Friday, February 28, 2014

Off Season Training - Aussie Style

Morning view of the Sydney Olympic Park

With selections already done I have been fortunate to be able to enjoy a rare 'off season' this year. Now, 'off season' is an interesting term as although it implies time off. What it actually means is a winter of alternative and often more intense training. A period of time, without competitions, where the focus instead is on getting as fit as possible ready for the next season. In an athletes development, 'periodisation', this change in state of training is crucial. It's the vital stage where weaknesses are found and focused on and all-round fitness levels and strength is targeted and attacked. It is the period where the fitness bar is set, from which the rest of the seasons fitness can be developed.

A rare off season in the sun  (photo by Jez)

In kayaking terms, for me, it means a more intensive off the water training programme based on developing my all-round strength and fitness and slightly less time on the water. Its less about technical and tactical training and more about physiological development.

Byron Bay NSW

For the last month or so, I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with personal trainer and fitness expert Abel Doudnix (Hybrid Conditioning) out here in Sydney. Abel has been helping me develop my all round fitness through an intensive programme of MMA and gym based training. With a focus on plyometric training, cardio anaerobic and aerobic training, quick recoveries and muscle imbalance and stabilisation work, he has pushed my fitness levels further than they have been for awhile. He has also been helping guide me with my nutrition. Helping me make better choices so that I can try and lean up as much as possible ready for the season ahead and ensuring that I am getting the right energy levels required to train.

Training hard with Abel


Specialised training on 'The Hill'

We have been training 4-5 times a week at the Newington Anytime Fitness Gym, Zenbo Judo club and in the local parks. The majority of the sessions have been group fitness sessions which have been a really fun, enjoyable experience. Motivated, inspired and energised by the others in each class. I have found this a great way to train as it leaves you with no room for taking it easy, slacking off or coming up with excuses to take it easy. Not pushing yourself to the full in each class is not an option, its great. It has been brilliant having such strong support from Abel and the entire training group.

Hybrid Conditioning group fitness training

Another early morning park ab session

On top of this I have also been really working on developing my cardio by using my bike to get out and explore the Blue Mountains and Sydney Olympic Park. I've been doing some technical, on the water, training sessions with the Australian Freestyle Team and I have been heading out wake boarding, trampolining and on many other random sporting adventures, just for fun.

Combining Cardio and Weight Training… kind of!

Riding The Oakes Trail in the Blue Mountains

Climbing… does this count as training?

Quick stop for a mini work out on a skate tour of the Olympic Park

Spacial Awareness Training on the Trampoline

Some air time at the Wake boarding Park

Jez showing me how its done

Training? or just fun!

Well the nutrition is a work in progress.
Helped by my own personal team of Chefs

Armed with a collection of frozen water bottles, training in the Australian heat has been a new experience. It has definitely tested me but I have enjoyed it and I have learnt a lot about myself and training generally in the process. The weeks have just flown by and my fitness levels are going up and up. I am already feeling the benefits of such a varied and fun routine of training.

Feeling strong

Things have been very exciting and are looking to continue that way. Its already March so its now time to take a break from the Australian heat and training schedule and head over to New Zealand to train with the NZ National Freestyle Kayak team for a few weeks. Then i'm back to Sydney for another intense month of fitness training before heading back to the UK where I will be spending a month, technical training with my coach Den at HPP. I am excited to see if all this 'off season' training pays off when it comes to hitting the water for the competitions in the summer.

Looking forward to the season beginning (photo by Jez)

I would like to say a massive thank you to Able Doudnik at Hybrid Conditioning and Morgan Endicott-Davis at Anytime Fitness Newington for taking me on and sponsoring me with a place to train and giving me some incredible training support.