Tag

Slider

Browsing

Someone recently asked me what bobsleigh truly meant to me.

I had to think about it. Having focused so intensely on the journey ahead, the battle for testing, and the constant training, it had been a while since I reflected on where I’ve come from – and how this journey has impacted me.

So here’s a quick reflection:

Bobsleigh is more than sport. In a very short amount of time it’s become an obsession, a heartfelt passion, and a community. It’s incredible to hear the stories and adventures other athletes have had, many of them comparable to mine, which makes this unique community of athletes humble and familiar. We spend countless hours together as a crew, to shave hundredths of a second as a team.

In a recent team meeting our head coach told the athletes that if didn’t feel the absolute need in their heart to be here that they shouldn’t – nobody moved. Each and every one of these athletes here share a quality of professionalism and drive that seems to be unmatched in any other sport I’ve been fortunate enough to compete in. Truly world leading mindsets.

To the coaches, athletes, mentors, and role models – thank you. Thank you for the support and motivation to continue this journey and begin discovering what it means to be an elite athlete day in and out, on and off the track.

So yes, looking back, bobsleigh is not only fulfilling a dream but so much more than I could have ever imagined.

As I move closer to Bobsleigh Canada’s testing camp in the next couple weeks, I have begun to look back on the journey I began just over a year ago. A year filled with new coaches, learning to sprint, getting stronger, battling injuries, and countless other unexpected challenges that made an impact or even a detour along the way.

Someone once told me, “the ultimate  challenge is with one’s self” – and it truly is. Sure, resistance training might be difficult, or a severe conditioning circuit might make you want to puke, but no level of difficulty will compare to the mental battles you’re going to encounter and that’s okay. Reflecting on the year I’ve had, here are a few of my tips that have kept me moving forward.

  1. Be self-aware.
    No one will know your body like you do. Each day is an opportunity to chase perfection, but that doesn’t mean every day is going to be perfect. Athletes go through cycles, building phases, recovery phases, and countless other periods where the brain, body, and nervous system are going to be severely impacted. Be aware of how your body feels, and reacts, and adjust your training and recovery accordingly.
  2. Be open.
    The greatest athletes are scholars of their sport. Be open to criticism and learning by finding yourself coaches, mentors, and role models. Absorb anything someone is willing to teach you, and apply it.
  3. You need a plan.
    Changes don’t happen overnight, or during a single session. They’re the result of a well planned, well executed, master process that takes time. You can’t wish, or guess success – create a plan, have it on paper, and follow it.
  4. Stay humble.
    Pat yourself on the back, clap, do a victory dance – but then get back to the grind. Results are proven on the clock, not off the lip. No one cares what you “used” to be able to do.
  5. Treat each movement with a purpose.
    Keep your goal in mind. Each and every movement should reflect a purpose to better yourself as an athlete in your discipline. Use the gym as a tool to train, not just gain.
  6. Disciplined priorities.
    This is where the mental battle gets the most difficult. You’ll learn to tell your friends “no”, you’ll give up guilty pleasures or cheat meals, and you’ll probably spend more time meal prepping than socializing. Find your strength in sacrifice and be grateful for those decisions when they add up, and pay off down the road.

Returning to being an athlete is not something I expected to do in my mid-twenties. In fact, I had abandoned the thought altogether after I finished high school and continued on to university. Lots of us grew up with hopes and dreams of playing in lit up stadiums, with thousands of fans cheering your team on to victory, but the percentage of individuals who actually have the opportunity to experience that is just all too small.

Growing up my life revolved around competitive sports. To this day, my father still tells stories about times where I went 50 days straight, either playing hockey, soccer, or even both in the same day. Despite my dedication to sports, I was just too small and didn’t quite have what it took to get to the next level. Years later, those dreams faded as friends and other athletes progressed their careers to great heights and I simply fell behind, and eventually, off.

I was never jealous. I was always happy to see their accomplishments and see photos of them “playing in the big leagues” – however, I had always wondered what it would be like to be in their shoes. Learning to leave behind dreams is a difficult but rewarding challenge, as long as you’re able to make the most of it. Changing perspectives offers you the opportunity to go after something new – and that’s precisely what I did.

Fast forward to early 2017 and I found myself back in a position where I was ready for something. I began searching for a change, something I could perform in, and something I could down right sink my teeth into.

And that brings us to bobsleigh. Comprised of rogue athletes built for speed and power, this demanding team sport is the perfect balance of grace and absolute beast mode. It requires athletes that are not just strong, not just fast, but strong, fast, and mentally prepared capable of one heck of a ride. A different kind of animal.

Step-by-step over the past year I have slowly put the necessary blocks in place to tailor both my training and my lifestyle to center around training for bobsleigh, and in time, compete at the national level. The recruitment process is simple but demanding; meet the necessary high-performance evaluation standards and you’ll get an invitation to the National Team testing program in Calgary. Qualifying through the Ottawa camp back in June, I now have an chance to show what I have to make the team.

I am fueled by the feeling of a second chance – an opportunity to perform in a unique space, as a high-performance athlete, that I simply wasn’t able to do in my youth. This is the first of many posts as I embark on a long journey to chase a place on a team, and maybe some hardware in-between. I encourage you to follow, comment, and maybe even be inspired to chase some dreams of your own.

Find your passion, and get after it. 

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place… and I don´t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently, if you let it. You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But ain’t about how hard you hit… It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That´s how winning is done.

Although this quote comes from a fictional movie, it couldn’t speaker truer to this topic. Unfortunately, as part of your training you’re naturally going to face failure. You train, you grind, you sink your teeth into your dreams – but sometimes you’re just going to fall short.

Recently I have made my first strides in chasing my goals. Competing against nearly 1000 other athletes in 5 qualifiers I fell just short of making the cut to the final event. Am I disappointed? Sure. Am I devastated? Absolutely not. Am I going to quit? #%^* no.

To me disappointment drives dedication. It would have been an exciting accomplishment to make it into the final event, but not making it isn’t a setback. It means I keep my nose to the grind, to get faster, stronger, and more explosive for the next time.

The key is to take failure as an opportunity, not a loss. If you quit – that will stay with you forever.

Compression gear is a crucial part of many athlete’s toolkit. But how do budget friendly, mainstream brands compare to built-to-perform compression based brands? Truth is – they don’t. You get what you pay for and anybody looking to enhance training, performance, shouldn’t be looking to take shortcuts when it comes to their gear. You don’t cheat a squat and call it a full rep, so don’t cheat yourself on your gear either.

Compression gear offers many benefits to athletes. Less muscle damage, greater endurance, and improved recovery are just a few of the simple but effective reasons to add it to your daily training routine.

Human performance multiplied is the motto for Australian based company 2XU. They offer a complete lineup of high-quality, purpose built compression lines designed to aid your training and even recovery. Fuelled by technology, science, research, and athlete input each piece is designed with athletic performance in mind.

Want to see what we’re talking about? Watch this quick video showcasing their MCS (Muscle Containment Stamping) technology, and how it’s incorporated into the compression gears fabric.

I know you’re thinking, “Great – cool designs and neat gold logo, but how does this affect how much I can clean or squat?” so let me tell you. While compression gear won’t automatically add an extra plate to your set, it will improve your muscles endurance, and recovery. This means you’ll be able to find those extra reps, feel more rested after those quick 30 second rests, and more importantly be ready to do it all over again the next day.

Here’s a little more from 2XU themselves:

images

MCS (Muscle Containment Stamping) is a patterned elastic-style material that lines the inside of the compression fabric to provide an extra targeted area of compression.

The stamping is its own layer, additional to the fabric not within it, and can be applied precisely where needed to support muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia groups.

Added compression accurately shaped to your anatomy provides extra support to key muscle areas, which lessens muscle oscillation and reduces fatigue, energy wastage and soreness.


A product post wouldn’t be complete without a testimonial – so here is our opinion of their products.

After testing the 2XU products for the first time, I quickly found myself immediately returning online to order more and tossing my Under Armour and Nike gear to the trash. I have found the 2XU apparel to be tighter, longer lasting, and a far superior fabric to anything else on the market.


Intrigued but not inspired? Give this a watch and then head over to 2XU to start ordering your own top high-performance compression gear.

 

Source: 2XU Canada

The words “where do you want to be” consistently echo in my head when I’m training. Six simple words that have pushed me to another set, rep, or to add a little bit more weight countless times over – mostly at a time when your body feels the need to just give up.

This is thanks to one of my trainers Justin screaming them at me. A former CFL safety, he knows first hand what it takes to take yourself to the next level. To push yourself just a little bit harder, and 10% harder than everybody else. I am lucky to have him. 👊

Recently I’ve found myself aiming for goals far outside a quick reach. They’re not impossible, but they take discipline and a lot of hard work just to even have a sniff of opportunity. They’re dreams. Because of these I’ve found myself self-reflecting on the individuals who have inspired me, and helped me develop my goal-chasing attitude.


he·ro
ˈhirō/ noun

a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.


Everyone with a dream needs a hero. They come in all shapes and sizes, you may know them personally or never met them at all – but they inspire you to be a better version of yourself. (Unfortunately, most don’t have capes but it would be pretty cool if they did). Now these individuals aren’t heroes to me just because of their accomplishments. It’s their strength in sacrifice – pushing themselves when no one else is watching. Heart outweighs talent in my opinion.

Story time:

I have been blessed to have my hero my entire life. Someone who’s faced challenges, doubters, and anything else the world could throw at them – just to come out stronger and with more will to chase her dream. This inspiring attitude comes from my very own mother.

Someone who continued to push the boundaries of what was possible as an athlete and then find the strength to not push the bar, but throw it and then go get it again. Becoming a World Champion Bodybuilder in the WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) isn’t easy to begin with, doing it in just five years is something next level – but so was her mindset. Committed to her dreams, you could always find her in the gym at 5am every morning before heading to her day job as a principal. I’m sure she was one of the most feared principals in the school system.

At a young age she wrote me a note – something to help me get through a training camp away from home. I’ve kept it to this day as a constant reminder of what mindset it takes to become a champion.

Sometimes, in order to excel, we have to demand more (physically and mentally) of ourselves.

It is the elite athlete who can overcome the feelings of “this is too hard” or “I don’t feel like doing this or I can’t” – who is the winner – for no matter what sport – team or individual – soccer, hockey, gymnastics or bodybuilding, the ultimate challenge is with one’s self.

Be a winner – dig deep inside yourself, take full advantage of the opportunities which has been provided to you. You are an extremely gifted athlete – but just like all gifted athletes you must learn to develop and overcome the mental competition – for this is truly what separates a “good” athlete from an “exceptional” athlete!

Remember the strength comes from within.

Be strong!

Love you lots & lots.

Mom Xoxo

Please keep in mind I was very young when she wrote this, but a little love from Mom never hurt for motivation either. I’ve always kept his note because to this day I have never found a more driven and dedicated individual – and that inspires me. Want to read more about what she accomplished? Click here. 

Have a dream, a hero, dig your heels in and push yourself harder than anyone else is willing to.

How bad do you really want it?


 

The Spartan Race: a test of endurance, strength, power, and overall grit. Training for these races takes a considerable amount of conditioning, and fortunately they’ve provided a number of amazing workouts to help elevate your performance in order to be in optimal shape for their races, or any other event for that matter. Beyond that, these training workouts are a great HIIT style workout for anyone looking to introduce a body weight training day into their routine. Give the Spartan 100 a shot – AROO!


THE SPARTAN 100

Talk doesn’t cook rice — Chinese Proverb

Run. Reps. Rest. Repeat. Don’t overthink a workout like this. There isn’t too much to say, either. Find the nearest field when you have a spare 30 minutes and get to work. Less talking and more training wins every time.

Warm-up

Main set

  • 100 yard run/sprint, 10 push-ups, 1 minute rest
  • 100 yard run/sprint, 10 lunges, 1 minute rest
  • 100 yard run/sprint, 10 pull-ups, 1 minute rest
  • 100 yard run/sprint, 10 burpees, 1 minute rest
  • 100 yard run/sprint, 10 squats, 1 minute rest
  • 100 yard run/sprint, 30 sit-ups, fully recover.

Repeat:
Sprint (Beginner) x 4-8
Super (Intermediate) x 9-15
Beast (Advanced) x 16+

Cool Down:

Stretch

 

Source: Spartan Race, Inc.

As we enter the New Year, each and every day new songs are released to help pump you through the toughest of workouts. However we can’t forget to celebrate 2017’s most popular workout tracks as per Spotify. So here they are:

1. Eminem – ‘Till I Collapse

2. Post Malone – rockstar

3. Eminem – Lose Yourself – Soundtrack Version

4. Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE

Have you ever gone to the gym, without planning what to do that day? Sure you may have decided on an upper or lower body day, but the first five minutes of your workout are typically spent wandering around the machines and racks deciding what exercises to pair together. Believe me, I’ve done it myself, and always left feeling I still had energy in the tank.

Mixing High-Intensity-Interval-Training style classes into your weekly workout routine has many benefits. Here are my top six:

  1. No Planning Necessary
    Clear your mind and let the instructor lead the class. HIIT style classes offer the opportunity to follow along to the already laid-out exercises without the worry of having to decide what is next.
  2. Professionally Designed Circuits
    These circuits are built by professionally certified trainers, with the right goals in mind. Whether it be hypertrophy, push-pull, or any other combination of training theories, these circuits are designed to get the absolute ideal outcome for the designated muscle groups of the day.
  3. Extra Motivation
    Who doesn’t need a little extra push? Training in a class not only gives you a trainer to help push you harder, but can give you an element of healthy competition. This may be your workout partner, or even yourself as you step the weight up round over round. #challengeaccepted
  4. Ability to Focus
    Not having to plan what exercise is coming next gives you the opportunity to really drill down your form, and focus at the exercise at hand. This is crucial for both avoiding injury, as well as stimulating the muscle properly for increased performance.
  5. High Intensity – High Heart Rate
    HIIT training offers an ideal and proven environment for the body to increase it’s cardiovascular endurance (VO2 max), promote fat-loss, all while building strength.
  6. In and Out
    Your time is valuable. HIIT classes offer the ability to get in a strong, concentrated workout – without having to be at the gym hour upon hour. At an average 45 minutes long, these classes are perfect for anyone and can even be snuck in during a simple lunch hour.

Vacations are a great opportunity to turn off the everyday grind, and reset your headspace. But this time off doesn’t mean you should completely disregard the progress, and goals you’ve set out to accomplish.

Unfortunately, not all vacation resorts, houses, or wherever you may be staying have the necessary equipment that you’re used to or are comfortable with. This means most workouts, should they even happen, end up being more rest than stress. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking the time off from everything during my vacation, but a proper sweat with the right exercises will make those inevitable cold brews (or strawberry daiquiris for a few friends of mine) taste even more deserving.

Currently being on vacation at a house in Cape Coral, Florida I haven’t had any access to equipment. Better yet, the nearest gym is a full 25 minute drive each way – and that’s just precious beach time I couldn’t give up. Vacation workouts need to be short, effective, and make you leave saying, “holy @#$&” every time. Heart rates need to be up, reps need to be high, and sweat needs to be pouring.

That being said, here is my go to vacation crusher that requires no weight and hits the full body. Give yourself about 50 minutes to complete this circuit. With 10 minutes of stretching at the end, it is a full hour well-spent.


Vacation Crusher Workout (50 mins)

  • 10 Minute Run
  • 10 Minutes of 50m Sprints (rest time is your walk back)
  • 10 Bench Hip Extensions per Side (5 Sets) (45s Rest)
  • 10 Single Leg Pistol Box Squats (5 Sets) (45s Rest)
  • 10 Plyometric Push-ups (Clapping is preferred, but it’s realistically whatever you’re capable of) (5 Sets) (45s Rest)
  • 12 Tricep Dips (5 Sets) (45s Rest)
  • 12 Side Crunches per Side (5 Sets) (45s Rest)

Finisher: Squat Jump Pyramid

  • 10 reps, 15 reps, 20 reps, 15 reps, 10 reps (1 min Rest)