Monday, 28 November 2011

But Seriously, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

By Coach Cj Swaby

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


by Sabina Skala

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

Friday, 18 November 2011

Why Negative Thinking Works

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.