Agility testing – a true measure of agility?

The question is, ‘is field based agility testing a true measure of agility?’ and the answer is no.

You can’t really say that the Illinois agility test or the T agility test are reliable and valid in measuring an athletes agility and this is due to many factors. 

Agility is defined as “an open skill with change in velocity or direction in response to a stimulus, it must involve a sprint speed, change of direction speed and reactive agility” (Sheppard et al. 2006). However, most tests for agility do not include all of these variables and do not include the quick, sharp, 180-360 degree turns needed to define agility. 

We all know the Illinois test as the ‘gold standard’ test for agility but it only involves slight changes in direction and a sprint which can only be referred to as the acceleration and deceleration at the beginning and end of the test. 

In football, for example, agility would need to be measured with and without a football as players perform changes of direction, sprints and reaction in both these conditions in order to accurately measure agility in footballers. But, as you can probably guess, there is very little research surrounding this area.

Sheppard and Young 2006 suggest that perceptual and decision making factors are also involved within agility and how can this be measured in a 15 second field test?

Ref: Issue with the concept and definition of agility, Sheppard and Young 2006.                         Ref: Agility literature review: Classifications, training and testing. Sheppard, M. Young, W. 2006. Journal of Sports Sciences.

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Is your Fad Diet actually good for you?

Many diets advertised look appealing it these ‘miracle’ diets which don’t require exercise for weight loss aren’t what they seem.

Yes, without a doubt, your fad diet is leading to weight loss but for completely the wrong reasons.

While consuming a fad diet, you’ll see huge amounts of weight loss (around 2lbs a week) but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing the right thing for your body. 

The flaws in Fad Diets include:

– Thinking you’re losing weight but in fact it’s water weight

– Not exercising on a Fad diet even though exercise is a main causer of weight loss

Even though Fad diets seem tempting, they can only be sustained short term and are unrealistic for long term diets. This is because cutting out complete food groups is very unhealthy for the body. So why not stick to the simple ways of losing weight which we know are effective instead of trying these aesthetically pleasing diets. For example, taking part in moderate intensity exercise and eating smaller portions (BDA 2017)

Is there any evidence to support Fad diets or is it just celebrities advertising this?

As someone who is always keen to lose weight, I tried a gluten-free diet as I heard gluten is bad for the body. I was only able to sustain this for around a month as it was expensive and unreasonable and who’s to say gluten is bad for you? There’s no evidence to support this.

Reference: bda.uk.com – Food Fact Sheet, BDA, October 2017. Porter, S.

Movement Prep: My Opinion

A short description of movement prep. as a warm-up technique and the positives and negatives of this training.

According to Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams; Movement prep. Consists of 10 exercises which prepare the body for activity and can be considered more effective than a basic warm up. Therefore, if you’re looking for a more vigorous warm up which involves compound movements in order to raise heart rate and blood flow to the muscles instead of a ‘bog standard’ warm up then why not give it a go.

Exercise 1: Hip Crossover – Stretching of the core

Exercise 2: Scorpion – Stretching the quads and hip flexors 

Exercise 3: Calf Stretch – Stretching the calf and ankle

Exercise 4: Hand Walk – Stretching the hamstrings, lower back, glutes and calves

Exercise 5: Inverted Hamstring – Stretching the hamstrings

Exercise 6: Lateral lunge – Stretching the inside of the thigh

Exercise 7: Forward lunge – Stretching the groin, hip flexors and glutes

Exercise 8: Backward twist with lunge – Stretching your back leg, core and lats 

Exercise 9: Drop lunge – Stretching your hips, glutes and IT band

Exercise 10: Sumo Squat-to-stand – Stretching your groin, glutes and lower back

(Verstegen et al. 2005)

It’s recommended that you perform 8-10 reps of each exercise and this is positive as between all the exercises, the whole body is stretched. However, some individuals may find this more challenging than others and for that I would suggest performing these 10 movement prep exercises as a workout routine rather than a warm up.

For the more elite or determined performers, however, this is a way in pushing yourself to increase the intensity of your warm up to ensure that every part of the body is fully prepared for exercise. 

Reference: Verstegen, M. & Williams, P. Movement prep. In: Verstegen, M. & Williams, P. Core performance; Chapter 5; pp 33-53. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 2005.

The Amazons @ Engine rooms, Southampton – 13/10/17

The Amazons (Rock Band from Reading) previously played Southampton’s 200 capacity venue on the 2nd of March 2017.

7 months later, the band incredibly SOLD OUT 800 capacity venue The Engine Rooms in the same town of Southampton. 

From rising popularity over the release of debut album ‘The amazons’; being played at the likes of Reading festival, Boardmasters festival and TRSMT Festival and catching the ear of many people who now have become fans.

The debut album features songs such as Stay with Me, Little something, Black magic and In my mind; some of the crowds favourites at the Southampton show which received a great response. These upbeat tunes got the crowd off the floor with complete energetic vibes.

The lighting during the set coincided with the album colours (and the lead singer’s hair) and funky song, ‘Junk Food Forever’, was perfectly placed in the encore to round off the show.

Not only did The Amazons put on a great show but Matt Thomson (lead singer) also showed great considerance to the fans after bottles were thrown around the crowd (not to mention meeting the fans after the show).

Rating: 8/10

Corfe, Dorset.

April 2017.

Corfe in Dorset is a great place if you love scenery. The place is extremely peaceful and very un-costly.

If you’re into nature then there’s no better place than the National Trust trail which takes you down paths of green scenes and acute streams.

Although there’s not a lot of activities or anything specific you can do in Corfe, the walks around the castle are enough to make a relaxing day.

My experience of Corfe Castle ended up in spending 6 hours walking the tiny paths surrounding the area in the beaming sunshine.

Brighton, England.

I visited Brighton on a lush, sunny day this September and it honestly felt like i was abroad. The sun was beaming onto the pier and reflecting off the sea.

The walk down the lanes provided some of the most unique, quirky shops i have seen (that you cant find anywhere else) including a rubber duck shop; amazing. The different range of shops, places to eat and things to do in Brighton is incredible – and its all within walking distance.

As a vegan myself, The wide variety of food on offer to tourists and locals blew my mind.

Lunch – a ‘doner’ kebab from The Hope and Ruin; with the perfect balance of spice and cool ‘mayonaise’

Dinner – a potato pizza and garlic bread from Purezza (a completely plant-based restaurant) with the best tasting ‘cheese’ i have come across – i would highly recommend.

Brighton pier is not only stunning but it provides a lot of entertainment such as the arcade – which is great fun for all ages.

Overall, Brighton has something for everyone and that’s in no way an exaggeration.

Barcelona, Spain.

May, 2016

In May 2016, I visited possibly one of my favourite destinations in Europe (that I’ve been to). The size of the city was so overwhelming yet it felt like I had lived there my whole life.

The food – If you are a food lover then don’t hesitate to visit this city; from tapas to cheap wine. Spain do Sangria very well – a litre for around 5 euros and it’s probably up there with your favourite cocktails. Even food that isn’t Spain’s speciality is good in Spain (pizza).

Day 1: I spent the evening eating all you can eat tapas which included veggie meatballs, different cheeses, paella and unlimited rose wine – a winner all round.

The sights – The Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and the Gothic Quarter are just some of the great places I would highly recommend visiting during a stay in Barcelona. With each as stunning as the other, visiting them all is a must. When walking down La Rambla, you will feel a lush, summery vibe that spreads down the whole street.

The sheer size of the Sagrada Familia is astonishing, and although under reconstruction when i visited, it definitely lived up to expectation. On the other hand, Park Guell is scenic but from another perspective. The mix of greenery and coloured, mosaic tiles makes a nice photo (worth the walk up the hill to get there).

 

Gibraltar, BOT, Spain.

Gibraltar; what an interesting place.

The country itself is just a rock, and when you describe it like this it doesn’t seem like the most appealing place but don’t be fooled. Gibraltar is stunning – The views of the beach and let’s not forget the views from the top of the rock.

It was July 2016 that I visited Gibraltar and the amount of scenery  was incredible. The fact that tourists can openely visit the mountains without restrictions was pleasantly surprising and adds to the range of vast beach and wild winds that you can see from the top of the rock.

Being an English territory; the Gibraltarians were very welcoming to tourism and the prices are cheap. But lets not forget the best part of Gibraltar – the wild monkeys. It’s amazing to see monkeys roaming freely around the mountain area without being pinned into cages for us to see. Although michevious (hence their banishment from the town centre), they are a great attraction.

Whether you want a relaxing holiday or a hiking experience, this holiday destination has it all.

Day 1: spent the day relaxing by a rooftop outdoor pool with views of the whole island.

Day 2: spent climbing the rock ofGibraltar; walking down paths of pebbles and greenery.

Paris, France

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February 2017.

Paris, France is a beautiful city which definitely lives up to expectation with its phenomenal views and night time scenery. When the sun goes down, Paris comes to life and I discovered this through my recent visit in February 2017.

My excitement came from being able to understand the French metro as well as I am able to understand the London tubes and the close proximity of all the amazing landmarks Paris has to offer, including the Notre Dam, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. It was astonishing that I was able to view all this within 1 day.

Not forgetting to mention, the vast variety of food on offer from fancy restaurants overlooking the Eiffel Tower or easy sandwich shops; the French can definitely impress.

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