Archive for October, 2009

Enjoying the journey

October 27, 2009

Someone asked me the other day how my training was going and I replied questioning whether or not I’d be good enough to fight in Thailand. He shrugged his shoulders casually and just said, “Enjoy the journey.”

He was right. Sometimes we focus so fixedly on the ultimate goal that we forget to enjoy ourselves along the way. We all start somewhere; I often forget that. Excelling at something takes time and effort – in the case of Muay Thai it also takes a bucket load of blood, sweat and tears…and perhaps a few broken ribs! But that’s just par for the course.

So when I feel twinges of self-doubt and I’m in need of a little inspiration, this video compilation of some of Gina Carano’s fights soon has me craving the mats once more.

She’s a huge inspiration. Enjoy (it’s ever better with the sound turned up).

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Sleep your way to the top…of your game

October 21, 2009

Study indicates sleep improves athletic performance

Sweet DreamsAs athletes we are instinctively geared towards training harder, faster and more frequently. Taking a nap just isn’t in our nature. But this could be about to change.

A recent study on the sleep patterns of students on the tennis team at Stanford University shows that extra sleep can actually improve athletic performance. Over a period of five weeks, five students all increased the amount of time they slept for, after which their athletic abilities were tested to see if anything had changed.

The results were amazing. Not only did they sprint faster from the court baseline but they were serving and hitting the tennis balls more accurately.

The studies aren’t just limited to tennis players either. The author found similar results in Stanford’s men’s and women’s swimming teams as well as in the men’s basketball team. 

Maybe you really can sleep your way to the top…of your game.

Coming soon

October 20, 2009

Coming soon – top tips on increasing ham string flexibility from top strength training coach and nutritionist Cliff Harvey

A secret confession to Jiu Jitsu

October 10, 2009

Atami giIf Brazilian Jiu Jitsu were a handsome man, I’d be declaring my love right now; suggesting we pack up our things and run away together.

Jiu Jitsu has everything: The looks (totally enthralled with my new blue gi), the passion, the fighting spirit and the intelligence. Ladies—seriously, Jiu Jitsu is the whole package.

But there’s just one element causing me mixed emotions: The innocent hug of a friend or family member has unexpectedly turned in to an analytical situation where I’m visualising how I could convert our embrace in to a submission, trying to decide whether I’d opt for an arm bar or a straight-forward choke.

And I’m shocked!

I admitted the hug thing to someone close the other day…and it understandably freaked him out. Recovery is slow and he’s just about reached the point where it’s okay to shake hands, but I feel hugging may be a few steps down the line yet.

It’s hard to explain to those who don’t practise Jiu Jitsu what a leap forward this feels. It’s not that you actually want to do them any harm; it’s that your brain is catching up with your physical training. And that’s an exciting prospect. I just hope that my brain is also quick enough to stop me from instinctively submitting family members when I greet them at Christmas time!

UFC comes to Kits

October 5, 2009

UFC Comes to Kits picYou know you’ve been accepted in to the muscle-bound weights room when you receive the Ultimate Flattering Compliment (sorry to get your hopes up UFC fans!).

“Nice deadlifts.”

Previous experience shows that the more usual angle taken with flattery is to loosely base it around beauty or brains, but getting noticed because of your weight-lifting technique is definitely a first. In fact, I was so shocked by this unexpected left-fielder that I had to ask the poor man to repeat it three times until I actually caught on to what was being said.

Having finally grasped the bigger picture, the compliment appeared to be entirely without obvious motive, sly gesture or dodgy vibe. And considering that genuine flattery can sometimes be as rare as, say, a man who places down the toilet seat, my response was a slightly stunned double-take.

So I’d like to thank the nice guy in the grey t-shirt for his kind words. Despite the tough girl image I try and project in that male-dominated room, he still managed to make me blush. I guess inside every female fighter there’s still a girly girl lurking not too far below the surface.

Other compliments to pay a female fighter:

  • Great chest – is that a six pack?
  • Do you prefer to be on top or underneath? [Still hold back a smirk each time when asked this, despite the countless times it comes up in conversation when setting up ground sparring drills in Braziilian Jiu Jitsu]
  • Should we spar? [Note – this is definitely not an invitation to go on a spa retreat]
  • Want to go for a couple of rounds [Note – sadly this is not an invitation to the pub either]
  • What a knock-out [literally]

I’d love to hear of any others you can think of!

Eat (and drink!) your greens

October 2, 2009

GreensI’ve never had a glass of broccoli and algae up until now! It’s definitely an  interesting experience. One that I unfortunately end up reliving each morning, having seemingly forgotten how it tastes from day to day. Perhaps it’s just one of those things that you put to the back of your mind hoping to never experience again….or not, as the case may be.

I’m not entirely convinced there won’t be any side effects from such a green-looking drink but it forms part of a new nutrition plan, so there’s no room for argument. And with fewer than six months between now and Thailand, it’s about time the nutrition element got serious.

The idea of greens powders is that they provide all the nutritional supplements largely missing from a modern diet. But more difficult to swallow than a glass of greens has, quite surprisingly, been giving up hot chocolate cold-turkey-style. I didn’t realise I was quite so addicted to sugar and sweeteners until they were removed. Entirely.

Peppermint tea just doesn’t quite cut it and I’m torn between what I should have and what I want to have. So far I’m keeping the cravings at bay but I’m wondering if my self-discipline can outlast the weekend. Today is only day three!