Singapore Fitness

Not all personal trainers are the same: 5 reasons that makes the difference

Not all personal trainers are the same: 5 reasons that makes the difference

Here are the top reasons why training with the right personal trainer can give you results beyond your expectations.

Getting triathlon ready

Triathletes face the daunting challenge of training for three disciplines - swimming, cycling and running. To do well they need to master all three forms of exercise and use all major muscle groups effectively in a single race.  

And after all that swimming, cycling and running training, a fourth element, strength training places the triathlete at a huge advantage. It makes their entire movement system stronger to make them a better all-round athlete - faster for longer and more powerful - whilst reducing fatigue and injury as they race their way around the course. 

This worked well for Gavin Mortlock, who has done strength training for the past four years with UFIT Orchard Personal Trainer Nathan Williams  to prepare him for his busy triathlon schedule. Gavin has scored podium places at all his events this year and qualified for major international championships. We asked him to tell us more about his personal training and how he did it ...

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What led you to training at UFIT?

I asked an old football teammate (Darren Blakeley) for advice when I injured my back some 4 years ago. He recommended the UFIT physio Stephen Greenan, who in turn recommended I do Personal Training with Nathan post the initial treatment to focus strengthening for injury prevention.

How has Nathan helped you prepare for your training, races and recovery? 

Nathan and I discuss what races are coming up, what we need to focus on for injury prevention and how to augment the triathlon specific training I do (swim, run, bike). We build some periodisation into the training to match race schedules and mix up the exercises based on what training I am doing outside the gym.

I really appreciate the thought he puts into the personal training he has me do and working with him every week for 4 years means that he understands how I respond to sessions and therefore how to tailor the training.

GAVIN'S RACE RESULTS, BY CATEGORY

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How do you prepare physically for your races?

I leave the thinking around this to the professionals. I have a triathlon coach who is based in Australia. He sets me a program to follow that we discuss weekly. Each session is recorded and future session adjusted based on the data. I find being accountable to someone for completing the program they set, and being able to discuss training, nutrition and racing with a pro, really useful. He also adjusts my sessions based on travel commitments and helps set realistic goals and expectations.

 
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How have you balanced your strength training with Nath with ALL the running / cycling / swimming?

There are two main things we do:

  1. Nathan pointed out to me that triathlon training was all straight-line focussed – so in our personal training we do the opposite and focus on torsional strength and stability. Sounds counterintuitive but the logic is that being stronger through a range of motion means that I am able to hold a static cycling and running position far better
  2. Nathan has added in high intensity & weight/low volume exercises to help build strength without the fatigue associated with higher reps.  For example he has me on the aerodyne bike (chunder bike) or the sled at the end of each session. Nathan referred me to research that highly recommends adding high intensity/weight training into the program because muscle loss and reduced bone density rates increase with age. Both of these are best addressed through high intensity and weights rather than long, slow training.
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HOW HAS NATH PREPARED YOU MENTALLY FOR YOUR RACES?

Training is a physical challenge, racing is a mental challenge. 70.3 races last around 5 hours so you have plenty of time to find yourself in dark places, and time to come out of them too. The training I do with Nathan at UFIT is all about building confidence through preparation. Being fit, strong and injury free is the best way to establish the confidence to perform.
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Confidence is established by doing the personal training with Nathan, because knowing I have done the work provides the confidence that I will race well. If I am  anxious I will go back and review how much training I have done, even comparing it to previous races.

Goals is about setting realistic expectations based off the training. I keep this simple and limited to one or two things and my goals focus on the process not on the result. For example my running is weaker than my bike or swim so my goal for the run is to start with good form, build into the run managing my pace, then try and get “lost” in the zone – in other words don’t think, just relax.  I keep cycling through this mantra of Form/Pace/Zone throughout the run. This means I focus on the process, letting the result take care of itself.

Composure means not rushing and being able to adapt to changing circumstances – DON’T PANIC!  If I drop a water bottle, think my way through the impact and what I can do. This might mean backing off the pace to limit dehydration. Being composed to me is being calm. I use a simple (perhaps silly) trick if I feel this slipping away – I smile (a genuine smile, not a grimace, gritted teeth smile) then my head lifts, my shoulders relax and I actually think more clearly and I am more composed.

What do you enjoy most about your training with Nath?

Turning up at 6am every Wednesday ready to go for 4 years takes a huge commitment from both client and trainer – Nathan gets it, and is always well prepared. His commitment provides me the necessary incentive not be late, or miss a session, or just go through the motions once I am there. I would never be as efficient or effective training on my own, Nathan’s knowledge, expertise and commitment means the results I get from training are worth far more than the cost of a personal trainer.

What’s coming up next after such a huge racing year? How do you keep going between race break periods?

Break periods???  I’ve discovered through painful experience that I need to train consistently rather than take a break and start up again.  I may adjust intensity or frequency, but I need to maintain consistency across all disciplines even when not racing.  The reality is that training for triathlons if often far more enjoyable than racing them, racing hurts!  Not having a race coming up means I can train with a “just go out and have fun” approach rather than completing the session with a focus on the goal of the session.  That in itself is a break.

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How do you fit all this PERSONAL training and racing in with a busy life? 

I train mainly in the mornings on week days as I can control the time I start work much better than the time the work day ends. This takes some discipline to establish the routine, but once it is a routine it is easier to maintain.

I have a “low family commitment environment” each weekend as my wife, son, dog, etc live in Sydney. This has its pros and cons obviously, but allows me some quality training time on the weekends. My wife is an exercise physiologist and is incredibly supportive, although I do wonder if it is because she knows the more training I do the less chance there is that I am out on the lash.

Is there anything about Nathan that surprised you or you would like to share with us?

A lot that surprised me and nothing I can share.

And over to Gavin's trainer Nathan WILLIAMS:

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Training Gav for the past three to four years has been an awesome experience for me. It's great for me to work with such a fantastic masters athlete - and Gav doesn’t look a day over 54!

As he mentioned, 6am every Wednesday we have both turned up consistently to work towards small, steady goals. During this period, I've learned a lot about the art of Triathlon and tried to apply as much of my knowledge of relevant strength and mobility training into each training program.

Firstly, the injury prevention focus worked well and that allowed us to really move forward with increasing strength, particularly in the lower body and posterior chain. We have spent a lot of time on bodyweight mastery and I believe warming up every session with exercises like strict chin ups, L-sits, handstands, pistols squats and bridges have been paramount to building a solid base and are an important part of his training.

Gav has great knowledge of his body and how it responds to every training scenario and that has allowed us to continually improve without any clear side or backward steps. His results for 2017 were phenomenal (4 wins and 2 second places) and I must admit I’m quite proud each time I get a text from him after each race weekend because I know I’ve contributed a small piece to that result and I look forward to the successes in 2018.

Getting ripped in twelve months

We first met Christian Dally one year ago when he was over 98kg and about to start the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge. He won after losing 9% body fat, and a year later is totally ripped, super fit, his mind is sharper and he's never felt better in his life. We all think he's totally awesome.  

 Nov 2016 - before the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

Nov 2016 - before the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

 Dec 2016 - after the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

Dec 2016 - after the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

Since finishing Clean & Lean we see him nearly every day at UFIT doing Bootcamps at Sentosa and Metcon at Bukit Timah, Personal Training at Amoy and CrossFit Tanjong Pagar. He's found a family of fabulous fit friends across UFIT, is well-known to our coaches and is an active Spartan participant.

This is what Christian looks like ten months after the Clean & Lean Challenge.

 October 2017 - weighing 83kg (down from 98kg in Nov 2016)

October 2017 - weighing 83kg (down from 98kg in Nov 2016)

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 October 2017 - pulling 220kg 

October 2017 - pulling 220kg 

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HOW DID CHRISTIAN DO IT? 

We asked Will Foden, his personal trainer.

"He came to me as an empty shell after finishing Clean & Lean and my job was to help him build muscle. He had to go to the extreme to get back to normal, and has now progressed beyond, taking things to new levels. He went from eating no carbs for months and now he's training almost daily and is back on carbs as he needs to be, and losing weight and getting stronger.

He was anxious about reintroducing carbs back into his diet. But after some time figuring out what works for him he can now go out on a Saturday night and eat well and enjoy a drink or two".

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OVER TO CHRISTIAN - WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER Clean & Lean?

"Initially I thought completing Clean & Lean was the ‘goal’ but in fact it was just the jump-start I needed to launch me on this amazing journey.

By the end of the C&L month I’d made such progress, and was absolutely loving the way I was beginning to feel, so continuing with the same nutrition plan was a no-brainer! Removing carbs from my diet had such a fundamentally positive effect, on not only my body but also my mind, bringing a much more stable level of energy and focus that it had by then become a foundation that sticks with me today".

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How has your diet changed since you finished Clean & Lean?

"For the first 9 months or so I stayed pretty much entirely ‘clean & lean’ (bar the occasional cheat meal), eventually though in consultation with Will I did decide to put a little carb back into my diet peri-exercise to allow me to work out harder and build more muscle mass now that I very low in body fat.  

It wasn’t easy psychologically - carbs were the ‘enemy’ for so long that it took significant bravery to reintroduce them, but the trust I have in the knowledgable supportive and experienced UFIT team helped me to get over this unexpected hurdle! And it worked - within weeks I was beginning to look and feel strong & I actually lost more body fat after introducing carbs again".

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How do the UFIT Bootcamps fit in?

"I started UFIT Bootcamps at the same time as C&L and a year later whilst I also do several PT sessions per week, they are still my ‘go-to’, they are available, challenging and fun.  

When I say ‘challenging’ - it doesn’t matter whether you’re fat and slow like I was at the beginning or one of the fittest people out there, everyone can challenge themself to the max, it's a supportive, non-judgmental environment where over the last year or so I’ve watched myself and others achieve levels of improvement we really didn’t expect.  

I love Bex’s FITMAX and HITFIT classes in Sentosa, and the community there is brilliant! Quite apart from giving the opportunity to workout with like-minded people, we’ve made some really great friends there. I've recently also been using Giles’ brilliant Metcon/ORT sessions on Sundays at Bukit Timah to prepare for my Spartan races.

It’s also great to have the option of a yoga session once in a while ... sunrise yoga at Sentosa Marina has to be the best way to start the day!

I attend 2-4 classes per week depending on how much PT/running I’m doing, which really depends on what event I’m training for next ..."

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Why did you start doing PT?

"Part of my prize for winning C&L was some PT sessions, I went in thinking I’d use them up and go back to my Bootcamps, yoga & running but wow the progress I made during those first few sessions was amazing. I use PT for mostly strength-based training and I love it.

Will is a fantastic trainer and coach, he has worked with me on both training and nutrition, building and flexing my programme in line with my progress and to help me set and achieve evolving goals. It’s always fresh, progressive and challenging".

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What are the major gains you have made with your pt?

"I wanted to get strong, but turning up for an hour pumping iron and going back to the office wouldn’t have done it for me.  Will worked hard with me to understand my goals, or rather to help form some goals.  By this point I had progressed so quickly with my fitness that I didn’t really know what my goals should be! I’m pretty sure he always had a longer term plan to make me strong and look strong but I didn’t know that I wanted that yet, my head was still stuck on being ‘fit’.

He built a really unthreatening progressive plan for me which he evolved/changed every 4 weeks or so - just as I am beginning to get comfortable - he switches it up!  It’s brilliant - always fresh, interesting and challenging - and I feel like I’d make progress in almost every session.

As time went by, he flexed my program to prepare me for upcoming events - spartan, half marathon, this photo shoot etc ..."

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"Right now we are working towards the Spartan Beast, 40 obstacles over 21km which requires both conditioning and upper body strength. I didn’t have to ask for it ... we know each other well enough that he knew what was next after the half marathon and magically my program changed to match.

Will also very gently helped me to amend my nutrition, encouraging me to try the reintroduction of some carbs to help with muscle building. He could see I was scared to do so (I didn’t want to put on weight/fat) he coached me through it, and it worked!  He knew I needed strict guidelines and support to be confident in eating more carbs & calories in general, so he set specific macro nutrition & calorie goals to match my training and help me to monitor and evaluate progress".

How have you found mixing both BootCamps and PT?

"Great - I really enjoy the Bootcamps, they fulfill my cardio and conditioning needs as well as being great fun. PT is more specific and the 1 to 1 coaching has allowed me to progress to a different level".

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What have your friends said about your physical changes? 

"When I see people I’ve not seen in the last 12 months or so, the reaction is hilarious ... people can't quite believe the transformation. To be honest, neither can I!

More importantly though, I’m more than likely going to live a little longer and in the meanwhile, I can be a much more better dad and husband with this new found energy and motivation! I also feel ‘sharper’ mentally - I’m sure this has helped me to progress my career over the last year more quickly than I may otherwise have".

How DO YOU FIT fitness and HEALTHY eatiNG into a busy life? 

"I’ve not really thought of it as integrating this into my life - it’s become a way of life. I just make better choices now, my second pair of shoes for work trips is a pair of trainers and I carry a bag of protein powder in my suitcase! I only made the mistake of repackaging it in little ziplock bags once after getting a few funny looks for airport security ...

Seriously though people around you get used to the small changes, more of our friends now are of the more active variety and some who used to be less so have been inspired to join the journey!"

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What’s next?

"Better, faster stronger! I’ve absolutely loved the Spartan races that I’ve competed in, I’ll have completed all three distances by the end of the year (with luck) and now I’d like to focus on being competitive in my age group. I’ll carry on with the UFIT Bootcamps and PT sessions and am adding some CrossFit - there’s a competitive edge to it and it’ll be great training for the adventure races. I can't quite believe I’m even thinking it (having never really run more than 5 or 10km a year ago) but maybe a marathon...not sure yet.

I’d like to find a way to give a little back to the UFIT community ... it’s given me so very much".

What's Will like as a coach? Any inside stories?

Yes, don’t tell anyone, but he really cares.  Broken nose, cauliflower ears and all, he’s an extremely knowledgeable, caring and committed coach, he really held my hand through the second part of this 12 month journey ... there were times when I wondered how he put up with all my stupid questions over WhatsApp at all hours of the day and night! He invests way beyond the 1, 2 or 3 hours a week we spend together, technically he’s great and he’s a good motivator but moreover he’s always well prepared and thoughtful, you don’t always get that.

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How ABOUT FROM WILL's PERSPECTIVE?

"We focussed on the basics. Then brought some intensity to it. I taught Christian to understand what food is, and what to eat post-workout, to be realistic it will take a year.

I understand Christian personally and know what drives him. We both believe that life's a challenge, and you have to work hard for what you want, and I didn't try to wrap him up. He comes to every session for a purpose - life is too short and you need to make it work.

What pushes Christian is him, rather than me. He told me "I need to do this" rather than "I want to". 

AND THE FINAL WORD - OVER TO BEX HIS BOOTCAMPS COACH

Rebecca Dickson his Sentosa Bootcamps Coach tells us: "I’m blown away by the transformation Christian has achieved over the last year. He’s got such remarkable drive, determination and commitment to want to achieve his health and fitness goals. He’s an integral part of the Sentosa bootcamp community with an infectious spirit, always encouraging other bootcamp members to train harder, but also have fun along the way.

He’s a true inspiration and just goes to show what can be achieved when you put your mind and heart to it, he just needs to work on his skipping :-) Looking forward to smashing some new goals with him over the next year ... next stop Spartan Beast Elite in December. Aroo!"

Photo credits: Melanie Lim, David Belmonte, Rebecca Dickson, Jacqui Browne 

Introducing the new UFIT Tanjong Pagar PT studio

Our brand new Personal Training studio on the mezzanine level of our CrossFit Tanjong Pagar gym is open for business! This private oasis in the middle of the CBD allows clients to feel part of the welcoming, vibrant CrossFit community downstairs, yet provides a quieter, dedicated area to focus in and smash their goals with their Personal Trainer.

Our coaches are highly respected trainers and athletes, with enormous passion and experience in personal training, weightlifting and CrossFit. They also have many hidden talents and secrets up their sleeve. Find out more about them right here ...

Dylan Goddard

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"I’ve always been highly competitive at every sport I've been involved in. From the age of 10, I represented my province in South Africa in squash, athletics and rugby. I turned to competitive bodybuilding when I left school, competing at a provincial level for four years, and also got involved in Mixed Martial Arts.

Soon after I discovered mountain biking and rode and raced for two solid years. It’s a tough sport that really challenges the mind, body and soul. I ended up racing bikes when I moved to Singapore six years ago and then took up the discipline of CrossFit. 

I’ve competed in CrossFit for three to four years, achieving some significant milestones including perfect scores at the Sin City Invitationals 2016, winning 2015’s “Fittest Male in Singapore” (by CrossFit HQ, USA), third place in the 2016 "Fittest in Singapore" and have been a Reebok ambassador since 2014. I now carry a Crossfit Weightlifting Certification and a CrossFit Level 2 certification.".  Read more about Dyl here.

Nazharia Schifra Lomboan (Naz)

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Naz hails from Jakarta and later went to school in Singapore. "I was athletic and competitive ever since I was little. I grew up with an older brother so liked what he liked, and my dad was super competitive which rubbed off on me. PE was my favourite class at school, and I did track, swimming, footy, basketball and martial arts. 

At the same time I did musical theatre in Singapore and Jakarta, performing every year since I was 12, including as lead female in Footloose and in Grease as Rizzo. I also performed at The Esplanade with my band as a guitarist and back-up singer. I wanted to study performing arts but my dad sent me to business school in the UK - but then I decided to pursue my real passion which was fitness and weightlifting which led me into CrossFit".

Naz went on to become a regular CrossFit competitor and won 2017 "Fittest Female in Singapore" at the CrossFit Opens. She remains an active CrossFitter and is also now pursuing her love of weightlifting. Read more about Naz here.

John Cheah

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"I started doing theatre for my A Levels in Singapore and taught myself to play guitar, drums, bass and percussion. My thesis was on percussion in Native American Theatre and after graduating, I got a role in a theatre company for a work doing contemporary dance. I started more dancing, and combined playing music in bands, physical theatre and dance.

In 2013 I performed at the Prague Dance Festival in the Czech Republic. I had a lead role and won the Dance Theatre, Folk Dance and Participant's Choice categories. We came back in 2014 and I won first place in Dance Theatre and Participant's Choice.

Around then I was exploring CrossFit and weightlifting. I was the head coach of another box in Singapore and competing quite around SE Asia. Dylan, Daryl and I were friends and rivals, often on the podium together, and when Dyl opened CFTP, it made sense for to come over.

I was accepting less theatre and dance work in 2016, and whilst doing my last dance gig I met Adelene Stanley, my dance partner, and we started going out soon after the concert ended. We're getting married in December this year :) I've stopped CrossFit now and am pursing goals weightlifting. Along this journey, I hold all the weightlifting national records in the under-85kg and under-94kg categories. Read more about John here

Melanie Lim

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Melanie moved to Singapore from KL on an ASEAN scholarship when she was 14 years old. She went on an exchange program in Oregon when she was 21 to do sports marketing and digital arts.

She was training actively on the side and injured her lower back L4/L5, and met a physiotherapist who was a CrossFit trainer and began rehabbing using CrossFit methodology.

She moved back to Singapore at the age of 22, and interned at CrossFit Fire City for 8 months and now carries a CrossFit Weightlifting Certification and CrossFit Level 2 certification, accumulating over 200 hours of coaching in various landscapes in Asia.

When she's not training clients, herself or doing competitions Mel is an extremely talented photographer and many clients will have seen her behind the lens shooting fabulous photos of all the action for UFIT and CrossFit Tanjong Pagar.  Read more about Mel here.

Adam Ransley (BLUEY)

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Bluey has had a lifelong passion for sport, having played and coached competitive Rugby League in Sydney from a young age. He has always participated in many team sports and active events as possible - from Australian Surf Life Saving to Adventure Racing, Downhill Mountain bike riding and most recently CrossFit.

Taking his love for sport to forging a new career in the fitness industry was a natural progression for Adam. He completed his Australian Certificate III in Personal Training, and CrossFit Level 1 course to enable him to develop the same passion for fitness and training in others.

Adam believes in a balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle, which includes functional training and smart nutrition to achieve goals. He prides himself on being committed to helping others in their fitness journey as he continues to grow his. Read more about Bluey here.

FARREEZ ROSNAN

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Farreez started his career as a Personal Trainer in 2011. His passion previously as a sportsperson was as a rugby player since the age of 11 and till now, has always loved the sport. He was fortunate enough to represent Singapore in rugby at the ages of 12, 15 and 16.

His specialities with clients would be able to make them feel comfortable when they are training, improve technique and understanding of their training so they know how to use the equipment properly. Read more about Farreez here.

 
 

Come and train at our new studio at Tanjong Pagar and enjoy our special offer of 5 personal training sessions for $399, whether you are new to working out, have specific areas of the body you want to focus on, have personal goals or want to make a complete transformation.

Our coaches work with clients from all walks of life and of all fitness levels, and there is nothing that satisfies them more than helping people reach their goals.

How 100 days got Robbo over the edge

Andrew Robertson took on a 100 day weight-loss challenge on the advice of his UFIT Amoy St trainer Lawrence Cartwright. Over that time Robbo had to cut alcohol for 100 days, send Lawrence photos of every meal he ate, and make huge changes to his diet. Lawrence also suggested he go public on Facebook over those 100 days for extra motivation. 

The results? Robbo lost 15kg and 6% body fat. Even better, he changed his several-decade long drinking habit, found he could enjoy going to bars and restaurants drinking water and eating veggies, got his friends involved, and ended up supporting two great Aussie charities, Beyond Blue and Soldier On who support people with depression and anxiety. 

In Robbo's words: "With the giving up of the grog I went from replacing one excessive habit to working out six days a week and feeling so much better".

 
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What made you decide to take on a 100 day challenge?

I've been complaining for years that I needed to get off the grog, usually on a Monday morning!!  However it has been a constant refrain with my trainer Lawrence Cartwright with me stating I needed to give up and him saying well just do it.  

Long story short - one Tuesday morning session after a particularly long weekend I launched into my usual “I need to give the booze a rest for a while” when Lawrence just said look either do it or shut up complaining (or words to that effect). It was similar to being told off by my daughter and I’m pretty sure they had been scheming!!! Anyway something switched in my head and boldly I said right then I’m off the grog for 100 days. You could have heard a pin drop in the gym!!! Seriously did he say 100 days, no that cannot be right, Robbo a 100 days off the grog, well this will be interesting, buckle up sparky and hang on for the ride!!!

How did you find it?

The training has been far more intense, even though I'd always been fairly active (life’s motto 100mph or asleep) and trained hard (though Aaron and Lawrence suggest more like 60%). 

Interestingly it became the default activity for releasing stress and then it was a case of just pushing myself harder both at Amoy St and then at home when training. We switched to a more strength based program in the gym and then cardio was done at home, with Lawrence (amongst others) getting into my head about how far I could push this old body of mine.

The neighbours have stuck their head over the fence and asked if I’m OK as I grunt and groan. We have told them if I’m too quiet then please worry. 

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How did your life change?

My diet for the first two weeks of the 100 days was non-existent. I hoovered just about everything in the fridge as I seemed to crave chocolate (Tim Tams what Tim Tams!!!), bread etc. We figured that it was just the sugar cravings. 

After the first two weeks I got a little more serious and gave up processed bread, noodles and spuds (and my beloved chocolate). We figured it would be easier to gradually take things out. However in general up to the 50 day mark the diet was reasonable without going overboard. 

For the last 50 days we got really strict.  No bread, pasta, noodles, potato – it was meat, veggies, fruit (berries mainly) and salad. To be honest some days I ate like I was 21 again with heaps of bacon, eggs, avo and tomatoes after training, other days if I didn't feel like eating I didn't. The longest fast was 3 days. Lots of whey shakes. The only thing we disagreed on was dairy intake.  I maintained three serves of dairy every day, so either home made whey shakes or milk for breakfast or late dinner, and cheese. The deal was that if I started to plateau I would give up the dairy but I lost more in the second half of the challenge than I did on the first (and dare I say it Mum was right again, still she has been in the food industry for a while!!).

There were cheats obviously, some ice cream here and there, a piece of cheesecake, a small brownie, a Bundy Ginger Beer watching the footy. However as I had to take a photo of everything I ate and send to Lawrence that created the discipline and also made me aware of what was on my plate. The interesting thing was my body's reaction to the ‘sugar’ foods and let’s just say the body punished me way more than Lawrence ever could think of!!!

Since finishing the challenge I have tried to moderate my carb intake and to be fair it has been reasonably easy. Going out and asking for veggies instead of mash or chips is now second nature and I still haven’t had spuds. A meat pie down in Oz with my daughter was brilliant but I managed to stop at one, so maybe I am learning moderation. More importantly the same with the grog. I am learning that moderation is fine and can make the switch to my beloved Icelandic Sparkling water (my drink of choice for the challenge and now also for gin!!).

How did you feel over the 100 days?

The first three weeks were horrendous, not the training but the headaches.  I would Google giving up alcohol cold turkey and it would say DON’T. It wasn’t this bad giving up the smokes. However eventually they went away and whilst every now and then would come back by midway I was feeling pretty good physically. 

By the end I was feeling physically great, sore but certainly in far better shape than I had for a couple of decades. I won’t say the sleep was significantly better as I was still tired and mentally it was a constant challenge to continue the same social life but ensure that I kept off the booze. However overall I’m feeling really good about what I achieved, the support of mates and the impact it’s had so not a bad result all round. 

Have the results met your expectations?

I was gobsmacked at the end and I’m not usually short of a word!! 15 kgs dropped over the 100 days, about 5-6% body fat loss over the last 50 days, 3.5 inches gone around the waist (costing me a fortune in new clothes).

More so than my personal achievements has been the impact it's had on others. This was always meant to be a personal challenge to give up the grog and see if I could modify my drinking habits (don’t mind to have a few yards over a few beers, wines etc). I had two mates that joined me one for 100 days and one for 50. Both finished. I trained on the weekends with mates and their kids who swung round, the support by mates and family has been enormous and goes a long way to getting you through this. It meant that I could turn up to an event or a pub an no-one batted an eyelid that I was drinking water. It was really positive.

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I have also found that going to the pub and not drinking is not boring. I’m still loud, cranky, love a yarn, smash water down the same way I drank beer and generally hate it when my footy team loses. You don’t need to be a hermit if you doing this as life is too short. Just find your drink of choice and not soft drink!!!

How are you continuing with it - what’s next?

As my other motto is ‘never waste a good start’ I’m maintaining the fitness regime and being far more conscious as to what I eat and drink. I’m still conscious that I don’t slip back into bad habits with the booze and we have devised some “rules” around that. Roughly I have picked a weight and if I go over that then I’m off the booze and strict with the diet until well back under.  

Two months a year (first half and second half) I will go dry and cannot drink on days that I don’t exercise hard. As with most things I went into this without any plan and just winged it. This is as close as I get to having some structure to my life!!

Tell us some more about your trainer Lawrence and the Amoy St team

I have got to say that Lawrence went way over what is expected of a personal trainer. It’s bad enough he has had to put up with my grunting, groaning, smart comments and expletives as I yell at myself and him (along with all the other long suffering clients and trainers at Amoy Street) but for this challenge he got sent pictures of all my food, me post workout, videos of me providing constructive but direct feedback as to what he could do with a new exercise challenge he had set me and I had just completed. So to be really honest I would not have got through this without his guidance and support.  

As with all things at UFIT it's a strong team and the support and encouragement from all of the trainers at Amoy Street has just been overwhelming. From having to put up with me whilst Lawrence was away, asking how I was going, personal WhatsApps providing support around diet, training, suggestions around taking photos weekly to see the impact and generally just putting asmile on my dial with some crack, it has just been a cracker.

It would be unfair to single anyone out but Rachel and the team at Amoy St really provide for a great sanctuary from the daily grind.

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Anything more to add about Lawrence?

Oh where to start ... Lawrence thought it would be a good idea if went public with the challenge.  So I drafted a long piece on Facebook and decided that if I get through the 100 days I would donate $1K each to Beyond Blue and Soldier On. Both are charities that help people with depression and anxiety, this having personal resonance with me and my family. Well the Facebook thing kicked off and every day I would get up and post what day I had just finished. I thought people would get bored but the reactions were priceless as I introduced bingo calls, concerns about my welfare as the wallabies, waratahs and NSW Blues lost again and again.

I had to post my weight loss, which due to the state of my toes resulted in a nice pedi and coloured toes kick started my other half Cheryl (and more donations to the charities). My daughter laughed when she saw then as they were shellac and I still have the most colourful toes at Amoy Street (the look on Lizzie’s face was priceless!!)

Lack of alcohol had not helped my loudness, coordination or eyesight and dropping a weight on my toe at training with Lawrence.....well you could have heard a pin drop at 7ish one morning!

Lawrence told me that I should try to do a 5km row, 100 burpees and then run for 20 mins. When I finally informed him I could only do 50 but had done the rest it transpired he had it got the program wrong and it should be 2km row, 100 burpees and no run….. that stretched the friendship and started a debate amongst Frazer, Will and Lawrence as to what my next exercise challenge should be. 

Word of warning if anyone asks you to combine rowing with a heavy bag, politely decline.

What Lawrence has to say about Robbo

I’ve been training Robbo for 3.5 years and he’s come a massive way in his fitness and his strength has gone through the roof. We've been up and down with his weight but it's come down a lot since the start. It started at over 100kg and it flew right down. 

For a while we weren't getting anywhere with his weight and I said to him mate let’s get more serious and come up with a bit of a challenge. He was always a drinker so we came up with 100 days of no drink.

After 50 days to really make big changes I told him to send me a photo of every single meal he had, and I was like change this and change that, and I said right let’s go completely carb free. Over the last 50 days he went really strict and that's where you can see the massive change difference in his weight and body fat. His strength has stayed the same, and he's still strong, deadlifting two times his body weight for 5 reps of 160kg.

The main reason he stuck to this challenge was putting it on his Facebook - so he went there and said right I’m gonna do 100 days no piss. He got a massive following and his friends were like no way mate, wow that’s really good. People were motivating him from day 1, day 2, all the way up to 100 and people were really following him. 

I really enjoy training Robbo, he's a character in the gym and he knows everyone here. You'll hear him yelling from all over the gym. He's really uplifting and a natural motivator also for the other clients around him. We really love having him here and are all really proud of him.

 
 

How has he been sinced he finished the challenge?

He's dropped another 1.5kg since finishing because he's been training so hard. We've re-introduced carbs which he needs to fuel him though his training which he does sometimes twice a day.

Also his main focus has shifted - over the 100 days we wanted to drop weight and body fat, and we're now building on strength and muscle gains so have changed his diet and training somewhat. As well as training here at the gym three times a week he plays rugby with The Wanderers and he does a cardio ciruit at home to supplement his strength work here in the gym. 


The charities

Robbo supported the two Aussie charities Soldier On and Beyond Blue who support people with depression and anxiety, especially in men and young adults. 

He contributed $1.5k to each charity and a number of Robbo's friends matched that contribution. And there was the toenail money. Either way a great result and exposure for both of the charities and depression.