My Olympics: day 16, mountain biking (from thefitdog’s perspective)

August 12, 2012

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: mountain biking.

It’s the final day of the Olympics, and the final day of this series. I toyed with the idea of the marathon (bit long), I desperately wanted to try the modern pentathlon (no horse, pistol or epee/sword thingy), and I realised too late that I was meeting up with one of my cousins, who is not only a talented hockey player but also plays handball.

So, mountain biking it was. I’ve got one of those, you see.

Over to thefitdog for his account of today’s adventure as we round off this blog series. Enjoy 🙂

This is a blog post from Frankie, the office dog

Hi guys! Have you been watching the Olimpics? Hasn’t it been totally great? I’ve watched loads of it and have also been listening to it on the Radio (5 Live) when Nic goes out. My favourite bits have been the running ones where a lady or a man runs round and round the track and Nic goes crazy and tells me to “speak!” and I bark and she cheers and then the lady or man wins the race and everyone goes mad! I like going mad.

Anyway today Nic said I had to join in on her daily Olimpic challenge so I said could we please do the cross-country biking because I have always wanted to have a go. It’s my kind of sport! She said sure.

First of all we started with me on my lead just walking alongside the bike whilst Nic rode really, really slowly (she was quite wobbly). I found it a little bit scary because the wheel is quite big when you are only my size, and the bike was making funny squeaky sounds, but Nic said I was a Good Boy so I got used to it.

Then we got to the park and things got really gnarly, dude! Nic let me off the lead and we rode round and round the field and I had to learn how to run or walk right next to the bike, always on the right hand side. It was quite hard work!

People always ask me “Frankie how do you learn so many tricks?” and I tell them firstly it is because my head is quite big, so lots of room for lessons. But apart from that, I’m not sure really. Basically what happens is, Nic tells me to do something, and then she either gets cross and says the thing louder and louder (that means I’m not doing it right) or her voice goes really nice and she says cool things like Very Good and What a Good Boy and I get a nice feeling in my brain and that’s when I know I’ve got it right. Then the tough bit is just to remember to do it that way all the time!

For instance today I learned:

– “here” which means I have to be close alongside the right hand side of the bike
– “this way” which means we are turning left and I have to go with the bike
– “we’re turning!” which means we are turning right and I have to sort of do a little turn or I’ll get run over
– “no! here!” which means I have run in front of the bike which is not a good thing to do

Here’s a quick vid of me during my gruelling event today, as you can see I am working very hard

Let me tell you, mountain biking is a totally tiring sport! We only did about 10 minutes of it but that was enough for me! I was really tired and so thirsty I had to go in the duckpond in the park.

Anyway guys I hope my guide to mountain biking helped you out. Now excuse me as I must have my tea and then settle down to watch the Closing Ceremony.

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day 16, mountain biking (from thefitdog’s perspective) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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My Olympics: day 15, boxing

August 11, 2012

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: boxing.

Just a quick one for you today cos I’m hungry and need my tea!

Today, I met up with a group of fellow natural bodybuilders at Bodybionic gym in Thatcham. Bodybionic is owned by Nick Openshaw, a bodybuilding competitor and all-round jolly nice chap, and he kindly opened the door (and tubs of protein powder) to a group of us.

After bashing up my chest and shoulders with figure competitor (and new friend) Helen Milton, I headed upstairs to the boxing area for a little bit of boxing coaching with Gym Manager Jacko.

First, we warmed up with a bit of skipping just like any self-respecting light-weight fighter.

Then it was into the ring with my opponent…

She was significantly lighter than me (in fact, it was a mystery as to why we were even fighting in the same category… !) and fast on her feet…

She had me in the first round…

But I got in the final blow in the second round and, just like Cancan Ren, Helen fell to the ground…

I was triumphant! (Well, it is my blog!)

Really? We were both far too tired (and depleted) to go one round, let alone several, but hey I put on boxing gloves and got in the ring! 😉

There’s no women’s boxing on today but, like many of you, I was blown away by Nicola Adams‘s performance the other night and love her story. Whether you see boxing as a skillful, agile, technical sport or are one of those who “can’t watch it” (or don’t think women should box), you can’t deny the girl did great.

So, today was my celebration of Nicola’s history-making Gold medal. Got to go. Mo‘s on! Go, Mo, Go!

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day 15, boxing is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


My Olympics: day 14, 4x100m relay

August 10, 2012

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: the epic 4x100m final.

Gird your loins, folks. It’s the pinnacle of every track meet, everyone’s favourite athletic show-down: the 4x100m final.


I ventured down to my local running track tonight and met with three good-humoured members of Reading Roadrunners (and a fourth – my friend Ellie Barnes – who volunteered to (wo)man the camera and act as commentator).

The athletes? Gosling, Jenkins, Edmondson and… Joyce. Three runners. One bodybuilder. Meet them here…

It was going to be a race which would stay in the memory for a long, long time. Those who were there would never forget it.

The special commemorative baton was unveiled.

First, the athletes were spotted warming up and practicing the all-important handover.

Then they lined up on the track at 100m and the crowd went silent. You could have heard a pin drop as these four talented track athletes prepared for the race of their lives. Would Gosling, with those long levers and suspicious amount of testosterone (being a bloke) power the team off to a storming start? Would Jenkins the little powerhouse keep the pace high in the crucial second 100m? All eyes were on Edmondson, the stalwart of the team, as she was charged with holding it together for the final handover. And Joyce. How would Joyce fare in that critical home straight?

We’d have the answers in just a few moments…

On your marks… set… go!

In an actually-not-so-bad-really time of 71 seconds, the team finished triumphant and breathing hard with the exertion. Well, it wasn’t tooooo far off the new women’s 4x100m World Record of 40.82!

Then, because it was a nice evening and that hadn’t really taken very long, they decided to all line up together and do a 100m race.

Gold to Gosling
Silver to Jenkins
Bronze to Joyce


But after the post-race interview, a heated dispute and much consulting of the ancient tome which is The Rulebook, Gosling was sensationally stripped of his Gold medal on account of being a man in a woman’s race.

So the final positions were

Gold to Jenkins
Silver to Joyce
Bronze to Edmondson

They took to the podium for an emotional rendering of the…er… Berkshire anthem.

Hooray!

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day 14, 4x100m relay is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


My Olympics: day 13, wrestling

August 9, 2012

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: wrestling.

Ooh I’ve got a good ‘un for you today!

Today I went and had a lesson in…. wrestling. And it was awesome!

My favourite blog posts in this series have been the ones where I’ve actually been coached in something which is new to me, and learned a skill (however small and to whatever miniscule level of proficiency!) Today’s experience is definitely one of those.

Remember when I went and had a conditioning session (and learned track starts) at Five Star Health and Fitness? Well, it turns out that they not only have a huge, well-equipped martial arts area, but they offer wrestling classes. Sign me up, I said! It’s for the blog.

So I found myself earlier today in a room with several blokes, a Romanian National Champion wrestler and… me. I had no idea what the class involved (let’s face it, I have basically no idea what wrestling itself involves). I didn’t know what to wear. I wasn’t even 100% sure that it was done barefoot.

Well! What an experience. Who knew that gymnastics drills formed part of wrestling training? Yes, Mum, I *did a series of cartwheels*. :-O

The class instructor was a delightful chap called Daniel Vlad, wrestling coach and former National Champion from Romania. Dani, if you’re reading this, should you ever choose to give up coaching wrestlers, you could find a second career in stand-up comedy. What a dude!

After a warm up, we did a series of gymnastics drills. Now, let me just give you an idea of what happens to me on a cellular level when someone says “do a roly-poly”. My heart stops. My blood freezes. My brain spins into a panic and I fight the urge to run from the scene screaming “I can’t! I can’t!” However, there I was. And I was second in line. So, no time to think really. Dani did an excellent job of explaining how to do the various rolls, shoulder rolls, cartwheels etc and before I knew it… I was doing them! Over and over again, down the length of the room.

Quite frankly if he taught me nothing else, I was delighted. I CAN CARTWHEEL!

(This video was taken after the class – I’m v tired by this point!)

However that was far from all, obviously. The drills were just an introduction to the level of agility, flexibility, balance, strength and body awareness needed for wrestling.

We were then paired up and had to do various lifts and carries with our partners. This was very funny (although I suspect I was the only one in the room actually giggling). I don’t know what my (male) partner weighed (not much – he was a martial artist) but I was pretty chuffed to be able to lift him, chuck him about and walk/run with him over my shoulder.

From that it was into some “clinch” work. After getting into a wrestling stance (low squat but leaning forward, hands in front and shoulders up slightly to protect the neck which – we were told – is like “a third arm” in wrestling) we linked hands with our partner and experienced pushing/pulling them about, reacting to them and learning how to control them and their weight.

We learned how to change levels (very important during sparring) and learned how to react defensively when your opponent goes to grab your leg (you kick it out behind you, replacing your foot with the hand on that side to keep you stable). Then we learned what to do it they try to grab both your legs – you sprawl. A sprawl is a delightful kind of squat thrust/burpee-esque thing and we had to do a whole series of them – out into a sprawl with arms locked, then jumping the legs back in and immediately back up into a wrestling stance.

By now I was so very pleased I’d trained legs this morning.

We learned some wrestling techniques like a double leg take down with a lift (which involved me hoisting my poor partner onto my shoulder again – apologies for the time I totally grabbed your bum cheeks instead of the back of your knees!) and clinch variations like “over and unders”.

The style of wrestling we were learning was freestyle, which is one of three styles they do at the Olympics (and the only one the women do).

Thank you, Dani, and thank you Five Star Fitness for letting me jump into the class! It’s a regular class (and one of many martial arts and MMA classes on the programme) so you can try it yourself!

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day 13, wrestling is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


My Olympics: day 11, triathlon (again)

August 7, 2012

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: triathlon.

Sort of! You see, I haven’t said anything about it on the blog but I’ve got a photoshoot tomorrow, so today I’m doing depletion workouts and playing around with carbohydrates and all that kind of thing. Plus, I have a lot of work to do (I do actually do paid work as well as blog and bodybuild, crazy as it might seem… !)

So, today’s blog post is less active and more informative. 😉

I know I’ve already covered triathlon (when the women’s race was on) but today, inspired by the men’s race (go Brownlee! and go Brownlee!) I thought I’d do a fun little jargon-buster, so those of you who are watching the race feel a bit more at home with some of the commentary.

The world of triathlon is full of confusing words, shiny kit and new jargon. Let this handy guide help you tell your transitions from your turbo sessions…

Olympic-distance: not just because it’s the one they’re doing in the Olympic Games. Olympic-distance is the name for the standard distance of triathlon (as opposed to Sprint, middle distance, long-distance at al). What is it? 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run.

Ironman: Chrissie Wellington is in the commentary box at the Beeb today. She’s an Ironman champion. Have you ever told people you’re doing a marathon, only to be asked “how long is that?” Ironman is a bit like that: Ironman is a brand which owns some long-distance triathlon races, but you can do an ‘ironman-distance race’ without taking part in an actual Ironman race.

Transition: the part of a triathlon race between the swim and bike, or bike and run. Used for changing kit, getting your bike (or putting it away again), grabbing a drink.

Racking: bikes are usually held on ‘racks’ in transition. Racking means putting your bike in transition before the race and is part of registration

Turbo sessions: a turbo trainer is like a treadmill for your bike. It holds your bike steady so that you can carry out bike training sessions in your garage (or front room!) if the weather’s bad or you want to do an intense session

Open water: triathlons always start with the swim, but some are held in a pool (pool-swims) and some in open water (open water, or OW swims). Open water can mean rivers, lakes, the sea or man-made bodies of water.

Buoyancy: the degree of extra floatation a good triathlon wetsuit will give you.

Zip cord: the long tie attached to your zip, which you grab in order to start undoing your wetsuit

Drafting: the technique of tucking yourself in behind someone else on the bike (can also be done on the swim) in order to conserve energy and therefore go faster. Pro triathletes are allowed to draft o the bike. Us mortals are not and it’s punishable by time-penalties or disqualification.

Aero: aero bars, aero position… what the what? Aero means getting into a tucked, aerodynamic position on the bike so you go faster. Aero bars (or tri bars) – the sticky outy bits on the front of the handlebars – help achieve this. Aero helmets help too. As does a good aero position.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten loads of bits of triathlon jargon! If anything is confusing you as you watch, ask and I’ll try to answer 🙂

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day 11, triathlon (again) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


My Olympics: day 10, women’s omnium (flying lap)

August 6, 2012

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: part of the women’s omnium.

The track cycling’s a funny thing, isn’t it? All cat-and-mouse strategy, unfathomable points systems and crazy names which sound more like a perfume than a sport (“Omnium! For him, for her, for everyone: the heady notes of the mystical East….”, “Keirin… a blend of leather, birch and tar for the phenomenally phenolic…”).

Anyway, my point is that not many people seem to really understand how track cycling works but by golly we’re good at it. And it’s fun to watch, whether you understand the rules or not.

Today was the start of the women’s omnium, a track cycling event which itself consists of six elements: a 250m flying lap time-trial, a 5km scratch race, an elimination race, an individual pursuit, a 10km points race and then a 500m time-trial. Cyclists accrue points across these events and then the rider with the fewest points wins the omnium.

So far, we’re doing rather well, with GB’s Laura Trott out in front with 12 points.

Once again, I was pushed for time today so, whilst I desperately wanted to go out and do the 3000m steeplechase (honest…), I was limited to something quick which I could do in the gym at the end of my weight session.

Bike sprints! Perfect.

This one was perhaps the most embarrassing of my Olympic challenges. Now, obviously, I wasn’t on a track bike, nor was I on a track. I didn’t have little men holding my bike before I propelled myself forward like a rocket. I just got on the bike, got off again to adjust the saddle, got on again and started pedalling, before doing 4x250m sprints with a recovery between each one. I wasn’t sure what resistance to go for or what RPM to aim for, so I just went for it.

Laura did her 250m flying lap in 14.058, with an average speed of 64.025 km/h. Wowsers.

My flying laps were… less flying that hers. Um:

24.8 seconds
26.3 seconds
25.8 seconds
26.0 seconds

Wait for me, Laura! I’m pedalling as fast as I can….!

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day 10, women’s omnium (flying lap) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


My Olympics: day nine, 400m (track)

August 5, 2012

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: the women’s 400m final.

Christine Ohuruogu and I have a lot in common. Loads. We’re both women. We both wear sportsbras and trainers a lot. And we both ran 400m today.

I was spoiled for choice with inspiration for today’s blog post. A game of tennis? I’d love to, but I don’t have a racquet (or a tennis partner). The entire men’s omnium? That could be fun. Also very time-consuming. The marathon! Maybe not (I have run marathons though, if that counts at all. PB of 4 hours 04 mins – watch your back, Tiki Gelana!)

But I was pushed for time and needed my blog-post sporting effort to be tacked on to the end of my own training session. So, 400m it was (on the treadmill).

I would in no way call myself a track runner, but I have done quite a lot of track running in the past: firstly as weekly training when I ran for a running club (Dulwich Runners AC reprazent!) and more recently a couple of Summers ago when I decided to get my 5km race time down (it seemed a noble cause at the time). I ran many 400m reps during my 5km-Summer (and still never got my 5km time under 20mins!) so knew today’s challenge was doable. The question was: what would my time be?

With just a few minutes until the gym closed, I hopped onto a treadmill and started running slowly. I hadn’t really thought this through. I didn’t have a stop-watch on, and had no idea how to set up the treadmill so it would do a 400m “effort” and record the time. So, I ran a bit quicker until the screen said 600m, then cranked up the speed with one hand whilst starting the stopwatch on my phone with the other hand. Then I ran like hell.

I realised immediately that running a 400m effort on the treadmill is not the best test of speed, because you can’t just go a bit faster as soon as your brain decides to: you have to adjust the speed manually and think about it. It was very different to running it on the track! However, I had no choice and by now I was about 179m through so I just kept going.

400m is a horrible distance, really. Is it a sprint? Or is it endurance? It calls on both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, which is why it hurts so much (even if you’re slow like me). Sure enough, about 2/3 of the way through, my legs appeared to stop communicating with my brain and started flailing about in a disconcerting manner. Mildly alarmed, I turned the speed down a touch.

Ouch, help me! By the power of Christine, make it stop!

The nice thing about 400m is that, horrible as it is, it’s over pretty soon.

1:28:9. Well, it’s a season’s best! 😉

If I’d been running with Christine & co tonight, this is what the results would look like.


Rank: 9
Lane: treadmill
Bib: t-shirt
Athlete: JOYCE Nicola
Reaction time: slow (fiddling with iPhone)
Time: 01:28:9 (SB)

Awesome! ;D

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day nine, 400m (track) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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