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How BioCheck boosted bodybuilder Ellen’s career

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That the BioCheck programs can help top athletes with their performance, bodybuilder Ellen Breemans experienced firsthand. As BioCheck program advisor, she also wants to help other top athletes gain insight into their ability to recover. “There are still huge opportunities in that area for many athletes.”

Things have to be different,
Ellen Breemans thought more than a decade ago. She was working as an account manager for a recruitment company specialized in IT. “Targets, making hours, lots of drinks; that kind of job,” Ellen says. “I didn’t want that all my life. I started eating healthier, started working for myself as a Fit Life Coach and started doing strength training. I liked that. And I turned out to be good at it.” So good, in fact, that at one point Ellen decided to enter bodybuilding competitions. She now competes in BodyFitness, a category of Bodybuilding that requires displaying a distinct “V-Shape” (meaning, a wide back and prominent shoulders) and clear muscle definition,
but where femininity remains an important criteria. With targeted training and nutrition, she trained herself ‘completely dry’ and before she knew it she was beaming on the stages of the Dutch and
European championships.

 

“Making the ability to recover visible is a neglected aspect in elite sports.”

 
 

Demands of elite sports

The life of a bodybuilder places significant demands on Ellen and her body, especially in the lead-up to a competition. “In the last weeks, you eat less, but you still train just as hard,” Ellen explains. “On the day of the competition, you usually drink very little. When you stand on the stage, you tense your muscles intensely while experiencing hunger and thirst. You’re essentially trembling from fatigue, also because you sleep poorly in the weeks leading up to a competition. Due to eating so little, you wake up at night feeling hungry. Unhealthy? To some extent, yes, because you’re pushing your body to its limits. But I find competitions so enjoyable and get so many beautiful moments in return that I still think it’s worth it.”

 

From coffee to BioCheck job

In early 2023, Ellen made a significant improvement in her training approach. LinkedIn posts from BioCheck co-founder Patrick van Luijk caught her attention. “I sent Patrick a message asking if he would like to have a coffee. I mainly wanted to broaden my knowledge with a focus on my life as a top athlete. Since Patrick is a former top athlete, we had common ground. I was immediately fascinated by the BioCheck method, and I clicked well with Patrick, so I started working as a BioCheck Program Advisor shortly after our first meeting. Then I also started using parts of the method in my daily life and workouts.”

Ability to recover as the missing puzzle piece

What particularly resonated with Ellen was that BioCheck precisely maps out the ability to recover. “That was an eye-opener for me and the missing puzzle piece in my training approach. I’m someone who always goes all out. But if you don’t recover sufficiently from your efforts, you burn yourself out. Moreover, the risk of injuries increases. The importance of the ability to recover became clear to me in the conversation with Patrick. The fact that the ability to recover can be demonstrated with data is truly remarkable. You might think you’re recovering well, but measuring is knowing. Additionally, I started applying the BioCheck breathing technique. I used to find that a bit vague, but I immediately noticed that the breathing exercises had an effect.”

Less stress, more sleep

Ellen continues, “Normally, I was incredibly stressed in the last six weeks before a competition. The breathing exercises reduced that significantly; I could relax better. I also slept much better than before. This made me feel more energetic leading up to a competition. I also now recognize stress signals earlier, such as restlessness, irritability, headaches, and muscle and joint complaints, allowing me to intervene promptly and adjust the intensity of my training. If I feel a bit stressed and tired now, I won’t try to break a personal record. I used to do that, but it’s pointless. You just have to take a step back and recharge so that you can go all out later.”

 

Pilot with Rotterdam Topsport

From her position and personal experiences, Ellen now assists other top athletes. BioCheck has entered into an exploratory collaboration with Rotterdam Topsport. “We’re starting a pilot with combat athletes training at the National Combat Sports Center located in the Rotterdam Topsport Center. With our BioCheck method and app, we will provide real-time insight into their ability to recover based on the personal data of these athletes. Our specialists will meticulously analyze the personal data of these athletes and map out their recovery capacity and the best recovery strategies for each athlete. This way, we make – again based on data – transparent what exactly happens in the body. Each athlete can then better learn to listen to the body’s signals. Training will be adjusted based on the data, and performance during competitions will hopefully improve.”

Jorden Bres

Jorden Bres, a well-known figure in the world of elite sports, is also convinced of the BioCheck method. The former Strength & Conditioning trainer of NOC*NSF, who guided various top athletes – including Epke Zonderland – towards the Olympic Games, was looking for a way to become more energetic after experiencing a burnout. Through BioCheck, Jorden worked on his recovery capacity. Cardio is now a regular part of his week. As a result, he feels much more relaxed, pays better attention to his body, and sleeps much better than before.

Recovery, an overlooked aspect

Ellen is convinced that the BioCheck method can help top athletes. “In elite sports, much is done with training schedules, nutrition, and data. But the recovery of efforts – and the extent to which someone can do this – is a neglected aspect in elite sports, in my experience. A lot relies on intuition; the ability to recover is not made visible with data. I want to help top athletes – and of course, companies and their employees – with this, based on my own positive experiences.”

If you want to know more about the BioCheck method and programs, contact Ellen Breemans at ellen@biocheck.nl or +31 (0)10 226 3143.

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