering for you along. This transition was the best I’ve felt coming off the bike, in any race. The plan for the run was stick to pace and keep on fuelling. I stayed on track until around 21km, I really started to slip in pace and my stomach wasn’t feeling great. My selection of nutrition wasn’t appetising anymore. Soon after it became a run/walk. I loved the 4-lap course, by that time of the day it helped me so much knowing where people were across the course. Knowing they would be there, offering support and encouragement really did help.

Before I knew it, I was finishing my 4th lap and soon to be running the down the famous red carpet. So much emotion came over me, tears running down my face, I had finally conquered my long dream of becoming an Ironman. 2 years in the making!

The music was pumping, friends, family and strangers were cheering so loudly. Hi fiving everyone along the side, the famous words “Jaimie Lee, you are an IRONMAN” while crossing the finishing line. 

I knew my best friend Sara wasn’t far behind, so I waited for her. Seeing her run the red carpet and being awarded with her medal was the absolute highlight of my day.

We did it, we are Ironmen!

The feeling is hard to explain for me. It took so much emotion, time and sacrifice over the past 2 years to earn the experience of feeling that feeling in that moment. It’s something I’ve wanted for so long. The meaning behind this race was so much more this time around.

I guess when you want something so bad, you can push through anything to get it. There is always a way, we just have to dig deep to find it.

Thanks for the kind words or support throughout this journey (and for reading along).

I truly appreciate it.

Here’s to the next adventure, whatever it may be.

JLB

22

May

wim hof ice bath

Fad, fact or fiction – The Wim Hof Method

If you frequent Armstrong Street in Middle Park between grabbing a latte at the local cafe or a pub meal while you’re laundry is drying at the laundromat next door (as I’ve heard is the standard for a few of our members) you may have seen a few half naked and freezing people roaming the laneways.

These people may or may not be part way through a Wim Hof session with the one and only Lars from Lars Ice Bath.

So, what is it all about? Well, The Wim Hof Method is based on three pillars. They are 

  • Cold therapy or exposure
  • Breathing 
  • Commitment 
Trying to cover the commitment and mindset pillar whilst plunged in tub of ice… having a photo. 😀

The man behind this, Wim Hof believes that combining these three things can reduce stress, improve sleep quality, heighten your concentration and improve performance.

The theory goes that chronic stress is very bad where as acute or short bouts of stressors can be very beneficial for adaptation. Which makes sense if you think about the stimulus we apply in say the weight room. We wouldn’t apply the stress to our muscles chronically, that would just cause injury. Many of us in our professional or even personal lives place chronic stress upon our systems.

As someone who has been involved in the fitness industry for 10 years this all sounded very appealing and I was eager to put the theory to the test. 

Before diving into my experience a brief introduction into who Wim Hof is. Wim, aka “The Iceman”, is known as an athlete who has set Guinness world records for swimming and sitting under ice. He also holds the record time for a barefoot marathon on ice. Not bad right! Recently he featured on Channel 7’s Sunday Night which was a great break down and snap shot of who he is so below is a link of that episode if you would like to know more about him.

My Experience with the Wim Hof method .

Exposing ones body to freezing temperatures is one of the three pillars of the Wim Hof method. This method of cold body therapy  has picked up considerable ground across the globe, particularly in Australia as it has been linked with numerous health benefits. 

This method involves sitting in a sealed insulated container of ice for a period of time whilst the cold water is circulated around the body. Unlike the chryo chambers which use extremely cold air and are relatively expensive. The Wim Hof method is a affordable (and some say more effective) alternative.

I decided to give this method of recovery a try. I myself had just started getting back into full training off the back of an ACL reconstruction surgery in February 2018. To really reap the benefits I ensured I had done a heavy block of training leading up to the session.

My week had been:

  • 2 x heavy weight sessions
  • 1 x olympic style weightlifting lifting session 
  • 2 x metabolic conditioning sessions

Fair to say my body was relatively fatigued! 

So I gathered a small group of brave friends (RevoPT’s very own Luke and Darren) to join me in this session at middle Park Fitness where we met the man behind this method in Melbourne Lars or also known as the Ice Viking. 

Luke after a full submersion in the ice bath.

We arrived and entered a small confined space where the Ice bath session would taken place. After some quick introductions we were told to strip down to our shorts and lie on our backs to commence some breathing exercises.

The process followed this:

  1. 30-40 Power breaths – This is essentially deep breathing at a steady pace in and out through the mouth. Inhale fully but not exhaling all the way out. As we inhaled we felt out belly rise and on the exhale, we felt your belly fall. It felt a bit like we were hyperventilating, but that we were in control.
  2. Following step 1, we held our breath
  3. Breath in for 10 seconds slow and controlled
  4. Repeated steps 1-3 – We cycled through this process for what felt like 20 minutes almost.
  5. Finally we held our breath and tried to get out as many push-ups as possible

The breathing exercises were something that I had never tried before and my body responded to it almost immediately with my extremities feeling tingly. This exercise allowed me to get into a deep meditative state and for the most part felt very relaxed.

I feel this definitely helped enter a state in which I could control what was to come, and almost uncontrollable urge to jump out of a huge tub of ice!

Following on from the breathing exercises we were given a run through of the ice bath and were going to enter one at a time for a duration of 5 minutes each. We were advised to hop straight into the tub and not waste any time. 

The Initial 30 seconds were the most challenging, particularly through my extremities where my blood flow felt cut off. After following Lars instructions and controlling my breaths I begin to relax and take back control of my mind. I could then take in the challenge that laid ahead of me. Five minutes felt like an eternity but I managed to see it through. 

I was encouraged once hopping out to move constantly to avoid “shaking like a leaf” later according to Lars. Post Ice bath my energy levels felt good and felt very alert, rejuvenated and I definitely feel like it accelerated my recovery.

My final thoughts

I was very impressed with the recovery session and benefited a lot from the session. The breathing component was something I’ve never done before and since then I’ve tried to incorporate it into my daily routine. I feel this is a must try recovery method if you are game enough.

17

Apr

Is fasting a fast way for you to see better results?

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a cyclical style of eating that involves restricting eating (calories) for a period of time or a window. There are many variations of fasting, and not one way is the right way to dot it. However, ‘fasting mimicking diets’ (which isn’t actual fasting) has health benefits that are similar to fasting, but it is not to the exact extent as what true fasting is at a cellular level. Fasting encourages humans to use upon glucose stores, ketone bodies and fat stores and research suggest health benefits can ensue from this style of eating.

What are the benefits of fasting?

It can benefit your waistline and body composition goals, can help with damage control following a blow out with your diet goals, increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. Prolonged fasts do activate autophagy pathways (natural regeneration process) and allows for the clearing away of damaged cells. Metabolic pathway works best when in a circadian rhythm, meaning consuming food when your metabolism is most active is a great idea. Following time-restricting supports this notion. Fasting isn’t for everyone, if you’re unsure touch base with your Nutritionist or health professional.

What are the different types of fasting:

  • Intermittent fasting (fasting for up to 24 hours)
  • Prolonged fasting (when you start fasting for 2 days or longer)
  • Time-restricted eating (popular method! Involves eating when your metabolism is optimal. Fasting might involve 16 hours, and eating all your food for the day in an 8 hour period. For example, eating all meals between 9am-5pm. 

Best way to break the fast:

Eat some protein to raise your IGF-1 levels (think of growth), as well as some carbs (carbs allow for IGF-1 to be more bioavailable). 

11

Dec

Screw Monday

Put your hand up if  you’ve ever heard someone say, ‘I’ll start on Monday’ or ‘In the new year I will commit to…’ or ‘My new year’s resolution is…’ or ‘I will start on the first of the month’ or ‘I’ll start when the weather gets warmer’ or ‘When I have more money I will…?’

There is this deceptive notion that changing behaviour or achieving a goal needs to start in alignment with the an event; the beginning of the week or the start of a new year or a new personal circumstance that you find yourself in, until before you know it the year ends and nothing has changed! Sound familiar?

Don’t get me wrong, these are great moments to make change and set goals, but the truth is – ANYTIME is a good time to start making changes and set new goals for yourself and your life, provided your desire to make change is stronger than your desire to stay the same and exactly where you are!

Well you know what… Screw Monday!

START NOW! Start where you are. Start with what you have.

If there is something you REALLY want, not just kind of want, but REALLY want – START making plans now to achieve it.

Goal setting can be made complicated – but let me tell you, it’s very simple. Just get out your pen and paper and write them down. See – EASY! The setting process is relatively simple.

What is not EASY about this process is the consistent action/behaviour that is required to achieve the set goal/s. Consistency over time is key, and this is what we find hard. We are becoming a society that values instant gratification more than trusting in the process because it might cost blood sweat, tears and require sacrifice.

You might have all of the tools, strategies and support but ultimately your grit separates your ability to see actions through. Consistent repeated behaviour practises in alignment with your goals wins overall.

If you’re sitting here reading this and thinking, ‘Yeah…I need to set some new goals,’ then here are some general guidelines for doing so.

Also, if you’re interested in more information about grit and what that means regarding your ability for achievement then you MUST read ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’ by Angela Duckworth. You won’t be disappointed.

Outcome vs. Process Goals

Outcome (is the WHAT) – an outcome goal is an end goal. If I do X and Y for a specific amount of time, in a particular way, then the outcome will be Z.

Process (is the HOW) – a process goal is the X and Y, the smaller actions, sometimes smaller goals that need to be achieved and practised to achieve Z. (I hope you’re still with me on this!)

The SMART principal

Your outcome goal should be set using the SMART principal, and then your process goals can be derived from this. Set the desired outcome and work backwards.

What is the SMART goal setting principal you ask?

SMART goal setting is NOT a new concept and it gives a good foundation and a place to start.

S – Specific

Specific refers to ensuring something is clearly defined or detailed. Here are two examples, one is not specific and one is specific and detailed.

N/S – I want to lose weight.

S – I want to lose 5kg in 8 weeks.

M – Measureable

Measurable refers to; yes you guessed it, something that can be measured, a number; something quantifiable.

The above example is also that of something that is not measurable and measurable, respectively.

A – Attainable

Attainable refers to something that is possible, and as we know given the example I have used, that according to history and our knowledge on how the body works, weight loss is attainable. How attainable it is will depend on your personal circumstances and the commitment that you are willing to make to ensure it is attainable in the specific timeline you have chosen.

R – Realistic

Realistic refers to an idea of what can be expected or achieved – for you! It can depend on your personal circumstances and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve the goal. What’s realistic/expected can differ for everyone. The level of commitment you are willing to give will alter what is realistic.

T – Time bound

Time bound, similar to measurement is a specific time frame you are allowing for your goal to be achieved. The goal might be attainable and realistic but you can go array but not having a realistic time frame set in order to achieve it successfully, given there is a consistent process to be followed and your consistency in this might waver during the process.

It’s important to understand that goals need to be revisited regularly, and you might find yourself tweaking the outcome or process goals as you go. This is more than okay, reflection is important here. Circumstances change!

The process above is the foundation. What you have here is the outcome goal and from this your process goals can be set.

  • Process Goal 1 – I will commit to training with a personal trainer once a week for 8 weeks
  • Process Goal 2 – I will commit to walking for 60 minutes and achieving 10,000 steps every other day
  • Process Goal 3 – I will drink 2 – 3 litres of water daily
  • Process Goal 4 – I will document my daily intake of food for review every week for 8 weeks

These are just examples of some process goals that might be set in relation to the outcome goal example I used above, but of course they will differ to suit you individually.

And just to make it less simple, your process goals can have process goals too!

If you’d like some support with your goal setting, ask any of our experienced trainers to assist you. It can be good to have someone in your corner helping and motivating you and someone to keep you accountable is always beneficial.

Furthermore, you may be familiar with the Swedish stationary brand Kiki K.

Kiki K offer Dream Life Workshops.

These workshops run you through the essentials when it comes to setting goals for your dream life. They can give you advice on where to start, and you receive a complimentary Dream Life Journal.

Now this is a gift that will keep on giving at Christmas time!

If you are interested follow the link to learn more about what they offer and locations in Victoria that these workshops run.

You can find the Kikki K Workshops here.

I hope you enjoyed this, and some of it resonated with you.

Krystal McCluskey

11

Oct

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!

4

Sep

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.