Posts Tagged ‘core exercises’

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Edel’s Journey to GREATNESS at Peak fitness and Performance Centre Longford.

With Edel’s transformation at PFP going viral she has been inundated with messages of support from members and also messages from people outside of PFP looking for advice on what she eats to get lean along with what training she was doing to get the body she wanted.


Edel has kindly wrote for a mini blog for everyone at PFP

Any fitness or nutrition Questions for Edel or coaches then please leave them below in comments section.

Take it away Edel…….

I was stuck in a rut and had been needing to start something to get into shape for weeks. I needed to get back into a good space both mentally and physically. I’d tried many shortcuts to get results before and to be honest wanted a quick fix but they always put me back to square one, if not worse than when I started. I tried the usual classes around the area but started seeing PFP on Facebook and it kept getting my attention by the loud, no nonsense approach to getting in shape.

Like starting anything new in a strange environment its very hard for us ladies especially to join something new but I knew I had to take the plunge. Several negative thoughts went through my head like..

  1. I wouldn’t know anyone there
  2. Would I be fit enough to do these training sessions at PFP?
  3. I didn’t want to go alone

So my brain was giving me all these negative feelings and telling me not go and make a change for the good but I fought the brain and got in contact with James on the PFP Facebook page who urged me to come and try it out.

I never made it in that day and he contacted me a day later again to make sure I came in or he would drag me in kicking and screaming (win Free membership here)

When I walked into PFP I was greeted by the coach and several other members who where all really nice and supportive before the session even started which put me at ease right away. I was looking at them thinking ‘God I’m so unfit I’m going to die here’ but they all started the same as me and went through what I did which was encouraging to hear.

I was dreading it and very conscious that I would be way behind everyone in the class, but the coaches simplified the exercises for me which was very personal and supportive!!!

No one judged me, everyone was so supportive and really encouraged me. Class was tough but I got through it.

I remember leaving the first class and getting into the car thinking ‘God I should have came here sooner’ and it wasn’t anything like I expected it to be and I’m definitely coming back.

One major thing that stood out for me was the buzz and friendliness about the gym and the way other members interacted with each other and motivated each other.

I started off first going to 2 classes a week and that started to build up gradually to 3/4 classes per week and now I’m going to 6 classes a week (provided my body is able and I get adequate recovery between sessions)

As for my asthma I haven’t touched an inhaler in weeks!! ‪#‎winning

So I’m going to PFP for a about 5/6 weeks and had the gym buzz going and then coach James took me in for a chat about my eating habits/nutrition and to have a look at my diet to see where improvements could be made.

His main message to me was to make small changes each week for a number of weeks and after 12 weeks I will have made a radical change to my whole lifestyle in-terms of training, eating habits and lifestyle choices.

He showed me how to live the 80/20% rule which suited me perfectly as I like to go out at the weekends with friends and family for nice food and have a few beers so that was my 20% there. (win Free membership here)

My diet has been completely transformed from what it was over a year ago and a big lesson I can give is to not worry about the small things and think about the bigger picture and how you want to get there.

–1 bad meal doesn’t make you fat as 1 good meal doesn’t make you lean—

I know for a fact if I had of woke up and decided that I’m going to completely change my diet, lifestyle and start a fitness journey all the same day I would fail and probably still be trying to find quick fixes.

Hard work and consistency is key to all this and knowing and trusting the process you are on to get you there.


So my typical training day nutrition would look like this, it changes daily with different meals and intakes of carbs, protein and fats.

-5:50am Pre Workout Banana & Kinetica Pre fuel


-8:00am Post workout – Kinetica Strawberry sundae protein shake

-8:45am 3 eggs scrambled, 2 turkey rashers, Spinach & tomatoes all cooked on coconut oil.

Drink 2/3 cups of hot water with lemon (breakfast is always prepared night before as don’t have time for cooking in mornings)

-Morning Break: 3 heaped table spoons of fage Greek Yoghurt, mix into this is 3 crushed oat cakes and chopped fruit and nuts

-Lunch: 3 egg muffins (mixed veg and bacon)) 2 crackers with cottage cheese all on a bed of spinach, onions and tomatoes

-Snack: 2x slices Homemade chocolate protein oat bread & grapes/blueberries

-Dinner: Peri Peri Baked salmon with roast veg and rice

-Snack: peanut butter & oat cakes

Supplementation list

^fish oils

^protein powder

^Vitamin D3

^pre workout

All food is cooked with coconut oil! Limiting myself to 1 cup of coffee per day and instead I’m drinking hot water with lemon/herbal teas.

Tried the koyu Matcha green tea and love it and I’m always drinking water throughout the day.

(This is just a typical day and like I said it changes to day to day but I will always have it planned ahead and know where my next meal comes from)

I’ve attached some pictures of the foods I eat for people looking for new ideas.

So many people have been emailing, texting and calling me about the results I have achieved which is great and inspiring and I hope you can take something from this mini blog I decide to write.

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Id like to thank everyone at PFP and the support of all the coaches too. Keep up the good work everyone.

Enjoy the journey and love every minute of it.

Edel x

Ps you can follow Edel on Instagram where she is forever posting pics of food and the odd selfie

Contact us on 0861677045 for more details about joining. 

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Getting to the “Core”

Core training has been a “buzz word” for some time- pilates was massive in the 90’s and early noughties , classes have sprung up in various gyms dedicated completely to “core” workouts, yet, there is still so much misunderstanding in the industry and among the general public.

Given the calibre of coaches that view this page, no doubt I am preaching to the choir. Several of you may well be more knowledgeable than me in the field strength and conditioning. However, we all bring our own unique experience to the table, and this rant is from my experience of what information is lacking in many coaches (and athletes), still, to this day.

As instructors and/or athletes, it is vital that we have a clear understanding of what core training is, in sport preparation, or just exercising for health. To many coaches, cranking out a few hundred reps of crunches or sit-ups is core training. And that’s it! However, if we are to truly prevent injury and elicit peak performance from ourselves, our athletes or students, then we must adopt a more scientific approach. So what is core training? Well, I believe everything we do in the gym, park, etc… can be core training. If we go back a few hundred years, there were no such things as specific core exercises, crunch machines, etc… The work that was done every day provided all the spine stability and trunk power necessary. Unfortunately, as we have progressed as a society, we have taken so much essential stuff out of our lives that we have needed to put replacements in, e.g. processed foods necessitate vitamin supplements. Let’s examine what we refer to by “The Core”:

Generally speaking, when we refer to the “core” we are referring to the group of muscles between the hips and shoulders, responsible for stabilising the spine and transmitting force from one end of the body to the other. The concept of stability is a key one, as is evidenced by the high incidence of back pain amongst the human population. The core muscles can be grouped according to function – tonic or phasic (also known as local or global).

Tonic muscles are involved in posture. They “brace” the body, i.e. stabilise the spine, and redistribute force that otherwise could be damaging, (that is, when they work properly.) The importance of this function cannot be underestimated. Consider shooting a cannon from dry land versus shooting one from a boat. The kick from the cannon on land is controlled much better as the force is absorbed by solid ground, as opposed to shooting one from a moving, less stable boat.

Phasic muscles are involved in the transmission of force from the upper body to the lower, and vice versa. The function is analogous to the transmission of a car. If the transmission is faulty, then even though there is power from the engine, the wheels may not be turning. These muscles are also involved in conducting the various movements possible by the hips, trunk and shoulders.

Any sport that requires power output is dependent on the athlete having enough core stability to transmit the force from the legs to the upper body. Take a boxer for example: the final power in a punch is largely dependent on how much force can be transmitted from the feet upward. If the boxer has a sloppy “core” then much of the potential power in the punch is lost.

Gray Cook (Functional Movement Systems) refers to the “soft core” and the “hard core” when discussing the tonic and phasic muscles. He explains that the “soft core” is only switched on to about 20% intensity, but is subconscious and stabilises the spine before the conscious thought of movement even occurs.

Let’s examine the layout:


The core can be considered a box or cylindrical area that is surrounded on all sides by the core muscles. In the front we have the rectus abdominus, transversus abdominus. At the back we have the erector spinae and multifidi. The internal and external obliques are at the sides. The diaphragm is above, and the pelvic floor at the base.

“Core training improves performance because “everything in your body is connected to everything else.” Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link – unfortunately, for many people, it happens to be certain core muscles. Proper core stability allows an athlete to accelerate, decelerate, change directions and quickly adjust to spontaneous loading changes. One thing is certain – core stability is essential regardless of your goals. Injury risk is decreased as a result of the stability created around the lumbar spine during extreme effort, as well as the resultant redistribution of stresses on the body.

Common Misconceptions

Just doing Crunches/Sit-ups at end of workout:

For many an athlete, core training is limited to some abdominal work at the end of the workout. This is at best holding oneself back and at worst creating an injury-risk situation. As coaches, we must constantly ask ourselves where our clients are coming from…. the car?… from work where he/she spent eight hours hunched over a computer…… school? We spend much of our lives in flexion, therefore more spinal flexion may not exactly be what is needed, but extension is often essential. or a balanced core training regime, it is necessary to ensure that the entire area is developed in a functional capacity. Also, just doing crunches or sit-ups serves to isolate the rectus abdominus. As the core muscles rarely work in isolation, it seems inadvisable to train muscles is isolation alone. Similarly it is not prudent to train e.g. two different muscles in isolation and then expect them to work together in a “real-world” situation.

“No joint or body part works in isolation. There is a constant cause effect relationship in movement between force production and force reduction. The kinetic chain is characterised by deceleration at one joint and acceleration at the next joint in the chain. Therefore it is important to train movements not muscles.” Gambetta & Gray

Abdominal hollowing:

Abdominal hollowing or drawing the navel towards the spine may not be very useful in performing extremely intense, exertive sporting movements. If you watch Olympic weightlifters – before a big lift they don’t draw in the navel and hollow the abdominal cavity. Instead they “brace.” Consider again the diagram of the core. When taking a deep breath the diaphragm moves downward. This increases pressure in the intra-abdominal cavity, as the downward pressure is resisted by the pelvic floor musculature. As the abdomen is tensed or “braced”, the pressure is pushed back into the spine providing a great amount of support for the spine.


Training in only one plane

Many core exercises, e.g. crunches, glute bridges, reverse crunches work only in the sagittal plane (forward/backward). However we live, perform, compete in a three dimensional world. Therefore, our training if is to be optimal, must also demonstrate three-dimensional properties. The other two planes are frontal (coronal) and transverse.


Core training should encompass exercises that involve truck flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation.

Balancing The Load.

One of the best ways to improve core stability is to introduce “offset loading” into a programme. This involves carrying a greater load in one arm than the other. For example, an athlete doing lunges while carrying 10Kg in one hand and 4kg in the other is demonstrating an offset of 6Kg. To avoid losing lateral balance, the obliques and QL’s experience greater activation to keep the trunk upright. Try doing a dumbbell bench press with only one dumbbell at a time, to see the core activation you experience to avoid rolling off the bench.

Thanks for the guest blog from Shane Fitzgibbon.

Check out Shanes’ website, he also has a great training book which we use a lot here. profile pic