USA road trip: Day 5/6!

What an amazing few days we have had in and around Lake Tahoe. Our stay started in Carson City, where we used Air B&B for the first time. We were pleasantly surprised with our accommodation and made full use of the kitchen to cook some healthy food!

We got up early and headed out to Sand Harbor, where we were hoping to bump in to a few bears. To my disappointment we didn’t, but there’s still time…

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The highlight of our time here has been paddle boarding, the weather has been perfect and the scenery is just spectacular.

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After spending the day relaxing in the sun, we headed to CrossFit South Tahoe. Lake Tahoe sits at an altitude of 6,200ft / 1,900m, which meant that we both found the WOD tough. Our muscles felt slow and heavy on the run and our shoulders seemed to burn out faster than usual on the HSPU. Coach Tom was there to encourage us along the way. He reassured us that most of his foreign visitors struggle with the altitude, so we don’t feel too down hearted!

Today’s WOD –

3 Rounds For Time:

400m run

15 x HSPU’s

2 x rope climbs

Emma 15mins, Sam 16mins

2 Rounds of:

Strict military press @ 43/30kg

Emma 12/10 reps, Sam 8/7 reps


Crossfit South Tahoe has an awesome set up, with a great outdoor space and even a bouldering wall inside! We enjoyed our workout and are contemplating a quick beach weights session in the morning.

Massive thanks to Coach Tom at South Tahoe for having us!


USA road trip: Day 4!

We left San Francisco early doors and headed north east towards Lake Tahoe in the state of Nevada. Our first point of call was to satisfy Emma’s craving for American pancakes and so we stopped at the first available IHOP (international house of pancakes)


feeling very fat and rather sick we hit the road again and rather than taking the freeway we took the more scenic route and cut through the Yosemite National Park. What an amazing drive and outstanding views!

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This is definitely our kind of place and neither of us can wait to get out and start exploring this landscape!


USA road trip: Day 3!

What a great day and end to our San Francisco visit. We got up early and headed out to the Golden Gate Park, a hidden gem in such a busy, robust city. We walked about 5km, enjoying the lakes and peaceful atmosphere.

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From here we headed out of town, across the Golden Gate Bridge and off the beaten track to a small place called Muir Wood. We managed to come across Muir Beach and discovered a path that lead way out into the hills and across the cliff tops. Naturally we followed it…

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…another 5km later we discovered an amazing cove, quite cheeky to get to but well worth the climb down. We sat here, ate our lunch and watched the tide slowly creep in beneath our feet.


Feeling refueled and energised we headed back to the car to make our way back to the city and to the evening CrossFit class at CrossFit Alenia. Today’s workout consisted of…

Back squat 4×6 @80%

For time, 30,20,10

KB front squat (alternate. R/L arm) 24/16kg

Russian KB swings 24/16kg


I really felt this today with a poor time of 12:04, Emma on the other hand smashed it with a time of 08:02.

For anyone looking to visit San Francisco we highly recommend this CrossFit box. A friendly, welcoming atmosphere with quality coaching to go with it! A massive thanks to coach Savage for putting us through our paces!





USA road trip: Day 2!

Dropped in to CrossFit Alinea today.


and after much distraction from their WOD dog Zelda…


We started off with some powerlifting training, heavy bench with 5,3,2,1 rep scheme and then finished off with the CrossFit benchmark WOD “Lynne”

5 rounds for reps:

Body weight bench press max effort
Strict pull ups max effort.

Emma (RX) Bench @ 70kg: 5, 4, 4, 4, 5
Pull ups: 8, 6, 6, 6, 5

Sam (RX) : Bench @ 75kg: 12, 8, 8, 7, 6
Pull ups: 14, 11, 10, 10, 8

Give it a go and tell us your scores!

After some lunch we hired bikes and headed for the infamous Golden Gate Bridge, seeing some spectacular views of the bay and city and before we knew it we had biked 10 miles!


While on our way back we came across an outdoor gym and couldn’t resit trying it out. Something the UK misses out on massively! Although the weather out here certainly makes it easier for people to use.


Another great day in sunny San Francisco, with lots of phys and amazing weather we shall be sorry to be moving on.


We made it: Day 1!

After a very long journey – over 24 hours of travelling, we finally made it to San Francisco! In the early hours of the morning, local time, Sam cautiously drove the American highways to our hotel. We had a short power nap and got up and about to orientate ourselves and plan the next few days.

We really felt like we needed some rest but a decent leg stretch after no exercise for 2 days and eating some pretty naughty processed food on the flights. We came across an absolute gem in the form of a whole foods store….

We stocked up on some Paleo friendly goodies and headed out for a walk. Check out this street…. Hill sprints anyone??

Today we shall be clocking up the miles on foot and eating at one of the awesome Seafood Restaurants at Fishermans Wharf. Hopefully tomorrow we will be feeling refreshed and nourished ready to really start our adventures!


Oly Clothing Affiliate!

We are very excited to announce that Oly Clothing have taken us on as affiliate athletes! Today, Emma and I received a package of awesome lifting and casual wear t-shirts in an array of colours! Check them out – we are very happy with the quality and style.


*If you like what you see, we have an exclusive discount code for Royal’s Gym followers : OLYROYAL10*

We eagerly hit the gym to put the new gear to the test. Today’s WOD was one of Emma’s infamous creations.. and boy did we get a good sweat on!



For Time…

50,40,30,20,10 Air Squats

5,4,3,2,1 Clean and Jerks @ 50/70 kg


3 Rounds For Time…

12 Ab Mat sit ups

10 KB Hang Clean and Jerk @ 16/24 kg

9 Dips

8 Bench Press @ 35/45 kg

7 Hand Release Press Ups


WOD 1 – Emma 06:41, Sam 06:47

WOD 2 – Sam 11:08, Emma 11:33



Four Nations Powerlifting Championships

Wow, what a weekend! Sam and I travelled to Cardiff, Wales to compete in the Four Nations Powerlifting Championships for Team Scotland.

I am so grateful to the Scottish team for selecting me and giving me the opportunity to compete at a high level competition. It was a real privilege to compete alongside the best Powerlifters in Great Britain. I have learnt so much in just one weekend. Both female and male athletes on the Scottish team were supportive and encouraging. Just what I needed to soothe those nerves, I felt like such a rookie standing beside World, European and British record holders!

What were the scores on the doors..? Well! Irish team (by default) placed last. Scotland 3rd, Wales 2nd and England 1st by 0.4 of a point. Competition was extremely close! The standard of lifting was truly inspirational.

Now I have had time to reflect on my performance, I can say that I am very happy. Despite an early error of mine in the squat, overall I felt I performed to my best.

My lifts were as follows:

Squat: 1. 105kg 2. 115kg NO LIFT 3. 115kg

Bench: 1. 75kg 2. 82.5kg NO LIFT 3. 82.5kg

Deadlift: 1. 140kg 2. 150kg 3. 155kg

My first squat attempt went smoothly – I made the decision to open with a weight I know I can rep comfortably for 3.

Sadly, my second attempt did not go to plan. I let my nerves cloud my focus and I re-racked the weight (after a successful squat) before the judges command which meant I failed the lift. This made me feel uneasy. I was tempted to go for a 120kg final lift but felt this was too risky, and I had to think of the team first! So I finished with a 115kg. I know I have more in the tank there…

My first bench press felt very easy. I felt that I got my body into a great position. My shoulders were tucked under, my arch felt strong and my feet were sitting flat and comfortable. So, for my second lift I decided to go a lot heavier than first planned. Sadly, another NO LIFT. The judge informed me that my right arm dropped slightly meaning my left arm locked out first. For my final attempt (with the team in mind) I stuck at 82.5kg and I was successful. I didn’t feel too disappointed as this had been my planned 3rd lift despite the no lift. I tried very hard to get my head back in the game and remain confident.

In the warm up area prior to my deadlift, I suddenly became very fatigued. I had snacked little and often throughout the day. I felt I had maintained my sugar levels and had given my body enough carbohydrates to perform. Perhaps I had eaten a little too much or perhaps the intensity of the day was starting to take its toll. Either way, I was looking incredibly tired in the warm up meaning Sam and I decided to drop my opening lift from 145kg to 140kg.

Amazingly (perhaps due to adrenaline), the 140kg flew up! We decided to take a risk and make my second lift 150kg. Again, it felt comfortable! I got a great confidence boost. My head was in the game now, my sickness and fatigue slowly disappeared and I felt that I could set a new Personal Record at 155kg – and that I did. Final lift successful.
This weekend has taught me a lot. It taught me how to erase the doubt in my mind after the no lifts. It taught me to keep pushing through the sickness and the fatigue. To switch off the negative niggling thoughts in my head and to focus. For the first time in competition, when I walked up to the platform I knew that I was going to lift that weight. Now I must work on tuning in to the judges commands! Practice makes perfect I guess.

Finally, I must say a huge thank you to Sam for being the best coach and supporter I could wish for. From making sure my water bottle was always filled, to helping me mobilise to being the mastermind behind my opening lifts – without him the weekend would have gone very differently! Thanks coach.


Fasted cardio.

With powerlifting being a weighed in sport its beneficial to be as light as possible, as long as it doesnt affect your lifting of course. But with the points being totalled in comparison to your body weight it can pay to be a little lighter on the day. One way of shedding a few pounds is through fasted cardio and this week Emma and I will be doing just that (for me more the summer shreds)

The body will always use simple carbohydrates as its primary energy source because these are already in a form that the body can use. Complex carbohydrates and fat need to be broken down into a simple carbohydrates in order for them to be used as energy. Fat is quite difficult for the body to break down, which is why it is important to keep the intensity low. If it is too high the body won’t be able to convert it into energy fast enough and this will lead to symptoms such as cramp.

For those who are unaware fasted cardio usually works best first thing in the morning before you have eaten, because the body has used all its energy (glycogen) during your sleep. Therefore the body has no alternative but to use fat as an energy source, if the cardio is kept at low intensity. For this I would recommend having your heart rate at around 120bpm working for approximately 20-30mins. An alternative to before breakfast is after a workout, because your body will have used most of its energy stores during your exercise, thus turning to the fat stores.

It’s a great way to burn fat and lose a few pounds either to make weight for a competition or to cut for summer!

If you would like to know a little more about carbohydrates and the effects they can have on your body watch this short video.


Sunday Bro Sesh!

Today we worked on some final strength exercises for our chest and triceps. Mainly for Emma’s benefit because she will now be resting in preparing for the 4 Nations powerlifting champs next weekend. Although it seems we have hit the chest quite hard this week I felt it was quite important for her to practice the bench press movement once more. With CrossFit being Emma’s main sport the bench press, as a compound movement isn’t something that she practices too often, in comparison to the squat and deadlift which often crop up in the WOD’s.

We began by changing our rep scheme to a heavy 5, 3, 2, 1. Working on techniques given earlier in the week by Chris Martin. For Emma this was to widen her grip, pinch her shoulder blades more and ensuring the feet are positioned correctly. The wider grip really seems to be working for her, which of course reduces the distance the bar has to travel.

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We then proceeded to do dumbbell press, mainly to isolate the individual arms as any weaknesses can very often be compensated by the stronger arm when using the barbell. Again a heavy 5×3 rep scheme, followed by some cable flys.

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Finally we worked the triceps, starting with over head tricep extensions. Emma found this quite difficult as she had never done the movement before so I put her back on the bench to do some close grip work. This was probably more beneficial as its more time on the bench getting used to that position and movement. Finally we finished the session with some heavy weighted dips working on a 5×5 rep scheme, myself at 28kg and Emma at 12kg. A great way to burn out the triceps but still working on our strength too.

I myself will continue to train this week and will relish the opportunity to get back in the weights gym as Emma rests up. Her only task to eat and sleep (easier said than done) and be ready to do the job on Saturday.


Competition prep continued…

This evening had Emma and I training squat and bench press with Royal Navy power-lifting champ, Chris Martin. Chris offered to give us some valuable technique on both disciplines which has really benefited Emma with only 10 days to go until the 4 nations championships, also giving her some added confidence before the big day.

Squatting for myself has always been such a challenge, what with having such long leavers, it really makes the whole process hard work. With Emma and I having completely different body types the way we set up for a squat is completely different. After widening my stance and pointing my feet out more I was able to squat much more comfortably and with some more practice I should be able to improve my 1RM.

The following link shows how femur length affects your squat and if like me yours are particularly long, you may find it useful and it may improve yours.

How Femur Length Affects Squat Mechanics