Sunday, 28 December 2008

Boxing Drills For Real Life Skills

This was sent to me by my friend Martin Snow over at Trinity Boxing in New York. Funny, but true!

Thanks Martin.

Friday, 26 December 2008

New Years Resolutions 2009

If, like many people you set new years resolutions which fail to live beyond the end of January, then this year try a different approach. Why not design a life that truly inspires you, next year in 2009 live a legacy.

In an article for Fit Pro magazine, Robert Cappuccio lays down the blue print for a powerful approach to living a legacy, according to him it starts with intention,
"Whatever you focus your attention on in your life magnifies. Whatever you direct your attention away from diminishes." For Cappuccio it is essential to attune your focus to exactly what you wish to accomplish. When setting goals he urges us to think idealistically (the what) rather than realistically (the how) - that will come later on in the process. He then requests that we write down 50 goals we would like to accomplish, and then allocate a 1 year, 5 year or 10 year time frame for each. This is an extremely powerful exercise in itself, you'll learn a lot about yourself, your vision and what motivates you (I tried it, I should know!).

Your goals then undergo a process of refinement, until tangible steps are laid down for your goals in order of priority. Robert Cappuccio highlights several factors imperative for success namely;


He goes on to say, "Our lives are the result of a decision. If you will resign yourself to never accept anything less from yourself than the highest limits of your personal potential, then not only do you exponentially raise the odds of you achieving what you desire to achieve, but also of becoming everything you have the potential to be." In 2009 regardless of the situation, take time to invest in you - your quality of life depends on it.

Robert Cappuccio is a contributor to

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Lennox Lewis gives Chris Eubank a Boxing Lesson

No matter how much you know, there is always someone who knows more. Know matter how good you are, there is always someone better. There is a lot to be said for humility.

This clip features one of my favorite boxers of all time, Lennox Lewis, and Chris Eubank, the arch enemy of Nigel Benn (one of my other favorite boxers). Fair play to Chris Eubank, the man who once dubbed himself, 'Simply the Best' is gracious enough to take on board what Lennox has to say, but realistically, would you tell Lennox Lewis where to go?!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Cancer to Become Leading Cause of Death World Wide by 2010

Cancer is projected to be the leading cause of death by 2010 according to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The comprehensive report was analysed at an event in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, called Conquering Cancer: A Global Effort.

Cases of cancer doubled globally between 1975 and 2000, apparently will double again by 2020, and will nearly triple by 2030 claims the report. There were an estimated 12 million new cancer diagnoses and more than 7 million deaths worldwide this year. The projected numbers for 2030 are 20 to 26 million new diagnoses and 13 to 17 million deaths.

"There is a clear message of hope: Although cancer is a devastating disease, it is largely preventable. We know that preventive measures, such as tobacco control, reduction in alcohol consumption, increased physical activity.... and screening and awareness, could have a great impact on reducing the global cancer burden," said Peter Boyle, PhD, DSc, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in a statement entitled, Conquering Cancer: A Global Effort.

The report comes at a time when CJS Fitness has formed alliances with some of the UK's leading authorities on exercise and cancer recovery, such as Cancer Rehabilitation UK. In conjunction with the Lynden Tree Project, CJS Fitness aims is to establish the first ever exercise and cancer recovery program in London, due to be launched 0ctober 2009.

The full article by Nick Mulcahy, on the report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer can be found on Medscape.

Monday, 8 December 2008

First Impressions of a Kettlebell Convert

During the autumn this year CJS Fitness ran a competition through our newsletter to win a free slot on our Kettlebell Essentials Seminar. Vinko, a property consultant based in Brighton was the winner. Below Vinko (who sent this in last week) tells us about overcoming his fears and discovering the art of kettlebell lifting during the Kettlebell seminar, realising it is more than just a clump of iron, but a powerful tool. Thanks for sending this in Vinko.

"I first heard about Kettlebells well over a year and it has taken me about the same amount of time to finally commit to giving Kettlebells a try. Admittedly, I’m not much of a gym enthusiast so the idea of lifting heavy steel weights and putting them back down again didn’t sound too appealing! But after I had won the competition for a free slot and several phone calls back and forth, CJ finally convinced me to come on down and give it a go – that in itself was something of a feat.

My first impressions of Kettlebell training were far different from what I had expected. I was quite nervous as I approached the Kettlebell workshop; I thought I would be surrounded by body builders of overstuffed mattress proportions demonstrating excruciating tests of manliness! It didn’t take long to realise that I couldn’t be further from the truth.

The kettlebell seminar turned out to be very focused on technique and efficiency, and the weights just offered a sense of resistance. It felt quite awkward at first but as we worked through the day it all started to make more sense and I began to get more comfortable with the swings. CJ and the other trainers spent most of the time with us perfecting our kettlebell technique and by default things got easier.

Since the Kettlebell Essentials Seminar I’ve actually got myself in gear and have continued with training (miraculously!). I’ve found a group local to me called Brighton kettlebells where I can train with a group of other Kettlebell enthusiasts on a regular basis – and so far so good. This is possibly the first time in several years that I have been motivated to keep up with training; I think this is because I like the focus of working on form and technique, rather that focusing on upping the weights and flexing my pecs. It provides me with a challenge that I enjoy – you can feel yourself getting more efficient and more effective with practice.

What sets CJS Fitness apart is the meticulous attention paid to technique. The focus on detail is profound and you can really see the value in learning great technique and adding weight to it, rather than picking up a massively overweight kettlebell and trying to muscle it up.

A tremendously enjoyable and beneficial workshop – thanks to CJ and his dedicated team."

Vinko Sindelar
Property Consultant
www.Ready 2

Kettlebell Essential seminars run throughout the year. You can check out our 2009 timetable here.

Why not have a look on youtube to get a feel for our Kettlebell Essentials seminar.

For other Kettlebell Training in the UK go to

If you would like to buy quality Kettlebells check out the CJS Fitness store online.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Defy Gravity: A Giant Leap For The G-Trainer

On Monday 1st December there was an article in the Evening Standard about former England football star Keiron Dyer who had broken his leg in August 2007 and since then has remained more or less out of action. His story is a familiar one, progress in rehabilitation plagued with set backs after complications to the initial injury. Damaged confidence coupled with a decrease in fitness could have potentially been a recipe for disaster and the end of a promising career.

What distinguishes Dyer's story is that he has recently been training with the Alter G 'G-trainer'. Developed off the back of NASA technology, the G-trainer can reduce the impact of your body weight down to 20%. That's the equivalent of walking on the moon. This has allowed Dyer to increase his fitness to a level where previously the impact would have hindered any progression. Slowly body weight can be increased so that his body can adapt to the impact, not only getting him back to fitness but potentially enhancing his sporting performance.

Balance Performance Physiotherapy in London have recently acquired one, and I've been lucky enough to have a play around. I'm still getting my head around the potential for the G-trainer as a conditioning tool. The implications are quite staggering, from Triatheltes, Ultra-marathon runners, Football, Rugby to Basket Ball, there isn't a sport that couldn't benefit from it (ok, maybe Darts - but that's a whole new blog entry). Then there is the obvious benefits for rehabilitation, or people with medical conditions.

Its a brave investment for London's leading Sports Physiotherapy Clinic and one that should reap great rewards. I'll be using the Alter G's G-trainer as part of my training for the Paris Half Marathon in March 2009, so I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile check out the clip below to find out what exactly it is, and watch me defy gravity.

Monday, 17 November 2008

CJS Fitness 12 Minute Christmas Challenge

Its been a while since the last post. A lot of exciting developments have been taking place which I will posting more about in the coming weeks and the run down to 2009!

So the festive season is quickly approaching and along with it the Christmas party invite. For many people this time of the year is when all the hard work you've done in training goes clean out the window. Too many social engagements and too little time to workout. The weight piles on, the guilt factor lays siege to you conscience. You tell yourself that you'll train hard in the new year. You try to put it on the back burner and enjoy yourself, but it niggles at the back of your mind.

Not enough time to train? Bah Humbug I tell you! Below is an example of how the CJS Fitness Team will be keeping the pounds at bay over the festive season. 12 minutes once a day minimum, twice a day if you want serious results. After you have warmed up thoroughly keep the training method the same but simply substitute with your exercise of choice. This is an extremely challenging routine. Please ensure that you have medical clearance and are physically fit before undertaking any physical activity or exercise routine.
Not enough time to train? Nonsense!


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Strength is the New Black

Every day my inbox is filled with newsletters from different strength and fitness 'gurus' with the latest tips on how to excel my performance or maintain my masculinity by proving how strong I am with the latest training protocol. Its official: strength training is in BIG TIME!

Some might find it strange that as a strength and conditioning trainer I am even writing this blog entry. I guess what is niggling me is the new style of online strength training marketing (by this I mean training for absolute strength). When it comes to training there is nothing new under the sun. Simply carefully packaged and regurgitated information. The best training systems or protocols have been in place for some time. Are new systems and protocols really 'new' or merely refined or slightly modified versions, with a heavy dose of 'bling' to make it more palatable? Don't be fooled by the hype. The individual and their commitment to training is far more important than the training system. There are NO QUICK FIXES.

My final thoughts? Strength training is valid, but be clear what your training goals are, be clear what your sport or activity requires and stick with that. Its easy to be tempted by something more glitz and glamorous, but Sometimes the best training program doesn't require a radical upheaval of what you are already doing, merely minor adjustments here and there. If absolute strength training is the new black, I'm wearing red.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

IKFF Kettlebell Certification London 2008

First Thoughts...

Thirty participants. Two world class Kettlebell Coaches. Two days. One venue. One purpose. This was the weekend of September 6th, the venue was The Generating Company in the docklands. The space was usually inhabited by circus performers and acrobats, but that day Gireveks from all over Europe lay siege to the venue, eagerly awaiting the IKFF's first ever UK course.

Each time I train with Steve Cotter I take away a nugget of information that penetrates my understanding a little more deeply, despite the high level information throughout the rest of the workshop. This time it was going back to basics with the Kettlebell swing and its effect on my snatch technique. As anyone who has done a 10 minute snatch set can testify, one of the first things to give out is your grip. Now while strengthening your grip can only have a positive affect on your endurance in the snatch, sometimes the weakest link can be found a little further down the chain.

For me it was the lower phase of the snatch (that is the swing part). While I was aware of the involvement of the posterior chain, especially the hamstrings and glutes in the elevation of the bell through their elastic recoil(the stretch- shortening cycle) I hadn't previously taken full advantage of that fact. Steve mad a point of emphasising the back swing; that is actually accelerating in what would typically be considered the deceleration portion of the swing.

This had the effect of consciously activating the stretch shortening cycle and enabled the bell to be elevated with far more considerable ease than heaving the bell overhead by forceful contraction of the glutes and quadriceps while extending the spine. This reduced fatigue in the lower limbs and the subsequent tendency to then apply upper body mechanics to 'muscle up' the snatch, thus smoking your grip.

I had a bit of an 'aha!' moment. You probably can't appreciate the dramatic effect this simple adjustment had on my technique by just reading about it. It will make sense when you actually do it, and when you get it you know its right, because it feels right - your body instinctively knows. So for the past month I have been breaking down the snatch to its constituent parts, and working on extended timed pieces on the swing (double handed and single arm) and the clean, laying down a new foundation to a far more effective snatch.

If you're truly into Kettlebells and haven't trained with Steve Cotter or Ken Blackburn, I urge you to do so. I don't care if you are a complete beginner or a qualified Kettlebell Coach, your time and money will be well spent. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from such accomplished Kettlebell Coaches and authentic people. I know that by putting into practice what I have learned not only will those that train with CJS Fitness gain from it, but on a personal level, I too can only be better off for it.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Now is the time to invest

Maybe the credit crunch hasn't hit you yet, perhaps your bobbing and weaving off the ropes, patiently waiting for your chance to hit back. Believe it or not, now is the time to invest.

"Where is a mans wealth? his wealth is in his knowledge. For if its in the bank and not in his knowledge then he doesn't posses it. Why? because its in the bank."
Muhammad Ali

I would go one step further and say that your wealth is in your health. A physically fit and emotionally centered person will be more effective in life and a lot more joyful than one who is sick from stress, worry and physical inactivity. So considering the state of the financial markets, now more so than ever is the right time to invest in your health.

Do whatever is necessary to claim back your mental calm, emotional and physical wellbeing. Take time to invest in you.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Steve Cotter IKFF Kettlebell Course

IKFF and CJS Fitness Team

I've had the opportunity of Kettlebell training with steve cotter on a number of occasions over the years. This was the first time that he had held a UK IKFF (International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation) Certification course in the UK. This was also the first time the legendary Ken Blackburn had crossed the pond to bless the us with his presence and Kettelbell teaching skills. We were not disappointed.

It was a very demanding and amazing course, with an amazing bunch of people and Kettlebell trainers that attended - from all corners of the earth. Steve Aish of London Kettlebells summed it up perfectly in their recent newsletter so I'm not going to try and top it. The news letter is available in full below. I'll be writing more about my experience of the Kettlebell course, and the strong man competitions on the course that I got stuck into!

London Kettlebell Newsletter September 2008

The London IKFF Certification report by Stephen Aish

I recently had the pleasure of a weekend's kettlebell training with the IKFF. This was a certification course run by Steve Cotter and Ken Blackburn. While being no stranger to kettlebells, I certainly took away a lot of learning points and training methods. I also thought the joint mobility section that Ken delivered was fantastic and extremely functional.

Now to the trainers themselves - Steve is without doubt one of the worlds leading kettlebell experts in both knowledge and ability. He trains like the Duracell bunny and you know he isn't even out of his warm up phase by the smile. His knowledge as a trainer is first class and extremely in depth. The points he has picked up through the contacts he has had in the professional kettlebell world can add to every ability from novice to experienced lifter.
Ken is also a fantastic coach and his level of conditioning has to be seen to be believed. There are not many guys out there at 240lb that can squat thrust, tuck jump and even ground flip with a gymnast's agility and then lift 32k kettlebells without breaking a sweat. Kens knowledge of bodyweight mechanics was demonstrated by a fantastic joint mobility session and his kettlebell ability needs no introduction. When you can chair press a pair of 32ks once you are strong. When you hold the world record with 52 reps you are in a league of your own.

One of the things that really makes the IKFF stand apart from most kettlebell businesses and most businesses in general is that it is a passion first and foremost and a business second. This is easily demonstrated by the fact that the IKFF is focussed as much on what happens to you after a seminar as during. Their aim is to help you promote your kettlebell business and any events you do and to strengthen that long term relationship with you.

If you are serious about learning kettlebells properly or have been using them for weeks, months, or years and think you know what they are all about, drop the ego, book a seminar space and get some serious knowledge under your belt on how to really use kettlebells from true professionals.

If Steve Cotter is humble enough to state that he has been using kettlebells for many years but only using them "properly" for the past couple of years then just maybe more people will realise that the same could be true for them.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

One big reason you're not achieving your goals

The bottom line is, how important is that goal to you? I read an article by Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Staley, while simplistic in nature, it rang true. If you hear yourself repeatedly telling yourself (or others for that matter) about the weight you want to lose, the marathon you want to run, the weight you wish to lift, the competition you want to win, and you've been saying this for some time (and it still hasn't happened), I urge you to read his article, it will have a profound effect and may just make all the difference between you achieving what you truly want or not.

Here is an extract from the article by Strength Coach Charles Staley, creator of Escalating Density Training.

"Look: You are exactly where you want to be right now. If you REALLY wanted to be somewhere else, you'd have taken the steps necessary to be there now! Now you might say "Well, that’s not true - I know someone who is 100 pounds overweight and he’s miserable!"

To which I say, no, he’s satisfied. Clearly, the benefit he’s deriving from his behaviors still outweighs the drawbacks, or else he’d change those behaviors!

OK, let’s use me as an example. I’m reasonably lean and my goals revolve around...." For full article click here.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Omega -3 Fats cut your chance of death (or hospitalisation)

Omega-3 fatty-acid supplementation improved life expectancy and decreased incidence of death in symptomatic heart-failure patients according to a study released on medscape. Now what was interesting to note statins (a commonly prescribed drug) failed to have any beneficial effect in the same group of patients. Check out the report here

So if you didn't know already fat is good for you. The right type of fat that is. Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are not nutrients, you do not need them (although you can use them to make energy), but polyunsaturated fats or oils are essential. Essential fats not only reduce risk of death and readmission to hospital from heart disease, but they can reduce the risk of cancer, allergies, eczema, depression, fatigue and even PMS. The two essential fats being omega 6 and omega 3.

The key is to get them in balance. Most diets however will be deficient in Omega 3 as it is properties are more prone to damage in cooking and food processing. Probably the best natural sources of Omega 3 include Hemp seed oil and Flax seed oil (cold pressed), flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. The right amount of omega 3 varies depending on which source you read (and your body requirements!). The optimum nutrition site has some sound nutritional advice.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Strength Connection

Fact: You are only as strong as your weakest link.

Sensible strength training takes this into account. Whether you are weight training for strength endurance, power, pure strength or whatever, it would be a good idea to bare this in mind if you don't want your muscles and joints popping and locking like an international break dance convention.

Connective tissue (such as tendons, ligaments, joint capsules) adapt at a slower rate then the structural changes that take place within the muscle tissue. Ligaments, tendons and joint capsules play a vital role in stabilising joints, absorbing shock and facilitating contact between moving parts. Increasing load too soon can place undue stress on structures which are not ready to cope with the demands placed on them. This can put you out of the game for a long while.

If you're prone to injury (and its not a mechanical or technique fault) you might want to look at how you are increasing your loads and make the necessary changes. The above factors underlying strength production should be a big feature in your programme design, before its too late. Mel C Siffs, Super Training is well worth a look if you want a more indepth look.

Check out the clip below, it might give you some food for thought.


Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Epilepsy Increases Drowning Risk

A recent article on Medscape reported that people with epilepsy have a high risk of drowning when compared to the general population. The article goes on to say,

"Researchers have quantified the risk and report that epilepsy raises the likelihood of drowning 15- to 19-fold — most probably as a result of seizures that occur during swimming or bathing [italics added]. The findings appear in the August 19, 2008 issue of Neurology. And so the article rolls painfully on stating that,

"People with epilepsy should still be encouraged to swim, but supervision is especially important," Dr. Sander said. "Patients need to be careful and should never enter the water without someone who knows about their condition and who can intervene, if necessary."

Now surely this is a no brainer. Its said that there is nothing common about sense, but surely by the very nature of the condition, developing a study that concludes that Epilepsy increases drowning risk is just plain stating the obvious. Its a bit like saying,

"people who are physically active are more likely to get fit then those who are not".

I'm not playing down the seriousness of the condition and that attention should be brought light about epilepsy and drowning, but come on people did you really need to invest time and money to do a study to come to this conclusion? I don't know, maybe its just me.

I guess I see a difference between research for the sake of research, and developing a study that will increase understanding and pushes forward for a solution. Its a thin line, but one that should be questioned rather than simply lapping up what researchers and scientists spew out.

You can check out the full medscape article on their website.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Team Hoyt

Its been a long time since I have been moved like this. An amazing team that for me capture the essence of the human spirit. Breath taking. Thank you to Sabina Skala, Personal Trainer at Energie Fitness in Fulham, London, for sending this over.

Rick and Dick Hoyt

It can be done.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

The secret behind effective training (hint it's a virtue)

I receive a lot of newsletters in my inbox. Some I actually take the time to read, others get demoted to the trash with one swift click. One blog that delivers 95% of the time sent through a gem the other day.

Seth Godin wrote a piece entitled The secret of the web. I've included an extract below,

"I discovered a lucky secret the hard way about thirty years ago: you can outlast the other guys if you try. If you stick at stuff that bores them, it accrues. Drip, drip, drip you win.

It still takes ten years to become a success, web or no web. The frustrating part is that you see your tactics fail right away. The good news is that over time, you get the satisfaction of watching those tactics succeed right away."

Can you see where I'm going with this? So whats the secret? put simply it's patience. Training is alot like this. Doing the little things, or what we hate because we know that it will benefit us in the long run. Consistent concerted effort. But it takes time. It takes patience. The quick way is not always the right way, anymore than the cheapest is not always the best.

What do Michael Johnson, Nelson Mandela, Paula Radcliffe, Muhammad Ali, Joe Calzache, Asafa Powell and Lance Armstrong all have in common? They were all ten years or more in the making. At some point they all had a vision and stayed with it until it became a reality. One second at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.

I shared Seth Godin's Post with Jonathan Lewis of Industrial Strength London who took it to another level. I'll leave you with his thoughts on the matter,

"Anyway thanks, this email [Blog post] is more useful than perhaps its author intended or suspected it might be........

Every pursuit in/of the universe seems to demand that we have patience if we want sustainable results. There are no exceptions to the rule depending what your time perspective is.

If I become a millionaire in 2 years, continue to make money that I can spend and enjoy over a life time but then on my death it all comes to an end was I a success?

I think perhaps we should be trying to influence as many people as possible within relationships that lasts as long a duration as possible.

Maybe if we can influence beyond the generation we are a part of then we are starting to be successful?"


Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Boxing Secrets 101

If you take care of your tools, your tools will take care of you. One of the most important pieces of kit in a boxers tool box are his hands. You can be doing all the boxing fitness training or technique work you like, but if you break or injure your hands then you've lost before you've even entered the ring.

Wrapping your hands is as an important skill for a boxer as is learning to fight, but its often overlooked. My friend Martin Snow over at Trinity Boxing in the USA has posted a useful clip on youtube, showing you one way of how its done. Check it out below

And just in case you were wondering....

Thanks for this Martin.

Monday, 11 August 2008

10 Interesting facts about Bowel cancer

Here are a number of interesting facts about bowel cancer.

1) Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer.

2) It affects males and females.

3) Bowel cancer screening has just been introduced in the UK.

4) It is the first cancer screening programme to include males.

5)Diet and exercise are important factors, as an unhealthy diet contributes to an increased risk of bowel cancer.

6) Exercise is thought to move what we eat through the bowel faster.

7) Irritants like alcohol can increase the risk of bowel cancer. Other toxins that are in contact with the bowel wall for prolonged periods may also increase risk.

8) Drinking sufficient water and exercising helps to flush the bowel of harmful substances.

9) Eating a healthy diet in the first place helps to reduce risk, but our dietary habits are formed from an early age.

10) It is never too late to introduce healthy eating, and exercise.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

10 New Kettlebell Video Clips

Well, actually a few more - but who's counting? New explosive Kettlebell clips have just been added to the CJS Fitness Channel on youtube. If you wanted tips to help perfect your Kettlebell technique, or a starting point if you're new to kettlebells then this is for you. The playlist features some of the finest Kettlebell Coaches internationally.

Let me know if there are any kettlbell exercises that you would like to see added and I'll track them down.


Saturday, 2 August 2008

Kettlebells land down at Fitzroy Lodge

It was a scorching hot summer Sunday when myself and the crew from London Kettlebells, Steve and Ken, arrived at our South East London destination to deliver our Kettlebell Seminar. Fitroy Lodge is a corner stone when it comes to boxing. Established in 1908, the Lodge was originally based in Walcott Square and sported three rings. However Hitler had other plans, in 1939 during the Blitz the club was bombed and destroyed, reducing it to rubble. After a nomadic existence in the years that followed, the club finally found a permanent home under the arches in Lambeth Road in 1946. On the 28th July 2008 we gathered in the sweltering heat of the arches to throw around some bombs of our own, for six hours of hard working fun.

This seminar content was different to ones I had previously run with London Kettlebells. After feedback, Ken and Steve had found that previous workshops covered too much material and they wanted anyone who did a seminar to walk away with a solid foundation in the basic Kettlebell exercises, and feel confident with what they had learned. A testiment to their integrity.

The group was a mix of Boxing Coaches, Personal Trainers, and Kettlebell enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes. So we had to pitch the level just right. Ken led the dynamic warm up which had quite a few people regretting the saturday night binge before. After a brief moment to gather their mental faculties, Steve was next up to bat going through the finer subtleties of the Swing and its variations. I followed, highlighting important coaching points of the clean and common mistakes.

The heat soon began to get to people. We took frequent breaks so that everyone could rehydrate and regroup. Ken, Steve and Myself rotated leading. We went through the Snatch, The Turkish Get up, Clean and Press, and the Windmill. After a well earned lunch, I went through some new material I had created, geared towards boxers and fighters. Due to the extreme fatigue the goup was experiencing, I had to modify my original plan. The combination of bodyweight and Kettlebell exercises showed the group "where its at" when it comes to the benefits of kettlebell workouts (as Steve so poetically put it!).

I've ran workshops with London Kettlebells for well over a year now and its always a pleasure to work with Ken and Steve. The group worked hard and was enthusiastic which makes the seminar all the more enjoyable - there were some real characters present. Thank you to Mick Carney for use of Fitzroy Lodge, and all the other Coaches who took part in the seminar and made everyone feel welcome.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Form or Function? You decide

I was recently sent a video of the US Olympic Wrestling team at training camp by the guys over at Diesel Crew. To be honest I was quite shocked by what I saw. Have a look at the clip below and see if you can tell what got my jaw dropping. Don't forget to pop back once you've checked it out. Go on, see you in a bit.

Time to Get JACKED!

In regard to the above video I wrote the following response on the Diesel Crew site.

"Jordan Vezina was spot on in his post on the 20th July. Sports specific training should prepare your body for sport and minimalise injury risk. By its nature sport is chaotic (many variables, more difficult to manage risk of injury). Your form (technique) should determine your function, not the other way around. Granted they need to prepare themselves for the chaotic environment, but less exercises with correct technique would be the way forward (then expand), otherwise you’re just doing more stuff - badly!"

Working harder is not always the answer. But working better almost always is.
Michael Johnson
400m Olympic Gold Medalist

So, the clip got me thinking. While training for the chaotic environment of sport, do we have to sacrifice intensity for the sake of form? No. I don't think so. However your intensity should not outstrip your capacity. To illustrate this, the clip below features Dustin Carter. He is an amazing athlete REGARDLESS of his physical 'disability' and I use the word 'disability' in the looses sense of the term. Glenn Cumiskey at the All Well Centre first showed me about Dustin Carter.

Form or Function? Both. I say you can have your cake and eat it. That's what cake is for. Thus enter Dustin Carter....

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

It's like opening a pack of biscuits

I think there is nothing more breath taking than to watch the human body in movement. I had recently attended a grading seminar at Changs Hapkido, London. While at a barbeque later that day I was discussing what I had seen with Sifu Russel Benham of the Win Tsun System. I had noted that when Master Chang had asked some of the students to apply the technique to a different situation they often froze, unsure of what to do next, until further instructed. Sifu Benham had noted this with his some of his own students as well. A practitioner of Changs Hapkido myself, and being involved in boxing for numerous years I had also seen this phenomenon in the ring.

Sifu Benham pondered this for a moment, then after a deliberate pause he spoke,

'Its all about the continuity of movement. Its a bit like opening a pack of biscuits'.

I almost spat my food out laughing. It was simple. Begin at the start, and follow each step to its next logical conclusion and eventually you will reach the end. Genius.

Another discipline that is beginning to sweep the nation (that I also enjoy) is that of parkour. To me it personifies fluidity of movement and athleticism. Check out the different ways the practitoners of the disciplines below flow. Need I say more.



Wing Tsun

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Change The Rules For Maximum Impact

“Working hard is not always the answer. But working better almost always is.”

Michael Johnson

200m and 400m Olympic Gold Medalist

The temptation is to always do more. How many times have you said to yourself, ‘Just one more lift’ or ‘ just a few miles more’ or even ‘maybe just a little longer’ only to regret it the following day. If you haven’t had that experience, then you are one of the lucky ones. Burnout sets off alarms in your body as loud as the sirens in Bagdad. Recently, a lot has been written about training at shorter, but higher intensities. That does not mean that its easier, oh no, but it can be more effective. It all depends on what your training goals are. When you train ‘anaerobically’, you simultaneously improve aerobic fitness, but it seems the reverse of that is not true. Case in point, The Tabata Protocol.

Izumi Tabata, PHD, while based at the National Institute of Sport in Japan conducted a 6 week study, using cycling as his research tool which gave some interesting results. In a nutshell he found that the group which trained at higher percentage of their heart rate in an interval manner improved not only their anaerobic, but their aerobic capacity as well. While those who trained continuously for the same time frame at a lower intensity did not improve their anaerobic capacity, but increased their aerobic fitness by ten percent. The Tabata Protocal is well worth incorporating when structuring your training.

According to the Norwegian investigators who tested two different exercise regimens, high-intensity exercise actually reversed most of the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease after just 16 weeks of the exercise program, almost half the patients enrolled in trial no longer had metabolic syndrome, without making any changes to their diets. Less impressive gains were seen with consistent, moderate exercise. The findings were first reported by heartwire when they were presented during a poster session at the 2006 International Symposium on Atherosclerosis. The benefits are clear.

But What About Typical Resistance Training?

Charles Staley’s, Escalating Density System (EDT) has shown that managing fatigue, rather than seeking it, can reap miraculous benefits in terms of strength gains, developing lean muscle mass and drastically altering your body composition. It’s a system that can be adjusted for the fitness enthusiast and the athlete alike. At its most simplistic EDT comprises two fifteen segments in a session, with a five minute rest in between (totalling thirty five minutes excluding warm up!).

Here's how it works:

• Choose two exercises for each segment that work either antagonistic muscle groups (e.g a push and a pull motion) or two exercises that work distal muscle groups (e.g Squat and weighted pull up)

• Select a weight you can manage ten repetitions with good form, and no more

• Alternate the two exercises chosen for that time segment

• Aim to complete five repetitions and no more of your selected weight

That’s it. Simple, but effective. I’ll be writing more on EDT, but in the meantime check it out you’ll have to tread lightly through the sales pitch but definitely worth your time.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Want to know how to improve your triathlon ? Well, I just want you extra time and your.....KISS!

Ok, stay with me now. It's easy to get bogged down in making your training more complicated than it needs to be. Why not make it less complicated? (note I didn't say 'easier'). I'm sure you've probably heard of the principle before, but this time, KISS (Keep It Stupidly Simple) has a different twist.

I got the following information from the Iron Mate newsletter. They've got great tips if you're training for a triathlon, from sprint all the way through to Iron Man. Try it out and let me know how you get on (purple suits, high heels and rock guitars are optional).

"KISS" Interval training

Ironmate recommends (Keep it stupidly simple).

Divide your race distance by 10% and complete race pace efforts.
Discipline Sprint Olympic 70.3 Ironman

Swimming: 75m x 9-12 150m x10-12 200m x 6-12 400m x 6-10

Cycling: 1km x10 2km x 4-10 4km x 3-5 16km x 2-4

Running: 500m x5 1km x 5-10 1.5kmx3-6 2 x 30 mins run @ IMHR*

*( IMHR = Ironman heart race intensity).

The above all depends on past experience, fitness level, recovery rate, ability, injury prevention and where you are in your training cycle.

Aim to train once a week at 10% faster than predicted average race pace for cycling and running. For swimming work on increase by 5% (as this is much harder as it is the first discipline in the triathlon).
With cycling and running it is easier to push yourself in training above race pace speeds.

A hard back to back session, swimming then running or cycling then running or even running then cycling, will increase your top end fitness rather than a single discipline where you would lose some of the quality by slowing down.

Ironmate Tip
To improve your speed, designate a speed session to train with someone of similar ability or who is slightly faster. If this is not possible, give your training partner a head start and aim to catch them (playing tag- safely) to make the session harder for you.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Industrial Strength London

With Commander in Chief, Jonathan Lewis, going AWOL to deliver physiotherapy at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, it was left to a few good men to remain steadfast, and brave the torrential down pour for the recent installment of Industrial Strength London.

Date: Saturday 5th July
Time: 10am - 12pm
Location: Wandsworth Common, London, England

Well, as you can see by the pictures, the weather cleared up and we got down and dirty. This session focused on agility, speed, balance and strength. After a dynamic warm up led by myself, James Bower took the lead with some sprint agility drills laced with bear crawls, which were challenging, but good fun. We continued with some plyometric bounding and vaults, followed by a hearty dose of pull up variations ala 'Bartendaz' style (check these guys out on youtube they are awesome) with everyone throwing something into the mix. To finish us off (literally) we ended up with a personal favourite of mine, bungee cord sprints followed by slap press ups. Job done, we cooled down and stretched out, ready for the rest of the day.

Here's what we got up to in detail;

Warm up: Joint mobility followed by multidirectional runs and bear crawls.

Agility sprints:
Box run: run up, side step across, run backwards, side step across.
(Perform same but as bear crawl)
'M' run: run up, run backwards to middle, run back up,
run backwards to last cone.
(Perform same but as bear crawl)

Plyometric Bounding
over hurdles followed by cat crawl along balance beam x 4-5 reps

Pull Ups: Pull up variations including side to side, pull up and leg raise, circular pull ups, backwards and forwards. 6-8 sets of 4-6 reps.

Bungee cord sprints followed by 10 hand slap push ups x 3.

Cool Down and Stretching.

Thank you to Neil, Tim, and Peter for rocking up and getting stuck in. For more details about London's only 'not for profit' strength training club, check out

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Achieve Training Success: Do more of what you're bad at....

Does doing what you're bad at make you feel frustrated, angry, awkward, clumsy, motivated? When it comes to training, everyone enjoys doing what they're good at. I'm no exception. Its perfectly normal. While challenging, we can manage it without too much trouble, so we feel good about ourselves, our sense of self worth grows and we can look forward to our next session. But thats the problem, it limits our potential for growth. We get comfortable, and often our greatest chance of improvement lies in doing the things that we're not so good at.

Years ago, When I first started Kettlebell lifting, it took me about 6 months before I was able to do a pistol. I knew it wasn't due to my lack of strength in my legs or athleticism, but for some reason I just couldn't quite get it. Frustrated, I initially avoided them, but secretly it niggled at me. After a while, I declared to myself that this was something I wanted to crack. I knew that I would be able to perform them and I pursued it, not in a fanatical sense, but as a matter of fact (and just a question of time).

Each day I practiced, not obsessively , but just enough . I watched clips and picked the brains of coaches who's opinions I trust. Still no joy. It is often said, be careful of what you ask for, as you might just get it - well this was a case in point. Around about that time, I had the chance to train with Steve Cotter in one of his workshops in the UK. It seemed fate had a plan in store, because as part of the work shop Steve covered Pistols. Filled with excitement at the prospect of being able to do a pistol (and slight concern of making a complete fool of myself) I attacked the training drills. Limbs flailing (but determination still in tact) after considerable effort and technical adjustments from Steve, I finally got it. In essence it is a very simple exercise, and a very simple thing, but that was exactly the reason it was all the more frustrating, as I was capable of things far more physically challenging and technically complicated.

The sense of achievement was far greater than when I had done the things I was good at in my training. Not only that, I was able to add pistols to my marathon training routine. My times have improved vastly since.

So the question is, what are you avoiding in your training? how could it help you improve if you did it? and are you willing to put in the work?

Dave Tate over at T-nation talks about an experience he had at a weightlifting competition, where he failed to lift his first attempt. It was a weight he had handled many a time before, but this time, when attempting the squat he couldn't even get it out of the rack,

"Finally, over the loudspeaker came the words I'd waited nine months to hear, "Load the bar to 860 pounds for Dave Tate." It was a weight I'd squatted several times before, and it was to be my opening attempt. Full of rage, I began chalking my hands.

This is the moment with every big lift that I "detach" from myself, and go on autopilot. Rarely do I remember anything from the time I leave the chalk box until after the lift.

However, this lift I do remember, because I couldn't get it out of the rack.

I remember trying to stand up with the weight, but I couldn't budge it. It felt welded to the rack. I tried a few times and still nothing. This pissed me off to no end, so I stepped back and increased my rage as high as I could, got back under the rack, and nothing.

My helpers stepped in and pulled me from the rack. Needless to say, this was not a good moment for me. Nine months of training and I couldn't get my damn opener out of the rack.

Just then, I heard Louie Simmons call out, "Dave, you're done. Pull out." I glanced back at him, figuring he was just trying to piss me off. But he looked straight at me and said, "I'm serious, Dave. You're done. Pull out, and we'll talk later. It's not worth what could happen right now."

Now, Louie Simmons is one of the best coaches in the world, and I was part of his team, the Westside Barbell Club. This club is known to be the strongest gym in the world and I was one of Louie's boys. I respect this man and trust him with my life.

So I pulled out, and spent the rest of the meet watching the rest of my team lift well, sitting there eating hot dogs and wondering what the hell my problem was.

On the drive home, I told Louie, "I don't understand what happened today. My training went well. I was strong as hell on everything in the gym."

Just then he stopped me and said something I'll never forget: "That's exactly your problem." [read more]

Monday, 30 June 2008

Explosive Training Reduces Risk of Injury

While controversy surrounds appropriate training methods suitable for the general public, and those suitable for athletes, a recent release from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) stated that, "Explosive exercises, particularly speed strength exercises, are often used in the training of strength-power athletes but may be useful in training non-athletic populations as well."

In their paper, Michael S. Conley, Ph.D., and Michael H. Stone, Ph.D. who are both strength and condition coaches go on to say, "It is apparent in performing daily activities, and especially during many athletic activities, that a wide range of maximum strength, RFD [rate of force development], power and speed may be necessary for various movements. Additionally, gradations in these parameters can be required for the successful completion of various tasks."

They found that rather than inducing injuries, explosive training actually decreased the risk of injury when compared with participation in common sports, "Injuries from strength training, including explosive exercises, are rare, with rates of occurrence and severity far lower than those in many sports such as soccer, football, basketball or gymnastics."

While injury rates as a result of using explosive exercises are extremely low, Their position was pretty clear, "adequate safety measures and quality instruction should always be enforced." Undoubtedly, exercise selection, periodisation, and quality technique all help to maximise training adaptations and minimize injury. The full document can be read here.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Kettlebell Jerk: Handy clip this..

This is another clip in the CJS Fitness Kettlebell series. It covers the basics of the single arm kettlebell jerk. Its not designed to teach you the exercise, but acts more as a reference tool if you have already had some instruction on how to do it.


Sunday, 22 June 2008

Optimum Nutrition for Life: When Hungry Eat Your Rice...

'When hungry eat your rice, when tired sleep. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean'.
- Lao Tzu

If a fitness fanatic or a pregnant mother came to me, and I gave them both a programme I had designed for a combat athlete, (who's programme was exactly identical to the ultra marathon runner I had been training) you'd probably wonder where exactly had I received my qualifications, and if my mental faculties were in tact. However, this blanket approach is often adopted when it comes to nutrition. A 'one size fits all' model is spread throughout various magazines and institutions, without taking into account the uniqueness of you.

What I'm talking about here, is not simply eating to function (just to get buy), but nutrition that will have you at peak performance, and maintain optimal health (not merely just an absence of disease).

Liberty Gray over at the IKFF, has written a thought provoking piece on what she calls, 'Synergistic Nutrition'. If optimizing your current eating habits is the missing link in your current lifestyle this article is well worth a look.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Low Testosterone Levels Increase Mortality Risk in Men

A recent population-based cohort study demonstrated a link between low levels of testosterone and increased risk for mortality from all causes in adult men of all ages. The following is an extract from an article by Bryan DeBusk, PhD entitled, 'Low Testosterone Levels Increase Mortality Risk in Men', it was taken from the Medscape website

"When we compared survival times of men with low testosterone levels to men with higher testosterone levels, we found that men with low testosterone had significantly lower survival," Mr. Haring told Medscape Diabetes & Endocrinology. "From our analysis, we concluded that men with testosterone levels lower than 8.7 nmol/L had a 2-fold increased risk of death."

..In a more specific analysis of causes of mortality, the researchers found that men with low testosterone levels were at increased risk for death from cancer and cardiovascular disease but not respiratory disease. The men in the low testosterone group tended to be older and had higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome, and Mr. Haring acknowledged the challenge in determining whether low testosterone was a cause or effect of the cardiovascular risk factors.

ENDO 2008: The Endocrine Society 90th Annual Meeting: Abstract OR35-1. Presented June 17, 2008.

While not directly related to resistance and weight training, the above extract makes an interesting read. Apart from all the functional benefits of resistance and weight training, guys, if you ever needed another reason to add it to your current training routine this is probably it. The positive effects of resistance training on the levels of testosterone has been widely documented, so if you wish to prolong your life, get active, get lifting.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Kettlebell Chek Mate

I was sent this article by Trevor, a kettlebell enthusiast. It's about HOW and WHY kettlebells are so effective. I'm sure the content of the article is not new news to many of you (or the strongmen and athletes from the past 300 plus years), but if Paul Chek says it then..... Read the full article 'Kettlebells Ring True' and let us know what you think.

Women Defying Gravity...

I'm a firm believer in NOT reinventing the wheel. If someone has said or done it better give credit where credit is due, and with that in mind I refer you to Glenn Cumiskey's ( blog in the post below. These women are awesome athletes, and know how to utilise their body mechanics to gain optimum power and leverage - Awesome!

Defying Gravity

By Glenn Cumiskey

Have a look at U.S. national and world class women weightlifters performing snatches, cleans, split cleans, muscle snatches... The early part of the video shows them warming up light and then getting progressively heavier. Just look at the fantastic position they can hold a loaded low squat in. In the deadlift position, whether pulling straight or from a rock back position, you'll see clearly the position of the scapulae over the load and the as-straight-as-possible trajectory of the bar as they explosively lift, with the bar almost hugging the body. The weights these women are putting overhead are phenomenal. Interestingly, none of them have the physique of a bodybuilder with oversized non-functional bulk... a great sign of well developed connective tissue, appropriate muscle development and excellent bone and joint strength.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

They Boys Are Back! July 2008 Kettlebell Workshop, London

After a sell out workshop, CJS Fitness has again teamed up with Steve and Ken from London Kettlebells to deliver another awesome workshop with all new bonus material.

The core part of the worshop will focus on the essential Kettlebell lifts and techniques to get you well on the road to immortality - ok, ok, not quite!, but what you will learn will revolutionise your current training and get you fitter, stronger, lean and more powerful!

We'll be going through all the fundamental lifts and techniques as usual, plus I will be presenting all new material geared towards boxers and other combat athletes. I will be looking at programme design and linking kettlebell exercises, and non kettlebell exercises (e.g Bodyweight/ Medicine Ball/ Skipping Ropes etc) into an effective training session/routine. This section is geared towards conditioning 2-3 minute round fighters, highlighting the important difference between training for 2 - 3 minute rounds and general fitness.

Places are going fast (apparently over 50% full already), for further information and booking check out


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