Category Archives: Kaizen
Today I woke up and had a real hankering for a bacon and egg roll. Not just any bacon and egg roll, but one with free range eggs, tomato chutney, good quality bacon, on a brioche bun. Sounds good right.
When I arrived at my local cafe, mouth salivating from the thought of what was to come, I thought about the upcoming two day competition I’ll be participating in tomorrow. I thought about how I am not quite feeling up to speed after returning from a 6 week trip to Africa. I thought about how brutal and challenging this competition is (I’ve done it a number of times before) and how I am going to be taxing my body for two days straight. I thought about how at 45 years of age my body does not recover as fast nor does it handle as easily one day of competition, let alone two. I thought about how next Thursday I have to fly up to Queensland and take part in another two day comp for the Masters League State of Origin. Then I thought about whether or not I would be better served by a meal that, whilst comprised of some good quality products, is still a bacon and egg roll with minimal nutrient density, or should I have a meal that is packed full of nutrition to prepare my body for the onslaught to come.
So I set aside my craving for a bacon and egg roll and instead had mushrooms (4 types), silverbeet, poached eggs, shaved parmesan, and roasted seeds on wholemeal sourdough toast. The meal was delicious and I know I made the right choice…….for me.
And the winner of the inaugural GEO “Battle of the Ages” is………..
PUSH PRESSING UP DAISIES
After many hours of number crunching using my old human brain (forgive me if there are a few errors), the leaderboard for Friday night’s Battle of the Ages comp has been finalised.
Here’s how it was scored –
For the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk workouts, each member had to go for a max lift. Each person’s age was then added to their max lift to arrive at their score for each of those workouts respectively. If you lifted 100kg and you were aged 30, then your score for that workout was 130kg.
Each team’s member’s scores were then added together to get a team total. So that we could compare apples with apples, because some teams had 4 members while others had 5, the average lift per team was calculated based on the number of members they had. If a team had 5 members, then their total score was divided by 5. And likewise, if a team had 4 members, their total score was divided by 4.
Each team was then awarded a ranking from 1 to 11, with 1 being the heaviest average team lift and 11 being the lightest average team lift. For the other 3 workouts which were based on time to complete, teams were also awarded a ranking from 1 to 11, with 1 being the fastest and 11 being the slowest.
These rankings were then added together, much the same way as the leaderboard is calculated for the CrossFit Games Open, where the team with the lowest score wins.
The leaderboard below contains each team’s scores and rankings. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place went to 3 of the “old farts” teams. Congratulations!
Whilst the focus of this comp was all about having fun, I know there were some serious lifts on Friday night and some people hit PR’s. Well done. It was great to see the community turn out in force, and really embrace the philosophy of mixing it up, meeting new people, and making new friends.
We hope you all enjoyed yourselves and had a great night. We raised just over $500 for our Africa Charity Fund which will be put to good use.
Thank you to all who helped out to get things ready, especially Johanna, for running around and getting food, drinks and supplies, and a special mention to Nick Gaul and Hanne for looking after he barbie. Thank you also for helping to tidy up afterwards.
***NOTE: Please direct all appeals on scoring to the “Battle of the Ages” Appeals Tribunal, by writing a 2000 word essay explaining your concerns and sending via a Raven.
Hello competitive exercisers,
Have you ever been out of Breath during a WOD? Stupid question right. Of course you have. If you haven’t, then you are an X-man. Being out of Breath, or hard of Breathing is one of those stimuli that we expect to experience during a workout. It is uncomfortable and not very pleasant. It is an indicator that we are working at an intense level, that the body is burning through oxygen and that energy processes are taking place inside our body to fuel our work capacity. Being out of Breath slows us down, or causes us to stop.
Outside of workouts, (for most of us) Breathing is something we take for granted and don’t really think about. Just like the beating of our heart, digestion, and body temperature, Breathing is regulated by the Autonomic Nervous System – it happens automatically without a person’s conscious effort.
But what if I told you that through different Breathing techniques, you could control things like body temperature, hormone levels in your body, stress and relaxation states, even your health. What if you could increase the amount of oxygen in your body to promote more optimal conditions for your organs, muscles, even cells to function in.
It is possible.
I have known the power of Breathing for many years but I will be the first to admit, I have let it fall by the wayside. Through meditation, Yoga, and martial arts, I have come across many different iterations of a conscious Breathing practice and they have all come down to one thing – Mindfulness.
As many of you know, Johanna is a Yoga Teacher and her practice has always focussed on the Breath. Through a mindful practice, where the EGO is not in control, and where you move with your Breath, great results for the mind, body and spirit can be attained.
Through mindful Breathing we can create stability, improve flexibility, engage in a flow state, and calm the mind. Breath can create stillness – a moment in time when nothing else matters but the simple act of Breathing in…….and Breathing out.
I have experienced many occasions through Yoga and Breathing an almost mystical state of calm and openness; where the stresses of daily life were inconsequential; where perspective was gained on what really matters; and where the mind and body were reset to continue on my day.
A “conscious” or mindful practice of Breathing is important for us all.
We all lead busy lives and with social media, it feels like we are forever connected to the outside world. It is always Go, Go, Go! We have work, kids, pets, TV, Facebook, housework, meeting friends, driving in cars, catching the train, deadlines to meet, etc etc etc…… Did you know there are 1440 minutes in a day? Do you think you could take 10, even 5 minutes out of that total to just switch off and reset? If you really wanted to, you could.
Yoga is something we would like to reintroduce to you all in the near future to promote a balanced and holistic approach to your desire for wellness, happiness and fitness. In the meantime though, we are going to teach you something yo can do on your own, at home or work.
Next Tuesday night, during the “Talon” session, Liam is going to teach you guys a really simple Breathing technique that can have quite a profound and positive impact on your lives. I have mentioned it before and I know Liam has introduced some of you to the technique. It is called the Wim Hof Method (WHM). It was created by an old Dutch guy (who still lives today) named Wim Hof. There’s a really interesting back story to Wim Hof and his method which you can learn about here:
In a nutshell, you are going to do 3 rounds of inhaling fully and deeply, and exhaling comfortably, 30 times. You are going to flood the body right down to the cells with oxygen. After the 30th Breath you are going to stop Breathing (hold your Breath) for as long as you can. The deliberate act of Breathing in fully fills your body with so much oxygen that you can stop Breathing……for far longer than you think you can, and the body will just carry on doing what it has to do. During this process you will have increased the pH levels in your body – alkalized your body as opposed to making your body acidic which is a state that our modern day lifestyles promote (acidity in the body has been known to cause inflammation, which in turn has been the root of many illnesses and dysfunctions). A consistent and continued practice of this method can make you healthier, and increase oxygen levels in your body, which for us as CrossFitters, is a really good thing.
There have been numerous research studies carried out on the Wim Hof Method to prove it’s validity and integrity. But you know what, I have found that scientific studies can be manipulated to back up any claim (just look at the Climate Change Debate). What I would say to you is, forget about what other people are saying – try it for yourself and make up your own mind. Taking a small amount of time out of your day to just focus on your Breath can only be a good thing, even if it does not make you stronger, or prevent illness and disease. It will give you a a window of time when all of the other stuff going on in your life just does not matter. The only thing that matters is the Breath.
Come in next Tuesday night at 7.15pm to Breathe. We will do this for about 30 minutes then hit a fun team workout afterwards. Please do not be late.
On Saturday 29 October, a group of intrepid trekkers from GEO and some friends headed out into the wilderness of the Blue Mountains. The plan was to hike the famous “Blue Gum Forest” walk which covers just over 20kms of trails and involves a stay overnight in Acacia Flat.
We all met at Victory Cafe in Blackheath at 9.30am on Saturday. This was to be our last real encounter with civilisation, a chance to meet each other, and get in a final hit of real coffee before powdered milk and instant coffee became the norm.
The group included myself, Rob and Gwok, Floody, Phil, Nick, Kaino, Rach, plus some friends from outside of the GEO – Brian, Michelle and Digger (Jess). Just as a side note, everyone who is competing in the Pan Pacs Masters Comp next week was on the hike – an interesting observation I made.
Despite the weather forecast all week predicting a high probability of rain, spirits were high. At this point, the temperature was about 11 degrees, and visibility was very low due to a heavy fog that hung over the mountains, but that just meant it was going to be great walking conditions – not too hot, not too cold.
We set off from Govetts Leap (just down the road) at 10.30am. Everyone had their own tent, sleeping bag, and food. For some that equated to about 10kgs of gear and for others it was about 20kgs. When we reached camp, we were to discover why there was such a difference in individual’s gear.
The first leg of the walk took us south along the cliff top to Evans Lookout. Part of the attraction of this walk are the spectacular views over Grose Valley, the sheer cliff walls, and the other peaks off in the distance. Unfortunately we could only steal small glimpses of this due to the still heavy fog. Nonetheless, the walk was pleasant and gave everyone an opportunity to get to know each other and make adjustments to their packs.
About 90 minutes later, after walking through some dense bush and seemingly away from civilisation, much to everyone’s dismay, we arrived at a carpark. It was Evans Lookout. From the reactions of everyone, it would seem that the consensus was we were well and truly on our way into the deep dark forest……….Ah, not yet. Tourist buses pulled up and unloaded passengers. Mothers pushing prams walked down to the lookout. And the only working pit toilet gave some the opportunity to offload some weight.
We headed off from Evans Lookout onto the real trail that would take us down into the valley. We immediately started descending, firstly through some dry native style bushland – lots of grasses, grevilleas, gums etc, then the landscape changed to a moist, green rainforest system with creeks and ferns and moss lining either side of the track.
About 45 mins on from Evans Lookout we stooped atop a rocky area at the foot of a waterfall to have a bite to eat and take 5. Nick and I consulted the topographic map to try and work out exactly where we were. We looked at the map and compared it to the surrounding landscape. We checked the position of the sun and compared that with the moss growing on the side of trees to decide we were currently at Beauchamp Falls. It was a nice little stop and we met some other trekkers – one, a group of young hippies heading in the same direction, and the other, a young group of Japanese, not really looking like they knew where they were going, but heading in the opposite direction.
To this point all was well. We had been hiking for about 2 hours and there were no injuries or run ins with the native wildlife. We set off following the creek (Greaves Creek) with sheer walls rising high off to our right and the stereotypical Australian native bush vegetation off to the left. The trail took us over some creek junctions and through bush that was obviously enjoying the Spring weather and was encroaching on the narrow track. For the most part, the walking was pretty easy going.
There were some changes in the order of where people were in the pack which allowed everyone to chat with someone different and get to know each other a little more deeply than what had been the case to date.
About 3.30pm we heard the first rumble of thunder. We thought we were going to avoid rain altogether, but the empty space between each boom of thunder became shorter and shorter, and getting wet now seemed inevitable. The hippy group we had met at Beauchamp Falls (who had left that point before us) were stopped at Junction Rock (a cross section of waterways). By this stage our group was quite elongated along the trail and there was some distance between those in the front and those at the back. The lead pack saw this as the perfect opportunity to put the foot down and get to the campsite ahead of the hippies and secure prime real estate. And that’s what they did.
Some big fat rain drops started to fall but it was bearable. About 4pm Rach and I (the back of the pack) arrived at Acacia Flat to see everyone setting up homes for the night. There was another group of campers off to the side who were already settled in. The worse thing to happen when you are camping is to set up your tent while it is raining. Well, that was what we were now doing. Some of us were halfway to being set up when Gwok emerged from the trees about 50m away and informed us that there was a nicer spot with softer ground just on the other side of the trees.
We begrudgingly pulled up camp and dragged everything to this new site, proclaimed by Gwok to be Nirvana. The camp site was quite large and exploring the area revealed that there were lots of nooks and crannies you could camp in. Our site looked as good as any with a bit more space and a few extra blades of grass than the last one so we settled in.
Just like a scene out of “Survivor”, tribe members were then tasked to A – start a fire; B – collect water; C- prepare the cheese, crackers, olives, salami and quince paste platter. Like I said, just like “Survivor”.
It seemed Happy Hour was called and after getting the chores out of the way, and performing a highly skilled operation of burning a leech from Robbie’s leg, we settled down to said cheese platter along with red wine, vodka and orange and a bottle of “Sailor Jerry’s” Rum. I now knew why some people had heavier packs than others. A variety of dehydrated meals were prepared – Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb casserole, Beef stew, Mushroom Risotto. Kaino and I went old school and ate Maggi noodles.
As the sun set, some went for a wash in the creek whilst others staked their claim by the fire and enjoyed the serenity of being away from the stress of their everyday lives back home. There’s definitely something to be said about finding the time to commune with Nature and remove yourself from your creature comforts, iPhone, Facebook, TV, email, the News, even your family. The opportunity to just switch off, breathe deeply and appreciate the sights and sounds of Nature is highly underrated.
The night was spent gazing into the campfire, trying 6 different types of Lindt Chocolate and sipping on Green Ginger Wine. About 10.30pm everyone turned in.
I woke up to a chorus of native birds singing, and the muted movement of those already up but trying to be quiet as they reignited the campfire and sat down to a brew. Apparently there was a chorus of snoring and farting through the night – I wouldn’t know anything about that. The general consensus was that no-one really slept that well and that those of us who had only recently purchased lightweight hiking tents felt like they had been sleeping in a coffin – these things are small. I had a 2-manner and it was tight. Nick had a 1-manner……poor guy.
We ate breakfast. Some made necessary trips to the world’s worst smelling drop toilet, whilst others went for a walk into the bush. About 9.30am we headed off for our trudge back out of the valley. It was soon quite apparent that this was going to be a tough day with humidity levels high, and the ascent being dramatic and relentless. It was a shorter walk compared to yesterday but the difficulty of the trail meant we were going slower and stopping more often. Being CrossFitters though, everyone pushed on and we eventually got to the top after a couple of hours. Calves, hips and knees were screaming out but we were there. We now had a 3 km walk along a dirt road that seemed to go for 10 kms, then we popped back into the bush at Pulpit Rock. The views here were amazing and everyone took the time to soak it all in. By this stage though, we were all keen to finish and just get those packs off our backs. The last part of the trail took us along the clifftop on a winding path with the group now extended over about 1 km.
About 1.20pm the first of us arrived back at the Govetts Leap carpark, happy to have experienced all that the hike entailed, but also happy to have finished it. We were soaked in sweat and hobbling around the carpark, waiting for the others to arrive. Just prior to 2pm, were were all done. Eleven of us set out, and eleven of us returned safely. We were all a little bit broken but better for the experience.
Actually, it couldn’t have been too bad because everyone said they were keen to come on the next one. So for those of you who missed out, watch this space. There will be another hike and it will be in another stunning location with the opportunity again to remove yourself from the headaches and stress of home and work, and just chill.
Thanks to everyone who came along on this trek. You all made it fun and it was nice to get to know you on another level.
Lets do it again some time.
In this fast paced world where we are always on the go, juggling multiple tasks and trying to squeeze as much as we can into the chaos, it can be extremely beneficial to take a moment to stop and just focus on our breath. We take breathing for granted, but done properly, it can make massive positive changes to our health and fitness, our energy levels, it can reduce stress, and clarify and focus the mind.
Breathing exercises can create a crack in the turmoil of our lives and allow us to slow time down, to give ourselves the opportunity to focus on just one thing – a solution to a problem, or a necessary distraction from the stress, or a visualisation of what we intend to do next.
Mark Divine is an ex-Navy Seal Commander and the founder of SealFit. You would expect that being a former Navy Seal he would be all about beating his chest and testosterone and going a hundred mile an hour, but he is quite the opposite. He has a very strong yoga and martial arts focus which means that the mind and the spirit are equally as important as the body when it comes to training. His approach to training is balanced with both “Yin” and Yang”.
Check out this video which features Mark as he teaches you some breathing and meditation techniques that can be used not only to complement your training in the Box but also your lives outside of the gym.