Category Archives: Daliy Blog

A Parenting style choice;

How you parent your child varies significantly from parent to parent and even between children. While expecting Seb I didn’t really pay to much attention to parenting styles or routine self-help books. I think I thought it would be quite intuitive and natural. The reality was far from it and within a few weeks I was looking for recommendations. A neighbour of mine came to the rescue with the Gina Ford contended little baby book. To my relief it worked although it did feel quite regimented.  

Heading into motherhood nearly 7 years later I was a little wiser and more prepared. And while I don’t regret using the Gina method, it worked for me then, but this time I needed something less rigid.

Since having Seb I read two articles that stuck with me. The first about the fourth trimester, the first three months following birth. It highlighted that from mothers tummy to the wide world was a huge leap for a tiny baby. This made perfect sense when I thought about the conditions in your tummy compared with the wide world. It must seem so strange and vast to such small eyes.

The second was about crying. It may seem obvious but it pointed out how an adult can communicate more precisely their motions and frustrations and a baby cannot. They have no other way but crying and fussing. The take home from the article was the importance of maternal sensitivity. The art of understanding the meaning behind certain cries. This time round I have paid more attention to them and there is a distinct difference between each cry.

I had heard of attachment parenting and this seemed to sound a little like it.

Attachment parenting is a philosophy that proposes methods which aim to promote maximal maternal empathy and responsiveness but also by continuous bodily closeness and touch, pioneered by a man called Dr William Sears

Done to the letter attachment parenting sounds way to rigid like Gina Ford. I like flexibility.

I wanted to find some middle ground with this style of parenting and my own instincts with my daughter, Phoenix.

I decided first to allow Phoenix to fall into her own routine with a few nudges here and there. I then did two things to be more attached to her;

Baby wearing; I chose to not use a pram and instead use a woven wrap. Rather then having all the effort and weight out in front of you pushing a pram by wearing your baby it keeps the weight closer to your centre of gravity putting less strain on your back and shoulders.  I used my woven wrap which I found compared with a buckled harness a lot more comfortable. It gives me a really snug fit compared with a harness sling that I think really helps with the support you get. Wearing Phoenix helped me to keep up with her milk demand and sleeping. I think it also meant I could notice her cues for sleep and milk more easily since she was strapped to me whenever we went out. So when not in the wrap I could spot the signs quite easily and act quickly before she got fussy. 

The best part about baby wearing is that I could use it as a training tool. Every time I walk with Phoenix I make sure I am switched on and treat it as posture training session. I took all the principles of a normal post natal training session and applied them to my walks with Phoenix. 

The second best part about using a woven wrap is the versatility of it. I am taking Phoenix to a festival in the summer and am learning how to wrap her to my back and hip in preparation. A pram would be a nightmare at a festival! 

I also decided to co-sleep. Controversial I know but I did my research beforehand and am comfortable with my choice. I have found it a great bonding experience and it also meant limiting awkward movement and straining in those important first few months post c-section. Sleep has come more easily especially as she has grown. I have got so use to co-sleeping that Phoenix will attach while I sleep. More sleep is fundamental to feeling like a human. Co-sleeping has been my saviour!

As for the occasions I do not have Phoenix attached I make sure she is in eye shot or can hear me.

I don’t think I could see myself as a mother earth, baby attached all the time but I have definitely taken some of the ideas of attachment and used them. 

I began by saying parenting styles vary and I think thats what my final message still is.  7 years ago Gina Ford was good for me and my family. Turns out this time it’s not, and this is a little of what it looks like. A little attachment, a little baby led. Both my babies have been very happy. Turns out the most important thing about parenting is, that you love them unconditionally. It doesn’t matter what kind of routine or style of parenting we take the end goal is the same, a healthy happy child. The style you take has to work for you, thats all.

This style of attachment/baby-led parenting may not be to everyones taste but I found it has made for a happy baby and a happy mother. I strongly advise anyone interested in attachment or co-sleeping should look into it further before deciding to try it out. These are only my experiences

 

Recovery Take Two

As any self-respecting training addict would agree, getting back to where you were physically after a baby is pretty important.  I would have to confess that after Seb was born I went head first into the mist with this and did not really consider or respect the stress my body had undergone through pregnancy and then birth. 

I think I thought that with my experience I could get away with going hard sooner then I really should have.  And to a degree I got away with it but I was still left with holes in my core and gaps in strength and mobility. 

This time round was going to be different.

No running, jumping, twisting, or crazy ab work. 

My program so far has steadily ramped up over 2 months. It has consisted of stretching, mobility, basic strength, squat, press and deadlift. Bodyweight movements, push ups, ring rows. I have kept it simple and tried to find time each day to do a little bit. 

A lot of the hard work has happened on my living room floor. 

In the first few weeks, once I cleared my 12 weeks. I was on the floor with a roller, band and my yoga mat. The first goal I had set myself was to  I unwind my postnatal body. 

It has been like the unfurling of a training beast! 

I approached programming my recovery, considering fours things I ignored the first time round;

My initial healing time. This time I made sure I did not lift or push myself until 12 weeks postnatal. I pretty much spent the first 6 weeks in the house. Kind neighbours, friends and family helping out.

Stretching & Posture before Intensity, Kilos and Speed! I made time each morning and evening to do a few minutes of rolling and stretching. I used this time to gather myself. This may have been my second time round but a newborn is hectic all the same so to have even a few minutes to spend on myself was bliss. I turned it into a bit of a yoga routine

Reconnecting my Core; After each of my babies, the best way I can explain how it feels is that before each pregnancy, when I moved I felt my body move as a unit. After a baby something just doesn’t seem to be switched on the the same way.  Banded floor movements to reconnect core to extremities and a solid pelvic floor routine is actually harder to nail then it sounds but an important part of the process.

Bodyweight movements; There is no point loading up a bar if you cannot master bodyweight exercises. Squat, push up, ring row. I spent a load of time just trying to do good reps. There is a million ways to scale a push up and ring row. I just made sure not to strained kept my ego at the door.

I spent 4 weeks here. 

I am not a patient athlete so I found it hard to hold back. Some of the smaller core movements were hard and tedious but essential. Spending a little time each day made it easier to keep it up and see little progresses each day.

I decided to move things along after checking for diastasis recti. Compared with after Seb I was pretty glad I stuck to my slow and steady approach. I had under a two fingered gap after 16 weeks.

Now I was ready to introduce a bar. 

And that is where I have been for the last 4 weeks. 

Squat, Deadlift, Press. Still working on push ups before adding a bench. 

Reps have been high, weight light. Training has been centred on technique. It has been a fun place to be with training. I am appreciating my attention the the stretching and body weight strength in the beginning. 

Then I walked into 7R CrossFit last week and noticed that my favourite benchmark was scrawled across it!? 

Grace! I do love a clean & jerk. I really wanted to take it on.

The coach on shift said the plan was for for sub 4 minutes.

I really wanted to give it a go!  The inner training beast snarling to get out!

Before I started throwing a bar around, It would be prudent of me to test out my clean & jerk. 

8 weeks ago a clean had felt a bit disjointed.  This week however, it seems my body is talking again. The Clean felt smooth and fluid, my jerk stable. I took that as my sign and begun to load the bar.  

And there is was. My WOD nerves were back. Oh how I had missed them.

I scaled! RX, I know I am not there yet. I settled at 25kgs and came in at a respectable 3:47.  

A slow steady approach does makes you the tortoise in the race for your pre-pregnancy body. 

It is tiring and tough but take it from someone who has tried it the other way. You are much better off as a tortoise.

I will probably start adding more olympic lifting into my routine from now on. Give me some time and I will be posting my time for an RX’ed Grace.

In the meantime I would love to hear anyone else’s story on recovery

Reach me at sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

Mum goes Eco…

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 12 months you may have missed all the noise surrounding the environment and the problem with recycling waste.

The average person throws away their body weight in waste every 7 weeks! Thats a huge amount! Some of that waste is sent to landfills while some is sent for recycling. 

The problem with waste has been known for a while. Some boroughs of London have strict recycling programs, which is amazing. It makes being eco that much easier when the bin men are on your side.

The problems we are seeing now with recycling is that a massive chunk of our waste set for recycling is sent to China or Hong Kong. And sadly when it arrives at its destination it is being poorly stored, which means it can not longer be recycled or just not being recycled at all! Much ending up in the oceans and seas during transport. I

f you have totally missed the footage of the damage this is causing click!

This in turn skews results the government release to us, making it appear we are doing our bit when actually a lot more needs doing if we are not going to see our beautiful planet consumed by our waste.

I have always thought I was conscious of my footprint on the planet, I recycle! 

But if I am honest it has been with this sudden rise in public awareness that I am really seeing what choices I make as having a direct contribution to the problem.

 Because I am a doing sort of person I have been looking really closely at some of the small things I can do at home. This is more problematic when you have a child/children. They make a lot of waste!

As soon as baby is born the waste starts piling up with the mass of disposable nappies they steadily get through until finally toilet trained. Then there is all the stuff they need! Toys! It is endless. 

With Seb I did make a conscious decision to try and avoid buying plastic toys for him. That was my bit I thought! There came a point though and the plastic toys came. Mostly bought by other people I might add but still I allowed them to start piling up.

Now as a second time mum and my conscience in overdrive I decided to give cloth nappies a go seeing as that is a huge contribution to the problem.  4,500 nappies per baby, that is a lot.

If I am honest the thought of cloth nappies horrified me but Phoenix’ dad felt quite strongly about using them so I decided I needed to at least try them. Then I could see for myself since I was only basing my horror on what my mother had told me about the old fashioned Terry towelling nappies.

A couple of weeks after Phoenix was born and I had to admit they were pretty good. 3 months into using them and I decided if I am washing nappies I may as well use washable cloth wipes too. I have taken them on holiday and changed her on the beach. And I still can’t complain about them.

I find it really satisfying to have no waste and yes maybe I need to be a bit more organised but I think it is worth a little more time and effort. A nappy takes 100 years to decompose, that is a ridiculously long time!!

Other things I have tried to do to minimise waste from my family include;

Making sure to carry refillable water bottles.

Looking at packaging and material of products I use, like buying a bar of soap instead of a bottle of hand wash.

Using my cloth bags when I shop.

Asking people who buy presents for my children to look at what it is made from.

Leaving any pointless packaging at the supermarket checkout. They need to take a hint and reduce pointless packaging of foods!

Seb has joined me to.  He is starting to understand the damage plastic is doing and has made the choice to not use straws anymore.  That is a big thing for him. He loves a straw so I bought him his own metal straw. He has got quite upset on occasions I have forgotten it but has still not reached for the plastic. He enjoys telling waiters in restaurants “No straw please I am saving the planet” 

We are also making regular trips to the charity shop with toys he no longer plays with and are planning a boot sale stall where Seb can understand the value of money  and save the profits toward something he really wants. In this case its Lego. And I know it is plastic but Lego is timeless and can always be enjoyed and reused by other children.

Along with all the bits I am doing in my household I feel compelled to share my positive experience with other mums in a bid to get others to at least try the cloth nappy route.  

It does have more then just ecological positives, your wallet will be fuller too. 

I was given nappies from a friend who’s baby had outsized the nappies and have found other cloth nappy mums who I can share sizes with. So to date other then a few packs of wipes and a bucket to store soiled nappies in, I haven’t spent more the £50. That means more money to spend on the fun things.

Last week was real nappy week and although I found a few more cloth nappy mummies on my facebook timeline, it would be amazing to see more positive stories shared and the movement of real nappies build some momentum, as possibly one the the single largest items we waste that we can in fact can have a huge hand in.

We can not control where our recycling heads after it leaves our bin but we can help to reduce the sheer volume of waste currently festering in landfill by choosing to try the cloth!

My name is Sally and I am a complete convert to cloth nappies! Do you dare to give it a go?

If you are not quite ready yet to try cloth out but you have your own eco mum hacks please share. After all sharing is caring.

Back to the Blog……

Three years since my last post. A lot has happened!

The quick version…I settled in south-east London and concentrated on family and teaching. Once Seb went to school I had the opportunity to work in a new secondary school opened for autistic students. I taught PE lessons and assisted teachers in other subjects. Such a flip from coaching CrossFit! Taught me a heap of new teaching skills.

I have also had another baby, a daughter, Phoenix. I trained all the way through. Most of my time spent at CrossFit 7R in Woolwich. It was so different to with Seb. I am probably going to spend the next few posts talking about what I did different this time round.

My daughter, Phoenix is now 18 weeks old and I have been working at my recovery and return to full fitness. My approach is more measured and patient this time around. I will definitely be sharing in the coming posts. 

It was after coming through the haze of adjustment, during those tricky first few weeks that I decided it was time to break my lengthy absence from blogging. It was interesting reading through some of the old posts and seeing how my views differ. Going through pregnancy and postnatal with experience in tow was an amazing experience. Something worth sharing as although some great movements have been made regarding training and recovery there is still work to be done.

So expect more tit bits of advise and experience shared. 

Phew that feels good to be back writing again!

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