Category Archives: Daliy Blog

My Attitude to Running has Changed.

In the last few weeks I have had a rush of enquires from ladies wanting to know where I stand on running.

As my attitude toward running during a pregnancy has changed quite dramatically since my pregnancy in 2010. I thought it might be something worth sharing.

Back then all I had was a pre/post natal course under my belt and not much else. My personal training experience with pregnant/post natal clients was limited and with no first hand experience, I started a blog and wrote down my training and how I felt. Initially spurred on because the course I had attended was centered around very gentle modes of training and as a crossfitter that just was not going to cut the mustard.

There was little information I could find at that point regarding CrossFit training during pregnancy so I lent on a commonly used expression frequently used when discussing pregnancy training “to listen to your body”. I took this quite literally. Running for me was not a problem even at 8 months! I felt fine, in fact better then fine. I even did a 5k race for life!

Following the delivery of my son and getting to grips with a new born I was quite keen to get back to training as quickly as possible. 6 wks after a c section I was fitting in short runs. Even as I write this I am shaking my head thinking how silly I was! But then I did not have much first hand experience to reflect upon. I was not really considering how running and other certain elements of training had impacted my pregnant body.

The long and short of it now, is that I believe unless we run professionally, running should be limited and at best avoided completely.

The pelvic area although strong enough to bare the load of a pregnancy, is not capable of absorbing the added impact of running without any consequences. Some of which have profound effects on our quality of life.

That does not mean training needs to be soft, fluffy and gentle. Training needs to be smarter! As for subbing running in your routine, try for example heavy farmers carries. They are not at all the easy option and provides a great sub during most CrossFit wods that include a run. Cycling, maybe not on the roads but in a park or common still gets the wind through your hair the same as a run would.

I still have not explained why my attitude has changed?
The short answer, experience and education!

After Sebastian’s arrival I studied with Jenny Burrell, a leading women’s health teacher. Jenny’s field of speciality is looking at factors that negatively impact pelvic floor health during the life of a women, from pregnancy to menopause.

We discussed running at length and shared my experience which was positive, so I thought. During her teachings She had me understand how good the body is at compensating during a pregnancy. How quickly bodies adapt and cope.

The fact that I felt fine running was just my body coping and because I did not notice any discomfort in that moment, I continued running.

Since having Sebastian I have been plagued with knee and ankle issues that I did not have before. I have blamed everything from squatting frequency to lack of stretching but honestly none of that is any different to before I had my son. I now lay the blame at my slap-dash attitude to training during my pregnancy! Jumping on a box, running 400m as many times as possible probably wasn’t the smartest move, regardless of how I felt. I could have scaled to a step up or a farmers carry and had just as good a workout.

How does running and jumping cause these problems?
The pelvis is a pretty intricate piece of kit. There are numerous small attachments and insertions of muscles and ligaments.
Pregnancy see these muscles and ligaments strain under the pressure of a growing uterus. They are already under stress.

The more we run/jump the greater stress they take on board. Imagine accumulating 9months of this added strain, then not forgetting to consider hormones that make our joints and muscles more supple during pregnancy and conditions become perfect for unwanted damage to start building up.

Consequences of this build up could be anything from aches and pains, weakness in areas that previously felt fine. Pain during intercourse or continence issues. Weight gain trouble. If we only notice the damage some time after pregnancy we often do not even relate this back to what we did in our pregnancy.

1# Training Tip for an awesome recovery;
Avoid running, ditch the plyometric workouts, lose the skipping rope, pay attention to recovery and do not rush the process!!!

Consider the Postnatal period as 12 months from when you have your baby. A 12 month outlook is a realistic approach to fixing all the stress pregnancy and a new born involves. Start from the core centre (your tummy) and work toward the extremities in a logical and progressive way.

For further personal training, advise and guidance you can reach me @ sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

Busy Mums Life Hack

I am a massive fan of the buzzfeed lists. My favourite lists are the life hacks that show you simple hacks to make everyday tasks/problems easier.

Very helpful when your time is precious.

Here are my two life hacks;

Problem #1
My family are big cheese fans. On a weekend we love to share a plate of cold meats, cheese, tomatoes and onions. I sometimes feel like I spend too much time slicing cheese! I refuse to buy the pre-sliced cheese as it just does not taste the same.

Solution; use a vegetable peeler to get the perfect cheese slice. It will also make your block of cheese go further.

Problem #2

Out and about with little man can often become an ordeal. Although you can do your best to pack for every eventuality I always seem to run out of water/juice. This usually means a stop off in a shop where Sebastian is faced with a huge choice of fizzy, sugary, aspartame filled drinks. I also don’t like the over priced choices in some cafes and restaurants. Being a health conscious mother I try to guide him toward the better choices but invariably he is drawn to the brightest boldest packaging, which tends to have the most E numbers.

Solution; Robinsons Squash’d is a little gem in my handbag. I can carry it everywhere without taking up too much bag space. When I get caught out with Sebastian now we do not have any of the fuss and dramas choosing a drink that both of us are happy with. Straight away we reach for a water bottle and squeeze in some Squashed. Seb loves that he can add his favourite juices, he still finds it fun watching the juice mixing with the water. And best of all Squash’d has no nasty’ so I am a happy Mummy.

On a more grown up level I keep Squash’d in my gym bag so I can add it to water when taking my sport supplements. Makes some of those unflavoured supps much more palette-able.

What about your life hacks? How do you make life easier? Any training related hacks? Or need advise personal advise regarding your training routine.

Contact me directly using the contact form.

My Tribal Clash Adrenaline Rush!

Tribal Clash competition weekend has been and gone but I am still riding the adrenaline rush I got from such an incredible experience. This was my first CrossFit competition outside of a local box battle comp.

Tribal is 140 teams from across Europe. It’s an outdoor beach arena, that incorporates a lot of strong man elements. I was part of a 6 man team representing CrossFit London.
To be honest I was pretty nervous going into this, as I was a last minute team substitute at the 11th hour. I racked myself fitting training sessions in between finishing off the renovation on my house.

Nerves and anticipation growing as I really haven’t been as on it where training is concerned. I needed to utilise my time better, so I could juggle the demands of the house, my nearly 4yr old and training.

Getting to my local community gym wasn’t always going to be possible so I needed a simple plan I could manage in between all the drama.

1) Try and make 2 gym sessions per week
2) Hill runs and sprints in the park with my son
3) BackAttack (a set of workouts I found surfing the net)

The gym sessions were going to be hit and miss whether I would make them or not. They were a luxury I guess.

Runs would be easy, well tough because I am not a runner but easy to fit in with park trips with Sebastian.

I really struck gold though with the BackAttack workouts by Shock Absorber. They were super easy to follow, didn’t take up too much time and best of all I could do it at home. They were maybe not the most intense workouts considering my background, but the challenge came from really hammering posture and muscle groups I tend to use the least.

I just followed the simple workout cards and videos. So simple and easy to fit around life.

What made it even easier was the minimal equipment required so I could literally pick it up at any point of the day where I had a free 20 minutes.

Despite it’s simplicity and easy execution after 4 weeks following the routines my ballroom dancing coach commented on my improved posture and how much better I was holding up my frame.

With Tribal Clash round the corner at least I knew I had put in as much work as I possibly could with the time I had.
The weekend of tribal was unreal. The atmosphere and the people, even the English weather was on point! Tribal is a competition that requires the team to be able to communicate well and move well as a group. It ran over 2 days with 9 events, many of which included movements that were synchronised and meant we were penalised for not syncing. Harder then it sounds!

What have I learnt from this adventure?
I love the feeling of competing and pushing your body past limits, I think I have caught a bit of a comp bug as am now gearing toward Super Team Cup on 3/4th October @ Lee Valley.

Most importantly when time is limited there is always a way of fitting some kind of training routine into your life no matter how busy life gets. Any training is better then no training!!!!

To make the final cut at Tribal we needed to be in the top 20. We hung on but at the last moment we slipped to 25/140, no matter not making the final cut we still had an amazing time with lots of good memories.

Thank you Tribal Clash, thank you BackAttack.

 

The All Important Quality Workout

Quality work outs should be executed with scaling and technique in mind. Although technique is crucial throughout all training sessions, it is an easy thing to let slip, in the mist of a ‘for time’ wod where you are chasing other people around you.

Quality workouts dismiss the need for blistering speed in favour of staying well clear of failed grinding reps that ultimately regress our form and hold us back.

Ensuring your training routine regularly includes a dose of specific quality sessions will up your game during those all important ‘For time’ wods.

This is my quality wod for the day. It is in two parts. The first four rounds are going to challenge structural balance and core. Part two works those all important body weight moves that us women tend to find our weak link. Ensure while setting up you select appropriate scales that enable you to work at a level that challenges but keeps form in tack.  Enjoy!

4 Rounds For Quality;

10 Walking Lunges

10 Jumping Lunges

10 Reverse Weighted Lunges

10 Bulgarian Split Lunges

10 Burpee Jumping Lunges

Rest as needed (I tend it rest long enough to set up the next components)

4 Rounds For Quality

10 Incline Push ups

10 Ring Rows

10 Ring Dips (Scale with feet on floor)

10 Pike Push ups

 

 

Workout of the Moment

Currently I am doing a Plyometric session for my legs each wk. This is how it rolls;

5 rounds of;

10 jumping squats,

10 box jumps

10 over bench jumps

90s rest between rounds.

Because there is minimal kit required for this you could do this anywhere!!

Adjust reps, rounds or rest times to make this tougher or easier.

Due to this being a plyo (jumping) workout I do not recommend this kind of session during pregnancy. This is aimed at those who are successfully through the recovery process and are looking for a smashing lower body thrash out! 

Looking for a specific workout for your needs? Email me directly @

sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

 

20 Questions

As with every profession, being a coach has a typical set of questions I get asked often.

The number one question asked is on the subject of fat spot reduction

“How I target my bum, legs, arms (insert any body part)!”

I want to quash the idea right now that spot reduction in one area is never going to work.

Let me give you an example;

You want to reduce you love handles (hips) so you decide to do side bends and prone leg lifts to reduce the fat stores in this area.

What you will find is that while the exercises help tone the muscles in the hip area, it won’t make a significant difference to the fat stores.

We need to understand that muscles toning and fat reduction work in different ways.

Muscles toning, is a lot more flexible. You can isolate a particular group of muscles or you can take a more holistic approach and work whole body movements. Specific goals would determine how you choose to execute a  weight training program. For body fat loss a whole body approach is optimal and time saving.

Fat reduction is always going to happen inclusively. When you embark on a new fitness program, kilos are lost from all over the body at the same time.  It is also worth noting that fat reduction has a partner in crime for optimal performance. Alongside exercise, diet and lifestyle need to be made accountable. If you reflect back to our love handles and those side bends and leg lifts, as mentioned this will help tone but if you are not eating well it won’t make a jot of difference.

To further cement our example;  Our lady with her  love handles has a smaller upper body. She makes the right changes and starts to notice the reduction first from her upper body because there is less to lose and won’t notice that her hips have reduced until later on in her new lifestyle regime. The loss has still happened all over at the same time but due to the way it is distributed we notice it at different points.

(Note that I called it a lifestyle regime, a diet overhaul is for life not just Christmas)

To summarise;  Sensible and balanced calorie intake + whole body approach training = Body fat loss all over!

Need some specific guidance? Email me @

sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

 

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