Blogging & Training Videos

Hey Guys, Welcome to my Website….I am so happy that you can all be apart of my journey now that I have my own Website and I can constantly share videos and Fitness Stories with you all. If you have any questions on Health and Fitness please make sure you email me so I can help you Be a Better YOU… 🙂 Happy Training!!!

Soon I will be launching my very first 8 Week Program that will be focusing on our CORE.

It all begins with our ‘Core to Extremity’ so the more developed we are the easier our other fitness exercises and movements will be. I have already published a handful of core workouts on my social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook & YouTube) which gives you a guide of what type of exercises we will be doing throughout the 8 weeks.

I have made sure there is a variety of options ranged from easy, medium and hard to cater for all range of clients and there is lots of variety throughout the 8 weeks to keep it interesting.

Don’t under estimate any of the workouts as the ones that look the most simple are always the most challenging. Standby and watch this space for the launch date of my 8 week core program.

 

Flive have just developed this app that allows you to train with me live. Download the Flive app (LINK BELOW) and follow me….

FLive app

I will be going live throughout my training, giving you meal prep tips, as well as coaching tips on movements that may want to conquer and we will also be able to do my core program workouts together. So if there are any questions or tips you are looking for I will do my very best to answer them through Flive.

5 Reasons why Squatting is important to me

Squatting plays a major role in my CrossFit and weightlifting training. I know that if I’ve got great squat numbers I’m going to have a great weightlifting performance to reflect it. My own training routine includes squatting a minimum of 3 times per week, mixing up both front and back squats as needed. So I’ve decided to compile a little list explaining my top 5 reasons why squatting is so important to me!

Muscle Building and overall Strength

Squatting is a foundational movement! Squatting is a completely natural movement which works the muscles of the back, quads, hamstrings, core, and calves. Practicing squats means keeping all of those muscles and the joints they articulate on both strong and mobile. I maintain a strict squatting routine to build that foundation of strength and muscle, which is what keeps me performing at my best as often as I can.

Building muscle mass (hypertrophy) is not really a priority in either Weightlifting or CrossFit, because weighing less is actually to my advantage, as long as I can maintain the level of strength I have built. However, there is always some mass that gets packed on when we do volume training, and a certain amount of mass is necessary to increase strength.

Overall strength is really what I am after. Without the functional strength I get from squatting, I wouldn’t be performing at the level that I do!

Functionality and Utility

Squatting is totally natural, we know that, so let’s talk more about why I really need to squat to perform! It’s one of the most functional parts of CrossFit; we see squatting in all the lifts, as well as wall balls, box jumps, etc.

The foundation of a good squat number and the mobility to perform front, back, and overhead squats correctly goes a long way! When I started out, a 1RM squat of 80kg would only get me so far… having a sizeable squat helps make all the other movements less intensified and more manageable.

Strong correlation to weightlifting

It’s pretty obvious to say, but any lifter is performing heaps of squats! The strength power required in my back and legs to move weights around requires a lot of squatting. After all, a clean is truly dependent upon whether you can stand up with that bar or not! Lifters typically squat 3 to 5 times per week at varying intensities and volumes, though  often staying in the 2RM to 5RM range.

Improvement in Sprinting

Back squats are a favourite for all sprint athletes. It requires us to explode, with as much power as possible and using the exact same chain of muscles, in the same sequence, though unilaterally. I don’t want to say that squatting itself makes me faster, because that would be inaccurate to some degree. Squatting makes you stronger. The definition of “power” is the change in speed over time. So squatting allows me to generate the strength needed to improve my power.

Again, a foundation of strength is the most important part of your body that will make you perform generally better in all aspects.

Side note: A great exercise that I implement is jumping barbell squats. This has helped my power and my ability to be more explosive, particularly with the starts of races.

Improvement in Core Strength

All of the movements we do are initiated in the core. Think of walking, running, lifting, and all of the overhead movements I need. All the planks and sit-ups in the world couldn’t strengthen my core like squats do!

The oblique and transverse abdominals are stabilised through squats as the load is placed at the top of the spine, forcing it to maintain and upright position. The mechanics of a front squat put even more stress on the core as the weight is shifted anterior, creating a longer lever to force through. Front squats work my core in the most functional way possible, because it replicates exactly the strength I need for cleans, wall balls, thrusters, as well as a lot of the overhead work.

Well there you have it… My top 5 reasons for squatting!

Tia’s 5 Tips to Recover like an Elite Athlete

Training hard is a challenge itself, but recovery is when the magic happens: when you recover properly, you’re giving your body the opportunity to heal itself, re-build damaged tissues and come back better for your next session. Today I want to discuss the things that I’ve found most beneficial and which have kept me at my best.

Sleep 

Sleep is the most important variable for recovery. If you don’t sleep long enough, with the right quality, you’re not going to recover between workouts, your body will be sore and your mind sluggish. Simply put, unsatisfactory sleep will mean missing out on getting stronger, fitter and healthier. Sleep is the time your body dedicates to recovery, using stored resources to regenerate tissue, restore hormonal balance and recuperate mentally.

Over the past few months I’ve learned the value of good sleep and used it to drive my recovery. The minimum should be 8-10 hours of sleep of the right quality. Maximising sleep quality requires sleeping in the darkest possible environment whilst being well-fed and hydrated. If you struggle to get to sleep, reduce “screen-time” in the evening and, if this doesn’t work, consider a core circuit or mobility session followed by a glass of water – you’ll soon be tired enough!

Nutrition 

Proper nutrition should be a cornerstone of every athlete’s recovery. If your diet sucks it will be impossible to reach your goals: the structure of your diet is the basis for how you recover, progress and perform. Firstly, ensure is that you’re eating enough – building muscle requires you to eat more calories than you use, if you’re trying to get leaner you’ll want to do the opposite. The internet has loads of “TDEE” calculators which will estimate your baseline calorie-use. These aren’t perfect, but they’re a place to start. Once you’ve set your calorie balance, make sure you’re getting the right balance of foods in – a proper balance of dietary protein, carbohydrates and fats will improve your recovery further. The needs of individuals will be slightly different, but a diet high in protein will make recovery much faster and easier, as well as aiding in both muscle growth and fat loss.

This is not, however, sufficient for optimal recovery: food quality plays a large role in health and performance. It’s possible to achieve your calorie balance and macronutrients by eating junk food, but it is awful for recovery and health. Junk foods are heavily processed and often low in micronutrients. Micronutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) are key for proper health and athletic performance through processes like energy transfer and protein synthesis, both of which are fundamental to strength and fitness. I keep it simple and give my body the best chance by sticking to whole foods wherever possible – cuts of meat, high-quality fish and lots of fruit and veg should be the cornerstone of any athletic diet!

Timing meals will improve your recovery even further. My rule of thumb is that food should be faster-absorbing closer to training. Breakfast and evening meals should consist of proteins and fats as well as some slow-digesting carbs. Meals that are a few hours away before/after training will be an even mixture of carbs, fats and protein. Immediately before and after training, I like to focus on a combination of simple carbs and protein – this is usually in the form of a protein shake with fast-acting carbs to refuel after a tough session. Training hard 5-6 days a week will make it difficult to hold on to body weight, but a proper approach to nutrition allows me to stay on top of my body. Building muscle whilst staying lean requires hard work and discipline in and out of the gym: attention to detail and discipline in your diet will show in your performance.

(Fortunately enough I work with my own nutrition coach Adee Cazayoux from Working Against Gravity, “WAG”. She helps to keep me on track throughout my season and is always there whenever I need guidance and support).

Hydration 

Staying hydrated is essential to health and performance. Proper water intake will make noticeable changes in general health, energy, muscular recovery and joint health. A bad session could be the result failing to get enough water in while you rested – an easy fix.

There are some obvious considerations: if you’re training with high psychological intensity (I.e. it feels difficult), high volume or a lot of aerobic work then you’re going to need a lot of water. However, your water intake outside of training is at least as important – most people forget this because they’re either busy or don’t feel thirsty. It’s important to remember that not feeling thirsty is not the same as being well-hydrated. I always keep a bottle of water handy: you’d be amazed at how much more water you’ll drink just by having it nearby – especially in the winter months.

Mobility 

Mobility has received a lot of attention lately, for good reason – functioning as a human requires the flexibility to move well without pain. Training, especially hard or repetitive training, can cause all kinds of problems: joint impingement, connective tissue inflammation (tendinitis and others) and muscular tears, all of which can be reduced through mobility work. Stretching and mobility work also reduces soreness and improve recovery after a tough training session.

Mobility work has loads of components: stretching (both static and dynamic), foam rolling, flossing and massage are just some of the most popular methods. Dynamic stretching before a session helps to warm the joints, reduce impact injuries and improve exercise technique. Static stretching after or between sessions will help reduce DOMS and joint pain. Foam rolling will help remove waste products after exercise and is especially useful for endurance athletes. Massage is more expensive and sought-after for a reason: an experienced and knowledgeable sports massage therapist can reduce soreness, tightness and fix all the funk that you accumulate over a long training career.

Active recovery

Training for recovery is worth considering if you have the time and want to take your training seriously. Active recovery sessions are light, low-volume exercise whose main purpose is to accelerate the body’s recovery responses. It might sound counter-intuitive but your body doesn’t want to be sat on the sofa: we’re built to move every day and casual exercise will keep the blood flowing and de-stress the mind.

Active recovery exercise can also be a great way to mix up your training and break the tedium of training in the same environment: I like to drop the weights and get outdoors by walking, hiking or swimming. This won’t be possible for everyone, but a quick pool session or walking through the park is an enjoyable way to commit some extra time to deliberate recovery.

Summary

Recovery isn’t going to make you a world-class athlete overnight or fix a bad approach to training. However, it is a tool at your disposal to become the best athlete you can and keep coming back at your best. If you spend dozens of hours in the gym every week then a few hours out of the gym, focusing on how you treat your body, is a relatively small task. Adding even a few of these methods should make a real difference in the way you feel and perform in training!

Prepping for 2017 Regionals

Why Core Strength is Important for My Weightlifting

When I refer to core strength, I’m not referring to the aesthetic look of making and maintaining a 6 pack. That would be of no significant value to me, since looking a certain way has no bearing on my training. I need a core that is capable of handling huge loads from movements like squats, yoke carry, and high reps of toes to bar or GHD sit ups and so on. When it comes to weightlifting, strong legs just won’t cut it. I need a core that can withstand nearly twice my bodyweight an arm-length overhead.

Anatomy and Biomechanics

It all starts with biomechanics! Every movement we do is initiated by the muscles of the core. Without a strong core, expect hip, back or shoulder pain, along with a strength plateau in many exercises. Think of a tree standing up against a cyclone. A Horizontal force placed at the very top of the structure, catching the wind? Those with stronger, thicker trunks can withstand immense force and won’t topple over. But the thinner, weaker trunks will simply give out. The trunk of our bodies function in much of the same way! This concept is also referred to as “core to extremity” by many CrossFit coaches. We need that core to be as strong as possible as it bridges together the extremities.

Overhead movements aren’t the only ones requiring strong core stability. Any movement in front or back racks, like lunges, squats, dumbbell work, or even strength work like bent over rows or good mornings all require a strong core.

The core is working in two ways. First, it’s to stabilize in an upright position. This uses the 3 muscle layers of the abs, the transvers abdominals, which are deepest and run horizontally, the obliques, which run diagonally (superior-laterally to inferio-medially), and the rectus abdominus, which run vertically. All of them need to function in a perfect ratio to ensure I have the best core stability through all my lifts. When we talk about core, we also can’t forget the importance of the quadratus lumborum and pelvic floor muscles. All of these core muscles will support and stabilize the pelvis and spine, allowing a functional unit.

A stable core will mean that the position of the spine is maintained. A vertical spine is a happy spine! Whether upright or hinged at the hip, a strong core will maintain the rigidity in my trunk and allow me to perform technical lifts correctly and safely.

Injury Prevention 

A deficiency in any of the abdominal muscles or overall weakness could mean I am unstable overhead, or I am unable to maintain correct posture through a pull or through a recovery during the clean. I have been taught that weak abs are also often tied to weak glutes, but I’ll go over this in another post! A weak core could lead to knee, hip, back and shoulder pain. Again, we talked about how the core links the extremities, and this is an example of why a person might be experiencing shoulder pain with weak abs. To prevent injury, maintaining a strong core is vital.

Knowing when it’s time to work on your core

I don’t really believe in self-diagnosis. I see a lot of people pinch their belly fat (or skin) and say, “oh, I have literally NO abs!”.

Of course, this would be completely impossible if they were able to stand or sit up! What they are referring to is probably not having definition, which is a question of nutrition, and doesn’t seem to effect lifting or CrossFit performance! In the same way, a flat stomach is not necessarily indicative of a strong core or a healthy body!

Rather than deciding if you need work on your core based on your bikini body, base it on science! Experiment with your lifts and see if you can figure out what is limiting your movements. If you break form easily and it is initiated in the core area, you have your answer! If you have perfect posture through squats and pressing but feel it in the lower or upper limbs, you might be just fine with your current core strength. A good coach or a fellow lifter might be able to help you out using video so you can get visual feedback of your mechanics and how you move.

A strong core can really make or break you as an athlete. If you find you do have a weak core, strengthening it will show big gains in your lifts!

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