And so I’ve started my training for the Patagonia Trek in aid of Velindre Cancer Centre. But its not til next November, I hear you cry! Well like most people January the 1st triggered an obvious start for me. Lets just say I had ‘over-indulged’ a little over Christmas…but the Trek has given me a new focus. Again, like most I tend to need an end goal and goal setting has been a big part of my professional life in coaching rugby. Last Summer I did the Non Evans 8 Week Plan which was a great success. A combination of training and some lifestyle eating changes meant a lost a lot of weight, got lean and strong and felt really good. I have problems with my knees, especially the left one that forced me out of any serious level of rugby, and a long standing back issue where I have an old vertebrae fracture and disc bulge and deterioration. It’s a fact that when I get over a certain weight I get problems where my posture and back slips and I get constant pain and referred pain. The knees feel the brunt of that so being lighter, leaner and stronger was a major goal in my first 4 week block of training.
The first 4 weeks of training has comprised of the following:-
- 4 weights sessions per week
- 4 walks of 40-60min per week
- 1 run of between 5-10km
I have also monitored using a pedometer how many steps per day I am taking, setting a goal of on average 10,000 steps per day. If you have a smart phone (I have an iPhone 5) then there are some good apps you can get for free and your phone will monitor, chart, goal set etc for you. I use a good one called Pacer and you can get it from the App Store. It looks like this:-
It’s harder than you think to rack up 10K steps in your day. I’m lucky that my coaching job gets me out on the field moving a lot but even then my designated daily walk is needed to get the quota up. On my walks or runs I use a heart rate monitor and I try and keep my heart rate above an average of 130 for walks. You can set this depending on your fitness but try and keep it above 120 for a constant 40 minutes at least. This is aided by carrying a weighted backpack. Some good advice here is to add water filled bottles to your pack. If you have a long climb and you need to lighten your load just simply lose the water.
On the Patagonia Trek we will be trekking for upto 11 hours a day. We’ll each be carrying all of our own things for the 11 days and the backpack weight will be 15kgs. That’s a lot of weight for a long time!! During this first 4 week training block I managed to get up to 9kg in a backpack on many of the walks, even some fartlek sessions. I’m lucky, where I live there are some great walks and cycle areas, most notably Afan Argoed in the Afan Valley. Also Aberafan Beach offers a decent coastline to walk and run.
My weights sessions have been devised by the former Wales rugby team Head of Conditioning Mark Bennett. It helps that he works with me now at Bristol as Head of Performance. In the first 4 weeks these sessions have comprised of:-
- Back & Arms
In this Block each area I’ve worked on 4 or 5 different exercises, 4 sets of 12 reps as heavy as I can do, keeping a log and trying tom increase the weight each week. As I said the idea in the first 4 weeks has been to increase strength and getting leaner and lighter.
Nutrition forms a massive part of this. January has been dry of alcohol and I’m eating a pretty high protein diet, healthy and with some pretty basic rules.
- I exercise (walk, run or gym) before breakfast and take a protein shake (using my new NutriBullet) immediately following this.
- It’s little an often after this with a mid morning small meal, lunch, afternoon snack and main meal throughout the day. Typically I’ll eat lots of fish, chicken, turkey and lean beef with vegetables such as sweet potato, spinach, peas, beetroot as well as salads.
- I am able to get a lot of nutrients in in one go using the NutriBullet. A typical shake would include a selection of the following: half banana, protein powder, spinach, raspberries, grapes, blueberries, mango, avocado, nut boost, coconut water.
I’ve lost 6KG in weight in this first 4 week Block from 100KG to 94KG. I’ll need to be careful in the next 4 weeks to maintain my weight to about 92KG as my goal for the Trek is to be at 90KG and leaner. I’ll be working out my Lean Body Mass and % Body Fat with John Williams of Pro Athlete Supplementation. John is the Wales National Rugby Team nutritionist and is supporting me with guidance in this area and supplements for my training.
I’ll be logging my next 4 week block which will include some longer walks (including the likes of Pen Y Fan) and more interval based running plus mountain biking. This on top of shorter, heavier sets in my weights programme.
You can kindly donate any amount to aid my fundraising target by going online to the Just Giving page for my Trek. CLICK HERE