It has been a month now since our gym went through some pretty major changes, to progress sometimes you need to tear something down and start from scratch. That’s what I did I renounced my affiliation with CF and wholeheartedly committed to going down the line I wanted to go down with my gym.
The old ways of individualising for every single person that came into the gym was fanciful and deluded and I was unable to do any long term planning, trying to individualise for 40-50 members was noble and felt amazing but it was not sustainable long term and would result in my eventual burn out and detachment of my head or someone elses.
With the insight of my coach and mentor Andy Mckenzie who gave me my original idea of the Individualised training idea I went about implementing my new training system and program.
The WRAPS warmup system is the first piece of the puzzle here. I wont go into massive amounts of detail but WRAPS stands for Warmup (get the body warm, spike the heart rate, get warm, 30secs to 5mins of basic CV) Range of Motion (movement prep, prepare the body head to toe) Activation (keep it simple get the body ready for the work to come) Potentiation or Patterns or Play (usually some jumping, and scapular movement) Skill (this is your time to work your individual skill, a skill is something that can only be worked for a short time as its not a strength and we lack the strength to do it for any length of time longer than 5mins) Skill can also be work on your Priorty 1 or 2 either a weakness, mobility issue, injury, or prehab/rehab work.
The skill component is where we now individualise. There is a saying a little of something can go a long way and I think that is the case with Individualisation. We are doing a small amount of it and using it in our skill blocks, giving people specific skill blocks appropriate to their level and what they are working towards or their injuries or weaknesses or mobility issues.
There are two options, I have found that by in large the general population that I train needs to do the following when they come in and train with me, they need to do more range of motion work and do whole body workouts, meaning a form of Squat, a form of hinge or deadlift, and a form of press and a short finisher. For their bodyweight training which is key to longterm longevity and success and progress in developing bodyweight strength it needs to be given the whole session.
This developed into the following program wholebody or Bodyweight, cardio and core focus.
When people come into my gym now they either have a choice of a whole body resistance session or a bodyweight, cardio and core focus session.
Our program works like this:
Monday repeated Wednesday
Whole body OR bodyweight, cardio and core focus session
Tuesday repeated Thursday
Different Whole body session OR bodyweight, cardio and core focus session
Group conditioning session
Saturday chance to catch up in earlier session or core session at 10amand weightlifting from 11-1pm and some Saturdays we will have workshops on from 10-12 to focus on particular training like bodyweight training, kettlebells, powerlifting, weightlifting, performance, and so on and comes included as part of being a member of #BOBSGARAGE
That is the program side of combined strength, it is using various systems and ways and modalities of training to make you as strong, fit and healthy as you possibly can. It targets your weaknesses or skills you want to work on and makes you work them in every session you do that week. Gone are the days where you work your skill just once a week, if you want to get better at a skill you have a better chance of improving it if you work on it every time you train. It allows for recovery days, days where you are broken and cant train. With the knowledge you build of movement prep and recovery you will be able to take recovery sessions when you are too sore or tired to resistance train or do bodyweight training.
The sessions are repeatable and flexible and the emphasis is getting the body used to a stimulus we are giving it and giving it time to adapt and then get stronger before we change the rep scheme or type of stimulus. The Said principle is key here, specific adaption to imposed demand.
There are many parts to the Combined Strength Approach one of which is putting the responsibility of development and progression and learning in your hands, getting you to think for yourself with the guidance and help of the coaches but teaching you to move well on your own and take charge of your skill progression and development has always been a main driver for #bobsgarage and the Combined Strength approach really supports this in teaching people to warmup and move and get ready for training with Minimal supervision and help once you have mastered the basics and understanding of the concept and exercises for range of motion and activation you are a free thinking spirit and self-sufficient when it comes to preparing and maintaining your body and developing it and progressing your athletic journey in #bobsgarage.
The other side to Combined Strength is the coaching side the support and the idea that we are better together, we are stronger together than we are alone. For me as head coach and driver and leader of this movement and project that means that I go out there and I network and I build relationships with people who are smarter, more knowledgeable, experienced and savvy than me in order to work with them learn from them and give a combined service that is 10 times better than what it would be if I did it on my own.
Combined Strength when related to our community as a gym, as a culture means developing the fabric that is our community to keep us coming back for more each and every day, through events outside the gym, through big team workouts, through adversity sessions, through supporting members through challenges varying from illness, injury, moving house, job, depression you name it our Combined Strength as a group of people that is #BOBSGARAGE can help and support each other and have helped many in the last 4 years get complete challenges, recover from surgery’s and illness and just get us through when we are having a tough time in our life.
So in short my gym is much like an onion, it has many layers and there are many depths to what you see on the surface. There are so many areas in which we can help each other and in which the gym works to put it nicely one a #bobsgarage member always a #bobsgarage member. I will leave my mark one way or another and you will always remember the time you were coached by #BOBSGARAGE
WRAPS is the combined strength warmup system developed by its leader and head coach Andy Mckenzie.
Once you know how to use it and what each section means you will be that one step closer to being a self-functioning athlete.
Understanding the concept behind the system and how it works will mean that you will be able to create your own warmup whatever you do as long as you follow the basic principles.
Once you understand it and how it works and then have a good depth of range of movement exercises then you will be able to apply it to anything you do and it will take your training leaps and bounds ahead of where it is now. Not just with being ready for the work to come but just being warm and ready for the work to come and being at less risk of injury when you train.
I will give you the tools to warmup and show you the exercises you need to perform daily movement prep on yourself so that you can do what you’re doing now 20 to 30 years down the line because over everything else longevity is the most important principle at #bobsgarage.
What WRAPS stands for
W – warmup – get the body warm make it simple just about increasing circulation and raising the heart rate and heat in the body. Can be a short sharp 60sec effort on a rowing machine, or a long 5mins on the ski erg or bike. Use your imagination.
R- Range of movement- this is all the movements the work from head to toe your range of motion, not stretching per say but just working through range of motion that you will need for the training ahead. The combined strength group have the combined strength 10 which is 10 movements that open up and get you moving, working the neck, shoulders, thoracic, lumber, hips, knees, ankles and wrists. Some of these are covered in our yoga flow warmup but this is where you can add in exercises specific to you for your mobility issues.
A-Activation – Things that can be specific to the movement your about to perform, if its squats doing some goblet squats, banded shuffles, lunges, or Bulgarian split squats, banded hamstring curls, planks, side planks, side leg raises, Cossack lunges would be a good option. If its Deadlifts then activating the latts with some ring rows or latt pulldowns with a band, back extensions, and single leg kettlebell deadlifts, banded good mornings, and again planks would be good. For pressing again getting the core active, doing some shoulder work with the EDPR patternthat is Extension, depression, Protraction and retraction would be a good start. In this part is where we can also add in the specific exercises given by sports therapists or Physio’s. Or specialist S+C coaches.
P – Play/Potentiation/patterns can be anything from activation progression Re box jumps or plyo work or crawling patterns or some form of play work.
S- this can lead into the last part which is Skill, it is where we work that exercise that were still progressing too and we don’t have the strength to do yet so it is a skill, when we have the strength it then becomes a strength which can be worked as a strength exercise, this can be anything from a muscle up, pistol, handstand pressup or hold, pressup, pullup, dip, or our P1 or P2
What is our P1 or P2?
Your P1 and P1 are things that are personal to you and it is this that personalises your training. They could be an injury that you need to work on every single day or a mobility issues that is holding you back from achieving your full performance in what you are training or it could be a weakness that is also holding you back or has caused you an injury or could potentially cause you an injury. Your P1 or P2 can also be a pullup or pressup or a movement that you need to learn also.
I have been training Cesar since the start of September 2016. Always a pleasure to train and is consistent and committed and has been this way since we started my job is to give him the best possible opportunity to get as fit, healthy and strong and help him along with his weight loss along the way. He is a talented writer and can put in words what I mean and want to come across from our training at the gym. He has written an update on his story below, so please read on.
I can’t climb walls
We are now in that time of the year when all our social media start to get absolutely full of videos of people achieving things, photos of sunrises with Paulo Coelho texts and motivating speeches about how important is to triumph in whatever you are doing.
I won’t be surprised if someone ends posting their pets doing the CrossFit Open or something like that. Or someone escalates some competition so little Billy in the hospital can do it by just raising his hand and everybody goes “OMG such hero!”
Everybody is achieving their best and yet, here I am. Unable to climb walls.
We live in a time were not even trying is better than failing, a world where nobody is willing to take risks. You only show others your best, never the times when you weren’t good enough. You’ll share your happiest moments, your achievements but never the cold feeling of disappointment that comes from failing.
And yet, I love that feeling. I look towards it. I want it.
Winning is easy. You don’t judge yourself when you win. You don’t rethink the decisions you’ve made. You don’t feel the need to become better, to learn, to improve, so the next time, through grinded teeth and clenched fists, you’ll be able to triumph.
That’s what I like from failing. Failure humbles you, shows you the cold truth, it’s the eye opener that you need to see where you really are. It’s the only moment when you can stop being the person you are, and really try to become the one you want to be.
Sometimes you don’t deserve failing. You gave everything, you went way beyond your limits and still… It wasn’t enough. You are not good enough. You still cannot climb the wall.
Everybody is scared of failing. Some people are so scared that they will never try anything just to avoid it. And that’s exactly why you need to go towards it.
Failing means you tried. Failing means you wanted something. Failing means you accepted the chance of failure and yet you went for it. Failing means you tried even when you weren’t sure of the result. Failing makes you better than those that not even tried; the ones that chose to not know the answer. You wanted to climb the wall, so much, so absolutely much that you were ready to endure the feelings that come with knowing that right now, you can’t.
Only cowards fight when they are sure of victory. You will share your victories with the many, but only a few will know your failures.
So embrace it. Embrace the failure, learn from it, and accept the cold, the tears, the rage and the pain that comes with it.
Failure is honest. Failure will be a part of you all your life, until the day you die, and that’s why you need to learn to accept your failures. Do not deny your failures, they are a part of you, denying them is denying yourself. You are right here, right now in part of because of your failures. What you do with your failures is up to you, but don’t hide yourself from them.
In fact, you need to become better at failing. Keep failing, day after day, until you are so good at failing, that nobody can see that you are failing, and then, just then, move towards the next failure.
Also, failure gives you the chance to live one of the best moments you can have in life. Rising up.
Only when you are down you can rise up. Only then you’ll know what are you made of. Only in that exact moment, when everything screams you to stop, only then you will find yourself rising up. Trying again. You don’t know if you will be able to do it this time, but you can’t stop yourself. You have to rise, one more time, and many other times after that.
Only when your back is on the floor and you are looking to the ceiling or when you are on your knees looking to the floor, only then you’ll find the answer you are looking for. The one that makes it worthy, that gives it meaning. That is the moment when you know for sure that you are not going to stop. Maybe you will just do 1 more rep, or add 1 kilo or just advance 1 inch, or try again tomorrow, but you will do it. Will that be enough to finally climb the wall? You do not know, but now you need to find the answer again, so you will get up, catch a little of your breath and without saying anything, you will go again.
You obtain certainty. The absolute understanding that there will be no failure. The result will not matter, what is sure is that you will not fail. Whatever you do, it will be your victory, your triumph, your vindication.
There’s a word in Italian, “Fiero”. It usually means proud, but also has other meaning and is the absolutely feeling of triumph you obtain when you achieve an unexpected victory against overwhelming odds. And you can only achieve that when you risk failure, only in that exact moment, when everything is nearly its end, only then you will find yourself going forward.
Only then you will be able not to climb the wall, but to tear it down. Only then you will finally understand that you do not have to climb the wall, because then, you would have it behind you, meaning that you did not defeat the wall, you just avoided it. You need to tear it down, destroy it, and with its bricks and stones, build the road you will use to walk towards your future.
Our stories are not the stories of winners surrounded by thousands of persons screaming our names, there’s not a gold medal waiting for us or a world champion title, nor riches nor eternal glory. That’s not meant for us.
Our stories are stories of cold mornings and dark evenings, of the rugged feel of the barbell in our hands, the weight of the kettlebell in our chests, the smooth feel of the sledge and the dryness of the chalk in our hands. Of soreness after waking up and showers way too warm. Of trying. Of putting ourselves goals that we do not know if we will be able to achieve, but not letting that to stop us. Of always wondering if we were good enough.
Our stories will not be told to the many, but enjoyed by the few. We carry them with us, they are a part of us, and they belong to us.
So it does not matter if they are stories of failures. Be proud of them, remember them and learn from them, because only in them, you will not find yourself, you will discover your better self.
The mind leads and the body follows, the body achieves what the mind believes. Creating mental toughness is at the heart of training at #bobsgarage.
It is what drew me to Gym Jones and its what drew me to my mentor and coach Andy McKenzie. The phrase ‘The Mind is primary’ from Gym Jones centres around this and so does my training and the ethos of my gym #BOBSGARAGE.
Why is it important to voluntarily expose yourself to stress in the gym? Well sooner or later something is going to come nocking at your door and it will be right up in your face and you will have no choice but to face it you will have to deal with it and it will stress you the fuck out. It will range from losing your personal posessions, being confronted that your fat and overweight, a relationship ending or falling apart, monetary problems, your work getting busier and busier and asking more of you and the ‘work: life’ balance looking more like work:work:work, a death of a pet, a loved one or family member, the introduction of a new baby or child meaning more responsibilities to manage, being unsuccessful at work, accidents of all kinds, being robbed or other criminal behaviour that you have had to suffer.
My point is that your greatest challenge is yet to come and will put all the things you are stressing about now in perspective and in proportion and when you look at the bigger picture you will think Fuck why the hell was I even worrying about this or getting stressed, worked up or angry about it, think about this 5 years from now will this really matter? No it wont perspective and perception are everything in life. Something that hurt you dearly 10 years ago will seam contrite and will mean little to you know and you will wonder why it ever hurt so much.
So why is it important to expose yourself to stressors voluntarily? Well when you face those situations that I have just listed above and you will have to face at least 1 of these probably a year maybe more who knows, you can never really tell with life. But when you face it, its going to be hard, its going to hurt and it may even push you to breaking point or to maybe even you losing your mind, it will be right infront of you, and you will be unable to look away or hide from it, ofcourse you can try with some of them but a robbery say for example could be a life or death experience or worst case scenario a terrorist event. The stress will be there and you will fall to the level of your training, or you rise to the occasion that is a discussion for a later date.
There is a way we can make ourselves more mentally robust to deal with these problems we face in life and its through training and I am going to go onto to tell you how you can train it through the principal that is ‘the mind is primary’ I have been thinking about this topic for sometime and spurred on by the thoughts and writings by the coaches at Gym Jones. The main way in which I train this mental resilience is through getting up early most days, I get up between 4.30 and 5am 4 days a week and I coach 3 hours of classes in the morning train for 2hrs go home nap, eat work on my business and then coach 4hrs in the evening come home at 9.15pm and then go to bed at around 10-10.30 I tend to get around 6hrs of sleep and a 30minute nap in the day. I don’t complain I never have and I never will. I look for advice and support and help but I will never complain and I will never speak negatively of what I do. This in short has helped me develop a strong mental robustness. It is needed in dealing with tough customers, challenges with my business, facing failure in training, coaching, life and relationships and has generally been the bedrock in which I have built all my success. Let me stress it began with my introduction of CrossFit by the one and only Jonny Elliot. That man made me suffer.
How can you go about introducing stressors to your training? There are many ways if you are able to control your body and squat or deadlift or weightlift well then it can be done through progressive overload and challenging yourself with heavier loads. The sled is my favourite tool of choice but it could be done with hill sprints, burpees, a 2k row or 500m row, or 1000m row, pick a distance and just give it everything. On Saturday I introduced a different level of stressor, yes the workouts in our Fuck You Saturday were hard and it was long but there was also an element of planning and co ordination at the start, people had to work together at the start in order for the workout to be a success they had to work as a team they had to work together, at the start we could not see a way forward and a plan had to be formulated it was stressful but it also added to the positive effects of the workout it took people out of their comfort zones in a different way just like going up infront of a crowd would do the same or planning a solution to a problem.
For beginners You are rarely able to increase load or intensity instead you can take them out of their comfort zone by forcing them to think about what they are doing by forcing them to start being mindful about how they move and control their body by making them learn new movements, that in its self is stressful because at the start most people fail or don’t get the movement and take time to practice and learn and absorb new information and new ways of moving or doing something they had never though doing like weight lifting.
I was inspired to write this post because just now my main stressor is moving into my own flat for the first time , now it hasn’t started to stress me yet but that will come soon enough, but it has started stressing my mother, we were shopping today for the flat and in all of the madness she dropped her diary in a large department store, she was understandably distressed and it all happened because she was worrying about me and what I needed for my new flat and in all the commotion she dropped her diary that is pretty much her hard drive for her memory, I kicked into gear and went helping to look and gave the store manager all her details to phone us if it was handed in, she was distraught and lost after this event and when we got to the car she didn’t know how she was going to carry on through the week, low and behold a call from the store came in and it had been handed in. A wave of relief had been lifted and she felt elated. It could have been the other way round but thankfully wasn’t.
I am not saying for a second that a PT should put my mum on a rower and make her sick, infact if they did that I would fuck them up because I love my mum. She has been introduced to stressors in her life in different ways one was running a guest house for years until it very nearly ran her into the ground and the other is dealing with me and another her rheumatoid arthritis and her chronic pain in both hips and 1 knee before she got them replaced, and a bunch of other things, my mum is as strong as they come if not physically like me but definitely mentally, however she does get overwhelmed by things like me moving out.
There are many different ways you can get your body to get used to stressors one is cold water swimming or just cold showers or baths or exposure to cold temperatures or dealing with stressful situations, my favourite in the gym has been long endurance efforts like a half marathon row or ski erg or 2hr sled drag, looking at the higher intensity stuff 100 strict burpees or a good IWT or sled work squat breathing ladder if you like having sore legs for a week.
Expose yourself to stressors in your training or just life and you will be more mentally robust for what life will eventually thow at you and could mean the difference between you making it out of the black hole of what ever despair or depression or just fucking mess that your in and it swallowing you up whole.
So the Avengers is coming to Edinburgh and Glasgow. So here is the #Bobsgarage Ironman 6 week Challenge.
Ok here are the challenges to complete for the next 6 weeks:
Number 1 Alcahol,
My go to would be to stop drinking, cut it out or dramatically reduce it, the one magic pill you can take for fat loss, performance and overall health is to stop or dramatically reduce your drinking habits. If you are unable to do this then here is your second option, change all your alcohol in your house too whisky, My thinking round this, well I am pretty sure this is what Iron Man drinks firstly secondly, I bumped into a guy once at a party and he had a hip flask of whisky, he said he preferred to take small sips of his hip flask full of whisky then drink other drinks like beer etc, his thinking less trips to the toilet, less calories as you would just need to take small sips of the strong alcohol, instead of lots of pints etc. This guy eventually came to my gym and I now train him every week.
Number 2 raise your heart rate,
Raise your heart rate at least once a week doing exercise, around 170- 185 something like an all out effort of 100 strict burpees would hit the spot perfectly or a 2k row. My theory around this, Ironman is definitely going to have to get used to high heart rates as he has to deal with high octane situations, fights and situations, you too will have to deal with tough situations some day as I say a lot ‘Your greatest challenge is yet to come’
Number 3 push something till your dripping with sweat and out of breath,
Push something, if you have access to a sled load that baby up and set a distance of 20metres out and 20metres back load it up with enough weight that it takes you 45secs to push it then push it again on the minute and when it takes you over a minute reduce weight keep pushing it reduce weight as needed rest as needed go for 10-15mins, no acces to a sled, push a plyo box, push a car, push a 20kg plate across the floor. Its a whole body workout that hits just about everything and it really is my favourite exercise.
Number 4 Socialise once a week,
Since its an IronMan 6week challenge and Ironman is a bit of a social king and he is always socialising your next challenge is to go and socialise at least once a week go out and do something with all your friends, I almost wrote this one as go out and chat up 1 women a week but I wanted to keep it open to women as well! They say a change of scene is as good as a nap for keeping the mind active and avoiding boredom or tiredness and its always good to talk to other people and socialise to make you feel better so get out there once a week and socialise.
Number 5 Do at least 30mins of pullups, press-ups and dips a week,
Pretty simple really bodyweight is key to being jacked and strong, doing high rep bodyweight movement will be really good for us all as we age and its a great way to workout when we don’t want to load ourselves up with squats, deadlifts or bench or press. So set the timer to 20-30mins and get some reps in, rest as needed don’t go to failure and if you cant do pullups do horizontal ring rows, seated ring pullups, negative pullups and if you struggle with press-ups go for raised press-ups, straight arm planks or crawls.
Number 6 squat, deadlift and bench press once a week,
compound lifts are key to getting jacked and tanned like Ironman, get some good volume in but not too much for your squat, deadlift and bench on different days, make sure it is at a good intensity but not too heavy go sub maximal. If you struggle with any of these movements then break it down use regressions but always make sure you can control the weight and it doesn’t control you.
Number 7 get up before 6am at least once a week,
You think you are going to be as successful as Ironman by not seizing the day? By not getting up early and using that time before work? The most successful people get up early every day between 4 and 5am and they don’t fucking moan or bitch about it they are up and chasing their targets and goals because they know that no one else is going to do the work for them.
Number 8 Join a gym that pushes and inspires you to take you out of your comfort zone,
Life is all about perspective and perception, the people you hang around with and spend time with will change and effect you, if you train and spend time with a group of people who are continually pushing themselves, working hard and being consistent and committed and becoming strong, fit, healthy and solid strong athletes in themselves then you yourself will be helped to up your game and take your training and body to another level.
Number 9 workout tapps Aff,
Ideally this would be done while you are either doing your 100 burpees, or lifting some heavy weights or doing your 30mins of bodyweight training.
Number 10 refeed like a boass,
At least once a week eat steak and at least once a week go to a quality burger restaurant, I can name a few but my favourite has to be 5 Guys.
Ok to finish here is the Ironman 6 week challenge workout;
This could be done in your bodyweight session once a week and every week you can compare your score to last time and see how your improving
Death by Ironman
3 strict pullups +1
5 Dips +1
10 press-ups +3
The first minute do 3 pullups the 2nd minute 5 dips the 3rd do 10 press-ups on the 4th minute do 4 pullups 5th minute do 6 dips 6th minute do 13 press-ups. Do this till you can no longer do the added reps, when this happens go back to the original reps and start again. Do this 5 times, if by the first round your fucked that’s all you do. If these reps are too high for you reduce them or if you can do pullups resort to negatives, seated ring pullups and ring rows, press-ups can be raised, do just the negatives do straight arm plank for 30secs or do a bear crawl for distance and increase distance each time same for the plank add 1 second, for the dips if these are weak then do straight arm dip holds same idea start at maybe 5 second and add 5seconds each time, or you could do holds at the bottom of the dip or you could do ring dips with feet on the ground to take some of the weight with your legs could do the same with the Bar dip if it moves.
One last thing, Sleep, quality food intake and stress management dare I say it Meditation is definitely key here, your recovery is when you are getting stronger, when your in the gym you are just stressing your body, pushing it and weakening it by lifting weights or high cardio efforts like rowing sprints or burgees or sled, but your weaker at the end of it, you couldn’t do it again. When you are recovering that is when you are getting stronger so make sure to get quality sleep 6-8hrs, eat lots of green leafy veg, manage your stress. You can bet that Ironman is always cool under pressure and manages stressful situations so if you want to achieve high level success then you have to get used to remain calm when your put into high pressured and stressful situations every day.
If you have any questions or want help with your 6 week Ironman Challenge then get in touch, and I will look to help you as much as possible or get you into the gym either for a PT session into our small group individualised classes or into our bootcamps.
Something I have been getting to grips with when I have been training people the past few years is mindset. I put a picture up of Peter Griffin as I enjoy it, he is rowing and its playful which puts a lighter note on the more serious and maybe sinister subject of suffering, mindset and pushing people. I live the picture above as Peter is rowing, and when I got my rower I thought this is ok, its not that bad, its quite fun actually, but then I went to Salt Lake City and things changed, I learned the full potential of the rower and was given I now know the true extent of the suffering that can happen on it. The best example is the 2k row. To quote a new training friend and inspiration Marck Goran ‘There is not much you can do on the rower if you are not willing to suffer’ coming down from the 2k row the 500m row in which I won the 500m event at the Invesco event this year that maybe worse than the 2k row.
My point is with these conditioning workouts or our workouts on Fridays the ‘Fuck You Fridays’ are about taking us that little bit further, mentally then we actually thought possible. What does that mean and where does it fit in to me training you? It means that I will always start with your mindset, because the body achieves what the mind believes and so on. Or What Gym Jones says ‘expectation+encouragement+confidence in your ability = Transcendent Physical Performance’
Potential new members may look at this and think fuck this that is too much for me I just want to get off the couch and get moving after Christmas. However it is important that you know about our culture. I will build you up and develop a firm foundation, like Coach Greg Glassman said if you focus and commit to really laying solid and undisputable firm foundations then you will not only get results but your clients will be safe and they will have a strong base to then build from as they say your height of your pyramid is only as tall as its base.
To my main point that lead me to write this post about people pushing themselves and most being unwilling to push themselves past perhaps their plateaux or the point where they could progress or get faster or stronger or win etc it all begins with the mindset. That point where you are at your strongest you are able to lift your heaviest weight or fastest row, or fastest time on the airdyne or ski erg or a hard workout on the sled, is perhaps when you are at your weakest or most vulnerable, just a thought, you have given all your strength to achieving this task what ever it is and truly given yourself too it, not a care to who is around you, when your screaming or yelling or groaning and moaning while you fight to complete the task, just a sole mindset of I am going to fucking do this. When you do, it you strengthen your mindset, you have just completed something you once thought impossible and thus are stronger in mind and in body.
This is the concept I look to put across to all that train at #bobsgarage yes I understand that it is not for everyone so I don’t push it onto everyone just the ones who are willing to embrace it. At the start it is a difficult transformation if you are not used to hard training to getting out of breath to being seen when you are arguably when you are most vulnerable, but in time you build bonds with the people you work out you build a base level of strength and fitness which I will help you build with my Individualised programming and once you build friends up in your gym community suffering with your other friends in the gym actually becomes a enjoyable and enriching experience for the whole group.
Training like this has so many benefits, for one what you do in the gym will now have huge carry over to what you do in life meaning the mental toughness and mindset you build in here can help you with all of your challenges you face in life, be it getting up at 5am which I regularly do, dealing with all forms of losses, be it breakups, divorces, jobs or bereavements, the list is endless, something one day will come out of fucking no where and hit you, its usually when you least expect it and then when that day comes you will have to step it up, maybe just maybe building a strong mindset and mentality might just be the thing that gets you through the challenge we are yet to face. I have this saying I have started to saying to myself when I am having a hard time with anything right now and it is your greatest challenge is yet to come.
It seems like as soon as the 1st of December hit everyone was full throttle for Christmas, nights out, getting all the presents bought, buying the mince pies.
I want to take this chance while we are all chrimbo’ing up to discuss training, weight gain, your motivation, drinking, guilt and overindulging. Over the years I have noticed some trends with people not everyone but a handful. It is that training or the gym takes a back seat, the lead up to Christmas everyone is looking to tighten their purses, save where they can, if resistance training is not top of your priorities or just simply training in general then your gym membership can sometimes be the first thing to go.
We will all go out or maybe already have consumed our bodyweight in gluhwein at the Christmas market, then Christmas work party and we are hitting the shots! eating to excess and drinking to excess maybe not for us all, but we are definitely going to be eating more than usual, having the odd mince pie, I will probably eat a whole case. You may have many nights out, staying out late till the 5am licence getting minimal sleep or sleeping later changing your sleeping patterns or many dinner parties and Christmas parties planned. What this will lead to is lethargy, a reduction in performance be it cardiovascularly or in our strength or power or in our power endurance. Your drive to train your motivation may drop or completely go as you have many nights out, presents to buy, people to see, dinners to go too, you are hungover a lot feel slow and lethargic and lack the motivation to train to hit the gym, ontop of that its cold, its dark and you really don’t want to be made to ‘suffer’ today or work hard or be out of breath or feel the strain of heavy weights.
The good news is were all in the same boat, most of us will eat a little bit more over this month, we will drink a little more, we will socialise a little more and we will suffer more hangovers than usual, we may well put on a little weight, we may well get a little unfitter. You may well just lose absolutely all motivation to come in and train.
I am going to offer you some solutions to combating this, if you don’t feel like coming into a cold, gym, in a dark cold wet night or morning, if you don’t feel like suffering, like lifting heavy, like doing a crossfit workout, like doing a intense workout, I am going to offer you some solutions.
Ok so first things first embrace the mindset that doing something is better than doing absolutely fuck all. Its the one thing that will do the most damage to your strength and fitness gainz and overall health next too overeating or eating really badly or getting fucked up every night at Christmas. Sitting about for long periods watching tv, or sleeping for more than 6hrs and it will maybe make you more stiff or immobile basically squatting and deadlifting is going to be harder and you have more chance picking up an injury.
So to combat this try and do 5-10mins movement or mobility every day when you get up, before you go to bed, at lunch time, go for walks, my mum just rehabbed her 2nd hip surgery in the 8 weeks post op she did a hellova lot of walking with her doctor prescribed rehab plan.
So make time for mobility, use your door frame for some door frame squats, use your kitchen counter for some push backs, do some slow airsquats, do some curls ups. I am going to show you more about animal flow in the future but its particularly useful for my members just now as it enables you to have a savage whole body workout with just your body and a little space, for members who are going away I have been teaching them it and the basic moves and a basic flow and they have something they can do every day which hits everything, and I mean everything.
Once your in the mindset to do something each day that’s all you need, ok great if you can hit the gym lets get a workout in, but wait your beat up from all the sitting eating and drinking and tired as fuck and you cant face lifting heavy or pushing it to the pepsi max or just not feeling up for it lack motivation, then here is when we go light, go 70% pick an easier exercise, just concentrate in getting some good movement in. picking lower weights or percentages, picking easier exercises maybe a goblet squat over a backsquat, or some walking lunges, not doing too much volume, keeping it really simple, getting the breathing up but not feeling like I am strangling you with my bare hands. You have options don’t be the guy that has to hit beast mode every time he is in the gym, or has to do a crossfit workout every time he hits the gym, or has to finish the session lying on his back.
Dan Johns fraise my warmup is my workout is perfect. I have used it a lot this year, doing work with beginners, and people who need to lose a lot of weight. Turning your warmup into your workout could be just the thing you need this Christmas or maybe your coming back from a bad cold, or maybe you get half way into a session and think fuck it I’m done her I cant be bothered, Remember you can do a lot of good volume and work in your warmup, so if all you do is the warmup don’t feel bad you have still done a pretty decent workout. And you can always expand on that and just increase the rounds and use the warmup as a lower intensity workout for that day, if you add in some light rowing or airdyne or ski erg or run or walk or cycle to gym for 10mins at the start and finish then you got yourself a perfect workout to keep the wolf at bay.
I will be doing a facebook live post probably in the run up to Christmas going over some basic animal flow and maybe you can join in with me so look out for that.
Also potential new blog posts in the pipeline, tips for females to get their first chinup and pressup, and potential January beginner bootcamps for 2017.
From time to time I like to right a what I call a captains log post, a summary of my thoughts and summary of what has been going on in the gym the last few months and my thoughts on the gym and its continual development.
Last week I had the pleasure of inviting Craig Punton into the gym to give him a workout on my Airdyne it was great to train with him as you always push yourself harder when you train with someone who is more advanced than you. It was great to hear his thoughts and feedback on the gym and it made me think. I am trying to create something special, different and not mainstream, I was glad to hear that that came across in the social media that I put out about the gym. Thank you Craig for the kind words and I hope to continue to live up to this standard and continue to progress into what my tagline says ‘no ordinary gym’
The last month we had our 2nd Do it For Dal event, it was an opportunity for us to come together as a community to support a member in need, to show Dal who is going through a difficult time right now recovering from a brain tumour, he has one major goal before his next MRI then surgery and that is too lose 2 stone and be as fit and as healthy as possible before his next surgery. This is one hell of a drive to make you focused and determined in the gym and outside to enable him to achieve his goals. Because of this he works very hard in the gym and others should be inspired even motivated by this. I see able bodied lazy and unmotivated people and they could take a good deal of insight from a man like Dal who will work probably 10x harder than they will.
The Do it for Dal event was supported and could not have happened without my friends from CrossFit MTS check them out here www.crossfitmts.co.uk Jonny and Jamie very kindly lent me 4 rowers for the event which was a simple rower relay, 10k row done in groups of 7 we have a ski erg so we had one group on the ski erg in the end. It was 30secs per player on the rower and then 10 strict burpees in your rest. It took just under 30mins, we had around 26 people in the gym, the atmosphere was electric, the buzz was massive and it truelly did inspire and show our support as a community for Dal. It was even timed perfectly at the end when we had Dal finishing the row at the end with us all cheering him on. My goal was clear with this it was to inspire and to fill Dal with a massive boost of energy from the support we gave him on that day as a community.
I try to really put as much effort into each member I train, I want to get the most out of them, change them where needed, instil a strong mindset, a strong mental strength, give them the tools to succeed and become stronger, fitter and healthier than they would have ever thought possible, I do this through individualisation, working with my mentorship group the Combined Strength group run by my mentor and coach Andy Mckenzie www.combinedstrength.com taking the time to find out where each new member is at start with the basics the fundamentals then progress from their, have a framework to work from and then build and a set of principles to work from I have done a lot of work with what I see the best therapist in Edinburgh right now Colin Gordon at Performance Sports Therapy http://www.performancesportstherapy.net/ A sports Therapist that lifts and understands the work that I do and the training that my members do. I have worked with him to help rehab and increase the performance of many of my members and with him I have massively developed the product and offering that #bobsgarage offers.
The business is constantly evolving just like myself and my coaching and my knowledge and experience and my development myself as an athlete. Taking the concept of the individualisation at the gym, we have developed it now that we have a base structure of 3 lifting days Monday squat, Tuesday press and Wednesday Deadlift and barbell complex and we have a bodyweight Thursday day then a Friday dedicated too just conditioning or as we call it Fuck you up Friday and then Saturdays a dedicated Core session or gymnastics core work if you will.
There is still individualisation that goes on towards people who cant do pullups and press-ups, every session they are in they are given regressions to build that skill and turn it into a strength eventually, we dedicate our time to strict movement also ‘no kip just strict’ as I see it you have an hour of your day and it is more beneficial to work a strict movement that has more benefit to your squat and your deadlift than a kipping pullup would. Added to that the joint stresses on the shoulder, back and elbow that occur when you kip a movement I will always go for a strict pullup.
The addition of the ski erg and the airdyne although costly was hugely worth it, the airdyne is a very potent and effective beast of a machine and is hugely effective and building aerobic and anaerobic capacity. It has developed our Friday sessions into something very special and really effective. The gym has many layers, we have the individualised aspect to it then the next layer where we get members to be able to think and move well on their own is crucial so you can go forth and work well in bigger groups being able to go forth and use your initiative and think for yourself is really crucial I will give you 6 months to guide you and install you into our mindset and culture and way of doing things in our gym but after that you must take the lead its a two way partnership and I am definitely not your baby sitter.
The last two months of the year are going to be a busy one, my last meet up with my combined strength coaches next weekend, the rig we have had for nearly 4 years is getting taken out and we are getting a completely new set up, we will no doubt start to attract many more people who see what we do and want to be part of such this amazing thing that we have got going on and we are more than ready to welcome new comers.
I have many new partnerships I wish to develop and start with specialists in Power lifting, Olympic lifting and conditioning Edinburgh and I am looking forward to the building and developing these new bonds and developing #BOBSGARAGE into the revolution I wanted it to be and truelly be ‘no ordinary gym’
Every single time I go to the box, I have to walk 20 minutes to go there and 20 minutes to go back to my house. A lot of times takes me longer, very few times less, but the 20 minutes are there. I could take a couple shortcuts and be faster, but I don’t do it. Those are my 20 minutes.
20 minutes that I spend walking following the Water of Leith path, hearing the birds, away from cars, and sometimes, “enjoying the rain”. And I love every single one of those 20 minutes, because every single one of them is full of meaning.
They mean I’m going somewhere where I improve myself, or I’m coming back after testing myself.
And that’s one of the best things you can do.
When I first came to Bob’s Garage I hadn’t being in a gym for about 15 years, and crossfit was something some of my friends did, but never me. I came looking for a place where I could finally be pushed beyond I could push me.
I’ve been trying to lose weight and become healthier for a long time. I was very close to achieve it by myself with diets and some light exercise (I lost nearly 30 kilos) but life happened and I went back to square one. Bloody square one again.
The time of excuses or trying to be smart was over, I needed something and I was going to get it. I checked a few places, and Bob’s looked good. Not too big, the people there seemed to be nice and the guy in charge seemed to know what he was doing. So I gave it a shot and I went there a Saturday morning at 9:00.
It was eye opening. You don’t know your limits until you try to break them, and I discovered that my limits were nearly “walk and breathe at the same time”. Few weeks before going to the box ago I was able to run 1 hour nonstop, but I injured my left knee in the process, that’s the price of trying to outsmart your own body. I, as a fat version of Icarus, had paid a price too high for a reward too small.
So I went to the box, I learnt about the yoga flow and then I started doing some stuff…
Do you know the bear crawl? I was unable to do it properly. The part where you crawl back, well, not for me, my body didn’t knew how to do it. My brain knew, but my body was somewhere else, I literally was unable to make my legs and arms move back.
That was eye opening. That was the truth.
Let’s not talk about doing squats, or even burpees, out of the question. Hell, when I was doing my yoga flow I was already sweating big time (I still do, there’s enough DNA of me on the floor of the box to create and army of clones). So I finished the beginners session absolutely destroyed and feeling like shit.
It was time to do the only right thing to do: I got the monthly pass. Not a group of classes or anything, I paid the £70 without a second thought. That box was my place.
Everything has a price, and I was ready to pay it, to push myself, to accept the reality of my situation, and getting the help I needed (and still need). And I did it because I knew that the people there and Bob understood what was going on. Bob didn’t judge me, he studied me, I could see his brain work thinking about what to do with me, how to encourage me, how to take me to the limit and once there, take me beyond there to reach the next level.
I have been going there for nearly two months there and I’ve loved every single day there. I was able to feel the benefits of crossfit and Bob’s teachings since Day 1. Slowly, but constantly, I was gaining mobility, control, I was taking my body back. I didn’t care if meanwhile other people were doing awesome stuff (and trust me, the people there are able to do amazing stuff) I was unable to do a proper squat. They were examples to me, I saw them and I was thinking “Man, I want to be able to do that”. I’m reaching a point in my life where I don’t have time for envy or anything like that, I like seeing people pushing themselves just because they want to be better. I respect that, I want to do that.
So I kept going to the box: 20 minute walk, getting a 1 hour session with Bob and then another 20 minute walk, and after that going to the swimming pool just to recover and relax the muscles.
But it had an unexpected price: My left shoulder started to get angry, and he was really vocal about it. I started to feel pain, soreness, all kind of bad things were happening there.
The solution was obvious: I needed more help, and Bob sent me to the right place, to see Colin, a Sports Therapist that started treating me. And it was painful, but it worked. Again: everything has a price, and I paid it willingly. Because it was worth it.
Things started to improve. That bear walk? No problem now, look at me going and coming back, in fact you can follow my trail of sweat on the floor. Other people are better at it, but I’ve no problem with that, I’ll try my best to reach their level. Squats? The 21st of October I was able to do proper squats with 24 extra kilos (so that makes a total of nearly 145 kilos of squatting) without any pain. I’m able to get a kettlebell and raise it over my head with my left arm.
Pain is a thing of the past, but I also know that is going to be in my future. Let it come, if it’s the price I’ve to pay, I’ll pay it willingly, because now I know how to solve it, and if I don’t, I know the people that will tell me how to solve it.
Now when I go to the box and I check the whiteboard, I understand a lot of those strange names written there. Now I don’t use knee braces anymore, the pain has disappeared. Now my left arm is catching up with a vengeance. Now I’m walking the path I wanted to walk for years.
And that path is a 20 minute walk. I don’t care how tired I am, or how bad the weather is. I just keep walking. Because the only way to reach your destination, is to move towards it. And if it must be at walking speed, so be it. I’m loving every single step, every drop of sweat that hits the floor, every muscle that starts to burn but still keeps going, every breath that feels like it’s not going to be enough, but it is, every time that I feel that I’m done but then I look around and find myself doing another rep.
I don’t care if I’m not at my 100%, if I’m feeling a bit sick, if the last night I was out for too long and drank a little too much. I keep going. I don’t have time for excuses; they take time from my 20 minute walk.
Because you know those 20 minutes? Those are my reward. I’ve fought for them, I’ve pushed myself beyond my limits for them and I’ll keep doing it. Because I must earn them every single time I go to the box, only then I allow myself to enjoy the sounds of the birds, the peace of the walk, that moment when it starts raining, you pull your hoodie and you just keep walking with a smile on your face.
You smile because you know you have tried your best and know that you will do it again, and your only wish is to be able to do it better the next time.
Because the reward it’s in the price. That’s why you pay it.
I try to encourage as much as possible for my members to write about what drives them, what brought them to my garage, what changes they have gone through and the struggles and strains they go through while training at my gym. Its good to hear that your not alone in your struggle for weightloss and better health strength and fitness and it can show you that actually I could do this and that you could train here. JB has shown great commitment, consistency, drive, determination and discipline. These he brought to the gym from his past experiences but if you have a weak mentality, have no fear as this can be taught and developed through practices in the gym I will turn you into a strong, fit individual mentally and physically.
Here is JB’s update on his progress and his journey to reaching his goals:
I was at a dinner party a week ago and a (female) friend said I looked very different to the last time she’d seen me in June. In July, Bob posted something I’d sent him where I ‘checked in, put my new shoes on and decided to get a grip of myself.’ It appears, some three months later to be working. In discussion with my friend (who had been working hard at weight loss and had lost 1.5 stones) I told her about stepping up and embracing CrossFit again, cutting back on alcohol, some diet changes and training in general. She kindly said it was clearly having an effect.
That day I had worked out (the new core work) following a hard Fuck You Up Friday the evening before (ski erg, row, sled, airdyne, KBS, etc – hard work and yep, loved that one…). I genuinely believe that 3 months ago I would not have been able to complete the FYF and a workout the next day.
I took a look in the mirror the day after the dinner party and holy shit, I have hip bones !
I mean I can see them, defined ! Now, it is true to say I have not lost any weight per se which I assume means I am losing fat and gaining muscle. It is also true to say certain areas (including the hip bones) are a little better defined and I have lost some fat off my face… but it’s also true that I am still carrying too much fat around my stomach area and that will take time and effort to kill. At the age of 48, this is my problem area regarding weight and fat – if I do not train I put weight on and fat builds on a few areas – face (WTF ?), hips, stomach. When I get a grip and train, it pretty much goes, in the same order – face, hips, stomach but the stomach, shit, it takes a lot of work – months of work. So, slow progress is being made. How did that happen ? Here’s how:
After my last blog entry where I wrote about getting my shit together, I took a month off alcohol, stopped eating bread (I fucking love bread), ate more fruit, veg and salad and started training, on average, 4-5 days a week (1 or 2 days in Bobs Garage, the rest in a ‘normal gym’ but doing CrossFit style workouts). Those of you who know me only see me once or twice a week as I work down near London and commute weekly. I know that if I could get to the box in Edinburgh more often my results would be showing faster, but I cannot and that’s life – the upshot of that is having to work out on my own and persevere.
Well, so what ? I think what I have re-proved or proved to myself is a number of things and this is the point of me sending this blog to Bob; there is nothing earth-shattering in what I am about to say but this is a reminder that results can be achieved with discipline and if change is required, then change….
1. A month off alcohol is no big deal. I’ll do it more often.
2. Drinking less in general is not an issue once you break the habit of a drink or two every night. Not to say I am an absolute puritan now but my alcohol consumption is way down…I do feel better for it, I consume less calories and it helps the bank balance too .
3. Bread and wheat products definitely affect my well-being. When I eat it, I feel bloated, get excess mucus and feel sluggish. I felt a lot better for not eating it. I have discovered organic rye bread which tastes good and does not affect my health. I realised that not eating something I have taken for granted all my life is 99% achievable and not hard once you get used to it. If anything the issue is not being able to eat what is essentially a convenience food; often, it is difficult to find an alternative at lunchtime to a quick wrap or sandwich but it can be done. I think I found this harder than cutting out alcohol ! It’s clear though, breaking a habit can be good for you…sometimes you just need to find out what is causing your poor health issue – it may be something you take for granted and not associate with affecting your well-being.
4. Taking time and being disciplined about training regularly makes me happy. It allows me to blow out stress and know I am doing good for myself which is turn is good for my family as it helps my health. It’s important I remain healthy, not only for my personal well-being but also for my livelihood – if I get sick and can’t work, I don’t get paid…like all of us, I have bills to pay !
Of note is curbing any issues you feel about not training. I try not to beat myself up if I miss training but I am definitely in a mode whereby I get a bit concerned about not training. I have been here before but several months ago, when my shit was not in order, this was not a mode I was in. I think it is a pretty healthy attitude to have a slight concern if you miss training but if you are stressed about it in a big way or you beat yourself up about it, perhaps you need a re-think. As an example, last week I was on the road in S.Korea for work; result – travel, work and associated socialising means I have missed a week of training. On day two I found myself stressing about it so I consciously focussed on thinking about the coming week whereby I would focus on recovering from an ‘unhealthy work week’ and I found this helped a lot. So, this week a puritanical approach will be taken and I’ll be back ‘on mode.’
5. Committing to get to Bob’s gym as often as I can is something I have been doing for the last three months since my last blog. I’d be in 6 days a week if it was an option. Regardless, I have been reminded that enjoy the workouts. I like the box. I like the camaraderie and the craic. I like Bob’s approach and coaching technique. I like the suffering and the pain and the feeling of achievement that comes from completing a hard session. I cannot see a point in my future where CrossFit does not happen. I have been doing CrossFit on and off since 2008 and when I commit, the results show. They have started showing after my self-aware wake-up call in July.
3 months ago I made a commitment to myself and I have pretty much stuck with it. I am reaffirming that commitment in this blog; I quite like having hip bones.