Se7en+1 Stop by and Visit the Sport Science Institute of South Africa…

When you have a friend that works at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and she says wouldn’t your gang like to pop over for a visit sometime – I think a “Galactic Yes!!!” is the answer.

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The Sport Science Centre is a gym, but so much more… it is a research centre where they explore health and fitness… not just for elite athletes pushing the boundaries of performance, but regular folk looking for a healthy lifestyle. They provide a holistic approach to exercise and well being and look at the mind and diet and lifestyle of the athlete all the while honing their performance.

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So yes, we definitely wanted to stop by and learn about the work they do. The best way to learn about anything is really by doing. So we had a morning of very interactive learning. The gang were lined up and put through their paces. A morning of scheduled stops. They got to meet the folk behind the scenes: what they studied, what they do, and a picture of a day in their lives.

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Turns out, while it looks just like a regular gym, until they started telling us about the work they do… and then you discover the science behind it.I have to say, that amidst all the very athletic looking athletes, and the obviously rehabilitating from major surgery athletes, there were quite a few regular looking folk. Doing regular looking gym.

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Grand Tour of the Science Centre

Stop #1: The Grucox with Jackie

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What is the Grucox, we had no idea… they are electronic bicycles, that are used for rehabilitation and strength training. It is a special kind of “eccentric” training that elongates the muscles instead of shortening them like regular exercises. Anyway, however they work, they require a certain amount of finesse to work… and anything new and novel is cool to try out!!!
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Stop #2: Sarah the Dietician.

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Then we stopped by a real classroom, with real desks – and that was a first for most of my gang… And they had a great chat with a very wise dietician. She was lovely and asked lots of very pointed questions. With so many diets abounding and so many ideas flying around about the “best possible diet for peak performance…” and the long and the short of it is that there is no one perfect diet. Super athletes, like us, are individuals and the best diet for each of us is the one that creates the healthiest body and so the best performance. She wanted the gang to rank their health from 0 to 10, where 10 is awesome. Certain very confident kids were quite convinced their were “10’s.” As they get older however, they know that one or two things like too many late nights, might just affect their score somewhat.

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Stop #3: On to the High Performance Centre with Lezandre

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Everyone was interested in what she had to say. The High Performance Centre is where you discover the link between the athlete, the scientist (biokineticists), and technology. Suddenly, the computer kids were listening just as hard as the ones that want to run faster and climb higher. Pop an athlete on the bike and pedal like crazy… and then watch the screen to see what is happening…

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And I think we need to do some research on heart rate monitors and just what can an athlete can expect to achieve. This is where athletes with a dream can discover just how much potential they have. The balance between potential and just plain hard work is discovered right here in this room.

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Of course, everyone want to have a try. In fact, this is how athletes can train and create their race environment in the lab. While watching a video of their race course they can cycle the route and the computer will tweak the gradient and the camber for them… Tour de France here we go!!!

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Stop #4: A Tour of the Centre with Rodet

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So much equipment, I think we would get no work done if we had any of this in our work space…

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One particular person was convinced that we need to take a rower home with us… I think they might have a good point. So much fun!!!

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There were some basic fitness tests… the Agility-T test, the Yo-Yo test, and well the “To and Fro” test.

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And a moment of all in a row…

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For standing jumps…

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Stop 5: A Dash Around the Track

An indoor track, how very cool is that…

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Well five million sit ups…

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And then all in a row…

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And a race around the track…

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Go… Go… Go…

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Stop 6: Meet the Sport Psychologist, Clinton

There literally was a mad dash around the track and a chance to stretch their legs and then it was back to the classroom to meet the Sport Psychologist… who spoke really well and explained the ins and outs of how athletes gear up for an event. Basically they figure out what really works for them… they look at the conditions around their best performances and then try to re-create them. Some athletes need peace and quiet and to look inwards and other athletes might need the crowd to really get into their performance. They keep detailed diaries and figure out what an athlete needs to perform their best. They are not trying to change an athletes personality, but they may need to add some skills to their repertoire. Any skill you learn can be used to perform better, so keep on learning.

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Stop 7: Aqua Class with Cath

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And finally they had an aqua class… oh exciting times. Let’s just say my gang have never had any sort of professional swimming lessons… it showed in the gym pool. They have never done anything other than play and get from one end of a pool to another… so some of the exercises were quite a challenge. And they loved it. Heaps of fun and lots of listening… not to mention plenty of chilling.

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We would like to thank the Sport Science Institute of South Africa for their great welcome and their fabulous program. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to write about our visit and the opinions expressed are as usual our own. We had a fabulous time and our kids may have completely changed their idea of what gym is all about. They had a blast learning about the work that sport scientists do, the can do attitude and friendly enthusiasm of the people they met was just inspiring.

11 Replies to “Se7en+1 Stop by and Visit the Sport Science Institute of South Africa…”

  1. Gosh that looks like so much fun! It would be embarassing to see my “scores” but it sounds like the kids learned a lot 🙂 xx

  2. oh, man that looks like so much fun!! (for other people….) Me, I’m a sort of couch girl myself 🙂

  3. Oh Tami, I think we get more and more aware of the things we ought not to do, but as that dietician said when you are a kid your parents take care of you… It’s never easy to be your own parent and say “Go to bed…” or “Not even one more cup of coffee” especially when the internet is waiting for you!!! Hope you all have a fun weekend!!!

  4. Oh Irene, so much fun… even a couch potato would find fun things to do there!!! Hope you have a fun weekend!!!

  5. Oh Wendy, I don’t think I am going to tell my kids that… the gym we are at is totally useless, in theory there is a packed program but in practice the coaches literally sit around and paint their nails and tell the kids not to go on any equipment because it is dangerous – so terribly boring for them and just a glorified creche. They don’t want to go and so neither do I. Hiking has been the solution for us to instill a lifestyle of exercise… Hope you have a wonderful weekend, I am guessing we are going to be gaming!!!

  6. Hay Nikki, Thank you so much, they loved it. The gang had such a fabulous time, they enjoyed every second of it!!! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!!

  7. Oh Christi, it was fabulous, we have really been looking at careers this year – just in passing, “gosh I wonder what they studied to do that job” or “I wonder if that person knew that would be there job one day?” Well there were so many jobs and folk doing interesting things. My guys loved it. Hope you have had a fun weekend!!!

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