Pixie’s #wsrmumstrainlikechamps off-season workout

You’ve probably seen the awesome hastags our roller girls and guys have been using lately #wsrtrainlikechamps and #nosuchthingasoffseason but what if you’re a mum wanting to balance off-season training with playtime? That was my conundrum.

I work full-time, add to that roller derby including volunteer time and you get #mumguilt when you miss spending time with your spawn.

As the famous commercial goes, “why not do both”? This has been my #wsrmumstrainlikechamps workout for the last two months or so:

The Swing!

In between pushes on the swing complete the following set three times:

  • 20 × squat holds
  • 20 × right leg lunges
  • 20 × left leg lunges

This should give your offspring a good 5-10 minutes on the swing and you can actually enjoy swing time too, instead of going into zombie mum mode.

The Roundabout/Turntable

Ask your darling kidlet to hold on tight. Grab the rail and Carioca/grapevine around the the roundabout. Start slow and work your way faster. How fast can you go? If you go one direction always do the other. Only go for 30 seconds at a time so you and the offspring don’t get too dizzy and fall (learnt that the hard way…).

Ask kidlet to hold on tight. Sit on the very edge of the roundabout, lean back to about 45° and push with just the balls of your feet and toes. Start slow and go faster and faster. Again only do 30 second reps. Stop and spin in the opposite direction. Try changing it up and just use the heels of your feet instead of the balls of your feet. Too easy? Try not to lean on your arms. Put them in front of you in prayer position.

Rope Climbing Frame

Find a length of rope about belly height and hold on with your hands about shoulder width apart. Move your feet back until you are in a comfortable position to do two sets of press ups of 20 reps each. Too easy? Move your feet back further and move your feet to hip width apart and then shoulder width. Still too easy? Find a length of rope at knee height. Lie on the ground and place your feet or ankles on the rope. Complete your reps as push ups.

The Rope Basket/Net Swing

Jump in the net swing with your lil’ dear facing you in the centre. Place your legs and feet on either side of your kidlet and sit toward the edge facing the direction of swing. Hold on, lean back and push with your legs and feet in the direction of the forward swing and bring it back to a crunch on the back swing. See how much swing you can create without touching the ground/getting a push. Too easy? Try not to hold on or use your arms for swinging, get to a point where you are stable enough to swing while your hands are in front of you in the prayer position.

Monkey Bars or Climbing Frame

Try doing some pull ups. Cross your feet in front of you to avoid pushing off with your feet and just use your arms. Tbh, I’ve got really weak arms…I would just try to do one or two reps before moving on…

Some more tips

  • Take time to warm up whether it is part of walking to the park or a quick game of chasings around the backyard before you start.
  • Protect your back, engage your core with each rep by sucking your bellybutton inwards.
  • Get creative, make playtime about both/all of you enjoying yourselves, if your cheeky monkey wants to play here/there how can you play too and challenge yourself.
  • Don’t over do it if you still need to walk back home from the playground either mum needs lots of breaks or Mr Two needs to be carried home along with his bike and drink (lol).
  • You’re at the park to play and spend time with your precious babies, remember to engage with them, ask for help counting your reps, make funny faces or noises with each rep, or make up some imaginative play together.
  • Be that fun mum that properly “plays” at their playground, it doesn’t all have to be about reps and stretching, running around playing tip or the floor is lava is still a workout, trust me.

In the end, Axel and I did have fun and I feel #derbystrong for our 2017 season.

Go forth and play
❤ Pixiematosis

What’s your Mindset?

Very recently I had to sit through the analysis of my workplace annual engagement survey, and whilst that was a bundle of ‘fun’ there was something important I took away from that session.

My Human Resources representative, a lovely and charismatic woman, spoke of one main point, “Mindset.”

There is a woman named Carol Dweck, a Professor at Stamford University, who has done studies around this very point. If you read on, I think you’ll agree that it makes complete sense. So much sense that maybe you’ll start to question how you operate, and how you might be able to improve the way you see yourself.

Professor Dweck speaks of Mindset in the sense of school education however, I believe it can also be applied quite well to each of us in our roller derby lives.

After hearing about Professor Dweck I did some searching online and found a couple of articles that I really liked. Please see the links in the footnotes if you’re interested in reading about this further- whilst somewhat long-winded they’re incredibly insightful.

Professor Dweck talks about Mindset in two ways, those with a “fixed” mindset, and those with a “growth” mindset. The diagram below shows the opposing ways the two mindsets approach common things such as challenges, obstacles, effort, criticism and the success of others.

One thing to note with this, that it’s not about being a positive person or a negative person, but rather someone who is fluid in how they see themselves and how they take on feedback from life, or whether they are rigid in their self-assessment, and are just “this is what I am.” An example of a growth mindset description might be “I try to learn something new every training session I attend.” A fixed mindset might be “As a skater I’m ok.” Both statements are reasonably positive, but the statement which is the most promising is the growth statement.

mindset(1)

The next article I found (2) is based on how you can develop a growth mindset, as not everyone has this naturally. The good news is folks; there are 25 ways here that you can help you develop a more growth centric mindset. I have picked out the top 10 in the list that I feel relate the most to those of us playing roller derby.

1. Acknowledge and embrace imperfections. Hiding from your weaknesses means you’ll never overcome them.

2. View challenges as opportunities. Having a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement. Learn more about how to fail well.

6. Stop seeking approval. When you prioritise approval over learning, you sacrifice your own potential for growth.

7. Value the process over the end result. Intelligent people enjoy the learning process, and don’t mind when it continues beyond an expected time frame.

15. Provide regular opportunities for reflection. Let students reflect on their learning at least once a day.

16. Place effort before talent. Hard work should always be rewarded before inherent skill.

18. Cultivate grit. Students with that extra bit of determination will be more likely to seek approval from themselves rather than others.

21. Learn from other people’s mistakes. It’s not always wise to compare yourself to others, but it is important to realise that humans share the same weaknesses.

22. Make a new goal for every goal accomplished. You’ll never be done learning. Just because your midterm exam is over doesn’t mean you should stop being interested in a subject. Growth-minded people know how to constantly create new goals to keep themselves stimulated.

25. Take ownership over your attitude. Once you develop a growth mindset, own it. Acknowledge yourself as someone who possesses a growth mentality and be proud to let it guide you throughout your educational career.

I look at these points above and think about how I approach my life:

  • Do I recognise my failings, and strive to improve them?
  • Do I keep pushing myself further, or seek confirmation that I’ve done all I can do?
  • When I finish a training session, do I feel like I have put everything out there – have I done the very best I could do or have I just been present?
  • Watching my team mates – when I’ve noticed that there’s a common error being made, am I doing the same thing, or do I learn from this and better myself?
  • Do I set goals? Do I push myself further and higher?
  • Finally how do I see myself – do I have a growth attitude?

Well I’m going to be honest; I think I’m a little column A and a little column B but I’m going to seriously look at myself and see where I can be better, and do better.

Growth mindset here I come!

Cheers,
T-Wrecks

(1) https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/carol-dweck-mindset/
(2) http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/develop-a-growth-mindset/

 

The Ten Funnest Things About Derby

This article was first published in Derby Oz magazine. 

danger

Photo by Smasharazzi

The Ten Funnest Things About Derby.

To describe Roller Derby as, “a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track…” et cetera, et cetera, which is what you’ll find on Wikipedia, really doesn’t give an outsider any insight into why Roller Derby is the fastest-growing sport in the world. It’s not just the gameplay that makes it amazing, it’s the “aura of Derbyness” around our great sport that makes it so phenomenal and so unique. This author decided to pinpoint what are, in her humble opinion and in no particular order, the ten funnest things about Roller Derby.

We have cool names. I love words. It’s why I like to write. Words can be clever, insightful, cutting, witty, suggestive, and sometimes all those things at once. So when I found out that the manager of my son’s rugby league team was not always called Mike, but sometimes called Dirty Menace, it was like a compass finding North. With our Derby names, we get to live out a little bit of fantasy that most of us don’t get to embrace in our day-to-day lives. For instance, I get to be a Hogwarts student (a really smart one at that). Derby names can make me nod my head in “hell yeah” admiration at their cleverness, or laugh out loud at their wittiness. Our alter egos are not something that “mainstream” sports embrace, and I realise it’s not something every league, or every skater, agrees with, but I love the fact that we have them. It makes us special, and it shows the world that we’re just a little bit clever really.

We play dress-ups. Let’s face it – Derby outfits are the best sporting attire going. Personally I’m not into tutus, but if that’s your scene, then I say TUTU IT UP WARRIOR PRINCESS! My team’s uniform consists of a sexy skate dress that I would NEVER wear in public otherwise. The rest of what we wear is up to us. Yes, some of us love fishnets, some of us don’t. Some of us have stage makeup, and some of us prefer to go mainstream – like our unique names, it’s not everyone’s scene. If you want to wear compression tights, like a hard-core elite athlete, do it. But some Derby girls want to have a bit of fun with what they wear on the track, and if they’re willing to risk a little fishnet burn, then good for them. And, by the way, you ALL look hot, no matter what you’ve got on your bod.

We are for everyone. I’m pretty sure my league is not unique in the fact that we accept, and embrace, people from all walks of life. Derby does not care what colour your skin is, what your background is, or your sexual orientation. We do not care if you are tattooed or a clean-skin, a bogan or a socialite. If you want Derby to be for you, it’s for you, and in this era when demographers try to pigeonhole us as much as they possibly can, I for one find Derby’s inclusiveness like a breath of fresh air.

We respect differences. I’ve seen fresh meat who seem to take to Derby like a duck to water. I struggled for almost a year before I mastered a Tomahawk stop, and seeing fresh meat who master it in a few weeks makes me just a teeny bit green with envy. But the fact is, Derby doesn’t care. Derby will embrace the girls who get it right the first time, and it will also be patient with the ones who take a little longer. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to pass your basic skills test. If you want to be here, we want you, and we respect you all the more for never giving up.

We are free-thinkers. Now, this is not based on any scientific evidence, but it seems to me, from my short time in the Derby world, that our little community is a teensy bit more intellectual, more inclusive, and more progressive than the rest of the community at large. I know that I can express an opinion, related to Derby, politics, or life, and even if it’s not agreed with, my opinion is respected, and an intelligent discussion can ensue. Maybe I’ve seen too many trolls on the Interwebs, but yeah, it seems to me that Derby peeps are pretty cool that way, and are way smarter than the average bear.

We knock the snot out of each other, and are best friends afterwards. We take our sport seriously. I laugh at the nay-sayers (most of whom have never seen a derby bout) who think that Derby is not a “real” sport, that our sport is akin to entertainment wrestling. I challenge anyone to tell a Derby girl to deliberately lose a bout. I promise you, it’ll be the last thing you say before your jaw is wired shut from the high block you’ll receive. We can have immense love, respect and friendship for one another off the track – even as we’re waiting for that whistle at the jammer line – but you better believe it girlfriend, on the track I’m putting my body on the line to make sure I beat you. And afterwards? Afterwards, it’s back to free-flowing, unadulterated, pure-as-the-driven-snow Derby Love.

We have amazeballs fans, volunteers, refs and NSOs. I love our support crew. After every scrimmage, and every bout, I try to thank every volunteer and ref I see. Because they’re not doing it for the fame, the glory or the money. They’re doing it because they love Derby, and because they want to give their time so we can skate. How awesome is that? And, in return, if we can give them the most amazing spectator sport ever conceived, well I for one think that is a fantastic trade.

We have the ultimate stress relief. I never would have said this before I started Derby, but I love getting hit. The idea of actual fisticuffs scares me to tears (as opposed to Feisty Cuffs, who’s an awesome ambassador for our sport), but on the track? BRING IT. When one of our league’s big hitters slams into me, and I maintain my balance, seriously, YOU HAVE MADE MY DAY. I love that feeling of power being expelled against me, almost as much as I love the feeling of expelling all my power against my opposition. And if I can help our team score a point or two in the process, then even better. Even when I don’t feel like going to training, I make sure I go, because whatever monkey has stolen my mojo, I can be sure that a few big hits given and received will send that primate back to the jungle where it belongs.

We get to look cool, even if, secretly, we know we’re not. OK, here’s a confession. I’ve never been a cool kid. I’m a bit like my namesake, Hermione, who only became cool because she got accepted into Hogwarts, and even then was outstandingly dorky to her fellow wizards. I only became cool when I got accepted into Derby. And I’m sure some of the chicks in my league are going, “WTF, she’s so not cool.” Yeah, I know I’m not. But everyone outside of Derby thinks I’m cool just because I play it. And, to me, that’s pretty bloody funny, because I’ve never been allowed to hang out with the cool kids, until now.

We get to wear wheels on our feet.  This one speaks for itself really! We get to go really really fast! It’s like a roller-coaster, only people are hitting you. Hell yeah! The first time I managed to skate without falling, I felt like I was flying, and it was awesome! And you know what? When I get a bit of speed up, I STILL feel like I’m flying! Why would anyone do a sport in sneakers? It really baffles me.

We have after-parties. Yes, I know this is the eleventh item in my list of top ten funnest things about Derby. But really, even if you can’t forgive my appalling disregard for numbers, who doesn’t love an after-party? My league gets to patronise our amazing sponsor, the Colonial Hotel at Werrington, (yes, this is a blatant plug for the best pub in Western Sydney), the Colonial staff get to wear league t-shirts, and we all enjoy a great meal, have a few drinks, reminisce about some great bouts, and strengthen those bonds of Derby love. Any sport with an after-party as part of the official program has got to be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday night.

Rolling with Axel – A personal account of derby life after spawn by Pixiematosis.

First off, this isn’t a blog about what to do after producing offspring or strict recommendations for returning to derby, it’s just my story. The main reason for not writing a “how to” is that if there is one thing I have learnt it’s that there is no “right way” to do things when it comes to a new baby. Every tiny human is different in their needs and mum’s recovery may be totally different to mine.

Axel was born on Boxing Day at around 1 in the afternoon. He was 3145g and 51cm long. Delivered via Mighty Vac (yep that’s exactly what it sounds like) and I was given a recovery time around 4-6 weeks. In that first week after spawn, I started to assess myself for getting back to my derby fitness. Everything had gone squishy, my tummy felt like jelly and I was struggling to open jars and stuff, so I was thinking I had a fair bit of work ahead of me. There was also the other thing, stitches, ick. That had a healing time of up to 4-weeks. So I’d determined not to think about my fitness again until Axel was 4-weeks old.

20141227_145201_resized_1 Look at the cute. Look at it! 

That was probably for the best, any fluid from around my tummy was disappearing and my core wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. With some more settled sleeping patterns I was feeling stronger too. Whenever possible I got Axel in the stroller and went for a walk around the block and this seemed to do both of us plenty of good. TIP #1 BE PAITENT, LET YOUR BODY RECOVER IN ITS OWN TIME.

In that first month I started to really question my ability to go back to derby. Axel seemed to need to feed constantly. I felt like I was trapped on the couch with no hope of getting up for sandwich let alone a few hours of training time. If Axel wasn’t feeding, he was screaming and I definitely felt like a bit of a failure at this mum thing. But things seemed to level out a bit and we were slowly getting into a routine. TIP #2 PERSERVERE, A ROUTINE WILL COME.

20150111_141914_resized_1 Awwwww, tiny baby sleeping Axel.

My first big derby test was attending a committee meeting in week 3. I tried expressing for a bottle feed for the first time. Oh my glob! FREEDOM!!! Not only could I keep Axel happily fed in the middle of a meeting I could actually hand over the reins to someone else (Dobie you’re my hero). TIP #3 BOTTLES ARE FANTASTIC, LET SOMEONE ELSE FEED BUBS AND ENJOY SOME GROWN UP TIME.

I got a chance to head to a team social at the beginning of week 4. I turned up looking totally frazzled and I kind of desperately asked my fellow mummy teammates for advice. I must have sounded so pathetic “Is this normal?” “Why won’t he do …?” “How long did your babies feed for?” I got a fair few knowing smiles and also plenty of hints and tips. Things didn’t seem so terrible after all. Soon after I’d figured out my offspring had dairy and egg protein sensitivity and it was causing him plenty of gas pains and I also got him soothing himself with a dummy. Hallelujah. TIP #4 MUM WISDOM IS PRICELESS. SERISOUSLY, JUST HEAR EVERYONE OUT AND SEE IF IT HELPS.

In our 5th week together I thought it was time to start thinking about strapping on skates. I’d been cautioned by fellow derby mumma Leese Lightning to take it easy when returning to training. She warned me about the relaxin hormone that takes months to leave your body after pregnancy. Sure it allows your body to give birth, but it also increases your risk of sprains and injuries so that is something to think about, lest you end your derby career before you even get back to it. TIP #5 RELAXIN, IT’S A THING. GOOGLE IT BEFORE HEADING BACK TO DERBY.

20150128_175618_resized Shhhh, the Pixie is sleeping.

First I thought I would check out my core strength. I started off doing sit-ups, push-ups, planks and squats in small reps at first and then slowly building up. I found I could do the minimum skill level before too long, but it certainly wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Seeing as I could get to minimum endurance, I wanted to go to the next step. Skating. I decided to start back with our fresh meat

group. There was no pressure from my trainers to do this, I just wanted to because I didn’t feel stable or strong enough to jump into full contact training. Yet.

My first training session back on skates I left Axel with my mummsy and I attempted to complete 1 hour of training. We completed the 5-minute laps, admittedly I took it a bit easy but I only completed 21 laps. I was crushed, I’m no speedster but I hadn’t been that slow since fresh meat. TIP #6 SEE TIP #5. NO SERIOUSLY RELAXIN IS A THING! IT WILL MAKE YOUR LEGS FEEL LIKE JELLY WHILE YOU’RE SKATING. TAKE YOUR TIME AND BE CAREFUL!

For my next training sesh I brought the little guy with me. There were plenty of people just dying for a cuddle from Axel. I’d barely rolled him in the door before he was swaddled, fed, burped and tucked up into his pram for a sleep (Love you Bella). At first I was like “Oh you don’t have to…” but then I saw people really, sincerely, genuinely wanted to help. TIP #7 IT TAKES A VILLAGE OR A ROLLER DERBY LEAGUE TO RAISE A CHILD (JUST GO WITH IT).

1423781542058_resized Axel with his mumma

So that’s pretty much our first 6-weeks. My next blog will be covering up to 12-weeks. I hear 12-weeks is a magical time where babies settle down a bit and learn heaps of new stuff. I wonder if that means he can start changing his own nappies and stuff. That would be most excellent. Until next time, have a good one.

Pixie.

Off-season… WHAT off-season?

With tummies full of festive goodies that may or may not be conducive to your Season 2015 fitness, here are some great off-season fitness tips from Manic Munchkin 🙂

Anyone who has previous conditions, injuries etc should consult their doctor first before performing any of the exercises and if they want alternatives they can message me 🙂 Also, if there are some who attend a gym, I would encourage them to get staff to help with finding neutral spine and squat range.

Tip #1
Do excises that improve stability, we can be super strong but have poor stability, and this is when injuries happen.
Example exercises:

Calf raises; these are important to promote strength around the lower leg area which will improve stability at the knee joint as well as at the ankle. Muscles are designed to absorb a certain amount of force, the stronger we can get the muscles around the joints, the less likely we are to injure those joints.

Glute Bridges:

Use with or without a weight, on a bench or on the ground.

From ground: lift hips to ceiling, keeping neutral spine (keeping natural curvature of spine, ask someone at gym or home to check, or use pole to measure 3 points of contact head, upper back and glutes, all 3 must be touching pole)

On bench: feet in squat position with upper back on bench, keep hips inline with shoulders and head, not letting them go lower or higher. If you want to use weight, rest on lower part of the stomach.

Powerlifters squat:
This squat is where knees do not go past toes. The movement is like sitting in a chair. It’s very important to know your squat range, which is to the point just before your lower back begins to curve under your hip. Do it in front of a mirror and watch your lower back, I also encourage people to watch themselves when doing other exercises in front of a mirror if training alone.

Tip #2
Do exercises that are relevant to Derby. Maybe you guys have heard of this thing called ‘Functional Movement’, to sum it up, part of it is doing exercises that are relevant to your day to day activity and training your body to perform movements you do on a regular basis.

Example of exercises that would be relevant are:

Bicycle kicks or Russian Oblique Twists: We twist our torsos a lot in Derby, these exercises strengthen the muscles involved because the exercises involve similar movement patterns.

Step ups; It’s very important in derby to have a good derby stance, this includes ensuring our knees track over our toes, by this I mean going in the same direction as our toes. Women’s knees have a tendency to cave inwards because of our wide set hips, so it’s even more important for us girls!
This exercise doesn’t necessarily need weights, it’s more to get into practice ensuring your knees are following your toes, if you can try doing them without touching the ground and if needed, use something to balance yourself with.
Our body is built so every joint is inline for maximum force exertion, when they’re not inline we lose the ability to exert that maximum force.

Tip #3

Cardio! I can hear the groans from here but cardio is incredibly important . Most people have probably heard of interval training, and most are probably too scared to try it. Interval training doesn’t have to be intense, it literally just means intervals between exercise. You could do a 1 minute walk then do a slower walk for 2 minutes. Intervals can be performed on a bike, rowing machine, in a pool or even on your skates! Interval training is very relevant to how derby is played, players have to get used to giving it their all for 2 minutes then slowing down to almost nothing. Please begin with caution, do not start with a high intensity, or even medium. Before starting interval training, ensure you have 6 months previous training in some form of cardio or other fitness experience e.g derby training or gym training.

Tip #4

Always keep neutral spine when training and do not compromise your safety just to push yourself a little further!

One Year On – by T-Wrecks

It’s been a year. A year since I found the courage to start something new. 365 days since my first training session, a year of feeling a part of the greatest bunch of human beings I know. It’s been 525,600 minutes since I found my passion.

Do you remember when you were a kid, riding bikes too fast, screaming down the “big” slippery dips, running like a madman down sand dunes, and better yet strapping on that first pair of skates. Do you remember the smile plastered on your face? Do you remember the wind whipping through your hair?

Now fast forward into adulthood, more specifically mine. It’d been years since I’d done anything remotely exciting, exercise wise. It’d been at least a decade since I’d participated in a team sport, and I can’t remember the last time I’d fallen over laughing and gotten up laughing as well. Hell, in what other sport do people clap at how good you stack? (Superman stacks score more points btw)

Roller Derby.

Let me say it again…Roller Derby.

Some have heard of it, some have seen it, others even know people who have played it. It’s hilarious, fun, competitive, chillaxed, encouraging and embracing all wrapped up in one really cool package.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all lollypops and rainbows. There is yelling and even tears from time to time – despite all the training, all the falls, sometimes you fall and it hurts like a SOB. But you know what…we’ve all been there – you’re in good company.

In this past year I’ve skated with men and women, novices and professionals, school teachers, nurses, ambos, and stay at home mums. I love the diversity of this place, where no one is judged for the colour on their skin (or how much/ or little ink they might have), size or height, or even what side of the fence they sit on.

If someone had of said to me a couple of years ago that I’d be playing Roller Derby I’d have possibly laughed at them. If they then had said that I was going to love it, and all that it entails, I’d have scoffed. But now…I can’t remember how I existed with life without these people, and without this sport.

I heart roller derby

T-Wrecks