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Captain’s Log – Reflecting on the Vulcans 19/20 Performance

Ahead of our upcoming Birthday Social taking place at Sheffield Tigers RUFC on Saturday 22nd August our Captain, Innes MacLeod, has taken a moment to reflect on what has happened since he released his start of the season blog.

I wrote a blog at the start of the season where I set out our hopes for the year ahead. My focus was on looking at the small victories. We are a young club and, though we are ambitious, we know that growing to be the successful team we know we can be is no small task. It requires work and dedication. When I wrote that blog I was looking back to the previous season which was undoubtedly a season of small victories. We had grown in numbers, improved in skill and were building confidence but that didn’t always translate to success on the pitch. It seemed appropriate to focus and be proud on what we had achieved and to build on those small victories.

What I didn’t expect was what this season would bring. Though it was tragically cut short the previous year was the Vulcans most successful ever. We went from a solitary win the year before to winning the majority of our games. We won our first away game and broke too many club scoring records to count. The leap we made was astronomical. At the beginning of this season we were a development team by the end of it we were something more.

This wasn’t just a year of wins on the field but success off of it as well. The Halloween and Pride parties we hosted were our biggest ever social events and were an absolute blast. Our membership has continued to grow strongly. Most importantly we have gone from training on a public park to having the excellent facilities of the Sheffield Tigers, a relationship we hope to grow in the coming year.

To look back at the blog I wrote I see now I was maybe more cautious than I had a right to be. If I had looked around me I would have seen the foundation of the season to come. From our committee who have worked to continue our growing strength, our coaches whose patience helped us develop, to our players and members who give so much to this club. It’s the people that make a team and we have some pretty great people around.

The coming year will present significant challenges. It’s unclear when we can play the sport we love again. I look around at this team though and know that we have it in us to take on the challenges that lie ahead. My next blog won’t be so cautious.

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Sheffield Vulcans Recommend: Pre-Training Meals

As Sheffield’s first LGBTQ inclusive Rugby team we pride ourselves on being a squad made up of athletes who come from a wide range of ability, fitness and experience. Always looking for ways to improve our performance our team of coaches heartily encourage our members to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

However, in today’s new world forged by Covid-19, it is often difficult to keep on the straight and narrow when it comes to nutrition. Sure, lockdown rules have been relaxed and we can do as much exercise as we want out doors but it also means that temptation of grabbing something quick and easy is even more present now the golden arches have opened their drive through and delivery services.

We’re not worried too much though because tonight marks the restart of our training sessions. That’s right, keeping in-line with the recommended government guidelines our team has been split into squads of six who will work together to complete HIIT sessions developed to help improve our fitness during pre-season ready for when the season begins (whenever that may be).

With training starting again the team have been thinking about how we each treat our bodies. We’ve already been encouraging one another to remain active during lockdown thanks to our weekly Strava challenge but it’s just as important to take note of our nutrition as well. Good nutrition is vital for exercise and performance and can help recover faster after each workout. It’s equally as important to think about the timing of your pre-workout meal too. That’s why it comes highly recommended to try and eat a complete meal containing carbs, protein and fat at least 2 hours before you exercise as this will help prevent any stomach discomfort during exercise.

Ahead of tonight’s training we turned to our committee to see what their go to pre-training meal and here is are a few of their recommendations:

If your training starts within 3 hours:

Our club President Michael Hudson recommends something quick and easy to prepare. That’s why he swears by enjoying a meal of chicken and rice/pasta a few hours before training. Protein, carbs… simple!

As an alternative suggestion, our very own Matt Clark recommends fajitas made with lean protein, brown rice and roasted vegetables.

If your training starts within 2 hours:

Our Social Secretary Tibble Smith knows how to keep it light and recommends enjoying some toast with butter (and jam if he’s feeling a little naughty).

As an alternative suggestion, you could enjoy a bowl of whole-grain cereal and milk.

If training starts within an hour:

Our club Chair Glenn Allen and our very own Jude Berry recommend enjoying a piece of fruit, such as a banana or an apple.

As an alternative suggestion you could enjoy a nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients.

That concludes our recommendations for pre-training fuel and we hope you found it useful. Remember at the end of the day improving your pre-training nutrition can go a long way in helping you perform better and recover faster as an athlete. But before you go, remember that your body also needs water to function so it is important that you maintain good hydration habits as well.

Thanks for reading.

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Sheffield Vulcans Recommend: Podcasts Vol. 1

The Sheffield Vulcans have been taking part in a weekly Strava challenge that has seen the team working together to reach a set distance. For the last three week’s we’ve constantly smashed every target set and we’re on track for beating it for the fourth week in a row.

Inspired by the appearance of our very own Michael Hudson on episode 2 of the Ruck My Life Podcast, a podcast dedicated to exploring what life is like for the LGBTQ+ community in sport, we reached out to the team to see what podcasts they’ve been listening to whilst taking part in our Strava challenge.

Kicking off our list of recommendations is the House of Rugby, a podcast that takes its listeners right to the heart action with big name interviews and delving into the big issues in the game. Presented by Alex Payne and James Haskell, House of Rugby is a casual yet informative podcast released every Wednesday to provide listeners with a breakdown of the news in rugby union.
Rec by Charlie Prior-Mills & Chris Moore

Do you like Music? Do you like taking part in Quizzes? If you answered yes to both then you should check out the PopMaster podcast. Presented by BBC 2’s Ken Bruce, PopMaster invites listeners to take part in his tricky music quiz. There are over 27 episodes for you to check out which provides hours of fun for listeners to enjoy!
Rec by Glenn Allen

If you love to laugh then Shagged. Married. Annoyed. is for you. Chris Ramsey and his wife going through letters from the public and discuss how things are in the world. Very relatable and extremely hilarious, there are over 65 episodes to check out. So, if you’re looking for something to put a smile on your face during lockdown this show will provide plenty of laugh out loud moments!
Rec by Andrew Gibson

Three friends read the erotic fiction written by one of their dads who knows almost nothing about sex, anatomy, or storytelling in the smash hit podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno. Certainly one of those you have to hear it to believe it experiences, My Dad… is praised highly by multiple Vulcans as one of the best podcasts they’ve ever listened to!
Rec by Joel Walker & Matthew Buckingham

Next up is Athletico Mince, a British comedy podcast hosted by Bob Mortimer and Andy Dawson. The football podcast that no one wanted features discussions about football and whether being gentle in the Premier League makes one a better manager. It’s not for everyone but if you’re into your football and you’re a comedy fan then this is the mash up for you.
Rec by Chris Moore

Fancy a dive into the world of conspiracy theories? Those Conspiracy Guys is an Irish comedy podcast that discusses pretty much everything from paranormal happenings and true crime right through to aliens and werewolves. No topic is too delicate or outlandish, the team go above and beyond to provide listeners with plenty of waffle as the show dissects the misinformation out in the world.
Rec by Archive Irving

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness podcast sees the bubbly and fast paced thought process of JVN take listeners on a rollercoaster for 45 minutes as he asks questions of all varieties to experts across the world. Get better understanding of complex issues, learn things you never knew, and learn more about the work of celebrities and activists from across the globe. There’s something for everyone and you’re guaranteed to learn something new whilst doing it.
Rec by Michael Hudson

If you’re a fan of Ru Paul’s Drag Race then you’ll want to check out Race Chaser with Alaska and Willam. Entertaining and insightful, the show recaps every episode and dives deep to provide listeners with gossip about what was really going on behind the scenes. Covering every season of Drag Race, All-Stars and Drag Race UK, Race Chaser is the best podcast to listen to if you’re a fan of the show.
Rec by Daniel Jenkinson

If you’re a fan of horror then you should check out the Tales from Beyond the Pale podcast. Hosted and curated by filmmakers Larry Fessenden (Depraved) and Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), this award-winning series treats listeners to half-hour tales ranging from the gently macabre to the genuinely gruesome. With over 30 episodes currently available, this show is guaranteed to send icy chills down your spine… if you’re brave enough to listen.
Rec by Jon Dickinson

Andy Goode, Big Jim Hamilton & Andy Rowe have a real treat for Rugby fans in The Ruby Pod. From covering the latest news with plenty of laughs and opinions without taking themselves too seriously, The Rugby Pod is made for fans, by fans and exists as a fully interactive platform where listeners are invited to get in touch with funny stories, questions or opinions via social media.
Rec by Charlie Prior-Mills & Chris Moore

Let’s finish off this round of podcast recommendations by mentioning the excellent Ruck My Life podcast again. Presented by CJ who plays for the Village Spartans, Ruck My Life continues to grow as a very informative podcast featuring guest appearances from IGR players around the world to give an insight into their experiences as a LGBT player in a sports team. Please show it your support by checking it out.

All the shows listed above are available where all good podcasts are available.

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How We’re Maintaining Fitness During Lockdown

Since the lockdown began the Sheffield Vulcans have had plenty of downtime since the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic sunk its nails deep into the flesh of this planet. Not only were our Tuesday night training sessions suspended indefinitely, but the government only allowed us to leave our homes once a day initially, restricting the amount of exercise we could do outside of our homes.

Thankfully, this didn’t stop the Vulcans from working on our fitness. Every Tuesday for the past nine weeks we’ve been taking part in remote HIIT sessions delivered by the fantastic Analise Moran from Moran Personal Training. Taking to our bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and gardens, we’ve been squatting, planking, and becoming sweaty messes with the goal of maintaining our fitness.

In addition to this our very own Liam Goodwin came up with a solution to keep the team engaged between HIIT sessions by using Strava, a popular fitness tracking app. Liam noticed that a few of the team were already on there tracking workouts during lockdown in an effort to remain active and sane. Other rugby and sports clubs had set themselves up on Strava and we thought it was a great idea, so got Sheffield Vulcans set-up and encouraged the team to get involved in weekly distance challenges.

The first week had a positive response with roughly half of the club signing up to take on 100km, which we had exceeded by Wednesday. As a result the target was doubled, and by the end of the week the team flew past the revised target with an incredible distance of 287km. This was mirrored by the results of the second week which saw the Vulcans smash the 300km target with 433km in total.

During this time Liam saw a growth in interest amongst the team thanks in part to the weekly leader board and results, adding friendly competition into the mix. Some eager beavers have been getting out multiple times a day with an eye on the top three spots, whilst others are happy doing their own thing pushing themselves individually. Being an inclusive team consisting of people of all ages and ability, we ensured the challenge allowed members to walk, run or cycle any distance they felt comfortable with. Furthermore, the challenge has provided the perfect opportunity for some of our Vulcans to spend time with one another (within government guidelines of course).

Recently, we’ve celebrated our third weekly result and managed to complete a collective distance of 602.31km, which is the equivalent of running from Plymouth to Middlesbrough. Each week the target grows, and we’ve now added an extra mini-challenge for all members to complete a minimum 10km distance across the week.

On reflection, we can’t thank Liam and Analise enough keeping us Vulcans engaged and motivated to keep our fitness up. The benefits of taking on these challenges have helped us to work together, motivate one another, and ultimately bring us closer together as a team even though we’re physically far apart. We know one day the lockdown will end and we will all return to Sheffield Tigers to continue our training ready for next season. Until then, the team will continue to support one another and smash our weekly targets.

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Captain’s Log – The importance of self care during lockdown

Captain, Innes MacLeod has a message to share about the importance of self care and why lockdown isn’t stopping him from looking forward.

During the lockdown it is important to think about being kind to yourself. That can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s indulging your sweet tooth, getting an extra hour’s sleep or simply grabbing 5 minutes of quiet time in a busy household. Over the past few weeks I have been increasingly thinking about how the way I treat myself, physically and mentally, has been restricted and the efforts I can make to find space and time for this.

We are being bombarded with the truism that the current restrictions are damaging for our mental and physical health. This is something I have been feeling keenly recently. Under normal circumstances I would spend an evening or two a week with my fellow Vulcans. As you might expect of any IGR club the Vulcans provide a fantastic community feeling which I am sorely missing. In addition, the routine and physical exertion of training has been hugely beneficial to my mental health and being apart from this has had its impact.

As a club we have tried to be innovative and have introduced zoom training sessions. For an hour a week we get together and squat, jump and stretch from our respective bedrooms, living rooms and gardens. While for some this might sound less than fun the return of routine, the ability to see my friends and the physical benefits have helped enormously with the challenge of lockdown. The benefit of regular exercise on mental health is by no means a silver bullet but is well accepted and I find it a useful tool for keeping my spirits up through this time.

Weekly high intensity exercise may sound like the opposite of being kind to yourself to some and as someone who always preferred the pie and chips after playing rugby than the game itself I can sympathise. Finding something that is accessible, enjoyable and fits in with your day to day can be hard. Even making time for a short walk every day has been hugely beneficial for me. With the streets and parks being relatively quiet I find this not only good exercise but a good time to clear my head of the busyness of work and the often gloomy daily news. An important aspect of mindfulness is bringing yourself into the present moment and being more aware of your body and surroundings. A quiet walk is often a great opportunity to do this. I’ve started noticing new buildings and great views of the city from the streets around my flat. These moments give me time to reflect and leave me feeling more positive and able to take on the day.

This is what works for me but it is important to find what works for you whether it’s yoga, chairobics, running or following the lead of my partner and buying an inflatable kayak to take up the local canal. Making time to be kind to your body and mind can help you through the lockdown.

Want to learn more about the Sheffield Vulcans’ plans for the 2019/2020 season? Get in touch today by emailing committee@sheffieldvulcans.com

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How the Sheffield Vulcans helped heal my relationship with straight men

Archie shares his experience about growing up surrounded by women, his taut relationship with straight men, and how joining an inclusive Rugby team has helped him heal old wounds, and create new amazing relationships!

“I grew up in a household with 5 women. I had 4 older sisters and my mom. Then along came my sister’s girl-friends, my aunties and more! I was surrounded by women, all the time, which meant that I found it more comfortable to be around women as that’s all I knew. My closest friends have always been girls throughout primary school, secondary school, college and so on. This wasn’t just because of familiarity, it was also because for most of my life I’ve feared straight men.”

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Picking a starting Lions XV based on the 6 Nations.

By Charlie PM

After instinctively opening BBC sport for the sixteenth time today, only to be met with another update of which sport has been added to the ‘indefinitely suspended’ list, it seemed like a good time to reflect on where the 6 Nations has left the status of international rugby.

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Age Is No Barrier: how I got involved with inclusive rugby even though I’m not in my 20s

Sheffield is a university city, and so like some other clubs we have a younger demographic of students or recent graduates. However Glenn Allen wanted to share his experiences of being part of the Sheffield Vulcans and getting involved with Inclusive Rugby, even though he isn’t in his 20s 😉

“I played a lot of Rugby, in my hometown, at Uni and for Sheffield Tigers but finished at the age of 28. Torn knee ligaments in a skiing accident caused me to miss the second half of that season, slow rehabilitation and a promotion at work meant my priorities changed and I never went back the following season. That was the year 2000. Continue reading

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Sheffield Vulcans vs Newcastle Ravens

Date: 11th January 2020
Location: Sheffield Tigers RUFC, Sheffield

The Vulcans welcomed the Ravens to a cold and windy Dore Moor, as we were hosted for the second time by Sheffield Tigers.

The game was organised over four, 20-minute quarters to enable both squads to gain plenty of game time, by allowing rolling subs, in what was to be a good experience for both clubs, with both teams debuting players.

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6 Nations Predictions 2020 by Charlie PM

It’s finally here. It’s finally time to fill that big Tokyo shaped hole in your heart with 8 weeks of everyone’s favourite annual sporting occasion. On Saturday the Six Nations is here, and it might be the tightest to call for some time.

While that might be an almost unbearable cliche, any tournament following a World Cup inevitably bears the scars of the highs and lows experienced by its competitors within those tumultuous 6 weeks, and I see this year being no exception. Continue reading