Training for the challenge, Christmas Special, Raffle time

Hi and welcome to another week,

I thought I would write a little bit this week about my own journey in the ‘November Challenge’ and how I managed to improve my time from 8 minutes 11 seconds down to 5 minutes 40 seconds over the 30 days of the month.

The first part of my plan was simple – get my name up on the board as having ‘finished’ the challenge on the first day of the month.  At the time, it was really to make sure the board wasn’t ‘empty’ and because I didn’t want to be the sort of person who tells everyone else what to do but never actually ‘does’ anything.  So, at the first opportunity I had I grabbed a barbell and got it done – and it was really, really hard.  And there were a few half-stops and double takes and lots of gasping for air hidden somewhere in that time of 8:11.  But I have to admit, I was pretty happy with 8:11.

Within a few days, my time was not the best one on the board.  7:21 appeared.  6:44 appeared.  And having done the challenge, both of those times seemed completely out of reach – unless I did something different in my own training.  So I decided I would change things up.

For the 4-6 weeks leading up to the challenge, I hadn’t been doing much weight training but had been doing a lot of boxing classes – somewhere between 10 and 12 each week.  Having experienced the challenge, I realised the balance needed to change somewhat – so I cut back on the boxing (no more than one class per day) and made sure I got my lifting done – 6 x 30 minute sessions each week.  On top of that, I relaxed the diet a little bit and allowed myself a few more carbs and got set for another go – and my time improved to 6:58 seconds.  This time there was a lot of gasping for air but not too many ‘double-takes’ – no resting, no re-adjustments…pretty much full steam ahead the whole way.  I have to say though that the third time through the circuit – particularly the clean and press – was very, very hard and finishing was a real struggle.  But I was pretty content with my time and had basically decided enough was enough.

A couple of things happened soon after.  Firstly, I watched Heidi finish the circuit in 6:07 – a lot faster than me.  Not only that, she then joined in with a boxing class immediately afterwards.  Now, Heidi has been completing the circuit using a 15kg barbell in the classes for several months – and she really through the 10kg bar around like a broom-stick.  This gave me an idea.  Then Ian Board and Brett Weston completed the challenge side-by-side and both recorded sensational times – which gave me another idea.

Firstly, I began doing the ‘circuit’ at least once per day using a 25kg barbell – but I had to use a 20kg barbell for the bicep curls.  Most days I managed to get two run throughs of the circuit done and my time with the 25kg bar slowly came down – the best I recorded for the 6 exercises with the 25kg barbell was 3:38.  After almost a week of this, immediately after doing the circuit with the 25kg barbell, I started adding a ‘second lap’ using the 15kg bar to the training circuit.  This was very hard.

Secondly, Sean and I arranged a time to have ‘one last go’ at the circuit together – and fortuitously a couple of other members were in the gym at the time we were due to give it a try.  So, not only was their some competition, but there was also an audience!  The chances of slowing down or giving less than a full effort were greatly reduced than just doing it by myself with only a stop-watch for company like I had on the first two efforts.

Sean and myself both recorded improved times – and neither of us could walk (or more specifically, get up) for 10 minutes or so after finishing.  And anyone who saw either of us in the gym in the couple of days that followed would confirm that we really were suffering with muscle soreness as a direct result of really having a go at it.

And that was really my training experience throughout November.  I had a go at the challenge early, re-adjusted my training and diet to give myself a chance to improve, had another try and made another adjustment – and then added in some competition.  When I think about it in such simple terms, it really is the process we go through (or should go through) in our lives every day – use what you have learned when ‘DOING’ to improve performance when you next have to retry the same task.  But as always, you can’t learn a thing without first ‘having a go’.

November Challenge Winners

Well, the November challenge (as mentioned above) is OVER and the winners are:

  • Men Over 35:  Greg Cahill, 7 Minutes, 47 Seconds
  • Women Over 35:  Heidi Mutten – 6 Minutes, 7 Seconds
  • Men Under 35:  Sean O’Neill – 5 Minutes, 49 Seconds
  • Women Under 35:  Rebecca Kovacs, 6 Minutes, 30 Seconds

Other notable finishers/times included George Limmer (9:50), Ian Payne (8:11), Byron (8:13), Haydn Ballantyne (7:21), Kara Rogowski (7:45), David Patullo (8:55), Todd Kovacevich (6:44), Brett Weston (7:21), Vanessa Wilson (10:50), Rebecca Harris (10:34), Corey Williams (8:04), James (10:25), Ash Backman (9:20), Karen Olman (16:15) and Ian Board (5:56).

To everyone who ‘had a go’, I just want to say ‘Well done – you really have achieved something.  Just getting to the end of the challenge is a massive effort’.  Stay tuned for next week’s blog when the challenge for January will be announced.

Gym Update #1

Lost property alert.  As of this morning there were 14 pairs of gloves sitting on my desk as well as a large box filled with towels, jumpers, shirts, hats…you name it.

All of this gear will be going off to the Salvation Army immediately after Christmas – please, please have a look through the box and take home anything that is yours.  I don’t want to give away anything that has been accidentally forgotten, but at the same time I simply can’t keep storing things forever.

Gym Update #2

As a few people have seen, there are now some ‘business card’ sized group time-tables on the reception counter.  These are made out of PVC and have been ‘UV Coated’ – so they should be really long lasting – and will fit easily into your wallet or purse.

I will still print off the ‘A4’ sized programs for you to use, but if you have the chance to grab one of the smaller ones it might make life a lot easier…checking when the next class is one will be as simple as looking in your wallet.

Christmas Presents?

With Christmas around the corner, just a reminder that ‘Round 1 Fitness’ gift vouchers are available for purchase.  And if you would prefer to put something ‘under the tree’, I have a limited number of Christmas packs available – including a 10-Round Pass, Supa-Tuff Gloves, Hand-wraps and ‘Round 1 Fitness’ t-shirt available for just $130 – which is nearly $50 off the normal price.

Christmas Opening Hours

No changes to the plan announced in last week’s blog.

  • Christmas Eve:  Classes as normal until 6pm.  (5pm class will be the last class to run).
  • Christmas Day/Boxing Day:  Closed.
  • Christmas Day Holiday (December 27th):  Closed.
  • Boxing Day Holiday (December 28th):  Open Public Holiday Hours (9am – 1pm).
  • New Years Eve:  Classes as normal until 6pm.  (5pm class will be the last class to run).
  • New Years Day:  Closed.

I really would appreciate some feedback on what is being proposed – what I am trying to do is keep the gym open and available to people who want to train whilst also taking a couple of days off to spend with my own family.

Don’t Forget your Raffle Tickets

Remember the Christmas Raffle is still underway – but only for one more week!  A quick reminder that every time you come to the gym you are entitled to a ticket in the raffle – every single time.  Also remember you will receive a ticket for every month remaining on your membership on the date of the draw – and if you refer a new member you will also receive a ticket for every month of THEIR membership.

Friends of ‘Round 1 Fitness’

As we approach holiday season, I would like to direct everyone to Attadale Travel – http://www.attadaletravel.com.au/.  Both of the owners (Christine and Candice) are members at the gym and I know that have already organised trips for a few other regulars.  If you are planning your holidays for 2011, maybe give one of the girls a call on 9317 8998 and I am sure they will be able to help you out.

Link of the week

In response to a question from a member this week about nutrition and supplementation, I sent them a link to one of my all time favourite websites – Body for Life – www.bodyforlife.com .  It is a fantastic resource for training, diet and – if you can set aside just a little bit of the over-the-top American ‘hype’ – inspiration.  Have a look at the site, read a few of the stories and you will come away ready to really get stuck into your training (and diet) during the week.

Anyway, that is it from me for another week.

See you in the gym!

Michael.