Back in the Game! Big, New Goal :D

You know, it’s times like these when I realise what a Superhero I am

– Ironman

It has been the longest period of inactivity on this blog in its history, and for that I apologise somewhat. I’ve been filling any spare time coaching and with other qualifications and courses; but now I have some time back and I’ve been looking forward to getting back online and blogging once more.

So, to kick off, so to speak,

I’m signing up for an Ironman in 2019.

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This is my goal. Having exercised an average of 5-7 sessions per week for the last 3 months or so, I now need to actually train for something. Exercise with no goal, no competition, no defined endstate is just that, “exercise”. In recent months, I have really struggled to maintain my motivation and dedication; I have attended all sessions, and worked as hard as I could at the time, but there’s been something missing and it has dragged me down – I’m not making the progression that I really expected and it’s because I’m not motivated to push myself as hard as I need to. The little successes in the WODs have not been enough to keep me motivated, the minor ‘failures’ have been blown out of all proportion in my head. My negative self-talk has increased to the point where I’m now seeking to give it a name of its own! (suggestions, please!)

What has been missing has been the goal, and it’s been missing for too long. However, it was obvious from the CF Open that I’m unlikely to ever be a genuine CrossFit competitor; this is not “negative self-talk” but is just a reflection of the time and dedication it would take to get to that level and sustain it meaningfully. Fair play to those that do! But, I do know that CrossFit has to play a part in whatever I do; I’ve come a long way and I still really believe in it as a training methodology.

What then? What kind of challenge will give me the satisfaction I need just from completing it? I’ve done a Marathon….Ultra Marathon then? No chance, not for me, I’m not sure I can keep myself mentally focused for that long. But an Ironman…3 disciplines, well-understood and respected, achievable, and I am not motivated to win it but want to complete it for the sake of that achievement alone.

IRONMAN: An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order and without a break.

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I’ve not yet firmed up precisely which one. I hope to take part in Ironman Wales Sept 2019 but I don’t yet know my timetable for next year and may end up being deployed somewhere, ruining the whole thing. So, I’ll pick the exact event next year when I know better. However, it’s Wales that I’m focusing on.

In the meantime, I know what I have to do. It’ll be long, arduous, with twists and turns, I am sure, but it’s what I really want to achieve next year, my 41st year on this planet (I’ll be 40). CrossFit will remain a large part of my training, most likely the CF Endurance programme, because regardless of what time I am aiming for, I strongly believe in maintaining the multi-joint, multi-planar training methodology in order to maintain overall capacity, and limit the losses of what I have achieved thus far.

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So let’s see where this takes me. The next few months will be spent getting my swimming stroke sorted, my running up to to par, and I really need to find a bike! I have a Concept II now so can work hard on the endurance aspects at home too. In the meantime, I’ll still be training at CrossFit Watford, until I leave at the end of this month, I’ll pick up sessions at CrossFit Plymouth, and you’ll see this Nomadic CrossFitter making the most of any opportunity to come his way in the meantime.

Wish me luck!

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CrossFit Open 2018 – Final Scores

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CF Open 2017

  • Worldwide Masters (35-39) – 86th %tile
  • Europe Central Masters (35-39) – 87th %tile

CF Open 2018

  • Target: place higher than 2017
  • Stretch Target: 90th %tile

Achievement

  • Worldwide Masters (35-39) – 85th %tile
  • Europe Central Masters (35-39) – 89th %tile

I’m happy. I dropped a placing Worldwide and gained 2 in Europe Central. When you look at my per-WOD scores and take in to account the car crash of 18.2, you see that I actually did pretty damned well. Indeed, only 30 secs faster on 18.2 would have seen me well above the 90th %tile, perhaps as high as 91st, with my Worldwide score beating my target handsomely. Oh, for a bit of a kick in the pants during that WOD. Nevermind. It’s done now.

I hadn’t quite realised it either but this is my final year in the 35-39 Masters category. As of next year I shall be in the 40-44 age group!

So what’s next?

Well, tomorrow I begin my first non-Open competition with “The Battle For The Middle Ground“. 3 WODs over 3 weeks as Qualifiers, with the finals in Huddersfield 15/16 June. I’m competing in the Masters Middle Ground division and obviously have no intent on reaching the finals, I just want more competition experience to ensure I don’t crash out as I did in 18.2. And besides, it gives me something to work towards, I love competing and don’t get the chance all that often. After this…more of the same, I hope, with the UK Throwdown Event in October looming too.

C.F. Open 18. Performance and Understanding – a review of me

Grab yourself an organic, large Americano, put on some modern dance jazz, and put your feet up.

I’m sat in Leon in Moorgate, London, feeling comfortable and mindful while I wait for an Augmented Intelligence presentation in an hour. With C.F. Open EOD 18.5 looming on the immediate horizon, I’m in the perfect frame of mind to reflect on this year’s Open as it stands, and begin to look forward to the new training year 18-19.

I entered Open 18 on the back of a very strong training year. I’ve posted some really consistent improvements, in strength as well as conditioning. Personal Bests have been achieved, repeated, and overcome again. The atmosphere in CrossFit Watford has been simply incredible at times, the box tourism has been brilliant, and the little garage gym has served me extremely well too.

It was with real enthusiasm and excited anticipation that I approached C.F. Open 18. Last year’s percentile placings were 86th Worldwide Masters (35-39) and 84th Europe Masters. Year on year growth since 2012. Always wanting to just be better than the previous year, I set that as a goal but added a ‘stretch’ target of top 10% Masters Worldwide. Why not?

Score: 315 Reps Rx – 86th %tile, Europe Central Masters

Starting relatively ‘basic’ this was an all-inclusive workout that meant all boxes, all standards could have a crack RX and get off to a flying start. Plenty of strategies were published and I was determined to to follow one instead if just hammering it. With an aim to complete each row at approx 1200Kcal per hour, all TTB as 5/3, and all DB Cleans unbroken, I followed this to the letter, meeting it every time. Of course, the problem here being that I took my expected average Kcal per hour from an out of date 2000km Row attempt. I realised perhaps too late (after the wod!) That I should have pushed to an extra 50Kcal per hour or so to squeak out a few extra reps. However, all in all, not a bad start.

Time: 8:48 Rx + 103kg Clean. 70th %tile Europe Central Masters

I cocked this one up royally. Trying to follow a strategy again, I was far too paced on the Burpees. Completely unbroken throughout, I got stuck in a pace and realised too late to change it. It was when I finished the 7s and someone shouted “3:50” that I realised my mistake and had nothing left in really speed up. My video shows me leisurely jumping over the final bar in stark contrast to the retching and vomiting of others. Bollocks. I rapidly composed myself and hit the cleans, achieving a weight that I would never have been able to do this time last year, testament to the extra time I have carved it for specific strength training this year.

Total: 317 Reps Rx, 85th %tile Europe Central Masters

A bit of a mixed bag here. With my child-like ankles and duff Achilles, I knew that I was going to suffer on the double unders. I’ve avoided them a lot this year. So, it was a massive surprise when I hit 100 unbroken in the first round, in a time of 62 seconds! I think it was helped by a certain song coming on right at the start, telling me that my dad was definitely watching (“Thanks Dad, I miss you buddy!”). I did start the dubs with genuine tears in my eyes and a smile on my face 😂. The overhead squats were broke once, not to plan but I wobbled and dropped it. Quickly regained and finished though. The next set of dubs were a challenge. My right Achilles twinged immediately and I was forced to slow it right down, breaking 3 or 4 times. It was the muscle ups that really broke me though. Singles from the start, I was forced back in to false grip, almost strict, efforts despite the recent focus on neutral grip. Definitely work to do here in the next year. The 3rd set of dubs really, really hurt and I managed 85 in the remaining time.

Total: 92 Rx, 90th %tile Europe Central Masters

Well, all I can say is that I’m thankful that I am still ok at handstand push ups. I was RAGING at the end of this one, as the immense crew of CrossFit Plymouth soon saw. In the past, I’ve completed “Diane” (the first round of 21-15-9) in 4:51 previously. This time…8:50. However, never have I attempted these standards for Handstand Pushups. It’s insane. I believe the standards are unfair but I’ll cover that at a later date, they are what they are. I was left with 10 secs to Deadlift the 143kg bar, which I managed twice. Despite my upset at the time, I’ve since hugely mellowed, having seen how the whole community has struggled with it too. Again though, as per ring muscle ups, there is work to do in this next year.

Looking ahead to 18.5, with the Open not complete, I’d like to share some thoughts about myself from this year’s experience.

1. I am too hard on myself. I put too much pressure on myself this year and have unfairly chastised myself in the wake of apparent “defeat”. Not hitting my ‘stretch target’ of Top 10% is not failure; not in the eyes of the other coaches, the athletes nor in any other sense. With the exception of cocking up 18.2, the others scores are solid and a good basis for yet more development.

2. CrossFit. As demonstrated particularly by the ring MUs and handstand push ups, I am not “cross fit”. I have gained strength over the last year but at the expense of the gymnastic movements. As the new training year begins, I will review my programming accordingly. Gymnastic movements have been my strength over the last few years and I need to regain that.

3. Coaching Credibility. As a coach in CrossFit Watford, among some genuinely talented coaches and athletes, I don’t feel like I have necessarily led by example on the scoreboard. A post for another time but I feel that CrossFit Coaches are required to lead by example in a way not necessarily born out in other sports. However, this pressure is absolutely unwarranted and I need to get over it. Coaching is not about being top of leaderboards; it’s about knowing what your athletes need (not always just in the box) and understanding how to help them achieve their goals, ensuring high standards of performance throughout. That said, I feel that consistent Top 10% is probably a realistic benchmark for coaches to achieve, within their respective age group, of course! 😂

Despite knowing these things, I have been incredibly frustrated and upset throughout this competition. I felt ready, free of injury, and on an upward track yet haven’t quite hit the higher notes that I felt I could have. Sure, not every day is a PR day but given my perceived advancement over the last year (and there really have been some excellent ones), I wanted to demonstrate that to myself and to our team (#bluebadgeholders, I love you lot). I feel like I haven’t but have to reset again for next year. In my heart, I know I’ve been too hard on myself and that I’ve done pretty well (less 18.2) but still…more to do.

There are a few people who have known my incredible frustration over the course of this Open and who I should thank. Starting with Mrs Nomad, she’s been incredibly supportive and grounding. Heading out each Saturday morning for the workout, after I only commuted home late the night before, will have been annoying but she knows I love it. To the 3 genuinely talented athlete coaches, Charlie, Hat, and Tash (and James of CrossFit Plymouth!)…they help to put it all in perspective and bring many decades of collective competitive experience that I simply don’t have. And, to the athletes in CrossFit Watford and CrossFit Plymouth…2 awesome communities that I would love to tie together somehow.

All that’s left is Open WOD 18.5. The clue suggests back-to-back-to-back WODs…its being hosted by 3 female athletes…my guess is Fran in to Karen in to Isabel. You heard it here first. I’ll be taking this one with far more laughter and less seriousness, don’t worry. I’ve learned a lot and will develop strongly from my 5th Open comp.

#strongerthanyesterday

Prelude: CrossFit Games Open 2018

CrossFit Games Open 2018

Its that time of year again. Since first taking part in 2012, in Afghanistan, and officially entering in 2013, the CrossFit Games Open competition has become a staple of my year. If I compete in nothing else, I move all I have to in order to ensure I can compete in this.

Why?

It’s my annual stock take. It’s the review of my training, demonstrating my improving fitness year on year. It’s a chance to throwdown with those I’ve trained and have trained with. It’s an opportunity to see how prepared I am for the ‘unknown and unknowable’ as Dave Castro does his best to challenge us in new and imaginative ways.

Goal

My final Masters (35-39) placing last year was 86th percentile (top 14%), with it slightly higher across Europe with 87th percentile. The goal this year is of course to beat that, with an ambitious target of 90th percentile for Masters worldwide.

Can I do it? I believe I can. I worked extremely hard on strength in 2017, improving significantly in all lifts. My CV conditioning is also greatly improved, with regular PBs coming in benchmark WODs. Sure, I’ll need to be illness-free to make this work. I usually suffer during at least 1 WOD but have taken a week of rest this year prior to the run-up. With a great deal of travel over the next few weeks, I’ve also booked in to other boxes to ensure I can squeeze them in.

One and Done

Each year, I promise I’ll be “one and done” but always repeat at least one. I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity this year, with some having to be performed on Friday AM, and others on Monday PM. Unless something goes very wrong, it will be ‘one and done’.

Fun

Yes, I want to show improvement. But there are too many things out of my hands. If I don’t succeed, it’s not the end of the world. It has to be about Fun, first and foremost. Enjoying the experience, wherever it takes place, and putting my all in to it, leaving nothing in the tank for ‘if only’.

So, Dave, bring it on. Show me what you got. I’m ready.

2018, Let’s Begin.

With goals established for 2018 (See previous post), and the final big family gathering (feasting) of the season complete, it’s time to kick off 2018.

Moving away from building strength and focusing on the looming C.F. Open 2018, it’s time to spend a little more time on MetCons and less on pure strength. This means more EMOMs instead of the AMRAP Plus One programme to supplement C.F. Watford programming. My weakness remains barbell cycling, a key likely component of the Open WODs, and so this is entirely logical; I know I can make big improvements here within the next 2 months.

Nutrition-wise, it’s back to the successes of the second half of last year. Keeping with 40% complex carbs, 35% protein, 25% fat, it’ll look something like:

Breakfast: 80g Huel

Snack: Huel Bar or pressed fruit bar

Lunch: 120g Flavoured Rice, 120g Chicken

Snack: 10-15g Nuts

Dinner: 1 x Takeaway tub-sized meal with rice / sweet potato, loads of veg, 200g (approx) chicken/fish.

Post-WOD: 40g Huel + 35g Whey protein.

Pre-Bed Drink: 200ml Semi-skimmed Milk + Cocoa powder.

This is pretty balanced and typically brings me up to the 2400KCal range; I do monitor as best I can with my Garmin Vivoactive HR, with heart rate monitor band, but it’s never perfect, only a reasonable gauge. I must ensure that I’m getting my carbs in about 30-45mins before the workout, typically in the evenings, so that I’m primed for the session.

My recent DNAFit Fitness Diet Pro test threw up a few added details in there which directly affect my nutrition but I’ll write about those in a future post.

So, until the next time, LET’S DO THIS! See you in the box.

 

 

New Year: Review & Staring Ahead with Excitement

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Welcome back, athletes, bloggers, readers, and wonderful subscribers to this meandering blog. I hope you had a superb New Year and are primed for the greatness that 2018 will undoubtedly bring. 2017 was a bit rubbish for many, although having just read my post from this time last year, apparently not as bad as 2016 was! So it’s all been upwards. And so I expect 2018 to be…upwards yet further.

Sitting here watching Scarlets vs Dragons rugby, in my cousin’s house in South Wales (although I’m an Ospreys fan), I’ve got about an hour to sit and reflect on my CrossFit successes of 2017 and look to what I seek to achieve in 2018.

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So, what were my 2017 Goals?

  1. Achieve a top 25% in CF Open 2017
  2. Look and Feel Healthier
  3. Complete 2 x Obstacle Races
  4. Significantly Improve in Strength / Olympic Lifting

And, how have I done?

  1. CF Open 2017. I smashed this goal with my best ever position – top 17% of individual males and top 14% of Masters Men (35-39), taking in to account all competitors, Rx and Scaled, who recorded all 5 workouts.
  2. Look & Feel Healthier. Yes. For the first time on this CF journey, I feel like a credible CrossFitter. Through good nutrition, and plenty of hard work, I actually believe I look and compete like I belong there. It’s vain, I know, but it’s a motivating factor – we all want to look good for the effort we put in. The biggest difference has been nutrition which must continue in to 2018.
  3. Events. I signed up for 2 events, as planned, but the first was cancelled on the day; the Swim/Run event had to be postponed due to weather. We’ve been promised that we can reattend in 2018 though and so that’ll be on my list. The second event, “Mission: Unbreakable”, a 10km OCR in North Devon was a huge amount of fun and really motivated me to get in another one this year.
  4. Strength. Perhaps my biggest success of this year. As soon as the Open finished, I began on the AMRAP Plus One Advanced Weightlifting programme. Beginning with a 102.5kg Clean & Jerk, and a 72.5kg Snatch, I concluded 2018 with a 112.5kg Clean & Jerk, and an 80kg Snatch. oh, and a destroyed barbell 😉
  5. CF Level 2 Trainer. Not a goal that I set out to achieve at the beginning of the year but an opportunity that was too good to miss. Thank you to CF Watford for giving me the space (and money) to do this; I’ve really grown as a coach over the last few years at CF Plymouth and CF Watford but this course gave me so much more too.

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So, going in to 2018, what do I want to see? Well, more of the same, to be honest. Keeping the same themes, my goals are:

  1. CF Open 2018. Achieve top 15% individual male finish in CF Open 2018. I never thought I’d be in this space, if I’m honest and it’s exciting me.
  2. Look & Feel Healthy. Christmas put a bit of a dent in to the good work but it’ll come back by the end of Jan. Having recently had a DNAFit Fitness Diet Pro test, I also know a few changes that I need to make to achieve greater success with my nutrition. It’s critical that I maintain the good standards that I set in 2017.
  3. Events. More events. I want to compete; I’m looking for some midweek CF events, should they exist. If not, I might sign up for the Battle of Britain Qualifiers or something like that. I’m reattempting the Swim/Run event in Devon, if it comes off, and I would like to run the Cardiff half-marathon with other family members. There’s also a “Stand Up 2 Cancer” CF event in October that I’m determined to compete in.
  4. Strength. I’m going to consolidate on this for a few months while the Open takes place. I want to get to the stage where 100kg Clean & Jerk is ‘comfortable’ and can be done under pressure in a WOD; I’d like 115kg as a new 2RM but that is a longer term, year long goal.

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I think it should be reflected upon too that even though I am that enthusiastic, motivating coach in front of the outstanding athletes in CF Watford, I didn’t find this easy. Especially 2 and 4. There were some pretty dark moments where I just kept thinking, “what’s the point?” When those moments came up, I turned to the likes of Mrs Nomad and my coaches (Charlie, Hat, Tash, Roly – you rock) and took their advice and guidance. I repeatedly referred back to my notebook to see just how far I’d come along the trail. I should note too that while Strength was my goal, my MetCon scores have rapidly and steeply improved too, across shorter power workouts and the longer endurance ones too.

So, what lessons have I learned in 2017?

  1. Surround yourself with Talent. I’ve made it a point to learn from success in every aspect of my life this (last) year. This has hopefully paid off in my professional life (find out in March) but it definitely paid off in CrossFit. Watching the higher levels athletes in our box, learned from those with injuries, chatting to everyone about their motivations…it’s all benefited me immensely and I have to thank them all. I’m sure it’s been infuriating having to put up with some of my inane WhatsApp messages but thank you all.
  2. Recovery. I’m getting (a little) older and am definitely not the 18 year old that could play a rugby match on a Saturday, get smashed in the evening, and do a 5 mile run on the Sunday. Alcohol definitely affects me more than it ever has although I’m not much of a drinker anyway. I also need the odd day off 😉 While I’ve trained twice a day for 3 days a week for quite a bit of this period, and have seen immense changes, I have also taken weekends off, by and large. Without intending it, it’s been just the right amount of rest and recovery.
  3. Write Shit Down! I can’t express this enough to athletes. WRITE DOWN YOUR SCORES! I’ve written about this one before but here’s another angle to it: there are days when you don’t feel like you can lift heavy, or run fast, or jump high. It’s so easy to let your body match your mental state. But, if you look at your notebook and see that just the previous week you put in a 115kg Jerk, then you know that you can do it and that you probably will today too. So many times this year, especially at 0600hrs, I could have just knocked 5kg off the bar because I wasn’t feeling it. Each time, I reviewed my previous lifts and set the targets accordingly.
  4. Have a Laugh. You know what? It’s only exercise. Sure, we have goals and we want to succeed. But not every day is a PR day. Not every day needs that steely-eyed focus. Enjoy it for what it is – it’s time with friends doing something you enjoy that isn’t work.

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Little Balls of Go Faster Food – A Review

All comments in this review are mine alone, without any influence from the product supplier/manufacturer.

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Kate’s story, “Back in 2000, Kate radically altered her family’s diet to help her husband, Mark, who was struggling in his training for the New York Marathon. Mark’s performance was totally transformed! Kate didn’t last long playing the dutiful wife to the heroic marathon runner. She decided to run a marathon herself. And the rest is history!”. Not only did she take her nutritional knowledge and apply it to her husband, she subsequently “guinea pig’d” herself and enjoyed personal success; not content with that though, “Her best-selling recipe books and education programme are used by Olympians, Great Run, 220 Triathlon and the GB Youth Winter Olympic Development Squad.” – What better endorsement is there?

With thanks to HelsBels at  “HelBels – Running & Fitness Blog“…. I was given the opportunity to review “Kate Percy’s Go Faster Food“. As with previous nutritional reviews, this too is ‘all natural’; indeed, I am unlikely to review products that aren’t.

So it was with high hopes and expectation that I opened a neatly packaged box of 3 types of “Go Faster Bites” and the book, “Go Faster Food for the Active Family“. I’ve broken up the review below in to the “Bites” and the Book.

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The Bites

Contents. The Go Faster Bites are a cold-pressed fruit product, similar to others on the market, but have been specifically tailored to suit pre / during / post exercise. Not only that but rather innovatively they have been delivered in 3 mini-mouthful-sized balls; you don’t have to eat a whole bar in one go! Gluten-free (key in my house), dairy free, and with no refined sugar. The contents are all natural and are as inflammation-free as I think it’s possible to be.

Boost. Date, Raisins, Coconut, Gluten Free Oats, Coconut Oil. Higher in fruit sugars and starchy oats, these little balls of energy are designed to give you a literal sugar boost right in time for an intense workout, or to kickstart and endurance event.

Refuel. Sultanas, Dates, Apricots, Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds, Linseed, Oats, Honey. Delivering a slower-release carb inject, these are tailor-made for “on the go”, to keep you going throughout endurance events, or in between competitive events such as CrossFit comps, 7s Rugby events, 5-a-side comps, etc.

Repair. Dates, Raisins, Roast Hazelnuts, Dark Chocolate. Some fruity carbs, a dollop of protein, a little chocolate, -ideal to recover from any event.

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Quality. One thing I noticed from the outset was the high quality ‘processing’ of these balls. All too often with similar products, I’ve come across small pieces of pit or a fruit stone; I think you just come to accept it – however, when you dive in to a cold lake for a long-distance swim, only THEN to discover a sharp fragment wedged in your teeth, it really does wind you up! So far, nothing of the sort with these little beauties. Smooooooth throughout. I’ve ‘tested’ 11 so far, that’s 33 balls, and it was one of my key criteria to look out for.

Look & Taste. They taste great. I’d expect nothing less. In this era of advancing health nutrition, taste has to be king. There are so many competing products on the market that to taste poor, regardless of performance, would be to sink your own ship; if it doesn’t taste good, it won’t get eaten. Without any refined sugar (a little honey in the Refuel balls), none of them are overly sweet; for me that is absolutely perfect. I don’t have a sweet tooth, preferring the delicate taste of coconut and hazelnuts to that of a rich, milk chocolate.

Performance. I’ve intentionally left this paragraph to the end, so that you would read all the way down the rest of the post to get here. How do I assess performance in a food? Well, knowing what they were designed for, I decided upon using the fact that I train so early in the morning, and having fasted for 8+ hours, to assist me.

0600 hrs Training – BOOST. 3-4 mornings a week, I conduct specific olympic lifting training, aiming to increase strength. I need sugar in my body to generate the power necessary to through 115kg in to the air. Typically, I’ve downed an apple or banana, plus a mug of coffee, but it’s either not enough or doesn’t digest quick enough to deliver and I find tired legs dominating about halfway through the session. For 4 mornings in a row, changing nothing else, I switched out the apple/banana for the “Boost” balls. Of course, this is hardly scientific and may well suffer from a placebo effect, but it’s as good as I can do with only 4 packs. However, I can honestly say that for those 4 mornings, I felt a genuine difference. Eating them 30 mins before the active portion of the work, there was a significant difference in the fatigue in my legs compared to a regular morning. I was able to do more, for longer. This should come as no surprise, and you might say “well eat more before a workout then” but at that time of the morning, I just can’t. These suited me down to the ground.

1030 hrs mid-Morning – REFUEL. After a workout, I typically have 80g of Huel for my breakfast. This keeps me going until about 1100 when I start to look at my watch and wonder why the morning is taking so long; I’ll usually eat about 10-15g of mixed nuts but am unhappy with the amount of fat that goes with it. For the same 4 days, I ate the Refuel balls instead and staved off the cravings quite happily for another few hours, no insulin-slump occurring either.

1930 hrs Evening Workout – RECOVER. I’m not sure I can really measure any tangible effect of these little bad boys other than to say that I had these immediately after 1830 CrossFit workouts; the increased protein is required for muscle repair, while the chocolate carbohydrate hit refuels tired body and mind – these are also my favourite tasting, by far. Typically, I head straight back to my cave for dinner about 45-60 mins later, these are a lovely filler in between that.

Recommendation. OF COURSE I RECOMMEND IT! Didn’t you read above?!

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The Book

The book was an eye-opener. Unlike other recipe books that I’ve looked over, this one is very targeted. As per the balls, the first target is to those conducting sporting events; the second target is to families, more specifically, active families. Immediately, this appeals to me. With my 4 warrior princesses, 3 of them at the start of their active journeys, I take this stuff super, uber seriously. 

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Contents. The book is well-structured, beginning with the bit most recipe books neglect, “Why”. Why nutrition is important, why we need to tailor it to our needs, why childrens’ nutrition is different and increasingly important, especially to keep them active and adventurous. It breaks “why” down in to “easy science”, logically taking you from one step to another, covering macro and micronutrients, the need for balance, and the ills of processed foods  the bit I love the most is the emphasis on preparing and eating together too; it’s something that Mrs Nomad and I absolutely believe in. I’ve been coaching CrossFit and associated basic nutrition for 6 years, learning a vast wealth of knowledge over that period. However, this book just gave me the tools to be able to articulate it to a whole new audience; I don’t mean just kids, either. I also mean adults for whom typical approaches haven’t worked.

Recipes. This is the bit that saddens me the most; I’ve not been able to get stuck in to nearly enough recipes!! Because I spend the majority of my time holed up in a cave, away from my action princesses, I haven’t had the resources or time to make the beautiful range on offer. Instead, I’ve had to stare longingly at the photos. However, having been through the ingredients and nutritional values in each meal, you can logically deduce who they’re focused on, and for what aspect of training/recovery/daily life. The recipes are simple to make. There’s nothing complicated in there at all, making this entire ‘programme’ 100% accessible for all.

Utility. Given the obvious target of this book, it has immense utility in planning and supporting both an active lifestyle and sports training. I am sure that there must be similar products on the market but this is the first I’ve had an opportunity to review. While I do live like a hermit for much of the week, with nothing but a microwave, kettle and fridge/freezer, I am going to attempt to adapt some of these recipes to suit my twice-a-day training regime. It’s the run up to Christmas now, and so any attempts to regulate or control my diet will likely crash down in the excitement and over-indulgence of the season, but when I return to strict training in January this book will underpin all that I do.

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Examples. Again, I’ve left the best part of the review for last. For me, the absolutely best parts of the book are the specific “active kids” examples; rugby players, runners, swimmers…there’re multiple interviews with children right at the top of their game, Olympians and Champions of the future. I read these articles and come away feeling intensely motivated for my own children. Thanks Kate!

Recommendation: Of course. It wasn’t going to be anything else, this is an excellent product in its own right.