Optimising Wellness to Optimise Race Performance – Corey Mccullagh

By | Coaching, Performance

Bananas, power lifting and diligence – insights from Sprintcar racer Corey Mccullagh about excelling in your field.

Motor sport enthusiasts will know there is far more to racing than meets the eye when it comes to keeping a sprintcar on the race track and a driver in blistering form. There’s a lot to be learned from people who are consistently performing at a high level in their field and sprintcar racing is no exception.
The latest technology, a meticulous maintenance regime and an A-grade support crew are all imperative in a sport where seconds can be the difference. Drivers are also continually seeking opportunities to help them find an extra 1% to give them an edge over their rivals. Which is what I wanted to find out about when I caught up with Corey Mccullagh, the 27 year old sprint car sensation who recently won Australia’s biggest race, the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.
What I was really interested to learn from Corey was the strategies he has implemented to give himself the best shot at success. The physical, mental and nutritional practices Corey applies to stay focused and keep his foot down, that have contributed to him ascending the ranks as he now competes against some of his childhood idols.
There’s no question Corey is now a top threat in the Australian Sprintcar field having taken out four major wins from 15 starts last season with the pinnacle being the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic in January. The field consisted of 111 entries including 11 top level international racers. What’s more impressive is that Corey won the final from a ninth place start, the furthest back in the field a winner has started. Not only has this put Corey in the history books, it’s also put him on the radar of some bigger teams and is already opening up new opportunities for him.
While you might think that driving around in circles is no big feat, when you are wrestling with a beast of a machine that has a bigger horse power range than an F1 car, the level of fitness and concentration required to perform at the top level is remarkably high. The constant g-force applied to a racers neck and arms puts a huge strain on their upper body and core, and with race meets lasting up to 4.5 hours long and a main race of 30 – 40 laps, the concentration demands of the sport are intense.
So how does Corey fuel, move and live to best prepare him for the demands of his sport and more importantly what can we learn from him to maximise our own performance?

Fuel – Race fuel and proper hydration

Corey has only recently started paying more attention to his nutrition. While he credits his girlfriend for much of his diet which he says is fairly normal, he does have a secret race fuel… bananas. One of the world’s most popular fruits, bananas contain a high amount of easily digestible carbs and have a fairly low glycemic index so they won’t give Corey a large blood sugar spike. The high fibre content will also help Corey feel fuller for longer so he doesn’t feel hungry during race meets. He also ensures that he eats a proper meal when he has a break during a race meet and is drinking a lot of fluids.
“When you feel thirsty, you wear out quicker.”
Through experience, Corey understands the benefits of staying hydrated, stating that it increases his energy levels and gives him clarity which allows him to make better decisions while racing. When one bad decision can be the difference between a podium finish or time and money spent on car repairs, it’s important for Corey to do everything he can to ensure he stays mentally alert during races.

Move – Power lifting and consistency

Over the past season Corey has stepped up his workout regime and it didn’t take long to notice an increase in his endurance. “I was previously getting puffed” he said recalling the fatigued he used to feel towards the end of races. Now with the help of his power lifting coach who he works with 3 time per week for 2 hours each session, he has increased the strength and power of his arms and core.
“I started looking at my racing like a business.”
Once Corey started looking at his racing more like a business, he realised there is more he can do when he’s off the track to give himself the best chance of success on it. He’s learned that he can’t seperate his racing career from “normal” life and as such he knows he needs to better look after himself physically everyday. Which is a great reminder for us that we can’t compartmentalise all the areas of our lives and particularly our health and pretend they have no impact one another.

Live – Systems, sleep and support.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Corey is that order is the first order of the day. Corey describes himself as slightly OCD when it comes to his pre-race preparation and uses checklists to ensure everything is ready, cleaned and packed just as it should be. When he knows that he’s well organised, it allows him to feel more relaxed and have a quality sleep the night before a race knowing there’s no more he can do until he’s on his way to the track the next day.
“The more relaxed you are the better you sleep.”
Sleep is the next big piece of pre-race preparation with Corey saying “it’s huge” when describing the importance of quality sleep. To stay alert during long race days, a good night sleep is a must for both focus and maintaining energy levels.
Lastly, one of the biggest contributors of his success… The support of his crew, family and sponsors. Even though Corey is the one sitting behind the wheel there are a plethora of people who have helped him get there.
“You cannot do this on your own.”  
Mates, mentors and family have been the key to his success and Corey says you need all three to achieve your goals in life. His crew are some of his best mates and they know how to keep it positive and keep it fun which “takes the pressure off” and helps keep the mood relaxed. One of his main sponsors, Murray, has been a great mentor for Corey who Corey says is “a bit of a life coach” who he can turn to for advice about racing and life. Combined with the support of his Dad and girlfriend, no matter what happens, Corey feels it’s the people around him that gives him the best chance of success.
Corey knows he’s putting in the work, and his effort is certainly paying off as he competes and holds his own against big teams with big budgets. Follow Corey’s progress on Facebook and Instagram @coreymccullaghv90 to keep up to date with his preparation for the upcoming season kicking off on October 13th at Avalon Raceway.
“You need to find what works for you. For me that’s being organised and being prepared.” 
Corey, you’re super impressive and I wish you all the best with the upcoming season, I know that you’ll start this season as strong as you finished your last!
Corey has had a lot of people help him along the way and wanted to use the opportunity to thank his main sponsors:
  • Warrnambool RV & Caravan Centre
  • Owenbuilt Homes
  • South West Conveyancing
  • Owentruss
  • Westvic Sheds & Garages
I Grasp Wellness provides wellness coaching for individuals to help create enduring healthy change. If you know it’s time to take a look at your own wellbeing and need help navigating exercise planning, nutrition, sleep strategies and motivation to stay focused, connect with I Grasp Wellness today for a complimentary wellness discovery session. 

What is a Wellness Coach anyway?

By | Coaching, Wellness
It took me some time to confidently proclaim to my friends and family that I am a “wellness coach.” In giving this statement the eyebrow test, I’d almost always be met with raised eyebrows and eyebrows don’t lie! Raised eyebrows usually signal surprise with a side note of criticism and imply people are quickly trying to figure out what exactly a wellness coach is before any words escape their mouth.
Before you raise your eyebrows, let me explain what a wellness coach is. The first part of the equation is figuring out what exactly wellness means, which is trickier said than done. Simply stated, wellness is your overall state of wellbeing. It’s more than freedom from disease, it’s being in a place of physical, mental and social/spiritual wellbeing so that you can perform in a manner consistent with your expectations. It encompasses lifestyle, environment and most importantly the self-evaluation of one’s quality of life.
The many facets of wellness can be viewed as a set of skills that are able to be learned, practiced and refined, similar to taking up a new sport. One of the best ways to master a new skill is under the guidance of a coach. Learning skills and techniques that enable you to enhance your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing will enable you to live a higher quality of life – as determined by yourself.
So the next part of the equation is the coaching part. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
In todays “information era,” the coach is no longer the expert but rather a lead collaborator. The information to improve your wellbeing is more readily available than ever before. The problem is there is just as much mis-information, fad diets and click bait to leave people feeling confused about the direction they should take to improve their health, particularly in taking the first step. Here lies the value of a coach, to help guide you into making decisions that are aligned with your goals and your motivation.
Coaching is not instruction, nor is it judgement. A good coach will accept people for who they are in their current state and ask that they do the same. There is no point being ashamed of what has been or who you are, but rather focus on what will be and who you will become.
In a sporting or strength and conditioning sense, I have been doing this for over 15 years when I began as an 18 year old personal trainer, and have continued to coach others in the sporting, fitness and corporate arenas ever since. I’ve always had a passion for performance, helping others perform at a high level and achieve their fitness goals. Whilst I love physical training, I now offer more to clients to help them go deeper into their personal vision, their motivation and the reasons that are driving their desire for change. Through my coaching program I help clients explore mindset, self limiting beliefs, nutrition habits, exercise routines and establishing process goals which are going to have the biggest impact on creating a healthier and happy being.
The people that I work with inspire me. They have recognised that there are one or two clear dissatisfactions which have caused then to want to change something. Whether it’s weight loss, feeling fatigued, lacking motivation, wanting to feel better about themselves or wanting to look better, they have a desire that is strong enough that they are ready to express it. It is this state, the beginnings of change, which can be the start of something amazing.
My goal is to reflect that inspiration and instil in my clients a belief that they can make it happen. Then we create a clear roadmap to ensure it does happen. There is no one size fits all plan. Each individual will work through a series of exercises to establish a base line and build a vision before we begin to look into solutions or design programs, which could include any number of approaches. The outcomes, the process goals and the successes are ultimately driven by the client.

A little about the I GRASP Wellness philosophy

The core purpose of I GRASP Wellness is;
“To empower individuals to make incremental healthy changes to continually improve their life.”
The I GRASP Wellness coaching and corporate training programs are built on five foundational pillars that counter the reasons why progress can be challenging.
Guidance – To be the best version of yourself physically a small dose of guidance is invaluable in helping establish a vision and paint the picture of a healthier, happier future.
Rapport – Focus on people first, building relationships through careful listening, deliberate curiosity and thoughtful questioning. Genuine care for each individual, treating each person who connects with I GRASP as a client for life.
Accountability – Many people have great intentions to be the best version of themselves, however “you can’t intention your way to anything.” Accountability is reminding someone what they desire and why they desire it followed by acting to an agreed standard.
Sustainable – Consistency in executing the small things leads to great things. A wholesale change is rarely sustainable. It is near impossible to eradicate negative past behaviours simply because you have drawn a line in the sand. Self determined lifestyle changes are best achieved through incremental progress.
Progress – Is my purpose and my promise. These five areas of focus will help you to move forward.
When you commit to making a positive change with the help of the I GRASP Wellness one on one coaching program you benefit from:
  • A minimum of 12 coaching sessions.
  • Daily mobile messaging support and encouragement to keep you on track.
  • Wellbeing plans to suit your goals whether that’s exercise plans, nutrition and meal plans, weekly productivity planner or mental wellbeing planner.
  • Connecting with like minded people.
  • Subscription to our newsletter for weekly wellness hacks and tidbits.
If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to connect with I GRASP through our website or send me a direct message.