1. Can you describe exactly what you do as an athlete?
This is a hard one, as competing in the sport of CrossFit you never know what you'll have to do in competition. That's the whole point! In my opinion it makes you a more rounded athlete which can be hard to master. You may have one event testing your 1rep max deadlift after 10 minutes of rowing and burpees. Likewise another example could be doing as many reps as possible deadlifting (or any other exercise!). Or even worse, gymnastic movements which are my nemesis!
The description of CrossFit from its founder is:
"Constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains."
2. How did you get into being a CrossFit athlete?
I have always liked to train with high intensity! Even 20 years ago when I used to do bodybuilding with Neil Johnson from Genetic Supplements. It was always intense.
About 6 years ago I started training for Strength and Conditioning at Spartan Performance having had a long spell away from a gym environment. After training there for a while I noticed my current training partner Liam kicking ass and doing all kinds of crazy stuff! I thought I'll have a bit of that.
So we started training together... Well he basically kicks my ass.
We linked up some strength programming with olympic and CrossFit workouts to finish. This then progressed to following a CrossFit specific programme. I've always liked competing so it was a logical to have a go in CrossFit competitions.
3. Can you describe the struggles you've faced along the way?
How long do we have!?
As I mentioned I've always loved training hard but I hate running with a passion (just because I'm so bad at it) so forcing myself to run has been a struggle. Also there are alot of gymnastic type movements like Handstand Pushups which due to an injured shoulder mean I struggle. These have cost me big time in competition! The elusive "muscle ups" are still a big battle for me too. I'm hoping to get to a CrossFit gym next year and pick up some coaching on my gymnastics.
I've also had to overcome a torn bicep and like I say train around shoulder injuries.
4. What advice would you give to anybody facing a life changing situation?
Stick in, there's always somebody in worse circumstances than you out there. More importantly they're getting shit done, it's always better to try and overcome a problem!
5. How hard is it balancing your family life, work and training?
Extremely difficult! It's a case of getting as much done to plan as you can, but not beating yourself up when and if you miss a session. If I can't get to the gym I always try to make up for it with a walk with my baby girl on my back or stick her in the pushchair and go run up some hills. There's generally a way around things. I'm lucky to have a supportive partner who puts up with me! Also we have gym at the Firestation although it's not adequate to carry out my sessions I can still get something done.
6. Describe a typical training week for you...
I've just moved to an off season programme which has less focus on conditioning, but increased focus on powerlifts and Olympic lifts with some bodybuilding accessories thrown in.
My usual week is as follows:
Day 1 - Snatch and accessories then either front or back squat working on percentages with progressive overload during a "block" of training. Followed by 2-3 CrossFit style workouts.
Day 2 - Strongman type training including yoke, stones, farmers walk, log press and sandbag carries. Basically picking heavy s*** up and moving it!
Day 3 - Clean and Jerk and accessories followed by either front or back squat opposite of day 1 again followed by some CrossFit.
Day 4 - Lower body accessories trap deadlifts, lunges and split squats. If I'm feeling beat up this would be rest day.
Day 5 - Some form of Snatch and Clean along with Jerk. Potentially some accessories too!
Day 6 - (Dench day) Conventional deadlifts at what ever percentages squats have been and same with bench press.
Then Saturday tends to be some big long engine building CrossFit workout.
Some days will change if I am at work as I only have limited equipment at the Station, the above is an ideal week but my nutrition, sleep and recovery needs to be bang on to sustain it.
7. What are the toughest parts of your training regime?
Definitely longer CrossFit sessions including runs for example "Murph" which is:
1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 press ups
300 air squats
1 mile run
Supposed to be done in a 10kg vest!!
I also get really frustrated trying to get on top of body weight gymnastic type movements which I have mentioned cost me dearly.
8. How does your nutrition help with recovery and progression?
Nutrition plays a huge part in everything, I have the body type that as soon as I sniff some cake or a pint of Guinness I put half a stone on and feel crap! I'm sure many people reading this can relate. It's only when you actually keep consistent with nutrition everything else starts dropping into place. If I cut any corners it isn't long before the wheels to fall off where my squidgy bits to get softer and I start to feel less energised. Everything just seems harder!
9. Can you describe a typical day's eating for you?
Very basic really! I make a shake in the morning with Bio Whey UMF, berries, Greens & Reds Powder, eggs, oats and Load Up! I will put a handful of Spinach in too when I have it.
This keeps me going until lunchtime where I have rice, some meat or fish and greenery.
Next I will have my Hydra-Carb and PeptoPro® during the pre/intra workout phase. I'll also have some more on the way home after my workout.
All of this is followed by an evening meal which will usually be rice or white potato, meat and vegetables.
To finish my day I'll have oats mixed with Bio Whey UMF. It's really simple and effective!
10. What are your fundamental beliefs in relation to nutrition?
Consistency is key I've tried all kinds of protocols and they can all give you something! There's no magic formula you just need to stick with the programme you choose.
At the minute I'm using a formula to work out macros based on bodyweight and goals, it's pretty low in fat and higher in carbs. Provided I stick to it I feel great!
11. For "every day" people reading this, how important is nutrition to their goals?
Massive! So many people ask for advice on training and supplements yet when I ask about their diet it's horrendous.
I think somebody new to training will initially make progress but unless you are gifted with fantastic genetics you're gonna stall pretty soon. This is where you need to start dialing things in and eating better. The majority of the population need to wake up and acknowledge the damage being done through bad dietary choices.
12. Why did you choose Genetic Supplements over any other brand?
Neil and I go way back, I remember when he first started Genetic Supplements. We were driving around the country picking products up and delivering them. Neil really went "all in" on this range and wanted to give people something which they could trust and rely upon. I'm so proud to see it become a fully fledged brand which creates and innovates products using the highest ingredients today. Even after eight years there's absolutely no compromise on quality!
13. How important is supplementation to recovery, health and progress?
There's a couple of ways to answer this depending on how you eat, train and recover. A lot of people see supplements as a magic pill. Whenever anybody asks me what to take I suggest Fish Oils,Vitamin D3 and ZMA.
People need to get the basics right first to look after their health through diet and essential supplements. Then get more creative!
It's not the "sales pitch" you'd expect for a huge supplement stack but Genetic Supplements actively tell people what they should and shouldn't buy. They're not about selling everything at all costs!
14. What are your favourite Genetic Supplement products and why?
Apart from what I've mentioned above which I feel are neccesities, I would say Hydra-carb and Pepto-pro for pre and intra-workout. I can't rate these highly enough for my type of training!
In fact when I compete it's all I usually have during the day as I struggle to stomach solid food and this keeps me full of fuel and energy.
15. Give one piece of advice to the readers which they should keep with them for the rest of their life...
There's not really anything that can stop you doing some form of what you want to do, if you want it badly enough there is usually a way to do it!