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Friday, 30 April 2010

Bank Holiday and Cricket = Perfect

Anyone that hates me mumbling on about cricket look away now!
Spent a lot of this week not lifting heavy but conditioning myself ready for the season. This Saturday (weather permitting) is the start of the league season, which means I (as captain) need to score some runs.
So partly i did not want to go into Saturdays game suffering from the weeks training but also from the week before i chose to give myself a rest week.

I fully agree on Katie's blog this morning - having a rest week has a great affect on the body, mind and soul. I didn't train as well as I was hoping last week. Whether I was lifting too heavy or just wasn't there mentally but to be honest the sessions weren't enjoyable, as I knew I wasn't at my best. So after that week I had 2 options. Stick with it, drop the weight, eat well and push through – or give myself a rest week and come back stronger next week?
Obviously I'm not saying every time you feel a little drained take time off but listen to your body and what its asking from you.

Anyway I highly recommend you all take this 3 day weekend as I time to chill, drink lots of water ☺ and come back feeling great on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend all...

Life happens.

So I have two weekends left before my triathlon season starts so you would think that this long weekend would be a really training hard one but no, this weekend my full training schedule in mainly consisting of a hen do in Newcastle and a trip to my boyfriends aunts house in the country. You would think that this is not ideal for the training bank balance or my actual bank balance but what is important to remember is that, as my mum always says "these things happen" and "just make the most of the situation".

There has been some scientific evidence to suggest that there in a little physiological improvement to just mentally rehearsing an exercise rather than actually doing it. This weekend while the other girls are giggling over the normal Hen Do games I will be testing this theory and visualising my laps around Richmond Park and laps in the pool.

So my point is, where there is a will there is a way. Life happens so work with it rather than worrying about things you can't control. On the scale of life, a weekend off my training is not going to make that much difference to my triathlon season as long as the rest of my weekends of preparation I am committed and work hard. I have scheduled in this weekend break as a time off from training so I can hopefully actually come back stronger and fresher for my final week training before the first race.

I hope you all have a great long weekend. See you on the other side of it.


Thursday, 29 April 2010

Don't despair

Hello to one and all again :)
Another long weekend one day away! Are you ready?

I woke up this morning thinking hell yeah, I feel like lifting some heavy weights today! After not being able to get to a 100kg deadlift by the end of March, feeling defeated and broken with a sore knee and shoulder I finally felt like doing it again. Got myself to the studio, did the morning sessions and went for it ... 87.5kg later ... rubbish!!! 92.5 stayed on the floor again. I went straight in for 92.5kg as I know I can do 90 as I have done it before. After the second attempt I closed my eyes and saw a big red sign flashing at the back of my eyelids...

No no no I thought to myself, no more frustrations. And actually I must say I was not as disappointed as I was last time 92.5 stayed on the floor. I guess the initial journey towards my PB was fun and seemed way to easy sometimes jumping 5-10kg up each time I tried. Now I know that I must work just that little bit harder and work on my mental approach to the bar too as I know that it stayed on the floor not because I was not strong enough to lift it but because I was unconsciously afraid of it...

Well oh well. I left it at 87.5 and moved on to some narrow press ups and ring pulls. Doing 55 of each in a pyramid from 10-1 my body felt like it had a good workout. What pleased me even more is that at least a third of the press ups I did on one leg which takes me just that little bit closer to my next goal - one hand press up!

It feels good being back into proper training after a few March set backs. I've also been keeping a food diary for the past 3 weeks in order to keep myself on track in the run up to my secret holiday and I must say it is paying off already. The idea is no cheating during the week, which simply means no sweets, low carb, home cooked food for lunch etc. If I don't have a home cooked lunch I have a few options depending on whether it is my workout or non workout day lunch that I can replace it with. Weekends are a bit more relaxed with little treats being allowed but nothing over the top, minimum booze and eating out only every now and then. My body already feels much better and looks good, so it only confirms what I was thinking of for the past few months. All those tiny little treats during the week (a biscuit here and a piece of chocolate there) really do make a difference in getting your beach bum ready for the sun!
Enjoy your long weekend everyone and I'll be back next Thursday.
Marta :)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Thoughtful Tuesday - 33

Today is going to be a little mish mash of a couple of things I've been thinking about. Firstly though, a little update on last weeks training and I'm pleased to report it all went pretty well. Considering I had my de-load week non of my strength had decreased and in many lifts I probably should have pushed up a pb. Everything just felt a little better. I definitely don't do enough de-load weeks and I will start to program them in to my training a lot more.

I was reading one of my favourite blogs the other day and was searching through the back catalogue if posts and stumbled across one which had a link to a very interesting video. The video is of a Stanford University professor who conducted a study on the effects of 4 different diets, Atkins, Orson, Zone and the LEARN diets and is presenting the results (video below). That last one is basically the government recommended diet. Now this professor (Nick Gardner) put them up against each other to see what happened. The results were very compelling and that is for a few reasons that Nick Gardner goes in to himself. It is a great video, it is a little long but if you do find the time to watch it I would. He presents the findings very well and is actually quite funny. I don't want to spoil it but basically after the study has finished the Atkins diet comes out on top (although it ends up being more of a revised Atkins than a true Atkins, which I think is better anyway) Now that is no surprise to me but it is to Nick Gardner who is a long life vegetarian and so for him to come out and say that a diet composed of high fat, high animal protein and relatively low carb is a testament to him as a researcher and to the extra credibility to this study. Another interesting fact was when they got all the women in for this trial, a lot of them stated that they had tried these diets and they didn't work for them. The researchers made sure that the women read the books that they were assigned to follow and to then have a "coach" to help them understand what they had to do. Many of them then came back and said that they had completely miss understood the diet the first time round and that they hadn't actually done the diet in the first place. I think this is quite important as most of the time people who say they are dieting or are following a diet in many cases just plain aren't.

The actual presentation is an hour long with 15mins of questions at the end, so if you have the time please watch it! If you don't, then make some!

Secondly I was reading just today that apparently chocolate has been linked to depression. A study has found that people who regularly eat chocolate are more depressive. Now this to me actually kinda makes sense as chocolate does seem to have a slight endorphin releasing quality so people who are depressed could naturally crave the things that make them feel better. That whole "comfort food" thing. Problem with this is obviously it is drastically bad for you and this will probably add pounds to your body and will probably just make you more depressed! Anyway I just thought that was interesting and probably not that surprising.

Until next week!


Friday, 23 April 2010

Marathon Madness

Marathon Madness

Marathon Sunday is one of my favourite Sundays of the year. When I was a kid I would be up early on a Sunday to eat before I went training, my mum and I would sit and listen for that music and then the marathon would begin on the Beeb. Back then, I would only see the first hour of the race before I had to leave. I would then meet my athletic club buddies and we would discuss the races so far and return later, exhausted from our Sunday morning hill session to see who had won. I would tune in again to BBC Sport in the evening to watch the full round up. This is how my marathon Sunday continued until I gave up Sunday hill sessions at University and was able to go and watch the race for the first time.

The marathon is an incredible feat for anyone. It is a long way. I always say that I think it is more or a car ride distance than a run, which although a joke is kind of true. This is why I think marathon Sunday is so amazing and it is in our capital city. When you watch the clock ticking in the corner of the TV and listen to Steve Cram and Brendan Foster discuss the mile times you think wooww. Their elites mile pace is faster then I could run 400m these days and they bound along with such ease. They are incomprehensible to me; the speed they run for 26.4 miles is extraordinary.

Then we come to the 'Masses' as they call it, from the serious amateur to the fancy dress rhinos. They are just as astounding to me as the elite if not more so. When I hear the varying reasons that people run the race it makes me feel so incredibly humble and often incredibly lazy! There are people that have literally never run before, they enter this, train and train and train and train and run the distance. It really makes me think that anything is possible with a bit of hard graft and a few blisters.

I fully recommend getting yourself to somewhere on the course (see web links below). It is a carnival atmosphere and if you get there in time to see the elites run past it is absurdly brilliant. Later in the morning as the masses pass everyone cheers, eager to see friends, relatives or even minor celebrities. I know I am being a little bit / a lot cheesy but it really does bring me out in goose bumps to see so many thousands of people enjoying this 'crazy' sport and how elated the competitors are to finish even in the haze of exhaustion. It makes me smile to see the spectators supporting the runners to continue when they look sore and tired and how one athlete will help another in their time of need. It really is a sign that true sportsmanship does continue somewhere.

So my message for this week is try to watch the marathon, either on TV or on the streets and enjoy it, be motivated by it and be kind to finishers on Monday when they can't walk - they are all incredible. - the BBC info page. It has links to where to watch / facts / weather ect.

Good luck to all those competing.


Whether Weather affects us?!

Before I start, what great weather we are having for the last 10 days or so! I have just got back from being outside doing some flyering and everyone outside including myself seem a lot happier and more inclined to take a leaflet with smiles on their faces.

So we have all heard the term "feeling under the weather." But is this scientifically proven...

Examples of this relationship include altitude and ears popping, pollens in the air and asthma or sinus infection, sunrays and skin burning or skin cancer, cold weather and heart attacks, and gloomy, dark weather and depression. We also know that heat packs or hot showers can relax the muscles around the joints and relieve stiffness and pain for some. We also know, ice packs can ease the inflammation in the joints themselves.

There is such a thing called Barometric pressure (or Atmospheric Pressure), now this is the force that is exerted on objects by the weight of the atmosphere above them. The theory relating the 2 is that when the Barometric pressure drops any inflamed joints will swell then when these joints swell up it can irritate the nerves around the joint and cause you pain and discomfort.

The Barometric pressure will decrease as you get higher and can also change when the weather changes. If air temperature falls, the air pressure will increase as cool air sinks towards the ground.

So to sum up if the theory is correct our joints will be a lot better in cooler weather (Higher Barometric pressure) than it would in the summer.

BUT... If the weather is warmer then your circulation will be better and any swelling will be carried away a lot quicker than it would anytime during the cold weather!

Unfortunately, at the end of this research who knows what's better for the joints but the fact more people have smiles on their faces is better!!!

P.s The warm weather had no great affect on my cricket last weekend when I got out for a 'duck'... Must have been the decrease in Barometric Pressure, :)


Add some spice...

Spice up your life!

All of us like a little bit of variety in pretty much all that we do. Doing the same thing day in and day out can lead to boredom and stagnation. Our bodies as well as our minds need variation and new stimulus in order to grow and develop.

For best results from our training we need a certain amount of consistency mixed with the right amount of variation in order to get the results we are looking for. Results however are task specific. If we want to lift heavy weights we need to lift heavy weights, if we want to run far we need to run far.

However with this acknowledgement of specificity we must realise that doing the same thing day in and day out will not always yield results. In fact the opposite can occur and the body may suffer from pattern overload and overtraining. This is where mixing our training up with the right amount of variation can be really beneficial. It can be the just what the doctor ordered to break training plateaus.

I mentioned both specificity and variation above and both are extremely important and getting the balance right is crucial. As discussed earlier if you want to lift heavy weights you need to lift heavy weights- this is the specific bit. However always bench pressing the same way for the same numbers and the same sets and reps with the same hand positions isn’t the only way forward, in fact doing the same thing may even lead to regression and injury as discussed above. If you make small alterations; which can include changes to sets and reps, hand position, incline or decline of bench as well as weight your progression will continue.

Changing exercises is also important. Now this doesn’t mean that if you want to get stronger in the Squat you need to start doing Pull Ups (you should be doing them anyway!). You need to keep performing the Movement. For example if you have been Back Squatting for a number of weeks, start performing a Front Squat, or a Sumo Squat, or an Overhead Squat or a Squat from Pins, or a Squat with Chains- you get the idea. Alternately completely mix up your sets and reps try a 20rep Squat protocol, try a Russian Squat Programme, try a Powerlifting template varying maximal and dynamic Squat days. Changing your footwear while you Squat can also be useful. Wear lifting shoes for a block then try Squatting bare foot for another.

Obviously specificity and variation doesn’t just apply to Squatting and Bench Pressing. This can apply to Bends, Pushes, Pulls and Rotations. For every major movement the list of exercises is endless. As long as safety is considered why not give something a go.

As long as you stick to sound training principles and as long as you keep progressing add a little spice and mix it up! Don’t reinvent the wheel just make enough changes to keep that wheel spinning faster and faster! Your body will feel better for it and so will your mind!


What does this mean to clients at One PT? Be prepared to go outside!!!

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