Thursday, February 05, 2009

Second day - training at Claude Victoria's

08:00 wake up. Slept real nice, deep and restful sleep in this small wooden bed. The house was kept warm, not too much, just as I like it.
I prepare a quick breakfast of eggs and a bit of Parmesan cheese on top and take my morning supplements. I also drink a cup of black coffee.
(Later to be discussed)

10:00 Claude is taking the French circus kid to the train, as he has finished his week’s stay here, so me and the two Spaniards are starting to train in the living room. A morning yoga routine of 9 postures, repeated 3 times each for 3 breathes. Its nice and easy, gets the body a bit warmer. We practice the Yoga on pieces of old sheep carpet, and it feels raw and rural.
After the yoga warm up we start to perform 3 types of lifts into handstand, each for at least 3 times. Afterwards it is a bit of head balancing on two wooden cubes and on top of them a small head ring, this is quite new to me and I am glad to give the shoulders a bit of rest and experiment.
Claude comes back from the train station and we get dressed quickly and leave for the local gymnasium. Going out of the door, I grab my water bottle, and Claude looks at me in a strange look. He tells me there is no water drinking during equilibre training, as it hurts the balance. OK, I leave the water bottle and we go on. The gym is quite close, just 2 minutes drive (actually, everything is 2 minutes drive in PlainFaing…) and we enter a small wooden floor old school gymnastics facility. Claude is allowed to use this facility in the mornings, and there is a lot of gymnastics equipment along with a harness pulley system to help his ‘hand to hand’ students. I only need a piece of carpet, so no problem here.
Claude starts to work with me on one hand handstand, in various positions, and I am very surprised to find out that I am in good alignment. He gives me some tips, in a form of touching me in certain body parts and also explaining the alignment he thinks is an optimal one, and I am again surprised to find out it is effortless to implement. I had myself worked up and worried about alignment issues, that the reality is that it was not too bad. One small problem though, is that I vibrate a bit in working arm. Claude says: from tomorrow, no Coffee for you. Caffeine can create a jittery feeling and effect your balance, so he is an anti coffee guy. No more coffee for me while I am here….
In my solo sets on one hand I get a couple of good holds, with a high free arm, just as Claude likes, and I receive complements from the Master. Yooohoo. Life is good on one arm.
I continue to work endless sets of the three positions, and also using a higher hand position - gluing the free hand to the hip. I feel my shoulder girdle and Trapizius muscles starting to tire.
Claude goes on to teach me the one arm lift off, I practice it, and due to the strength of my shoulder I am able to get a successful one or two sets. (ending with a 3-4 second hold in a wide straddle) Alignment is not optimal, but at least those muscles are there for a reason.
We finish with a bit of two arm handstand hops, very strict and close to the floor, in sets of 10, and I am finishing the workout with high spirits. Three hours on the hands. Not a bad first session.

It is 13:00 and we go home to eat.

16:00 I start to train an hour before the rest. A quick Yoga warm up sequence I like to use for getting into the ‘balanced mode’. (A routine I have developed from my experience with Shadow Yoga and learning from Dudi Malka, as well as my own tweaks and additions - from personal experience and insight)

At 17:00 they join me and we continue to do the 9 posture warm up of Claude. We finish it and go into a 2-3 minute inverted Yoga headstand. Claude is a big advocate of this posture, he believes, like many Yogis, it is good for circulation, health of the prostate gland and many other benefits.
Afterwards its right into the three types of lifts, in sets of 6 each and ending with a 10 second hold. Only this warm up sequence is 3 minutes total time on your hands, and this is considered beginner’s stuff here.
Afterwards I work on the straight position one handers, middle straddle one handers with a spot from Claude or on my own, and then he takes out the wooden cubes.
I am really bad with these cubes, so I start to do double sets - a 20 second hold on the cubes and then a set of one handers on the floor, to achieve better use of my time. I perform endless sets, in between them I do some head balance work on the head ring and 4 cubes below, until I feel my Trapeze tightening up and I decide I shouldn’t over do it the first day.
After a couple of sets the first Spaniard - the porter decides he had enough and goes to rest. I continue on with the girl-flyer and we perform 7-10 more sets, then she decides she is done. I continue on. Just another half hour. I continue with some straddle L-sit presses and Claude gives me some useful tips about head position, and afterwards I perform two endurance two hand handstand sets - one on the cubes and the other on the floor. I finish with some more stretching and go to take a shower.

Total training time for today - 7 hours. That is a lot, if you take into account that this is very monotonous work and small muscles are being worked very hard.

At the dinner table we eat some more well cooked food. I continue with my white lie about being diabetic, trying not to hurt Claude’s feelings. This man is has a heart of gold in his chest.
I eat a cooked Andiv dish, which is excellent, and also a can of sardines and a bit of cheese. After food we stay at the table, talking, and Claude goes on to speak about the state of the circus world now days. He speaks about economical issues, and the fact that all of the European and world circuses are not able to pay decent salaries to the performers, and that the only place an artist can get paid what he deserves is in the Cirque du Soleil and similar big projects - Cabaret shows like the Moulin Rouge in Paris. We talk and talk, and there is a lot of laughter, we are using a mixture of French, Spanish, Portuguese and English and are able to communicate quite well between us 4. Even jokes are told and the atmosphere is home-like.
I decide to retire and go to my room to sleep it off. First day of training is done. I take some BCAA before retiring, hoping my shoulder girdle wont be completely shut down tomorrow morning.


George said...

...I hope he's not reading your blog, or the white lie will be exposed! Inspiring as always. I look forward to reading more - George.

Ido Portal said...

George, Claude doesnt speak a lot of English, I think I am safe...

Zacariah Hildenbrand said...


You are a true inspiration! I have been doing gymnastics now for almost 2 months and absolutely love it. I have a quick question. I would like to also start integrating yoga into my routine but I also want to avoid over-training, could you please elaborate on how I might do this.

Good luck with the rest of your training!


Zacariah Hildenbrand

Anonymous said...

Love your blog..please continue posting on your daily routines...I wish I would be living in Haifa and maybe you could train me (I am in NYC), but my husband lived in Haifa and loves it. I went there 3 years ago. Anyway I have follow your blog for a while now and am happy that you are posting more often.
Take care and thank you for the detailed description of your day.

Sareen said...

I am enthralled and enthused after watching your videos and reading your blog. Keep up the great work.

Robin said...

Could You please post your warmup routine that you do before gymnastics?

The 9 postures, or do you do something more?

You are a true inspiration.


Ido Portal said...

Thank you for your kind words, people.

Zacariah, this is a kind of a non-internet question. Impossible to answer in a text only version.
Robin, the same goes for your question, it is beyond the scope of this blog to go through such details. The objective of this blog is to spike inspiration and push people to take the necessary means to learn more about the subject, in the proper mediums. (workshops, dvd's, hands on coaching, books, etc...)

Keep reading and getting inspired, it is important, but dont forget to implement, train and do the real thing. Those are words I live by everyday.


Anonymous said...

We understand, and I do find this blog very constructive, informative and inspirational.
We all hope that maybe someday you can compile in a book and or DVD all of your learning, ideas and knowledge, in the meanwhile please keep us posted on your training (and nutrition...I am in the 75% of the population that should not eat carbs since it is not processed properly).
I am 36 years old and through your blog I have gotten very interested in gymnastics and now hand balancing, but I still need to gain flexibility.
Thank you .
All the best.

tricky fitness services said...

You want to get fit but can’t fit in, want to stay healthy but not join a gym the personal training tips in Victoria will enable you to achieve fitness in no time.

Javier Bejarano said...

What bcca and supplement do you take?

Javier Bejarano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raghav Singh said...

Yoga can help you Improves Blood Circulation, Decreases stress, glow shining on face, weight lose and personal fitness. Yoga help in both Physical Health and Mental Health.
Yoga Teacher Training India

Jacqueline Pasek-Allen said...

Do you have contact information for Claude? I would like to train with him while I am in Europe but can't find any! I have heard about him from a few friends but have no solid leads as of yet

Luke Forsyth said...

There are thousands of reasons why a person wanted to be a personal trainer.
Personal Trainer Shoreditch

Love Kpop said...

There are times when I find it difficult to make decisions, but still have to do. I know people always have emotions so that there is no justice. But I still hope.