The direction of virtual / online training is evolving at FiStrong with specific directions for the key areas I coach.
Generally the online membership has provided programs in a rotating periodisation. From a well rounded healthy program to a hypertrophy based program to a strength based program. The membership site also includes many random 10 minute works outs but honestly, I see no value in these. I gave into peer pressure to provide random acts of exercise. Haha
The rotating program periodisation works great in the gym under my supervision but I acknowledge that’s not the way many online customers want to train.
Moving onwards, I will be providing training programs, or products in three categories.
Health and movement focused.
Fat loss focused.
These will be thorough programs with updates as and when I see the need to update any methods or refinement.
These will be one time only purchases rather than a subscription.
The current online membership content will continue to be available for a one time only purchase. The content of this membership amounts to over 5 years on continual training at this point. That’s quite a volume of structured programming and still very valuable, but it’s not the direction I want to continue with.
To access the library of online membership programs, it can be found under ‘services’ tab on the main website menu. Click the button below to be directed to this site.
At FitStrong we practice the skills of strength and mobility aka moving strong and well.
Oftentimes however, outsiders have a mixed thought about what ‘practicing strength’ means.
Is it bodybuilding, is lifting to the extreme to boast our achievements at the end of the week, is it like the stuff you see cross fit doing – or is it something else?
Let me briefly define how I would categorise the key three areas of strength training that we practice and who these forms are generally for.
This is what I recommend to people who feel weaker through lack of activity, busy lives and work etc. This could be described as rebuilding the strength we know we should have. The ability to do gardening all morning without feeling worn out. The ability to play with our kids, or grand children if we’re at that stage. The ability to be able to get down to the floor and back up without difficulty.
Restorative strength forms the basis of my over 55s classes that run two mornings a week and hopefully a new class midweek (early evening).
This service is also available on a one-to-one basis and is covered in some of my current shared small group sessions.
Restoring our natural strength and abilities is well in truly covered in customised MovNat programs.
For sports, special endeavours and explorations. When we have established a good level of strength and want to take it further.
This a service I provide on a one-to-one basis owing to the specialised nature of the programming.
This often occurs in small group training when it’s a common goal.
Strength is a wonderful tool, an attribute every human was born to possess. Strength can be used to transform someone physically, to lose unwanted body fat, increase fitness and flexibility, increase self esteem and learn valuable lifestyle habits.
Our Amazing 12 program is the service I run throughout the year in waves to help people meet the person they know they are. I know that sounds cheesy and full of hype – but it truely is an ‘awesome’ program with fantastic outcomes.
If you are curious to learn more about strength training for you, why not get in touch?
An undeniable truth of modern living is that we are all sitting much more everyday than our ancestors did.
Humans were never intended to spend so much time sitting still, resting in or being supported by chairs, seats and sofas. As evidenced by much research, prolonged sitting contributes to ill mental and physical health. An average day may see the average adult sit for 6.5 hours and adolescents 8.5 hours. (Research Link)
These figures are based on a study from 2011 to 2016. Our lives have changed significantly in the past year also, with home study and working from home being a new norm for many. The physical activity outcome from this change equates to even further potential for prolonged sitting.
But why is chair sitting such a problem?
Resting has for multiple millennia been carried out not in a chair, or a soft, embracing sofa lounge; but by resting on the ground. Yes, often with some support from cushions, bolsters or a tree! Humans are animals, designed to move, to thrive by being active and resting when needed. Modern humans however seems to live to rest.
Most humans get out of bed, rest to eat, lounge in a supportive chair in a vehicle to get to work and then possibly rest in another chair to work, only to head home to rest up on the sofa. Often people will include going to the gym to sit on machines to workout too! Not everyone works in a chair of course, but the trend is heading that way.
The problem for health is not just the lack of activity directly, but all the indirect affects or tolls on the body.
Increased blood pressure
Increased blood sugar
Increased body fat, especially around the waist
Reduced ocular muscle use
Increased risk of dementia, diabetes, heart disease, cancer
Reduced muscle tone, strength
Pain – neck, back, shoulder pain is common with long term sitters
Choosing the floor
Sitting on the ground is not as popular as it used to be in western cultures. Mostly it is looked down upon, as a poorer option to rest in. We no longer have to choose the floor as a resting position as we have money to buy lots of sitting furniture to sprinkle around the home. God forbid we have a space with nowhere to sit our behinds!
I have had a terrible history with back pain, shoulder pain, hip and knee problems that all culminated (with an outcome epiphany) when I took a family trip back to Ireland in 2016. After only a few hours onboard the plane my hips and lower back were aching. In the terminal of Singapore I spent 20 minutes stretching and doing my usual mobility routine which helped, but once I was onboard again, the pain and stiffness set in quickly. After my arrival all the stretches helped but the sudden change to my lifestyle for 4 weeks of sitting in cars, around dining tables catching up with people really made me realise how troublesome sitting in chairs was.
On my return I delved into the work of Katy Bowman and her passion for helping people regain their comfort with resting on the floor, going barefoot and other wholesome ideas. Since then I have moved away from my armchair and spend my rest time, lunch time, work, study and family movie time, sitting on my yoga mat on the floor. In doing so, my back and hips stay happier for longer.
Let’s look at a list of the benefits of sitting, resting on the floor.
Reduced hip tension. Prolonged chair sitting shortens the hip flexor muscles causing tight and stiff hips – a leading cause of lower back pain. When you sit on the floor, the extra moving uses and relaxes the hip flexors.
Encourages natural movement and stability. Without the support of a chair, sitting on the ground forces your body to engage trunk muscles for stabilisation and encourages joint articulation.
Increased mobility. Sitting on the floor is what I like to call moving rest. The frequent shifting of positions continuously uses and stretches muscles throughout the body, without being a workout.
Improved ‘get up’. Choosing to rest on the floor brings with it the great practice of getting to the ground and back up. Much study has been conducted into the importance of being able to move down to the floor and then return to standing.
Bed time. Think of the last time you stayed up too late to watch TV. Your cosy chair probably made it easier to stay up. When you’re resting on the floor and that becomes too tiring, your body is telling you it’s bed time.
Being totally honest, sitting on the floor can initially to a challenge, uncomfortable and will take a planed approach to get accustomed to it. Much like wearing a pair of your expensive, fancy shoes takes some wearing in time, it can take a wee bit of practice to get your body used to floor time. Of course, I advice you to choose wider, thinner, less restrictive shoes too, but that’s another topic for another day.
Here is a plan
Rather than jumping into selling all your furniture on gumtree and embracing your new floor based lifestyle, let’s just shoot for some reasonable efforts.
The basic plan below which I’ve imaginatively called The Floor Project is a serving suggestion to play with, to encourage your body to adapt to the demands of floor sitting before embracing the freedoms it will deliver. How quick you get used to sitting on the ground depends on your body, how much chair sitting you do and how much you practice.
You may need to keep your chair close by to assist getting to the floor if you are particularly stiff and maybe use a soft rug, a yoga mat and a cushion can be of use too, to help with comfort.
The sitting position options are numerous. From kneeling, squatting, sitting and lying prone, you have many variations to explore.
Don’t limit yourself to sticking with just one style, shift around and try as many options as you can. Be imaginative. Don’t be worried about what the names of the positions are, just move and be comfortable.
Here I’ve taken 15 different photographs to illustrate your options.
The Floor Project Plan
This plan is basic. You can of course experiment with how much daily floor time is reasonable and practical, but I encourage you to give this plan a go for at least the 4 weeks. Truth is, if you can spend 10 minutes on the floor and don’t feel the urge to get up, why not spend more time down there.
The caveat to this plan is what your body brings to the game. If your legs start to cramp and get pin and needles, well then, practice is up for the moment. Get up, move around and maybe tray again later. The times below are suggested ‘accumulations’ per day. A minute here and there adds up.
Aim for 5 to 10 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.
Aim for 10 to 15 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.
Aim for 15 to 20 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.
Aim for 20 to 30 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.
Weeks 5 onwards, I think you can handle more. Maybe you’re ready to move that armchair to the corner and spend your evening time resting on the floor.
If you are more willing, enthusiastic and able, shoot for more, but not to the point of discomfort, pain and such. Just fit in more ground time every day.
Not ready for full blown floor rest?
You can still easily modify your chair sitting positions. If getting to the floor is a trip too far for now, or, if you just have to use a chair at your work station, consider building in some of the above ground based positions on your chair.
You can sit cross legged, side sit, straddle sit and so much more. See below for a few demos. Any frequent change of posture is good. You really want to get out of fixed positions for lengthy periods of time – even 20 minutes in a static position is detrimental. Change is good.
Here is a fun experiment I had on the gym bench. Not quite a chair but close enough. Sure, you might get strange looks sitting at the cafe ‘on’ the chair… or you could sit on the ground. Your call.
Want to get in touch, share a story about getting down to the floor and staying there for a while? Please do, I’d love to hear from you.
There’s nothing like getting to exercise in the comfort of your own home… well, except for having access to a huge number of programs to follow as well.
The FitStrong Online Membership has just that, ‘years’ worth of programs to follow along with. I update programs every month and the membership has a library of short ‘workouts’ too. Check it out and if interested, it’s just $1 a day!!!
2020 taught us many things. Learning how easy it is to teach sessions online with our laptops and smart phones was one. Now with the click of a button we can meet virtually anywhere together to work through a training session.
Whether you need to give your kettlebells a good workout or you want to get to grips with body weight training, live online personal training is a great solution.
Get in touch below to get started.
An even simpler solution if you are happy to train alone without the live online interaction is EPT.
‘Email Personal Training’ provides a detailed program for you to follow. With an extensive video library and customised videos just for you, I can quickly compile a program to meet your needs, provided straight to your inbox.
The end of 2020 is almost upon us, and whether you’re glad to see the back of it or not, I plan on making 2021 a fantastic year.
2020 was to be the year I took take Animal Flow out to the parks. It was the year I was going to introduce MovNat, natural movement classes outdoors too, but alas, circumstances prevailed and these were shelved.
However, as the year ends I will be re-planning these awesome outdoor activities (in addition to the undercover sessions) and inviting everyone to try out.
For all who supported FitStrong this year, I sincerely thank you, from the bottom of heart. This has been a challenging year but above all, I believe many of us have learned the value of moving better for our health both physically and mentally.
How many times do you hear people say they’re killing time in the gym or whatever else? Yeah, I know it’s just an expression but the underlying statement implies time can be just thrown around like some spare change.
However, time can’t be earned back. If you’re in the gym just doing stuff, you’re not spending time on other valuable agenda items. You know, things like spending time with your family, tending to your home, garden, preparing healthy meals and attending to your career. Actually, much like the last two points there, you don’t just go to the kitchen or work to kill time. You follow particular tasks to accomplish specific outcomes… and that leads me swiftly to my point here.
Use your time in the gym to accomplish specific outcomes.
Do the work.
Three mighty fine rules to live by in the gym, the kitchen, in your chosen career and family time.
If your goal is to move better, practice that. If you goal is get stronger and more useful, practice that. If you want to [enter the goal], do what must be done.
Now, for many people, they might not know for sure what the practice should be to move better, stronger etc.
That’s where the willing professional comes into play and this is where I make my offer to finish off 2020.
Well, I could have been more imaginative in the title, but in keeping with the message, it says what it is – express.
Express FitStrong offers the chance to get straight to the point with the minimum fuss. In these 30 minute sessions we’ll warm up and prepare very specifically for the following session. If you’re coming in to work on lower back pain issues – we’ll focus directly on that. If you’re coming in to work on your deadlift strength, explosive power or metabolic conditioning, we’ll get straight to that.
Our slightly longer sessions do of course focus on goals, but we always include the ‘other stuff’ for a very well balanced routine, but let’s consider the wealth of time for some people and just get to the job at hand.
In keeping with the theme of 2020, this is available both virtually via a choice of video platforms or in person.
If you’re keen to jump onboard, get straight to the point with express training, email ASAP.
Does your fitness program embody the skills and strengths humans are designed to excel at?
It goes without saying that if you do train, it must address a need.
2. If you don’t move well, fix it and learn how to move better.
3. If you’re weaker than a child, fix it and learn how to move stronger.
4. If you get out of breath carrying in the weekend groceries, fix it and build up your work capacity.
5. If you realise that your latter years are fast approaching, get stronger and more agile now and be prepared.
6. Observe the frail. What are they missing, what have they missed and do you want to prevent the same for yourself?
So, are you training to prepare yourself for a healthy and long life? I am trying not to use the word exercise these days as I despair over what modern gym life has become. I really don’t care how big you want your guns to be, how much you bench press or how much weight you can lift off the floor. If it’s fun for you, then it’s good. But, it must add to life now and going into the future.
If you can pick up and wheel a barrow full of soil to the end of your garden and do it again until 3 cubic metres of soil is shifted – I nod my head in praise. If you can still walk and operate the next day, then I am impressed. You are fit.
If you can go play footy with the kids for an hour, before heading home to clean the car, touch up the paint on the coving and make dinner, yes, you too are fit.
If you can practice getting down to the floor with a weight, traverse along an overhead bar, squat up a 40kg weight, heave it to your shoulder and walk for 40 metres before practicing it all again for 20 minutes – then you are practicing being fitter for life. I commend you.
We Homo sapiens have progressed so well and so far in the past millennia only to have lost our ways in the past 50 years or so. Convenience was never meant to take over so much in our lives but it has. We don’t have to or need to be physical any more, not to the extent of our grandparents and those before them.
However, if we all spent a little bit of time performing natural, maybe task orientated movements, we would be using our bodies as they evolved to be used. You can see the evidence of the contrary all around us. Obesity, terrible postures, over reliance on tech, poor movement and postures. As much as humans are living for longer, they are not necessarily doing so with longevity and life long health.
So, here’s a healthy real-world work-it-out session to have a go at:
Warm up with a back to basics movement preparation session.
2. Carry out a round of the following:
Carry a weight in front of you for 20 steps.
Put it down and pull back up to your left shoulder and walk 10 steps.
Put the weight down and sit down without using your hands.
Get back up without using your hands.
Repeat the routine but carry the weight back on your right shoulder this time.
Maybe run through this again, faster, or more efficiently!
3. Carry out this routine:
Crawl for 10 steps on your hands and feet.
Crawl back with an inverted crawl and then stand up.
Hurdle step over a weight or a chair then step under a low hanging obstacle.
Step back under the low hanging obstacle and either hurdle step or jump safely over the weight or chair.
Repeat one more time.
Maybe run through this again, faster, or more efficiently!
4. Take a good rest and reflect on how simple this was but how much you worked at doing very natural human movements.
The human body can develop great strength and abilities to specialise in sports. if you’re not into specialised sports you still owe it to yourself to be physically capable and resilient for years. You were meant to move and are meant to move for a very long time.
If you want to practice living strong and fit in this style, please do get in touch. I will be developing personalised real-world routines and creating set routines soon to share with you all.
Earlier this year I spent a few weeks and posts describing a variety of ‘get up’ exercises. For some, the act of exercising getting off the floor and back down again might seem odd, a waste of time (“what muscles does that work bro”?) or best directed to the circus performers, but really, you never know when it’ll come in handy.
Here’s an example. Let’s call our subject Jim. After much waiting, Jim finally got his triple hernia operation. I must add, his hernias arose from his employment demands, not the gym. Anyhoo, surgery went very well but Jim learned very quickly post surgery how the get up technique applied to getting out of bed. After having your abdominal wall poked around at by a surgeon, crunching up and getting out of bed is not a good choice. Using your hip to roll over to get up out of bed made perfect sense.
Back to the Challenge
If you are a kettlebell fan, you’ll probably be aware of the Turkish Get Up (aka TGU) but there many other forms of get up drills to help you develop mobility, strength, ‘fitness’ and to learn how to operate the one piece of hardware you’ll own until death – your body. If get ups do something great, it’s just that – building physical autonomy.
Over October I’ll be dedicating 10 to 20 minutes daily to practicing the following get ups:
To get going, here’s todays 10 minutes of Turkish Get Ups
Want to join in?
Study each or any of the above get ups and practice for 10 minutes a day. If that’s just Monday to Friday, sure that’s fine too. You’ll gain many benefits from frequent practice. Not killing yourself with huge efforts mind you, just simple, step by step practice.
You can still do your other training of course. Feel free to share your challenge on your own facebook etc but please use #fitstronggetups or even just post my sites link fitstrong.com.au