A Training Week and What Conditioning for Sports Looks Like

Hi and welcome to another week,

Awesome week of sessions last week – and a big congratulations to everyone who ‘fought to the end’ during the Tuesday ‘escalating body weight’ session.  I really do believe – as noted in last week’s blog – that these are the toughest types of classes we run at the gym…and whilst they only come around every 3-4 months or so (sorry, I just can’t face them any more frequently than that!) each time I do one I get a great sense of ‘oh no, not another round’ followed by a ‘how good – the end…I made it!’  It is always a great feeling to get to the end of a tough session known that you have given it everything you have got!

As all of the winter sporting seasons draw to a close – and generally speaking I think it is fair to say that there is a higher level of participation in the football codes/netball/hockey sports than the summer ones (cricket/baseball/softball/athletics) – I thought I would try to shine a bit of a light on athletic conditioning and body composition throughout the course of a sporting season.  If you aren’t playing a sport anymore (or never did), I would ask that you just stick with me for a couple of minutes because I have some points here that apply equally to you guys (and after all, ‘you guys’ includes this soon to be 46 year old has been!).

I don’t think it would be news to anyone – particularly not to people still active and participating in sports – that they are ‘probably’ at their absolute fittest/looking their best in terms of body fat % when they run out to participate in the very first game of the season.  From that point forward, injuries, bumps and bruises and most importantly RECOVERY plays a more important part in managing the body from week-to-week than conditioning.  At the elite level, this means that whilst participants will do things like ride bikes, boxing, swimming and yoga/pilates, they wont do much actual team-based sporting practice from week to week.  In fact, if your 10-year old goes to footy training twice per week during the season (pretty typical) he is probably doing more ‘footy training’ (meaning a traditional team-based session) than most AFL players would.  (Don’t worry, I can hear the heads shaking in disagreement on this one because after all, ‘those players are full-time’ – but I am telling you…1x 90 minute team session per week (let alone 2) would be MORE than most teams are doing ‘in-season’.)

Given all of that – how do the players stay in shape at the elite level?  And importantly for all of us ‘non-elite’ athletes, how the heck are we supposed to stay in shape/maintain our conditioning levels when we are all battling to get to training and complete sessions due to soreness etc?  Or more to the point, how SHOULD we be doing it.

The first step for the elite and what SHOULD be the first step for people like us – and no surprise here – is nutrition.  This is a big part of the equation as you really do need to make sure you are absolutely nailing the diet side of things if you want to be able to continue to perform in season despite what is a reduced work-load.  The food you eat is the fuel for your performance – but it is also the primary influencer of your weight…if you are carrying an extra couple of kilos, running, jumping etc is going to get exponentially HARDER.  So you have to stay on track with your food and make sure that a missed session doesn’t mean getting slack with your meal preparation/lazy with your food selection.

I am sure all of us have experienced this time and again – the training drops off so the food slips…and all of a sudden, the scales show an extra 3kg and every single little thing in the gym seems so much HARDER than it used to be.  Maintaining focus on your diet when you are unable to get your ‘normal’ levels of training done must be priority #1.

The second step is OFF-Legs conditioning.  For me, this is where training focussed gyms (such as Round 1 of course) are so valuable.  A varied 40-50minute session that is primarily off legs – boxing is again an awesome example here – is a great way to maintain conditioning and keep every part of your body moving.  Plyometrics are awesome, activities that require a full range of motion are awesome (I am thinking overhead movements here of course) and some bodyweight based strength activities (pushups, pullups etc)…all good!

Just like with the food, who amongst us can identify the times where a week or two passes by and because ‘life is in the way’ our participation at the gym drops away.  How HARD it is that first session back?  How simply everything you ‘used to do’ is that much tougher!  How your back feels sorer when you wake up in the morning – how every part of you feels STIFF?  Getting to the gym consistently and just ‘battling through’ sore spots is so important in terms of maintaining both conditioning and suppleness…and remember, you can ALWAYS work around things that are more ‘injury’ that sore spot – it just needs a little bit of imagination (and maybe a chat with a trainer!).

The third step is strength based training.  I like to think we program our Body Work classes (and TANKS for that matter) right in the wheel-house for people who are trying to maintain strength conditioning for sports.  Out of season, this means doing those sessions and really chasing some strength games with steady weight increases – you squat, you deadlift, you press (horizontal and vertical) and you do the appropriate supplementary/accessory exercises.  In season you can still do that, but within 3-days of competition day the idea would be you stay around 80-90% of your maximum weights…you want to be challenged enough to maintain strength but no so much that there might be a negative impact on game day!

In many ways this ‘strength training stuff” is the toughest topic for me to cover for the ‘general’ Round 1 population because whilst the Body Work sessions aren’t any harder than the Boxing ones, they are ‘DIFFERENT’ and for people who have been coming to the gym for a while getting out of your comfort zone and feeling like a fish out of water again is hard.  BUT.  If the food stuff is the most important part of maintaining your body weight, if you want all the benefits of being stronger and having a bit more muscle on your body, well, you have to lift something heavier this week than the things you lifted last week.  And whilst I agree there is a COMPONENT of this methodology in the boxing classes, it is the FOCUS of the Body Work classes.  These sessions WILL HELP YOU.

The last step is to make sure that for every session missed or ‘managed’, you are completing an equivalent amount of time doing a specific cardio challenge.  This doesn’t have to be running – in fact I would say it most probably SHOULDN’T be running – but it does need to be a pretty significant ‘length’ of effort.  If you consider a ‘standard’ sports practice type session goes for 90 minutes, remember you don’t need to replace 90-minutes with a 90-minute cardio effort.  The number you DO need to hit is going to be around the 40-50% duration of that session (keep in mind, the 90 minutes includes warm-up, cool-down, specific skills practice, game walk throughs etc) which would represent the ‘main block’ of the session missed/managed.  A session like a 300calorie assault bike effort OR a 8km row would be good examples of the sort of thing you should be looking at.

Boring.  BORING.  Sitting on a bike or rower for an extended time sucks – it is boring and, well, it is hard.  Plus, if you set yourself a target time/distance (like you need to if you want to get better – my current target for my 300 calorie ride is 26.30) – it is really hard and ‘sitting in a pool of sweat’ uncomfortable.  But, there is a lot to be said for just doing the work – and a lot of benefits.  The volume in this type of training is different to anything else you will do – the longest Bike/Rowing/Cardio effort in a Boxing class at Round 1 EVER will be 5-minutes (we occasionally go a bit longer in TANKS I admit) and spending a bit more time on your cardio efforts will help build a STRONG aerobic foundation.  Anyone out there who ‘struggles’ with the two minute bike efforts that we do in class all the time – well, building that base with some longer duration efforts will really help build your “TANK”, enabling you to hold those ‘sprint speeds’ for longer and hit your targets in class with ease!  Don’t get me wrong – the interval type training we do in our boxing classes is awesome but it can’t and doesn’t tick every single box – setting aside 30-minutes per week (after class is the PERFECT time as you are already fatigued) to build your base will 100% help.

So, when I read back through all of that and try to put it all together, I ended up with a training week that consisted of 2x boxing classes, 1x Body Work or Tanks class and 1x 30-45 minute dedicated cardio effort.  Sounds like a pretty good plan to me.  I know that there are people reading this who would say, well, I just want to do 5 (or 6, or 7) boxing classes – and I get that because so do I really.  But to really tick all boxes you probably do need to get a bit out of your comfort zone and find some time to do a dedicated cardio session.  And find the time to do a more strength based class.

AND – when you put it all together for people (like me) who ARENT involved in a team sport/external challenge, well, things aren’t a lot different.  All you have to do is replace the ‘gameday experience with an extra group session and you are there.

See you in the gym,

Michael.

P.S.  Be sure to sign up for the Summer Slam challenge HERE – I think there are already around 20 or so people who are in (including me of course!) and I am pretty excited about the idea of cutting sugar/changing my body composition for the better BEFORE Christmas comes around!

Gym Update #1 – SUMMER SLAM (October Challenge) is COMING

Summer SLAM is GO – and all the details are UP on the website and you can read all about it HERE!

Here’s what the challenge will entail:

1-month of food restrictions

Group Class participation target (20 sessions or 4/week).

3x ‘Summer Slam’ workouts which each must be completed EACH WEEK of the challenge.  (Estimated time for completing the workouts is between 12-15 minutes).

Here’s what you will get for your participation:

7-Day eating plan with ALL NEW recipes

Challenge Survival Guide

2x Body Scans

Folder containing the Class signoff sheet, workout recording sheet AND food compliance tracking sheet.

Workout booklet detailing each of the Summer Slam workouts

Video demonstrations of all workouts

Dedicated Challenge Facebook group for coaching support/recipe exchange etc

Keen to do it?  Sign up for the challenge HERE!

I am not sure why I didn’t decide to do this 7-years ago – after all, since the main reason we all – well, most of us! -  get ourselves into the gym each day is to hopefully look a little bit better come summer time, it makes sense for us all to get into super shape as summer comes around.

Costs for participation are as follows:

  • $60 – Challenge participation (including body scans, diet plan etc!)
  • $80 – Challenge participation (including body scans, diet plan etc!) AND your own ‘Challenge T-shirt’
  • $180 – Option for non-members – one month membership at Round 1 PLUS Challenge participation (including body scans, diet plan etc!) AND your own ‘Challenge T-shirt’

Please note that these prices will be available UNTIL WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 27th at which point they will all be going up by $20/package…apologies for this but it gets way too hectic trying to put all of the packs together, getting folders organised etc…so get in early, save $ and make my life just a little bit easier.

More details can be found HERE!

Register for the challenge HERE!

Gym Update #2 – Football, Developing Athletes and Other Stuff

So – there is all sorts of stuff happening in the background at the gym.  As a few people would be aware I am a fair way down the rabbit hole in creating a specialist sports preparation program for ‘Developing’ athletes – specifically teenagers playing physical sports (football, basketball, rugby) who want to get faster, stronger and generally ‘move’ better.  The programming has all been put together and I am just sort of holding off for all of the traditional ‘winter’ sports to finish before announcing the program and starting to take enrollments…so if you know a random teenager who wants to be better at their sport and believes getting stronger/faster could help, stay tuned.

Further to that, there is also going to be a football specific skills program announced in the next couple of weeks.  This will be offered either as an extension to the above ‘Developing Athletes Program’ or as a stand-alone skills assessment/skills tutoring.  Again, stay tuned.

All up, pretty excited about the work that has been done to this point and (hopefully) what we can do to help people!

Gym Update #3 – Product Pricing

For some time now we have been from a few retailers about the place for the price of a couple of our products – most specifically Boomers Protein.  Did you know that you can buy Boomers from us for a lower price ($50) than you can buy it off Boomers for ($52 + $4.95 postage = $56.95) and that most retailers sell it for $65?

Well, we are going to compromise.  Members of the gym will still be able to buy it for $50.  If you aren’t a member though, it is going to cost $60 which is still cheaper than other retail outlets BUT not as cheap as the members rate.  Apologies for anyone who might be inconvenienced by this but in all honesty we are here to support our members who support us, not to provide cheap protein to the community.

Gym Update #4 – Round 1 Member’s New Business

Long-time Round 1’er and fashionista Suzie Mignacca has taken the leap into small business with her very own clothing store.  Now, I have had a quick look at the website (it is below) and whilst there didn’t seem to be a lot of things on there suitable for someone like, say, me, there are dresses, t-shirts, jeans, shorts, skirts…everything a girl could want!

Suze is amazing and if you are after a new outfit for work or the weekend, I am sure she would be only too happy to help you out!  Contact her on the newly set up Facebook business page here:

https://m.facebook.com/livelovefashionclothing/

Link of the Week

Cool article about rock-climbing and achieving what would seem to be ‘the impossible’.  It is about free-solo climbing and if you are like me and don’t really know what that means, it seems to be scaling impossibly steep cliff faces by yourself and without a rope.  Anyway, it is an interesting story!

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/10/climbing-el-capitan-alex-honnold-yosemite