The picture above is me in Bryce Canyon Utah. I little R+R before the GymJones Intermediate seminar in June 2017. I was getting some time out and reflection before a busy and intense weekend training and learning with the current GymJones crew at the time.
Looking back on this picture more than a year ago brings me strength. Why because I thought I had it all figured out and was a very confident cocky man. I had strayed the line between confidence and arrogance which is easily done. Unbeknowns to me I was about to go into one of the most challenging, transformative years of my life. I would achieve many things but also suffer greatly with stress in many areas but also grow massively in others.
That trip really did set a fire inside me, provided the motivation, inspiration and drive for the rest of year even though it cost me it was worth it to invest in myself and fuel my imagination, creativity and thirst to help others get further in life after all it would be pretty boring and sad place if you just got fit and strong and took no one with you along your journey with you. My job is to serve, to help my purpose that which drives me and gets me up each morning is the satisfaction I get from helping people achieve what they didn’t think was possible.
Coming back from Salt Lake city I decided what I needed to do before anything else was to finally get my Personal Training qualification spurred on by my coach at the time Andy McKenzie. I sought out one of the best coaches in Edinburgh Oli Jessop of G2G Coaching and started on the course completing the Gym Instructor course then in December starting the Level 3 PT course completing that in May this year.
The year was filled with challenges one of which was a family one. My father was diagnosed with Cancer of the esophagus and in December was had surgery to have it removed. His health not 100% from alcoholism and cigarettes the month was touch and go in intensive care for him. He pulled through and got discharged in February. However alcoholism doesn’t leave someone easily unfortunately.
I buried my dads dog Harvey in March and said goodbye to someone close to me. But I also took on someone in February who really showed me inspiration and drive which was Ken Talbot. Ken wanted to be shown how to lift weights but was wheelchair bound with CRPS a neurological condition which he would make a source of strength than a source of weakness. Ken wanted to break the world land speed record for the hand bike.
The idea started for this blog post because I was thinking… Imagine if you had neurological pain like Ken, imagine if you were diagnosed with Cancer like my father or my friend Dal who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and this year had his third brain surgery the resulting implications were a stroke down his left side effecting his arm and leg on his left side.
Imagine just for a second that you were not able bodied, you did not have your full health. For those that are high level strength athletes imagine you cant squat 200 or 300kg or bench that or deadlift that. Imagine you couldn’t row a 2k under 8 or 7mins, imagine you couldn’t run 5k or 30 or 60mins.
Perspective is important, looking back to what you have achieved, over the last year or even month or couple of weeks can make a massive difference when you have faltered or plateaued or injured yourself. When you are struggling to find something to inspire and set that fire inside you that will help you change yourself, transform yourself and simply get more out of yourself it is perspective that will show you that you are just not cutting it. Getting up that little bit earlier going to the gym at 6am which requires you to get up at 5-5.30am is one example that I quite often use. When people come to the point that they want some form of change get stronger, or fitter or weight loss. It is usually weight loss. People come to me and put their hands on their stomach and say Bob I want to get rid of this. But what usually happens is I change their life, perception of it and change their habits, make them a stronger person mentally and physically and fitter at the same time. The by product of this training and transformation is that they have a body that is maybe carries a little more muscle a little less fat and a little more pleasing to the eye.
Currently I am in another 3month block of focus after completing the last one end of August. Focus on work, the business, training, coaching and not drinking alcohol. I could not have imagined doing something like this maybe a year ago, maybe for a month maybe just maybe for 3 months but again fuck no. But I am and I am more driven than ever to help people with what I do and this can be in a large part to working with all the people I have worked with in my life so far they have changed me and driven me to get more out of myself so I can get more out of others.
If this has sparked something within you and you want to be part of #bobsgarage then email me to start the process and discuss email@example.com
photo on left was taken after the 3month training block 18th August 2018, photo on Right was taken 9th March 2018
A matter of perspective – Cesar Ayala
Recently I finished a 12 week training program that made me go 9 times per week to the gym. Monday + Tuesday twice, Wednesday rest, Thursday + Friday twice and Saturday once (Sunday, rest). In total, counting the extra week that I did before starting as a test, it’s around 110 sessions at the gym, of an average time there of 90 min per session (plus around 40 min walking to go and come back from the gym) . A shitload of time, there are long time relationships that last less that the time I spent walking to the gym and being there. Funny thing is it was me who decided to go 9 times. I could have gone between 5 and 10 times per week, I chose 9 every week.
In that time I’ve lost 8 kilos, which could have been more because I spent one week in Spain eating my mum’s food, so I came back with a little extra. I’ve beaten my PB at squats and recovered my deadlift to a decent level, but injured my right shoulder so I had to stop benching, in fact it’s still not 100% okay. I’ve been able to go on the rower for one hour (666 calories, metal as fuck!), but also pulled my hamstring badly when I tried to sprint running. My belly has gone down more than 5 inches, which means that soon I’ll have to buy a weightlifting belt to be able to keep the pace, because the belly is not as “protected” as it was. I’ve fallen face first trying to “jump” a box and I’ve been able to do pull ups, proper pull ups, on the bar and the rings, for the first time in my life.
To be able to work, study and going that much to the gym I had to change my life habits: no more late nights, drinking only once per week (Saturday most of the cases), keep a healthy diet (with a deficit to lose weight), stopped smoking (well, I vape) and started waking up around 6 AM nearly every day of the week. Of the 1440 minutes that a day has, I was busy (sleeping, training, walking, etc.) for more than 1200. I know because I made an Excel about it.
As you can see, I don’t mention only the good stuff, because that wouldn’t be honest. I’ve been tired, I’ve been in pain, I’ve been pushing my limits to new heights, losing the weight, keeping so busy that going to bed at 10 PM was a blessing. There have been good days and bad days.
Many people at the gym have asked me what was the hardest part. And I’ve to say, the hardest part is the right now. Let me explain: The past is set in stone, so it’s already done, all those reps, and all those movements are in the DONE list. All the mistakes and successes are done, in the past; yes, burning those calories on the cardio machines was a torment, but it’s already done. The future is still ahead, I can’t say that the hardest part is something that hasn’t happened yet, so the hardest part must be then, the right now. Going again to the gym for the 4th time in two days. Doing another set. Knowing when to stop. Getting out of bed. And at the same time, if you look about what I said from a different perspective, those were exactly the best parts. Because all those great reps and great days that are in the past, are already done too. Because those new PB that I could achieve in 2 months haven’t happened yet, the best part is then, right now. So I try to enjoy and get the most of it, because I prefer to think about it as a good time instead of as a bad time.
When I’m struggling and having a “bad day” I remember the past. There was upon a time when that exactly same kind of exercise that I’m not doing as good as usual today, was my best. The other day I had to stop squatting at 150 kilos, couldn’t go up to the 170×3 that I did just a few days before. And yes, that’s the kind of thing that gets under your skin, but I remembered the time when even doing 3 reps with 150 kilos was impossible and how I felt when I did ONE. So that day, which was my best day… was now one of the bad days? How’s that even possible? How’s being better than my past self a bad thing? That doesn’t make any sense! The only thing that makes senses is that being better than my past self is a good thing!
Also, nobody told me that this was going to be easy. Hell, I decided to do it because it was going to be very hard and demanding! What the fuck I’m complaining now about? “Oy, that thing that was going to be complicated, well, is complicated, so I don’t want it anymore, I’m disappointed”. So I grind my teeth, collect myself the best I can and keep going. Because if you stop doing something you wanted to do because it gets hard and difficult, that means that you never wanted it.
But without any doubt the most important part was that I was doing something that I liked. I like going to the gym, seeing the people that goes there, doing stuff with the barbell, moving around, and trying to be a little better every day. If you see training as a curse and changing your life habits as a punishment, you are not going to achieve much. Maybe you do it, but feeling miserable each step of the way is not worth it. So change your perspective. Look things from a different angle. Don’t be surprised when things happen, good or bad. Yes, you can get injured and yes nobody likes being injured, but that also will allow you to rethink how you do things, to change your patterns, to learn more. Also don’t get too cocky when results start to appear, because having a great day doesn’t guarantee that from now on, every single day is going to be great. Assume that, without failures, there are no successes, and the other way around also applies. Pick a goal that can be done, save the “Do the impossible!” and all that to the TV ads. Be realistic and honest.
But also start doing it now. Don’t let the tomorrow kidnap you and start a cycle about “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ll start next month” or “I’ll do it when I get a break”. When I was reading the stoic philosophers I found one quote of Marcus Aurelius that defines this perfectly:
“You get what you deserve. Instead of being a good person today, you choose instead to become one tomorrow”.
In the same way, don’t let the past become the prison of your future. Not being able to do something doesn’t mean that you will never be able to do it. Failing in the past doesn’t mean an eternity of failures. Learn from your failures, yes, but don’t let them dominate your present.
So try to achieve that goal you are looking for. One of the best things about training is that it’s not a competition that you need to win. If you can’t keep the pace, you can slow down. If you are not able to go X times per week to the gym, you can go less. If you can’t lift the bar, you can drop it. What matters is not losing the will to keep doing it, to enjoy it while you do it and understanding that by doing it, you are changing your life in a very important way.
This post was triggered with all the work I have been doing with Nicholas Evans at E-Physiotherapy around the shoulder and its movement and correcting and strengthening it.
I want to give you some advice to get the most out of your training and the use of the pullup and its variations or when to use it and when not too and what regressions or progressions to use to get the most out of your training.
So to start we must look at the following things, how many years you have been training, what strength level you are at, skill level you are at and fitness, have you shoulder injuries? What are you training for? and what are your requirements for your training?
Your first stop is your spinal mechanics, what is your thoracic like extension and rotation, as the shoulder is connected to the ribcage/thoracic so if there needs correction their then that needs sorted first before you start looking at shoulder position and movement.
Once we have had a look at spinal mechanics and know the correct position to hold then we need to do the corrective exercises if you are not in that position. Maybe if your needing a lot of work here pullups are not the best solution to your training problem just now.
Once you know what the correct position is you need to know how to hold it and understanding how to control your ribcage, keep it down, and engaging your core is important. You need to keep your spine in the right position so the shoulder blades can move properly.
After spinal mechanics it is scapular humoral rhythm, how are your shoulder blades moving? Are they rotating forward/back, dumping forward and coming off the rib cage or are they moving well up and down and rotating up and in on the way up and down and out on the way down. Are you able to feel your Latts in your reps or do you just feel your biceps? Pain in elbows, Pain on front of shoulders? pain in neck? getting whip lash or neck strains?
If you are having any of these issues it would be worth seeing a physiotherapist first and foremost I would recommend my colleague Nicholas at E-physiotherapy. If you have any shoulder injuries already then you should be doing neutral pullups first and making sure you are seeing a physio definitely.
Once you have sorted spinal mechanics, understand how to hold them, understand how to move and engage your shoulder blades to fully utilise your Latts, good shoulder movement and to avoid injury it is time to look at the next part.
What is your problem your trying to solve with your training? do you just need strong Latts? Do you have a short time to get this strong and a restricted amount of time to train? Then I would avoid pullups and focus on Chest supported rows and Latt pulldowns.
If you havnt much training experience or just not got the strength to do pullups then you should be practicing the above 3-4 times a week with a pullup progression, with the pullup progression use something that you can keep tension on the whole movement and do high reps, which can be done with bands or doing pullups seated with a racked barbell.
If you are coming in from a stronger base of strength then pullups are for you and can be used more effectively for building upper back strength. As when you have the appropriate amount of strength your pullups will start to look like how you do your Latt pulldowns. You feel your Latts, you don’t have pain in your shoulders, elbows, traps are not taking over, then you are ready to fully utilise your pullups.
Tempo-tension-volume – when ever you are training in compound lifts or bodyweight movements you should be thinking about creating tension throughout the movement, pulling yourself into the movement and then pushing yourself out of the movement. Look at your ability to engage your latts then how fast you pullup and drop down (pro tip you should not be dropping down)
control the movement, slow and controlled up and slow and controlled on the eccentric portion of the movement. Then watch your Latts just light up. Once you have the tempo and tension down it is then doing the correct amount of reps, just enough to feel it, stop as soon as you cant engage or its a strain or you can no longer engage your Latts. But be prepared to work them with adequate rest for 20mins right up to 1hr.
If you want to delve into the Rabbit hole of spinal and shoulder mechanics, help rehab old or nagging injuries, help you address a training plateau you are on, or just want to finally be able to do pullups or have stronger Latts then get in contact to begin training at #bobsgarage email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am going to outline how we go about warming up and how we structure our workouts in this blog.
If there is one thing that I have seen to be true time and time again it is that a structured warmup, workout and training plan can go leaps and bounds to improving someone’s performance. You can see massive leaps in strength, fitness, body composition from just staying to a plan and structure. On the flip side if there is no inherent reason or backing behind what your doing then it is just a matter of time before you get injured, plateaux, or get over trained.
Lets start with the overall workout structure. It is split into the following areas:
General warmup – can be anything from a quick 500m on a rower or couple of minutes of the Airdyne too 5-10mins steady state CV
Specific warmup – This differs in length depending on your training level, history and experience, those who have just started training have a short list but as you mature as an athlete its will become longer with rehab, mobility work, prehab work and special activation work that you need to get done to get the performance from your workout.
All new members are shown our standardised Range of Motion exercises:
4 point X’s
side to side stretch
Lunge pulse stretch
Rack Assisted squats
I am going to go over below why we do each exercise and what it is doing..
Your on all quadruped position, and your moving your segmenting the spine through its range of motion. You also put pressure on the wrists and practice bringing the shoulder blades together and separating them. You also will move the hip through a tucked position to pointed out position. Can help beginners understand posterior and anterior pelvic tilt.
4 point X’s
These are hard to explain but best demonstrated, basically its a dynamic stretch that moves through a range and stretches your hip flexors, groin, glutes, latts and will just generally get you moving and warmed up.
Side to Side stretch
Your lying on your front. Also known as a scorpion. This stretch is used to stretch your chest but also gets your hips and torso. Again best explained in person. Pecs are commonly tight with all the desk work most people do with that forward leaned position they get short and tight.
Lunge Pulse Stretch
Your in a lunge position, tuck your hips into posterior pelvic tilt, keep your ribs down, and hip stacked over knee. contract the glute and hip flexor and then relax. Used to stretch the hip flexor. Commonly tight in most people who come in because of lots of sitting.
You are in the quadruped position again, and on your elbows rocking back and forth with knees wide this one hits the groin.
Rack assisted squats
controlled and slow squats focusing on the right mechanics and feeling the squat with the support of the squat rack as you walk your hands up and down it as you squat for support, will help open up your knees, hips, ankles further.
These range of motion exercises are just some standardised exercises which I have found hit key areas that a lot of people have issues in. There are two types of people who come into the gym super flexible people in this case doing these exercises would be still benefit them as it would still help them warmup through their full joint range even though they don’t feel restricted or tight. The other type of person is the tight person who is stiff and struggles with their mobility, most commonly we see people with super tight hip flexors and pecs. These stretches are a good starting point to start addressing these issues. As their training progresses we individualise their range of motion exercises.
As you progress with your knowledge so will your warmup routine, maybe adding in trigger point work or specific stretches or Range of motion exercises for you.
The movement 7 warmup all new members are taught this as their standard warmup. It is also our movement assessment and is a good introduction to all of the movements we use.
pressup from ground
We will go through some basic breathing patterns and talk about bracing and basic mechanics before we start this. Each movement is broken down and there is a focus on tension and correct position.
Your warmup can easily be your rehab work if you are doing shoulder or back or hip rehab work from your physio also.
As your knowledge and experience progress you can warmup specific to the workout. So if its squats take easier versions of the exercise, squats, bodyweight, goblet squat, lunge, some bridges, some planks. If its deadlifts then some kb RDL’s, hip bridges and planks. If its bench then, a combo of press-ups and rows is great. If its a CV workout then 10mins CV is what we go for.
Workout can be the following. A strength workout we have a standardised upper lower split on the board, beginners get a full body split for their first couple of weeks. You may have a individualised 4 week strength program if so then you would do that. We also have CV sessions most notably our IWT. We also have a bodyweight, cv and core session this is high rep bodyweight training, intervals and core work. We also have higher rep more circuit type sessions that we call GymJones sessions also.
For your strength sessions we have structured accessory work that we call supplemental work. Structural supplemental work to work on your weaknesses and Breathing supplemental work to spike your heart rate and get out of breath without interfering with the main strength workout too much doesn’t last longer than around 7mins.
So if you put all that together, the workout structure, the warmup structure and the program structure that each member has you have the #bobsgarage workout system. Designed to treat you as an individual, meet you at the level you are at and get you to the level you want to be at, get the most out of you each session and keep you at the lowest risk of aches, strains and injury through not warming up properly, or over training.
Today I went to visit one of my friends Dal. He is currently in the Ashley Ainsley Rehab hospital because he suffered a stroke from his third brain surgery to completely remove his brain tumour. I could call him a member but its a bit more than that now. I took Cesar as he wanted to come visit him with me. I was pleased he asked as they are both going through their own challenges be it in completely different ends of the spectrums.
Catching up with Dal and shooting the shit about me, Cesar and him and challenges we had before us, are dealing with just now and the challenges that are to come I was struck by this, we are all going through our own battles in our head.
For Dal it is not the rehab that is the challenge, he has done that before, he has trained with us and the training has left an imprint on him and he will be able to draw on his past experience’s to keep moving forward. The real challenges that are going to be faced will be in the head. The ups and downs of it all are tough and I know it I have gone through it all with him before and this time its harder. For Dal the battle will be keep on enduring, keep moving forward, pick himself up on the low days and stop himself getting carried away on the high days. Talking finding an outlet and getting things off your chest will always help.
For Cesar on his intensive training block just now, when fatigue kicks in or when he just cant strike up the will too, keep eating well, not staying up too late, come in to his 2nd session of the day even when he is not feeling it. Or keeping managing his busy routine of working, studying, training, and nutrition. Staying strong and steadfast will be the true battle in his mind to keep progressing and seeing this 3 months through.
I have got the group photo of my GymJones Intermediate Seminar up here as the header for this post for many reasons. The first is that it gave me a massive sense of empowerment. I went away from that week of training and the weekend seminar with a feeling of empowerment and strength that I used to power me through a whole years working, training and getting me through some massive ups and downs.
It struck me tonight as I went through another little down moment, the usual Sunday night stuff that everyone goes through that the real battle we go through is not with our body but inside our head.
The battle of not seeing results, of stagnating, of still being not happy with your body, unfit, or your strength is lacking. You should take a breath and realise that the problem is not with your body but with your head.
Many people tell me that they don’t have time to train, then I say why don’t you come to my 6am class? They normally respond with don’t be silly I couldn’t get up at that time. It would mean getting up at 5am and then a whole days work.
Look at the problem, maybe you need to invest more time in your training, maybe you need to sacrifice a bit more, time in bed, social life, drinking, dinners out, spend more time putting the work in, invest in yourself, your body, your mind, your health.
If I have learnt anything this past 5 years, it is this, a life of exercise, resistance training, challenges, trying to lead, coach, learning from mistakes getting over big lows and keeping my head level on those big highs can have a massive positive effect on your mental strength, will power, drive, persistence and just ability to endure and keep going.
For me the next 3 months are all about seeing what we can do, physically with my training, my strength and fitness, and stopping drinking for 3months will help this but also in really being present coaching, and enjoying as much of it as possible, helping people get stronger and fitter and battle through challenges in the gym which will lead them to be stronger to face those challenges outside of the gym.
So next time you are facing a challenge whatever it is, weight on the bar, time on the rower, or any of the myriad outside of the gym remember the real battle is inside your head and you can win it. I know I am.
Recently I started a new 3 month training cycle at hashtagbobsgarage I train 9 times per week (could end being 10 if I make the Saturday a double). 5 Strength sessions and 4 Cardio sessions. 4 days of the week twice per day and one day only once (Saturday). Wednesday and Sunday are resting days, and hence, sacred. Maximum thing to do, go for a walk.
Why I’m doing this? There’s the obvious answers: losing weight and getting fitter, and I’ve to admit that I expect some of that.
But those are not the main reason, the main reason is, and always has been, the challenge itself. Will I be able to keep this for 12 weeks? The body seems to hold but will the mind be able to keep up? Right now I’m on the 4th week. A mixture of heavy weight training with finisher workouts and cardio sessions that are just that involve sweating alot.
And people ask me “How you do it?”
My answer is clear “Because I can”. There’s no cockiness there, simply my job allows me to do that, going to the gym twice a day (walking both times, adding around 40-50 min of walking to the day) The training built up with Bob over the last two years and the accompanied discipline has helped me do this. It hasn’t happened over night.
I like to dabble into stoicism and one of its core concepts is that you only have real control about the things you do, about yourself, most of the other things, you don’t have control about. Only with proper judgement and putting aside the base instincts we can understand and get ready for what the world will throw at us.
Just a few days after the beginning of the training my right shoulder got injured (still is). So one of my favourite exercises (and one that I’m decent at), the bench press got out. I can do everything else, but just the angle I used to put my shoulder was wrong and finally the shoulder gave up. It’s getting better, but still is what it is.
What can I do about it? Do my best to rehab it and keep with the program the best I can. There are millions of exercises you can do for your chest, so if I can’t do bench, I’ll do something else. I’ll bench much lower to relearn. Maybe tomorrow I’m going to the gym, a hipster hits me with his ironical Segway and hurts my leg. What I would do then? Keep going to the gym and keep with the program the best I can.
That’s the real challenge for me, that’s what I want to achieve. For me it’s been always of utmost importance crossing the door of the gym. Of course in the last four weeks there have been many, many times when I wanted to stop doing whatever I was doing. When going to the gym was a drag. When I wanted to cut the reps and do less sets. But then I remember that if I do it, if I stop, I’d fail. It doesn’t matter how much weight I had already lost or how good my squat is now or anything, stopping means failure. I don’t want to fail. I’ll stop if I feel pain, if something is not working properly, but I won’t stop because my mind surrendered to fear.
Why I chose that target? Because it is something that has nothing to do with absolutely anything else than my mind.
That doesn’t change the fact that when the other day I dropped below 115 kilos for the first time in a long long time I didn’t feel really proud. I did. I loved it. But it’s just a number. It’s just a measure. It’s not a target. I could be more proud about the fact that since I began at the gym I must have lost around a 10% of body fat. That’s even better than losing weight because that meant I have increased my muscle mass and decreased my body fat.
But I don’t let those numbers distract me, neither the amount of weight I can move. Yes, doing squats with 170 kilos felt good, but not because of the weight, but because of all the hard work behind those reps.
I also changed my diet, stopped doing a half hearted keto diet (which in the past worked really well for me, but not this time) to a proper balanced diet. With a calories deficit, of course, but with carbs and everything. It’s the only way I know to be able to keep up with all the extra exercise. Maybe others have other ways, this one is mine.
And let me be honest: I could do better at the diet, it’s still a work in progress and the problem of working at home is that you end eating a little more than expected. But I know that, and I let it pass most of the time because it’s not that much and also because it’s not the main thing: the main thing is being able to keep going to the gym those 9 sessions per week.
I nearly stopped smoking (I never smoked much anyway, 3-4 fags per day, 10 weekends), I only smoke Saturday night, when I go out (and obviously I smoke less), rest of the time I use a vaper with a very low nicotine liquid (I know it’s not perfect but…). Saturday night the only night I go out, and try to have diet cokes, at least a few of them instead of alcoholic drinks. It’s my “reward” for the week, or more or less the way I have to keep the monkey we all have in our brains quiet. I don’t order take away food or go to the chippy at all. I don’t drink alcohol in the house (well that was easy, I never had so…). To be able to go twice a day to the gym now I’m out of bed at 6 AM and I’m working at 6:20 AM. If I don’t have work to do, I study (I’m back studying coding, C++ to be precise). If I’m not busy, I’ll make myself busy. I go to bed around 10 PM.
And why I’m able to do all that? Because I can. I enjoy doing it, I have created a discipline that works for me, and that’s the most important thing. I don’t think much about what will happen when I finish this 3 month block of training or how much weight I’d lost by then. I focus on doing the 9 sessions of the week, and more specifically, the next one and once there, in doing the next rep or run the next minute. Whatever is in front of me, because is the thing that I can control. I can’t see the future nor change the past, I only have the now, so I will make good use of it to the best of my capabilities. I plan for the future, of course, but I know that many things could (and will) happen that can change those plans.
One of the things that really work to keep good habits is keeping a record of them. Whatever they are, make a cross on the calendar for every day that you kept that good habit. Could be drinking more water, going to the gym more, running for 5 minutes more, whatever. Keep the crosses coming and then you’ll be so determined to keep your streak that you won’t ever consider breaking it. For me the streak is keeping the sessions coming.
And maybe one day something happens and you break the streak. Well then, don’t despair. That there is your Personal Best. Think why it happened and how to fix it and go again. This time you don’t only have a challenge, you also have a target. Failure is a fact of life, accept that it will happen to you. Try to not fail as much as you can, but be ready if it happens.
One of the most common mistakes people do when they set targets for themselves is attaching those targets to things they don’t have any control about. For example: Training really hard to compete in an event. And they train super hard, but then the event is cancelled, or they can’t go because they are injured, or sick, or any of the thousands and thousands of reasons that can make it not happen. And then, they despair. Oh, I worked so hard. I trained so much, and all that for nothing. It wasn’t for nothing! You were training to be able to compete at your very best, you got to your very best but you just didn’t do the test. The fact that you can’t go to a place with fancy lights and a guy talking to a microphone doesn’t change that! You were training to be able to, not to do.
Or maybe the training doesn’t go the way they wanted. Maybe their technique is still not good enough, maybe it’s simply because they are not good enough. Don’t despair then either. Now you know. You can analyse what happened. Get answers. Don’t fall to the easy traps of the mind of blaming whatever excuse you can think. Think really deep about why you failed. Try to fix it. If you reach the conclusion that you won’t never be able to achieve that, good, you have learnt a lot trying, use all the things you have learnt to try to achieve some other thing. Never become one of those persons that are only one thing.
As the title says, change only comes to those that have no fear, because if you are scared of failing then you won’t try. Don’t worry about that, worry about not learning, that’s the true failure.
When I go to high schools to talk to the students about coding, programming, languages and later on about life and the decisions we make, there’s something that I always say.
You’ll never be the person your parents want you to be. Or your friends, or your partner, hell, you’ll never even be the person your pet wants you to be. They will always have something to say about something that you have to change or whatever. If that’s impossible, what we have left? Being the person we want to be. So aim for that. And right now, I want to be the person that finishes a this intense 3 month training block. Because I know I can, and if I’m wrong, I’ll know that I did my best to try and will think about how make it better next time.
If an experience is going to be transformative then you need to be inspired by the coach. Over the last 5 years or the process of coaching and running #bobsgarage has changed me. Where I have come from and how my journey has developed has shaped and made the gym what it is today something that is more than just is more than just getting someone fitter stronger or leaner but giving them a deep change in their mentality around life.
This is done through the discipline of training, commitment of training, and consistency of training. Physical challenges in the gym are not just physical but also mentally challenging from a heavy back squat to a personal best on a 2k row, you need a strong mind in order to develop a strong body.
I was once told that I get my enduring mindset from my Mother. My mum Sheila is one of the toughest women I know, back when I was younger she ran a guest house with my Dad who is also called Robert. My mum had to at times single handedly run a busy guest house and she did it day in and day out for years until Rheumatoid Arthritis struck her down. I remember vividly one morning my mum lying on the sofa screaming in pain. She went on a lot of medication and battled with her health a lot, gave up smoking some time ago and drinking as well, she has had two hip replacements and one knee replacement. Having retired years ago now and separated from my Dad she lives alone and frequently enjoys golf. I often get her to practice getting up from her front and last weekend actually managed to teach her how to brace properly.
My Dad is a different story, equally hardy and has been referred to as Stoic. He ran the guest house for many years with my mum and they were once happy. However maybe it was the stress of the family or the constant nature of running your own business but he developed a strong relationship with alcohol and smoking. He has his vices and his problems but none the less he is my father and I love him. I have joked before that he is the hardiest soul I know. He got cancer of the oesophagus last year but was still doing DIY in my flat at the time. Last year we almost lost him, after his surgery because he wasn’t healthy and he didn’t have any reserves he struggled and combined with withdrawals from alcohol he was in intensive care, on ventilation and sedated for the whole of December, he pulled through and got out in February and is making a strong recovery.
They both helped me set up #bobsgarage they are both founders of what I have done and they are both founders of who and what I have become. I take my strength and ability to endure and persist from my Mum and my ability to get the fuck on with things from my Dad I guess.
I went through some challenges and changes myself through the years and it started with finding CF and then thinking this was great I can do it so I can coach it. That was obviously not the case and it took me a few years of learning from my mistakes and learning from the people I trained and the coaches I spent time with the main one being Andy Mckenzie. And eventually I got my PT qualification just this year.
My knowledge and experience didn’t change and develop I did. I changed and developed through the constant early mornings, late nights, ups and downs and highs and lows of coaching and running a business, the constant challenges and push backs from things I would get people to do. I have become more professional for sure thankfully over the years. Working out most days with some amazing people and just being around all these people and getting to know them all and be in their life has changed me forever. Just like their stories help me I hope that my story helps you.
I am not sure what sparked this blog post, I know that there is a need to continually underline the message that your business represents and that I think that the one that I want #bobsgarage to represent the most is transformative in body and mind. The experience and it is an experience it isn’t training, should be transformative and leave a lasting effect, I know it can’t be transformative unless the person who leads the charge sticks his head above the parapet and puts himself out their for people to see, judge and either follow or not.
I will always think of myself as the 21 year old I used to be even now I am 30 now and have gathered some good life experience, at times usually when your confidence is knocked or you have a set back, or are down or low I may go back to being that little fat kid from school, but through the process of reflection and gratitude I am then reminded how far I have come and how far I am still to go. Right now I am excited for this next chapter, the year of my 30’s having finally achieved my goal of getting the PT qualification I am rejuvenated in my vigour to reach out to more people and help them get fitter and stronger. Right now I am excited about the next 3 months as we have just started a new training block and I am also not drinking for the whole of the 3months, a chance to focus on my training, nutrition, coaching and business and have the chance to be at my best in many ways for the first time in my life just now.
Hopefully I can bring a few more into #bobsgarage to have the chance to transform themselves also.
If I work with someone long enough they cease to be a member or client and start becoming a friend most of these friendships will no doubt last a lifetime as the work we do is truelly transformative and the change and effect is not just felt by the member but also it will change me as a coach.
This can be said for my friend Dal who has been going through his fair share of challenges the last 3 years with his battles with his brain tumour. Around 2015 he was training with me after moving up from Wolverhampton where he used to do CF down south. I trained him for a while before he was diagnosed and had his first surgery and a year later I helped him come back with a gentle phased return, I would then go onto prehab him to before his second surgery. Dal’s work ethic was second to none that I can only compare to a couple of people that I have trained. He had been given a second chance and was driven, committed and dedicated. We had a couple of events to show our community’s support and we called the events ‘Do it for Dal’ which did two things raised money for the Brain tumour charity and also gave him a massive boost and showed him we were all behind him. These sessions evolved to become our monthly Adversity sessions that you see now.
Dals 3rd brain surgery was about 6 weeks ago, sadly I didn’t get to train Dal as much this time but his experiences and lessons he learned from what we had achieved last time we trained have still left their mark and built within him a strong mental strength that will carry him through this most challenging time in his life just now.
Dals last surgery was quite invasive and suffered a stroke down his left side, he is now at the Rehab hospital and the next 3 months are going to be some of the most challenging of his life, he will be fighting to stay mentally strong in this long journey and working hard to regain his ability to walk and do all the tasks that most of us take for granted so much. I will be visiting on the regular to make sure he keeps his spirits up and stays strong in many ways.
In todays society I think there is a tendency to just not bother, to not put yourself out there. Because we could fail, make ourselves look bad, it could hurt when it related to strength and fitness and learning new habits and getting fit is hard. We could fail so whats the point why even bother its too hard anyway?
Every now and then something comes out of no where like an illness, injury, accident, or loss of job or just you name it any crisis or troubles. Depending on our ability to deal with this sudden stressor will depend on our ability to handle it and deal with it and work through it and manage it. Developing a strong robust and enduring mindset can go miles into helping you with challenging times in your life and I am testament to this and so is Dal.
The challenge is for us to bridge the gap between the person we are and the person we want to be. To start living the life we want to lead, be the person we want to be or want to be seen to be. Dan John calls this seamlessness. that the person you want to be and think you are seen to be is the same person that everyone talks about in the end. This transparency and seamlessness comes from actually doing the things and achieving the things you will say you will do and committing to things that will challenge you and that your not sure you might be able to complete because they are taking you out of your comfort zone and past your self imposed limits like starting to train at my gym.
You have a choice when you face adversity and challenges in your life, you can let them break you down and fall apart or you can use them to learn about yourself, get stronger and come back with a more deeper character because that is how your character is formed through your experiences and challenges you have faced during your life.
For myself the last 5 years running this gym has been hugely transformative in strengthening not just my body but my very soul and mindset. It has creeped right into the depths of my soul and changed me forever. I don’t know when it happened but something has happened, a deep chemical change that allow me to over come some serious challenges and I am ready for many more.
Just now we have just begun our next 3 month training block which is timed perfectly. As the next 3 months will be crucial for Dal and my other member Ken both in different ways but equally important. For myself it will be 3 months of not drinking and focused work, working on training, coaching and nutrition. It could well be the most focused work yet in many ways and I am truly buzzing.
I will keep you all up to date on Dal and when the time comes the next ‘Do it for Dal’ until then why not challenge the status quo.
It can sometimes take a big event to almost reset or restart your brain or thinking as it were. For me I guess it was last nights 5 year anniversary party and all the drinks etc and the horrendous hangover this morning. It can also take time lots of time, you may take information in like I did a year ago at GymJones and store it and understand it but not truelly understand it. It takes time for your brain to process it and sometimes going back to something later on can help make it more meaningful and make more sense.
The thing I am getting at here is the way I train people and what I learnt at the GJ Intermediate seminar, what I have learnt since then, my trials and errors in trying to achieve my goals and others and how to implement the very best training plan. So from spending time with Marc Keys, Oli Jessop, Andy Mckenzie and ofcourse the one and only Bobby Maximus I have slowly developed my understanding on how best to train those that come to #BOBSGARAGE.
At the moment how members come and train just now they have two options follow whats on the board either a lower or upper body strength session, a circuit session, a bodyweight cardio and core session or the IWT session (Friday session) Those that want it follow periodised training in the form of either 12week strength program or 4 week strength program. But like the secrets to the universe it is an unfinished work and is not the end product. Eventually we will move to a 3 tiered system and you will either be on tier 1, 2 or 3.
Tier 1 is Foundation 1 is what all new members will be on for at least 6 months but can last up to 18months. For beginners you will be eased into training with 2-3 sessions a week and then building towards 5-10sessions a week. 1-2 hour sessions, hard training 5days a week minimum, Foundation 1 is about increasing work capacity above all else and the bodies ability to tolerate stress.
There has always been a need to find a system that incompasses the all round approach, the subject is massive with CF and that is where it began but to delve deeper we need to use this 3 tier approach and you yourself need to write a list 10 things you want to get better at, with the most important at the top and the least at the bottom and make sure you are working towards those goals every single session. If foundation 1 is about building volume then foundation 2 is about intensity and foundation 3 is about intensified volume. How do we find out what level we are meant to be in? some standards can help but most who walk through the door bar a few will be in F1. Some standards to achieve before moving to Foundation 2 which might be helpful but might not as sometimes you just reach a plateaux and then it is time to change the structure you could hit this at either 6months or 18months depending on the intensity of the sessions or how much work you put in.
I guess this has been triggered by the work I am starting to do writing programs for members for strength training but then thinking back at the intermediate seminar and looking back at the idea of having 3 levels of training programs Foundation 1,2,3 and dealing with the idea of the exerciser or the athlete but actually its more than that its learning to differentiate what level you should be at just started never trained before level 1, other end of the scale guy comes in been training since he was 11 deadlifts 250kg benches 130kg squats 210kg 2k row is under 6.50 and does the GymJones triathlon in 5mins and hits 620-630m on a 2min row IWT then that guy needs tier 3 programming or just an individualised approach to work on his specific weaknesses. I havnt quite worked out how I will deliver the 3 tier system just now as I am just writing monthly periodised programming for members but further down the line will look at a way to implement this 3 tier system and have members following programs on either tier 1, 2 or 3. Call it the project for the next 5 years and hopefully in that time once I have worked it out I may even go back to SLC and complete my Advanced Seminar and finally become a GJ Instructor some day. One can always dream.
But for now let me leave you with this, if you are only training 3 times a week don’t expect the results of someone who trains 6 times a week. And if you haven’t written a list of goals already no more than 10 then why don’t you go away and write them down and then spend the next 6months at least working towards achieving those goals.