Over 40’s Nutritional Tips

101 nutrition

We are now older kids and need to be more reasonable with what our bodies consume. This doesn’t means that you should now sit back, relax and get fatter. Hell no! It’s just a matter of recognising that your body now starts to function a little different that it once used too. The recovery is a little slow and now foods we used to enjoy eating have a different effect in regards being utilised as fuel. That means the plate “full” of pasta we once enjoyed is not going to simply burn itself off as easily as it used too, unless you start making changes in both how much you eat and the quality of food.

Still don’t fret, you still got time and remember you are still in the best years of your life!

If you are like me a little older and care about how you feel, look and function, looking at ways of maintaining your current condition or just getting back into it. You should already have worked it out that there isn’t an easy way to go about it and achieve your weight management or fitness goals. We all know that it takes a disciplined and committed approach in getting you results. The same goes with your nutrition.

My aim here is to guide you through this often over confusing subject of carbs, protein, Good/bad fats etc….. Let’s give it a shot.

Eat carbohydrates

All that time ago when you were young I’m sure your mum might have told you there’s no such thing as too many vegetables. She was right! And I’m talking about the type that comes out of the ground here like it used to.  Not the type that’s has been canned for months in some storage facility ready to export it out to our plates and still legally passes off as a vegetable – well only just.  Generally carbs are either complex ( bread and pasta) or simple (fruit and veggies). These are broken down further; however well keep it simple here. The following lists both types.

Embrace and enjoy the carbs. Just manage your portion as with all other nutrients.

  • Eat whole foods – whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, and plenty of vegetables.
  • Eat four to five servings of vegetables daily, including dark greens, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach (they worked for Popeye), green beans or peppers, either raw or lightly cooked.
  • Eat three or more servings a day of fresh fruit, preferable apples, pears oranges, plumbs and berries.
  • Eat four or more servings a day of whole grains such as (brown) rice, rye, oat flakes and oat cakes, corn, quinoa (the latest superfood) cereals, breads pasta and potatoes.
  • Avoid any form of sugar, added sugar, and white or refined foods.
  • Dilute fruit juices and only eat dried fruit infrequently in small quantities.(high in sugar)

Include protein in every meal 

Proteins are naturally occurring compounds that are used for growth and repair in the body and to build cells and tissue. Protein is one of the most important components of the diet and when you eat a high-protein diet, you’re generally less hungry. Eat less junk and include protein in you eating plan and you will lose weight as a result. It’s difficult to eat too much protein, although you could easily not be getting enough. Eat it with every meal. A basic approach to servings will go a long way in making you feel full while getting the quality of nutrients the body needs to get the most out of it.

  • Eat two servings of beans , lentils , quinoa , tofu ( soya) seed vegetables or other vegetable protein, or one small serving of mat , fish or cheese or a free range egg , every day.
  • Reduce your intake of dairy products and avoid them altogether if you are allergic, substituting soya oat or rice milk.
  • Reduce other sources of animal protein ,choosing lean meat or wild or organic fish and eating no more than three servings a week of meat and three fish
  • Eat organic whenever possible , to minimise your exposure to toxic and hormone – disrupting chemicals.

Consume good fats

Although most of us know that eating some fat is essential to a healthy diet, it’s all too easy to make a mental connection between eating fat and getting fat, so you end up skipping it. Trouble is that usually means eating something that’s worse for you…say sugar.

Saturated fats is a form of fat found in animal fat products such as cheese, cream, butter ,lard and fatty meats as well as in certain vegetables products such as coconut oil, palm oil and chocolate. There’s also the issue of saturated fat, which is blamed as a cause of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Recent opinion suggests, however, that saturated fat actually raises ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels while making ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol l benign. After all, we have evolved to eat saturated fats, and they play key roles in the body, so it seems strange that only in the last 50 years have they become bad for us.

Tran’s fats  are unsaturated fats that are uncommon in nature and created artificially. This type of fat is found in processed foods like cereal, baked goods, fast foods, ice cream and frozen dinners. Anything that contains “partially hydrogenated oil” contains trans-fat.

Unsaturated fats ( the good ones) is a form of fat found in foods like avocado ,nuts and vegetables oils, such as canola and olive oils . Meat products contain both saturated and unsaturated fats.The naturally-occurring fats found in oily fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil and coconut oil provide the body with essential fatty acids. These are used for key functions such as metabolism and hormone synthesis, which are critical to your ability to burn fat. The fats you should worry about are the man-made, hydrogenated variety found in processed foods and junk food, as research links them to a variety of illnesses and health issues, including heart disease and obesity.

  • Eat seeds and nuts the best seeds are flax, hemp, pumpkin sunflower and sesame. You get more goodness out of them by grinding them first and sprinkling them on cereal soup and salads.
  • Eat oily fish – a serving of anchovies, sardines, maceral or salmon two or three times  week provides a good source of Omega 3 fats
  • Use seed oils – choose cold pressed oil blends for salads dressing and other cold uses, such as drizzling on vegetables instead of butter.
  • Minimise you intake of fried foods, processed food and saturated fat from meat and dairy produce.

Remember, Eat real food 

This is the key. If you do this, you’ll end up following all the other rules almost by default. A simple rule of thumb is only eating food that you would consider “wholesome” and enjoy an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Let’s not forget to include water here. Simple rule to shop by, the centre of most supermarkets is literally packed with processed items that are easy passed on a real food.

For example the following are just a few options in regards to breakfast alone. Ditch the high sugar stuff and replace it with these.

  • All-bran
  • Natural Muesli and yogurt
  • Oat bran
  • Porridge
  • Rolled Oats
  • Sourdough Rye
  • Sourdough Wheat
  • Soya and Linseed
  • Special K

Your overall goal is to eat in a way that meets the follow criteria -Think both about calorie quantity and quality and you will go far in optimising you nutritional intake. With a little consistency and not over indulging the weight should come off.

The bottom line is to enjoy you food and limit the volume, eat good quality food and don’t overdo it. Simple.

We survived another Spartan race

Spartan Super recap

Congratulation to both my running buddies Kaan and Shai in once again managing to conquer what those crazy folk at Spartan threw at us during the recent 14klm super held way out in Mymiong. A brilliant location for this type of (obstacle )course event held on the grounds of Lake Dewar lodge run by the YMCA.  This third time around we were more prepared before as you would expect if you had put in the training, which we did.

I’m lucky enough to back onto the local plenty valley reserve that has enough kilometres of single tracks and dirt roads that prepared us well for the off road running based Spartan super so for the last couple of months we have all incorporated a big chunk of our running kilometres towards trial running. Fortunately for us all the base training clearly showed on the day as Spartan races are not held on the roads.

They are held over singe tracks, paddocks, muddy sections, hills and occasionally involves a bit of swimming across dams and short lake crossing.

Tip: Get some serious trail klm’s under your belt. and learn to swim.

In addition to the road /Trail running program the general physical preparation with the resistance training added the extra touch to negotiate ourselves through the lifting/holding/carrying challenges we faced. Keep in mind that you are actually racing towards these obstacles you can’t really slow down to rest too much.  After all it is a race.

The folk at Spartan don’t release the course, it’s part of the appeal. If you are not happy with this I suggest you stick to entering 5klm fun run 8 month from now where you get a course map and take as many selfies as you want.

After having discussions with my team post-race it was clear that a few of the obstacles were a little more challenging for us as the others that we simply ran through. The list below is the ones we had to pay extra attention too as they were clear road blocks in running a quicker time around the course.

  • Sandbag carry – This one was as is described. You had to pick up a sandbag (20-25kgs I believe) then march downhill for about 500 metres , under a fence and then back up again. Clearly there was no racing or sprinting going on here. The legs were pounded while the core got its fair share of loading. Pity the person who chooses to carry it without the proper balance. Your physio will be pleased.
  • Various walls – In previous events I had simply taken a run up and managed to get my hand over to the top of the wall, got the leg over and got across. This time around I wasn’t as lucky as we had just run an uphill section of the track and then copped this at the worst part. Thanks Spartan. At my age the legs didn’t have the spring or the sprint in them so made a new friend quickly who helped out.
  • Dead ball carry – This one’s a killer!!! It requires you to pick up a 55kg dead ball that is somewhat difficult to handle, run with it around a maker and then place it back where you found it. Sounds simple? Ask your body how it feels when you start to run again straight after the effort taken and get back to me. Look up Iron edge equipment suppliers if this is something of interest.
  • Monkey bars – Ahhhhh the monkey bars, a nasty little obstacle that too many of us who don’t possess the ability to do either a chin up or simply hold onto your bodyweight find a challenge. A fundamental requirement of Spartan is the ability to manoeuvre your body around the obstacles requiring your bodyweight training approach is sound. We use bars often and I personally take my kids down to the park for extra “secret training” You dealt with them in the school ground so now you have to deal with then in the Spartan race as an adult.
  • Rope climb/Traverse – I left the best until last and included the two. Look at it this way, two for the price of one. If you are thinking about doing any spartan races you need to be able to both climb up a rope ring the bell at the top and then on the next rope obstacle and be able to traverse along what seems a lengthy distance in order to collect you well-earned medal. I’m proud to say that by the time I got to this last obstacle I managed to hang on and make it until the end. The price to pay was a set of burning shoulder and arms along with a slightly scratched pair of calves. Quite happy to pay the price again as I didn’t drop off like some other poor younger folk did!

Spartan Kids – A special mention should go to the kids who also participated in this even. There were two aged group waves that looked after the little ones, my 6 & 9 years old’s both participated and undoubtedly enjoyed themselves.  A must if you want your kids to get involved. Bring a change of clothes for them.

All in all we had plenty of fun this time around and will definitely take on the next challenge that I believe is the Spartan Beast. A mere 20klms+.

For now we are still training for the next running trail event. This time were going to tackle the Salomon run series held around four local and regional locations involving a variety of running distances.  No obstacles this time around, just a lot of natural hills, creeks and plenty of single tracks.

Arooooo!

Claudefit is a private gym conveniently located near plenty gorge Mill Park.

Ladies fitness and strength workout

Northern Suburbs Kettlebell trainer

Having been involved within the fitness industry since 2006 in starting from walking the gym floor, group fitness and now operating my own personal training private facility I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of women in both group fitness and now in personal training sessions. Prior to that I had been involved with martial arts and seemed always to be in the teaching and training others mode. By now I think I’ve got a general idea as to what works well for the ladies, what they like and definitely what they don’t like.

If it wasn’t obvious to you the ladies have a habit of telling you outright what works, what they like and over time you get to learn a lot. Sometimes more that you would read in a book.

Now that I operate my own place I’m able to continue to deliver a high level of service in conducting my personal training sessions. I have the space and equipment now without disruption to cover the entire basis on what the ladies need.

Some of the requests I’ve had include. (In addition to strength, fitness, weight loss) are working the Hips, thighs, flabby triceps, bottom of the belly, muffin top and puny legs. OH let’s not forget their Bu**!

The exercises that are my go to movements will basically cover all the bases with the many and varied requests I get from clients and additionally allow me to provide them with a decent base of Strength, Fitness and ensure they move better. It’s only logical that with all programs you don’t just focus on just one element. You need an all over balance. Still hitting those areas a little harder doesn’t hurt.

Well almost.

Here are my most dynamic and effective exercises that are a favoured with the ladies I work with. As an experienced RKC2 kettlebell instructor with several years of ladies group fitness under my belt, watch out as you might get what you want!

Kettlebells

  • Kettlebell Squats – With any effective program the inclusion of squats in any form provider they are performed correctly will go a long way in achieving results. The kettlebell squats sith in the rack positon and hits both the quads and gluteus while the more upright position gets the core activated. Go get some.
  • Kettlebell SLDL – this little gem I picked up a few years ago from a fellow female fitness kettlebell instructor. How? It simply isolates the gluteus while working the single leg. Give this one a go and see how you negotiate the stairs at work the next couple of days. To date I haven hear one lady complain about the effect this one has.
  • Kettlebell Swings – A staple within the kettlebell world and a dynamic standalone movement that works your, hips, butt and legs all in one. The cardio gets an absolute boost while also promoting grip strength. It’s a go to for me when warming up that posterior chain. (Hamstrings, gluteus and lower back) and easily fits into the programming needs of my female clients.
  • Kettlebell Military press – One of my favourite movements is the classic Military press (standing shoulder press) that is performed standing up, as most kettlebell movements are. The simplicity with correct technique makes the Military press and ideal upper body movements. For the ladies the arms get a tremendous workout so there is rarely enough gas in the tank to even consider curls. An excellent shoulder workout with additional benefits when performed correctly.

Core work

  • Medicine ball sit ups – This old classic is basically performing a high volume of medicine ball throws while you complete a sit up and throw it back. Give this one a go with a lighter ball and go the volume. Your abs will be screaming for a while.
  • Hanging knee raises – This is an alternative to the good old crunches. It works the same muscles however the loading on the body creates a greater return with isometrically holding the core, grip strength overhead extension and works the core brilliantly.
  • Hollow position/prone holds – These two I stole from my gymnastics buddies and is a well know one with the yoga group. I rotate the hollow (dish position) with the classic bridge hold to ensure your core area is also strengthened during strict stability work. Who’s up for a tight set of abs then?

This is just a small sample of the few exercises that work with only a kettlebell and 3 selected core movements. Obviously we can get results with a barbell and other equipment. For the sake of efficiency and keeping a solid tempo I have chosen the kettlebell for its ease of use and immediate effect it has during the session.

The ladies like to know what works ASAP, for now the kettlebells it is.

There are many more ways in hitting certain areas as requested. The above ways simply works for me given my experience with this dynamic tool in providing you what you want.

A firmer, leaner and fitter body.

Claudefit Operates his own private gym facility within a professional environment and takes a straightforward no fuss approach in delivering results.

Northern Suburbs Strength trainer

Northern Suburbs Strength Trainer

As an experienced personal trainer I have over the years learned and forgotten so many exercises that I feel sometimes I suffer from exercise overload. Continuous professional development has allowed me to keep the good and discard the unnecessary (It’s part of being a trainer).  Why bother performing 18 exercises when sometimes half can be more effective. It’s unfortunate that the fitness industry is always looking at ways to keep people entertained as opposed to keeping them fit.

It is with this experience that I hold my ground on what works and ignore the other sales orientated stuff that is served up by the truckload. I stick to what works and continue to improve on the fundamentals. So when you mix up only elements that work together it’s a win-win situation as a trainer and for client deliverables. The following is a basic template of just one of my plans that works a treat.

Please note that nutrition also plays a major apart in any well balanced program. What I cover here is the stuff that burns the calories, plenty of them.

One of my current mixes of exercises to get my experienced clients to perform during a session is the one where I call it the nasty 3. It’s quite simple in application and somewhat challenging when you commit.  It starts off with 3 solid core exercises followed by double kettlebell complexes and finishing you off with various boxing punch out / Heavy bag drills.

Depending on where client’s current strength and conditioning is, it’s quite easy to fine tune the effect with the right choice of resistance and kettlebell weight. For example if you have been using the 16kg kettlebells then jump to the next increment which is 20kg you are in another world of pain. You see traditional Kettlebells only go up in increments of 4kgs. (Evil laugh) I tend cover whatever energy you have left in the boxing section with the focus pads.

It’s part of the fun.

Core first

The exercises work well in providing a solid and somewhat challenging core routine.  The added benefit is that the limbs are sufficiently warmed up once you have completed the core work.  By then you should be well and truly “switched on” The reason these work well is due to the core being worked first and given the basic movements performed the whole body is being utilised to support the exercise leaving you prepared for the workload ahead.

  • Torsinator 5 sets of 10
  • Lying leg raise (holding stick)
  • Medicine ball throws (old school)

Kettlebell

The next component is the Kettlebell complex that involves only double kettlebell work. It’s important to point out that the clients who work with the doubles have already an establish base of strength, experience and fitness in working with kettlebells at my premises, so be warned if you are not proficient on the kettlebells. Get some instruction before you jump into the doubles.  Locating an RKC Kettlebell instructor here would be ideal.

  • Double Kettlebell Press
  • Double kettlebell Squats
  • Double kettlebell swings
  • Double kettlebell cleans

Boxing Workout

When it comes to boxing the benefits associated with this discipline can basically stand on their own when it comes to delivering  strength, fitness, movement and an absolute calorie burn. I like to incorporate the Boxing element with my clients as a great finisher to the more weight bearing movements. It allows us to flush out the tightness created with weights and gives me an opportunity to finish of the session on a high.

In addition I usually gauge how much energy my clients have and leave them with nothing with the proper use of focus pads.

  • 3 rounds of Skipping (keep a solid tempo)
  • 3 rounds of bag work (working at 80% exertion)
  • 3 x rounds of Mitt work (intensity at my discretion)

The above approach with my more seasoned clients allows up to basically mixing it up while still focusing on 3 vital areas of conditioning. That is Core, Strength & Cardio. This simple plan can also be used with my other clients with an emphasis on one element ( say Kettlebells) work in one core movement and introduce them to boxing. Either way it works out well.

The importance is to ensure the client receives a solid workout where you manage them to the end. Not smash them. It’s about making the session more effective. Not a beat down.

Remember thus is full body strength and conditioning workout. (GPP)  Not a sports skill workout. We are training the body to cope with whatever activity you follow. Be it running an obstacle course, trail running, Afl or rugby. Getting the body prepared will go a long way in the enjoyment of your chosen activity and even increase you skill training time.

Apart from being effective all over body workout it becomes just as dynamic when it comes to calorie burning. You will not be disappointed.

As we like to ask ourselves here, how many calories will I burn today?

All of them!

Your weight loss checklist in reaching your goals. (Part 2)

Consumption of low to moderate GI foods

When it comes to carbohydrates the importance of this nutrient is the fact that it is the one that will mainly provide you with the energy that you need to get by your day. Unfortunately this is the one that is mostly misunderstood and people are under the impression that to eliminate all carbs or take on an extreme low carb diet is a sure way in getting to drop the bodyweight down. To simply eliminate carbs is to basically stave yourself into being skinny while still holding fat deposits ! Need proof? Just look at any major gossip/fashion type magazine and check out the so called skinny people. Or more to the point – staved. The significance of a low GI loading to carbohydrate refers to the release of steady energy over the day as opposed to a fast release that ultimately leaves you feeling unsatisfied and as a result, you eat again and ultimately increase you calorie intake.

Eat complex carbohydrates and reduce refined sugars

Closely connected to the item above the consumption of complex carbohydrates should be a major component to any health and weight management goals. After all the good carbs are an excellent source of energy and if you consume the right ones and get in the quality ones you will feel better and have the energy to carry you over the day. Foods like rice (brown) pasta, noddles, and wholemeal breads the current superfood Quiona, sweet potatoes are the staple ones that are easily available to anyone who is familiar with a supermarket.  If you are the type to not consume carbohydrates after 6pm you need help. Getting in the “complex”quality into you system is the key to long term health and to have sustained energy.

When it comes to refined sugar, the quantity  contained in most soft drinks reigns supreme. Not sure what’s worse. Fanta or Coca cola when it comes to the sugar content, It doesn’t matter, avoid both. If you are not happy then I would suggest you at least give the diet option a go. The hidden sugar within the carbohydrate in some food stuff is the item that has been the reason people are now increasing their waistlines. Take the good ol 3% fat free muffing. Don’t worry about it being only 3% fat, or the fact that it has over 600 calories! (sarcasm) But if you could work out the sugar content you will not be disappointed should you be looking at a high mark!  This is where the natural sugar in fruit is a better option. Yes it’s still energy however the nutrient quality is where it trumps the refined sugar and in addition doesn’t mess with the insulin release that ultimately contributes to weight gain. Get some fruit, veggies and complex carbohydrates and  avoid over consumption and reduce you sugar intake.

Eating slowly to encourage maximum digestion

How many times in the past have you were told to slow down, chew and enjoy your food.  It takes the body approximately 15-20 minutes or so for the food to travel down to the stomach and start the process of making you feel full. Don’t disadvantage this by using this time to throw down the food as quick as possible and them find yourself clearly over stuffing  (AKA gorging) what would otherwise be an enjoyable meal. If you have taken the time to plan and properly prepare you meal, why would you not want to enjoy it?  Unfortunately I see this food frenzy mentality at most food courts and sadly at some family restaurant. People, please slow down it’s not a race. Enjoy the pleasures of eating. A good tip is to stop eating when you are at least 80% full. I dare you.

Choosing low fat products and methods of cooking

This one’s an oldie but a goodie. In choosing low fat products be aware that fat, that is good fats are well….. good for you, so don’t go all the way and try for the zero fat approach. You won’t get far and as for your overall health not really a good idea. Instead become familiar with the types of fats you need to  consumed and eliminate the heaviness that trans fats offer (bad ones ) while incorporation and enjoying good fats like Avocados, Nuts, flax seed oil , olive oil, fish oil supplements, egg yolks that should be all consumed for optimal nutritional value. As for the methods of cooking. Let’s get it back to basic and say that deep frying or frying in any case is not the preferred option.

Depending on the food type. Try to boiling, Steaming and even oven bake you food for cleaner and healthier results.

Avoiding or limiting alcohol intake

This one’s always intrigues me when I discuss it with clients. What I’m finding here is that people most likely will under estimate their alcohol consumption. It’s just the way it is. I have never had someone tell me early in our training sessions what they actually drink. “Just a few during the week I think” its only after we do a food diary that the true amount becomes clear. In fact unless I write it down myself id probably be guessing as well. Now I’m not suggesting that one doesn’t drink at all. After all there are social occasions that go hand in hand with having a drink, the quiet one at home after work or simply out with mates. What I’m suggesting is to take a more direct approach and weigh up the benefits of elimination or at least reducing your overall alcohol consumption. Not only is alcohol more energy dense as it has more calories per gram them both protein and carbohydrates. (Only fat is more energy dense) In addition the promotion of greater fat storage is increased due to the body’s inability to process foods while under the influence. It basically utilises all its processes in getting rid of the alcohol before it taps into the foods energy source.

In a nutshell the kebab after a few beers is one way the set you back the whole week. And that’s with only one meal.

Focusing on a healthy habit not diet

This is what it really comes down to.

The most basic way to see it is to consume adequate quantities in calories, ensure they are quality and make sure the calorie ratio is well balanced. The emphasis should not be on just focusing or increasing one food group. It should be about an overall long term strategy that is simply part of your lifestyle. Getting in the quality into you system will make you feel better as you are sufficiently getting in the vitamins, minerals in eating “clean foods” while maintaining a sound quantity intake looks after the rest. Add in the proper balance of you meals and you don’t have to think about it again. Severe restrictive “dieting” should be left to those who participate in weight bearing sports on occasions where this approach will be short term. The long term approach is the one you should take as opposed to the 6 week diets offered on the lifestyle trash magazines.

Exercising regularly

Well given that I’m a Personal trainer it’s a no brainer that I would recommend exercise here. The benefits are clear. With a smart and well planned program you can  become stronger, fitter, be able to move better (pain free for some) and if adhering to proper nutrient quantity, quality and getting in the correct ratios it should all fall into place nicely  and will go along way in getting you results.

The bottom line is to have a nutritional plan, actually implement that plan and be committed to your overall goal.

Get the nutrition right and you are well on the way.

Claudefit personal training is based In Mill Park.

Spartan Super 2015 – Here we go again!

Spartan Fit

It’s been while since we ran our last Spartan race and from what I recollect it was the Spartan sprint covering approximately 7 klm’s along paddocks, , bush, shallow creeks , hilly terrain and swimming across dams all while busy running against other like minded individuals in getting to the next obstacle first in the hope of surviving it till the end. I did say the 7 klm was a sprint didn’t I? Yeah that’s what the folk over at Spartan call it.

This time around  we are back wiser, ready to go and I guess since I promote myself as a fitness trainer are more prepared than our previous race. However the test this time in training for this event is a mere 14klms, twice the fun I reckon. Ask me at the end and I will most likely tell you it was twice the torture. Depends on your point of reference I guess.

Here is a quick summary of the training (suitable for the recreational participant) and an overall approach we have taken in preparation for this challenging and very much and enjoyable event.  Let’s tackle the individual components that you need to cover in order to make it through safe, injury free and able to enjoy the post event celebration knowing you met the challenge and got though unscathed. AROO!

The Running part

First and foremost this event like most obstacle events is predominantly running. That’s right, Running and lots of it. Given any Spartan race it easily takes up 80% of the effort required in getting across the line for that coveted event t-shirt , participant medal or for some it’s the hard earned beer waiting for you after crossing the finish line.

This is the single component that usually gets to most of the participants. Not the Burpees because people cheat on them. You need to be able to run and run well as you can’t cheat 14klms.

The undulating nature of the course requires you to adapt to the terrain and if you are not familiar with trail running you will suffer as I speak from personal experience. In last year’s 7klm spring Spartan I already had a solid road running base of 40-50klm average a week in addition to my weight based workouts. Unfortunately my over excitement and lack of understanding of the course basically blew my running motor within the first klm and took me another 2 klms before I recovered, ran with composure and settled into pace all while having to tackle the obstacles as they presented themselves. although I managed  respectable time, I knew that I could have prepared better. Rookie mistake.

Our solution: We have now been running trails on a regular basis and have become familiar with this type of running and will now tackle the longer event with a bit more experience and focus on keeping a solid pace and negotiating the obstacles with minimum energy expenditure. (Yeah, we did the work) A solid 8klm + run would be ideal as a minimum base to finish the course ,( expect to walk) however if you are keen and well planned a Road base of 10 klm plus with a few trial runs thrown in would just get you by.

If you are fortunate enough to be close to a trail, I suggest you tackle it often.

Weight training & Conditioning

This time around we have focused out attention to preparing the body for the assault as opposed to preparing for the obstacles on an individual basis. Why? It’s better to focus on preparing your own body in getting stronger, fitter and resilient to be able to withstand the challenge than simply focusing on one or two obstacles that will come up such as the dreaded rope climb and surprisingly difficult dead ball deadlift.

Spartan has a way of throwing in obstacles that challenge the strongest and fastest regardless of the specific training you do. Better to prepare the body. Get stronger, build you grip strength, core and be able to both carry heavy and lift heavy objects and you should be fine. Spartan doesn’t release the course until the last few days of the event. It part of the appeal.

I must add that there are several standard obstacles that will be there waiting for the regular Spartan hopefuls. Look up the Spartan website for more information. www.spartan.com.au  the interesting ones are the new ones that pop up. So be ready.

The focus on the major lifts was what we all (clients) trained with.  We ate up lifts such as Barbell Standing military press, Bench press, Squats, Deadlifts & Bent over rows. What more can you say when you have program that involves these old school and very effective exercises. They will get you strong and prepare your strength base for life and everything else.  That’s another story.

The other tools used were Kettlebells for conditioning because they work,  exercises like the swing , cleans and renegade rows were a staple along with basic bodyweight movements involving the always reliable chin up/ pull up ( do both . they both work!) crawling and handstand play. For variation we chucked in Rope climbs and sandbag drills. The ability to “chuck a leg over the fence” will also be required as I find that most who don’t have flexibility with this movement find out the hard way and looks painful! You have been warned.

The bottom line is that we have been consistent and trained smart. As with most things related to fitness and OCR events the primary objective of the training should be to prepare the body to successfully complete the event. Everything else is a bonus.

Planning and application

You need to have a plan that you actually implement and you need to take the right mental application. I’ve mentioned this as I unfortunately see several individuals not complete the course due to their inability to have the will finish what they started. Experience should tell you the better you prepare for this or any other event the better it is on the day. If you turn up underdone you will make it harder than it needs to be and will most likely give up or worse , suffer an avoidable injury.

The common factor here is that sometimes people simply just turn up on the day and think because they’ll can run 5 klm around the block at home ,do a spin class, body pump and bench press on Monday they think that they will be right on the day. Spartan Races are advertised as a race and it doesn’t forgive lack of preparation.

IMO the positive’s here is that if you sign up for an event you have committed to do it. And do you should be able to do it well. Like most of my client’s requirements if they approach their goals with the proper mental application, goals like weight loss, muscle gain, strength gains and improvement in their overall fitness will happen. Funny that.

If you plan well and  commit to your training, eat well and get enough rest, there is no reason for you to turn up unprepared, out of shape and put yourself through this event not quite 100%. It’s hard enough as it is being prepared so why disadvantage yourself before you get there.

As I say often to my client ( on my soapbox) whether you do a trial run, fun run, Spartan, TM or any other event. A lack of preparation will show up on the day. So plan well, implement you plan and give yourself the best opportunity to not only conquer the Spartan Course but know that you can do anything.

See you on the course. Aroo!!!

Claudefit is a personal fitness trainer based in Mill Park.

Fitness and Strength for the over 40’s

Over 40’s Fitness and Strength

Physical activity is valuable for all and for some has now become a necessity. For us older folk (like me), where maintenance of good health, independence, and certain age/lifestyle factor related disease prevention can be achieved with only a dose of Fitness and Strength. It’s time to take action and do something about it.

As we are now over 40 we should all do some form of physical activity, no matter what your age, weight, health problems or abilities. You have to make an effort. It’s never too late to start becoming physically active. Let’s get you started in helping you out with enjoying the benefits of having more energy, reducing pain in movement and other age related matters we have to deal with that are slowing you down.

It’s now time to act.

It’s unfortunate all the people round me who have chosen the easy way out and due to a lack of activity , a lack of food control and after years of self-neglect they find themselves in a position where they are lost and have nowhere to turn. All this and we have to deal with the rest of the ageing process as we tend to slow down….well only a little though, you can still do something about it.

Many improved health and well-being outcomes have been shown to occur with regular physical activity. These include helping to:

  • Maintain or improve physical function and independent living;
  • Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risk of injuries from falls; and
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and some cancers.

The importance of movement

As I turned 40 and realised that I was not able to recover quicker, move as fast and lost a bit of mobility. However it’s not to the extent that some general thinking would lead you to believe. Just because you are now a little older (and much wiser) it’s a matter of just making sure that you now work out a little smarter. One on the major changes with age is the issue of mobility. That is, the ability to still perform the functions that that body is designed to do. Move pain free.

For the unlucky ones who are carrying over some old injuries from past endeavours it’s going to be little different, but not impossible. I consider myself lucky as I’m one who doesn’t carry any major injuries and have good movement with my Ankle and Hip joints ,a pain free range of motion with Thoracic mobility/stability/elevation and my Knees have survived the years of running and martial arts and intend on keeping it this way as the years add up.

My go-to movements today in addition to the type of workout I do as a Professional trainer are the 3 big ones from the HKC Kettlebell system. They are the Turkish Get up, Goblet squat and the Swings. The combination of these 3 specific Kettlebell movements allow me to be mobile , flexible, build co-ordination , strength in movement and a heart rate that burns up the calories. Before you get too excited and think just performing these movements is all it takes keep in mind the strict adherence to technique will be an expectation. The Kettlebell doesnt do favours and rewards bad form so let’s keep it safe.

Cardio as we age

Start with low impact movements. And then build up. It’s ok to push the cardio once you have built it up smartly and not gone out too hard or too soon. It should over time build up and for general fitness not take too long. I promise. You are no longer a spring chicken and should be more cautious in you approach (this is a good thing)  – As part of getting on to our 40’s the ability to take on any exercise that involves impact is something that needs to be monitored  diligently.

A pain free workout can certainly be performed as long as you are following proper technique and are able to use the correct resistance in delivering results. Too light will not have any effect and going too heavy too soon is recipe for disaster. The last thing you need is an injury to recover from so take my advice, learn the move and then build it up slowly. Any progress is still progress. The major moves that I use when working with my new “grown up” aged clients who have never lifted a weight or seen the inside of a gym is to establish whether they can perform what I call the pillars in movement.

These are the lifts that deliver better results and are clear time savers. When combined together results are usually no too far.

The Pillars of strength

With any given program you will need to cover the basic moves in order to get a greater return on effort. Irrespective on the type of equipment you use (Kettlebell, Dumbbell, Barbell, Sandbag or machine (as long as you are performing the following you will get stronger.

Pressing – These movers involve all overhead pressing that is barbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press. Anything involving an upward press. Whether you are sitting or standing. Just press. I get a lot of mileage with my Kettlebell pressing it delivers a safe and pain free movement pattern and for a more strenuous workout we hit the barbell and load them up. It all depends on needs and training history of mature clients. In other words press.

Pushing – These movements involve the pushing away from the body (chest). They include the classic bench press. Machine press and even dumbbell press. This one in particular is a clear favourite with most as it has generally become the one workout movement enjoyed by most. For some its complements and already comprehensive workout, for others it’s a critical strength in pushing an opponent away and for the rest it’s basically a beach muscle. It’s up to you.

Squats – One of the major movements in any effective training program should include the squat movements. It’s basically when performed properly works the entire body in utilising the legs as the main driver, the core in keeping it all stable and the upper body in holding onto the required loading placed on the body. Truly one of the king pillar movements in returning a quicker result. These can be performed with a barbell, Kettlebell, sandbag, and dumbbell. Almost anything really. As long as you know how to move. An excellent carry over exercise sports and daily life challenges.

Deadlift – One of the most dynamic movements is the humbling Deadlift. This is basically a hinge movement (fold at the hip joint) where you are required to put up the weight from the floor. Its performed best with a barbell and with a proper set up and execution is quite safe. Unfortunately it gets a bad reputation as hurting your back, when in reality this classic pulling movements will actually strengthen and sometime fix you back. Just remember everything is problematic when performed incorrectly and is always better when proper technique is use.

A great reason to hire professional fitness trainer if you are not sure.

You are never too old to move.

Far too often I hear people who tell me they are too old to do anything about it. Well I find it disappointing in a way as most of the ones who tell me this don’t have any major injuries or concerns that would prevent them from becoming healthier through a strength and fitness program. Unfortunately they are quite simply lazy, unmotivated and to some extent don’t really care.

If you have read to this point you will understand and if you haven’t, well what can I say? As we get older we see the world a little different and place value on the time spent in doing the thing we enjoy. The approach on movement, strength, fitness and health should be your priority.

Strength and Fitness program

Strength training Mill Park

Most of the times when people are seeking to get fit and “back in shape” they often neglect the importance of getting stronger. You see by getting stronger all the other variables will sit on top of an already built up strength base and set you up to build a better fitness( cardiovascular) engine , be structurally resilient and with an understanding of movement you are well on the way in achieving your goal of “getting back into it”.

It pays to have a plan.

For the people who chose to ignore the strength component in their general fitness goals and think “I’ll just lose the weight with cardio”, you will simply be a smaller version of yourself and most likely be weak, have an ordinary immune system and not be strong enough to perform normal every day activities. To just do cardio and starve will leave your body depleted and not feeling too good and you will most likely go back to old habits.

Not everyone has to own a 100+kg deadlift, bench press or squat, however neglecting your strength is more of limiting factor in promoting a more active and healthier body and lifestyle.

The following is a basic yet effective two day workout that will deliver an honest all over strength base that is complimented by a 3rd running day. Keep in mind that with the use of Kettlebells you are still getting an adequate dose of cardio. Take my work for it it’s just the way the humble Kettlebell works. The running is what works well with any weigh management program and delivers you more than an adequate fitness base. Don’t neglect it as the longer you leave it the longer it will take to get.

Strength training program

Day one

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell back squat
  • Kettlebell front squat
  • Double kettlebell clean
  • Barbell Military press
  • Kettlebell double press
  • Kettlebell push press

Day one will cover the lower body/core with the traditional and effective Barbell squat while the double kettlebell cleans will sort out the posterior chain recruitment. The front squat with the kettlebells delivers more in recruiting the core and clearly gets the job done. The upper body is looked after with the military press and once again in working the double kettlebells the shoulders will be broad and resilient when you can manage the workload with an effective (pressing movement ) technique.

Day two

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell dead lift
  • Barbell upright rows
  • Barbell bent over rows
  • Chins
  • Barbell bench press – flat
  • Barbell bench press Incline
  • Barbell bicep curls

Day two will finish off the full body workout in working the hip hinge joint with the ever reliable and dynamic Deadlift. With the addition of the upright row and bent over rows the barbell will leave you fully worked (pulling movement ). The chins will take anything left you have in working your back. Add in the bench press with the flat and incline option and you have covered the upper body (Pushing movement).  Any program would be lost without the humbling barbell bicep curl. If you have anything left in reserve.

Strength based cardio reserve

Day 3 run

You need cardio remember? A 1-5 klm steady run as a beginner will do you good. It should be your minimum cardio base and should only be a shorter distance that you can manage and will complement the two day weight program nicely. It will allow you to get into a steady tempo and start to burn some extra calories and keep the weight under control. The message here is to be committed and stick to a program that will deliver a balanced return- a leaner, fitter and muscular looking body.

Remember a body that has a bit of muscle can burn more calories than one that doesn’t.

To cap it off all of the above is the active component in getting results. If would be dismissive if me if I didn’t include the element of nutrition and how much of an effect it has with any fitness/strength and well-being program. Neglect your nutrition and any results will be slow and minimal. Managing you nutrition is not always about weight loss, for some it’s about performance. As the saying goes, Junk in = junk out . Don’t be that person!

The above was just a basic (not to be confused with easy) start up program that takes up only 3 days of your week. Alternatively you can (with time permitting) treat it as 3 days on and take the fourth day off. It up to you, when you have committed to it for 4-6 weeks the results will be obvious and you will need to tweak it further.

This is where a personal trainer can assist you and ensure you are achieving results.

Strength Training with Oly lifts

Strength with Olympic Weightlifting  

When it comes to understanding and appreciating Olympic lifting it’s not just a matter of just doing the snatch, clean and jerk and you are done.  For the committed individuals who solely pursue this dynamic sport as their choice in exercise, it about learning all the intricacies that go along with the improvement of these 3 technical lifts. The fun part goes with learning the semi competition lifts, related exercises and the always important Strength exercises, add in some remedial lifts and the associated stretches and you have plenty of scope when it comes to learning and improving your Weightlifting for performance for fun, Fitness and Strength.

For the crew at Claudefit Personal Training it’s a matter of implementing the exercise that go towards the overall results for my various clients. We sometime incorporate the semi- competition lifts and sometimes we are kept just as busy with the related strength exercises.  For others who are possibly working out for sports performance, training in their local Crossfit boxes or they require more of a technical understanding the approach is different but still technical in that we break down the lift a bit more ensuring awareness of current strength levels and possible limiting factors such as flexibility and range of motion, basically a swat analysis on your body.

The following is a sample of a direct process in working toward the snatch for beginners to the more experienced in getting some conditioning in within a learning process. It ensures that the individual is able to move through the exercises and establish where they are at. No point in putting someone under load when they can’t even press the weight above the head.  So there is no way they will be able to catch it when they “give it a go” without understanding it first.

The session takes a top down approach form the point of the catch and works down toward the bottom position.  Most recreational trainers who concentrate on the leg and hip thrust don’t pay attention to the overhead position as they will work it out later. This is often what happens with no coaching or in commercial gyms where it’s something cool to try. Unfortunately the shoulder structure is not sound enough, stable/ flexible to appropriately accept the catch.

I’m not keen to test out my flexibility when I don’t know whether I can hold it first!

Weightlifting – The Snatch progress

Barbell Standing Military press – Without a doubt the shoulder press will let the individual know exactly where their absolute strength lies and can from this exercise alone establish range and lockout strength. The ability to hold onto the weight above the head with the shoulder blades elevated should also provide feedback on stability. A classic lift as the first exercise in this progression. As a stand-alone the Military press is an excellent exercise for upper body (shoulder) development.

Barbell back squat – With most sports the ability to generate power from the hips and legs can only begin with one of the pillars of strength. The barbell squat will add muscle quicker than any of the other available movements that tries to replica this fundamental movement. When it comes to pure strength the squat reigns supreme. It is why we work on this movement. All others exercises will be supported by leg strength. Remember it starts from the floor/ground.

Overhead squat – The overhead squat has many benefits. For the Olympic lifts the ability to apply this movement is critical in both holding a weight above your head and be able to squat down to the floor. A typical gym squat to parallel doesn’t cut the mustard with Olympic lifting. You need to be able to get down low. The overhead squat will let you know where you are at. Performed with a barbell or PVC pipe alone is enough for the beginners and is a nice warmup for the more experienced. Work this one well.

Pressing Snatch balance – When we get to this exercise we are now starting to work on a more weightlifting specific movement. It basically requires you to hold the barbell behind you as in a back squat position (feet  wider) and then in one slow movement lower your body into a deep squat while the barbell is maintained at best as possible in the same position. Think pushing yourself away from the bar here. The end of the movement should be the same as the bottom position of the snatch. A great movement to get that flexibility happening and with a bit of weight, a great muscle builder.

Heave pressing snatch balance – The next progression is similar to the previous one in that you are now working on a much quicker execution of movement. That is to drop at speed. One for the more experienced that will clearly challenge you.

Snatch Balance – The last one with this simple progression (not easy) is performed with the feet beginning in the pulling position with the barbell in the back squat position. The next step is to take a slight dip and then explode into the snatch position in quickly dropping and landing in a wider leg position. Once you have worked through the previous progressions this one becomes a bit of fun.

It’s Playtime

Once you have had enough of the technical work and practiced the particular elements that you are not too comfortable with (and got better) it’s time to work through the more dynamic and powerful varieties the snatch provides. The first two exercises allow you to with limited technical application power through the movement. The Muscle snatch is a great start as it rewards the stronger guys and girls who don’t quite have the technical and movement down pat. Next is the popular Power snatch where you’re starting to drop under the bar and it’s where you begin to appreciate the overall movements of this great exercise (eg; positioning, leg drive and hip power). At this stage the return on investment for pure strength, conditioning and power output should be sufficient for most, particularly the athlete wishing to reap the benefits for their sport. The last and most technical of the three is the Snatch which is more dynamic and is the true end results of the traditional Olympic lifting style. When you are performing the classic Olympic Snatch properly you’re most likely, flexible, experienced, well-conditioned and clearly one strong individual.

Overall al of the movements have an enormous benefit, it’s up to you to work through in a safe and progressive manner in reaping the rewards. The importance is to first get the patterning done and correct any deficiencies before you go all out to grip and rip the bar off the floor in becoming, a fitter stronger and more conditioned practitioner.

Olinda trail run

Trail run fun

It’s a mountain not a hill!

This was the comment my client and fellow trail running buddy Shai who so enthusiastically told me on the way to the 3rd of the Salomon trail series race. Right from the start to end involved running the trails on the ever popular Dandenong ranges suburb of Olinda. In our case what runs down most certainly has to run up again, and so we did.

The drive up there was typical of two blokes about to do anything to do with exercise; we bragged on how well we were going to do. Let’s just say it was a different type of conversation on the way back. Once we got to the bottom of the mountain and drove past the famous 1000 steps we simply started to climb up and passed a few crazy cyclist who were riding up there for their regular Sunday hit-out (a massive ride I believe) and it was only when we got to the golf course at Olinda where we were received by a thick and unwelcoming fog.

You can’t make this stuff up.

It was cold, early and windy.  Glad for me Shai was good enough to pick me up and we had arranged to meet up with the other participant once we got to the start/end line where all the stalls were all set up and grabbed that all important coffee prior to start.

Welcome to the top of the Dandenong ranges.

As we have figured out the Salomon series is well organised, with around 1500 participants in three distances of 7klm, 15klm and 21klm. We as rookies to these events gladly took on the 7klm as we had previously taken on the 12 klm for the Plenty Valley run and felt we hadn’t performed as well. You see, we participate in many of the popular fun runs and we can generally cover the 10klms on the flat well. Trail running as we found out has other challenges that the more comfortable flatter bitumen running doesn’t offer – go figure. The bottom line is that trail running is much harder and demands more focus on the single track.

While you are chasing the person in front while you can hear your own tail been covered and makes it quite draining from a mental point of view, it is a race after all. The Australian bush offers you a spectacular view and plenty fresh air. A good thing as you age going to need it.  The important point here that I would like to make is they they are a lot of fun to do, just be prepared and have more of a base fitness if you wish to conquer the chosen distance.

 

Short Course elevation profile

olinda

 

 

 

 

(Image taken form Salomon trail series website)

The Race

The elevation for this course looked pretty simple and on paper looked like we were not going to struggle like the previous longer one. Looks can be deceiving as it was quite an honest run. Start running down the hill, go across and back up, simple and effective and certainly go the job done. The first part was quite exciting as we were basically bolting down the hill and making sure we didn’t end up crashing into the scrub. Once we got down to the bottom it was a simple matter of negotiating the single and wider track until eventually had to come back up and as my running buddy had already mentioned we were supposedly meant to be running up this mountain, let me put it this way. I went from hero running down to zero in making it back up. It was a mixture of excitement and exhaustion at the same time. The legs were feeling the gradient and the lungs were on overdrive; the only thing I could do was slow down and let my breathing determine the speed. (A logical choice)  Eventually when we made it up the fog had cleared and all I can remember is the MC trying to coach a sprint out of me. No chance lady. Once complete I managed to regain my composure and not show the clear pain I felt inside.  It didn’t work.

I can only imagine what the other more seasoned trail runners had to cover in the longer races, a nice challenge moving forward. We as rookies to these events look forward to more specific trail running training and will be making sure we are ready to tackle the whole series with at least taking on the medium options as the next step.

The next and last of the trail run options will be held in Anglesea, I’m Looking forward to the drive down and supporting my wife on this one.

No point in keeping it to myself!

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