Tag Archives: Fitness

My first supply league middle

1st-star-medal-gold Following on from my first game of the season (in a 4th official role), it was time to grab my whistle and have my first ‘middle’ of the season too. This was on my local supply league now that I am eligible to do those games following my promotion to Level 4.

The warm-up from the previous game had given me confidence that my achilles was going to behave, and I’m very happy to report that it stayed rock solid throughout the 90 minutes. However, the first game back is always a shock to the system, so the end result was that everything else hurt instead! Thankfully, just the usual DOMS after the game rather than anything more sinister.

The game itself went well although I am aware that I have a lot of work to do to get my fitness back to my peak level. That’s to be expected following the injury. I’ve resumed training runs again with the achilles remaining stable but I am being careful with how I am ramping up the activity to avoid anything else going ‘ping’.

It was a great moment to start that training run yesterday, as I was very much aware that I was able to run along pain free so had a big smile on my face!

It’s a busy week though: Another supply league middle coming up, then my first outing as Assistant Referee on the contrib, then refereeing an U18s Premier League Academy match!

My End of Season Review

My football refereeing season of 2011/2012 is at an end. Now is the time for self-analysis in order to see how well I did, especially in comparison with my goals, and decide where I would like to go in terms of moving forwards.


  1. I GOT MY PROMOTION: I succeeded in going from level 7 to level 5 (a ‘double jump’ promotion) in one season. This required a great deal of commitment and I’m pleased that there was no drama along the way.
  2. CUP FINALS: I was very pleased to be selected for a total of five cup finals. This was nearly six but unfortunately I was away on holiday for the last one. It is always a honour to be considered for a cup final and they were a great way of rounding off the season.
  3. I DIDN’T GET INJURED: Well, kinda. I will touch on this more in the next section. Essentially, I got through the season without any major problems, which was important considering how many games I needed to get in for the promotion.
  4. I ENJOYED IT! Isn’t this the most important thing? I enjoyed my games, the challenges that they presented, and the various people that I met during the season: Players, officials and fellow referees. Some early advice I received was “Enjoy your refereeing” and how true that is!


  1. MY WEIGHT: Despite being so active, I managed to to put on about 10 kilograms during the season. This was down to eating very badly. It started to have an impact on my joints plus how generally nimble I felt when refereeing (twisting and turning, changes of direction and so on). Not only that, I’m not happy with how I was looking towards the end of the season!
  2. INJURY: Linked to my weight. My knees started to play up a bit towards the end of the season due to the repeated impact of the stop/start running. Essentially, a case of Runner’s Knee. Nothing serious as rest abates it but those extra 10 kilograms were hardly helping! Oh, and having an ‘out of balance’ body, but I will come to that later.
  3. LEVEL 4: I’m now going for promotion again, to level 4. I’ve had my first assessment and while it is a commendable result for my first assessment at my new level, it is not as high a mark as I would like.


  1. WEIGHT LOSS: This is already going very well, and I’ve lost over 5 kilograms so far. I’m sticking to a 2000 kcal diet, with exercise allowing extra calories! MyFitnessPal is an excellent site for tracking this.
  2. FITNESS: The off-season allows me to be more stuctured in my routine. I’ve been working on a combination of normal running, interval and speed training. This has included working towards my fitness test which needs to be done in August/September (I am well on track for this). I’ve also started CrossFit in order to keep my body in good balance, to aid in flexibility and injury prevention. I’m really enjoying this.
  3. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO 2012/2013: I’m really looking forward to the new season. I feel like I’m going to be great physical shape when it comes around, and I have a level 4 to earn!

Bring it on 🙂

Getting Intensive on the Treadmill

I love High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Well, I love it when I’m not in the process of actually doing it! It is a fantastic way of improving sports performance in short periods of time.

I tried out a new protocol today, cribbed from ‘Referee Specific Training’, a presentation by Bryn Markham-Jones. You can find it on pages 17 and 18.

Here is my own summary, and I have put the timings differently to make it easier to follow when actually doing it.

WARNING: HIIT is, by definition, INTENSIVE! Be absolutely sure you are fit to do this. Check with your GP if required. It is also expected that you are fully warmed up before commencing this, as it STARTS with running fast.

Set treadmill inclination to suit your fitness.

00:00 – 18.5 km/h
00:30 – Jogging
01:30 – 16.5 – 17.5 km/h
02:30 – Jogging
03:30 – 16 – 17 km/h
05:00 – Jogging
06:00 – 15 – 16 km/h
08:00 – Jogging
09:00 – 16 – 17 km/h
10:30 – Jogging
11:30 – 16.5 – 17.5 km/h
12:30 – Jogging
13:30 – 18.5 km/h
14:00 – Jogging
15:00 – STOP.

REST 5 minutes. This is ONE SET. Repeat, to make a total exercise duration of 35 minutes.

Fun, huh? I made it through, although I went for a 0% incline and the ‘Jogging’ elements ended up mostly being ‘Walking recovery’ in all honesty. Need to step that up!

My own personal guideline for HIIT: “Do I feel like I might collapse if I do any more? Do I have a sense of euphoria for finishing?” Job done then!

Do you have any favourite interval training routines?

Taking the Fitness Test

Keep on running...

I’ve been intending to take the Surrey FA fitness test for a while. It is not strictly required for the Enhanced Promotion scheme that I am on, but I love a good challenge and also to demonstrate that I am serious about all this.

The core component is the Cooper Test. Very simple: Run as far as you can in twelve minutes without stopping. The required distance to pass is 2500 metres. I had done a few test-runs, mostly on inclined treadmills, and had a good solid pace to hit 2700 metres without keeling over. Oh, and the right music choice to pace myself with!

I’ve been running regularly, both for fitness and when refereeing, so felt confident I would do okay. Especially with the extra adrenaline boost on the day.

On the day there were five candidates. It was a good atmosphere as the test was being held on a proper athletics track, which was being used by some other people too. With just five candidates, there was no real ‘pack’ to run with, so I was glad I had worked on pacing! In the end, I nailed 2700 metres so my ‘game plan’ worked successfully. I could have edged that up a bit but wanted to ensure I saved energy for the sprinting test…

The sprinting test is also simple: Run 50 metres in 7.5 seconds or less, walk back, and do it again. I’ve always been quite proud of my sprinting speed so this presented no issues. No record was kept of my exact time, which is a shame, but really the important thing is that I passed and that no injuries were sustained.

Now to keep working on my fitness and, of course, the healthy eating! I’ve set a benchmark to beat next time round…

Setting goals for the season

I am really looking forward to the start of the football season. In terms of my own refereeing, this will be September. I have high hopes this time around, partly spurred on by the fact that I am on the Enhanced Promotion Scheme and there is a lot to get done!

When setting goals, it is really important to make sure that they are broken down into an achievable journey. After all, while ‘Get promoted’ is a goal there are steps that need to be taken as part of that! Success doesn’t happen by itself.

What are my goals?


  • MATCH FITNESS: Get safely back to full match fitness with a controlled approach. Target level by the end of pre-season is several games over a weekend without being a wreck afterwards. Avoid injury.
  • SUPPLEMENTARY FITNESS: Keep up the training as appropriate during the week. Be ready to comfortably pass the county fitness test in September.
  • DIET AND NUTRITION: Get fully back on the wagon. As a result of the healthy eating and exercise, drop around 10 kilograms (This will carry forward into the season). The fat has to go!
  • GET BACK INTO THE GROOVE: Referee a selection of games in the run-up to the season. Should be the same level as the games I will be assessed on. Some Assistant Referee work is allowed but I must ensure that my focus is being the Referee.


  • FITNESS AND NUTRITION: Maintain the standards as set in pre-season. Mid-week games will make an appearance so the physical and mental demands will be increased. Lose the rest of the 10 kilograms, certainly!
  • BE STUNNING: I need to shine in the games. I will be assessed on some of them, after all, although I want the same standard throughout.
  • BE DISCIPLINED WITH REST: I must be at full capacity for assessed games so need to ensure I am not overdoing things. Also, the schedule is tight for the enhanced promotion process and being out injured is not going to help at all!
  • INCREASE KNOWLEDGE & NETWORKING: Attend seminars, local referee societies and watch other referees in action when I get the opportunity. There are so many sources to learn from!
  • GET PROMOTED: Level 6 in October, Level 5 in March. I’m not doing this to fail!
  • GET SOME GREAT APPOINTMENTS: As a result of all the above, I want to be getting some great appointments. County Cup Final? Who knows? I’m already on the FA competition nominated list which is exciting. I need to give a performance during the season which makes me worthy of getting these matches!
  • BE A ROLE MODEL: I want to be setting a high standard for myself and others. I’m undergoing Mentor Training in September as part of this.

I’m already making great progress with the pre-season elements. I’m eating and exercising well. The games I have had so far have been very positive. There is a long journey ahead and I know I am going to enjoy it!

How are you getting on with your own goal planning?

Eating sensibly again: Avoiding falling off the wagon

I posted yesterday about how I want to lose 10 kilograms in weight. My motivation is to look and feel better plus the obvious health benefits. I do a lot of running and other fitness activities, and reducing the stress on my joints is very important in avoiding injury and promoting recovery.

When I looked more athletic it also promoted a good image when refereeing. A good first impression is very important. You want to LOOK like you are able to keep up with the players before you even have to demonstrate it!

I started my new regime yesterday and it was pretty simple: Just avoid eating too much! I will refine my diet to be better balanced over time.

A lot of this is avoiding temptation as there is a lot of it out there when it comes to food. I remember watching a TV programme about a body builder who used to buy chocolate all the time…. but then just put it in a kitchen cupboard as proof of his discipline. I’m not going that far but it is interesting to consciously note the foods I am avoiding.

For example, yesterday I know I avoided:

  • A bread roll at lunchtime.
  • A chocolate cheesecake pot (went for the apple instead!)
  • A chocolate bar during the afternoon.
  • ‘Fatty’ crisps (I had some low-calorie ones to go with a sandwich instead).
  • Eating when I got back from my evening activities when I really did not need to.

All of those would certainly add up! I was not starving myself either so it became very clear to me how I have managed to put on weight recently. I was just being excessive.

This also helps in thinking ahead. For example, I know tonight I will be offered hospitality after a match I am officiating. Plenty of sandwiches which I would normally just chomp down because they are there. Perhaps with ‘full fat’ cola? By thinking about it NOW I am priming myself to be sensible.

What foods have you successfully managed to avoid recently? Do you have any weaknesses that you have succumbed to? What are your tips?

Time to lose 10 kilograms

I’ve put on some weight over recent times. Over the past few years I’ve been pretty good at exercising regularly but I lack discipline when it comes to a proper diet. I’m not liking recent photographs of me at all.

A few years back, I went through a great phase when I dropped 10 kilograms and I did this in the right way: I kept up the exercise (combination of cardio and weight training) and really monitored my nutrition. With the help of the great site Daily Burn I kept the carb/protein/fat levels in check and shed the weight over a controlled period of time.

It was a real eye opener when getting those levels in balance. I quickly realised just how I was ODing on carbs (bread!) and how hard it is to take in the recommended amount of protein. I definitely started eating my fair share in chicken breast!

Now I get to do it again. I know I will feel a lot better for it by eating properly and none of this is about starving myself.

The Ground Rules to start off with:

  1. NO CHOCOLATE: Sorry, my dear Boost bars and Yorkies. You have to go.
  2. NO EXCESS CARBS: Typically bread. I can really gobble up bread like there is no tomorrow. It tends to be my biggest weakness.
  3. NO DESSERT: Mmm, cheesecake… Let’s stick to lovely fruit.
  4. NO ‘FULL FAT’ SOFT DRINKS: I can work with Pepsi Max. Not exactly nutritious, I know, but not loaded with sugar either.
  5. TARGET THE HEALTHIER OPTIONS: If I have a burger craving, chicken is going to be better than a fatty bit of beef, isn’t it?

Now all I need to do is get a working set of bathroom scales!

There is more to this than how I feel in myself: I don’t want to be carrying extra weight with all the running that I will be doing when refereeing. It puts all my joints under a lot more stress! Plus I have a fitness test to excel in…

Are you trying to eat more healthily at the moment, for whatever reason? Do you have any tips that you would like to share?