It’s now mid-January and the post festive blues have well and truly kicked in. What better way to re-focus my training than set some New Year’s resolutions.
It’s been 6 months since I started my blog and a lot has changed in this time. So first things first, I’m going to round up my 2016. If you want to see my goals for 2017, scroll down a little.
Where do I begin..?
The hardest thing about training in 2016 was knowing which programme to follow. I went from Invictus free programming to Comp Train free programing and recently started to follow MooFit. All three programmes offer different outcomes in my opinion. I have only been on MooFit for three weeks and so cannot quote upon the ins and outs of this one, but currently, we’re in an open preparation cycle and it sucks (as you’d expect). Whilst completing the other two programmes, I found Invictus to have more of a gymnastics emphasis and Comp Train to have more of a barbell cycling emphasis. It wasn’t intended, but I’m so glad I focused on gymnastics in the first part of the year and then barbell cycling. I wasn’t particularly bad at either, but now I’m a lot better. Comp Train allowed me to train heavy and prepare for big competitions like Battle of the Beasts to which I don’t think I would have qualified for on Invictus programming. It was a godsend and allowed me to survive at the competitions with the big weights.
Throughout 2016 I made a conscious effort to improve my shoulder mobility and it has worked. Seeing a physio bi-monthly has been great. This is almost like a reset button. I feel great after and take away tips and exercises to improve the problem area. My shoulders and back have been a big focus to improve the positions in snatches and overhead squats. Another area which caused me problems in 2016 was my knees, which suffer as a result of my tight ankles, calves and quads. However, through deep tissue massages, stretches and exercises from Jenny at Coach House Physio I now have pain free knees.
I have recently moved CrossFit gyms from CrossFit Leeds to Form Leeds. This was a very hard decision and one I kept close to my chest until I made the decision. I owe so much to Mike and the coaches at CrossFit Leeds for giving me the basic tools and form to take forward and improve. They also instilled the love for CrossFit in me and constantly showed interest in my progression, which only pushed me more. I have a few reasons I have joined Form, but the main one being to train alongside a bunch of better quality athletes with higher standards for training. All Form’s competitive athletes follow MooFit and so train alongside and push each other daily. There’s nothing worse than training alone. The athletes at form are experienced athletes, all of whom I intend to learn and gain advice from.
I’ve had a mixture of training partners throughout the year at CrossFit Leeds. Due to external circumstances, conflicting interests and injuries they never remained consistent. This was also a factor which influenced my gym move. Now at Form I’m trying to train with the same people daily to push myself and learn from better and more experienced athletes.
In January 2017 I completed my MSc Marketing degree with my final hand in. 2016 consisted of a lot of sacrificed weekends alongside working full time to complete various strategy modules and my 20,000-word dissertation. It’s been very difficult to fit in training and hard to prioritise sometimes. It’s been stressful, but hopefully worth it come graduation this summer and my future in a marketing career. I’m lucky enough to have work pay for my development in something I am truly passionate about. But there have been some days when I wanted to quit it all and train full time. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Wow, this has been one of the biggest changes for me in 2016. At the beginning of 2016, I was preparing two wraps a day for work with a meat and salad filling. I then moved onto preparing brown rice and pasta with meat, but I soon got sick of that. Gold Standard Nutrition were very understanding of my training programme and put me on their 30 day CrossFit challenge. This was revolutionary. Still to this day I use some of their food products in a varied diet. They created a personalised meal plan for me, consisting of five meals a day and since then I have stuck with this and got results. They also set my macro intake and I try my best to stick to this. My improved nutrition has no doubt helped me to be successful at competitions and my biggest achievement of the year, qualifying for the final of Battle of the Beasts 2016. Now I’m consuming around 3,000 calories a day of nutritious, healthy whole foods and feel great. Previously I have felt tired on around 2500 bad calories a day, but since attending a nutrition seminar and then upgrading my diet I have the energy to train harder. I now enjoy eating vegetables and think about what I can eat instead of what I can’t eat. The biggest thing I have learnt in nutrition in 2016 is – if you’re hungry, EAT! Of course, I do enjoy the odd so called ‘cheat meal’!
2017 Goals & resolutions
- Clean and Jerk 140kg – This doesn’t sound like much and isn’t much to most people. However, for me, this would be a 10kg PB from now. I’m on a new programme and blasting my legs most sessions, so this should fly up soon.
- Get 20 chest-to-bar pull-ups unbroken – For some reason my hands hate my body hanging from anything. They get really painful and then my lats give in. This I believe is more of a strength thing and not technique. I can do butterfly chest to bar pull-ups, but not for very long. I have never been good pull-ups in the gym. I believe this is down to all the rugby specific training over the years. In rugby, we benched and pressed a lot, but never really pulled anything.
- Eat cleaner at weekends – During the week I eat good portions of the right foods, but at weekends this habit disappears. I’m always out and about and grab convenient food, which we all know is not good food. McDonald’s wraps, Subway teriyaki chicken sandwiches and Greggs bacon sandwiches are usually my weekend tipple of choice. Another excuse is that I meal prep for 5 and not 7 days. Now I intend to meal prep for 7 days and take it with me.
- Run more – Running isn’t in the CrossFit Open and this is my excuse for NEVER running. It isn’t programmed often as it is so hard for gyms to quantify and be consistent with their distances. On Christmas Eve I ran my second ever 5k in 22:41 and didn’t mind it. It was better than I thought. My first ever 5k was a year before that and I shaved more than two minutes off this time without specific running training. I have convinced myself that I’m not made for running, but am going to aim to go out for a run once a month.
- Get 8 hours of sleep a night – I’m a sucker for staying up on my phone trawling through social media posts and watching TV in bed. Sometimes before I know it it’s midnight and I’m up in 7 hours. I know how important sleep is in optimising muscle recovery from the previous days training. I plan to set a sleep schedule to ensure my body produces the right amount of growth hormone and maintains the right testosterone level.
- Stay in touch with old friends – For me, it’s easy to get engulfed in CrossFit and forget about my friends and family. I have a very addictive personality and it’s usually all or nothing at something. Now I have finished my degree I have no excuse, as I am free on rest days. I am planning to catch up with friends and family at least once a month.
- Compete at a CrossFit competition abroad – I want to experience what competitions abroad are like. I’m sure the climate, people and culture make it difficult but fun. Plus, it’s a good reason for a holiday. You may as well tag it onto the end of the trip. I have Canaries Gone Bad planned for September and cannot wait.
- Blog more – I have a lot going off in my head and now I’ll have the time to write it all down in blog posts. Now I’ve finished my degree I am going to concentrate on sharing my CrossFit journey with more people through my blog and social media. I love blogging and have big things planned in 2017, so keep your eyes peeled.
I’m going into 2017 with an open mind and excited for the new challenges ahead. I can’t wait to get stuck into the CrossFit Games Open and other big competitions across UK and Europe.