Derby Nutrition – Part Three

So, a slightly delayed update. Last week was just crazy both in and outside of work so barely had any time to sleep let alone talk about nutrition and see if anything has changed for me. Anywho, better late than never I guess!
Week two saw me challenging myself to eat 5 a day of fruit or veg which I am really happy to say that I managed 6 out of 7 days and the only day I failed to meet this target I had 4, so all in all I don’t think I did too badly. The main thing I noticed in week two was how full up I was ALL the time. I was forcing myself to eat fruit when I really wasn’t hungry, just to meet my five a day target. This is something that weirdly, I really didn’t expect, though it was a greatly welcomed effect as it meant less snacking in the evening and I ate much smaller meals. I decided to keep this habit up in week three as there were definite positives to this diet modification. I also felt like I had a lot more energy and felt a lot leaner (if that makes sense?) so all in all, I guess some things that the government recommends CAN actually be good for you. I am shocked.

Week 3 saw me tackling an extremely hectic week where mid-week I ran out of fruit and veg (due to my now somewhat excessive consumption!) so for 3 days as I had NO time to run to the supermarket, I couldn’t make my target which I was fairly gutted about. I managed 8 hours of training this week and continued with a protein shake after my work out. This is a dietary modification that I am STILL not yet sure of the benefits, as I don’t yet feel any particular benefits, yet the amount of pro-protein shake literature out there is extensive that I feel I need to continue with this just on case the effects are noticed later down the line.

I broke my no-chocolate rule ONCE by having some Malteasers bunnies (3) but god damn they were good! However, I managed nearly 2 weeks free of chocolate which I am extremely impressed with!

I am now about to start week 4 and from what I have learnt thus far in my journey, my targets for the following week will be to continue with the five a day fruit & veg as this gave me so much energy and I felt much healthier for it, continue with the protein shakes post-workout to see if this increases my muscle recovery time and reduces the effects of any DOMS. I will continue to try to eradicate chocolate from my diet (so impressed with my discipline on this one) and introduce a final goal that I no longer eat junk food i.e. chips, pizza etc……I think this one may be the hardest of all :'( however, as it is generally more of a treat for me, I think this last target will take a couple of weeks to really see the benefits….if any!

Summarising my experience though, increasing my daily intake of fruit and vegetables and significantly decreasing the amount of chocolate in my diet have left me feeling much more energetic and in general, just ‘healthier’. I am full pretty much all the time and it becomes difficult to make myself eat to meet the five a day target. I can only begin the think of the internal effects these small diet changes are having on my body. For example body fat percentage, cholesterol, blood pressure. Perhaps it might be good for me to get a check-up with my GP to measure all these parameters and see if these readings improve as I move forward with my experiment?

Luvya Schlong Time

Derby Nutrition – Part Two

So after the first week, definitely not as difficult as I thought it was going to be- though obviously I have started small annnddd as a confession I partied hard this weekend, so I can’t really expect much of a difference can I? Though, as I initially thought when undertaking this challenge, I very much doubt I will feel the benefits to my body and performance until around 4-6 weeks in *sigh*. I think for more noticeable changes (whatever these may be) I should aim for dietary alterations that are a bit more difficult. My challenge for this week is no chocolate and to get my 5 a day. This is something I am already OK at doing as my usual is 3, but it could do to be better. Plus I learnt that trying to ration myself doesn’t happen so I am avoiding the chocolate wagon completely. One thing that I DID notice was that I had more energy after training when I made sure I had a protein shake and a banana beforehand. This may be a coincidence (I am not making definite claims of anything here, just my theories!) or it COULD be due to the documented benefits of a higher protein intake. Seriously, just type it into google. There are numerous amounts of literature available documenting the benefits of increased protein intake and how athletes need a higher protein intake than the RDA. Based of my own experience, I am going to stick to this change and see if there are any other effects of taking protein supplements that can aid in my training regime.

Sadly, as of yet, I have yet to find any scrummy healthy food….I am determined to prove these exist! Though I have received a link to a recipe to make your own flavoured water as a post training treat which I think I am going to have to try!! If this is actually nice, I’m gonna share the hell out of it!

Therefore to summarise, for week two, I will be ditching the chocolate completely :'( continuing on my protein supplements before training with a view to potentially upping these in week three and to make sure I get my 5-a-day. Here’s hoping I am super peppy and full of energy and not disgruntled at my lack of Galaxy.

Luvya Schlong Time

Derby Nutrition – Part One

So! An introductory blog post…on nutrition in roller derby. Hmmm…. Not the most exciting subject really is it? And why is it that no matter WHERE you turn in life, there is always something/ someone telling you that you need to eat ‘healthier’? This message is literally everywhere we look in society and, being from a scientific background, I totally get why this message is effectively rammed down our throats, and I understand the theory behind it.

On paper it all makes so much sense! Yet why is it no matter how much we read about the plethora of health benefits attributed to good nutrition and no matter how hard we try to follow diets/guidelines, our life is never complete without that sinful binge on junk food?

The whole time I have been involved in roller derby, I have been aware of the advice; proper nutrition can and will benefit and aid your training and gameplay. Aware, but never fully taken this message on board.

When I was subsequently asked if I wanted to write a blog on sports nutrition I thought initially thought ‘Why the hell not?’. Then reality set in and my thought process drifted to ‘I eat crap! Who am I to tell people to eat better and reap the rewards, of which I know nothing about?!’ I was then struck with the notion, that I could potentially create such a blog, but angle it from the average individual taking steps to improve their nutrition, develop a healthy eating plan and then identify the exact benefits that this in turn had on my gameplay and training.

As is stands, I have devised a p***s easy plan that starts by making minimal changes, so that I am more likely to stick to this thing in the long-run. Week one begins today (18 Feb 2014) and I will record my diet, training, struggles etc. to see if the reality of good nutrition lives up to the hype. My goals/aim for this week and basic- introduce a pre workout protein shake and cut my chocolate intake to <100g (hey, I am a self-confessed chocoholic…baby steps ok?!). My plan is to then up the game and cut junk food completely by week 2/ 3 (eek!) so please forgive the wimpy start on this journey!   So…there you have it. Stay tuned to updates/ musings (and if they DO really exist) ideas for healthy AND tasty treats.

Luvya Schlong Time

Roller Derby – How not to give up – For the ones who aren’t quite there yet.

Not everyone who plays roller derby is the same. In fact, it’s a sport that prides itself on the uniqueness of the individual, which is why it’s important to remember that we all learn at different speeds. You might be one of those skaters who gets it within a few tries. You might be a super solid blocker who will never be felled. Or a lightning quick jammer who makes it through with ease every time.

Or you might not be as good as that. It takes longer for things to click. Some stuff scares you, so you avoid doing it if you can. Other stuff you just can’t get your head around no matter how hard you try. Some sessions are tough and you may consider giving up completely because you feel like you’re wasting everyone’s time.

I’ve always been hard on myself, but this applies more when it comes to skating, with my lack of strength and tiny, tiny frame that frustrates me so. The laws of physics tend to dictate that the bigger girls will knock me down, and I’m yet to reach that ‘freakishly fast and strong for a tiny person’ stage, which I view as the grand end result of my roller derby journey. It’s tough, definitely, and there are really only two ways to go – turn around and give up, or work harder.

I had a small sort of epiphany at my last training session when I was casually skating backwards in the middle of the track. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being great at backwards skating, but at least I can do it now! Anyway, it took me back to the early days, when I was still on the fresh meat course and backwards skating was nothing more than some hazy, far off problem that my future self would have to deal with. (When I did finally attempt it, all I could do was topple forwards or flail off track and then topple forwards). I saw one of the team members gracefully skating backwards, not even thinking about it and wistfully dreamed of the day when I could do that without a care in the world.

But what I realised that day not so long ago is that the day was here! I was doing it! Look how far I’d come, and I still wasn’t happy, I was still convinced I wouldn’t improve. “Well the evidence proves otherwise,” I told myself later when I had a chance to think about it. I instantly felt better!

No, I’m not the best, and yes the bigger girls can still knock me down, but it’s on me challenge that and I know what I need to do – eat more, put on weight (which I’m trying to do, I swear!), cross train, build my core strength and stamina.

I certainly don’t have any lofty roller derby ambitions. But I want to be beneficial to my team. I suppose what I am trying to tell myself and those who might be reading this and don’t quite ‘get’ some things is – don’t compare yourselves to the others. It’s one of the first pieces of advice we are given, but we do it anyway. We all learn at different speeds and many have been doing this for a lot longer. There are differing levels of commitment and our strengths don’t all lie in the same place.

Ultimately, you know what you need to do more of. Go to training, work out, eat the right foods, read the rules! It might be some of it, it might be all of it, but if you want to be a derby girl you don’t give up. Think back on how far you’ve come, picture how far you’ll go and stick at it!

 Dazy Blaze

An Interview With Flea Raaah!

Flea Raaah chose to leave Preston Roller Girls last year to go travelling and is having an amazing time! Having settled down under until the end of the year when she will return home, she has made sure she gets her roller derby fix training with different teams and skating in a number of roller derby events. With such exciting stories to tell, we just had to share them!

 How is training different with your new team? (eg, is it tougher, are there more team members, is it a stricter training environment?)

Well, the first team I was with in Perth was much bigger, they have three home teams and two travel teams, but it wasn’t so bad because they also did different training sessions for all the teams. Even still, that training was never short of people for group work and they had the space for it too. SO they were really great sessions. They were a tough team too, being the oldest team in Perth, they have quite the reputation and with good reason. Having had four months off skates, I really struggled in the sessions. I needed something to ease me in. The difficulty with transferring to a team in Australia is that they do things much differently here. All the teams are insured and registered with Skate Australia, and to be a full bouting member, each person has to pass a series of test, based on the minimum skills- and work their way up to a level four skater. Unlike the UK where most teams do a twelve week course and you hope to tick off each skill. Well although I (finally) passed my mins nine days before I left the UK, I hadn’t bouted and PRD wanted me to do the level four test. Which I did and failed, twice.

Problem here is that at PRD, the way they do things, there was no where for me to go at the point I was at other than start fresh meat again…not so bad, except PRD’s fresh meat is 11 months long.
So very sadly, after two months, it was time to move on from PRD and onto Swan City Roller Derby. Although they are a young team and haven’t bouted yet (they had their first awesome external Scrim in December, which I played against them), the advantage here is that they are a coed team. I loved scrimming coed and was excited at the prospect of things I would learn from playing in a coed team.
Numbers at Swan are sometimes a bit low but that is to be expected from such a new, up and coming team but it is an excellent opportunity to learn in this team.
I do find that overall in Australia, that the teams play tougher than I have seen in the UK which I cannot wait to bring back to Preston Roller Girls.
In fact, Roller Derby is just a much bigger thing here, I’d estimate around 70% of the Australians I speak to know what it is when I tell they I play roller derby, as opposed to 70% of Brits asking where the ball comes in. (figures are made up)

Did you have any expectations when you joined? (eg, did you know what it would be like beforehand or did you not know anything about the team?) 

I choose to initially join PRD simply because I had googled Perth roller derby and guess what, it was the first result. When I was still in Asia (Japan actually, around July) I met two girls from Perth and they told me it was really tough to join a team in Australia. So I got scared and got in touch almost immediately. SO I had no idea what the league was going to be like. To be honest, I probably should have done a little more research because PRD are an awesome team- I’d say the majority of them are a team players.
I transferred to Swan after the Scrim I played in against them. Partly because Mosh the president was mega keen to get me on board after I told her where I was at and also because they seemed like a really great team to play with.

How regularly do you train? 

Well at the moment I don’t train a great deal because I have traveled across to Tasmania to do some farm work but back in Perth, Swan train twice a week and then once a week in a open training session with Perth Mens team (hardest training I have ever done)Then I was doing my usual outdoor skating whenever I could, plenty of night skating because it was still warm at night. I also started skating in skate parks once a week too, them ramps are awesome!

Have you picked up any minor/major injuries since you started playing again? 

Usual bumps and bruises but nothing major from roller derby. On a motorcycle in Thailand however…but that is another story…haha

Is roller derby an easy sport to pursue in Australia or is it limited to the bigger cities? 

Well the thing here is that you have to remember the sheer size of Australia. You can fit the entirety of Europe inside of Australia and still have plenty of room to spare, however I believe it is also the least dense country. SO on the east side where the majority of people live, there are many more teams around. There are many small towns throughout Australia that I would imagine do not have teams but they are in the middle of nowhere.
I recently wet on a bus adventure 9 hours (which is nothing in the grand scheme of Australia) to bout in Kalgoorlie, that place has a team. Most the major towns have teams. You might have a cluster of towns all together but take Perth- although Perth has about five teams within the central area, the next closet team is about two hours away and there is another four hours away. However, I am no expert on this.
Currently in Devonport in Northern Tasmania, there are two teams either side of here, both 30 minute drives away but Devonport does not have a team- despite it being the second biggest city in this state (don’t get excited, the population is only 25000(ish)

Does the Australian roller derby community differ from the UK in any way?

I cannot answer for the whole of Australia because Western Australia (the state that Perth is in) is so far removed from the majority of the Australian roller derby community. However, I can say that for the most part, the community is very friendly. Often hosting friendly open scrims and inter-league events. Sometimes loaning players to each other. I have made many new friends through various different teams in Western Australia. One big thing that I did think was completely different was the fact that a fair number of the teams in Perth had open training sessions. So their normal training sessions but once a week they’d open it up to anyone from other teams training with them- including other Perth teams. Don’t quote me but I don’t think you’d have two local teams allowing each other to attend training regularly. One week, I attended PMD’s training, the same week they played my Swan city. Tactically, I could have been snooping, I wasn’t but I could.

Have you been to watch any bouts and if so which teams?

Sadly, not as many as I’d have liked. In the UK, I tried to see a game at least once a fortnight and when there are dozens of teams within a couple of hours drive, that becomes fairly easy to do. But, western Australia is huge and not so hugely populated. I have watched Perth Roller Derby play, in fact they were the first playing against Margaret River Roller Derby (who I recently got to play with). It felt so good to watch a bout after four months of being deprived of all things derby in Asia. I also watched MRRD play against another Perth team- Western Australia Roller Derby. Both excellent games to watch.

Tell us about some of your favourite bouting experiences down under! 

Well I volunteered to bout in a pot luck event for charity recently. Both teams were constructed from approx 8 or 9 different teams from Western Australia (players volunteered themselves). It was so much fun, it was my first bout and an amazing one too. I just felt super confident and it showed with some of the moves I pulled, I even managed to do some backwards blocking, which I think is super impressive, even if I do say so myself. There was even dancing on track, if you don’t dance during a bout, there is just no point, right?

Have you got any exciting events coming up in the next few months? 

As it happens, yes!! So, Margaret River Roller Derby recently asked my team if we had anyone that would join them in Kalgoorlie to play against Gold City Roller Derby. I jumped at the chance- the 12 hours traveling (one way) was totally worth it. I would make so much more effort if it meant I got to play roller derby. Anyway, on the way back, the president asked if I wanted to join the in The Great Southern Slam tournament in the June. It was in Adelaide and I stupidly told them I wasn’t sure because I didn’t know where I was going to be in the June. But after considering the offer (there really shouldn’t have been any considering), I realised it was the weekend of my 30th birthday, is there a better way that celebrating that playing in a tournament which is equivalent to the Australian Nationals? I do not think that there is. So it was a huge yes. Finding the funding to get there is proving very tough at the moment because I am picking fruit in Tasmania and there isn’t always money to be made but be sure, I will find the money somewhere. I will sell a kidney to get there.

How much are you missing PRG??? 

You have no idea. That bunch of girls is the best bunch that you will ever meet. I love each and every one of them and I miss them more and more every day. But alas, I will be back in Preston before you know it and I will be bashing them around that sports hall like you wouldn’t believe. Cannot wait.