Archive for the ‘Strength and conditioning’ Category

WCMAC fight

November 12, 2010

An extract from an article written for the Vancouver Observer.

Olivia Bevan at the WCMACWith twenty-four hours to go before the big competition, I’d become an obsessive slave to the scales. I was teetering so close to my target weight that after every sip, munch or crunch of drink or food I’d desperately hop back on the balance to check out the damage.

Standing statuesque, I closed my eyes hoping that the digits would appear on the right side of 120lbs to keep me in my chosen weight category. I’d even gone down the desperate route of weighing myself in different outfits to determine which clothes I could compete in and which ones I couldn’t. With my chosen gear in hand and bags all packed up there was nothing left to do but head to the venue.


The most extreme way to banish cellulite

October 20, 2010

Women boxingAfter a recent sparring session, I gawked at the knotty, tangled mess that had once counted as a hair ‘style’ and reluctantly acknowledged that the luxury of looking good has been sadly absent from my life for the past few weeks. Even at the best of times it’s debatable whether I, with my amateur hair skills, can pull off trendy and tousled looks, but evidently I do dishevelment with ease.

Who needs a Halloween costume when you can go three rounds and get the look for free?

Read the full article, as published in the Vancouver Observer.


June 2, 2010

Wonder Woman - at any age!I read a book not too long ago about the incredibly inspiring swimmer Dara Torres who, at 41 years old, launched her Olympic comeback and stood on that podium with the best of them.

It was just called “Age is just a number” and, every so often, when I seriously question whether I’m a little crazy to get in to competitive martial arts at 30 years old I remember what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

As if to confirm this I met a very sweet lady yesterday who, at 56 years old, was about to enter her first world championship power lifting competition. What was even more incredible was that this wonderful lady only started training five years ago and despite going up against people much younger than her she absolutely refused to enhance her performace with any sort of drugs. It was natural or nothing.

There are many more women out there who are perfect examples of age being just a number. Screw how you think you might be judged. If you want it – go for it! Or as my trainer once put it, “Do it or do not do it. There is no try.”

Back on the wagon

May 2, 2010

You don’t realize how much something means to you until it’s taken away.

I’ve been out of training for a week because of an injury to my foot and it’s been driving me nuts. Sitting still doesn’t come easily, but if I want to get back in to training as soon as possible that’s exactly what I’ve been ordered to do—rest (and ice).

I’m definitely my father’s daughter though. I remember times when he’d have broken a leg or an arm and if you didn’t keep an eye on him, before you knew it, the sling would have been ditched and he’d be back up the very same ladder (or roof!) he fell off, carrying on as if nothing had happened. He doesn’t believe in taking time off to recover and it’s obviously passed down a generation: The crutches were just annoying and I’d ditched them after 24hrs. I’d rather hobble along at a reasonable pace than crawl along with a pair of those.

I’d had enough confinement by yesterday though and left the house saying I’d only be a short time at the gym doing a quick session on the treadmill. But as I finished my sprinting I just couldn’t resist doing some lifting. Just a few weights couldn’t hurt? A little lifting turned in a full workout (!) and I walked back through the front door 90 minutes later. Walked probably isn’t the right word though; more like skipped! It felt so good to sweat again. I think people in the gym must have thought I was nuts, walking round wearing a huge grin. I just couldn’t help it; I was so, so happy to be back again.

So the next time I’m feeling a bit sick of the gym I’m going to bring myself back to how it felt this week not being able to go to the gym at all. That should be enough to give me the kick up the ass I need!

(The foot isn’t 100% but I’m done with taking a back seat. There’s a competition at the end of May that needs preparing for).

Tales of toes

April 26, 2010

Broken FootMy foot was throbbing, I could barely hobble and I was biting my lip in an effort to hold back the tears threatening to fall while sat in the waiting room at the clinic. What a way to spend a Friday night.

24hrs earlier I’d tumbled over my own feet during training at Universal out in Richmond and, having initially thought there wasn’t much wrong, was stunned to realise I couldn’t move my big toe or put any weight on my left foot. Limping over to the side of the mats I sat on the floor waiting for the feeling to come back to my toe. It didn’t. More than the pain, all I could think about was the training I’d miss. There’s a competition in five weeks and I was about to ramp up my training not take time out.

In the doctor’s room that night he poked and prodded my foot (more pain) and shook his head saying, “Ligament damage and potential fracture,” and sent me on my way with a pair of crutches, an x-ray form and a hateful scowl from the very dark cloud hanging over me. Two months off? I don’t think so.

I’m also a truly awful patient (even when I’m the nurse too!) and ditched the crutches before I managed the four blocks home. I’d rather hobble at a decent pace than be slowed down by those things.

Spent Friday night icing and resting despite really, really wanting to head out downtown on a planned night out (Cliff, I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it. I wasn’t sure dancing on crutches was what the doctor had in mind when he suggested rest!)

Saturday morning was an early one as I negotiated the buses to the x-ray clinic and gave the crutches one last chance to redeem themselves (they’re a great accessory if you need a seat on a bus!)

There were two words I was dreading hearing that day: Fracture and Surgery. The wait for the results was sickeningly agonising but when they came back as negative I could have hugged the technician. All I have to do now is rest and ice which is, in itself, very hard if you’re the kind of person who HATES sitting still. But if it’s what I’ve got to do to get back in to action then I’m all about taking the doctor’s advice.

Four days later and I can put weight on the foot again, which makes me so happy because I can feel the anticipation of the next training session. The swelling is going down and I’m just left with a few bruises on the joints where the impact was. I’m giving myself two weeks (absolute max) and then I’m back on the mats again. Haahaah, if my trainer thought he might be in for some time off he picked the wrong girl to train!

Tales of Thailand Part 1

March 26, 2010

Wow, there’s so much to tell you! I’m so sorry for not updating my site while in Thailand.

Just to recap: The preparation for this trip started nine months ago over a glass of white wine in a small Vancouver bar. Fueled by inebriation, Emma Lynds (36-year-old mother of two, black belt and owner of Elements Academy of Martial Arts) and I (martial arts rookie) decided to set ourselves the ambitious challenge of taking part in our first Muay Thai fight in Thailand. Neither one of us had fought before, but somehow after a glass or two of Pinot Grigio, it sounded like an inspired idea and entirely rational.

We arrived in Phuket and plunged straight in to training 4-5hrs per day in 34 degree heat. Sweat didn’t just drip off us; it flowed like rivers out of every part of our body. We would run, skip, do push ups, shadow box and finally hit the pats in the ring or the heavy bags (or, more often than not, both)….twice a day.

Despite rounding off the training with a thorough stretching session, we were still left clutching what bits of our body still moved as we scooter’d our way back to the hotel, positioning our sporty short shorts over the scorching seat as best we could.

During those first two days, head trainer, Sing, watched both Emma and I to determine our fighting fate. Would we meet the standard he required of his fighters or would we need more time? On Wednesday, he announced that Emma would fight on Friday but I would need more time. Something I didn’t have on this short trip.

I faced this decision with mixed emotions but thanks to support and positive encouragement from friends and family, I relaxed in to enjoying the rest of my training.

How did Emma do? I’ll post a copy of her fight video shortly.

In the meantime we’re back and, rather than giving myself time to fall of the wagon as I’d promised myself, it’s straight back in to training ready for the Tiger Balm Internationals this Sunday (more on this shortly).

I just want to say a huge thank you to friends and family who all supported this crazy idea and to those who pushed me physically and mentally way beyond what I thought I could possibly do (Cliff and Wilf: I’m talking about you!!). I have every intention of being the last one standing this weekend.


March 5, 2010

Aeroplane to ThailandIn 24hrs we’ll be boarding  the plane to Thailand.

I can’t believe it’s here. We started counting down our time in months, which soon became weeks, then days….and now only hours remain. And I’ve still not packed! I’ve started the washing, which I guess is the first step of packing, and I have my currency and passport. So no matter what happens I’ll have clean clothes and money in my pocket, which isn’t such a bad place to start. You can do a lot in 24hrs though. I’m sure there’s still time…!?!

Tonight is my last session in the gym. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to saying those words. The gym and I have a love / hate relationship: I never regret going but dragging myself down there is such a battle sometimes, especially early mornings on the weekend when the roads are quiet and everyone else is sensibly enjoying a lie-in, followed by what I jealously imagine while pounding the treadmill are sleepy breakfasts in bed and leisurely loafing around.

But will I be able to stop going when I get back? I’m not sure. You get to a point where you’re so proud of your progress so far that you’re not quite ready to put the brakes on and slip back a couple of steps. Guess I’ll revisit that question when I return.

So it’s goodbye for a short while. I’ll try and update the site while I’m away but I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to process anything sensible after 5hrs of training a day!

Women and martial arts

March 4, 2010

Martial arts for womenI came across this post today by a female martial artist and was amazed at how well she’d articulated the reasons why martial arts and, in particular MMA, can be such a rewarding sport. For both men and women.

There are no right or wrong reasons for getting in to martial arts. Maybe you do it just to get fit, perhaps it’s to fight or maybe one day to be the proud owner of a black belt. Whatever your motivation, I’ve learned first-hand that it’s a journey and a learning experience that can change you in so many ways: Confidence, fitness, ability, flexibility and mind-set, to name just a few. And despite what you might think, age and experience are not barriers.

So if you’re open to tranforming your body, skills and confidence in a way you could never imagine I highly recommend martial arts.  Plus, there are so many different types out there there that there really is something to suit everyone.

Are you a martial artist or perhaps someone who’s thinking of taking it up? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

The science of pre- and post-workout nutrition

March 3, 2010

The science of a post- and pre-nutrition workoutIt seems that optimal nutrient gain is as much about timing as it is about composition.

According to a recent study, when you eat is just as important as what you eat.

To optimize gains in lean muscle mass and strength it’s vital to consume a combination of fast-acting carbs (those that cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly rather than slowly and steadily) and protein during your metabolic workout ‘window’.

Dr Paul Cribb from Victoria University recommends the following: mix 30-50g of high quality whey with 75-100g of high GI carbs (such as glucose, maltodextrin, etc.,) and 3-5g of creatine monohydrate. Drink half immediately before you hit the gym and the other half immediately following your workout.

Don’t think that a drink will produce results on it’s own though. You need good training and nutrition throughout the rest of the day to really make this work.

If you’re looking for an amazing nutritionist and strength coach in the Vancouver area I highly recommend you check out Cliff Harvey at Human Motion. Through his guidance I’m leaving for Thailand (on Saturday!) in the best shape I’ve ever been in.

Do you have any nutritional advice picked up during training?

Want to make your own sports drink?

March 2, 2010

Protein SourcesSometimes it’s hard to strike a balance between convenience and $. You pay more for something that saves you time…and sometimes things are just so crazy that it feels like you’ve very little choice other than to shell out.

With less than one week until Thailand life is spent dashing between work and training. So when I do finally arrive home, I’ve just about enough time to switch on the blender and gulp back a protein shake made from the bulk-buy, whey protein powder bought from the slightly intimidating body-buliding store.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I have time to make one from scratch. WOW. You can really taste the difference.

I’ve been using a book called Gourmet Nutrition  for most of my recipes and I can absolutely guarantee there’s a shake in there that you’ll love. Don’t be put off by the cottage cheese or cold herbal tea going in to the blender. Be brave; you’ll love what comes out. Just knowing that everything in your glass is natural will make you feel fabulously wholesome.

I also discovered a site this morning with a recipe for making your own sports drinks. I haven’t tried this one yet but, if you do, I’d love to know what you think of it.