Is Group Fitness right for you?

group fitness
19 Aug

Do you love Group Fitness, but you’re not getting results?

Each week you’re hitting a group fitness class – dance, doing Pump or HIIT, and recovering with some yoga or pilates. You feel full of energy, and love the vibe and community of your regular instructor and classmates. However, when you look in the mirror, you might not see all your hard work reflected back at you.

I’ll be honest, you’re probably fitter than you’ve ever been before. Doing 2-4 classes a week is infinitely better than doing nothing at all. You’re getting a sweat on, improving your cardiovascular health, and most importantly you’re doing it in a really fun and enjoyable way.

When you’re working out at a high intensity for 30, 45 or 60 minutes, your body adapts to the stimulus that you give it. This is why cardio style classes get easier over time, and you need to find ways to push and challenge the body more. If you’re lifting weights for 45 minutes in a pump class your muscles are adapting for endurance and efficiency, rather than strength and power.

Wait, there’s also another 10, 20, maybe even 30+ other people in the studio trying to get the same results. There is no way the instructor is able to get to you and adjust your technique so you’re training safely and correctly.

Train Differently

What you might need to do is train a little bit differently. Apply different stress and stimulus to the body, and you will see different results. The vast majority of people just want to “tone up” when they join the gym. What does this even mean? Well, tone up = lean muscle mass + fat loss. What’s the best way to build lean muscle mass?

There is no substitute for lifting heavy stuff – provided you can do it safely and correctly. This is why many people go see a Personal Trainer for 1 on 1 sessions. But you love the community of group fitness, which is why you might love semi-private training. Get the benefits of 1 on 1 coaching, plus the community and support you really enjoy.

So now you’ve got an awesome training environment, then what? Well, you’ll have to look at your habits and routines, lifestyle, nutrition, stress management, mindset, support structure, accountability, and motivation, along with a myriad of other things! Luckily we can also coach and support you as you tackle what needs to tweak, adjust, or change completely.

If this sounds like something you need, book in a Complimentary Coaching Consult so that you can get the most out of your hard work! Contact Alan on 0410697220 now.

Injury Prevention for Runners

injury prevention for runners
03 Jul

Runners should do weight training too, no really!

As a keen runner, you’ve probably spent most of the time trying to improve your cardiovascular fitness and the distance you can cover. As with anything, your body adapts to what is thrown at it. After a certain amount of time and training, it has reached the limitations of what your lifestyle and genetics give it. What if you could boost performance while preventing injury for runners?!

To do that we need to tap into the Stress – Recovery – Adaptation (SRA) principle by which the human body operates. You would already be familiar with this. Early on when you started running a short distance you would be gassed and feel the lactic acid build up in your quads. You ate the right foods, had proper rest days and recovery sessions. Over time, you were able to push the distance a little bit further and it became easier and easier.

This same SRA principle applies to strength & conditioning. By changing the training stimulus and thereby forcing the body to adapt and get better and stronger at different things. This means better performance and injury prevention for runners.


Focusing on the big Strength lifts such as deadlifts, squats, overhead and bench press will develop lean and powerful muscles, and strong joints and connective tissues. You will also increase lean muscle mass and burn fat, leading to weight loss and less load and force on your running joints. Having a strong core will also improve your posture and efficiency of movement. Strong hips and glutes will reduce lower back pain. If you’re worried about hypertrophy or building too much muscle mass. Stick with heavier weights for 1-6 reps instead of lighter ones for 8-12. Doing these complex exercises safely does require good form and control, so seek a qualified strength coach that can teach and cue these well.

It’s also a good idea to do strengthening exercises on one leg, otherwise known unilateral training. This helps strengthen the stabilizing joints and muscles, as well as correcting any imbalances in your body. These should not be super heavy, with more emphasis on control.


Along with a good strength base, you need to build your Conditioning. This means increasing the work capacity of muscles and cardiovascular system, recovery, and repeatability of efforts. We can play with kettlebells, slam balls, sleds, battle ropes, and so many more implements to spike the heart rate and challenge your body.

A crucial part of Conditioning also involves “prehabilitation” or injury prevention for runners, to stay ahead of the myriad of the potential foot, calf, shin, knee and upper leg injuries that could occur. A good coach will program exercises that strengthen these areas and spend time releasing or massaging these areas to relieve tension and increase blood flow. Simple core exercises that you can do at home will also prevent injuries


Now, don’t get me wrong, what happens in the gym is very important, but what you do out of it is even more important. This involves managing your rest days, nutrition, sleep, and stress levels. That’s when your body gets the right signals to adapt and grow, rather than break down. Again, a good coach will educate you on how you can implement habits and routines into your lifestyle to ensure that you cover the bases on Recovery. Read more about these here


As a runner, you’ve built up your body over time to tackle more challenging courses and distances. You can use the same principle to get over the plateau you’re facing, injury prevention for runners, and improve your running performance by applying Strength & Conditioning in your workout routine. If this is something that interests you, you can register for a Complimentary Coaching Call here, and find out more about the Corporate Warrior Program.

Alan is the head trainer of the Velocity Fitness Group and the creator of the Corporate Warrior Program. He has spent 10 years in finance before becoming a health & fitness coach and has trained and taught Taekwondo for 20+ years. He is passionate about bringing out the Inner Warrior in his clients. He trains his clients at Fitness First George St, Sydney CBD. This location close to Wynyard Station is perfect for busy and stressed corporate workers and executives.

4 Simple Stress Management Tips

05 Feb

For a happier and healthier life

Stress and associated hormones used to be a really useful tool back in simpler and more primitive times. Hunger hormones drove us to hunt and gather, adrenaline and cortisol helped us in “fight or flight” situations, and melatonin helped us get a good nights sleep.

Now your hunger hormones are out of whack because there is an abundance of food that is easily accessible and highly processed. Even if you’re eating whole foods, it’s not as though you’ve gathered nuts, fruits and vegetables yourself, or hunted and dressed your own beef. At work, you’ve got needy clients, inconsiderate colleagues, demanding bosses, and family and financial stresses at home that trigger constant “micro-stresses” throughout the days, weeks and months.

Once you’ve gotten home after sunset, the lights are on in the house, you’re unwinding by watching some kind of screen – TV, computer, tablet, or phone. Your eyes are bombarded with signals that keep the brain active, so it takes you ages to get to sleep.

Getting your body out of the Sympathetic  or “flight or fight” state, of the nervous system is crucial for your body and mind. The Para-Sympathetic state is also known as “rest and digest”, and requires some simple stress management techniques

  • Deep Breathing – How do you breathe when you are anxious, stressed, or panicked? Short and sharp, right? Are you reading this while sitting down? How are you breathing now? Deep breathing means diaphragmatic breathing, so if you’re hunched over your laptop or device, it’s really hard to breathe deeply. Sit up or stand up straight, draw a deep breath into your belly, and exhale all that tension and stress away.
  • Cup of soothing tea – not only is a herbal tea going to soothe the digestive system, relax your muscles, and trigger pleasant sense receptors, just the act of making a cup of tea will relieve your stress levels. Step away from the computer or TV, pop the kettle on, do some deep breathing while you’re waiting for it to boil (or just before if you’re a tea purist), pop in the tea bag or leaves, and watch the tea change to just the right colour you like. Now you can head back and do what you were doing before, but with a clearer mind, body and soul.
  • Exercise and Activity – just as deep breathing gets the oxygen flowing throughout the body and brain, exercise and activity is a great physical way to manage and relieve stress. Be mindful that high intensity training is also a stress on the body that can take it’s toll. So depending on your stress load, you can start with light activity such as a walk around the block, preferably detouring through a park for greenery and fresh air. Low impact exercise like yoga and pilates are good, and although boxing can be cardio intensive it’s still considered low impact on the body. Higher intensity exercise might be a full body circuit workout, or heavy weightlifting. High intensity workouts require more recovery management (a topic for another day).
  • Quality Sleep – Remember that melatonin I mentioned at the start? It’s created by your endocrine system when natural light reduces, and the body prepares for sleep. In modern life, there is an abundance of UNnatural light. Use the night setting on your devices, use blue blocking lenses, or ideally don’t use devices after dinner. Get into a sleep routine 60-90mins before bed time – make a cup of tea, get into your PJs, get into bed, do some deep breathing, and ready your body for restful sleep. Aim to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, targeting 7-9 hours depending on what you need.

These are some simple tips and tools you can use to manage the symptoms of stress. However, for more long-term mental and physical health, you do need to eventually manage the causes of stress – whether it be family, financial, career, workplace, environmental, political… and the list goes on and on. This is where mindset and outlook needs to be addressed, but these can take a bit longer, and might need some professional and qualified assistance.

Before Alan became a highly qualified Health and Fitness Coach, he spent 10 years in finance and corporate life. This makes him the perfect expert in how to balance looking after yourself with a busy and stressful lifestyle. Book in your complimentary coaching call now

10 DO’S & DON’TS to be healthy in the office

21 Jan

Healthy Habits for the office

Healthy habits workplace

Before I became a personal trainer, I spent 10 years in finance and law and saw some questionable habits and guilty of some of them myself, so I know all about the challenges of getting fit and healthy in the office.

If you had a late night watching the latest TV show, you might have a sleep in and in your rush skip breakfast. Worst case scenario you drive all the way into work, slightly better is driving to the station and taking public transport. Once in the office you grab a quick bowl of cereal and sit down to check emails. This sugar high doesn’t last long and you’re out the door once your morning deliverables are completed to grab a coffee and muffin/toast/banana bread for a snack. Back to your desk and hunched over the keyboard, shoulders rounded, neck craned, slouched down. You bang out some more reports, and as it gets closer to lunch time your boss drops off something urgent that will delay your break, and put the kibosh on your lunchtime run. So you open your drawer and pull out a “healthy” muesli bar to tide you over.

Finally, you’re able to get a break, but you’ve forgotten to pack that healthy lunch so it’s off to the food court to get something quick, cheap, easy and hopefully slightly healthy. It’s a nice day so you’re in the park, watching the other office workers run around or work out in their active wear, and you promise yourself that you’ll get out early and get a few kilometres in. Back to the office, there are some meetings to attend, emails to respond to, some office gossip to catch up on, and before you know it 6pm rolls around and you are just too exhausted to run after work, and besides you have to rush home to get dinner on for the kids. After your torrid day, you might have a beer or glass of wine or two over dinner, and then once the kids are in bed you crash on the couch and zone out.

So let’s recap – You’re sitting in your chair for a good 6 or 8, maybe 10 hours a day. You try to eat healthy but you’re eating all the wrong snacks. You want to exercise but work piles up and you don’t get the chance. You’re stressed from deliverables to clients and demands of the higher ups. Does any of this sound familiar?

Let’s look at some little things you can do to correct these.

DON’T Sleep in – your body is very sensitive to changes in sleep habits, so try to sleep and wake up at the same times. Each person is different, but you should get 6-8 hours sleep each night.

DON’T Skip breakfast, or have a carb loaded breakfast – whilst there isn’t necessarily any evidence for breakfast “kick starting the metabolism” there is a great benefit in eating a protein heavy breakfast. It satiates the body for longer and removes the blood sugar crash and therefore reduces the need for a mid-morning snack. Eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, oats, cottage cheese, are all great quick breakfast options.

DO More Incidental exercise – make this the most important thing in your day! Walk to public transport, get off a stop or 3 earlier and walk to work. Rather than sending an email that may or may not be read, and certainly not prioritised by colleagues, go and speak to them in person. If you’ve got a meeting on another floor, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Not only will you get lots of exercise, you will get to meet and build stronger interpersonal relationships with colleagues.

DO Stay hydrated – one of your best friends when it comes to incidental exercise is your water bottle. Whether small or large jugs and glasses, there are benefits. Large means you drink plenty of water as it should be right next to your screen and in your face, and therefore you need to stand often and go pee. Small means you drink lots, and stand and walk to refill and go pee! Tea is a great alternative as well and has lots of health benefits. If you take one or two lumps, try to reduce this over time.

DON’T Office snack– we all have that one colleague whose drawer is infamous for its selection of chocolate bars, lollies, chips and pretzels. It might even be you! I had a colleague that would get coffee and banana bread EVERY morning! If you do need snacks for that extra boost to get you through the day, make sure they’re healthy – natural nuts and seeds, veggies and dip, fruit slices and nut spreads (I love apples with peanut butter). If you do have things like crackers or chips, keep them to an occasional treat and put them into a bowl or plate to limit your grazing.

DO Meal prep – no need to spend your whole Sunday cooking and prepping 15 meals for the week. Make a larger than usual (healthy) dinner, and pack the leftovers in Tupperware containers. There is evidence of trace chemicals leaching into food when reheating, so transfer to a plate or bowl when microwaving. Or you might cut up some fresh veggies and pack a can of tuna with homemade dressing on the side. Just remember to bring it with you to work! You’ll save some calories and plenty of money when you skip the food court.

DO Birthdays and socials – I encourage my clients to fill 80% of their diet with yummy and nutritious food and stay well hydrated. If the vast majority of your intake is lean protein, loads of colourful veggies, complex carbs, lots of herbal teas and water, you can still enjoy yourself the other 20% of the time! Have a small slice of cake guilt-free or a beer or two on a Friday night, so long as the rest of your week has been pretty good.

DO Make time to work out – my personal preference when I was working in a office was to hit the gym first thing in the morning. It forced me to sleep and wake up earlier, and I would get a great energy boost to last me throughout the day. By working out before you get to the office, you would never get bogged down by deliverables or urgent requests. However, if mornings aren’t your bag or not feasible due to getting the kids off or long commute, then book in your lunchtime sessions in your calendar. Your colleagues will see that you have your sessions when they try to book a meeting in, and if you head out at the same time a couple of times a week, your boss will (hopefully) get used to your routine too. Evening sessions are a bit tougher, as you’ve been working ALL day and sometimes the last thing you want to do is go for a run or hit the gym. Something simple like getting changed into gym clothes at the office just before clock off time will be the impetus you need, and eat a high energy snack like fruit and nuts to get you through.

DO Healthy dinner prep – if you’ve got a partner that is already preparing dinner as you’re on your way home, that’s the ideal situation. Make sure that it’s healthy and easy, with plenty of protein and vegetables, and a small amount of complex carbohydrates. Otherwise, there are plenty of quick and simple dinner ideas that are tasty and nutritious. My personal go to’s are grilled steak/lamb/chicken/fish and while resting I pan fry thin slices of vegetables, or a quick stir fry with loads of vege and chosen protein and steamed rice. Use a variety of simple sauces or spice mixes to keep the flavours changing and interesting. There is some evidence that a glass of red wine or two can have health benefits, but the same cannot be said for beer or white wine unfortunately. Needless to say, a glass of hard liquor isn’t great either.

DO Get an early night – what are you really doing between 10-12 at night that’s productive? If you’re getting more exercise, then that’s ok 😉 However, spending those hours watching the latest TV release or movie probably won’t be really necessary. Managing your stress levels plays a major role in achieving health goals, but watching TV to relax at the cost of quality sleep is not a value proposition. Especially if you’ve been diligent and exercised that day, sleep is the time that your body takes to repair your muscles and get stronger.

At the end of a couple of months you’ve built a repertoire of healthy lifestyle habits, do you think you will be closer to achieving your health and fitness goals?

Alan is a personal trainer with over 10 years experience in the corporate world. Get better educated with Velocity Fitness, and develop a consistent workout routine with Velocity training sessions. Alan is available to run in-house fitness and education sessions at your workplace. Click here to book in a free consultation.

What is Empowerment Self-Defence?

Kickboxing boxing taekwondo self-defence
12 Jan

What is Empowerment Self-Defence?

Here are some scary stats on sexual assault and harassment – Australia has one of the highest rates of reported sexual assault in the world, at almost 92 people per 100,000 of the population, according to the United Nations. Another survey has quoted the Australian rate at more than double the global average. Sexual harassment at work, uni and on the street has also become “normalised”. Even scarier are the responses and victim-blaming that often occurs when these crimes are reported.

self-defence boxing kickboxing taekwondo

One common response is “why don’t they learn to defend themselves?”, as if the onus is on the victim to not be subject to these crimes! However, one problem I have with traditional self-defence is that they are generally short-term courses that only address a few situations, or provide a limited toolset of skills, or dangerously could give a false sense of security and confidence. I had a quick look online and there are a lot of 1-3 hour workshops that provide a great introduction to self-defence concepts. Much of what is covered includes – Awareness and Threat Analysis, De-escalation tactics, Striking Techniques, and Escapes.

Much of What Passes for Self-defense Is Victim-Blaming

It makes sense that some people think self-defense is victim-blaming because a lot of what’s called “self-defense” is victim–blaming.

The people who say they are teaching women self-defense, but really are just telling them a whole lot of ways that they should limit their lives, are reinforcing victim-blaming and rape culture.

Think of those useless and alarmist tip lists: “Don’t leave your drink unsupervised, don’t park next to a van, don’t wear a short skirt,” and the amazing and impossible “be aware of everything around you all the time.” (

It also ignores the reality that most assaults and harassment involves someone known to the victim, not a stranger in a dark alley.

On the other end of the spectrum is a new wave of what is being called Empowerment Self-Defence. This approach looks at Self-defence training as not just giving someone the tools, but also the confidence and ability as well.

How Empowerment Self-Defence Can Help

By providing skills – rather than tyrannical lists of things to do and not do – empowerment self-defence can help reduce the risks of being assaulted and increase self-confidence.

Self-defence training may increase assertiveness, sense of control, belief in your own abilities, risk-avoidance, confidence, and self-esteem. It also may also lower anxiety and fear.

Does this mean that if you use everything you learned that it will guarantee you won’t be assaulted? Unfortunately not.

Why? Because the only person responsible for an attack is the attacker.

But in teaching how to assert yourself in everyday situations and feeling better prepared to handle a dangerous situation, empowerment self-defense can still change your life.

Empowerment self-defense also helps survivors (remember, that’s at least half of us) recover from trauma in ways talk therapy can’t. Trauma is stored in the body, and there’s nothing like feeling your power, and yelling really loud, to let that stuff out.

Students say that regardless of whether or not they’ve ever had to “use it,” empowerment self-defense transformed their lives in many ways. They’re more confident, more assertive, less fearful – to name just a few. (

What Velocity Fitness is doing – We are launching a new project called VELOCITY EMPOWERMENT. What this involves is taking the health and fitness aspects of boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo and hapkido, and putting together a 4-week recurring program to cover the striking, blocking, and escapes that you can use in a self-defence situation. More importantly, you are invited to return each month to train and practice these actions, and this is where the real magic begins. The body is a wonderful and powerful thing, and is capable of many unexpected feats that seem impossible.

Let’s use the analogy of learning to drive – when you first get your L’s and trying to get your hours logged, it’s one of the most stressful experiences you can have! So many things to remember, so many knobs and dials, eyes must be everywhere, and hands are doing two things at once, and then there’s the traffic and unpredictability of other drivers! Then after a few years of driving, especially back and forth on familiar roads, it becomes second nature. Your body is so used to it, that it becomes subconscious and there are times that you are just on auto-pilot and next thing you know, you’re parked in your driveway!

It’s the same with any kind of exercise or movement, and in self-defence it becomes a crucial aspect of the training. By returning each month to train and reinforce techniques and actions you learn, you move the actions from the conscious mind, and make the reactions from your subconscious mind. The result will be a great workout, as you build a body capable of fast and strong actions along with the conditioning of training boxing, kickboxing and Taekwondo, and feeling confident and empowered as you see and feel the results of what you can achieve!

First 4 Fridays of each month
5.45-6.45pm Lorna Jane, World Square
$80 per month

Register here to be part of the launch of VELOCITY EMPOWERMENT in March 2017 and receive a discount for your first month!


Stress and your immune system

stress immune system function
01 Dec

Stress and your immune system

I wanted to share what happened to me this week, and how stress can affect your body and immune system in weird ways.

stress immune system function

It all started on Saturday when some itchy spots came up. I just assumed they were insect bites, now that the weather is getting warmer. As it got worse, I dropped by the chemist to ask for a cream to apply to “itchy bites or a rash”. That was a mistake (which I will touch on later), and they recommended a cortisone cream to reduce the inflammation and irritation.

After no improvement from the cream and it spreading even more, I had to go see my GP. She took one look at it, and described it as a “textbook case of shingles”. This is the dormant chickenpox virus which resides in the spinal cord and is usually kept in check by a healthy immune system. When my GP said that my immune system must have issues, I was a bit shocked! “Wait a minute! I am eating well, sleeping enough, still exercising regularly, have a good work/life balance, and have an easy-going personality! My immune system should be fine!?”

Well, deeper analysis confirmed otherwise. 2016 has not been a banner year for anyone, with celebrity deaths and geopolitical issues abound. Well, November 2016 seemed to be a concentration of stress and terribleness for me!

  1. It all started a couple of months ago when I had some teeth issues with sensitivity that eventually got diagnosed to a cracked tooth that initially required a root canal and crown which would have cost thousands of dollars. A second opinion in November showed that the crack was likely too deep and would require an extraction (hundreds of dollars, yay!), and then 6 months down the track a dental implant (back to thousands of dollars, boo…). Due to the crack there was gum infection that was taxing my immune system, as well as added financial stress.
  2. On the first Saturday of November we had a Taekwondo Black Belt class, where the senior grades of Walsh Martial Arts Australia around Sydney train at a higher level than our general classes. Now that I am an instructor, I don’t get to train myself as often as I would like or should. Long story short, my left side was a little bit off and a graceful attempt at a turning kick, jump 360deg turning kick resulted in an awkward landing on top of my left foot. It immediately swelled up, felt tender and was difficult to walk on. I struggled through with Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation over the weekend and booked in an appointment with my podiatrist on Monday. Got a referral for a scan, and it ended up being a fracture of the 5th metatarsal left foot, equalling a moonboot for 6 weeks.
  3. Finally, I hesitate to get political, but the cherry on top was the election of Donald J. Trump as leader of the free world, and commander-in-chief of its military might. The result was shock enough, but the steady and constant trickle of news of his business conflicts of interests, hypocritical statements and actions, and appointments of far-right cronies and donors to important cabinet positions meant that I was in a constant state of denial, anger, frustration and disbelief. There is a real risk of civil rights, climate science, and fundamental democratic principles being undermined in America, and a spread of nationalism and xenophobia in Western democracies. Domestic politics on a Federal and State level are equally frustrating but at least they do not have the global impact that the US Elections do.

All these factors put my body in a constant state of FIGHT OR FLIGHT, which is what leads to adrenal fatigue and reduced immune system function. Adrenaline and Cortisol are important hormones for a healthy body – Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

However, Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. The body’s stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities. But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes.

It’s this CONSTANT state of stress that suppressed my immune function and released the dormant virus that is perversely causing me even more stress and anxiety! Rubbing in some cortisone cream certainly did not help.

For you though, it might be the fact that the 9-5 grind has now expanded to 8-6, 7, 8pm or even longer! Or the constant connectivity to work via home laptop or phone means you never get away from the office. Possibly you’re struggling to get into the booming Sydney property market, or the soaring cost of education and health care (sorry to get political again!), or any number of things that might be causing constant flight or flight responses.

To address this, I have done a Facebook detox of all my political news pages, picked up some anti-inflammatory supplements, and will maintain a balanced lifestyle in line with the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System and relax more leading up to Christmas. As I recover from my dental issues and foot injuries, and concentrate on things other than politics like my friends, family, business and hobbies, my stress levels will decrease and my immune system will recover.

If you’re looking for some more information, here is an article by my good friend and qualified naturopath Beth Bridges, that addresses what you can do to reduce stress.

Adhere to the 80/20 Rule

25 Nov

Adhere to the 80/20 Rule

In the second article of a series, we look a bit deeper into the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System, and why it is important to Adhere to the 80/20 Rule

M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System sleep food water gut health activity exercise brain

Despite being a Personal and Group Training outfit, our main emphasis is not solely Exercise. Exercise causes stress responses in the body, and loading these on top of someone who might be at breaking point from work demands, domestic issues, unhealthy diet, hormone imbalance, and lack of sleep, just causes additional stress. We want to empower and educate our clients through the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System to develop positive habits around sleep, food, hydration, gut health and activity so that long term results are achieved. It is crucial to form a foundation so that the stress of exercise and activity results in positive adaptations in our mental and physical well-being.

Credit to TED Ed Lessons Series

Your brain is like a machine that needs specific materials to function well. When it comes to what you bite, chew and swallow, your choices have a direct and long-lasting effect on the most powerful organ in your body: your brain. So which foods cause you to feel so tired after lunch? Or so restless at night? A wide variety of food consumption is crucial to provide the fats, carbs and protein the brain needs, as well as vitamins and minerals.

Glucose is the brain’s fuel. Interested in the interaction between our mental performance and the amount of glucose we have? How about the effects of extreme dips in glucose, like during starvation? What effect does this have on our mental functioning? Amino acids are essential for brain function too. Have you thought about changing your diet a bit? How can proteins help?

This video breaks down the different nutritional parts that are necessary, and how they interact with the brain. Take a look and learn about some brain food.

Find out more about the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System here

Make Time for Sleep

02 Nov

Make Time for Sleep

In the first article of a series, we look a bit deeper into the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System, and why it is important to Make Time for Sleep

M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System sleep food water gut health activity exercise

Despite being a Personal and Group Training outfit, our main emphasis is not solely Exercise. Exercise causes stress responses in the body, and loading these on top of someone who might be at breaking point from work demands, domestic issues, unhealthy diet, hormone imbalance, and lack of sleep, just causes additional stress. We want to empower and educate our clients through the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System to develop positive habits around sleep, food, hydration, gut health and activity so that long term results are achieved. It is crucial to form a foundation so that the stress of exercise and activity results in positive adaptations in our mental and physical well-being.

Credit to TED Ed Lessons Series

“Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
— Benjamin Franklin, 1758 (in Poor Richard’s Almanac)

A third our life is spent sleeping. How much sleep a person needs changes as one ages. A new mother needs seven hours per night, but her newborn baby needs 12-18 hours per night. In general, the older you get, the less you need. This can give us an idea of it is so important during childhood for both growth and brain development. Without proper sleep, we derail our biological defense from heart attacks, strokes, obesity, diabetes, mood disorders and chronic bodily aches.

The hippocampus plays an important role in helping us to remember. Research shows that during sleep our brain’s structure is being altered and new synapses are formed. Scientists have proven that we are waking each morning with a different brain, cleansed of toxins and full of new connections from the previous day’s learning.

Find out more about the M.A.R.T.I.A.L. System here

Self-defence against sexual harassment

19 Oct

Self-defence against sexual harassment

donald trump sexual harass

As someone who closely follows the US Elections, the latest comments by Republican nominee Donald Trump of kissing women without consent and “grabbing them by the pussy” are outrageous. However, more eye-opening for me has been anecdotal reporting from women who have been “grabbed by the pussy”, and studies that show that 17% women are likely to experience sexual assault, and 65% of women suffer sexual harassment.

I consider myself a feminist, so some of the things I could do is monitor my language and actions to ensure they do no make women feel uncomfortable, and to call out my friends, acquaintances and especially strangers who act inappropriately.

However, it is in my capacity as a personal trainer and martial arts instructor that I can truly make a difference. We often focus on the external benefits of exercise and training – gain strength, fitness, tone, more energy and less stress. However, as our Tagline mentions, we want our clients to build a Strong Body, but more importantly a Confident Mind, and Martial Spirit.

I don’t want this to sound like victim blaming, but it’s just an unfortunate case where perpetrators will target those victims that are vulnerable. This means victims with their eyes and head down, slouched shoulders, shuffling steps, and overall lacking confidence. There are several stages of escalation when it comes to a self-defence situation, ranging from passive through to active.

  1. Not to let yourself get into risky situations. This doesn’t mean locking yourself in at home, especially since many sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the victim. This can mean going out with a group of friends, maybe starting a bit earlier in the night and then finishing up a bit earlier too. It could mean going to a restaurant for dinner instead of a crowded bar. On the way home take a taxi or Uber with a friend, and if walking to stick to well lit streets.
  2. Be alert and aware. Eyes up, chin up, shoulders tall and proud. Being attentive in a bar or public transport could be enough to make yourself less of a target. A confident and purposeful stride when walking the streets would go a long way to deterring someone seeking an easy victim.
  3. Reaction when confronted is not to be intimidated. Posture and demeanour, and a loud projected voice can deter someone who has approached you, and draw attention to you if you there are other people around.
  4. Escalation to potential danger requires a strong response. When threatened, animals will stand on rear legs, puff up fur, and raise forelegs/arms high to make themselves appear larger. An untrained person’s reaction would be to shrink and cower away from danger, so if you can respond in the opposite fashion with a strong stance and guard you may further deter an assault.
  5. Actual self-defence is a highly stressful situation. The body receives an adrenaline rush and thought processes go out the window. There is no time to consider which defensive move you will employ, there is only instinctual response that comes after months and years of training.
  6. As perverse as it is, during a self-defence situation, the defender has an onus to not use unreasonable force. A trained black belt martial artist is considered a weapon, so responses have to be commensurate with the danger. Consistent training provides a range of soft and hard techniques that can be utilised depending on the situation, from deflection and holds, up to near lethal responses if your body or life is in danger.

Having covered the stages of self-defence, I want to touch on how training in the right manner and mindset can naturally give you these characteristics.

Circuit training and full body workouts – squats, push ups, lunges, and other functional movements give you strong legs and core, and correct postural issues so that you move more athletically and look out to the world. Even without formal martial arts or self-defence training, you may prevent yourself from becoming a victim through external appearance and internal confidence.

Boxing and Kickboxing – strong legs and core form the fundamental power base for great boxing or kickboxing. Even though it might just be for fitness, knowing how to form a fist, and strike strongly and safely, you have someone that not only looks strong, they will have the confidence to know they can defend themselves if absolutely required.

Martial arts (Taekwondo) training – true self-defence capabilities can only come from months and years of training. Self-defence workshops are great to educate people on the fundamentals, but without constant practice of techniques, they will not be able to be applied 100% when required. It’s also why elite sports people train constantly so that they react instinctually on game day, or more applicably, special forces spend 95% of their time training and preparing so that when their skills are required they perform to expectations. The stances, striking, blocking and kicking learnt in Taekwondo in particular provide the foundations of all aspects of self-defence; posture, demeanour, attitude, reaction, and instinctual responses.

The takeaway from all this is that more than just the external and physical results of your workouts, you can also develop internal confidence and spirit when you train with the right intensity and attitude. I want to conclude with a testimonial from one of my boxing clients, Sascha. “One of my proudest achievements was learning to punch and do boxing. I never thought that was something I would be capable of, let alone enjoy. I really relish the feeling of strength and empowerment it gives me.  I’m a fairly petite person, and as such the opportunities I get in life to feel strong and powerful feel very limited. Boxing allows me feel those things.  I got assaulted a couple of years ago and I had no self-defence instinct or tools to draw on at all, and felt very vulnerable as a result. I’m confident that would be different now.”

Book your FREE trial session now, and find out more about protecting yourself and others.

Improve your core strength

core muscle exercise
29 Sep

Improve your core strength

What is the picture of your ideal midsection? If your first thought is an image of rippling six packs, then you’re probably not alone. The rectus abdominis certainly is the most visually striking part of the core, but “the abs” are only a small part of what makes up “the core”.

core muscle exercise

One of the most important functions of your core is to stabilise the body and protect the spine. To do this there are the external muscles that make up the abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. More crucial are the internal muscles that are the real heroes – transverse abs, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and others.

When people think about core training, they immediately think of sit ups and crunches. The thing to remember about working out any muscle is the more that you target them, the stronger they become. So in the case of sit ups and crunches, your rectus abdominis is getting stronger, but you haven’t balanced that out with any oblique exercises like rotations, or posterior chain exercises like deadlifts or kettlebell swings. This causes excessive forward pull on the spine and can cause long term chronic back issues.

The ideal core workout involve exercises that move the core through its natural range of motions.

Stabilisers – eg. Dead bugs, Bird dogs – these involve extensions of alternate arms and legs while on your back or all fours, or pulling or pushing whilst keeping the core still.

Rotation – eg. Woodchops, Russian twist – side to side, low to high, or high to low rotations develop the small internal muscles that are crucial to protect the spine when in motion. These also develop the obliques to get that V taper that is highly prized.

Posterior (rear) chain – eg. Variations of Deadlifts and Kettlebell Swings – Don’t focus on these as a lower back exercise, they should involve the hamstrings, hips, glutes and lower back all together to lift or move the body/weight.

Static – The core is just as important in keeping the body still and rigid as it is in movement. Planks are the epitome of these, but you need to keep your core strong and tight in many exercises – push ups, squats, lunges, and overhead raises.

Breathing – Watch the video, and check out this Blog Post on proper breathing while exercising to protect the spine and add structure and stability. 

These exercises are important for everyone, but especially CBD Office workers who are at their desk for hours each day, and new mothers who want to strengthen and reinforce those internal core muscles after childbirth.

Core strength and stability will see a marked improvement in your posture, back and neck tension, balance, athletic performance, and stress on the body. When you slouch less, you are able to breathe easier, reduce pressure on internal organs, and therefore improve blood and oxygen flow to those internal organs and brain. Book in a Complimentary Session with Velocity Fitness to start strengthening your core.