Page 1

A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO SPORT SPECIFIC TRAINING

VOLUME 7

ISSUE 4

FALL 2021

Everybody Say: Jump! How to increase your jump height with off-ice training

SIP, SIPPING AWAY

FLEXAFIT WORKOUT

Improve the Precision and Positions of Single and Double Axels

Where water flows, energy goes

MAKE YOUR NEXT MOVE A STRETCH Why a warm-up and cool-down program is key to your on-ice success

Become the next

Certified Level I FLEXAFIT Trainer

And the winner is…

JULIA POLOWY! We asked and you answered by entering our first Cover Competition Contest. Find out what makes this 21 year old from Porcupine, Ontario, Canada a winner. We’ve got some pretty incredible contest runners up too…

www.figureskaterfitnessmag.com



EDITOR’S LETTER

Welcome to a new season skaters! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO FIGURE SKATER FITNESS! PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Signe Ronka EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Adriana Ermter CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER & OPERATIONS Angela Ronka CONTRIBUTORS Terence Babb Christian Bonin Dr. Marco Capizzano Rebekah Dixon Dr. Justin Kilian Patti Larkin Ashley Leone Dr. Tom McGee Maya Rourke

The changing of the seasons from fall to winter always seems to have me coming back to myself, enjoying some me time and reflecting on my goals ahead for the new year. A time of appreciation of what I have accomplished. Mental attitude I find is so important during the months where we may see less sunshine and have to endure the cold and bleak weather. We have to remember that it is in these times when we tune out the world and self reflect, that the biggest goals can be born. Don’t let this season slow you down! As we kick start this new season, skaters are eager to get back to competitions in person. It will be quite the change from the last two seasons, which means we need to build our focus back. This issue has an excellent article by Rebekah Dixon on how to build back consistency and tracking our progress on the ice. By introducing smaller achievable goals, skaters can feel better confidence heading into training sessions, which in turn creates a stronger mindset ready for competition. Not only do we need to consider training the mind, we need to think about how we are training off the ice. During the lockdowns, skaters were training hard off the ice. It is important to keep that training going to maximize on-ice performance. In the fitness section, I wanted to share with you some of our FLEXAFIT off-ice jump exercises to help skaters with the axel. Follow along for some great tricks to get you closer to that axel. I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we loved putting it together for you. Please reach out to us for any questions on training and follow our instagram account for tons of extra resources. Have a great competition season!!!

Sincerely,

Signe Visit us at www.figureskaterfitnessmag.com Figure Skater Fitness is published four times a year by Figure Skater Bootcamp Inc., 33 Villiers St. Suite 202, Toronto, ON, M5A 1A9. Copyright 2015 by Figure Skater Bootcamp Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing appearing in Figure Skater Fitness may be reprinted, either wholly or in part, without the written consent of the publisher. Email address must accompany all submissions and no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited submissions. All email content, photos, manuscripts, sent to Figure Skater Fitness will be considered as intended for publication and Figure Skater Fitness reserves the right to edit and/or comment. Figure Skater Bootcamp Inc. reserves the right to reject any advertising at its discretion. Advertising office phone: (416) 554 9456. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any harm or injuries incurred by practicing the activities suggested in the publication. PRINTED IN CANADA

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

3


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

Table of Contents A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO SPORT SPECIFIC TRAINING

VOLUME 7

ISSUE 4

AUTUMN 2021

Everybody Say: Jump! How to increase your jump height with off-ice training

FLEXAFIT WORKOUT

SIP, SIPPING AWAY

Where water flows, energy goes

MAKE YOUR NEXT MOVE A STRETCH Why a warm-up and cool-down program is key to your on-ice success

JULIA POLOWY

Photography by Enlightened Images

TKTKTKTKTKTKTKT TKTKTKTKT KTKTKTKTKTKT

BECOME THE NEXT Certified Level I FLEXAFIT Trainer

And the winner is…

JULIA POLOWY!

We asked and hundreds of you, our readers, answered by entering our first Cover Competition contest. Find out what makes this 21 year old from Porcupine, Ontario, Canada a winner. Spoiler alert, we’ve got some pretty incredible contests runners up, too…

www.figureskaterfitnessmag.com

PAGE 3 PAGE 4

Masthead & Editor’s Letter Table of Contents

PAGE 6

THE IT LIST

PAGE 9

FITNESS INSIDER

PAGE 10 PAGE 12

Everybody Say: Jump! Make Your Move…A Stretch

PAGE 14

FLEXAFIT WORKOUT

Strength-based Exercises to Improve the Precision and Positions of Your Single and Double Axels.

PAGE 25 PAGE 26 PAGE 28

Great Skate Coach Credit

PAGE 30

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

PAGE 36

TRAIN THE MIND

Hundreds entered our first-ever Figure Skater Fitness Cover Competition Contest on Instagram and Julia Polowy from Canada won! She, and runners-up Ana Ramirez Larios, Vienna Vidinovski and Nicole Brennan share their love of skating, tips on physical and mental training and more

Create a Competitive Mindset

PAGE 38

NUTRITION INSIDER

Sip, Sipping Away

PAGE 40

STYLE

Hand Health

PAGE 42

SKATERS CORNER

4

INJURY PREVENTION

Words of Wisdom



FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

THE IT LIST

Ellen Burka

CELEBRATE IT

E

Audrey Weisiger

very skater knows that a village of coaches and trainers have paved the path towards their success. So this issue, we’re joining The Professional Skaters Association (PSA) in celebrating new inductees into the PSA Coaches Hall of Fame, Osborne Colson and Audrey Weisiger. The Figure Skating Coaches Hall of Fame is the highest award given by the PSA and recognizes a lifetime of accomplishment in coaching. 6

Osborne Colson

Figure Skater Fitness and Flexafit would also like to remember Canadian-Dutch coach Ellen Burka, who worked with 26 Canadian medalists such as Toller Cranston, Elvis Stojko and Signe Ronka at the Olympics, World Championships and Canadian National levels. Burka became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1978 and would have turned 100 this year. —Adriana Ermter


THE IT LIST

READ IT

MOISTURIZE IT Did you know that it’s not just your insides that need an extra hit of hydration during training and the competition season, your face, lips and body benefit from moisturizing products, too. Hydration is an important step in maintaining your skin’s healthy cells and to protect them from dryness, irritation, chapping, flaking and more, especially when you’re skating in water-zapping environments like the ice rink. Help your face, lips and body get their daily dose of water-fuelled moisture with EOS Sweet Mint Lip Balm ($4.79, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), Laneige Lavender Water Sleeping Mask ($33, available at Sephora) and The Body Shop Avocado Body Butter ($24, available at The Body Shop). —AE

SAY IT

Ever wish there was a mentalwellness book written by an athlete of your generation? There is: Mental Toughness for Young Athletes – Eight Proven 5 Minute Mindset Exercises for Kids and Teens who Play Competitive Sports by Moses and Troy Horne ($12.97, available online at www.amazon.ca). Fresh off their successful podcast, the dad and son duo Troy and Moses Horne offer advice from famous athletes and college coaches, such as Keiko Yoshimine, Chauncey Billups and Kobe Bryant. Each relatable challenge, from struggling with training to competition performance anxiety, is countered with simple and successful mindset exercises. — Maya Rourke

A good athlete always mentally replays

a competition over and over, even in victory, to see what might be done to improve the performance the next time. - Frank Shorter, Marathon Gold Medalist, 1972 Summer Olympics

PLAN IT OCTOBER 2021 29-31

2021 Skate Canada International, Pierrefonds, QC, Canada

NOVEMBER 2021 8-13

ISU International Adult Competition, Obersdorf, Germany

DECEMBER 2021 1-5

2022 Skate Canada Challenge Regina, SK, Canada

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

7


Are you struggling landing your jumps? Is your coach telling you to improve your flexibility? Do you feel tired after run-throughs? Are you lacking motivation?

SPORT SPECIFIC PERSONAL TRAINING We help skaters achieve their goals - be it landing your first triple, double or single jump, perfectly executing a layback or biellmann spin, or having a stamina to get through your program without feeling exhausted. Sign up now - book@flexafit.com All our FLEXAFIT Certified trainers have figure skating backgrounds!


FITNESS

INSIDER

With the competition season here, we’re focusing on what you want and need know: how to jump higher and why you should integrate warm-up and cool-down stretches into your workout routine. Keep reading to get your jumps up and your stretching on… figureskaterfitnessmag.com


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

EVERYBODY SAY: JUMP! How to increase your jump height with off-ice training by Justin Kilian, PhD

J

umping is a remarkable skill in figure skating as it demonstrates technical expertise and athleticism. The move is rooted in your body’s ability to rapidly generate force, because the more force you have, the higher the jump and the longer the distance, which can all lead to more rotations and higher scores at competitions. 10

The first formally recognized jump in figure skating was the Axel, named after its creator, Axel Paulson who landed the move as a special figure in 1882. Later, the sport began acknowledging and categorizing a variety of jumps, such as the toe, edge and half loop. Since then, athletes like Felix Kaspar with his reportedly four-foot high and 20-foot distance jumps and Vincent Zhou’s


FITNESS INSIDER

quad Lutz in the 2018 Olympics have been setting the stage for spectacular displays of athleticism, complete with Salchows and Eulers.

JUMP BASICS Jumps are integral to figure skating because of how heavily they influence overall scoring. Depending on the level of competition, certain jumps may even be a required part of your routine. With six recognized jumps, there are numerous ways to perform a creative and competitive routine. Regardless of the specific jump, one thing remains consistent for each: the importance of loading the movement with enough force to achieve the desired height. Aside from the technical specifications that differentiate a loop from a Salchow or a Lutz from an Axel, any time you leave the ice there is a necessary amount of force required to ensure adequate height for the move. As rotations are added, the importance of jump height increases further. An under rotation, for example, can negatively impact the quality of the movement and can potentially cause injury, while the ability to take a raw fitness skill-like force and apply it in the context of a complex jump can be challenging. It is the ability to maintain the application of your force on the ice combined with different take-off and landing combinations that is the trick.

TRAINING METHODS Not every method of training will directly help on-ice jumping performance, so it is important to develop correctly. The best methods to increase your on-ice jumping ability are to improve your stability, strength and power. Stability is your ability to control your body regardless of a changing environment. Think of it like a fine-tuned control as you balance in different positions. By itself balance is good, but stability is demonstrated as dynamic balance where the body position may change, like when you have to balance while skating, jumping and landing. Once the finetuned control of stability is in place then you can focus on getting stronger. Strength is the amount of force you can produce. The more force you can put into the ice, the higher you will jump. Strength training can help with both performance and injury prevention—stronger muscles and bones can promote bigger jumps and be resilient enough to handle the extra stress of the landings. Strength is a good foundation for power but has to be developed as a unique skill so that you can leave the ice quickly during a jump without sacrificing the amount of force you can produce. Finally, power is the ability to generate force quickly. Jumping is an explosive skill that can’t be completed slowly.

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

EXERCISES TO CONSIDER The good news is that there is a lot of overlap with each of these styles of training. Stability training is a great warm-up before a practice or workout. Stability can be improved with any exercise that challenges posture and balance. Some examples are hip airplanes, single-leg lunges to balance, unloaded single-leg hip hinges, assisted or unassisted pistol squats and curtsy squats. Single-leg yoga poses can also promote stability. Strength training is also a great method to improve jump ability. Loaded movements like squats, lunges and rear foot elevated split squats can be used to increase leg strength, especially when beginning a strength-training program. Remember though, it is important to seek the guidance of a qualified fitness professional or skating coach before attempting any movements. Use your off-ice jump training to translate strength into power. Fitness exercises like vertical jumps, a two-leg takeoff to a single-leg landing and zigzag hops with a stick can improve your on-ice performance. As with any training, just make sure to consider your current ability and experience before you begin to ensure your safety.

JUMP WARM-UP DRILLS 1

alking lunges with upper body rotation: W With each step of the lunge, rotate the torso towards the leg that is out in front.

2 Walking knee hug: Every step, use both hands to hug alternating knees towards the chest. Push your toes into the ground to lift your heel while the knee is hugged. ingle-leg hip hinge: Keep one leg straight and 3 S hinge at the hips to form a “T” with one leg straight out behind, one leg standing on the ground and the torso parallel to the ground. Keep your belly button pointed towards the floor. ogo hop: Two-leg jumps in place. The point 4 P of this drill is ankle stability and springiness. Focus more on quick and controlled movements rather than height. ingle leg jump in place: Jump off of one leg 5 S and land on the same leg. Make sure you get reps on both legs. 6 J ump with rotation: Same as the single-leg jump, just add a half or full rotation.

11


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

MAKE YOUR MOVE… A STRETCH Why a warm-up and cool-down program is key to your on-ice success by Dr. Marco Capizzano

With the summer Olympic Games ending and the competitive season starting, many of you are looking ahead, maybe even as far forward as the Winter Games, making it a great time to re-examine your stretching programs, particularly your warm ups and cool downs. That’s the nature of sports and competing at high levels. Some will argue that it’s all about determination while others will say it’s about genetics, but your success as a figure skater can be attributed to your consistent effort on and off the ice, including how you prevent injury through a beneficial stretching program.

YOUR MUSCLES’ DEMANDS First, understand that specific sports require the use of different muscle groups and how you target them. Different techniques are used when 12

training a high jumper versus a figure skater. The key is studying your individual needs for your sport. With this you have to understand the anatomy of the body and how it plays a role, including knowing what muscles need to be firing and when they need to rest. You also have to understand the demands figure skating has on the body. With high performance athletes, figure skating is not a seasonal sport; you’re training year round. This has become the norm compared to when athletes used to pick up their skates during the winter months only. This approach of all year training has definitive benefits to your performance, however it can also have hindering affects on your longevity and can make you more susceptible to injuries that may shorten your career. Figure skating can be gruelling courtesy of the choreography, the triple axles, the jumps, the spins and

more, which all look perfect when you’re watching the Olympics on television and see each country’s athletes’ scores flash on your screen. Yet as athletes, you also know that every move requires attention to detail with posture, balance and core strength.

REST AND RECOVERY These elements complete with their training and inevitable falls and tumbles and potential injuries are part of the background that goes into becoming a high performance athlete. To minimize falling and ideally, avoid injury, figure skaters must focus on the muscle groups that have a direct impact on their performance, inclusive of rest and recovery. Muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, core and activation of gluteus maximus muscle


FITNESS INSIDER

YOUR BEST RESOURCES Off-ice trainers and coaches and professionals, such as chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists can curate exercises specifically for your level of figure skating as well as your individual body’s needs. Integrating these exercises into your workout plan will not only elevate your skill level on the ice, but it will also help to properly condition your body and assist in preventing muscle strain and injury. Alternately, clinics like b-Stretched (www. bstretched.com) in Toronto can help facilitate muscle healing and stress release through specific stretch-based treatments. By asking questions about your performance, where you feel weak and where you feel strong, these professionals can tailor a customized approach with the attention to detail you need.

THE STRETCH EXERCISE YOU NEED NOW As a figure skater it’s imperative that you warm up your hips, gluteal muscles, quadriceps (thighs) and abdominal region figureskaterfitnessmag.com

before you work out at the gym and on the ice. For a warm up: Perform this stretch for three to five seconds with 10 repetitions of each movement. For a cool down: Perform this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds with three repetitions of each movement. Instructions: S it on the floor with one leg in front with the knee bent at 90 degrees. Your back leg moves to the side with the knee set to 90 degrees. Your front foot should have your toes pointing forward. If flexibility allows, the back leg can extend backwards slightly. With your shoulders square and parallel to the front lower leg, reach forward with both hands over the front lower leg as far as possible, exhaling on the reach. Y ou should feel this stretch in both of your hips and in the front leg gluteal muscles as well as the lower back. After returning to upright, twist 90 degrees in the direction of the front leg (ie. Left leg is the front leg, rotate to the left 90 degrees) and reach as far as comfortably possible, again exhaling on the reach. Y ou should feel this stretch in the same regions as the previous stretch as well as the side of the low back (abdominal oblique muscles) and rib area (latissimus and serratus muscles). C ome slightly out of this stretch and continue to rotate as far as your back allows, dropping onto your lead elbow. From this point, reach back and over your head to stretch your abdominal region and hips. At any time, if you notice any pain or discomfort performing any stretch or exercise, please seek the help of a qualified medical professional.

Photographs courtesy of Tom McGee of b-Stretched

are all important muscle groups to focus on. This is where injuries have the most potential to form through the over use of these muscles and by not giving them the attention they need when it comes to recovery. Stretching is an essential key when it comes to recovery and should be a part of every athlete’s recovery and maintenance program. Athletes’ muscles are under an immense amount of load during the off-season with high-intensity training, learning new jumps and gaining strength, which must be paired with recovery. Yet, high performance athletes don’t have a lot of down time. As a result, muscle recovery needs to be incorporated into daily warm-up and cool-down programs.

13


WORKOUT

Strength-based Exercises to Improve the Precision and Positions of Your Single and Double Axels

As the competitive season gets started, we want to share with you some great exercises to help you with your axel or double axel. These progressions will help you do your walk throughs with precision and help strengthen the take off position, activating the glute muscles and stabilizers. figureskaterfitnessmag.com


FITNESS INSIDER WORKOUTS

Single leg reverse squat + jump to in-air position Start on one foot and go into a reverse squat with the knee tracking to the back of the heel. From the low position, hop up into the in air position. Repeat 10-15 reps each side.

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

15


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

Axel Progressions Start by walking through the 6 step progressions. After a solid walk through, try the axel by progressing from a waltz jump into a backspin. Once comfortable over the skating side, slowly add more rotation.

16


FITNESS INSIDER WORKOUTS

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

17


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

Single leg skip with weight Hold a weight in your hands standing on one foot. Reach your free leg back and follow through maintaining a slight press forward with the shoulders. Repeat 10-15 reps each side for 3 sets.

18


FITNESS INSIDER WORKOUTS

Overhead weighted lunge Hold the weight overhead with locked elbows on one foot. Lunge forward and return back to the starting position. Make sure you use a weight appropriate for your level as this exercise requires upper body stability. Do 10-15 reps on each side for 3 sets.

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

19


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

In air position calf raises Starting on your jump direction back spin foot with the leg crossed in front, lift up your heel and cross the ankles tight. Repeat for 15 reps on one side and then switch to the other foot with a cross behind. Do 3 sets.

20


FITNESS INSIDER WORKOUTS

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

21


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

Box step up to transfer Start with one foot stepping up on the box. Hold this position to feel the take off on the axel lift. Then step up on the box and turn to the backspin position. Make sure you choose a box height appropriate to your size. Do 10 walk-throughs on your skating side.

22


FITNESS INSIDER WORKOUTS

Bosu lunge to follow through Starting on the bosu with one leg reaching back in a curtsey lunge, step up on the bosu to simulate the follow through with the arms drawing through. Coordinate the movements as if you are taking off on the jump. Do 10-15 reps on each side to be balanced. Go for 3 sets.

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

23


TRAIN WITH US. info@flexafit.com online.flexafit.com


INJURY

PREVENTION Staying injury free so that you can skate your best competition program takes a ton of support, from well-maintained boots and blades to training with a Certified Flexafit Trainer. Find out more about both here… figureskaterfitnessmag.com


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

GREAT SKATE

How to know if your skating equipment is competition ready by Patti Larkin, C.O. (R.), C.Ped.

W

hen I was a competitive skater, I had an equipment problem I will never forget. As I was stepping onto the ice for the warm-up at a competition I heard my blade make a clicking sound and realized a few of the screws holding it onto my boot were loose. After the initial panic, I was fortunate to find someone to repair it right away, but it was at the cost 26

of my warm-up. My story and others like, skates falling apart right before a competition or bootlaces breaking during the program, aren’t new but they can be prevented with a little forethought and planning. Most competitive athletes know which competitions they will participate in during the upcoming season and when each competition will be held. So scheduling to replace


INJURY PREVENTION

and/or review your skating equipment before the competition season is easy. It’s also beneficial as it can reduce the risk of equipment malfunctions and potential injury.

If your boots lack adequate support, your joints and muscles must work harder to compensate for the lack of support. Since skaters increase their frequency and intensity of on-ice training in the weeks leading up to a competition, you’ll be putting additional stress and strain on already well-worn boots. This can cause foot and ankle pain, fractures, tendonitis and other injuries.

WHEN TO UPDATE YOUR EQUIPMENT Timeline one: Purchasing a new pair of skates immediately following the competition season is ideal. So if your season runs from October to January, make a note on your calendar to go boots shopping in early February. This way your equipment is in great condition, fits properly and provides you with the support your need for the upcoming training season. Timeline two: Mark your calendar to return to the skate shop to be evaluated and/or fit with a new pair of skates prior to competition season. This should typically be in August, but if not simply make a note to have a skatescheck six to eight weeks before the start of the competition season. This will give you plenty of time to break in your new skates, while your existing pair will hopefully still be in good enough condition to be your back-up pair.

WHEN TO USE YOUR EXISTING BOOTS AND BLADES While growing and developing skaters typically outgrow their skates before they wear them out, not everyone needs to invest in two pairs of skates each season. That said, growth spurts are inevitable and can be hard to predict so parents should anticipate replacing their child’s skates before competition season, especially if the child no longer has growing room in the boots. Competitive adult athletes may not need to buy two sets of boots unless they are training intensively and several times a week. Routinely checking that your equipment has adequate support and the blades are still in great working order is necessary and should be performed before and after the competition season. Have your blades sharpened by a qualified professional figure skate sharpener throughout the training season and figureskaterfitnessmag.com

Photograph courtesy of Patti Larkin

THE IMPACT OF SKATING IN WORN OUT BOOTS

The laces on this skater’s boots broke during his Olympic program.

re-sharpened closer to competition time is always a good decision. Your sharpening technician can help you create a sharpening schedule based on your competitive needs to help you be prepared. They can also inspect the life of your blades and provide a timeline for your blade replacement.

SKATES MAINTENANCE PAYS OFF Know that the boots you purchased and trained in for months prior to the competition season may not be in optimal condition to compete in. So spend some time planning your equipment purchases and monitoring your boots’ and blades’ wear and tear. Remember, your equipment should be in the best working order when it counts the most, during your competition programs.

ALWAYS BE PREPARED 1

eep at least two pair of laces on hand and change K your laces regularly. If the laces are frayed, discoloured or thin, it’s time to change them.

2

W aterproof your leather outsoles regularly. Excessive water can seep into the leather, loosening the blade screws and warping the sole of the boot.

3

K eep a screwdriver that works with the blade screws in your skate bag. Routinely tightening your screws can ensure your blades are secure.

4

I nspect your skate hooks and eyelets and have them repaired if they look bent or ready to rip.

5

on’t leave your skates in the car. Extreme temperaD tures can affect the fit and function of the boot. 27


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

Coach Credit

Why Flexafit’s new Level 1 Coach Certification course is a must for coaching excellence, on and off the ice excellence by Adriana Ermter

T

his year, Flexafit launched its first Level 1 Coach Certification for all levels of figure skating coaches. The specialized three-day course focuses on injury prevention and enhancing athlete performance by providing measurable and cutting-edge training tools and techniques to safely advance athletes’ skills on and off the ice. Accessible in person and online, the course covers anatomy and alignment specific to figure skating, fitness essentials for young athletes, sport-specific movement patterns and off-ice jump techniques. In addition, coaches learn how to measure athletic success through fitness assessments and program planning, while learning age-appropriate baselines for recreational, competitive and high performance athletes. Here, Signe Ronka, NCCP III Coach and the founder of Flexafit, Figure Skater Fitness and the Level 1 Coach Certification shares more. 28

Why did you create the certification course? “To provide coaches with an introductory, educational course about the fitness and off-ice jump fundamentals based on the FLEXAFIT® methodology. Coaches can then take these skills and use them with their athletes. It’s the initial step in a progression-based approach to training skaters from the ground up.”

Can anyone sign up?

“Anyone who meets two of three requirements—is a coach, a personal trainer and/or a former figure skater capable of landing an Axel—can participate. The threeday course is offered four times a year. To register or find more information about the course, coaches can go to online.flexafit.com/certification.”

How is this training unique?

“As of now, there are no off-ice certification courses


INJURY PREVENTION

other than those offered as part of existing coach courses. Ours goes in-depth on the fundamentals and exercises best performed for figure skaters at their various stages of development. It gives coaches an edge in their off-ice training. Many are teaching off-ice now, which makes it crucial to have a sport-science background to help skaters prevent injuries and to build on their strengths. This course teaches a strategic approach towards off-ice training and to incorporate injury prevention methods of training.”

What expertise do you bring to the course?

“As former international-level skater and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, I have spent over 15 years researching and testing what works and what doesn’t. This insight, complete with a results-proven program empowers coaches to train their skaters effectively and safely. The course is interactive and empowers coaches to test all of the exercises themselves.”

How will athletes benefit?

“Their coaches will be able to guide them properly, especially those at the grass-roots level, by building on the foundations necessary for successful office training. In the long run, this will help prevent injuries, while giving skaters a base of understanding to why off-ice training is critical to their overall performance.”

What has been the impact so far?

“It has provided a solid and comprehensive foundation for understanding how to develop athletes of all ages and abilities. For coaches struggling to find clarity behind fitness myths and fads, it highlights the exercises that actually benefit their skaters’ fitness.”

What is the future of the course?

“In one year, we will launch the Flexafit Level 2 Certification course. Coaches want to help their skaters improve and to have consistent results both on and off the ice. I’m passionate about fitness and figure skating and want skaters to be healthy and able to train and perform in the sport for the long term.”

Photographs from the video shoot for the Flexafit Level 1 Coach Certification

HERE’S WHAT NEWLY CERTIFIED FLEXAFIT LEVEL 1 COACHES HAVE TO SAY… ”Our athletes, who are training off-ice regularly, have improved at almost double the rate as other athletes. It has helped our skaters improve by leaps and bounds!” —Susan Marais and Lejeanne Hennessy, South Africa,

“I really appreciated the science and research-based approach that was incorporated into the teaching. Signe broke complex ideas down into simple building blocks that I will be able to pass along to my students. Her depth of knowledge and passion for developing every age and ability of skater in a safe environment with injury prevention in mind is astounding. I 100 per cent recommend the Level 1 Flexafit Certification course.” —Allly, Canada

“My previous experience is that off-ice training is a general fitness class. The Flexafit Level 1 Certification course was very structured and straightforward. The exercises are super useful. Above all, the technical knowledge that Signe provides is rare. I wish I had had this type of training when I was skating.” —Liz, United Kingdom

What do you hope for the course and it’s participants?

“To educate coaches around the world, so that as the sport advances technically, we can develop stronger, more efficient athletes safely. Our goal is to give skaters the opportunity to be successful at whatever level they choose. When coaches share our training tools for success their athletes will be able to say, ‘I am proud of myself and my accomplishments and for doing everything possible to achieve my goals.’” Photography courtesy of Terence Babb, Dog Does Tricks

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

29


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

MEET JULIA POLOWY, the Winner of Figure Skater Fitness magazine’s First Cover Competition 30


Photograph by PostMedia Network courtesy of Julia Polowy

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

We asked and hundreds of you, our readers, entered our Instagram contest by sharing what it means to be a figure skater. Based on her athleticism, commitment to and love of the sport, this 21 year old from Porcupine, Ontario, Canada won! by Adriana Ermter figureskaterfitnessmag.com

31


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

Photography by Olivier Brajon courtesy of Julia Polowy

“Figure skating is the best sport, because it is one of the few sports in the world that combines both athleticism and artistry. So being on the cover of Figure Skater Fitness magazine is an amazing honour! I hope to inspire upcoming skaters about the different paths I have taken in the world of figure skating.” “To be a well-rounded figure skater you need to be able to jump, spin and perform footwork, as well as tell a story through your movement. This is the part I love the most! You have the power to captivate an audience by bringing them into your performance emotionally, while completing extremely difficult athletic movements on a single thin blade. There is also the unique and unmatched experience of being able to glide with grace and freedom across the ice at a fast speed.”

MEET JULIA What is your figure skating history? “At 18 months, I started skating on the outdoor rink my father made in our backyard every winter. My twin brother, Victor, and I would spend hours in -30C weather trying new tricks and jumps or playing hockey. It is still hard to believe that I’m now a five-time Skate Canada Gold Medalist, as well as a professional figure skater performing in the European touring show, Holiday on Ice.” 32

Who inspired you to skate? “My parents, Darlene and Mike Polowy. My father was a Junior-level hockey player and my mother was a show skater with the Ice Capades. Being from a small Northern Ontario community everyone skates, so I quickly discovered my love for it.”

HOW JULIA TRAINS Describe your off-ice training: “When I was younger, I participated in track and field, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, swimming, basketball and dance. Now, I try to do a gym workout four days a week. I stretch or practice yoga every day as it improves my mobility and flexibility, which translate onto the ice as my overall extension and lines are enhanced.

What are your warm-up and cool-down exercises? “My warm-up routine consists of a ten-minute run, two sets of four dynamic exercises (side shuffle, high knee crossover, karaoke, forward and backward running), a few slower dynamic stretching exercises (inch worms, lunge with elbow to floor, sumo squats with toe touch stretch) and a short session of yoga. I stretch my splits


IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Photograph by ENCY Images courtesy of Julia Polowy

I noticed a big difference in my range of motion after implementing stretching and yoga in my workout.

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

33


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

to keep up my flexibility. My cool down is similar with a slower jog and I hold my stretches for a longer period of time to increase flexibility.”

HER MENTAL & NUTRITION APPROACH

How has off-ice training impacted your skating?

What do you do to stay mentally strong?

“I owe all the credit to my off-ice dance experience for my graceful movement and body awareness on the ice.”

What has been your biggest challenge? “Transitioning from a singles skater into a synchronized skater. Having to skate beside 15 other girls while matching our edges and movements perfectly was a huge change from only being concerned about my own performance.”

What is your favourite element to perform? “Hydroblading! Not many skaters do this in programs and it looks impressive. The trick is to trust yourself and lean into the circle.”

How do you prevent injury? “Stretching before and after every activity.”

34

“As a competitive skater, I stayed positive, focused, relaxed and smiled. One of my coaches, Andrew Wiseman, noticed that I would become quiet and withdrawn on competition days though, which was unusual for me. He saw that I skated better when I was chatting in the change room, dancing to my favourite song for warm-up and had a smile on my face. He suggested that approach instead and it worked.”

What snacks do you pack? “Made Good minis or bars. They have different flavours and are chewy, healthy and delicious. My favourite is the Mixed Berry.”

How much water do you drink each day? “I keep a water bottle with me at all times. Sometimes it is difficult to stay hydrated during a three-show day, but I feel tired and lethargic if I don’t. I try to drink eight cups of water a day.”


IN THE SPOTLIGHT

There is no limitation to creativity with this sport; the possibilities are endless JULIA’S GOALS & ADVICE Share your goals: “I will be skating in the new production of Holiday on Ice this October. I have been experimenting with on-ice acrobatics, so I want to explore a style of skating where you are able to touch the ice with your hands and do choreographed sliding and floor work. I have experimented with elbow, shoulder and head stands on the ice with my skates on.”

The best advice you’ve received was from…? “My parents. They instilled the mentality that being a figure skater is not about scoring better than other skaters and winning competitions, it is about improving your own skating and being the best you can be on any given day.” “Being a figure skater is extremely rewarding. It provides the opportunity to develop life skills, such as learning how to be independent, to have self-discipline, a consistent work ethic, self-determination and to deal with ups and downs. With these rewards come many long hours of hard work with on ice practice and lessons and off ice training. Prepare yourself for the hard work ahead, but remember to enjoy the journey. My skating journey has been an unpredictable roller coaster, but I could not be happier with how my career has turned out! You never know where life will take you.” figureskaterfitnessmag.com

Photograph by ENCY Images courtesy of Julia Polowy

Your words of wisdom:

35


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

Three additional athletes also made our Cover Contest’s cut, as inspiring and talented runners up.

Ana Ramirez Larios

Vienna Vidinovski

Nicole Brennan 36


IN THE SPOTLIGHT

MEET 19-YEAR-OLD ANA RAMIREZ LARIOS from Mexico City, Mexico When did you start figure skating? “When I was 14 years old. I couldn’t even stand on the ice and now, I am at the Novice level. From the first moment I fell completely in love with the speed, the cold feeling, how you slide and what, I think, feels like flying. My two favourite skaters Donovan Carrillo and Javier Fernandez are my inspiration, because they are proof that with work, dedication and passion, anything is possible.”

Why do you skate? “It makes me a better person. I have a motivation to get up every day, when I am sad or have problems skating is always there for me. I can express myself through each edge, jump or spin and it has made me who I am now.”

How do you train? “I warm-up by moving my body from my head to the ankles to help prevent injuries. I do cardio, like burpees, mountain climbers and dance to increase my heart rate, which helps for my competitive programs. I use office training to work on jumps, pinwheels and more for muscle memory. Flexibility is my favourite part because I love to stretch and it helps me to improve the sparrow and spin positions on the ice and it helps prevent injuries.”

What do you love most about skating? “My favourite part is feeling the edges on the ice. There are infinite combinations to practice that can always be more challenging or complex, like trying to make them always look better, bigger and fluid. I like those that include toe picks or brackets; they feel like the equivalent to dancing.”

How do you overcome challenges? “There is a phrase I tell myself, ‘what is hard for you today will one day be your warm-up.’ It helps because I am a very nervous person, especially at competitions, but the moment I touch the ice somehow these feelings disappear.” “After planning and analyzing my goals, the first person I talk to is my coach since he, together with the team, will help me achieve my goals. He creates specific training, he talks to me about this plan and if we are in agreement and then, we fulfill it together. My parents are also an important part in these decisions.”

What is your dream? “My biggest dream is to represent Mexico at a Grand Prix and at a Four Continents. I want to go to university and then join Revolution on Ice alongside Javier Fernandez or to skate in the New York Theater on Ice.”

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

Photography courtesy of Ana Ramirez Larios

Who supports you with your goals?

37


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

the artistry combined with the physical strength to land jumps and spins.”

How do you train? “I train off-ice four to five days a week with stretch, dance, ballet, fitness, spin and jump classes. Each class is important for different parts of my skating. I have dance and ballet for the artistry and stretch for my field moves and spins. Jump and spin class on dry land focuses on positions and rotations and fitness for building strength and muscle in my legs and core. On the ice, I do two-foot and one-foot scullies to get my knees warmed up and some Russian stroking.”

Which training has helped you develop the most? “My fitness training has had the most impact on my ice training. Building strength in my legs has really helped me to be able to improve on the height of my jumps and my core strength to be able to rotate and squeeze tight, as well as perform different variations of my jumps by increasing the difficulty level with arm positions.”

What are you mastering now? “My Double Axel, it has been the most challenging element for me. I think I thought it would come as easily as my other doubles. I am getting closer every day and my goal is to land it before my 10th birthday! It’s also my first year competing in Pre-Novice, I am probably one of the youngest, so I hope to get a good enough score to qualify for Challenge in Regina.” Photography courtesy of Vienna Vidinovski

MEET 9-YEAR-OLD VIENNA VIDINOVSKI from Markham, Ontario, Canada What is your figure skating story? “I learned to skate when I was 4 years old. I loved the ice so much the only thing that would get me off was the sign that the Zamboni was coming on after my learn-toskate sessions. My coach asked my parents if we would consider transitioning into figure skating. She told us about Mark Batka, a competitive coach and I’ve been with him since I was six and a half years old. Now, I’m training in Ladies Pre Novice.”

What does figure skating feel like? “I feel like I am flying when I skate! Then, when I land a jump for the first time it’s such an indescribable feeling of accomplishment.”

Why is it the best sport? “It tests my strength. Falling teaches me to get back up and not give up and so much mental toughness is needed. It’s probably one of the hardest sports, because I train 90 per cent of the time and compete only 10 per cent of the time. I also like the grace and elegance of 38

How do you create positivity and mental strength? “It’s a combination of good habits. I go to bed early, by 9:30pm every night. I get to stay up a little later on Saturdays though, because I don’t skate on Sundays. I try not to focus on what others are doing and where they are progressing. My competition right now is myself. If I land a jump, I try to make it bigger and faster. I also have a great group of friends at the rink and my coach makes training fun for us by putting a fun spin on drills or exercises.”

Never have you ever… “Skated to an emotional song. Most of my programs have been upbeat and fun. I think one day I would like to try a program that is slower and a little more serious. I love the song “Hallelujah” by Pentatonix.”

Who is your favourite skater? “Alexandra Trusova. She was the first female figure skater to land a quad and I admire her strength and drive. She is also so poised regardless of whether she had a good or a bad skate. I admire that.”

What would you say to encourage other kids to skate? “It will challenge you in many ways, but if you are anything like me and love a challenge, you will be a skater for life!”


IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Photography courtesy of Nicole Brennan

MEET 10-YEAR-OLD NICOLE BRENNAN from Saltcoats, Scotland, UK Why did you start skating? “My mum wanted me to try a new sport, so we went to a beginners skating class and I loved it! I started when I was 4 and a half years old. Now, I compete at Basic Novice level. I like to try new jumps and challenge myself. I think jumps are fun!”

How do you stay mentally strong and focused? “During competitions, I like to colour, chat and play games until it’s time to go for my warm-up and then, I visualize myself doing all of my elements correctly.”

What is your favourite snack? “I like to snack on candy-floss-flavoured grapes and cereal bars.”

How do you train?

What are your goals?

“I do HIIT training and stretching classes, along with practicing off-ice jumps and spins. These keep me fit and strong. The off-ice training has helped my jumps the most. I warm up and cool down before and after training to prevent injuries and I try to do field moves at the end of each session so my muscles can calm down after jumping. I also like to jog and do lunges before going on the ice and I like to walk and stretch afterwards.”

“For this year, to get my Double Axel and to get a good score at the British Championship. One day, I would love to go to the Olympics like my coach Suzanne. I like to tell my mum about my goals, because she always asks me. My mum is my biggest supporter, she takes me to all my training and competitions, designs my dresses and organizes everything!”

figureskaterfitnessmag.com

39


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

TRAIN THE MIND

Create a Competitive Mindset Three mental-training tools to control your nerves and feel performance ready by Rebekah Dixon

W

hile the world has been at a stand still due to the ongoing pandemic, athletes have endured their own challenges. With this has come new and innovative ways to maintain and build skills. Lack of ice time has led to utilizing off-ice training like never before. Clubs and Federations found ways to engage athletes and keep them motivated. Video submissions, competition hubs and in-person competitions with strict COVID protocols have helped build athletes’ resiliency. Whether you have not yet competed, have competed virtually or as part of a hub or have had the rare chance 40

to compete live, your nerves may feel heightened, as you have had less experience dealing with them. Competition nerves are directly connected to competition readiness. Typically, the more prepared you are the less nerves you experience, so it’s fair to say you may be feeling less prepared now than you have ever felt at this time in your season. Know that you are not alone. Luckily, there are three mental training strategies you can use that will set you up for success for your first competitions of the season. These training tools can help you to control your nerves and feel competition ready.


TRAIN THE MIND

1. CONSISTENCY TRACKING Tracking the consistency of your jumps in your program run-throughs each day can provide you with clear insight. Track whether you landed, fell or popped each jump after practice. Over time this data will show you the facts about your consistency on each jump and will come in handy when you need to refute any negative self-messaging you may tell yourself as each competition approaches. The unconscious mind feels the stress of competition and it doesn’t want you to experience that so its default is to communicate to you that you aren’t prepared in hopes that you will listen and not compete. However, pulling out of the competition is not the answer. The difficulty arises when you remind yourself of all of your good practices, as you may find yourself recalling the mistakes as opposed to the wins. This is because negative experiences stick in our minds. In this case, you can use your consistency tracking to disprove the negative voice. Your mind cannot deny the facts, while the tracker can also help you set realistic, achievable goals for each performance.

2. SETTING REALISTIC, ACHIEVABLE GOALS: Once you are clear on how consistent each element is in the program, you can set appropriate goals. Realistic, achievable goals are ones that are being achieved in the program in practice and can be met in competition. Remember, they will change as you progress through the season. Expect your program goals to change as your season progresses and you gain more competition experience. If you are disappointed with how you have been training, you have two options. You can either simplify your objectives or simplify your program content. a. Simplifying your goals means you set ones that meet you where you are in your training right now, not where you want to be at the peak of the season. Peak season goals will come. The current goals might be less specific like, “go for all the jumps” or “rotate the ___________ jump”. As the season progresses, upgrade it to, “to land the ___________ jump clean”. b. Simplifying your content means adjusting elements to reflect consistency and optimize points. Athletes often refer to this as “dumbing down their program,” but that sounds negative. The plan for the season may be to add the triple or double, but for now you will do a big double or single. See the competitive season as a marathon not a sprint. Meet yourself where you are right now, set the appropriate goals and you will be pleased with the outcome.

3. FOCUS ON BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION: The competitive season is like a marathon. Your goal is to peak at your most important competition. That means your first competition of the season is going to look very different and should also carry different expectations than your peak competition. Consider your first compefigureskaterfitnessmag.com

tition of the season an opportunity to lay down a strong foundation. In the case of building a house, a solid foundation is required to guarantee the structure will withstand. A strong foundational performance is different for every skater, however aim to set goals like “going for all the jumps” or “jumping and rotating.” This way, whether you land or fall, your first attempt in competition is now out of the way and you can begin to raise the bar for the next time. Your foundation needs to be strong so that you can continue to build upon it. Start planning your season by asking yourself these questions: a. At what competition do I want to peak? b. What are my goals for my peak competition? c. How many months are before my peak competition? d. How many competitions are there before then? e. Where am I now in my training? f. What are realistic/achievable goals for this next competition? Once you have answered these questions you can map out a plan that allows you to celebrate the micro-wins on the way to the big achievements. Start your season off on the right foot by using these three training tools to overcome any apprehension you may be experiencing. Put your performance into perspective and know it is a privilege to even have the opportunity to compete at this time. Enjoy the experience and remember why you love to skate! Mind-Body Performance Coaching

Rebekah Dixon

mindbodyperform@gmail.com

Consistency Tracker * List the jumps in order of the program across the top (J1-J6) * Evaluate each jump: L=land, F=fall, P=pop

Date:

Eval:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

L, F, P L, F, P

L, F, P

L, F, P

L, F, P L, F, P L, F, P L, F, P L, F, P

‘Keep Your Brain in the Game’

hHp://www.rebekahdixon.ca

41


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

NUTRITION INSIDER

Sip, Sipping Away Where water goes, energy flows by Ashley Leone

W

ater intake is top of mind for athletes, as even one per cent levels of dehydration are known to affect performance. Hydration is therefore a first-line nutrition change many skaters can focus on to achieve a training and competitive edge. 42

Even so, like most athletes, you undoubtedly wonder if you are drinking enough from time to time. Being an accomplished skater requires attention to detail and your hydration is no different.


NUTRITION INSIDER

IMPORTANCE OF HYDRATION Adequate hydration pays dividends to your activity both on and off the ice. Proper hydration is beneficial to short term memory, attention and reaction time, particularly and not surprisingly, when you are moderately or severely dehydrated. A 2009 study published in Appetite magazine found that when provided with the opportunity to drink water to quench thirst 20 minutes before a cognitive task, children significantly improved recall compared to those who did not drink water. Similarly, a 2013 study in adults found that with adequate hydration reaction time improved by 14 per cent. Water’s positive effects on cognition are good news for figure skaters who rely on recall and reaction time to skate smoothly through their programs.

ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH? Water needs are higher both in hot and cold conditions compared to moderate temperatures. You also need more fluid when it is humid both indoors and outside. Individual factors include your body size and sweat rate and exercise type, along with the duration and intensity of the activities you are participating in. A smaller athlete however, will likely need less water than a larger athlete when completing the same activity in the same environment. If you would like to fine-tune your hydration during exercise take note of the difference in your weight before and after you work out. If you gain weight, you are drinking too much. If you lose more than two per cent of your body weight, you are not drinking enough. Interestingly, a 2019 study out of Arizona State University found athletes tend to drink enough fluids while exercising, but they do not replenish fluids sufficiently for the rest of the day. They found that chronic hydration status was impaired in 50 per cent of student-athletes. So while you may find it easy to remember to drink water rinkside, be sure to prioritize taking regular sips of water throughout the day as well.

may be dry if you have not urinated or have only produced a small amount of dark-coloured urine. During exercise Sip fluid during your activity. Avoid gaining weight, immediately after exercise If you lose weight, drink 2 to 3 cups for every pound of weight lost (or 500-750 ml for every 0.5 kg).

HYDRATION CHOICES While water is best, you can meet your total fluid needs from various foods and beverages. Milk, tea, soup, juice, frozen treats and even fruit can all add up to help you meet your daily fluid goals. Many athletes wonder whether they need to use sports drinks. While sports drinks can help encourage young athletes to drink, for the most part, reserve them for intense exercise sessions that last longer than 60 to 90 minutes. This season stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day and be mindful about your fluids around practice and competition. Prioritize water but know that other liquids and food also count towards your daily requirements. Crush your fluid needs to step up your skating performance and fuel your health.

DOS AND DON’TS Do: Drink to thirst. Choose water instead of soda and juice. Drink often, especially before, during and after exercise. Don’t: O verdo it. Severe overhydration can be as dangerous as underhydration. Use sports drinks for exercise sessions lasting less than an hour. Forget to take one or two large water bottles to practice.

WHEN TO HYDRATE On average, men need about 14 cups of water a day and women require about 9 cups. However, personal needs will vary depending on both outside factors and aspects that are individual to you as an athlete. Be sure to hydrate regularly, sipping water throughout the day. The nutrition experts from the Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine have created the following handy guide for hydrating around exercise. Use the recommendations to craft your hydration plan. 4 hours before exercise Drink 1 to 2 cups of fluid. 2 hours or less before exercise Drink ½ to 1-½ cups of fluid if you are dehydrated. You figureskaterfitnessmag.com

FUN FACTS Water accounts for about 50-70 per cent of our body weight. O ne serving of fruit provides approximately 150-200 ml of water (or about ½ cup to ¾ cup). Y our body can only process roughly 1 litre of water each hour, so space your water throughout the day rather than having it all at once. I f you are exercising in the heat, blend ice and water together and pour the blended drink into your water bottle. An icy beverage cools you better than water alone and can help you perform better and avoid heat-related sickness.

43


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

STYLE

Hand Health

Soap, it’s the number one product in your travel kit, but should you pack liquid or solid for maximum impact? by Adriana Ermter

N

ow that you’re travelling to and from competitions, extra care with your hand health is key. Sure, you’re going to wash them every time you come home or enter the gym, ice rink or your hotel room and everywhere in between. Yet it does make us wonder if packing a liquid or a bar soap is better or if soap is just soap and washing up with it is all that really matters.

Soapy Trends

Since 2020, bar soaps have been the favourite. The Kline Group’s Cosmetics & Toiletries USA reported a surge in their popularity with a record sales growth of 6.5 per cent in 2020. The report attributes this to the increased 44

need for hand and body hygiene during the 2019-to-current COVID-19 global pandemic. “Bar soaps were a wonderful luxury during self-quarantine, as well as now,” affirms Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, the founders of Malin+Goetz, a beauty company based in New York City. The U.S-based, 17-year-old cult brand is renowned globally for both it’s bar and liquid soaps amongst other skincare offerings. “A good bar soap is the minimalist’s dream,” continue Malin and Goetz. “It does not take up a lot of space when being used…and they last practically forever, so they offer the greatest luxury of all, time.” Time, which since early 2019, has often felt like an eternity with everyone confined indoors focusing on constantly, consistently lathering, rinsing and repeating their hand washing routine.


STYLE

Sudsy Dirt-busters

While bar and liquid soaps are certainly different in appearance, they are however, more similar than you’d think, at least when it comes to their formulations. “Surfactants or surface active agents are a key ingredient in both bar soap and washes,” explains Malin and Goetz. “Surfactants act like a magnet attracting water to one side and dirt, oil and debris to the other. They cleanse the skin of daily dirt and grime.”

Formula Facts

Additionally, both bar and liquid versions can contain olive, coconut, palm kernel, soy palm, castor, apricot, avocado, almond, jojoba, hemp, nut or seed oils, to name a few, to reduce bacteria and create the bubbles that appear when you lather up. Hydrating ingredients such as vitamin E and cocoa, mango or shea butters are also often included to provide moisture to the skin. Water and glycerin, albeit liquid glycerin for liquid soaps, and fragrance, essential oils and colour can also be found in each options’ formulas. The core difference between the two are that bar soaps are typically made from animal fat or vegetable oils and then mixed with an alkali, while liquid soaps tend to be predominantly petroleum based and created with emulsifying agents and stabilizers to keep their ingredients from separating in the bottle.

Paper or Plastic

Clearly, when it comes to the packaging debate, bar soaps come out on top. That said, favourites such as Dove, Irish Spring, Cerave, Avène and Schmidt’s are sold in additional packaging like cardboard boxes, while brands with liquid options such as Molton Brown, Lothantique and The Unscented Company use recyclable, glass dispensers. Many more brands, inclusive of Dial, L’Occitane en Provence and CleanCult have reduced their plastic waste by creating biodegradable pouches, tubs and aluminum containers replete with their soapy formulas, empowering consumers to refill their existing dispensers. Still, even if you do opt for a refill, bar soaps still last longer. “You don’t have to replenish them as often as a gel cleanser,” affirms Malin and Goetz. “They’re extremely environmentally responsible. No plastic to chuck in to the recycling bin hoping it finds its way to a recycling center. So they save space at home and on the planet. The other nice thing about a bar soap is that you know exactly how much you have left. No frustration pumping a bottle trying to squeeze out the last bit of gel.”

Custom Creations

Yet contrary to myth, both are equally efficient and safe at eliminating dirt, debris, germs and bacteria. “It’s all about the lather,” explains Dr. Nowell Solish, a cosmetic dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, the Director of Dermatologic Surgery at the University of Toronto and founder of his eponymous clinic in Toronto. “When you work up a lather you spend more time lifting up the dirt and micro-organisms, cleaning away the oil and dead skin cells that sticks to the skin, removing the bacteria growing on it and any odours that have formed. The oil-based portion of a soap formulation attracts the membranes that contain viruses and kills them. Then the water washes it all down the drain.” Just don’t use a foam-based liquid, warns Dr. Solish. Their lack of lather directly correlates to their inability to thoroughly clean.

Yes, there are loads of fresh, sporty and clean-scented hand and body washes and bar soaps to choose from. Yet, when you want to curate the way you smell, shower gels take the lead. Designer fragrance houses and cult beauty brands, such as Acqua di Parma, Glossier, Bath & Body Works and Malin+Goetz can transform your bathroom into a spa and get you squeaky clean all at the same time. But what they truly specialize in is their ability to personalize your wash routine. Capitalizing on your mood and how you want to express yourself that day, liquid washes can be used in replace of or to build upon a signature scent. Tapping into your senses and having a fragrance linger on the skin is a benefit that bar soaps just can’t replicate. “We like that bar soap literally washes itself clean when you rinse it under water,” explains Malin and Goetz. “But we also love a multi-purpose product, like our washes. They can be used to both cleanse and bathe, and as a bonus, run the pump under the faucet for an aromatic foaming bath.”

Environmentally Friendly

And The Winner Is…

Myth Busters

According to a 2019 study by the Institute of Environmental Engineering, more than 40 per cent of consumers buying skincare products are concerned about environmental factors. Additionally, the study notes that liquid soaps leave a 25 per cent larger carbon footprint than bar soaps. “Regardless of whether they’re dermatologist approved or otherwise, most liquid soaps are more costly on the environment,” adds Dr. Solish. “Bar soaps win, hands over feet, plus they’re usually inexpensive and are simply wrapped in paper, while liquid soaps are frequently contained in plastic, pump-based containers.”

“As long as you’re thoroughly washing your hands every time you come inside from being outdoors or in the car or wherever, and you’re lathering up for a solid minute before rinsing off, you can use either product,” says Dr. Solish, affirming that your soap choice boils down to personal preference. “We can’t pick a favourite,” Malin and Goetz agree. “The key differences between hand and body washes and bar soaps are the textures, performance and sensorial experience due to the unique chemical makeup.” Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide.


FIGURE SKATER FITNESS

FALL 2021

SKATERS CORNER

Words of Wisdom You can skate with confidence this competition season when you apply the expert advice from these fitness and mental performance coaches by Adriana Ermter

“One of the things that was important for me when I was skating was to make sure I had a pre-skate routine. This routine consisted of having a pair of comfy headphones and a curated playlist featuring a mix of my favourite hype songs and chill songs. Then, with my headphones on, I’d run through my program, get my heart rate up with some warm-up exercises and later, find a good place to sit and take a few deep breaths to centre myself.” —Oliana, Figure Skating and Flexafit Coach

“Meet yourself where you are right now. Put your performance into perspective, set the appropriate goals and you will experience success. Enjoy the experience and remember why you love to skate!” —Rebekah Dixon, High Performance Mental Trainer

“When I used to get nervous, I would remind myself to look at the big picture and just enjoy being on the ice doing what I love, while sharing my talent and hard work with others.” — Taylor, Figure Skating and Flexafit Coach

“If you think you can’t, you won’t and if you think you can, you will. Decide YES you can! Believe in yourself, amplify your positivity and your brain will align with a supportive physical body. Choose your mind-body success! “ — Cynthia Roemer, NLP Coach & Time Line Therapy

46

“Fulfilling your goals and dreams takes a whole lot of effort. And effort requires tons of baby steps every single day. So when you change your mindset and think about each practice and competition as a baby step, it relieves pressure and allows you to do your best in the moment.” — Adriana Ermter, NCCP III Coach and Editorial Director, Figure Skater Fitness

“Visualization can help prepare you mentally for your competition! Visualizing the specific rink, the stands and every piece in your program can help prepare you for the best skate. Getting outside distractions out of your head prior to stepping on the ice will help you to be present for your skate and also focus on having the best skate.” — Sarah Lindsay, Figure Skating and Flexafit Coach


#figureskaterfitness

Lily Mckergow, 10 Troon,Scotland United Kingdom


$79.99

10% off with coupon code FSF10