Schecter helps GB prepare
It’s an honour being an international sportsman or woman but as amateur athletes it’s also tough – you’ve got to find time to work and train, to work and recover, with little (or no) funding to accommodate expensive cost outlays – so applause goes to Lions’ own Phoebe Schecter who not only accommodates all of the above with much enthusiasm but who has also volunteered for additional duties to boot…fulfilling a consultant Strength & Conditioning role with Great Britain’s Women’s American Football Team.
We caught up with the live-wire Linebacker for a quick download:
Not satisfied with being busy 24/7 you’ve taken to supporting the GB Women’s team with their S&C preparations ahead of the European Championships – how did that come about?
I’ve always been into fitness, I’ve played sports my whole life (…if you come from the United States you’re practically born with sports equipment in your hand!) and I’m a Personal Trainer so a lot of it all makes sense. I put together a short program for the Lions initially and then at the end of last year Great Britain Head Coach and Deputy Head Coach Jim Messenger and Richard Ward [respectively] approached me about helping to write a program for GB’s Women.
Sounds impressive, what was the thinking behind this?
My remit was to create a work-out for players to perform anywhere – without the burden of gym membership or cost. We created that and then decided, with the Europeans coming up, that a much more substantial program would need to be installed and as such our newest schedule has us all working to much higher levels and standards with a greater degree of focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) to address recovery times and endurance. It’s going to be hot in Spain! Most of the team aren’t naturally acclimatised to these conditions and with our schedule of three games in less than a week it’s going to be tough on Great Britain. Recovery times between plays and games and the strength of body (and mind) to keep working hard will be crucial. I’m certain that we will be a force to be reckoned with in Spain so it’s important we prepare appropriately.
Dealing with a squad of 45 women, how are you finding that?
The biggest challenge so far surrounds that which makes American Football so special – that there are so many different skills required for each and every position. It’s great to have a base program for everyone, but from there you need to start diving into position-specific skills. Also, you have women who are plumbers, doctors, students, mothers, office-workers and everything in between, this changes the amount of time they have for going to the gym for example, but by working with the GB staff and our medical team I was able to help provide alternative training methods and to act as an additional contact for questions and queries to ensure the team all stayed on the same page.
There’s a lot to be done – you’re a GB player yourself – why is this important to you?
American Football has given me a lot – amazing opportunities and experiences and some really great friends – so I think it’s important to give back. I also love football, so this is all really just a great way to combine what I do for a living with my passion for fitness and sport.
Part of your day job focuses on providing equestrian-fitness for horse-riders, is that really relevant for American Footballers?
Sure it is, my Equi Fit classes work a lot on core strength, which is fundamental for any athlete. Conditioning, cardio, speed- and power-endurance are all in their too, all directly transferable elements.
…and after all this advice offered what does fitness look like for Phoebe?
Oh goodness, well, on average, I do all my HIIT warm-ups with my clients and I’m very lucky to be able to create my own schedule, which allows me my own time at the gym. I also live on a horse cross-country course which is great for cardio, intervals, and hill sprints and I workout with a guy who does strongman two days a week. I also work out of a gym called Team Chongi, which focuses on MMA, so I’ll do strength and power classes, kettlebell classes and some boxing/MMA just for good measure. Lastly, I do have days where I mix in plyometric exercises, use resistance bands and body weight just to mix things up.
…that all sounds terribly exhausting!
Well it is a little but you get used to it.
And after the Europeans what then?
I’ll undoubtedly look to use some of the knowledge-gained from this GB experience and staff in readiness for the Lions’ pre-season campaign. Season Three will no doubt be another competitive year for us so we’ll be upping our fitness and making it a central part of our football program, so we can hit the ground running once Sapphire starts up again [in early 2016].
An even faster, fitter, stronger Lions team to come? We like the sound of that.
Thanks for your time Phoebe and all the best with your own and the GB team’s preparations for the European Championships.
Phoebe specialises in personal training and equestrian-fitness, for more information why not visit (and please like) her page facebook.com/fitnesswithphoebe.
Image courtesy of and with thanks to Whizzyfingers Photography.