Archive by Author

Priorities

18 September

 

What are your priorities?

I would like to get you to do a little task, I have done this little task with my coach before, and it occurred to me that I would love you to do it too.

I want you to take out a piece of paper and write down on it everything you do in a day, a week and a month. My coach calls it a brain dump. So dump everything you do on that page. You can keep it active over a few days so as you remember something, write it on there.

Once you think you have it all down, I want you to look at all that you do. And assess.

How much of it do you “need” to do?
How much of it would be better if someone else did it instead?

How much of it is actually important to you?

How much of it is dedicated to looking after your health and wellbeing?

How much work are you actually doing?

How many family activities?

How much self improvement/growth?

The next thing I want you to do is sit down and really think about what your values are. As in what drives you? What is your motivation and the thing that would make you bounce out of bed in the morning? This is the thing that should be your priority in life if it isn’t already. Then see if those values align with the activities you are spending the most time doing.

On top of all that I am going to let you in on a secret. If looking after your health and wellbeing is not a priority, then in time it will become your family’s priority. To be realistic, you cannot perform any duties on that big list of things you do if you are not in good health. If you succumb to lifestyle diseases the list of daily tasks you complete would have to completely change.

So I want to again ask you, why do you continually put your health and wellbeing down low on your list of priorities?

I am not saying that going to the gym or pool or for a run or walk needs to be your number one priority every single day, however it needs to be a priority most days. Consistent small changes add up to big changes over time. So if you are getting to the gym or getting active more days than you are not, you are on the right track. If your vegetable intake and good quality protein by far outnumber take away meals, you are again on the right track.

Life is one long marathon, it doesn’t take holidays, our heart beats from before we are born until the day we die. For us to put that final moment of life far off into the future we need to look after ourselves.

Most people that own a car get it regularly serviced, or we clean our houses inside and out, giving a coat of paint or nailing a board back in place. Yet the one vessel we have to live in every single day of our lives, the only vehicle that we need to take us everywhere we have to go, we don’t make a priority time and time again.

Use it or lose it is an incredibly old saying and it really applies to your body and brain. They both need to be stretched and given every opportunity to grow and adapt or you will most certainly lose them.

Have you ever gone to do  task that not too long ago you found quite easy, yet today it was difficult or unattainable? I will give you a basic example, bending down to tie up your shoe laces. Now be honest with yourself. Have you ever been getting ready in the morning and the simple task of putting on shoes and socks has seems like a ridiculously difficult job? Your back hurts, your hamstrings seem so tight they won’t let you bend down and then  once it is done, you are a little red in the face and panting. This is not how life should be. That is a fairly menial task that any of us should be able to do, but I know there are some of you reading this that are thinking, ‘oh my, that was just this morning’.

If you prioritise your health and wellness today, that task will again be effortless and pain free within a few weeks, I can almost guarantee it.

Simple everyday tasks are not meant to be difficult, and once they start becoming difficult that is when you are on your way to increased risk of lifestyle related illnesses, it is a very early symptom that can be easily ignored.

All too often over the years I have heard “I don’t have time.” “ I can’t afford that.” “I will start (Insert arbitrary point in time in the future here)”. These are simply blocks being thrown up to cover sor some other fear or concern about doing something.

Everyone has 24 hours in a day, so when a single mum or dad of three kids that works full time can find three or four hours a week here, you can too.

If you are working full time in Australia you can afford it. What you are saying though is you are choosing to prioritise the money you would spend on your health and wellness on something else. No judgement, as those priorities at that point in time may be legitimate. You can afford it, you just choose to spend that money on something else.

What will be different in three weeks? In springtime? In six months? Why would then be a better time to start looking after yourself than now? The cold hard truth of this is simply that you are fearing being able to stick it out and be consistent. So I tell you, we take that fear away. We are the ones that look after the workouts and keep you accountable for your sessions. We want you to succeed, we want you being the best version of yourself you can be.

Now to put it in the most blatant way I know how, how would you feel having the conversation with your family that you are unwell and will need care? Have a think about that for a while. It might not be today or next week, but it might be when you are in your 50’s, still young. It might be post heart attack at 40, it might be post doctor’s visit at 33 being diagnosed with type II diabetes or something even worse.

Think about how that conversation might go, how would they feel to learn that they will have to change their life to look after their ailing family member?

It all of a sudden seems like a whole lot easier of an equation to move around a gym for three or four hours a week and never have to have that conversation with those you love.

 

 

Reset

12 September

It is September, the start of spring and with that comes lengthening daylight hours.
Yes the shortest day of the year was 21st June, almost three months ago!
So with us moving into a new box a few months ago I thought it time to write about hitting reset.

I have written in the past about starting an exercise program in winter as it is the hardest weather all year to get started. Well, now it is but a memory and the days are longer, warmer, well, just all round nicer.

I want you to use your imagination now for a minute. Now, when you were exercising and eating better regularly how did you feel? Now, compare that to how you are feeling right now that those old little habits you thought you were rid of have crept back in.
Are you feeling lethargic again? Tired even though you slept for eight or nine hours? Sluggish and slightly hungover even though you haven’t drunk anything? Do your joints and back not feel as flexible and mobile as they were? Are you feeling like your cardio fitness is going back to pre exercise days?

Now if you have never started I want you to think about what you were doing this time last year.
Can you?
What was it?
Does it seem like it wasn’t all that long ago? Christmas 2016 was nine months ago!
Now do you want to be sitting there in another year or at Christmas 2017 thinking, I should have gotten into it a year ago or a few months ago?

OR, do you want to be fitter, stronger, healthier, able to do more, able to enjoy your downtime doing things you love, getting that old familiar look from your spouse/partner/friend that you haven’t gotten in years?
You can have that and so much more, and it will be here in the blink of an eye if you start or not, the only difference is you can be there in a few months time feeling awesome or you can be there feeling worse.

It takes about a week to get back in the game, then three to four weeks to solidify that habit again, now in about four or five weeks time it will be the middle of October, and if you get up and get back into your regime now you will be fighting fit and be better at everything well and truly by the time summer starts. If you leave it til Summer, well you will probably leave it til 2018, and then, well it will be another year and the opportunity, the goals you had for this year will be gone and you will be starting another year off wondering what could have been.

So do you want 2017 to be the year that you became a healthier person all round? An amazing role model for your kids? Someone that values themselves enough to make themselves a priority which in turn helps everyone around them?
There are still a full three and a half months left in this calendar year, more than enough time to get back and hit those goals you had set earlier this year, or last year, or the year before.

Now if you want to you can come in, sit down and get some clarity on those goals with me.
I want you to succeed, I want you to be the person you can be, I want you to live a better story and be better than yesterday.

 

About the Author

Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

What does the Open mean to me?

23 February

The Games season starts pretty well now.

There will be all sorts of conjecture over the workouts for the next five weeks and we will eagerly await each announcement.

But what does it mean to us that come in day in day out for the daily WOD?

I can’t answer for all of you, however, for me it is purely about community and seeing those around me do better than they thought possible. A big mistake I made here at CrossFit Armidale was not registering us for the Open in 2012. We affiliated on the 10th February and within two weeks the Open had begun. I thought that people would not want to go in it, I thought we wouldn’t be able to compete, I thought we wouldn’t be able to do it. So a few of us did some of the workouts after they were announced.

And so it was that 12.4 was announced, 12 min AMRAP of 150 Wall Balls, 90 Double unders and 30 muscle ups.
I gave it a go. I had zero muscle ups, and zero double unders. I wasn’t registered, I just gave it a go. After the 150 wall balls I had about three minutes to go. I had watched the Fronings et al get through some of those muscle ups and thought there is no way! And so I picked up the rope, jumped high, spun fast and there was 1 double under! That was my goal!!! So in just under three minutes I managed 19 of them and I was ecstatic. And I thought “why didn’t we register?? This is amazing to finish and accomplish something like this!”

Of all the workouts I chose to do in 2012 it was that one, because as fate would have it it would be repeated in 2013. Before it was repeated though the very first workout was announced. 17 minutes of burpees and snatches, with increasing weight in the snatch

So when it was announced I felt that I could get to the 2nd round of snatches and I wanted 1 at the 61kg, my previous 1 rep max was 60kgs. So I went at it, and 17 minutes later I had gotten that 61kg snatch, followed by 29 more of them and two more burpees! My previous snatch record was shattered.

And so 12.4 was announced as 13.3. My best time for 150 wall balls was 8:55. I went at them and did them in 8:30, then the double unders, I was through them with a bit over 90 seconds to spare. To the rings! Lots of heavy breathing and a little psyching up, and I hit that muscle up! 12 months before I was looking on in awe as people got into those muscle ups, and here I was now joining them in that section of the workout. And so I realized what the Open means.

It is about testing yourself, for 11 months of the year we train, we work and grind away and sometimes we aren’t sure of where we are at. The Open gives us an insight into how we are going. And every year I see people doing better than they thought they could. It is a commitment, to five weeks to do your best, to encourage and help along your fellow CrossFitters. It is a rush and at the same time it can scare the pants off you. But I look at it and think, “it is just a workout, it is just 10, 15, 20 minutes of your life.” In the big scheme of things it is next to nothing, but in the same breath it can be everything.

I started the open in 2013 as a novice, a newbie and someone that was scared of it. I go into 2017 as the 245th fittest 40 year old in the region and as someone that looks forward to the challenge, and the fun of it. But most of all I look forward to everyone else’s success and what that means to them.

About the Author

Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The first private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.

24 January

 I am not usually one for ‘inspirational’ quotes, to me, they wear off too quickly it seems. However I have seen this one floating around a bit, and it has resonated.

A bit over 13 years ago I decided to get off my arse and do something about what I looked and felt like. I had had enough of waking up tired, of being lethargic and out of breath after only a few steps, of feeling like shit after eating (well, overeating actually), of drinking far too much alcohol and feeling like crap because of it. I was tired of being tired.

And one of the things I recall I did, only once, was complain. I woke up one morning, came back from the loo and got on the scales. I was horrified, I stood there and looked in the mirror and thought ‘ I am 27, why do I look and feel 57??’  I went in and said to Jodie, ‘I am not happy with me, I need to do something.’ That was my complaint.

That afternoon I started, it was a small step, but I got into it. I walked my dog. To the corner and back. I was puffed, I was red in the face and I was embarrassed.  But I got up again the next day and did it again. And day after day I added a little more. I gained momentum as I went.

 

This is usually where I tell you that you need goals, you need something to motivate you, to keep you going. And yes you do, but this post is different. I changed things, added them in, but the thing mostly was that I actually did something.

I didn’t talk about it and not do it, I didn’t seek out help and not take it up, I didn’t come up with excuses or reasons not to change, I didn’t put things before my own health and self-worth. I made it a priority and I stuck to it, day in and day out.

I am not saying you have to go down the path I did and make health and nutrition your life, but I am saying you have to fucking change something you do if you want to change what you look and feel like. I reckon it might scare the shit out of you if I said to you that in 10 years’ time you will be the same as you are right now. So then if you don’t want to be the same in 10 years, you will have to stop doing things the same, it is simple logic.

Yes I am throwing the Nike slogan at you. You have to get out there and do it.

It will be hard.

Sometimes you will want to stop.

There will be times you think other stuff is more important.

You will want some birthday cake.

Social gatherings will still go on.

 

You know what though? The world turns regardless of if you exercise and look after yourself or not. When I was growing up I would hear in movies and such that ‘you gotta look out for number 1’, usually uttered by a mob boss or some shady character in the story line. So it gave that negative connotations for me, as it may have for you.

As I have gotten older I realise that it isn’t look out for number one, it is look after yourself. You simply must. If you do not, others will have to in time. If you cannot look after yourself and your health, how can you look after those near and dear to you?

What sort of example are you setting your kids by running yourself ragged and then eating crap and slumping on the lounge every day???

Technologically we are more advanced than we ever have been; we are contactable 24 hours a day. Whatever it is, there’s an app for that. Yet more people are falling ill each and every day to lifestyle related diseases. Heart disease, obesity, some cancers, type II diabetes. The average clothing size for men and women has increased over the last twenty years. And don’t take this the wrong way, I am not trying to fat shame anyone here. But if you are carrying excessive fat reserves, and you are inactive and you eat quite poorly, then you are a major health risk. Yes you are beautiful, yes you can be happy in your skin, but type II diabetes and heart disease gives zero fucks about your happiness in your skin. We need to shake off this old myth that going to the gym and eating well is an exercise in vanity. Exercising and eating well is about being well. You can still carry a bit and be what the old societal norms considered ‘fat’, but you have reduced your risk of dying younger than you should.

For too long to me we have had this perspective that going to the gym is about looking good. Fuck that, it is about preserving yourself to be healthier when you are older, to show your children what it is like to live a healthy happy and fruitful life, to not complain about shit that gets in the way of what you want, to being a better version of yourself day after day after day. All you need to do to better your health is be better than you were yesterday. One more serve of vegies, a piece of fruit instead of a snack bar, a walk instead of lying on the couch watching mind numbing TV, a catch up with a friend instead of sitting home alone, throwing a Frisbee or hitting some golf balls instead of posting pics on Instagram or reading the comment on Facebook.

Get out there and stop letting other things get in the way of your health.  I am going to go through some things I have heard as to why people don’t want to start. Now keep in mind this is after almost 10 years in this industry.

I don’t have time. Oh my, the same as the kid at schools the dog ate my homework excuse. We all have the same hours in a day. I see single parents with a full time job and sporting and community commitments make time for themselves to exercise.

I need to do X,Y or Z for my kids. Awesome, allow your kids to let you neglect your health, it will be great when those same kids have to help you bathe and wipe your backside for you.

I have to get fit first. So why on earth would you need my help once you were fit? We help people find their fitness, we don’t all work with elite level athletes, and you don’t change your own oil in your car before sending it to get a service at the mechanics do you?

I am issuing you a bit of tough love here. I have heard all sorts of reasons for not exercising ranging from the ‘ yep I can see how a bout of pneumonia will prevent you from moving right now’ to the, ‘oh but in a weeks’ time I have a night out planned, so I couldn’t possibly start today’  and everything in between. Yes there are things that will prevent you moving, but those reasons are few and far between.

If every time you have thought about starting an exercise program, losing a few kilos, getting in shape for a milestone event like a wedding or reunion, eating better, or just living a healthier life you have prioritised something else over it, and made that excuse, you are going to NEED to do something different to get started to get what you want. And the first thing is stop using excuses to put living healthily down the order of your priorities.

 

 

About the Author

Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

This Is Tough

30 September

This is Tough

The hardest part of an exercise program can be getting your head into it. In any program you undertake there will be parts of it you absolutely despise, but there will be parts you absolutely love or look forward to, or eventually fall in love with as you realise how good you are at certain tasks.

 

There are days, and I will admit more than you might think, where I just come up with every crap excuse to not workout. I need to get these forms filled in, I just have to pay the phone bill, once I finish the BAS I will get to it. And that is all these are; excuses. I am putting these up because I know that the workout I have planned for myself will be particularly challenging for me. I might fail at my clean or snatch. Oh there are heaps of burpees today; I just don’t want to face that, and so I come up with things, anything.

 

I am telling you this so that you can see you aren’t alone, that even the coaches struggle from time to time. And sometimes we struggle a lot. If you rewind to just after the open in 2016 I was at a loss. I wasn’t training well, I had added on a few kilos and I was simply unmotivated.

 

I had zero motivation, I was not wanting to train, I just wanted to do anything but. It all seemed too tough, I felt I wasn’t good enough, I felt I didn’t look or perform like a CrossFit box owner should. But Jodie and close friend put me straight. They reminded me why I work-out. It has nothing to do with anyone looking at me from the outside, it has little to do with what others think of me at all. It is about being the healthiest version of me I can be. So that I can be there for my family, so that I am not a burden to them when I am unwell, so that I can help them and not have them have to help me, so that my little one sees that her dad is capable and he looks after himself and that she can do that too.

 

I had forgotten my why. Why I was doing all this, why it is important to me, why I must be better than yesterday. Without a why there is no reason to continue. It is true for most areas of life. If we don’t have a good, solid, realistic reason for doing something, anything will get in the way of it.

 

And there for me is the reason I set goals that are not at all appearance based. With the goals of being as healthy as I can firmly set at the top, all others drop in to line with them. I want to be healthy so I am a good example, so that in her adult years my grown daughter will not have to take care of her frail old man.

From that my performance goals all lead to the health goals. Does that mean I no longer have appearance goals? Not entirely, I know that with the more important goals at the top, looking better will be a nice side effect. I still do want to look good for my spouse, I mean, who doesn’t want to be desired more by someone else? J But it isn’t my primary driver, and when it has been in the past it has been very easy to fall off the wagon and revert to unhealthy habits. Appearance is a very poor motivator, my why needs to be much more important than vanity. And personally my health and wellbeing overall is the strongest motivator and driver I can think of.

 

Who doesn’t want to be able to run up a flight of stairs without getting puffed? Do I want to be at the GPs every two or three months or once a year or so for just a check-up? I don’t want achy joints from lack of movement and use. I want my better posture from being stronger in my core. I enjoy not getting colds and flus anywhere near as savage as other people. I love sleeping soundly and waking refreshed. I love being able to share an amazing, fulfilled life with my spouse on a daily basis. I love being able to keep up with my daughter.

 

Yes the workouts I plan and do are tough, yes it is tough to get into them in winter, etc, and yes I am sometimes really sore and sorry. In comparison though the alternative of not being able to enjoy time with my spouse and my daughter to its fullest it really is quite easy.

 

 

About the Author

Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

Hanging the picture

18 May

Hanging the picture.

Almost a year ago my family and I moved house. Our new house has concrete internal walls as well as external, solid, but not the easiest to hang pictures, etc. on. Of course we had things we wanted mounted on the walls, heaters, brackets etc. So it was off to the hardware store to get some things.

I needed a couple of new drill bits, wall plugs, screws. I already had the drill, a hammer, the screwdrivers, extension cords, pencil, measuring tape, spirit level (I think you get the picture). I then had to read up on how to use the stud finder I had bought, it checks for electrical wires as well, and so I went about putting some things up on the walls.

I measured, I marked, I made sure it was level. I drilled holes, I hammered plugs in, I screwed the things to the walls. And now we have brackets, pictures and frames up on the walls, it feels and looks like we wanted it to.

Now about this point you are probably thinking “Jim, you usually talk fitness, not DIY around the house, where are you going with this???” I will swing it around for you soon enough, just bear with me.

Now I had a goal, mount frames, pictures, mounts and brackets. And that was achieved. But there were tools and steps along the way. If I didn’t have a spirit level, drill or screwdriver I could not have completed my goal. Even if I had just a hammer, the job couldn’t be completed. My goal of putting things on the wall had a lot of steps in between to get to the end point, and it required tools.

This is how I view gym memberships to commercial gyms when you have a goal of wanting to get fit. They are a hammer when you are trying to hang the picture. The gym membership is just a tool for you to getting fit. If you take one out and pay for it what happens then? If you have just bought the minimum membership package for about $10 or $15 a week you are simply hiring the tools. If someone doesn’t show you how to use those tools how will you reach your goal? Is the gym membership the only tool you will need? For some yes, but that is about 1% of the population. There is more to it, as with the picture.

There is knowledge. Are you up to speed on many of the current regimes out there? Are you an expert in correct body movement? Do you know what the funny looking machine in the corner of the gym is for? Or will you be one of the slews of internet videos of people using things incorrectly? It isn’t easy to ask for help but if you do you will find that the results come faster than they would have before. I have seen people try to go it alone and then resort to internet chat rooms for advice on how to move forward.

Then there is accountability. Who will make sure you use that gym membership? When it is 5:30am and the alarm goes off and the fire has gone out, it is drizzly and dark outside, will you still make it to the gym? Or will you pull the covers back up and go to sleep for another half hour? The bargain basement gym membership that only cost about $15 per week won’t be enough on its own to help you out of bed and to the gym. You need a coach, or a team of people that will ask you, ‘why weren’t you here this morning?’

Then there is community. A group of people celebrating g your small victories because you just managed a new PR (that’s personal record) on a lift or a workout in general. Not as much fun plodding away on a treadmill with Sunrise telling you the woes of the world while you try to drown it out with your headphones in. A good community will help to build you up and keep you positive throughout your workout experience.

So the next time you think about getting fit and healthy think, do I need just a cheap hammer for this job? Or am I going to need more tools and knowledge that will help me reach my goals and a community that will not forget about me along the way?

Pretty sure it is the latter 😉

I just want to be skinny!!!

12 January

I just want to be skinny….
How many times have you heard this from a friend? Ok, honestly, how many times have you heard this from your inner voice?
Now think about what you say to your friend. What is your response to them? I bet it is along the lines of “Oh darl, you’re amazing, you don’t need to be skinny. You have the best legs/arms/ bum (insert the body part of your friend that you wish you had)”.

Now compare that to the inner voice that responds to your pleads of I want to be skinny…… “Yep shouldn’t have had that ice-cream yesterday. How did you let yourself get this way? I’m not eating lunch today……”
Why are we so negative on ourselves, yet so supportive to others?
What is so special about being skinny? Really? What will happen to our lives if we were to wake up tomorrow being skinny?
Recently I had an acquaintance come up to me while we were out. “Oh my god, you look amazing, you’re so skinny” she says to me. I was enraged. Skinny? She thought I was skinny? Bugger that! I’m not skinny, I’m fit. I’m strong! Look I’ve got muscles starting to pop up! I don’t want to be seen as skinny! If she had of said this to me 3 years ago, however, I would have been elated. My, how things have changed.
It took many conversations with my hubby (my voice of reasoning) for me to accept that my idea of being fit and healthy is no longer associated with being skinny or not. And that others are not there yet. Grown women still aspire to be skinny. Why?
It has taken a very long time to get to this point. 30 odd years in fact. Being a person who has always struggled with my weight, struggled with obtaining a healthy image of myself, struggled with maintaining a healthy life style and exercise routine. I had all the excuses. “I work full time, I’m too busy to workout, I’m so tired at the end / start of the day…..blah, blah, blah. But now that I have achieved this, I want other woman to try and understand the difference between being skinny and being fit.
Well, what has created this phenomenal change in my attitude, in my perception, in me? What’s the magical secret? Here’s the secret. There is no secret. It’s going to be different for everyone.
For me it was changing my focus. I finally got it through my head that I no longer want to be a particular size in clothing; I don’t want to be a particular weight on the scales. This was a massive challenge for me. MASSIVE. It meant not getting on the scales (which was something I did constantly, almost obsessively), it meant not going shopping and trying on clothes and crying in the change rooms because I’d worked so hard and eaten such small amounts for the past 3 weeks thinking that I could buy that gorgeous dress I had seen in the window.
It meant (and this was the hardest thing I had ever done) allowing myself an hour every day to focus on me. Now, as a mother, a wife, a career woman as well as coaching CrossFit, allowing time to focus on myself was the hardest thing I’d done. At first I felt selfish, I felt guilty, I questioned myself. But guess what? I did it. No one was affected negatively. No one starved. The house didn’t fall down around us. If anything, everything ran more smoothly. Much more so than I was expecting. This change in my focus, my attitude, my drive was having an amazing effect on my body.
By taking the focus off the negative way I felt about myself and my body and focusing on improving things in the gym, such as my clean and jerk, snatch, deadlift, by learning how to kipping pull up, link toes to bar and run faster, my body changed. My body changed, and is still changing, so much so that people feel the need to comment.
In the past I have tried everything. Small group training, large group choreographed exercise routines, lengthy weights sessions, shakes, eating only carbs in the morning, not eating at all, 12 week challenges etc. You name it, I tried it. And everything failed. I failed. This started the cycle again. The self doubt, self loathing, the excuses, the over eating, the crying in the change rooms.
I was introduced to CrossFit, by my voice of reasoning, my hubby. It is honestly the most significantly beneficial thing I have ever undertaken. The focus is not on what I look like; it’s on what I can do. The community in a CrossFit box is infectious. EveryonejodieB&A wants to see you succeed. Everyone wants to see you push past your comfort zone and be better than yesterday.
Let’s be realistic. It takes time. These before and afters are about a year apart. Quick fixes don’t work. They just set you up for failure. Allow yourself the permission for it to take time. There will be times when it is hard. Push through it. It just makes your success so much sweeter in the end! Trust me, I know! I was lucky enough to have my husband in the background helping me through these times. He is my rock. Who is yours?
Look, I’m like every girl, I love a good compliment, and I no longer get worked up when someone tells me that I look skinny. I just tell them that I look fit!
CrossFit may not be for you.

The point of my rant is not that I want you to be a CrossFit convert (although that would be awesome if it was right for you as well!), rather, I want women to stop beating yourselves up about being skinny.

Change one thing in that sentence. I just want to be fit!

Adult Play and Fun

02 June

One morning at a BNI meeting I listened to the member who owns a childcare centre and preschool. The educators at the centre teach the kids quite a lot through play and she challenged us the next week to get into some adult play and fun. Now I know, I know, you could read some things into that, and if you do, well good on you! But I took her challenge seriously and it got me thinking.

Now, I have some adult fun every day. I hit the gym and do a workout. I love to throw some bumper plates around and challenge myself with a new skill or mastering an old one. And to me, doing a CrossFit workout is just that: fun!

I see and hear of so many things like: ‘Oh my workout was awful’ or ‘My trainer pushed me til I threw up, I don’t think I’ll go back’. Of course you won’t! Where is the fun in exerting yourself til you vomit??!

Your workouts should be enjoyable.

I was getting a coffee recently and the owner of the café asked me: ‘Jim, is running good for fitness?’ I replied with: ‘Let me answer that with a question. Do you enjoy it?’ He said: ‘I love it!’So my response was: ‘Then it is great for your fitness.’ If he had replied that he hated it, then I would have suggested he seek out an alternative. But because he loves it then, for him, it is the best type of exercise to do for fitness.

I always come across articles, blog posts, opinion pieces and Facebook posts about someone’s training being the best way or the optimum to train and ‘look your best’. But if you can’t tolerate the way that is and you simply hate that training style, you are never going to stick with it, and while it may just be THE best way of looking your best, you most certainly will not feel your best. If you dread going somewhere to do something this will eventually flow into other areas of your life. You need to train and exercise the way you enjoy the most.

So, to wrap up… Are you doing something you enjoy? Are you doing it for the right reasons (a little hint wanting to look your best will wear off as a reason VERY quickly)? Are you having some adult fun?

Because, that is what it is about: if you aren’t having any adult fun and are just going through the motions, everything will become a chore. Now, the type of adult fun you have is completely up to you 😉

About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, the only private training studio in Armidale, 2012 Winner of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid, if not tragic, St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

Motivation

26 May

This is a topic that is hit on time and time again. But today, my dear reader, I want to ask you about the different types of motivation or the ways in which coaches motivate. Really, I am asking: ‘Is it actually motivation?’

Do you want to know that your coach is in the best shape of their life via pics or do you prefer to hear how they are going with their training? Does a fitness meme motivate you, or do you prefer some great advice for how to avoid a buffet blow out?
At the moment I am noticing lots of different pics and such on social media that are supposed to motivate you: fit bodies with quotes written over them, coaches flexing biceps or baring their abs to show you that their way works the best. And well, I am not sure that any of them really work that much.

And that is what I want to ask you. What do you want to see from me motivation wise? Do you want me taking selfies in the box and posting them up to show you how I look? Do you want the PRs that I hit to be posted on social media? Because while a new PR of my own motivates me a bit, what REALLY motivates me is seeing PRs that you, my trainees hit.

I know each and every one of you has a life outside the gym, so when I see a new squat PR, a longer string of double-unders or that elusive first pull-up on the PR board, it motivates me no end. For you to go to work every day, tend to family responsibilities and still have enough energy in reserve to do new and amazing things inspires the crap out of me.

I draw my inspiration and motivation from those around me. Yes, I am quite inspired by the efforts of the athletes who have been competing at the regionals, but they are pros, they are sponsored and they can train without distraction. You, my fellow CrossFitters of the 99%, are where the true motivation comes from. You compete with you and you alone, you no longer use the scales or mirror to validate yourself and you have this amazing ability to turn up and put in when it is needed each day that the workout is on.

So hang on … I asked you a question didn’t I? Stuff it! I can answer it myself. I won’t be putting up pics of my abs or biceps – it just isn’t me. I will pop up a pic or two here and there of my PRs. Someone recently told me not to shy away from them, let the world know your successes. And hopefully when you see me struggle and then eventually hit that ever-elusive goal you know I have been after, it will prompt you to keep going and do the same!

About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

Five truths about CrossFit they probably haven’t told you.

14 May

Five truths about CrossFit they probably haven’t told you

It seems not a day goes by that I don’t read something about what it is we do at CrossFit: that it is some sort of cult or that we are a chiropractor’s best source of business. I usually find these write-ups very amusing. Generally, someone who has never actually set foot in a CrossFit facility writes them, but they are written with all the authority of a seasoned veteran. I guess I have an advantage in that we are the only box in our town so when someone from Armidale comments about CrossFit in any way shape or form I know if they have been in to experience it OR if they are speaking completely out of school. So, here are five things that the people talking about CrossFit may not have told you:

1. We really do give a shit about technique. That’s right: we actually want you to learn how to pick something up without getting hurt. You see it does not bode well for us to have someone come for one or two sessions and then get injured and never get near their goals. A lot of CrossFit movements may look unusual, but they require an amazing amount of body awareness and control to complete. To be successful with both the clean and jerk and the snatch you first have to be proficient in the technique.

2. Most CrossFitters are everyday people. That’s right: accountants, brickies, carpenters, teachers, students, mums, dads, grandparents… We aren’t all gifted athletes who look as though we were chiselled from granite. We are regular everyday people with jobs, responsibilities, hobbies and social engagements. It just so happens that we also like to work out together and with a reasonable amount of intensity. And with that comes an amazing sense of community, so maybe it is a little cult-like because I have never come across a more supportive group of people than the members of our box. They look out for each other, they work out together, they socialise. If that is a cult, then I never want to leave it.

3. We can be a chiropractor’s best source of business. YES, I said we can! You see, when someone starts here I refer them to a chiropractor and physiotherapist to see if they have anything specific wrong that may have been missed for years. And then, once they become an avid CrossFitter they will find that they will seek treatment for any niggles that they have. My anecdotal experiences from working in a commercial gym were that attendees seldom actually sought treatment: they usually used the injury or condition as a “reason” to hold off on exercise for a while. CrossFitters get a mindset that they want to improve, hence seeking treatment and getting over anything that is wrong with them.

4. CrossFit is varied, NOT random. If you are attending a gym or any other place and they say they will throw together a CrossFit workout for you or they are making it up as they write it on the whiteboard then the coach, trainer or your friend has no concept of what CrossFit is about. Yes, it is about preparing for the unknown and unknowable, but that does not mean that it is a bunch of random movements thrown together to form a semblance of a workout. Your box should have progressive programing that is varied enough to continue to elicit a response regardless of your training level. If you look closely at our program you will see an underlying strength program and progressions right through all of our met cons and any supplementary work we do.

5. You don’t have to be fit to start. We have everything from 16-year-old athletes to 65-year-old grandparents in our sessions. AND they do the sessions side by side. I can tailor a workout to suit anyone, but that isn’t to say it is for everyone. You simply might not enjoy it – hence it isn’t for you. By being able to adjust weights, reps and even exercises within a workout you can start out at whatever fitness level you are currently at. I am not going to make you lift more than you ever have before and I am not going to make you keep going when you cannot. You will decide when you need to pause and you will give me that filthy look that lets me know I need to leave you to your devices. But if you come and talk to anyone in our sessions you will find that 95% of them were nowhere near fit when they started out.

So, there are five things that you may not have known about CrossFit. You can argue with them and call them out as lies, but really, I don’t care.

The above five things have been my personal experiences since becoming a CrossFit addict a few years back. I have lived them. I eat, breath, sleep and live CrossFit everyday.

So the next time someone says anything about CrossFit, just ask them or yourself one question:

If they are so vocal and so outspoken about this style of training, why?

Why go to the effort of running something down on the Internet, to a friend, colleague, or family member? For if CrossFit wasn’t affecting them or they weren’t thinking about it, then they wouldn’t even mention it would they?
About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Since losing over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. It is the only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. Jim is also an avid, if not tragic, St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

Value, not cost

28 April

It is a regular thing that someone decides to get fit and healthy, go on a diet, start an exercise regime, etc. But, more regularly than not a lot of people will find something to get in the way of commencing a change.

One I hear quite a lot is: “I can’t afford it”. Now, when you look at your income and expenses it is pretty simple that a gym membership, some PT sessions or a CrossFit membership just won’t fit in with what you already do. And there is the problem straight up.

You are thinking of this in terms of another cost being imposed on you, not of the value of what you are about to engage in. A dollar cost is easy to see, but what about physical cost down the track? That isn’t so easy to see.

This is where you need to look at value. How much do you value your time with family or with your kids? Would the cost of exercising be worth it if it meant that your family would not have to look after you due to illness or old age? You cannot place a dollar value on that.

But in simplistic terms, what are you spending that money on now? Do you eat out one or two nights a week? Do you drink alcohol regularly? Do you have an indulgent morning tea with friends a little too often? What is in your shopping trolley? You see, if you want to be serious about your health then the questions I have just asked need to be answered.

If you eat out, yes that will have to change. If you drink alcohol very regularly again, that will have to change. If these things do not change there is little point in starting a program, as your actions will be counter-intuitive to it. And simply changing the odd couple of indulgences will see you more than able to afford any program.

To lay it out for you: if you use the excuse that it is too expensive with me I will tell you that you do not value your health and that you are being selfish by potentially causing your family and friends to be affected down the track.

Your health is the only real thing you can have a direct impact on via your own actions. Start valuing it now before it costs you so much more in the future.

Be a new you in 12 weeks!

22 April

Be a new you in 12 weeks!
So you have decided the time is right…

• You are going to get fit and healthy.
• Have the body of your dreams.
• Live like you have always dreamt you would.
• And you are going to do it all in the next 6, 12, 13 weeks?

Now, time for a reality check. It took you how many years to get to where you are today? And you are expecting to right all those years of wrongs in the next two or three months?

It took me around 10 years to figure most of it out. No, I still don’t know it all, but I am learning more every day. I have completed more challenges over the years than I care to remember. I have even won one and was featured in the Australian Ironman magazine. But the true change occurred and I found the new me when I transitioned my thoughts and goals from ones based on aesthetics to goals based on performance.

I used to look in the mirror and then work out what I wanted to change and then write my program based on what muscles weren’t up to scratch. Looking in the mirror time and time again made me view myself in a rather dim light: I was always picking up imperfections. But when it all boiled down to it, I would look better each time, but I would not necessarily be performing better…

I would be eating too much sugar; I would be looking for ways to cut the last bit of fat – not the healthiest of options. And, on top of that, I was never happy.

I no longer work in competition blocks. I work in years, then back to quarters and then to months. What do I want to achieve by month’s end? How heavy will my deadlift be by the end of the first quarter? How much better will I be in a year than I am today?

And that is where the paradigm shift occurred. I started competing with me. You see, the biggest flaw in every challenge out there is that others are judging you on your appearance relative to someone else or some unobtainable ideal.

This, my dear readers is not at all healthy from a mental health viewpoint. When we constantly compare ourselves to others in appearance we are always looking over our shoulder at what others are doing when realistically, all that matters is that you are better than you were yesterday.

 

About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, and the only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid (if not tragic) St George Illawarra Dragons fan.

WOD Thu 5/2/2015

05 February

Test Week

WOD Thu 5/2/2015

A: 15 mins to get a 1RM strict press

B: 15 Mins to get a 1RM front squat

C: 6 Min AMRAP
5 Push press
10 Box jump 24/16
20 Double unders

WOD Wed 4/2/2015

04 February

Test Week

WOD Wed 4/2/2015

A: Helen
3 rounds for time
run 400m
21 KB swings 24/16
12 Pull ups

B: EMOTM 10 Mins
Odd 40 Double unders
Even 25 Squats

WOD Tue 3/2/2015

03 February

Test Week

WOD Tue 3/2/2015

Base A: HSPU’s 1 – 12 reps 4 sets 90 secs rest, or your progressions

B: 10 Mins to get a tough power clean

C: For total Time
50 cal row
40 Squat
30 Sit up
20 Push up
10 Pull up

Climb A: 10 Mins to get a 1RM snatch

B: Push jerk 5 reps 5 sets 75% max 90 secs rest

C: Isabel
For time
30 snatch 60/40

OR

Grace

For time
30 Clean and jerk 60/40
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WOD Mon 2/2/2015

02 February

Test Week

WOD Mon 2/2/2015

A: 15 min to establish a 1RM Deadlift

B: overhead squat 5 reps 6 sets 1 min rest

C: For total time
Run 400m
Then
21-15-9 reps of
Burpee
KB Swing 24/16
Then
Run 400m

12 min time cap for C

WOD Sat 31/1/2015

02 February

WOD Sat 31/1/2015

A: 30 sec AMRAP
Burpees
30 secs rest
4 rounds

B: For time
Run 800m/Row1km
40 Sit up
20 Pull up
10 Deadlift 70/50
70 Double unders
10 Deadlift
20 Pull up
40 Sit up
Run 800m/Row 1km

WOD Fri 30/1/2015

30 January

WOD Fri 30/1/2015

Base A: Kipping Tech work 10 mins
Open and close hips on the bar and be able to stop without swinging.
Practice hip work on the floor, snapping hips open.

B: EMOTM 8 Mins
6 Push up
8 Box jump

C: 7 Min AMRAP
3 Wall ball 9/6
3 Burpee
6 Wall ball
6 Burpee
9
9
Continue adding 3 reps to each exercise until time expires.

Climb A: Bear Complex 3 reps 4 sets 2 mins rest

B: EMOTM 8 Mins
4 Chest to bar pull ups
30 double unders

C: Open WOD 13.4
7 Min AMRAP
3 Clean and Jerk 60/40
3 Toes 2 Bar
6 C&J
6 T2B
9
9
Continue adding 3 reps to each exercise until time expires

Score for C is total reps

Perfection and Perception

29 January

absWomen are barraged with what they should look like by the media. It is also the case that on the other side of the coin us men get belted with perfectionism via other peoples values. I am not trying to win points for either side here, merely drawing your attention to the fact that our health is suffering as a whole from ridiculous stereotypes of what we should and should not be.

While women are made to feel, quite ridiculously, inadequate by some magazines and television programs, men are now not off the radar. You only have to look at headlines for popular magazines. “Who is your girl’s back-up plan?” “Five Pounds Of Muscle in A Month – Pack on lean mass fast with these eight essential bulking strategies “ These are just two headlines from popular men’s “fitness” mags.
The first is reeling us in as it is insinuating that your partner has someone “in case” things go south. I’m sorry trying to point out that someone is inadequate is not the best way to get them to exercise and be healthy. It is creating anxiety in the readers mind. It even suggests that married women are more likely to have a backup plan. I’m sorry this is crap. If you are married and your wife has a backup plan then the two of you have deeper issues than you getting fit. It is just a rubbish anxiety ridden article to get you feeling guilty and then maybe you will want to do what the second headline says.

Alright 5 pounds in a month. Or 2.28kgs in metric. Now I want to ask you one simple little question. Why do you want to add that sort of mass to your frame? I am now constantly hearing from younger males, “I want to be bigger!” Again I ask WHY??? If you cannot answer me with a well thought out and reasoned answer, then I will suggest to you that wanting to get bigger is someone else’s value being placed on you. Needing to bulk up to fight in a heavier category, lift in a weightlifting comp in a heavier category and lift more, compete in a heavier category in bodybuilding are all reasons for getting bigger. Anything else is bullshit. Look I get it as much as anyone that lean mass gives you a faster metabolism and that you are then healthier. But more isn’t always better. Can you afford to buy more food, fruit and vegetables, meat, supplements? Yes extra muscle mass is expensive, to grow it and then to maintain it.

We are now bombarded with images of ripped 6 packs and broad shoulders telling us this is the ideal male, and so we men are now slavishly following what we are being fed by magazines and television that is the image of the perfect male. “If I was a bit bigger I’d be happy, if I had the 6 pack I’d be happier”. The thing is if you are going out, and drinking or eating all the wrong foods, then you are telling me with your actions that the ideal physique you claim to want, is someone else’s value being pressed onto you. To grow, you must be disciplined, you don’t walk past a set of dumbbells and “presto!” you are the non-green version of the Incredible Hulk. And you especially have to be disciplined with your nutrition.

The main thing I am getting at here is do not let anyone else dictate your fitness and health goals, men and women alike, comments from friends saying things like “you look great you don’t need to go the gym anymore” tell me more about them than they do about you. The biggest point is that they have a belief that you are going to the gym to look a certain way, that is utter bullshit, if you are going to the gym for looks you are not doing it for the right reasons. You are doing it to appease someone else.

Focus on your health and wellbeing and you will find that motivation is better. You will also find that by focusing on the process, you will start to look a whole lot better in the mirror. You will be more accepting of who you are and as time goes by you will become a leaner, stronger, fitter version of yourself. And you know what? It isn’t perfect, nor will it ever be. The only men that can look like a Brad Pitt or a Ryan Reynolds is Brad Pitt or Ryan Reynolds. Your genetics are different to theirs. But that is life, there never is a perfect, but if you perceive and view yourself through a kinder light, and see that you look like the best version of yourself, you will find that you will hit all your goals and more.

WOD Thu 29/1/2015

29 January

WOD Thu 29/1/2015

A: Strict Pull ups (no bands)
1-12 reps 5 sets
90 secs rest

B: Deadlift
5 reps 5sets
90 secs rest

C: 6 Min AMRAP
12 Sit up
10 Box jump overs 24/20
8 Thruster 45/30

WOD Wed 28/1/2015

28 January

WOD Wed 28/1/2015

A: EMOTM 10 Mins
Odd Row 10 Cals
Even HSPU 5 – 8

B: EMOTM 10 Mins
Odd 10 Burpees
Even 6 Power clean @55-65% max

C: EMOTM 10 Mins
Odd 40 Double unders
Even 10 Pull ups

Can be done in any order.
Work should take approx 15 to 30 seconds each round, if you are blowing out to 40 and 50 seconds, scale it!

WOD Tue 27/1/2015

27 January

WOD Tue 27/1/2015

Base A: Power clean 4 reps 5 sets 2 mins rest

B: Power jerk (push jerk) 4 reps 4 sets 2 mins rest

C: 10 Min AMRAP
14 KB swing 24/16
10 Push up
6 Burpee

Climb A: 10 mins to get a tough double power jerk

B: 10 Mins to get a tough Hang snatch (full)

C: 10 Min AMRAP
10 Deadlift 70/50
15 push ups
45 double unders

WOD Sat 24/1/2015

24 January

WOD Sat 24/1/2015

For time
50 Double unders
50 KB swings 24/16
50 Double unders
40 Wall Balls 9/6
50 Double unders
30 Sit ups
50 Double unders
20 Thrusters 45/30
50 Double Unders
10 HSPUS (if haven’t got HSPU then Wall climbs)
50 Double unders

WOD Fri 23/1/2015

23 January

WOD Fri 23/1/2015

Base A: HSPU (Strict) 1 – 10 reps 4 sets 2 mins rest, or your progressions

B: EMOTM 8 Mins
3 push jerk 55-65% max
6 Burpees

C: Death by pull up
with a continuously running clock do 1 pull up at the top of the first minute
2 pull ups at the top of the second minute
3 at the top of the third
Continue adding 1 each minute until the required amount of work cannot be completed in the minute.

Climb A: Snatch balance 4 reps 5 sets 2 mins rest

B: EMOTM 8 Mins
3 Power snatch 50-60% max
6 Burpees

C: Death by pull up
as for Base except perform C2B if desired.

WOD Thu 22/1/2015

23 January

WOD Thu 22/1/2015

A: Push press
5 Reps 5 sets 90 secs rest

B: Snatch grip deadlift
6 reps 5 sets 2 mins rest

C: For time
30-20-10 reps of
Walking lunge 20/10
Box jump over 24/20
Double unders

14 min time cap for C
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