Posts in the Training category

Brett Robinson Performance Coach

The start of a new year is a time when many of us are working to establish new habits to improve our health and fitness.

You might have started a new training regime, be overhauling your diet or committing to a daily meditation practice.

But according to Brett Robinson, a performance coach at Elevation, it’s the small daily choices that you make across the board that have the biggest impact — not just on your health and fitness, but on every aspect of your life.

“I say to people that your life is your performance,” says Brett.

“Performance is made up of a lot of different elements. I love to look at those basics and ask, how can you do that better?

“How can you eat better? Sleep better? Breathe better? Move better?”

“You’re already making the choices, but what marginal gains can be made on those? It’s the one percent improvements that add up to shift the bigger picture.”

 

The backstory on Brett

 

Since joining Elevation Fitness in May last year, Brett — or Robbo as he’s known! — has cemented himself as a major asset to the training team, with his depth of experience and unlimited enthusiasm.

Brett is a former elite sprinter at the Australian Institute of Sport and has gone on to work with top athletes and sporting teams all over the world as both a soft tissue therapist and high performance coach.

He’s unlikely to tell you himself (shhhhh!) but Brett was named Australian Para Coach of the Year for Track and Field in 2017. He also has his own podcast – Your Life of Impact – offers well-being programs and is expecting his first child with financee Mari later this year.

Having competed at an elite level and coached others to do the same, Brett understands first-hand the impact that simple daily choices have on performance.

“Coming from high performance sport and as coach for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, every little element of their life needs to be dialled in because one split second can mean the difference between a gold and silver medal,” says Brett.

“The best athletes in the world are the ones who consistently do the simple things really well.”

 

Who does a performance coach help?

 

Brett applies that same principle to training his one-on-one Elevation clients, who range from those wanting to lose weight, get strong, excel at their chosen sport, prepare for an endurance event or recover from an injury.

“As soon as people experience performance coaching, they love it,” he says.

“It’s not a linear approach. It’s so widespread and focused on getting you better as a person. That goes well beyond getting stronger or losing weight.”

A typical session with a performance coach can cover areas such as movement, mobility, mindset, breathing, sleep, nutrition and even exposure to sunlight.

Part of Brett’s philosophy is to empower you to coach yourself by teaching you tools and strategies to create helpful habits that stick outside of the gym.

“Humans are creatures of habit and environment,” says Brett.

“That’s what I love about Elevation — it’s a place where people can be in an environment that’s helping them to achieve their goals. You might only be here for an hour a day, but it can kickstart your day really well or finish it off in an amazing way.

“If you just remember what it means to be human, you don’t have to try and hack the system. There aren’t massive changes you need to make. Once you understand that there are small things you can do every day to fuel what it means to be human, your life performance will change for the better pretty quickly.”

 

Brett’s top 6 tips for living your best life

 

  • Connect with your WHY  Set goals based on your core values and take time to understand WHY these are important.
  • Practice mindful breathing  Breathing lowers stress and keeps your mind from focusing on negative or unhelpful thoughts.
  • Be grateful and kind Consciously expressing gratitude releases feel-good hormones and keeps you in a positive state of mind.
  • Movement as medicine  Move your body in different ways, inside and out in nature, to enjoy the biggest benefits.
  • Prepare for solid sleep  Morning sun, breathing, mindset, healthy food, and limited light/fluids at night all aid super sleep.
  • Think better  Thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all linked. Thinking in a positive space way will lead to helpful choices.


To book a session with Brett or any of our trainers, email info@elevationfitness.com.au or call us on 0422 205 752.

 

Whether you’re looking to improve your mobility for athletic performance or to improve the quality of your life, there are various options available to you at Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads.  Mobility training changes often – what is popular today may not be popular today.

However, you will find that static stretching, yoga, dynamic stretching, and foam rollers remain constant in the world of mobility training.  Why is this?

Stretching to prevent injury or improve athletic performance is a highly controversial topic.  There are experts who believe that stretching prior to exercising is best, while there are others who believe that stretching should come after (or during) the activity.

Some believe that starting off with a less intense version of the activity you are going to do is best.  As an example: A long distance runner could start with a light jog because stretching will have little to no value for them.  For the more aggressive activities, stretching may have greater benefits.

The “American Journal of Sports Medicine” published a study in 1982 that looked at the correlation between lower body strains and tendinitis injuries.  They discovered that there was a definite connection between muscle tightness and tendinitis.

There are many other movements that require a large range of motion that can take time to develop, as well as injury prevention.  Gymnasts and dancers are a prime example of this.  They need to improve their flexibility from a young age to perform at optimal levels.

Another example is a golfer – by increasing their torso flexibility they can increase their swing.  Some golf pros believe that increasing their backswing 2 inches can increase their drive by 20 yards.

There are four types of stretches most commonly used in fitness and conditioning.  Continue reading for a description of each, and then Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads can help you find the best style of stretching that meets your needs.

 

Static Stretching

Static stretching is considered the most popular type of stretching.  This is because it is the easiest to learn by reading a book or watching a video.  Bob Anderson’s book, Stretching, is a classic resource for static stretching.

How to:

  • It is highly recommended that you remain motionless throughout the entire stretch.
  • Stretch the muscle past it’s relaxed state.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 – 60 seconds.
  • Slowly release the stretch and allow the muscle to go back to its relaxed state.

Many yoga movements could be considered static stretching, although some of the movements are quite complex and require isometric contractions.

There is some controversy over the use of static stretching prior to exercise.  It is believed, by some, that your strength and speed may be reduced if you use static stretching immediately before your activity.

The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in 2012 that reviewed static stretching.  The results of 106 different studies showed that that static stretches of 60 seconds or more prior to your exercise could reduce your speed, power, and strength.

Other types of static stretching:

Partner Stretching – This involves having a partner stretch the intended muscle while you focus on relaxing the muscle.  Stretch to Win (2006) and Fascial Stretch Therapy (2014) are two books written by the Chris and Ann Fredericks about partner stretching.

They teach one method which involves having the individual lay on a table with several wide straps to help stabilize the limbs that are not being stretched.  The partner then moves the limbs through patterns that stretch the intended muscles and a specific type of connective tissue called facia.

Distraction stretching – Distraction stretching has bene popularized by Kelly Starrett.  It uses elastic bands to apply traction that opens joint capsules.  You can find more information about this type of static stretching in Kelly Starrett’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard (2013).

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling uses dense logs of foam to stretch the soft tissue.  There is a huge variety of foam rollers available with 6 inches by 36 inches being the most popular sized log.  The denser the logs are, the longer they keep their shape and they can be found in the Function room in Elevation Fitness centre.

How to:

  • Lie with the part of your body that is tender or stiff on the foam roller.
  • Slowly roll in both directions to locate the tender spot.
  • Hold that position until the muscle relaxes – approximately 5 – 10 seconds.
  • Slowly roll down the length of muscle until you find the next tender spot.
  • Repeat at each location 3 to 5 times.
  • Complete this process 3 times a week.
  • Use the roller on your bed to lessen the pressure.

During a 2006 study of 23 uni-age men and women who complained of tight hamstrings, researchers discovered that there was not any significant difference in flexibility during the two-month period.

Foam rolling is a popular method in athletic and physical fitness programs, but there is still questionable debate about whether it improves flexibility.

 

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

Created in the early 1940’s by Herman Kabat, PNF is most commonly performed with a partner.  The goal is to stimulate nerve endings which respond to muscle tension changes.  The muscles relax more than they can with traditional static stretching when these proprioceptors are activated.

How to:

  • Complete a 5 – 10-minute conditioning warmup prior to stretching.
  • Position the muscle group so that the muscles will be stretched under tension.
  • Contract the muscle group for 5-6 seconds while a partner or immovable object applies resistance.
  • Relax the muscle group.
  • The partner then pushes the muscle group slightly past its normal range and holds for 20 – 30 seconds.
  • Allow the muscle group to relax for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the process 2 – 4 times with each muscle group.

Robert McAtee and Jeff Charland have a great resourced PDF, Facilitated Stretching (4th ed. 2013), which contains more information about proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation.  At the best gym in Burleigh Heads, are we are a little biased, we have Clare and Jeanette to help you and be sure to check the Elevation Fitness Class timetable for a great Pilate’s or Yoga class which we know you will love. We are also so fortunate to have the lovely Erin who instructs the Elevation Fitness Centre mobilise class and we look forward to seeing you there 

Dynamic stretching

Strength and conditioning coaches often recommend dynamic stretching prior to training or competition.  This type of mobility training requires rapid movements and a large range of motion while maintaining full control of the muscles.

How to:

  • Dynamic stretching is intended to activate the muscles you will be using during your training. Therefore, they should focus on the various muscles you will be using complete exercises such as lunges with a twist, knee to chest, high kick, hip stretch with a twist, or jump lunges.
  • Make sure you are not holding the stretches for an extended time.
  • Use full range of motion.

The term “calisthenics” may sound old-fashioned, however many of these exercises are considered dynamic stretches.  Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training (4th ed, 2003), written by Thomas Kurtz is a popular book with more information about dynamic stretching.

Although what’s popular changes, stretching will always be a part of your routine.  No matter which type you prefer, it is best to find someone who can coach you on proper techniques.  You can definitely find our dedicated staff at Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads can teach you the techniques you need to remain safe and healthy.

Burleigh Heads Gym, Gold Coast gym , Weight loss

Belly fat is an unwanted attribute.  It not only gives you a poor self-image, but it is a symptom of an unhealthy body.  It is your body’s way of letting you know that your cortisol levels are out of balance.

The number one cause of unwanted belly fat is chronic stress.  Stress is something that your body needs, however in unfiltered amounts it can cause a lot of damage.

Think of it this way – Your adrenal glands kick into action to produce cortisol anytime you are put in a threatening situation.  The release of cortisol is needed to trigger the cells in your liver, fat, and muscle tissues to release the energy your body needs to get through the threatening situation.

This release of cortisol is known as fight or flight mode.  Your body will naturally reduce your appetite and shut down other processes such as reproduction and tissue repair – which are not 100% necessary for survival – so that it can focus solely on safety.

This response was great when we were running away from predators, or charging after our food.  Over the centuries, society has developed in such a way that this response is not needed in such drastic measures.

Yet, it remains a natural part of our life.  When stress levels remain high enough to continue producing cortisol for long periods of time, unhealthy and dangerous changes will begin to occur within your body.

The belly fat created begins to act as an endocrine organ – sending hormones directly into the circulatory system.  These hormones increase inflammatory compounds within your body damaging cells, compromising your health, increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases.

You can control unwanted belly fat.  By joining Elevation Fitness, and we are a little biased but we think it’s the best Fitness Centre on the Gold Coast, we are committed to helping you take control.  Before you begin, it is important that you understand the top 5 ways stress causes belly fat and how to control them.

 

  1. Uncontrollable Eating

One of the biggest side effects of stress is consuming more food.  It’s proven every time you come home from an exhausting day at work and are consumed with the urge to eat.

That urge to eat is being caused by an excess of cortisol.

If you have a low stress day your cortisol levels have a regular ebb and flow.  In the morning cortisol levels are higher to get you out of bed, once you eat breakfast the level of cortisol is cut in half.  Throughout the rest of your day, your body’s cortisol levels will decrease with a few peaks around lunch and dinner time.  By eating regular, healthy meals throughout the day, the cortisol levels will be low enough to allow you to sleep.

When you live a high-stress life, things change.  When you are in a constant state of stress, those cortisol levels are not able to reduce themselves, thus leading to the urge to eat.

On top of that, stress can reduce your brain’s ability to control your hunger.  Therefore, you may find yourself consuming large amounts of food without noticing it.  Essentially, you are binge eating on a subconscious level.  The excess calories from all that food do not have anywhere to go so they get stored in the abdominal area.

How to take control: The best thing you can do to prevent overeating is to eat regularly planned meals.  Aim to eat every two to four hours to keep your cortisol levels from spiking due to no food intake.  Your meals need to include a balance of high-quality proteins fish, eggs, lean beef, and chicken), vegetables, and healthy fats (avocados, nuts, olive oil, and seeds) to control your blood sugar levels while keeping your appetite in check.

 

  1. Unable to Make Rational Food Choices

The part of your brain that helps you focus on your goals is reduced, while the cravings for pleasurable foods increases when your cortisol levels are high.  Eating high-quality proteins and vegetables may be your intention, but instead you will reach for the baked goods or highly processed foods to quell those cravings when you are stressed.

Your body knows that the high-carb foods will help reduce cortisol levels by releasing insulin.  Those high-carb foods break down quickly into blood sugars which release the insulin.  The insulin then begins to counteract the cortisol, causing your stress to be reduced.  Essentially, the craving of carbohydrates is your body’s natural protection against high cortisol levels.

When you are highly stressed, you give in to your cravings more often than you should.  This results in large amounts of insulin being released.  When excess insulin and cortisol are released together, they create lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which is a fat storing enzyme.  The more of this enzyme you have, the more belly fat is stored.

Those extreme levels of cortisol also cause damage to cells, lowering their insulin sensitivity.  When your body begins to resist insulin, leptin, and ghrelin (the hunger hormones) become unbalanced – your brain is no longer to accurately perceive when you are full and you are no longer able to control the amount of food you eat.

How to take control:  You can take control of your cravings.  Instead of waiting until you are “starving” to eat, eat before you reach that point.  This involves planning.  You need to know what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it.  You may even want to prepare your snacks in advance so they are easier to grab that the junk food.

There are studies going on every day researching this phenomenon.  Preparing and planning has proven to help reduce belly fat build up.

 

  1. Chronic Inflammation and Insulin Resistance

One of the more dangerous side effects of belly fat is chronic inflammation.  It is complicated to understand and difficult to detect.  You do not always outwardly see the results of chronic inflammation because it occurs inside your body.  This makes it a dangerous complication of belly fat.

Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) is a fatty acid released from fat cells when cortisol and insulin levels are high.  VLDL is stored as fat in the abdominal area, but on its way, there it damages other tissue within your body as it travels.

While the VLDL is traveling through your body causing damage, your belly fat is metabolically active and releasing adipokines.  These adipokines are also causing damage by disturbing your body’s stress system.  They also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke because of the negative impact they have on your vascular system and blood pressure.

The combination of these two compounds working in your body sends a message to your brain that it needs to release even more cortisol.  Unless you take back control, the cycle of more cortisol, increased insulin resistance, and the buildup of more belly fat will continue.

How to take control: There are two ways you can regain your control – through your diet and creating stress management habits.

Control your diet – There are many super foods which contain antioxidants.  Your body needs antioxidants to reduce inflammation.  Foods such as coffee, green tea, dark chocolate, avocados, berries, a variety of colored vegetables, leafy greens, fish, and legumes all help fight belly fat.  Nutritionists at Elevation Fitness Burleigh Heads gym can help you create a meal plan that fits your lifestyle so be sure to ask at the front desk.

Create Stress Management Habits – You want to keep your hypothalamus from releasing more cortisol.  Habits such as deep breathing, meditation, and exercising all help lower stress levels.

 

  1. Disrupted Sleep and Insomnia

Another vicious cycle you tend to enter when you are stressed is that of the inability to sleep. You find yourself having disruptive sleep patterns because you are stressed.  At the same time, you are becoming more stressed about the fact that you can’t sleep.

Cortisol levels play a huge role in your ability to sleep.  They should spike in the morning to wake you up and create the hunger for breakfast.  However, they should taper off throughout the day allowing your body to release melatonin (the sleep hormone) so that you can get a good night’s rest.

If you are not able to get to sleep, your body cannot release growth hormone which helps you enter a deep state of sleep.  Due to the lack of sleep, your body loses insulin sensitivity and its glucose tolerance drops the next day.

The lack of sleep leads to uncontrolled eating the inability to make rational food choices, as discussed in number 1 and 2.  Studies have shown that you can increase your food intake by 300 calories the day after a night of disrupted sleep.  That’s not bad if it happens once, but over the course of a week or month it adds up.

How to take control: The best way to get back the control is to get your cortisol levels balanced again.  You can do that by creating daily habits that improve your sleep:

  • Set up your bedroom for sleep – hang dark curtains, unplug electronics, and cover up any the emit light.
  • Turn off electronics approximately 1 hour before bed. Read instead.  This will tell your brain to start producing melatonin.
  • Turn off settings on electronics that disrupt your sleep – i.e. notifications and ringers.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake and stimulant use throughout the day.

You can also take melatonin supplements to aid in resetting your body’s natural sleep rhythm.  Improving your sleep will help you control your belly fat.

 

  1. Laziness and Lowered Metabolic Rate

Many hormonal changes occur when you are stressed – lowered energy expenditure due to reduced metabolic rate and being less physically active are a few of the side effects.   You exercise less and become more sedentary when you are stressed.

Testosterone, estrogen, and thyroid hormones are all affected by high cortisol levels.  These hormones also alter your metabolic rate, creating a decrease in the amount of calories your body can burn daily.

Belly fat is different from subcutaneous fat – the fat right below the skin – in that it is much easier to lose.  You can easily regain control of belly fat because of the catecholamine adrenaline hormones.

High-intensity activities and interval training, such as sprints are extremely effective when it comes to reducing your belly fat.  This is because they increase the levels of the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine, allowing the fatty acids to be used as energy and increasing your metabolism so that it burns more calories for a prolonged period.

How to take control: Scheduling regular workouts will help you control your stress.  45-60-minute workouts are best, followed by adequate recovery time.

Including strength training will improve your body’s ability to maintain lean muscle mass.  Adding in cardio, such as a brisk walk will help lower your cortisol levels and control your stress.

Once you have your stress under control, you can add interval training and sprints two or three times a week to reduce your belly fat.  Create a great exercise routine at the best gym on the Gold Coast 🙂 ‘Elevation Fitness Burleigh Heads’ and be sure to take advantage of the Altitude rooms and gain from the after burn affect you get from working out from inside.

Along with planned workouts, it is important that you maintain an active lifestyle.  You do not want to sit for long periods of time without getting up and moving.  You can easily give your metabolism a boost by standing up every hour to stretch and move your body.  You can also add a 10 minute walk each day to increase your daily activity level.

You know we are here to help so be sure to contact us at the front desk during Staffed Hours and here’s to living longer on the beautiful Gold Coast and better health.

Altitude Training

High altitude, low oxygen environment training has been used for many years by athletes across many sports to improve performance.

Training in these environments can give you a great workout with much less stress on your body, or enhance the effectiveness of any workout you do and make your exercise more time efficient. Clients with limited exercise tolerance (e.g. can only walk) get more value from altitude training. The lower oxygen concentration in an altitude environment causes the body to be more efficient at using fuel and oxygen, and triggers a variety of physiological responses and changes in your body at a number of levels that improve metabolic efficiency.

Hypoxic training enhances and accelerates the positive outcomes of exercise on:

  • Fat loss, reduced appetite
  • Diabetes and blood sugar management
  • Osteoporosis and bone density
  • Energy levels
  • Anaerobic fitness and lactic acid tolerance
  • Anaemia, due to increased EPO, red blood cells and haemoglobin
  • Testosterone and growth hormone
  • Hypertrophy (lean body mass) and strength training outcomes
  • Cardiac surgery rehabilitation
  • Insomnia, serotonin and endorphins

Other potential benefits include:

  • Improved dexterity, co-ordination and cognitive decision making under stress and when fatigued.
  • Excites neural plasticity and facilitates positive re-wiring of the brain and central nervous system.
  • Enhanced collagen production, with improvements in wound healing, beauty treatment outcomes and skin elasticity.

Altitude training technology is currently used extensively by:

  • The Australian Institute of Sport and many other world class institutes of sports.
  • Professional sports teams and individuals seeking to improve co-ordination and performance under stress.
  • Leading edge executives to enhance their performance, decision making, negotiating and cognitive abilities in stressful and demanding situations.
  • Hospitals and beauty clinics to optimise the outcome for their patients and clients.

Competitive athletes are always look for an advantage over their competitors. There are many methods of training available that can give you that competitive edge. Most of them have been used over and over with proven studies. One style of training that falls into the other category, the category of being studied but not having established effects and approaches, is altitude training.

However, a great number of competitive athletes have used altitude training to their advantage and have found their own benefits.

Why is altitude training becoming so popular?

Because we are seeing Olympians reap the benefits. We are seeing altitude training used to enhance athletes in team sports, and individual sports. We are also seeing altitude training being used to enhance weight loss and health in unfit, overweight individuals.

Benefits of Altitude Training

The biggest benefit of altitude training is that it is supposed to improve the capacity in which you exercise. Since you are exercising at higher altitudes, your body is being forced to acclimate to the atmosphere which contains lower amounts of oxygen. This, in turn, helps improve your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles.

When your workouts last longer than a few minutes, it needs more oxygen delivered to produce more energy. This is your aerobic exercise – exercise with oxygen. Without the oxygen, your muscles will seize up, cramp, and become damaged.

Thus, exercising at higher altitudes helps your body better prepare for lower oxygen workouts. The workouts known as anaerobic – exercise without oxygen. It is when you exercise in this range that your body will reap the largest benefits. Your cardiovascular and circulatory systems will begin to function at more optimal levels.

Weight Loss Benefits of Altitude Training

You will improve your post-exercise calorie burn. The altitude training improves your metabolic rate. After a workout at a higher altitude you will be able to burn more calories over the next 12 – 15 hours, which means you are still burning calories while sitting in front of the television.

You will also be able to gain more results in half the time.   Exercising for less time while putting forth more effort will result in greater benefits. Exercising for 30 minutes at a high altitude will give you the same benefits as exercising for 1 hour at sea level.

You will also find that your fat is used more efficiently than being stored. When you are overweight, it is because you have a poor fat and carbohydrate metabolism – your body wants to store the fat instead of using it as energy. Therefore, you have a lower capacity for exercising. Instead of storing the fat, when you add altitude training to your fitness you will enhance your metabolisms ability to burn the stored fat and carbohydrates, giving you greater weight loss results.

 

The Negative Side Effects to Altitude Training

Although there are many benefits of altitude training to your fitness, weight loss, and overall health it is not to be taken as an easy way out. It does take training and work to reap the positive benefits.

Exercising at high altitudes increases your red blood cell count allowing for more oxygen to enter your body, but the more red blood cells you have the thicker your blood becomes. This may cause your blood to become sluggish and have a harder time pumping throughout your body.

The higher number of red blood cells slowing down the flow of blood may also lower your endurance. Instead of allowing adequate amounts of oxygen to your muscles, the amount is limited.

You may also find that your immune system is weakened, or you may have higher levels of stress. Both of which cause your ability to fight disease to be lowered.

One other downside is that you may become dehydrated.

The good news is that you can avoid these by using common sense precautions when it comes to exercising. Do your research and find a method that allows you to slowly build up your altitude training sessions.

It is best to find a routine that has been used with great results. You also want to continue regular exercise precautions such as listening to your body and drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workouts.

Before you begin using altitude training and reaping its benefits it is important that you do your research and properly prepare. Slowly build up your exposure, always keeping in mind that your health is important. Listen to your body and slowly build up to high altitudes. You will reap the benefits and your body with thank you.

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Elevation Fitness was born out of a desire to #trainforchange and cultivate an environment of members who have a passion around giving back to vulnerable communities in our local and global world. We partner with PROJECT FUTURES an Australian not for profit that combats human trafficking through projects in Australia and Cambodia. Read More