Showing posts from 2012


People are great. They are a source of inspiration that can provide fuel for your endeavours and a boost when your motivation flags. They can provide feedback to help you learn, a shoulder to lean on when you are tired and a sense of validation of your efforts.

People are crap. They leech the energy out of you. They snipe and bitch at you, belittling your efforts, desperate to suck you down into the mire of their woeful, dismal, Stygian existence.

Uh oh, looks like your correspondent is full of the joys of the season. It might just be festive blues but there is also something on which I have been reflecting for a while.

In sport, we recognise the effects of a good team. Even our individual sports "stars" are swift to acknowledge the work of the team of people it takes to get them there. Indeed, that has been one of the salient points of the crises that have beset cycling in recent years - the scale of the cheating and the number of people involved to make it happen.

As we c…

But I am owed

"But I am owed!" I screamed at the universe.
"Nothing" it laughed back.
"Your loyalty, your love, your sense of duty, are bought and sold. The price may have varied but only ever to suit you".

Strong arming a subject

The Lance Armstrong "affair" continues to swirl around, resurfacing in between other news stories as people hit another juicy section of the 202 page USADA report. Never being short of an opinion, I felt the need to share mine.
I do need to be careful here, so let me say, for the record that, as a result of my borderline coffee addiction I may have come dangerously close to the IOC limits for caffeine, I have never knowingly taken any banned substance, nor have I condoned it in people I have trained or trained with. In fact, one of my many limitations in sport and life has been not being nasty enough and being too willing to play within the rules. And when all the hand-wringing, moralising and soap-box grandstanding is done, whatever else we may think, anabolics, peptide hormones, growth factors, Beta-2 agonists, diuretics, blood doping inter alia are categories of banned substances or methods. And, for example, if you compete in a regulated sport and enjoy a Camberwell carro…

100 Day Burpee Ladder

I've had a couple of people speak to me or contact me about the 100 day burpee ladder. So, because I still have some people who read this stuff, apparently (by the way, thank you, I'm still not sure what I'm writing for but I do appreciate your time) I thought I'd put it something out here.

Why 100 days? When I was younger my grandad had a book on the shelf "The last 100 days". After he died it came to our family home. Now it sits in my shelf. Granted a book on the last 100 days of the Second World War is odd heirloom to be sentimental about but I vividly remember the "100 Days" printed in pictures within the number and bright yellow. Then there's Napoleon, another childhood fascination. 100 days of his return to mainland Europe until his defeat at Waterloo. And then there is FDR whose first 100 days as president set a frankly astonishing benchmark for the presidency.

It seems like a good number!

Not only is it a good, solid round number but at…

Something to get off my (ample) chest

There are questions of accessibility, there are questions of equality of opportunity, of conduct of superiors and how we should all be given a chance but there seems to be little conversation about what happens when those opportunities are there.
Some people seem to have a habit of being in the right place at the right time, and others seem to have chance after chance after chance land in their lap because of location, ancestors or money. Is it right? Actually, you know what, I'm steering clear of the social ethics conversation today. I'm not a political animal and this blog, as the literary equivalent of a man laughing to himself as he farts in the bath, has no interest in attracting people from either end of the political spectrum because of its leanings. In so far as it might attract anybody at all, the intent is only ever to spark a question or two, to get people thinking.
And that brings me back on track (see, it does happen occasionally). In the various aspects of my life …

Magic potions, stuff and nonsense

Sports supplements, sport-star endorsed products, cosmetics and sponsorship, it is all aimed at making us feel in a particular fashion.

On one level it is the association. The brand or the product triggers a feeling of belonging because "our people" wear it/eat it/drink it/use it. It is the reason why businesses spend millions on product placement.

We are, for all of the enlightenment, our nation states, our supra-national bodies, still tribal. We sort the world into "like us" and "not like us". Although binary, it is not simple, we apply layer after layer as we build our picture of ourselves and the world around us. We love people for their similarities and we hate them for their differences. If we can make it past the superficial people can transition past these initial pigeon-holes into deeper associations. But that takes time and effort!

Back to the sales job. The advertising and the endorsements build a picture for us. They prey on our logic chain…

Reflection and direction

One of the lads I train with asked me recently how I got into this training lark. And, as is customary, this got me to thinking... now just in my mid-30s, I've been involved in rugby (both codes) for 20 years. How on earth did that happen! Time is a slippery bugger, if you don't keep an eye on it, it will slip it's leash and make a dash for it!

Now, it's not like I started with minis rugby either, it's almost all of my legally responsible life haas been spent in rugby in some way, shape or form.// No wonder my mum used to get frustrated that I never put the same commitment into my studies!

At the end of my first season (or part season in truth) I started to consider the merits of getting bigger and stronger and took myself into town and signed up to the gym. I was working in a pub, so I had strange timings but some cash in my skyrocket and this seemed like the way to go. Tucked around the corner from the town centre was a spit and sawdust type place with some gnarl…

Take it on the front foot

I've steadfastly tried to avoiding learning. What with all of the observing, having a go and helping others, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to get bogged down by this learning malarkey. And everybody will tell you that the smart people don't need to learn and life is easier if we just keep doing te same things. As a consequence, there are a great many things that I "know", things that are "right" or "true" which often get hidden or swamped by the habitual acts or "because we always have" approaches.

One of the things that has slipped through the net and that I have learned (and the world keeps finding opportunities to reinforce it) seems to cross over from all walks of my life. Whether it is being punched in the face or having a difficult conversation with somebody, or going to work on your habits, or leading up the defensive line - it is almost inevitably better to take it on the front foot. That sporting analogy not wo…

What's your contribution?

"A pair of hot pants that will help you lose two dress sizes in just two weeks"

"Tone your muscles just by walking around"

"Thermonitrox detonator juice - blow your fat away with the pills of the stars"

OK, so I made the name up on the last one but walk into any "health" shop and you'll find 101 pills and potions promising you an easy solution to your difficult problem. Happiness through advanced chemistry... Hang on, didn't we learn that was wrong at school?

I'm not going to bash the nutroceutical companies (too much) in this post, that's a discussion for another day - suffice it to say that as a multiple-billion dollar global industry, their interests lie very much in sustaining a story and selling you a lot of stuff. To be honest, I can't criticise it too much, every organism seeks to survive. Businesses are no different. We have seen the aggressive, in a negative sense, face of capitalism in recent years but frankly, it is s…

Where is your power leaking?

When I'm training people I'm a big fan of using exercises that allow people to make their own discoveries. I can give cues often, in different ways but that is not as effective as showing the individual a video of themselves. But even that lacks the simple power of them feeling what I am talking about.
Take the plank for example. Cues about tightening the belt or bringing their arse down can help but not always. Get somebody to do the plank on a wooden floor in their socks dramatically demonstrates the principle. Try it yourself in your kitchen. Lie down, a straight line from your ankles to the top of your head, supported on your forearms and the tips of your toes. Hold it for 30-60s.
Chances are that you will not know whether you are in a straight line or not- you're too close to the exercise. It is equally possible that while you have no evidence or basis on which to support your view, especially over an observer, you will declare with absolute authority that you are ve…

Swiss Toni training...

PT is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman - at first you throw yourself in with everything you've got (and if you've been out of the game for a while, this won't be for long). But, before long, if you're just thrashing around and not working with your head as well as heart and soul, it will either chew you up and spit you out or you'll get bored and be looking for the door.
[Before I continue, an explanatory note for my younger or non-UK based readers - Swiss Toni was a used car dealer in the sketch show "The Fast Show" who compared everything to making love to a beautiful woman. Feel

Out with the old and in with the... hang on

There will be quite literally millions of us beavering away at setting, or starting New Year's resolution today. For  some it will be set today, start tomorrow as they nurse a hangover and defer to the calendarical symmetry of starting on a Monday.

I'm not going to get stuck into that this year, I have commented on it before and setting goals is one of those perennial subjects in any event. So this year I am less concerned with what resolutions you are setting for yourself but rather, one we probably do not ask ourselves a lot:

What did you learn this year?

Before you start binning it off because you didn't have a massive flash of inspiration, the answer might well encompass reminders of things that you once "knew" but had not applied or had forgotten. Revision more than learning, if you will!

For example, for my part, I (re)discovered that arrogance pushes all of my buttons; I have a whole new list of tried and tested ways to put weight on using only standard di…