Virtus-Strength Blog

Gym Jones Head Shot

What is Gym Jones is a question I get asked regularly. To me it is the best collection of most inspiring, like minded and driven individuals I have ever come across, more than just a gym, more than just trainers, more than just men and women, more then just friends, it is a family, and one I am very proud and honoured to be a part of. We don't all have the same goals, we come from all sorts of different backgrounds, all shapes and sizes, but what binds us together is our self belief, thoughts and attitude toward being the best we can be and improving our everyday lives. No one goal is above anybody else's. We may be different, but we are all equals, and we all want to get the best from each other. I have an incredible amount of respect for each and everyone I know associated to Gym Jones, and we continue to learn from each other every day. There are lessons to be learnt from everything we do. This is not just applicable to the four walls of the gym. Every test, every lesson, it all helps shape us as individuals, as the people we are today in every aspect of life. It all carries over, and life is there for living. You couldn't ask for a better support net, but one that will also test you and help push you to your limits and beyond in the quest for self realisation and achievement. Work ethic, attitude and ethos is of the highest level. You won't find a harder working but grounded collection of individuals anywhere. Environment is everything. There is no magic pill. Blood, sweat and tears, real honest hard work got us all to where we are now, and will continue to push us forwards. It is the only direction worth travelling. The journey never ends. The learning never stops. The family will continue to grow. We continue to move forward, to test ourselves, to ruthlessly self evaluate, to evolve, to grow. You become what you surround yourself with. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be surrounded by, and I am a better person for knowing each and everyone associated with Gym Jones. Onwards. Always.  At Virtus-Strength, we specialise in personalised one to one coaching, small group PT and Remote Program Design. Based in South West London. For all training enquiries, please contact

Advanced seminar group

  The 2000m row is a great test of cardiovascular power endurance and mental fortitude. Row for Roby The 8-week plan below starts by testing your 2000m row time, so we have an honest marker of where you are at as a starting point. There are then 3-5 sessions planned in weekly, the first 3 of which are designed to easily be included at the back end of a regular training session as your supplemental work for the day.   There is a mix of shorter intervals and tests, and then two further longer distance interval sessions where the focus is working at your target 2000m pace, splitting up the distance, with varying rest periods and a build up in volume over the 8 weeks.   There is an extra credit session in there, a recovery paced row for 30-60 minutes. The more time you spend in the seat, and the bigger you can build your aerobic base, the better you will recover during and after sessions. Its not just about working on the shorter intervals, the larger the work capacity, the more efficient your cardiovascular system will operate, the better you will perform on the shorter tests. This is also a good time to practice technique and build efficiency. This can be included 1-2 times per week on your recovery days between sessions.   Give this a go and let me know how you do. I look forward to hearing of some impressive 2000m row personal bests.  
  Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Extra credit
Week 1 2000m row for time 3x500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 2 min between 2x1000m row @target 2000m pace Rest 5 min between 30-60 min row @easy pace Stroke rate capped at 18-20 s/m
Week 2 6x30/30 1 block Score is total metres 3x500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 90s between 2x1000m row @target 2000m pace Rest 4 min between 30-60 min row @easy pace Stroke rate capped at 18-20 s/m
Week 3 8x20/10 2 blocks Rest 4 min between 4x500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 90s between 2x1250m row @target 2000m pace Rest 4 min between 30-60 min row @easy pace Stroke rate capped at 18-20 s/m
Week 4 500m row for time 4x500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 60s between 2x1250m row @target 2000m pace Rest 3 min between   30-60 min row @easy pace Stroke rate capped at 18-20 s/m
Week 5 6x30/30 2 blocks Rest 4 min between 5x500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 60s between 2x1500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 5 min between 30-60 min row @easy pace Stroke rate capped at 18-20 s/m
Week 6 8x20/10 2 blocks Rest 4 min between 5x500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 45s between 2x1500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 4 min between 30-60 min row @easy pace Stroke rate capped at 18-20 s/m
Week 7 1000m row for time 5x500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 30s between 2x1500m row @target 2000m pace Rest 3 min between 30-60 min row @easy pace Stroke rate capped at 18-20 s/m
Week 8 10x100m row Rest 60s between 20 min row @easy pace 2000m row for time
Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to.   What do you want to achieve from your time in the gym? What made you go to the gym in the first place? What goals do you have? Have you made them known so there external accountability? What image do you have in your head of the person you want to be, or return to being?   These are all questions you should be asking yourself. Have a clear idea in your head of what it is you want to achieve, what it is that means something to you. It could be a strength standard, health related, a physical appearance, sport specific, running a marathon, and so on. Goals and ambitions that we have are all very individual, but the determination needed to achieve them is what ties us all together.   Whatever it may be, if something is of worth to you, work with every ounce of determination you have to make it a success. Don’t be the person who sits still and expects things to just fall into your lap. For most of us, that just doesn’t happen.   For most of us, it requires hard work, time, patience, perseverance, an ability to learn from our mistakes, and the determination to keep moving forwards.   Nothing will ever happen unless you have the initiative to do so. Aim low, sit still and constantly live inside the protective bubble of your comfort zone, what value is there in that? There isn’t any and your goals will quickly pass you by and come to nothing.   When all is said and done, will you be able to look yourself in the face and know you gave it your all? Keep your eyes open and hold yourself accountable. Stay the course. Make every effort count. Reach. Aim high. Take risks. You’re capable of a lot more than you think you are. Believe in yourself.

Be Resolute

January 15, 2016



Its that time of year again, when everybody comes back to the gym full of Christmas indulgence and a New Year hangover. Do you believe in New Years resolutions? Many people do, and will come back to the gym full of renewed enthusiasm to achieve something this coming year.   The problem, the January blues kick in, and too many people forget those resolutions by the time February comes around.     Whether you believe in New Years resolutions or not, having and setting goals is an important part of the process. If January the 1st was a time for you to sit down and make a list of things you would like to achieve over the year, then great. Having meaningful goals will help keep you motivated in your training. Train for an objective and a purpose. There is some value in everything you do. The more you invest into yourself and your goals, the more likely you are to stay the course. The more you put in, the more you will get out. You can’t cheat the process.   When it comes to setting your goals for the year, both in and out of the gym, don’t just settle for arbitrary things with little meaning. Take the time to sit down and really think about what you want to achieve, and why it is important to you. How will you feel when you achieve that goal? How will you feel if you don’t? Don’t just sit there and say something like – “I wan’t to lose weight” Why do you want to lose weight? How much do you want to lose? When by? What is it about your current weight that you aren’t happy about? What is the vision you think you see in the mirror now? What is the vision you have in the mirror of the end goal? How much are you willing to commit to achieving that end vision?   You don't need a New Year to make goals, but the important part is if you do make them, work damn well hard to achieve them. Don't be that person that makes a New Years resolution and forgets about it by February.   List your goals. Apply some meaning and emotional attachment to what you want to achieve. Make them known. It is harder to forget about your objectives if you have some external accountability. Write your plan of attack. Know what you need to do to reach your end destination. Commit. Nothing will work without honest commitment to the task at hand. Work hard. Nothing worth having comes easy, and without some good old fashioned hard work and grit. Don't be afraid to seek help. Surround yourself with good people that can spur you along. All of the coaches are here to support you. Never lose sight of where you want to get to, and enjoy the ride.   You will see a great big black board in both City Road and Kensal Road W10 Performance gyms this New Year. Think of this as an accountability board. This is a space for you all to list a few things you would like to achieve for the year. There will be no escaping this. It will be there, staring you in the face and keeping you honest every time you come into the gym. Lets get these boards filled up with some good honest objectives, and I look forward to seeing them all ticked off by the end of the year.   Whatever your goals may be, here's to a strong 2016.
500000m of Rowing in 30 Days On September the 30th, I came to the end of a 30-day rowing ladder challenge. The way this worked was simple. On the 1st of the month incorporate 1000m rowing into a workout. On the 2nd, 2000m, on the 3rd, 3000m, and so on adding 1000m on a daily basis for 30 days. I didn’t just row. I still included a lot of lifting and other movements into the workouts to break the rowing up at times, and to also attempt to hold onto as much strength and size as possible across the month. While mixing in a lot of other movement made workouts a lot longer, psychologically it helped break the metres down, and kept things interesting. It can be a lonely place sitting on an erg for a great length of time in a single piece. There were a few days where I just tackled the distance alone. One I was particularly happy with was day 21. With an extra 97 metres thrown on the end, I did a half marathon row for time, 21097m in 01:23:28.7, holding an average pacing of 01:58.7/500m across the distance. Prior to this, I had never held a sub 2 minute split pace for a 10km or 60 minute row yet alone rowed that distance. The increase in my aerobic base in a relatively short period of time was huge, and I got pretty good at rowing… On day 30, I could have ‘just’ rowed 30000m. I thought about doing 42195m, a marathon, but instead I stretched my boundaries further, with a distance a little more than 1.5 marathons in total. The 64903m I decided to row to finish the month at 500000m was one of the hardest individual efforts I have ever done, especially with the accumulation of fatigue from the previous 29 days thrown in. The psychological discipline needed to stay on that rower for nearly 5 hours, as well as the physical distress, was what, on reflection, if not so much at the time, I liked about this challenge. I finished that final row in 04:56:10.3, hitting my target of sub 5 hours. I didn’t move from that rower once during that distance. It left its mark. The aim of the month was to test myself in a way that took me far from my comfort zone. I'm not an endurance guy; it's not something I particularly enjoy, which is why I knew this would test me mentally as much as physically. I could have picked a challenge that focused on my strengths, but what value and learning experience would there really have been from that? It was a long month, but at the same time it flew by pretty quickly. I learnt a lot about myself, and the depths I am capable of going to to improve myself in some small way. I feel a better person for coming out the other side of this strongly. "You are capable of more than you think" was a sermon of Rob MacDonald (GM and Training Director of Gym Jones) that I held closely across the 30 days. There were several times I wanted to quit. Workouts were long. There was not a part of my body that wasn't hurting by the end of that final day, but if I could rewind 30 days, I wouldn't change a single thing. You never know what you are truly capable of until you test yourself, and put yourself in situations you are unsure what the outcome will be. What you can achieve in the four walls of a gym can say a lot about your character away from it. It is all transferable. The mind is primary. I have to thank Jay Collins, another Gym Jones guy for the inspiration for this challenge, and some well timed advice and support along the way, and also to my good friend Stuart Walton, who did an awesome job of pacing support on and off across that final large distance. Lastly, thank you to everyone else that offered support and some kind words along the 30 days. It was all very much appreciated.
Gym Jones Advanced Seminar  Pre seminar FYF/Saturday at Dan Johns After getting in late Thursday evening, we were feeling a little drained on Friday morning, but a trip to FYF awaited, and the excitement of finally walking through the door at Gym Jones kept the jet lag at bay. If I didn’t feel the jet lag before FYF, I certainly did afterwards! The altitude, heat and humidity added a nice level of spice to things. An IWT was a perfectly disgusting way to blow off the cobwebs of travel. A baptism of fire to say the least, but enjoyable all the same. I’m just wired that way. An added extra to the trip was getting to catch up with Dan John. Dan is a great and experienced strength coach, one that I have a high level of respect for, and one of the most down to earth and inviting guys you could meet in this industry. We were invited round for a lovely home cooked dinner, a nice refuel after FYF. Dan’s famous Jambalaya did its job! The hospitality and all that Dan and Tiff wanted to do for us was humbling. We returned Saturday morning to train with Dan out of his garage gym. A needed tonic/mobility workout was perfect for some recovery work, and an introduction to several different loaded carry variations was another valuable lesson. The slosh pipe carry was a humbling experience that showed up a few weaknesses to address. I can’t thank Dan enough for the time he gave up for free for us.     Saturday evening was back fully in Gym Jones mode, as we met up with the big guy, Bobby Maximus, to head out for the ‘best burger in SLC’ That is a grand statement from such a burger aficionado! It didn’t disappoint. A quick side note on this. People will laugh when they see the amount of food and burgers consumed during this week, but it is important to put it into context. This is one meal of the day. A meal that most days came after training twice a day, and harder than many of you could imagine pushing yourselves to, in a dry, hot and humid desert climate, and at altitude. The calories needed to recover and maintain a high level of performance, for me, a 97kg guy, are large. There is only so much ‘clean’ food can be eaten in hard training times like these. Sometimes your body just needs you to get the calories in there to recover from what you’ve put it through so you can go hard again the next day. Always bare this in mind when you look at the eating habits of others. Do you do the work that they do? Sunday training at the church Sunday was a fun day. I’ll say this many times, it is an honour and a privilege to be a small part of the ever-growing Gym Jones family. To be invited into Rob’s home, to train in his garage gym with a group of friends, some old and some new, was awesome. To quote Rob: “Another incredible Sunday at The Church Of Bobby Maximus. I'm so grateful for the people who are in our lives. We are surrounded by hard work, commitment, friendship, love, and respect. It seems that with each day, week, month, and year our family continually grows and we meet more and more wonderful people. To say we are fortunate would be an understatement. Thank you for a remarkable day.” We got in some useful recovery breathing and pacing work ahead of what was to come the following day, the 2000m row for time. And yes, we did go for another burger… Day 1 What an amazing day this turned out to be with some incredibly inspiring people. First off it was great finally meeting so many people face to face that I feel like I’ve known for a while through social media and the extended family that is Gym Jones. A packed room full of likeminded individuals is an environment to thrive upon being in. The atmosphere, level of effort and camaraderie was on another level. We kicked things off with some heavy lifting, working up to a PR if we felt like it was in the tank, then a 5x2 @80%, utilising the PAP method to prime for what was to come later in the day. I made a PR of 535lbs/242.6kg, the first of the day. It was pretty awesome seeing my name first up on the board. That settled some of the pre seminar jitters that had lingered all weekend prior to Monday morning. The lifting wasn’t the cause of the nerves. It was the knowing that a 2000m row for time would be coming, as it did in the afternoon. We finished off the morning first with some extra priming for that effort with 10x100m row efforts, starting at 15 seconds slower than 500m PR pace, working on negative splits, with only the last 3 being any kind of hard effort at around 90% of 500m PR pace. After lunch came the first bit of studying, recapping some of the programming fundamentals of the foundation phases. Then, with the temperature cranking right up, came the 2000m row for time. There were some inspiring efforts to watch. The standard expected of a male is <7 minutes, female <08:15. I came in at 06:57 on the day. No PR, but acceptable. The heat, humidity, and altitude were a lot harsher than anticipated. With all those factors, just making the sub 7 minute standard was acceptable on the day, but leaves plenty of room to improve. The day finished with a head to head battle with reversed computer screens between Jake and Red. It was an impressive sight watching two great athletes put everything on the line. Jake came out the winner, and walked away with a Gym Jones shirt and fully certified instructor status for his efforts. Earned. Deserved. Day 2 Another awesome day. The group of people here just continues to inspire. Everyone in it together, working themselves hard giving it their all to improve themselves. The supportive environment cannot be matched anywhere. There was some good knowledge shared on programming today. We spoke more in depth through programming for high-level foundation phases, and then started to touch on specific programming for endurance athletes. I found this very useful, and plenty to take away. On the training front, today saw some shoulder injury proofing work in the morning, including a bunch of strict pull ups and plank pulls, pendlay rows, and Y’s, J’s and W’s. So much of what we do places stress on the shoulders. It is important to keep them as healthy as possible. Never neglect the small stuff. The day finished off with a 2000m SkiErg for time. My first time attempting this, a 07:05 the result. Not happy with that, but a marker to improve upon. Sub 7 minutes the aim to hit soon. Now its been done once, I have a feel for it, and I’ll hit that standard. The most impressive effort came from an inspiring friend, Jay Collins. One of the oldest on the course at 48, he by no means lets that limit him. He destroyed the 2000m SkiErg in 06:44 proving that age is just a number. Do not allow yourself the excuse of getting older for a decrease in performance. There is still a hell of a lot that you can achieve. If I’m in half his shape when I’m that age, I’ll be doing a lot right. Day 3 Another great day of practical and theoretical based learning. On the training front, we went through a whole load of lower body structural and injury proofing work. Lots of good single leg movements – single leg squats off a box, Bulgarian split squats, single leg deadlifts, sled marches and drags, and deficit KB RDLs and stiff legged deadlifts for some hamstring work also. All valuable stuff that most of us neglect to do as often as we should. Much like the shoulders, injury proofing around the knees and hips is important work that needs to be done. The afternoon then called for the largest IWT ever held at Gym Jones, always a ‘fun’ occasion. KB swings and two-minute rows, goblet squats and two minute AirFit sprints, both for three rounds, then the most hellish plank ever to finish. I will never look at a plank in the same way again. Thanks to Lisa Fresard for that! Everybody worked his or her proverbial nuts off. I don’t care if I’m repeating myself again, but it really is a truly inspirational place to learn and suffer with an incredible group of likeminded individuals. On the learning front, Rob shared some great knowledge on programming for endurance athletes. I found this very useful, and the format easy to digest. Lots of great stuff to take away. Day 4 This morning saw a change of pace with a different kind of challenge, a hike up Beacon Hill on Mount Wire. With 2200 elevation, two miles straight up, this was far from a stroll in the park, especially when you throw in the sore hamstrings and glutes everybody was feeling from the previous days work. I didn’t have a heart rate monitor on, but my partner in crime for the week Stu Walton did, and his HR jacked up to 191 bpm. I’m sure mine was similar if not a tad higher! This was two miles straight up, taking the bulk of the group between 45-50 minutes to ascend. The descent was tough in its own right also, with some pretty uneven and loose footing. This took longer, a little over an hour to navigate. While incredibly tough, it was great to get out in the fresh air, and the views over SLC at the top were brilliant. The afternoon we had the pleasure of sitting and listening to Mark Twight teach. I could listen to that man speak all day long. The wealth of knowledge he has is endless. He taught us about hydration, sport specific nutrition and fuelling for endurance, and some higher level programming for endurance. Day 5/FYF Well here we are, the final day of the seminar. The week seems to have flown by, yet that first FYF feels like a long time ago, as so much has happened in the past 7 days. Today saw a change of focus toward functional mass gain. The knowledge was excellent once again from Rob. The overriding point here for me, is do not sacrifice athleticism for ‘worthless’ size. The larger the aerobic base going into the mass gain, and the maintenance breathing work done while on it are both important. The better the base, the less functionality and work capacity will suffer. We put this into practice with the largest mass gain workout Gym Jones has ever seen, Rob couldn’t have been happier! A 10-1-1-10 push up ladder warmed everyone up heading into a 10x10 format of strict press. A push up competition followed, with closely fought battle, with fellow Brit Chris Hines just losing out to Joe, from Varsity House. After lunch, an interesting discussion on business, social media, and the internship program going forward, it was nearly time for FYF. First up came a 15000m SkiErg relay. Four teams, a room full of over 30 people, all working their absolute hardest. The atmosphere was electric. Winning wasn’t important, it was the togetherness, the camaraderie, and constant support from everyone pushing each other on to achieve their best, and more that was the magical aspect of it. With Rob in no rush to leave that evening, there was one final optional event to finish things off – last man standing on the AirFit. 14 of us felt compelled to throw ourselves back onto the fire one (or up to five…) last time. The way this works: everybody does an all out minute. The fastest handful are done to reduce this to eight. They go again, fastest four are done, slowest go again, and so on, until the last man standing does one final all out minute with the support of the group around. That was two minutes of my life I’ll remember for some time. If you’ve never done an all out minute, let me tell you, its about 50 seconds too long! Try repeating that. You can dig a very large hole in a minute if you truly go for it. This may have been optional, but there was really only one decision to make. All in or not at all. “Its always darkest just before it goes pitch black. Translation: Shit can always get worse.” Rob also stepped up. The best of teachers lead by example. He did just that crushing 85.7 calories in one minute. That’s what you call horsepower! I hit 66.3, and 62.1 on the two rounds I had to endure for comparison. In closing What a week. The emotion in the closing words from Mark Twight was touching. This really is something truly special that he, along with Lisa and Rob initially, plus all others involved have built. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have towards these people. All inspirational teachers and friends. I cannot thank them enough for all that was shared, and the environment to which they have so openly invited us all to be a part of. To paraphrase Josh Vert: Hard work, commitment, persistence, difficulty, tolerance, internal negotiation, vision, imagination, physical effort, psychological effort above and beyond the physical, the will to do, the will to suffer, all of it lasting for a long time over months and years are values that bind us all together. To quote Rob: “We are more than just a gym. We are more than a collection of individuals who train together. We are a family. We are a group of likeminded individuals focused on being the best people we can be. We couldn’t be more proud of the people who attended our advanced seminar this year. It truly was something magical.” I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share this experience with. I am a better person for knowing each and every one of them. This may have been the last of the seminars, but this isn’t the end, there is a long journey still to be taken. This is just the beginning.
Not another diet article….   You’ve probably read more articles on diet than anything else fitness related, but here is another one, and this will hopefully be the easiest and simplest one for you to understand, because actually, diet is simple! First off, I hate the phrase I’m going on a diet. You’re always on a diet. Diet shouldn’t be something you do for two, three, four weeks every now and again; it’s what is your general way of eating, and something that just is what it is. Diet is whatever you stick inside your mouth, period. Here’s the thing with what most people refer to as a ‘diet’. I hate them all, but they all work, for a period of time. Atkins, vegan, juice diets, Dukan and so on, they all work, but the problem is what comes next, and the sustainability. How many of you have either been on a ‘diet’ for a period of time, or know someone who has. What do they generally look like two years down the line? I’d bet in most cases, right back at square one, or worse. I’m going to give you a list of several simple bits of advice or rules if you’d like, a lot influenced by Dan John, its all sound advice, that will work, and is sustainable. Whatever type of diet you look at, they all agree on the following:
  • Cut out sugar
  • Cut out “Cardboard Carbs”
  • Get rid of “Frankenstein Fat”
  • Eat colourful vegetables
  • Lets all find what to agree on before we seek perfection
Cardboard carbs, anything that comes in a box, bag or packet is probably bad for you. If it can last on a shelf for 10 years, it will remain on your butt for that long too! By cutting these out, you naturally cut down on the unwanted sugar also. For Frankenstein fats, you have to think how it is made. Give somebody a cow and a YouTube video on how to make butter, and you’ll make butter. Give somebody corn, you can’t squeeze margarine out of it. It takes a lab and it takes science. The human body doesn’t know how to deal with these fats, get rid of them. PS, Don’t come back and tell me fat is bad for you, it isn’t. You need it, eat it. Every diet agrees on the value of colourful vegetables. Vegetables keep you healthy and are packed full of wonderful vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Eat them, lots of them, at every meal. You don’t need telling this, you just need to do it. The point of the above is also this; don’t strive for perfection. The perfect diet doesn’t exist. Aim to be pretty good, most of the time, and start by doing the things that every diet agrees upon. To directly quote Dan: “Eat like and adult. Stop eating fast food, stop eating kids cereal, knock it off with all the sweets and comfort foods whenever your favourite show is not on when you want it on. Ease up on the snacking and – don’t act like you don’t know this – eat more vegetables and fruits.”   Sounds simple right? That’s because it is, and I’ll keep repeating that.
  • Eat like an adult
  • Eat vegetables
  • Eat lean protein
  • Drink water (1 litre per 25kg of bodyweight as a general rule)
  • Train in a fasted state – sometimes
  • Stay hungry after training – sometimes
Don’t send me a food diary telling me you eat cake, biscuits and drink wine every day of the week and then ask me why you aren’t losing weight. The response - stop eating cake, biscuits and drinking wine every day of the week! Genius right! Some sound advice I heard from Josh Hillis also via Dan John was also this – your two hardest workouts (for fat loss) of the week should be food shopping, and food prep. Think about it. Take the time to go out and buy real food, plan what you’re going to eat for the week, take the time to prepare it yourself, and then eat it! Limit the chances of you being able to make poor choices later in the week. One of the worst things you can do is go to buy food when you are already hungry. You may surprise yourself at just how much real food you can actually eat. It is far less calorific than the rubbish you buy ready made in packets from the local supermarket. Lets recap this one last time. Eat real food, if it grows on trees, in the ground, and you can catch and kill it, eat it. If it comes in a packet and can outlive your pet dog Rex, avoid it. Eat healthy fats, think butter, olive oil, avocados, nuts and cut out Frankenstein Fats. Drink plenty of water, 1 litre per 25kg of body mass. Eat protein at every meal. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, as many varieties as possible. Think protein for fitness, veggies for health. You may also notice at no point did I mention counting calories. Good, don’t. For some it may have use, but for most of you, it is unnecessary. Don’t become obsessed by the little numbers, and striving for exact amounts of macro and micro nutrients. If you follow the above advice, you’ll be sure to be getting what you need without being neurotic about it. It seems simple right? It is. But that doesn’t necessarily mean easy. That’s where some self-discipline and accountability has to come in. Don’t strive for the perfect diet, just aim to be pretty good most of the time. If you have a glass of wine or two at the weekend, the odd chocolate bar, fine, great, enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty about it. Just aim to keep things in balance. Oh, and my parting bit of advice. Go and grab your stash of diet books. Unless you plan to use them as a stack of weight to lift, throw them in the bin, and never buy another one. Stop looking for magic pills to do the simple stuff for you. Eat like an adult.
Its that time of year where we all like to get away on holiday and have some fun in the sun, full with all the over indulgence that going on holiday usually brings. I’ve had a few people ask for workouts they can do while away and to work off some of that alcohol and ice cream. Below is a list of 10 simple ideas, a collection of ‘no gear’ sessions, where all you require is your bodyweight and your surroundings, and a few simple hotel gym sessions where you will have access to some basic equipment. No gear sessions: Session 1: 4x30/30 frog hop Rest 2 minutes 4x30/30 split jump Rest 2 minutes 4x30/30 burpee Rest 2 minutes 4x30/30 squat Rest 2 minutes 4x30/30 lying leg lowers Session 2: Part 1: 20x split jump (each leg) + 50m bear crawl 5 rounds Part 2: 20x frog hop + 40m bear crawl 4 rounds Part 3: 20x burpee + 30m bear crawl 3 rounds Session 3: 50x squat + 60 sec FLR + 50x push up + 60 sec FLR + 50x sit up + 60 sec FLR + 50x burpee + 60 sec FLR + 50x lunge + 60 sec FLR Session 4: 8x 20/10 (4 minute blocks) of the following: Squat Push up Sit up Lunge Burpee FLR Rest 2 minutes between blocks Session 5: "Prison burpees" 20-1 burpee ladder + 5m walk across room (ie do 20 burpees, walk across room and back, then 19, walk across room and so on) Hotel gym: Session 1: EDT block one: 10x DB split squat + 10x push press 15 min AMRAP (cycle between the two exercises as many times as possible in time) EDT block two: 10x DB RDL + 10x DB chest supported row 15 min AMRAP Finish: 300 sec FLR Session 2: 10-12 split squat each leg + 10-12 row variation (trx, seated cable, chest supported) 4 rounds Then: 10x goblet squat + 10x incline DB press + 15x lying leg lowers 3 rounds Then: 6-8x 30/30 row or bike intervals Session 3: 10-1 ladder of: Goblet squat + Push press + Reverse Lunge + Bent over row + Sit up Do 10 reps of each, then 9 etc. No set rest. Then: 10-1 KB swing ladder + 30 sec plank between rungs of the ladder Session 4: 10-12x DB reverse lunge each leg + 10-12x DB incline press + 10-15x DB chest supported row 4 rounds Then: 10x goblet squat + 60 sec bike interval 3 rounds Then: 10x KB swing + 60 sec treadmill run 3 rounds Session 5: EDT block 1: 10x goblet squat + 10x hand supported 1 arm row each arm 15 min AMRAP EDT block 2: 10x reverse lunge each leg + 10x DB bench press 15 min AMRAP Finish: 5x10 leg lowers As you can see, there are plenty of simple ways to keep your fitness levels ticking over while away. All can be modified and played around with. The 30/30 and 20/10 formats are great ways to get plenty of work done in a short space of time, and will get you breathing hard, as will the EDT and circuit formats if you have access to a hotel gym. On top of that, get out and about. Going for a run along the beach first thing in the morning can be a great way to explore your surroundings and freshen you up for the day ahead, as would going for a nice refreshing swim. With all above said, if all you decide to do while away is lounge by the pool sipping cocktails, that’s ok too, you’re allowed a break from time to time, enjoy yourself, and the AirDyne will be keenly awaiting your return…..
I’ve seen people jumping from program to program, looking for that magic formula to make them into the superhero they mainly want to view in the mirror, but for most, especially in the case of general fitness, that magic program isn’t out there, you’ll spend a gym lifetime looking, hopping from this to that, the flavour of the month in the latest fitness magazine, most won’t find it. We’re all individuals, we all have different needs, strengths, weaknesses, imbalances, goals, things we love to do, hate to do, but what we all need, and should have in common is a strong head, heart and lungs. The program, for the most part, isn’t the problem. Everything you do starts between your ears. There should be some thought process into every part of your training. Plan and assess everything with a clear objective. Is what you’re doing today, this week, this month going to get you to where you want to be further down the line? Don’t just arbitrarily follow a program you’ve pulled off of the Internet or out of a magazine without thinking about where it is getting you. Everything you do should have a purpose, short term, the here and now, mid term and thinking further down the line into the future. Is what you’re doing making you stronger, more balanced, more powerful, fitter, leaner and so on? If the answer is no, you’re not sure, or you feel you’re just standing still, you’re not improving, why are you still doing the same thing? To quote Albert Einstein ‘Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.’ Don’t just think from a physical standpoint either. You may look at a workout and decide actually it isn’t what you need physically, but maybe it is one that puts you under some sort of psychological stress that will test you in other ways? Something as simple as “Death by Burpee” or a 2000m row for time may not be the most beneficial thing to you physically, but the mental navigation of ‘can’t vs. won’t’ has great value. The mind needs training just as hard as the body, actually harder in my opinion. Physical strength is worthless without a strong mind. How someone responds in a moment of psychological stress during a workout can tell you a lot about a person’s character. Are you willing to throw yourself on the fire to achieve your goals or do you shy away and quit at the first sign of doubt in your head? Learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. If a workout doesn’t scare you from time to time, you’re self-limiting your potential. Along with a strong mind, must come a strong heart full of passion for what you are trying to achieve. The more heart you give it, the more committed you are every time you walk into a training session, to your recovery outside of that, the better the chances of achieving a higher level of outcome. Everything is linked. Connect all the pieces of the puzzle and you’ll be winning. Bind a strong mind and heart to a strong set of lungs, and you’ll start to become a solid all round athlete. Being strong and powerful is great, but if your interests are in general fitness, then you have to have a strong set of lungs to go with it. You need to breathe often, and hard. Don’t just live inside the protective bubble of your comfort zone doing the things you only enjoy. Build some real genuine horsepower. To repeat an opinion I’ve said before, there is little worth in having the frame of an Austin Martin if you have the engine of a beat up old Morris Minor. The overall point - Think everything through, plan with a purpose, don’t just flit from program to program without giving it your all, build a strong mind, grow a relentless work ethic, give everything plenty of heart and build a set of strong lungs, and you won’t go far wrong in your pursuit of being an all round strong and fit individual.
You want to lose body fat, train 3 hours a week, aren't getting the results you want, and wonder why your training isn't working.... I’ve seen this question asked many times, why isn’t my training working for me? Why aren’t I losing weight? Well, honestly, your training most likely isn't going to be the problem. Look at the bigger picture. 
There are 168 hours in a week. After those 3 hours of training, what are you doing for the other 165 hours? You have to hold yourself accountable to everything you do and be brutally honest with yourself. 
Are you doing everything you could be to get to where you want to be? There is too often a blame culture out there. People would rather find something or someone to blame for their lack of perceived results rather than taking some personal accountability. It is easy to get focused on blaming one thing, but for the most part, that is far from the reality of the ‘problem’ Ok, so you’re not losing weight and want to throw the blame the way of your training. Well, before we even think about looking at the training, how are all of the following:
  • How is your diet? Are you eating enough protein? Enough vegetables and fruits? Enough healthy fats? Eating enough carbohydrates to support the work you’re putting in (or not)? Total calorie intake in check?
  • How is your hydration? Are you drinking enough water? How much alcohol do you drink?
  • Are you getting enough sleep? What is the quality of it, unbroken or do you rise several times a night?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • How stressed are you?
  • What is your general health like?
These are just a few other variables to think about, that will all play their part in why you aren’t seeing the results you desire. Don’t just get focused on blaming one metric. In fact, don’t get sucked into the blame game at all. The final main reason and route cause of why most people aren’t achieving their goals? Mentality. Quite frankly, too many people want to blame this or that, when the only place they should be looking at is in the mirror at themselves. YOU have to want it, YOU have to do it, YOU have to commit to it. A coach can guide you, give you advice, be there for support, but you have to do the training, you have to work your arse off, you have to eat like an adult, eat to support your goals, and not eat like a child stuffing your face full of crisps, sweets, pop and all other manners of crap and expect those 3 hours of training to magically counter act that. You are responsible for that other 165 hours in the week. If your training goals, whatever they may be, not just weight loss, are that important to you, you have to keep yourself in check in all areas. The body can achieve what the mind can conceive. If you can’t see it, don’t believe in it, don’t have the mentality to hold yourself accountable and commit to it, then nobody else can help you. The mind really is primary. Finally, Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't expect results to just happen over night. Commit and work damn hard to see your journey through to the end.