Running

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!

Plenty Gorge trail run.

Mill Park trail

It was just recently that our running group and I discovered the enjoyment of trail runs and as a result a few of us have now completed race two of the Salomon trail series that makes up one of the 4 trail running events held during the cooler months. The series offers a great variety of trail running in covering the areas of Yarra bend park, Plenty Gorge (race2), Olinda and Anglesea. I myself took on the 12klm option along with a long-term client and can pretty much sum it up as one the harders running event we have all entered in. After all it was a race and not a fun run. In addition it was also one of the most enjoyable.

We have often as a team entered events like the Tough Mudder and Spartan race along with many other popular Melbourne fun runs as part of our fitness program and clearly found this one tough going. The same reaction was displayed by our female team member who chose the shorter version of the course of about 6klms. Both distances covered were quite demanding, and equally as rewarding once you made it to the finish line.

The beauty of trail running is that the scenery is constantly changing. At one time you are simply running on a fire clearing along the bush and then all of a sudden you are traversing across the cliff at pace on a single track. It doesn’t end there , as we found (during the event) out when running along the bottom of the hill as it was just a matter of time before we had to back run up and as we are aware the Australian bushland is not a forgiving landscape, so be prepared. Oh did I say it was fun didn’t I?

Coming from a bitumen background, having participated in several major road running events and Obstacle course runs, this one clearly rates up there with one of the best.  What a great decision it turned out to be in entering this race. Initially this event was simply to outline a set course that my clients and I could run as part of our regular workouts.  However, as it turned out after being a participant of this great event it was obvious to me that I’ll be putting this run up with my favourite runs and got more out of it than initially thought.

Why trail running?

Trail running is all about getting away from the bitumen and heading in head first into the wilderness. Well if you live In Mill Park the blue lake is close enough, for it with all its challenging running sections offer the opportunity for the runner to see the local kangaroos along with a variety of mammals you would typically encounter in the Aussie bush. And in some cases, while you are negotiating a creek crossing!

  • The best trail running (many would argue) is on ‘single track’ – usually walking/hiking trails that you can only traverse on foot.
  • These are the best trails because they tend to lead you into the most pristine and stunning environments.
  • Trail running does also encompass some running on dirt roads and fire trails and, due to logistics, can sometimes at a push include short stretches of road running to get from one trail to another.
  • But, essentially, trail running is all about running in beautiful and inspiring parts of the world that remain as Mother Nature intended: untouched and wild. Of which there are endless examples in Australia.

Fortunately for me I have access from my back yard as it borders the gorge national park and only takes us approximately 10 minutes to get to the actual blue lake. For years I was always wondering what it would be like to venture down and check it out. I’m glad I finally did as a new trail runner to have such an awesome track right on my backyard that the series deems worthy enough for an event is fortunate for me and my running group.

Gotta go, time to get running in the bush.

Claudefit  personal training is  based in Mill Park and with over 8 years in the fitness industry and 25 years of own practical experience you are sure to be looked after in relation to you fitness needs.

 

Running Strength Program

Running Strength Program

Over the last 3 years I’ve been a fairly consistent runner and at the moment I’m having a good time running during our Melbourne winter months and will keep this up as part of my basis of keeping my bodyweight in check ,still staying strong and as a Personal trainer hold an expected level of fitness while staying injury free. Currently I’m running 40-60klm a week at 79kg.

So how do I keep myself reasonably strong, fit and unbroken with all the running I do? I’ll outline a typical week of training and hope this can help you out. You can adjust according to current fitness levels. The workout template for the winter period is going to be quite simple and will support my running base. Naturally this will be altered over time and most likely change post winter heading towards the warmer months where ill increase the volumes. So basically this is my running strength program.

Here’s a typical week of training. Please note mobility and flexibility Drills are done during workout.

Monday:

2xKettlebell Military press 5×5

2xKettlebell Cleans 5×5

2xKettlebells Squats 5×5

2xKettlebell Swings 5×10

2xKettlebell SLDL (works the Glutes directly)

Hanging knee raises 5x 10

5klm recovery run

Tuesday: 10 klm run

Wednesday: 10 klm run

Thursday:

Barbell Bench press 5×5

Barbell deadlift 5×5

2xKettlebell renegade rows

5klm recovery run

Friday:

10klm run with client (6:15am start)

Saturday – Free day of mobility drills with a light Kettlebell

The Turkish Get Ups are done with a kettlebell that will not put too much pressure on me while I move. So it depends on the day on how my body feels that will determine the weight used. Remember you need to use the right tool for the job and not always the “heavy one” The  Goblet a squats for me are quite strenuous at the beginning and end up feeling the best once I’ve warmed up and finished a few sets. You only need to do 3 reps per set at most, keep the hips open and stay in the bottom position and you are done. In finishing off with the single bell Kettlebell Swings it’s just a matter of complimenting the previous two exercises and during winter goes a long way in keeping you warm. Add in a foam roller and the above exercise and you most likely feel you might need a run. Most of the time it’s enough for me and don’t need to run. Only if I’ve for some reason I had to make up some klms I did get in during the week

Sunday – 20klm run with running buddy (6:15am start)

The long run is basically a great calorie burner and allows me to own a solid running base over the winter months. It also keeps me with a reasonable fitness base for the running events myself and clients do.

Naturally this is a base program and can be altered as time goes by, as I need to increase the running kilometres or add in a couple of well-paced 5klm runs for added strength.

The bottom line is that I’m kept strong, fresh and injury free and my bodyweight is in check.  Like most I Just need to keep an eye out on the food intake over winter!

The best part is I’m getting out there in the cold and having good time.

Happy running

www.claudefit.com.au

 

 

Running for fitness. Claudefit Running Events

Running for fitness

Over the last 18 months the team at Claudefit has been actively participating in several running based events that help us all with keeping ourselves motivated with our own fitness, strength and weigh management goals. If it’s a dose of cardio fitness you are after then provided you are not injured running should be you go to exercise.

These events allow the participant to feel they are part of a team. We all meet up at our “chosen spot” prior to event. It amazing how much support you get in pumping you up to successfully complete the event of the day. It’s good to know you have the support of others when you are about to take on and finish doing your first 5klm, 10klm or even half a marathon.  We all do our separate events and always wait for the last one before we move all on.

It’s the way we do things.

For a brief example of the various types of even I’ve outlined the ones we have actually run and have already registered for the remainder of 2014. This year will be our second one. So I guess it makes us somewhat experienced.

Claudefit running events

Neon run – This fun run was the first one for us. It was a night light run around the banks of Albert park lake. Lots of music and other goings on. However a good first time and a leg stretcher for the more experienced. Great first event in getting us to start the year.

Tough Mudder – This challenging muddy run is basically a 20 klm obstacle course. Its designed surrounding the Phillip island race track where running along the waterfront and undulating trials with the added challenges that the obstacles bring is kind of tough. The more experienced runners see this is a major challenge. We generally get a good group. Start running now for 2015!

Mothers Classic Day – The first of the big Melbourne fun runs where various distances are on offer (no mud here) around the scenic and popular Tan track . You can go at your own pace for the distance you have signed up for. Great for those who wish to participate in pure running with the masses.

Run for the kids – Similar to Mothers days where you pick the distance and enjoy the day out with you teammates. Another wonderful event that raises a great deal of funds for a children’s charity and  a fun day out.

Spartan race – This one in particular is of interest to me. Plain and simple it is a race over 7klm over paddock, obstacles, water,mud and hill runs. It’s hard,it’s fast and a lot of fun. one for the stronger runner.

Stadium stomp – If you are looking for something different with you running try this event. It’s basically running up and down while traversing across the famous MCG stands in covering over 7000 steps (for the long run). A shorter version is also available. For me it’s really cool to be running within an empty looking arena with fellow runners. One of the best view from the top! A true test for the running muscles.

Salomon trail run – For something new were going to tackle both the 12klm and 6klm versions of this trail event. This is going to be held in my own back yard, The Mill Park Blue lake (the gorge) park offers runners the true trail running experience across creeks, the Aussie bush and an abundance of fresh air on offer. What a great opportunity to simply run a trail. No bitumen, no fumes and no obstacles.

Run Melbourne – This time we are back on the roads of Melbourne hitting the bitumen over our selected distances. Most of the crew here like to take on the 10klm as is takes you around the Botanical gardens and over the Anderson street bridge on your way to Birrarung Marr. A nice scenic view for those who take the time to check it out. I doubt it of you are pushing the pace! for me a primer for the last event.

Melbourne Marathon –The last of the major runs with a similar approach in getting around the Yarra precinct , Botanic gardens and flying down St Kilda road in heading towards the best finish line of all . The magnificent MCG. That’s right, we are back at the G for one more viewing. As its the last one I encourage all to go all out and get the personal best. There’s  few of us who have this one marked for this very reason. to get the PB.

Why we run? Well that easy, running is the basis of everything we do, it’s what gets the job done in a pure cardiovascular improvement. And in my business of fitness it a given for those who are able to run. For those who are injured and unable to run due to other conditions other alternatives are available, however the adaptation to running the body receives returns an enormous amount in benefiting you with Weigh Management, Mobility goals and generally hit that feel good factor.

Try a 5klm run at pace once you are conditioned and tell me otherwise?

The other benefit is the workload (for you ladies in particular) is your butt gets in all that running. As my colleague Andrew Read describes “The glutes really only activate when running, jumping, or moving up inclined surfaces, being almost completely inactive when at standing or walking. Not only does the butt provide much of the power for running, but it also has a role in stabilizing the upper body during running”

Compliment the running with a General physical preparation approach and you are doing what’s necessary in becoming fitter, stronger and more mobile.

Feel better, move better and look your best.

 

Claudefit Personal Training has been operation since 2006 and has over 25 years of own practical experienced.

Now based in Mill Park I’m able to offer various training options.

Stadium stomp stair climb

Stadium Stomp at the MCG

Well we did it. The weekend past was finally our time to run a lap of the famous MCG. Yep that’s right, our team from Claudefit personal training just belted out another running event, this time we hit the Stadium stomp and in doing so negotiated the spectacular MCG stands that basically involved running up and down while traversing along these very steep terraces all the way around. The price for you troubles here was approximately 7200 stairs. The last time I ran at the “G” was during the football in looking for a pie vendor at ¾ time as Dad was hungry – a very long time ago!

IMG_8005

 

It’s been a welcome event for the crew as we are not only visiting one of the most recognized Melbourne landmarks but were are going to take the tour de pain as we are going the long and challenging way around.  From a pure fitness point of view the benefits of stair climbing as a fitness tool are many! Technically Stair climbing forces you to utilise muscles stabilisers, like the gluteus (ladies take note) medius, the whole hip region and the calf muscles that don’t get the same overload during regular and flatter runs due to only activating one leg as the other takes stride. Stairs strengthen these areas and you’ll go a long way in reducing the potential for injury when getting back to friendlier flatter running.

 

On a lighter note if you are one of many people who just want to know why they should incorporate stairs as part of their (comfortable and flat) routine. Here’s a few more benefits coming from a fitness and important (to some) aesthetic point of view.

  • Stairs hit those trouble spots – oh yeah big time, if you want the backside to show its natural shape with no bulk, stairs will do it. Plain and simple, Take my work for it when you start running, those juggly bits will soon start to disappear.
  • Improves your fitness – well it is running after all and it’s been well documented that running gets you fit. In our case by increasing the angle you are taking it to another lever (no pun intended) and will earn your dose of fresh air when complete.
  • Boosts your metabolism – it’s not within the scope to describe the many elements of how this works , however the elevated systems that operates these many elements will certainly be required to work at a higher rate both during and post run. Basically you will be burning more calories even when recovering.
  • It will go a long way in helping you lose weight – ill keep this one simple , given a practical approach to your nutrition with regular exercise you will certainly effect your body composition. The stairs in your case will just cost you a hell of a lot more calories! This is a good thing ok?

All you need is a set of stairs and won’t cost you a gym membership to just run on a stationery machine. Goes without saying, if you want to get good at stair running, find some and hit them hard.

I’m using this approach as you should be aware that if you are the type to run up and down stairs you is not the type that will just take it easy. It’s basically progression from flatter running. So go out and find the nearest to you. So if these sorts of event take your fancy, Claudefit is quite happy to provide you with the tools to get it done. I focus on general physical preparation for whatever endeavour you are interested in.

Click here for our story featured in the  Herald Sun.

I’ll strengthen you body to cope well with what’s expected from it.

See you on the terraces

Tough Mudder preparation

Tough Mudder fun

So you think you are ready for the tough mudder experience do you? Well great. The first part about entering this great event is the decision to give it a try and work towards completing the challenging 20klm long course in tackling approximately 20 or so obstacles. It’s your decision.

At Claudefit we think the TM is a great way to work towards your all over fitness , weigh loss and is a great motivator once you and your team have put the money down and all have a clear focus on what’s coming up. It’s amazing how much ownership you take once you put a cost to it.

Out team here at Claude fit has now participated in 3 of these events and we are proud of the fact that in the second and third one we have always included newbie’s who have managed to complete it unscathed. No major injuries and a lot of fun had. I myself mostly enjoy the satisfied look of all my clients when they cross the finish line looking tired, covered in mud, soggy socks and a great individual story to tell.

So how do you prepare for Tough Mudder?

It’s pretty clear that in order to complete the TM you will need to have a solid running base that will get the job done. Now before you think that you can’t run 20klm think about the fact that you will be running from obstacle to obstacle and then stop (rest) negotiate the obstacle, wait for you team members and continue to run. As this is NOT a race the pace generally is kept by the slowest member of the group. TM encourages team work so don’t think that this is a fun run style set up where you are continuously running.

What you do need IMO is a solid minimum base of around 7-10 klm’s that will get the job done. Prior to the first TM I myself recorded my longest continual run at 11.5 klm. This was enough for me to get by. Now that I’m a regular runner the TM doesn’t really pose that much of a concern with distance. As the stop start nature of the event is great for recovery. So get running.

The obstacles are reasonable for anyone with an average base of fitness. Unlike other event you do not have to do all of them if you are intimidated or simply think they are out of your capabilities. It’s all right, just rest while the others in your team give it a go, then re-group and continue onto the next one. This is what TM is all about – Teamwork.

Without going over the entire obstacle that you will encounter (TM changes a few anyway) let’s go over the basic strength that you need to successfully cover the course.

  • You need to be able to pull your bodyweight up – whether it be climbing over the 3meter wall or getting over the rows of mud moulds, you need the strength and flexibility to get that leg over in making it through/over.
  • The ability to trudge through ankle deep mud for over 500 metres is also essential. Fit enough to do it and well balanced. Expect to fall on your butt and get covered in mud. Guaranteed.
  • A decent center of gravity is required and most of the obstacles require you to have good balance as part of the challenge. For example the balance beams are great. TM mudder also nails old tyres to logs that you have to walk around. Expect to get wet if you fall.
  • Have a decent sprint in your armoury. In order to get up to the top of Everest you need to have a bit of get up and go and sprint full on towards the ramp. (Think skateboard ¼ pipe here) Many don’t quite make it even when a helping hand is waiting to meet you half way. This one was frustration to the ladies in out group.  A few sprints in your training will certainly help out.
  • Hanging strength. The monkey bars are a bit of a novelty during TM. It’s one of the more well know obstacles where the set up allows for many rows of bars to keep everyone moving along. Basic holding strength and knowing how to move come in handy. At Claudefit the pull up is a as staple here so the holding strength should pose no problem. However with all things related to TM, you will have tired and slippery hands by the time you get to this obstacle. In the past we cop it around the 18klm mark.

The event is quite achievable for most as it attracts people of all shapes and sizes and is a well run safe event. It’s really suited t all types. You only need to want to give it a go.

One of my clients didn’t quite get by all the obstacles , however was thrilled that his body was able to at least take part and surprise himself with what he did. That what is t all about

Participating, challenging you and having a hell of a time.

See you in the mud.

 

Go here for my Obstacle course Page

Spartan ready, Aussie style.

Well it’s getting close to the Spartan race again for here in Victoria so suit up, grab your gear and head out to the bush! It’s time to run and get dirty!

For those few fitness enthusiasts who are wondering what a Spartan race is and why you should do it? Well its simple. It’s there to be conquered and for this old man, a mental, strength and conditioning litmus test to go by. That’s all really, oh and you get a t-shirt (can’t miss the ever important event t-shirt can we?) a rather cool looking medal that you receive as a participant and in true Aussie fashion, a Beer. Please don’t confuse this medal with a winner’s medal.  It is simply a verification of an event you participated in and survived unscathed. Still it’s a rather cool piece to collect and shows off the accomplishment in completing this rather challenging event.  For others, it’s an important keepsake to remind then how awesome they were, or something to talk up.

Spartan is a race over several challenging obstacles through muddy water, shrubs, hills, in tackling obstacles where you are required to lift heavy awkward items, lift them onto shoulders, run up and down a hill, swim across a small dam, drag a 5kg+ cement block attached to a rope, and finally climb a rope to ring the bell at the top. Phew! (and don’t forget to pose for the photo) You might even see a Kettlebell here and there!

If that’s not enough you are made to perform 30 burpees if you fail or decline the invitation to negotiate any obstacles. And believe me the burpee debt will be paid.

The training for an obstacle course is quite simple yet effective if done well. Not to be confused with easy. First of all find out what type of movements, lifts and challenges are required and get started. The first one clearly is Running.  Make no mistake, this is first and foremost a running event and you need to run. The obstacles are just there to give you a rest in between your sprint bursts (a poor attempt of humor by me) until you reach your next one. So if you are too busy bench pressing instead of running, stop now and run. One element of conditioning to possess is the constant ability to carry your own bodyweight over the many obstacles, the humble chin up /pull up and its variations comes to mind. Never underestimate the ability to pull yourself up! You will need it on this day my friend.  You also need to perform in lifting heavy items from the ground and with one memorable obstacle load them onto your shoulders (you are no longer at the Gym so, no one will pass them to you) and carry it for distance up and back down a rather steep looking hill. The exercises here that replicate some of these movements would be Deadlifting for the 55kg dead ball that you will find or the wimpy smaller one if you chose, Heavy shouldering with the sandbag for the carry and for us at Claudefit, a familiar dose of Kettlebell Military presses for overhead strength and shoulder stability. be aware the shoulders cop a regular beating during the day.

Another likely obstacle you will need to take on is the ever challenging rope climb, in preparation get a thick rope (Now) and find out the best way you feel getting up and back down without injury (its only required once) find a person who knows the technique and drill it often, Just a reminder that you will most likely encounter the rope climb exhausted along with wet, cold and slippery hands, be prepared. Don’t say I didn’t warn you – drop and give me 30 burpees if you fail.

Is it like tough mudder? NO. The difference is that with Spartan you are actually racing for time as the top end guys who do this seriously compete for placing that qualifies them onto more challenging races against other like minded Spartans, to ultimately find out who the best one is. Incidentally this event is growing in popularity and its getting serious within its own community. AROO is the catch-cry!  With tough mudder is it’s a different event in that the promoting of teamwork is highly regarded and you are not racing the clock, you are simply negotiating the obstacles as a solo entrant or within a team structure with the view of completing the course and opting out of certain obstacles is an option. With Spartan you don’t get such benefits.

A major difference, between TM and Spartan is the pace. With TM and given the possibility that you have trained for it you could comfortably be able to set your running tempo over a 20klm course in negotiating the 20 or so obstacles. Unfortunately with the Spartan race running flat chat through the Australian bush for say 7, 14 or 21klms depending on the race type is expected.  Due to the undulating terrain that you have to race through in reaching the obstacles, I’m certain your heart rate will be up, along with other competitors attempting to share the space on improving  their own time.

Being prepared allows you to be focused. Being focused prevents injuries. So you either tackle the challenge, give up and do 30 burpee’s, or simply get out of the way, the young folk are coming through. Previously we older ones paced ourselves well and managed not to get run over by the younger fitter and stronger young guns running past. We are smart and have nothing to prove……yeah right.

For us at Claudefit who are tacking the Spartan race we simply factor in what’s required for the event and incorporate it into our clients particular goals. We all run when time permits, lift weights and practice the rope on a regular basis. So getting focuses on just the Spartan race is not our main objective, It’s just something we do to test us in a challenging environment and trial our overall conditioning as a consequence of the training we simply do.

General physical preparation for whatever life throws at us. In this case the Spartan race.

As they say Aroo. Now drop and give me 30.

http://spartanrace.com.au/race-info/melbourne-sprint-may-31st-2014/

 

Its fun run season

As the Melbourne fun run season is well on the way, the Claudefit/Nikfitness guys and gals are well and truly exited or as the young folk say “pumped” It’s the one time during their personal workouts that I encourage my clients to push the pace and get that PT. (personal best) after all it’s a professional event that is timed and you get to wear a race bib (number) and somewhat feel part of it. Basically you get to do it on a flat road with no traffic. Truly a runners dream.

Along with the rest of the participant that sometimes number 35,000 it is the perfect stage to showcase you fitness and do it for a worthy cause. Plus it’s a lot of fun to have. This Season will be or second weve decided to have some targeted runs to both measure our progress and just for the pure enjoyment of it. The enjoyment being getting up at 5:30am on a Sunday to make it down to the event , get ready and run anything from 4klms to 22klms depending on the event. Chuck in Mud and obstacles if you include tough Mudder and Spartan race.

In addition to the Mothers day classic coming up we have the Spartan Race (think mud and obstacles here) Stadium Stomp (running up and down the MCG stairs) Run Melbourne and our last team event, Melbourne marathon. Might even give the Eureka Tower a crack also !

In regards to the Mothers day run this weekend here’s what my respected peer Nikki had to say.

The Mothers’ Day Classic is on this Sunday! Running around the TAN track in the city. Either the 4kms or 8kms course – And the dreaded “Anderson Street Hill” (to do twice if you’re doing the 8kms!)

Look it’s not so bad the Hill, it rises about 30m in 400m, It’s a moderate beast but with fresh legs (the first lap) it’s quite doable! And I was like what the fuss is about, this hill isn’t so bad.  Second lap around and 5kms already run, I found the going tough, even with my tunes pumping in my ear willing me to the top there was no way my legs were going to be running the whole way up.  It was my only walk of last year’s 8km race, my hips were burning , but I ran the rest out! Till we meet again Hill!

It’s a special run the Mother’s Day Classic, the Run for Breast Cancer research and one close to my heart, as it is a lot of people. The day starts before dawn, you’re at the track as the sun is rising.  There is a sea of pink everywhere and you see many tribute cards worn as a dedication to a loved one’s memory.  It’s an emotional morning with a minute silence before the runners commence. It’s a run I’m very proud to be a part of and I’ll continue to keep running for this cause as long as my legs will let me!

With my team alongside me, we begin the run together and we make sure we all finish (as we do every run).  There is a lot of support for this run it’s getting bigger every year with a lot of celebrity support too.  Hello Michelle Bridges! And I’m very much looking forward to Round 2 with Anderson Street!

If you’re interested in joining a Fun Run please let me know we can help train you for it too.

See you at the start line!

Stay active and move old fella

If you’re a busy man that simply wants to regain your lost energy and build up a bit of fitness and strength or wishes to maintain these elements you are just like me!  As a father of two past my mid 40′s I understand the daily demands of work and family life taking up most if not all your time. While other active types are still playing their chosen sport, signing up for obstacle races, fun runs and triathlons I’m happy in still being an active older bloke that enjoys lifting weights, playing with Kettlebells, food , running and most importantly, enjoy active fun with my kids.

Given that most of the fitness market is catered towards the fairer sex with an abundance of group fitness options, like booty camps, hips and thigh classes, suggestive advertising on what you should look like, watching the morbidly obese get smashed and ridiculed on TV and the local commercial gyms female dominated group class it’s no wonder this is not your first choice in maintaining or regaining your fitness and strength.

Some of us stubborn types are still hanging around weight rooms, commercial gyms, and even now joining CF boxes and PT studios of all sorts. As a bloke we all like to think we can still handle the intense stuff!

Yeah, Yeah, I know YOU still can!

Obviously our own thoughts on what intensity and strength will be different to others and as we age sadly changes from what it used to be. It’s funny that will all my experience and supposed maturity. I still have that sense to lift heavy and push the pace, even now with running I reckon I can knock off the Olympic world record in the 10klm or am the faster’s alpha male at Spartan race! “Just give me more time please”

This is where my old head takes over and says “hold on there champ” you are no longer the young man you were.  Really? What went wrong?  I’m a man and don’t want to wear Lycra and do group classes dammit!

It’s important that for some of us not fighting it we recognize we are no longer bullet proof and while some of us even carry old wounds hopefully have realized we don’t recover like we used to. So if it hurts when you do an overhead extension (lifting your arms up above you head) or are unable to fold at the hips (say to pick something up ) without buckling in. and can’t see your toes, my good man I got news for you. You need to move, and move well. Even worse when these basic movements diminish they might even prevent you from earning an income.

I don’t know about you but it’s not what I look forward to heading into my later 40’s

Once you start to move and get the patterning correct you can still take action in achieving the following goals. Just like you car, if you don’t look after it. You are not going anywhere! If you are still interested in, Losing the gut, (For some) to be stronger and in better shape at 40 than we were at 20, Minimize the time needed to get in shape so that you can spend more time having fun with family and doing other stuff you enjoy, have the physical and mental resilience that will allow you to better deal with whatever life throws at you Or simply to be the coolest dad in the park by simply participating in play and not just watch from the outer. – TAKE ACTION NOW!

Whether it be running, swimming, cycling , Weightlifting , Powerlifting, Kettlebells, bodyweight or even boxing it’s important to recognize that movement of the body should be a priority with all disciplines. With the basic progression of movements I found in Primal Move and PCC syllabus I first found the movements/positions challenging. However with most things you just need to practice and eventually you will find your grove. I’m feeling a lot better with my overall patterns and still manage to keep on lifting weights.

Now pain free.

The whole change to a greater emphasis of movement in my training and my knowledge in martial arts compliments my bodyweight trainings quite well. As a personal trainer and Strength and Conditioning coach who’s been lifting weights for around 26 years now I’m always looking for ways to execute movements that eventually assist me with helping others move better and ultimately feel better about themselves.

The goals is simple At our age, train towards a more complete package of physical strength, fitness with better movement.

Or simply ageing older and stronger!

My Office Glutes

Weak and imbalanced glutes and the troubles they can cause is not something that had ever crossed my mind over my journey to fitness.  I’ve had trouble with my knees as I played basketball for 10 years and had my right anterior cruciate ligament reconstructed and thought that would be an ongoing issue but I found it wasn’t.  Sitting at a desk for 6-7 hours a day is not a natural position for the body to be in. I have been doing this for 15 years.  The butt muscles (Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medias and Gluteus Minimus), otherwise known as the glutes, will be stretched when sitting down, and the hip flexors will be constantly shortened.  This is not a natural state for the body to be in and over time this is going to cause some damage when exercising.   The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in our whole body, if it’s not firing this is going to lead to a whole lot of problems.

When I started getting fit I wanted a new passion like I had for basketball. I gave that up thinking my knees couldn’t cope and I didn’t want to go through another ACL reconstruction. So I began running, yep that seems like a good idea!  No twisting and turning forward running movement, knees will be fine I’d done the rehab they felt strong.  So running it was, and the first issue that popped up was slight soreness in my hips after 20 mins or so.  Just felt like aches from running they’ll be fine I thought.

Wasn’t till a few months of this pain getting worse and worse and the repetitive stress on the legs and hips of running that eventually I felt something pop and that was it I could hardly walk!  Thinking this was it I’ve got a bad hip now. Great!

I visited my GP thinking I need to get this fixed, I had no idea what it was, why it was happening or what I could do to fix it!   Not the smartest doctor I don’t think, just sent me for a Ultrasound, he thinks I’ve got tendonitis,  results came back.  Nothing was found, no bursitis of the hip either.  Gave me a Cortisone shot and sent me on my way!

Of course this relieved the pain that was what he gave it to me for.   But it didn’t fix the problem and unbeknownst to me that I was actually still injured.  I got back out running again (relatively pain free) and even completed a Tough Mudder and Eureka Tower stair climb during this time.

Fast forward three months and my hip muscles were a ticking time bomb and although I was having pain running again now, I just kept going. And thought well this is what I have to put up with when I jog. I competed in a Triathlon, and after my swim and cycle I began my run, which was only 2kms, (I had stopped running anything longer) and 500m from home I felt that pop again in the right hip, POW! Felt like it ripped something also, I struggled to the finish line in a lot of pain.  S**T this was really bad. Sad face Nikki.

Heading back to my GP I told him straight up,  give me and MRI I need to know exactly what this is, cortisone shot was a temporary relief to a problem that was chronic, and  I need to take the time and rehabilitate this properly.

Got my results, told him I had another Tough Mudder coming up in a month, he said come back for a cortisone shot if you need it… Um… NO THANKS!

I saw an Osteopath for this also, who is a runner himself.  I had torn a muscle called the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) in my right hip.  It’s a tiny little muscle that joins at the hip to the knee, I’d read about it extremely briefly through my studies.  He told me this is a good injury and not to worry. He said it could have been the actual hip bone and I could never run again!  Ahh relief!

What caused this muscle to tear was what I wanted to know.  He knows I work in an office,  I’ve sat in this position at a desk for 15 years!   My glutes, to put it a simple way, just stopped working when I ran.  And this little TFL muscle was doing far too much work than it was designed for.  So it tore, was bound to happen with all the running I was doing.

Ok so problem is diagnosed, what now!?  My osteo said I have to start strengthening and stretching my glutes to build them up to the powerhouse they should be while I’m running, they should be the power muscle forcing my pelvis through each stride.  He said just to get out there jogging again but shorter times and regularly stretching after, heat bag at nights and treatment with him. And to stick to this like glue!

It’s a long process but in the long run I literally will be able to do a long run, pain free!   That’s the goal.  I gave up my dream of a third Tough Mudder for now and put my smart cap on, you’re a trainer now Nik, what would you tell a client to do?

Some basic exercises to do for activating the glutes are bridges and lunges,  it will fire them up and the stronger they are the more efficient all your workouts will become, and if you’re sitting all day, get up and go for a walk at lunchtime!

Moral of the story?  Well I think there’s two, there’s no easy fixes for injuries, and they need to be taken care of correctly and precisely if you don’t want them to happen again.   And your butt, if you sit on it all day it’s going to need some extra special attention so it can work it’s correct way and give you the best possible performance.

Guest blog from: NikFitness Owner : Nikki Wallace 

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