Having retired from professional muay thai fighting at the end of 2005, I found myself struggling to find motivation to train.  I had always had a goal to train for and I missed the challenge.  I felt lost and had a big empty hole in my life. 
I was working as a personal trainer at fitness first and discovered that one of other trainers was training for something called the Anaconda Adventure Race.  It involved a 2km swim, a 15km paddle, a 15km cross country run and a 25km mountain bike ride.  This to me sounded like an enormous challenge and something I was immediately attracted to.   I couldn’t swim, had never paddled, had only ever really road run and had never ridden off road.  BRING IT ON!!!
The training schedule was phenomenal.  It entailed two to three training sessions per day – often training up to 4 or 5 hours per day – 7 days per week. Anyone who had a day off was SOFT!   I had the belief that more is always better and the harder the better.  I was rescued by life savers off north Burleigh in my attempts to learn the ropes of ocean swimming.  I was rescued by an army helicopter learning the ropes of kayaking when I was washed out to sea after losing my paddle.  Race time came and I completed the race in a time of 6 hours and 55 minutes.    I had never attempted anything so hard and was virtually carried over the finish line by my trainer.  I couldn’t have been happier and celebrated on the finish line with a recovery can of coke.
So........the challenge was on.  I continued training harder and faster, determined to beat my time in the same race the following year.
 Several months before the race I had to undergo surgery on my right knee (for the second time) for a cartilage tear.  It was also during this time I tore my right bicep.  I was on crutches and couldn’t lift up my right arm.  Not that that was going to stop me.  I was out riding shortly after and suffered a bike crash and broke my right thumb.
 During this time, I saw a 60 minutes special on Mick Fanning.  He was shown during a training session with Jan Carton at Chek Australia.   I immediately wanted to be doing the training he was doing.  I booked a session with Jan and turned up at Chek Australia on crutches, my arm in plaster, and with my injured shoulder.  Jan began the assessment.   
I was a bit puzzled.   That was not what I was here for.  I just wanted a training program.  I wanted to be hitting the tornado ball on the wall – just as Mick did on the tv special. 
It was Jan’s job to get me ready for the race.  We had three months.  It took a big leap of faith on my behalf and plenty of the Jan magic.  I completed the race in 6 hours and 15 minutes - 40 minutes faster than the previous year.  I ran over the finish line instead of being carried and felt like I could have kept going. 
I had learnt to take a rest day from training.  I had learnt how to fuel my body – both during the race and just generally.  I learnt that more is not always best and that harder & faster is not the golden rule.  I had thought that lying on the foam roller and breathing was a waste of time and that zone exercises were bullshit.
 I came to see that this was not the case and that giving these exercises a go had proved their worth in my race time and fast recovery.  I actually enjoyed the journey of the second race instead of just surviving it – like I did the first one. 

Working with the athlete.
Train Slow Be Slow.


Many athletes and coaches are looking for more Cutting edge techniques for improvement and injury prevention of their athletes.
Over the years I have worked with some of the best athletes in the world, this article is to share with you some of the important information that I have learnt and clinically used with my clients, many of the following have been missing in Athletes attempts to fulfill their sporting dreams.

In my opinion the major missing links in performance conditioning are inability to stay focused, nutritional/ health components, and lack of specific physical fitness to perform at your highest potential. 

For the purpose of this short article I will only be commenting on the Training side.
In the arena of Endurance sports the most common mistake made by most athletes is “OVERTRAINING”.

“The more is better”,  theory is still dominant in most sports today. I have witnessed first  hand many gifted athletes who have had their careers cut short through injury, and the unfortunate part for them was that they hadn’t come anywhere near reaching their sporting potential.

Most athletes approach to their training is a combination of professional coaching and more and more practice out in the playing field.  This is the very reason many athletes end up injured and rarely reach their potential.  You may say, “but what other way is there?”

The method that is most often disregarded or unknown to many athletes is that they need to have a body that is actually strong enough to perform their chosen work or sporting preference, otherwise the sport or work itself is the greatest stress to the body.
·      We need to build a body strong enough,
·      To recover from training sessions
·      resistant to fatigue, short , medium or long distance
·      energy system specific,
·      speed of movement specific,  
·      Movement pattern specific
·      Healthy Physiological Load
·      Train  and perform uninjured.

Over training in your chosen sport often leads to Over use Pattern Injuries.  These injuries need careful consideration as to the actual cause of the injury, often times the athlete is just looking for a Quick Fix, so they can be out in the playing field again.  This is always short term, as Doctors and many therapists will focus on removing the pain rather than addressing the actual cause of the problem. They will usually have recurring  injuries, and if the first injury is not fully resolved, another compensatory injury may often follow soon after.  A little like having a crack in the plaster of a wall, if we just fill it with spac filler, and don’t address the foundation, we will just spring another crack somewhere else, and so on.

To enhance any athletes long term performance it is critical to apply the principals for Functional Exercise Prescription.  We need to restore Alignment, Balance, Length Tensions, remove overuse patterns and replace with correct Sports specific movement patterns. Teach the athlete how to Maintain their centre of Gravity, Correct Force Generation. Select Open vs Closed Chain exercises specific to their sport.

We are all Bullett Proof, until we have sustained a few injuries, and sometimes get a few years older and wiser, then the serious athlete seeking long term success in their sport, will start to question more, and come to the conclusion that it cant be that just training hard out on the field is the answer, because we have done all that, and training harder than anyone else, and still cant perform how I know this body could do. 

Below are some of the Questions Specific for Each Athletes sport.

1. Needs Analysis for Bio Motor Abilities.
Co ordination

2. Type of Strength required.
Dynamic Strength
Maximal Strength
Absolute Strength/ endurance
Relative Strength/endurance
Optimal Strength
Strength Endurance
Speed Strength – Start  / Explosive / Reactive

Training Age and Training History of an Athlete?

Which Energy Systems contribute to Athletes sport?

A great many athletes are training many many Kilometers over their race distance, because it is generally thought that more is better, this only serves to over train the athlete, slow down their overall speed, and cause a training adaptation to Type 1 fiber ( endurance) when they may be in a sport that requires more Fast twitch fibers on race or competition day.
This is why it is so common to hear an athlete say, “I cant understand why I cant get any faster, I am training hard, but I am getting slower,  I cant  produce a turn of speed when I need to.”

This can be due to a few factors, one being training too much aerobic work too long into the season, and not applying the correct periodization specific to the Competition.  Another example Inadequate rest when targeting type II B fibers will result in forced recruitment of IIA, and eventually type I Fibers, this will significantly effect speed of movement, strength, and muscle tension .

Rest period length is vital during skill and / or explosive training. If rest periods are inadequate, fatigue hampers motor learning, and because explosive training frequently has a strong motor learning component, coupled with high levels of IIB fiber recruitment, inadequate rest significantly retards performance.

On the flip side of this is the Endurance Athlete, who needs to adapt the system to Resistance to High levels of Fatigue, this is not done out on the playing field.  The athlete needs the skill level, and a certain amount of time in playing field, but too much only leads to Over use patterns and injuries.  This is best done in the specific exercise training program.

It is absolutely necessary with any athlete to form a complete periodization to their competitive Season.  Starting with the end in mind.
To correctly prepare an athlete for Competition, we must work back from their competition  to where they are now. There are many elements that need to be Built in, as the crucial steps for High Performance conditioning.

Off Season or Early season,
         Base/ Hypertrophy training to include stabilizers, foundation work
         Building Aerobic Base.

Pre/ In Season.
         Sport specific training .
         Maintenance of Aerobic Base

In Season
         Maintain strength built, Aerobic fitness maintenance, Avoid overuse patterns. 
The preparation work should have been well established by this point, and as the athlete will be spending most of their time in competition, this component will usually be minimal to allow the athlete to maintain what he has established for competitive performance. And devote his major energies to his competition.
Prepare to peak, single or multiple peaks, specific to sport.
There are however many sports that don’t fit with periodization .

Nutrition and Health are the backbone to any athlete, this is a very misunderstood topic, with so many supplements and Quick Fix foods on the market.  I always say if you want a High Performance machine, you need to treat it and feed it as a High Performance machine. The right fuel mix for each individual is a no brainer. 
Eat Whole, Live food with live microorganisms and you have a Live Body, eat Dead, Processed  or packaged food and you perform in spite of what you are doing.

Our bodies are amazing, they are our vehicles to journey along in this life, to reach for our dreams, to be happy.
It only makes sense to Learn about your own body, so you can be the master of our own ship.  We just need to learn to listen to what it tells us.

Feel Free to contact me for more information on overtraining or visit us at CHEK Australia for a consultation.

Jan Carton

Suggested Reading.
How to Eat, move and Be Healthy        by Paul Chek
Metabolic Typing                                    by Wilcott

Program Design                                                               by Paul Chek
Posture and Pain                                                            by Kendall and Kendall
Golf Biomechanics manual                                                by Paul Chek….


is part one of this article.)

The adrenal cortex, like all of our glands, works via a feedback control mechanism connected to our nervous system. As we all know, modern people live with a constant barrage of stressful, challenging events, at levels most likely unequaled in human history. These events require a flight-or-fight response, but in most cases fight or flight cannot be carried out. Think about driving home in noisy rush-hour traffic, after a hectic day at work, or watching TV which is continually presented with active, even aggressive images, or experiences of vulnerable children – the body wants to fight or flee- but such responses are socially inappropriate. Specifically the adrenals become overactive, and our ability to balance the outpourings of adrenaline with the nurturing and healing activity of the adrenal cortex grows weak.

The ability to withstand stress varies, it is important to understand that the onset and continuation of adrenal fatigue has great individual variation. Following are some of the primary lifestyle factors that lead to adrenal fatigue. It is important to control.

·       Lack of Sleep
·       Poor food choices – or eating habits
·       Using food or drinks as stimulants when tired
·       Staying up late even when fatigued
·       Being constantly in a position of powerlessness
·       Constantly driving yourself
·       Trying to be perfect
·       Staying in double binds ( no win  situations) over time
·       Lack of enjoyable and rejuvenating activities

  • University student
  • Unhappy Relationships
  • Unhappy and Stressful Work conditions
  • Drug or Alcohol abuser
  • All work, no play
  • Alternating shift work – poor sleep patterns.

  • Unrelieved pressure or frequent crises at work / home
  • Any emotional trauma
  • Death of close friend or family member
  • Major surgery/ accidents/injuries – with incomplete recovery or subsequent persistent fatigue
  • Prolonged or repeated respiratory infections
  • Head trauma
  • Loss of stable job
  • Sudden change in financial status
  • Relocation without support of family or friends
  • Repeated or overwhelming chemical exposure (including drugs and alcohol abuse)
Repeated stresors, no matter where they come from, add up and can make a person more prone to adrenal fatigue. The effects of stress are cumulative, even when the individual stresors are quite different.

For Example:
You come down with a bronchial infection that has not quite cleared up when your father dies.  Six months after your fathers death someone newer to the company gets the job promotion you had been expecting and, within a month, you are injured in a car accident. The doctors are concerned about how long it is taking you to recover from the accident. They are puzzled only because they do not recognize that this series of stresors, although seemingly unrelated, has gradually depleted your adrenal reserves.

Each of these separate events, emotional and physical, is an insult to your body to which your adrenal glands have had to respond. By the time the accident occurs your adrenals have nothing left to give. Had the accident been the only major stresor, you would probable recover quickly and without incident.

Physical traumas (infections, physical injury, malnutrition, surgery, extreme cold, heat, dehydration, exhausting physical exertion, exposure to toxic chemicals, allergies, asthma, and lack of sleep)  and emotional traumas such as divorce, separation, serious arguments, loss of job, financial problems, injury or death of friend, abuse, significant ridicule or humiliation  cumulatively drain your adrenal reserves, particularly if you cannot or do not do what is necessary to recover between traumas.

Poor Diet reduces your Adrenals Ability to respond to Stress. This is one of the most common chronic factor.

Some peoples Adrenals may be weak from Birth, we can also have congenital differences in adrenal resiliency. Children born to mothers already suffering from Adrenal fatigue and children who experience severe stress in the womb (including those discussed previously) typically have lower adrenal function. Because of this, from birth on , they have less capacity to deal with stress in their own lives and are more prone to adrenal fatigue throughout their lives.

·        Symptoms of  Adrenal Fatigue.
Difficulty getting up in the morning. (3 alarms and you still don’t feel awake enough to get up)
2.                Continuing fatigue not relieved by sleep.
3.                Craving for salt or Salty food
4.                Lethargy ( Lack of energy)
5.                Increased Effort to do every day tasks
6.                Decreased Sex Drive
7.                Decreased ability to handle stress
8.                Increased time to recover from illness, Injury, or trauma
9.                Light – headed when standing up quickly
              Mild Depression
              Less enjoyment or happiness in life
              Increased PMS
10.          Symptoms increase if meals are skipped or inadequate
11.          Thought less focused , more fuzzy.
12.          Memory Less accurate
13.          Decreased tolerance
14.          Don’t really Wake up until 10.00Am
15.          Afternoon Low between 3.00pm and 4.00pm
16.          Feels better after evening meal
17.          Decreased Productivity. 
No single one of these symptoms gives a definitive diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, but taken collectively they can strongly lead to it.  If many of these seem familiar, then you are probably suffering from some level of adrenal fatigue.  Most of us have come to accept it as such.

Adrenal fatigue is NOT a part of normal life !
Best Wishes,

CHEK Australia

Adrenal fatigue  ..  James L. Wilson N.D.,  D.C. Ph.d.
The Cortisol Connection .... Shawn Talbott, PH.D., FACSM
The Fourfold Path to Healing... Thomas S. Cowan MD