Fast Food, Relaxed but not Recalcitrant February 26th, 2017

Hi and welcome to another week,

Big shout out to everyone who attended the gym over the past week…it seemed like summer finally kicked in and it got pretty darned hot in the gym near the end of the week – somehow everyone kept showing up and slogging through it though.  Really proud of everyone’s efforts and it was so impressive to watch everyone challenging themselves with the metabolic circuit/bike calorie ‘every minute on the minute’ challenges as the week progressed.  We will be rolling out the metabolic circuit again in 13-weeks time so keep your eye out for it…I guess the challenge is to really push hard in your challenge between now and then so all of your weights (Barbell and Kettlebell) are heavier next time it rolls around.

I know there is probably an expectation that I would write about the challenge today – but I will be leaving that for next week when I have had a bit of a chance to look at the data.  Today I am going to write about fast food.

Driving home from work the other night, I noticed a sign for both a new Hungry Jacks and a new Kentucky Fried Chicken on Armadale Rd.  My first thought was ‘I wonder if Marshall might like to get a job in there somewhere’.  My second was ‘Man, those restaurants are already on North Lake Rd about 3kms away…they must be doing REALLY well’.  Because I am old I then started to think about the fast food options when I was growing up and just how much the world has changed in 30 years or so.  You do that sort of thing when you get old.

When I was a kid – and I grew up in Kardinya so not that far away from the gym – there were ZERO fast food places in the entire area.  But when I reached age 10 or so, Chicken Treat opened on the corner of Gilbertson Rd and South St.  In my house though, it may as well have not opened because we would never, ever, ever go there.  I still remember the playground embarrassment of being asked what my favourite thing to order from Chicken Treat was and not being able to answer…one of my friends was telling me that he always liked it when they got to have the Hawaiian Pack rather than the Family Pack…at the time I would have been happy with anything at all.  It was obviously a meaningful moment in my life because even now – 30-odd years later I can tell you who asked me the question and what their facial expressions meant to me!  If we ever got take-away food in our house it would have been from the Fish’n’Chips shop over in Willagee (shout out to Elie’s family restaurant – ‘Hooked and Cooked’ in Bibra Lake!).  But that was a rare occurrence and most notable in my mind for the 1lt bottle of coke we used to get to share between the then 4- of us.  1-litre of coke is closer in size to the 650ml individual sizes than the 2lt family sizes on offer today.

That Chicken Treat restaurant was at least 2kms from my house as well…probably closer to 3.  Within 3kms of my house now, there is Chicken Treat, Red Rooster, Fish n Chips, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway (actually, 2x subways!), Nandos, Eagle Boys and soon to be Hungry Jacks and KFC.  And that doesn’t count places like Baskin-Robbins and Grill’d…If we expand the reach to 5kms you could add in Dominos (x2), Hungry Jacks, another Subway (yep, 3 in 5kms!) and another Kentucky Fried Chicken. It also seems that every one of these restaurants drops something in my letterbox every week effectively giving me food for free if I just head along there to eat – not to mention the never ending advertising on TV…seriously, what chance have any of us got?

I am not sure where I am going with this apart from to say that once upon a time we survived without any of this stuff and were just F-I-N-E.  That there is another Hungry Jacks opening within 5kms of the one on North Lake Rd – not to mention all of the other fast food dining options – says to me that the world has gone crazy with the easy meals and cheap calories…there has to be a better way.

I am not someone who is going to protest at the opening of a fast food restaurant or complain about the prevalence of fast-food advertising on tv because ultimately we all have to make our own choices and deal with the consequences associated with them.  The world today is a LOT more complicated in terms of all of the things each of us has to deal with on a day-to-day basis.  The messaging/advertising we are exposed too is also a lot more DENSE than ever before…but all of that just means you need make clear decisions about the way you are going to live your life and (most importantly) THEN be prepared to follow them through.

Just like my mum and dad back in the early 1980’s, just because there is a shiny new fast food restaurant just around the corner doesn’t mean that you and the family need to eat there!

See you all in the gym!


Gym Update #1 – 28-Days Later – ….and DONE!

Next week I will do a bit of a challenge retrospective when I have had a bit more of a chance to get my head around all of the collected data.  Certainly at first glance we have kicked a heap of goals in terms of weight loss BUT muscle loss has been a bit too prevalent across the board so far…so whilst we have do a great job of sticking to the rules some adjustments still need to be made.

I a trying to come up with a catch-phrase for how I am going to deal with the next month or so in order to stay on the straight and narrow path BUT allow myself a couple of ‘off-days’…’relaxed but not recalcitrant’ is sounding good right about now (+ I might be able to spell recalcitrant without depending on the spell-checker if that sticks!

Anyway – it would be wrong to sign off this section without a bit ‘well done’ to everyone who participated and a promise to provide a more in depth summary of what has been achieved next week.

Gym Update #2 – “All Class” Challenge

So the 28-Days Later Challenge is over…and already it is time for ‘MORE’.  Remember we run challenges at R1 every second month which means when April rolls around, we will be ‘ON’ again.  As per the rhythm of these things, the next challenge will not include a food component – it will be the ‘ALL CLASS’ challenge.

Whilst it is of course aimed at ‘classy’ people, it has also been put together for those people out there who have felt a bit excluded from our recent challenges because they include ‘extras’ – extra weights, extra cardio, extra ‘stuff’ – and all they want to do is complete as many classes as they can at the gym!  I can hear a chorus now – ‘it is all the extra stuff that MAKES it a challenge though’…well, never fear, I have a PLAN!  More details over the next couple of weeks with the challenge scheduled to start on Monday, April 3rd.

Gym Update #3– New Gear

Just a quick update on what is happening:

-       New RockTape rolling packs will be in the gym this week…these are personal roller kits with a little massage ball and a spikey ball in them.

-       Progenex order – which has been ‘lost in transit’ will be in this week which means the ‘Recovery’, ‘More Muscle’ and Cocoon varieties will all be back in stock.

…and then there is the stuff I told you about last week which was:

-       New order of MMA gloves has arrived – these are now available in our latest ‘double wrap’ design in all sizes.

-       New bag mitts are here and if you like the idea of some ‘electric silver’ gloves, they are in the gym as well.

-       New order of QuickWraps has arrived – these are now available in all sizes again (unfortunately only in black at this time).

Link of the Week

Been messing with some of these pendulum movements recently and this vid provides some great explanation on integrating the movements:

Can’t or WONT? February 19th, 2017

Hi and welcome to another week,

Really appreciate everyone getting into the gym so far in February.  Despite the gym being closed today (we had the Beach Workout in full swing) we are still on track to record our highest per day attendance for any single month since the gym opened back in 2010.  I don’t know about you guys but I am pretty proud of this – it has been absolute chaos from a staffing perspective throughout the month with Eden unwell and both Lloyd and Sarah departing but somehow we have been able to hold things together and help more people than ever before chase their health and fitness goals…feeling pretty proud of what we have been able to do AND of the efforts I see so many people putting in every single day.

The sessions this week do look pretty cool I have to say.  My core is preparing itself for the bear crawls, we have a little bit of an arms focus (bi’s and tri’s) when it comes to supplementary exercises – and most important, we have reached the week in our training schedule (week 13!) when we work through the same metabolic circuit/same every-minute-on-the-minute cardio challenge every day (though the round times still vary from day-to-day).  In my planning notes I record these weeks as ‘testing’ weeks when I encourage everyone to try and lift the bar with their training – really push the weights AND the intensity and finish the circuit just a little bit faster than they did the day before…buckle up everyone!

So – with the challenge running and quite a few email enquiries coming in recently I feel like I have been getting more than my usual share of emails recently (and that in itself is saying something).  Reading a couple of those last week, I kind of stumbled across a new theory – well, it’s new for me! – and it is all about the difference between two words:  CAN’T and WONT.

Things that people do in the gym – and at the dinner table – to make changes in their life are usually not particularly complicated.  You get to the gym 3-4 times each week and when you get there, you bust your butt.  You clean up your food by laying off the sugar and alcohol whilst making sure that you truly earn your carbs…6-9 months later (OK – maybe 12-months!), job done.  You are in pretty good shape – certainly better than you were – and are starting to become what society at large would call ‘FIT’.  That of course doesn’t mean the job is done but it does mean you have made a pretty good start!

You can’t really cheat the process though – it is going to take a significant amount of time (in his book and you are going to have to be consistent with your food and your training all the while…it can’t be two weeks good, one week bad, or good Mon-Fri, bad Sat-Sun.  It pretty much doesn’t work that way.  Sure, a ‘cheat’ day every couple of weeks is pretty important for your mental health, but in the main you need to ‘walk the line’.  Which brings me back to my little theory of “CAN’T versus WONT’.

To me, “CAN’T” is really simple.  There is something that is physically stopping you from doing something.  For me, I “CAN’T” train at 5am in the morning because I am working at 5am in the morning.  It’s pretty simple – whilst my day might flow a bit better if I could just get up early and get my training out of the way, it simply isn’t possible.  Other people suffer the same problem at the other end of the day…for example ”I CAN’T train at 6pm because I don’t get home from work until 5:30pm and I need to get dinner for the kids” is something I have heard quite a bit.  What other “CAN’Ts” are there?  Well, there are probably one million of them but being unable to do an exercise because of an injury is a great example.

Basically, to me – if you “CAN’T” do something, it is super easy.  There is no conversation (usually with yourself) or justification needed.  You simply cannot do it.

WONT is another word though – and it is completely and 100% different.  If you WONT do something it means that it is something you COULD DO if the outcome was truly important to you…but it isn’t (or at least, it isn’t important ENOUGH).  If I talk about the challenge, giving up sugar and alcohol for the month is something all of us COULD do – unless of course your job involves drinking beer (and I actually know a couple of members for who this is true!) then the ‘No Drinking’ thing is not a “I Can’t” thing…it is an “I WONT” thing.  Yes, you have your anniversary/birthday/whatever but this really, truly doesn’t mean that you “CANT”.  It just means that doing so isn’t that important to you – and by the way, that is perfectly fine.  Just don’t say “CAN’T” when what you mean is WONT.  The same thing applies to getting in that extra session on the weekend, or doing your challenge extras or whatever it is…I see the “WONT” thing so often at footy – we ask a lot of the guys of that there is no doubt, but when players don’t get through their scheduled weights sessions or don’t complete their hand-skills sessions, 99.9% of the time it isn’t because they “CAN’T” do it – it is because the WONT and usually it is because there are other things that are more important to them.

Similarly to the footballers I just mentioned, I find the “Can’t/Wont” battle in my own mind comes out most often when it comes to doing my extras – the things I know I should be doing to be in the shape I SAY I want to be in.  Classes are no problem – I love doing them and make time in my day to do one each and every day of the week.  Spending some time on the squat rack or sitting on an assault bike or running on the treadmill…all things I know will help me but all things that so often I say to myself “CAN’T” when it really comes down to it, what I really mean is “I WONT”.  I guess that I say “I Can’t” because it shuts up the little voice in my head that would demand an answer if I used that other language (WONT) particularly if it was related to something I had promised myself that I would do.

One more thing – please remember that you don’t need to justify yourself to me.  You can do whatever it is you want to do.  Just don’t say “CAN’T” when you mean “WONT”.  They are not the same thing.  Be honest with yourself and consistent in your actions…Can’t is CAN’T but WONT is different.

See you all in the gym!


p.s.  Please save the date for next SUNDAY – we would love to see everyone heading down to the QUARRIE from 3pm for a beer and a bite…nominally this is to celebrate the end of the 28-days Later challenge but – participant or not, we would love to see you down there.

p.p.s:  We have all of the 28-days Later challenge shirts in the gym now and will have then all ready to hand out by Wednesday or so…the design is pretty cool and I cannot wait to wear mine!

Gym Update #1 – 28-Days Later – One Week to GO!

So – we are nearly there – 3-weeks down, just one to go.  I am going to talk about my own experience first and let me just say that last week was tough – I really struggled to find time to get my extras done…and further to that, my ambition for the 4-weeks (to complete my 2km row sub 7-minutes) really is starting to look like a bridge too far.  I completed the task in 7:04 and the problem was I simply couldn’t ‘hold on’ in the last 500m…that is a BAD SIGN.  Anyway, I guess I have one more chance – but it does speak to me quite loudly about where my endurance training is at the moment…so rarely in my training (I really do get 95% of my cardio in classes) do I ‘GO’ for more than 5-minutes and the challenge of this row really is proving difficult.  I seem to remember a time when going OVER 7-minutes seemed slow – now going under it seems impossible…gotta stick at it I guess and it is all about recognising these sort of weaknesses and working through them.

With the food I actually haven’t had too much trouble and my ‘STREAK’ is intact.  When I got home from footy yesterday though (and I went straight to footy from work) I went outside for a swim…the temptation of having a swim then relaxing with a beer was pretty strong let me tell you.  It wasn’t really the idea of having to do 500calories on the bike that stopped me – it was just the idea of not making it through the 28-days!

Despite all of this training effort and food discipline, I guess I am in that group of people who haven’t noticed much of a physical change – nor can I see one on the scales.  I guess I have probably been snacking on fruit a bit too much (how nice are the grapes at the moment!) and have gone from my once per week oats to 2-3 days per week…so my carbs are definitely up…but still – I would have hoped for a more positive outcome when I look in the mirror.  The reality is though I did need this challenge – particularly from a drinking perspective as what once was a couple of drinks on Friday and Saturday had kind of morphed into a couple on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday! – and I do feel better for it…just trying to take the positives really.

Whether you are like me and battling through but struggling to see a change or if you have really seen some change both on the scales and around your waist, now is not the time to either give up or relax…we have one week to go.  I know I am more determined than ever to see through my 28-day streak and it is going to make relaxing with everyone next Sunday afternoon more enjoyable than ever!

(Post challenge note:  Our next challenge – the ‘ALL CLASS’ challenge – will be kicking off in the first week of April…this will be a training only challenge so buckle up for what is looking like a fun time!).

Gym Update #2 – Beach Workout

Thanks to everyone who made it along to our Beach Training Day today.  We (well, Eden remembered a camera!) took a heap of photos and videos which I think will be slowly leaking out on to the various social media platforms over the next day or so.  It seemed to be a lot of fun (though the soft sand walking lunges seemed less of hit than I thought they would be when writing the plan!) and it was great seeing so many people challenge themselves in a different way to a ‘normal’ boxing or Body Work class…certainly the difference between doing burpees and jump squats on astro turf vs doing the same exercises on soft sand is bigger than you might imagine!

Everything will be back to normal next weekend with Saturday and Sunday classes running as normal!

Gym Update #3– New Gear

Just a quick update on what is happening:

-       New order of MMA gloves has arrived – these are now available in our latest ‘double wrap’ design in all sizes.

-       New bag mitts are here and if you like the idea of some ‘electric silver’ gloves, they are in the gym as well.

-       New order of QuickWraps has arrived – these are now available in all sizes again (unfortunately only in black at this time).

Link of the Week

So – if there is such a thing as being politically agnostic then I am politically agnostic.  But I challenge you not to laugh when you watch this video which replays a series of POTUS tweets in the style of a 90’s EMO band (think Fall Out Boy or The Get Up Kids).  It is just 3-minutes of fun:

Girls playing footy? Beach Day Next Sunday February 12th, 2017

Hi and welcome to another week,

Once again, a big thanks to everyone who made it into the gym last week.  I was particularly happy with attendance on Friday night – the weather was MISERABLE and, well, it was Friday night when people seem to have a lot of priorities to attend too that don’t include getting to the gym.  Except for last week when the place was packed for all three classes (4pm Boxing, 5pm Beginners and 6pm Boxing) and it was just great to see….if you are someone who ‘NEVER’ attends on Friday’s, just remember, that is 52 potential training days you are missing out on every year…even if you were to make it along once each month (say the first Friday of every month), how much extra would you achieve over 12-months??  Anyway, I was really happy to see so many people in!

The sessions this week look pretty fun at first glance – I am actually pretty keen on doing my first TANKS session for a few weeks as there is a squat ‘triple threat’ which looks incredibly challenging and might be just the thing I need!  Aside from that, we are continuing to build on the half-hindu movement re-introduced last week, there is a continuing emphasis on the abdominal work that commenced in the back end of last week and I have introduced a ‘developing’ or ‘incremental’ punching combo we will be using on Monday and Wednesday…having worked it through a couple of times it really does let you focus on hitting with power and purpose.

By far the most common question I was asked throughout last week (aside from ‘Can I eat Rice?’ and ‘Can I drink milk?’ by challenge participants) was ‘Did you watch the women’s footy?’.  The short answer is that I watched some of it (as I have this weekend) and I also saw some of the commentary from other coaches around the place such as those from Perth Lynx coach Andy Stewart.  Now – obviously I am not Andy Stewart and not coaching a national level womens side…but I have coached a national level u18 football team and am currently involved coaching a state level mens football team so will throw in my comments as well.

For some background – and to try and paraphrase/simplify – Stewart said the AFLW product was sub-standard and wouldn’t as ‘that is hype’.  And there is certainly truth in what he said.  The standard of footy at tier 2 level  – WAFL, SANFL, VFL (and to be fair, lower tiers of footy than that) is a lot higher than what we have seen from the AFLW thus far.  And given Australia has a proud basketball history at Olympic and World Championship level, I have no doubt he is correct when he talks about the level of athletes on display in his competition (WNBL) vs the AFLW…but to harp on all of that is kind of missing the point.  The AFLW is amazing.

The thing that stood out to me from a coaching perspective was that effort and intent was – and is – high.  And you cannot coach effort.  Things you can coach like skills, structure, game-style etc…well, all of that needs to improve.  But you CAN coach those things.  So they WILL improve.  What the athletes involved need is time to develop their games against the best possible competition so that they can improve – and the AFLW is giving them that chance.  Is the number of teams ideal?  Well – it is a lot of teams given the available talent and I was disappointed the AFL went with an 8-team competition rather than 6-teams purely from a ‘standard of play’ perspective – but when you look at it from a game and player development perspective, the extra 2x teams (from my ideal) give more opportunities for young and developing players to actually get on the field and be challenged to improve their game under pressure…isn’t that awesome.

Has the AFL thrown a tonne of money at the concept that other more traditional winter sports for women in this country (Netball, basketball, hockey, soccer) don’t have at their disposal?  Of course they have.  There is no doubt that they have and there is no doubt that this money and promotion and advertising has really given a boost to attendance and tv ratings over the first week of the season.   But it is a bit of a sad day when a national sporting organisation throwing $ at women’s sport can be seen by anyone involved in women’s sport – or in fact, anyone who has, had or may one day have a daughter – as a bad thing?  It gives chances for girls to play national level sport – and isn’t that great?  Every sport needs to create an environment that attracts athletes – initially with a focus on participation and later on with a focus on competition…now there is another national level sport for girls to compete in, well, hopefully more girls remain athletically active for longer…and for those who ARE athletically elite, well, let each sport make its case for them to continue to participate as they enter their later teenage years.  The AFLW just created a sporting future for a large number of girls who dream of being professional athletes – well, at least semi professional athletes!! – and, that can only be good.

Am I desperate to tune in to the AFLW games?  Well – they aren’t appointment TV for me the way watching the Bulldogs participate in the Grand Final was.  But you know what – watching Brisbane play the Gold Coast late in last year’s AFL season wasn’t exactly something I was going out of my way to spend time on.  If the girls are on and playing and I have a spare hour, I am going to turn on and have a look at what they are doing…whilst the skills are still in the improving category, the effort is great and whilst that remains the case the game will be on the right track.

See you all in the gym!


p.s.  Please remember that the gym will be CLOSED next SUNDAY (Feb 19th) and we will be running a beach workout at C.Y. O’Connor Beach from 08:30am followed by a bbq/sausage sizzle.  Hoping everyone can join us down at C.Y.’s and understands re- the gym closure for the day.

Gym Update #1 – 28-Days Later – Half-way!

We have reached the half-way point of the 28-Days Later challenge which I guess brings it’s share of good news and its share of bad news.  The good news of course is that there are no tests in your immediate future that you haven’t already passed with flying colours…the bad news – equally obviously – is that you still have to stick at it for another 14days!

Personally I am loving the gym extras – though I have to admit, I love the 2km row a lot more AFTER I have ticked it off for the week – and am a bit ambivalent towards the food stuff…an occasional treat would be nice (and an occasional drink would be nicer!) but I sort of figure that having gotten this far I will be able to get to the end.  It is funny though, it is the ‘little things’ that are annoying more than anything – having burgers on Saturday night (no bun of course) I discovered that my pickles had sugar in them.  It is things like that take me right to the edge…but rules are rules.  I guess a few people would have seen my post on Facebook with the ‘Chicken – Not Challenge Friendly’ sticky note on some leftovers in the fridge…it is that stuff that gets me.  I KNOW I shouldn’t be eating chocolate and drinking beer and understand those things aren’t necessarily awesome for me…but when sweeteners are in my pickles and chicken, well, that is just unfair.

One more thing.  Last year we all celebrated the end of the challenge by heading down to the Quarrie bar in Hammond Park on the Sunday after weigh-ins…I am hoping everyone can spare some time from 3pm on Sunday Feb 26th this year for a repeat visit!

Gym Update #2 – Beach Workout

So – the beach workout I have been talking about will be on THIS COMING SUNDAY – Feb 19th.

Where:  C. Y. O’Connor Beach, South Fremantle.

When:  8am for 8:30am start.

Get excited, get in early and let’s have a blast down the beach…it is going to be a lot of fun on the sand and we will cook up some sausages afterwards for everyone to (hopefully) spend some time having a swim and enjoying one anothers company!

Gym Update #3– New Gear

So – as most everyone would be aware by now, all of the new gear I have been going on (and on, and on) about for weeks has arrived and we are doing what we can to make the gym a better place for one and all.  We have the new SPARC trainers in place, the new elliptical (called an ARC trainer) and two brand spanking new treadmills.  It was almost 12-months to the day from when the Ski-Ergs were implemented that the SPARC’s went in to add another new element to our classes and I am really hopeful this new equipment make a similar impact to the Ski-ergs…after just a few days I am confident that they will!

Whilst you might have heard me say ‘no more new gear’ to be honest that isn’t necessarily true…but what I am looking at now is replacement of some aging equipment and I have been working on a refurb plan for a couple of weeks now.  I do hope I can pull it off!

Link of the Week

Some of our most watched Facebook/Instagram videos always seem to feature box jumps – for some reason people are impressed when they see other people jumping high!  If you want to be one of those people (someone who jumps high, not someone who watches other people jump high) then have a look at this video about stretching and extending through your hips!