Compex Meets judoka Aleksandar Kukolj (@aleksandar.kukolj), he fought twice at the Olympic Games representing Serbia, he was the European champion and the world runner-up. He is member of the Serbian national judo team, he won 3 Grand Slam winners and 2 Grand Prix winners, first at the Mediterranean Games-. Aleksander was ranked as number on at the world rankings for year and a half.
Compex: Hi there, Aleksandar! Great to meet you - please could you start by telling our readers a bit about yourself?
Aleksandar: Hello Compex! My name is Aleksandar Kukolj. I live in Serbia, I am a professional judoka.
Compex: Fascinating. Could you tell our readers how you did got into Judo?
Aleksandar: I have been training judo since I was 7 years old. My parents are coming from the countryside, and they had moved to the city at some point, so raising children in a big town was quite a challenge for them.
Thinking logically, they wanted my younger sister and I to direct our children's energy in the right direction, so sport was the way they had chosen for us. Since they have never played sports themselves, it was less important to them which sport I would choose, and then a judo club opened in the street where I lived. This is how it all started. Someone would say, it was meant to be.
Compex: How does Compex help you to find a competitive edge as a Judoka?
Aleksandar: Sport is a game of efficiency. A huge number of athletes from all over the world are ready to dedicate and are dedicating every hour of their day to becoming better in their sport, this is no longer in question. Now the advantage is given to the one who manages to get the most out of his time dedicated to sports in the most efficient way.
Compex SP 8.0 helps me right there, it serves as one of the main tools for me to reap the benefits for myself even when I'm resting. I prepare my body for new efforts in a more efficient way, I progress even when I am not in training, and the fact that it has a positive effect on my psyche, should also not be ignored.
Compex: Which program/s do you like to use most on your SP 8.0, Aleksandar?
Aleksandar: The programs I use most often are programs from the Recovery and Pain management groups. In case of injuries, I also use Strength programs for those muscles, which due to the injury I can't activate by exercising.
Ariane Brodier is a French actress and author, very active on her social media. She has two beautiful toddlers (3 and 1) and loves talking about her mum life. More than 600k people follow her daily routine on Instagram.
She has always been active her entire life. Before her first pregnancy, she was into martial arts and fitness, working out about 2 to 3 hours every other day, with some running in between. Ariane is what you can call an active mum!
1 – ADAPTATIONS DURING PREGNANCY
Even if you are a fitness freak and you love to train every day, pregnancy will slow you down. That is completely normal, and you should not stress about it. But how do you adapt your workouts to still get a good session in?
ARIANE – First of all you should know that some sports should be avoided during pregnancy. Anything with an impact can have negative effects on your child, such as running or jumping. However, if you love cardio, you can still get your heart rate up without jumping, with an elliptical machine for example. We hear too often that you should not train during pregnancy and this is not true! Staying active will do wonders to your body when you are pregnant. Obviously, you are not pushing your limits at this stage of your life and you should not strive for performance.
If you want to stay active during pregnancy, make sure that you are doing it the right way. Stay close to your doctor during this period of your life, they will give you the best advice to continue your fitness journey while pregnant.
Were you able to stay motivated the whole time, even with all the changes that your body went through?
ARIANE – You know, when sport is something that you enjoy, I don’t think it is that hard to stay active. You should see training as a fun moment for you. However, if you do not feel like training at the gym or doing your regular workouts, how about trying new sports? For me, it was the opportunity to get into swimming for example. It was a new workout and made me feel very good. That is why I encourage you to use this period of your life to try new things that you might love in the long run.
Your body changes during pregnancy, and you cannot do anything about it. Was there a turning point where you realized “I have to accept that my body changes”?
ARIANE – It is a little scary at first as this is something you are not really in control of. But being pregnant is such a magical experience that you quickly accept how your body changes. Enjoying this experience of becoming a mother is so much more important than losing your abs for a couple of years. No matter what, your body will be different after you have your child, the sooner you accept that, the better you will go through the changes.
As a fitness enthusiast you probably had some sort of understanding of how nutrition works and made sure that what you ate was on par with your goals and your fitness routine. How did that change during your pregnancy, and how did you make sure you did not gain too much weight?
ARIANE – You know, working out is never the hard part in a fitness routine, nutrition is! 70% of your progress is made through nutrition. The one thing you should absolutely be careful with is refined sugar. Whether you are pregnant or not it is not good for you, but in a case of a pregnancy, you should especially avoid it. Other than that, do not stress about it to much. Make sure that what you eat is the best quality possible, have some healthy fats along the way for the growth of the baby, and always remember that the health of your child will partially reflect how you ate during your pregnancy.
2 – GETTING BACK AT IT AFTER THE BIRTH
First thing first, when were you able to exercise again after giving birth?
ARIANE – Before you go back to your running and your jumping and the rest of your workouts, it is detrimental that you go through perineum rehabilitation. This can last 1 to 2 months depending on how your pregnancy went. During that time, I went back to my best friend the elliptical.
I also made good use of my Compex after I went through perineum rehab. It is a fantastic accelerator and it helps you tone your abs faster. It works your muscles deeper than with a simple abs workout, it is convenient, and you see results quickly after giving birth.
Every mum in the world knows that having a child is a full-time job. How do you deal with things like lack of sleep, being interrupted in your workout etc.?
ARIANE – My favorite thing now is the well known “Morning Routine”. I like to work out first thing in the morning, before breakfast, it works well for me. This is because I used to be very tired throughout the day and even if my kids were asleep. I had some time for me, I could not find the motivation to train. Getting up early and committing to working out was my only way to make it work. It was like “ok, now it is 5:30am and you are awake. Let’s make the most of the next hour, because you know you will not do it later in the day”.
I would also like to point out that you can use this opportunity to try out new sports again. Do not stress about a routine, as having children and a routine are usually things that do not go together (laughs). Be ready to adapt and things will go well.
Were you able to quickly go back to your eating habits or did you face any challenges?
ARIANE – Breastfeeding will not let you go back to normal: it makes you SO hungry! Your body needs fat to produce milk, and you will want to eat a lot, all the time. But the way the body works this out is incredible. Keep eating healthy, stay away from refined sugar and everything will be alright.
It depends on people, but having someone to guide you through this period of your life can be beneficial. We often think we are doing things right, but having an external person overlooking can help you with the choices you make daily.
Let’s end on a positive note here and talk about how you perceive your body after giving birth. Your body has changed and even if there are things you can do, you said that it is necessary to accept that you will not go back to 100% what you looked like before. And that is fine! Are there any tips you can give to young mothers to help go through that process of “accepting who you are now”?
ARIANE – When you become a mother, your focus shifts from “yourself” to “your kids”. You lose some of that “care” that you only had for your own body before. It can be harder for some mothers as the changes we go through can be very different from one woman to another. But becoming a mum is a whole new status and that is the most important thing to remember.
I love the “I am who I am movement” these days. It's a movement that highlights the fact that no matter what you look like, how much you weigh. As long as you are doing everything to becoming the best version of yourself, you are on the right track and you should be proud of yourself! Find things to challenge you daily and always enjoy the process. The smile of your children will always be more valuable than the best set of abs.
Alexandre Vallot (28) is a French coach in Paris. He has been coaching for 6 years now. From pro athletes to regular folks trying to simply stay in shape, he likes to train anyone with a purpose and a desire to progress in their fitness journey. He does not only want his clients to be motivated while he coaches them, but he wants them to create a mindset that they will carry forever.
Today we go down the list of 5 important factors to consider when you want to get back in a training routine after a long break: your nutrition, your training plan, your routine, your relationships, and the goals that you have.
1 – Back to eating healthy
Weight is not the number one indicator of your fitness level and you should not stress about it too much unless you compete in a sport with weight classes. However, weight can be a way to measure your eating habits, which can tell if you have been eating less or more. Therefore, keeping an eye on your weight can be beneficial. Being inactive for a long time can lead to some unwanted weight gains.
What is your tip for people going back into training regarding their eating habits?
ALEX – First of all, it really depends who you are talking to. If we are talking about an experienced person, it is “easier” to have a strict approach. Usually the person knows what it takes, and you can be stricter for the first couple of weeks in order to really get back to the shape you want.
However, if you are talking about an unexperienced fitness enthusiast, you cannot cut back too fast. You need to take steps, otherwise it will not last. I like to not use the word “diet” as it sounds scary to most people, and just talk about making small adjustments day after day. First cut the extra drinks, then dial back on the snacks, add some veggies etc. But if you cut too much too fast, you risk ending up in this “new year resolutions” type of vibe, where goals vanish after a month.
2 – Finally training again
No matter the reason, not being able to train for awhile is going to have effects on your body and your mind. Some people will feel (too) excited about going back to the gym and may risk injuries. Some people may have lost the motivation and will find it hard to go back. For all those cases, how do you get back into training mode?
ALEX – You should not imagine going back to the gym as the perfect scenario where you are motivated, you are stress-free, you perform the same… Things have changed ! However, one thing that has not changed is how beneficial “moving” is for your body. Whether it is 10, 30 or 50 minutes, moving at least twice a week will do wonders. Your motivation will come back slowly but surely and seeing your body change and adapt is the best boost you can hope for.
However, do not try to do too much or too complicated too soon. Same as the nutrition part, take steps towards coming back to your routine. Those steps can include a training partner or a coach! This is the best way to stay motivated as you are now accountable to someone else. If you are a Compex user, use the Compex app to plan your training sessions, share your results with your friends and see your progress.
3 – Going back to a routine?
Lots of people have a fitness routine. You train around the same time of the day, you eat at the same hours, you sleep about the same amount every night etc. When that has been broken for a while, people may be lost when it is training-time again! How do you help people get back to their routine?
ALEX – You need to realize that in this situation, time is your best friend. Getting back slowly but surely is the best recipe to a successful come-back. You should also be open to changes in your fitness routine, and not desperately want it to be the same as before. Adding new movements and training methods can do wonders to your body. So why not start by trying something new? Bodyweight workouts, yoga, Compex-Training… You used to be a gym-rat that loves pumping weights? Try new sports and workout methods, your body will love it.
4 – The influence of your close friends
The fourth point may be left aside by a lot of people but is more important than we think. The influence that our friends and family have on our choices in life is huge. You cannot stop talking to people just because they do not motivate you, so how do you deal with your closest relationships when it comes to your motivation to be healthy?
ALEX – Like you said, you cannot stop talking to people just because they do not agree with you, otherwise you will not keep many friends! There are two different types of people in my opinion. First is the closest friends, then you have the people around you that are the closest to your training habits. Your friends might be party-people and maybe you get invited to diners often. However, the most important is: where do you train? Do you have a coach? Are these friends also training buddies? Having friends to party-with is not an issue, as long as you have a fitness circle to stay right on track with your goals. Once again, it is all about balance
5 – Defining your goals
Setting goals can be challenging. The way you write down a goal can instantly tell whether you will be successful or not. We hear often people say, “I want to be stronger” or, “I want to lose fat”. These statements are never to be fulfilled. The reason is: they cannot be measured. 1kg of fat lost will not make you happy. However, you still “lost weight” and according to your goal, you are successful. But we all know this is not how you will be happy. How do you help people set goals the best way possible?
ALEX – For me, the first step is defining who do you want to become. Do you want to be a professional athlete, do you want to be a fit mum, do you want to look good at the beach… These are all different approaches. When you have defined that, you can create a ten-step plan towards your goal. These steps must be small challenges, attainable, measurable, and realistic. For example, your first step could be “Eat three whole fruits per day this week”, or “Exercise 20 minutes, three times this week”. These steps are measurable and realistic, they will open the path to success in your fitness journey. I know it sounds all Instagram-ish but setting goals measurable and realistic goals is the number one key to success.