Like my EAT BIG PLAY BIG notes, this is not going to be a verbatim dissertation of what we went over, but more the bullet points of things we talked about and maybe some WHYs involved. We talked about nutrition too, but because I have my notes posted from EBPB up and running, why don’t you just check them out and get the full picture of the athletic nutrition.
WHAT I MEAN BY LIFTING WEIGHTS
Big lifts – Build all over strength and power, utilizes the full bar
Barbells – Build stabilization muscles and helps support big lifts, small movements, and quick twitch.
Free Weights – Barbells and bars; your body must do the work to keep things in place
Plate/Smith Machine – Training wheels; no real accurate measure of weight. Some plate machines are useful (like the leg extension) but usually you can pass by these.
Cable Machines – The baby of free weights and plate-loaded; there is some stabilization work done here.
Free weights and cables should be used as your supplemental workouts. Like your vitamin and protein supplements, they are the extra stuff you do to support the mainline of work. They should not be your primary form of ‘weight lifting’. Mostly because you’re not really lifting weights when you do them.
WHY SHOULD YOU WEIGHT LIFT?
The easy answer is: Because you play a contact sport.
Show me one contact sport that does not require their athletes to weight lift. If your coach tells you to do dry land drills, do you question? No. You question weight lifting because it’s different and new and super difficult. The resistance to lifting in roller derby is not because it’s not helpful or proven to advance skaters – it’s because it takes more effort to do it. And, honestly, it can be intimidating.
From the physics standpoint think of this reason why you should weight lift:
If you can only squat 130 pounds, that means you can only push that much weight (approximately) into your wheels. If you have someone who is 170 pounds hitting you, but you can only respond with 130 pounds – who is going to win?
This is a very basic, crude example, but hopefully you get the point.
Why bench press? I learned during Beat Me Halfway that if you have Magnum PIMP doing truck-and-trailer with you, your arms and core better be able to hold up to the resistance he’s giving you. If he then directs you into a full-speed Screecharound, your arms and body have to be able to deal with as much power as he’s putting into you to transfer to your skates, to transfer to Screecharound to take him all the way to the line.
(and also, I was so sore the next day)
If you can push a sled with 150 pounds on it, you can push through a link giving you 100 pounds of resistance.
WHAT IS CONDITIONING?
We talked a lot about lift days verse conditioning days.
Your lift days are just that. You’re picking up heavy weight. Your conditioning days involve cardio work, particularly HIIT. This is your tire flips, your hill runs, your wind sprints, your heavy plyometrics. If you do Crossfit, those WoDs should be your conditioning days … so the extra days. WoDs every day will not build your strength the way lift days will.
WHAT DOES THIS FEEL LIKE?
Like with derby, we have to adjust to a new feeling when we start weightlifting. If you’ve done plate machines in the past, then you are not used to what it feels like to have 180# on your back, or to pick up 200#.
It feels heavy. It feels miserable sometimes. It feels like you might hurt yourself. Just like it feels when you’re doing a new advanced skill on roller skates. Like those one foot “chomps” or one foot plows.. Picking your foot up and putting it down in front of you, with your toes turned in and your knees touching? That’s terrifying! I was sure I was going to break my leg. I didn’t. And you won’t break your shit just because it feels heavy.
It’s supposed to feel heavy. That’s the point.
DO I NEED SPECIAL GEAR?
I wear knee wraps because I can feel things shift around in my right knee when I squat and it’s weird and I don’t like it. With lighter weight, you don’t need belts, wraps, wrist grips. As you start lifting, talk to people around you about the gear they have. You’ll learn when you’ll need to get a belt, or if you want to get gloves.
Wear flat shoes or no shoes. Those weird toe shoes? They actually work really well for lifting. So do Chuck Taylors. So does nothing. Just like you wouldn’t buy Bonts for your first pair of skates, you shouldn’t go buy the special fit lifting shoes before you start lifting.
WHAT ARE THE LIFTS I SHOULD DO?
No questions asked you need to do:
Lifts that I think you should incorporate:
Sumo Deadlifts (or Sumo/Russian)
WHAT SUPPLEMENTAL LIFTS SHOULD I DO?
This one is tough. It depends on your programming. Ones that I make sure I incorporate:
Hanging Leg Raise
Bent Over Row
Lat Pull Down
WAIT – HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO DO?
Guess what? More reading for you!! What I recommend to EVERYONE is to pick up Mark Rippietoe’s “STARTING STRENGTH”. There is an app you can download called 5x5Stronglifts that will help you through the whole process.
Here’s the idea that I can pass on to you that I started with… 5×5. So you’re doing 3 lifts each day, 5 times, 5 reps. This does not include your 5 rep warm-up. When my plan was set for me, we did one lift for the upper body, one for the back, one for the legs.
I then did 1 or 2 supplemental lists each day (unless I was crazy spent). Getting someone to help you set up a training plan around your skating schedule is awesome. I had a couple people helping me along the way. And don’t be afraid to tweak your schedule as you progress. After your first four weeks, you should be in a routine, but before that it’s ok to move things around and figure out what works best for you!
Learn form on your own through the BUFF DUDES series. They’re really a great, short series of tutorials.
HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH TO LIFT?
Again, having a friend that knows lifting is helpful here. If you don’t, go to your gym and find the biggest dude or lady who is both strong in the upper and lower body (or ask someone at the desk of who to ask), and humbly request help.
Think of it this way: If someone came up to you at an open skate and said, “Hey you look like you know what you’re doing. I’m trying to get into roller derby, but I don’t know how to plow stop, can you watch me real quick to help me?” You’re not going to tell them to fuck off. Lifters feel the same way about their sport. I promise they’ll be nice to you.
Step one is to find your personal record (PR), also known as your one rep max (1RM).
Do not plan on doing your 5×5 during max days. You also shouldn’t try to max out multiple workouts for the same body part. For example, don’t try to max out back squat and front squat on the same day.
To max out, do your warm up weight (people can help you figure out what that would be… for me, my deadlift warm up has ALWAYS been 135#, and my squat started at 100#, bench was 45# … these are good starting points). Do 5 reps. Your buddy can help you go up in weight. Do 3 reps. Then up in weight and do 1 rep until you can’t move it. Boom. 1RM.
Plugging these maxes into your 5×5 Stronglift app will create a nice little “oh this is what I lift today” guide for you. You can contact me if you want something more specific.
SO I JUST LIFT FOREVER NOW?
Things can change up, but yes, now you just lift. In a 5×5 program, I do like incorporating a deload week either on week 5 or 6. A deload week is when you do your lifts, but at 50% of your max. It gives your body a chance to recoup.
When I first started this program, I was going up in weight for some of my lifts each week, not up for others. The stronglift app helps you with that.
Setting goals will help keep you focused and your training tight so that way you don’t get bored.
You will plateau. You will have bad days at the bar. It happens. Just like derby. Sometimes you have enough sleep, you’re hydrated, you’ve eaten enough, and you just can’t squat the bar the way you did the week before. It’s ok. It happens. Seriously.
This can be new and can be scary. Just like derby. Don’t be put off from lifting by yourself because “You don’t want to hurt yourself”. There is just as much risk for injury in this sport as others. If you play derby, you know that you can have someone there with you, you can be in the process of being coached, and you can do one thing and still hurt yourself. Don’t fear injury for the sake of fearing injury.
You are probably not going parallel on your squats. If you have never squatted before, start with BOX SQUATS. Your new gym bro can find a good box for you. It should be low enough that when you sit on it, your legs create an angle lower than 90 degrees.
Your back is going to hurt. That’s because this will be the first time you’re fully using your back for a lift. All the time I hear “Oh man, my low back hurts! I must not be deadlifting right.” Or you’re deadlifting exactly right and you’re using muscles you never have before. Your back is going to hurt.
If your back is weak, your squats will suffer. “What?? But squats are a leg lift!” Yes, but the bar is on your back. So if you can’t support the bar, you can’t squat it. It’s possible that your squats may be lighter than what your legs can handle at first, because your back is not strong enough.
RECORD YOURSELF SO YOU CAN SELF-CRITIQUE AND GET NOTES FROM FRIENDS. It seems super narcissistic, but you can correct between sets sometimes! You can send the video to your friends from around the country and say “Hey is this parallel?” or “what am I doing wrong?”
When you’re lifting, EYES UP HIGH! Pick a spot towards the ceiling, look at it. Do not look side to side. Keep your weight on your heels, you should be able to wiggle your toes.
I think that’s about it!
Drop me a line if you want some extra help or have other questions about setting up your program. Your offseason program is going to be different than your in-season program, so I can help you with that stuff too. When in doubt, read books! 531, Beyond 531, and Starting Strength are the ones that have been recommended to me. Drop me a message at DerbyAmerica@gmail.com with questions or if you have anything you want me to address.
I have changed a lot about my habits in the last 15 years. There is a lot that has resurfaced from the years of being a young, naïve tomboy in middle school (competition and weight lifting in particular). And there is a lot I have had to release over the years. Here are seven things about me that have significantly altered my physical energy, my spiritual strength and my overall positive outlook on life. As I was writing this, I realized I could have made a list of 20 things! I’m sure you’ll hear more in the future.
Befores and afters. ^_^ (and still going)
1) I eat protein for breakfast
“But Kristie! Oatmeal is so good for me!”
O rly? What I have found is that when I start my day with a high protein breakfast, one balanced with complex carbs and some fat, I have considerable energy throughout the day. When I eat oatmeal, cereal or breakfast potatoes I find that I am sluggish, hungry quicker and have a hard time firing on all cylinders at work. It is because even your “steel cut oats” are still oats. They spike your blood sugar and they do not keep you full.
What does this breakfast look like? Ideally it is an Herbalife breakfast shake – recently it’s been 2 scoops of Formula 1 Sport, ½ cup of pasteurized egg whites and maybe some PB2 for fun. If I know I’m running around a lot during the day, I’ll save the shake for later and I’ll start out with 2 eggs, a 1/3 cup of pasteurized egg whites, sautéed spinach, onion, broccoli and tomato.
2) I get dressed as soon as I wake up
Yes, for as much as I try and live in the comfiest clothes possible, I have found that if I wake up and toddle around in my PJs for too long, I become lethargic and my to do list stays as long as it was the night before. By staying in the mode of sleep wear, I have given my body permission to remain in sleep mode. No more permission granted!
Get up, get dressed, have breakfast, wash your face, do stuff.
3) I reserve bananas pre-workout only (if at all)
More and more people are catching on that bananas are not the super fruit we once thought. High in sugar and low in protein, these little bombs of energy are fantastic for before a workout, but are a culprit in keeping you hungry and padded when eaten before a long day at the office. And while good for potassium and fiber, there are 6 electrolytes total that effect cramping. If you are chowing down on bananas Charlie horses go away, you very much need to take a look at the rest of your diet. My dehydration migraines have stopped now that I incorporate all the electrolytes into my diet, along with drinking at least half my body weight in ounces of water each day. The 24 Hydrate by Herbalife has been a lifesaver.
4) I eat until bed time.
Yup. Your body doesn’t actually care what time it is. By saying “I’m not going to eat after 7p” and then staying up until 11p, all you have done is slowed your metabolism and hurt your recovery – especially the athletes in the crowd. If you do a workout that finishes at 11p, then you need to eat afterwards. It’s one of the strongest changes I’ve made. That being said, keep away from the simple carbs within four hours of bed time since your body won’t be able to burn them off before bed.
5) I rarely step on a scale, and I only do measurements every 60 days.
It’s ok to not know where your body is moment to moment. I know that I am much happier feeling healthy and strong and not being concerned if I weigh 138 or 144. Do my pants fit? Do I feel strong during practice? Am I faster than other people? Did my squat max go up? These are the questions I hit myself with. It is good to track your metrics so that you know what your progress looks like and you can re-evaluate every 90 days, but our body fluctuates too much day to day to use a daily weigh in as a gauge. I have seen friends drive themselves crazy over this. It causes stress, which then feeds right into keeping the weight on. It’s a cycle. Don’t feed into it.
6) I realized that I eat mostly the same things every day, so I may as well make them healthy.
Before my journey began, I used phrases like “Variety is the spice of life”, “Diets are boring” and “I live to eat, not eat to live.” And then one day I realized that all I was doing was making excuses for myself and my habits. And then the next day I realized that I was repeating my meals every week anyway. I always had something egg-based for breakfast, I always had a sandwich or salad for lunch, I always had a protein with some carbs and veggies for dinner. (Back then I also always had 2 cherry sodas a day, a few soft pretzels and candy bars as snacks.)
If you can recognize that you’re really not as chefy as you like to think you are, you can tighten down easier on a schedule of healthy eating that is nourishing, promotes your goals and saves you money (now that I know what I want at the grocery store, there is no need to randomly pick up ingredients “Just in case”).
Also, shakes for meals are not nearly as scary as I thought when I first heard about them. Mostly because my shakes don’t come out of a metal can, I’m full afterwards and they taste RIDICULOUS. Also, when you’re eating 5 – 9 times a day (like athletes should), it’s a whole lot easier to scoops, shake, drink than it is to make 8 individual meals.
7) I include workouts that are mental exercises.
Yoga and running are most specifically what I have worked on, though rock climbing and speed skating are another set of mental challenges.
I hated running. Hated it. Railed against it and refused to believe that it could help me (secretly, I knew it would, I just hated the way it felt because I was so out of shape). I will never forget running my first mile alongside of Eric Winters on the track of Mechanicsburg High School; technically I was his pole-vault coach, but he gave me the single greatest lesson of my life as the ex-boyfriend turned best friend:
Your body will do amazing things, if you just ask it to.
Conquering workouts that we hate means that we must overcome our self-doubt, our mind’s will to sabotage and we must release all of the excuses we have made in the past. Yoga, running, climbing, speed skating, cross-country skiing… there is quiet control and a zen-like state that must be achieved for success. You must connect to your breathe, to your soul, to the Universe’s will around you.
Pro Tips: Set an intention at the beginning of the session. “Focus”, “Awareness”, “Precision”, “Fearlessness” are all excellent intentions. When it begins to get hard (and it will), repeat this to yourself. Also, I like to visualize something that I connect with that calms me. The giant manta ray that I would watch float towards me in the vastness of Atlantis’s aquarium in the Bahamas comes to mind when I am running and my breath gets ragged. I picture the calm beating wings to gather myself and then keep going.
To start on your journey with me as your coach, drop me an e-mail at KGreyActiveNutrition@gmail.com and follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Khaos24Fit
Have you ever been so burdened with so much swirling around in your brain that you don’t know how to get it out or organize it? That’s what’s going on. I’ve actually put off writing blogs in the last few months because there has been SO MUCH going on (positive, negative and everywhere in between) that I didn’t know how to get it out in one smooth, amazing, life-altering blog.
Today I finished listening to Jon Acuff’s Start. Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work that Matters. If you haven’t heard of Jon Acuff, go find him right now. If you know me personally, you will know that I’m not always willing to jump onto bandwagons that involve heavy religion, but his “Stuff Christians Like” blog always has some good insight and anecdotes (and it’s not just about Bible-Things … so that’s a win).
Finishing that book this morning (after listening to a fair bit of it on the plane ride home last night) really solidified my vision for the future:
IT’S TIME TO STOP PRETENDING AND TALKING AND IT’S TIME TO GET TO WORK.
Hey, luckily, I’m working right now. I’m writing. I’m doing what I love. I’m sharing my thoughts with the world. OK, maybe this sentence isn’t work. It’s not a direct sale or getting anyone to a Fit Club, but it’s the first step to habit. It’s the first step of rebooting.
My Khaos Theory Blog has been a mishmash of things from Public Relations (which is why it started. I got a poor grade as a PR project, but I gained 100 followers during that first semester, so I call that an A+) to roller derby. Now I will be focusing it to health and wellness and sports. It will be workouts for those on and off wheels and nutrition that will benefit everyone. It will be my journey and thoughts and motivation for the world. It will be a documentary of what it means to coach and train within a Healthy, Active Lifestyle.
I’m ready to take over Baltimore and the Internet. I’m ready to get back into what I love: filming coaching videos (no matter how low budget), talking about drills, teaching and practicing. I have a new nutrition plan that will be kicking in with the next 24 Fit Challenge that our team is doing online (and I still have 15 spots open on my team, so let me know if you want to join).
I’m also going to do better at compartmentalizing my blogs. So… instead of telling you all about California, I’m going to end this blog, post and then write a separate one.