Your average student moans about deadlines, having no money and getting up for 9am lectures… Imagine the struggle of multiple looming deadlines, trying to ensure your housemates don’t incinerate your house with their dirty washing up, having a bank balance that is growing deeper into your overfraft by the second and then representing your country as a professional athlete, with all the training and dedication competing expects of its athletes. We just don’t know how Harry does it!
GB Volleyball player and student Harry Jones tells Sundried what it takes to be a student athlete.
Student Athlete: The Definition
"A participant in an organised competitive sport sponsored by the educational institution in which he or she is enrolled…”
Type the words ‘student athlete’ into the Internet, and the above description is the first to appear. In basic terms, that’s correct. We play sport. We wear our colleges and universities across our backs. Job done. But any student athlete could tell you that it’s a lot more than that. After 2 years of college and 1 university semester, here’s a few thing that I’ve learnt…
Sport, Studies and Social Life are the three things that make up a student athlete’s life; some people believe that by having two, one will suffer. On the most part, it's true. They don’t fall off the face of the planet, but one will never be fully complete.
On average, you have lectures, classes, seminars, group work or studies to complete from first thing in the morning until late afternoon. Most days, you’ll have a training session or are in the gym, usually before morning classes, or late in the evening. Maybe you have a party or are meeting a group of friends or family 2-3 times a week. Imagine how tired you would be if you did this every week? You can’t, something always has to go, and usually it’s the social aspect. That’s the dedication you need to achieve your goals.
Simple facts: Some days you wake up and you want to be a really good student. Some days you wake up and want to be a really good athlete. Other days you just want to relax and have a good time. But performance isn’t about doing things when you feel like it, its about being to able to push yourself on both the good and the bad days to get to where you want to be. And a lot of the reward comes from this feeling, to know that you were able to overcome a challenge in order to reach your potential.
The amount of time I’ve spent rushing from one appointment to another is crazy; from lecture to practice, from gym to seminar, from physiotherapy to a group meeting. Having three separate life schedules is difficult to juggle because they don’t usually all sync together as one. The biggest impact is usually on the athletic side; sometimes you have to rush your session and leave early. You don’t have time to stretch or have a shower before practice, raising your chances of getting ill or injured. And then you rush into the lecture late; never a good start.
Whilst there may be some problems with my lifestyle, I’d be naive to say I don’t enjoy it. I love being able to get my degree whilst pushing myself as an athlete. The support I receive as a student athlete helps me to push myself everyday and to make improvements that would be possible elsewhere. I get to meet amazing people all the times and be part of a wide and expansive team who always have my back. If I were to give 3 tips as a student athlete, they would probably be:
1) Stay Focused: Know what you want to achieve and keep a hold of that. It makes the stressful days more bearable and gives you clarity in a hectic lifestyle.
2) See Sacrifices as Commitment: If you get too down about the stuff that you have to give up then you’ll never enjoy what you're doing. See everything you sacrifice as a way of getting better and a way of achieving your goals, not something you feel you have to do.
3) Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself; It’s a tough lifestyle. Cut yourself some slack. You won’t always be perfect. You will make mistakes. But it doesn’t matter, because they will make you better in the long run. The main thing is to take enjoyment from everything you do and always see the positive side of things!
To all my fellow student athletes, good luck in achieving those goals!
ENG Beach Volleyball
Find out more on Harry on our Sundried Ambassador page.
Forget “How much do you bench?”, today we’re challenging your functional fitness.
From runners to powerlifters, sports athletes to yoga bunnies. Whatever your sport, a strong set of abdominals are crucial in every exercise. To increase power, strength, speed, balance, agility and coordination, a strong core is the centre of all training.
The TRX is renowned for its challenging abdominal exercises and good beginner strength is needed for even the simplest of its exercises as suspension training causes your abdominals to fire, braced under constant tension.
Not everyone is a beginner. Do you want to prove your part of the fitness elite?
Our TRX workout comprises of 10 exercises, each getting progressively harder as you dig deeper into the challenge.
Test your strength and find out what your results say about your training.
Will you make the perfect 10/10 score?
01. TRX Plyometric Lunges
Move one, you’d better get this! Hold both TRX handles at a medium length and sink into a lunge. As you hit the bottom of the lunge (knee just off the floor), explode off both feet and switch legs (whilst airborne) to lunge on the alternative leg. Perform a minimum of 10 to pass this move.
02. TRX Pistol Squat (Single-leg Squat)
Exercise two.The Pistol squat is perhaps one of the toughest body weight exercises there is, requiring leg strength, balance, flexibility, supple joints and advanced coordination. Holding onto the TRX will help you with balance, but the leg strength is all down to you. Grabbing both TRX handles extend one leg in front of you and sink down into a squat, driving off the single supporting leg to return to standing. Let’s see 6 per side before you check off number two!
TRX Pistol Squat
03. TRX Wall Row
Well done, you’ve made it to third base.The TRX row’s elder (and much tougher) brother, the wall row. Once again grab your TRX handles facing the anchor as though you were about to perform a row, except now we’re taking it off the ground. Place one foot a time onto the wall so you are fully suspended and now perform your row, keeping your back flat and drawing yourself up until your hands meet the sides of your ribcage. This is tough exercise as you are now fully suspended controlling your full body weight, whilst also maintaining a tight core in order to balance against the wall. If you can’t reach a wall from your attachment, try placing your feet on a high step. 12 rows before you move on.
04. TRX Single-Leg Burpees
It's time to take things up a notch. You didn’t think you’d get to halfway easy did you? For exercise 4 loop your handles so that just one is taut and hook in your foot over the bottom stirrup. The handle should hang around knee length. Now, facing away from the anchor, you’re going to burpee or ‘squat thrust’ as they are more formally known. Take you hands down to the ground as you jump the free leg back into extended plank. Explode off this leg and jump back to standing. Viola. An intense full-body plyometric exercise. A total of 10 is required, that’s 10 per leg. No excuses!
TRX single leg burpee start position
05. TRX Triple Threat Abdominals
Halfway there! Not bad. Our next move’s a triple threat, you’re going to need abs of steel for this one. Facing away from the anchor, come onto all fours and attach your feet into the stirrups, lift your knees off the floor so you are in a floating plank position, this is your start point. From here we complete the following sequence, push, pike, crunch. For the push-up, sink your chest down to the floor engaging your abdominals to prevent your feet from swinging in the stirrups. Next, the pike, lock your knees and keep your legs and arms extended whilst bringing your feet forward towards your hands. Your bum should lift into the air and it should feel like you're trying to fold in half. The third part to this move is a suspended crunch, return to your plank and then tuck your knees in towards your elbows, bum down this time. Hint: You need to shorten your straps so that as you pike your feet remain elevated.Completing all three moves counts as one rep. Hit 10.
06. TRX Row to Extended Plank
So you beat halfway? But can you score six? The row to plank double. Grab both handles and lean back for a bodyweight row. Palms face each other as you pull your body up, elbows shaving the ribcage. This is the turning point where, maintaining a neutral spine, you now bring your hands up passed your head and into a fallout position, shifting your bodyweight forward simultaneously until your hands are straight above your head. Your body weight should shift backwards and forwards between these two moves. Another 10 will see you through to TRX exercise three. A row plus a plank count as one, don’t try any half reps!
TRX side view fallout
07. TRX Single-Handed Push Up
Seventh heaven? Not for you. This one's set to put your body through hell.To complete the seventh move loop your TRX handles through one another so that one handle is taut. Hold one handle and come to the ground to set up for a single hand push-up. One hand is going to remain suspended in the TRX, whilst you push up using the other. Sink down until your nose is scraping the floor for your push up and then explosively drive off and extend both arms, the TRX arm should now be fully extended supporting your weight, whilst your other arm hovers above the ground. Give me 8….. per side!
TRX single arm push-up
08. TRX Chin Up
Move 8, impressive. For the TRX chin up, shorten your straps and loop both handles through so that they stay together, then grab them with palms facing towards you (chin ups palms face you, pull ups palms face away). Suspend completely so that you are hanging, cross your legs or tuck them behind, just make sure they don't touch the ground. Pull up until your chin faces your hands and then relax back down. Let’s go for 5, 10 if you're showing off.
09. TRX Handstand
And then there were two. This one is advanced. You're going to start by hooking both feet into the stirrups, your hands facing the anchor. Taking both hands to the floor lift one leg off the ground and begin simultaneously walking your hands back whilst you lift the second leg off the floor, driving both feet back into the stirrups. Continue walking your hands back until you reach a vertical handstand. The ultimate balance challenge this needs advanced core and shoulder strength and is a tricky one to master.
10. TRX Handstand Push Ups
If 9 was advanced, this must be really advanced. Set up the same as move 9 and walk into a TRX handstand, but this time, once you’re in the handstand position, lower your chest towards the floor to complete a handstand pushup. Perhaps the toughest TRX move there is, master this and you have exceptional calisthenic skills, a show stopping party trick and of course, most importantly scored a 10/10 in our TRX challenge.
What does your TRX training score say about you?
1-4 / 10 - These are your legs and back exercises. These two areas comprise the largest muscle groups in your body. If your score ends here, try to develop back and leg strength with exercises like rowing or squatting.
5-6 / 10 - Whilst you passed the leg and back exercises, your downfall was balance and abdominal exercises. Build core strength with less advanced TRX moves such as the TRX basic crunch. Focus on core work within your other training, exercises like leg raises and oblique twists build strength, whilst compound lifts performed with good form will help you learn how to engage your core properly to help you hold static movements on the TRX.
7-8 / 10 - These are really advanced calisthenic exercises and a score here shows an advanced level of fitness and skill. Practise plyometric push ups off the floor, single hand push ups, assisted pull ups or negatives using the TRX to help enhance your performance.
9-10/10 - Welcome to the TRX Elite, you have awesome skills and this is both a fantastic and admirable score. Advanced strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and dedication have lead you to pass our TRX challenge. With this advanced level of ability maybe it’s time to push yourself a little further, unleash your competitive side and complete a Tough mudder or Nuclear race!
If you have not purchased a TRX or similar suspension trainer we strongly recommend you visit the official TRX site (for the UK, if you are outside the UK the American site is probably better found here). If you can afford to buy the professional version of the TRX trainers you will receive a login with several workout videos, charts, PDF downloadable workouts. All extremely high quality and very easy to use. The TRX is a premium workout suspension trainer and there are cheaper alternatives on the market. But if you can buy TRX then we recommend for the quality, care of service and support network that you do.
Ask your local gym if they have a TRX set-up. Or your personal trainer if they carry a set of TRX resistance bands. If you do not have a suitable anchor point from the ceiling, the professional kit comes with door mounts. And straps that will anchor it to a lamp post or similar.
What does it take to train as a professional triathlete? We caught up with our ambassador and Ironman 70.3 champion for some behind the scenes access to her training schedule. Over to Alice.
Triathlete Alice Hector
I'm a professional long course triathlete based in Windsor, UK. Having turned professional in 2014, it has been a hard but thoroughly rewarding journey, and I’m starting to see the benefits of the continued effort now. I recently won my first professional IRONMAN 70.3 event in Germany, which was my first goal when I started.
My days typically consists of 2-3 training sessions with an easy day on Friday. Swimming club dictates that I am up at 5.30 am 4 times per week, so I often have to have a nap in the day (or I would be good for nothing!) Training takes up typically 20-25 hours per week, but with the need for quality recovery, quality nutrition, travel time, sponsor commitments, coach feedback, and physio appointments, it's an all-consuming lifestyle.
For balance, and guaranteed income, I am a freelance copywriter. I typically spend 2-3 hours per day on this, which I really enjoy as I get to use my brain: long distance triathlon training can be quite monotonous and sometimes comes accompanied by the quote: "don't think, just do". Writing requires a lot of thinking, so I find it a great combination, if challenging at times when you're tired a lot.
Here is my training week for the 28th-4th December; so one week before the Middle East Half Ironman Champs in Bahrain. This event contained a world class field and comprised a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run. I finished 7th in 4 hrs and 20 minutes: the goal initially being top 10 and "in the money". This bodes well for the summer, when I will be fitter! I leave 2016 world ranked 37.
As I was training in the cold snap in the UK, a lot of my training was done on the Wattbike - an indoor cycling machine.
One week before a race, it's important to keep moving and include some quality to keep things 'fired up', but also to listen to your body and be aware of any excess fatigue. As you can see below, there were 3 no session days so we could have good recovery windows. For beginners, I would recommend cutting back on your training a bit more than the professionals, and start doing so two weeks before your big event.
Monday 28th November: 81 miles easy ‘talking pace’ bike ride. Hilly, cold, 5 hrs, solo. Not very fun!
Tuesday 29th November: Swim 90 mins, hard intervals, 4000 metres total distance.
Medium/Hard Wattbike session: Main set 2*30 mins at or just above race power: 235-245 watts.
Wednesday 30th November: Hard 75 min swim with main set 20*200 metres off a turnaround of 2.50. 4500m total.
Long slow ‘talking pace’ run: 16 miles, 2 hrs.
Thursday 1st December: 1hr swim with some 400 metre race pace efforts. 3000 metres.
Wattbike 1 hr: main set was 10 *2 mins at 320 watts with 2 mins recovery.
Friday 2nd December: Day off. Important to use recovery wisely, particularly at this stage.
Saturday 3rd December: Swim 5000m – lots of short, sharp 25 metre and 50 metre efforts. Lots of very easy swimming too. 1hr 30.
Wattbike 1hr 45: Main set - 5*15 mins pyramid with 3 mins easy. 240 watts, 250 watts, 260 watts, 250 watts, 240 watts.
Sunday 4th December: Last proper training opportunity.
3hr 'talking pace' ride outside straight into a speedplay run, which comprised going fast for 30-90 secs repeatedly. Total time at full speed was only 15 mins, but it always feels longer! 45 minutes – 10k covered.
You can read more on our About Alice Hector page.
Alice Hector trains wearing Sundried:
Being a Personal Trainer is all Dominic has ever wanted to do, now he is living the dream, training clients and guiding them to a healthy lifestyle.
Tell us about your journey to fitness...Where did it all start?
When I was at school I was given the opportunity to shadow a personal trainer for the day at a big gym. Ever since then it was all I wanted to do. I also used to play a lot of sports at school so I’ve always enjoyed being active.
What are your training goals now?
I’m trying to work towards lifting 2x body weight in the deadlift. I’m also looking at competing in obstacle events like tough mudder in the near future.
What would future you, tell yourself when you were starting out?
Be patient and persistent. Not everything will come at once and although it may seem difficult at first it’s important to stick at it.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I’ve never been one to weigh out my food or track macros to the gram, I have a rough idea of the amount of calories and I also try to keep protein high. Then when it comes to fats and carbs I vary them on training/non training days. I will always have a big breakfast then smaller meals throughout the day.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
Give them as much feedback as possible, whether this be during the session or after. Motivation has to come from within yourself so find something you really want to work towards and you won’t need help with staying motivated.
Talk us through your training regime.
This changes as I will go between strength and hypertrophy blocks, as both positively impact each other. At the moment I’m training 5 days a week using an opposing body part split such as chest/back. I try to incorporate kettle bell circuits into one session for a bit of variation too.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
As there is always new research coming out, I’m a member of two coaching courses which regularly update me on anything new that has come out.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Be consistent, a lot of people want a quick fix, find something you can sustain and the results will follow.
- Work hard, there is no substitute for not working hard.
- Have an end goal, without this how do you know when you’ve achieved what you set out for.
If you could only do one workout for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably a Kettle bell circuit, uses the entire body.
Why work with Sundried?
They have a great message behind the brand. Also it’s something I wear myself!
Favorite fitness quote:
You can’t cheat hard work.
Claire Aves, mother, boxer and WBFF Pro. For Personal Trainer Claire, there’s no need for the third time's a charm, coming 2nd in her first bodybuilding show after just 7 weeks of prep, she is now proudly this year's winner of the title of WBFF Diva Fitness PRO European Champion 2016.
How did you get into competing?
I have always worked out a the gym since I was 16. I then went into boxing which is a huge passion of mine. I got talking to a male body builder at my old gym where I was a Personal Trainer and he said I had the foundations bodywise to be able to compete. That inspired me to pick a show which was the WBFF (world beauty fitness and fashion), for me the title says it all really. It's not just about showcasing your physique but your beauty, your stage presence, WBFF is a glitz and glam show as well as a physique show this is why I choose such a great company. I only had 7 weeks to prepare for this normally you would prep for 12-16 weeks. I came 2nd at my first ever show and that was it, I had the bug then.
How does it feel to be up on stage with all those eyes looking at you?
Funny thing is I love it, I come from a dance and performing back ground having performed in front of 1000s of people before so I was in my element. I love the stage, I feel fantastic and proud of what changes my body went through in such a short amount of time.
Any advice for those looking to compete?
It's not for everyone, it's not easy, if it was everyone would do it. Be mindful that it takes a lot of time and dedication. Make sure you get the right coach for you, do your research.
Talk us through a typical weeks training?
This depends, if I have a photo shoot or I am prepping for a show or training for a boxing fight or just general training lol. As it's always different. Let's do generally training week
Monday - Quads and Glutes / Abs
Tuesday - Chest and Triceps
Wednesday - Back and Hamstrings / Abs
Thursday - Rest
Friday - Shoulders and Biceps / Abs
Saturday - All legs
I would always include circuit based exercises to burn fat too. 20mins liss (low intensity steady state) cardio 3 times per week also.
How do you balance work, motherhood, competing and a social life? That's one busy schedule!
Yes it is lol balance is key..... I thrive off structure and my diary is scheduled to the hour lol. I work as a PT everyday but Thursday is the day I do all my admin work whilst my daughter is at school and I do admin on Sunday evenings when my daughter is in bed. I train people from 2 gyms 1 in London Victoria Gymbox and on Saturday and Sunday mornings only, at a gym in new Eltham. I structure child care with my mum and sister who are a massive help. I have a partner now I have been with for the past year and half so he helps now but before I was a single mum for 10 years so my family are a massive help. My daughter has her own pony so at weekends I have to take her to look after Dotty. Competing fits in around my work I am lucky that I work in a gym if I didn't I think I would find it very difficult to fit it all in, I have long days spent in the gym so when I get an hour or 2 gap I train myself. My social life is pretty good too, I manage to see friends at weekends or do family activities, it's just all about balance .
Claire is great to follow on social media for regular workout posts and inspo, visit:
Get the Look: