Tag Archives: crossfit

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

Pregnancy in the Developing World

When I think about developing world pregnancy I am amazed to see images of women still continuing to do the same manual work they did before pregnancy.

It really drives home the message, that what you did before pregnancy is still achievable during pregnancy.

Do you think it even entered her mind to stop what comes so naturally??

Of-course not!

Here are some of my favourite images.

It doesn't look like pregnancy stopped them!
It doesn’t look like pregnancy stopped them!
8 Months in and she is still lifting weights!
8 Months in and she is still lifting weights!

Manual labour and Pregnant?????? Didn't stop them

Manual labour and Pregnant?????? Didn’t stop them
Post-Natal and very active
Post-Natal and very active
Pregnant & Working hard still!
Pregnant & Working hard still!
Pregnancy and Squat? Hell yeah!
Pregnancy and Squat? Hell yeah!
One tough looking pregnant lady!
One tough looking pregnant lady!


(I am not suggesting you squat or take up manual labour if this was not already part of your pre-pregnancy life. Form and technique is very important so you need advice and a bit of guidance before you start squatting for England and baby. Please ensure your doctor has OK-ed exercise during pregnancy)


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green


Making Time for Mummy

While I was pregnant I had very romantic ideas of motherhood. Imagine me skipping through London Fields holding my baby’s hand. A writhe of flowers in my hair, wearing a long flowing white dress.

Boy was I wrong.

The day I have time to skip through the park like Little House on the Prairie is the day pigs fly!

The reality is that as a mother your day is one big juggling act.

Starting early and not finishing till late, often waking in the night to attend to your darling(s).

I don’t think I am wrong in stating that 90% of what we do during the day is for others.

Is it no wonder that you struggle to make time to exercise?!

Exercise and fitness has got to be in the top 5 of things you wish you had time for but don’t. We all want to get back to our pre-pregnancy weight, Right?

I do understand, I get that same feeling of guilt when I try to do something for myself.

A little voice is tutting, reminding me of all the wonderful chores I could be doing…

mountains of washing, cooking, cleaning, sterilising, nurturing, trips to the park, trips to baby groups, nappy changes, feeding, burping, birthday parties to take them to, doctors appointments, cuddling, comforting, encouraging, the list is infinitely endless!

What happens when you finally come up for air and want to do something for yourself? -the excuses. And this list is equally endless!

Harsh I know but how many times have you said “I will have some me time when…

– they start to walk, are out of nappies, at nursery, when they are at school, after I give them dinner, when they go to bed!”

Even harsher is the reality that now you are a mother you will never have time, there will always be something or someone to look after.

Is there a solution?

Simply you have to get better at saying No and making the same effort for yourself just like you do for others.

Ask yourself would I make a better mother/wife/partner if I had 30 minutes to spend on me?

What a fantastic role model you make when your child watches you being active/reading for pleasure!

Could you say no/put off something till later?

Do you really need to hoover/tidy/iron everyday?

Can you ask for help?

An example of how I fit exercise in without living in a gym is probably using the most understated and cheap piece of kit.

Wait for it….. A skipping rope.

Everyday I take Snoop out into the park he is either sleeping or taking the world in, either way while he is tucked up in his pram I will pick points to stop and bust out a few minutes of skips.

This has dual purpose of entertaining Snoop and also setting a great example. Everyone is a winner.

And because I take him out to the park anyway it’s not going to get in the way of my busy life.

Ladies I hope this has inspired you to look at what you can change in your everyday life, to give back a bit of time and remember who you were before a Mum.

Tell me your stories, how did you reclaim your 30 minutes and how did you use it.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green



Reflecting on old posts………..

Does the Baby Make me Stronger??  

It’s a question I have been asked a few times…does the pregnancy make you stronger? Does is make you faster?

I have mulled this over in my mind a lot over the last few weeks and I think I have an answer.

No it doesn’t make me stronger but it does mean I am more in tune with my body and have found that all the changes to my body have meant I have become more efficient at using my body.

To explain that a bit further.

My mid-section has quite obviously changed beyond recognition I don’t have the same mid-line stability as I did before, which is when I have to start making the way I brace really count. I need to make sure that I can call on the rest of my body and ask it to work that bit harder to make sure I am safe.

As for the pregnancy making me faster..well some days I am on form and others I am sluggish and tired. I am just really glad I can keep up some kind of routine.

I wrote this post on my site way back in August 2011 a couple of months before having Snoop.

Now a year late I want to add to this as Andrew asked me a very similar question………

“Sally to get stronger do you need to get up the duff?”

We all know Andrew is far from tactful at times but he had a very good point to his crud question.

Before I had Snoop I had a very ropey pull up, zero ring dips and even worse double unders…………

1 Year on and I have 6 solid pull ups, my first ring dip and though still hard work I can bang out some double unders.

For anyone looking from a distance baby = stronger.

I can assure you though that the reality is very different.

So what has made the difference………….

My focus……..

My time in the gym is limited. I need to make every session count as I now don’t have the luxuary of training as and when I want.

I have made a Hit List. This is a list of skills I want to master. Having them written down means they stay at the fore front of training sessions, which in turn makes my use of training time more efficent.

I keep a detailed training book with all my sessions and weights recorded. Although I used this before I was a bit sloppy at note keeping.

Doing it strict – I have made a vow to train in the strictest possible way. I don’t really care about the fastest time at this point. My concern is getting it done with good form and without having to use thick band support.

Paleo – In January I tried 30 days of strict paleo eating. In the begining it wasn’t so easy, not just because of my own excuses but because my husband is a pasta lover! Slowly I made changes to my kitchen cupboards and my cookbooks. I have founds ways of adapting old recipes and worked out how I am going to be paleo while eating out.

I have to say its getting a lot easier to stay strict pretty much most of the time. And what is the pay off from this change over. I feel better in myself, less bloated and tired and of course the gains in strength speak for them-self. What can I say I am a total convert!!!

So back to the question at hand….

Do you need to get up the duff to get stronger?? ……..No but getting organised and focused goes a long way.


Would you like to get Stronger?

You can learn how to lift weights with confidence at one of our Wonderbar Events.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green

21st August -Slam Ball Central

Skipping training on Sunday always makes Tuesday’s session a bit tougher as I have some catch up to do.

I wanted to fit a met con in today to make up and with a new deliver at the gym of a load of slam balls I knew it had to include them.

Slam balls – a specially designed ball that you can throw/slam into the floor. It looks a bit like a very large stress ball but filled with something a bit heavier.

Strength was first on my list to attack.

Starting the intensification phase of the 8’s wave. Have you read up on juggernaut yet?

My warm up sets looked like this….

60%, 67.5% with 3 reps in each set.

Workings sets were 8 reps 3 sets at 72.5%

And of course Repping the last set.

Next up met con time!

I haven’t used a slam ball in maybe 3 years or more.

It’s not a favourite of mine, I will do it but only when I am told to. It’s not high on my hit list. I think because I am a lady and slam balls are quite a bloke-y primal move.

Anyways it’s new kit in the gym so I am up for giving it a once over.

We did 3 rounds of

20 slam balls

20 medicine ball cleans

20 knees to elbow


I can work through a met con like this no problem just not in the best of times as although I quite like doing them I have very few knees 2 elbow meaning I have to break down the 20 into 2’s and 1’s

Another move I need to improve on!

I got the work done in 16 minutes 37.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London personal trainer in Bethnal Green


Inspirational Women.

Today marks 3 years since I lost my wonderful mum with who I wish I could share the joy of motherhood with.

For years my mother and I would find it hard to see eye to eye on many things, it wasn’t until I came back from working on the cruise ship that we became friends and not just mother and daughter.

But by then time wasn’t on our side as she was diagnosed not long after.

She was a great lady -strong, kind, funny and smart and most importantly a wonderful Mum.

Everyday I strive to make her proud.


This week is now sad for one more reason as on Saturday my dear Nannie passed away peacefully after an epic 93 years.

A Wonderful Nannie
A Wonderful Nannie


Her soul is at rest now and I picture her and Mum together watching over us.

This is a week to reflect and be thankful for family and good friends.


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

Thursday 2nd August -Double Unders Galore

Today saw a super organised Sally stepping into the gym. I almost didn’t recognise her (lol)

I had all my weights calculated unlike usual where I come in and have to spend an age working it all out.

It made a huge difference. Well worth preparing for 10 minutes at home.

Continuing with Juggernaut it was overhead press day and deadlifts.

Percentages were the same for both.

1 set of 5 @ 55%

1 set of 5 @ 62%

3 sets of 10 @67.5%

A quick reminder that the percentages are worked out from 90% of a 1 rm. If you don’t know your 1rm but have say a 3 or 5 rm you can use this calculation to work it out.

(weight x reps x 0.33) + weight = projected max

Now time for a met con.

This is the metabolic conditioning part of Crossfit. For all you weight loss junkies out there by working at high intensities/circuit crossfit stylee, you are able to raise metabloic rate and have a greater EPOC (excessive post-workout oxygen consumption) All this means is that way after training you will still be burning  calories at a higher rate then using the cross-trainer for an hour.

3 rounds of

15 Power Snatches

30 Double unders (this is where for every skip you rotate the rope twice)

90 second rest

I used 25 Kg on the bar and did this in 11 minutes 21 seconds.

All I need to do now is work on getting a more effective double under as I find them hard work when exhusted.

Check out how cute the two babies are…….

Snoop and Basil getting to know each other.
Snoop and Basil getting to know each other.



Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal trainer in Bethnal Green



Eat your heart out Annabel Karmel

I have made no secret of the fact I have used Annabel Karmel’s baby cookbook to prepare Snoops baby meals.

I have since taken a few dishes that I love and made them Snoop friendly

Here are his favourite………..

Sweet Potato and Tuna Mash

This is really easy and quick.

Just boil a potato and open a tin of tuna. I mix a tablespoon of tuna in with the potato and add a teaspoon of creme fresh. Finally I finely chop some chives or dill depending what I have in the fridge and mix, then serve.

I haven’t tried freezing this and don’t think I would. It’s a great dish you can eat along side your baby, so why freeze the excess?

Babies are great copiers so if you find they are refusing food after being a good eater try joining them at meal times.

Baby Keralan Curry

Ok so a real Karalen curry has chilli powder and green chilli’s in, that would be a bit too much just yet so I just didn’t add them.


Curry leaves, ginger, mustard seeds, onions, chicken, coconut milk, chopped tomatoes.

First add the curry leaves and mustard leaves to a pan. When the seeds pop add the onions, garlic and ginger.

After 2-3 minutes I add the chicken and let that brown and part cook before adding the chopped tomatoes and a few tablespoons of coconut milk (if your baby likes a lot of sauce then add a few more tbs)

I finish cooking this for another 12-15 minutes till the chicken is cooked through and then blitz till the chunks are baby sized.

This can be frozen. I mashed this with some white potato but would use cous cous or rice.

If you want to make this a bit more grown up add a green chili with the ginger, onion and garlic. After the chicken has cooked for 6-8 minutes mix up a paste of turmeric and chilli powder (1tsp turmeric 1tbp chilli). You add this to the pan before the tomatoes and coconut milk. You prob want to use half a can or more)

Paleo Pancakes

This recipe I took from a friend Tom Henry at Crossfit London. I follow paleo 80-20 but with Snoop I think its important he tries different things so he has had bread ect. I do try to limit it though and try to give him the best quality foods I can find.

He woofed these down in minutes, Thanks Tom.

Take a large banana and mash.

Add a teaspoon of almond butter and mix.

Beat an egg in a cup and add to the batter.

Then I use a drop of coconut oil in a non-stick pan and lightly fry. Simple

Lovely Paleo Pancakes
Lovely Paleo Pancakes

I have tried these myself, I can vouch for Snoop they are delicious.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London coach in Bethnal Green



31st July -New Member of the Team

I have been waiting 4 weeks to meet Chris’ “baby” and finally today after his last injections he was allowed into the gym.

Meet Basil Howard, Chris’ beloved terrier puppy.


He is proper cute…..but not as cute as my boy (don’t tell Chris I said that..lol)

We did get some work done.

Here’s how it went………….

Back Squats

After spending 30 minutes with Steven Shrago talking about back squat form according to Mark Rippetoe I decided to give it a try.

The stance is slightly wider with a 30 degree toe out and when  back squatting a low bar position is preferred. Keep tension on the hamstrings by coming as deep as parallel, which allows for greater posterior chain engagement. A verbal cue of driving from the coccyx and knees out.

The final difference is head position, which is compared to having a tennis ball between chin and chest.

This is how I loaded up……..

1 set of 5 @ 55%

1 set of 5 @ 62.5%

3 sets of 10 @ 67.5%

The percentages are all taken from 90% of a working max.

I have to admit I felt pretty solid working with Mark’s style of back squat. I find because of my olympic lifting I sit very up right in a squat so getting a bit more assistance with my hams and glutes was much appreciated during a strength session.

Next up was my Bench Press. Not my favourite but hey you can’t like everything.

I used exactly the same percentages and rep ranges as above.

(P.s. If you have a crazy big back squat or bench press you may need to do a few more warm up sets rather the whack 55% on straight away)

To finish the topic was Pull Ups.

As most of you know it is my goal to build up my volume of pull ups.

For a strength workout today I did this on top of the odd chin ups at home on my power bar.

5 sets of 3-7 Chin ups using the lightest band support possible.

I did my first set with no band and then used the very thinnest red band to make 5 sets in total of 3 reps.

I certainly feel like I am making progress….watch this space.


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