Core strength and strength fundamentals, M.S. Fundraiser October 22nd, 2017

Hi and welcome to another week,

Once again, thanks a million to everyone who came along to train with us last week.  Some crazy busy sessions – Wednesday 6am and Saturday 7:15am spring immediately to mind – and just a heap of people really busting their butts.  I know there is a challenge going right now and that contributes to attendance, but the atmosphere in the gym has just been amazing in the past few weeks – busy classes, people in early before class/staying late after class doing their extras…it has just been a really motivating place to work (and hopefully train/spend time).

In addition to the challenge stuff, last week also saw us kick off the DAP (Developing Athlete Program) with 16x 13-17year olds getting a bit of a start with some athletic development.  Over the first week, we have done some core work (teaching how to spiderman walk, active bridge, side bridge and dead bug properly), covered technique for three (3) of the big lifts (squat, deadlift and bench press) and started work on same base level conditioning.  The week ahead brings more of the same (core, lifting fundamentals and conditioning).  I guess what I wanted to share today was what I have learned from a coaching perspective working through the course with the kids at this early stage.

Why would you care about this?  Because what I am discovering with the kids is kind of what we go through with every person who is ‘new’ to ‘Body Work’ / ‘Tanks’ and just getting started with a strength program.  There are two elements to what I am going to write about – the first is about strength and specifically ‘WHAT’ strength, the second is about mindset.

Starting with the strength ‘problem’, the first issue that needs to be dealt with is CORE strength.  We see this in our boxing classes as well to be truthful – when people first start holding a bridge for any more than 30-seconds is an issue – doing a deadbug is a MASSIVE issue.  Without core strength (without getting too specific for the purposes of this CORE means abs, obliques and spinal erectors) any thoughts of getting stronger are going to be closer to dreams – your core comes first.

So – with the kids, we are building their core with specific exercises – the aforementioned bridge work, dead bugs and spiderman walks as well as the work planned for next week with multi position medicine ball throws and morgans.  But equally important to these direct core activities is the indirect core work we do with high rep/low weight repetitions of squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, rows (including fence pulls), weighted lunges and – importantly, weighted carries.  The list goes on of course but I am sure you get the idea.  I am sure if you just read through that list you would acknowledge we do a LOT of that kind of activity in our Boxing sessions which is why whenever a client who has been training with us for more than a couple of months or so attends their first Body Work class (most often accidentally due to a time-table reading malfunction!) myself and the other trainers can say with confidence that that person ‘Will be fine’…after all, a lot of the ground work has already been done.

If you set the ground work we have been talking about to this point aside, you have to remember when you are lifting weights that you are doing it to get STRONGER.  You don’t need to think about it beyond that.  Technique is important – I am not going to say it isn’t and that is why we spend time trying to teach it – but at some point you have to actually add some weight to the bar and lift it if you want to get stronger.  Technique is important but if you are going to wait until it is ‘PERFECT’ before you start adding resistance to the bar, well, you are not going to ever make any progress.  Your technique will evolve and improve as the resistance increases.  How come?  Because there are only ever two (2) reasons you can’t lift a weight – you just aren’t strong enough OR your technique is inadequate…so to progress beyond the point of initial failure, either one or two of those limiting factors need to improve.

And to me, this is where your mindset about your training needs to come into play.  If you want to get better/stronger/faster then you can’t be nice about it.  I know I have rambled on about this 100000 times but if you want improvements and benefits to come from your training, then hit the bags harder, lift heavier weights, ride faster, row faster, grit your teeth and ‘HANG ON’ when you are doing your core work.  The old ‘Get your Mind Right’ expression is never truer than when you are 35 minutes into a 45 minute session and you need to make a decision about cruising to the end or crushing it to the end…the result of those little mental battles we all have (every day) are generally what determines whether or not we get great outcomes from our training or ‘cruisy’ outcomes from our training.

The last point I wanted to make about all of this stuff – and again, equally applicable to the Developing Athlete crew AND everyone else – is that if you don’t get your food right, well, you wont get the outcomes you want.  For the DAP crew, that means making sure they are getting ENOUGH food and cutting out the junk…that’s how you build muscle.  For the rest of us, it means cutting out the junk, laying off the alcohol and (for most of us anyway!!!) not eating too MUCH.  I created a little pyramid for the DAP guys and the last two things I have spoken about – Food and Mindset – are at the bottom and the top of that pyramid respectively!  (Here it is).


One last and final thing.  None of this stuff needs to be complicated.  You can get great outcomes by doing boxing classes so long as you continue to challenge yourself to hit all your targets, get all of your reps done (and done PROPERLY – no half reps or cheating in the interests of ‘going faster’) and – importantly, focussing on hitting the bags HARD and continually challenging yourself with more weight in any of the kettlebell/barbell/dumbbell activities.  If you always stay the same then you are always going to stay the same!

Let me know if any of this sounds good (or not) with an email to

See you in the gym,


Gym Update #1 – M.S. Fundraiser, November 11th

We are planning a Fundraising Day on Saturday November 11th to raise funds for M.S.  This is the fundraising being done by Kirei and her team of intrepid cyclists who will be heading off on a bike ride of some unspeakable distance later in November.  We will have some raffles etc to run but the main focus of the day will be a WARRIOR WORKOUT which we will be chasing some participation ‘donations’ for as well as a ‘Train the Trainer’ session where ‘the people’ will have the opportunity to ‘Train the Trainers’.  The plan at this time is that you can BID to ‘Train the Trainer’ via silent auction – and not only are syndicates allowed, they are encouraged!

All of the bidding sheets are up on the cupboards in the reception area at the gym.  Grab a couple of buddies, work out which trainer you want to ‘work over’ for 15-minutes, place your bids and plan your workouts.  With the trainers, we have all made a deal that NO PAYBACK IS ALLOWED.  If you make Eden (as an example!) do barbell thrusters, sled pushes and assault bike sprints for 15-minutes, he is not allowed to get you back…

It is all for charity after all and what is a little bit of pain and suffering between friends.

At the conclusion of the ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions (those will start at 11am) we will have a sausage sizzle/bbq (+ maybe a cheeky beer or two) to finish off the day!

Gym Update #2 – SUMMER SLAM (October Challenge) is GO!

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Well, we are getting closer (and closer, and closer) to the end.  3-weeks down, 2-to-go which means only TWO MORE TIMES for the ‘TRES HUNDO’.  Thank goodness.

I know for me I have had a couple of ‘difficult’ moments with my food over the last couple of days – to the point where I made a bit bowl of mixed berries and Greek yoghurt after dinner last night…it wasn’t exactly the peanut butter icecream I wanted but I have to admit it was pretty tasty and made it easier to get through the rest of the night!  (Was cheaper too!).

With two weeks remaining though – I am not sure how anyone else is going – my weight hasn’t actually changed much (aka ‘AT ALL’) from where it was at the start.  I guess I am hoping that means I have swapped a couple of kilos of muscle for a couple of kilos of fat but I am kind of expecting the worst (just like the Feb challenge when my outcomes weren’t great).  I have to say though that I do feel a lot better and am proud of myself for resisting temptation/sticking on the straight and narrow path as it pertains to my food for 3-weeks now…just got to keep it going!

Other challenge stuff?

Well, the sign-up sheet for the final scans will be going up on Monday October 30th (that’s NEXT Monday) so be sure to look out for that.  And I was hoping we might be able to convince a few people to meet up for a beer and maybe some food down at the Quarie AFTER all the weigh-ins have been completed…maybe from 3pm on Sunday November 5th???????

Anyway, the invite is there for any and all who might be interested…let’s all just stick to the plan from now till then and maximise our results!

Gym Update #3 – Developing Athlete Program is G-O!

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The crew are one week in here and I went through a fair bit of this at the top of the blog.  In the week ahead we will be continuing to focus on ‘TEACHING’ the lifts, core strength and conditioning in preparation for the ‘real’ training to start at the commencement of week 3.

Really pleased with everyone’s efforts to this point and pretty confident we are going to achieve good outcomes for everyone who fights their ways to the end.

Gym Update #4 – New Speedball Swivels

As mentioned, the new speedball swivels went up last week and I am expecting the new speedballs to arrive during this week.  The plan from there is to get some new steps in – trying something different here! – get the new speedballs up and really change the ‘feel’ of the area (which I have not been happy with for a while now).

A heap of new F2C balls are also on the way though I am pretty happy with the setup there atm!

Gym Update #5 – New SPEAKERS!

As mentioned last week, thanks 10000000 to Dom and the team at SAVI Systems  ( who have upgraded all of our speakers in the gym.  Of course, the new speakers and improved sound have just made it all the more difficult to ‘hear’ the clock so I am busily working away to find a solution for that as well…unfortunately trying to find something that can cope with both ‘REST intervals’ AND ‘warning’ intervals (we use both at Round 1) is proving challenging.

Link of the Week

So – a bit of workout motivation (and fun) today:


Developing Athlete to Starting Strength, Summer Slam October 15th, 2017

Hi and welcome to another week,

Thanks to everyone who came along to train with us last week.  Thanks as well to the crew at Filament Coffee for coming along last Friday morning and cranking out the nitro cold brews for everyone…really hit the spot after one minute rounds!  Don’t forget, you can always grab a cold brew from Filament from the fridge – no, it isn’t from the nitro keg so you wont get that creaminess but it is still a bottle of caffeinated deliciousness!

I am not sure about you guys but I know my training weeks have become a bit more ‘focussed’ lately…of course the Summer Slam is the reason why.  My lifting program has taken (an even bigger) back seat as I slog through the challenges and classes to keep myself on track.  I have to admit though, it is a really good feeling watching those class signatures and challenge ‘check-offs’ on my sign-off sheet add up…it really is a good feeling not just to be doing it but to do it, look at the sheet and be able to reflect on all of the positive effort I have been putting in so far this October.  I know not everyone is doing the challenge but I still remember back when I was playing footy that I used to have a big ‘one month to a page’ calendar and I used to put a big ‘tick’ in the date box for every day that I had made the effort to do something ‘extra’…no surprise that the years I played the best were the years with the most ticks on the calendar!

So – I just referenced ‘the old days’ and checking off calendars and so forth…and whilst the extras I did certainly helped, I really didn’t know exactly what I was doing.  Back then (and remember, I am getting pretty old) there simply weren’t any gyms around and whilst most footy clubs had a few dumbbells, some barbells and some steel plates gathering dust in a corner somewhere, no one did any weight training or – to be truthful – any speed training.  If we wanted to be fitter the strategy was to go on a long, long run – and I am talking 10km minimum – and if there were hills to run up during that (or some soft sand) all the better.  That’s what we did.  Never mind that we were involved in a sport where running FAST for 5-10 seconds and being able to react to physical contact with strength are distinct advantages…we trained by going on long runs.

Now, eventually I ran into a bit of an old-school strength coach who had me doing some high rep barbell work (one of the circuits I used to do you guys now know as the ‘November Challenge’ – but we used to have to do it 3-times or 360 reps not the 120 rep version we do at Round 1) but that had to be fit in alongside my long runs…’cos that’s what we did and that was the priority!

Now today there are different problems.  There are gyms EVERYWHERE.  But no-one knows what they are supposed to do.  We don’t really have this issue at Round 1 too much as we run our sessions like a typical team sport training session – people come in, the coach tells them what they are going to do, shows them how to do it, blows the whistle (rings the bell) and off everyone goes…as things go along, the coach tries to help people out with any skill element they are struggling with as well as pushing them to go just a little bit faster/harder/more intently.  So that’s good.  But whilst our boxing sessions are amazing and I pretty much do one every single day myself to stay fit and in-shape, for people who are using their training to be BETTER at their sport, there might be a better bang for your buck than participating in Boxing sessions…there probably ISN’T more bang for your buck if you elect to do Body Work but the problem there is being confident enough to actually DO Body Work which really is a pretty genuine speed and strength improvements focussed strength and conditioning program.

Anyway, switching gears back again (I am all over the place today) I have pretty much been coaching u18 footy for 10+ years now – and what I have regularly found is a group of motivated kids who want to get ‘better’ in every area – but they simply don’t know WHAT to do in order to get BETTER.  The footy clubs are well equipped and every team has a S+C co-ordinator who can help – but what generally happens is that a pretty ‘general’ program (think the equivalent of a boxing class) is given to everyone and they are asked to go and ‘do it’ unsupervised.  Because the S+C guys KNOW it will be done unsupervised they make it simple and don’t really explain the ‘WHYS’ of any of the exercises – which ultimately should be to improve short duration sprint speed, improve change of direction movements and increase physical strength so players can better compete in contested situations (same as rugby, netball, soccer, larcrosse…same as every field based sport!) – so it doesn’t get done to the correct level of intensity…so the outcomes aren’t what they should be… And yes, I would have to agree with anyone who says that on-field success is 90% skill development and game-sense and 10% physicality – but if it is 10% you may as well as get it RIGHT!  And because of all of this, there is now the Developing Athletes Program.

Why am I writing all of this when the vast majority of people reading it don’t care/aren’t in a position to participate?  Well, hell – I don’t know really.  But I know that since I managed to get the challenge launched a couple of weeks ago I have been focussed on getting the training manual written and the program completed so it is kind of front of mind, but I guess it is a bit more than that.  What has been put together for the Developing Athlete Program has now become a pretty decent sized manual which is going to turn into a Starting Strength program in the very near future for people who may not be ‘Developing’ but they might want to be stronger, faster and more powerful – and they might want to learn how to become all of those things SAFELY and with a good technical understanding of each of the lifts and movements.

So there you go.  Faster.  Stronger.  More power.  All coming to Round 1…whilst running amazing Boxing for Fitness sessions will continue to be our primary focus, we are working hard to create some pathway sessions that will better enable anyone who wants to get involved in some more structured strength work to go through a ‘course’ of sessions that will enable that to happen!

Let me know if that sounds good (or not) with an email to

See you in the gym,


P.S.  We are planning a Fundraising Day on Saturday November 11th to raise funds for M.S.  This is the fundraising being done by Kirei and her team of intrepid cyclists who will be heading off on a bike ride of some unspeakable distance later in November.  We will have some raffles etc to run but the main focus of the day will be a WARRIOR WORKOUT which we will be chasing some participation ‘donations’ for as well as a ‘Train the Trainer’ session where ‘the people’ will have the opportunity to ‘Train the Trainers’.  The plan at this time is that you can BID to ‘Train the Trainer’ via silent auction – and not only are syndicates allowed, they are encouraged!

Gym Update #1 – SUMMER SLAM (October Challenge) is HERE

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So – now that everyone is through the physical devastation of completing the ‘Tres Hundo’ for the first time (tough, tough little challenge that!) and has their strategy set for the next 3-weeks, I think it is fair to say that the ‘challenge’ proper is ON.

We are now two weeks in and everyone’s initial enthusiasm is – well – done.  The grind of it – what I like to think is the ‘REAL’ challenge – actually starts now.  We all have to get into the rhythm of resisting temptation and setting aside some of our ‘habits’ for another THREE WEEKS (that’s 21 more days!) in order to get where we want to go.

Speaking to people I have heard some amazing success stories – with a couple of people dropping 5kg+ in the first week/10-days alone…others (like me!) are doing the right thing with their food, battling their arse off in the gym and the scales aren’t moving at all…well, all I can say is that giving up is pretty much never, ever going to be the answer!  Let’s persist and stick at it and find out what we can achieve…at the same time, watch what you are eating – particularly your consumption of fruit (no more than two pieces per day) and nuts (no more than 5-6 eaten twice per day) and do everything you can to ‘encourage’ your body to progress.

 Gym Update #2 – New SPEAKERS!

Thanks 10000000 to Dom and the team at SAVI Systems ( who have upgraded all of our speakers in the gym over the past few days.  Unfortunately Alex is going to continue to insist on playing his ‘Nu-Metal’ playlist from the early 2000’s but at least we will be able to hear the pseudo music over the crackling of the old speakers!  Or maybe that is a bad thing?  I feel like we need a ‘No more Linkin Park’ petition!

Back to the new speakers, I am really happy to have been able to do this…when the stereo upgrades went in back in Jan 2016 we installed a few new speakers but couldn’t quite stretch the budget to replace all of the old ones…that box is now ticked off!

Gym Update #3 – New Speedball Swivels

As promised last week, I – with the help of Marshall – managed to get 5x new speed ball swivels up on the speedball frame yesterday.  As mentioned, these are an all new design and whilst they aren’t made of diamonds and gold the way I had expected (given the price…man!) they do seem to be pretty darn good swivels.

A heap of new speedballs will be in the gym in the next week or so and we will get them all up asap!

Gym Update #4 – Developing Athlete Program is G-O!

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I dedicated a fair bit at the top of the blog to the Developing Athlete Program – or rather to why it has been put together and what the intended outcomes are so I don’t want to say much about it here apart from:

1/.  The Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday group is sold out.

2/.  There are still four spots in the Monday-Wednesday-Friday group.

Sign-up if you are keen.  Read more about it in the top of the blog and if it does hold appeal, the sign-up link can be found here:

 Link of the Week

Well, I don’t know if I would necessarily do it this way, but pre-workout nutrition (when you train in the morning) always seems to be getting discussed!

This take on things is from Tim ‘4-hour work week’ Ferris:



Developing Athletes Logo

Since starting Round 1 Fitness back in April 2010, I have regularly been asked the following question:

‘My son/daughter plays football/soccer/rugby/hockey/netball – they really want to take it a bit further.  What would you recommend they do to get stronger for next season?’.

The answer to this question is both really SIMPLE and completely COMPLICATED.  Most kids don’t do much ‘training’ outside of their sports – and whilst their coaches might get them to do a few pushups at training (if they are misbehaving!) there is no structured strength program.

So what do young athletes who need a foundational program (a combination of teaching and training fundamentals) – do in order to become STRONGER, FASTER and BETTER?

The EASY answer is come down to the gym and get involved in the Boxing classes – and that is 100% going to help provide a good starting point – but those sessions are aimed primarily at improving base level fitness levels rather than targeting improvements in speed and power that would provide direct assistance for participants in field sports.  Will doing Boxing classes help in the immediate term?  Of course – they will for sure improve their fitness and for sure get stronger – but if getting STRONGER and FASTER and learning how to train ‘for sports’ is what they need, well there is going to be a GAP.

The Developing Athletes Program has been developed to try and fill this gap – it will follow a LINEAR progression with both strength progressions and skill development.  It will introduce participants to the fundamental barbell movements, introduce primal extensions, provide drills for warming up, include the concept (and how to!) of both metabolic conditioning AND hypertrophy training…and lastly integrate teach when and how to include sprinting and change of direction running into an overarching S+C program.  The Developing Athletes Program has been designed to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to independently follow a strength and conditioning program upon the conclusion of the course.

What does the program involve?

The program kicks off in the week commencing MONDAY OCTOBER 17th and will run for SIX WEEKS.  The weekly ‘Instructor Led’ sessions will be conducted as follows:

Group 1: Tuesday Nights: 5pm, Thursday Nights – 5pm,  Saturday Mornings – 8:30am.

Group 2: Monday Nights: 5pm, Wednesday Nights – 5pm,  Friday Nights – 5pm.

Each participant will be provided with a program guide booklet AND a Round 1 Fitness gym membership for the duration of the program.  Participation in the program is limited to EIGHT (8) people only so there will be a high level of coach-student interaction.

Who is the program for?

The Developing Athletes Program has been designed for 14-17 year olds – boys and girls – who are participating in field based sports (football, rugby, basketball, netball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse etc) who want to improve their speed and strength.

How Much Does the program cost?

The cost for the 6-weeks of the program, the program guide and the gym membership for the term of the course is $180.  You can sign up for the program via the Round 1 Portal:

Sign up for Group 1:  (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) 

Sign up for Group 2:  (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

What do you need to provide?

All participants need to be in the gym and READY to GO at least 15-minutes prior to the commencement of each session. Each session will run for approximately 60-minutes.  Wear ‘normal’ gym attire – including closed shoes.  It is recommended that FLAT SHOES (VANS, Converse Chuck Taylors etc) are worn as they are more appropriate for squatting, deadlifting and change of direction sprints than ‘runners’ but wear whatever you are comfortable with.  You will need a towel and a water bottle – you MAY want other ‘stuff’ such as wrist wraps and knee sleeves but only bring them if you ‘normally’ use them.  It is ESSENTIAL that you bring a blank note-book AND a (working) pen!