Saturday, 31 May 2008
Thursday, 29 May 2008
We are now training in paris at insep which is france's national training center. nobody here has been able to turn me yet. i think the french coaches issued a challenge to their wrestlers for today's practice. apparently they will take turns trying to score on me on the ground. i think slavi will be a little worked up because he hates it when people take points on me. the weather has been humid but cool which is great because i sleep better when it isn't so hot. the food has been pretty good. i was in france in 1997 and have many fond memories of this country.
May 19, 2008
This morning we were on the mat. I was sparring with Cuba, Hungary and Italy. The wrestling room doesn’t have any ventilation so it is difficult to breathe after all the oxygen gets used up by the athletes. It also gets very hot in the room and the humidity was 94% in Rome today. It was more in the room as we were all sweating quite a bit. I lost about 3 kilos of water this morning in training. Then we had lunch and a little rest. In the afternoon we lifted weights and then Murray worked on me. My body is feeling really good because Murray is working on me every day. Now it is dinner time and we are going to our favorite restaurant here. The cafeteria food is getting a little old and the portions are small. The guy who owns the restaurant is our best buddy now – his food is amazing. He uses olive oil and some kind of salt on his steaks which makes them great. The pasta is ok too. He also gives us bread which is heated on an open grill and then topped with the olive oil and salt. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed bread so much.
May 22, 2008
Today we traveled to the island of Sardinia for a competition on Saturday. The airplane seats were very small and the plane was very full. After we sat on the runway for 45 minutes in the hot cramped plane, I was invited to exchange my seat for one with some leg room. The first one I was in was built for a person no taller than 5 feet and weighing no more than 120 pounds. There were many of these people on the plane who seemed quite comfortable. After moving to my new seat I said hello to the therapist for the freestyle team who was also on the plane. His name is Wilbur and he lives in Vancouver. He will be one of the therapists in China tasked with working with all athletes.
The Canadian Olympic freestyle team is also taking part in this competition and has already flown to Sardinia. They will then go to Iran for some training and a competition before heading home.
May 23, 2008
Today is the weigh in for my competition tomorrow. I was 2 kg over my weight limit of 122 kg when I woke up this morning. I had a small breakfast and went back to my room. People typically spend this day resting or sweating in an effort to make weight while conserving as much energy as possible for the competition tomorrow. My goal is to loose my weight at the last minute in order to ensure that my body is depleted of water and food for the shortest period of time possible. The weigh in is at 7:30 pm today which is very late – normally it is at 3 or 4 pm. A late weigh in is difficult for the athletes because it gives them less time to replenish their food and water before the start of the competition. There is no access to a bike or sauna so the only way loose water is to run or wrestle. As running doesn’t agree with my body, I will be wrestling. I will probably start at 4 or 5 pm in order to ensure I am on weight by the weigh in.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean (second to Sicily). It has a very elaborate history and very unique culture. The inhabitants of Sardinia are formally recognized as a distinct people of Italy. The most spoken language is of course Italian however Sardinian is also a common spoken language on the island.
For more about Sardinia, please follow the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardinia
We depart for competition in Sassari, on May 22 and competition is on the 24th. There will both freestyle and Greco-roman wrestling at this competition and Ari is the only Canadian Greco-roman wrestler competing.
Keep posted to hear more updates about Ari’s travels to Sardinia
The FILJKAM is the Italian federation for wrestling, judo, karate, and martial arts. Located just outside of Rome on the coast of the Mediterranean, it houses athletes who training here regularly as well as those who come for training camps and competitions. This has been the training base for Ari for the past 2 weeks of training. The facilities have a large dedicated wrestling room, weight rooms, martial arts rooms, soccer field, tennis courts, competition venue, dorm rooms, and dinning hall. Here are some pictures of Ari’s home away from home.
Map of Ostia
Metro station at the training center
Sunday, 18 May 2008
The weather has been hot and our dorm rooms do not have air conditioning so we haven't been sleeping as well as we do at home. It also doesn't help that the beds are made for midgets. My feet hang off the end of the bed and it is so narrow that I need to be careful not to fall off when I roll over at night. I normally sleep on my side with one arm stretched out to the side. Because the bed is narrow, my arm hangs off the bed and I often wake up with a pain by my elbow and it isn't until I fully wake up that I remember it is because the arm is lying hyperextended off the side of the bed while I sleep.
The food at the training center here in Rome is good cafeteria grub. However, it is far from great Italian cooking. Last night Murray and I went out to a small restaurant a few block from the training center. We had one of the best meals I have had in my life - 2 different types of pasta, 2 different types of steak and some great dessert. The owner / chef took a liking to us and made sure we were stuffed before leaving.
Today is my daughters' birthday [they are 7] as well as my dad's birthday [not quite 100].
Saturday, 17 May 2008
With the specificity of training for wrestling everyday, it is important not to forget about cross training. Cross training implies doing workouts not specifically related to the sport you are training for, but have beneficial affect for the body to work different muscle groups that may not get worked in regular training sessions.
Cross-training also has the added benefits of having fun and interacting with other nations as ‘teammates’ in friendly yet competitive games.
Strength and technique are 2 critical factors in wrestling. Today Ari got a few handy tips from coach Slavi.
Seen here in yellow, Slavi gives pointers to Ari about body position and how to maneuver his opponent to help score crucial points in these upcoming matches. As many matches are won or lost by a single point, it is important to maximize your chances with every opportunity, and to be able to create opportunities to score points. Today was an easier training day physically but very heavy technically and mentally!
One or Ari’s many therapy interventions is known as Kinesiotape. This special type of tape can be applied and left on the skin for 3-5 days. Unlike regular athletic tape, this tape stretches with the body during all ranges of motion and is easily recognized by the distinctive, blue and pink colors.
Building in reputation in the sporting world, Kinesiotape is now being seen on athletes in the Tour-de-France, Volleyball, baseball, football, Bobsleigh and of course wrestling. The tape acts to help Ari’s nervous system maintain awareness of the area through a system called proprioception. Every time Ari moves, the tape stretches or contracts on the skin and this causes the nervous system to become aware of the area around the tape. This is an excellent way to maintain a therapeutic intervention while still doing his sport, something that until now has been very difficult to do.
Keep a look out for the pink and blue tape in many of Ari’s pictures
Friday, 16 May 2008
In order to maintain peak physical ability, part of a rigorous training program also includes daily therapy sessions. Therapy is not always to fix what’s hurting but rather to make sure everything is functioning optimally. In any given day Ari may receive a multitude of different therapies, some of these include:
- Biomechanical analysis,
- Active Release Techniques (ART),
- chiropractic manipulation,
- Graston, Kinesiotape,
- Acupuncture (IMS and electro-acupuncture),
- rehabilitation exercises,
- muscle stimulation/activation work…
All of this is carefully structured to enable Ari to train at maximum potential and to ensure the best possible physical conditioning for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing!
It takes amazing amounts of strength to be able to wrestle and toss around 120kg (almost 270 pounds!) opponents. This requires a lot of dedication and motivation in the weight room to get as strong as possible to be able to withstand the pressures of a wrestling match. As such, Ari spends time daily in the gym lifting very heavy weights so that his body can shake off any offensive attacks by his opponents and in return throw them around the mat and make it look easy – not a simple task!
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
It is easy to see how training wrestling technique and working out in the gym can benefit and improve Ari’s physical conditioning. However a very important and sometimes overlooked component is REST. For all the time spent training, the body has to take time to repair micro-damage to muscles caused by heavy lifting and wrestling. Without proper rest and recovery the body can’t keep up and performances will slowly decrease as the body’s ability to adapt is impeded.
Key factors for Ari’s recovery include:
- Adaquate Sleep (quantity and quality)
- Proper nutrition
- Appropriate therapy
- Adequate time for rest
Without the above factors, the body may not respond optimally to training and could result in “over-training”. It is a delicate balance between knowing what is pushing the body to the physical limits on a daily basis but not going beyond the limits to have counter-productive results. Ari relies on a team of support staff including coaches, exercise physiologists, therapists, sport psychologists, and lets not forget family and friends to help him on his way to realizing his dream of wining an Olympic medal!
Saturday, 10 May 2008
May 10th provided the opportunity for Ari to refine his techniques and skills with the best in the world. Cuba's Mijail Lopez is the current world champion at 120kg which makes him one of the favorites going into the Beijing Olympics this summer. Ari took on the world champ in training and it proved to be a battle of the Titans!
Friday, 9 May 2008
i am here with my coach, slavi stanev, who came all the way from bulgaria to help me prepare for the olympics. he was in calgary working with me last summer and for 6 weeks last fall. he returned to calgary in february 2008 and will be with me until china.
my therapist, murray heber, is also here with me. he will travel with me for a good part of the next 3 months. murray has been working with me for the last few years and i wouldn't be able to train the way i do without his help.
3 other canadians are here trying to earn their tickets to china. i am glad they are here to keep me company. the canadians who don't qualify at this tournament will stay here for 2 weeks to train before the second [and last] qualification tournament in serbia. i will stay in ostia for the next 2 weeks as well. i will be training with the italian and hungarian teams. then i will compete in a tournament in italy before going to france to train for a week.