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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Things I've found useful over 2012

This is going to be a bit of a mish-mash of things I've found interesting & useful for training.

First on the list is my Lions lifting shoes I'll actually write a proper blog post about these at a later date as they are pretty good.  The heel makes squatting (or snatching & cleaning) much easier for some people, it is a biomechanical thing, I feel rock solid as I've been learning Olympic style squatting using them & no issues (I'm still lifting fairly light, but I've been arse to grass knees forward - which is kind of alien to someone who's powerlifted).  Well worth the cash in my view & of course finding vegan Olympic lifting shoes aren't that easy.  One hint is to buy 1 size under your actual size.  I bought a size 8 (I'm size 9) & they fitted perfectly! (that's UK foot sizes)

Next up is a tricky one.  I was trying to think of which company I thought was the best supplement company?  Worst is easy, I was ripped off by Discount vitamin & herb on an order so I'd avoid them at all costs!  But vegan bodybuilding has had some great interactions with a few companies over the year.  One of my favourites is Veganicity, a totally vegan company with a good range of stuff.  One of the reasons that swings this one as best this year is the fact that they actually asked us what we'd like as a supplement that wasn't already easily available (we said a vegan vitamin K2) & they made it for us!  Now that is support from a company.  Not say our other sponsors aren't awesome, but this year veganicity has pulled out all the stops & really done 120% effort in working with the community! So they were pretty good.

Next thing I've liked this year is my new portable pull-up/dip station.  This isn't one of those 'fit in the door frame' types it is a totally portable, use outside model.  You can use it at full height for pull-ups, suspension work (think TRX or similar), hanging with the knees bent over the bar, hanging from gravity boots etc.  You can also lower it & do things like dips, inverted rows etc.  The list just goes on.  The good thing is that during the nicer weather you can go out & train in a park or similar.  Just some bands, some rope, some suspension stuff (I have adjustable gymnastic rings personally) & something heavy like dumbbells ,kettlebells etc. This is pretty good & it should get a lot of use in 2013 assuming we don't have a summer like this year (summer?).

The start of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine is something to celebrate for 2012! Having our very own magazine is a great step in the right direction, so subscribe if you want the latest & greatest vegan fitness info available!

Let's see what else have I enjoyed this year?  Obviously I've enjoyed the Vegan Bodybuilding events including a fab trip to Oslo earlier this year!
I have also moved this year to electronic record keeping for my training due to a 'cat accident' (fur-balls have a LOT to answer for!).  That has been interesting, at the moment I'm using MS Word for writing up training & weekly checks (weekly checks are weight, blood pressure, pulse rate etc).  I think I'll probably be looking to improve that over the next year or so as it's still a little unwieldy.  Generally though having it on computer has made things run fairly smoothly, so I've no complaints (it takes some time to sort out initially so bear that in mind if you are planning on something similar).

OK back to the best stuff - best info is hard?  I've been moving towards more Olympic lifting (I'm not an Olympic lifter by any stretch of the imagination, but I am starting to develop interests in that direction), Gregg Everett has some useful books (I've read 'Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches' & I'm reading 'Olympic Weightlifting for Sports' both of which are pretty good), back to powerlifting I've finished Andy Bolton/Pavel book 'Deadlift Dynamite' which was very good (& as I'm avoiding deadlifting VERY frustrating to read).  Mark Rippetoe Strong enough & the new edition of Starting Strength are both good.  Obviously no one agrees with everything any one author says & that's as it should be.  We're all a little bit different & so even looking back I find I don't even agree with myself from a few years ago!
Ross Enamait has done one of the best Sandbag training DVD I've seen so far, it cuts through the rubbish & gets to the heart of the whole sandbag idea, so if you're interested in that style of training I'd choose that one. I also like Dr Yessis, he has some interesting ideas I watched his Explosive plyometrics  dvd (I could only find the link to the book?) earlier this year.  It was great to see someone who actually understands how to do plyo-stuff unlike the 1001 other trainers out there who don't know the difference between plyometrics & 'jump' training.
I know I'm missing loads of things I've read & watched this year as I usually read a book or two a week & view DVDs very often as well (I learn better by seeing, than reading when it comes to lifting).  Hopefully though this has given you a little insight into my thought processes over 2012.  I will be exploring some new avenues in training over 2013 including more stuff outdoors & maybe even some working with groups (never worked with a large group before), we'll have to see how that develops.
Oh yea my final finds for winter 2012 are neoprene knee sleeves & nuique warming-up cream that's been the hit of the cold weather this year!  Really helped get me get ready for the increased workload .  If you are suffering getting ready in this colder weather give those a go, also elbow neoprene or warming-up cream works (using both may be over-kill on a single joint for some people as under neoprene warming-up cream gets HOT!), but I've used both since the start of the colder weather & it's been great (& I've been hammering Olympic style squatting multiple times a week & no issues with the joints), so consider them as options if you're in colder climates.
Anyway, feel free to add anything below that you've enjoyed over 2012 that is training related.  Hope you have a great holiday season & a fantastic 2013!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Animal Aid Christmas fayre 2012

 Here's what a vegan runner looks like topless

We had a fab day at the Animal Aid fayre.  There were many new faces & the contest was possibly the loudest we've ever done with people screaming & chanting!  To check out the whole story of our day simply click here