Tag Archives: crossfit london

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

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.

 

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.

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.

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

 

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

Post-Natal Recovery – harder than it has to be

The English are typically known to love a queue, have a stiff upper lip and can’t stop moaning about the National Health Service.

Whilst I think the NHS is an amazing resource to have with amazingly hard working people who work within it, there is an area where I believe much could be improved.

Continue reading Post-Natal Recovery – harder than it has to be

Diary of a Bra pt3 – Doing the Open

The title if these posts is starting to resemble a bad bunch of sequels lol.

Overall I pretty impressed with this sports bra

. I will conclude this series with a full summery.

For now the next test.

Box Jumps and a fast moving WOD.

The WOD in question is the second in the Crossfit Games Open 13.2.

Task:

10 minute Amrap

5 Shoulder to Overhead 35Kg/52Kg

10 Deadlifts 35Kg/52Kg

15 Box Jumps 20″/24″

This wod is geting back to the old skool roots of Crossfit. A simple unassuming looking WOD that has a big old sting at the end of it’s tail.

Scores are worked out on total reps.

So how did the bra measure up.

As I expected not a problem.

I have to make mention of the coverage it gives you. I am not usually one for training with my top off but for the first open last week (13.1) Mid WOD I had to tear my vest off, Hulk stylee.

The nice thing about this Shock Absorber is that it covers well so that even with a top off you don’t feel over exposed.

Box Jumps and Shock Absorber gets a huge thumbs up!

 

 

Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach in Bethnal Green

 

 

My Picture Diary of a Bra

This is the first of many pictures I will use as I test how well Shock Absorber’s new ultimate sports bra lives up to it’s name.

Continuing from my previous post Handstands made the short list of movements that needed a test run.

How well did it keep everything in?

Was it comfortable?

I decided to test this out under wod conditions and as my handstand push up strength needs improving I decided on a scaled JT.

JT is usually 21-15-9 Handstand push ups, ring dips and push ups.

My version 9-6-3 Still tough enough.

Did everything stay in place? Check

Comfort? Sure.

How about a bit of hip snap with a kipping handstand push up? No problem.

 

Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer @ Crossfit London in Bethnal Green