Monday, June 15, 2020

6 Reasons You Shouldn't Join a Gym After Circuit Breaker

The gym is actually a zoo

After three months or so of home workouts, I'm sure you're sick of burpees and I bet you can't wait to get back into the gym.  Before you rush back to the gym or sign up for a membership, check out some of my 'favourite' stories about working in a commercial gym...

#1  I want to suck your toes

I had a great relationship with the sales team in my first gym, we'd play pranks and have great banter. One day I walked out to my car and on the windscreen was a note that said "If you'd like a foot rub, call this number".  Ha ha very funny guys.  So I text the number replying "thanks but I don't think my girlfriend would appreciate that".   Thought nothing of it.

The next day, I was with my then girlfriend and my phone began to ring.  A guy on the other end of the phone said something along the lines of "Hi Phil, I left you a note yesterday.  Apologies, allow me to explain...". Okey dokey I thought, let's hear him out. "I'm practising to become a reflexologist and noticed you had some nice feet and wondered if you would be interested in having your feet rubbed?".  My immediate response was "how do you know I have nice feet?".  "I've seen them in the changing room."  I was like errrrm no thanks and hung up, WTF!

Almost a year later I received a call "Hi Phil, it's Jono.  I spoke to you a while back about practising reflexology.  I'm now qualified and wondered if you would like your feet massaged?".  I was actually surprised and thought 'oh', he must've been legit before and so gave him the benefit of the doubt.  "Sure no problem, where shall I come?".

'Happy days' I thought, free treatment and a I chance to build my network.  After toing and froing via text, about what days and times would suit (and even having to do it at his 'friends' house), it started taking too much time, so just I called the number.

It went straight to answer phone "Hi this Jono, if you're calling it's because you want your toes sucked, please leave your name and number...".  Naively, (even at this point) I thought 'ha ha, that's quirky' and proceeded to leave a message.

I got a call back almost immediately.  "Hi Phil it's Jono".  "Hi mate how you doing?". "Yes good thanks sorry I missed your call.  (X day) and (X time) is ok, I'll see you then.  Just to confirm you're ok with it, I have to let you know... I have a bit of foot fetish and I want to suck your toes".


"I want to suck your toes".


I burst out laughing and hung up.  No Thanks Jono, end of!  

Two days later I was waiting at reception, and huuuuge black guy walked up to me and said "Phil"  Extended his arm proceeded to shake my hand, "Hi I'm Jono, we spoke on the phone.  I didn't mean to offend you, hope you're all good?".   "No-no mate, not at all", as I cleared my throat, jaw hanging open as I was looked up to this giant.

He just walked into the gym all happy, as if nothing weird had just happened, while I was left stood there stiff as a statue.

#2 This shower gel smells like S**T!

Again hanging out at reception (same gym), a gym came running out of the male changing rooms soaking wet, with a towel wrapped around his waist, going absolutely berserk, screaming and effin and blinding!

We managed to get the full story of his upset and what happened was, someone dirty git, had taken a dump in the shampoo dispenser.  The poor fella hadn't noticed and obviously applied gel to hair and seen Mr hanky sunken in a green liquid attached to the wall.  I think I'd be slightly miffed too.

Was funny AF though!


#3 How much is that the locker!

I was working for a popular gym chain and one the female members needed to do some exercise, so decided to do it with her little dog.  You're probably thinking, 'I run/walk my dog all the time, big deal'.

Well this particular member brought her dog to the gym...hidden in a handbag.  She then put the handbag in the locker...WITH-THE-EFFIN-DOG still in it! and went about her workout.

The way we found out, is because she loaded up a picture on Instagram and tagged the location on. #twat!  She was banned and reported to animal services.

#4 I'm a laaady

We had a call on the radio from reception about a very angry lady, that had an encounter with a male intruder in the female changing room.

I have to give him some credit though for his ingenuity on this.  He put on an available robe and wrapped a towel around his face and head and sneaked into the ladies, via a joining chill out area.

The lady that reported the incident noticed 'she' (the intruder) had particularly hairy feet and so began to probe him.  In a high-squeaky female voice,  gave his excuses and quickly ran off through the connecting chill out room.

Obviously we never found out who it was.


#5 Ello-ello-ello

A man was reported, as he was inviting other men from the changing room, into the steam room.

When one particular lad went in, he was surprised when the gentleman in question was sat there naked (fair enough)....and masturbating.

The guy actually turned out to be a police officer and there was a big investigation.  I saw him on the streets roughing it recently.

#6 The decorators are in

My manager at the time was livid because he had to make a phone call to a lady, to explain  how unacceptable it was to slap her USED sanitary towel to the locker door, while she got changed.

I later over heard the conversation on the phone...I was in laugh out loud stitches.   But ultimately, she seemed to think there wasn't a problem.

I'm fortunate to say I'm now working in lovely facility, where there are lovely-respectable and normal (well sort of) people that come in and train hard and go again.

If you'd rather save the wildlife visits for a zoo, but have a goal you want to achieve, feel free to come down to Ufit for a chat, where the people are friendly and very nice.

Keep real folks


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

What now for CrossFit?

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a 'way of life', from the promoted paleo lifestyle, to the 'functional fitness' workouts and the community.

For a long time I had a negative view on Crossfit and actually called it 'CrossFad', (Personal Trainers tend to be snobs when we have a biased opinion on a topic in fitness and nutrition).  When I came into the industry, CrossFit was still in its infancy, but growing rapidly.  I remember once speaking to a PT that I was on a course with, that had just done 'Crossfit' in the gym before the class.  I was like "mate, you've just done a circuit, that's all - that isn't CrossFit".

The issue a lot of Strength & Conditioning/weightlifting coaches and Personal Trainers have with CrossFit is that it's not necessarily programmed or periodised. The workouts, at one point, seemed to be made up on the spot and involved a high volume of weight, reps, speed and ego.

'Coaches' could do a CrossFit Level 1 course and start 'coaching' without having previous industry experience and teach technique for weight lifting (clean & jerk and snatch) or gymnastics.  You would get amateurs trying to perform complex movement patterns when they weren't ready to do so, causing injury.

It's also referred to as 'functional' fitness (which is another 'political one' in the industry right there).  High intensity and complex movements are thrown together to create a WOD (Workout Of the Day) to beast the hell out of the 'athlete'.

There are nightmare videos of overloaded barbells being dropped, lifted inappropriately and spines buckling to make you cringe.  However that being said, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths love CrossFit.

(Don't get me wrong, there is a high standard of coaching and professionalism within the CrossFit boxes, so that's not to tar every coach with the same brush).

Recent Events 

In recent events CrossFit has seemly been condemned, and now looks like 'CrossFad' may have been the right expression.  Founder of CrossFit Greg Glassman posted an inappropriate tweet in a time of mayhem around the world, which has cast a dark shadow over the organisation.

Many affiliates around the world are discontinuing their affiliation with Crossfit, meaning many 'Boxes' (CrossFit gyms) that had 'Crossfit' in the title, are now deciding to rebrand under their own identity.   

There are over 15,000 CrossFit affiliates globally, each Box pays an annual affiliation fee of $3000USD, you do the math on that.  CrossFit inc. is said to be (was) worth $10USD Billion and Greg Glassman $100USD million.  But right now the future looks bleak for Crossfit inc, as key athletes speak up and against the comment, Boxes cut ties and major sponsors, like Reebok (branded sportswear) and Rogue (equipment sponsor) pull out their contracts by the end of the year.

CrossFit Community

What I have previously respected and admired about Crossfit, however, is how the brand had brought together a movement in the fitness and nutrition world.  The brand has created a mass community, that has managed to trickle down into smaller communities, into the individual Boxes.  It has brought together people from different backgrounds and abilities.  It has shook the science, research and food industries, as well as providing so much respect, awareness and fund-raising for various charities.  It also introduced the world to the sport of 'training', with the CrossFit Games

I don't know how Crossfit Inc is going to come back from this one.  Even if Glassman resigns, it's still a tainted connection.  Now Boxes have their own communities that are loyal and with the additional cost of the affiliation fee, there's no reason for Boxes to be part of the organisation any more. 

I wouldn't call myself a 'Crossfitter' and have only recently joined a Box and started CrossFit training and I actually love it, it really is a bit of me.

I was very impressed with the community of my box at Innervate and it's participants.  I mean, there was literally a blind 60+ year old aunty (senior respected female in Singapore) lifting weight and doing double unders, it was remarkable.   There were kids, co-workers, friends and different ethnicities grinding together and putting in the effort.  So for me it is sad to see such stupid comment made by the leader, potentially cause the crumble of something so great that he created-such a shame. 

I guess only time will tell and maybe after the Crossfit 2020 games (if they still go ahead) there may be a silver lining???

Keep it real folks 



Monday, June 1, 2020

My 72 Hour Water Only Fast: No Food, Just H20

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting has more recently come to the attention of most people, thanks to televised work by Dr Micheal Mosley and the 5:2™ diet. The evidence being that, one can eat normally five days out of seven (though still controlling calorie intake) and on the other two days, cut calories down to 1/4 the normal amount, eg 500 kcals for the ladies and 600 kcals per day for guys, on Thursday and a Sunday for example. The evidence shows benefits such as:

  • Changing the function of cells, genes and hormones: Reducing insulin levels. Increasing growth hormone and improving cellular repair 
  • Fat loss 
  • Reduced risk of Type II diabetes 
  • Reduced oxidative stress and inflammation in the body 
  • Improved heart health 
  • Prevention of cancer 
  • Prevention of Alzheimers 
  • Increased longevity 

What is the 72 Hour (water only) fast?

Basically a hardcore version of the popular 5:2™ fast, whereby you only consume water (and pink Himalayan salt-to help replenish electrolytes) and that’s it.  No tea.  No coffee.  No fish or coconut oil, just good old salt and water for 72 hours.

Nutrition and therapy researchers promote fasting to reboot your immune system due to stem cell based regeneration. As your body has no more incoming glucose (from carbs), it needs to break down your body fat and create ketones, an alternative form of energy.

Ketones can get a negative ‘wrap’ and are often portrayed as the dangerous, as they are associated with diabetes (but thats more to do ketoacidosis).  But ketosis it is actually a natural and harmless substance produced by your body.

If you’ve heard of the ‘Atkins diet’, you’ll likely be familiar with using ketones instead of glucose for ‘fuel’.  Benefits include purging your body of cancerous cells, which are unable to process ketones and having a positive effective on sufferers with epilepsy.

Before the start

Now, there was a bit of mis-communication about when the start time was actually going to be.  I had it my mind, when I mentioned it to Andy, about starting it on a Tuesday morning after breakfast, taking us up to Friday morning.  However, I later received a text from Andy that he had started his fats at 5:30pm on that Monday evening.  I didn’t see that text until 10pm Monday, my last meal was at 6pm, but I had had an apple just before 10pm. I was like ‘cheers mate’.  It meant then, I would have to until 10pm Thursday and Andy would’ve only had to go until 5:30pm Thursday.  That’s not a problem, but it wouldn’t have been an accurate, or fair set of results to have measured, because no one would’ve been around Thursday evening at 10pm to do my measurements. Meaning, I would have to wait until 0800 Friday morning, for someone to be about, making it an 80 hour fast instead. CHEEEEEERS MATE!

Day 1

The first was actually pretty hard, in terms of going without food. I think that was out of habit more than anything.  I found myself with new spare time (where I obviously wasn’t going home to prepare my food and actually eating it). Which made it harder, as I guess, eating was a ‘filler’ or part of my daily routine, so I found myself thinking a lot about food…but nothing a nice coffee wouldn’t solve - DOW! Training was normal, I didn’t struggle there, but we were only just doing resistance training.

Day 2

Waking up and needing a boost from my first coffee of the day was tough. I felt like I couldn’t get ‘into it’.  My favourite meal of the day is breakfast and I always look forward to it.  It’s like my reward for training, as I eat after my first session.  I felt duped having to go without and was left unsatisfied and craving, texture and something to get rid of the emptiness of my gut, it wasn’t used to.

I definitely started slowing down though.  Concentrating was tough.  Counting reps and set for my clients was a struggle and towards the late afternoon, I was caught having a nap.  Getting up from that was tragic.  Andy woke me up from the settee, in his office. I was so irate, ‘how dare he wake me’- for his session - that he paid for! The training session was tough and felt pointless. Andy and I barely spoke and the performance, well, was more ‘poor’-formance.  We had to drop weights from the previous week and saw no value in the session.  After, I’d normally eat, so again was left with time to think about eating and how much I needed food now.   'I’ll be fine, after a coffee’ - DOW!

Day 3

I just wanted it to end now and the end seemed so far away, well another day away.  Andy was happy as Larry, as he only had to get through the day.  But I was struggling and when I tested my urine, I hadn’t even hit ketosis yet either. Meaning my body wasn’t using fat for fuel.  It was a double blow, as I was hoping to see some evidence, that this process was working and having a positive effect.

It came to 5pm and it was time for Andy’s assessment. It was a positive start, he’d lost 4kg on the scales.  But when we tested his lean mass, that had dropped by 5.5kg.  His body fat had gone up 1.5kg and his body fat percentage had also gone up 1.2%.  He put on more than a kilo of fat! WHAT!!! Obviously Andy was gutted. (I was actually in hysterics. How could a man not eat for three days and still put on fat - only Andy!).  Because he was obviously gutted and doubtful of the measurements, he insisted I did mine.  Guess what???  My weight on the scales dropped 3.9kg.  My lean mass dropped by 3.1kg and my body fat…went UP by 1/2 a kilo, and my body fat percentage went from 7.9 to 8.4%!  Say whaaaaat!
I know, I couldn’t believe it.  I still officially had four hours to go.  So I said "sod this” and stopped the experiment.  There was no point continuing, I wasn’t going to seeing any fat loss, improvement in immune function, reduced risk of cancer, improved cell turn over or digestive cleanse in that time.  I was slurring my words by this point and felt like a baby could’ve pushed me over, and still had four hours of back-to-back clients to get through.

Before and afters - no noticeable difference 

Tensing pics, you can see a mild difference

Andy's before and afters 

Why’s that then?

The only way I could explain the results, is that we depleted the muscle of glycogen (and in turn water), so the muscle ‘circumference’ may have decreased.  Meaning that the diameter between lean tissue and the surface increased.  So when we physically grabbed the skin to take a skin fold measurement (basically, pinching the skin to see how much fat you’re gripping on to, with a set of measuring callipers), there would have been more to pinch.  That’s all I’ve got. I think the weight loss would’ve been down to dehydration (of the muscle) and completely emptying the body of food, which obviously still weighs something.

The first meal

Was only small, as we didn’t want to ‘distress’ the digestive system, as it had had it’s ‘knees up’ for the last couple of days and could’ve caused havoc.  So we ate a small, healthy meal with protein, fat veg and a small amount of starch.  I actually felt satisfied after, but couldn’t wait for breakfast!  No coffee, just tea, again not to cause distress.  All good.

A week later

Immediately after the experiment and pretty much all through, Andy and I ‘poo-poo’d’ the process. But actually, ok we didn’t lose fat, but we learnt a few lessons on the way.  The main one being, it’s ok to go with out food.   If we can’t eat right away, that’s fine, ‘I can hold out’.  Which is valuable really.  As what do you do when there’s no ‘healthy’ option at a party or whatever.  We make the conscious effort to make a ‘better’ choice, but actually we could wait a while and eat something absolutely healthier, within our control later on and avoid any need to food that doesn’t fit with our healthy lifestyle or goal.

A week later I’ve not had the desire to have a coffee - I’ve completely lost the ‘taste’ or urge for it now, which was a big surprise. Not that I was an addicted (2-3 cups of white americano per day), but it was more than I wanted to drink.

I now savour my food.  I’m slower to eat it and enjoy it more, rather than it being ‘fuel’, I look forward to every meal.  I sit down to eat and take my time.

My body shape has changed back, but now I look ‘full’ rather scrawny, I think I’m quite happy this way.

Would I recommend it to client, absolutely NOT!
Let me make myself clear, I DO-NOT ENDORSE THIS WHAT SO EVER!  So if you choose to do it, it’s on you.  There are much better ways to lose weight and as you saw by the stats, it was only the weight on the scales and muscle mass that dropped, our fat didn’t actually come down.  You will look leaner training and controlling your portions sizes, over starving yourself.

I’d like to thank Harry Thomas, for the inspiration of the experiment and actually, he had a really positive experience.  You can check out his 72 hour fast here.

You can even watch the video, of our journey here.

Phil Snowden
The Fat Loss & Performance Coach

If you would like to have a chat about how to diet effectively without starving yourself, reach out and let's have a chat.
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