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.
Every single one of us has the capacity to change, to transform, to lose body fat and reshape our physique, strength and fitness. But why do so many people struggle to get the results despite working SO hard in the gym?
The Amazing 12 Program.
Unlike traditional fitness programs that do not deliver transformative physique and performance change (and then blame you or your genetics when they don’t), the Amazing 12 system optimises exercise techniques, the programming and nutrition, using a groundbreaking artificial intelligence version of the program creator Paul McIlroy. This is how certified trainers around the world deliver outstanding results for clients as if Paul himself was running the sessions!
The Old Way – Train to Failure
Most Transformation Programs:
❌No pain, no gain mentality – Leads to overtraining, injuries, and starting over.
❌ Training to failure – Tells your central nervous system that you’re a threat to yourself.
❌ Lifting to your max too often – This only finds limits, it doesn’t raise them.
❌ Success is directly proportional to effort – It’s not!
❌ You lack the will to succeed – You can’t use ‘will’ to change wrong to right.
❌ You’re not taking the right supplements – Success doesn’t come in a tub or a tablet.
❌ Push your limits until you break through them – You end up breaking yourself.
Our Way – Expand Your Comfort Zone
The Amazing 12 Program:
✅ Any pain = no gain – There is a direct correlation between time spent training in comfort and long term productivity.
✅ Train Sub-maximally – Expand your comfort zone and your max will take care of itself.
✅ Success is directly proportional to numeric progress – not the discomfort of a single workout.
✅ Unlock your amazing strength – It’s already there, you’re not building anything new.
✅ No need to EVER peak – Expand your comfort zone until it swallows your previous limits.
How do we build and maintain amazing transformations?
The Three key Optimisations
#1 Optimisation of Exercise Technique
You cannot sustain progress if your training injures you. Injuries will slow you down, impair your recovery or require time off. As a result you lose what you’ve gained, training momentum and motivation – hardly a recipe for success.
If you continue to still make the same technical errors (which are often extremely subtle), you just get hurt again. The cycle continues.
Rapid gains present with consistent safety, not off-technique, intensity and injury.
Strength and safety should be synonymous and optimal exercise technique should increase both strength and safety simultaneously.
As you progress, your technique must get refined to maximise strength acquisition – and that requires mastery of numerous overlooked subtleties.
We’ll show you step-by-step the optimal (and required) techniques and their subtleties to master each exercise and minimise risk of injury even as you progress through higher and higher strength levels.
#2 Optimisation of Nutrition
You also cannot progress if you find yourself in a battle with yourself (your inner superhero). The food you eat is very personal and if you battle through hunger or if your body craves something that’s missing, you will suffer needlessly. And then you’ll stop and eat what you want.
The stakes are higher when it comes to fitness programs because the diet versus exercise debate has traditionally accepted the view that “It’s 90% diet.” You’ll have to accept (often painful) limits or else you won’t progress.
But this is just the nutritional program equivalent of saying “No pain, no gain.”
We’ll teach you how the reality is this: “It’s 90% training.” At least when we are talking about a body TRANSFORMATION (more about this later).
Nutrition is crucial, BUT…it doesn’t have to be a battle! (In fact, it’s important that it’s not. The last thing you want is your central nervous system deciding you’re a threat and start to push back physiologically.)
We’ll show you how to optimise nutrition to avoid a battle and to get the transformations needed
#3 Exercise Programming
Great technique and great nutrition are not enough. For optimal results, you need optimal programming. And since the vast majority of people do not get results (and most fitness coaches fail to deliver results for their clients), something is clearly broken with fitness programming.
The problem is too many people think in terms of sets, reps, days … but 3×10, 6×6, 5×5, 8×8, 10×10, anything x anything, does not constitute effective strength / size programming.
And this problem is magnified because these sets and reps are geared to the accepted view of “no pain, no gain.” Breaking through your pain sounds great because we like the idea of pushing our limits and taking ourselves absolutely to the edge. It’s inspiring talk, but it’s no way to get long term results and is physiologically counter-productive.
The reality is “Any pain, no gain.”
Don’t speak the language of pop culture, speak the language your central nervous system understands. You have to discreetly hack the central nervous system to allow you to EXPAND the boundaries of your comfort zone. Only your inner superhero can do that and you have to know how it reasons to convince it. Once you do, you will perpetuate progress and your comfort zone will envelop your previous limits and make you stronger while transforming your physique.
If any or all of this strikes a chord with you, makes the hairs stand up, gets you excited and sets off your spidey senses, get in touch to see about signing up to the next wave of the Amazing 12 Brisbane.
A successful transformation program is only partly about Weight Loss
In the health and fitness industry, the area of TRANSFORMATIONS can refer to many outcomes. Mostly though, people will associate a ‘transformation’ program as exclusively a ‘weight loss’ program.
It’s a commonly held notion also that losing weight alone will result in satisfaction and a ‘happy’ outcome!
But, does just losing weight really equal happiness, satisfaction, complete wellness or a sense of purpose?
How about strength, fitness and physical confidence – will losing weight alone make you feel stronger, fitter and more competent?
Are these even factors that are considered part of the outcome of most weight loss programs?
Being totally honest, almost anyone can lose weight by not exercising and starving themselves or at best, following a well balanced, healthier eating lifestyle. I’m not discounting weight loss by any kind of process, as it can still be challenging and rewarding. If you really want to go under the knife – that is your choice!
However, and here is my professional point of view; losing weight to look leaner is only ONE part of a greater package of what a transformation program can be.
Losing unwanted body fat, feeling great, moving better, feeling strong and more capable and resilient against all that life can throw at you – I believe these are the ingredients of a real transformation. But, just losing weight from calorie restriction is not going to result in that. You can’t diet yourself strong.
In a recent study, people were assessed following popular intermittent fasting protocols. I do like intermittent fasting, but I also like to exercise. These people fasted only. No exercise. While both lost fat weight, both lost muscle tissue. What’s the problem? Muscle is the engine that continues to burn calories. If we lose muscle, we lose the capacity to continue to burn calories, therefor requiring us to consume fewer calories – or food. Who wants that? Food is great.
A successful transformation program will include healthy, sustainable eating habits – and real food – along with a well designed exercise program that addresses aerobic fitness and strength, safely.
Being fitter, stronger, happier in our skin is being in a position of celebrating our lives, our lifestyles and looking forward to tomorrow – who really wouldn’t want that?
Summing it up:
Performance is not something often considered when looking for or engaging in a transformation program, but maybe if you consider the points I raised above, maybe you do want to move better, stronger and feel better in your own skin.
If you’re nodding your head and thinking ‘Yes, I want to be fitter, stronger and happier with my physique’, let’s talk.
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?
I’ve been a health and fitness professional since 1997.
In that time I’ve ventured from regular run-of-the-mill gym activities like group exercise, circuit training and centre management. I new that wasn’t what I was looking for or destined for.
Moving to Australia opened doors to explore other areas, especially areas operated in by the most successful trainers. Not financially, but in terms of results, health and physical gains.
Kettlebells and the teachings of Pavel Tsatsouline provided underpinning principles of strength. OrIginal Strength taught how movement can be restored. MovNat inspired us to contextualise our training to reflect on life’s needs.
Whilst I know I can help people feel great with movement and strength, one missing link always bugged me though.
Feeling good feels good, and moving better is a part of that. But I have to recognise that many people want to feel better about how they perform as well as how they ‘feel in their own skin and clothes’, and this includes what they see in the mirror. Some people will tell me they don’t see who they really are.
Enter the Mentor from Centaur
For years I’ve admired my fellow Irishman Paul McIlroy who runs an old-school gym called Centaur – the centre for all things strength and conditioning, creating super strong individuals – and his transformation program, The Amazing 12.
Two months ago I met with his program director via zoom and got the ball rolling to become a certified Amazing 12 coach. After a deep study block of 3 weeks (80 hours) I am now certified to operate and coach the Amazing 12 here in Brisbane. The first for our city and state and only the 3rd to become certified in Australia!
The Amazing 12 offers unprecedented body transformations in a surprisingly short period of time (12 weeks) every time, no matter your age, condition, or genetics. There are no special dietary purchases, required – just simple wholesome nutrition. This is not a bootcamp, or a train ‘till you drop program – it’s just perfectly individualised programming with a simple template. It can be called simple now, but it’s taken 15 years of fine tuning and the programming genius of Paul. This is not solely a weight loss program, it’s a physical strength, fitness and mindset transformation program.
The lives of 10000+ people have been impacted by their participation in the Amazing 12.
Just check out the transformation gallery from other certified Amazing Trainers around the globe.
In case you don’t want to click that link, here are just four examples of two ladies and two gents.
I am proud to announce that The Amazing 12 Brisbane will be a new offering from FitStrong in only a matter of weeks, both as a small group program and a one-to-one service.
I totally understand that this commitment might not be for everyone, but you the reader, keep in mind anyone you know who might fit the bill – please forward this for their consideration.
For more information, please head over to the dedicated Amazing 12 Brisbane page.
For many people they exercise, train, workout, whatever you want to label it; just to be physically healthy. They don’t really care about progressing or shooting for personal bests. For these people, sticking to their habit is the success – to these people, I salute you.
Other people want to see and feel noticeable, tangible outcomes. They want to see repetition numbers, KGs, KMs go up. There has to be progress.
However, sometimes this does not happen when expected, or results halt. There are some potential reasons that I want to list below. Some of these may be obvious but hear me out.
Top 10 Recovery Tips to Boost Your Training Results.
Not sticking to the plan. A plan only works when it’s followed and it is very surprising how many people can’t commit to a 4, 6 or 8 week program. Program hopping rarely favours results. Understand a plans expectations and follow it through.
Sleep. Aim and plan for 7 hours a night. 8 if possible. And try to make it good quality sleep. The sooner before midnight you can hit the sack, the better chance of catching better quality Zs.
Check out how much fun food you’re eating aka junk food – sweets, biscuits, that sneaky bar of chocolate that fell in the shopping trolley etc. cut it back.
Protein. Make sure you’re eating enough protein every day. Whether it’s animal or plant based, aim to eat 1.5 to 1.8g per kg of your lean weight. As a guide that’s about the same size as your hand x 3.
Eat like an Adult. I have mentioned junk food and protein, but vegetables and fruits really should be present in your daily nutrition. Sure you might not like a lot of what you see on the shelves, but find a selection you do like, and invent lots of ways of eating them… or just make a smoothy!
H20. Yes, water. Wash up, take a cold shower “brhhhhh”, but keep drinking water frequently during the day. If you struggle, here’s a tip. Every time you take a sip of water, take a second sip.
Health check ups. Get your blood tests done annually. Better to be sure.
Reduce your stress. Get outdoors, walk, job, bike ride. Choose something enjoyable that gets you out for an hour or so. If you like to potter around the garden like I do, do it. It feels good. All that Vitamin D is awesome for your immune system.
Move. You don’t have to train hard every day but moving gently every day is a blessing. If you can roll out the exercise mat and stretch, rock, roll, just belly breath, you’ll boost your recovery and probably have a great session the day afterwards. Check out these Mobility Videos.
Like a drink? While a wee glass with dinner is okay, finishing the bottle of Cab Sav isn’t. Reduce the alcohol to allow your body to metabolism body fat better, rest properly and enhance sleep, lower systemic stress and prevent dehydration. Pretty much all the other points above can be boosted by reducing the booze.
I did mention following plans to the end. How about weighing up these items to see how you could improve.
I’m here to help should you need to talk about it.
I’d really love to have a gym with a long line of kettlebells, all lined up numerically in military fashion… oh, wait… I do. Ah, but I train people, people in all shapes, sizes and abilities. I also train a handful remotely via this www thingy.
I use kettlebells for all the many benefits they bring and every single person starts their strength regime at a different point. For some (read many) no weights are involved to start with, as we build technique, movement proficiency and a solid foundation. Once ready, we move on with an appropriately sized kettlebell.
The key loaded movements that kettlebells excel with include pressing overhead, front squats, carries and naturally the kettlebell swing, clean and snatch.
For everything else, bodyweight movements prove optimal. I’ll not go into these details here but feel to ask.
One question I get a lot however is – ‘how many kettlebells do I need, and should I use two at the same time’?
This is one great question. I’m not a man for wasting money on things I will never use. If I end up with something in the gym that never gets used, I sell it on.
Regarding kettlebell training, is has proven good practice to have a small range of kettlebells that allow you to:
practice with great form and little distraction
practice with a focus on strength and grinding (safely)
practice with a medium effort.
For ladies this might equate to an 8, 10, 12kg or an 8, 12, 16kg and gents, a 16, 20 and a 24kg kettlebell.
The second part of that common question relates to double kettlebell training. This is an option for both pressing and squatting i.e. holding a kettlebell in each hand as opposed to single kettlebell training.
What’s the difference?
Single kettlebell training is, for most people, a great starting point. holding the kettlebell in one hand for an overhead press allows the user to focus on individual shoulder / arm strength, condition and form. A single kettlebell is great for the goblet squat to build the ‘shape’ of the squat and a foundation of strength. A single kettlebell is perfect to learn the hinge and snap of a kettlebell swing.
A single kettlebell held, racked on one shoulder will also expose asymmetries (imbalances) during a single kettlebell squat. It always surprises me and the user, when they goblet squat, say a 16kg with perfect, easy form, then rack it onto one shoulder to find they twist like a noodle!
Loading one shoulder will always expose weaknesses.
However, when one is relatively balanced and seeks strength, muscle building and a metabolically charging training program, then double kettlebell training is the solution.
Yes, you may still be pressing a 20kg kettlebell, but there is now 40kg on your frame, not just 20kg. No-one can argue that won’t make you stronger.
The same goes for cleaning the kettlebells to the shoulders. Cleaning a single 24kg bell is great, but a pair is magnificent. Racking up two 20-24kg kettlebells for front squats will vastly boost lower body strength.
Anyhoo, to conclude:
If you are a kettlebell enthusiast, a few kettlebells should inhabit your training space and ideally, doubling up is a great idea and investment.
Need help with your kettlebell training? Why not get in touch and we can chat about what you need and how I can help.
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 … Continue reading Virtual Training
Every single one of us has the capacity to change, to transform, to lose body fat and reshape our physique, strength and fitness. But why do so many people struggle to get the results despite working SO hard in the gym?
*** COMING VERY SOON *** A lot of us struggle with some movements or positions, like squatting down, picking things up, twisting or reaching behind us – I’m sure you can add your own moves here. My new guided Healthy Happy Hips program addresses these issues and more with simple, clinically supported follow-along videos. More … Continue reading Healthy Happy Hips
I’d like to throw out an idea for your consideration; the idea of creating a training program with calisthenic movements that are contextual. The context I want to refer to (apart from a specialist strength or sport program) is the real world and the physical activities that stress our bodies on a daily basis or from time to time. If we are not preparing ourselves for our current and those potential physical activities and challenges we really are doing ourselves a disservice.
I totally get the reason for hitting up the local equipment packed gym with the intention of getting bigger muscles, to pull a bigger deadlift or to row a faster 5km. It feels good to see results. I’ve been there and (mostly / kind of) enjoyed the process.
You know what feels better though?
Being capable, competent and safely confident when met with physical challenges. I was reminded of this recently when a client spoke of a friend who goes to the gym frequently (and trains hard) but gets his kids to lift the shopping out of his car because… wait for it… he’s afraid of hurting his back!!!
I am a fan of purposeful training, much like I’m a fan of purposeful anything. Time is not for the wasting. Don’t get me wrong, I love to explore new things, but anything I do try out is for the greater cause and if it fails to benefit in any way, it’s gone.
So to recap, ideally the majority of our time exercising, training, practicing (whatever you want to call it) should be benefiting us.
Next, let’s look at traditional calisthenic movements. Calisthenics is defined as a form of strength training that uses our bodyweight as resistance and involves multiple muscles in full body movements. These range from pushing, pulling, gripping, squatting and hip hinging as well as jumping and climbing activities. Breaking these down to the usual suspects we have moves like:
Vertical and broad jumps
These form the basics and they are great. In fact, the FitStrong January program is built around ‘reviving’ foundations with these movements.
Street calisthenics has been a growing progression to calisthenics over the 15 years or so but really takes the concept of bodyweight training to a much more athletic or dare I say performance level. Do most of us need to do a human flag, levers, flips and spins? Whilst cool, I don’t agree that it’s what we need to do if our goal is to live stronger and for longer.
Real World Calisthenics
Most us of will have a life that requires rather similar physicality’s. Carrying in the shopping, gardening work, taking out the bins to the roadside, lifting our kids or elderly (it’s going to happen at some time), cleaning up the house and all those other household DIY jobs. And it’s all good. We are meant to move and do all of these plus more. Most of us don’t have to hunt and forage our food anymore, but we still have a huge capacity to manage many physical tasks – if we are prepared.
Prepare by practice.
I’ll now start to break down how we could practice or ‘train’ with real world calisthenics. Again, let me categorise our real world movements.
Lifting and carrying
Getting down to the ground and back up again
Jumping over something, onto, off and across
Low to ground locomotion, aka crawl like manoeuvres
Mostly, these are rather similar to traditional calisthenics. With a thoughtful couple of minutes you can easily imagine how these fit potential physical eventualities.
How would a training program look?
First off, a great program doesn’t need to be sterile and void of fun. A great program also doesn’t need to take ages. A lot of benefit can be gained from 30 minute sessions, three or even twice per week. Each session could be used to work on a handful of movement skills in a circuit or over three 10 minute blocks. You could practice the same movement skills per session and gradually build up the effort, or reps or repeat efforts.
There are so many options.
What I will do next is provide two training sessions that demonstrate this idea of real world calisthenics. I’ll pop up a follow up video post to check out or follow along with.
If you like what you see, I will have a progressive program made available soon.