All posts by sallydixey

Back to Business

Welcoming in the warmer weather means we begin to think of spring cleaning and new starts following the long winter months.  For me this feels like the perfect timing for me  to resurrect my blog and maybe explain my extended absence.

It has been a while since I have been able to regularly post my thoughts and ideas on pregnancy training & CrossFit.

I have had a very good excuse.

I have been studying.

Developing my coaching skills by completing a DTLLS award.  This is a teaching qualification which allows me to teach post 14 years old. I can add supply teaching assistant/learning support to my list of experience, having placements in a variety of inner London primary and secondary schools.

I have also moved to the South East of London!  Quite a lot to juggle, hence the back burner for sallydixey.com

Moving means I am now only coaching at CrossFit London on Saturday mornings. This limits my availability for personal training in East London. Appointments are by arrangement via email only. Reach me at; sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

This does however mean exciting times ahead.

My relocation to South East is a brand new chapter but also brings me full circle and back to my roots.  I started as a fitness instructor this side of the water at GLL Waterfront Leisure Centre.

South East is almost untouched as far as the CrossFit movement is concerned. This is something I hope to change.

So look forward to hearing a lot more from me over the coming months and the big reveal  when I finally have the finishing touches completed to my garage gym at my South East London location just off Shooters Hill.

Continuing on my Gymnastic Journey.

Coach Sommer was back in town for the weekend 11th -12th January for another of his fantastic Gymnastic workshops.

Last time he made a visit was early July 2013. I was at the beginning of my gymnastic journey. Not quite sure of what I could achieve as an adult with poor mobility and little flexibility. I was however interested to discover if there was anyway of reliving a childhood advantage I had missed.

Following his first weekend I felt suitably excited about following a structured routine in a view to improving my gymnastic ability. The biggest take home from his first weekend was mobility and how lacking I was.

Previously I had been working some mobility, using Becoming a supple Leopard and some old school stretches I had learnt over the years but nothing too enthusiastic or routined.

What could you also say that about your own mobility and stretching routine?

So I set about making time in my week just like I did for olympic lifting and strength to focus getting a routine in place. We all know that the hardest part is getting a new regime started.

Normally I would find stretching and mobility boring so don’t judge me but I needed to find a time where I could put a bit of trash on the telly and enter a zone. This way I could just sit in stretches or work through flossing with a distraction. At first it felt impossible but after 4 weeks I began to notice I could find my toes more easily in a pike stretch and that my hips moved more easily.

Encouraged by my small victories I decided to bite the bullet and purchase Coach Sommers foundation program. Having previously hovered over the ‘Click to Pay’ button as it seemed like a lot of money to hand over. Money I now feel I spent well.

And so here I am 5 Months later. What have I achieved?

I haven’t had as much time to spend on lifting these days as I have got more involved in gymnastics. I have even gone ahead and completed my British Gymnastics General-Gym Level 1 certification and am helping out at East London Gymnastic Club with there baby squad.

I am way more flexible these days. I put this down to religiously sticking to a stretching routine, while I started at the very beginning of Coach Sommer’s foundation program and although I have found some of the foundation beginner program simple to work through it has allowed me to focus on the area I am lacking the most. I still have a way to go with shoulder and thoracic mobility but I am making gains and that is what counts.

Probably the most surprising angle in this, is that depite spending minimal time on my strength, I haven’t lost much of my mojo. For example my deadlift may not be at it’s all time best, 120Kg but it is not far off it and considering how little time I spend on oly lifts I have PB’ed twice. Clean 67.5Kg Jerk 62.5Kg.

How does that work???

And best of all I am the closest I have ever been to a hanging Muscle up on the rings, having just got a ‘from the floor’ Muscle up this morning. Thanks Rachel for shouting at me to tighten up.

The last 5 months have been great for my training all round. PB’s and great Fran times (6:19 if your interested) Possibly one of the best things I could have done. Why don’t you try adding more mobility and stretching into your routine. And if you are looking for more guidance with your gymnastics either tap into one of the adult gymnastics classes on offer at CrossFit London or SE11 or speak to me about Coach Sommer’s approach to gymnastic strength.

 

Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer in East London. Find her At CrossFit London in Bethnal Green – CrossFit Training & Pregnancy Exercise

My contribution to Tower Hamlet in 2013

Part of the reason I love my job is the satisfaction I get from helping people.

Whether it’s helping an athlete reach a goal or helping a post-natal Mummy re-connect with her body again, the buzz is addictive.

This year I have fueled that addiction by giving a little back to the community I live in, Tower Hamlets.

Living in Tower Hamlets I am lucky to have 12 SureStart Children’s Centre, all in walking distance. The centre’s offer free groups for you to bring your baby to. They also offer help and support to families from all walks of life but specifically targeting struggling families and teen mums.

I found these centre’s priceless. A little haven where I could bring Sebastian, get support and meet other mothers.

So when I started learning about a more functional style of post-natal recovery classes, Foo foo Fun Club I got thinking, how cool would it be to teach ladies from the Children’s centres?

(More info on my Foo foo classes and what it can do for you)

I could help educate mothers who would otherwise not be able to afford or access this kind of help.

I had no clue where to start, so like hunting for a needle in a hay-stack I sent out emails and letters to councils and leisure centres in the hope someone else would also think this was a good idea.

It didn’t end up taking that long in the end as I got a response from Katie Ellis the Women in Sport coordinator at Better (formerly GLL)

She was very interested in what she could do to help me so we set up the first of many meetings, sometime way back in March.

Trying to do something nice was not going to be as straight forward as I then I first thought.

Between liaising with the children’s centres and GLL, writing up proposals, police checks and finally getting the funding to buy the equipment and to pay the creche workers to run the classes, it took the best part of the year.

I have now finished two 6 week  fully funded Foo foo Fun Club courses.  It was well worth all the running around.

Here is what some of  the ladies had to say about the course;

“I have developed an appreciation that many small changes will make for a more sustainable effect. The movements are simple but so effective and have helped me manage my stress levels”

“Foo Foo has really helped change my perspective toward diet and lifestyle. I feel I am starting to get fit again after having my twin boys. My eating habits and that of my family have made a change for the better. Thank you.”

“I will definitely be telling people about the Foo foo effect. I have not only met like minded mothers but feel a lot more confident”

A big thank you to Better for helping me get this off the ground and the Amazing Jenny Burrell for her continued support and help.

 

Sally Dixey is a CrossFit London personal trainer in Bethnal Green and East London. She teaches CrossFit, pre & post natal fitness.

Training in Pregnancy is Functional

In the last month I have had a wave of new clients taking their first few steps through pregnancy with lots of questions.

One question which will never fail to crop up usually has come about because some ‘do good’ stranger has questioned the safety of my pregnant clients. I am sure they have genuine heart felt concern but that concern is pretty miss guided and at worse scare mongering. Just this week my new client who I see once a fortnight as a supplement to her regular gym sessions, was happily squatting away when a concerned man questioned the safety of her choice of activity. Suggesting that perhaps she should have been in the pool doing a few gentle laps instead.

Quite naturally she came to me for a bit of reassurance.

My answer to her was as always; how do you sit down in the bath? Do you need assistance to use the loo?

My client understands my dry humor and hopefully you do to.

With the safety concerns of movements in mind, let us take a look at the functional transfer from the gym to your really life and put to bed once and for all the scare scaremonger’ers.

Squatting – Unless pregnant women have to start peeing standing up I can not understand how anyone can not see the value in this. Half of the preferred styles of birthing these days are some sort of squat. Adding to that the fact that past 6 months pregnant you won’t want to bend over to pick up anything off the floor and are going to need to use some sort of squat.

Pressing over head- I have heard some coaches expressing fears of taking a pregnant clients arms over head. Something to do with blood pressure I think. Seriously though I remember during my pregnancy I was forever pressing objects overhead while nesting and preparing for my son. Even stacking food shopping in the cupboards is a press. Surely it is even more crucial to learn correct form as a pregnancy progresses, since it appears unavoidable in normal life?

Farmers walk- ever carried shopping home? Well that’s a farmers walk, and every time you rest the bags and have to pick them back up, it’s technically called a deadlift.

Talking of Deadlifts I would say its a no brainer. Who does not need to pick stuff up off the floor? And would it not be useful to the pregnant exerciser to pick stuff up with good form? And besides it used to be called the Health Lift.

Any type of pull- Ring rows or hinge rows depending on your ability is vital for the pregnant exercisers posture, which as you know takes its toll during pregnancy.

I hope you are starting to get my drift.

There are without doubt some contraindications to the suitability of exercise during pregnancy but for a generally fit and active mum to be there is no reason why she can not continue to enjoy the same active lifestyle she has enjoyed pre-pregnancy.

So next time someone questions your judgment you can let them know that you will stop squatting when pregnant women have the ability to pee standing up.

 

Sally Dixey is a Pre and post natal Fitness coach in East London. Find her @ CrossFitLondonuk.com

 

 

10 Reason’s Why you should take more notice of what a female coach has to say.

I have been a fitness professional for give or take 10 years. I started in humble beginnings in a council gym in South-East London.

Fitness is still pretty male dominated but back then even more so. I remember walking into the weights section of the gym and feeling like a freak. Heaven forbid that I actually tried to give one of the guys a few lifting tips.

Since moving to CrossFit and in particular CrossFit London I have never been around so many strong female coaches and I love it.

This is my ode to all female coaches out there. I know how hard you have had to worked and want to shout out why having lady parts probably makes her a better coach.

  1. Unlike most male coaches she is more likely to have had to prove her worth around the gym/box, which typically is pretty much a male dominated place of work. -I bet she can banter like the best of them.
  2. She has had to work hard for every inch of upper-body strength and knows exactly how it feels to be chasing that elusive pull up or ring dip. -Give her the respect she deserves.
  3. Further to point 2; She is more likely going to have that drill or tip to get you there as she has had to hunt for it herself. Lets face it if you have never had to fight for a skill then how do you know the easiest and best way to get clients there???
  4. Her first venture into the weights section of a gym was a pretty intimidating experience. Stop the press girls can lift weights too! This makes her the beginners best friend.
  5. Being a girl can be a raw deal at times; I wont go too deep but trust me periods, pregnancy, labour and breast feeding aren’t a walk in the park and you have never heard of girl flu have you??? This makes your female coach way tougher and far more resilient for it.
  6. Pound for Pound she can probably lift a lot more then her male counterparts and with a touch more grace and finesse.
  7. She is more likely to focus you on technique and form before lifting heavy. Pound for pound you lift better and more if you spend more time getting this right, which explains point 6. (Hand on heart boys you love to jump to the heavy weight- I am not trying to be mean)
  8. She has way less ego then her male counterparts, which make her far more approachable to ask that question you feel sounds silly.
  9. Her inner mother means she wants to nurture your talent and encourage you rather then shout in your face when you don’t get it right for the hundredth time. This doesn’t mean she is a puss, more like that motivating but strict teacher you had at school.
  10. Because of all of the above, because she has busted her proverbial balls to get where she is, because she has built herself up from nothing and can sure as hell do the same for you. She is certainly not the soft touch in the gym/box.

 

Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach/Personal Trainer specialising in pre & post natal fitness  in East London.

Shock-Absorber’s New Offering

Not to long ago I reviewed the latest Shock Absorber sports bra. After years of cheap bras, compressing my tiny bust I was giving my boobs a treat and once they tasted what Shock Absorber had to offer there was no turning back.

In the pursuit of the perfect bra I decided I needed to get a more rounded view. This time asking my colleague and home-girl Kate Pankhurst to do the testing.

This is what she had to say;

Shock Absorber Sports Bra Style: SOOBV Size 36D

 As a CrossFit trainer and sports massage therapist, I was delighted to get my hands on Shock Absorber’s new sports bra. It ticks the boxes on my long list of ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.

I am – how shall I put this – blessed in the chest department! So for me, finding a correctly fitting and functioning sports bra has become an endless quest, and an urgent necessity.

 On first wearing, this didn’t strike me as the most glamorous item I’d ever seen. The front comes up quite high to the mid breastbone, almost like a scoop neck top. But on working in it, I realised what a Godsend this was for a rather ‘busty’ trainer. Displaying a deep cleavage to a mixed class of clients is neither desirable or professional, and I would be sometimes secretly having to readjust for ‘modesty’. But wearing this bra has solved that problem in a stroke. Everything is covered, and stays covered, no matter what I’m doing: handstands, double unders, Olympic Lifts. The additional material is made of wicking fabric, so all stays dry and fresh.

 Furthermore, the bra is underwired, with an underbust band of almost an inch, which contributes to holding everything comfortably in place. The back has a 3-row hook-and-eye fastening, and a choice of 3 widths for those times we get a bit bigger or smaller (that’s all of us, let’s face it!) What makes a cool addition though, is the little square pad underneath. No more hooks digging in to my back during situps, hollow rock or bench press.

 Having given this bra a thorough testing, wearing and washing, I can confidently declare it to be my favourite sports bra ever!

 

I think that pretty much say it all Girls. I know what will be on my wish list this christmas.

 

Sally Dixey is a CrossFit London personal trainer in East London. Email Sally for more info on starting CrossFit or Pre & Post natal fitness

Sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

Bullet Proof your Double under

A few weeks ago a video was posted by CrossFit HQ highlighting the embarrassing urge to pee when performing double unders.

I was staggered by how many women this affects.

What annoyed me about the video was that there was no explanation or fixer for these women. It was simply referred to as exercise induced peeing and that was that.

I can tell you exactly what is going wrong.

The impact of the double unders on a weakened pelvic floors is the problem.

I can almost lay my life on the odds that most of the ladies experiencing this have either had a baby or are reaching menopause.

In both cases the pelvic floor is weakened by pregnancy or the change in hormones affecting muscle elasticity.

I believe that this can be fixed/improved by addressing correct neutral alignment during double unders.

I learnt how to double under from my good friend and fellow CrossFit London coach Phillip Rolling. He coached me to always start on my toes with a squeezed butt, big chest and eyes gazing ahead.

I have never experienced anything even close to exercise induced peeing despite my pelvic floor having had a battering from pregnancy, labour and a C section.

I now know from reading Becoming a Supple Leopard, where Phillip takes his double under cues from.

Starrett,2013.pp:32 states Whenever you’re in an overextended position, your pelvic floor turns off, which can unleash problems galore, especially among women -they have trouble controlling their bladder. (This is one of the problems with doing a piked double under) Fixing this problem is really simple: squeeze your butt to set your pelvis in a neutral position, and then get your belly tight to brace the position. What you will find is that a lot of the issues caused by pelvic-floor dysfunction spontaneously resolve once your pelvis is locked into a neutral position.

I propose a test ladies. Let us experiment with our double under form and find out just how much our form affect our pelvic floor.

photo (16)

 

Sally Dixey is a Foofoo Ambassador & Crossfit London Coach in East London.

For further information on pelvic floor recovery, pre & post natal fitness email Sally directly on Sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

 

Starrett,K.2013,Becoming a Supple Leopard,Victory Belt Publishing inc,USA

 

What did you get up to at the Weekend?

Me?

I was at CrossFit London attending the Coach Chris Sommer, Gymnastic Bodies Seminar.

In my pursuit of better teaching and movement I was hoping to learn some really cool things and refine some of my teaching ability.

What I walked away with were some tidy skill progressions and moves with a side helping of motivation and focus.

The weekend was broken into two days the first of which was based around the importance of mobility.

As a group this area was sorely missing. We were meant to be mobilising for the first 15-20 minutes of the session but 1 hour in to it and we were still writhing around on the floor pulling pain faces. A clear take home from this is the need to implement a clear and progressive routine that would allow good practise of gymnastic foundation movements.

I have always known this is the area of fitness that I am lacking. I am in a pattern of rushing through the stretching bit in favour of the bigger faster movements. Don’t we all.

So why am I going to listen to Coach Sommer? Allow me to degress a little.

As a child I really wanted to do gymnastics. I loved the cool moves, but I hated the teacher. In hindsight she was probably just a kid herself and was only coaching the way she had been coached, which was pretty much shout and bully the girls until they break. Well I broke after a term. I did not like getting shouted at and for that I stopped.

Now in adulthood my gymnastic dream pretty much faded. Whoever heard of adult beginner gymnastics?

Well funny thing is in 2010 my boss Andrew Stemler scheduled CrossFit London’s first Beginner gymnastic classes.

A chance to re-live my dream, only to be put on hold again by the news of my pregnancy. In keeping with pre-natal fitness guidelines I stayed away from aquiring new skills during my pregnancy and just scaled back CrossFit to an appropriate level. Leaving gymnastics on the back-burner.

Now after a long post natal period of recovery, I have been slowly looking at gymnastic skills and weaving them into my usual CrossFit training. And of course because I am impatient and the movements look cooler then the mobility I have been missing steps in progressions and skipping beats in mobility, all in all which showed me up in front of Coach Sommer.

So back to full circle. Why am I going to listen to Coach Sommer and mobilise my butt?

Because unlike my childhood attempts at gymnastics I am in charge of my training so it is only me to answer to, not a young coach out for blood.

It has never felt very realistic before as gymnastics has always seemed like a youth window that I missed. Working with Coach Sommer and seeing some of his advanced students, gave me re-newed energy for success. They can demonstrate amazingly cool moves on the rings or pararell bars and can tell you they were not child gymnasts but started maybe 2,3,4,5 years ago.

Great motivation for an adult beginner to hear.

And so it begins.

I have just finished writing out my training program for the next 12 weeks.

I can not wait to see what I can achieve by paying a little more attention to the finer things.

Here are some of the photos of the weekend.

Mobility through the Pelvis
Mobility through the Pelvis
Handstand drills
Handstand drills
Looking at upper back strength
Looking at upper back strength
Shoulder Prep
Shoulder Prep

Thanks Coach Sommer.

 

Sally Dixey is a CrossFit London personal trainer and pre/postnatal fitness coach based in East London.

Contact Sally directly on sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

 

My Ultimate Gym Bra.

Over the last few weeks I have been looking at the performance of the Ultimate Gym bra by Shock absorber. I have been testing out how well it works under the pressure of CrossFit training.
Previously I explained my bad habit of just buying any old cheap bra because I could get away with it, due to my small lady lumps.  I thought a sports bra was just a sports bra. I now know differently and with my hand on heart am 100% a shock absorber type of gal.
So six weeks after trying on my Ultimate Gym bra, what have I noticed?
On a comfort scale shock absorber have got it sorted. It is a tough balance to get right and they have got it spot on. Comfort and support without feeling like the bra has been strapped on for dear life or squeezing the life out of me. On more then one occasion I have worn my ultimate bra for the whole day and did not even notice.
photo (2)
Style and taste scored well as there was enough of the bra to keep modest while training with no vest on (it is not all about men taking there tops off anymore) while retaining a little femininity.
Without a shadow of a doubt this bra smashed the boundries as far as performance under stress is concerned. From box jumps to handstands, double unders to kipping the Ulitimate gym bra did not let me down.
The one fault I found related to strength training, namely back squat and bench press.
The fault lies with the rubber attached to the back straps.
When performing a back squat I found the Olympic bar caused the straps to dig into my back. This created discomfort and redness.
This was also felt when laying on the bench performing a bench press.
I did report this back to Shock Absorber to which they had this to say;:
“Our wearers are really important to us at Shock Absorber and we rely on their feedback for future product development.
We value the time you have taken to both trial, and feedback, on our new Gym bra and your suggestions for improvement have been passed on to our design team”
“We plan to introduce a padded hook and eye to the GYM bra this year which we believe is a great improvement, making this bra even more suitable for workouts.”
It looks like this won’t be a problem for much longer, nice one Shock Absorber.
They seem  switched on to the market and commited to giving us the best product for the job.
I can not wait to see what they have to offer next.
Sally Dixey is a CrossFit London personal trainer in East London.
For CrossFit training, pre and post natal fitness contact Sally on sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

Salt – To add or not?

Salt gets a bad rap.
We blame it for an array of diseases and aliments, from high blood pressure to autoimmune disease.
Whilst I fully agree excessive salt is no good I want to show a positive side to salt and how in careful amounts it can be added to home-cooked weaning foods.
As parents it is something you are advised by your health care professional along with numerous weaning books, not to add salt to your baby’s food until reaching at least 12 months old. Even then you are advised to add very sparingly.
I  spoke to my usual go-to person, Auntie Mary, on this subject. Her childrearing time was  pre-baby food ranges  and before many of today’s do’s and don’ts were introduced. She told me how she used  Oxo cubes to add flavour.  This prompted me to look into this in greater detail.
Salt is an  essential mineral, meaning it is necessary to sustain optimal health.
It supports enzyme function, hormone production, transport of energy and protein, to mention just a few. During pregnancy it becomes even more important as it now has to support the growth of both baby and mother.
In pregnancy, salt is responsible for :
⦁ supporting the development of brain cells, respiratory, nervous and cardio system.
⦁ metabolic function.
⦁ birth weight.
The baby gets their salt from the mother’s diet,  just as they do with all the other vitamins,  and minerals.
This continues during the nursing/breast feeding period and will support the quality of milk produced. For formula-fed babies, products will contain the correct levels.
Salt has such a vital role in a baby’s development that in premature babies it is given as a supplement.
If salt is so crucial why do we advise adding NO salt to weaning foods?
If I reflect on the way I salt my own food I probably can from time to time be a bit heavy handed, but does the recommendation of NO salt  fix the possibility of excessive salt added by a heavy handed, busy and  stressed-out Mum?
 Are we so afraid of salt in adulthood that  we are afraid to include a healthy amount to our childrens’ food.
Not everyone has time to spend making home-cooked meals. So in an age of convenience and processed food, salt levels could already be too high.
Until looking further into this subject I, like you, followed guidelines and kept salt out of my son’s food. Now he is 18 months I am adding a little. I don’t measure out how much I use but instead  rely on my instincts and taste. I try to make the food slightly salty without being overly salted.
If I had to do it again would I change this?
Yes, now I have a greater understanding of the role salt has to play I would start adding salt from the weaning stage.  I home cooked 100% of his meals which  gave me absolute control over what he ate. In my view this is the only way you can be assured they get exactly what they need. Including a healthy salt in take. If I could not cook all of his meals from scratch I would definately be reading all the labels very closely.
If you are still not convinced of salts important role, between 1984-1991 a  law suit awarded  $27 million to two familes. They blamed the chloride-deficient formula for their children not reaching their full intellectual potential and poor health. Whilst this is on the more extreme side of the salt debate but relevant nonetheless.
Has this changed the way you feel toward the weaning period? Tell me your thoughts.
Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach in East London.
For Pregnancy and Post natal fitness and recovery consultations contact Sally on sally@crossfitlondonuk.com