How long have you been “writing an ebook” for…?

December 1, 2014

Is there a document on your desktop labelled “ebook draft.doc”? How many words have typed so far?

Apparently everyone has a book in them (sounds painful). I don’t actually agree with this, but even if it were true, it counts for nothing.

How many of those people have actually started – and finished – writing their book?

Ebooks are big business, and a great idea for fitness professionals like Personal Trainers, gym owners, coaches and online trainers. They’re a brilliant way of reinforcing your brand, dominating your niche and establishing yourself as a credible, visible expert.

They’re also one way of creating passive income in an industry infamous for exhausting its people into early burn-out.

As a freelance copywriter in this industry, I help clients with their books and ebooks, either by editing finished (or near-finished) versions, or by consulting on and ghostwriting the content.

freelance ebook editor fitness industry recommendation
I’ve just finished working on a second ebook project with Mike Samuels of Healthy Living Heavy Lifting, and I’d like to share his recent blog post about passive income for person trainers.

^^Have a read^^

“But… Mike’s a really good writer! Why does he need you to edit his books?”

Fair point! Mike is an exceptional writer, in terms of ideas, output and engaging quality content. But he sees the value of a professional “second pair of eyes”. In fact, he has this to say about me (in the blog post I linked to above):

For an EXCEPTIONAL editor with copious amounts of fitness industry experience (she’s actually a champion bodybuilder too – how cool is that!?) I highly recommend Nicola Joyce of thefitwriter and thefitwriter on Facebook – she’s my “go-to” for editing, and offers a fantastic service. Tell her I sent you, and she might give me some Pop Tarts.

Have a read of Mike’s blog post to discover:

– why writing an ebook can be your best source of passive income
– how to use your ebook marketing to build your list
– when to release ebooks for free, and when to charge for them
– using Amazon and Kindle for ebook sales
– how to market your ebook (social media, daily email, newsletters) and track responses
– strategies for getting the thing written
– why you must keep up your blogging, Facebook and other content commitments whilst you finish your ebook
– what type of content works best to build a relationship with your list
– how to make your ebook work with other forms of passive income so you can go on holiday (say, to Brussels, to – oh I dunno – eat waffles…) and not worry about cashflow

Thanks for the recommendation, Mike!

If you’ve been “writing a book” for a while, drop me a line. Let’s get this thing done, out there, and earning money for you.

How long have you been “writing an ebook” for…? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Busy weekend (part 1: IFBB Grand Prix)

March 22, 2011

Last weekend was a busy one! I’m going to split this blog post into two, actually. Part one covers my Saturday: I headed into London to the Excel Centre (driving from Berkshire to the Excel Centre….both the DLR and Jubilee lines were down!) where the IFBB Grand Prix was being held for the first time.

I was there primarily to meet an Editor (hi John!) but thought it would be a great opportunity to nosy round the expo, grab some free samples 😉 and immerse myself in the world of bodybuilding. I’m still so new to it, everything’s an eye-opener.

It was a fun day! Here are some photos which I thought might amuse, entertain and inform.

I met Jamie Eason, US fitness model and competitor who was on the bodybuilding.com stand. She was absolutely lovely, so sweet and seemed genuinely happy to talk to everyone who wanted a photo with her (and there were hundreds!) She asked me about my comp and gave me some sweet advice. Nice lady!

Here are a few huge chaps

This is Robby Anchant, top UK amateur bodybuilding competitor and all round nice guy. I asked him for a photo just cos he was a huge guy who happened to be walking past and I thought it would be funny for the blog. We ended up having a right giggle. I suggested we “get our guns out” and he told me he’d rather we didn’t as he was afraid I’d show him up. “My arms aren’t really my strong point,” he said. LOL! Here’s the photo we ended up with:

But I quite like this one too because of my face?!

The IFBB Grand Prix didn’t just concern bodybuilding: there was also strongman (which has always fascinated me!), MMA (no photos, but I saw Dane Bowers next to the cage – I assume he was commentating rather than fighting?!) and BMX/stunt riding.

I didn’t stay around for the actual show, which is a shame as I would have loved to watch. I must see a show before my own show dates roll around – I know I’d learn so much from watching pros and seasoned amateurs up on stage.

Oh, and here’s my stash of freebies – minus the four of five sachets and packets of stuff I’ve already consumed. Yum! Tee hee!

Stay tuned for part 2 – on the way home from the Excel, I picked up my friend and coach Kat Millar who came to stay for..er…just under 24 hours (we’re busy ladies!) and we packed two training sessions in during that time. Photos and training updates to come! 😀

Were you at the IFBB Grand Prix? Did I say hello to you?


Setting specific strength goals for the next four weeks

March 9, 2011

My coach is great at sending motivating emails. Without fail, she seems to always hit exactly the right note, the perfect balance between excited enthusiasm and the push I need.

This week, she said this (amongst a lot of other things!):

“Sooooo, about 112 days to go!

That’s roughly 8-10 sessions of each muscle group left in your ‘building’ phase. Every workout counts!

Really go after those painful reps, the last few that are almost tear-jerking. Think of the (other competitors) that want to kick your ass – especially when you’re doing things like heavy deep squats and just want to stop (or cry). Knowing you didn’t hold back and leave any reps undone can be the difference between 1st place, or not placing – literally!”

See what’s she’s done there? Numbers, specifics, dates…it’s all there now in black and white. 112 days. 8-10 heavy sessions per body part.

So, with that in mind, I’ve set myself some short term goals. I’ll soon start cutting my calories in order to get rid of bodyfat, so it’s not realistic to set big strength goals for further down the line. Therefore I’m setting them for the next four weeks, whilst I’m eating loads and bursting with energy!

Here they are:

I’ll revisit this list over the next month and let you know how I’m getting on.

Deadlift – 80kg for 8 reps
Squats – 85kgs for 10 reps
Pull-ups – 10 wide grip from dead hang (not sure I’ll get this one but will try!)
One-arm row – 25kg dumbbell for 8 reps
Dumbbell chest press – 25kg dumbbells (if someone can help me get them in the air!) for 8 reps
Single leg press – 115kgs for 12 reps both sides
Clean and press – 35kg for 8 reps

I’ll use this coming week’s sessions to test where I’m at and then I’ll take it from there. Most of these goals represent around a 10% increase.

Setting specific strength goals for the next four weeks is a post from The Fit Writer blog.


Group PT and posing practise

March 6, 2011


Phew, yesterday was full on! My head is spinning, full of fantastic information after meeting up with my coach Kat Millar and a female bodybuilding competitor she knows. Annie Uelese was kind enough to invite me to her house, take a look at my physique, help me with posing and finally give me her thoughts on which show/s I have the potential to do best in. So I now have some dates in the diary! Countdown to showtime is officially on!

Let’s back up a bit.

I started my day (after a tortuous time on the tube network) at Kat’s personal training studio in Farringdon, where I gatecrashed one of her Saturday morning group personal training sessions. Anna, Angela and Jess, thank you so much for letting me join your group and train with you! I had great fun and worked really hard. I love the singleminded solitude of training by myself but from time to time it’s great to train with others, and yesterday was one of those days.

After warming up with medicine balls and kettlebells, we did a lot of partner work with medicine balls, some agility work as a group and even some fun “games” with press ups etc as forfeits, none of which would have worked by myself. I’ve been focusing on slower lifting work in the gym recently, so the series of bunny hops, fast step ups, jumps and running was a (good) shock to my system.

We finished off our hour’s sweatfest with partner-assisted stretching which was a real treat. Thank you, Angela, for the help with stretching (all 55kgs of you!) and for the mini back massage which you threw in for free!

Jess, Anna and Angela are all obviously working very hard with Kat and I wish them all the best with their individual strength, nutrition and fitness goals. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon, ladies! Train hard! XX

From there, Kat and I made our way to NW London to meet Annie Uelese, Kiwi figure competitor. You know how you always meet someone in every sport who is willing to give up their time, knowledge and experience to help out a stranger? Annie is one of those people. She filled my head with helpful information, suggestions and practical ideas and let me hang out at her house for hours asking her questions about bodybuilding and figure.

She took at a look at me and told me which class of bodybuilding/which federation she thought I was best suited to, explaining the subtle differences. She then took me through all the poses I’d need to do, tweaking my technique and manipulating me into the right position. Posing is really hard work and very precise, and Annie’s help was incredibly useful (even if I am aching today – yes, from posing!)

So, I now have a couple of shows earmarked, dates in the diary and – of course – a countdown! That’s what I’ve been missing and needing, and I know the weekly countdown is going to give my training and nutrition an even sharper focus.

Here they are:
– 3 July
BNBF show (figure class)
17 July NPA show (figure, possibly physique class)

and, as plan Bs (just in case):
– 7 August BNBF show
– 15 August NPA show
– 12 Sept NPA show (I may do this one anyway, as it’s in Kent – my homeland!)

So, that gives me 16 weeks to keep on building size and symmetry before cutting down to reveal all my hard work! Oh, and to practise posing, develop some stage presence, and…and…and…

Thank you so much to Annie for your generosity, time and insights. And thank you as ever to Kat – great to train with you and the ladies at your group PT session in London. May the groups go from strength to strength, it’s a brilliant way to train!

Do you have a mentor in your sport? Do you do group personal training?

Group PT and posing practise is a post from The Fit Writer blog.


My 2011 challenge

February 18, 2011

I figured it was time to tell you all what I’ve been training for these past few months (literally, not figuratively). I know a few of you have figured it out already.

It’s a break from the norm and I’m not sure what you will think (not that other people’s opinions have stopped me before ;)) So just stick with me past the next line and I’ll try to explain.

Bodybuilding. There, it’s out. Or, more specifically, figure – a class of bodybuilding.

No, not like Arnie, and no, I won’t be taking steroids. I have no intention of looking like a man (it would be a good trick if I could manage it) and I won’t end up all huge, I promise. Although, yes Mum I will have to “go that funny colour”, although it’s only fake tan and most of it’s wash-off. 😉

Long time readers of the blog will recall the 8-week body recomposition challenge I did with personal trainer Kat Millar. I decided to do that because I was looking for a new focus, something to challenge my mind as well as my body after years of endurance sport. I was also still carrying a little “Channel chub” (the affectionate term Channel swimmers give to the bodyfat we find it necessary to gain and maintain). I’d always loved weight training and decided I wanted to make it my focus, to see what it could do for me.

What did it do for me? Quite a lot, actually. And when I sent Kat my “after” pictures, she told me I had the kind of build, symmetry and genetics judges look for in “figure” competitions. Figure is a category of female bodybuilding – sitting somewhere between the softer look of “bikini” and the harder, larger look of female bodybuilding. Kat’s a successful figure competitor so I took her word for it. And once the idea was in my head I found it hard to shake off.

The idea of competing in figure terrifies and excites me. It’s challenging on every level – psychologically as well as physically. But that’s exactly what I was looking for. This is so far outside my comfort zone that it’s a tiny dot on the horizon. Honestly, I feel more comfortable with the idea of getting in the Channel and trying to swim to the other side than I do with the idea of stepping on stage as a figure competitor. But that’s the whole point. It’s completely new to me on every level, and I love that.

I have no idea how I’ll do. It’s such a subjective sport. I don’t know if I’ll do just one competition, or if this is something I might come back to again. One thing I want to assure you is that I am absolutely not leaving swimming, triathlon, running and cycling behind. I’m just trying something else for a season, just to see how far I can take it.

Oh, and I’ll most definitely be doing the XT Memorial Mile, even if my quads are so sore I have to walk it. I suggest you join me 😉

I know the idea of competitive bodybuilding isn’t for everyone, and I know there will be people out there having a giggle, or shaking their heads in disapproval, or saying “why would you want to do that to yourself?” That’s OK. 🙂 I welcome comments, questions and candid thoughts – do leave me a comment and I’ll answer.

And I hope you’ll stay with me as I go through my contest prep and get ready to step on stage….eeek!

My 2011 challenge is a post from The Fit Writer blog.


How to get the most from remote personal training

January 15, 2011

Have you ever considered working with a Personal Trainer or sport-specific coach in an online or email capacity? Perhaps with the New Year upon us, and the start of the race season a few months away, you’re looking for some accountability, structure and expert guidance. A professional trainer or coach is a fantastic investment, but sometimes there’s no-one local who quite does it for you.

That’s where a “remote” coach or PT comes in. By that I mean someone who offers coaching, training plans, perhaps nutrition guidance and emotional support, but by email (and usually telephone and Skype, too).

I worked with a remote PT at the end of last year during my 8-week gym challenge. Kat offers regular one-on-one PT and small group PT. I knew of her from reading her blog, and had a hunch that she’d be the perfect PT for me, but I don’t live in London, so I had to work with her over email.

I found the process to be very helpful. So helpful, in fact, that Kat and I are now firm friends as well as PT/client. Here’s a pic of us having, like, the most fun eva,….cooking veg last weekend on Saturday night. It’s a good illustration of how important it is to find a PT who has the same sense of humour and outlook as you!

When we weren’t cooking, talking or training, I interviewed her about remote/email PT and how she feels a client can get the most out of this kind of training.

Whether you’ve just signed up to work with an online coach or are considering it for the future, I hope you’ll find this Q&A helpful.

The Fit Writer: In what circumstances might a client find remote personal training useful?
Kat Millar: If someone can’t find the type of coach or PT they need in their local area, or at their regular gym, they can work with anyone they want. They don’t even need to be in the same country. Remote PT offers great value for money, too. The instantaneous support is really helpful: a client can be sitting at work, feeling tempted by the biscuit barrel, and quickly fire off an email or a text to me and I’ll reply with a few motivating words. Just having that accountability helps. Clients know they have someone’s eyes on what they’re doing. Most people have to be in some system of accountability to have success with fitness or fat loss goals, and a remote PT offers just that.

TFW: Are some clients better suited to remote coaching than others?
KM: Well, it helps to have the ability and willingness to be completely honest with their PT. It has to be real; there’s no point just telling me the good bits or the things they think I want to hear. Clients shouldn’t feel bad about reporting less-than-perfect meals or training sessions. If they tell me everything – good and bad – we can see why they’re getting the results (or not) and take it from there. Honesty is key.

TFW: How can clients help the remote PT process work for them?
KM: It helps if they come to me with a really specific goal. And then, even though they’ve asked me to help, they have to take a lot of responsibility for the process. They need to be honest with me and with themselves and stay “on it” between our calls and emails. I like clients to ask me really direct, specific questions and encourage them to do so. Tell me clearly what they’ve done or not done, give me feedback on the training and nutrition plans I put together for them, and use me for the resource I am! No client should battle on in silence if something about the process isn’t working. Tell me and I can fix it. All personal trainers want to give their clients what they need to succeed. Oh, and progress photos are great!

TFW: What’s good about working this way?
KM: I like the fact that working on email with someone enables me to react to things as they come up. I can offer support, answer questions and give motivation whenever it’s needed, rather than waiting for an alloted hour every week. Very often, email clients end up telling me a lot about their lives and personal challenges, so the relationship becomes very special and we have heart-to-heart chats. The bottom line is that, by working with an coach via email, clients don’t have to take some random training plan off the internet or out of a magazine. They’ll get a personalised plan. Working this way with someone often gets them to use a PT when otherwise they wouldn’t have considered it. And I think everyone should have access to professional support and guidance when it comes to their health and fitness.

Thanks Kat! 🙂

Email personal training definitely works for me. Do you have a “remote” coach, PT or mentor? Does the process work for you?

How to get the most from your remote personal training is a post from The Fit Writer blog.


Away for New Year? Keep training!

December 30, 2010

Every year, we go away with a group of friends to a big old house somewhere for New Year week. In many ways, it’s a bigger deal than Christmas (there’s certainly more food and drink!) In the face of all the beer, wine, port (and cheese), nibbles and massive portions of dinner, you could be forgiven for thinking we might give up on exercise altogether for the week. Not us!

Amongst our party, we have two mountain bikers, one runner-turned-mountain biker and one Personal Trainer. Oh, and me. So I thought it might be useful to show you how we keep a balance (a kind of “detox/retox”, if you will) and keep training whilst we’re away from our respective gyms and out of our routine.

1: Bring bikes, running kit and other outdoorsy stuff

Even if all you want to do is go on long walks with the dogs, make the most of the fact that you’re somewhere different. We always end up somewhere pretty remote and very beautiful, and running/cycling/walking is a pleasure. So it would be a shame to find yourself with no kit. Pack the running shoes!

2: Pack indoors exercise kit

I brought my kettlebells, Personal Trainer friend Jo brought her Z-Trainer (a suspension trainer – review to come soon) and more kettlebells, and Gliders. I put a few exercise DVDs in my bag I’d been asked to review. It’s all stuff we’d rarely use at home, but being away from the gym and running a totally different routine is the perfect time to experiment with other bits of kit. And, of course, having a Personal Trainer on hand is too good an opportunity to pass up!

3: Plan your exercise

I know, this sounds terribly dull. After all, we’re away for the week with friends and meant to be enjoying ourselves. But our group of friends do enjoy training, so it’s no hardship. We have all day to do whatever we want whilst we’re here, so 30 minutes here and there making up a new routine with kettlebells is all part of the fun. The rules are there are no rules, just the opportunity to train if you want. Two of our party don’t exercise and really aren’t interested. That’s OK, we still love them 😉 Every day, one or more of us will be heading out for a run or a bike ride, or heading to one of the larger rooms to do some indoor training. Anyone can join in, but no-one has to. It works for us! (And it makes that first beer of the evening taste all the better….)

My friend Jo (one of the group I’m away with for New Year) is a Personal Trainer. Here’s her advice on training whilst you’re away from home (she’s the PT):

“Keep it simple: you really don’t need a lot of time, space or kit to stick to an exercise routine whilst you’re away. Don’t forget that you carry the best bit of gym with you all the time – your body! Put together a routine of simple, compound bodyweight exercises (any kind of full or modified squats, lunges, press ups, planks, triceps dips, step ups) and work hard – job done!

“Write down what you want to do every day so you have a plan to stick to which can become part of your day. That way you’re less likely to find that the day has flown past without you getting your exercise session in.

“If you’re training for something, don’t panic that you might not be able to get your regular training session done. You won’t lose any fitness or strength in just one week. It’s far better to do something than nothing at all, however short and however different to your normal training it might be.”

I’ll do reviews of the various bits of kit and DVDs we do whilst we’re away this week.

Oh, and a note to all the burglars reading: yes, we’re away from home but neighbours are keeping an eye on the house and popping in from time to time! 😉

Away for New Year? Keep Training! is a post from The Fit Writer blog


Fitness trends for 2011

December 15, 2010

It’s a great time of year for setting goals and thinking about shaking up your fitness routine. I’ve got a big change and an exciting goal up my sleeve which a few of you already know about. The rest of you will know just as soon as I have a firm date to attach to the goal! 😀

What are your 2011 fitness and sport goals? Are you aiming for an event, wanting to try a new sport, or setting yourself more private and personal goals?

I blogged here about Leisure Industry Week earlier in the year, where I sat in on the FIA (Fitness Industry Association) keynote, which was packed with thought-provoking ideas and updates about the direction in which the industry is heading.

This month, I asked those in the know to tell me what they thought would be fresh and exciting in 2011. Here’s what they had to say:

Nigel Wallace, Director of Training at Lifetime, a national training provider in the fitness industry thinks: “Traditional gyms will evolve with a shift towards niche facilities that target specific demographic groups. The gym will be a hub of fitness and advice rather than a prescriptive home for ‘this is what you need to do…’

“The future of the fitness industry is behaviour change management. iPhone apps allow, and will further develop, exercise routines to extend beyond the typical hour-long face to face sessions. For example, when a client goes on holiday, their PT can contact them, motivate them and update their training programme via the apps.”

Ben Jones, Teaching and Curriculum Manager at Lifetime (and a nutrition specialist) adds: “There is going to be a trend towards genetically modified foods. We already have the technology to add artificial vitamins and minerals to food. Crops will be made with higher protein quantities/fewer calories, There will need for increased education around obesity – better regulation and signposting.”

Rob Beale, Group Health and Fitness Manager at David Lloyd Leisure says: “2011 is going be even better with new classes starting and more of a focus on children’s fitness, as we all work together to improve the health of the nation and get people active. Improving children’s fitness has never been more important with childhood obesity increasing at an alarming rate. Health and fitness operators will look to provide better facilities for children and look to educate them and their parents better.

Triathlon is Britain’s fastest growing sport and we predict an increase in triathlon based activities. Triathlon clubs will be run in all David Lloyd clubs.

Indoor group cycling will be transformed by the introduction of a new class – Adidas Zone Cycling, inspired by Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton. Exclusively at David Lloyd Leisure, this class will take you on a journey around The Velodrome and get your heart pumping.

“We also predict that more health clubs will affiliate themselves with injury specialists and sports medicine professionals to offer members an extra service and help members to make the most of their time at the gym.”

I’ve got my eye firmly on nutrition at the moment. Dr Nina Bailey, a nutrition scientist, thinks EPA will be big news. “An omega-3 fatty acid generally associated with fish oils, it’s emerging as a natural product that, when taken in high enough doses (1-2g/daily), can have a profound positive effect on mood. Being hailed as ‘mother nature’s antidepressant’, regular intake of ethyl-EPA supplements may be the answer, not only to keeping Winter blues at bay, but also providing clarity through its brain boosting powers, to help us focus on achieving our January goals.”

I think kettlebells will continue to be a strong trend for 2011 – and you know all about my love of the ‘bells!

You’ve already had my review of the Gravity Training System, and I do think that total body training will be popular in 2011. What’s not to love? It saves time, hits the entire body, provides cardio and strength. Gravity classes like the one I did use your own bodyweight and a variable incline to deliver muscular endurance, cardio endurance, strength, agility and flexibility. If you’ve got a Nuffield Health Club near you, lucky you – give a class a go (search gyms here).

There are also some great new fitness DVDs coming out which I’m going to be reviewing soon, so stay tuned for those (I’m taking a stack of them away with me to wintry Wales for New Year).

Music and its effect on training and performance is an area I’m really interested in. Who doesn’t love a brand-new playlist on the MP3? There’s a new CD aimed at runners and gym-goers which I’d like to tell you about. I’m going to blog about it in more detail soon but, for now, I’ll just mention that The Workout Mix 2011 is a great package (ideal for a pressie actually) – not only do you get 3 CDs of (bang up-to-date, original artist!) music mixes but you also get free passes to Fitness First, access to the website with bonus features and training tips, and a bonus 30 minute training session led by Personal Trainer Matt Roberts. The CDs are cleverly done with each mix of music ramping up in BPM tempo over a 60-minute period to keep you motivated and pushing through your training session.

What do you think? Are there any bits of kit, new classes or forms of technology which you see shaping your workouts in 2011? Let me know; I’d love to hear about them.


Fitness journalist: unplugged (Gravity Training System review)

December 13, 2010

As a writer, I spend most of my time in my home office: head down, researching and writing, speaking only to the dog. Days out are exciting! A week ago, I was invited into London to try out a bit of fitness kit. Here’s how it went down.

I met up with Cheryl and Katherine, two sport and fitness PRs, for a trip to the lovely Nuffield Gym in the City. Our mission: to try out the Gravity Training System.

Now. Here’s the thing. As a freelance journo, I get asked to try out a lot of sport and fitness gadgets and gizmos. A lot of them promise the world and say they can do it all, and I normally reserve a healthy level of skepticism. So it was when I went along to try out the Gravity Training System. As I tend to write for and about multisport and competitive sport, I am always after things which challenge, condition and really cut the mustard. Gravity is a bit of equipment used in 60 minute and 30 minute classes in various Virgin Active, Nuffield Health and independent gyms. (For a list and more info, see here). But I was curious: would the GTS really be all that?

Gravity, please accept my humble apologies. After just a few minutes on the contraption, I was feeling the burn.

As you can see from the pics, the GTS uses…well, gravity (!) to create a challenging body weight workout which can be used for the entire body without having to faff with weights, clips or plates.

I asked the lovely trainer Michael Steel (awesome name for a fitness trainer, don’t you think?) for his explanation of our session. All I can remember is that it was a tough workout which both got the heart-rate up and most definitely challenged my full body. Here’s what Michael had to say:

“We started the workout in an upright supine position to work the legs with bilateral squats. We set the level on the Total Gym to 6 (of 8 levels) and this was perfect for the amount of bodyweight we wanted involved in the activity. This is a great way to get warmed up. To increase the intensity and challenge the core we progressed to unilateral (single leg) squats. This instantly increased the load and, by varying the pace we challenged the glutes, quads and hamstrings. Without stopping, we introduced sports specific plyometrics (jumping activities). This increased the O2 consumption and got the heart rate up but reduced the impact on the joints.

“After training the legs, we adjusted the level to 3 for all the upper body and core exercises that were to follow. In an upright prone position, we lay chest down on the glideboard and we used the cables to work the upper back, lats, triceps and trapezius. We moved from one exercise to another and completed 8-10 reps of each exercise. We completed 6 different exercises in this position and we did the set twice. This ensured that we achieved a level of overload and fatigue. By the way, how did you feel the next day…?

“From this position we simply turned sideways and trained the body in a lateral position. We did exercises in a high kneeling position, but you can also do these exercises seated or low kneeling. The high kneeling challenges stability and requires the body to work as an integrated unit rather than isolating one muscle group at a time. We started with torso rotation (woodchops) and by simply moving the handle from one to the other we worked our chest in a fly position. Then we did a compound bicep/shoulder press using the same side of the body, then swapped hands and did a high row followed by a reverse fly. Although each exercise was targeting the chest or shoulder or bicep, we also felt our back extensors and abs, adductors and glutes firing up to create the stability and support to provide the strength in both the concentric and eccentric phase of each movement. Very effective and very representative of every day movement patterns!

“We then faced the tower in a low kneeling position and started a series of exercises that utilised spinal flexion and extension with arm activities. We call this the ‘surfer’ series: narrow rows, shoulder extension, biceps curls, triceps, upper back and lats as well as shoulder flexion. Every one of these exercises also challenged our core.

“We did a quick change here and rolled down the glideboard onto our backs in an inverted supine position. Here we focused on the front of the arm (biceps) and the deltoid group by doing upright rows, long lever shoulder flexion and deltoid raises. In the same position we also disconnected the cables from the glideboard and used the footholder to do some hamstring work for the posterior muscles of the leg and some reverse crunches.

“To finish we raised the rails again and we did a big set of partial weight bearing pull-ups and chin-ups, varying the pace in both the concentric (shortening) and eccentric (lengthening) phase of the movement. The great thing about this exercise is that most people can not do a pull-up or chin-up. Here we can moderate the load and ensure great technique. To increase the intensity we add plyometric pull-ups which required a combination of speed, power and control….fun and challenging.

“This was just a fun, total body workout that was designed to give you a sense of what working out against your own bodyweight, on a moving glideboard (surface) and controlling your body in space feels like. Total Gym and Gravity really is designed to provide an option or everyone, any client and any trainer in a very efficient and effective way.”

Thank you Michael, it was a fun session, challenging and tough and yes I definitely felt it the next day! Whatever your sport or level of fitness, I urge you to give it this bit of a kit a go if your gym has a Gravity Training System class. If I had access to one, I would use it. Gravity and Michael are on Facebook.


Oh, and that wasn’t the end of my day out. Ha, no. I then went and met my PT Kat and we did an hour’s leg workout together. (We also discussed my next fitness challenge and put some firm plans in place – I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it! So exciting!)

As a fitness journalist, I like to “walk the walk”. Days like this make that a little bit of a challenge. For the next couple of days I could hardly walk at all!


10,000 kettlebell challenge: progress

December 6, 2010

Afternoon, kettlebellers! How’s your 10,000 KB swings challenge going?

A quick, image-free post from me just to keep up-to-date with the 10,000 kettlebell swings by Christmas challenge.

I’d already done 1,800 swings when I posted last. Since then, I’ve done:

Nov 30th: 50 swings at the gym as part of my warm-up, 600 swings at home in a separate session.
Dec 1st: 50 swings at the gym, 300 swings at home later.
Dec 2nd: 600 swings at home: I did this as 6×100 swings, and did stuff between each 100, namely some sort of jump, some sort of kick, some sort of lunge, some sort of squat, some sort of balance and then finally some core. (Apologies to PT Kat Millar for the “JKLST” type of workout on which this was based).
Dec 3rd: 100 swings as gym warmup. As an aside, I think I must be about the only person in the gym who uses the KBs. I was getting some funny looks (and I know my form’s good).
Dec 5th: 600 swings at home in a heart-pumping session which went a little something like this:
50 swings, then kicks
50 swings, then lunges
50 swings, then squats
50 swings, then balance
100 swings, then kicks
100 swings, then lunges
100 swings, then squats
100 swings, then balance
Phew! This all took me about 40 minutes, and was done at home with the heating on…so I could definitely tell I’d worked! 😉

Total to date: 4,100

How is your 10,000 swings challenge going? Think you’ll be done way before Christmas, or will you be doing one-handed swings whilst basting the turkey*?

*The Fit Writer can not condone and does not advise mixing exercise equipment with kitchen utensils, sharp knives or hot ovens.


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