FREE Week of Training

To promote, celebrate and demonstrate a little bit of the new FitStrong Online Membership programming concept, I’ve got a FREE week of training up for grabs.

The main goal of the membership is to offer a solution to people who are stuck for time and need something to follow to stay on top of their health and fitness.

While 10, 20 or 30 minutes of exercise isn’t going to set you up to break any world records, it is going to give you something structured to follow. Compare that with doing nothing and feeling crappy, stiff and weak!

The FREE week of training focuses on 3 essential movements that cover a lot of ground.

Check it out below.

Just click the link ===> Free Weeks Training #thrivein10

The video above talks you through the program and demonstrates the key moves. 

 

If you’re keen to learn more about the membership, please follow this link => FitStrong Online Membership

The FitStrong Online Membership is HERE!

fitstrong membership subscriptionAnd it’s finally here.

The FitStrong Online Membership is just about ready to launch into the world.

But, what is it all about?

The membership is for anyone who:

  • Wants to get less stiff and achy
  • Wants to get stronger for life
  • Is stuck for time
  • Cant always get to a gym
  • Likes to exercise at home
  • Wants to be told what to do, when to do it and how hard
  • Enjoys bodyweight and Kettlebell training

Do you want a simple way to get some ‘you-time’, to get taught how to exercise, with programs you can do anywhere from as little as 10 minutes a day with maybe a couple of kettlebells and a bit of space to move around.

Not everyone who wants to make exercise a frequent part of their life gets the option to visit a personal trainer, or exercise classes at their local gym.

Time restrictions, not knowing what to do in the gym, financial budget and wanting to spend time with family before and after work all make up some of the reasons why going to a gym is not practical for a lot of people. If you do get to the gym though, perhaps deciding what to do is also a drain – one more thing to add to the to-do list!

I’ve been a personal trainer since 1997 and what I’ve experienced as any trainer would tell you, is that session cancellations are all too frequent. Why? Life happens and the client can’t make the appointment or the class.

I love and thrive working face-to-face with people but I also totally respect and understand that life does happen. Kids do get sick, we often have to hang around waiting for the plumber to come fix the drain or the mobile mechanic to come fix the car or you get stuck at work…

So, let’s do away with appointments or having to figure out what to do at the gym if you make it there. Let’s keep your personal trainer and exercise program in your pocket on your smart phone, your computer or even on your smart TV!

The FitStrong Online Membership could be a powerful asset in your life.

The video below shows a virtual tour of the site right now. There are a few finishing touches to make, but for all intent and purposes, it’s ready to rock ‘n roll.

No sales pitch, just a tour.

 

Got any thoughts or questions? Interested to invest just $1 a day on your health, strength and fitness?? Get me below.

How to Incorporate High Intensity Training into Your Week

In part 1 last week [LINK] I talked about how research is finding the commonly used HIIT model of training is resulting in more negative results on our health. Burn out, injuries, overtraining and poor adherence make it unsustainable.

I introduced a new approach labelled High Intensity Repeat Training.

Let’s jump into Part 2.

Here’s a little fitness map I’ve made that illustrates all the ‘stuff’ we should include regularly.

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 1.04.21 pm

The main categories include:

  • strength training
  • movement practice
  • cardio.
  • nutrition
  • recovery

There is no one item more important than the other, although I am starting to believe that sleep quality and health overrides everything else.

Of this list, the vast bulk of training is the foundation, the aerobic, easy to moderate stuff. Walking, gentle cycling, housework and gardening. The aerobic cardiovascular development is based on having individuals work within their aerobic threshold as apposed to bouncing off their anaerobic zone during HIIT. Aerobic threshold is defined as the intensity just before the beginning of the accumulation of hydrogen in the body, at an intensity where our body can handle the stress put upon it and use oxygen to create more energy and clear away bi-products of the effort.

Can you recall working out so hard you got a ‘stitch’ pain in your side? That’s the build up hydrogen ions from such high effort that the body can’t clear it quick enough. It’s not sustainable.

An ideal aerobic zone is described by Dr Maffetone as 180 – your age. This is otherwise known as the maximum aerobic function heart rate (MAF HR).

Note: You can go to Maffetone’s website for a more detailed way to determine your MAF HR based on your age, health, and activity level.

Now, let’s get to weekly ideals

Health experts recommend 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily or 3 ½ accumulation per week. This is where you should spend the bulk of your exercise effort. This daily 30 minutes can be seen repeated by health bodies around the world. It’s not the maximum, it’s optimal.

Strength is an important function of being an able bodied human, autonomous throughout life to undertake physical tasks and challenges. Who wants to live frail and weak?

When we strength train, our bodies recover and adapt (keeping a long story short) but recover too long and we regress. We failed to adapt. With recovery rates and regressions in mind, an average adult should aim to strength train twice to three times over a week. Think Monday and Thursday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. And yes, you can strength train and perform aerobic activities in one day. You’ll not day. You might get a little tired, but your body will thrive with recovery.

Mobility is the fountain of youth in terms of maintaining healthy movement (yup, even including healthy bowel movements too). We sit, we lie down and we naturally stiffen up a little. To stay on top of mobility, daily practice is prescribed by the worlds leading experts in movement skills. This might mean just 5 to 10 minutes daily of practicing some mobility moves or appropriate stretches.

Sleep. Despite the claims of some people, a body does need 7 to 8 hours sleep at night to promote hormone function for recovery, rejuvenation, organ and muscle recovery and function and brain health.

Nutrition is made out to be confusing. At its simplest, we as humans need daily protein, vegetables, natural sources of carbohydrate, natural fats and water. The exact amounts I’ll not get into here. Where it gets confusing is when people try to fast track their goals, seek out miracle drinks, potions or start to follow extreme guidelines including the removal of complete food groups. If we follow a mostly balanced diet of mostly the ‘stuff’ I mentioned above, most of the time; we’ll be okay.

HIIT. Ah finally. How much is needed if any? Some might not like the following guideline so if I hurt your feelings, suck it up, embrace a fresh outlook and try it to see what happens.

If, and only if, you are able to:

  1. accumulate 3 ½ hours of aerobic activity in the MAF HR (180-age)
  2. sleep every day for 7 to 8 hours
  3. eat a mostly balanced diet
  4. strength train twice a week
  5. practice daily mobility / flexibility …

… then and only then can your body be subjected to the stresses of HIIT training that should take no longer than 5 to 10 minutes.

And here’s a serving suggestions for just that.

Option 1: 30 secs of high effort followed by 30 secs rest x 5

Option 2: 10 secs of high effort followed by 50 secs rest x 10

Option 3: 20 secs of high effort followed by 40 secs of rest x 5-10

You’ll notice option 2 has plenty of rest. This protocol is the hidden gem (well, not any more as i’ve just shared it… oops)

Performing at high effort, your goal is to sustain high quality efforts. Answer me this. If you are performing a high effort followed by short rest, how well will you perform the following high efforts? Will there be a drop in forms, in effort? Is that the goal? Is the goal to repeat high effort or just to repeat feeling terrible?

High Intensity REPEAT Training

Now it’s going to get juicy as I take you into the new world of HIRT.

The best athletes do not do HIIT as you see in gyms and bootcamps. Yes, they do perform high effort training, but if you observe their recovery, it is programmed to allow the athlete to perform repetitively, with the goal of finding the sweetest spot of high performance. Injury rate is reduced too with the sustainable high efforts paired with generous rests.

This is nothing new and was in fact around in the 90s but fell out of vogue due to the perceived sexiness of crushing oneself in front of others for the glory, pride and overcoming feeling terrible.

Look, I’ve been on both sides of this paradigm. The first time I certified with StrongFirst (RKC) I was killing myself with kettlebell swings in the older HIIT style. Yes I did get fitter but also tweaked muscles frequently. As I prepare once again for recertification I’ll be following the HIRT style of training that in fact clients followed last January (2018). It was common to see ladies improve their swing from 12 to 20kg to 24 to 32kg in just an 8 week program.

This too was following just 10 minutes a week.

As a guideline, what we followed was this:

  • 7 swings with a heavy weight followed by at least 50 secs recovery.
  • Pulse levels would increase to approx. 180 – age by the end of each swing set.
  • Recovery was based on allowing the pulse to return to 180 – age – 20
  • As pulse failed to hit 180 – age, if it wasn’t due to fatigue, the weight was increased.

You could try this with any exercise you are competent in. You must not fear the weight or the tool. Just commit, rest, repeat for 5 to 10 minutes and leave it for another 5 to 7 days.

The conclusion

I don’t know truely know when and where the idea started that we must suffer to develop healthy fitness. Science tells us it’s not a valid method to improve healthy fitness. The media sensationalise high effort and reward.

I personally embrace new findings and new or improved ways to optimise my fitness and strength performance and I’ll gladly say goodbye to crushing myself and risking injury if I really don’t need to.

What do you think?

What’s your action point now?

Jamie

How to Press a 40kg Kettlebell

This is a story of how one FitStrong client progressed from pressing a 28kg kettlebell well, a 32kg okay to pressing a 40kg overhead on each arm with one simple program.

Pressing or placing heavy stuff overhead has been a feat of strength favoured by many a strongman of yesteryear. Oddly enough it’s not just the twirly moustached gent that thrives off of pressing big bars and kettlebells and other odd objects. I see lots of every day people who love the feeling of pressing things over their head in what you could call a press of victory over gravity and iron kilograms.

This year so far we’ve had many ladies move up to larger kettlebells in their programs whilst others simply got more comfortable with their current presses – another valuable note of progress – but one chap started the year with a notable goal in particular.

TO PRESS THE 40KG KETTLEBELL!

IMG_5517

I like to stay on top of peoples goals and whilst most don’t have any movement specific goals, I occasionally get interesting requests, like this one. “I want to press the 40kg kettlebell by the end of the year Jamie”.

I’ve never been great at pressing. A combination of long, skinny arms, former injuries from bike crashes holding me back and a natural propensity for endurance over max strength has left me with a humbling 32kg kettlebell press. Not terrible but, meh!

Anyhoo, I was stuck at pressing the 24kg for a very long time until I came across a program concept (that I have since run with on many other strength programs) that allowed me to finally press the 28kg with comfort and the 32kg with a bit of a grind.

The concept: TO EXPAND THE COMFORT ZONE GRADUALLY

Now, I’ve written about this concept before but because it keep delivering for not just me, but for other people with totally different make ups, it’s validity keeps growing stronger.

The key to making this program successful is in creeping up volume very, very slightly over the training cycle.

Key notes:

  1. Progress takes a forward, forward, back waved approach. We add a rep, add a rep then back step to a previously completed stage – it’ll make sense below but in essence we sneak the volume up a little and before it gets noticed as a stress, we back off to a comfortable level we’ve completed before.
  2. The program is very specialised and didn’t leave much room for progressing other lifts but the goal was to improve the press, nothing else.
  3. We train three times a week, with active rest days in between to work on mobility and other maintain other qualities.
  4. The programs progression can be overridden by biofeedback. If the body felt a bit battered or tight, we back off to a simpler days training. (You’ll see that below when we cut volume down to 24 total reps a couple of times)

Program rules:

  • Start the program with a weight that can be pressed for 5 reps, or 70% of your max. 1 rep press.
  • Always warm up each session with a thorough mobility routine like Original Strength, some crawling, farmers carries and a few swings.
  • Ensure that each clean before your press is great. The better the clean, the better the press.
  • Perform up to 20 sets.
  • Rest 1 minute between sets or longer once the sets get longer.

The progression we used exactly is copy and pasted below.

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 7.19.45 am

To be clear about what the above means, let’s take session #5, 2223 x 5. This means, press x 2, rest, 2, rest, 2, rest, 3, rest, repeat the cycle again for another 4 cycles for a total of 20 sets, equalling 45 presses.  Got it?

I’m not saying this exact layout will work for everyone, but I believe in the concept, the waviness of volume and expanding the comfort zone to achieve new layers of strength.

At the end of this program, the client rested a few days with active recovery before retesting his weights. The 40kg pressed up smoothly.

If you’re interested in furthering your strength with bespoke and interesting programs, please do get in touch.

 

Are You HIITing
Yourself too much?

High Intensity Interval Training

Doing you more harm than good?

 

Part 1

Studies show hard training sessions quickly improve athletic performance, but if they come with an injury rate of 50 percent would you still do them?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT for short) has been a mainstay of training programs and systems for only a short period of time. 30 years might sound like a long time, but in an industry, it’s just a snapshot of time.

Studies time and time again show that HIIT protocols do indeed improve athletic performance. HIIT can be described as performing short 10-30 seconds high efforts followed by a short recovery (10-60 seconds) before repeating for up to 8 to 10 total efforts. The high effort would be in the range of 90% of your VO2 max. VO2 max is the maximum effort you can sustain before going red line and you stop using oxygen to create fuel. You instead go into a zone of using other short lived fuels like creatine and lactate.

However, what most studies do not report is that the period we can sustain such training sessions is short, like 4 to 6 weeks. Continue to flog yourself much further and injury rates escalate as do over training risks.

For athletes following a professionally designed program, a period of time would include HIIT training but only during a peaking phase of 4 to 6 weeks of a training program leading up to competition. They do not follow HIIT all year round.

As Doctor Phil Maffetone wrote:
“Anaerobic function creates higher levels of physical and biochemical stress, decreases immune function and muscle repair, increases inflammation, increases the risk of muscle injury and impairs fat-burning. These conditions are also associated with poor (or a lack of) recovery, and are common components of and contributors to the overtraining syndrome.”

So why does the fitness industry keep banging away at the idea that you gotta keep banging away at yourself??

Because HIIT is sexy?
Because high effort is equated to suffering and deserved favourable outcomes??
Because our parents and grandparents suffered to provide for us???

Who knows where the western notion of high effort, suffered and reward stems from, but it is very much a western attraction to fitness. Yes, other cultures follow rights of passage, coming of age rituals, but it’s not an every-day thing!

As I continue, I want to throw out these reality checks for you to ponder:

  1. Every day exercise is a driver to good, better and optimal health.
  2. Athletic Sport performance is NOT about health. It’s about doing everything that must be done to out perform the competition.

When I raced my bike in the 90s, I didn’t race and nor did my colleagues or competition race to improve our health. We trained to race, to do better than every else. The same can be said for most other sports too.

High intensity interval training used too much is not about health, it’s about taking physical performance to its highest potential, regardless of impact on health.

Here’s a glimpse of a couple of studies:
The British Journal of Sports Medicine published the results of a short-term training program, designed by health professionals to reduce running injuries that still resulted in a 30 percent injury rate (Taunton et al., 2013).
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning published a study that showed the popular and notoriously high-intensity sport of CrossFit has an estimated injury rate of 73.5 percent with 7 percent of these injuries requiring surgery (Hak et al., 2013).

One thing researchers may agree on is that they don’t really know what particular exercise effort is best for a given athlete. While the concept of individuality is an accepted approach to programming, it’s not used to a valuable capacity.
The media will continue to present snippets of research, telling us the new solution is here, and people will jump on board the coolaid train, only to risk increased injury and ill health.
Where does higher effort fit into the fitness equation?

Next week I’ll share how a week should look, driven by non-agenda health leaders, recovery and regression from effort rates.

Until then, what do you think? Do you look first at when you’ll do your HIIT or is it something you’ll add once all other areas have been covered?

Let me know.

Jamie

 

 

Fitness Confusion!

The all new ‘HIIT Keto Yoga Spartan Spandex Warrior Training Program’ is WHAT YOU NEED RIGHT NOW!

Eeeeek!

Okay, a slight over exaggeration there but yikes, doesn’t the fitness industry seem like a field of land mines to battle through?
Who can blame those who just run screaming for their exercise.

And you know what, I am probably part to blame too. I get such a short time with each person per week that it can be hard to put across the honest truth about what a balanced exercise program should look like.

I have spent quite some time this winter putting together a package that maps fitness. It’s not quite ready to share just yet but it’ll be a nice Christmas present to everyone once it’s done.

In short, it outlines the shape of an average weeks complete fitness plan. It’s not for the extremists or specialised sports people. It’s aimed for all of us who want to use exercise to enhance out health, strength and fitness now and going into the future.   

In the video below I talk, yes rather excitedly about this.
This was in response to a question from a member who is time-stuck and wanted to use high intensity training in what time they had in their stress-filled week.
What they wanted to do and what they should do couldn’t be further apart.

 

It does not actually matter how you get in your aerobic training or strength training. Find what you enjoy and do it. Walk, cycle, roller skate, climb, hike – just find what you enjoy and can sustain and repeat.

At the gym these days we practice strength training with bodyweight movements, kettlebells, some barbell work and for others, they get to use the parallette bars too as well as the more progressive bodyweight system called Animal Flow.

Both Kettlebell Training and Animal Flow training have proven their value but what often holds people back is not knowing how to use them.

Heading into Summer, I’m looking to add a few people to the roster and to make on-boarding easier, I’ve set up times for people to learn how to use Kettlebells and the Animal Flow system.

If you or someone else is interested in learning either of these, follow the links below to check out dates and times.

Animal Flow Introductory Classes (facebook link)

-> https://www.facebook.com/events/254622681922592/

Mondays from 5th November at 10am to 10:45am 
Fridays from 9th November at 9am to 9:45am


 

The Kettlebell is practically a complete gym in your hand that allows its user to transition smoothly from one movement to another cutting out time and hassle… providing you know how to safely use it.

I’ve been using and teaching Kettlebell Training since 2009 and it’s transformed my health and fitness and my outlook on strength and fitness training.

Over a series of classes, learn the Swing, Squat, the Press and other great kettlebell movements.

I teach in the Hardstyle method as taught by the RKC and StrongFirst with whom I certified in 2012. The method of teaching is second to none, simple and effective.

The course will include online homework with videos and lectures to compliment the ’in-gym’ training.

Each weeks lessons will be offered on a choice of a:

Wednesdays at 5:45am or the Saturday at 10am.
*** Starting Wednesday 7th ***

Link => https://www.facebook.com/events/2227912690783686/

Note: this beginner course is set-up to allow for a permanent class to continue from January 2019.

$20 per class or $100 for the complete 6 week course per participant.


 

Finally…

My number one goal as a trainer is to help people. It really is that simple.

Whether you want to move better, get stronger, learn more about healthy nutrition habits or you want to know how to use kettlebells properly… I want to help.

I think I do a pretty good job too but your feedback is always welcomed.

To reach out to more people who might like what we do here, I’d love your help by referring friends, family or other business owners.

In particular, I am very keen to work with small groups, 2 to 3 people who would enjoy exercising together.

To thank and reward you for any successful referrals I want to give you a lovely dinner voucher for our local Portabella Restaurant or if you’d prefer, a Westfield voucher.

To refer someone, please direct them to this website to have a look around. Once there, it’s really easy to get in touch with me directly, pretty much from any page.

https://fitstrong.com.au/

Thank you for spending time reading my thoughts today.

Any suggestions – just shout 🙂

Jamie

20 Minute Freestyle Challenge

Hey ya’ll. photo-output

So, it’s a sunny Brisbane afternoon, the pool is glistening under a late spring sub-tropical sun and the glass of Johnnie Walker Swing scotch is tasting mighty tasty, but… I must interrupt my moment of bliss with a quick mention of the workout I like to throw out when I want to get stuff done in between actual planned days.

It’s a kind of snack between meals that serves as a great opportunity to practice whatever the heck I want to practice.

So here’s the game plan rules.

  1. Choose a light weight, an 18kg kettlebell in my case.
  2. Pick it up and keep ‘er lit for 20 minutes non-stop.

That’s it folks!

With no particular plan of attack or whiteboard emblazoned with exercises, just move non-stop for 20 minutes between each exercise, any exercises you know and want to work on.

The caveat; weight must not rest on the floor at any time.

I typically rotate between left and right arm and work through a list of:

  • Swings
  • Cleans
  • Snatches
  • Windmills
  • Turkish Get Up ‘downs’
  • Floor Presses
  • Presses
  • Push Presses
  • Jerks
  • The Bent Press
  • Rows
  • Bottom Up carries
  • Other Carries
  • Halo
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Single Leg Deadlift variations
  • Prying Goblet Squats

Darn, the list could go on.

This is just a workout but serves as a great opportunity to put in a practice session with a nice strength endurance outcome.

You could use a sandbag, a barbell, a medicine ball, bodyweight movements (which is actually the hardest option) and you can even use a concrete block or a sledge hammer too!

Have a go sometime you feel the urge to workout and let me know what you did.

Thrive to your Final Day

What a title – how dramatic! But if I had to sum up my message with just 5 words, that’ll do it.

Today I want to touch on a subject many cry away from completely or conversely, drive headlong straight into but crash and burn!

Toughness

In a time when we can utilise tech to do lots of the hard for us, when we can have food delivered to our doors within 15 to 30 minutes, when we can outsource many of the mundane physical tasks to others and again, technology, you can see how it could be easy to say it’s not our fault – the system allows us to become lazy.

So much of modern living has done away with having to deal with discomfort. Physical occupations and past times that we had to do up until the 1970s and 80s have now largely been made redundant. You can easily spend a week, a month or many months not having to undertake anything remotely physically demanding or causing discomfort.

You think that’s a good thing? Think again.

For the most-part, most people for most of the time want to avoid physical discomfort. What happens then when a situation arrises that demands just that from us…. gulp!

I am not implying that you should go out of your way to make everything difficult. Don’t. Enjoy the luxury of modern living but at the same time, practice toughening up a little bit.

How?

As you’d expect, my response as a trainer is, well, ‘exercise’. Whilst a lot of our time in the FitStrong gym is dedicated to learning and practicing great technique, there are times too when we program pushing the boundaries of comfort, expanding our comfort zones. This in fact forms the premise of how we progress. We have a session of light stress, a session of medium stress, then a session where we stretch the comfort zone.

Here’s a quick story of member, Michael, who is a champion of toughening up and thriving.

 

Final thought. If we spend our lives wrapping up in proverbial bubble wrap to avoid discomfort and physical effort we will end up frail, weak and feeble in our later years. If we spend a little time every week getting a little out of breath, lifting some weights and moving around to develop better mobility and agility, we will thrive to our final days.

Got any thoughts?

10 Minute Circuit

Let’s be honest, many of us claim to to have very little time to exercise.

I get it. I’m a parent, a stressed out business owner who’s job it is to exercise and lead by example but here’s the thing. Life happens.

IMG_4798

Cute and guilty!

We might start the day with good intentions but then it happens. The upsetting email, the unexpected tax bill, the dog eats your daughters school hat on the last term in her current school (yes, that happened this week) and the last thing we want to do is exercise – “where’s the wine”?

But, if we’re pressuring ourselves into the notion that we’ve got to go to the gym and do a 45 to 60 minutes training session, guess again.

Let’s consider exercise as life credits. Every moment we carry out intentional and even non-intentional exercise, we are adding to our bank of health and vitality.

If all you have is 10 minutes, use it.

If all you have is 5 minutes twice a day, take it and use it.

Don’t have a kettlebell, dumbbell or a gym at hand – who cares. Just grab whatever you have that you could consider a weight.

Let’s get creative. Here’s a list of potential makeshift workout equipment:

  • heavy ball
  • backpack
  • a wooden log
  • a kids toy-box
  • a toddler, preferably your own
  • a big stone, or brick
  • a sledge hammer!
  • just your body weight.

Here’s a demonstration that actually targets all the essential movements.

 

Final thought. Ten minutes is not a long time that most of us can find during the day. Some people even report that once they get going, they actually find more time… who’d have thought.

A whole training program can actually be built upon the premise of 10 minute blocks, in fact, I’ve made one.

If you are ready to jump into a plan that’s made of a menu of 10 minutes sections, check out this first program I’ve just released. Now, this program is a fusion of kettlebell and bodyweight training, but a purely ‘household’ program will follow soon. If you are interested in that idea, just get back to me with the contact form below.

2018 Spring Program

Just click the image

Thanks for reading.

Jamie