Tara and Tom McBride have known each other since they were 15 and are now a married fitness couple. They are CrossFit enthusiasts who believe in becoming a well-rounded exerciser. They tell Sundried about their lives as fitness lecturers and talk all types of training.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
We originally hail from Alberta, Canada. We grew up playing as many sports as possible, including basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, mountain biking, downhill luge, track and field, cross country running, and well, everything we could try really.
We went to rival high schools, and have known each other since the age of 15. A few years after high school, Tom was firefighting as a forest firefighter, and Tara was running triathlons and preparing to travel the world. Tara convinced Tom to try running a triathlon, and he took it as a test to prove himself to her (only in his mind, not hers). He ended up placing 2nd overall. They then started training together and to make a long story short, they got married and both ended up at a university out in Hawaii. We both graduated with double majors, and after a short return back to Canada ended up back in Hawaii where we currently teach at the university in the Exercise and Sport Science Department.
What are your training goals now?
Currently, we are training in the sport of CrossFit with the goal of being the most well rounded as possible. We may show up and have to perform a 3 rep max back squat, then have the following event be a long distance run and swim, then even a hill sprint with a sandbag. The only way to prepare for being well rounded is to train every system of the body and specialise in not specialising. It keeps training fun and exciting. Plus, it allows us to express our general fitness in a wide variety of ways. If our friends ask us to join the local half marathon, help them move some heavy furniture, or simply join the local club sports team, we are prepared at the drop of a hat.
In recent years, Tom was diagnosed with degenerative spine disease, a fairly common thing, but had some severe nerve impingement due to a bone spur and retrolisthesis of his vertebrae. The structural problems are congenital, and not due to any one accident or pattern of use. The first prescription from a general physician was to never surf, lift weights, or expose my body to impact or load ever again.
For months Tom worked with PTs, chiropractors, pain management doctors, and many other alternative medicine specialists. Nine in total. All had varying opinions, and none could fix the bone spur. Dr Kyle Mitsunaga, a spine surgeon and Stanford University graduate, looked into my situation and wanted to help. He understood how important sports and fitness are in my life, and that functional movement is important to the longevity as well as the quality of one's life.
A few hours after a relatively short (3 hour) necessary surgery to remove the bone spur, Tom walked out of the hospital. The first few weeks following the surgery were wild. Pains and aches he had endured as a teen, and not even realised at the time, were gone. "My body felt much like your feet feel after taking your shoes off after hiking all day".
Fast forward to today. I have the green light to lift heavy, play sports, and live life as it should be lived. The good doctor gave me 2 prescriptions.
1) To never become obese
2) To keep my core as strong as possible through functional movements.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
Tara can hold her breath underwater for almost 4 minutes.
Tom was training for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but instead decided to serve a mission for his church.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
To connect with our clients and athletes, we've tried dozens of the mainstream diets and nutritional recommendations. We've found that what works for us is to stick to a whole foods diet. Basically, we do our shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles. "If it has a food ingredients label it might not be food". We like to stick to the following mantra. "Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat". -Greg GlassmanWhat do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
Our workouts are constantly varied but not random. On the days that it really hurts, our community is there to support and uplift one another. The nature of our training makes it so it's never monotonous or boring. We don't segment our training because we believe that that brings segmented results.
Our clients are staying motivated because they are seeing results. Being able to better live life because of general physical preparedness is motivation in and of itself.
Talk us through your training regime.
Our training focuses on functional movements. Movements you see out in the world. Squatting, deadlifting, running, throwing, etc. Life doesn't happen in isolation, so we don't train in isolation. We don't use machines, we are the machines. The body is an amazing machine with different systems and engines that overlap and connect in a multitude of ways. If you isolate and segment these systems, they are then trained in isolation. We've tested this over and over again.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
As University instructors and gym owners/trainers, we are both morally compelled and personally mandated to keep up to date with our research and fitness knowledge. All of our methodologies and practices are empirical and open source. Empirical meaning that its based on hard evidence and results and not just theory, logic, or the current dogmas. Open source means that nothing we do is a secret and if someone comes along with a better path to fitness, and can support their claim with hard evidence and results, we will adopt their philosophies and practices.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Care more about what you can do and less about the scale or what you look like.
- Solid form and full range of motion will get you further than half reps and lots of weight.
- Get out of the gym and express your fitness!
Why work with Sundried?
Technical activities require technical gear. The activewear made by Sundried is both up to date and at the forefront of activewear technology. The Earth is such an amazing place and companies like Sundried are working to keep it that way. Through the support of such charities as Surfers Against Sewage and Water for Kids and a very transparent supply chain, Sundried makes sure that it leaves things better than it found it. We really like that.Favorite fitness quote:
Favourite fitness quote:
"Cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, flexibility, agility, accuracy, balance, and coordination: you’re as good as your weakest link"
The Crossfit Open is the first stage of qualifying for The Crossfit Games. To learn more about the basics of Crossfit and to understand the jargon used in this article, read our article on Crossfit here.
The Crossfit Open workout 16.1 is the first workout of the 2016 open and it's not for the faint hearted.
20 minutes AMRAP
- 25-ft. overhead walking lunge (5ft per rep)
- 8 burpees
- 25-ft. overhead walking lunge
- 8 chest-to-bar pull-ups
Men lunge 95 lbs (42.5kg), Women lunge 65 lbs (30kg)
Emily Abbott, who took 8th place last year, completed a mighty 290 reps in this WOD!
We spoke to our personal trainers competing in this year's games to see what they made of this year's first challenge.
Personal trainer Liam Scott, 26, from Crossfit Southeast Witham, has been training 6 times a week, rotating strength, skill and endurance as well as completing WODs and previous open workouts in preparation for this year's challenge. Liam gave himself a trial run competing in The Icon Online Championship last month, where he took 34th place. Prior to the games, he told us, “I’m excited for the open to get started and see what crazy stuff is in store for us over the next 5 weeks, preparations have been going well!”
“The moment I saw 16.1, I knew it would be a great test. Overhead walking lunges are a rather difficult exercise and with 42.5kg overhead, let’s just say it’s not going to get any easier. I watched Emily Abbott do the workout live via the Crossfit website which got me more excited” he said.
There were 10 other athletes competing from Liam’s box, which created a great atmosphere with all the competitors spurring each other on.
“When I noticed that the other guys were scaling and using 30kg front rack lunges and only getting 6 rounds it made me more nervous about my turn, but on the beeps I started with my power snatch to get the 42.5kg above my head and the first 25ft walking lunges began. They were definitely the hardest part of the workout, but once I’d done 2 rounds I started to relax a lot more, like everything I’d been working towards was starting to come together.”
Liam completed a whopping 205 reps, his legs were cramping and he even had to go outside in fear of being sick, but he didn’t give in. When we asked how he felt the rest of the day, he joked "it wasn’t too pleasant either”.
In true macho competitor style, Liam was chuffed to have beaten his best friend and coach's score. He told us he is “confident for the rest of the open” and is currently sitting around 600th in England.
Our female athlete Beth, 42, is a Personal Trainer and a great lover of the outdoors. She has been Crossfit training for two years but this was the first open which she completed without scaling the workouts. At just over 5ft, Beth has well and truly proved herself small and mighty.
She told us, “16.1 was a good workout for me. My first RX! The overhead lunges were not a problem nor the burpees. I have only just started being able to do chest-to-bar pull ups so these were the real challenge as the rounds progressed.” Despite having to go down to singles there was no stopping Beth and she gave it her all until the very last rep.
“Overhead lunges are a challenging move for the shoulders and core primarily more than the legs, well in my case anyway. It was good to see them included.”
“I never push myself over the edge...I'm too old now and it takes too long to recover” she joked. When we asked her about her aches, she rather modestly told us they “weren't too bad”. Clearly, age is just a number because Beth could outperform women half her age and twice her height with her inspirational performance.
Crossfit 16.1 has no age limit, whether you're 26 or 42, what the Crossfit open shows is that if you’re prepared to work, it pays off. The diversity of entrants and spontaneity of the workouts are what makes the open so exciting.
If you want to try Crossfit yourself but are intimidated by the challenge why not scale down the workout and give it a try next time you're at the gym, without the pressure of competing? It's a great workout and is really good fun, as well as being very rewarding.
CrossFit is a type of training created by Greg Glassman in 2000 and seeks to find the fittest man and woman on earth. But what is it? How does it work?
What is Crossfit?
CrossFit is a combination of many different training principals including gymnastics, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, kettlebells, athletics, swimming, plyometrics and advanced conditioning. It's a notoriously tough workout and is certainly not for the faint-hearted! CrossFit sessions are divided into WODs which stands for Workout of the Day. A workout can be made up of any number of different exercises and a WOD will be posted online each week for CrossFitters around the world to follow. People will then post their results online and compare with each other.
CrossFit Terms Explained
AMRAP: As Many Rounds As Possible
ATG: Ass To Grass (used to describe the depth hit in a squat)
CFWU: Crossfit Warm Up
EMOM: Every Minute On the Minute
GTG: Greasing The Groove (doing multiple sets of an exercise throughout the day, but not to failure)
HSPU: Handstand Push-Up
MetCon: A metabolic conditioning workout. Usually with lighter weights at a higher intensity and speed.
Pood: A weight measurement used by the Russians for kettlebells. 1 pood =16 kg/35 lbs; 1.5 pood = 24 kg/53 lbs; 2 pood = 32 kg/71 lbs etc.
PR: Personal Record
Rx’d: As prescribed; as written. Used to describe a WOD completed without any adjustments and with the set weights.
T2B: Toes to bar.
CrossFit Hero Workouts
There is a set of WODs in CrossFit which are named after members of the US armed forces who died during combat. These are notoriously tough workouts and are completed by US CrossFitters on Memorial Weekend.
Michael Patrick "Murph" Murphy was a United States Navy Seal officer who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.
1 mile Run
1 mile Run
Named after Timothy Davis of the US Air Force who died in combat in 2009.
9 hang power cleans
6 push jerks
The CrossFit Games
The CrossFit Games is the biggest event on a CrossFitter's calendar and promises to find the “fittest on the earth”. There are several qualifying stages for this event.
CrossFit Open is the first qualifying event, whereby each week a new WOD is released and competitors will post their scores online. There is the choice of Rx'd workouts or scaled workouts which are made slightly easier in order to be more accessible.
The best athletes in the Open will qualify for Regionals which is a live, three-day competition held over three weekends in May each year. The top athletes from the Regionals then qualify for the games in July or August.
Throughout the games, athletes don't know which WODs are going to be announced, so they must train hard in every discipline and make sure that their weakest exercise is just as good as their strongest.
The CrossFit Games is a huge spectacle and attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. They are sponsored by Reebok and the prize money for the winning man and woman is $750,000! CrossFit is a huge sport in the US but is slowly spreading around the world, with 3 of the most elite female athletes being from Iceland. There are many CrossFit gyms (or 'boxes' as they are called) popping up throughout the UK.