TBTM #44: “Life on Tour: A Whole Other Sport”

Competing on the world tour is not a whole other level, it is a whole other sport.

You must change your training programme to be able to compete in different timezones and environments. Physiologically you become a different athlete. Your body clock is on world time, it has to be so you can beat jet lag.

You also have to get used to adapting, understanding and respecting the different cultures in the locations you compete in.

This is quite unlike domestic or regional competition where the differences are slight. The difference is across continents.

Then there is the attention you get from the international media and the fans. This is not your home town crowd support. This is the international audience that anticipates your arrival  and feels entitled to a piece of you because they buy the magazines and  the product lines you endorse. Rightly they do, because their purchases pay for your salary. This is money, this is the reason there is a world tour, you are part of the consumer product marketing and distribution chain. You are not the consumer, you are a marketer.

And of course being on the world tour means that you have to be a professional, at the national level where almost everyone is an amateur you can probably get away with not being 100% because the other guys are not preparing and performing at that level you need to be to have a sniff at the world tour.

You will need 100% control of your performance if you want to compete on tour and execute race strategy. Race strategy is the other thing that sets the tour apart from the amateur competition, everything is planned and has to be executed to the micron. There is science behind race strategy, managing your physiological resources to optimise the result based on what performance your body is capable of producing. Before the race starts, you already know when you are going to finish, it becomes a chess game to see what the other teams have planned.

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TBTM #43: “So You Wanna Be A Model?”

This video (link below) is a legit Q&A with agents from LA Models about how you really get into the industry as a model from open casting. Great job Allie! Exactly what kids need to know about getting started in modelling.

Do You Want To Be A Model?! – Allie Marie Evans

Follow the steps and advice in the video and you’ll be fine if you’ve got the talents.

Do note that legit agents know what they’re doing and will assess you on how you look in person, so don’t worry if you only have shitty photos because your friends are shitty photographers or are selfish people that give absolutely zero flarks about getting good shots of other people.

And importantly remember that legit agents do not charge you a cent for your portfolio if they select you, they will up front the costs of your development because they believe in you. Life Rule: “Don’t believe any compliments from anyone that wants you to give them money.”

For my dear mentees that really want to get in to the fashion industry, you already know I said it’s not going to be easy. The game is not in Singapore, so you really need to start with an international agency or label if you want a proper career. It’s easy now with the internet you can contact almost any agency directly.

You’ll get better opportunities and money being a small fish in the ocean, than being any sized fish in a puddle.

It’s ok if no one at home knows your work, in fact that is the dream, home is where you go for peace and quiet anonymity. You will appreciate this anonymity once you’ve got a career going.

Like I said I got lucky, my earlywork for LA Gear in my teens was a big reason I got signed when I started racing. I was the ready product then, mostly because I took the initiative to learn on the job early on, everything I know about portrait and scene photography (except for technical handling of specific camera models) was learned on the job from asking the photogs and production crew what they did and why they did it. Pros in the industry at that level are friendly people and willingly share their knowledge with you because if you know what needs to be done it also helps them get the results they want.

Just like in any career you have to pay your dues. And also be real about whether you are really gonna make it  and how long it’ll take you to get there. Between my first stage gig with LA Gear at fifteen and my first major exclusive label contract when I was racing, it was eight years of work in seasonal campaigns and shows, balancing school, sports and everything else at the same time.

It is not easy but it’s possible, if you have the required talents, and consistently work hard and smart enough for long enough.

TBTM #42: “Know Your Anatomy, Buying The Right Size Briefs”

I wrote this because boys asked questions about this issue and nobody bloody answers it.

Learning to buy the right undergarments for your comfort and mobility in sports is vital to your performance on races and matches. It begins with understanding your body.

Here is the closest thing I’ve found to an objectively academic clarification of why crotch space requirements differ from person to person (https://5sizes.wordpress.com/) (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES OF MALE ANATOMY. If you choose to read the articles on the page it is your choice. Don’t complain to me about being offended or your discomfort or insecurities from looking at pictures of penises.) on the issue of why it is hard for athletes to shop for underwear.

Because crotch space requirements differ from person to person even though the waist band is the same. The same model or waist size of trunks or briefs might fit and feel different for each user.

There is a  difference in crotch space between undergarments designed originally in US size cuts and Asian size cuts. That’s why I always ask the shop attendants if the original designs were made in US Size cuts, if the garment being sold was made in that original design or adapted for the Asian size. Even then most of the time they aren’t well trained enough to know the actual correct product information, so it’s always necessary to take out a sample of the garment in the size you intend to buy and check the crotch space to see if it’s adequate for your anatomy. Make sure there is enough room for your flaccid penis shaft to rest fully out and not suppressed in it’s natural resting length.

Crotch space is as or if not more important than waist size when picking underwear. There is nothing worse that having your schlong smooshed in tight undies all day.

TBTM #41: “Turning Pro and Staying Pro”

The secret to having a professional career in sportswear as a (model, designer and/or photogtapher) just as in other segments of the fashion industry is working with professionals from the actual professional scene.

1) Because you learn to be a proper pro.

2) Because you can trust the other guy to do a proper job.

3) Because you are expected to do a proper job and perform at the expected standards.

Note however that there is no proper professional scene for Sportswear in Singapore (just as in most other parts of the world outside the fashion capitals) so you have to travel mostly to Europe, the Americas and Japan for work. Sure it is not the most convenient situation, but the benefits are exponentially more rewarding because of this.

1) You get paid to travel and use the new product lines before anyone else knows about them.

2) You will be in a professional working environment when you’re on the job overseas or on location.

3) You enjoy anonymity and privacy when you get home because the man on the street is disconnected from the scene your work exists in.

TBTM #38: “Formed for Function”

As an endurance athlete, I live by Wilkes ratio, my training plan revolves around it as a standard for tracking progress.

As far as funtional capacity goes, I need to have an accurate measure of power and endurance.

In a race I might be carrying between up to 30-50kg in equipment 8km-20km between checkpoints on certain legs. Or typically half my body weight for up to 80-120km per day for 2-4days without sleep.

And as a matter of practical necessity we have to be prepared to carry loads up to twice our body weights for anything from a few hundred metres to a few km, because we might need to evacuate casualties and equipment. In real world experience this meant being 63kg and cradle and fireman carrying an 80kg  casualty over 1km from point of incident to heli medivac point.

In a sport that takes place mostly in the wilderness, we have to be prepared for anything. Helicopters (a.k.a. halos) are amazingly versatile but they need viable access points. Which means almost always having to move a casualty from point of incident to a viable pickup location usually a clearing, or in the case of a cliff or rock face extraction, moving high up enough along the rock face to a point where the tether line can be lowered safety without the halo smashing against the rocks.

Sometimes when people unfamiliar with multidisciplinary race sports tell me I don’t look like an endurance athlete, because in their minds an endurance athlete is a short skinny guy that runs 42.195km in a singlet and shorts, I have to remind them that athletes are built for function. That little dude in their imagination runs for 3 plus hours and carries next to nothing in additional weight on his person.

For Adventure Racing, I’m built to carry twice my weight, and run, climb, swim, bike and paddle upwards of 240 km over 2-4 days with on average a quarter of my body weight strapped to my back or slung around my body for most of that distance.

Now what does a person that can lift twice their bodyweight look like?

Now what does a person that can lift twice their body weight for a quarter mile look like?

Firstly, the basic marathoner dude runs next to naked in terms of load carry and doesn’t use his arms as primary drivers for any part of the race. So of course he is built smaller and less developed in the upper body.

Secondly, the marathoner only runs 42.195 km, while in AR we do at least 5 times that distance and need to use our entire body during a race because we climb, swim and row as well. Hence we need higher capacity for power for efficacy and fibre strand durability. Form for function this means building more muscle mass, more balanced development globally in the upper and lower body and greater bone density. In lay person terms, we are built literally like movie soldiers or comic book super heroes.

TBTM #35: “Context Creates Winners”

I always knew my place as a role player in the teams to make up the points across the finish line.

I was never the fastest or the strongest at any particular specialisation, but usually near effortlessly above average at anything I did. I always knew my place as the specialist of the team at being a generalist. The utility player that can fit in anywhere without changing the team chemistry.

Eventually when I found my place in Adventure Racing where for the first time I learnt that I had an untapped specialisation not really noticed in my past sporting endeavours, “Endurance”.

I was never the fastest in the 400m, 4.8km, or 42.195km, but then I became the fastest at the 400km.

See there how context creates value. You need to find your context. Without context, there is no place.

And being a team sport, being a natural generalist made the transition to Adventure Racing a natural fit.

TBTM #33: Blood Donation and Endurance Training

This video on endurance training (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ7alNd1oRo) explains the logic behind my endurance training methodology. And why my pre-season training appears to take only two months to prepare for a 4000-8000km tour season.

I’m also going to explain why blood donation is good for super endurance athletes like expedition class racers that do typically 300-800km per race.

Your body naturally creates new red blood cells during a regeneration period after donating blood.

Because the body treats the regeneration of lost blood as a recovery from injury, it accelerates production of tissue and cells as compensation to make up for for any potential diminished function during recovery.

Your body generates these new tissue cells in response to the functional expectations of your conditions of athletic performance you train it for.

So when you engage in endurance training like my ritual long slow distance (LSD) training it compensates during the regeneration of blood volume with more red blood cells, and accelerated musculoskeletal and cardiovascular infrastructure (blood vessel) growth to adapt to the conditions it is required to function in.

So when you engage in training during the regeneration window (of two months for me personally) after blood donation, your body is naturally conditioning itself for the specific operational functions you are training for with the required blood composition, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular infrastructure to support oxygenation and energy transmission expected of it to function in such race conditions.

The physiological infrastructure developed stays with you as long as you continue to train. However the body is still an organic machine that has it’s natural biological and mechanical limits, it needs to rest eventually, which is why you see me totally stop training for a total rest and recovery break every post season. At the end of every post season break I assess what my current baseline is at that time and plan my pre-season accordingly.

Nature has it’s way of handling everything, you have to understand it and work with it. Don’t fight it or abuse it. Keep building on it.

It took me years to develop the physiological infrastructure to compete at expedition class. That base line means I have a specific physiological starting point that is unique to my body. That’s why my pre-season is two months.

You have your own unique base line, you have to train according to what level your body is functioning at and train for the specific functions you want your body to perform. Take the time to understand your own body and how it responds to training and development. Own your training and make it yours. Do what works for you!

It is better to train alone at your level and push for a higher level than it is to train down with training partners that function below your performance level and compromise on development. That’s why you see elite athletes train individually if they are not training with others of the same standard. 

It is ok to be peerless in training if you want to be peerless in competition.

When I’m back home in the off season, I train alone, and I love it. No distractions. Just pure focus on developing for my specific goals.

When I link up with my team in pre-race we train together because we are peers in standard and cause.

There is less difference between training individually at home and as a team with other expedition class racers of our level, than there is training down with a group of amateurs.

That’s why you might see me train groups of amateurs but I don’t actually train with them. It is a totally different standard and cause than when I train myself for competition. I train them to achieve their goals at their own pace of development and make them set their own standards and goals, I never impose my own standards on them because it is and must be about all them not about me. When I train myself it is and must be all about me and my team’s goals.