Monday, 5 October 2015

The Dominican Republic - Sun, Sea, Steaks, Squats and Swimming With Dolphins!

Hi Everyone,

So October is actually here (my month Libra gang)... but unfortunately that also means winter is well on its way.

I've been quiet the past couple of weeks as I was in the Dominican Republic with my boyfriend, then I broke my phone out there and since I got it fixed between work and training I haven't had a chance to sit down!

Still going through the grieving process of breaking my phone, since this wally hadn't backed up on Icloud since 2013 -____- it meant I lost all of my 5000+ pictures and videos on my phone (CRY). If you know me you know this is a little bit heartbreaking, I'm worse than a Chinese tourist on an open air bus. Always taking pictures of just about anything, and then hoarding them as if my life depended on it... So if any of you reading are Iphone whizzes and know how to magically recover data please get at me :)

First things first let me recommend that every one of you reading this goes to The Dominican Republic. Put it on your bucket list, save up your pennies and get out there once in your life at least. I can't express how amazing it is. The culture is insane, I call it Caribbanish (Caribbean-Spanish haha), the people were different to any Caribbean Island I've been to before, very laid back, but fast talkers at the same time, high energy and full of banter. Their music flutters between reggae and reggae-ton, with some of the most booti-ful girls I've ever seen. The weather is amazing and the beaches are 5 star. I swam with dolphins. Dived into a fresh water cave. Drove dune buggies through the countryside. Lounged in a hammock. Ate till I popped. Had a back massage so intense I nearly tapped out. Basically I had the time of my life. Don't worry this isn't just a holiday review, I have workouts and diet below, but first - pictures!

Thankfully I managed to save a few pics via photo stream so I can give a few of you an idea of what I'm talking about....

Lucky for me we stayed in the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana which is probably the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in.. ever.. in my life. I say hotel, it's more a resort, in fact it's a small country. Because it was so grand, the gym was heaven, therefore we managed to get 6 workouts in out of the 7 days (thankfully my boyfriend is a gym-a-holic too).

Unfortunately I lost most my videos and pics of my workouts however I am going to talk you through 2 of my workout plans and keep it short and sweet. You will see I have put in a few resistance machines as there was a wider range of machines than free weights in the hotel gym. Lots of you ask about which machines I use, since you often see me using free weights.

The main reason I usually use free weights is because 1) in the studio I train my clients in, apart from a treadmill, there are no machines and 2) I actually generally tend to prefer using free weights or my own body weight e.g. weighted bar bells, dumb bells. I feel like it forces me to use my imagination and generally makes me less reliant on the gym.I hate the thought of being so reliant on machines that I have to be in a gym to workout. If I ever end up stuck in the Australian outback I know I could pick up a couple rocks and do some exercises (not that that's gonna happen anytime soon).

Here's a couple of examples of my workouts whilst I was there:

Workout 1

Treadmill incline walking level 15 speed 6 (10 mins)
Interval run on treadmill going between speed 7 as recovery - speed 10-15 (10 mins)

Ab Crunch Machine (20 x 3 - 20 kg increasing weight)
Side Lowers (25 x 4 each side)
Leg Raises (dip station - 12 x 4) 
Sit Up Crunches (50 x 4)
Side Plank Dips (15 x 3 each side)

Back/ Shoulders/ Arms 
Latt Pull Down (15 x 3 25 kg increasing weight)
Seated Row Machine (10 x 4 30 kg increasing weight)
Dumb Bell Lateral Raise (10 x 3 10 kg)
Back Roll Outs (5 x 3)
Shoulder Raises (10 x 3 20 kg bar)
Upright Row w/ Barbell (10 x 3 20 kg bar)
Single Arm Row (10 x 3 each arm 10kg dumb bell)

Workout 2

Interval sprints in studio (10mins)

Jumping Lunges (1 min x 3)
Squat Jumps (1 min x 3)
Box Jumps (15 x 3)
Toe Taps (1 min x 3)

Legs and Glutes 
Leg Press (10 x 4 starting at 100kg)
Assisted Pull Up Machine Leg Press (10 x 3 each leg starting at 40kg)
Seated Abductor (25 x 4 starting at 50 kg)
Seated Adductor (15 x 4 starting at 40kg)
Smith Machine Kick Backs (10 x 3 each leg 20kg on bar)
Smith Machine Calf Raises (10 x 4 40 kg)
Overhead Barbell Lunges (12 x 3 20 kg bar)
Wide Lunges with Dumb Bells (10 x 3 each leg 24kg dumb bells)
Smith Machine Deep Squats (15 x 3 starting at 50 kg)
Smith Machine Sumo Squats (15 x 3)

Below are a couple of pics and vids I managed to save, most were lost, but feel free to give these workouts a try next time you hit the gym changing the weights to suit your capability. 

Smith Machine Deep Squats 15 x 3

Back Roll Outs 10 x 3


Now I'm not gonna lie we ate well... A bit too well. We ate a lot. However in our defence we did try to keep it relatively healthy, high protein, lots of fruit and veg throughout the week (give or take a few cocktails and chicken wings).

For breakfast every day we tried to eat oatmeal, followed by a large omelette and fruit. However the breakfast spread was so vast a few pancakes and pieces of banana bread did slip in throughout the week. 

For lunch we generally ate whatever was being cooked poolside which was sometimes a grill of chicken and meat, sometimes fresh fish or chicken and rice. However with a large breakfast and knowing there would be a large dinner coming, lunch tended to be our smallest meal. 

Our favourite restaurants were the steakhouse, and number 1 (out of the 9 in the hotel) was a Brazilian restaurant called Impenema. This place was protein heaven. With a delicious salad bar and waiters coming round throughout the evening offering you seven different cuts of fresh meat on a spit. This included everything from chicken thighs, to new york steak and lamb. It was delicious and combined with a good healthy salad was the perfect post workout evening meal.

Holidays can also be great for meeting new people who inspire you. While we were out there we met a fit couple from Florida who owned a crossfit gym in Orlando. These guys really inspired me to stay on track when I went home. The male has been off sugar for 2 years, (they even carried around with them a Stevia based flavouring to pour into their vodka soda limes in the club - real life dedication). You may laugh, not gonna lie I did giggle, but he was 45 and looking 20 years younger, and she was 32 with an IFBB body to match. Not only did they influence us on diet, the girl also introduced me to the Hatch programme for squats.

The Hatch squat programme works on two squat days twice a week, over a 12 week period - as seen below.

This programme was developed by 2004 Olympic Coach, Gayle Hatch and works against your one rep max for back squats and front squats.

If i'm honest I have no idea what my one rep max is as I never really held much interest in squatting for just on rep. I know that 100kg is my 10 rep max for back squat so I have been using that figure for the hatch programme and working off the back of that. I imagine maybe 120 will be my one rep but that's something I will try out in the near future.

The idea of this as seen about is that you do 1 set of 10 reps at 60% of your max e.g. for me 60kg. Then 1 set of 8 reps at 70% e.g. 70kg, then 1 set of 6 reps at 75% e.g. 75kg then 1 set of 4 reps at 80% e.g, 80kg. Then you follow the programme for front squats.

The weights and reps steadily get harder across the 12 weeks. Until eventually you are comfortable at your one rep max weight.
One of the key basic training principles of in an exercises is 'overload'. In general this means that as you do any exercise your body adjusts to the exercises you are doing, and stops responding to the weight/intensity/reps because there is no need to adapt if the body is not being challenge. Therefore you can find yourself at a standstill and changes stop happening. With weights this means if you always squat 40kg and never go up to 50, 60, 70kg etc. Your glutes will stop growing and it will become more of a maintenance job than a body overhaul. By overloading yourself with a challenging weight you will once again force your muscles to grow and expand.

I suggest if you're at a training loss and want to go hard on squats and start seeing the changes - I have put the link for the programme in the comments box in case you can't copy and paste from here. This link automatically downloads the programme onto your computer in a spreadsheet. If you're really at a loss type into google 'Download Hatch Squat Program'.

Since returning home I have gone back to squatting heavy weights, and I have cut out any refined sugar from my diet between Monday and Friday (with cheats on the weekend). I am allowed fruit and honey, but this means I steer clear from biscuits, chocolate, sweet, cakes, basically all the crap that I shouldn't be eating in the first place. With my birthday coming this weekend it might get slightly challenging but i'll keep you updated on how i'm going.

We have another bootcamp coming in 2 weeks so anyone reading and interested feel free to email and ask for more info. For everyone else, keep training hard, travelling hard and loving life.

Ciara x


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