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Meet the trainers: Joey Worthington

Features — Posted 29/09/14

Sydney trainer Joey Worthington has been training our lawyer-turned-comms-guy Elliot Giakalis for the Medibank Melbourne Marathon. With regular sessions from his Botany-based gym, Joe has been focusing on building up Elliot’s strength to try and avoid his persistent injury.

What does Elliot's training for the half-marathon look like?

We train together once per week, and he is currently doing two boot-camp sessions and two running workouts per week outside of our training. Elliot is a busy guy, and his level of conditioning is already quite high so the focus of our workouts is less on increasing his capacity, and more on improving anything that may hinder his performance during the race.

We work primarily on his mobility and his movement patterns, to ensure that he is in the best condition to remain injury free throughout the race.

We also throw in a small amount of high volume resistance work to make sure his legs can handle the extra distance he is to run.

Has it changed week to week?

In this short time frame I do not want to make any radical changes to his current training, but rather help to complement it. There will be a slight increase in his running workouts leading into the second week out from the race, and then a considerable decrease in the week prior to the race. This will allow him ample time to recover fully before the event.

What does Elliot's meal plan for the marathon look like?

He is quite on top of his eating as it is. He focuses on good quality fats and proteins, with a decent amount of carbohydrate intake during the day. We do have him consuming a little more water. He has gone from around 1 litre per day to 2-3 litres.

Will it change each week?

Not majorly. The only change will be the day before race day: I’ve got him bulking up his carbohydrate intake on the day prior to race day and keeping his race day food intake pretty minimal. I would like him to stick to the plan that has worked for him in the past and keeps his confidence high.

What should men Elliot's age, trying to get fit, aim for/avoid with food when training?

Food to avoid:

Sugar – it doesn't do much good for us, and for most young men, there will already be a disproportionately high amount of it in the diet. Once we remove large amounts of sugar from the diet, your body will begin to burn fat as its energy source. For most people, this is a really good thing! Refined grains are also best left out. They convert to sugar once digested anyhow, and they also tend to make us sluggish and a little swollen.

Food to incorporate:

High quality proteins from grass fed, organic sources, and quality fats from natural sources like coconut, butter, fish, beef, etc. Getting plenty of these things in the diet will provide the building blocks to repair muscle and connective tissue as well as keep the joints nourished and lubricated. They also provide the building blocks for our body to produce testosterone – a very important hormone for young men!

Also, lots of fresh vegetables, preferably organic. These should fill up half of your plate at every meal. They contain vitamins, mineral, fibre – all the things we need to keep our system running optimally.

What is your advice for men trying to shift their training for mostly weights/resistance to running?

Don’t discard the weights altogether, and in fact, make sure you can squat, lunge, push up and pull up with full range through all joints before getting serious about any running. As a sport or hobby, runners have the highest amount of injuries than anyone else. This is largely due to poor running mechanics, which come from poor joint mobility along with a lack of basic strength and technique. Learning and practicing basic strength movement on a regular basis will keep the joints strong and mobile. Add to this some training with a proper running coach, or a PT with a strong understanding of how to run, and you are on a good path!

The truth is that most of us spend too much time at an office desk, in a car, or at a dining table. Spending a lot of time in a seated position is very uncomplimentary for the human body, and particularly for running. Get mobile, get strong and then get moving.

Joey trains at Jungle Brothers Fitness.


You can read more about Elliot’s journey towards the First Time here .

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