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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.

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.

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.

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.

6 Things I didn’t know would improve with fitness

07 January

I think we have all been over the health benefits of exercising more times than has ever been needed. Your heart health is better, less risk of diabetes, less risk of stroke, less risk of obesity related illness and well general good health that keeps us out of the doctors surgery. Maybe that isn’t enticing enough to get you to start. So here are 6 more great reasons to start.

1. Food. Yes that is right, I don’t eat rabbit food, I don’t drink my meals nor do I eat anything resembling cardboard. There are a whole heap of great tasting foods that are actually good for you. And when you treat yourself to a night at a restaurant you appreciate what you are eating so much more.

2. Friendships. Since getting my butt off the lounge about 12 years ago, I have made quite a number of new friends along the way, we share common goals and values. This has led to, not just with new friends but existing as well, much more fruitful and enjoyable friendships. I guess I value everyone close to me a lot more now.

3. Mental Health. Depression has affected me for quite a while, exercising has helped to alleviate that. But not just assisted with the depression, I am a more focused person, I am more determined and due to the challenges I have overcome trying to achieve and maintain fitness it has given me a renewed ability to overcome obstacles in everyday life.

4. Sleep. Going back to uni days I was prescribed sleeping tablets. After uni and the subsequent weight gain I would wake myself up snoring, my now wife would wake me as I had stopped breathing, I would sometimes wake myself up from this. I would then not be able to go back to sleep and sometimes would be in bed for 10 to 12 hours, but arise unrested. I now sleep much more regular, I don’t take long to go to sleep and when I do I seldom wake before 7 to 8 hours. Now I can get up at 4:30 am and feel rested.

5. Social events. This was quite a surprise for me. But what I have found is that I don’t go out as much, so when I do it is to the worthwhile events. I now tend to really enjoy myself when I go out and I spend time with people that mean more to me, hence I am saying no to going out for the sake of going out. I now spend time with my friends, savour a glass of red, or a couple of ales, and really enjoy what I am doing.
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6. Sex. OK this should be number 1. It should be on every “Why should you exercise?” list, blog post whatever. Before being fit my interest was there, but not like it is now. I would rather sit around or lie around in bed and try to sleep. NOW I am as interested as a teenager finding a stash of his dads magazines. But I now have stamina, energy and more than anything a much better libido than before I was fit. And well we all know that stamina is something that women appreciate 😉

So there you have it, 6 things that I didn’t know before. Maybe I was just dumb and these were obvious to you.
Perhaps the fear of illness and death, as I pointed out at the beginning, wasn’t enough to kick someone off on a fitness program. Then maybe the above 6 reasons might help.

Holiday opening hours

23 December

CrossFit Armidale’s opening hours for the holiday season will be as follows:

Monday 22nd – hours as per normal (6am, 1:05pm and 6:10pm)
Tuesday 23rd – hours as per normal
Wednesday 24th – 6am class and 12noon class. No 6pm session
Thursday 25th Christmas day – closed
Friday 26th Boxing day – closed
Saturday 27th – closed
Sunday 28th – closed
Monday 29th – hours per normal

New years eve – Wednesday 31st – 6am and 12noon classes. No 6pm session
New years day – closed
2nd Jan – hours as per normal

Always Better Than Yesterday

11 November

Better than Yesterday….again

So 11 years. Seems like a long time. But when you sit back and look at it, it really isn’t.
This story starts betterthanyesterday11 years ago. We get people that want to get fit and healthy from time to time that try out CrossFit and then decide that they can’t do it as they aren’t fit enough or that they can’t do all the movements. They look at me and say, “But you can do it every day and it’s easy for you”.

11 years ago I was in a similar boat. The difference being I didn’t have someone demonstrating to me the best way to go about getting fit and healthy.
I wish 11 years ago that CrossFit had existed in town, the challenges of it, the fun of the community because I was so unfit, and so out of shape, and oh my was I unhealthy. I wish that there had of been someone that could have showed me you just need to do it one small step at a time.

My weekends were spent sitting on the lounge, watching TV and eating chips and drinking beer or soft drink. I lived a block from the Bowlo, yet I still drove to Coles. The furthest I would venture out would be to drive to a garage sale or two, then Jodie and I would head to the pub for the afternoon, wind up spending Sunday nursing a very disgusting hangover to then wake tired, lethargic and not wanting to go to work. Then Monday night at about 9pm I would be exhausted and ready to collapse.

One day I went for a walk with my dog, I was out of breath by the time I hit the corner, around 120m, I turned around and went home. That over the next few weeks turned into a 20 min walk, and so on and so on.

So now if we skip ahead 11 years I now workout 6 days a week. And for a reasonable amount of time. My training regime for one day alone consists of 18 strict muscle ups, Hang snatches 13 of them getting progressively heavier, then some work on my ATP system, around 72 power cleans at 61Kg and 64 handstand push ups in a 16 minute period. Then a series of wall ball shots, toes to bar and double unders, capped off with about 1200m of running broken into three 400m all out efforts.

Now if that day 11 years ago I had not taken my dog for a walk and started off, I would never be able to do what I do now. But it has taken me 11 YEARS to get that far. Now don’t be daunted by that.
It won’t be that you think you have to get fit first, it won’t be that you can’t do all the movements. It will be that you don’t want to step outside your comfort zone, you are happyish where you are and you don’t want to think everything has to change. I can show that it can and will, but only a little at a time.

You see now that I know how to get myself there, I can show you the correct methods, give you the tools to start off and keep going. You just need to let go of whatever it is that is holding you back from starting and let me guide you along your way.

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.

Do you have a why to give?

15 October

Why?why1
Pretty ambiguous title I know.

But I want to make a point of telling you why I became a trainer and coach. And why sometimes that can be so hard.
Going back about 10 years or so I was quite overweight, I was lethargic and, well, generally unhappy in myself. I started trying “things”, and by “things” I mean diets, shakes, extreme exercise programs, you name it I almost certainly tried it.

And then I began a little education, I completed my cert 4 in fitness, and when I was done I quickly realised that I knew 3 parts of nothing. So I then had to go out and find more to learn. But what was driving me to do this? Part of the answer was to make me better than yesterday, but the real answer was that I thought that if I had already made all the mistakes I could then help others avoid those same mistakes.

So each and every day I am working on improving my knowledge, gaining new skills and refining my craft. My drive, my why, is to service and assist those that want my help.

The thing that brings me joy, the thing that I look forward to everyday when I get out of bed is seeing what new personal bests our clients and members can achieve each day. To see ‘everyday’ people achieve beyond the everyday inspires me no end.

But it gets tough at times, it can be hard. The hours are long, the information available out there is confusing to you, and the convenience of doing my work out is just that, too convenient.

The toughest part though, is showing you what you are capable of. But you know what? That is also the most enjoyable. I love the challenge of convincing you that you can deadlift more than you ever thought possible. The challenge of guiding you through your first Fran as Rxd.

The challenge of picking you up when you are down. The challenge of assisting you reach a more fruitful, enjoyable life through good nutrition and exercise. The sheer challenge of making you better than yesterday.

YOU are the reason I go to seminars and conferences and courses.
YOU are the one I love to see achieve beyond what you thought was your best.
YOU are the reason I am up late studying the newest findings in nutrition.
YOU are the reason I feel guilty for not actually working anymore, I am doing what I love.
You see YOU are my why.

Those that know me, know I love my family, and so you would understand that in order my why is Family, Service, Balance.
The service and balance help me achieve the family part. It is all inclusive.

Now go in and find your why, not out. Dig deep inside yourself and find why you want to exercise and eat better.
Why do you want to live better?
Why do you want to live longer?
Why do you want to be better than yesterday?

Is this the one thing holding you back with your fitness?

10 October

The gym is so scary!!
I have now heard another angle on this. It seems that no matter what we will try to justify our lack of exercise on an excuse that really, does not have the legs to stand on.

If we are to get right into the psychology of why we never start an exercise program we will find that our excuses are just a justification in our own minds so that we feel no guilt or less guilt about not doing anything.
A fair bit of the time in CrossFit there will be participants with very minimal clothing on, why, there was even an attempt in Europe for a nude class (not sure oly lifts would be fun in the nude, but hey I digress). And now I have heard about people not wanting to start as they are intimidated by this. However the same people would frequent a beach or local pool together and not have a problem. So what is the true reason? I don’t know, I am not in your mind. That is a question I want you to ask yourself.

The ones getting around the gym in not much all started somewhere before you. Now speaking from experience the people in our gym that wear no shirt or crop tops aren’t showing off, they are usually bloody hot! (We are after all in a shed in an industrial estate) What those people are doing is showing confidence and a feeling as though they are comfortable with whom they are. They don’t compare themselves to you, and nor should you to them. In fact I have witnessed where these members of our box have gone out of their way to help new people through a session.

But the main thing for me here is something a very smart man passed on to me.
If you want to improve yourself, or better yourself in any way, surround yourself with people that are performing better at your chosen pursuit.
If you continue to surround yourself with the same people day in day out, you will not strive to be better. And so you will do as the human condition wants and reach homeostasis. I am not just referring to fitness here. Career, family, education and even spiritual, you need to surround yourself with people that have gone before you. I am not saying dump your friends and family, I am saying to expand this circle.
Will that be a little uncomfortable? Yes, it might be very uncomfortable, but that way you are forced to grow and adapt. You become better, faster than you have before.

So stop right now. Look at what you are doing fitness wise. And look at what you wanted to achieve with your fitness and health 6 months ago, 12 months ago, 1 month ago, why even 1 week ago.

Are you where you wanted to be?
Are you making all the gains you want to?
Are you still thinking about the fact that you need to do something but it might be hard?
Are you just doing the same old gym routine?

The reason could well be that you haven’t changed a thing and so have reached that homeostasis. Jump outside your comfort zone, go to your nearest CrossFit affiliate and surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed, that will pick you up when you are down, but most importantly they will help make you better than yesterday.

Glass half full, half empty, or completely full?? Depends on your perspective.

08 October

Last week I spent a few days in Sydney. I was going down there to effectively call it quits on something that I thought I no longer needed. As it turns out, it was exactly what I needed but I had lost sight of that.

How many times have you thought that there was something in your life that you did not need any more to only be reminded only a short time later that you in fact needed it more than you thought?

The thing that I see every day that people need, but that don’t recognize that they do is their health. It isn’t until we are unhappy with what is in the mirror that we turn or life around.

I see so many things prioritised everyday over one’s health that I can only assume people don’t think they need to help themselves health wise, or they have been misled by an entire industry for too long.

Take this pill, drink this shake, by my 12 week challenge, eat (insert any diet title here), and you will look your best in the shortest time possible.
Well what if I told you it runs deeper than your skin, than your clothing size? You see high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, none of these care what you look like, they occur because of inaction on your behalf to your health and exercising and eating well is the first step to looking after yourself and keeping things like I just mentioned at bay.

I have heard I don’t have time so many times I don’t care to hear it that much anymore. I am quite empathetic when it comes to almost anything, however we all have 24 hours in a day and how you choose to use them is your business, but if you have time to watch TV, then I cannot accept for one second that you don’t have time to protect your most valuable asset, your health.

Stop looking at working out and eating well as looking good. Look at it as it should be an insurance policy against diabetes, heart disease, obesity and all related illnesses. Once you look at it from the right perspective you will wonder why you didn’t start yesterday.

If you even kind of understand that exercise and nutrition are about being your best, not looking your best, click the link below, get in touch with me and we can help make it happen for you.200458043-001

I can’t afford that! I say you can’t afford not to.

22 September

I can’t afford THAT!

This is a nice little one I hear all the time.

“I would love to do personal training or CrossFit but I just can’t afford it.”
So then they do the alternatives, either nothing, or worse case scenario, take out a gym membership and get locked into 12 months, 2 years, whatever, and only go once or twice.

I am now calling shenanigans on this “excuse”!

Something you may not know about me is that I have a degree in Commerce and spent 8 years in sales and marketing. So I not only know a little about cleans, snatches and muscle ups, but I know a little bit about budgeting.

So I am going to break it down for you as simply as I can to show you that you can not only afford it, you can’t afford not to do it!
This will be quite simplistic so bear with me for a bit.

I am going to pop in a few “incidentals” and show you that it really isn’t that expensive nowadays to have a PT or CF membership.
So maybe your standard week consists of 1 or 2 takeaway coffees each day, maybe a bought lunch 2 days per week, takeaway food 1 night per week, drinks at the pub 1 night a week plus your unused gym membership.exercise-posters

We have:
Coffees $40 per week
Lunch $30 per week
Takeaway $20 per week (conservative)
Drinks $50
Gym Membership $10-$15 (unused)

Here we already have $150- $155 per week. Now you can add in and take out the bits that apply to yourself, but you can see that a few little savings can add up quickly.

Reduce your espresso coffees to 3 per week, save $28
Take your lunch from home each day and don’t throw away spoiled food at the end of the week save $30
Get rid of the takeaway, it is doing you no good, save $20 per week.
Have a few less drinks, alternate with water, save $25
Scrap the unused gym membership, save $10- $15

So we have cut $113-$118 from your expenses.

A CrossFit membership is $45-$55 per week, you are $58 to $73 per week better off by having that membership.

But this has only scratched the surface, there are countless other little things that you purchase over the course of the week that you either don’t need, or are detrimental to your fitness goals. And that is the main point, the vices I have cut back on are detrimental to any exercise program.

I’ll go further in another post about not only the monetary, but also the costs associated with health issues.

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.

Ridz Rant: Results???

15 September

Results, get the best with me, no with me, no with me.results
Results, we all want them, we can all get them. But what are they???
Well the definition of result from the Oxford dictionary is:
noun
1. A thing that is caused or produced by something else; a consequence or outcome

Results would then be the plural of this, so more than one result.
Now I know above I have stripped back all emotion and just given you the dictionary meaning. But that is what you have to do before you can find out what you want to do fitness wise.
From the actions you are about to undertake, what do you want as a result of doing them?
I can guarantee results, not a problem. But the truth of it is that is such an ambiguous statement. Of course you will get results, there will most definitely be a consequence or outcome from what I get you to do. Presto! Guaranteed results.
But will they be what you are after? So many of us are wrapped up in the lose 5kg in 10 days marketing that we see so often that we are confused as to what results should be.
Now my biggest bug bear is having someone get on the scales at really regular intervals. You are measuring the force of gravity against your own mass, nothing else.
If we go a step further and take body fat percentage then we are actually looking at something that is beneficial. We know that by decreasing the percentage of body fat on someone we are having a positive effect on their health, the same cannot be said for simply reducing weight.
Sorry I have gotten a little off topic though. Now if you come here to become a professional bodybuilder and lay down tonnes of muscle and strip off all of your body fat, well I am sorry our results that we help you get, will not enable you to do that.
If you want to drop several kilos in the shortest time just to fit into a certain article of clothing in a hurry, I’m sorry our methods will not provide you with those results.
I think you can see where I am coming from with the last couple of paragraphs. Plenty of us in the industry guarantee results, but as I have pointed out results vary, and they vary for every individual on the planet. If you do exactly as I tell you, for at least 1 to 3 months you will see results. You will see a difference from when you started. The question still remains; will they be the results I am after?
What you will get from working out with me. Stronger, more stamina (we all know that can come in handy) increased cardio respiratory endurance, better balance, better coordination, better agility, faster, more flexible, better accuracy and more power. Notice I say nothing about weight? Weight is not a goal we focus on here, the appearance of your body is a by-product of what you do with it. I do not work out to look good, I work out to perform better.
To perform in all aspects of my life. To be able to keep up with those younger than me, to be able to help friends move house if called on to do so. To be able to enjoy a night of relaxed eating at a friend’s house. To be able to perform better in my home relationships where it truly matters. My scale weight has absolutely no bearing on the above factors, my scale weight does not determine who I am or my self-worth, if anything the scale weight can seek to sabotage my self-worth.
That is why I say results will vary. We cannot be all things to everybody here, we can offer you a healthy future, where you are strong, agile, flexible and have great endurance and stamina. What we cannot offer you is a quick fix, a short term rapid weight loss regime. You see those don’t work. I’ll get into that in another post, but know that I have gone down the path of rapid weightloss, challenge after challenge and it wasn’t until I committed to a program that adapted with me and changed up as I got better that I saw real ‘results’. Results that were long lasting, were more realistic and didn’t affect my mental health as much. The main thing that was always affected was my mental wellbeing. I would always be worried about the scales, what I looked like in the mirror and then the comparisons to others. It wasn’t until I worked out in my own head that the only person I had to be better than was the person I was yesterday.
With so many different programs out there and all these guarantees of results how can you be sure which one is the right one for you?
I’m going to flat out tell you it is not the one that promises to deliver massive weight loss in a short time, the body of your dreams or that of a god or goddess. It is the one that will offer you ongoing support, a community of like-minded people that are all in it to help out, one that does not belittle you on social media for non attendance or compliance, one that helps you grow as a person, that helps you be a better person than you were before and enables you to grow with the program. And that program should never stop growing with you. There should always be ways for you to get better. A program that does not stop because your trainer is on holidays or they could not cover the class due to the only trainer that can teach that class is sick.
Look for a program that will fit you.

Yes I am telling you now, I have that program. The only two days a year you haven’t been able to get a workout in here at CrossFit Armidale this last year have been Good Friday and Christmas Day. Yes that is right we were here on New Year’s day. Because you see we run a program the same as what your fitness requires, and that is a lifetime. If it is stop start between programs and you have “breaks” from your training your “results” will fluctuate and reflect that.
So choose a program that is a lifestyle change, not a challenge, but an actual complete lifestyle program, you will be pleasantly surprised with the “results”.

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.

Why are you doing it??

14 July

Hope the title caught your eye.

Usually the thoughts in training programs are along the lines of how a person looks. There is little to no thought of how the person feels or how such a short term drastic change has affected them mentally. The reason I talk about this type of thing so often is that these are the type of programs that have over time affected me in a negative way.

Now don’t get me wrong the occasional challenge to eat clean, exercise and generally be healthier is great, as long as it is not the only reason someone is doing it or it is their first foray into getting into a health and fitness regime. We currently live in a time of instant gratification. Want a new TV? Just pop it on your store card. New car? Just grab a loan. Get fit? Take a pill/shake/do a challenge/grab that bit of gear from an infomercial.

And that last one is the problem. With everything in society we have wanted it faster and better than before. We want our expectations and desires met and satisfied immediately. The problem with living a fit and healthy lifestyle is that it is just that, a lifestyle. It does not end at the 12 week mark, the body of your dreams is not at the bottom of a tub of protein powder.
Time and again I see people embark on challenge after challenge, or the latest fad diet only to end up putting their old fat back on and then some. The thing I notice here is that the focus is on those results at the end of whatever it is you are doing. It is not on the process, and in particular the reason why you are doing what you are doing.
You see you need a valid reason why to do anything. And exercising and eating well are no exceptions to the rule. If you have no real internal drive to exercise, if you are focusing on the outcome, not the process you will revert to old habits and worse still suffer emotionally.
The problem I see is that there is so much research into what happens when the human body is stimulated in a certain way and its effects then on physical health. There are very few studies done on participants mental well being during, at the end and down the track after they complete a program.

So before you start ANOTHER 12 weeks/fad diet/bottle of magic juice/bar/shake, ask yourself or your trainer why you are doing it, and if you or they don’t really answer you well enough, then maybe you need to look for a better solution to your problem.
IMG_4571

Are you doing CrossFit?

09 July

I’ve heard of  plenty of trainers/coaches/friends/relatives that claim they do CrossFit or are giving you a CrossFit session.
Next time one of these people announces that what you are about to do or that they are doing is CrossFit, ask them for their credentials or ask them when the last time was they were inside a CrossFit gym, a registered affiliate

I have heard a lot lately about this happening.

I know all the CrossFit certified coaches in town and know all of the ones that work at the only CrossFit affiliate in town. So if it is not one of them coaching you at CrossFit Armidale, well they have no right to tell you you are doing CrossFit. Both from an ethical and legal standpoint.
You see CrossFit isn’t another class just chucked into the schedule at your local globo gym. It isn’t a singular workout on its own. It isn’t just some way of doing something a little different. It is an entire program. It is a community.

  • If your “CrossFit” sessions are random and have no progressions then it could be the work of a lazy trainer that threw it together at the last minute and thought “If I call it CrossFit they won’t know the difference!”.
  • If your trainer/friend/insert whatever here, is not concerned with your technique and form and only with your speed, then they do not understand one of the most important principals of CrossFit. Virtuosity. Performing the common, uncommonly well.
  • If they tell you they CrossFit yet don’t know what the Open is nor have they even thought about entering it, they don’t understand what CrossFit is about.
  • If you ask them about CrossFit and they tell you it will hurt you, ask them why they think this?
  • If you ask them and they say OK I’ll throw a session together for you, ask them how they know what to do.
  • It isn’t about just throwing together a session if your trainer has never been familiarised with Olympic lifting or gymnastics movements, then they are really in no position to instruct you in these.

Sure you can put a circuit of push ups, sit ups and squats together and PRESTO! You have a CrossFit style workout. You also have a circuit style workout, a bodyweight session, a turbulence training session, you name it it can fit in. That is the problem, people think anything can fit the CrossFit program. It can’t and it doesn’t.

Nothing can replace passion, drive, knowledge, practice and ability when it comes to teaching or coaching anything. If your trainer/friend/sportscoach does not live, eat and breathe CrossFit and have never actually partaken in a session in an affiliate, well I am afraid they are misleading you. You are NOT doing CrossFit and you have not even scratched the surface of what you are capable of.

 

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU. Call me on 6772 6798. Book in. Do a free session. And then tell me after that that what you were doing before was CrossFit.

Is CrossFit for you?

08 May

 

 

This is the part where you expect me to say “Of course it is, it absolutely is for everybody. Anyone can do it and we can scale it to your needs.”
While that is true.
I’m not going to say that.

The truth for me, which is different from yours, is that I think anyone can actually do CrossFit and get some sort of benefit out of it. But being able to do something and actually doing it or liking doing it are completely different things.
You see if you are not the type of person who really enjoys exercising intensely at all, you may not stick with a CrossFit program. If you love to run and never lift a weight and that is what you love, CrossFit may not be for you. If you want to be a bodybuilder and appear on stage, looking like a body builder is expected to, well again, CrossFit probably is not for you. If you just want to lift some weights at the gym and take a few mirror selfies for your FB or Instagram account, yep you guessed it, CrossFit most definitely is not for you. (please take that as a little joke).

So who is it for? The answer is fairly broad and I think we need to split the participants into 4 groups.

The first group I see are the people that want to shed a few kilos, or a lot, get a good base level of fitness and enjoy themselves along the way. This is where most participants start and to be honest, quite a number of them remain in this group. To me this is brilliant as this is what the CrossFit community is. A group of everyday people getting together and doing something they may never have imagined possible, forming great friendships and creating healthier versions of themselves along the way. They hit the WOD 3 to 5 times a week and really get involved with and engage in their community.

The second group use CrossFit as the cross training for their other chosen sport/s. They want to establish a level of fitness that is better than their opposition and so look for ways to increase their power, strength, stamina, speed, agility, cardio endurance, accuracy, flexibility, coordination and balance. They usually hit a workout about 3 times a week during their season. They train and play the other days and nights. By incorporating movements that are going to further develop their abilities on the sporting field they view CrossFit as an awesome training tool.

The next group is the ones that have chosen to take on CrossFit as their amateur sport. They have turned their fitness program into the sport. It would not be uncommon for them to do multiple workouts in a day, they are incredibly engaged in the community and seek out ways to improve in CrossFit from all sorts of sources, other boxes, magazines, websites, etc. They’re great fun to have around the box as they usually have a friendly competitive spirit and will lift up others when they are in need. They might attend throwdowns on the weekends and all in all just love the program.

The last group are the pros. They make up maybe 1% of the population, they are the ones we see on you tube, the CrossFit mainpage, in sportswear commercials and competing at the CrossFit Games. They are what we look up to, the pinnacle of our sport. Their training can be 3 and 4 hours a day and they make a living out of being a CrossFit athlete. I have met a couple of people from this group and I can tell you they are amazing, not for their abilities, but for their generosity. They have been more than prepared to help out and have a look at programming and even just to watch my technique or WOD and give out pointers on how to get better at CrossFit.

So with those groups I have actually covered everyone. Everybody could fall into one of those categories. But as I said above it isn’t for everyone. You see the biggest thing I see with all of them is their ability to push themselves beyond limits their minds had previously set for them.
We all have self-limiting beliefs but the thing I have seen with 99% of people that stick with CrossFit is that they are never willing to say they can’t do something and they are able to push themselves beyond where they truly thought they could go, time and time again. You see it falls down to mindset. Everyone that sticks with it does not say “the time isn’t right to start an exercise program”, “I need to get fit before I start”, “I am just sooooo busy, I need to do x, y or z before I could get in some exercise.”
The difference is that CrossFitters know it is about your performance in the gym. It is about what you can do and how much you can do. It is not about trying to make your body prettier. We focus on performance, not aesthetics and so you see when you realise that exercising is not about looking better it is about being healthier you find that all the excuses you used to have are gone.
CrossFit is about living longer and living better, not how big your biceps are or how good your after photos look.
This is why CrossFit is not for everyone. If you just want to look better and focus on that, then you won’t get better and will give up easily.
If you want to be better than yesterday, and understand that looking good is a byproduct ofgood health and performance, well CrossFit may just be for 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, 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.

 

Still going on that resolution??

21 January

About this time of the month the resolutions begin to become a bit weaker.new-years-resolutions-twentysomethings

You see, you started out the year with the best intentions, but, it was sooo long ago, and there was sooo much alcohol, and you just thought yes my resolution will be…..
Common resolutions are lose weight, give up smoking, give up alcohol, do a detox, go on a diet, renovate, take up a hobby, study again.

There is nothing wrong with the intent in any of these resolutions, you see they all have a great motivation for doing them, bettering yourself.
But the biggest problem with all of them is that most people don’t know where to start or how big the task actually is.

Believe it or not a year is a long time to sustain any sort of activity, now I know that you might say that the last year has gone by so quickly it couldn’t possibly be that difficult to maintain the pace for that long.

I am going to refer to fitness mainly in this as it is the resolution that I come in contact with the most. But what I am going to convey will relate to just about any resolution or task you set your mind to.

One of the most common ones I see is lose weight, but it seems that with it people tend to start to fall off the bandwagon anywhere from about the 3rd week in January to the 2nd week in February. As with any new activity the first few weeks are the hardest. Your routines have to change, you have to fit in a new activity into your existing lifestyle, or change that lifestyle altogether.

So losing weight is the resolution, but this is flawed. You see the focus is the outcome, not the activity or the process to losing weight. Now if you break that down and set a goal of 30 to 45 mins of physical activity 3 to 5 times a week for the first 6 weeks of the year you will have given yourself the best possible start to actually achieving that resolution of losing weight.

If you have come from a sedentary lifestyle any movement you begin to incorporate into your daily activity is going to result in a loss of kilos. SO that initial 6 week goal will help you to achieve that more long term one. The trick will be to set up a calendar and mark off each day when you achieve the 30 to 45 mins exercise, that way 3 to 5 days a week will become easier, you will have a sense of accomplishment and achievement  that you were actually able to complete that small task each day.
And at the end of 6 weeks you will have seen the first shift in the scales, the outcome of losing weight was accomplished by the tasks of getting something done each and every day. It really is that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. You see when you focus on the factors that make up what you are planning to do then you will get the outcomes you desire. You see if you workout and eat a certain way to look a certain way, then when you get there you will hit what your mind might see as an end point, and then it is very easy to fall back into old habits. If you workout and eat to improve your performance, then your outcome will be that you will not only perform better, but also look different.

Don’t strive for the look or the outcome, strive each day for what you can do now and over a course of time, with consistency the outcome of your resolution will be reached.

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.

Equipment for sale. You have to ask why?

14 January

Something I have noticed a little of lately, online and in newspaper classifieds are the adsrubbish machinefor certain pieces of fitness equipment. I am not referring to home gyms, weight sets or cardio equipment, but the gimmicky gadgets that promise 6 pack abs in 3 minutes or less a day.

These are the bread and butter of late night infomercials. They have these fantastic looking before and after photos and really good testimonials of the machine having gotten the person in the best shape of their life. But if you read the fine print it will usually say results not typical, calorie controlled diet followed with supplementary exercise program, or something along those lines.

There is point after point on the infomercial as to why you need this piece of equipment, why all of your fitness efforts to date have failed. Why you can’t do without this new miraculous piece of equipment that will do everything nothing else ever could.

Now I will ask you this question. If this item is for sale secondhand, with a line somewhere in the ad that says, like new or hardly been used, why do you think it will work for you?
 After all it is obvious that the last person had limited, if any success with it, why else would it be hardly used and they are selling it? If it was the miracle machine that it is supposed to be, wouldn’t the owner want to keep using it to get better and better?

Now I am sure some of these gadgets actually do something, but overall they are set up for failure. You see they are missing the key ingredient in any new exercise regime. Accountability.

You could have the absolute state of the art, most machines, barbells, weights, air-conditioning, nicest workout gear, etc, etc but you may still fail as you have no one to be accountable to.
If you are looking for the piece of equipment to get you in shape then you are definitely in the right mindset to get started, the problem is that the answer is not in that new bit of equipment, it is in getting yourself someone to be accountable to, that can help you progress and keep getting results. That can be anyone, you mum, dad, brother, sister, husband, wife, kids, the list goes on. But from my personal experience the best people to keep you accountable are coaches and good friends. Family can get a bit funny (I can’t train my wife, it just does not work), but a friend that shares your interest or a coach will help keep you on track as they have your best interests in mind, not their own or anyone else’s.

You see when you find a community of people to workout with, and a coach that cares for you as a person and your goals you will be well on your way to sticking with the program. No piece of midnight infomercial equipment could ever offer that.

You see if you become a member of a fitness community you aren’t just answerable to yourself but to your coaches and workout partners. If you share your goals with them they will always make sure that you are still on target to get them, you will find new friends and at the same time come to realize that fitness and health isn’t about a gadget and going it alone, but it is an experience best shared with the support and encouragement of others.

What is CrossFit??

31 January

It seems that everyone has their 2 bobs worth when it comes to a certain training style. So yes I amCF family going to give you my 2 bobs worth on MY favourite training style. Now just because it is my favourite, does not make it right, nor does it make it wrong. And to me it does not mean it is for everyone.

I have tried a few different training styles over the last 10 years and this is the one that I fell in love with. So what is it for me that I love?

Intensity, variation, general fitness, not focusing on aesthetics are all reasons that I love CrossFit. But above all for me is community. It is belonging to something that is bigger than just myself, just a training style, just another fitness kick. Together we share a common bond as CrossFitters. We work together to reach our own goals.

I have been to, I don’t know how many, fitness classes over the years. And yes there is a little socialising before and maybe after class, but overall it is go, get in a workout that you may or may not push yourself in and go home. I’ve done bodybuilding style workouts, but I am more of a team sports sort of person than an individual athlete and so got bored or lonely pretty quick. I have never seen anything quite like the camaraderie of a CrossFit class anywhere else in the fitness world that I have been exposed to.

Never have I seen such enthusiasm for trying to help someone finish a workout than in a CrossFit WOD. Once someone is recovered it is not uncommon for them to go back and help their fellow athletes out by encouraging them to the end. And trust me, sometimes you need it.

Just about everyone that I have met that does CrossFit does it to get fitter and to try and be the best they can be physically. But there are people with weight loss goals, strength gain goals, skill acquisition goals, and everything in between. But when they work out, they work out as a team. They pick their team mates up off the floor when they need it and they help to get them home.

Now I know plenty of people around the world do CrossFit style workouts in globo gyms, their garage, back yard or park on their own. But that to me is all they are doing, working out in a particular style. They are not living the CrossFit lifestyle, they aren’t getting the most out of their workouts, they aren’t sharing in this amazing community that has developed through CrossFit affiliates around the world. My fellow CrossFitters here at CFA are my family, they are the number one reason I keep doing it and will continue to improve it everyday so that they may get the best out of themselves.

I Have To Get Fit First????

20 September

I have now heard this opening line so many times, but I am wondering what it really means.

After all do you change the oil in your car before you get it serviced? Do you clean your house before a house cleaner comes? Ever mowed the lawn before the lawn mower comes around? Not really thought to weed the garden before the gardener comes?

So why is it that when it comes to getting fit we hear time and again, “I have to get fit before I do your class/PT session/bootcamp/CrossFit class/go to the gym!”?

I always thought that going any program that is about physical fitness is about getting yourself fitter. Most people that go to a gym or exercise class are average people, not elite athletes; they just want to be fit and healthy.

Now you might undertake a class or a session and feel the next day like you have been run over by a truck. Believe it or not this is not really a bad thing. This is your body responding to a different stimulus. You have made it do something it has never done before and so it’s response is to adapt to that new stimulus. The soreness that comes about is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. When you workout you do microscopic damage to your muscles, you then need to repair that damage, and that is where the soreness comes from. It is just a simple case of your body repairing itself.

You might think that you then have to go back to doing what you were before, as that was not hurting, but if that was lying on the lounge then of course it did not hurt. Now if that was another exercise program that was no longer causing a little discomfort the next day then what has happened is that your body has adapted to what you are doing to it and it no longer has a need to change. Hence where you are is where you will stay. You will not get fitter, you will not lose more weight, you will look the same and you will feel the same. If nothing changes, well, nothing changes.

The biggest part of this is that you have changed exercise programs and that the stimulus is completely different to anything you have ever done before, hence the really intense pain the next day, or 2 days later. It is the same reason that when people finally start digging their vegie garden again in spring they end up hardly able to move for the next 2 or 3 days, they just aren’t used to it. That is why people that dig fence lines for a living are not in constant pain, they are used to what they are exposing their body to. Working out is no different to this.

I have spoken to a lot of people after CrossFit WOD and even seasoned veterans get sore, it is all part of the adaptation to your new body. As I type this my abs are so sore, and the thing is I have not targeted them this week, it is just all the work they have been doing.

So please, when you wake up sore and think “What on earth have they done to me?” don’t think you will go back and do something gentler and that will get you ready for harder work. Just keep going with the hard stuff. It is where the results are and where the most satisfaction comes from.

Who Are You Working Out For?

19 September

I am asking you this because there may be a time when it is a spouse or family member that you think you are working out for. You know, you want to look your best for them, or you want to be around to enjoy your time with your kids. Well that will get you into the box and give you that extrinsic motivation you may need.

But once that clock starts and the lactic acid is building up and your lungs feel like they are about to burst you really have to be doing it for you. At that point you have to know that you are doing this so that you are getting better in yourself. The only person you ever have to beat in a workout is the person you were yesterday. We don’t pay too much heed to who comes first in the WOD, we are usually cheering on the person finishing last the loudest. If you completed more reps in Cindy than you did last time or shaved 15 seconds off Karen, than that is what we want to see here. And that keeps the focus on you.

You really have to find your intrinsic motivation to stick with what you are doing. For me CrossFit is the way I love to work out. It challenges me in ways I have never been before but most of all it lets me know who I am at any given point in a workout. When I find that weak point I go ahead and I work it until it is no longer a weak point. Most of our CrossFitters would know that I could not jump rope at all well 6 weeks ago, I am now in the process of linking double unders together, I’m at 3 now!, and that is a start. But a week ago I could not really do one. That is a 200% increase in a week!

Now my challenge to you is to apply this to yourself. At your next WOD forget everything else except YOU. Go after that time, the reps or the weight that will make you even just the tiniest bit better than yesterday, while it might only be a 1kg increase on a snatch, it is an advancement and should be celebrated. YOU outdid YOU.

And when it all comes down to that last rep or second, that is all that really matters.