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When intensity and volume just DON’T matter

As coaches we know that progressive overload matters if you want to get stronger or fitter.   We build this into your programming at The Wild Movement so that in the long term you get the results you are after.

However – There is a time when the variables that largely make up progressive overload really don’t matter!

When you find yourself thinking that conditions aren’t ideal for training and you should ‘probably just skip it’ is when intensity and volume don’t matter.

Let’s say you have been sick and you know you won’t be able to train as you would be able to when you were rested well and healthy.    In this instance it’s easy to think there is no point because the intensity (amount of weight on the bar as a % to your heaviest for 1 rep) will be too heavy or the volume (sets and reps) will be too taxing.    That may just be the correct thinking – its not always wise to try and push yourself so hard when the recovery metrics aren’t there. 

When it’s ‘go hard or miss a session’ there is a sweet spot in between that produces long term success

 

What we do suggest though is to simply disregard the numbers, put on your training clothes and tick a box for the day.

So many of our positive habits and behaviours are anchored by our training and these don’t know the difference how ‘hard’ we push – they just need it to happen for us to keep the momentum going.   

So next time you want to skip the workout or go the extreme other end of the habit that you want to do because conditions aren’t perfect ask yourself can you simply turn up, complete your work with perfect form and tick a box you can be a little better overall come tomorrow?   

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The Journey of Health that took 10 years to start

The reason for writing this short blog is to highlight that one is never down and out.   There is always a way to better health, it’s just about looking for the answers and asking the right questions.
Justin George emailed me in August 2018.   He had been working with Emrys Goldsworthy, (Musculoskeletal therapist) for some months to help work on ‘a bad back’ that had been presenting with symptoms of sciatica pain. He had a disc bulge at 21 (at the time of reaching out Justin was 37) and herniated the same disc at 31.
From the above Justin was living in pain, which didn’t help his mental health but was fearful and didn’t feel ready to do any strength training for almost a decade.
I had a good relationship with Emrys and often referred clients to him.   I am thankful of his tremendous work he does as Justin trusted him when Emrys told him he was ready to start focusing on getting stronger.
Justin went through the extensive steps we use when someone is looking to train with us and from that we got some conservative basic starting points.
There were no red lights in terms of mobility. The major things we were working around were his history of disc problems, his fears around strength training and just his lack of training in the past.   His major goals were to increase strength and also positively change his body composition.
Some conservative benchmarks when we started was a Bench Press of 45kg x 8 reps and a Goblet Squat of 20kg x 8 reps.    Justin also had an inbody scan early on since body composition was a goal and he weighed in at 95kg and 32% Body Fat.
Justin has now been training for over 12 months.   It has been a total pleasure seeing his transformation of physical health, his willingness to learn and his sharing of his mental health.
Just like anyone else with any success the graph is never linear. There have been ups and downs as he and we have worked through different problems together.   The important thing to note is the consistency that Justin has had over that year.   Like with most things Justin does he goes all in and is approaching 250 sessions with us.   From that hard work, day to day or week to week might seem like it’s not always moving forward but when we look at the bigger picture now Justin is:
  • Down to 86kg at 21 % (9kg Body weight down and 10% body fat down, 2kg of muscle up.
  • Back Squatting sets of 80kg for 8 reps instead of 20kg Goblet Squats.
  • Bench Pressing sets of 62kg for 8 reps instead of 45kg
  • Deadlifting without pain
  • Learnt the Clean and Jerk and Snatch (two most technical exercises you can do with a barbell)
  • Been progressing and learning handstands
  • Fully immersed himself into our community and is now even Head of Social Events for The Wild Movement!

Justins Body Composition changes over time. The graph bottom right shows Percent Body Fat and Total Muscle Changes. He was actually heavier than this when he started too.

I hope from reading this it gives you some hope where their may be little.   One of the hardest parts is reaching out and trusting a professional (especially in the fitness industry) when you have been living in pain for a long time.   I’m grateful Justin did and I’m looking forward to where the journey evolves to.
If you want to have a chat about whether our Pack Strength training is right for you please feel free to contact us HERE.  

 

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The Diet Mistake when returning to exercise!

When we are coming back to exercise there are many similar things that we do as humans. The problem is some of these are big mistakes.   Reading this for the next 3 minutes will ensure you don’t fall into the trap of making this mistake and then falling off the bandwagon again.

 

The mistake we are talking about here is that of jumping on a very restricted diet.   We tend to do this because in our heads ‘discipline’ of training goes with ‘discipline’ of eating well.

 

The reasons this is a big mistake is because of the following:

 

  • When we are coming back to exercise we most likely haven’t been eating our best and have been sedentary. All of a sudden you are adding in training and you will automatically make smarter choices to support this. It is true that what you eat will affect your results but in the initial stages we just want to keep things simple and not stress ourselves when we will still be getting some results without going all out on the diet front.

 

  • Whenever we restrict ourselves our inner child self is suffocated and wants exactly what we cant have.   If we are on a very restrictive diet we not only crave what we ‘can’t’ have but when we give in to the urge we also make ourselves feel guilty.   These feelings of guilt will often cause us to a) feel crappy and ‘try even harder’ next time.   Or b) decide it’s too hard and go to the other extreme of the diet we are on and ultimately fall off the training bandwagon.

 

What we suggest you do to ensure you don’t fall for this mistake is:

 

  • Focus on adding things into your eating rather than ‘taking out’.   For example focus on getting more quality water in and more greens in rather than saying you’re not allowed chocolate.   This will help smooth out the extreme thought process of ‘I’ve screwed up now as I just had a piece of chocolate, so there’s no point carrying on with the diet’.

 

  • Keep it simple.   Don’t try and be a diet saint when your current habits are a long way away from ideal. Just start with small changes and wait until they are habits before moving on.

 

 

We hope this short blog has helped you in some way. Please share it with others or tag someone you know that can benefit from this!

If you have any questions for what we do at The Wild Movement feel free to email us HERE.

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Michelle’s Journey to Vibrant Health

The goal of this post is to give you some inspiration by sharing a story about a client who made some important changes in her life to get her health back on track.

Imagine the best version of you, without filters or limits. This vision can become your reality.

This is about Michelle, one of our incredible clients, who started with us 13 months ago.

 

At the top of Mount Warning on our 2018 Wild Retreat

Michelle had been very active throughout high school and university; however, after graduating as a pharmacist, she worked long and intense hours managing a pharmacy. During these years, she had minimal time to dedicate to herself, let alone to exercise or to prepare wholesome meals. So she took action and followed her gut feeling to become a teacher. Although this is still a demanding role, this career change allowed Michelle more flexibility with her time, and she is now able to spend weekends and school holidays with her husband and young family.

When Michelle came to The Wild Movement, she hadn’t been training and felt like she was not in her best shape, but she was keen to make some changes to be a role model for her family.

We started with our individual consult to get a clear understanding of Michelle’s starting point. We ran through a mobility screening and then went through the fundamentals of squat, dead lift, bench press and chin up.

Physical Transformation

Michelle back squatted 37.5kg for three reps, dead lifted 72.5kg on the trap bar, bench pressed 32.5kg for two reps, completed one underhand chin up and rowed 1km in 4:06. Fast forward 13 months and her strength numbers are now 75kg for squat, 115kg for dead lift, 45kg for bench press, 12 chin ups and a 3:50 1km row!

Look at those back muscles!

Like many of our members, Michelle started by training twice a week to ease herself into a new routine. Her level of enjoyment remained high, as did her personal gains, so she gradually increased her sessions until she was training up to five times per week with us.

These performance results also led to changes in Michelle’s body composition. On her first scan, she was 22% BF and now sits around 12% BF (as per InBody scan). In her opinion, one of the most powerful changes behind these results is the change she made with her family’s eating habits. She attended one of our regular workshops hosted by our resident chef, Jasmine (The Wholefood Goddess), who taught Michelle and other members about Eating The Wild Way. Michelle was so inspired by this workshop; in fact, she went home and made some fundamental dietary changes to better support her active lifestyle with greater nutritional benefits. The good news is that her kids and husband are on board too… mostly!

Of course, it wasn’t an easy and straightforward progression to this point. Michelle writes below about some of her challenges and how she dealt with them.

Michelle’s Reflections

“One of the most challenging tasks that I’ve faced at The Wild Movement is setting goals for myself. This is on a more personal level because I thought that if I didn’t have any goals then there was no risk of failure or disappointment. It’s taken me a good 12 months to gradually change my thought patterns, I still struggle at times, however I’ve come a long way. A big realisation was that if I don’t have any goals then I can never really have any ‘wins’ or sense of achievement and personal growth. So this is how I made some changes… I took a risk and set myself some goals, I got out of my comfort zone by writing them down for everyone to see, and I started saying ‘yes’ more often to things I didn’t think I could do. Most importantly, I keep setting myself measureable goals with a date claimer to help me to stay motivated and to keep having fun whilst trying to chase down my goals.

Achieving a balanced life by learning to listen to my own body was another hurdle I had to overcome. Just through increased movement and mindfulness, I developed a greater awareness about when I can push myself harder to make some lasting changes and when I need to back-off and let my body rest and recover. I must admit, it’s still hard knowing the difference between good pain and bad pain, but I know I can get trusted advice and recommendations from Luke and the other coaches.

My greatest challenge over the last year has been learning to invest more time and energy in myself. My time so far at The Wild Movement has been the longest and most committed I have ever been to my strength training. The difference this time is I’ve realised that in order to look after my family, I need to look after myself, by feeling energised and making exercise a priority rather than an ‘add-on’ if there’s time. The coaches, together with the community at The Wild Movement, have greatly contributed to the longevity and success of my training, which is now an embedded part of my life and my family’s lives.”

Everyone’s measures of success are dynamic in nature and unique to that individual. As you’ve just read, success is rarely an easy and straightforward process; however, with the right support and environment, you too can start taking small steps in the direction that is right for you.

If you would like to have a chat with us to see if we can help you like we have with Michelle and so many other members just click HERE and send us a message.

 

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A Client’s Real Story.

Luke asked me to write something about my time at and some of the changes I have made since starting at The Wild Movement last year.

A little background, it was September 2017 and my life felt like it had become a hamster wheel (me being the hamster) – working 50-60+ hour weeks, eating (too much bad food), sleeping (badly) and then repeat. “How did this happen how did my life get to this….?” Looking back, I put it down to a series of interstate moves over an eight-year period where I had found myself always allowing work to come first. It was exhausting, chugging away to get through the daily grind with my immediate short-term goal to get through to my long service leave anniversary date which was due in January 2018, take a well-deserved break and then re-evaluate what I wanted to be doing.

It was definitely time for some changes to take place but I wasn’t quite sure how to make things happen. I had seen the Wild Movement 4-week challenge come through on my Facebook feed and thought this could be just the thing to help me to get back on track from a health and fitness perspective. I had participated in boot camp type challenges previously and really enjoyed the group environment and the time-lined approach with clear start and finish dates. Unfortunately, the September dates clashed with an upcoming holiday. Luckily, there was another challenge for October and I was able to schedule a consult for my return.

The Challenge

I set some early goals to commit to attending all of my scheduled training sessions, and also seek some work/life balance with no more than 40 hours a week at work. There was also a little something about giving up chocolate…… I managed to achieve two out of my three challenge goals.

  • The first scan & photo – I had dreaded this so very much but also knew I needed a clear starting point to help keep me accountable for achieving some results. It also allowed me to see exactly what my baseline was (the initial baseline definitely gave me something to improve upon)
  • I remember my first few weeks of training being super tough. I needed to sit down a few times, especially during those early conditioning sessions
  • I tried to make attending the sessions nice and easy, by scheduling the 06:00 sessions which didn’t allow me any time in the mornings to think about whether I was going to train as it was already too late to cancel – my alarm would go off and sleep/no sleep, feeling good/feeling ordinary I just went along and allowed it to become my “new normal”
  • Week 4 challenge testing allowed me to see some positive gains and to set new baselines for the future
  • My scan results from the 4-week challenge were definitely not what I had been hoping for. I had a small weight loss of 1.3 kg and subsequently a small body fat percent loss and some muscle gain 1.2 kg. I was definitely disappointed

After the challenge I decided to stick with training at TWM but I wasn’t entirely sure that all the hard work I was putting in was paying off or whether it was the right type of training for me. I spoke with a couple of friends about my frustrations over lack of results and they convinced me to stick it out for a bit longer. They also told me not to give myself such a hard time and surely any results in the right direction were good results. During the next couple of months I kept doing the 3 + 1 session bundle, tracking what I considered to be small changes through until the end of the year. A three week break over Christmas led to yet another disappointing scan result in January and I decided it was time to mix things up a little bit. I increased my training sessions to the unlimited bundle mostly so I didn’t have to keep choosing between Wednesday night Yoga and the Saturday morning sessions. From this point I averaged 6 sessions per week and was also trying to walk at least 10 kms most days. The walks were mostly to stretch out some of the strength training but also to get some fresh air and take some time to just move and listen to some tunes.

The food workshop with Jasmine early in the New Year was a real turning point for me. I had been eating what I thought was reasonably well but things weren’t quite coming together. I remember going home after the workshop, clearing out my pantry, heading out to buy a new food processor and pressure cooker and started to batch cook a selection of meals from the recipes provided. My favourites are the chicken meatloaf, chicken broth, and vegetable patties – simple, delicious and healthy meals which quickly became a key part in my everyday eating. I already had my training sorted out, I didn’t have to give it any thought simply get up and go when my alarm went off in the mornings. Having the meals pre-made and ready to heat and eat meant not thinking so much about meals allowing food preparation and eating meals to become really easy.

Finally, in April my scan showed some decent changes. From this point things just seemed to fall into place and it was so much easier to keep going with both food and training when the results were going my way. Training was also proving to be a wonderful distraction from work pressures and a family situation which had arisen. For 5 to 6 hours a week I just had to concentrate on doing what I was being told by the trainers, get it done, get out of there and then start the day knowing I had already done something really good for myself. The Saturday sessions whilst always super tough were a great chance to train with and get to know some of the people attending different sessions during the week and the Wednesday afternoon yoga sessions the perfect way to switch things up a bit stretch out and really helped me to refocus and get through the tail end of the working week.

When initially chatting about why I was at TWM and what I was wanting to achieve I remember Luke asking something along the lines of “what makes this time different?” with regards to wanting to make some lifestyle changes, be healthier and lose some weight. I didn’t really have an answer for this – I still don’t have an answer but some things which have made a difference and helped me to make some big changes to my health and fitness were;

  • An encouraging and supportive environment
  • Small groups – limited numbers allowing for personal attention to both technique and different fitness levels
  • A holistic approach to health and fitness including; training, diet, recovery and sleeping
  • Qualified and supportive trainers who know what they are doing and work hard to get the best out of everyone
  • A fabulous community of people who really want to see each other succeed. This encouragement and support has been wonderful

 

Learnings

  • Life sometimes throws you curveballs that can derail even the best of intentions. It would have been easy for me to give up a number of times however, I knew I needed to make some big changes and had some clear goals in my mind and this made it easier to keep going
  • You have to be ready for or get yourself ready for change – you need to know why you want the change and how you are going to achieve it otherwise it’s really easy to slip back into old ways
  • I have an 80/20 approach to eating. I eat chocolate most days. I have learnt it’s important for me to not eliminate foods completely – as soon as I restrict certain foods completely from my diet the wheels start to fall off
  • I am definitely not always my best self at 06:00 in the morning however, I persisted with this morning schedule and over time the early starts became easier, more so when the results really started to show
  • Being and feeling strong and doing things you have never done before (or not done for a very long time) whether it be a handstand, a pull-up, a cartwheel, get a new hang time or lift a new weight for the first time feels really good!

You can see the physical transformation which has taken place in my before and after pictures. It seemed to take so much time for the results to start to show and was really hard work taking a lot of persistence and commitment to get to this point. I am pretty happy with where I got to by making some big changes to how I was living my life from both a health & fitness and work life balance perspective. The physical changes are really only one aspect of my transformation. I was reading a quote recently and it said something along the lines of “When you start taking care of yourself, you start feeling better, you start looking better; and you attract better things. It all starts with you.” This has proven true for me one of my recent decisions was to choose to take back some control over my life, move away from a job which was no longer making me happy and subsequently choose to take an extended break away from “real life” and travel around Europe for a while. I am not so sure whether I would have made the same decision 12 months ago. The plan for now is to take some time out to have some fun and new adventures and then when the time comes I will start to make some plans for what comes next. I am really excited to be seeing new sights, having new experiences, meeting new friends and making some fabulous memories. Most importantly of all though I am enjoying taking some well-deserved time out from all the demands of everyday life.

See you all in a few months!

Coaches Note > This client lost 15kg and 20% body fat over these 7-8 months.  All credit to her grit in turning up no matter what!

 

 

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