Boxing Blog

    2020 – What a YEAR (and here’s the 5 things I’m proudest of).

    Hey Team,

    Merry Christmas!

    The big day (Christmas of course!) is less than a week away and – whilst there is still no tree up in my house – I have been doing heaps of ‘looking forward – looking back’ type thinking about the year past and the one to come.  Since I suspect this will be my last ‘proper’ blog of 2020 I thought I would try to pick out the five (5) things I am MOST proud about from the year gone.  Well, kinda.  The thing I am MOST proud of is my daughter graduating from uni – but I will be trying to keep this list to gym stuff!

    I was going to say ‘no particular order’ for these things, but that’s a lie – I have put them in chronological order!

    1/.  28-days 2020

    We have been running the 28-Days-Later challenge for years so I guess the question could be asked – ‘So WHAT?’.  Well, the answer is pretty simple.  When I *could* have (and many would say SHOULD have simply rolled out a ‘revised version’ of the tried and tested challenge, a lot of effort went into translating all of the documents so that they complied with all of the Australian Dietary standards around serving sizes…and rather than just having a ‘food restriction based’ weight-loss challenge, the documentation that was provided to every participant really did outline for everyone how to create a healthy day-to-day to week-to-week eating plan…

    Further, I was then able to re-write all of our ‘Health Check’ documentation to integrate all of this new information (a million thanks to Megan at Hardy Nutrition for all her support) and give all of the new starters taking the ‘Health Check’ start a great opportunity to be successful.

    2/.  COVID – Quick reactions

    So – I don’t know if you have heard about this thing called COVID19?  Looking back, I am super happy the way we really jumped on the front foot when the first whispers of this virus and the contagious nature of it were trickling through.  The cleaning cloths – now and forever more part of our gym – were out quickly along with the spray bottles of disinfecting.  A policy of no sharing was instituted in the Strength gym (boxing was hard because we were still configured for a circuit style set up!) and rules were pretty rigidly enforced.

    I still remember when I was sending out a global email to everyone talking about the necessity of staying home if you even THOUGHT you might be sick AND the importance of disinfecting and wondering if I was going to be laughed at for jumping at shadows…well, I’m really glad now that we reacted so quickly and did everything we could to try and protect our staff and members.

    3/.  COVID At-Home Series

    When the gym closed down we obviously did a LOT of work (more on that soon enough) to rebuild and re-imagine the gym.  But more than that, we immediately began putting up online training plans – complete with How To videos – every day for our members (and for that matter, anyone else!) to follow.

    What kicked off with the ‘At Home’ series – a bit of a randomised series of workouts – was quickly transformed into what has now become the ‘Body Weight Plus’ series (available online for $10 per month!) – a progressive program of activities that could be done ‘anywhere’ without any equipment.  The terms ‘ICT’ (Integrated Circuit Training) and ‘EIT’ (Enhanced Interval Training) – not to mention ‘Minute Drills’ – have become a permanent part of Round 1 language as I continue to program these sessions to this day.

    Further, in recognition that some of our members wanted to continue to get stronger throughout the shutdown, the ‘Limestone Block’ series of workouts also kicked off – and kept going even after the untimely death of the ‘Block’ itself (refer here for a laugh if you missed this unfortunate event at the time: – The comedy starts at 5:22).  These workouts were completely AWESOME and – to me at least – really took me back to basics with both my programming and training and the restrictions of training with a single weighted implement was a fantastic contrast to being in the gym where we can modify weights from exercise to exercise AND even from set to set!

    What else?  We also loaned out literally TONNES of gear at no cost to our members during the shutdown…again – just so pleased we were able to do this and offer the option to so many members to grab a bit of gear to keep their focus going at home!

    4/.  Revised Gym Structure and Class Format

    For the first week and a half or so of the shutdown I headed into work each morning and did some pretty fundamental spring cleaning – painting, cleaning up – and thinking about what to do.  The issue as I saw it was that whilst we had been able to implement a ‘no sharing’ strategy in the strength gym, due to the nature of the ‘circuit-based’ setup in the boxing gym, whilst we COULD disinfect equipment between sessions, we COULDN’T run a class where only ONE PERSON was able to use each piece of equipment.  The reality was if you moved in groups from the heavy bags to floor-to-ceiling balls to bikes, then each person would continue to use equipment already used by someone else…so to create a COVID-SAFE (well, that’s how I was thinking about it) environment would require some pretty massive changes to the environment at Round 1.

    And that’s when I called Mr Feng Shui himself, Boris.

    I have no idea how I am ever (EVER) going to thank Boris and Lisa – let alone pay them back – for the countless hours of work they did over this period.  Somehow, the half-baked idea I spoke to him about on the phone became something tangible, and with the tireless assistance from Corey, Tracey, Ian Payne, Paul, Kirei, Ben Williamson, Radu, Clancy – and a heap of others who popped in and out and assisted for a couple of days or just a few hours here and there – the boxing gym was re-imagined from a circuit based gym into a ‘CELL-based’ gym, tonnes of new flooring was installed, we went from 22-punching bags + 8-shields to 37-bags and 8-shields, from 12-speedballs to 26, from 12-floor-to-ceiling balls to 19, from 5x Ski-ergs to 17…and on, and on, and on it went…up to and including the last week before we re-opened when the decision was made to repaint the exterior of the building!

    I am terrible at both taking photos and remembering to take photos but I have included a few at the end of this post that shows some of the changes, progress and work that was done!

    Further to that, the re-imagining of our classes had to happen alongside the re-creation of the gym.  There are 10-years of class plans (our 10th anniversary occurred during the shutdown) – a new session plan every damn day! – and none of them are worth a pinch of S&@$ in the new environment…so our entire training method has had to be re-done ‘on the fly’ with you guys acting as patient zero as we test out the 32-minute sessions, what works and what doesn’t…and we were able to do ALL of this and recover from the exit of 3x long-term staff (Elie, Lauren and Josh) and integrate 2x new staff (Leon and Alaina)…

    Yep – I’m pretty proud at what we were able to achieve during the shutdown and will be forever grateful to Boris and Lisa (and so many others) for everything they did.

    5/.  Summer Slam 2020

    Capping out the top 5 things that I’m proudest of during 2020 is the October Summer Slam.  Much like the way the 28-Days-Later challenge was a significant step forward, Summer Slam was re-created to be a week-to-week escalating, ‘Healthy Habits’ style challenge (as opposed to a strict, food-restriction based challenge).  I can sort of hear the mutterings of ‘Big Deal’ (or maybe that is simply me being cynical) but looking back it really does give me a lot of satisfaction that rather than just ‘roll out the same stuff’ I really took the time to look at how we could make the challenge better and more meaningful…and spent hour upon hour restructuring the whole thing so support the new structure.

    I guess it’s a little thing but it makes me feel good to resist the attraction of the cookie cutter and instead take the time to really focus in on providing the best product possible.

    That’s it really.  2020 – done and done.  I know it will forever be known as the year the world stopped due to COVID.  I also know I will always remember it as the year that we re-imagined the gym in response to a world-wide pandemic and created something new.  I will remember it as the year that we challenged ourselves to act rather than ‘wait and see’, and were able to create a new training environment in which people could complete a group training session without sharing equipment.


    Once again, Merry Christmas everyone!

    See you in the gym,


    The photos:  Re-creating Round 1 over the COVID shutdown!


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