Oh Has a Protein Shake… He Must Know His Stuff!

One of the most common questions I am asked by clients, and indeed the general public, in relation to nutrition is, “Do I need protein shakes in my diet?”

As with most subjects in nutrition, this a minefield! But as is my want, I am going to get my flack jacket on, strap up my helmet and delve deep into this topic…

Firstly, what are protein powders?

A supplement, usually in a powdered format, which contains a large quantity of concentrated protein.

What advantages do they provide?

As we know our body needs protein to help encourage muscle growth and allow our body to recover as best it can after exercise. However, sometimes when we are rushing about with life, it can prove difficult to get the right amount of protein through whole foods alone, so these supplements provide us with a quick and easy method to get a large portion of our daily protein intake into our system.

However…

To get this protein into a concentrated powder, it means the source where the protein is being derived from (which could be eggs, milk, soy, rice and various other products), has to be heated at a very high temperature which denatures the protein. Then there is the process of the powders needing to taste good – if you have tried these powders before you’ll know that even the supposed ‘nice ones’ can still taste of ass! Hence why lots of chemicals are added to improve the flavour, such as sweeteners and even aspartame (which is a topic for another time). In some cases MSG can be found in these powers which is an extremely toxic additive which has been proven to have severe health side effects.

With many people now being ‘crazily’ involved in fitness brings along the fashion of the protein shake! You all know that friend who is always trying to put on ‘some size’ or ‘tone up’, but is constantly indulging in multiple protein shakes a day? Well tell that friend that all it’s doing is making them produce lots of ‘wind’ – shall we say?

The reason for this is down to the body having to work so hard to break down these protein powders ingested in the body… And did you know that what your body doesn’t absorb has to be dealt with by the kidneys, hence the protein shake overdose applies more pressure on your kidneys. Plus, the body, when consuming a large amount of protein, needs to also consume a balanced amount of In our serene restored historic Virginia estate, you’ll find the compassionate whole body treatment you need to recover from and begin to lead the happy, fulfilling life you deserve. fat (to protein ratio) to make sure the protein can be properly digested. This ratio can also save the body from other negative health effects, such as the ones your gassy gym buddy might be experiencing.

Thus myself, and the majority of us in the PT industry, preach you to stay away from highly processed or genetically modified foods. So why would you use some of these protein powders that have been highly refined to have a long shelf life? For example, when dieting or eating clean would you head straight to for the frozen lasagne or canned beans with sausages? NO, because these are also highly refined and processed with harmful chemicals… So treat your protein intake with the same respect!

My advice…

A substitute to these more refined proteins can be plant-based protein powders such as hemp or pea. These are manufactured with a significant amount less chemicals and are a considerable deal healthier for the body. Many of these proteins are organic and not genetically modified at all, double thumbs up! Due to the way plant-based powders are produced, they are a lot less processed and thus kept closer to their natural states – which keeps the nutrient quality. However, as these products generally have no or little flavouring, it will require a blender to add some fruit or vegetables to these powders to make them pass the taste test.

The stance I always take is that you should always try and get your nutrients through the means of whole foods. Their is no substitute for real food! Whole foods have a much higher nutritional value which will help the body function properly. And don’t forget, you don’t just need protein in your diet, you also need to get your fats, vitamin and minerals, carbs and amino acids from food too. At the end of the day, if you had to choose… What would it be a good, nutritious dense meal or a watered down protein with a nasty after taste?

Drive for the dream, shoot for success.

 

 

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Eat, Sleep, Exercise Repeat – don't forget to chill!

In this modern, ever evolving era, growing numbers of people are finding it hard to stay stress free. Pressures from day to day activities such as your job, family, financial concerns and generally the modern society can cause greater levels of stress.

Can this have an affect on weight loss? Yes it can and I am going to explain why.

Now this is going to get a bit wordy here with a bit of jargon but I need to drop some knowledge bombs to help illustrate this. When the body is placed under physical and mental stress the adrenal glands release hormones to help deal with this stress placed on the body. The main hormone I would like to concentrate on, which is released, is increased levels of cortisol.

The reason why, is because cortisol helps to regulate the body’s metabolism especially metabolising carbs and fats and turning this into energy for the body. It also helps control blood pressure and blood sugar levels and results in insulin release. All of the above leads to the body feeling hungry and makes us want to eat more. In addition, recent studies have shown that raised cortisol levels can lead to localised storing of fat and this online casino takes place in the ‘dreaded’ area for most people (round the tummy)! Not to mention all the links this has to heart disease and various other negative health effects.

So what does this mean? If we reduce stress levels, can it help with fat loss? Absolutely! How can we do this? Well, research proves that exercise decreases cortisol levels which, as you have read here, is necessary to get the body’s metabolism firing the way it needs to help regulate blood sugars. We also know that when we exercise the brain releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling throughout the brain and body. This also helps reduce stress and anxiety which, as we now, know helps with fat loss. See how important exercise is now?

So, as I am a bit of a nocturnal night owl from time to time, I feel slightly hypocritical saying this… But sleep can be very important to alleviate stress as well (but I exercise all the time so that’s why I can get away without it – remember do as I say not as I do!). Optimally you are looking to get 6-8 hours sleep a week. This 6-8 hour window has been shown to deliver the best results in fat loss, sleeping more than 8 hours can actually have the opposite affect! Hence why sleep is very important. This makes sense when you think about it… If you don’t get a good/enough sleep you wake up feeling lethargic and are more inclined to eat junk food. ‘Technically speaking’, sleep deprivation causes the problems in maintaining the chemicals leptin and ghrelin, which is to blame for an increase in appetite. I am telling you that by controlling something as simple as sleep, you can lose weight, c’mon thats a gimme!

All in all, surround yourself with good people, partake in hobbies and activities you enjoy. Relax and take the world for what it is, a game. Take pressure off yourself and only focus on things you can control in your life, and get a good night’s sleep. Remember pressure and stress is a thing that is created in your mind and only placed on you, BY YOU!

Drive for the dream, shoot for success.

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Weight Cutting: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I am going to preface this blog by saying that I am not claiming to be a weight cutting guru by any means. However, I will say that I have cut weight countless times for many wrestling tournaments all round the world and for over 20 MMA bouts also. In that time I have had good weight cuts, okay weight cuts and, quite frankly, some horrific weight cuts. For the most part they have been bad cuts but, as a result, this has enabled me to evaluate the situation of weight cutting in combat sports fairly well.

 

Flaw Number  1

The first major flaw I have made, and now recognise is due to it being, inappropriately, socially acceptable (in MMA especially), is cutting massive amounts of water. This practice engulfs all levels of the sport, from UFC calibre fighters to athletes fighting in town halls for a maximum of £200.

Fighters will regularly cut between 3kg – 7kg, maybe even more, by sitting in a sauna or salt bath draining as much fluid out of their body as they possibly can. Having done this on many occasions, I can’t emphasise enough how brutally hard and energy zapping the process is. Despite modern day rehydration strategies being more advanced than previous years, whether it be IV drips or even using products such as dioralyte, if we look at it totally objectively… Is it possible for the body to fully recover from this dehydration process and perform even close to maximal performance ability? NO!

 

For example, MMA as a sport is a serious of explosive movements and chain of movements over a 15-25 minute time period. Studies have proven that dehydration prior to high intensity exercise can reduce athletic performance to up to 45% and that is only looking at 2.5-3% of fluid loss. From my own personal experience, when I have cut a substantial amount of water weight, I can notice a severe difference in my punch resistance during the fight compared to when I’m in training. This is due to the dehydration of the brain that takes place during these water cuts. Obviously we are fighting with smaller gloves and more power shots than in sparring, but having cut weight using a variety of methods, I can testify that even flicky jabs are a lot more effective than they are without the water cut. There’s also the ‘heavy leg’ feeling, where your legs feel remarkably heavier than usual. I’m sure everyone who has experienced this will attest to the ‘heavy leg’ feeling never quite disappearing, not in time for the fight anyway.  In addition, there’s the ‘bloated stomach’ feeling that always leave you feeling concerned about taking body shots, not good!

 

To conclude, water cutting can make you more susceptible to punches to the head and beste online casino leaves your legs with a nasty, lethargic feeling. When you try to reconstitute properly, you are then left with an inevitable worry about getting, unduly, dropped mid-fight due to a heavily, bloated stomach. As a result, water cutting leads to huge disadvantages to you on fight day. Oh and also, when it all goes wrong, there’s also the (not so rare) hospital admission to be wary of too, leading to no fight at all. So be sensible!

 

Flaw Number 2

There is an obsession in MMA with everyone trying to be massive at their weight class. Of course, this is done so in entirely the wrong way too. For example, you will get a 66kg fighter ballooning up to 80kg after a fight; just to ‘dick swing’ about how big they are at their weight (I’ve been there, awkward…). Good job, you’re massive now, but you’ve also landed yourself in a yo-yoing diet in between fights. Yo-yo dieting is not an accomplishment; it makes every cut a little bit harder as – from experience- you end up heavier each time. Fighters would be better served keeping on top of their nutrition straight after a fight to stay around the same weight constantly. Obviously have the odd doughnut but don’t go totally mental and go 12kg above your weight class. Don’t forget the basic rules of nutrition!

 

By monitoring your diet and continuing to train in between fights, you do not need to spend most of your fight camp focussing on getting fit or concentrating on weight loss. Instead you can focus on what’s really important: skill development and getting better. Take Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, for example, a UFC fighter who used to nearly kill himself in attempt to shrink to make welterweight… During those fights, he had obvious cardio problems, his skills would noticeably depreciate and he would regularly miss weight too despite torturing himself trying not to.  Inevitably, he took a step away and, whether it was forced or not, he decided it would be better to go up 2 weight classes instead. A huge jump but considering how huge he now is at his new weight, it makes it even more ridiculous that he even attempted to make 77kg in the first place. However, he reaped the benefits of his new weight when he took a massive scalp in beating Phil Davis last weekend. He demonstrated great cardio, massive skill improvement and better punch resistance too.

 

Thus, the question is not whether you are big enough for a weight, but are you good enough for the weight?

 

My Solution

Seeing as both weight cutting and yo-yo dieting didn’t work for me and an abundance of other fighters out there too, I wasn’t for it anymore. Fight camps are hard enough without hallucinating in saunas or putting additional, huge stresses on your body through relentless cardio and starvation methods.  So, I decided to further my knowledge on nutrition and through trial and error, I was able to see what works best for me so I was no longer disadvantaging myself pre-fight.

 

The solution was simple. The whole camp, including fight week, I ate 6 meals a day. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner, and supported this with supplementary snacks, and tried to have some source of protein at every meal too.  The percentage breakdown of this was 30-40% protein, 30-40% fats and 20% carbs. You may look at that and think it is pretty low on carbs but the amount of carbs our body needs is a lot lower than reported. We are better served getting our energy stores from the unsaturated fats such as nuts and oils (coconut, hemp, cold-pressed etc.), especially when we are looking at weight loss when preparing for a fight. In addition, I drank lots of water the whole time, 3-4 litres a day. This prescription led to my metabolism firing like never before and my weight dropping to its lowest ever pre-fight – no water cut necessary! Conversely, in the past I have eaten 2 meals a day, starving myself, yet still been 4-5kg heavier pre-fight as my metabolism slowed to that of a sloth.

 

On fight day the difference was massive! My legs felt light, mentally I was more energised due to not having a tough weight cut, and I wasn’t bloated either. All of these factors resulted in a greater confidence within myself and my ability on fight night. More importantly, pre-fight, my training was awesome the whole camp! I had constantly high levels of energy which allowed me to push harder, learn more and make massive improvements. This compared to my former self in the last week of training made a vast difference too. I was normally a write off because I would be too much of a zombie, whereas now I am able to train with more intensity right up until 3 days before the fight, leaving me feeling sharper than ever! It is no surprise that this simple solution led to one of my best and most relaxed performances.

 

Who would have thought that putting yourself through an enjoyable diet and weight cut would lead to better athletic performance?

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Learn MMA. It Could Save Your Life, Literally.

Here is a message I received recently from Lewis McClellan, who previously attended my wrestling classes and some other classes at The Griphouse Gym in Glasgow:

 

It was harrowing to hear of Lewis’ situation and I hope that none of you ever find yourselves in a similar circumstance and do believe that even for trained individuals, avoidance is the best technique. However sometimes, as in Lewis’ situation, this isn’t always possible… Hence why it felt very gratifying that some basic techniques he learned from me have proved to be of great assistance to him and prevented him from coming to any harm. It also raised a valid point which I have insisted on for years – everyone should learn self-defense!

 

A radical statement, I am aware, but everyone should have some basic form of defense, as Lewis’ story proves. From my experience in the fitness industry and martial art’s world, I always hear about self-defense classes or the latest Korean martial art, where they teach you pressure points and that how from one karate chop you can render an attacker unconscious – utter nonsense! So less nonsense and more fact… You want to defend yourself; you need MMA, the truest form of defense.

 

Why would MMA training help?

It is the purest and most real form of combat. Its training is so varied and covers all forms of martial arts, and therefore it provides the ultimate guide to self-defense. To learn how to take people down to the ground or how to stop someone from taking you to the ground, just attend wrestling classes. Then what do you do if it does end up on the ground? You go to a BJJ class so you can learn all sorts of crazy submissions and how to defend yourself/escape whilst on your back or when you are on top of someone on the ground. There is also the art of 8 limbs, Thai boxing, this will teach you how to punch, kick, knee and elbow correctly (no need for a penknife). Thai boxing covers all the eventualities of stand-up fighting, including evasive techniques in a tricky situation. In short, wrestling, BJJ and Thai boxing cover all the grounds you need to defend yourself in the worst case scenario. Don’t believe me? Drop in to the Griphouse in Glasgow to see tiny, 55kg women beat up grown men of all sizes, no word of a lie! So just take up MMA, it really is as simple as that.

 

If not only for self-defense needs, get involved in MMA as it is great fun and a great work out! You constantly challenge yourself and do so in a social context with constant encouragement from strangers and coaches, who soon become friends. With such varied training and continuous new techniques to learn, it is impossible to get bored with the sport. All sizes and levels are encouraged to take part and it has proven, many of times, to turn people’s lives around. If not just for the basic need of self-defense, MMA has great results in weight loss and strength gains. Also, the confidence you gain from this sport will be noticed by family and friends, and people will gain a newly formed respect for you knowing such a simple fact, that you can ‘handle yourself’. So with not only basic defense and protection to gain from this sport, there is nothing that should stop ANYONE from taking part and getting involved!

 

If anyone has any queries about this blog, feel free to contact me and I will answer any questions. Should anyone want to ‘take heed’ of what I am saying, I can’t recommend highly enough that you hit up The Griphouse Gym in Glasgow for your training. We have the highest caliber of coaching staff, a great variety of members and, not to show off, but we have been voted the best MMA gym in the UK for two years straight now. With multiple BJJ black belts teaching the BJJ program, a plethora of great Muay Thai coaches, who all bring their own different style to each class, and I also hear the wrestling coach is pretty good too! As mentioned though and most importantly, it is the great people who join us along the way that make up the gym. Everyone is welcome, from UFC fighters (which we have), to people who just want to train and have fun… It is very rare to get such a great atmosphere in a gym, but The Griphouse has this in spades.

 

Anyway I digress… It has truly gratified me that I have managed to help one person during a time of need and it has now made me more determined to make sure everyone is as equipped as Lewis was if they ever encounter such a situation. So help me on my, slightly vigilante, quest to get more people on the MMA bandwagon, spread the word!

 

Other than that, remember people stay safe and avoid trouble, at all costs, but should you want to learn how to defend yourself… Soak in the contents of this blog!

 

Drive for the dream, shoot for success.

 

Kieran Malone

From Diet Fads to Exercise Fads

Unlike diet fads, getting caught up in the www.kidzfoto.dk/best-writing-paper/ propaganda and the delirious hype of the current exercise fad won’t have a disastrous effect on your health situation. However, what it could impact on is the maximization of the outcome which you are looking to achieve whether it is strength gains, better cardiovascular output or even increased weight loss.

 

Personally, I am a big advocate of having a varied training program which is tailored around helping my clients to achieve their goals. This is where my first problem arises with exercise fads, as with most of these fads, you cannot design the optimum full body workout with them. For example if we look at kettlebells and TRX’s – many trainers will train a client 3-5 times a week and the only piece of equipment they will use would be a kettlebell or a TRX. Now don’t get me wrong I love both of the above, and used in conjunction with various other bits of kit, they are all good, BUT they should not become the sole focal point of a training program. In doing this you have a limited amount of exercises at your disposal which means you may be missing an important component helping you to reach your targets. It’s also very tedious using the same equipment day after day… Now I am a big believer that if a client’s program is varied it will keep their excitement levels high, which has a direct correlation with motivation levels and sustainability of their fitness regime. So go ahead and pick up a barbell, a sled, a medicine ball and a resistance band too – they won’t bite you!

 

Classes at commercial gyms… Where do I begin? Right, I will give credit to classes such as body attack and body combat as they play a huge part in bringing people to the gym who may not have trained before, and they provide a good entry level to fitness for a gym novice. Moving forward in your fitness level from this though is unlike! Many people approach me wondering why they have plateaued after a couple of months of such classes and stopped dropping weight and their fitness levels have stayed the same… From my experience these classes are very rudimentary and don’t push participants hard enough to achieve goals that are more than beginner level. Having taught spin before I can confirm it is very physically demanding and provides the public with a great workout but doing solely classes like spin, body combat, boxercise etc. doesn’t cater to online slots individuals’ aims. Nor do they build up muscle – essential in the fat burning process and if you want to get ‘diesel’ – they are purely cardio workouts, which if overdone can WASTE muscle (not what you want). Whereas incorporating them into a varied program, this I will allow, you have my blessing!

 

I couldn’t resist this one… ‘Metafit’, ‘Fat Burning Extreme’, or the latest incarnation I have witnessed, ‘Tabata’. These are all similar high intensity training classes which get branded in order to create the latest trend in fitness and ensure you that this is the ONLY thing you need to reach your targets. Any high intensity, interval training like the previously mentioned are great training methods, but don’t be taken in by the razzmatazz and hyperbole, this is not the training method of the future (especially not when the instructor merely sticks on a cd to do the job for him, eeek it’s awful). Warburton’s need not worry – again, it is great training but don’t make it all you do.

 

Lastly, this one I probably write at my peril as I can already hear the sound of a stampeding cavalcade of crossfitters at my door with their pick axes (Disclosure: I am actually a big fan of Crossfit and utilize some Crossfit WODS (workouts), and I even love watching their YouTube channel and Crossfit Games footage. I also have mad respect for athletes such as Rich Froning and Sam Briggs, who are nothing short of monster athletes)! Nonetheless, I feel people who just do Crossfit, and only Crossfit, miss out key components in their growth as trained individuals as it can miss out and fail to target specific muscle groups which could require focus. Additionally, with any forms of exercise there is always an injury chance but with Crossfit featuring such explosive and dominant movements, you automatically have a more enhanced chance of injury. For example, any workout which prescribes deadlifts for MULTIPLE reps I am not a fan of and I feel some Crossfit workouts hammer the posterior chain for more reps than necessary. By all means fit in certain WODS as part of or at the end of a varied workout; they are very challenging and ensure progression but be careful and make sure you fill in the gaps of this type of training.

 

To conclude, I am not damming or telling anyone to forget any of these exercise fads, but the point I would like to make is to use MANY different training methods. Keep your training fresh. Get outside and cycle or run. Hit the gym for a strength session using lots of different equipment to target the full body. Get on the cross trainer, or why not hit up a spin class, boxing or a BJJ session. Don’t get stuck in a rut, remember after about 4-6 weeks if you are training the same way your body will become acclimatized to the training and you’re progression will stunt. Keep mixing it up sensibly and your enjoyment levels will be high which will lead to positive results in the progression to your goals.

 

Keep exercising and eating well people! Here’s to a healthy 2014, year of the Commonwealth Games after all!

 

 

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No More Diet Fads

With 2014 well and truly underway, I have made it one of my resolutions to blog more. However, I am going to expand a little, not only will I blog about my own training and the run up to the Commonwealth Games, but also muse and rant on topics such as fitness, health and exercise.

 

Why start blogging on these topics now? It’s January of course, and judging by my social media, it appears that everyone is now an expert on fitness and nutrition and are passing on their ‘wise’ assertions based on their ‘vast’ experience… So as an athlete and an expert, I thought it would be undutiful for me not to clear up some of this nonsense I’ve been reading.

 

Today I’ll keep it basic. My main point in this blog is to dismiss the myths of the many fads and diets which the general public give so much credence to.  The list is endless: The Adkins Diet, The Cambridge Diet, Juicing Diets, Intermittent Fasting, and not to mention the ‘I want an easy, quick-fix diet’. The key to ‘dieting’ in my opinion is the sustainability and consistency of a healthy lifestyle. With many of these fad diets, they involve the serious reduction or total withdrawal of major nutrient groups, or if we take juicing for example… taking in no food at all!

 

Albeit, weight may be lost in the short term following these fads; however, you will find it very hard to sustain over a long period of time. Let’s face it… does anyone want to go the foreseeable future without ever being able to eat carbohydrates? Would you really like to only drink elaborate juices all of the time? Does fasting for long periods of time really have longevity? If you were to ask me the answer is simple and easy – it is a big, fat (no pun intended), NO.

 

To add to these fad diets, many people reach for ‘quick-fix’ products such as fat burners, Herbalife or whatever other name they fall under these days AND now – to my disbelief – the new “in” thing seems to be carb blockers. The fitness industry has gone mad! There are far too many products which are unquestionably unhealthy, and cannot sustain what they say on the packet. So, if you find yourself reaching for products like this, you are already going down the wrong path. There is no ‘quick-fix’!

 

It is not all bad news though. With some hard work and dedication anyone can turn their health around and become the person they desire to be. Hence I reach my conclusion; the only key ingredients for success are hard work and dedication (Mayweather, F. 24-7).

 

How does this apply to your diet? It doesn’t. Don’t diet, change your lifestyle!

 

Eat a well-balanced diet; consume fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts that come from the ground. Purchase good, organic meats. Drink plenty of water. Eat smaller meals that are evenly spaced out throughout the day to speed your metabolism up. I’m by no means saying you can only eat plain broccoli and chicken all day, get creative. Here’s a hint, research it – Pintrest or google, just browse! Find ways to keep the taste good so it won’t feel like an unsustainable diet (as an athlete that has to cut weight every couple of months, trust me, this makes the process a lot easier). Lastly, be more organised and prepared. If you prepare your meals at the start of the week, or the night before, you are less likely to snack on junk food or go to the chippy for your lunch – we’ve all been there. To conclude, my top tips for a sustainable diet… Organic, tasty, organised meals throughout the day.

*Oh and yes, you can have the odd cheat day. Nobody’s perfect, even us athletes like the odd binge, but try to keep it to one day a week!*

 

Alongside your new eating regime, should be an exercise one too – this is vital! I will go in depth on this in future blogs but in short try… get to the gym 2-4 times a week. Vary the training up so you are not getting bored. Use CV equipment (treadmills and so on), but also do some form of resistance training (weights and so on) as this is very good for burning off fat. Check out different classes to

keep your training fresh and avoid getting bored so you keep your motivation levels high. If you have a busy schedule, fine, but it’s no excuse… if you have just 20 minutes to spare go outside and jog or even walk. Worst case scenario, you only have the odd 5 minutes of free time throughout the day then do some squats or lunges to stay mobile, get some press ups in, whatever – there is always a way!

 

So, what does hard work and dedication look like? Staying active, eating and drinking well and being consistent. All in all, don’t cut corners – this is how to reach your goals AND KEEP THEM.

 

Drive for the dream, shoot for success.

 

Kieran Malone

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Ukraine Training Vlog 2: Strength and Conditioning

Have a look at our workout “caveman” style.

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Ukraine Training Vlog 1: Stair Runs

Check out just one of How Much Does it Cost casino online for http://cheapcialiswww.com/cialis10.html Trucking School? Truck best-driving-school.com can be an exciting. the workouts we are doing over here in Ukraine.

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‘INSPIRE A GENERATION’ or ‘INSPIRED BY ANOTHER NATION’…

Despite my countless training camps in Eastern European countries, I have never been able to see how some of these powerhouse countries train their young talent to produce huge quantities of world class wrestlers… Until yesterday!

Before my own training started, I was a very interested spectator of a local Odessa club.  There must have been 20 kids on the mat – at least – all around ages 7 or 8.

What I witnessed was just incredible!

The skill level and physical ability of these children was off the charts!

A BRIEF BREAKDOWN OF THE SESSION…

Despite preconceived perceptions, the coach was no Josef Stalin-esque figure leading the practice like a dictator, terrifying the kids. Quite the contrary, he was so relaxed with absolutely no shouting (nor need to).

He took them through the warm up then straight into technique, very structured.  The children went at their own pace during the technical part and extra support was provided when necessary.

The most important point to note was that, although it was well structured and there was lots to learn… the children were having FUN and making friends (much like a school environment but with added enjoyment)!

When it came time to wrestle, no timer was necessary as the kids just wrestled with their partner in their own time.  And yes, at times, the kids would be running around not wrestling but the coach left them to it and eventually they would get back on task, demonstrating a real sense of responsibility at such a young age.

As for the technique they were displaying at that age, it was frightening – especially in the set-up department.  They were snapping the head well, misdirecting their partners and other various set-ups which demonstrated real maturity.  When they got in on a leg, it wasn’t just a case of bulldozing the other child over; they transitioned off to some intricate finishes on each attack.  It was wonderful to watch.

To finish off, the coach gave no specific time or number of reps, the children were to go and do some pull ups and rope climbs – a routine they were obviously familiar with.  Firstly, the rope climbs… Put it this way, I would be getting nose bleeds at the height this rope went up to.  Without anyone on their case telling them what to do, the kids amazed me by flying up this giant rope, to the top I may add, and doing it more than once! To further shock me, they then completed a couple sets of about 6-8 pull ups, and I mean proper ones, arms straight down and everything!

It was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to observe such great practice… Children hard at work and having the time of their lives (a very rare thing) and believe me, I was taking notes.

This obviously led me then to think, HOW CAN WE GET KIDS AT A YOUNG AGE WRESTLING LIKE THIS IN BRITAIN?  I should add at this point that this is something I have been attempting to do for a while now (hence taking notes).

SO HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE EXPERINCE…

1) Technique is crucial.

Technique is crucial and with regards to working the hands for set ups, leg finishes, leg defence and so on, these are the finer details that really need to be developed.  It is important that we pass these details on at a young age because bad habits are hard to break and when young wrestlers hit their teens, it will be difficult to break, so we need to catch them YOUNG!

This is where I think my generation and the generation before me will be vital to technical growth of British wrestling… We have had it better than any other generation before us as we have got to train with some of the best coaches, best wrestlers and at some of the best camps all round the world.

2) There can be no egos in coaching.

People need to work together for the better of the development of wrestling in this country.

An example I like to relate this to, is when my coach Vlad came to this country… Despite him being a technical genius (I have personally never worked with a coach better for improving technical ability), some coaches were resistant in working with him and even stopped letting their athletes work with him!  Opportunities like this should be embraced and coaches and athletes should be collaborating with other great coaches when at every given opportunity rather than shunning them.

You can learn from anyone and, as a coach, I am continuously doing this.  I learn bits and bobs off everyone, when I can, to ensure I am teaching technique the best way possible.

You never stop learning and can never know it all.  In the coaching field, egos need to be dropped at the door!

3) Make it fun.

Yes, you need a rough structure but not so rigid that it sucks the enjoyment out of it for the children.

By alternating between teaching technique and playing games, you can still hit key areas of development but keep their interest levels high.  This way the children gain a sense of responsibility by following a structure that they are motivated to do due to the enjoyment wrestling provides…  This motivation and responsibility can then be transferred to any area of learning throughout their lives.

4) Develop ‘super-strength’.

I feel not enough is done to develop young athletes physically…  You get the age old answer that it damages their muscle growth, but would doing pull ups, rope climbs, dips and push ups really damage a child?  I reckon the answer would be negligible.

They must be doing something right over here anyway, because it is a different strength these guys have!  I believe this is because they have been working on their strength from such a young age.  And so from my experience, it does not stunt muscle development but in fact develops MACHINES!

OVERALL…

There is a lot to take on board to help our young wrestlers and hopefully inspire them too!

I’m aware this has been a long piece, but I feel strongly about this, it’s important (and I hope it proved a good read too).

I would REALLY like some feedback on this topic so PLEASE canvas opinion on the subject…

Drive for the dream, shoot for success.

Kieran Malone
@thekieranmalone
www.facebook.com/thekieranmalone

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Ukraine Musings: Volume 2 – Weigh in and Competition

… So the weigh in was disastrous!

Although the competition was short notice, I’ve been walking around at about 76-78kg all year, if not lighter.  Seeing as I was 77.6kg when I left and only had to be 76kg on the day, it should have been easy…

Wrong.

We had to endure a day and a half of travelling and another searching for an apartment, meaning that I had no time to get my weight down through training.  To try to counter this, I ate very little and just kept to drinking water.

Having no scales to check our weight prior to the day, the first chance I got to look was exactly 1 hour before the weigh in (as I said, disaster).  At this point, I discovered I was 78.1kg.  With medicals happening at that time, I couldn”t even sauna it off.  Seeing as the competition was just last minute and mainly for the experience, I made a decision just to compete in the 86kg division.

I was not alone, Ross Spillet ble en umiddelbar hit og er i dag kanskje den mest popul?re blant norske pa nett, og definitivt den mest spilte norgesautomaten! I og med at den er en NetEnt-produkt vil du kunne spille den i de aller fleste nettcasinoer og i alle casinoene du finner her pa vare sider. and Alex also had to move to a higher weight class too.  We’re blaming it on water retention from the flight – the only explanation we can think of.  It was a total shock for us all but we made do.

86kg Division

Going in with big lads who were going to outweigh me by 8 to 10kg was definitely going to be a tough ask, especially considering it’s a world class field.

And yes, my penchant for picking terrible draw numbers continued!  Once again I picked the highest number (bad times) meaning I had to compete in the qualifying rounds to get into the field.  I drew Ahkmed Aibuev who is from Chechnya but represents France.  I have seen him compete before and knew he was a very good wrestler and one that I respect due to his mad skills.

Unfortunately I lost to Aibuev in a hard fought battle.  Despite the weight problem I was not totally over powered but I could feel a difference as I had to work very hard to get strong grips.  Lessons were learned in this match but there were also some positives to take from it.  And so, it’s straight back on the mat tomorrow.

Got two and a half weeks left to train over here… and I cannot fail to get better with the quality of training partners that are going to be on the mat.

I can’t wait to get on there with world class guys and work on my areas of improvement. This is an important phase of training as it’s leading me right through to the first Commonwealth Games qualifier.

As always, I’ll keep you all updated of the beatings I will be taking in training and also the ones I will be handing out as well (hopefully).

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