Monday, 28 November 2011
Is it the million you want? or the life it affords? If you could acquire the lifestyle without the money, would you still want the cash?
Or let me put the question in a different way. Do you love money for money's sake? or what you perceive money can give you?
If you had millions locked in assests that you couldn't touch or utilise, would that be acceptable to you?
So where am I going with this? Its a subtle distinction, but an important one. Having the wrong goal is as equally dangerous as having no goal (read that line again and let it sink in).
I'm talking about having well formed outcomes. What if you focused on achieving the lifestlyle you wanted and in the process you "happened" to acquire money - unlimited amounts of money. Financial freedom. Imagine that if will.
What if rather than focusing on winning, you let your mind focus on the task at hand, and let your body go throught he process step by step, and by doing this you achieved victory?
How about if you simply trained three to four times per week and ate healthily and consitently for several months. Perhaps even for a year or more, what would your body look like? How would that feel?
Is the goal that you've set yourself the cause or the effect?
Monday, 21 November 2011
There seem to be a trend, developed over the last years - a trend of guruship/expertship or role models. This is especially noticeable in the fitness/wellness industry. No, not only as some may believe in the circles of spiritual yoga (btw - I have nothing against yoga, quite opposite), but the trend is also and probably even more noticeable in hard core, intense training communities. Groups gathered around some X training system will defend it like brave soldiers and claim that their system is better than Y or Z, etc. Some will only go to the seminars ran by their gurus and then shout out that Guru X is the only true S&C Coach that knows THE SOLUTION and anyone else is a charlatan etc. The true is that guru X or guru Z or training system XYZ - all of them are good, providing they produce desired results. Who knows ...maybe if guru X met up with gurus Y & Z and have a debate, compare their work - the outcome may actually be revolutionary. The problem is that most of the gurus are so occupied with their own greatness, that they are not willing to share it with others who could have different views on certain topics. They chose to surround themselves with people who praise them and wont dare to differ. There is an anecdote circling around about a well known s&c coach, who at a seminar refused to answer a question regarding a topic he was talking about, he just didnt appreciate anything he said being questioned. I like asking questions, I dont really believe in training systems and I like learning from the best in the industry, who actually practice what they preach (you would be surprised how many gurus do not follow their own recommendations).
There are a few great coaches whose work I follow. Limiting your education to one individual's methods restricts your growth as a person and as a professional. One of the trainers I have followed for some time is Scott Sonnon. 10 days ago, I had a great pleasure to attend a Master Class ran by the man himself joined by Alberto Gallazzi. Most of us recognise Scott Sonnon as a great martial artist, strength and conditioning coach with a truly inspiring life story. Scott Sonnon is the man behind the TACFIT training, he has been voted (in 2010) "one of the 6 most influential Martial Artists of the 21st Century" by Black Belt Magazine and is a key note speaker for Mensa International. This is pretty impressive for a man who was dyslexic, nearly got blind in his youth due to myopia and Thygeson's disease. He also suffered from Osteochondrosis, an illness that shreds the connective tissue throughout the joints and weakens the development of growth plates. Looking at Scott Sonnon now, you would hardly believe that he ever had any health problems. And yet, his journey and the story of triumph despite all odds inspires people in the fitness and wellness world.
I was looking forward to meeting this remarkable man and I certainly wasn't disappointed.
The masterclass consisted of 3 sections. In the first part, Scott Sonnon presented sample neck, shoulder, back and hip mobility drills. We got through the movement progressions and also regressions. Later Alberto Gallazzi - CST Head Coach and RMAX European Director took us through an introduction to clubbell training, which included swing, pendulum, arm cast and a sample workout. We finished the day with some prasara yoga elements taught again by Mr Sonnon.
4 hours was not enough to even scratch the surface of Scott Sonnons knowledge, he is an encyclopedia of human movement and beyond. If you have a chance to attend any of his workshops/seminars I thoroughly recommend you do it.
PS. Diego Core, who organised the masterclass is the London based TacFit trainer. If you are based in Central London - check out his great facility in Marylebone and TacFit classes. More details here http://diegocore.com/.
Friday, 18 November 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
The fighter approached me. With less than 6 weeks to go before the championships, their injury showed no sign of letting up. It looked like their dream was slipping away from their grasp. Everything they had hoped for, everything they had sweated and sacrificed for, would be for nothing.
They knew they should think positively, they understood that. But that's not how they felt about the situation. Frustrated, angry, and crippled with the realisation that they may not be ready in time. No matter how much they tried to see the silver lining, the future looked black.
Training was being affected. It showed in the session. Their numbers were clearly off . Their times were lagging. They found it hard to focus on the task at hand, and would often be non responsive to spoken instructions. It was clear we were going nowhere. I pulled the training session to a grinding halt. "I think we should have a chat." The fighter nodded at me knowingly, as we stepped into the dimly lit office.
What they BELIEVED (They should be feeling and saying positive things) was not in alignment with how they FELT(angry, frustrated, upset, fearful). This misalignment, compounded with the existing situation of the injury, and the potential of the desired goal not being achieved, appeared to the fighter as one big insurmountable mess. It was time to chip away at the crippling situation.
I started with the premise that emotions are useful tools. The cool thing about tools are that they are pretty effective in getting the job done. As long as you select the right tool, or know how to adapt the tool to get the job done.
The fighter recalled a time when they had set themselves a goal and had achieved it. Their face lit up like bonfire night. Over come with the emotion of joy and satisfaction at achieving success, they told me they felt "Awesome. On top of the world."
I pressed to see if there was a time when it appeared as if they weren't going to achieve it. "Of course." They responded. "How did that feel?" Caught off guard the fighter paused for a moment. "I was positive about achieving the goal." Curious I asked "Really? So just to clarify, in the moment you realised you weren't about to achieve your dream, you were positive?"
The fighter reflected, as they did so their fire began to go out. "Well, actually no. I felt negative, frustrated." "Is it similar to how you feel now?" "Yes."
Realising I had tapped into something I asked, "So what did you do?" The fighter wasted no time in responding, "I was persistent. Focused. Took action until I achieved what I wanted."
"How did that feel once you achieved success?" "Aah, it felt amazing. I felt unstoppable, as if I could achieve anything."
"But at the time of pursuing your goal you felt negative?" "That's right." "Then you got persistent and focused, and that helped you to be successful in achieving your goal. Is that correct?" "Yes."
"So can you see how being negative was useful, and it gave you focus and persistence so that you were successful?" The fighters expression quickly changed from confused to amusement. "Yes I can see that." Still curious I asked, "Were there any other times this happened? where being persistent and focused made you successful?"
"Quite a few actually." The fighter went on to recall several times when they had been faced with challenges, and felt negatively about the situation, and then became focused and persistent until they got what they wanted. We spent a few more moments anchoring their new found resiliance, so that they could recall it when they wished, plus erasing their inner conflict. In this case, negative thinking worked.
The take home message? All emotional states are valid and can serve you - if you are willing to hear the message. Its easy to get sucked into the positive thinking trap, but know that negative and critical thinking can be of service to you. In his book, What Self Help Guru's Should Be Telling You, Mike Mahler explores just how positive thinking can derail you, and the power of negative thinking.
Self deception can creep up on the best of us, so stand guard. Be brutally honest with yourself, it might just lead you to success.
Saturday, 29 October 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
This was a beast of a session. The electric atmosphere lit up the room with expecation. It would have been rude of us not to deliver. Without hesitation, we duly obliged.
Full Throttle Fitness WOW # 6 (Workout oF The Week)
W/up: joint Mobility & Dynamic Movmement
45 seconds work : 15 seconds rest x 7 stations = 1 Block
Complete 3 blocks. Rest 90 seconds between blocks.
1)Agility Ladder, "High Knees" double contact per rung of ladder.
2)Rower Level 7 < 200 for 500m split
3)Alternate toe touch balancing on a bench
4)Bear Crawls with push up handles
5)Double Kettelbell Snatch
6)Jack Knife to press up on The Grid
7)Heavy Kettlebell Swing
Rest 4 mins
20 seconds work : 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds = 1 Block
Complete 1 Block of each exercise with 90 seconds rest in between.
2) Bear Crawls
The finisher was truly the definitive piece, where all dug deep, and pulled out a sterling performance.
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Balance Performance Physiotherapy on Saturdays afternoon is probably the only place in London where you can meet martial artists of different disciplines, kettlebell lifters, rugby player(s) and fitness enthusiasts training together. I love it! ;)
Here is what we have done:
Warm up - joint mobility, animals, etc
6 rounds of
20 sec work 10 sec rest ( rest 1 full minute inbetween rounds)
Cool down with static holds (hand stands, wall sits, plank)
Short video clip from the session can be found here
(in case you wonder how "banana" looks like).
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
So I spent this previous weekend in the midst of some great people, listening to some incredible stories, and witnessing some fantastic transformation. I was on the free NLP course run by Toby and Kate McCartney (well, kind of. Kate wasn't there this weekend).
I'm not going to tell you what happened or what I learned, you're just going to have to do the free weekend yourself. Put it this way, after attending, I dediced to train with them on the NLP Practicioner too. Nuff said.
During the break I asked Toby to go through Weight Loss from an NLP perspective. He broke down the principles, and the viscious weight loss yo-yo cycles that are all to easy to get trapped on. Toby explained how the same cylces apply to finances and relationships too, which was an eye opener to say the least.
Check out the clip below, it might just change your life.
Weight Loss, Finances, and NLP
Friday, 7 October 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
What difference a week can make. Last week Daniel Agard, part of the Fighter Development Program was giving us an interview ahead of the International London Open IBJJF Championships, a week later Daniel Agard is the Purple Belt Lightweight champion.
An outstanding performance, with even more room for growth ahead of the English Open, and the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials. Unfortunately I missed it all, and arrived at the end, but those in attendance we very impressed with Daniel Agard's focus and execution on the matt.
As I Coach I am honoured to train such a focused and dedicated fighter, and look forward seeing Daniel devastate the competition later this year.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
This weeks session was a killer combo, started by Coach Cj Swaby, and duly topped off by the infamous Coach Sabina Skala. Mixed Circuit Training was the name of the game, and the class grabbed every opportunity to bring their "A Game". Here's how it went down.
Full Throttle Fitness WOW#4 (Workout Of The Week)
Warm up: Joint Mobility & Dynamic Movement
45 seconds work : 15 seconds recovery x 3 rounds per station. 5 stations in total
1) 40kg Marine Kit Bag (or Sand bag) High Pull
2) Rower Level 7 < 1:50 for 500m split
3) Medicine Ball Slams (4kg)
4) Kettlebell Hand to Hand Swing
5) Traveling Frog Hops
Rest 4 - 5 minutes. Then Coach Sabina Skala took over.
1/ Bear Crawls 20 seconds work : 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds
2/ Duck Walk 30 seconds work ; 10 seconds rest x 4 rounds
3/ Traveling Burpee a length / Bear Crawl Back 20 seconds work : 10 Seconds Rest x 8 rounds
Team Squat ladder 10 - 1
Tasty right? We have a whole new timetable, so now you can chose from 3 classes per week. Full Throttle Fitness is available now in Clapham North & Fulham. Check out the full timetable HERE
Saturday, 1 October 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly." - Aristole
The 100 rep Challenge is not a movement, but a way of life. Started by Rannoch Donald of Simple Strength, it has grown a head of steam over the years, being successfully featured at The UK's largest fitness expo, Body Power for two years straight.
Well, we've appropriated it for our Full Throttle Fitness Class (and added our own twist to it). Now a monthly feature in our timetable, there is foundation workout, followed by the 100 rep challenge.
The main session acted a primer. It was a devious piece, and went down like this.
Full Throttle Fitness WOW#3 100 Rep Challenge
1/ Kettlebell Snatch Left Arm
2/ Kettlebell Snatch Right Arm
3/ Bear Crawl
4/ Press Ups
60 seconds per exercise: 30 Seconds Rest
45 Seconds per exercise: 30 seconds Rest
30 Seconds per exercise: 30 seconds Rest
15 Seconds per exercise: 30 seconds Rest
Rest 3 minutes
1/ Kettlebell Double Swings
2/ Kettlebell Front Squats
3/ Windmill Left Arm
4/ Windmill Right Arm
60 seconds per exercise: 30 Seconds Rest
45 Seconds per exercise: 30 seconds Rest
30 Seconds per exercise: 30 seconds Rest
15 Seconds per exercise: 30 seconds Rest
For each exercise and for each round we kept tally of the repetitions completed. This would serve as a bench mark so that when the session is completed the following month you can see any improvements, or areas that require working on.
REST 5 MINUTES
B1/ The 100 Rep Challenge
1/ 40 press ups to fist
2/ ATG (Ass to Ground) Squats (had to make contact with sandbag placed below bottom).
3/ 20 Laps of Stair Sprints.
Again we tracked time so that we could all aim to improve at our next attempt,after all "Excellence is a habit".
Want to join in one of our classes? we've got a brand new TIMETABLE giving you whole host of options. Plus a new Monthly Unlimited Class Pass which saves you over £90.00 per month. CONTACT US for details.
Thursday, 29 September 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
Ahead of the 2011 International London Open IBJJF Championships at Crystal Palace, I got to grips with what the competition has in store for Daniel Agard, about his training philosophy, his plans going into 2012, and his exciting experience training on the Fighter Development Program (FDP).
CS: Daniel, for those who don't know about you, tell them about your BJJ competition success, and where you train?
DA: My main BJJ competition success started when I was 15-17 years old, winning juvenile and adult tournaments. At 17 I won the Juvenile Europeans title, and the Abu Dhabi Pro trials. After this, I focused on training for The World Abu Dhabi Pro and that's how I've made my name on the international circuit; and I came 2nd in the Europeans at Purple belt. I do all my BJJ training under Felipe Alves De Souza at BJJ School (in Battersea Youth Centre) and with CJS Fitness, at Balance Performance Physiorapy for my strength and conditioning.
CS: How did you get involved in BJJ?
DA: From 14 to 15 I was searching for academies to start a career in MMA, and then I found a website to the Roger Gracie academy in Ladbroke Grove. I fell in love with BJJ and I've been focussing on it since.
CS: How has your style changed over the years?
DA: I started implementing a fighters style named Marcelo Garcia, when I was a younger blue belt. I then developed a more flexible style which I learnt firstly from Michael Russel and then I began to study more of that style from Cobrinha. I was taught my fighting style when I'm on top be my instructor Felipe, and I've always seen some similarities in my style and his. A long with that, I've taken a few tricks from other fighters such as JT Torres and Raphael Mendes. I'm always changing my style to what suits my style.
CS: Who has been the biggest influence on your BJJ training?
DA: There have been many influences and this is really hard to answer, but I think it would have to be Lloyd Irvin who is an American Black Belt. The way that he has created a system for his team, and to actually see his team implement the same system into their fights is beyond me. I saw one of his students, perform the same move on some in a tournament in 2009, and it amazed me how someone could do this. I learnt more about Lloyd's way of training and he talked a lot about drilling and its importance. I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't focus on drilling so much.
CS: So you have been on FDP for almost a year, how have you benefited from it?
DA: Being in the FDP team has been a career changing experience. I've learnt how to train smarter and how to eat correctly according to my training. I really had no idea about any of this before I met Cj, but the main benefit is that my body allows me to train harder and I can also train more during the week, because of what I've learnt from Cj.
CS: What has it been like training with Cj?
DA: Its been great because Cj has really learned how I cope with training stress; if I'm pushing myself in training or not. He really helps me to believe in myself when I want to give up, and that helps me work harder.
CS: In what way is your competition preparation different than before you were on FDP?
DA: I train Strength and Conditioning! I've gained an insane amount of strength since I've started, and for BJJ, that's important. I'm holding positions longer its allowing me to take more control during sparring. My style of fighting is very explosive, but because I didn't train strength and conditioning, I couldn't do what I've wanted to do in competitions. I really felt the difference when I fought in January (at the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials) because I was more aggressive and I did what I wanted to do.
CS: What was the biggest surprise you had training with Cj?
DA: Dead lifting 120Kg, without a doubt. After I lifted the weights, I asked Cj if it was a good effort, he laughed and said yes. So that has to be it for me, but I have higher targets to reach very soon.
CS: With FDP you train with fighters from different combat sports - how has that influenced you?
DA: Its influenced me a great deal when I see my training partners succeed in their fights, and in training. That's my reminder telling me that I can do the same thing and that I will. Its really inspiring to be apart of the FDP.
CS: What are your competition plans for 2011 - 2012?
DA: My plans for next year is to go into 2013 with 5 World titles. Weight and absolute in the gi and no gi in The Abu Dhabi Pro World Cup; and one title at the World Championships.
CS: The BJJ International London Open is at Crystal Palace for the first time next weekend; are you excited about the competition?
DA: I'm so excited for this tournament because its the first time the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu JItsu Federation) will be in England, and I will have the opportunity to show case my game.
CS: Who will you be having your eye on in the competition?
DA: Myself! I'm just going to step onto the mat, being confident to do what I've trained for so long to do. I won't worry about anybody else's style or tactics.
CS: What is it that you love about BJJ and competing?
DA: BJJ is so diverse, so dynamic when it comes to techniques and positions. So diverse where you can pick out techniques from DVD's! You're always learning in this sport. I have many internal and external factors about competition, but I just love to have fun and to enjoy myself. Training hard for so long and let everyone see what you can do. Its a really good feeling.
CS: Do you see yourself competing in any other combat sport during your career?
DA: As a BJJ fighter, MMA will always be in the back of my mind so I guess we will have to find out soon.
CS: Dan, its been a pleasure training you. You have achieved a lot already and I'm sure great things lie in store for you. Thanks for doing the interview.
DA: Thank you
You will be albe to see Daniel Agard in action and all the crew form the BJJ School, this weekend 1st - 2nd October at The London International Open IBJJF Championships.
Saturday, 24 September 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
"Despite the difficulties and frustrations of the moment,I still have a dream."
- Dr Martin Luther King
My Journey Into Strength Pt 8: Road To Recovery
So I had strained the flexor muscles in my forearm, plus fractured the small bones in my wirsts in both hands. I had limited range of movement, and that which I did have often caused searing pain. I could not put weight through my hands. Getting out of the bath had evolved into an interesting game, as I could not use my hands to leverage myself out. I even had difficulty holding simple things, such as a frying pan.
Still I attempted to train. As I was unable to extend my wrists, I could not get under the bar to squat. I substitued back squats for Zercher squats. I could not hold a barbell, or dumbell, but I could manage knuckle press ups. I duly modified the tempo and leverage for great effect. For pulling movements I strapped some weight to my waist and knocked out some Gironda pull ups. Sprints became my staple diet.
Even though I was still able to train, I could not manage the intensity that I was used too, or the same exercises. My strength fell off, I lost 4kg in a short space of time. It was clear that I wasn't going to compete at the Strength & Power Meet, or the Powerlifting Competition later this year. Each gym session was becoming frustrating, and depressed me more. Physiotherapy treatment was yeilding some results, but not at the speed which I had hoped for. While my general demeanour was a happy one, now and again my mind would drift into a dark place. That was until a friend of mine taught me an invaluable lesson. Perspective.
In mid summer Katarina Helcmanovska was involved in a car accident. She was exiting a round about on her bike, when a taxi driver thoughtlessly ploughed into her, instantly breaking both her legs and collar bone. Katarina was laid up in hospital for about 10 days for an operation and then discharged. When I spoke to her about the accident, she was remarkably up beat and said "Well, you know it was the best possible outcome really" Bemused I replied, "How so?" Kat didn't waste any time in answering, "At least I didn't get any head or spinal injuries, it could have been a lot worse." It stopped me dead in my tracks. "Wow" I thought. She's got the right mindset.
Katarina went further in humbling me, when about a week later she arrived at our Full Throttle Fitness Class. She had travelled from East London to South London, covering two bus rides and a tube journey all by herself. What was even more remarkable was the fact that she had only one functioning arm, and one functioning leg to propell herself in the wheelchair. Resolute, I decided to abandon any thoughts of self pity, and re-establish an effective rehab and training program.
I incorporated indian club training to complement the joint manipulations, establishing range of movement, tissue and joint strength, plus specialised grip training. I gradually began introducing bench press with dumbells, and light back squat, plus deadlifts. I was making progress. While my deadlift is still 15kg off my max, my squat 25kg off and my bench 30kg off my top end lifts, my enthusiasm for training is growing again and my outlook is brighter. By Christmas I aim to have my base levels back, with a view to being Powerifting, "competition ready" come February / March 2012.
HOW Can This Help You?
Treat any injury as soon as possible.
Establish a treatment plan with a suitable professional to get you back on track.
Stick with the training plan - give it time to work.
Guard Your Mind - Be realistic, but remember it could be worse, be grateful.Healing takes time.
Modify your training, and accept that it will be a "maintenance" phase.
I hope that you have found this useful, especially if you are stuggling with injury. I would like to thank Katarina Helcmanovska for her awesomeness and inspiration, which is often understated, but always present.
In the final Journey Into Strength, I will be looking at exercise programming for strength athletes who are DRUG FREE and like to lift RAW.
Yours In Strength
Coach Cj Swaby
Saturday, 17 September 2011
The new format to Full Throttle Fitness meant that today's session kicked off with a strength based odd lift. Fresh on the mend from his injury, Coach Cj Swaby decided to jump in on this session, turning up the heat. Here's what went down.
Full Throttle Fitness WOW # 2
Warm up: Joint Mobility & Dynamic Body weight Movement
Section One: Odd Lifts
Double Kettlebell "Two Hands Any How" 3 Reps x 3 Sets
3 minute rest between Sets
Rest 5 minutes then...
Section 2: Strength Power Endurance
A1) Double Kettlebell Snatches 10 reps x 10 sets / 90 seconds rest between sets
A2) Sprints: 20 sec work : 10 recovery x 8 rounds
A3) Warrior Sit ups 20 secs work : 10 secs recovery
Cool Down & Stretch
This piece has everyone in attendance questioning their sanity - and rightly so! great fun was had by all
New classes have been added to the timetable. We now have classes in Fulham, and in Clapham. Check out the timetable HERE.
Monday, 12 September 2011
Yesterday the sad news surged across the internet and into mainstream media, Andy Whitfield had died. Andy had contracted non Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2010 while filming the hit, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. He appeared in all of the original series, and the network agreed to wait until his health returned to continue the story (filming the prequel in the meantime) but this was not to be. You can find out more about Andy Whitfiled HERE.
I only recently got into the series Spartacus, after Coach Sabina Skala bought me the entire series DVD box set. I was at first reluctant to watch it, as I was a fan of the original Kubriks 1960's film staring Kirk Douglass. To me, Kirk Douglass owned that role, and I thought no other could do the role justice. I was mistaken. Whitfiled brought new life to the role of Spartacus and was different than Douglass' version. In short, Andy Whitfield made you believe HE was Spartacus, a man that was at once noble, yet flawed. Fair, yet vengeful, strong yet compassionate, essentially a diverse human being capable of a broad spectrum of emotions and qualities.
S what's this got to do with CJS Fitness? We're all about physical training and mental preparation. No we are not Gladiators of the arena like in Spartacus, but everyone has their own challenges in life, and for some cancer is one of the ultimate tests they will face - and this strikes a chord with us.
In the coming weeks we will be posting about WHAT is Cancer? WHAT Type of treatment is available? WHICH resources are available to support cancer patients? WHAT can cancer survivors do to regain their health & strength? WHAT carers of Cancer patients can do to help themselves? Our aim is to help slay the Dragon, or at least cut the Dragon down into manageable pieces, so that you can look it square in the eye, knowing you've giving your all to the battle. R.I. P Andy Whitefield, our thoughts go out to you and your family.
Yours in Strength
Coach Cj Swaby
Saturday, 10 September 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
Step 7: Mastering Injury
There is a thin line between mental toughness and stupidity, and at Body Power 2011 I clear crossed the line with wreckless abandonment, destroying any chance I had of competing in The Strength Power Meet 2011, or the British Power Lifting Open. Here's what happened.
At the Body Power Expo, central to our space was a rig supplied by Beaver Fit. Similar to the Beaver Fit Commander FTR (pictured below).
A few of us had come up with the idea to do explosive pull ups form the bottom bar to the top of the wing in one move. After a few attempts, I managed to nail the trajectory, and executed it effortlessly drawing attention from onlookers, who watched a few of us mastering the move in awe.
As the day continued, I demonstrated the War Machine, delivered Kettlebell Workshops with my good friend Matt Whitmore of Fitter London, plus a body weight demo with Legendary Coach Martin Rooney to the thousands in attendance. The show had come to a close and a few of use were shutting down the stall, and were playing about on the rig. Someone asked to see me to the explosive pull up to the top bar as it was quite some angle (the top bar was about 11 - 12ft high and at a 45 degree angle to the lower bar of about 7ft). I set my self into position and exploded up, I felt the tips of my finger grab hold, then all of a sudden I was falling backwards, legs in the air watching the bar slip away into the distance. I was falling, in that split second I realised I had to break fall and tuck my chin in as I was about to hit solid ground.
I slapped the floor on impact to disperse the force. I lay there flat on my back, looking up at the bar bemused. What just happened?! I had been doing this all day.
Mistake Number 1
I did not realise how fatigued I was. I had been training at a sub maximal intensity all day, but did not recognise the impact on my performance.
Mistake Number 2
Partly in disbelief, and mostly being the stubborn guy that I am, I promptly got back up and attempted the explosive pull up again.
This time I came hurtling towards the ground, and executed a breakfall again. On- lookers winced and turned away. My friends encouraged me to quit.
Mistake Number 3
I didn't listen. I didn't listen to my body, or those who had a better vantage position to see the situation differently.
I attempted the explosive pull up again, to the same result. I smashed into the unforgiving hard ground of the expo. Something didn't quite feel right. Legs splayed in the air, laying flat on my back I finally listened to the voice inside my head which told me "You better quit this one Cj before it gets real ugly."
Mistake Number 4
I didn't check myself properly for injuries. I continued packing up the stand at the expo, I even went out for dinner with The Fitter London Crew, Iron Mac, and Jonathan Lewis. Later the following day the extent of my injuries soon became apparent when I could not extend my wrists pain free, hold weighted objects or put pressure through my hands. I was later to discover I had fractured the small bones in both hands.
WHAT Can You Learn From This?
There were a few critical mistakes that I made, as I previously outlined, attempting to execute demanding feats when fatigued, not listening to my body or those around with a better vantage point so that I could see the bigger picture, and not checking my injuries properly after an accident. These are things that if brought to the fore front of our awareness, injury can be easily avoided. Mental and physical fatigue is the domain where injury and "accidents" happen.
A key thing that I failed to realise at the time is the impact that accident would have on my training and ultimately my goal. Remain focused and don't be swayed or distracted from your aim. Something as trivial as the explosive pull up to the top bar (which in the grand scheme of things wasn't that important) ended any chance I had of competing, and became significant for the wrong reasons.
The accident happened in May, and its now September, I've only recently began to train in earnest as was limited in what I could do. In the next entry I will look at HOW I worked around my injuries, WHAT I did to refocus after feeling sorry for myself (briefly)and the importance of getting specialist help when appropriate.
Yours in Strength
Coach Cj Swaby
p.s If you haven't had a chance yet, my homeboy Matt Whitmore over at Fitter London has been documenting his Journey into Strength and unleashing his Wild Physique. Its an inspiring and thought provoking read. Check it out here.
Friday, 9 September 2011
So we've added some new classes to the timetable to give you even more opportunities to come down and get a fantastic workout and have fun. The ultimate Kettlebell Class in London also combines bodyweight exercises and odd objects, sprinkled with a twist of uncertainty as Coach Sabina Skala, and Coach Cj Swaby skillfully craft Full Throttle Fitness.
With Kettlebell Classes in Fulham, and Kettlebell Classes in Clapham you now even have choice of two prime locations. Ok, Ok, so when are they? Simply check below
Full Throttle Fitness Timetable
Tuesday 7:30pm - 9pm Balance Physiotherapy, 113 Gauden Road, Clapham, SW4 6LE
Thursday 8:45pm - 9:30pm, Energie Gym, The Pier Buildings, Carnwarth road, Fulham, SW6 3EF
Saturday 12:15pm - 1:15pm Balance Physiotherapy, 113 Gauden Road, Clapham SW4 6LE
Price: 10.00 GBP pay as you go or
Thursday, 8 September 2011
This is a very similar session I did with one of our athletes during last week of his pre-MMA fight preparation.
So here is what we did:
2 rounds of 45sec work 15 sec to change the station
Heavy bag slam
Partner turtle lift
Swings outside the knees
Rest 1 min inbetween rounds
2 rounds of of 45sec work 15 sec to change the station
Bearcrawl (with KB's - dont use your legs, drag them as you move forward)
Partner work - Roll and jump over
Partner lift (TGU)
Rest as above
1 round of of 45sec work 15 sec to change the station
V- sit up
Plank (with your partner on your back)
Rest 4 mins
8 rounds of 20 sec work/10 sec rest
Deck squat to shoot
If you are not sure how Partner turtle lift looks like, here is a good example (this is one of the conditioning session I did with our Fighter Development Program athlete Scott Jansen)
Wednesday, 31 August 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
CJS Kettlebells,London is finally now live! The online Kettlebell palace will feature exclusive kettlebell exerices video clips, interviews and articles with leading international Kettlebell experts, details of Kettlebell training workshops, Kettlebell classes in London and in the UK. Plus a great selection of Kettlebell sets, books, and training DVDs.
Basically, CJS Kettlebells, will be to Kettlebells what Usain Bolt is to 100m sprinting (when he's not too busy making false starts that is). To kick start the blog the first lady of Kettlebells Svetlana Writtle has graced us with two exclusive kettlebell training clips, that demonstrate the Kettlebell exercises that keep her in fantastic shape.
Simply check out the new website cjskettlebells then click onto the blog to check it out, we've also got a great interview with the legendary Mike Mahler.
Big shout out to Emma Rose Watts of www.Bootcamp Revolution.co.uk who posed for the photoshoot for the new promo poster. In the coming weeks CJS Kettlebells will be featuring Emma and finding out how she incorporates Kettlebell training into her boot camps and what she does to stay in jaw dropping shape.
Yours in Strength
Coach Cj Swaby
Monday, 15 August 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
Sunday 28th August will see the launch of the brand new website CJS Kettlebells. London' s Kettlbell Mecca. The website will cover the best of the best in Kettlebell training. Whether you want to buy Iron Russian Kettlebells, download some DVD's on Kettlebell Training, book on a CJS Kettlebells Training Workshop, or attend a REPS Kettlebell Instructor Course, buy Steel competition Kettlebells - we've got it covered.
The new CJS Kettlebells website will feature the best of the UK Kettlebell Coaches, from Matt & Keris at Fitter London, Christian Villa & Mark Stroud of Brighton Kettlebells, Rannoch Donald of Simple Strength to the first lady of Russian Kettlebells, Svetlana Writtle - this new CJS Kettlebells website will cover the everything Kettlebell training related, to help add value to your training and improve your quality of health.
To help celebrate the launch, CJS Kettlebells will be giving FREE 90 minute Kettlebell Training seminars every month from 29th September for a limited time only. Details will be available from the 26th August.
Yours in Strength
Coach Cj Swaby
Thursday, 4 August 2011
For those who are not familiar with Joel's work here is a short info:
Joel Jamieson trained over 30 of the biggest names in MMA, including Rich Franklin, Chris Leben, Spencer Fisher, Tim Boetsch, Demetrius Johnson, Hayato Sakurai, Matt Brown - just to name a few.
He formerly served as the Director of Strength & Conditioning for Pride FC and currently works in a similar capacity for Dream. Prior to his work in MMA and combat sports, he spent time training D-1 football players and worked in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. He has trained countless teams and athletes from the NFL, MLS, NHL and NBA and Olympic competitors from 5 different sports.
His articles have been published in a variety of online and print magazines (also in UK versions - check out recent issues of Fighting Fit magazine) and journals. Joel is a frequent presenter at local and national training conferences.
Since I have started working with fighters I have been asked numerous questions (by trainers and fighters themselves) about strength training for combat. Everyone who works with me knows my view on the subject. I asked Joel to look at a few questions I came across, so here you can get the answers from one of the best coaches in the industry.
Sabina: There is no doubt that strength training is highly beneficial for combat athletes. The question is - how strong is strong enough? Some trainiers believe that once certain strength standards have been achieved, fighters should only maintain them and spend more time focusing on technique and/or game plan. Others believe that an athlete can never be strong enough. What is your view on it?
Joel: At the highest levels, there is always an inherent tradeoff between strength and power and the ability to maintain it. This is why you’ll never see a world class sprinter capable of running a marathon and vice versa. In combat sports, we’ve all seen examples of this as the strongest, most powerful fighters have often also been the ones with the worst conditioning.
The more muscle tissue an athlete has and the more force they are producing, the more energy is required to sustain it and this means that in combat sports, there definitely needs to be the right balance between strength, power, and endurance. At the end of the day, strength is only as good as a fighter’s ability to use it effectively throughout a fight, so the tradeoff between force production and endurance should always be kept in mind when it comes to training combat sport athletes.
As far as how much strength is enough versus how much is too much, it’s a very individual thing and it really comes down to the physiological capabilities of the athlete. Genetics probably play the biggest role in this regard. Everyone is different and must find the right balance of strength, power, and endurance based on their own limits of performance.
Sabina:Training camps are very popular with fighters. If you only have a chance to spend a few weeks (3-4) training a fighter before the competition, would you spend any time on strength development?
Joel: With only 3-4 weeks before a fight, strength work will be done only a maintenance level. You’re not going to be able to build a significant amount of strength in such a short period of time and the athlete needs to be spending the majority of their time training specifically for the fight. I’ll usually have guys do one strength session per week for 45-60 minutes or so when we’re 3-4 weeks out from a fight. More is not necessary and will likely take away from their more specific training.
Joel: It depends on the session, but anywhere from 2-4 compound lifts can be used in a single strength session. I tend to keep things simple from an exercise standpoint as far as general strength is concerned and there are only so many good general compound movements that effectively develop the CNS.
Sabina: Do you tend to work with 1RM or 5RM when training your combat athletes?
Joel: I work with a range of volumes and intensities so I don’t know that I have a tendency towards either one. I use anywhere from 1RM – 6RM for strength/explosive work depending on the situation and the athlete, both ends of the range have their place in the development of strength and power.
Sabina: What is your view on olympic lifts and their derivatives. Do you use them when training fighters?
Joel: I think there are advantages and disadvantages to using the Olympic lifts and if you have an opportunity to work with a fighter for the long-term, then they definitely have their place in the training program. The main disadvantages are that majority of the force generated through hip extension is vertical and this is quite different from the rotational/horizontal nature of a great deal of combat sports skills and also they are technical lifts that take quite a bit of time to learn to do properly.
I think their best application is for the wrestling/grappling components of combat sports where explosive hip extension is used in takedowns and if I’m working with an athlete over an extended period of time, I’ll typically incorporate some Olympic lifting into their program. As a whole, I think the Olympic lifts are good tools when used effectively, I see them simply as one of many different means that can be used to develop explosive power and strength.
Sabina: Thank you Joel and we are looking forward to your upcoming seminars in UK
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
A few weeks ago one of the ladies I trained said “I don’t want to be strong”. She is a very attractive size 8 girl, she also happens to be pretty strong. I asked her, what she meant. She repeated that she didn’t want to be strong and she doesn’t like strength training. So That I could understand exactly what she meant, I kept asking more questions. The conclusion was, she didn’t want to strength train, as she didn’t feel feminine, was scared that shoe would become butch and muscular, plus she didn’t look pretty lifting heavy weights. At the same time she wanted a toned slender physique and take part in a competition that…. involved lifting heavy weights.
Doesn’t it sound ridiculous? It may, however this is what a lot of women who strength train are concerned about. Is the typical stereotype that women should be weak, fragile creatures, who cant handle anything other than push ups from their knees or biceps curls with 1kg dumbbells (preferably pink, as this looks very girly) valid in this day and age?
If I was asked a question – “do you want to be strong?”. I would say – YEAH! But at the same time I certainly want to look feminine and don’t want to resemble a “ladyman”. The trick is that usually when you hear that a woman is strong you don’t picture Lara Croft lookalike but rather some power-lifter type chick, who you are not really sure is a man or woman. So here just to prove how untrue this is, just look at the pics below.
1. Strength training = strong ligaments, strong tendons and greater bone density. Weight training is a powerful tool against osteoporosis (disease characterised by porous bone and low bone mass). Those suffering from osteoporosis have an increased susceptibility to fractures of the wrists, hips and spine. According to the National ~Osteoporosis Foundation 28 million Americans suffer from this disease, 80 % of which are women! In fact, statistics show that one in two women over the age of 50 will suffer from and osteoporosis – related fracture during their lifetime. Therefore women, especially should seriously consider weight training as a type of insurance against becoming represented in these startling statistics. Stronger tendons, ligaments and muscles lead to stronger and stable joints decreasing the likelihood of injury. This enhances the quality of life and enables us to better perform our daily activities. This does not only apply to middle age or elderly women. Trust me I have seen teenagers who are less mobile, weaker and slower than my 74 year old client. This is a pretty scary picture and unfortunately very true in many cases
If you look at the guidelines below for better understanding (data was taken from Gym Jones seminar manual - they have pulled it from Michael Yessis book called "The Kinesiology of Exercise”).
1-4 reps per set @ 2-4RM increase pure strength but do not increase muscle mass
4-9 reps per set @ 5-9RM increase strength together with muscle mass
10-15 reps per set increase muscular strength, muscular endurance and muscle mass
16-30 reps per set increase muscular endurance with little to no increase in muscle mass
31-50 reps per set or circuit increase muscular endurance with no effect on muscle mass
50-100 reps per set or circuit increase muscular endurance, cardio-respiratory endurance, and
there will be a possible loss of muscle mass (or fat) but absolutely no increase in strength
If you look at the highlighted part, it says that there is a way of training that increases your strength and does not increase the muscle mass as such. So, you can get stronger without getting bigger.
Summarising – if you still don’t see the benefits of lifting heavy weights, I don’t have more arguments to convince you. I know I will keep my strength sessions in my training for sure.
Friday, 29 July 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
Say what you want about Crossfit, it is certainly a force to be reckoned with within the Health & Fitness World. Its easy to slander something you do not fully understand, just because it is different to what you know, or you have only half the information available.
Enter Crossfit Bold, and In2 Crossfit Clapham. Tom Bold (Crossfit Bold) and Jack Heneghan (In2 Crossfit Clapham) headed up our latest edition of our FREE Saturday Seminars. The Saturday seminars were set up by CJS Fitness to bring topics of interest to the forefront so that both the general public, fitness coaches and the like can get a better understanding and direct experience.
This seminar was no different. After the first seminar, which covered the principles of crossfit, what it is, and what it isn't (plus Tom and Jack's individual delivery in the own Boxes) participants headed over to IN2 Crossfit Clapham for a technical session on the push jerk, and a WOD (Workout of The Week).
It was an informative day, and whether you agree or disagree with Crossfit, both Tom and Jack got their point across, leaving little doubt that Crossfit is here to stay.
The CJS Fitness Saturday Seminars are taking a break for the Summer and will return in October with some more thought provoking lectures and seminars.
Crossfit Bold will be holding an open day this Saturday 30th July with FREE technical sessions, W.O.D's and a sizzling BBQ to top off a day of action. Contact Tom Bold HERE to secure your spot.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Last Saturday was quite intense. Full Throttle in the morning and afternoon seminar (subject - CrossFit legacy) in Balance, followed by another training session in In2CrossFit Clapham premises (big thanks to Tom Bold of CrossFit Bold and Jack Heneghan of In2CrossFit Clapham for setting up the record straight on what CrossFit stands for).
Some of the guys did come to Full Throttle early afternoon - pushed it as hard as they could and then braved it to In2CrossFit Clapham in a couple of hours time for the workout of the day. Brave...
Here is what we did :
Warm up, then
4 rounds of 5 mins work (the exercises were in a set sequence - see below).
Rest 2 mins inbetween rounds
5x burpee to push up
5x Man Maker
10 x double KB swing or 6x Heavy bag slam
5 x deck squat
Then 4 mins rest
1 minute per station : 15 second change over.
X 2 circuits
Exercise Menu (All partner work)
1) Single Arm KB snatch or Jerk (1 min per arm)
2) Medicine Ball squat - pass
3) Bear Crawls up/ Down stairs
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
"I just have a fire inside that is not ready to be put out yet, so many things still left to do." - Andy Bolton
By Coach Cj Swaby
Last the last entry I spoke about how getting expert advice can raise your game tremendously and shave some serious time off your learning curve. Last week I had the pleasure off interviewing Mike Mahler of Aggressive Strength, this week the man that helped me, and I had the opportunity to Coach along side, is the legendary Andy Bolton. If you don't know who this man is, either get to know (because you're in for a treat).
CS: Hi Andy, Thanks for agreeing to do this interview,
AB: No problem.
CS: Andy, for those who don’t know, who are you? And what have you achieved in your sport?
AB: I am Andy Bolton, a powerlifter from Leeds, England, aged 41, married with a 5 year old daughter. In powerlifting I have won the WPC World Title 7 times, WPO Champion 2007. I am the first man to deadlift 1000lbs and I have pulled over 900lbs in competition over 40 times, squatted 1214lbs and I think I am the only powerlifter who heltd the all time squat , deadlift and total record at the same time.
CS: How did you get into Powerlifting?
AB: I started in bodyb8uilding and after competing once I decided to switch over after being told by a small group of local powerlifters that I had some talent for strength! [laughs]
CS: In what way is training for Powerlifting different to Strong man training? And what is the carry over between the different sports as you see it?
AB: Ok, in both you have to be very strong in the basic lifts, the only thing in strongtman is you need more stamina and have to be able to move around a lot more, but powerlifting is also very technical now with the equipment we use. The carry over from powerlifting is a very strong back, legs and grip which will serve you well in strong man.
CS: Recovery is important when it comes to strength training, and a common mistake is to train too often, or with too much volume. What do you do to help you recover between sessions? And what is your typical training week, when preparing for competition?
AB: Its Monday – Bench, Wednesday Squats and Deadlifts, Thursday is assistance work i.e cable leg press, hamstrings etc, Saturday is grip work. As for recovery I like to sleep, and also get regular deep tissue massages and stretch after workouts.
CS: Andy, so the question I have to ask, seeing as you are a Man Mountain, what is your nutrition like, and do you follow any particular “diet”?
AB: My diet has always been pretty good no matter what people think, sure I eat some junk, but for the most its a good diet, but as of the past 2 months I have changed things and now eat every 2 hours, small meals and I keep it as clean as possible.
CS: Which supplements do you use, and why?
AB: Supplement I have always used CNP professional, even before my sponsorship I used them, for me they are the best out there and great to work with thanks to Kerry Kayes.
CS: What inspired you to get into Strong Man and Powerlifting?
AB: I always wanted to be strong as most kids, and I got strong very fast so that went onto powerlifting and then in 1994 I got a call from David Webster from WSM [Worlds Strongest Man] asking me to go to Scotland and try Strongman, I was shocked and said, “Yes! Yes!!” [laughs] So off I went to give it a try, but I never really enjoyed it and missed the powerlifting.
CS: Could you see yourself doing any other sport, if it wasn’t this?
AB: No not really, powerlifting is everything to me, and it has given me so much.
CS: Who would you say are the top 5 people that have influenced your training?
AB: A hard one, there are so many, in no order I would say
Brain Batcholdor, Brian Reynolds, Roni Gordon, Dave Carter, Sangeet Dhillon, Dave Beattie
CS: You have had an extensive career, and achieved some great things so far, how do you keep yourself motivated?
AB: I don’t, I just have a fire inside that is not ready to be put out yet, so many things still left to do.
CS: Something Obviously separates you from the competition on a mental and physical level, what would you say that was?
AB: My heart. I will do whatever it takes and sometimes this is not good, when I did the 1000lbs pull for the first time, I shut myself off from all my family and all I would think about was the lift and doing that 1000lbs. After it I was so so tired, it took me months to recover, now I can manage things a little better. Also I have no fear of getting hurt, say squatting 1200lb plus, it does not scare me. Way I see it, if it breaks we can fix it.
CS: What would you say are Andy Bolton’s 7 top tips to achievement?
AB: Again in no order, do not overtrain, listen to your body, don’t listen to too many people, write everything down, set yourself small goals, have long term goals, work harder than you have ever worked, but smartly. Always allow yourself to dream.
CS: Who is your Coach at the moment? And how did you guys hook up?
AB: Well I don’ t have a Coach, I have a good team around me, they pick me up on anything I might do wrong from time to time, but no Coach as such.
CS: Andy, I had the opportunity to Coach with you on our workshop , Training Day 2.0 earlier in the year, and your enthusiasm for teaching oozed out of you. Participants were breaking Personal Bests all over the shop. Which do you enjoy more, competing or Coaching?
AB: [Laughs] Lifting is number one, but coaching is a close second. I really do enjoy teaching and get lots from it.
CS: For someone starting out into Powerlifting, How would you suggest they structure their training? And what common mistakes should they avoid?
AB: Easy, stick to a 3 day plan; Monday, Wednesday, Friday and avoid overtraining. Heavy singles in training, these are only testing strength, not building it. Stick to 5’s 3’s and train more speed and explosive power.
CS: Andy, what is your training philosophy, and what legacy would you like to leave behind for the Powerlifting World?
AB: From me it’s all based around speed and explosive power, this way avoids serious injury and is fun to do. As for legacy, well I just want to be remembered as a great powerlifter, someone who set the standards for others to follow, and to be known as a good man.
CS: Mr Bolton, Its been a pleasure, and thank you for doing the interview. I understand you also run internships that are open to almost anyone, tell me a bit about that?
AB: Yes , they are full days with me, up to 5 people at a time, so a small group. I go through all the technical stuff in the morning on all the lifts, then we go away for lunch and do some question and answer, then in the afternoon we go back to the gym and we co a full assistance workout as I would do, can be hard or easy as they want [laughs] it’s a very enjoyable can. You can find out about the next available one on my website www.andyboltonstrength.com
CS: Thanks Andy.
AB: Thanks Cj, it’s been a pleasure.
Training with Andy Bolton definitely raised my game and helped me to rip the 240kg deadlift with plenty left in the tank. For those who have seen the video would have noticed the speed at which I ripped it of the floor. Andy’s coaching points where integral to that.
If you get the opportunity to train with this man do so, Andy Bolton is to Powerlifting what Roger Bannister is to athletics. For information on upcoming seminars, internship , special offer and free training info via his newsletter check out
To find out more about Training Day 2.0 read a report by the Crossfit Reading Crew HERE . Then watch the video below.
Training Day 2.0
In the next blog entry I will be showing you how I integrated what I had learned from both Mike Mahler and Andy Bolton, and synthesised that into my training, with actual examples. Plus, If I can find it, i will dig out the video and upload my 240Kg deadlift. This was the last time I was to test my deadlift before I managed to sustain an injury at Body Power 2011, in which I managed to fracture the small bones in both my hands, putting a end to my dreams of entering the Strength Power meet, and temporarily putting my goal of 300kg on hold.
Yours In Strength
Coach Cj Swaby
Sunday, 17 July 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
This weeks session was pretty straight forward, but extremely demanding. What was even more demanding was the 100 rep challenge at the end of the session which we ran as a competition to win two weeks free training. Every one gave it their all, but Colin Nwadike cam up trumps with a wining time of 5mins and some odd seconds. Here's how it went down.
Full Throttle Fitness WOW#17
W/up: Joint Mobility Training
1min work : 15 seconds change over.
x 2 Circuits = 1 Block
Rest: 90 seconds between Blocks
Complete 3 Blocks
2)Marine Kit Bag High Pull (40kg approx)
3)Double Hand Kettlebell Swing
Doesn't read like much does it? but the brutality is in its simplicity. Once we got that out of the the way we went into....
The 100 Rep Challenge
40 Press Ups
20 Stair Sprints
How we set the standards
On the press ups, we placed a boxing pad on the floor and press ups only counted if your chest touched the pad. The squats were done over the Marine Kit bag, so your butt had to touch it (whisper of a touch) for your squat to count. With the stairs sprints you had to touch the wall at either end of the stairs. This was was all to ensure there was a consistent standard for each exercise. Try this one at your own gym when you can. Let us know what time you got!
Full Throttle Fitness,
Sat 12:15pm - 1:15pm Balance Physiotherapy, 113 Gauden Road, Clapham, London, SW4 6LE
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
What is Crossfit?
What Is the science behind it?
Is Crossfit a cult?
Where does Crossfit succeed where commercial gyms fail you?
Want to try Crossfit out for FREE?
These questions and more will be answered at the CJS Fitness Saturday Seminar on July 23rd, "The Crossfit Legacy". In the first hour Head Coach Tom Bold (Crossfit Bold), and Jack Hennegan (In2 Crossfit Clapham) will take you on a tour de France, expelling myths and confirming others, but setting the record straight, leaving no stone unturned. In the second section you will have the opportunity to train and experience a Workout Of The Day (WOD) at the newly launched In2 Crossfit Clapham, with Head Coach Jack Heneghan.
The event is FREE but spaces are strictly limited. You don't want to miss out on this great opportunity, so book now. Click the link below for further details and online booking.
THE CROSSFIT LEGACY 23RD JULY 2012
Friday, 8 July 2011
By Coach Cj Swaby
STEP 6: Get Expert Coaching
So this weeks blog entry is getting expert coaching. In 2011 Along my journey into strength I had the opportunity to coach along side two respected strength coaches. One of them was world record holder Andy Bolton, the other was Mike Mahler. While from completely different back grounds, getting expert advice from a good quality coach is invaluable to your success. From Mike I learned to refocus my energy on stacking the small wins which made a huge impact on my training such as hormone optimisation via sleep and supplementation. Also, training with Mike on the workshop reinforced that to be globally strong you MUST work on your weak areas. I don't just mean, acknowledge that you should, pay them lip service and crack on with what you were doing anyway. I mean to strategically focus and train the things you suck at (coincidently these are the areas with greatest potential for growth).
This week, rather than talk about Mike, I thought it best Mike speak for himself. Ahead of the launch of his new book "What Self Help Guru's SHOULD be telling you" He was gracious enough to grant me an interview, so that you can get an insight to this man and his training methods.
Wild Physique Unleashed : Mike Mahler Interview
CS: Hi Mike, thanks for taking time out to do this interview
MM: My pleasure and thanks for doing the interview.
CS: For those who don’t know you, give a brief overview on who you are, and what you’re about?
MM: I am a fitness information provider based in Las Vegas, NV. I run a fitness information website at www.mikemahler.com. I give away tons of free articles, audio information, as well as training and information video clips. I also run an online magazine that goes out to over 20,000 people every month. I am also a kettlebell instructor and I have been teaching kettlebell workshops since 2002. My business is called Mahler's Aggressive Strength and in addition to delivering high quality fitness information I try to show people the benefits of strength training in all facets of life. In other words rather than just being strong and mentally tough in the gym, use those skills to improve other areas of your life.
Another huge interest of mine is hormone optimization. Having an optimal hormonal profile plays such a critical role in quality life and is something that is often over looked. Through proper diet, training, restoration, lifestyle, and nutrition supplements one can improve their hormonal profile dramatically. This will equal a better mood and more zeal for life. In addition better progress with training and physique composition goals as well.
CS: Mike, you’re well known for Kettlebell training, but I know you like to mix it up with dumbells and barbells too. What does your typical training session look like, and how do you mix up the kettlebell training with Barbell and Dumbbell training?
MM: I like to modify training often to keep things interesting. Sometimes I go through periods in which I focus primarily on kettlebell training, sprinting, sledgehammer work etc. Other times I like to combine barbell training, dumbbell training, and some bodyweight training with kettlebell training. Here is what a sample workout week looks for me right now
Double Kb Swing Outside the Knees 5x6 (79lb bells to face level) ( I do this first to fire up the nervous system) Trapbar Deadlift Thick Bar Military Press Barbell Bent Over Row
(For all three a few warm up set and then one all out set in the 85-95% of one rep max range. This is based on Jim Wendler's 5-3-1 program) Circuit Three rounds of Plate Pushes 1x30 Hanging Leg raise 1x10 Glute Ham Raise 1x6
Barbell Squat Bench Press Weighted Pull-up (For all three a few warm up set and then one all out set in the 85-95% of one rep max range) Seated Dumbbell Military Press (few warm-up sets and all out set at 3-5 rep max) Russian Barbell Twist 3x6 each side (torso exercise) One-arm KB Snatch 10x10 each side (55lb bell as fast as possible: sprint style)
Barbell Deadlift Military Press off the pins (no clean to start the first rep) (For all three a few warm up set and then one all out set in the 85-95% of one rep max range) One-arm Barbell Bent over row 1x5x95, 1x5x115, 1x3x135 each side Incline Dumbbell Press, a few warm ups and then 100lbs in each hand for as many reps as possible. Cable rotations 3x10 each side (torso exercise)
One-arm KB Snatch 10x10 each side (55lb bell as fast as possible: sprint style) On Tuesday andThursday I do weight vest walks for 2 miles with 80-100lbs on. I also like to take exercise breaks during the day. For example, knock off pull-ups every hour or so during the day.
I do joint mobility drills every morning and some Indian club work to start the day. When the weather is better I like to do strength-cardio circuits in my backyard gym. One example is 5 rounds of Double KB Snatch 1x10-15 (62lb bells) Battling Rope Overhand Wave 1x30 seconds Sledgehammer Tire Strikes 1x15 each side (20lb hammer) Hanging Leg raise 1x10 Double KB Clean and Press 1x10 (62lb bells)
CS: Where do you get inspiration from for new training ideas?
MM: All over the place. Fortunately I am friends with a lot of great trainers and get excellent ideas all of the time from great coaches such as Jason Dolby, Peter Rouse, Mark Philippi, Dale Hartt, Steve Cotter, Ken Blackburn, Dylan Thomas, Charles Poliquin, and you and Sabina. I like to read a lot of training books and articles and right now I am enjoying some work by Brooks Kubik, Dan John, and Louie Simmons.
CS: Who is your Coach, and how did you go about finding them?
MM: I am not working with anyone right now but last year I worked with Mark Philippi for several months. Mark is a former strongman competitor and outstanding strength coach based in Vegas. His website is http://www.philippisportsinstitute.com I knew about him from seeing him on the Strongest Man contest many times. In 2007, I was looking for a venue to host a big workshop and I came across Mark's gym. I went on to do several workshops there. Each time I spoke with Mark, I was very impressed and knew I wanted to train with him at some point. In 2010 I decided to train with him for several months to learn more about his style for a DVD project. It was a great experience. I produced a DVD with Mark "Mastering The Power exercises" which is available at my site at www.mikemahler.com
CS: Hormone Optimization is a big topic that is steadily growing in prominence, as you see it, what is the importance of hormone optimization in strength training? And what are a few practical things we could do to achieve this?
MM: With regards to strength training hormones such as insulin, growth hormone, and testosterone are critical to workout recovery, physique composition goals, and getting stronger. A man with low levels of testosterone will have a very hard time building muscle and and strength as testosterone plays a tremendous role. If one lacks growth hormone, he or she will have a hard time recovering adequately. Hanging on too muscle and losing fat will also be difficult with poor growth hormone levels. Finally, if one has a condition called insulin resistance, fat loss will be extremely difficult. These are just a few examples. Other hormones such as DHT, Leptin, adrenaline, DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and pregnenelone are all important as well. A few simple things that people can do to optimize hormones are: 1. Improve quality and length of sleep. No less than seven hours and many will find eight to nine is necessary for optimal functioning. Especially if one is training and working hard or has a lot of stress. We release a lot of growth hormone and testosterone while we sleep so every night of poor sleep is another opportunity missed for a natural hormone boost. If one cannot sleep 8 hours at one shot, try seven hours and then get an hour nap in later in the day. 2. Eat the highest quality food you can afford. Make sure all food is organic and focus on getting high quality protein, low glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fat at each meal. Take a page from Ori Hofmekler author of the "Warrior Diet", and Byron Richards author of "Mastering Leptin" and take longer stretches between each meal such as 5-8 hours to improve leptin, insulin, and adrenaline sensitivity 3. Reduce stress by meditating, avoiding negative relationships, and going after a career that makes you excited about life. I cannot emphasize the importance of high quality relationships and fulfilling work for creating an optimal hormone profile.
CS: How did you get involved with hormone optimisation?
MM: I got really sick in 2002 and almost died from pneumonia. I lost 30bs of muscle and was also under a lot of financial stress. At one point I only had $7.00 left in my bank account. I was also in a stressful relationship which made matters worse. I felt terrible and while I was only 29 at the time I had no sex drive and had a hard time keeping a positive mood. I wanted to get healthier and feel better. I started doing a lot of research and came across information on the connection between hormones and feeling great. It became an obsession to learn more and it is something that to this day I still enjoy researching heavily and learning more about. You can never learn enough about the topic of hormone optimization. After a few years I learned how to dial my hormones naturally and have never felt better. I have a lot of energy each day and great zeal for life. It is a great feeling and one you want to hold on to when you achieve it.
CS: I know you are often on the road, teaching workshops, lecturing and the like, how do you fit in training, and what kind of strength training would you typically do?
MM: I generally do not train when I am on the road. Usually I am only gone for a few days and I like to come into each workshop as fresh as possible. I do joint mobility work daily and if I stay at a hotel with a pool I like to go swimming to loosen up. Beyond that, teaching the actual workshops is very physically laborious so I get a great workout in at each course.
CS: You’ve made quite a big impact on the fitness industry so far, what legacy would you like to leave behind you?
MM: Thanks a lot and I would like to leave the legacy of provoking thought. It is not important that everyone agrees with me but it is important that I provoke thought and get people thinking about how to improve their lives and the lives of other beings. I would also like people to apply what they learn with productive strength training to other areas of life that they want to improve. Don't just be tough in your workouts, be tough in your life, and use the discipline to thrive in other area. Finally I would like to see people associate strength with compassion. When we are compassionate to others we show great strength and quality of character.
CS: Who would be your top 5 Coaches or people in strength training that you would say to keep an eye open for ?
MM: There are so many but some of the best strength coaches include Mark Philippi, Peter Rouse Charles Poliquin, Louie Simmons, and Brooks Kubik. A great deal of knowledge can be learned from these five masters of the trade. Another great guy that people should check out is Carl Lanore. Carl is the host of the outstanding internet radio show: "Super Human Radio" The show is a wealth of information and people can check it out at www.superhumanradio.com
CS: Mike, great information as always, and look forward to seeing you in the UK running seminars later in 2011. Thank you.
MM: Thanks a lot and keep up the great work as well.
Mike Mahler's new book "What Self Help Guru's Should Be Telling You" is out in July, I'll certainly be grabbing a copy, you can check it out HERE
Mike Mahler is also running workshops in the UK in October with the crew at Fitter London. A great opporunity to train and learn from a world renowned strength coach. details are HERE
Mike Mahler Breaking It Down
Agree or disagree with Mike, he is thought provoking.
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