Training to Excel: Alena Luciani
I can't believe this post hasn't happened sooner! I'm thrilled to have Alena Luciani of Training2XL on the blog today and showcase what a fire cracker she is! If you remember from one of my very first posts, Alena was one of my inspirations for starting my own blog and she continues to keep me motivated and on track with our regular phone chats. She is a certified strength and conditioning coach and holds her Masters of Science in Recreation and Sport Sciences from Ohio University. Alena operates Training2XL both in the GTA, as well as online (I've had her program for me via the online option and IT WAS AMAZING- here's the link!). She provides individualized programming and nutrition coaching to athletes in sport and athletes in life with the goal of educating and empowering others to excel. Today on the blog we get into her own journey as well as some training and nutrition tips.
Take it away Alena!
Why did you start Training2XL?
I started Training2XL as a platform to share my journey from athlete to strength coach. I wanted to share the tools, tips and tricks I learned over my years as an athlete and kinesiology major with other people going through a similar transition or others just curious about living an "athlete" lifestyle. It slowly evolved into what it is today, my business baby! I want to continue to share my love and passion for coaching, sport and health with as many people as I can.
Working with all different types of athletes (in sport and in life), what would you say most common training error you see?
The most common training error I see is "too much, too fast, too soon" and I feel like social media is partially to blame. People see what coaches and trainers do as their workouts and jump right in, oftentimes having no foundation of sound movement. I would advise to look at things you see on the internet with a critical eye and determine whether it's suitable for you or not! A way to do this is to find a reputable coach or training to do an assessment with and determine what major movements you may need to work at before progressing to something more advanced.
With running season upon us, what are some quick and easy exercises runners can be doing pre-run?
I'm so happy it's RUNNING SZN! I actually really enjoying running despite the bad rap it sometimes gets. For me, it's more the mental clarity I get from it than the physical benefits. Some exercises I love to do before runs is glute activation work with a mini band - things like glute bridges, clamshells, lateral walks, 45 striders, etc. Also, incorporating some bodyweight squats and multi-directional lunges are never a bad idea either! I created a Runner's Guide to Strength Training program to help runners stay healthy through lots of kilometres! It also includes warm-ups, cool downs and nutrition tips. Find the program HERE.
Can you share your top 5 tips on eating for performance?
My top 5 tips for eating for performance would be to ...
1. EAT REAL FOOD - you need to ensure you're consuming enough calories to sustain the activity you're doing and you want to make sure those come from unprocessed sources (vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, etc).
2. PROTEIN - we need to give this rebuilding and repairing macronutrient some love and ensure we're getting high quality sources at every meal (eggs, chicken, black beans, chick peas, etc).
3. EAT THE RAINBOW - by consuming a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables you can rest assured that you'll be getting lots of vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) in your daily intake. These are super important for disease prevention and overall health.
4. HYDRATION - water is super important to make sure things are moving smoothly through the body and we avoid dehydration during strenuous activity. Always think water first, but there is a time and place for electrolyte replacements (BioSteel, Nuun, Gatorade, etc) - these should be consumed in hot, humid weather, as well as prolonged exercise lasting more than 90 minutes.
5. CREATE YOUR HYBRID - you need to find what works best for you. Just because everyone is eating oatmeal pre-workout, doesn't mean you have to as well. Make sure you're eating foods that sit well in your stomach (no bloating or discomfort) and most importantly, foods you enjoy! Aim to consume REAL, WHOLE foods to ensure you're getting quality calories.