As many of you will know, the Cardiff Valkyries have been giving their all in the last few months. For many, they have learned a whole new sport from scratch. Some have even experienced coaching the team, communicating and directing new members and old. Regardless of the level of experience, however, there is always room for development in both skill and strength.
A Tale of Might and Muscle: The Fury of Fitranx and Dean the Destroyer.
Though the style of training may vary relative to one’s positioning in a team, there are generally two key components to body development; strength and conditioning. Squats, dead-lifts, sprints, burpees…the list of what falls into these two facets are endless!! However, for those who are new to any sport, learning to overcome your body’s comfort zone can be a daunting experience. A question that will come to many is “Where do I start?”, and this in itself leads to other questions along the way;
What if I’m using the equipment wrong?
Did that set even look good?
What are my goals from here?
Where can I find a training partner?
Could I have gone heavier, or faster?
Even with my few years of experience in the gym, the anxieties and worries around my body’s capabilities – especially whether I’m doing anything useful for my goals – still arise. It doesn’t help that I’ve gone from one extreme to the other either, from wanting to be a fighter at 60kg to wanting to be a power lifter at 84kg, to wanting to not compete at all and be happy somewhere in between. I’ve felt a bit useless, and very low in confidence.
As discussed in my first post (“Whose Health Is It Anyway?”), now I’ve found American Football I can incorporate the range of the interests and skills learned, mixing the thrill of contact and quick decisions with the heavy lifting. But what does this mean for my anxieties? Have they gone? No. Have they improved somewhat? Well, actually, yes they have. This is in part from the encouragement from the team and the coach, but for me this was also a result from a recently new class – Fitranx at Dave’s Gym (read more about Fitranx here >>/ )
Overall, Fitranx really highlights your weaknesses. The class combines a lot of body weight exercises as well as free weights, resistance, cardio, and it’s really the ideal class for me. I am strong, but I can get stronger. I have relatively ‘okay’ cardio, but that’s not enough to satisfy my goals. So in Fitranx I am being taught how to improve all of these components, minus the stress and anxiety of training alone and wondering forever if anything I’m actually doing has a point. You have an instructor there, you have others in the class doing the same exercise as you, and there is a friendly atmosphere to reduce the scariness of ‘the gym’ for any newcomers.
Learning how to do a push-up properly, how to do a kettle bell swing without breaking your back, how to incorporate cardio and resistance raining sufficiently – these are all goals in themselves. And, of course, they are all goals which translate to playing American Football. It incorporates a range of strength AND conditioning, and I would say I can definitely see a difference in my body’s abilities. As my goal is to become a honeycomb of bone and muscle – though unfortunately still a honeycomb with anxieties – Fitranx is absolutely perfect for me. Even some of the other Valkyries have started to train in the classes, and yesterday both myself and Lois took part in our first Fitranx grading. WE PASSED! We are now Level 1 beasts in the making, so watch out…
HOWEVER, developing our fitness skills doesn’t just end there. Oh no. We have been lucky enough to have Dean – our new strength and conditioning coach! Dean will be putting us through hell once a week, complementing the techniques of American Football with the hell of strength and conditioning. I can’t say for certain whether I’m going to enjoy these sessions there and then. I’ll probably be crawling on the floor, crying and pleading for no more burpees. BUT, I will enjoy the results and the new skills.
Go check out his blog at/ !
Next point of Discussion; The Diamond Series Try Outs.
This particular series consists of 11-side contact games, and will be – for the majority of the girls – their first experience with a contact training session. Over 100 women across Britain are attending try outs in two different locations, which will then transfer into two teams who later play against each other in July. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet other players and learn new skills, and even if none are successful in call-backs it’s sure to be a fantastic day!
I think what really shows is how quickly we are developing our confidence and abilities, in both mind and body. Who would have thought that new members of a very grass-roots football club would be trying out for such as established series? and a contact one at that!
Things really are coming together. There are so many goals to reach on both an individual level and a group level. So, make sure to watch this space!
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