Friday, 24 September 2010

GYM JONES - 7 days in Utah

Rob makes sure Jenny Raff hits the target on the airdyne

Every time I visit Salt Lake City and train at Gym Jones I appreciate more and more every second I can spend there... and I know I will be coming back for more.

I was asked a lot of questions about the training there. The common concept is that those Superhumans train there 7 days a week, 100% effort every day, up until they pass out and cannot do anymore. Being honest, this is exactly what I thought when I went there first time in December 2008. I couldnt be more wrong.

The training in Gym Jones is hard but what is more important - it is intelligent and structured. Some of their athletes train there 3x a week, some 2x a week, etc, they do not train 7 days full out. Not every session ends up with people crawling out of the gym, actually they do not do that very often.

I think that the most important lesson I have learned from Rob MacDonald this time, is that intelligent training doesnt mean that your athlete (or yourself) has to get dead tired, it means that they have to get BETTER. Being a chronic overtrainer I struggle to back off training on most of the occasions. With all the injuries I have sustained during the last year, it was obvious that something was wrong with my training and recovery (or lack of it) etc. Rob has pointed out on numerous occassions that I was overtraining. However I refused to acknowledge it and continued training the way I did. I remember he said in April that next time I would come over to Utah, Jenny (one of the girl fighters he trains) would be much stronger than me and I would end up being injured and weaker. And ... unfortunately he was right. Just a week ago - here I was - recovering from back injury not being able to lift moderate weights and losing airdyne race against Jenny. She got much better over the 4 months, me...I just got....more injured. We all make mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them.

After meeting some of you guys coming to the Gym Jones FDI in London, or speaking to you on the phone - I know that you expect some hard core training during the 4 days. I can promise, you will have a chance to taste the intensity of GJ training, but what is equally if not more important - listen to what Mark Twight and Rob MacDonald will have to say. There is a lot to learn from those two.

PS. I actually did a training session that almost made me pass out. If you want to try and have got an access to an airdyne - enjoy!

10 mins airdyne (15 sec hard/15sec less hard - not easy)

10 mins rest

5 mins airdyne (15/15) faster pace than before

5 mins rest

3 mins airdyne (15/15) faster pace than before

3 mins rest

2 mins airdyne (15/15) faster pace than before

2 mins rest

1 min airdyne (full out)

1 min rest

30 sec airdyne (full out)

30 sec rest

15 sec airdyne - full out

Probably collapse (however Rob MacDonald would not allow you to lie down, sit down, lean against objects or people - you would have to walk around and try to recover).
Stay strong and smart with your training!
:) Sabina

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Full Throttle Fitness WOW# 30

Full Throttle Fitness WOW#30 (Workout Of The Week)

Reunited after some time apart. Cj Swaby, fresh off Steve Cotter’s CKT 2, and Coach Skala back from Gym Jones in Utah – this was a double impact session designed to test your mettle. Coach Skala led the bodyweight warm up, with Cj Swaby hitting home with a devilish double kettlebell piece. Not one to be out done, Coach Skala hit the lower quadrant with a squat session that left all with Bambi legs. Back for the second time Coach Cj Swaby finished off with tabata sprints and partner carry drills. Here’s how it went down at Full Throttle Fitness at Balance Physiotherapy, London.

Warm Up: Joint Mobility & Dynamic Movement

Section 1: Cj Swaby

Round 1

Split Group into two groups. Group A and Group B
Part A)
Double Kettlebell Snatch x 10 (Men 20kg+ Ladies 12kg+)
Then straight into....
Part B)
1 Minute Steady State Jog (Group A)
1 Minute Warrior Star Jumps (Group B)
Switch over after 1 minute.
This equals 1 round. Complete 3 rounds. Job Done

Rest 5 mins

Section 2: Coach Skala

Single Arm Over Head Kettlebell Squat x 30
Burpees (with a press up) x 30

Then 20 of each, then 10 of each.

Rest 5 mins

Section 3: Coach Cj Swaby

The Finisher

Tabata Sprints (20:10) x 4 Rounds
Partner Carry x 30 seconds
This equals 1 round. We did 3 rounds in total. Awesome effort from all those involved. Full Throttle returns next week, come and join us – be inspired.

Full Throttle Fitness
Balance Physiotherapy, 113 Gauden Road, London, SW4 6LE

Saturday, 18 September 2010

IKFF CKT FMD Level 2 Edinburgh 2010

Coach Cj Swaby

I love Edinburgh. It’s a great city. Beautiful, friendly with a rich sense of history. The training on the other hand was brutal, inspiring, challenging, and of an excellent standard.

Rannoch Donald of Simple Strength hosted the IKFF CKT 2. I’ve trained with Steve for about four years now, and each time I train with him I learn something new. This is a testament to Steve Cotters ability to see a familiar thing with fresh eyes. Always seeking to discern the finer details that create solid ,enduring foundations. This weekend was no different. Double Kettlebell work was the order of the weekend. Jerks, Snatches, cleans, Front Squats, variations and assist lifts, exercise programming and more. I’ve worked with double kettlebells for sometime but still managed to absorb a wealth of information on the IKFF CKT level2 . It was intense but great fun.

A supportive, dedicated, hard working group was in attendance. One that gave blood and sweat to furthering their knowledge of Kettlebell training. In the case of Gavin Moreton this was to prove to be literally, as he hung in there and proved his metal on the double Kettlebell Jerk test . The DMC crew defined the word team. Relentless of their effort and support of each other throughout the course. A testament to head coach Davie McConnachie Ray Wilson of Kettlebells Aberdeen, was well, Ray Wilson. Doing what he does best, focused. Intense. Hard working and hysterical . It degenerated into a comedy fair towards the end of Sunday, but we all blame Gerry Higgins of Raw Fitness.

Speaking of which, Gerry managed to put me back together again after Steve Cotter had broken me. Not only is Gerry an excellent Strength & Conditioning Trainer, my body was in bits after CKT 2 and Gerry’s sports massage skills played an integral part of my physical recovery . If you are in Edinburgh check this man out. Thanks Gerry.

Kirsten Tulluch represented in the overhead squat, handling double 28kgs like they were cup cakes. I had the pleasure to train with some inspiring people, and managed to forge some lasting friendships and reinforce others. Thank you to all in attendance (including thosenot mentioned) for bringing your A game. To Rannoch Donald for hosting the CKT 2, and Steve Cotter for elevating the standard of Kettlebell Coaching in the UK.

Check out the International Kettelbell and Fitness Federation.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

My Mate Dave: 'El Gringo Loco'

'The reasonable man adapts to his surroundings, the unreasonable man adapts his surroundings to suit him." - George Bernard Shaw

Ordinary people doing ordinary things. Thats what its about. These 'ordinary every day' people have every reason not to do what they do. But they choose a different path, to go beyond and challenge their comfort zones. To grow a little, inspiring others along the way.

Meet Dave Rogers, a father, a husband and entrepreneur, also known as 'El Gringo Loco'.

El Gringo Loco

Cj: Hi Dave, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule. Recently you competed in your first white collar boxing competition. Tell me how you got involved in that?

Dave: CJ , first of all it is an honor to be interviewed by you, thank you. I became involved with boxing, first by using kettlebells to lose weight(weighed about 225lbs when I started Kettlebell) and then by reading a book “White Collar Boxing” by Jonathan Ogden. I immediately fell in love with Kettlebells, because in 20 minutes 3x per week, I could get a weight resistance, cardio and core workout. Also, I could do this in my home. I lost 20lbs my first 6 weeks.

Once I started researching Kettlebell workouts and practitioners, I found Kettlebell for combat DVD’s on the web, as well as Kettlebell for combat video’s on YouTube. I bought a heavy bag for my garage, and at the same time found threw reading John Ogden’s book, that not only did I love Kettlebells and hitting the heavy bag, but it could lead to a goal of participating in a white collar fight, in front of a live audience. I also learned thru initially hitting the heavy bag and trying to jump rope, that this is INTENSE exercise, and I had much work to do. I then bought a speedbag, double end bag, and treadmill for my garage. After 3 months of training, and getting my weight to 180 lbs from 225lbs, I decided to go to a boxing gym and workout.

My initial training session were brutal. It took many private lessons and much encouragement from the staff and boxers at Jabb Boxing in Chicago to continue. After 3 months, I started sparring with my trainer. He was very nice it turns out, and went light on me. In the beginning, the reality of boxing was extremely overwhelming. My trainer was in much better shape, good hit me at will, and could dodge my punches and attacks with ease. However, I found another beginner, and we decided to spar. We made a pact, that we would go light. At the end of the second round, after I felt good because I was hitting him with my jab, he threw a looping overhand right that landed square on my temple, and out went the lights. I fell into the ropes and they stopped the sparring session. I was depressed, and became afraid to get back in ring, as I had a terrible habit of dropping my hands. I slowly quit going to the boxing gym and then stopped altogether for 3 months. I was depressed, and felt defeated.

I was still working out, and was helping a friend train for a natural bodybuilding show, and thru our conversations he said, “You need to go back to boxing and train and do that fight”. After his bodybuilding show I did just that. This time I was much smarter, and only sparred with trainers or guys in the gym I knew.

Cj: How did you prepare for the fight?

Dave: I did much preparation for the fight. I sparred and trained technique with my trainer 3x per week, lifted weights with light reps once per week, did a conditioning workout once per week with Burpees and Kettlebell, and ran 3 to 4x per week. In my sparring, my trainer picked people for me to spar whom were 6’3 to 6’5, because my opponent was 6’4. The training was the most grueling training I ever thought I could possibly go thru. As the fight drew closer, I added to the intensity by doing hill runs, and having 3 or 4 “gym wars” where I sparred extremely hard with other gym members, which resulted in 3 different periods of black eyes, and 1 period of severly bruised ribs. Also, when my training was going poorly, I would seek out advice from the pros in the gym(Jabb Boxing and several seasoned amateur fighters. Also, 2 weeks from the fight, I did meditation and tai chi exercises for 1 hour per day, EVERY day. This calmed me in sparring, and helped me deal with the anxiety of the unknown. I WAS REALLY GOING TO DO THIS.

Cj: I understand that you have a family and run a business, how did you juggle all your commitments with your training?

Dave: I sat down with my wife, and told her that I was going to have to give up an entire summer, and that meant spending time with her and my six year old daughter. My boxing gym was 1-2 hours drive each way, depending on traffic, so juggling that with job and family commitments was the most difficult part of training to do this.

Cj: Did you ever think - "Why the hell am I doing this?"

Dave: CJ, many, many times I said “Why am I doing this”? The first time I went (5) 3 mintues rounds of hard sparring with my trainer, I would say, why am I doing this. Once I was sparring a 26 year old, 6’5 guy from Sweden, and he was killing me with his jab/cross. I really had doubts, until the gym owner came over during the session and yelled, “Slip his jab, get inside and rough him up to the body”. This was a major turning point, because I was thinking what the hell am I doing this for?

Cj: What kept you going?

Dave: What kept me going was the support of the gym, the people I have told publicly that I was doing the fight, and daily communication with my friend from NY, whom had competed in powerlifting and bodybuilding. This individual knew about sacrifice, and helped me stay motivated. His name is Phil Sichhart. I had always been a sports fan, and a boxing fan. I really wanted to make my dream of being a participant vs.being a paying customer at a boxing match come true. My father was a HUGE boxing fan growing up, and we always watched the fights on TV together. He passed away 11 years ago, and the fight was on August 19th, his birthday. That really kept me going. Also, knowing a journey of this nature had to have benefits on the other side. My wife was extremely supportive, and I even had my daughter shout encouragement while training in the garage at home. Once during a grueling heavy bag session she yelled “ Give him a bloody nose Daddy, knock him out Daddy”! That was inspirational.

Cj: What was the hardest part about the preparation and training?

Dave: The hardest part was the sparring 3x per week, and the injuries incurred, and driving up to 3 hours every evening in addition to the 2 hours I spent at the gym. I love the atmosphere of the gym. Also, getting enough rest was difficult, because my job demands some travel and working late a few days a week, preparing for customer meetings ect.

Cj: What would you have done differently?

Dave: That is a tough question. I think being more courteous to my wife, as the stress of the job, upcoming fight, and the training and diet necessary definitely made me very moody.

Cj: How did you prepare mentally coming up to the fight - were you nervous?

Dave: I listened to positive affirmation and guided imagery tapes every night, before going to bed. I also tried to stay calm, and meditate. The meditation 2 weeks before the fight was crucial. Also, I took some satisfaction that I was in the best shape I could be in, given the circumstances of my age(44) and the fact that I had a family and a very demanding job. Plus I had a great trainer, whom knew how to calm me and get the best out of me, Carlos Castaneda. My buddy from NY flew in and stayed with me 2 days before the fight, another friend made me a positive imagery tape, describing exactly how the fight would go. I listened to this every night as well for a week. My friend of 25 years came up from Indianapolis to go to fight, and was there pre-fight. I really had a great team.

Cj: Talk me through your experience on fight night, you know, the walk from the dressing rooms to the ring. To the sound of the first bell sounding. Did it live up to your expectations?

Dave: Fight night was very exciting. I was the 5th of 15 fights, which was good. I met my opponent, we talked, and that put me at ease. It was his first fight two, and we wished each other luck. I sat in a room upstairs in the venue, with all the other fighters. It was everything I hoped it would be, it was me preparing to fight in front of an audience, and I had 30 friends and family all sitting ringside together. I hit the mitts and started warming up during the middle of the 3rd fight. My buddy from NY, Phil said to me right before we walked out for the fight: “ Remember all the times in your life you have been put down and hit, and had to take it, TONIGHT YOU GET TO HIT BACK. Now stay focused and remember your training” My entrance music was Street Fighting Man by the Rolling Stones. Getting in the ring, having my gloves checked and talking to the referee was surreal. I told myself, now is the time to have fun. The owners of the boxing gym all told me guys get so nervous they cannot perform. I tried my best to stay calm.

Once the fight started, I slipped his right jab, came inside, hit him with a couple jabs, a right cross to the body and a left hook, and he went down 15 seconds into the fight. My adrenaline spiked, like WOW, he is going to be pissed. The second exchange was almost exactly the same and he went down again. Round 2 I knocked him down again with a left hook. Then, with a punch I had really been taught by one of the pro’s at JABB, one week before the fight, and my regular trainer, I hit him with an uppercut when he lunged in, and he went back and his eyes roll in his head. The fight was stopped, and I could not believe I had won.

Cj: What tips would you give someone who was thinking of training to compete at White Collar Boxing?

Dave: My tips would be, spar 3x per week, with one of those being intense. Make sure you are in shape, you must train for 3 months, even though the fight goes so fast, have a trainer you REALLY TRUST, and meditate so you can execute come fight night. Finally, as hard as it is to do, try to enjoy the experience, without too much attachment to the outcome. I decided that 1 week before my fight, that win/lose or draw, I wanted living out my dream to be fun.

Cj: Which Boxer, present or past, inspired you most while you were training?

Dave: 2 boxers: Muhammad Ali and Roberto Duran. Ali, because of his quote: “The fight is not won in front of the crowd or the bright lights, but on the lonely roads running and in the gym hitting the heavy bag, when no one is looking. Also Duran, because of his toughness. Boxing is a tough sport, and it definitely takes a certain mindset, that I am still working to obtain.

Cj: I've seen the massive transformation in you over the years to this point Dave and I think its inspiring, whats next for El Gringo Loco?

Dave: My goal was to do a White Collar Boxing match, then learn Brazilian Jui Jitsu. 5 days after the fight I joined the Uflacker BJJ Academy, and still plan to box 1 to 2 times per week, in addition to BJJ. Who knows, maybe I will do one more fight, Yikes.

Cj: Dave, keep up the good work and thanks for speaking to us. Any last words?

Dave: CJ, as you know, you were the catalyst for all of this, with your visit to the states, and getting me started on Kettlebell. I am honored to call you a friend, and thank you for starting me on this journey. Cheers, Dave

Monday, 6 September 2010


This time there is no video - Sorry.

Sabina couldn't film as she led the session and participated in the training herself. Truly missed CJ was away in Cape Town plotting a new fitness project in South Africa. The whole session was based around kettlebell and body weight drills, which are always FUN.

Joint mobility warm up

Main session:

4 rounds of:

1 min of double KB swing to renegade row
30 sec sprawl

1 min of 2 x KB alternate cleans
30 sec push ups

1 min of double KB pull over
30 sec bear crawl

1 min of TGU
30 sec plank

No rest until all 4 rounds finished

Rest 4mins

then - partner drills
10 rounds of: 20 sec work 10 sec rest

P1 - rolls
P2 - jumps over the rolling partner (jumping position is - all force)

5 rounds of
20 sec work 10 sec rest

Deck squat

Then rest and stretch and JOB DONE!