Author Archives: B32 Athletics
by Joelle Collard
What is nourishment?
We all default far too quickly to thinking (and believing) that nourishment lies solely with what you put in your mouth. That it is defined by the unique combination of macronutrients that sit on your plate.
But nourishment by definition includes the “substances necessary for growth, health and good condition”. That means more than physical growth, health and good condition. We can extend the definition to the growth, health and good condition of the mind and soul as well.
The fact of the matter is: nourishment is far more than what you put on your plate, on your fork and in your mouth. Nourishment is about all the elements – food, life, love – that provide you the opportunity for growth. Specific to eating, nourishment is about who’s around when you do eat, what context and environment you do it in, and what kind of eating personality you’re bringing to the table.
Eating without regard of these factors means you’re likely missing out of the deeper things you need to grow, expand and be content.
We have plenty to say on how you might go about finding the right kinds of food for you. We may even have a bit to say about the finer details of quantity. But here I want to talk about the 5 P’s of eating that will help you to derive much more from the food on your plate than simply protein, carbohydrate and fat.
Do not doubt the element of pleasure when it comes to metabolism and deriving the maximum nutrient value from your foods. To create and experience the pleasure of the eating experience is to switch on your metabolic machinery. The experience of feeling and tasting every bite that touches your tongue sets your physiology up for absorption mode. It allows your system to switch on the machinery necessary to digest and assimilate all the goodness from what you’re inputting. Pleasure also draws us into our bodies, enabling us to feel the signals and feedback that lets us know when we’re satisfied and fully nourished.
Try putting on some amazing music while you eat, having a really nice glass of wine (if that’s your thing), and really making your meal an experience – make sure it smells, looks and tastes phenomenal.
Participating is about eating when you’re eating. It’s about being in the experience of eating, not distracted anywhere else. When you’re eating, you need to be eating, not surfing the internet, not writing that report that’s due, not emailing your friends.
Eating needs to be viewed as more than just something that needs to be ticked off your list and gotten out of the way so you can pursue the next thing. It needs to be viewed as its own, dedicated moment to immerse, slow down, and reconnect with your body.
Try allowing a dedicated period of time for every meal and snack. Create a buffer around eating where you can sit and be present with your body before and after meals.
Humans are social, emotional creatures. Who doesn’t love a meal out with friends? Or the home cooking of your parents and the way your family always sits around the table together, sharing stories? Perhaps for you it’s a barbecue in the backyard or Japanese takeaway on the floor at home. The social rituals of eating are a hugely powerful thing – no matter what the flavour of your experience is.
The people you have around you and their immersion in the eating experience affects your eating experience. In turn, we all affect each other metabolically.
Consider your social environment when you eat. Invite friends over for dinner, or head out for breakfast or a smoothie with someone you’d love to chat to and connect with. Pay attention to how the food tastes and how fulfilled you are after these eating instances.
Many people eat way too quickly. Too quickly to event taste what they put in their mouths, let alone derive pleasure from it, or to even notice who’s around them when they eat. If this is you, you gotta slow down!
Eating at pace means we’re eating in a physiological state of stress. When in that state, you’re ability to digest and absorb nutrients is significantly impaired. Stress means threat, and threat means run or fight. Stress doesn’t mean spend a bunch of life-preserving energy and necessary blood flow breaking down that steak you just shoved into your gut.
Try slowing down! Take three deep breaths before you begin your meal, then another three deep breaths whenever you think about it during your meal. Put your fork down between every mouthful, and always aim to be the last to finish at the table.
Your body is giving you feedback all the time about what it needs and how much. And what it needs changes all the time - don’t think that because you figured out some magic macronutrient ratio or combination of foods one month it will still work for you next month… we’re way too clever and adaptable for that!
Paying attention to your body wisdom – the “I’m full”, “I really need some protein”, “give me water”, “rest, dammit!” signals are a perfect way to figure out the best approach to nourish your body in any given moment. Listen in.
Want to know more? Check out our upcoming seminar, Functional Nutrition Wisdom, 15 March.
[go to: Online Store > select: Functional Nutrition Wisdom> follow the prompts]
*Current B32 clients who have an account with us, please contact Joelle to get your login & password details for online workshop registration (if you haven’t already received them.)
*If you’ve been sent login details in the past 12 months, please use these to register for the workshop via our online store
by Amber Nomchong
Liz Rivard came to B32 with one shoulder in recovery from a reconstruction and the other shoulder booked in for surgery the following fortnight. Looking for something different from what she had been doing, Liz needed a new approach. She had realised that the way she had been training was no longer serving her, and in fact that it may have been damaging her. Liz came to us with a preparedness to try something new. She was open to a new way of training… but first she was intending to surgically fix that other pesky shoulder.
Upon assessing Liz’s shoulder function, Ross and I felt she could benefit from some targeted strength and mobility development of both shoulders and that this kind of approach could in fact save Liz from surgery on the second shoulder.
Ross and I approached Liz to discuss our proposal that she postpone her surgery, which had been scheduled for the following week. Liz had chosen the surgery path for one shoulder, she had booked the second and she was all set to go. She had plans in place and had already made a considered decision (and investment) as to which direction to go. This was the moment where Liz could have chosen to be closed to an alternate approach but instead Liz chose to be open-minded, she considered the completely different path Ross and I suggested, and she chose to suck it and see.
“I was soooo disappointed with myself/my shoulder. Nothing seemed to fill the void” Liz said. “I met these beautiful people who said “you can’t always fix something with surgery- come on a journey with us and let us see what we can do together. You don’t have to do it alone!””
Liz’s shoulder dysfunction:
After a detailed physiology assessment, we discovered forwardly rotated scapula, caused by two things:
1. The smaller intrinsic stabilising muscles of the shoulders were not functioning as they should; and
2. Due to the stabiliser dysfunction, the larger, prime mover muscles were working inefficiently (i.e. the big muscles were trying to do the work of the smaller muscles as well as their own job.) Whenever the prime muscles moved, it created wear and tear, adhesions, undue stiffness and the lock down of related tissues.
Over time, the stress on the shoulder due to the above contributing factors began to cause damage to the shoulder capsule itself, creating what looked like the need for surgical intervention.
Regardless of whether Liz chose to undertake surgery on her shoulder or not, some work would have needed to be done to rectify these functional issues to prevent the problem from recurring in the future. We chose to do this work on the front end, with the knowledge that we may actually negate the need for surgery at all.
This is akin to the idea that when we simply treat the symptom itself (the shoulder pain) without investigating the causative factors, we very often see the same symptoms show up again –differing sometimes by magnitude or area of the body. By investigating and rectifying the root, underlying cause, we can more often than not remove not only the symptoms but also prevent them from returning in the future.
After consulting with her surgeon, he agreed Liz should go ahead with our non-surgical approach.
Our approach to shoulder rehab, sans surgery:
The approach to Liz’s shoulder rehab consisted of a blend of:
- Fascial health restoration via pin and stretch techniques, massage, trigger point therapy, Graston technique and Gua Sha work;
- Structural balance development – re-establishing the capability of the scapula stabiliser (smaller, more subtle) muscles via personalised supplementary exercises; and
- Planned and strategic progression to movements involving upward scapula rotation (e.g. seated behind the neck press); and
- Eventual inclusion of more natural movements allowing enhancement of shoulder reflexes, like wall walks, bear crawls and throwing.
Alongside her shoulder rehabilitation, Liz was engaged in a fully integrated, balanced training program involving strength work (which, when targeted can effectively induce and enhance healing in other areas of the body) and energy system training.
Four months later, Liz’s surgery is still off the cards. She has restored scapular stability, the health of the tissue in both shoulders are steadily building and her mobility is increasing. She can now perform movements and has function she previously thought not possible without surgical intervention. (Check out her wall walks!)
Along the road Liz kept an open mind to other holistic approaches to her health. She engaged in our Integrative Health Coaching stream embraced the role of her gut and its impact on her training, the importance of hormonal balance and mental perspective for overall health and healing. In conversations within her training sessions, I challenged Liz around not just her training, but also her approach to life. Challenges she accepted and embraced. She shifted, she grew.
In Liz’s words:
“The team at B32 have reminded me it all starts with optimal wellbeing. Who are you? Who do you want to be? For goodness sake, just slow down and listen to yourself! No pretensions. I am now calmer with all those people who used to stress me out. I deal with my baggage not theirs… My key lesson has been to remember to relax, listen to your body and ….chill.”
It was not all butterflies and rainbows for Liz. She was challenged, she struggled, but ultimately she chose to see what happened. Liz remarks:
“I found many of the concepts challenging. Slowing down was really difficult for me. Being in the fitness industry there is a huge expectation (from within the industry) to always be amazing and exceptional. We are just like everyone else, everyone who struggles with everyday life.”
It has been amazing to watch Liz transform, not only mechanically but as a person. Liz has a comfortable glow about her now and she continues to be open to new approaches even when they are very challenging to her. I am looking forward to seeing Liz’s journey unfold and how her openness will continue to reveal new ways of being for her.
“With the addition of B32 to my life I have found a balance. No one has all the answers but to surround yourself with likeminded, honest and very direct people is a positive step.”
Liz’s openness has worked for her. She is looking onwards and outwards.
“Wow! Look out. I have decided, (with knowledgeable guidance from Amber), to take it one step at a time and really enjoy what I’m doing now. Power lifting here I come! Then look out Olympic lifting.”
** If you’re interested in getting some help with your own rebuild, or our Intensive Personal Training service, flick us a line here.
“I had never considered the need for full range of motion and symmetry of range of motion might be an artistic as well as physical need” – Rachel Croome
Thanks for sharing Rachel.
By Ross Blake
Before we get into it, here’s a quick overview of the macronutrients so that we’re on the same page:
- Carbohydrate: Also coined as “carbs” are essentially sugars. Sources include vegetables, fruits, breads, pasta, rice and other grains. Used to fuel exercise, brain function and every system in the body. The body eventually turns all foods we eat into sugars.
- Protein: Found in meats of all kinds, legumes, dairy. (Though for the sake of this article, let’s focus on protein sources being primarily animal-based.) Used primarily as the building blocks of the body, they help to maintain muscle, hair, skin and nails. Protein is used by the brain and the central nervous system for mental acuity.
- Fat: Found in meats, nuts, seeds, avocado, dairy, oils. Fat is primarily used by the body to nourish cell membranes, maintain metabolic function and restore the nervous system.
Let’s get started…
Have you ever had one of those evenings where you practically pace up and down your bed spread? You’re just on. Occasionally almost dropping into a restful slumber… then… bam. You’re acutely switched on again.
I know there are folks who for, whatever reason, most of their lives have had sleeping issues. I also recognize that insomnia is a serious issue so we won’t go into the complexity of those more chronic problems here. However, for more acute and simpler versions of sleep issues, it strikes me how rarely we see macronutrient-based prescriptions to aid sleep entry and sustained sleep. Using nutrition to trigger and manipulate hormonal release can be just as effective for sleep as it is for physical performance.
Several years back, I was delving pretty hard into sorting out my own sleep quality, and like always happens in life, once you notice something once, suddenly it pops up everywhere. Many of the 50 odd folks I was consulting with at the time suddenly came out of the woodwork with their own sleep issues. This was clearly a learning point for me, and so I began to pay closer attention to energy rhythms, training times, training intensity, digestion, symptoms, mental acuity post meals and ultimately, what just seemed to work for folks in the evening to allow for a better sleep.
During this time of experimenting with each of these factors, there were a few conversations with some leading folks in the health scene regarding the use of specific macro-nutrients and correlation with sleep quality. In particular I had a few email exchanges with a biochemistry professor asking him to do some digging for me. This guy is super nice, massively educated in biochemistry and lives a functional fitness, primal-like lifestyle. So he was a solid bloke to converse with in that he understood our context. But there didn’t seem to be any applicable research at the time that linked macros with sleep quality. So he kinda shut me down. He spoke science and I spoke practice and that pretty much halted the conversation… so back to trial and error.
Below are the insights I found in my experiments with food and sleep quality across a bunch of people over many years. We pass these on to not give you the answer – what works for you now will likely be different in 3 months. So with that in mind, use the below as a means to investigate how your body responds to the mix of life, macronutrients and their effect on sleep. Tinker. Play.
Assuming you have a relatively balanced carbohydrate, protein and fat-based dinner (i.e. a bit of each), start by consuming a single macronutrient-based food (e.g. just protein, not protein + carbohydrate) before bed. This will help you get a clearer understanding of the effects each macro instigates and whether it aids or hinders your sleep.
Playing with carbohydrate (CHO)
Typically carbohydrate helps relax the body in those who tolerate sugars reasonably well. CHO can work to slow down the mind in some folks, take the body out of a stressed state if daily carbohydrate intake is low in general and may help to top up and maintain blood sugar through the night.
What to try:
20-30min prior to sleep time, consume a low fibre carbohydrate snack (too much roughage at this time can disrupt sleep via heightened gut activity). E.g.:
- Ripe banana
- Glass of pulp fee orange juice
Playing with protein (PRO)
Usually protein increases brain activity, so for some folks it can actually disrupt sleep by helping the mind to keep ticking. However, some metabolic types are able to better maintain blood sugar balance through the night via consumption of a little protein before bed, rather than carbohydrate.
What to try:
20-30min prior to sleep time, consume a digestible (for you) form of animal-based protein. E.g.:
- Small nibble of lean muscle meat – e.g. chicken, steak, mince
- Small portion of lean white fish
- Small PRO shake (clean protein, sans sweeteners, flavours, and definitely without pre-trainer stimulants!)
Playing with fat (FAT)
Fat can help to settle the central nervous system. Especially if you’ve had a hard training or thinking day, it can help to calm things down in the head. Fat is also relatively hormonally neutral, in that it can help keep any hunger levels at bay and doesn’t play around too much with blood sugar levels.
What to try:
20-30min prior to sleep time, consume a fat-based snack. E.g.:
- Tbsp nut butter or coconut oil
- Take a fish oil supp at night
- A little dark (85+ % cacao content) chocolate (be wary of possible sensitivity to small levels of caffeine in the chocolate, add peanut butter for flavour explosion.)
If you find that CHO, PRO or FAT works really well – stick with it. Use what works for you (until it doesn’t anymore, then experiment and go again.) If you haven’t found any positive impact, you can try a combination of macros. E.g.
Food that is dominant in carbohydrate but contains a blend of macro nutrients like:
- Ice cream (Carb dominant, small amount of protein, moderate fat content)
- Jelly (Carb dominant, moderate protein)
- Banana and nut butter (customizable – carbohydrate + fat)
- Berries and heavy cream (customisable – carbohydrate + fat +
mall amount of protein from dairy)
Quantity matters. You will want to pay attention to not only the amount of food you try, but also the composition of macros in your concoction (some guides given above) to figure out what levels of each work best for you.
Also consider the emotional aspects of food. Your favourite dessert your grandma used to make will make you feel nurtured, warm, comforted and sleepy – play with versions of this to create that same relaxation response before you try to hit bed.
This is a hugely individual thing… experiment with different things and tap into body wisdom as much as you can to help guide you. Here you can buy our Wellness Tracker. This spreadsheet is great for developing your own body wisdom through the collection of data and observations and noticing the patterns your system shows you in response to food and life.
Sit in on one of our off-the-cuff coffee chats for conversational insights and perspectives on health, fitness and life. With Ross Blake & Joelle Collard.
In session 1 over coffee by the Kona Aquatic Centre, we talk embodiment in nutrition. What it means, why it’s important and 3 easy ways to try it out.
Did you enjoy this? Share our first Coffee Session via Twitter.
The Turkish Get Up is a unique functional core movement blending mindfulness and intent (around hand, foot and knee placement), penalisation for impatience and marries together mobility and strength. The TGU teaches you to feel and use the body as a whole, functioning piece – readily translatable across multiple sports, fitness scenarios and life in general.
Essentially, the TGU uses a blend of stabilising support muscles – the smaller, inner hard to see muscles that hold joints in place while you move, and prime movers- the larger, more visible muscles that perform the movement action of the limbs.
Why is it awesome?
It beautifully blends real movement with mindfulness, which we could argue is where real function lies.
Reflexes, visceral placement, integration of limbs and capacity ALL make up the functioning core. Tweet this.
The TGU is perfect for incorporating each of these elements in some way, making it an ideal functional core movement.
- It specifically develops reflexes by creating the need for real time alterations in balance and limb/extremity positioning based on feedback gained via proprioceptive and balance-based cues.
- As a progression from strict core capacity building movements like sit ups, the TGU requires the incorporation of limbs into core function.
- The ‘Get Up progresses upon a foundation of strict core capacity, in that it required functioning core endurance in order to hold specific positions and maintain control and stability throughout numerous reps.
The TGU also causes us to move through different levels of brain function (reptilian, mammalian and neo-cortex) creating multi-layered stimulus.
Use it for…
- Establishing structural balance across the body.
- Teaching patience in movement.
- Enhancing body awareness and control, both intrinsically and in space.
- A handy, whole body exercise that allows you to touch on multiple muscles and functions.
- A movement you can do anywhere, anytime with the aid of an appropriately sized rock, log or human.
Make it stronger…
The TGU is built on a foundation of:
- Upper body pressing and associated supplementary work
- Sit ups
- On-floor transitioning
- Single leg work
- Overhead holds
For best effects:
Go barefoot – connect with the floor and the Earth for optimal grounding. The more grounded your body, the stronger the flow of electrical current running through it, optimising communication and CNS stimulation.
- On an uneven surface to challenge your balance
- With eyes closed to challenge your proprioception
- With awkward-shaped or different objects – kettle bell, dumbbell, barbell, sandbag, rock, medicine ball
- With lighter weights at higher rep numbers (e.g. 100 reps) to blend in the aerobic system
- Using heavier weights and low rep numbers for high-demand CNS strength work
- Pairing low-moderate reps with upper body pulling, in supersets for increased testosterone and human growth hormone stimulation (e.g. ring rows, pull ups, bent over rows etc.)
- On a beach with a rock in the shallow waves
By Ross Blake & Joelle Collard*
Over the years Flow sessions have become a staple component of our IPT prescriptions for folks. Here’s a little insight on what constitutes Flow at B32…
What is flow?
Flow is the meeting of internal states of mind and external states of activity, [tweet this] where there is a convergence between appropriate challenge and intuitive skill.
It is the “sweet spot” – a spot of ease, balance and grace where you lose track of time and feel totally at peace. Fully immersed in the process and the activity itself without distraction, you’re on the way to achieving an intrinsic based outcome or aim.
Mihaly Csikszentmihyi, a Research Psychologist points out in his TED talk many useful insights into flow and how directly it’s linked to happiness, productivity and creativity.
In Csikszentmihyi’s video (so grateful for copy/paste right now – his name is a nightmare to spell!) he discusses the flow state as emerging specifically where high levels of challenge occur in a particular area where the participant has a high skill level. This is the ultimate for achieving that sense of timelessness, of being in a vacuum of focus and ease that no person or distraction may pull you away from. You know those activities that you are so interested in, where you feel capable, confident? When a challenge arises there, you’re able to drop into this sense of flow relatively easily, being absorbed in the task entirely. You feel empowered, absorbed, and very often, you’ll work until you feel you’ve achieved your aim.
Our vision at B32 is to “empower others… through health and fitness”… and we believe you can transfer this idea of a flow state across to movement. Imagine finding movement so nourishing that the moment you begin, time seems to melt away – you could be out there for hours, seemingly effortlessly. Movement becomes a total joy (not a drudging “should do”.) We believe this state is where everyone can reach their peak in health and fitness – in the state of flow.
Figuring out the area most ‘flow-able’ for you is the crucial component. This area is one where you feel the most resonance, you’re intrinsically motivated to increase your skill level, and are excited for the challenges you might experience within it.
Many of the folks we work with are relatively new to fitness (that is, have been ‘doing’ fitness for less than five years.) Within that timeframe, we would not expect people to arrive at a high level of skill whereby they feel able to enter the flow state in the context of exercise and movement. Add on top that it takes much experimentation to figure out which areas of movement, and what kinds of fitness and exercise (in any context from nature-based play through to weightlifting) we most resonate with, and it may seem we have a situation where the flow state in movement seems elusive and even impossible to achieve.
So how do we teach people the experience of flow until we can find the areas that are most flowable?
There are two key components -
1 . We work with folks to find their movement “theme” at any given moment – that is, the key themes they can use to guide movement – from the micro level (e.g. squats, run, stretch) through to a more macro level (e.g. patience, humility or punchiness.) This theme allows us to hone in on what most resonates with someone right now (considering both emotional and physiological, sport-specific needs.) It helps us to find the area of movement they have the most enjoyment in, get the most benefit from, and hence will be most motivated to upgrade their skill in. (More on how to find someone’s theme in a later post.)
2. We begin by using movement sessions that match the level of skill with the level of challenge prescribed to allow building foundations for or ‘dabbling’ with the experience of flow.
High challenge + high skill = flow immersion
Medium challenge + medium skill = flow exposures
Low challenge + low skill = flow foundations
No matter where someone sits in their skill set (high, medium or low), as long as the challenge being attempted balances out with the relevant skill level, they can begin the steps to learn the feeling of flow. As their experiences and skill levels expand, we are able to increase the level of challenge accordingly, leading to an increased ability to fully immerse in the flow state itself when we reach high challenge, high skill.
How we use flow with clients
We create flow scenarios with clients as a way of engaging them on the way to obtaining the desired stimulus of the IPT session. It helps us capitalise on how the mind-body enters true efficiency and involvement in the moment. When we find the sweet spot between challenge and skill we begin to simulate the beginnings of flow state feelings for them in the gym.
The great thing about flow sessions is that fluid nature of the session allows us to monitor its effectiveness in real time and individualise the stimulus on the fly to keep someone in that state of engagement. This can lead to all sorts of discoveries as we layer everything from mobility, play, postural work, lifting, gymnastics, energy system touches, natural movement, new skills, yoga and breath work. This layering enables us to evolve the challenges of the session while working with the body’s preferred way of integrating.
Below is an example of a flow session we might use in a gym setting, where for this individual the balance between the set challenges of the session are optimally balanced with their current skill set. The session itself is fluid, streaming, and tailored as we go along.
Flow session theme: Aerobic touches + mobility + skill + CP/ALP touches + natural movement
7min row @ conversational pace
>> discuss first phase flow activities
5 sets @ easy effort:
3 inchworms – no push up
1min dynamic FMS based mobility
Run 50m breathing through nose
3min MB partner toss @ moderate effort
5min skill work on a new movement
3 sets @ easy effort:
5-8 deadlifts @ heavy/tough
80m run acceleration to 3/4 speed
Walk back rest
5min easy walk
>> discuss second phase flow activities
7min natural movement based circuit, barefoot @ moderate effort. Keep it playful, be creative within your skill set. Include the following: Climbing, crawling, balancing, carrying and throwing
5min deep belly breathing; semi-supine posture
The use of flow not only allows people to develop more confidence and higher skill in the gym setting as they move through challenge to challenge in a relaxed, mindful way, but can also be translated to the mental approach to competition and testing events. It helps us to foster and expand our instinctual nature, and leave the rational, mechanical, thinking brain to the side for a minute as we muster other power to meet intense challenge. As Frederick Turner said, “an athlete must learn to forget the details of his or her training to achieve the instinctive sense of flow that characterises a champion”.
Finding that sweet spot that allows time to drop away, allows you to be so entirely absorbed in the challenge at hand that intuitive, free-streaming thinking and movement is the result. This is surely where we find our true empowerment, in both fitness and in life.
*This article came together over coffee and early morning conversation overlooking the ocean – a situation perfectly set up for resonance, consciousness and mutual flow, resulting in an intuitive response to a challenging concept.
A portrait of dancer Tim Persent by Daniel Gallenkamp N.S.C.
“Warming up starts with me lying on the floor. I will talk to my fingers…by thinking an idea, something will happen to the body. The foot is such a complicated structure, I try and sort of, let them yawn, let them take a huge deep breath. Releasing the foot, gently coaxing it awake again.
I see the mind as one rational element… it instructs the body to perform. And on the other side, you have the spiritual mind, the mind that uses imagination, that gives personality, that brings that extra.
Dancing is the spirit made flesh, it physicalises ideas, emotions, thoughts. That’s why it is beautiful, powerful and free.”