Tag Archives: fitness canary wharf

All about yokes!

The use of yokes as a training tool is often associated with Strongmen like Eddie Hall and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, it’s not too often the everyday fitness enthusiast gets to play “Strongman”, however we see these as invaluable training tools.

If you are unfamiliar with a yoke it is a large metal frame with a adjustable crossbar. Each of the four corners of the frame can be loaded with weight, often with several times your own bodyweight.

The most common way to use a yoke is to pick it up and carry it, however it can pushed and pulled and held too (depending on the make you have).

The great thing about using yokes is it allows you to move weights that would be impossible if loaded onto a barbell for a squat or deadlift. For example….

…Yes, that is a little excessive for us mere mortals, sure is impressive though!

Benefits of yoke carries (and pushes and pulls)

There are many full body weighted movements (squats, presses, deadlifts to name a few), however none of these compare to the head to toe muscle recruitment found when carrying a yoke. This is simply through the fact that you’re putting your body under a much heavier load than it is used to. Everything from your upper back, posterior chain, trunk/core, hips and legs will benefit from yoke training.

For lifters with minimal strongman and/or athletic movement background, strongman training like the use of yokes may help to increase neural drive, increase motor neuron recruitment, and develop a well-rounded strength and power athlete.

…basically it will make you more balanced, stronger and generally more awesome.

How to carry a yoke

Brace (stay ‘tight’): Now that you have that tension, it’s your main job to keep it. Do not underestimate the importance of this, both for safety and effectiveness.

Play around with yoke height: Having the cross bar set a little higher can be useful for that little extra ground clearance. However with the weight sitting little higher you may find the yoke swings more. Find what works for you.

Stance: This should be around shoulder to hip width

Take small, fast steps: This will help you with the previous two points. Large, slow (or stop, start) steps not only make hip/midline stabilisation harder but also introduced more momentum to the yoke causing it to pendulum back and forth.

Create a platform: Find a hand position on the yoke that allows you to create a shelf for the crossbar to sit on.

“Bend: the bar: Not literally, but create tension by trying to wrap the bar around your back and keep it there securely.

Focus on a spot: Keep your eyes ahead (not down to the floor or skywards) and focus on your target.

You don’t have to be a Strongman to use a yoke, but if you want to get strong it’s one of the best tools to have in your toolbox!

Take it for a ride in today’s workout!

Workout of the day for 27th March – Strength & Gymnastics!

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Bench / Shoulder press superset
5 Rounds of:
8 Bench press
10 Seated dumbbell strict press
8 Deficit push-ups

B) Gymnastics stability work
3-5 rounds of:
20 seconds ring support + 20 seconds dip support
1 Wall Walk with a 15 second hold + 5/5 Shoulder taps
20 seconds chin over the bar hold

Workout of the Day – MetCon Class

For time:
800m Run
75 Double unders
30 Sandbag ground to overhead
75 Double unders
800m Run

Workout of the day for Tues 20th March – Bench press and Sprint sets!

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) 5 Rounds of:
6-8 Bench press
60 seconds rest
6-8 Bent over barbell row
60 seconds rest

B) 12 Sprint sets:
8 Shoulder to Overhead 50/35kg
6 Chest to bar pull-up
4 Burpees over the bar
30 seconds rest

Workout of the Day – MetCon

A) 4 Rounds:
20/15 Calorie airdyne
10/7 Strict HSPU

– 5 minute rest –

B) 4 Rounds:
20/15 Calorie airdyne
8 Muscle-ups

– 5 minute rest –

C) For time: 50/40 Calorie airdyne

Workout of the day for Thurs 15th March

Is it really active recovery if the airdyne is involved?!….

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

Recovery Day

A) Every minute for 20 minutes alternate between:
Minute 1: 40 second row
Minute 2: Skill work of choice
Minute 3: 40 second airdyne / double unders
Minute 4: Skill work of choice

B) Skill work

C) Mobility Work

MetCon Class

A) Row

5 x 1k
*1:1 work to rest ratio

Breakfast frittata recipe & Workout of the day for Weds 14th March

Breakfast Frittata

Those of you who follow Coach Milo on Instagram may have seen his various breakfast frittata’s, usually they are dripping with cheese. This is not quite a Milo special, but feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.

These breakfast frittata’s are great for those of you who need a quick morning feed. Just make this on a Sunday evening and it will last anywhere from 3-6 days (depending on how big you like you portions)

Ingredients for 4-8 servings
1 Bundle asparagus, diced
200-250g button mushrooms, sliced
1 Red bell pepper, diced
1 Yellow bell pepper, diced
Coconut oil spray
1/2 pound bacon
18 eggs, whisked
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*From PaleOMG


– Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease a large baking dish.
– Place chopped vegetables on a baking sheet, lightly spray with coconut oil, then place bacon on top of vegetables, covering as many vegetables as possible.
– Place in oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, until bacon is slightly crispy.
– Turn oven down to 170 degrees C.
– Remove bacon from baking sheet and chop into pieces. Place bacon and vegetables in the greased dish.
– In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper until completely combined.
– Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and bacon and mix to combined.
– Place in oven to bake for 35-40 minutes, until the middle is cooked through and no longer jiggly.

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

Peform @ 70 – 80% effort

For time:
1km Row
10 Muscle-ups
30 Kettlebell swings 32/24kg
50 Box jumps 24/20
30 Kettlebell swings 32/24kg
10 Muscle-ups
1km Row

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting

A) Cleans: 4 x 2 @ 82.5%

B) Front squats: 4 x 2 @ 85%

C) Push Press: 3 x 3@ 80-85%

D) RDL’s: 3 x 8

Eating for performance vs eating for fat loss & Workout for Mon 12th March

Often when I ask a client about their goals they usually revolve around performing better and losing weight.

Pretty much the same for the majority of us, right?

So what’s the issue here then? Surely these seem like logical goals?

They are, and there’s nothing wrong with them.

In performance sports it often pays off to be a little bit lighter: CrossFit and gymnastic efforts; weightlifting/powerlifting classes etc.

The issue lies in the approach required to achieve these goals.

You see, in order to lose weight we need to be in some form of a caloric deficit (taking in less energy than we burn). Whereas to increase performance we need to be in a caloric balance at least (if not a small surplus).

So then how do we achieve these goals simultaneously?

It can be tricky to do, and partly comes down to how long you have been training for.

Oftentimes it is best to focus on one or the other, and this is where nutritional periodisation comes in.

Prioritise weight loss in the ‘off-season’, where performance gains aren’t necessary. Then, when the target weight is achieved, a recovery/reverse diet can ensue.

This allows the weight loss to be maintained while picking the metabolism back up and improving strength/performance.

First let’s take a look at eating for fat/weight loss.

Nutrition for fat loss

If you’re a beginner (0-1.5/2 years training), then you’re much more likely to be able to put on muscle while in a caloric deficit, as long as you eat adequate protein to spare and build muscle tissue.

However, if you’re beyond the 2 year training mark, you’ll find it hard to build muscle while in a deficit. Again though, you can spare muscle tissue being lost as long as you eat enough protein (1-1.2g per lb of BW is the most agreed amount).

However, if this is your first time tracking your intake and paying attention to your nutrition, you may find that by regulating your intake you get a slight performance increase whilst being in the deficit.

No matter your level of training, you want to ensure that your deficit is as small as possible while still allowing fat loss.

This prevents loss of muscle tissue, increases dietary adherence, and lowers the risk of a rebound when you’re done losing weight. This also ensures that you can still eat a decent amount of carbohydrates to fuel your efforts in the gym.

For performance athletes focused on losing weight, the best macronutrient to lower is fat as long as you don’t go below the minimum amounts (around 10-15% of total calorie intake).

This allows plenty of carbohydrates in the diet to fuel the performance efforts, and also provides a large enough deficit (as fat is so calorific at 9kcals per gram).

As you lose weight, your body will begin to adapt to your intake. This is known as metabolic adaptation.

This means if your rate of weight loss slows, you’ll need to make adjustments to keep losing fat.

I would recommend a weight loss target of 1-1.5lbs per week, so that you’re still getting plenty of food for performance and muscle mass retention.

It is often quoted that 3,500kcals = 1 pound of weight. Although it isn’t as black and white as this, this is a good starting point.

So for a weight loss of 1lb per week you can aim for a 500kcal daily deficit.

No matter your weight loss goal, I would recommend a deficit for around 2-3 months before coming back to maintenance and having a break.

This not only will allow you to progress further, it also limits metabolic adaptation and keeps you sane!

So when you’ve reached your target, then the time comes to restore your metabolism, keep the weight off, and start fuelling your performance gains.

Nutrition for Performance

As mentioned earlier, performance increases requires caloric maintenance or even a slight surplus.

The body requires a certain amount of food in order to perform at it’s best, so you better fuel appropriately if you want optimal performance.

If you’re coming out of a weight loss diet, then bringing your calories up slowly is the key to avoiding weight rebound.

Start by adding in 200-250kcals per day each week and monitor your weight and how your body feels so that you don’t overdo it.

If you’re not trying to lose weight, and are focused solely on performance, then it’s worth tracking where you are now and how your body feels.

A lot of the time if we’ve chronically under eaten then our bodies will have simply adapted to this and gotten used to it.

If you feel tired all the time, sluggish in workouts, and have zero mojo, then you’re probably under eating.

This is common for a lot of performance athletes focusing on the highest quality foods and often avoiding a lot of carbohydrates.

My advice here would be to obviously eat more food, and especially carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates are the optimal fuel source for intense training and glycolytic activity. It is also the preferred fuel source of the brain so can help in adequate CNS recovery and function.

In Conclusion

If you’re a beginner trainee, you’ll often see some performance improvements while in a calorie deficit.

However, it is still best to try to lose fat when your performance needs are lowest (so far away from competitions/qualifiers).

You can then reach your target weight while being happy with muscle mass maintenance, and then slowly ramp things back up as your performance needs increase.

For those of us in performance sports, decreases in intake should be mostly from fats (though obviously personal preferences will affect dietary adherence), and increases should then come from dietary carbohydrates.

Stay tuned to how your body responds to your approach. Stay clued in to your energy, sleep, hunger, and performance and make decisions based on evidence, not what you hear may work.

If you’re reading the above and think your approach needs work, then get in touch.

If you are interested in finding out more about nutrition coaching with Jonny Landels, check out this info.

Workout of the Day – CrossFIt

A) Back Squat 1-1-1

B) In a 3 minute widow complete:
10 Thrusters 40/30kg
30 Double unders
10 Thrusters
30 Double unders

In the next 3 minute window complete:
12 Thrusters
30 Double unders
12 Thrusters
30 Double unders

In the next 3 minute window complete:
14 Thrusters
30 Double unders
14 Thrusters
30 Double unders

*Start a new round every 3 minutes, adding 2 reps to the thrusters each time.
*Repeat until you cannot complete the work in the 3 minute window.

Workout of the day for Thurs 8th March – We know what 18.3 is!

This was posted by Dave Castro as his hint for 18.3. Being as smart as we are we think we have cracked it.

Two daisies that look exactly the same, a repeat workout perhaps? With gymnastics being relatively limited in the first two workouts, it’s about time we saw some more high skill movements.

Our guess…18.3 is going to be 15.3.

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:
7 Muscle-ups
50 Wall ball 9/6kg
100 Double unders

What are you thoughts?

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

As with all Thursday’s during the Open today is a easy recovery ready so you can go into tomorrow feeling fresh and ready to crush Open 18.3

A) Recovery
Alternating EMOM for 20 minutes:
Minute 1: Row 45 seconds
Minute 2: Aidyne 10/8 Calories
Minute 3: Run 200m
Minute 4: Skill movement of choice

B) Skill work and mobility drills

Workout of the Day – MetCon

A) Choose to Airdyne or Row
40-30-20-10-20-30-40 Calories, as fast as possible
*60 seconds rest between each

B) 5x Max distance handstand walk, rest as needed

Workout of the day for Weds 7th March – Peanut Butter Smoothies & Bench Press!

Coach Alice made some killer smoothies at last weeks 18.2 Open workout. If you want to make your own we have three recipes you can try out.

Just grab the ingredients and wack it in a blender!

Recipe 1 – Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Ingredients for 1-2 smoothies:
1 large banana (sliced and frozen is great!)
3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
170g Greek Yogurt (flavored or unflavored)
¾ cup skim milk (or your favorite kind of milk or milk substitute)
1 tbsp honey, maple syrup, or agave
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Recipe 2 – Peach & Peanut Butter

Ingredients for 2-3 smoothies:
4 ripe bananas (small, frozen, chopped)
1 cup peaches (chopped, frozen)
2–3 ice cubes (chopped)
¼ cup + 2 tbsp peanut butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 dash cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg

Recipe 3 – Ultimate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients for 1 smoothies:
½ cup almond milk or other milk alternative (unsweetened)
1 scoop of protein powder (chocolate or vanilla flavored)
2 tbsp of peanut butter
1 handful of fresh baby spinach
1 medium sized ripened banana
¼ cup water
½ cup ice cubes

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) In 15 minutes complete 50 reps of bench press
*You choose the load

B) 8 Rounds of:
200m Run
8 Dumbbell hang power cleans (Unbroken!)
8 Toes to bar
30 seconds rest

Workout of the Day -Weightlifting Club

A) Snatch + Hang snatch: 8 x 1+1 @ 75-80%

B) Snatch deadlift: 4 x 2 @ 110-120% of snatch

C) Back squat: 5 x 2 @ 80-85%

D) Dumbbell strict press: 3 x 6 @ RPE of 8

Workout of the day for Tues 6th March – Gymnastics Skill Work & Conditioning

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Every minute for 8 minutes:
2-5 x Muscle-ups + 2 Ring dips, based on ability

B) 12 AMRAP @ 100% effort
15 Thrusters 42.2/30kg
15 Calorie row
12 Thrusters 42.2/30kg
12 Calorie row
9 Thrusters 42.2/30kg
9 Calorie row

Workout of the Day – MetCon Class

A) For time:
100 Air squats
100 Pull ups
200 Push ups
300 Sit ups
100 Air squats

Workout of the day for Weds 28th Feb – Heavy deadlifts!

Workout of the Day – CrossFit

A) Deadlfit – Build to a heavy single for the day

B) For time:
800m run/1 km Row
75 Double unders
30 Kettlebell swings 32/24kg
75 Double unders
800m run / 1 Km Row

Workout of the Day – Weightlifting Club

A) Power clean: 6 x 2 80-85%

B) Front squats: 4 x 4 @ 75-80%

C) Seated one arm dumbbell press: 4 x 6/6 @ by feel

D) Pull ups (weighted if needed): 3 x 5 reps