Tracking your progress, April Challenge Update, New Gear

Hi and welcome to another week,

Great sessions last week.  If the old ‘spin bike to sled’ combo was bad, I am going to put it out there that the ‘assault bike to sled’ combination is beyond horrendous.  When we had to push through 2.5kms in 4mins on Friday (second last round of the day!) then back up with the sled it was pretty close to the end of me.  And that has to be good for you, right! J

I mentioned in the blog a couple of weeks back about Dan John’s ‘Eat like an adult’ comments in his book ‘Never Let Go’.  I wanted to expand on that a little bit this week – not about food and eating but just in terms of ‘training like an adult’ by making an effort to keep track of your training and your progress.  I get to see a lot of challenge sheets and I know that when I see one clearly marked with when the classes will be done, when the extras will be done that the challenge will be finished!  It is being written down, tracked and recorded – you can see the classes and the extras being ticked off, you can see the plan and with every day that passes you can see the progress!  I think that is part of it – when you can see that you are making the progress you SAY you are going to make, you become more motivated to maintain your level of effort.

This applies DOUBLE to anyone out there who is working on a specific training element – be it trying to become stronger or faster or to increase your endurance.  If you are trying to improve your squat, then it is important to record what weight you used (and how many sets, how many reps) on which day.  That way, when you are due to do squats NEXT, you will be able to tell just how much weight needs to go on the bar (or how many repetitions you need to do) in order to move forward.  And remember also – more ‘weight’ doesn’t have to mean 10kgs more or even 5kgs more…there are 1.25kg plates in the gym for a reason!  Likewise, if you are trying to row faster, then you need to track your 250m time (or 500m time), the amount of rest you had between efforts AND how many efforts you had.  In this way, next time you are rowing you can stay ON PACE to match or improve your time.  Part of training like a grown-up is tracking what you are doing and working towards making incremental improvements.

Note I said ‘incremental’ improvements.  Training like a grown-up doesn’t mean jumping from 20kg squats to 50kg squats or doing 6x efforts on the assault bikes one day and 26x the next – both of those things are examples of how you get injured.  But it doesn’t mean staying at 20kg forever either.  It means making regular but small increases in weight and reps – and it also means not being afraid to try a heavier weight, fail, drop back down, then try that same heavier weight again two weeks down the track.  Failing once doesn’t mean failing forever – it just means you have a little bit of extra work to do before having another try.  Don’t be disheartened – just understand that without failing occasionally, you wont know exactly where you are up to…it is OK to fail a rep or miss a time cap.  It really is.  It doesn’t mean that you have failed in your training – it just means you have attempted something that was a little bit beyond you today, and that tomorrow is another day!

Keeping track of what you have done and what you have tried to do takes no more than 30-secs at the end of each session.  It is a matter of scribbling in your diary any of the ‘specifics’ in the session you completed (“kettlebell swings – completed 20 with the ‘blue’ “– or “new exercise today ‘Landmines’ – used 10kg” are both great examples) of what your post-session notes might look like and these will give you a great starting point next time you are doing those exercises.  If you don’t have a diary, scribble them in your phone.  If you want to be a bit smarter about it then you could use one of the three bazillion health and fitness apps that are out there – ones I have tried and don’t mind include:

Gym Hero: http://gymhero.me

Strong:  http://www.strongapp.me

There are quite literally hundreds of these out on the market (they cost $2 or $3 each) and if you want something to help track your training that wont require you to occasionally read back through your own ramblings (the apps make not only tracking your performance easy but ALSO make finding out what you did last time easy…writing it in a diary means flipping through pages in a diary!) but personally I find it a lot easier just to write my notes freehand.

If you are doing the challenge and have gotten organised, awesome.  If you are doing the challenge and are enjoying being able to look back at the training plus extras you have completed because of the sense of accomplishment doing so gives you – awesome.  The next level of your training is to track what you have been doing on an ongoing basis – in the way that doing a regular (say quarterly) InBody Scan enables you to track your outcomes with regards you body composition, a training log gives you a mechanism to track your progress as it relates to performance.  It also allows you to enter in simple information such as travel, sickness and other ‘interruptions’ that enable you to understand why you might not be doing quite as well in April as you were in February (for example) because some of us are very unwilling to give ourselves any excuses at all.  And as I noted, there is nothing better when you need a boost than reading a training log from 12-months (or longer) ago and seeing that the numbers next to your barbells, kettlebells, bike efforts and everything else are just so much better now than they used to be.  It helps remind you of all the work you have done, it gives evidence of the progress you have made and really shows you all of the positive efforts you have taken to become fitter, stronger, healthier.

See you in the gym,

Michael.

P.S.  If you are doing the Spartan Race on the weekend, please check both the Spartan Race heading below AND the link of the week.

Gym Update #1 – April Challenge is GO

We are one and one half weeks into the latest challenge – the ’30-50 Get it Done Challenge’ – and as always happens at challenge time the numbers of people and the level of energy in the gym is amazing.  Some interesting challenge stats for you to consider.  During February (our ’28-Days Later Challenge’) we averaged 189 people doing a class each day for the month.  During March (no challenge running) this dropped back to 162 people per day doing a class.  This month – despite all the public holidays cutting down the number of sessions we have actually been running – we are back up to 183 people per day doing a class.

In short, the challenges are great and help people achieve great results just because they TRAIN MORE OFTEN.  Life gets in the way for all of us (and it is impossible to do everything), but it is amazing the effort people will make to get to a session (5am?  8pm???) when they NEED to get that challenge sheet signed.  When there is not the threat of failure hanging over your head, sometimes a week or more might slip past with out managing to make time to train.  On the other hand, in the middle of a challenge sometimes two days off can feel like a ‘long break’.

Two and a half weeks to go everyone – I still have 12 classes to do as I am writing this on Sunday avo so it is going to be tough but I am pretty determined to make it!

Gym Update #2 – SPARTAN Race Team

The Spartan sprint is coming up this WEEKEND – April 18th.  Now – our exact start time will be released (according to the website) this coming Wednesday (APRIL 15th) but from a logistics point of view…

-       Via the Freeway to Mundijong Road it is a good 50min trip to Keysbrook.

-       If we meet at the gym and ‘share rides’ that might make things easiest for everyone.

-       Please wear a bright red shirt to make it easy for us to stay together as a group throughout the event…there will be delays at some of the obstacles and if we all help one another through it then everyone will have a great day.

-       It is a seven km event…not massive but you will need to eat before hand.  Up at 6am for brekky is a good plan – as is packing a piece of fruit/water bottle for the drive down and a snack for afterwards…if you are not prepared then you will make bad food choices post race.

-       If you are planning on ‘sharing’ a ride, be respectful to the person who you will be travelling in by making sure you have a bag with a couple of towels (one to sit on during the drive home!) and a plastic bag to store any wet/muddy clothes.

-       Any other advice people have to share, let’s post it on the group Facebook page to make sure everyone gets the info ahead of the event.

Gym Update #3 – Gymnastic Grips

There is a new product in the gym – Gymnastic Grips.  These slide over your palms to protect you from callouses (and worse!) when you are doing barbell work/pull-ups/rings etc.  Great product and if you are a Body Work or Tanks regular it might be something worth investing in.  $15 at Reception.

Gym Update #4 – New Gym Tags

We have some pretty new gym tags in – they double up as bottle openers and the registration number has been laser printed on the back so it should never, ever need replacing.  You don’t even have to do 10-burpees to get one (but they do cost $5 each!).

Gym Update #5 – New Gloves and Weightlifting Gloves

All of our new gear has been trickling into the gym over the past week.  The newly designed (and super comfortable) MMA gloves are here – including some in RED for the first ever time.  The new ones are a big trickier to get on but are great once you have – they don’t ‘slip’ as much around your knuckles which makes them a lot more comfortable.

Gym Update #6 – New Gear – Backpacks, Barbells, Bumper Plates and some ‘Bigger’ stuff.

Now all of the gloves and other items are here, our next equipment orders have been processed.  There are a number of new Olympic Bars on the way together with some additional bumper plates to better support people doing their strength programs, Tanks and even those crazies who keep going ‘beyond’ the circuit weights in the Body Work classes.  There is also a new order of membership backpacks on the way.

What is next?  Well, on the back of our ‘main gym’ area refurb last year (with all the grass, wall mounted racks, assault bikes etc), we are also pushing ahead with changes to our reception area and upstairs weights area.  There has been lots of measuring and quoting going on…the challenge is on making decisions, scheduling the ‘outages’ and (of course) paying the bills!

Our challenge with the upstairs gym is making better use of the available space (the area is a funny ‘shape’), attempting to add in some unique equipment that better supports some of our training ideals whilst also replacing/refurbing some of the equipment that is in place today (damaged and torn bench covers etc).  Lots of options – exciting times.  The reception changes are likewise intended to make the whole experience of coming to the gym a bit more functional – get rid of the bottle neck at the front door (particularly during beginners times) and we have some positive plans in place there as well….should be an interesting 6-months.

Gym Update #7 – Footy Tipping Results for Round 2

A bit of a tipping disaster again – we have one person (Brad Mahar) clear on top with a pretty ordinary score of SIX right.  It seems that of everyone in the competition, no-one had any faith in St Kilda, the Bulldogs, Essendon or Sydney.

Not only is Brad the weekly winner, he now holds a one point lead in the overall standings – just ahead of Justin, Clancy and Gina.

Gym Update #8 – Dream Team Results for Round 2

Fantasy scores were much improved this week with most winning teams cracking the 1900 points mark – still not great but it is early days and teams are still being ‘shaken out’!  High scores for this week are Dale’s “Magpieman” with 1963, Ashley’s “NeverNeverLand” with 1946 and Cam’s “SnakeEyes” with 1940.  Good luck to everyone next weekend.

Gym Update #9 – Beach Bodies 3-month Program

Below is a reprint of last week’s ‘Beach Bodies’ announcement.  For those who have emailed me – don’t stress…you will hear back late in the month of April.  In the meantime, my advice is to start doing some Body Work and/or TANKS sessions…to do Beach Bodies you are going to need to be able to lift some weights and you will need to be able to train independently complete exercises including deadlifts, squats,

I have intentionally hidden this down the bottom of the blog but I am approximately 50% of the way through a 3-month ‘Beach Bodies’ program that I am planning to run from June 1st until August 31st.  The program features daily programming – cardio, strength, core, plyometrics – and integrates some Boxing classes as well.  The program features separate programs for men and women (although there is some overlap of course) and a simple food plan – similar to the one used for the muscle plan but split up with different quantities for different body sizes.

This is by far the most complete programming effort we have undertaken and will require a fair bit of commitment to complete from anyone who wants to have a go…the results should be pretty impressive though!

The idea of the plan is to do the work over winter so that when summer rolls along, you will have already done the work…you wont be scrambling to fit into your boardshorts (or your bikini).

If you have read down this far and might be interested in the program, please email me at info@round1fitness.com.au and I will make sure you receive future updates.

Link of the week

Here is a fun link this week – a podcast about the fun in adventure racing…particularly relevant to those people who are doing the Spartan Race this weekend.

Here is a link to the video version:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niCAWHf9Owk

If you want ‘audio only’, search for Barbell Shrugged on ‘iTunes’ or ‘DownCast’ or whatever your favourite pod-casting app is!

Michael.