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.

14

Aug

Darren’s secret Super Shake!

Smoothies are an easy way to include super foods into your diet.

If your struggling to find a good combination of ingredients here’s my high performance daily recipe.

It’s great for a pre or post workout recovery shake or a quick meal on the run.

Combine the following ingredients in a blender:

  • – 1 x banana
  • – 3-5 x dates
  • – 1 x tsp. turmeric powder
  • – 1 x tsp. Cacao powder
  • – 1 x tbsp. super greens
  • – 1 x tsp. ginger powder
  • – 1 x tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • – ½ x cup blueberries
  • – 1 x Scoop protein powder (vanilla)
  • – 1 x handful spinach
  • – ½ cup x Coconut water
  • – ½ cup x Almond milk

Many of the ingredients like ginger and turmeric are great for recovery as they are anti-inflammatory but they also improve cognitive function, blueberries don’t only make the smoothie taste great but are also nature’s king of antioxidants which protects the body from the effects of free radicals, 1 cup of blueberries only contains 84 grams of carbohydrates so adding these wont significantly raise the caloric intake of the smoothie.

Dates don’t only combine well with the peanut butter flavour but they are high in fiber which will aid in digestion and this super food is also a source of minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus which all help to improved bone health.

Cacao is known to be a natural energy booster and also contains sulphur, which is a mineral that nails hair and skin will love you for adding to your smoothie.

Smoothies are a awesome way to include some of these super foods that otherwise we may be missing out on. Play around with ingredients and find something that works for you.

Your body and your taste buds will love you for it!

Let us know what you think.

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

8

Feb

How to sleep your way to the top

It’s one of the most overlooked parameters for health!

Sleep can literally transform your life if you can get it right consistently, whereas lack thereof can wreak havoc on your day to day operations and your physical and psychological wellbeing.

Firstly, this blog has been inspired by the book, ‘The Sleep Revolution’ by Arianna Huffington and a Google Talk by Shawn Stevenson (links below). It has opened my eyes, which is kind of an oxymoron, to the value of a good quality night’s sleep and how it can impact your life and health so positively or in fact negatively.

Arianna Huffington on The Science of Sleep and Success

I’ve been closely monitoring my quality and quantity of sleep for a few months now and using this to assess how I feel on any given day to make the link between how my sleep is impacting my emotions and potentially fuelling my eating and recovery patterns. There are also other factors that contribute to how you feel like stress, exercise levels and nutrition that play a part so I also tried reducing stress by meditating regularly, reading, eating balanced nutrition and sticking to a regular training regime over this time.

I’ve been using an App called Sleep Cycle (it’s free on the app store) to track my sleep cycle and average quantity of sleep and if this topic interests you I recommend trying it.

What I have found is that when I get a good quality sleep I can perform well in my daily activities on less quantity. However if my sleep is not of a good quality and usually lacking in quantity and I am restless I will find myself tired, lethargic, impatient and less efficient at problem solving and higher thinking.

Start by asking yourself, how important is sleep to you?

Most of us, and this included me until I become more educated on this topic, undervalue sleep. I’m unsure as to why but it might have something to do with our work environments, the pressures of having deadlines and maybe just not knowing the education around how important sleep really is to a long healthy life, free of mental health concerns and disease.

How many of you can say that you get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night? If you can, that’s great!

But how many of you that get enough sleep, can say that you wake up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to take on the day with your best foot forward?

Some of you may but I am guessing that the majority of people would be leaning towards the ‘NO’ side of the equation. Am I right?

Yes, quantity is important, but the quality of sleep is also a factor we really need to consider, so let’s talk about that.

Quantity vs. Quality

When we are younger we need more sleep, our cells are turning over in our bodies and brains faster and we require more physical and psychological repair. As we age this starts to slow, thus requiring less sleep.

It’s estimated that having between 7 – 9 hours of sleep is sufficient for the majority of us. The quality of that time can vary, and what does quality actually mean?

Basically ‘quality’ means the excellence in something. A quality sleep = an excellent sleep = free from waking or being woken during the night, free from middle of the night bathroom trips and general restlessness.

Now can you say that you get regular quality sleep?

If sleep is interrupted, it could be disrupting physical and or physiological repair.

The sleep cycle is broken into 5 phases, 2 of which (the Deep and REM sleep phases) are particularly needed for physical and psychological repair and regeneration. It’s interesting to note that the sleep cycle is about 90mins long so you will have at least 5 – 7 of these during one sleep night.

Now think about how interrupted, poor quality and quantity sleep night after night might be affecting your physical and mental health. It might not be the only answer to your health concerns but it might be a good place to start looking at for improving physical and mental health.

Shawn Stevenson, a best-selling author and creator of the Model Health Show explains the adverse effects of sleep deprivation being insulin resistance (which could lead to Type 2 diabetes), immune system failure, obesity and depression.

Shawn has some tips about getting a good quality night’s sleep. Some of these include:

  • Get more sunlight throughout the day which affects melatonin production
  • Avoid the screen including phones, television and such devices of technology for at least anhour before bed
  • Caffeine curfew, for most people this is around 4pm
  • Be cool and set up the temperature, if the room is too warm it will affect the sleep cycle
  • Go to bed at the right time. Humans get the most significant hormonal secretions andrecovery by sleeping during the hours of 10pm and 2am The rest of these can be found here: http://theshawnstevensonmodel.com/sleep-problems-tips/

He goes on to mention ‘a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that sleep deprivation is directly related to an inability to lose weight. Test subjects were put on the same exercise and diet program, but those who were in the sleep deprivation group (less than 6 hours per night) consistently lost less weight and body fat than the control group who slept for 8+ hours a night.’

My education and information has come from a few different, easy to access sources and I would encourage you to have a look at the resources provided. I hope some of this resonates with you and you can be on your way to valuing sleep for all of its benefits. I hope this can help at least one of you have some control over a higher level of wellbeing.

I’d love to hear how many of you are intrigued by this topic and if you have any question I’d love to find the answer for you and create discussion around this.

Krystal McCluskey

More Resources:

The Key to POWERFUL Sleep for Ultimate Human Performance with Shawn Stevenson

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.