Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Colette Morrow V CJS Fitness

Coach Cj Swaby

It was the 26th September; a grey, wet Autumn Day. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times it....ok ok I was just playing. I strode purposefully, with ticket in hand to the Tabacco Docks in London for the International London Tattoo Convention.

I'm a BIG fan of tattoos, I've been getting inked since fifteen years of age and have about three quarters body coverage. As far as Tattoo conventions go, it was pretty good, but pretty run of the mill. I made my way down to the ground floor and was dumb founded by what I saw.

Colette Morrow on the silks. Impressive stuff. The dynamic and static strength endurance required, coupled with flexibility, grace and a good head for heights I can appreciate the 10, 000 + hours that she had put in to get to such a good level.

Recently I managed to catch up with Colette Morrow, she took some time out from her hectic schedule as she is currently performing in Love Never Dies in the west end. Colette told me a bit about her training, plus recovery strategies she utilises for her demanding training, and performing schedule.

Colette Morrow V CJS Fitness

Cj: Hi Colette, thanks for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to do this interview. For those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about your training back ground and what you’re involved in?

Colette: I'm a versatile performer, aerailist, acrobat, dancer and actress.

Cj: I First saw you perform at the London International Tattoo Convention on the Silks. So do you have any tattoos?

Colette: Bizare but no I do not have any tattoo's...think I must have been the only person there without any hehe!

Cj: Was the silk routine specifically prepared or do you have a set ‘menu’ of routines?

Colette: For the tattoo convention performance I was given the music track a few days before and did my best to choreograph a routine I thought appropriate.

Cj: So how long did it take you to get to that high standard of silks?

Colette: I have been doing dance and gymnastics since the age of 4, then at 18 I did one year intense circus training, and have been working on the silks for 10 years since. But training and perfecting is ongoing.

Cj: What did the training involve?

Colette: A lot of overall body conditioning including: sit up's, press ups, leg lifts, chin ups, exercises on a pilates ball for core stability. Also conditioning on the aerial equiptment to build the upper body strength...such as rope climbs, holding on with right and left hand only. Then dance classes (mainly African and contemporary) for cardiovascular and co-ordination. Followed by extreme stretching and flexibility....splits, back bends, shoulders and neck. Training was intense, yet satisfying when i started to feel and see an improvement to my body and skills.

Cj: I know that you are former gymnast, as well as a Street Dancer among other things – which must be physically demanding. What type of physical conditioning do you do to supplement your performance activities?

Colette: At the moment I go to the gym a few times a week (my workout consists of 20mins on the running machine, followed by free weights and exercises) I specifically train silks at The Circus Space, Old St. I take dance classes (hip-hop and jazz) when time permitting. I always do a daily 45min stretch session.

Cj: So what does your typical training week look like when you’re performing, and when you are off?

Colette: I am currently performing in Love Never Dies Musical in the West End 8 shows a week, and other various gigs I can fit in along side this. I push my body physically 6 days a week, then have a full day off on Sundays to relax and recover.

Cj: What kind of injuries are typical of your training and what do you do to you manage recovery?

Colette: The neck back and arms are most vulnerable. I get a sports massage once a month to help reduce muscle knots.

Cj: What was the worst injury that you’ve sustained while training and how did that affect you?

Colette: Luckily I have not had any serious injuries, just small muscle strains, pains, aches etc.

Cj: As a physical performer I can imagine it’s important to avoid burning out from doing too much physically and mentally. What type of strategies do you have in place to promote your regeneration and recovery so that you are always on point?

Colette: A good balance between work and play, together with 8 hours sleep per night and a healthy diet. Sometimes I do yoga to focus the body and mind.

Cj: Which one of your disciplines best expresses you as a performer, and why?

Colette: aerial hoop and silks - as I can combine elegance, sensuality, flexibility and strength with a edgy dangerous element!

Cj: What’s the most scariest thing about doing what you do?
Colette: working in the air has a big danger factor, the higher the scarier!

Cj; What’s the most rewarding thing about doing what you do?

feeling the buzz and natural high after performing. Also seeing people/audience enjoy my entertainment.

Cj: Your most memorable moment while performing?

Colette: It would have to be the Take That Tour in 2006....what an amazing experience and so much fun.

Cj: Are there any other disciplines you’re thinking of taking up?

Colette: I want to improve my acting skills.

Any goals for 2011?

Colette: To be honest I am not sure yet, any ideas anyone!?!

Cj: Colette, once again great stuff at the London Tattoo Convention, and looking forward to seeing your career sky rocket further.

Colette: big pleasure, thankyou Cj.

Colette Morrow Doing Her Thing

Pop by and say Hi to Colette Morrow at her website, or check her out in Andrew Lloyd Webbers, Love Never Dies.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Full Throttle Fitness WOW# 34

This time it was Coach Cj Sway at the helm, while Coach Sabina Skala was assisting Mark Twight and Rob MacDonald on the First UK Gym Jones First Degree Instructor Certification.
Even though he is preparing for the 2011 Strength & Power meet, Coach Cj jumped in the session and mixed it up with the rest of the class. Here's how it went down.

Full Throttle Fitness WOW#34
Warm up: Joint Mobility/ Dynamic Movement

Main Session:
Part A
Training Protocol: Main Session MCT (Mixed Circuit Training)

45 seconds works: 15 seconds rest/ change over
3 exercises
x 3 rounds

Exercise Menu

1) Rower: level 7 (flat out)
2) Marine kit bag Bear Hug and walk (40kg)
3 Double Kettlebell Jerk

We rested for 3 minutes then went into..

Part B

Modified Tabata 20:10

Sprints x 4 rounds
Bear Crawls x 4 rounds

Rest 3 minutes

Single arm Kettlebell Snatch x 6 minutes (alternating arm every minute).

Toasted we cooled down and started our regeneration and recovery using the Grid and trigger point therapy kit. If you don't know what they are, check out this invaluable bit of kit here.

Next week it will be Coach Cj rolling solo AGAIN as Coach Skala is of to Poland for a moments repsite!

Full Throttle Fitness
Sat 12:15pm - 1:15pm Balance Physiotherapy, 113 Gauden Road, Clapham, SW4 6LE
Join the CJS Fitness Facebook Group to keep up todate with classes and courses.

Friday, 15 October 2010

IKFF CKT Level 1: Earlsfield Boxing Club London, 2010

By Coach Cj Swaby

I had the pleasure of Steve Cotter and the UK IKFF team attending my 2nd home last week. I've been resident at Earlsfield Boxing Club for about 16 years, and will be involved with it in some way for the rest of my life. I love the place, it has given me, and many others so much over the years.

Last weekend it was the good fortune of twenty good women and men to have the opportunity of traning with arguably the best Kettlebell Coach in the world, Steve Cotter.

I'm not going to talk it up, because if you've done any of the IKFF certifications you will know what I'm talking about, and if you know about Kettlebells, you'll know about Steve Cotter. If you are among the very few who are not aware of his this man, I envy you. You have much to look forward to.

Less is more, so check out the clip below.

IKFF CKT Level One; Earlsfield Boxing Club, London 2010


Sunday, 3 October 2010

WHY I Will Be Giving Blood This Week For The ACLT

WHY I’ll Be Giving Blood This Week For the ACLT

Coach Cj Swaby

Donating blood is a very personal affair. I mean you’re giving something OF yourself. Someone you’ve just met penetrates you with a needle, draws your blood. Smiles. Tells you it’s for a noble cause. Patches you up, pats you on your back and sends you on your merry way. Nice.

How many of you propositioned your first date (within the first 5 minutes of meeting them)and ended up in a passionate all night romp at the nearest Holiday Inn? Not many right? You might be asking where am I going with this? Stay with me now.

As I Said before giving blood is a very personal affair. When a well meaning Johnny random approaches you on the street with a smile and a clip board, then introduces themselves along the lines of “ Hi, I’m Johnny Random, can I have a minute of your time? And a pint of your blood to save a life...oh and sorry, what’s your name?” You may be forgiven for kissing your teeth and walking swiftly on (while cursing under your breath).

Think back to the Holiday Inn analogy and to that crucial moment AFTER your passionate fling, when they turn to you, look deep into your eyes and ask awkwardly, “sorry, so er... what was your name?”. Well it’s a bit like that. But stay in the conversation. Who knows, that night at the Holiday Inn could be the greatest thing you’ve ever done, but you might want to coach Johnny Random on their social etiquette at the beginning. Communication is key. It’s a two way process.

So why am I giving blood? Is it a noble thing to do? Yes. But that’s not my reason for doing it. I’m doing it for purely selfish reasons. I lost my brother from complications caused by treatment to cancer. It changes your perspective on life a LOT when you watch someone you love deteriorate over three years, and drastically in the last year. Cardiac arrest at least every six weeks was common for my brother in the final year. My brother is Lynden David Hall.

In 2009 my father was successfully treated for cancer (much to our relief) and he now enjoys a happy and full life. Several friends have been diagnosed with one form of cancer or another in the past 5 years.

Now with increase in cancer incidence, chances are someone I know or SOMENONE dear to YOU, will be diagnosed with cancer. Watching someone you love DIE is no joke, because that’s what we’re talking about here. LIFE or DEATH. If you don’t believe me just ask Beverly De-Gale . If by donating blood I can improve the chances of survival for someone I LOVE or PREVENT someone else and their family going through the same traumatic experience that hit my family, then my time on this planet would have been well spent, and adds value to my existence (I have the right to feel quite smug and will enjoy doing so).

On an even more selfish note, if by donating blood I help to sustain someone elses life it somehow enables me to make sense of my brothers loss of life, and serves towards the healing process. I’m sure Beverly and Orin would agree. It’s doubtful whether I would be so active about cancer issues if I had not been directly affected by it, it’s also questionable that without the affect of cancer on Daniel De-Gale's life, whether Beverly and Orin would have even established the ACLT.

Don’t wait until someone YOU LOVE or know DIES before you make that step to donate. It will be FAR too late. You could BE that difference. BE SELFISH. Do something amazing this week. PUT DOWN THE EXCUSES AND PICK UP A PURPOSE! - donate some blood. And we promise, we’ll ask your name first!

I will be donating on Thursday 7th October – Come by and say hi!

Training Day: Gym Jones FDI 2010 Prep

Coach Cj Swaby

Training Day was a simple concept evolved from the minds of CJS Fitness. Executed in conjunction with some of the UKs leading Coaches. Four workshops. Four topics. Four Coaches. One purpose. One location. One day.

Topics Covered were

Squat Therapy : Master Your Movement For Freakish Strength
Coach Sabina Skala

Calistenics: Utilising Your Bodyweight For Peak Performance
Andy 'Iron Mac' McKenzie

Kettlebell Clinic: Clean & Jerk - Sustaining Your Work Capacity
Cj Swaby

Deadlift As Functional Movement
Chet Morjaria

Our aim was to bring together UK based coaches to deliver informative and practical workshops aimed at other forward thinking coaches, and elite fitness enthusiasts. Covering a braod but linked range of topics that would give the participants practical skills to accelerate their own training or people they train.

This Training Day was Gym Jones FDI focused, ahead of the certification in October 2010. Check out the clip below to get a feel for what we got up to.

Training Day: Gym JOnes FDI Prep 2010

My section focused on Double Kettlebell Clean & jerk. Looking at the finer points of technique that will enable you to sustain your work capacity. Patcipants had used different 'styles' of kettlebell lifting but were open to Coaching. Teaching the Clean & Jerk in an hour is a tall order and one that stretched me as a Coach, given the constraints every one did acceptionally well.

Andy Mckenzie, winner of the Strength & Power Meet 2010 told me what his intentions for the Bodyweight workshops were,

"My aim for the bodyweight-conditioning element of the workshop was to look at 3 key areas’; simple mobility drills that work and are equally easy to remember without it becoming a ‘floor dance routine’. In turn maintaining the emphasis on joint mobility when employing partners in body weight exercises." He went on to say,

"The second area was looking at static strength as part of the training process and also creating whole body tension when carrying out any bodyweight movement. 60 seconds of press ups with ‘Power’, ‘Static Hold’ and ‘Rep it out’ will challenge anyone" Just have a look at the video if you believe bodyweight training is not demanding.

Training Day will be Touring the UK in 2011. Each Training Day will have a different emphasis and consist of difdferent talented UK based Coaches - but some Coaches will be standard features. We will keep you updated about developments.

In the words of Iron Mac McKenszie,

"I enjoyed meeting and learning with different coaches with equally varied interests and backgrounds. The format of the workshop is a great way to gain experience in 4 disciplines with the right amount of information to take away and actually use."
True Andy. True.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Running towards the Hampton Court with Chris and Michael

I am not a long distance endurance athlete - not any more. Actually after 30 miler I did last year, I swore never to run more than 10km in one go. And yet, last Wednesday I ran 25 miles and thoroughly enjoyed it - all thanks to one AMAZING MAN - CHRIS MOON. In aid of Barnardo's (Believe In Children) projects, Chris took on a challenge to run 1000 miles within 30 days across the UK.

Last Sunday, my friend Ewan, who managed the 1000 challenge, asked me if I would do a leg with Chris on Wednesday. I didn't hesitate for a second and jumped on a chance to meet this remarkable man. I wasn't disapointed.

So who is Chris Moon? Chris is a former army officer. He's survived kidnap by the Khmer Rouge guerillas in Cambodia, was threatened execution, worked for a charity clearing landmines in Asia and Africa, was blown up in a remote minefield in East Africa and lost his right leg and lower right arm. Chris survived against the odds and ran the London Marathon just within a year of leaving hospital.

Since then he has completed a number of ultra endurance events, including the Marathon des Sables (137 mile race across the Sahara dessert) and Badwater the 135-mile continuous ultra through Death Valley to the mountains.
He's taken parties to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and run the length of Cambodia to raise funds for charities assisting disabled.

Ewan has arranged for me to meet Chris in Guildford. The plan was to start running around 11 am and reach Shepherds Bush in London by 4.30pm. Sitting on a train to Guildford I had mixed feelings. On one hand I couldn't wait to meet Chris, on the other I was nervous and worried I wouldn't be able to complete the whole distance. All the worries disapeared the moment I started talking to Chris. He proved to be an incredibly charming man with a wicked sense of humor.

Chris, Saba & Ewan

The run was FUN! When I say fun, it doesn't mean it didn't hurt. Last 3 miles were really hard. Not being used to such a distance I must admit I did struggle and only Chris' presence kept me going. I remember when we met our support crew in Kew, the only thought I had in my head was "Please dont give him (Chris) any more sugar, he will speed the pace up again"... Well... and he DID!

Chris was really happy by the end of the run, he said that his pace was much faster than the day before. He told me it was thanks to running with us - good runners. Two guys, who run with us were definitely good runners - Michael, triathlete from Canada, who was supposed to run with us only to Hampton Court but continued till Kew (Mike you are a hero! :) ) and Rob - a marathon runner, who joined us in Hampton Court. Me ... I wouldnt even call myself a runner, and definitely not a good one.
I just said - ... if you knew what was going through my head during the last miles... I just kept going because I had you by my side and would be dead embarrassed if I stopped. Thanks to Chris, I didn't give up. I was proud to wear my Gym Jones t-shirt and I every time I looked to my left I saw a MAN running next to me, who represents all I value in Gym Jones so much.
Chris Moon is an amazing person, one of those people, who when you meet, you know you will remember forever. He is a charismatic, courageous man with incredible physical & mental strength plus he made me laugh to tears.
To find out more about Chris Moon, visit his website www.chrismoon.co.uk
Chris has done an epic thing for a great cause. Support Barnardos, any donation can make a change!
Ewan Ross - my dear friend :), thank you. Ewan will be starring in a new movie with Sean Bean and Danny Dyer. I believe the premiere is in January 2011. Ewan's story is worth a full blog post. Here is a short article about Ewan from the Independent.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Full Throttle WOW - 31

Last Saturday was interesting. I was tempted to do one of the Gym Jones workouts (louder than 10) for some time. And... I wanted to do it in a race format. When you race against others, the temptation to cheat to win gets really big. The question is - do you really feel like a winner, if you win a race cheating. I didnt watch or check on the guys, as I trained with them. The rules were simple, ball slam - low catch, push up - chest to the floor, swing.
I do trust everyone did everything with a perfect form.

Gym Jones workout - Louder than 10


11 rounds of:

5x ball slams
10x push ups
15x kb swing


4 rounds of:

30/30 means 30sec effort /30sec "rest" in a compromised position

30 sec of push press with 2x7kg or 2x8kg D/B'S, 30 sec hold the dumbells overhead (elbows locked)

then 4 rounds of:

30/30 squat, rest in squat position

then 4 rounds of:

30/30 ball slam, rest - hold the ball in front of you elbows straight



Tabata 20 sec on/10 sec off - 4 roundson each station

Sprints, burpees, frog hops

Then 3 mins plank

Job done!