Training tips with top Australian CrossFit athlete James Newbury

Top Australian CrossFit athlete and former semi-professional Rugby player James Newbury shares useful tips with our readers from his own personal journey at the recently concluded Under Armour Combine 2022

PHOTO: HANA BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Looking to improve your training regime?


Well whether you are a strength-based or endurance-based athlete you're in for a treat because SportPlus.sg recently sat down with top Australian CrossFit athlete and former semi-professional Rugby player James Newbury for some useful training tips in an exclusive interview at the Under Armour Combine 2022.


Find out how our chat went, and use some of these newfound insights and tips from James when planning for your upcoming season!


You've been doing CrossFit for a long time, you're a 4 x CrossFit Games athlete and even finished fifth in 2019. Could you describe what your training schedule and nutrition plans are like?


I've been in Crossfitting for 11 years, coming to 12 seasons. During that period of time my training load and volume has gone from what I thought was unachievable to more and more and more every year.


Typically leading into the CrossFit Games we're in peak volume, and training anywhere from 5-8 hours a day, especially in the last eight weeks leading into the CrossFit Games.

PHOTO: HANA BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


It's long days in the gym, for instance a morning would like 3 hours in the gym then going to the track for an hour and a half, and then at night time we'll be in the gym again for 2-3 hours on average.


Saturdays we're typically stuck in the gym all day to replicate what it would be like to be at the Games, from 8am in the morning to 8pm at night and not leave.


For nutrition, I am hundred percent plant based. So I don't eat any animal products at all. I get my protein from things like tempeh, tofu, beans, lentils, chick peas and things like that, and I've been doing that for the last 3 years now.


Being in strength and endurance based events it may seem a bit uncommon for athletes, but I have not found this to have any problems for me so far, and I'm just here to show that it can be done.



How do you cope with burnouts, and how can athletes prevent them?


One of the biggest things to cope with burnouts is to have allocated structured recovery time.


You have to get the training done, but if you don't have scheduled recovery time that's when you can fill up your bucket too much and it overflows, and you'll then have to deal with burnouts.


So for me making sure sleep is on point is essential. Sleep is my number one recovery tool. So make sure your room is completely dark, completely quiet, the temperature is right and make sure it's clean as well - all those things are super key to maximise recovery.


Also, take time to bounce back and recover and not go from high volume training when heading into competitions and then going straight back into heavy duty training. Ideally have 4-6 weeks of nothing and rest in between, or in my case I enjoy surfing during that time.

PHOTO: HANA BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


As an athlete who competes in both CrossFit events and Triathlons, how do trainings differ between the two?


I find that for CrossFit it's about hitting high intensity a few times each week - so we want to make sure that we hit that high intensity. For endurance (triathlons) and particular IRONMAN and long distance events, we would look at finding that aerobic base sitting around 70-75 percent training load.


For CrossFit I would do anywhere between 18-22 hours a week, while for triathlons I've never really done more than 12 hours a week, but a lot of those 12 hours is sitting in that aerobic base of about 70 percent range.

PHOTO: HANA BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


How do events like the UA Combine help in elevating the Australian fitness scene, and how important could events like this be for smaller places like Singapore?


I believe coming to a city like Singapore events like this really puts it on the map in terms of what people are capable of.


We wanted to create a competition where people could express their fitness. So if you work out in your local gym, or if you work out in your living room or at home and you wanted to display your strength and display your speed, this is the place to do it.


Anybody could do these tests, and even if you could only do six of the eight tests you can still come here, rock up and throw down the best that you've got. It might be a goal of yours for the next year to be able to do all eight of the tests. So each person is really competing against him or herself.

PHOTO: HANA BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG


Share with us more about your accident while mountain biking and then competing in IRONMAN 8 weeks later? What or who kept you going through that recovery phase?


When I fell off my mountain bike, it was a bit of an awkward crash. I went over the handle bars, I hit a tree and I broke a couple of spinal process in my back and punctured my lungs, broke a few ribs and I had an IRONMAN eight weeks later.


I wasn't able to train to my fullest capacity so I made sure I transitioned all my efforts into recovery - focusing on that working in phase.


So making sure I was getting sunlight, I was getting in my sauna, and I had a lot of support from a really crucial team around me and that's always been the biggest thing.


If you can create a team around you of people who support you in training, recovery it is great - it's definitely not a solo sport. Even though you compete individually and in the field it's really up to you, it's really about having a network of people around you to help.


What would you say to someone who is looking to begin their fitness journey into CrossFit, or fitness in general?


The number one thing is to find a local CrossFit gym, send them an email, organise a time to go in. Check out a few in fact, and figure out which one you vibe with the best, from there meet the coaches, check out the facilities.


From there make a decision on where you'd like to do an intro class because the best thing to do is not wait to get fitter, go in there straight away and enjoy and embrace it all.


Missed the recent Under Armour Combine 2022 Singapore event? Read up more about it here, or visit our photo gallery for action images for both Men's Division and Women's Division.


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