(Actually, it’s HABITS, IMBALANCES & SPORTSBRAS but I thought that had a cool ring to it. Right??)

I can actually say that I have been exercising for 32 years (unsure of if that makes me sound good or just old). Our extremely hard-core army Dad would take me running with him when I was 4, sparking a lifelong relationship with exercise and giving me a few good decades of experience to ponder upon.

Each session, run, game or competition that I have ever experienced has made me that little bit more aware of my body, from what’s going on internally – tightness, range of motion, niggles, pain, strength and weakness – to what it is actually capable of doing (the fun stuff). For me, this is one of the most powerful benefits of physical activity – to be more tuned in and better able to be behind the wheel, if that makes sense.

And what I am more tuned in to these days, are my imbalances.


ON ONE HAND I love it, because I find it fascinating to learn stuff about my body. We’ve known each other for a pa-retty long time, so when I discover something new I feel like I’m peeling back layers of the onion, you know, like Shrek. I’m like “Aha! So I need to strengthen/stretch/mobilise XYZ”. Or “so that’s why I’m struggling with bla-dee bla bla”. In my mind it’s an important clue as to how I can improve performance, functionality, and my physical health (all of which I value highly) 

ON THE OTHER HAND….…as the lovely Lina once said after Fed’s Gymnastics Class, “I hate having imbalances, it annoys me”. And I don’t know why, but it does. It really does. Being the control-freak that I am, is it because I can’t stand that I can do something well on one side but not the other? It’s not even! Or is it because I know that, without balance in my body there is an uneven equilibrium of work, which is only going to snowball the imbalance if I don’t address it (I already have 17,000 things on my to-do list!) Imbalances can lead to niggles or injuries over time, and no one has time for that – I’m highly impatient and the worst rester ever (as I’m sure most of you will understand)!

Nevertheless, imbalances pop up everywhere I go - inside and out of the gym. At the gym, I notice that my left arm doesn’t pull as strongly as my right, and my right step-up is weaker and less stable than my left. Among other things. At home, I notice that I am way more proficient at scrubbing dishes (and doing most things) with my right hand, or that I always bend down to pick things up with my right arm, while shifting towards my right hip. Sometimes, I’ve stopped myself, put the object back on the floor, and picked it up with my left arm while shifting my weight to the left – on top of feeling weird, I notice how much tighter I am in this position, and how uncomfortable it is. No wonder I use the other side all the time – it’s easier!

Are we creatures of habit or creatures of comfort. Probably both. But what came first – did I always pick stuff up with my right, creating more mobility and movement in that pattern from continuous practice? Or, did I start off by favouring that side because it was easier, eventually turning it into the habit I have today?


Whatever came first - the chicken or the egg, the movement or the imbalance - I’m now more aware of my habits and how they feed into my imbalances, especially when it involves using the same arm or leg to do the task over and over again. Some BASE 3 members may have heard me nag “make sure you turn in the other direction,” or “be sure to step up with your left leg as well” – I do apologise for that, I’m sure it’s the last thing you give a shit about when you’re knee-deep in a WOD. It’s only because I love you.

But I do wonder – do our seemingly innocent habits contribute in some way to the imbalances in strength, range of motion and skill that we experience in training? Is grip strength on my left side weaker because I automatically carry things in my right hand? If I were to start carrying groceries, or my gym bag, in my left hand instead, would I see a difference when I’m doing Farmer’s Carries? Perhaps. Probably. Everything adds up eventually, especially when it comes to our adaptive bodies, right?


Why don’t you analyse your own habits? Take notice of how you use/move your body in mindless activities you do daily. Have you ever tried to brush your teeth with your other hand?  Or (I hate to add this in here) scroll through IG with your other hand, using your other thumb? What about getting up off the floor – always use your dominant leg to stand? Bet ya do ;)

Why don't you try something in the opposite way to how you would normally do it? Go against the grain. Weirdly and frustratingly, I've started trying/learning to take my sportsbra off with my left arm crossed on top of my right (instead of the right over left). Guys, you won’t understand the struggle, but it’s real sometimes. Ladies, if you can do this easily, I am impressed because I feel like I’m in a straight-jacket and it takes me about 2 minutes – no control, no mobility. Yet, the other side is at least 27 times better.

I don’t imagine that my PRs will shoot up, but I wonder, if I keep practicing and improving this new movement, what implications would that have on my training, my posture, my movement? In the same way that we learn to progress on our Olympic lifts, surely any improvement (even in such a small movement) would indicate that I have developed some sort of muscular control or strength, or joint range of motion (even if ever so slight)? Does it matter what the caliber of the movement is that I’m learning from? I mean, are bigger movements, like the snatch, more important or beneficial to me than a smaller movement, like learning to take my arms overhead with the weaker arm leading? Or is it only important that I’m practicing something different, and that my body is learning something new?

Because I have a feeling it’s a bit of everything, I’m going to keep my mind wide open to all movements and exercises, big and small, and regardless of where they occur (movement is movement, right?) Although I would love to be proficient at everything, left and right, I see my imbalances as opportunities to improve, and have really enjoyed the challenge of working to do so (it is so satisfying when you notice changes!)


For me? Hell yes. For you? Maybe, maybe not – that’s for you to decide, but I do encourage that you give it a go. Whether you aspire to function better as an athlete or as a regular ol’ human being going about your day trying to prolong physical health and quality of life, dial in to your movement and habits to get a better understanding of your body. And when you find something? Cool! Shake things up, break routine, switch sides and be bad at something for a while, google for exercises, ask a coach, learn new stuff and get totally frustrated at yourself! Be a work in progress. It’s awesome, you’ll love it. And, if you need help formulating a master plan you know what to do. (But just in case you don’t…give us a yell, silly!)


Do you trust me?

Do you trust me?
The plan for the 2019/20 season.

 As we approach what will likely be the end of the CrossFit competition season for most of us. It’s time to reflect on your previous years training and see how much progress you’ve made, set some new goals, come up with a plan and re-commit.

My reasons for asking this are not ego driven or because I fear you’re doubting the program. Not because I’m going to come up with some mad shit that doesn’t make any sense.
I just want to make sure you understand my intent with the direction of the program for the next year.

Last year, I had a solid plan, a mapped-out macro program that laid out every detail of every week from start to finish a year in advance. The season was set, and it was easy for us to plan. This year things are slightly different. We aren’t games or regional athletes (well most of aren’t, right Seham? ;-)), so the changes don’t reeeeeally apply, but it has created some disruption to the season.

Reflection and goal setting

Before we start a new season, I’d suggest sitting down and reviewing the season that has just passed. It’s always worth doing, so we can pat ourselves on the back for the goals we hit and re-evaluate the ones we missed. Once you’ve done this, I’d then suggest sitting down and doing some goal setting for this season. I’d love to be a part of this so if any of you want to have a catch up and do some goal setting, let’s go grab a coffee and see what we can come up with,

I’ve put some time in to looking for comps that we can do to keep us busy until we hit competition season again, and honestly there is LOADS out there. I’ve shortlisted a couple of online comps, some that are just online, some that are qualifiers for exotic locations and some that are for bigger comps that we won’t qualify for, but still good to use as a measure. We’ve done a lot of team stuff in previous years, I’d like to suggest looking at some individual comps this year too.

I’ll build these in to a schedule and we can as a group decide which ones would be fun to do, whilst still making sense.

Here is what I’ve come up with in terms of a broad timeline for the 19/20 season. All of which is subject to change as a lot of events haven’t released information, so dates are not confirmed, and other events are likely to pop up.

March – Finish out the 2019 open
April – Deload for a few weeks, start off season with a testing week
May – Off season
June – Finish up off season, and begin looking at online comps
July – Start of new season
August – Ramp up in season
September – Still in season
October – Comp season starts, qualifiers and second Open of 2019
November – BoE + potentially another comp in the region
December – Elfit (heard it’s a shit show but let’s keep options open, team and indie)
January – WOD mayhem, Bahrain, I don’t believe these have qualifiers, Indie comp
February – Altitude, unless something else comps up, get medical insurance sorted prior to event.

Off season.

This is where I need your trust.
None of you are idiots, well most of you (I’m kidding), so I assume you understand you can’t keep training at full send all year round. When you train hard in preparation for a competition and ramp up your intensity and volume the risk of injury and blowing up are heightened. I’m sure you see what would happen if you kept training at the same gear year-round?

So, I’m suggesting we take a bit of an off season. Ride out the Open, finish March strong, have a week or two of easy training and recovering, hit a testing week and then get really serious about destroying some weaknesses. Use a 6-8 week window whilst the competition calendar is quiet and focus on getting strong / fast / gymnasty (insert generic training goal) as fuck!

 I’m working on putting together a fairly sophisticated off season that can be tailored to your goals, and eliminating your weaknesses, whilst being able to train together, and have fun doing so. I’m excited about it for myself as well as you guys, it’s a good opportunity to build on experiences from the past season and to set the attitude for the coming season.

 Give me 2 months of solid training and you’ll walk out ready to crush the rest of the year.

 This message is disclaimery, because I need your buy in. I’m asking for your trust, because training will look differently, we won’t be doing loads of CrossFit and we won’t be doing loads of smash yourself in to the ground training during this period. Don’t misunderstand me, training will be far from easy, it’ll just look different from what you’d expect “CrossFit” to look like.

 What you should expect from a competitive CrossFit off season.

-       Lots of isolated strength work

-       Loads of hard / long endurance intervals

-       Plenty of gymnastic skill work

-       Time to improve and develop better movement, with the scope to more resilient

-       Plenty of strongman

-       Loads of recovery work

-       More time for mobility and movement work

 We’re still trying to be as good at working out as possible, and the plan I’ve come up with is built around doing exactly that.

We’ve made some amazing progress in the last 12 months, I hope you all see it yourselves. I’m really looking forward to kicking off this new season.

If you would like to sit down with me and discuss any of this, and get some guidance on setting targets for the season, you know where to find me.



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To be (a unit) or not (a unit). That is my decision

CURRENT MOOD: It’s been an eventful rollercoaster for my self-esteem and my butt lately.

Today I was called “too macho”, and yesterday I was called “a unit”. For guys, awesome. For this girl, not so much. Because I had already been feeling “a little fuller” (shall we say) lately, of course, I totally perceived it to mean “you look huge” (guys, you have permission to roll your eyes at me).

BACK STORY: Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve gone a little off the rails with my nutrition and that fermented drink that makes your head feel funny sometimes (the Middle Eastern PG version). I know it, my tighter shorts know it, and my butt knows it when any type of impact is involved – running, box jumps, and even when a heavy barbell is dropped in the vicinity. Urgh, it’s the worst.

ANOTHER BACK STORY: You know how you have THAT place that weight always goes to first? Yeah ya do, you just thought it. Mine? Butt and thighs. I don’t know whether it’s an act of rebellion for sitting on them for so long, but honestly, in times of excess I can LITERALLY feel the fat cells getting bigger there. Which is cool actually, because I figure, however much I curse it, it’s their way of giving me a heads up (guess I should be thankful).

BACK TO THE FIRST BACK STORY: So I’m off the rails – only a little bit mind you – and I can feel it. The funny thing is, before my 2-week bender, I was feeling really great. I remember doing some mobility work, and literally thinking to myself “I feel really great, body, way to go you”. Food and training on point.

SIDE NOTE: I always make a point of appreciating how great I feel and thanking my body for being so cool (you should definitely do it).

 BACK TO CURRENT MOOD: Two weeks! In TWO WEEKS I went from feeling great to feeling, well, like a unit. And while we’re on the subject: to be honest, the two comments I received don’t bother me in the slightest and they weren’t said nastily (well, maybe the second one accidentally was). Being called a unit is actually a compliment in CrossFit terms, but was given at the right place at the wrong time (poor bastard had no idea). If it was given 2 weeks ago, I would have been all “Oh really? I don’t know what you’re talking about??” Read: “I TOTALLY DO!!!!!!!!”

MY POINT: The difference between my “feeling great” moment and my moment of unit-ness, is probably GRAMS. Most of you won’t have even noticed a thing (please don’t check my butt out later looking for signs). The reality is that I am always roller-coastering (real verb) through these stages because my body is in constant change, constantly reacting to how I treat it – how and what I eat, how I sleep, how I train, how I think etc etc etc. Chronic and acute feedback and reactions…always. Do you ever stop to ponder that? I haven’t until recently, but it helps me to look at it from a better, more reasonable platform.

Luckily, we inhabit these incredible machines (please don’t get sick of me calling it that), that perfectly and dutifully respond to our actions*, whether we actually want these responses or not. For example, when strength training, your body will respond by getting stronger; by not training, your body will get weaker; when sitting down on the computer for long periods of time, your body will respond by getting tighter in the hip flexors and pecs, and weakened and lengthened in the upper back (basically you morph into the seated slouched position that you adopt so much); when over-eating or eating high-calorie foods for extended periods of time, your body is going to store fat and is going to feel like crap because you’ve been feeding it crap.

It makes total sense when you put it that way! For every action, there is a reaction.

 I often imagine bodies having their own personas and saying to themselves “ahhhhhh ok, they want me to get faster at running because it’s the 2nd week we’ve been running consistently” or “welp, I guess they want me to shut down my squatting mobility because we haven’t done it in years”. OR, the worst “huh [thinking hard emoji], I think they want me to store extra fat and start to put on weight”.


And every day, every SINGLE day, we have the chance (multiple chances at that) to put in some good stuff by making better decisions and practicing healthier actions for our bodies to respond to – eat nutritious food, rest and destress, exercise, get some sun and some fresh air etc etc etc. So you screw up and get weak, or put on a few kilograms. HECK, even if you become obese, understand that this does not have to be your situation forrrrreeevvvveeeerrrr (any Sandlot Kids fans out there?) It took your body time to adjust into [insert unfavourable situation], and it’ll take time for it to adjust into [insert new awesome situation that was demonstrated by your new awesome actions]. But the point is, it can be adjusted.


BECAUSE WE ARE IN CONTROL! We can own the state of our bodies! I genuinely, honestly, whole-heartedly think that that is the COOLEST THING EVER! And a reason why I can’t (and won’t) be mad at my body for responding in the way that it has over the past 2 weeks (as petty as it may seem). I am the captain of my ship, and long gone are the days when I will sit and loathe my body (what a terrible stage to go through!) I am responsible for its reaction, so I have no one to blame but myself. It was in my power to say “NO” to the extra dumplings at brunch, the garlic knots ( much as anyone realllllly has the power to say “no” to garlic knots), and the A. L. C. O. H. O. L, but I chose to stuff it all into my face, and voila...UNITVILLE. Again. It is always a great journey there (I travel there every once in a while), but I’ll get back on the rails now and get on out of there because I can and because I want to. It’s not that I think I’m fat, or that getting “unit” comments is bad (or maybe they said G-UNIT, and in that case I’m cool with that and I should probably apologise for the terrible misunderstanding and oversized rant), but I feel like crap and that’s what matters  the most.


If I could speak very honestly, my relationship with my body (its form, function, performance) is one of the most impactful relationships that I experience. Although not so dramatically anymore (we are now, finally, on really good terms), it has been the cause of much emotional anguish, and so I do understand how terribly difficult it can be to find peace with it. If any of the above resonates with you – in a “haha your butt and my butt should have a conversation” way, or a “seriously, I hate my body so much I can’t even look at it in the mirror” way – please feel free to get in touch if you need a chat (if not me, find a health and fitness professional that you trust). I truly believe that the most important thing you can do is to prioritise your health, and a huge part of that is to tune in to your body, acknowledge its importance, and figure out how you can best look after it. Everyone deserves to experience how awesome it feels when their body has been taken care of – it’s why we opened a gym and is why our door is always open!

I promise you, it will change and improve your life.

Go and be awesome, 


 *Obviously, there are some machines that are wired differently and may not respond as we would hope or expect – injury, disease, ageing, genetic differences etc. Another reason to appreciate your good health and your ability to move. There are no two bodies that are wired the same, and I am speaking in general terms.