New Year : What does it mean to you?

With the New Year often comes a list of resolutions or goals – maybe over a glass of wine on New Years Eve, or recorded on the first page of a fresh new diary (I seem to have SO many diaries with 5 pages used and the rest blank!)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a BIG believer of goal setting, dreaming and planning. I love sharing big epic plans with loved ones and it’s even better when we manage to make them happen. I believe that if you have no idea of where you’re headed, it’s impossible to stay on track.

I love the New Year and that fresh start feeling. I know many of you don’t like to set resolutions at the New Year, but something about reconnecting with my goals on the 1st of the 1st gets me excited and it works in well with the quarters that I use to organise my life and business. For the last three years, I have worried less about setting a list of short and long-term goals and have focussed more on a ‘theme’ or intention for the year. For me, 2018 was about New Growth and with a new baby, established kitchen garden and exciting business venture, it’s rewarding to look back and celebrate the wins. More than anything, observing 6 months of baby Jackson’s new life has solidified how fast time flies and the importance of doing more of what you love – less out of habit and more out of intent.

I haven’t yet locked down my intention for 2019, but I love that the New Year is an excuse to take some time to re-connect personally and also with my loved ones to make sure that my daily actions are aligned with the path I want to walk and the story I want to write. A theme or intention can remind us of the values that are important, and sometimes allow us to see where we may be loosing sight of the bigger picture (like wasting time in the insta-abyss, am I right!?)

Part of the process for me is to re-asses my values, main focus points and also to reflect on my day-to-day actions. I do this every year at the YEAR BY DESIGN event that we host at Workshop Gym. At this event, we discuss intentions and values over vino and snacks while getting creative and kicking off the year’s vision board. Really though, it’s a chance to get together in person (and offline!) for some cheeky drinks, delicious food and crafty goodness.

In 2019, YEAR BY DESIGN will be held on the evening of Friday 1st February – save the date and stay tuned for early bird ticket release coming soon. If you don’t want to miss out, jump on our email list here.

 Do you like to set an intention or theme for the year?

Crush Your Winter Training like a Champion!

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OK, so it's cold. It might not quite be snowing, but it's definitely on the chilly side here in Melbourne.

The thing is, we ALL know that this is when we want to start to get results. 

We know we if we can just get our mojo on over the cooler months, we'll be flying high when Spring rolls around, ready for the beach!

But, the cold is real. So, how do we deal with it to make sure we are set up to succeed?

Here are a few tips to keep you firing on all cylinders:

  1. How it starts is how it ends. ALWAYS train on a Monday. Start the week off strong and momentum does wonders. You can go at your own pace of course, but set the alarm, get yourself out of bed and in the door on a Monday and you are on your way to the top.
  2. Be set up to train. People train in Winter. It's a thing - get yourself some warmer base layers and have them set up right next to the bed. For me, I have all of my clothes on (and Ugg Boots) pretty much before I'm out of the actual bed. 
  3. Energise. Light is low, temps are down. Grab 40 minutes during the middle of the day and get out for a walk when you're at work. Keep the body moving, get as much light as you can. This will help you feel better, sleep better and recover faster in training.
  4. Eat to win. Quality food is your friend. Our energy demands are far higher in Winter, so we need to make sure we are nourishing our systems correctly. Warming foods, broths, soups and slow cooks are at the top of the list.
  5. Hold on to your vice. Look, these days everyone is quitting sugar, coffee, dairy.. all sorts of elimination in the diet and that might be what the individual needs. But the way I look at is, if you have one little reward that you give yourself around your training that helps you keep firing through Winter, then that's awesome! For me, I love a little coffee with some cream right when I train after a decent breakfast. It keeps me warm, and is something I look forward to as I roll out of bed and scrape the ice off the car wind-screen!

Winter is a great time of year, we just need to be prepped. Take some time this weekend and get yourself set up for success!

5 Reasons we Love Training with Rings

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When people walk into the gym, one of the big things they notice is we have a lot of gymnastics rings set up.

In our Fundamentals program, the first session even includes some basic work on the rings.

The gymnastic rings play a huge role in both our strength and mobility training.

Why?

Here are Five reasons why we prefer to use the gymnastics rings, in particular for upper body strength development:

  1. Versatility. We can develop pulling strength, pushing strength in both straight arm (locked elbow) and bent arm (elbows flex) variations. We can also do this horizontally, vertically and anything in between. 
  2. Complexity. The rings allow us to learn and train more complex patterns. This is effective not just for strength development, but for neural pathway development!
  3. Forgiveness. The rings will automatically articulate and rotate, so for basic mobility work, such as hanging, we have a nice forgiving tool. This is great for shoulder rehabilitation or mobility work with tighter individuals
  4. Statics. Support holds and other static movements allow us to build supreme upper body strength. Sure, we can do statics on bars or the ground, but the rings have many more degrees of freedom, thus developing greater strength and control
  5. Progressions. There are literally an infinite number of progressions for the rings. If you've seen any olympic gymnast ring routines, you'll know what I mean. You aren't going to "outgrow" these things, they are a strength tool for life.

if you're keen to find out more about starting with Rings, check out our Introduction to Rings Training workshop, on June 9th, [HERE]

Hitting it Hard in Training

With a physical practice, really, there are two main things that we need to get right:

1. How we train (strength, mobility, sets, reps, frequency... etc)

2. How we recover (everything else in life... adaption!)

We've written about recovery strategies, nutrition etc in the past and also about training strategies.

However, here we cover a few key points to remember with your training to make sure you are getting the results that you want!

Here are a few tips that we've found helpful:

  1. Find the "pro." Look, they don't need to be an actual professional (although it helps), but they need to be good and have expereince. They need to have shown up strongly in the area you want to improve in. They may or may not be "qualified" in the usual channels. This might be your coach, another member at the gym, a friend. Someone who you can get somewhat close to.
  2. Look for the "context." Yes find out about the "program," but also look at their recovery strategies and nutrition
  3. Avoid "super-sympathetic" - this is when ALL of your training sessions have hyped up music, you need to go all out and go until exhaustion. You wake up with anxiety about the workout. There are some circuit classes just like this. In simple terms, if you had found the pro above, you'd see they don't do this. The nervous system can't recover well from these types of repeated efforts. Repeated exposure will cause anxiety, stagnation, injury and plateaus. We are looking for the long term game here.
  4. Eat to win. A lot of people are skipping meals, especially before training in the morning. This is a case of "just because you can do it, doesn't mean it is optimal in the long term." For the long game, we want to down-regulate the nervous system quickly and recover. Food helps. More food often helps more.
  5. Use caffeine. If it works for you, use it. Caffeine is well known to help training (and event) performance. Just please, eat first.
  6. Calculate your effort and adjust accordingly. Ask the coach: "So what should this feel like? How hard should this feel?" Do they expect an all out effort? Or should you be more reserved. Use your top end effort sparingly.
  7. Find out how to get better behind the scenes. Mobility work or recovery walks for example, will help you when it comes to hitting it hard again in training.

While showing up is the most important thing, there are a lot of other factors that can help you excel.

Have something else that has worked for you? Let us know what it is!

Fostering Quality with Feedback

With exercise and nutrition, one of the biggest hurdles people seem to hit is finding and maintaining quality.

Quality food, quality coaches, teachers or environments, quality in their own practice...

When you set out, there are online guru's, everybody has a voice, which is great, but can also make it difficult. Furthermore, it's often the loudest that are heard the most. There is advice going every which-way.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of garbage. I don't mean that a lot of the stuff out there is of no use, but it's just of less use than other options and we only have so much time and resources.

However, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you are on a path that serves you and that you get where you want to be and get the most out of your available time.

Let's take a look at a training or movement practice for example:

1. Make an observation of where you are at - what attributes would you like to work on? Strength? Health? Mobility? Fitness? Do these align with the coach or facility you are looking at?

2. Conduct research - do the people running the show reflect that which is advertised? Do they have skin in the game? Do they walk the walk? Do they have experience?

3. Form a hypothesis - If your training is going to serve you in the longer run (be sustainable), it should feel good in the short term as well. Is the pace sustainable? Do you feel improvements in your target areas early on?

4. Test hypothesis - Stick it out! Commit to your key days per week and work with the coach. This will make sure the experiment is valid!

5. Record data - keep a training log. Record strength, how you feel, mobility results etc. This will keep you focused on actual results.

6. Draw a conclusion - Is the training working for you? Are you moving better? Are you getting stronger, more mobile? Is it fun?

7. Peer review - Come back to the coach, a friend, a colleague, or someone outside your circle. Share some of your thoughts, your results - are they on track? Are you getting where you want to go? Do you need to make an adjustment. This takes you back to the first step.

We are all about getting results. A big part of this is recognising what isn't working for you, making a new hypothesis and adjusting, then showing up.

Whether it's your nutrition or training strategy, using a feedback loop and asking yourself a few simple questions can really help to get results faster!