June ‘Elevator’ Challenge, VersaClimber, Weight vest fun

Hi and welcome to another week,

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog – being away in Adelaide last weekend made finding the time to type a little tough.  Happily though, I haven’t missed much training – 11 sessions in two weeks – and even more happily my little challenge to complete every class during the month of May wearing a weight vest is OVER (since it is now the 1st of June!).  As a challenge I found it to be one of the tougher things I have done – the vest makes ‘old exercises new again’ and doing simple squats, pushups, situps, rowing, burpees etc become really difficult, really fast.  Adding to that is the mental challenge of it – when you are tired and sore strapping a vest on to train makes it a real battle – but it is finally over and I feel equal parts relieved and pleased with myself.

I guess the real test of whether or not it was all worth it will come over the next few weeks – if it has really made me stronger and more resilient then I will be able to power through the sessions just a little bit more strongly…which means the benefits should compound.  But, things don’t always work out the way we hope so I will just have to work hard and hope for the best.

After my last blog when I mentioned I was doing this ‘thing’ with the weight vest, I have been asked over and over ‘WHY’ I would do this – why train for a month wearing a vest.  After all, doesn’t it make it ‘harder’?  For me, the reasons were pretty straight forward but somehow hard to explain.  It starts with the fact that during May and June I kind of end up with two full-time jobs.  As football gets going it takes a lot of time and effort to coach the team – this weekend alone (starting Saturday morning and including time spent today) I have done more than 15 hours footy ‘work’.  Don’t ask me how that translates to yesterday’s 87-point loss to Vic Metro but time spent is time spent whether it is time WELL spent or not.  Over a week my footy time during these two months hits around about the 40 hour mark.

At the same time, Round One Fitness rolls on.  I continue to run the morning sessions and spend time in the gym three nights each week (Mon / Wed / Friday at the moment).  In addition, the class plans need to be written, bills need to be paid, members need to be found!…as any of you out there who have a business would know, there is an un-ending list of tasks to be done to keep things on track – and at this time of year a few end up waiting a little longer than I would like but it all comes back to the same point – during May and June I am busier than ever.

Now – when I have less time available, the first thing that suffers is my ‘training’.  It does.  I like to try and do a boxing class every day – it keeps me in good shape as well as keeping me in touch with what is ‘really’ happening in the gym (which is the experience our clients are having when doing classes).  Without doing classes I just believe I lose touch with what the gym is about, which makes writing all of the plans a little less ‘real’ – and to me making sure we are running positive sessions that really benefit our clients is the single most important part of the gym.  So when I become ‘busier’, I still try to do at least four classes per week…but the extras – those things the Life Plan people are living through, the strength sessions (2 per week), the conditioning sessions (jumping on a rower once every week) – they fall by the wayside.  But I don’t want to go ‘backwards’.

The problem is of course, that despite the infomercials telling me if I have 9 minutes and a door then I can solve all of my problems, it just isn’t true.  A lot of research is done in the fitness injury, but the reality is that steadily increasing resistance over time is the way to increase either strength or endurance.  For example, if you want to run a marathon then you can – I have for the last three years.  All you need to do is get out there and run three times each week – making sure that one of these runs is a ‘long’ run and that you continually increase the distance of the ‘long’ run each week leading up to the race so that you are ready to run 42.195kms.  If you want to get stronger – say you want to bench-press 120kg – then it is just a matter of following the same principles.  Maybe do 5 sets of 5 bench press twice per week (if this sounds like the StrongLifts 5×5 program well, it is!) and increase the weight on the bar each day (or even each week!).  If you start at 60kg and go up by 2.5kg each session, after a few months you will find you have reached your target.  The same principle can be applied to each of the other ‘BIG’ lifts (squat, deadlift, row, overhead press – and I hope everyone doing the LifePlan keeps adding weights each week for the rest of their life and not just for 5 more weeks!).

So I figured that if I couldn’t do my extras, the easiest way to stay ‘on track’ would be to make each session I am able to do just a little bit harder.  Now – I guess if I was strong enough mentally I could have done this just by training ‘harder’.  We all have those moments where we work to our absolute maximum in a session – equally we all have moments where we go through the motions…if I just increased the former and decreased the latter, hey presto, improvement would be mine.  Unfortunately this is something that is easy to say but really (really) hard to do.  Which meant I had to do something that would quite literally make each session harder.

I guess I could have done two burpees every bell for every class in the month – that would have done it – but somehow wearing the west to make ‘everything’ just that little bit harder (with the vest strapped on it even makes breathing more difficult so even the bike stations become tougher) seemed like the right thing to do.  Has the outcome been positive?  Well, I have actually gained two kilos (which has surprised me) but my skinnies are still OK…I have certainly suffered through a heap of muscle soreness which is (hopefully) a pointer to some ‘adaptation’ and strength increases – but I honestly wont know whether it has been worth it for a while.

I see the June ‘Elevator’ Challenge we are running as a great way for each of you to challenge yourself to take things to a new level.  See the ‘Gym Update #1’ for details but it follows the same principles to help push you to adapt and improve – start with 3 classes and 3kms on the bike (and the rower, and a few other things!) and finish the month with 6 classes and 6kms on the bike (and the rower and a few other things)….slow, steady, increasing effort over a month.  Great plan – great challenge – great way to improve.

See you in the gym.

Michael.

Gym Update #1 – Get it Done Challenge starts this week

Our latest challenge – the June 2014 ‘Elevator Challenge’ – commences tomorrow, Monday June 2nd.  As with our previous ‘GID’ challenges, if you complete it successfully you will be rewarded with one of our Get it Done T’s…all you need to do to get started is pick up a form from the reception desk and start getting your classes signed off.

The rules of the challenge are pretty simple – in week one you must complete 3 classes (+ a series of ‘extras’ all based on the number ‘3’), in week two it moves to four classes and extras based on the number ‘4’, it is up to ‘5’ in week three and ‘6’ in week four.  The classes must be signed off – the extras are based on the honour system (but who would claim to do what they have not??)

Good luck everyone.

Gym Update #2 – New Gear, Versa Climber

Our awesome new cardio tool – a Versa Climber SM – arrived during the week.  Somehow I managed to get the thing off the back of the truck (clearly ‘Call before delivery’ means ‘Show up whenever you want and without notice’!) and assembled – it even seems to work.  It is a great tool for really upping your GPP – get on, get started and you will quickly find out the benefits.  I have found even a quick five minute blast on the Versa before a session quickly leaves my lungs gasping and legs burning – AWESOME.

Gym Update #3 – Perkville Rewards Program

I have mentioned Perkville in each of the last couple of blogs – that is because it is so awesome.  You come to the gym, you get points.  You pay your membership, you get points.  You have points?  You get discounts!  It is that simple!  Go to www.perkville.com to sign-up – make sure you use the same email address that you have registered at the gym.

Gym Update #4 – 6-Month Life Plan

Our 6-month plan is about to enter the home straight – there is just one month to go.  Measurements for the final month will be taken this coming FRIDAY from 4pm until 7pm.  Details of the rules and regs for the last month will be posted on the Life Plan Facebook page during the week – forms will be available from Reception this Friday.

Gym Update #5 – New Dead Balls are GO

A heap of new dead balls – red ones! – arrived in the gym last week.  As usual, please be sure to slam them ONLY on the rubber floor.  I have gone with a different brand this time to hopefully try to get some more longevity out of them, but no point pushing the point by continually belting them into a concrete floor!  That said, it will be good to get a few more deadball activities going again.

Gym Update #6 – AFL Dreamteam and Footy Tipping

Our little competition is on a roll this weekend – as I write this we have five members (including Lils and Brad Mahar flying the lunch-time flag!) all on 8 out of 8.  The leaderboard sees Toffeeman holding a one-point lead over Bomber with Ben Mac a further point back.

Over in the DreamTeam contest, most of the games are a bit one sided at the moment – none are closer than 100 points with just one game remaining.  High scorers to this point of the round are Lloyd’s ‘Gym Gods’, Brad’s “Mahar’s Maulers” and Dale’s “Magpieman”.

Good luck everyone.

Facebook Highlights

I have been taking a bit of a different approach with Facebook over the past couple of weeks, preferring to put up photos of our sessions and classes rather than external links.  I might try and get a bit of balance back to the site in the future, but I have just found that the photos bring a lot more comment and interaction than the external articles/videos do.

At the same time, two new member profiles have been posted to the website:

Dave:  http://round1fitness.com.au/rn_profile/david-macfarlane

Claire:  http://round1fitness.com.au/rn_profile/claire-bowran

While you are there, be sure to check out the profile archives – there are some great stories there.

Enjoy!

Link of the week

10 Things Girls need to know about weight-training:  http://www.t-nation.com/training/10-mistakes-women-make-in-the-gym

See you in the gym!

Michael.