Water Cycling – High Intensity, Zero Impact

So there’s this thing called “Water Cycling” – and last Sunday, we decided to go give it a go.  A friend of A.I.P organised a session for a group of us through local Sunshine Coast Company “Water Resist”.

 

Let’s Answer The First Questions Straight Up

  1. Is there actually a bike in the water?
  2. How long does it go for?
  3. Is there an Instructor?
  4. How hard it is?

and Answer Mode:

Question 1:

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Yep – there is specially made, marine-grade aluminium, bikes that sit on the bottom of the pool that you spin on.  Unlike normal exercise bikes, they don’t have variable resistance, but more on that later.  You also do a fair bit of exercise using the bike as an apparatus, but not actually “riding” it.

Question 2:

The class that we did was about 30 minutes long – and if you were to ride this workout as instructed (with effort levels in the 8 to 10/10 ratings) – then you absolutely don’t need longer.

Question 3:

There is an instructor.  Our instructor Anita, had accompanying music and provided clear, concise instructions on what the variety of riding styles and other moves were and how long they were to be for.

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Our crew about halfway through

Question 4:

This is an interesting one.  We spent the first couple of minutes getting used to the balance in the water.  The moves can range from sitting, to standing in a variety of different positions, to completely hopping off the bike and power kicking using the seat as a stabiliser.  Our particular favourite was the no-handed low rider.  Keeping your feet in the pedal stirrups, you lower yourself behind the seat and then pedal using your arms to swim and keep yourself from floating back away from bike – an epic core and upper body engagement.

But that doesn’t answer how hard it is, does it?  So if you were to cruise along and just turn the pedals leisurely, then no, it’s not challenging at all.  However, as you increase the speed, the water resistance increases exponentially and at a high turn rate, the effort level is MASSIVE.  Big Muscle burn, lots of sweat and deep breathing.  So depending on the instructors guidance, and your own willingness to push yourself, this can be one HELL of a workout.  Add on the element of taking your hands off and having to paddle at the same time, engaging the entire upper body and then also activating the core to initiate counter-balance.  It was a full-body workout in the entire sense of that statement.

 

Who’s it for?

Well just about everyone – provided you can swim.  The two big standout groups for me are:

  • Those with joints that can no longer withstand high-impact training but still want to engage in cardiovascular training.
  • Athletes that want a High Intensity Workout with zero impact to enable the body to still recover from previous workout trauma.

Personally, as a trainer that specialises in high performance and intensity-type training, this is a fabulous tool for certain clients.  Going hard in the workout – we approached maximum muscle fatigue a few times and were breathing hard.

If you were someone looking to start your first foray into fitness, this would also be a great introduction with the right class.  Lower intensity, support of the water and zero impact on joints that are not yet acclimatised.

In fact – I just recommend this to everyone to give this a go.  On their website, they claim this matrix of elements as benefits – and now having given it a go, I’m definitely inclined to believe it.

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Matrix of Benefits – Source “waterresist.com.au”

Sounds Awesome – Where do we Book it In?

Well as in most things – a quick look through the internet will sort you out, but if you’re on or near the Sunshine Coast, we would VERY MUCH recommend getting a session in with “Water Resist”.  They visit a few different pools and you can see their availability here:

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Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/waterresist.com.au/

Website:

https://www.waterresist.com.au/

 

 

Kayaking Power – The Sunshine Coast Girl Taking On The World

We’d like to introduce you all to an extremely talented, but also extremely hard-working young Lady – Alicia.

Alicia is a Sunshine Coast Local who is stepping up to represent Australia in Kayaking during the upcoming 2018 ICF CANOE SPRINT JUNIOR & U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 26 – 29 July in PLOVDIV, Bulgaria.  Being part of regular National Competition Circuit, and earning her spot on the international team, Alicia has put the time and some SERIOUS effort into her training to get to this point.  She is currently scheduled to compete in the 1000m solo race and is penned as potentially taking on other races as well depending on form during the lead up.

Whats Kayaking Involve?

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Kayak can have 1, 2 or 4 person events.

A kayak is a low-to-the-water, canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and then the other in rotation.

Race categories vary by the number of athletes in the boat and the length of the course.  The distances recognized by the ICF for international sprint races are 200m, 500m, and 1000m. These races take place on straight courses with each boat paddling in its own designated lane. For each race a number of heats, semi-finals and a final may be necessary, depending on the number of competitors.

The sport is governed by the International Canoe Federation. The International Canoe Federation is the worldwide canoeing organization and creates the standard rules for the different disciplines of canoe/kayak competition. The ICF recognizes several competitive and non-competitive disciplines of canoeing, of which Sprint and Slalom are the only two competing in the Olympic games.

 

Whats Required Physically?

Kayaking is an interesting blend of cardiovascular ability and recovery coupled with pure strength and power.  Depending on the distance of the event, a varying blend of explosive speed for shorter distances, and an ability to endure and recover energy expenditure in longer scenarios is required.  The obvious requirements are a focus on upper body strength, but that’s only part of the story.  The action of paddling utilises a significant engagement through the core, the body position being seated, as a primary action instigator.  In other words, all the force being pushed

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Explosive Acceleration Is A Huge Part of Getting the Race Underway

through the paddle by the arms, shoulders and chest – needs to be counteracted and braced through the core and legs in order to maintain balance in the boat and not tip over.  So a wholistic training scenario is called for.

 

Where we can get really interesting with it – is combining the base elements of strength, speed, power in conjunction with one another.  Can you still exhibit explosive force for a final sprint finish even though the body is oxygen deprived and energy levels are flagging?  Can you maintain a constant fast pace to match your opponents and position yourself for that final sprint.  Then you start to think about stroke cadence – do you go with powerful but slower strokes? Or faster but less forceful efforts?  Adaptability is key.

How Does She Train?

Training takes many shapes and forms:

  • Training with Kawana Waters Kayak Club , coached by Shane Dalziel in regional events
  • Training with Maroochydore Surf Club (she’s a top level competitor in all these events as well)
  • Regular specialist training camps from the Australian Institute of Sports

Which is all on top of attending school at Matthew Flinders Anglican College, of course.

Additionally, we at Assume Its Possible, have the unique opportunity to provide her with general overall conditioning support out of Sunshine Coast Facility, “Ezyfit Health & Fitness Clubs”.  She trains in person twice a week with A.I.P’s Pete, one session being her own dedicated training session and another in conjunction with her family, which is something we are in total admiration of – family engagement through these high level events provide so much additional support.

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The Physical Requirements At This Level Are Massive

She also receives training programs from Pete with 3 additional sessions to undertake on her own, a Cardio dedicated session, a functional strength session, and a composite workout designed to simulate race level duress on the body.  Her training involves LOTS of body weight functional strength including:

  • Upper body power – Pull/muscle-ups, Rows, lat pull-downs and push-up varieties
  • Running – intervals, steady state and sprint work
  • Explosive efforts – box jumps, sled work, bike power intervals
  • Our own special touches – we throw as many curve balls as possible at Alicia so no muscle action, no scenario or physical state is unknown to her.  We do this to increase both her physical ability and also mental strength (we could write another full article on how this is such a huge part of any athlete’s training)

When’s It All Going Down?

As mentioned right at the start – 26 – 29 July.  We believe there will be online streams of the events, and once we find the confirmed schedule of events, we will definitely post this up and will be watching excitedly. 

We wish this extraordinary young lady the very best in her travels over the next month – you have earned every bit of the adventure.

We can follow the event through the following social media chanels:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/planetcanoe

Twitter:

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/planetcanoe/

The OCR World Champions – Meet the Dream Team Clarks

OCR – Obstacle Course Racing – Meet The Clarks

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Paul and Kate

Most of us know this in some shape or another – think TOUGH MUDDER, SPARTAN, TRUE GRIT etc.  There are those however that take this concept to a whole extreme level.  In cross country events, mud and trail runs are often combined and the races are designed to result in mental and physical collapse. Obstacles may include climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, traversing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire. Many obstacles are similar to those used in military training, while others are unique to obstacle racing and are employed throughout the course to test endurance, strength, speed and, dexterity. OCR is an international competitive event that requires athletes to have incredible all-rounded fitness in both stamina, power and strength.  Rules vary from event to event but last weekend, 16th and 17th of June, was the OCR Enduro (24hrs) World Championships.

Paul and Kate Clark, two Sunshine Coast residents are two such specimens that take this fitness to a whole new level.  We here at Assume Its Possible have the pleasure of assisting Paul with his training out of Local Facility “Ezyfit Health & Fitness Clubs”, whilst Kate trains with another Sunshine Coast facility, “Jamie Milne Training”.  Over the weekend Paul was part of a 4 person mixed team (two male, two female) and Kate participated in the solo female event.  24 hours of hard effort was about to come forward.

So What’s This 24 Hour Business?

The course is broken into laps, roughly 11.5km long each, with each lap also punctuated with 30 Obstacles to overcome.  These obstacles can vary between climbs, carries and balances, all of which are in addition to the simple fact that you’re running on variable trail terrain (think hills, creeks, mud, grass), ensuring that athletes need to focus on finding rhythms and pacing over and over again. Racers then proceed to spend the next 24 hrs doing as many laps as possible.  Oh yes, and because it takes place over a 24 hour period – you run in the dark.  With a headlamp. In the cold.

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24 hrs Means Night Racing

There are so many factors in these events that make it interesting to analyse.  Athletes must have intense mental strength as well as the physical.  The ability to push through pain, cold, and the mental battle of trying to be faster than everyone else.  Do you come out of the gate hard and try to build an insurmountable lead?  Or perhaps conserve some strength and finish the last 6-8 hrs steam-rolling home?  Or a thousand shades of in-between?  All the while fatigue, cold and hunger is taking a toll and telling you to stop.  Its a true test of the human condition.

 

How Did They Do? Tell Me Already!

So glad you asked.

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Paul in Flight – and covered in “goodness” #authentic

Paul’s Team name was ‘Unsung Enduros’ finishing with 17 laps, a total of 197 kms and 510 obstacles. With 4 laps each under their belts, they had to make the decision to run the 17th lap to ensure they finished 1st, as 2nd were hot on their tail……..there were 7 other teams in that division.

Kate finished 2nd with a total of 9 laps, 104.4 kms and 270 obstacles with 23 other athletes in her division.

So this power couple – Nay, the DREAM TEAM of Paul and Kate Clark, are two of the best Obstacle Racers that the World has to offer – which is no throw-away line with results like this.

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Victory Earned – Tastes So Sweet

What’s Next?

Well from Paul’s camp – that’s a hell of a cap on the first half of the year.  The next step is the 15km Solo Championships held in London, late October this year.  Some solid reset time, 24 hours of hard running and obstacles takes a big toll on the body (not to mention your poor feet!), and then easing back in to build up to peak point for that.  Events on the way, like Gold Coast Spartan, will keep the training focus strong – and we can’t wait to join them in that particular event.

We here at Assume Its Possible take our hats off to both Paul and Kate and offer the most heart-felt of congratulations to the incredible success that these two have achieved!

Muddy Rumble – The Event For Everyone

So you may have seen the Muddy Rumble Brisbane video go up on our social media channels – we just wanted to talk you guys about why you should definitely give this obstacle type course (and other like it, a go).

 

Check out the 1-min short version of our run:

 

It’s a Welcoming Challenge:

If you’ve never done such an event, here’s the elevator pitch.  The Muddy Rumble is an 8km outdoor traverse that has obstacles spaced throughout.  Now before you immediately back away here’s a couple of sum-ups:

  • You can go ANY pace.  The event is very specifically NOT a race. You wanna walk 8km?  Hell yeah.  Want to jog or run it?  Absolutely.
  • The obstacles are incredibly fun.  From bouncy ball races, to huge inflateable slides and climbs.  Every obstacle is achievable, and if you so desire, every obstacle can be skipped.
  • There are team members of the event at every obstacle.  They provide a great overwatch to make sure people are doing what they should be, and to help and guide as well.
  • Dress up is encouraged! Grab a squad of friends and theme it up! We went as super heroes, which ended up being 4 batmen, a superman and wonder-woman.
  • We had to run a maximum of 500m between obstacles….my opinion of the Brisbane one would be that there was an average of 200-300m between obstacles…which isnt much and means you don’t get bored.

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How hard is it?

Lots of variety of obstacles means that most people will find enough of a challenge somewhere.  Never done anything before? Well there might be a couple of obstacles that prove to be difficult, like the wall climb.  That said, there are volunteers everywhere who are more than willing to help out, as well as other participants.  The comraderie on the day is excellent with everyone having a blast and giving each other a hand.  If you’re SUPER fit, you can certainly make the obstacles more challenging for yourself – take your feet away for example on wall traverses, or long jump on inflateable balls to REALLY test the balance out.

For a run down on every obstacle at the Brisbane Event – here is the 8 min video of our team.

 

Costs?

Well it varies depending on how early you get in.  We booked it months in advance and it was around $75.  We made a half day out of the whole thing, road tripping down from the Sunshine Coast with our crew, doing the course and then heading back – i’d count it as quality money spent.  The memories and enjoyment with good people makes it totally worthwhile.  If you were to wait last minute, the tickets were around $85 from memory, so not a drastic increase.

 

So if you looking to dip the toe in some fun run adventure stuff – look into this, and similar events for sure.  Some have more running, some have more obstacles, some are easier or harder than others.  There are quite a lot of choices to look out for, with just some being:

  • Muddy Rumble
  • Mud Run
  • Miss Muddy
  • Tough Mudder
  • Spartan
  • Colour Run
  • Colour Movement

What’s your next one going to be?

Cheers Crew,

Pete.

Motivation, Asskick, Sleep – It’s a careful balance

My ankles a bit sore, legs are a bit stiff and its bloody fantastic.  I’ve just popped a 22.5km run this morning off the back of feeling absolutely MEH and…..bouncing back from burning out and sleeping for 90% of Sunday.  Let’s put things into order.

Runner

Start with Motivation:

Motivation is such a fickle thing.  Just listening to the right song can inspire a sudden surge of “HELL YEAH!!” – and other times, we just feel like rolling over and sleeping for ever.  Relying on motivation, as an athlete, is folly.  Motivation, like any mindset, is something that can be trained as a habit.  With practice and forced implementation – you can feel motivated about whatever you do most of the time.  There will always be days though, where the mojo just does doesn’t work on its own – and thou must then take the workout into thine own hands.

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Turn the Frown Upside Down – From NOT wanting to start – To hell happy at finish

I’ll come back to why I wasnt particularly feeling it this morning – but FLAT is an APT description of the state of mind and body.  A couple of clients early this morning, and I had packed the runners, earphones and hydration pack, telling myself I would run home.  Options were – 12.5km home straight, or around the Coast for a 22.5km run.  See now the thing is – the more you think about particular options and why they aren’t good for the state of mind, the more you will that into being.  Knowing yourself here is a huge advantage – I’m a huge sucker for talking myself into lesser workout options, still workouts for sure, but justifiably easier.  So today – morning work complete, it was a matter of:

  • Grab the backpack
  • Put the Earphones in
  • Start running
  • Figure the rest out later

 

So Starteth The Asskick

First km rolled past – and i’m already thinking about the arrival home…No Pete, just turn the legs, breathe man, feel the wind, see the world.  2nd km rolls past and the body is sinking into a nice repetition of mechanical movement now.  Its starting to feel good.  Kilometers three and four roll past, the podcast i’m listening to is really interesting (IGN’s “Gamescoop” – nerd satisfaction ++) – now i’m feeling good.  And just like that, 10-15mins and the whole day has turned around.  It’s overcast, a nothing day really, and i’m loving it.  There’s people out and about, that dog over there is having just the BEST time chasing another friendly pooch, that small child is COVERED in sand – i’m part of the world and cleansing the mind.

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Moffat Beach – Always an amazing view, whatever the weather

The point i’m making here, is that the motivation to continue the workout was being created DURING the intial starting phase.  The HARDEST part of any workout – is starting.  Once you’re in and moving, it’s so much easier to just keep on keeping on, and more than that, as the 10km mark cruised by, I was now proud of myself for commiting and executing.  This is storing up motivation for the next workout, It’s turning a motivational deficit into a surplus.  Short version of this story summed up, I got home after 22.5km, yep – took the long way on the coast – and felt amazing for having achieved this.  Im ready to kick more ass tomorrow knowing that the hard yards today have already been ticked off.

Sleep and Burnout:

So this motivational conundrum was a result of me burning the candle at both ends in a big way and running myself into the dirt.  I’m a massive advocate of two things:

1 – Stretching and Flexibility is the most under-rated aspect of 99% of people’s workout regimes

2 – Sleep is the best natural motivator for anyone doing anything

I also SUCK at that second point.  The nature of working for one’s self, means that you need to be constantly innovating and evolving to suit market needs and to attract new clients.  The day is comprised of servicing client programs, executing those tranining sessions, training myself, planning and communicating with external parties and THEN, at the end of it all, late at night, do I have time to develop new ideas, to update and run my website and to be proactive with new services.  I steady 6hrs of sleep is usually my norm – and i’m going to be absolutely honest, it’s enough to function the next day adequately, but it saps away from the overall storage by about 5%.  With a usual dose of 2 hrs of exercise EVERY day in some form – this 5% adds up in a continuous cycle.  Each day, you come back 5% less – 95%, then 5% of that = 90.25%.  Over and over.  The rate of decay is slow enough that you don’t realise how tired you actually get until – like what happened to me on Sunday – The body just decided that enough was enough.

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Burnout Sucks – Big Time

I got up with every intention of running that morning and just felt terrible – 5am is not an early start, but after going back to bed – I solidly woke again at 3pm.  Spent a couple of hours with my partner getting out and about, 7pm a massive headache had kicked in and was back and asleep again by 8pm.

This is far from an ideal scenario – and it happens to so many people.  We accept the tired state as a normal state of affairs – It absolutely does NOT need to be this way.  It becomes a matter of, What will be sacrificed in order for you to get enough sleep?  Not just “enough”, but enough to start adding BACK INTO the storage pool.  Seriously, a solid sleep, with good food and hydration, turns you into a new person.  Imagine what you could achieve, waking up like that every day!!!

A Summation of Musings Had:

This post has more been an effective method for me to break down how i’ve been feeling the last few days.  The ability for one (all of us) to turn innate run-down mindset into a super positive proactive charge is amazing.  Usually, the limiting factor on how hard this is (aside from serious impacts in life), usually sleep.  I sit here now, bottle of water to the right, coffee on the left – and i feel SO GOOD.

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Finishing things off

Exercise has been done, goals have been ticked off with the training regime, and it’s all come flipside from sitting in this exact chair less than 12 hours ago and feeling like ass.  Take heart my friends, when you feel the lack of motivation, sometimes its going to be on you just to START and to generate some juju just by turning up and doing “something”.  That next workout might have nothing to do with the fitness, and everything with turning your week the right way up.

Do it for you – for fitness, for mentality, for an asskicker week.

Yours in random musings.

 

Pete.