Welcome Back, Andy Murray @ Round 1, Books to Read

Hi and welcome to another week,

OK – Happy New Year guys.  The site has been blog-less for a couple of weeks (apologies but stats from the last couple of years show that no-one reads them over Christmas!) but – as with class times, normal operations should resume as of…NOW!

I would like to say a very special thanks to everyone who has got into the gym over the ‘break’ – I know it isn’t easy to keep your training routine going when so many other parts of your life seem to be on holiday, but we have had some very busy sessions and this has made for some fun times in the gym….after all, more people equals a lot of energy which equals fun times for everyone there.  I was planning on doing a bit of a kickoff of the 2016 year this week by blogging about all of the things I learned in 2015…until Andy Murray came to Round One Fitness to train with us last week.  (That link is to the article from the Daily Mirror in the UK – scroll down to see the pictures of Andy posing with Eden and using the Versa Climber).  Having one of the worlds absolute elite athletes training at Round 1 – Wimbledon champ, reigning Olympic gold medallist, current world number 2 – raises a pretty simple question…exactly how does an ‘elite’ athlete train?

I guess the first part to that question is trying to figure out why he came to Round 1 in the first place.  The reason he came was simple – he wanted to use a Versa Climber and there just aren’t a lot of these around.  We have one because of my involvement with AFL footy clubs over the past decade or so and the fact that pretty much every club has a couple of these machines that always look VERY well worn…yet you almost never see them in gyms.  Why is that you might ask yourself?

The reason is pretty simple.  The Versa Climber is not particularly fancy, it doesn’t have a lot of ‘programs’ to run or a video screen or any of the other niceties you see on so many modern cardio devices.  It is a climbing machine that is pretty simple in setup and is a ‘conditioning’ tool.  I am not sure anyone would ever describe using the Versa Climber as ‘FUN’ – hard, tough, challenging, those are the words used. I read something on twitter during the week (which of course I cannot find now) that made a comment along the lines of ‘…if it isn’t assault bike, concept rower, versa climber or sprinting, you aren’t getting the conditioning you think you are…’ and of those options it is obviously the Versa Climber that Andy prefers to use.  A quick glance at his Instagram feed will show you that Andy has a Versa Climber in his house and when your training outcomes are all about PERFORMANCE you can’t mess around and ‘change it up’ just because the hotel you are staying at doesn’t have the gear you need.

I guess what I mean there is that despite being a busy guy with a lot of work to do, the idea of spending 30 minutes in a car getting from his hotel to Round 1 – well, an hour I guess since he needed to drive back in as well – was thought to be an hour well spent given the outcome he needed to achieve.  You can imagine that with an Australian Open on the horizon the BEST players in the world will not let a small obstacle like having to travel 30 minutes to get the ‘right’ training stand in their way…whereas an average player or one with a less ruthless mindset might decide that jumping on the treadmill at the hotel instead might be good enough.

I have gotten off track here.  What I had promised to tell you about was what he actually DID.  And on one level, I am not exactly sure.  What I can tell you though is that he jumped on the Versa, went absolutely hell for leather chasing a target distance (as he was doing intervals of what seemed to be 90-100 seconds I am guess they were 100m sprints) and then he would recover and do it all again.  I was trying to track his progress without being intrusive and I ‘think’ he completed a pyramid of 5 efforts on 1-minute rest, 4 efforts on 2-minute rest and finally 3 efforts on 3-minute rest.  The times of each ‘effort’ were faithfully recorded by his strength coach.

Again, Andy Murray is trying to win tennis matches, not set records on the Versa Climber but recording his times/efforts and reviewing the data was a high priority.  It is obviously impossible to get faster and faster forever and ever (otherwise Usain Bolt would be running 5 second 100m sprints by now) but at the same time keeping track of your performance when completing a ‘set’ workout is a good way to keep track of whether one element or another of your fitness/strength is dropping away.  It is why I tried (in vain, mostly) to encourage everyone to record their times for the circuit done as part of the ’12-days of Christmas’ challenge…so you could see how much you improved over the month or find out where your specific weakness in completing the challenge was.

So – that was our brush with the sporting elite over the Christmas break.  And whilst it would have been great for a few more people to have been able to see Andy go through his workout, I know those of us who were there will always remember that on a 38degree Perth day at 6pm in LATE December that a millionaire world number 2 tennis player – who could have, should have been relaxing and enjoying his ‘break’ – drove 30 minutes down the freeway to work his butt off on a disgustingly challenging piece of conditioning equipment.

See you in the gym,

Michael.

p.s.   The ‘stuff I learned in 2015’ blog is still in the plans – will publish it NEXT weekend!

Gym Update #1 – Opening Hours are BACK TO NORMAL

It seems that no matter what we do every Easter and Christmas, whatever modifications we make to opening hours cause mass confusion for everyone – we have people showing up late for classes or even arriving for sessions that were never scheduled despite putting signs up ‘everywhere’ and putting up daily posts on Facebook detailing what is running and when…never mind.  As of tomorrow (Monday) – well, actually, as of YESTERDAY (Saturday) the timetable is back to normal.

Don’t have one?  Download it here:  Round 1 Fitness Class Timetable

Gym Update #2 – February ’28 days Later’ Challenge…It’s coming.

Big congratulations for everyone who got through the ’12-days of Christmas’ Challenge.  I know it took me up until almost the last day to finish all of my challenge circuits…was very (very) pleased with myself for getting it done.

Our next challenge is the ’28-days Later’ February Challenge.  I know, I know, February has 29 days in this 2016 leap year, but the 1st of Feb is a Monday and the 28th is a Sunday which gives us a PERFECT 4-week window for a bit of a transformation challenge.

For anyone new to the gym our Feb challenge is a ‘body transformation’ challenge where we really clamp down hard on the food restrictions as well as providing an exercise program to help everyone get the best possible results in the shortest possible time.  It is NOT easy – 28 days without foods containing added sugar, without alcohol, without bread (or bread substitutes), without pasta – it can be quite challenging if you aren’t ready to go.  We do provide 10-days worth of meal plans as part of the challenge though (and there are a couple of ‘cheat days’ built in for those special occasions we all have on our calendars….)

Last years participants lost more than 300 kgs of body weight during the challenge and we would love to hit the 400kg number this year.  Imagine that – losing more than 400kg as a gym community in 4-short weeks?

More details next week…

Link of the week

OK.  A bit of a different ‘Link of the Week’ for this week.  The links below are to the 5 or 6 most useful books I read during 2015.  If you have any suggestions for me for 2016, send them through…I try to get through a book every 2-weeks:

Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Legacy by James Kerr

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky

Beyond 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler

Talent is Over-Rated by Geoff Colvin

Drive:  The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

I feel like I could have easily included 10 others – there is so much great knowledge out there.  Like I said, if you have a recommendation you would like to share I would love to hear about it!