Up at slightly earlier than usual Thursday morning around 3.45 should do it to get a red eye flight to Slovenia. The reason being to meet up with Andy Mckenzie and the Combined Strength group. I am really looking forward to this weekend to spend with other coaches talk about the problems I face coaching and and programming for my members and looking at way to solve them. Ontop of this there will be focused time on learning with Andy, every time I am around him I get that bit better at abosorbing what he is talking about and relating it back to what I am doing day to day.
It could have been all to easy for me to say I was too busy, or wasn’t able to get time off, but it is more than worth the effort, and the expense to get their and spend time with my group. It is all about accountability, this group has been great for that holding you accountable to things you said you would do, or holding you accountable to things you have done or not done or said or not said. That’s the best way to learn from your mistakes or even better from other peoples mistakes, learning to take criticism rebounding it and then building on it and getting stronger from it is the best form of self development.
It has been a long year, I remember coming back from Salt Lake City thinking what the fuck. But then I took the plunge and signed up to Combined Strength and it forced me to get better at marketing, no sorry actually think about doing daily social media marketing, and work on getting new members through the door. It all came down to accountability, when your tired been up since 4.30am and all you want to do is nap it will be the one thing that makes you get that piece of business done in the day that makes you work on your business or do some learning or do some training or makes you confront a problem in your business that needs addressed.
Andy has been the guiding light in my last 3 and a half years of this business and the reason I went towards Individualised CrossFit which to this day I still don’t know anyone else that is doing it this way. Putting the time and effort into each member I train has served a massive investment over the years and I am not about to stop doing that, I want to do as much as I can to develop the individual and the group community by being part of more social events and not making it primarily about the training because I know that’s so much more and that’s something that I am just beginning to understand as a concept yes individualisation is important and goal focused training is important as I want to see you progress and develop but I also want to develop commitment and cohesiveness which can be brought about by delving deeper into more social occasions with everyone in the gym creating a life long bond.
Its really important to spend time with other coaches that think differently to you, are more knowledgeable than you, that will force you to coach and talk about your concepts of coaching and your ideas of programming be it right or wrong to other more experienced coaches and in return if its wrong or if there is a better way of doing things then you can learn about it, not being arrogant or being my way or the high way about it but open and honest and ready for feedback or ready to learn from your mistakes and from this you can progress as a coach and as a individual.
I am looking forward to some time away from my most prized thing that is #BOBSGARAGE I literally loves this place. Its an amazing gift I was given and I try my best to help as many people as I can that reach out to me, after all my duty is to serve and help people and I love it even though it drains me so much sometimes I really love a 4.30am start and Monday is my favourite day. Any way I got distracted their, it will be good to get out of the gym and gain some new perspective and clarity on the problems I am facing and about to face, I am looking forward to talking about the problems my members face in training and getting advice on programming, feedback on coaching and business development on how #BOBSGARAGE will develop over the next 3 years and further.
I will leave you with a sunset below, its the same sunset I viewed 4 years ago when I went from San Diego to San Francisco. The road trip that lead to me meeting Greg Glassman and getting sponsored for a Level 1 the same sunset that inspires me 3 years on, why because its full of hope, I still feel that I am on that road trip that journey that adventure to that day every morning when I wake up at 4.15am and get ready for my members at 6am to light them up and get the best from them. I never used to be a morning person and when I started this I didn’t really put much thought into the early mornings, tough but worth it is what I would say, a certain level of fatigue that you get used to, getting used to 6 hours sleep and getting good at taking naps in the afternoon before class in the PM, getting my training done, working on the business and doing the admin needed to run a business. Sacrafices had to be made but they were worth it because the satisfaction in helping people is more than worth it. Developing that and managing that work life balance and developing it as a business is the next step and developing it with the same level of high quality service and consistency is going to be crucial if it expands and never forgetting that its not a job, its not a lifestyle but its a responsibility, coaching is a responsibility. Don’t Fuck it up.
2, commit to at least 3 sessions at least and look to build this to 4-5 sessions a week in 6months to a year.
3, set goals, doesn’t matter how small, 1 monthly and a handful for 3 months,
4, take note write your training down. There is no better way to see progress then to see how far you have come.
5, pick a couple of base level measures, could be a 500m row could be a weight lifted or a workout you have done. And look back and perhaps ask me to test it in a few months time.
6, write a food diary or use my fitness pal to see what your diet is like throughout be week.
7, keep note of what your weekly alcahol consumption is. You want a solution in a bottle then quit the bottle for 30 days.
8, pay attention to technique once that’s dialed in then work with your weight on lift and progressively overload that.
9, be prepared to work hard, get out of breath, have your heart rate raised sweat and be taken out of your comfort zone. At time it will feel hard if not impossible but if you push through that hardship you will not only be fitter and stronger but more mentally robust, because if we train the mind first then the body will follow.
So at the start of the week I decided to take the plunge and go for 30days of not drinking and cleaning up what I eat. I wrote about being honest with yourself and that while self assessment though hard at time is necessary and hugely beneficial to find out where your falling down in life, training and nutrition and where you can make progress. It is difficult, challenging and sometimes hurts but if you dust yourself off and look at it as a chance to get better and improve then you will only progress.
Support is important at these times and mine was initiated by my colleague from my combined strength group Joe Stoker, Joe has also been on the Gym Jones level 1 and knows all about cutting the bullshit and results based training. So when he said to me he sees me training so hard but my body didn’t reflect that, well it struck a cord and lit a fire for me to focus more on my nutrition.
There is another point to this as well, it is to inspire, to lead my members, you see a lot of motivational posts these days but the best ones are of your colleagues or friends pushing themselves to their limits. If you see someone else work their hardest then it rubs off on you and can lead to inspiring you too push yourself more, make a change or join me in the training I do at #BOBSGARAGE.
It had inspired one of my members to do just that JB so here is his update on his life long journey:
I’ve Got my New Shoes On
Hi, JB checking in…and I need a check in. A recent FB post by Bob chimed with my recent thinking:
“Honest self assessment is difficult at times. But necessary.”
My last blog entry was in December 2015 and at that stage I was making progress; getting fitter, stronger, healthier. I was working towards the 2016 Edinburgh marathon, planning to do Hadrian’s Wall as a personal ultra at some stage in 2016 and I think I set some realistic goals with Bob. How things change.
I am now 16.28 stone – the heaviest I have ever weighed. I am unfit and out of shape; and I look it. I seriously need to sort my shit out.
So what happened ?
By March 2016 I was running 15km comfortably and about to step up mileage for the marathon, working to a definitive plan. I was on track. I then headed off on the Fife Coastal Path for a 4 day trek and somehow injured my left foot cutting short my trek by two days. Recovery by no running – not what I needed with an impending marathon. No worries thinks I, I’ll just man up and work harder when recovered. Which is what I did. Then 5 weeks before the marathon, flu, chest infection and three weeks before I could even think about running. Even then, my chest was heavy. No go on the marathon which was hugely disappointing.
Nevertheless, CrossFit continued although a building work load in my job, which is high pressure, started pushing training, when I am away at work, out of the window as the hours stepped up in the office and the toll of weekly commuting takes its place. Never mind, ‘there’s always next week to get back in gear’…which became a boring, repetitive refrain. I suppose inevitably, the sporadic approach took its toll and during one session, my sciatic nerve tweaked in a big way and I was off the road again. Fortunately, around this time I had started physio for my left shoulder/left hand side of my neck which are trashed as I have been carrying old injuries for years and ignoring them until I got to the point where the pain was too much. Several months physio has made a difference but I still live with continuous pain – I suspect surgery looms. Anyway the point was, my physio knew my history, was on hand and set about fixing my lower back and sciatic pain with a vengeance. So, recovery mode again.
Then I decided to get my left elbow fixed which had reached a point of me being in intense, continual pain. I thought this would mean keyhole surgery to fix a traumatized bursa and a bone spur which were both the result of an old ice hockey injury. It was not keyhole surgery; a lengthy scar is testament to this and the surgeons comment, “one of the worst cases of impacted, traumatized bursa I have seen…” The good news – it is fixed. The bad news ? It was debilitating and stopped me training for weeks – but then, I could have worked around it. I should have worked around it. When I get the right elbow done later this year (old rugby injury, similar problem), I WILL work around it.
So all of the above happened and then I set about moving flat in England where I work, I started the process of buying a house in Edinburgh (which is where I live with my family) and the work load just kept building. A little busy to say the least. So work load is fine – I deal with pressure pretty well, in fact I thrive on it but it comes at a price and normally that price is training is the first casualty. As I said to Bob, this is dumbness personified as all CrossFitters will know. By giving up training to save myself an hour a day, I lose the space and place and challenge I love. I start losing fitness, feel like shit, feel bad generally and on the whole become miserable.
So, I hit the point whereby I knew I had to get myself back on track; for my health, for my family, for me. Again. On holiday, in the USA, I took a look in the mirror and gave myself an ‘honest self assessment… difficult… but necessary.” I gave myself a stiff talking to, issued myself a MTFU* pill and set about getting it together again.
This was the week I put my new shoes on, reset and restarted.
See you soon Bob.
*MTFU – Man the f**k up
If this post has served as a timely reminder to get your shite in order then good. Don’t wait for tomorrow, start today. If it has helped you to renew your focus on something that you have been ignoring or putting your head in the sand then start to address it. If you want to make a change in your lifestyle become fitter, healthier and stronger then use this link below to book your free trial session:
Sorry about that. I thought I would publish a new post today on my favourite types of conditioning just now. I have been doing lots of different forms of conditioning, ranging from 60min – 90min rows, half marathon rows, gearing rows, and interval work the main interval work I have been using for myself and my athletes is 30secs on 30secs off x6 row with 4mins rest x3. With the sled I have been using 20m distances out and back ranging from 40kg for beginners to 60-80kg for more advanced stronger and fitter athletes. This sled workout I have been referring to as dirty 30’s as its roughly 30secs work and 30secs rest usually done for 10mins but I have done it with 60kg for 20mins once or twice and its quite sickening.
The Every Minute on The Minute workout can be used in many different ways, with the dirty 30’s workout on the sled it is just the best and worst conditioning workout as it has the ability to light up your energy systems and also your power endurance of your legs, its also great as your pushing so there is an element of upper body work there albeit not much but it is a whole body movement.
Another version we are seeing more of as of late is using the emotm format ontop of completing a number of reps from another movement, today I attempted a workout of that version which was a workout I saw from one of the Gym Jones coaches – Chris Feather from all the way over in Sydney at 98 Riley St Gym. He is a certified beast like Rob MacDonald. His workout was 300 burpees emotm 5 Deadlift at BW which for me was 90kg. You can play these workouts one of two ways, go balls to the wall and try to get as many burpees done as you can in the minute before you have to do your 5 deadlifts or pace it and try and leave yourself 30secs rest each time, so ultimately you will be doing an hour of 30secs work 30secs rest. In this case I picked the 2nd choice. The best strategy to take with this long interval workout is to pace yourself and focus on good movement and bracing and breathing, in that rest period try your best to get good deep breaths in to recover, mindset is a big player here as 50reps in I was really struggling and needed to focus on small bite sized chunks of the workouts and getting used to the heavy breathing.
Now with such a long workout unfortunately it did prove too much for me as my left hamstring gave out at about the 60min mark, fatigue and exhaustion hit. So if I was to use this workout to the general population it would be for 20mins and maybe at 40% of their max, but the key point here is that you can create really good conditioning workouts if you add a whole body lift at low reps with a body weight movement or even a erg or Airdyne or sled, as long as your stick to the parameter’s of 30secs work 30secs rest I don’t see why you couldn’t do it to 60-90mins and its would be great really hit you hard feel it in the lungs and feel like a hard 60min run or bike or swim.
Just be ready to push yourself and test your mental strength, how long can you really go? I didn’t think I would get past 20mins but I got to 60mins, a little strain on the hamstring but nothing I cant heal with some focused recovery and nutrition and rehydration and maybe not squatting tomorrow.
As a coach I have much to learn, knowledge still needs to be developed and I will continually strive to learn and understand more through my mentor and coach Andy McKenzie and other coaches, one person I have also learnt a lot from has been Rob MacDonald and Mark Twight, pushed myself further than I thought possible. I will be looking to learn more about performance and strength gainz from Ashley Jones later in July also and will probably head back to Salt Lake city for the Gym Jones Level 2.
I think its good to form thought and processes from the training that I experience myself though as that will give me an understanding on how to train others as I do think that there is a balance between strength and conditioning training being both an art and an expertise and only you know the right mix for each person and what the best fit is, I think that’s the beaty of Individualisation. Each persons mix is slightly different depending on where they are on the strength spectrum, there level of fitness, injuries they carry and how long they have been training.
So next time your in the gym try a EMOTM workout try this 50 strict burpees emotm do 10 goblet squats.
Another weekend of Open Weekend workouts this time with 16.2 either as prescribed or scaled or programmed to a format that the member could be included in. In total we had about 14 of us doing it. Prescribed for some scaled for some or made into a 20min amrap with 25kg cleans from ground or above knee to ensure good technique.
Most of us surprise surprise found 25 toes to bar a lot and then adding in the cut off of 4mins meant it got spicy!
Friday night saw some of the girls take it on, Corinne in a scaled capacity as a 20min amrap with 25kg and knee raises, Jaimie entered a score into the scaled division and Emma completed the scaled workout as set out with time to spare at 19.46.
We also had Ben and Ruaridh put in a good performance this weekend also, who took on the scaled version with time caps.
As well mike who ran it too 20mins with 42.5kg power cleans
We then had Gregor and Jamie put in all out effort.
And finally last but not least Ana and Alan worked hard for 20mins with again two scaled variations, alan hang power cleans from above the knee at 40kg and slam balls because he couldn’t skip and Ana 25kg cleans and skipping and toes to bar for 20mins
Great work last weekend guys and I am looking forward to the next 3 workouts and bringing us together even more!
The weekends Deadlift workshop with Colin Gordon was a huge success.
We discussed Flexion and extension in great detail in relation to the Jefferson Curl exercise.
But more importantly we got to grips with the deadlift, how to warm up specifically for it and how to set up, breath and use our body to its maximum potential so we can deadlift all the weights like Eddie Hall.
Every time I have a workshop with Colin I learn a little bit more about movement, training and coaching in general, it was a fantastic 3 hours or so that just flew by.
We looked at in great detail how increasing our movement capacity across exercises like the single leg kb deadlift, hip aeroplanes and lateral lunges can have a huge benefit in not only increasing hip stability and mobility but helping reduce our chances of injury when lifting.
It was a good opportunity to just turn the music off forget about everything else going on at that moment and truelly commit yourself to listening and focusing on getting better at deadlifting. And that’s what we did there was a good amount of focus in the room and we all developed and learnt more about how to deadlift more efficiently.
Once we had gone through a specific deadlift warmup we then broke out into groups to go over breathing, setup, lat engagement and the stages of the deadlift.
We had two of my newer members in the workshop, Craig and Beth who I had gone over the deadlift a couple of times before in the last 2months I had been training them. This workshop was perfect for them as it gave the opportunity to focus on nothing else except this complex movement and they progressed with their technique really well.
We looked at how the lat engagement was really the key to a good pull, and that without the lats we really wouldn’t be able to pull the weight that we are able to pull, so if you pin those shoulder back in your set up it will help your body act as one, get you using your hamstrings etc and the weight will just float up.
Beth had only deadlifted 30kg or so past few months and she came to me unable to do an full airsquat because of lack of leg strength, past week or so she just started to have the strength to do full airsquats, and has the shoulder strength to complete our segmented flows, she also cut her 5k run time down by 3mins and at the deadlift workshop deadlifted 65kg with good technique.
I finished the workshop by just working up to a heavy single that was 220kg a 20kg PB.
So it was a great workshop, and we hopefully will have another workshop with Colin in a couple of months time on the squat fingers crossed.
Chances are that will be highly likely, you could be a small business owner, gym owner, coach, PT, busy in the financial services, or any other professions, being a stay at home mum, or having a young family or old, managing everything in your day to day life is hard and sometimes gets on-top of you.
Knowing how to get the most out of your body energy wise, recovery wise is important and will help you manage your stress level…s.
Being able to Manage your stress and anxiety levels is really useful and knowing how to hit the reset button helps you not becoming burnt out.
Lack of sleep can make you feel sick. Just taking some time out to have a quick nap makes a huge difference.
Pay attention to your resting heart rate and your normal breathing can give you great clues to how your feeling.
Some simple tips to start would be make sure your diet is well rounded and nutritious.
Look at how much sleep you get.
How much water are drinking?
How much alcohol are you drinking? Do you smoke? How much fast food do you eat?
What you do makes a difference,
Breathing – take some time be it 2mins to 20mins and focus on deep relaxed breathing.
Go for a run, get your heart rate elevated, crack a sweat and breath heavily.
Lift heavy weights (with good technique)
Do a CrossFit WOD
Manage your time better, spend less time on social media and be more social, with loved ones and friends.
Working out with friends can be really fun.
But remember at the end of all that and what is said and done, that you create a mental strength through pushing through troubles and adversity, it is good to struggle and it builds character.
Have the belief that you can achieve your goals, stay positive, remember you can influence the event in your life.
there are 5 workouts released every Thursday night for 5 weeks:
16.1 – Feb 25-29
16.2 – March 3-7
16.3 – March 10-14
16.4 – March 17-21
16.5 – March 24-28th
We do not know what the workout will be till it is announced on the day.
We are hooking up with CrossFit Murrayfield each week to combine forces and be more awesome.
We will be doing the workouts together as a community on the Saturday. We will be setting people off in waves hopefully every 30mins in pairs, 1 person judging the other doing the workout and then swapping round. If you need a qualified judge so you can submit a score then one will be available.
The emphasis will be on inclusiveness, scaling of the workout and making sure it is something that you can do safely, have fun doing in the process. This is a chance to cheer each other on, laugh, enjoy all our hardwork and early mornings that we have put into getting stronger and fitter.
There will be an element of cheering on other members, before or after it is your turn to do the workout, don’t be scared, enjoy the moment and atmosphere and get stuck in.
So come down and try it out, this is a great chance to get to know other members you have not met and speak to other CrossFitter’s from another box.
We will be kicking off from around 9am and going on the half our till about 1pm.
We will be meeting for drinks after it all at the Bonnington Pub on the corner of Newhaven Road around 1pm it will not be paleo.
I have been apart of the Combined Strength Group since August last year. It has given me huge support, advice and access to coaches that have more knowledge and experience than I have. Through Andy’s guidance I have been developing my business and training methods since then.
This weekend began with a chat about marketing and how each of us could improve in that respect, we then moved onto developing our coaching, I took a group of more experienced coaches through a session and was then assessed and given feedback on what I had done and what could be improved.
We also went through more movement, warmup practice and systems to use when training and the clean and jerk and snatch. We were also given 3 hours of Handstand practice from Andy Handstand coach Sammy Dinneen A Professional Handbalancer and Acrobat.
As I come up to the 3 year mark at running #BOBSGARAGE it is more important than ever for me right now to have a mentor and coach and someone to hold me accountable, push me forward and make sure that I am continuing to stay uncomfortable and learn and develop as a coach.
It was Andy that helped me progess my gym to that of Individualisation and to strive for higher standards in my training, coaching and life and I will continue to do that with the groups help.
If you would like to learn more about movement, the combined strength approach, or becoming part of the combined strength group then make contact with one of us and become part of an amazing group of coaches.