Monday, 31 December 2012

The Next Phase

Happy New Years Guys & Girls!

Hope you had a good Christmas and a Merry New Year.

As promised I am starting a new phase of training for the new year.
For my strength sessions in this phase I have been doing some reading around the Conjugate Method, as made famous by The Westside Barbell gym.  I have also drawn inspiration from Matt Wichlinski (one of my favourite coaches) from The Strength Shop.

I have adapted these styles of training to fit my personal goals which are to be the strongest and fittest BJJ fighter I can be at lightweight (under 76kg with the Gi).  I am also incorporating quite a few gymnastic moves into my training, mainly because I believe they are of incredible value for building full body strength but also because...well...I want to be able to perform them!

Here is the plan.
Each week I will attempt to fit in:
2-3 Strength sessions (as described below)
1-2 BJJ sessions (Either at the BJJ club in the next town or partner drills)
1-2 Conditioning sessions (similar to my current conditioning sessions, lots of variation with some benchmark sessions, special focus on barbell complexes, see note on 31st Dec session)

On top of this I will be trying to snowboard for at least an hour 4-5 days a week.

My strength sessions will look like this:

Strength Day 1 Template:
- warm up & mobility work
- Lower body power move 3-5 x 3-5
- Lower body Max effort Strength (Pull or Push) 3-5 x 3-5
- Upper body High volume work x 1-2 exercises (Pull or Push) 2-4 x 8-12
- Gymnastic / Core exercise x1-2 exercises x2-4 sets of each

Strength Day 2 Template:
- warm up & mobility work
- Upper body power move 3-5 x 3-5
- Upper body Max effort Strength (Pull or Push) 3-5 x 3-5
- Lower body High volume work x 1-2 exercises (Pull or Push) 2-4 x 8-12
- Gymnastic / Core exercise x1-2 exercises x2-4 sets of each

From my (admittedly basic) understanding of the Conjugate method, I have taken the idea of regularly varying the Max-effort strength exercise used.  So for example instead of always doing a standard Deadlift for my lower body pulling max-effort exercise I will change it week by week, varying the grip, my stance, the ROM orthe style of Deadlift.  By doing this I hope to avoid stagnation in my progress.

I have used my own variation when it comes to programming the High-volume (or assistance) work, which I hope will avoid prolonged muscle soreness and recovery time between sessions.  It should also allow me to train other movement variations that might otherwise get neglected.

As you can see each template also includes the option of either Pull or Push for both max-effort and High volume exercises.  I will be varying this too, alternating between the two each session.

I realise that there is a lot of information in this post and that I might not be describing it perfectly but hopefully once I start posting session's on this blog it will become clearer.  If you have any questions then just drop a comment on this post.

I am not sure that this format of programming will prove to be the ideal for me at this time but from the information that I have researched and the knowledge I have of my own goals and my own body I believe it is a good place to start.  When changes need to be made I will make them but rather than sitting around theorising as to 'the perfect plan' I want to get out there and try this out, see for myself how effective it is.

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For those of you that are interested, below are the details for my last few sessions of 2012.
Two of them were standard strength sessions, from my old phase and the second two were benchmark conditioning sessions that I decided to do on the last two days of the year because I wanted to see how I was progressing with them.

Thursday 27th December:
1) 1 DB Snatch 3 x 4 per side (alternate) (65lb-70lb-70lb)

2) Deadlift 4 x 6-8  (6,6,6,5 @ 120kg)

3a) Straddle L (box low) 5 x max
3b) Handstand (w/lower) 5 x max

4a) Back lever (flat tuck - bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)
4b) Front lever (straddle - bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)
4c) L / Y / W / T shoulder exercises 4 x 15 each

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Friday 28th December:
1) Hang power clean x 2 + Hang clean x 1  x3 sets (55kg/60kg/60kg)

2) Front squats 4 x 6-8  (72.5kg x 7 / 74kg x6, x6, x5)

3a) Planche (flat tuck on DBs)  4 x (5x2 sec)
3b) Symmetrical Deadbugs 4 x 30 sec per side

4a) Around the world Pull ups 3 x 8
4b) 1 DB overhead press x 6-8 + 20 sec hold (with lats engaged) x3 sets

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Saturday 29th December:
Rest Day

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Sunday 30th December:
Conditioning session

100 Rope turns
10 Burpees (full style, not sprawl, no press up)
10 Press ups
10 Bodyweight squats
10 Pull ups (no kipping)

x 10 Rounds as fast as possible

Last time I attempted this workout I completed it in 27.35
I knew that the third attempt would be difficult but I managed to shave just over 1 minute off my previous time, completing it in 26.17

I felt pretty awful immediately after this session but was glad that I managed to improve my time.
I know that I am going to have to work hard on my conditioning if I want to shave more time off this session.

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Monday 31st December
Conditioning session

12 Deadlifts
9 Hang power cleans
6 Push press

x 5 rounds as fast as possible

Completed with 50kg, previously I had managed to complete this in 11.15 (12th November) and before that I had only managed 12.46 (1st September).

Today didn't go well and it took me 11.55 to complete this complex.

I can't deny that I am gutted about this.  It could have been down to external factors but I also know that this session is always a massive challenge for me, both mentally and physically.

I am not going to make excuses, it beat me today.

What I have learnt from this is that I want to build more of my future conditioning sessions around Barbell complexes.  I believe that they are fantastic for grappling conditioning and they are also something that I shy away from sometimes because they are incredibly gruelling.

I am slightly concerned that using heavier weights during my conditioning sessions (through complexes) might impact on my performance and/or recovery from my strength sessions but I will endeavour to build in adequate recovery time.

Lesson learnt, time to nut up and get the hard work done!

Happy New Year.

Train hard, live happy

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Rolling Stone

Hi Guys & Girls,

Hope you are enjoying the holidays, just a quick entry today.

As planned I took Christmas eve and Christmas day off (although I had to work a half day shift on Christmas).

I planned to get straight back into training on Boxing day but unfortunately my local gym here in Banff was closed.  I got home from a full days work tired but determined not to let myself slip from the schedule.

Once again I had to use the space and equipment available to me in my small shared flat, to do a conditioning session.  What I put together did the job.  It wasn't perfect but it got me working hard and breathing heavy and was far superior to just giving up and veg-ing on the sofa.

I decided to use Tabata Intervals (20 seconds of high intensity work followed by 10 seconds of recovery, repeated for time, in this case, 5 minute rounds).  I took 2 minute rests in between rounds.
In total I performed 4 rounds.

Rounds 1&2 were:
Burpees (full movement but no press up) &
Wall walks

Rounds 3&4 were:
Mountain climbers &
Short bodyweight rows from our coffee table

I wanted to share these videos with you, partly to show you a few of the exercises that I was using but mostly to demonstrate that a lot of work can be done in a small space with little to no equipment.

Never give up.

And don't worry about every session being perfect.  In an ideal world this isn't the session I would have been doing, but circumstances are rarely going to be perfect.

Rather than waiting for everything to be ideal, for the stars to be aligned.  Stop making excuses, stop saying "I will start my new exercise regime when...." or "In the new year I am going to really get on with it"

No! Start now! 

Sure it might not be perfect but some exercise, any exercise is better than none.
You will learn more in time.  Techniques will be refined and session will become more effective but until then, just get going and keep going.  A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Train hard, live happy

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Getting it done!

So the training continued in the seconds part of this week.

Thursday 20th December:
I got home from a full day at work and was pretty tired.  I realised that I needed to spend some time at home with my girlfriend, so going to the gym wasn't really a viable or attractive option.

But I don't like giving up!

Achieving something great is about consistent hard work.  Small choices add up and make a big difference.  I had planned to do a conditioning session that day and I didn't want to let that slip by.
It was going to be hard to satisfy all demand on my time, especially considering my low energy levels.

'Today I will do what others won't, so Tomorrow I can achieve what others can't' - Jerry Rice

I love this quote.  I love the satisfaction of pushing myself and staying committed to achieving something. And when others around me are being flaky, it drives me on even more.  I don't consider myself anything special but there are physical acts which I can do that others can't.  I haven't been particularly genetically gifted, I have just worked hard and consistently and the results come in time.

So when it came to doing my conditioning session I used what I had:
A bit of space in my bedroom (probably about 3x8 foot) and my own body.

I went for 30 seconds flat out on each exercise:
- Burpees (full, not sprawl)
- Split jumps
- Press ups
- Burpees (as above)
- Star jumps
- Bodyweight squats

30 seconds rest between rounds
x 4 rounds total


Tabata intervals (20 sec work, 10 sec rest) repeated for 6 minutes total of:
- BJJ triangle mime drill
- V-ups

It wasn't the perfect workout by far but it was a lot better than giving in to the situation and just sitting on my arse.  My girlfriend was sat right on the bed beside me so I didn't have to spend time apart from her even.

I have said it before but it really is true.  THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO!

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Friday 21st December:

1) Hang power Snatch x 3 + Overhead squats x 1  x 3 sets (45-50kg)

2) Deadlifts 4 x 6-8  (8 reps@115kg / 3x6 reps@120kg)

3a) Planche practice 4 x (5x2 sec)
3b) Symmetrical Deadbug 3 x 30 sec per side

4a) BB Overhead press 3 x 6-8 (50kg-47.5kg)
4b) Wide grip Pull ups 3 x 8

5a) Straddle L (one hand centre) 3 x 5 sec per side
5b) Handstand practice 3 x max

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Saturday 22nd December:
Rest Day

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Sunday 23rd December:

1) Hang power clean 3 x 4

2) Front Squats 4 x 6-8  (8@70kg + 6,7,6@74kg)

3a) Back Levers (flat tuck from bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)
3b) Front Levers (straddle from bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)

4a) Dips 3 x 6-8  with additional 30-35lbs
4b) Bent over rows 3 x 6-8  (70kg)

5a) Barbell Landmines 3 x 6-8 per side (Olympic bar + 15kg)
5b) Straddle L (on box, straight but low legs) 3 x max

Well, Christmas is coming now.
I hope to be back in the gym on 26th.  I am having a couple of days off to enjoy the season (though I am working 6am-12pm on Christmas day).  I'm going to be eating a lot of food but trying to keep it as healthy as possible.

As promised before, details of a new training phase will be coming along in January so keep the blog bookmarked on your browser.

Until then, Merry Christmas, enjoy!

Train hard, live happy

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Back on track

So as hoped my recovery from the flu I went down with was steady, I was careful not to jump back into training too quickly and so it wasn't until Wednesday (12th), after 5 days of full rest, that I got back to training.

Wednesday 12th December:
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu drills and sparring (with partner) x 1 hour

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Thursday 13th December:
Strength Training
1) Power Snatch + Overhead squat 4 x 3

2) Deadlift 4 x 8  @ 110kg - not quite what I was lifting before my illness, I wanted to ease back in

3) Gymnastic Complex - L-sit (5 sec hold) to Headstand to Rev. Leg lift 3 x 5  (see first video below)

4a) Around the world Pull ups 3 x 8  (see second video below)
4b) 1 DB Overhead press x 6-8 + overhead hold (20 sec)  x3 sets per side


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Friday 14th December:
Strength Training
1) Power Clean x 2 + Squat Clean x1  x3 Sets (60kg)

2) Front squats 4 x 6-8 (8,8,7,6)  @ around 60kg  -  Again, temporarily less than I was lifting before

3a) Back Lever (flat tuck, from bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)
3b) Front Lever (straddle, from bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)

4a) Arch hold 3 x 30 sec
4b) Hollow body hold 3 x 30 sec

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Saturday 15th December:
Rest Day - Keen not to push things too hard, too soon as I was aching more than usual from the previous two days of strength training I decided a rest day would be a good idea.

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Sunday 16th December:
Conditioning Circuit

30 seconds on each exercise

- Bar facing Sprawl Burpees
- Landmines (Olympic bar w/ 5kg plate)
- Pull up to press up
- Sprawl Burpees w/ lateral jump over bar
- Skipping
- Hang power clean & power jerk (70lb / 30kg)

Rest 1 minute
x 5 Rounds

Tough little circuit, each round is only 3 minutes long (half a full BJJ round at my level) so there is the drive to attack it really hard.  The regular 1 minute rests allow just enough recovery for you to continue at a vigorous pace but the cumulative effort of the whole session kicks in by the end of the 20 minutes.

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Monday 17th December:
Strength session
1) 1 DB Snatch 3 x 5 / 4 / 3 per side  with 65lbs / 70lbs / 75lbs

2) Deadlift 4 x 6-8 (8,6,6,6)  with 115kg  -  Back up to where I was before my illness

3a) Handstand practice 4 x max time
3b) Turkish Get-ups (DB) 4 x 3 per side  with 35lbs / 40lbs / 50lbs / 60lbs

4a) Assisted 1 arm pull ups (topped up w/ wide pull ups) 3 x 3-4 per side + 4 wide pull ups
4b) L / W / Y shoulder exercises 3 x 15 each  (with 2x7.5lbs)

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Tuesday 18th December:
Strength session
1) Power clean 3 x 3  (with 60-65kg)

2) Front squats 4 x 6-8 (6,6,8,8)  @65kg  -  lacking a bit of fire with this lift, will endeavour to push
                                                                myself harder next time and regain my mental focus for it

3a) Back levers (flat tuck, from bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)
3b) Front levers (straddle, from bar) 4 x (5x2 sec)

4a) Bench press 3 x 6-8  (70-72.5kg)
4b) 1 DB rows 3 x 6-8 per side (100lbs-95lbs)

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Wednesday 19th December:
Rest Day - Another chance to recuperate from some heavy training and lack of sleep due to work commitments.  Back to the training tomorrow.

I realise that this format of training hasn't varied much (except for rep ranges) for a couple of months now.  Don't worry, I am not stagnating, I plan to begin a new training format in the new year once the rush at work and the festive season is over.
So. Keep watching, I will post more details soon.

In the mean time... if you have any questions just leave a comment below.

Train hard, live happy

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Inspiration from Team Hoyt

Hi Guys & Girls,

Today I wanted to share a couple of videos with you.
I first heard of the Hoyt team a couple of years ago but recently re-watched these videos.

I can't do them justice, take a few minutes to watch them, simply put they are incredible.

As Dick Hoyt says
“Yes you can.
You can do anything that you want to do as long as you make up your mind.
You can do it.”

Your sport might not be endurance racing, I know mine isn't, but the dedication and perseverance show by Dick and Rick still inspires me as I go about my training.

Train hard, live happy

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Patience & Reward

Hi Guys & Girls.

Very interesting week.  After my last post on discipline I set off with renewed determination to my training.

Tuesday 4th Dec:
1) BB Hang Power Snatch + Hang Snatch 3+1 / 2+1 / 1+1 / 1 (Hang Snatch)
   - Basically on the last rep of each set I would descend into the full overhead squat, snatch receive position.

2) Deadlift 4 x 6-8  (actually achieved 8,7,7,5) @ 115kg

3a) L-sit to Handstand (attempted) 3 x 5
3b) 1 DB Windmills 3 x 8 per side (40lb)

4) L-Sit to headstand to Reverse leg lift 1 x 5 - Cheeky little complex gymnastic movement here, I may post a video soon as its a nice little move, I was just playing around with it here.

5a) Around the world Pull ups 3 x 8  - Start from a deadhang, the wider your grip the more challenging, pull your body up to one side (or one hand), then move your body straight along the bar to the other hand without lowering, then lower back down to the middle.  Repeat the other way.
5b) BB Push press 3 x 6-8 (50kg-55kg)

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Wednesday 5th Dec:
1) Power Clean x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (60kg-70kg)

2) Front Squat 4 x 6-8  (actually achieved 8, 7, 7, 7) @ 70kg

3a) Planche practice (flat tuck) 4 x (5x2 sec)
3b) L / Y / W / T shoulder exercises 4 x 15 reps each

4a) One arm Press ups 3 x 8 per side
4b) One arm DB rows 3 x 8 per side (95-100lbs)

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Thursday 6th Dec:
My Birthday!

So before work I managed 1 hour of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training with a friend.
Otherwise it was a rest day.

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And that is where is all started to go a bit down hill.

Unfortunately on Thursday night I went down with a stinker of a cold / mild flu which over the last few days has settled on my chest causing me to not be able to elevate my breathing without suffering painful coughing fits.  (probably not helped by working outdoors in temperatures down to -15 C)
A lot of people working on the ski resort have come down with similar illness's (one even being diagnosed with Bronchitis).

However...there is always something you can do.

So, despite the fact that I have been finding this very infuriating I have been staying focused on the elements that will enable me to make as quick of a recovery as possible while losing as little ground as possible training wise.  Principally this has been down to nutrition and rest.

I have trying to focus my energy on regular eating, balanced meals with as much veg, healthy fats and lean protein as possible.  I've tried to keep my hydration levels up (pee should be clear) and avoided alcohol.
The problem is, as stated above, it was my Birthday this week which means there has been all kinds of temptations: chocolate cake, going out for drinks, sweets and other things which when enjoyed in balance (and small quantities) can be fine but when trying to recover from a nasty illness they should be avoided at all costs.  My staff allowance of one hot drink a day at work has been changed from a salt and sugar laden hot chocolate to green tea.

I am not trying to blow my own trumpet here, the point I'm trying to make is that we are all going to have set backs, mine happened to be this illness.  Some will be fleeting and some will be a longer road to recovery. But you must try not to lose hope and give into despair.  Don't throw away all of your hard work and dedication, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” - Thomas Edison

On this theme I am please to announce that my home club of Carlson Gracie Camberley had their annual grading on Friday night.  Several members of the team received new belts (and the whipping that goes with them).  I think pretty much every one of these guys has had set backs through illness, injury and issues in their personal lives which have threatened to impact upon their training.  But they have carried on with patience and dedication to their goal.  For some it has taken years to earn their new belts, they have had high's and low's and they are far from finished on their journeys but they act as the perfect illustration of staying focused to achieving a goal.  Congratulations guys, you know who you are!

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” - Thomas Edison

Daniel Commane's the day after receiving his Purple belt, and the whipping that comes with it.

So, I am going to keep resting up, trying my best to avoid the lure of chocolate and junk food not matter how comforting it might seem.  Training will resume when I am full recovered but the blog will continue.

Train hard, live happy

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Question of Discipline

I've been thinking a lot recently about discipline.
Particularly discipline in training to achieve goals.

In my day to day I get a lot of people talking to me about their fitness ambitions and dreams.

"I really hate being fat, I want to lose this weight and tone up.  I'm going to start running again."

This is a pretty typical statement and people often say it with such purpose but then when I see these people a few months later they don't seem to have changed and when I talk to them it is obvious that they are still engaged in the same lifestyle, drinking & eating habits or lack of exercise that they were before.

When it comes to health, fitness or sporting goals it seems that a lot of people want to achieve their ambitions without changing anything they are doing.  It's not rocket science, if you don't make changes then nothing will change.

Don't get me wrong here.  I'm not criticising other people's choice of lifestyle, if you want to go out every weekend (and maybe mid-week too) and drink a load of beer or wine.  Or if you really love eating pizza and McDonalds several times a week then that is your choice, it's your life.
What annoys me is when the same people then bitch and moan about not being in the shape that they want to be.

It's your life, it's your body.  If you really want to change it then you can but you are going to have to show some commitment to your goals and (shock horror) possibly sacrifice some of the things which are holding you back.  That's discipline.

On a very simplistic level it can be said that most of us are living the way we want to.  The person who say's that they want to have six-pack Abs but then sit's on their sofa all evening watching TV and eating ice cream has made their decision.  They have voted with their actions.  They obviously want ice cream and TV more than they want visible Abs, even if it's just that few seconds that they are eating the ice cream.  I'm sorry but if you wanted the six-pack enough then you would muster the discipline to not eat crap.

That may sound harsh and I do believe that there are exceptions but it's a theory that actually helps me to stay on track with my goals.  This may come as a revelation to some of you but chocolate and sweets are actually really tasty!  And even I think it would be really nice to eat loads of them everyday but I don't because I know that, for multiple reasons, if I did then I wouldn't achieve the fitness, health and sporting goals that I have set myself.

Every bite of food, every action and every decision can be put into one of two categories:
Will this help achieve my goals, or will it hinder them?

Ask yourself this next time you are doing your food shopping or trying to decide what to do for the weekend.  Chances are you already know the answer, the real question is:

'Do you want it badly enough?'

Are you willing to sacrifice having a sugary snack that you don't really need, or another beer or watching another episode of X-factor instead of doing a workout?

Health and Fitness doesn't have to be complicated.  Everyone know that Broccoli is better for you than cake and that getting up off your backside and doing something, ANYTHING active is more likely to melt fat away than just sitting like a zombie in front of the TV.  However only a relatively small proportion of people actually show enough discipline to achieve the goals they set themselves.

So next time you think about your fitness goal ask yourself:
'Do I really want this?'
If the answer is yes, then do it.
Step by step, with every positive choice, you inch yourself closer to succeeding.
Overnight fitness doesn't exist and skills take time to develop but if you look at the people at the top of their game they got there through consistent dedication and discipline to their cause.

It won't always be easy, some days you will want to give in but if you want something and you stay disciplined, you will achieve it.  And how awesome will that be!

Here is a short video that exemplifies some of my point.  David Smith's story is obviously a dramatic one but he took it one step at a time with consistent discipline.

Train hard, live happy

My Week in training

Hey guys & girls,

Good week of training this week, coming towards the end of this simple program so things will be changing up in a couple of weeks.  A lot of work squeezed in and some different exercises so any questions, just drop a comment below.

Sunday 25th Nov:

Strength session - I have now moved onto the next phase in this current simplistic cycle of strength training, so once again the rep range has gone down slightly, to 6-8 reps for most exercises, and the weights will be going up.

1) BB Hang Clean & Jerk 4 x 3-4 (40kg-60kg)

2) Front Squats 4 x 7-8 (67.5kg-70kg)

3a) Planche practice (tuck/flat tuck) 4 x (5 x 2 sec hold)
3b) L-Sit hold 4 x max

4a) One arm DB row 3 x 8 per side (80-95lbs)
4b) BB narrow grip bench press 3 x 8 (70-75kgs)

5a) Windmills 3 x 5 per side (35lbs)
5b) Handstand practise 3 x max

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Monday 26th Nov:

Conditioning session

30 sec intervals (with no rest in between) of:
- Burpees (sprawl, lateral jump, no press up)
- BB Hang Power clean & power jerk (60lbs)
- Star Jumps
- 2 DB Split Snatch (2 x 25lbs)
- T-press ups (2 x 25lbs)
- Mountain climbers
Repeated for 2 rounds (6 mins total)

REST 5 mins

Tabata intervals (20 sec work, 10 sec rest) repeated for 6 mins of:
- Pull up to press up
- BB Landmines (w/10kg plate)

REST 5 mins

Repeat of first set (30 sec intervals x 6 mins)

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Tuesday 27th Nov:

Rest Day - Putting in a long day at work and giving the muscles time to recover and grow!

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Wednesday 28th Nov:

Strength session

1) BB Snatch 3 x 3 (50-52.5kg)

2) Deadlift 3x8 + 1x6 (110kg - 115kg)

3a) Back Lever practice 3 x (5x2 sec hold) flat tuck / partial straddle
3b) Front Lever practice 3 x (5x2 sec hold) straddle

4) Muscle ups (rings) 3 x 8 (top up each set with pull ups) - achieved 5, 4, 4 muscle ups

5) 1 DB overhead press x 10 + 20 sec hold x3 sets  (lats engaged during hold)

+ BJJ training with partner x 60 mins

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Thursday 29th Nov:

Conditioning session
Crossfit session with a training partner. "Fran"
Thrusters (100lbs / 45kg)
Pull ups (kipping allowed)
x 21, 15, 9 reps of each

Completed in 7.27

Rested for a few mins, then

Row x 30 sec (high pace)
Burpees x 30 sec (recovery)
x 6 rounds

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Friday 30th Nov:

Strength session
1) Power Clean 3 x 3 (60-65kg)

2)  Front Squats 2x8 + 2x6 (70kg)

3a) DB Alt. chest press 3 x 6-8 (2x70-75lbs)
3b) Inverted row 3x8 (pause at top)

4a) Planche practice 3 x (5x2sec) (flat tuck)
4b) L / Y / W shoulder exercises 3 x 15
4c) Symmetrical Deadbugs 3 x 30 sec per side
4d) Handstand practice 3 x max

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Saturday 1st Dec:

BJJ training (with partner) x 60 mins

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sunday 2nd Dec:

Conditioning session:

So today I decided to re-test a session from about 6 weeks ago (17th Oct).

10 Pull ups (kipping allowed)
10 DB swings each arm
10 Plyometric (clap) Press ups
10 Knee Tuck jumps

Try not to rest in between exercises, then rest as necessary between sets

Last time I managed to get 10 rounds, this time I got 11 rounds and had 40 seconds spare (so hopefully 12 rounds next time!)

A nice little improvement, happy with that.  But I feel there is more so must push on and try for more next time!

Train hard, live easy

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A few words on Injury ...and this weeks training

Hey guys and girls,

Another great week of training with some real ups and downs.
During my Monday session I felt tension in my lower back (sacrum area) during my first exercise (the snatch).  I decided to ignore it and push on with my Deadlift.  This is a classic case of not taking my own advice.  If I had been training a client and they had told me they were feeling this pain then I would have found an alternative but being an idiot I didn’t and I promptly spent the rest of the day in discomfort and not able to move properly.

Although the effects of this disappeared by the next day it is still worth noting that on reflection I do not believe that I made the right decision here.  This kind of pain should never be ignored or played down.  The pain of fatigue during a tough conditioning session, this you can (and to a certain extent) should ignore.  But any unusual tweaks, aches or other pains during exercise need to be treated with respect.

There is no point in risking injury for a couple more reps, sets minutes or seconds.  You only get one body and you can only build it into the machine that you want it to be if you preserve it from being damaged unnecessarily.

I put this lesson into practise on Friday when doing my deadlift, on the final set I could feel my form wavering.  I wanted to get a final rep out but knew that it wasn’t worth compromising my form and possibly my back.  I know that this wariness came from my little tweak on Monday and that I might make the same mistake a few months down the line but hopefully the lesson will stick!

I have seen guys allow themselves to be injured during Jiu-Jitsu sparring simply because their ego wouldn’t allow them to tap until they had to.  Whatever type of training you are involved in, it is essential that you respect the potential damage it could do to your body and adjust accordingly.  Developing strength, skill and/or fitness is a long term game and avoiding injury is essential in ensuring that you make it to the finish line!

That said, some injuries are out of your control!

Just yesterday (Friday) I went out snowboarding after my workout, I thought I was doing quite well but ended up taking a tumble and hurting my right knee and my ribs.
After a quick check over in the infirmary at the slopes it was decided that no ribs were broken and they have steadily improved since then.
My knee however isn’t feeling great.  I have a pain down the inside edge of my knee joint which I suspect is a strain or partial tear on my medial collateral ligament.  I know that I did a similar injury last year while sparring at Jiu-Jitsu.

Time will tell how serious it is but until then I am going to play it sensible.  If anything aggravates it then I will stop doing it.  Eating right, plenty of sleep and good mobility work will all help.

Respect injuries, allow them to repair and come back stronger and wiser. If you push yourself to hard, to soon and don’t allow time to recover then you risk re-injury and an even lengthier delay in your progress.

Anyway, here is what I have been up to training wise this week.
Any questions, leave a comment below.

Monday 19th November:
Strength session
1)      BB Snatch 3-5 x 3-5
2)      Deadlift 4 x 10 (105kg)
3a) L, Y & W Shoulder pre-hap exercises 3 x 12-15 each
3b) BB overhead press 3 x 10

Tuesday 20th November:
Strength session
1)      Hang Power cleans 3-4 x 5
2)      Front squats 4 x 10 (62.5kg – 65kg)
3a) Back Lever (flat tuck) 3 x (5 x 2 sec holds)
3b) Front Lever (straddle) 3 x (5 x 2 sec holds)
4a) Inverted bodyweight rows 3 x 10
4b) Ring dips 3 x 10

Wednesday 21st November:
Recovery day – everyone needs them! (also I got up at 4.20am to start work at 6am and worked until 4.30pm!

Thursday 22nd November:
Conditioning session
Decided to re-visit a session that I only did a couple of weeks ago.

Tabata intervals (20 sec high pace work, 10 sec rest) Repeated for 6 minutes
Alternating between-
Bar facing burpees & BB Hang power clean and push press (60lbs)
Then with no rest straight into a progressive run
Set treadmill to 2% incline and 5mph, increase the speed by 0.3mph every 20 seconds until failure.
Rest for 5 minutes then repeat for 3 rounds.

On my second round all the treadmills were occupied so I just rowed at a moderate-high pace for 5 minutes.

1st round (progressive run) beat 9.2mph and covered 0.63 miles
3rd rounds beat 8.9mph and covered 0.54 miles

On all rounds I was trying to achieve a minimum of 8 burpees and 7-8 clean & press every 20 seconds.

Tough little session, especially mentally.  Knowing that you can give up at any stage on the progressive run but trying to push it and keep going is a real battle with yourself.
I felt supercharged for the rest of the day after this one.

Friday 23rd November:
Strength session
1)      1 DB Snatch x 5 per side (alternating), x 4 per side, x 3 per side
2)      Deadlifts 3x8, 1x7 (@ 110kg)
3a) Handstand practice 3 x max hold
3b) Symmetrical Deadbugs 3 x 30 sec per side
4a) 1 Arm negative assisted pull ups 3 x 5 per side
4b) 2 DB neutral grip overhead press 3x8, 1x7
5a) DB Windmills 3 x 5p per side (very light weight, just re-training movement)
5b) Cable face pull to external rotation 3 x 12

Saturday 24th November:
BJJ partner drills x 45 mins

Train hard, live happy

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Raising the bar

Couple more days of sessions for you.

Strength day

1. BB Full squat Cleans 3 x 3

2. Front squats 4 x 10 (62.5kg)

3a. BB Bench press 3 x 10
3b. Free hanging Inverted bodyweight rows 3 x 10 (Hanging from a bar, pulling myself up horizontal, legs crunches up, then doing horizontal rows from there)

4a. Arch rocks 3 x 15
4b. Hollow body rocks 3 x 15

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

BJJ partner drills & sparring x 60 mins

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Conditioning Benchmark session

100 Rope turns
10 Burpees (no sprawl, full squat to squat thrust, no press up)
10 Press ups
10 Bodyweight squats (full R.O.M.)
10 Pull ups (no kipping)

x 10 rounds as quickly as possible

Last time (23 Oct, almost 4 weeks ago) I finished this in 32min 50 sec and it felt tough.
I was pretty tired from a week at work but once I got into the swing of this I felt like I was going well.

Managed to finish today in 27min 35 sec (taking over 5 minutes off my previous time)

I was really happy with this but about 5 minutes after finishing I had major blood sugar level crash and felt rubbish.  Still, overall very pleased with the result.

Again, second attempts at benchmark sessions often yield good gains so it will be interesting to see how I fair in subsequent attempts.

Keep pushing yourselves people!

Train hard, live happy

Thursday, 15 November 2012

BJJ Kimonos / Gi's

Hey Guys and Girls (especially the fighters amongst you)

Just a quick one.  If you train BJJ or No-Gi grappling then I highly recomment this website.

They stock a lot of Keiko kit.
I have a Keiko Gi myself and I can highly recommend them, they are very high quality but until now have been quite hard to get hold of in the UK.

They also stock IBJJF standard No-Gi competition tops which you need for most No-Gi tournaments.

Bit of a plug I know, but for any BJJ Kimonos (Gi's), sweet Gi material kit bags, shorts and street wear then check it out.

More training info coming soon guys

Train hard, live happy

p.s. - I will not benefit financially if you buy anything from this website, I just believe that they offer great kit at very decent prices.

Rowing Test

Hey bad-asses!

Hope you have all been working hard.

Here is my training for the last few days.

Tuesday 13th Nov:
1) BB Hang Power Snatch x 5 + 1 Overhead squat  x 3 sets

2) Deadlift 4 x 10 (100kg / 102.5kg)

3a) Negative (assisted) One arm pull ups 3 x 5 per side
3b) 1 DB Overhead press x 10 + 20 sec overhead hold (lats activated) x 3 sets

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Wednesday 14th Nov:
BJJ drills with a partner + sparring x 90 mins

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thursday 15th Nov:
Rowing Test

Row 500 meters as quickly as possible, then rest as long as it takes you to row it.
repeat this for 6 sets
Take the average of all 6 sets, this is your score

I scored an average of 1.43 (.4)

Rested 5 minutes

Tabata Intervals x 6 mins (alternating between)
- Barbell Landmines (Olympic bar + 5kg plate)
- Burpees (press up at bottom and Pull up at top)

Tough little conditioning session, I am a big fan of the Barbell Landmines and I haven't done them for a while so it was good to do them today.

Any questions, drop a comment below

Keep training hard and living happy

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Rocky Story

Hey guys.

Thought I would share this video about the real story behind how Stallone got Rocky made.
Simply put it is incredible.

A great lesson in self belief and dedication to achieving your goals.

Obviously this story is on quite a big level but it does happen everyday, people work hard at something, they make scarifies, they show dedication and eventually they achieve their goals.  It doesn't always look glamorous because it can be a day-to-day grind but if you really want to achieve something then its worth paying the price.

Last weekend one of my team mates at Carlson Gracie Camberley went to the English Open and won Gold in his division.  It's a competition he has done for 4 year running but never previously got the gold.  2 years ago he had a rough run at the competition and briefly contemplated giving up Jiu-Jitsu but he didn't.  He set his mind on the Gold and worked hard and consistently to get it.

Similarly I know an amateur Power Lifter who broke his neck last year.  After a long lay off from training he still had issues when he came back to training (he struggled to do press ups because of a loss of strength through one shoulder).  He didn't make excuses though. He trained regularly and smartly, putting in hard work week after week and yesterday he achieved one of his goals of pulling a 200kg Deadlift.

You want it?
Go and get it.
It might not be easy and it defiantly won't happen overnight.
You want it? Do it.

Train hard, Live happy

Monday, 12 November 2012

Working hard

Hey guys and gals.

Been a few days since I checked in with you.  It has been opening weekend at the mountain so I have been very busy with work and then squeezing in my training.  Here is what I have been over the last few days.

Wednesday (7th Nov):
BJJ Drills (with a partner) 45 minutes
Then Conditioning,
Tabata Intervals (20 sec of intensive work, 10 sec rest repeated for time) alternating between
Bar facing burpees & Barbell Hang power clean & push press (60lbs / 25kg)
x 6 minutes
Then straight into a progressive run on the treadmill, starting at 5mph and increasing it by 0.3mph every 20 seconds until failure.
Rest for 5 minutes
x 3 rounds of the entire thing.

On my runs I beat 8.6mph, then 9.2mph, then 8.6mph again.

This one was tough, the combination of Burpees and Clean & Press really took it out of me, recommended for anyone that wants to push themselves.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Thursday (8th Nov):

1. 1 DB Snatch 4 x 3-5 per side
2. Deadlifts 4 x 10 (100kg)
3a. BB Push press 3 x 10
3b. Side to side pull ups 3 x 10-12 (5-6 per side)
4a. Symmetrical Deadbugs 3 x 30 sec per side
4b. 1 DB overhead hold (with lat activated) 3 x 30 sec per side

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Friday (9th Nov):

1. BB Hang Power Cleans 4 x 4-5
2. Front squats 4 x 10 (60kg)
3a. DB Chest press 3 x 10 (pause at bottom, powerful concentric)
3b. BB Bent over row 3 x 10
4a. Cable face pulls with external rotations 3 x 12
4b. Handstand practice 3 x max

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Saturday (10th Nov):

BJJ Partner drills x 90 mins

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sunday (11th Nov):

Rest day - went Snowboarding for 2 hours (lots of falling over)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Monday (12th Nov):

Conditioning day again, so I thought I would re-test a benchmark session that I did a couple of months ago.

12 Deadlifts
9 Hang Power Cleans
6 Push press
x 5 rounds as quickly as possible (minimal rest)

All with a 50kg Barbell.  Last time (1st September) I managed to do this in 12min 46 sec
Today I did it in 11min 15 sec.

I am happy with the progress but I still feel there is more time to be shaved off this one!

I will hopefully be doing some BJJ drills again tonight but for now that is it.

Stay posted. Any questions, just drop a comment.

Keep training hard and living happy.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Change and adapt

Hey Guys & Girls,

There is a lot of training related information and thoughts running through my head right now so I will try and keep this concise.

Firstly, over the last couple of days I have continued my usual training routine (workout detailed below) but with one great addition. I have found someone to do BJJ drills with.  We have managed to figure out where we can get some decent mats in the local gym and have already done a couple of sessions running through basic movements.

It feels great to do some skills practice again and I hope that we can continue with regular drilling, I also hope that we can get at least 1 or 2 others training regularly and eventually introduce light sparring too.  Very exciting (especially as at the moment there doesn't seem to be much chance of me getting to the nearest BJJ school).

On top of the BJJ drills I have, since my last post done another strength session:

1. Hang Power Cleans 4 x 4 (about 55kg)

2. Front Squats 4 x 10 (about 55-60kg)

3a. Back lever 5 x submax (flat tuck and attempted straddle)
3b. Front lever 5 x submax (straddle)

As you can see I have adjusted my strength training slightly, moving the reps down (from around 12 to around 10) and increasing the weight.
I was also very happy to have partially achieved a straddle position in the back lever.

If you are unfamiliar with Back Levers then check out this video (it doesn't actually include a straddle as one of its progressions but it comes in between the 'advance/flat tuck' and the 'bent knee' variations.

I have been doing more research to try to come up with a better programme for myself.  I try to research in chunks as there is a lot of information out there and it can get very confusing.  Also, you have to consider that a lot of the information and advice being given might not be specific to your goals.  In particular I have been looking in a bit more detail at the Conjugate method (as made famous by West Side Barbell.

I won't get into the details as I am far from an authority on the subject but if you want to look it up then it definitely wouldn't be a waste of your time.

The point of this is that I am constructing a new programme template for myself.
I always intended that the current basic template (which I have been detailing so far on this blog) would be temporary, until I got settled.

I intend to spend a few more weeks on this template to allow myself time to get into a proper pattern with my new job, establish how tired and achy I am going to be once I start snowboarding regularly and determine other key factors, such as: how often I can meet with a training partner for BJJ drills, how much time I will have in the evenings to train, how tired I will be from a full day working on the mountain etc.

However, in the mean time I am going to try and add a bit more variety to the selection of exercises that I use with my current template.  So keep reading.

Train hard, live happy.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Small steps & Giant leaps

So, yesterday it was time to re-test myself on one of my Benchmark conditioning sessions, running up Tunnel mountain.  A 2.3km trail, elevating 240m (790 ft) to the 1,690m (5,540 ft) summit.

Last time (just over 2 weeks ago) I reached the summit in 20min 25 sec.
This time the path was still a bit icy from some recent snow fall, admittedly I wasn't carrying the Camelbak belt that I had last time but that wasn't of any significant weight, It felt as hard as the first time I ran it but I really thought I was moving slower this time. I deliberately didn't check my stopwatch until I was almost at the top and I was shocked when I made it to the summit in 17min 50 sec.

Needless to say I was very happy with this improvement.  Taking 2min 35 sec off my previous time (over 10%) is a substantial improvement in just over 2 weeks.  Now some of that improvement may be down to adjusting to the elevation here in Banff and the second attempt at any particular conditioning workout usually yield pretty good gains but I am still happy with this achievement.
It will be very interesting to see how I do on my third attempt.  All I can do is train hard and see.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Today I adjusted my strength training, after about 4 rotations through my high rep cycle I have moved my rep range down to around 10 reps, adjusting the weight used accordingly.

1. BB Hang Power Snatch + 2 Overhead squats 4 x 3 (about 45kg)

2. Deadlifts 4 x 10 (100kg)

3a. BB Push press 3 x 10 (about 55kg)
3b. Assisted one arm Pull-ups 3 x 10 per side (broken sets)

4a. Symmetrical Deadbugs 3 x 30 sec per side
4b. 1 DB overhead holds (w/ Lats activated) 3 x 30 sec per side (about 20kg)

Really good session, I definitely want to dedicate more time to the symmetrical Deadbugs and overhead holds, they were both recommended to me by my Osteopath and when done correctly they really challenged me.  If people are interested then drop a comment and I will post a video on them.

Train hard, live happy.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Fighting without an opponent

Being away from my Carlson Gracie BJJ team is one thing that I just can't compensate for in my individual training.  Yesterday was my recovery day so as usual I went through some solo Jiu-Jitsu drills.  Most of these were done on a small gym mat and take me about 45 minutes to get through.  The movements are chosen to keep me mobile for Jiu-Jitsu and to ensure my body and mind are still as sharp as they can be in sport specific movements.

After I had finished these drills I decided to do some work on the Swiss ball.  I have watched a few videos of BJJ artist's practising their movement on these but never really had a go myself.  I thought it might be a good idea to film it, so here it is.

Now I know my movement isn't great, I'm a bit wobbly and I use the same handful of movements repetitively but I thought it might be useful to put the video up here.  Hopefully in a few months I can look back on it and see improvements in both the quantity and quality of my movements.  Also, I thought it might give a few of you ideas.  Hope it helps.

Any comments welcome, just drop them below.

Keep training hard and living happy.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Motivation and Achievement

I watched Rocky Balboa again recently.  Yes, the series can be very cheesy but in particular the first and final film's of the series carry a very powerful message.  Below is a couple of scenes from the first Rocky film. It's a bit long but the important part is the speech Rocky gives in the last 2 minutes.

There he is, the night before the biggest fight of his life and beating his rival, Apollo Creed isn't his main concern.  What really matters to him is proving that he is worth something, justifying to himself that his existence isn't for nothing, that he can rise above his past and the situations that he finds himself in and make something of himself.

In the final film in the series (Rocky Balboa) he then delivers the speech in the video below, to his son.  His son, feeling hard-done-by having to live in his father's shadow, blames him for all the problems and hardships in his life.  He hides behind that as the reason he isn't happy, the reason he isn't where or who he wants to be in life.  The response that Rocky gives is one of my favourite speeches, just watch it...

Life is tough, its a fact.  Yes, some people seem to have things easier than others but if you want to achieve something you have to dig down and work hard for it.  Sometimes it's just a case of taking hit after hit, surviving everything life throws at you.  Some people won't make it, they will give up and most likely blame everyone and everything but themselves for their failure.  The ones who don't, the people that face up to the challenges, that don't blame others but just keep on with dedication and persistence, they are the ones that achieve their goals, they succeed.

And as the first video shows, succeeding doesn't necessarily mean achieving the tasks that other people expect you to.  Success can only be defined by you.  What do YOU want to be?  Who do YOU want to be?  Know that, then do what you have to to achieve it.  People will tell you that you can't but don't let them define what you can and can't do.  Only you can do that, and at times even you will doubt it.

Work hard and keep working.

Here was my little workout for yesterday, keeping myself moving and getting the body working.

Tabata intervals (20 sec on, 10 sec off)
- Burpees (lateral jump over bar)
- Skipping
       x 2 minutes
- Bodyweight squats
- Pull up to press up
       x 2 minutes
- BB Overhead sit ups
- Over shoulder bridges
       x 2 minutes

Rest 2 minutes
x 4 rounds

Train hard, live happy

Monday, 29 October 2012

Steady progress

Monday's Strength session:

1) Hang Snatch 4 x 4-5

2) Deadlift 4 x 12 (90-95kg)

Found that I could hang my gymnastic rings in the climbing room of the gym
so although it doesn't exactly fit with the high rep work I am doing at the moment...

3) Muscle ups 5 x 3-4

I also played around on the climbing wall a bit and tried a few handstand push ups.

Keep training people.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Working Overtime

So in the week just gone by life got a lot busier.
I started my job at Sunshine Village Resort in Banff, Canada. This has meant getting up at 6am, its still dark outside and at the moment anywhere between -5 & -10 degrees Centigrade but that will gradually get colder as we get further into the winter.  Generally I am getting home about 5.30pm knackered from a day stomping around in deep powder snow and learning my new job (I actually think this has been tiring me out more, have you ever taken a dog to discipline training, it sparks them out more than any physical session!)
Anyway, I know that these aren't the longest working day in the world and I am not looking for sympathy but the change in pace, the learning and the altitude have taken their toll on my energy levels a bit.
If you look at the previous post you will see that I took an unscheduled rest day on Thursday, this was because I felt that my body needed the recovery from my first full day working up on the mountain and that I just wouldn't have got a productive session done.

With that said I didn't like having a rest day when I wasn't meant to, I think it was the right decision but mentally it made me feel shitty and frustrated.

Around the same time I came across this video of Arnold Schwarzenegger talking about his early training life during his time in the army.  I had no idea about this part of his life and the attitude he demonstrated really spoke out to me.  Now I am not personally interested in body building and previously I had kind of looked down on Schwarzenegger's achievements because of his use of steroids but after watching this video I saw that a lot of that is beside the point.  Here is a man that has really worked hard for what he has achieved in life, he has overcome multiple obstacles and got the necessary work done. The lesson learnt from this experience in his life is one that he feels he carried over as a blueprint for all his future endeavours and I think it is one that many people, regardless of their goals, can learn from too. It is well worth a watch.

The message is fantastic.  If you want to achieve something, don't listen to the nay-sayers! But you are going to have to work hard, harder than everyone else.  That is how greatness is achieved, step by step with consistent hard work.  There will be many obstacles but if you want it, YOU CAN DO IT!
Sadly many people won't.  They want overnight success, they want a pill they can take to melt away the fat or build the body of their dreams.  Quite simply, they don't want to work hard for it.

Below is another great video from Schwarzenegger talking about hard work and focus.

With that in mind here is the conditioning session that I put myself through today:
Hang Power Cleans x 5 (60kg)
Press ups x 10
Skipping Double unders x 15
x 10 minutes (As Many Rounds As Possible)        I completed 6 rounds


1 DB Snatch x 2 per side (50lbs / 22.5kg)
Sprawl Burpees x 6
x 10 minutes (As Many Rounds As Possible)       I completed 12 rounds

I could go out tonight and party with some the other guys but I know I have to get up tomorrow at 6am, work a whole day (doing the best job I can do) and then hit the gym hard for a strength session.  So I am not drinking, going to bed early and resting up.  You want something? make the scarifies and work hard for it.

Train hard, live happy.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Training continues...

Wednesday 24/10/12
Strength 1

1) Hang Snatch 3x4 + 1x3 ( up to about 47.5kg)

2) Deadlift 4 x 12 (up to 90kg)

3a) 1 DB Overhead press 3 x 10-12 per side
3b) Assisted 1 arm Pull ups (using rope attachment) 3 x 6 per side

4a) L / Y / W shoulder exercises 3 x 15 each
4b) Handstand practice 3 x max

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Friday 26/10/12
Strength 2

1) Hang power Clean 5 x 5 (55-60kg)

2) Front squat 4 x 12 (up to 50kg)

3a) See-saw DB chest press 3 x 12 per side
3b) Bodyweight rows (feet elevated - pause at top) 3 x 12

4a) L-sit 5 x submax
4b) Planche hold (tuck) 5 x submax

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Saturday 27/10/12
Recovery / Drills

Solo BJJ drills x 1hr

Swiss ball work:
- S-passes
- Low squat
- Kneeling balance
- Knee on belly balance
- Parachute position
+ transitions and general movement

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Do what you gotta do

Today was a conditioning / General Physical Preparedness (GPP) day.
I always have mixed feelings towards these.  In principal I love the idea of them, they are usually very simple but brutal workouts where you just get stuck in and give it all you've got.  However when it comes to actually doing them I often find myself procrastinating and delaying the start of what I know if going to be a brutal 15-30 minutes.

Today was no different.  I stepped out of my door and headed off up the snowy and freezing cold hill toward the gym.  My head was pounding, which caused me to consider whether exercising hard was a good idea when my head was already hurting, stupid paranoia regarding brain haemorrhages and such made home seem the better idea, but I put it aside and found that the fresh air actually chased the headache away by the time I reached the gym.

So here was the plan for today's session:

100 Skipping rope turns
10 Burpees - proper not sprawling burpees
10 Press ups
10 Bodyweight squats (low as possible)
10 Pull ups (strict, no kipping)

x 10 sets as quickly as possible

It's a supped-up variant of a session which I have done with many of my clients but I was feeling fairly confident...that didn't last long.

By the second round I had a slight bloody taste in my mouth (probably a result of the cold air outside followed by heavy breathing) and I couldn't see how I would possibly finish the workout in anywhere near a decent time.  I pretty much committed myself to just doing 5 sets and then building up on it by 1 round at a time over the weeks until I finally reached 10 sets in one session.

However when I got to 5 sets I just knew it wasn't enough, I knew I had more to give and that if I quit there would be letting myself down.  Eventually I completed all 10 sets in 32 min 50 sec, not the best time in the world and considerably more than I was hoping for but it is a starting point and one that I will defiantly be building upon.

One thing I wanted to discuss, which I don't think is mentioned much by coaches is how you behave when pushing through a session like this.  Sessions like this are nasty and generally my demeanour adapts to match them.  Generally I motivate myself by viewing everyone else in the gym as a rival or enemy, I mutter insults under my breath, I shoot people dirty looks if they stare, I stomp around and guard equipment.  Any other time of day I would consider myself a nice guy, but when I have to get through a session like today it helps to let something more primal take over.
Now obviously I'm not saying go and act like an arse hole in the gym, there are enough of those already around already, but don't be afraid to let some primal behaviour surface for the duration of a tough rep, set or session.

Most 'Globo-Gym's' actively discourage people from working their asses off.  It is frowned upon if you drop weights, shout out during max effort reps or sprint so hard that you risk flying off the back of the treadmills.  Now I can see WHY they discourage this type of behaviour, its intimidating and for legal reasons it can be quite risky.  But as an individual wanting to bust your ass to achieve your goals, it can be very limiting.  So, you have to find ways to get around it without risking your own or anyone else's safety.  My way around it today was to choose simple exercises that could be done to max effort with little risk... and to act like a bit of a dick for the 30 minutes that it took me to get through it.

This is an interesting topic and I have actually written more than I meant to, I might pick it up again in the next few weeks as I'm currently a member of a standard 'Globo-Gym' but have aspirations to own and run something more tailored to actually getting work done.  However for the time being I have to find ways to still train like a beast in this place (and I'm sure most of you reading this work-out in high street gyms).  So, more info on this to come in the following weeks.

As always, any comments, leave them below.

Train hard, live happy