Why StrongFirst?

I get questions often from clients and friends related to why I spend so much time and money attending certifications and why always the expensive ones!

I am not wealthy. Comfortable, yes. My wife and I do ‘invest’ from time to time in the lotto haha but with no success. So, I don’t choose to invest because I can but because I want to.

What I want in particular from my investment in my own education is value (not cheap), quality, no nonsense education and skills.  Just as important, I want to invest and learn subject matters that I consider important to share with my students and clients. Matters that match my personal and business ethos.

***NOT A RANT***  In the fitness industry it is really quite easy to attend any number of certifications and in most cases, in areas that require no depth of experience and even demonstration of time-spent skills, practice, patience and immersion. In other words, you bulk up continued education credits so you can keep your insurance by attending courses you’re not that invested in and walk away with a certification to teach others. You don’t have to be that good at the ‘new thing’ to teach it! I don’t believe our students and clients deserve this level of standards from a professional. Don’t get me wrong, there are many wonderful people in the fitness industry that I look up to, but most attendees to courses rarely shine. It’s no wonder that most personal trainers last only up two years before packing it in.

I was drawn to the Hardstyle methods of kettlebell training by Pavel Tsatsouline back in 2009. The methods he wrote, demonstrated and talked about were so detailed, precise and based on both scientific research and personal experiences teaching many, many people to become stronger, more mobile and able individuals. His Russian accent sure made his allure all the more compelling.

Unfortunately I didn’t have an option at that time to travel to the USA to attend a certification and instead (sigh!) opted for one of those fitness industry courses that both left me intrigued and wanting more. ‘More’ happened two years later when we moved to Australia from the UK and I got the opportunity to attend Pavels RKC (pre StrongFirst). The preparation for attending was vast. It was made very clear that 60-65% of attendees fail to pass certification due to poor preparation. You didn’t just turn up and leave three days later with a certification paper. You earned to title of SFG through proficient demonstration, teaching, professionalism over the long weekend and the extensive preparation leading up to the event. It was expected that you had spent time with the kettlebell in action, became skilled and strong enough to get through the certification weekend without the distraction of pain and suffering. The certification weekend was an exercise in testing, learning the hows, whys, principles and sharpening our skills further.

This is why I love StrongFirst or more clearly, Pavels ethos and principles. Training with kettlebells is not about just getting sweaty and forging strength with pure grit and effort. There is the execution of great technique, skill and programming methods to develop lasting strength and conditioning as well as the ability to drawn upon many tools in a teaching toolkit to help the masses. Indeed, the many cues, tips and tricks learned over that three day weekend stays with me every day when teaching.

The level of expertise within StrongFirst with its master trainers, team leaders and collective of instructors makes StrongFirst one strong business and school of strength.

Below, Joe Rogan had the immense privilege of interviewing Pavel. Getting time with Pavel outside of workshops and seminars is rare, so this video is well worth the time to watch. Keep a note pad and pen handy though. There are many learning points to grab hold of.


Other than StrongFirst

Apart from StrongFirst, I invest in my education with other great training organisations that similarly teach principle based methods.

If you have read this far, I would encourage you to look into Original Strength and their wonderful movement restoration system.

If you move well and have retained your youthful skills and agility, I would encourage you to look into MovNat and their real world natural movement system. If you want to move with the autonomy, physical competence or become a strongly functioning human in real world of contextual settings and programs, MovNat has a lot to offer. It may just be the way forward in general population health and strength.

Got any experience with StrongFirst, Original Strength or MovNat you’d like to share? Want to learn more about how to incorporate these wonderful systems into your training? Get in touch below.


Fitness Confusion!

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


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.



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.


Thank you for spending time reading my thoughts today.

Any suggestions – just shout 🙂


What is it with kettlebells anyway?

I’ll soon be teaching a kettlebell user workshop (June 2017) with a friend and fellow kettlebell lover. We totally see the curiosity in some people who want to learn how to use these odd-looking handle-embellished cannon balls. But, as I promote the workshop I want to prepare myself for the usual eyebrow raisers who question the kettlebell. Let me share with you some of my feelings and those of the superstar coaches involved with kettlebell coaching.

What is it with kettlebells anyway?

People ask me all the time, “Why kettlebells? Is this type of training really any different from a dumbbell, barbell or other gym exercises?” Every time I’m asked that question, I start to feel the passion build and I have to contain myself. Kettlebell training is radically different from any other form of training I’ve personally experienced in my many years of weight training.

Surprisingly often, many people just have ONE kettlebell to start with and you know what, one kettlebell is all you need for a surprisingly good training program. Because of its shape, the kettlebell lends itself for fast, propulsive movements like the swing, clean and the snatch. These torch calories and turn the power muscles of the body into overdrive.

The kettlebell proves a great tool for pressing, squatting, hip hinging movements and rowing. It’s a take anywhere gym.

Without wasting time fluffing around all the other things you could be doing in a gym, a minimalist approach with a kettlebell encourages you to do what needs to be done, without distraction. Swing, squat, press, pull and carry.

Here’s what other have to say.

There is a real need in this industry for “One Kettlebell Workouts”, and I love them. I enjoy driving to a park, meeting with friends, walking a bit with my kettlebell, training, and then enjoying a nice picnic. I keep this tradition alive every weekday morning when people join me to workout at 9:30. – Dan John

Primarily because of its offset handle, a kettlebell, makes your body work harder by recruiting more musculature and increasing ranges of motion.

In the first example, holding a kettlebell over your head is a much different feeling than holding the same sized dumbbell over your head. A dumbbell will pitch side-to-side since the weight is evenly balanced in the hand. A kettlebell will pull your arm backward, because the majority of the weight is below the handle,  and in doing so, will force your shoulder musculature to work harder.

In the second example, increasing ranges of motion, we can take a look at the Swing, an exercise where the weight is passed between and underneath the legs. The offset handle increases the lever arm pushing the hips further back, and stretching their muscles to a greater degree than with a dumbbell. And you can’t even do that with a barbell. – Geoff Neupert


The kettlebell swing is a perfect example of the uniqueness of kettlebell training. Why? As Tracy Reifkind, RKC and author of the great book The Swing puts it, it’s a two-for-one exercise. It combines the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning in one very powerful exercise. There isn’t an exercise that addresses so many things at once as does the kettlebell swing. – Scott Iardella

In Russia, the kettlebell traditionally has been a training tool for tough people. When I started teaching kettlebells to Americans, I saw the same pattern; my early students were military operators, fighters, and other hard men.

What pleased and surprised me over the years is how this hardcore tool went on to appeal to people from all walks of life. My teaching goals used to be narrow: Make the tough even tougher. Today they are broader: Enable regular folks to join the tough. Finally become the man or woman you used to want to be. – Pavel Tsatsouline

If you would like to learn more about kettlebell training, please get in touch now.

The Butt of all problems

Most people at some time will experience back pain and sadly most of them will continue to be affected by ongoing back pain, discomfort or a fear and apprehension of a reoccurrence of pain. In most occasions such pains can be attributed to lifestyle originated problems like sitting too much, poor posture and just a lack of physical exercise leading to imbalances of muscular activation and use, tension and relaxation.

Sitting Is The New Smoking, is a phrase you will read with growing incidence as evidence builds for the health issues associated with prolonged sitting.

The bigger concerns are the impact on cardiovascular health but increasingly as a trainer of movement and strength, I am seeing more and more clients with lower back pains brought on predominantly from prolonged sitting.

Presuming a client with a history of pain has had the all clear to exercise from an allied health professional, what should the course of action be? Lifting? Pushing? Pulling? Ab Curling? Sitting on a machine to lift, push, pull and curl??

Probably not to be honest and sincerely professional.

The first item on a trainers agenda, for a client experiencing pain from a lifestyle orientated problem, should be helping the client move with more competency, comfort and awareness of what the body is doing and in particular the vestibular system or in plain language, balance and coordination.

Now, before we all start thinking of heading down to the gym to do move some weights around, this may be rather too ambitious as it creates a focus on an external object, like the weight, not the individual.

Perhaps it would be a wiser or a more practical solution to choose a simplification like just moving without gym equipment, from walking, walking uphills, stepping up steps, walking through the countryside with obstacles to encounter.
For some however, even walking elicits pain and discomfort due to ongoing poor posture developed by the prolonged sitting and yes, perhaps other factors too.

To start to correct the posture imbalances it’s important firstly to understand what is physically wrong with sitting that causes the problem.

Problem 1. When we sit for periods of time, muscles at the front of our hips can shorten and become tight pulling our pelvis forward creating an extended lumbar arch or lordosis or what some call a Donald Duck bottom – it sticks out!
Longer term this over-tight hip muscle and pelvic repositioning causes other muscles to take on unnatural tension and others to be switched off, especially the deeper core muscles of the abdominal wall who provide anterior support from the pelvis to the rib cage.

Problem 2. The bottom isn’t actually meant to be a load bearing muscle! Odd as that reads, it isn’t. Look at the palm of your hand and the sole of your feet. They have that hard fatty padding, a denser feel to touch and tougher skin… because they are meant to take loads, get it?
Our bottoms don’t have this kind of structure and largely this sizeable muscle is designed for locomotion, pelvic support and stability and physical, muscular activities like lifting.
Sitting for lengthy periods actually squashes all those layers of backside muscle, in turn desensitising the nerves within. The result is what leading spine specialist, Dr Stuart McGill labels as ‘gluteal amnesia’; in other words the brains nerve signalling to activate the gluts don’t happen or happen very poorly. The trip switch has been knocked off due to the sitting and compression of the backside muscles.

Why is this a problem?

When you eventually stand and require the bottom to move the legs affectively they are not fully able to and other local muscles take on the referral, become overworked and in turn become fatigued, over-tight and potentially injured. Don’t forget too those deeper core muscles who are now also not able to support the pelvis to rib region including the lower back… Oh dear, can we see and injury time-bomb!

How to do we fix this?

There are many solutions that a trainer could investigate or refer on (to a physiotherapist) if hindering pain is present. But, where pain isn’t hindering and you see a poor lower back posture aka Donald Duck Bum, we’ll start with those tight hip flexors need loosened up a bit.
In the two pictures below you see the set up, a half kneeling position with the pelvis tucked under (pulling the groin up towards the navel).
The second picture illustrates pushing the hips forward just enough to bring on some tension at the front of the hips and top of the thighs. This should be held without pain anywhere for up to 10 seconds before swapping legs.


1. Tuck pelvis under


2. Push hips forward to feel stretch in hip

Ideally this should be carried out 3 times a day after a little bit of moving around.

If pain persists, see the Dr or preferably a physiotherapist.

Secondly, let’s try to switch on those gluts whilst correcting the pelvic position.
The first picture demonstrates the poor posture, the Donald Duck posture.
The second picture illustrates the standing ‘Tuck and Squeeze’ of the pelvis and gluts. This drill should be carried out any chance you get without getting odd looks from observers – or perhaps they should be encouraged to join in!

1. Donald Duck Bum aka over-arched lower back

1. Donald Duck Bum aka over-arched lower back

2. 'Tuck and Squeeze'

2. ‘Tuck and Squeeze’

These two drills above should be carried daily out to get the ball rolling but are by no means enough.

After mastering the postural re correction of the Tuck and Squeeze and stretching the hip flexors for a week or so, it’s time to work on strengthening the gluts and the deeper transverse abdominals muscles of the core.
This is where the help of a movement system based strength coach comes in helpful.

In the FitStrong Gym exercises such as bracing our stomachs, ‘rolling’ from our backs to our fronts using just our torso and minimal limb use are all excellent activities to enable our brain to directly communicate with our body as a global unit to just move naturally. Hey, if you don’t believe me and think I am mad, hit the floor and try to roll from your back to front 5 times… right now – do it!…

Here’s author of Original Strength, Tim Anderson demonstrating a great warm up including these rolls.

Tim Anderson Warm Up

…Okay, hope you did that and I hope you feel all that stuff going on all around your body – that my friend is exercise at its simplest and purest.

As Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert describe in their Original Strength book :

“We have lost our way. We have lost our foundation. Our sedentary lifestyles have robbed us of the foundation and the joy of movement that we built as children. Because of this, we have lost our strength, our health, our resiliency and our vitality.”

A healthy movement program designed to reclaim our natural design looks no further than at how children, especially toddlers move.
Rolling and crawling as silly as it seems is a great ‘ctrl, alt, del’ to reset our bodies before we start to load ourselves with weights, Kettlebells and barbells.

If you are stuck behind a desk for most of the week and are keen to learn how to reclaim your younger, more mobile, pain free and happier self, get in touch soon, in fact, get off your backside now and schedule an appointment.


Jamie Hunter
FitStrong Performance Training

Tel: 0450 487 237

Email: fitstrong@mail.com


Low Back Disorders: Evidence-based Prevention and Rehabilitation, By Stuart McGill
Original Strength, by Tim Anderson & Geoff Neupert

The Simple Life Keeping It Simple!

I’m rather partial to the simple things in life, like a black coffee, a nice home cooked meal and Kettlebell swings.

Today had it all.
I was a bit tired today I’ve to confess, so finishing the afternoon with a line of doubled-up Kettlebells leaves me with a satisfied smile on my face.

The session consisted of 10 minutes of Primal Move warm ups and mobility then swinging my way down a line of double 14s, 16s, 20s, 24s, 28s and the 32s.
Just two rounds of 10 swings each was sufficient to fire me up enough to leave me feeling stronger than I did all day.

Remember, training for power, strength and skill is about making small and frequent deposits into the proverbial bank of Strengthville. Withdrawals should be spared for those rare occasions.

Have a great weekend everyone.