Fitness & Health

Finding the right personal trainer

Finding the right personal trainer

Over the time that I have been associated with the fitness industry firstly working the gym floor, taking group fitness classes, working with many commercial gyms, becoming a personal trainer to now running my own business I’ve always been fascinated about the questions asked about personal training. It’s always been a bit of an interest. Often I would be asked if I was a good personal trainer or who is the best one in here?  In my mind I would think, Like I’m going to answer no or yeah the other guy is better than me. I just smiled back and continued with conversation the best I could. When I first started personal training this was a somewhat arrogant view that I took.

Now with a few more years under my belt it now seems like a reasonable question. You see people who ask the question don’t know a thing about personal training and simply want to know. Keep in mind that potentially you are going to become a valued client and obviously pay for this personal service. So it’s fair to say people see Personal trainers as fitness professionals who are going to deliver to them their goal.

Some places to start looking for a personal trainer include local gyms, fitness centres and studios. In my case I run my own business at Claudefit personal training.  When you’re at the gym, watch other potential trainers with their clients and see how they look working together. It doesn’t take long before an observation and decision is made. Make a note of trainers who get along with their clients, smile and seem fully involved in their client’s workouts. It’s what you are going to get. I myself have a testimonials section on my website for potential clients to read. Better to let other talk you up I say.

I’ve decided to make it easier for all and put down 5 pointers that can help you find the one that suits you. In no particular order here goes.

It’s about the best one suitable for you. That’s right. Sometimes the Pt that most regard as the best one “because they will smash you” might not be the answer for your particular needs. It’s all about finding the trainer who you can communicate with and can both demonstrate the movement and articulate what they require you to do. You need to feel comfortable with you potential trainer as you will most likely be spending a bit of time with them. The personal trainer should be someone you like.  Ask yourself if you think you could get along with the trainer and whether you think the trainer is genuinely interested in helping you.

A good listener   A good trainer will listen closely to what you say and respond accordingly.  Make sure they understand your goals and if these change ensure that you’re both still on the same page. Make sure you feel comfortable asking questions from the very beginning. We trainers naturally have eternal personalities and this sometimes prevents a clear two sided form of communication due to being focused on working you out. Don’t be shy and speak up. A good trainer listens to clients needs. This allows them to always be aware of what you are thinking and make changes as/if required.  This can easily be established when you initially meet one for potential work. Trust you instinct on this one.

Attention  This is a given , if you are paying someone for their time in training you it should be clear that they will be totally  focused only on you during your sessions. A good trainer will correct technique on the spot and make ongoing adjustments if you are not getting it right. I spend a lot of time holding the focus pads for clients during our Boxing session and don’t recommend losing focus here. Basically would you pay for someone who just stands next to you on a machine while they are checking their phone? You are investing in your health that you obviously place a high importance on in hiring a trainer. So getting the attention you deserve should be expected.

Is their skill set suitable to you? Over the years I’ve fortunate enough to accumulate both practical experiences, elevated my formal studies and attended over a dozen workshops in refining my professional development. I have become well versed on many elements such as Boxing, Kettlebells, and Weightlifting to bodyweight training. In addition I have taken formal studies in Nutrition and have accumulated a reasonable little library on most things training.  The bottom line here is that I specialise in one element – I train people. By definition you can only specialise in one element. I’m being picky here but it’s up to you to decide if I am or not. Having said that, will this skill set suit you? No point in hiring a trainer if you don’t like Boxing, running and hard work and they specialise in Boxing. Find the one that has the skill set you like. It makes it easier for all. Be reasonable with what you don’t like as the bottom line is, getting results requires hard work. A balanced and informed decision needs to be made.

Tracking your progress. An experienced and professional trainer will have processes to assess and monitor your progress.  Along with being consistent and knowing your goals they can change your program as you make progress. Some trainers depending on the variables being assessed can also provide regular feedback to you on your progress and any other health and fitness concerns.

A personal trainer should have relevant qualifications and be registered with a recognised industry association such as Fitness Australia. A personal trainer’s job is to work with your health professionals ( if required) , discuss your goals on a regular basis, assess your fitness level with relative benchmarks , design a program for you that goes a long way in keeping  you motivated.

Take your time before you making a choice. That’s why Claudefit  provides a no obligation trial before we agree on working together. Ensure that your personal trainer is appropriately registered and qualified before entering into any agreement. Something that is very important is establishing wether your personality and communication style suits the potential trainer. This should be high on your list of priorities. You may be spending a lot of time with this person. No point in paying with time, effort and your hard earned dollars on someone you don’t fully feel comfortable with. My private facility is not for all and only suited to individuals who want to train without other distractions, guaranteed.

It’s about getting the balance right with you trainer. If done right from the beginning it ensures you will get the results that you are after without any compromises.

All the best in you search.

Claude Castro is a Mill Park based Personal Trainer with over 25 years of practical experience and 8 years actively working full time  in the fitness Industry


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All round fitness and health

All round fitness and health 

During the time that I’ve been lifting weights (since 1988) it had never really occurred to me why I actually enjoyed training. It was just something that I gravitated towards and as my friends were all into it, I might as well join up and get big and strong because that’s what we all did and wasn’t going to miss out. It was never about moving well and dare I say even feeling well. That stuff was what other people did. I just lifted weights and trained in Martial Arts and that was enough for me.

I was never interested in bodybuilding like the rest of my mates but liked pumping weights. Funny enough I was the odd one out that didn’t have visions of grandeur and wanted to compete on stage. It scared the Sh*t out me really. I got over it quickly and then fortunately for me focused my efforts on martial arts instead.  Back then I had the time, plenty of it. Whether it was the usual 2 hour gym workout or afternoons spent at the Dojo it was all I focused on. Chuck in uni and part time work and that was it.

Funny how things change.

Right now my PT business at Claudefit and personal approach has shifted more towards the movement and health focusing on the greater benefits as opposed to simply lifting as much as you possibly can. This is not going to replace my initial belief as I still like being strong/fit and quite active. In fact these additional element will allow me to do my job more effectively resulting in better client results. When delivering an overall health and fitness service it more than just lifting weights and running on the treadmill for 5 minutes.

The benefits and enjoyment of exercise are many and varied. The following seven points are just a few and can justify why you should be taking up a regular all round health and fitness plan in order to feel better, move better and ultimately look your best – If that’s what you are after. These are not specific to typical weight lifting approaches, however are more to do with becoming healthier and more aware of your general well being in addition to feeling fit and strong.  Becoming aware of these components allows you to be better served heading towards your later years in life where you can still be active and maintain you energy levels.

So lets now focus on you overall health and read about the following benefits;

The maintenance of you ideal body composition. With any type of movement the body needs to burn energy and this is what gets you started. If you move you blow calories. If you move faster you burn more, simple as that. For some just taking up walking is sufficient if you are one of the many who is unfortunately obese, for the others who have been there and are now leaner with fitter and stronger bodies barring any injuries, most likely the running, swimming  or cycling is a regular occurrence. stay active.

Reduced risk of heart disease. As its been proven the benefits of moving and losing the extra bodyweight by becoming fitter and more health conscience prevents the heart from consistently working overtime due to the additional weight it has to bear. Whether you are a 150kg muscle bound weight lifter of 150kg obese person the heart still has to work hard in moving this load. The benefits of a well rounded health program are a major contributor in preventing heart related diseases and also promote the Reduced risk of type 11 diabetes which is closely associated with been severely overweight.

Improved bone density. This is simply a result of putting your body under controlled resistance in aiding the strengthening of the joints, ligaments and muscles all at once. It’s all part of becoming stronger and preventing age related symptoms to prematurely take control. Strong bones are better able to handle the daily grind you put yourself though every day. A weak structure will only collapse. So get that structure strong.

Lower risk of depression and other mood related disorders. For those who already are participating in a regular training program and who look after their nutrition the general feeling of the “fitness effect” is something they are well aware off. I myself now run just to clear the mind. It’s funny how after going for my regular run that my mind is clear and I seem to be in a better mood on return. The same can be said for many of my PT clients who after a somewhat challenging day at work choose to belt out a couple of rounds on the focus pads and feel much better for it. Must be the primal aspect of just hitting something I guess.

Improved longevity . Guess what?  Lifting weight and becoming fitter don’t guarantee you will live to be 150 year of age. It will just have a positive impact and  improve the way you feel with the time you are blessed with. The choice is yours wether you chose to be unhealthy, slow, unmotivated and sadly for some not concerned or For those who care about their fitness and health benefits whose prefer to be active and get on with enjoying  life. Nothing more needs to be said.

Improved immune system. A fitter and stronger body does not get as sick as often as an unhealthy body. Over time i have experienced this first hand when dealing with personal training clients. Initially they lack energy and fitness and somehow seem to be sick and feel flat most of the time. Given a sound program they all of a sudden feel more energised, don’t miss work or training sessions and seem to be more active than before. Some even forget the last time they were sick. Funny how being fit and strong can have a certain carry over effect . A clear benefit in taking care of yourself I say. A more resilient body will always look after you and not get broken down. Feed the body well and strengthen up you immune system. You will still get sick its unavoidable, however not as much as before.

Increased feeling of wellness and vitality. There is no other way for me to describe this as that once you get over the initial hurdle of taking up a workout plan you are going to feel great. You will have more energy and basically over the day will get more done. Plain and simple. The feeling and confidence of becoming stronger has definitely a carryover effect to your life. Don’t know how many dads have told me they have more energy to play with kids or mothers who tell me they are now more confident and fitter and now run on a regular basis, or the best one yet. I don’t have time to watch television anymore as I’m too busy getting stuff done!

It doesn’t take much to look after yourself and the best time is to act now. If you leave it too late like most you will only be missing out on what’s out there on offer.

Ultimately it’s your choice.

Take action now and get involved with looking after yourself and if you do it right you will actually enjoy the process.

The rewards are waiting.

Claude Castro. Owner of Claudefit personal training 


Preparation for Stadium Stomp

Stadium stomp preparation

Running stairs to my clients is not something they first thought of was possible prior to beginning training with Claudefit in either one-on-one or my Ladies group fitness. The best part about my job as personal trainer is when clients ask me if they can do events. The answer is always yes and most eventually choose to take on the challenge. Whether it’s the stadium stomp stair climb, Tough Mudder or any other fun run event all are basically dominated by running. In this case we need to deal with over 7000 of them.

So how do you actually plan for such events without actually needing to find the local hi- rise (difficult for most) and train for it? And for those who are fortunate enough to have ample stairs to run. How not to go a little stir crazy in such confined places like stairwells?

In our case we need to be well conditioning to get us through the stadium stop event that requires you to consistently run up and down and traverse the famous terraces of the MCG.

Stair climbing preparation

The choice tool here at Claudefit are Kettlebells and Boxing for the initial conditioning and working on individual movements that compliment their program. No point in running up stairs when you are in pain due to a lack of mobility. In addition all clients are then either out running or doing own training sessions all while monitoring their weight management goals. The events for us at Claudefit always serve as the motivator in reaching your goals. Clearly a win-win scenario we often choose to keep us accountable.

A sample template on a regular group session wound be;

  • Kettlebell swings for time (30sec, 45sec  1min sets)
  • Kettlebell squat ( a front squat variation )
  • Kettlebell Cleans
  • Kettlebell single leg row
  • Turkish get up
  • Running

(The important take home here is choosing the correct bell size that does the job and changing the set rep range for variation. The only non compromise here is the technique)

Then we switch it over with a pure Boxing approach. This particular type of training for us is to enable the explosive component required to work out your cardiovascular system. It’s better for me as a trainer to work on this in a one on once scenario and get the (rounds) volumes up within a controlled environment.

Once a solid cardio base is build the participants are then able to push the pace when performing their own running training alone. For beginners this makes it simpler to just focus on the running and enjoy the journey to getting fit. It’s just a matter of transferring over your built up strength and fitness to the endeavour you are following. Once your strength base is adequate and you are moving well then you must take it outside and reap the benefits of the overall program. No boxing will make you stair climbing better. Only stairs will do this.

This is a given with our group as this template of Kettlebells and Boxing firstly gets you to;

  • Move well
  • Become  stronger
  • Builds up fitness base
  • And for some assist my client with their weight management goals. It’s what most signed up with me in the first place. So I never lose sight of this important goal.

From a more technical point of view , If you take one thing from the famous scene of running from rocky Balboas training regime, make it stair climbing. The constant plyometric motion strengthens the same muscles as lunges and squats, and taxes you lungs and heart as you power to the top. (Think rocky music here) That is, it absolutely gives you an enormous heart pounding workout and clearly delivers results.

The bottom line is that most training for these events relating to the casual fitness buff only requires general physical preparation. My experience with both Boxing and Kettelbell allows the delivery of a service that is also well suited to weigh management goals. Add in a sound Nutritional approach and you are basically heading in the right direction.

Once I get these element in order it’s up to you to push the pace for that PB or simply becoming a stronger individual.

Here at Claudefit personal training we use all events to keep us all motivated towards our own personal goals.

If you are in the Mill Park Area Let me know if you are interested.

Stadium stomp stair climb

Stadium Stomp at the MCG

Well we did it. The weekend past was finally our time to run a lap of the famous MCG. Yep that’s right, our team from Claudefit personal training just belted out another running event, this time we hit the Stadium stomp and in doing so negotiated the spectacular MCG stands that basically involved running up and down while traversing along these very steep terraces all the way around. The price for you troubles here was approximately 7200 stairs. The last time I ran at the “G” was during the football in looking for a pie vendor at ¾ time as Dad was hungry – a very long time ago!



It’s been a welcome event for the crew as we are not only visiting one of the most recognized Melbourne landmarks but were are going to take the tour de pain as we are going the long and challenging way around.  From a pure fitness point of view the benefits of stair climbing as a fitness tool are many! Technically Stair climbing forces you to utilise muscles stabilisers, like the gluteus (ladies take note) medius, the whole hip region and the calf muscles that don’t get the same overload during regular and flatter runs due to only activating one leg as the other takes stride. Stairs strengthen these areas and you’ll go a long way in reducing the potential for injury when getting back to friendlier flatter running.


On a lighter note if you are one of many people who just want to know why they should incorporate stairs as part of their (comfortable and flat) routine. Here’s a few more benefits coming from a fitness and important (to some) aesthetic point of view.

  • Stairs hit those trouble spots – oh yeah big time, if you want the backside to show its natural shape with no bulk, stairs will do it. Plain and simple, Take my work for it when you start running, those juggly bits will soon start to disappear.
  • Improves your fitness – well it is running after all and it’s been well documented that running gets you fit. In our case by increasing the angle you are taking it to another lever (no pun intended) and will earn your dose of fresh air when complete.
  • Boosts your metabolism – it’s not within the scope to describe the many elements of how this works , however the elevated systems that operates these many elements will certainly be required to work at a higher rate both during and post run. Basically you will be burning more calories even when recovering.
  • It will go a long way in helping you lose weight – ill keep this one simple , given a practical approach to your nutrition with regular exercise you will certainly effect your body composition. The stairs in your case will just cost you a hell of a lot more calories! This is a good thing ok?

All you need is a set of stairs and won’t cost you a gym membership to just run on a stationery machine. Goes without saying, if you want to get good at stair running, find some and hit them hard.

I’m using this approach as you should be aware that if you are the type to run up and down stairs you is not the type that will just take it easy. It’s basically progression from flatter running. So go out and find the nearest to you. So if these sorts of event take your fancy, Claudefit is quite happy to provide you with the tools to get it done. I focus on general physical preparation for whatever endeavour you are interested in.

Click here for our story featured in the  Herald Sun.

I’ll strengthen you body to cope well with what’s expected from it.

See you on the terraces

How Lifestyle affects your weight loss goals

Far too often I read about the number and figures and what you have to do and how hard you have to work to reach you weight loss goal. At Claudefit Personal training terms like beast mode and no pain no gain aren’t used as I believe they offer no help with motivating you with your weight loss goals.

With most things fitness and health related there are more factors involved than purely the basics. For example, Most of the time the science is correct. Calories in vs. calories out, take into account you basal metabolic rate and you’re done. Simple, wish it was. The fact is for some weigh loss it is hard. If it was easy this multi-million dollar industry would not survive.

If you are one of the individual who has been neglecting your health and packed on the kilos, well it’s up to you to decide that you want to change. so before you go on a highly motivated and emotional charged clean eating and running marathons campaign .Or where you will take you calories form say 4000 per day to 1200 as the weekend newspapers supplement told you.

Hang on, there are a few other matter to be aware of before we go down that path of calorie counting in your way to a full on exercise program. Why? Well if you go ahead unprepared you will most likely burn out within 2-3 weeks and come back even heavier than when you started.

It’s just a matter of taking it back a few steps and working on the other factors that affect your goals in weight or fat loss.  “I just want to fit into my clothes and look good” I hear you.

Part of the solution

You read it right. part of the solution, the rest is the well spruiked  stuff like eat well , sleep well, burn calories , exercise more and take this supplement approach which in theory should work.

What about if you current behaviours are not up to scratch and are in such a state that they will prevent you in benefiting from your weight loss goal without you even been aware. Let’s look into some lifestyle factors that some of you starting off on your weight loss journey need to know.

What’s Your Lifestyle Like?

Your lifestyle obviously determines how you are going to feel, how you are going to look and if you participate in any sport, how you are going to perform. I’m really taking it to the basic and establishing the base minimum you are currently doing.

If you are wondering why reflecting on your lifestyle is important. It’s your choices that decide how healthy you are and whether you’re on the road to weight loss. It’s these same habits that most likely got you in to trouble in the first place.

So let’s hit it with a list of what I know is not part of an active lifestyle.

  • Sitting at a desk all day, in a car, or the dreaded ones in this day and age, sitting in front of a TV or in front of a computer (like I am now!)
  • Regularly Eating out at restaurants and making choices that will raise you calorie consumption ( of all that yummy food)
  • Drinking alcohol. And I mean really drinking alcohol, not just one a week here.
  • Eating fast food or junk foods, otherwise known as crap.
  • Regularly staying up late not getting enough sleep. Burning the candle at both ends.

These habits are all contributors to a lifestyle that is contributing to weigh gain. All is not lost. Here are some points to bring yourself up to in order to start reversing the weight gain and set you path to a healthy and fitter you.

What about this list, how much time do you spend on.

  • Being active in general (taking the stairs, walking instead of driving, gardening, cleaning or just moving.
  • Doing cardio exercise of any type. I don’t care, walk, run, cross trainer, treadmill push a car!
  • Strength training of any type for all muscle groups with challenging weights. Not just the light one because you are “taking it easy today”
  • Preparing your own meals and healthy snacks. Incorporating fruits, veggies and whole grains into you nutrition.
  • Learning how to read reading food labels. We are fortunate in Australia that this information is a requirement by food manufactures and can learn in minimum time.
  • Keeping an eye out on your calories. In the beginning I teach my client to count calories and educate them on what to look for. Later with experience it’s just a matter of been aware.
  • Sleeping. Do you actually get enough sleep?  Generally anything between 7-9 hours would be acceptable. Not like a teenager and sleep in till noon!
  • Dealing with stress in a healthy way like going for a run or taking up a spots activity.

If you spend more time “living” in the first list and not so much in the second, it’s time to evaluate your priorities and decide what you really want for yourself.

These changes are not easy for some but need to be actioned in order to make the changes you want.

At Claudefit I’m well awe of these factors due to the years of experience in working closely with my Personal training clients.

Take action now and make those changes for a healthier and more productive lifestyle.

My favourite 5 core movements, for now.

As a Personal Trainer I’m always asked what the best core exercises to do. I’m quite sure that if you are researching for core movements on the web you will be inundated with more than enough exercises to fill your next year or so with every variation possible in getting that midsection sorted out. Because we all know you want super looking abs for summer! So for those who in addition follow a strict nutritional regime the results will be that ever elusive 6 pack. For me at the moment the 6 pack AKA as beach abs isn’t whats going to get the job done. I need strong and resilient core strength first in order to be able to carry out my daily activities in being a Personal trainer. The summer abs usually are lightly (whatever that means) packed away for now with a still lean, healthy and happy body. I’ll leave the schreding for those who feel the need to look under fed all year round.

Ok let’s move on, here are my favourite core movements that I see as my go to. Yes these are my own that I like and use often within my own programming. This is not to be confused with the core work I provide my personal training clients. My clients needs alter due to fitness, movement, possible hindrances and injury. Hope you can make them a favourite for you.


This attachment to me is awesome. It’s a movement that you are activation the core work while standing up. As most life and sporting endeavours are carried on standing up it makes sense to work the core standings. For those who otherwise perform a sport on the floor (example BJJ or wrestling) the carry over effect is well complimented by the real time you spend on the mat and do your thing.

My own Little Torsonator attachment works wonders and develops my rotational core strength. The movement is generated from the legs and works you through the torso. This is the sort of strength and conditioning you get that transfers over well and can be applied to many sports. For me it’s just a simple and d effective movement in getting the job done. Best of all I’m getting my core in upright.

Turkish get ups

First up this exercise/movement totally rocks. It basically all you need if you only had one exercise to do and minimum equipment. (Preferably a kettlebell ) The TGU stands alone in working the entire body through its initial complicated sequence of movements from the ground to a full standing position. As an RKC2 instructors the TGU is one of the primary moves taught and are tested on, and effectively applied to my clients for either a movement screen , Cardio, strength and for some a solid conditioning workout. It all depends on the bell used the objectives and hopefully for you proper instruction. Once you start working the “heavy one” you will soon realise that the core gets a consistent workout over the sequence and is of great benefits.  It’s why the TGU is one of my favourites. Make it yours.

Hanging Leg raises

It’s only been recently that I’ve even bothers to attempt these little nuggets. You see I didn’t even rate them. Perhaps I was too busy being strong or something. It was only during my RKC2 cert that I realised I couldn’t even bring my legs up to the bar and lower with any strength let alone control. I learned a lesson that day. Since then I took on the progression starting with hanging knee rises and took it from there. Now I’m able to rep out and lower with more control and dignity than before. A worthy skill to have as a trainer and especially if you are going to demonstrate it to people you wants to perform same task. My abs generally gets a little tender when I push this movement. (That’s a good thing, right?) It’s also helped in my overhead arm position due to volumes, and is a constant stretch. No overhead positioning problems for me.

Renegade rows

I was introduced to these a while back in viewing Mike Mahler on you tube. It’s basically holding onto two kettlebells ( yes kettlebells do a better job) in a traditional push up position and then shifting you bodyweight over to one side and pulling up to the side of the torso with the other. A simplistic explanation that works better with proper instruction. Rushing into this one can be problematic as you have two protruding metal handles to face plant if you get it wrong. Refer a Kettlebell instructor for this if unsure. The learning of the renegade rows allow for the full body to work in a combined effort to allow for the shifting of the bodyweight and the pulling motion of weight. Overtime when you are more efficient and handle a greater load It then becomes obvious how hard the midsection id getting a hammering. Learn, practice and then go for it.

Abb wheel

The Abdominal Wheel is a classic. Along with the Torsinator, it delivers a genuine abdominal workout that addresses your whole mid-section, not just the beach muscles.

This little devil reminds me of the late night infomercials back in the late 80 where the very muscled and lean bloke would do countless reps while showing off his impressive torso. I can only imagine how many of these little suckers where bought up and them after that one workout – yeah the one we did for 3 hours and then never touched the bloody thing it again! For those who want the full technical explanation on what muscles.

Here’s what part of the spill is on Ironedge’s web site mentions;

“A functionally strong core, which means greater balance, stability and spinal health, requires that you learn to brace the whole mid section. This requires the synergistic contraction of the rectus abdominals, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus, multifidus, quadratus lumborum, sphincter and diaphragm.”

I just call it a devilish little wheel that lets you know what muscles you have worked properly. Give it a try and see for yourself. No cheating.

So there you have it my favourites (for now) At Claudefit Personal training I normally work on the basis of full body strength, mobility and fitness and take it from there depending on objectives. Can’t really go wrong with General physical preparation for most individuals so anything specific will be addressed for core if required.

Keeping a strong core/midsection is critical for health and strength benefits. In particular as you get older and need this important strength.

Write it down for progress.

It surprises me when I sometimes tell people who ask about my “training” that I write down every workout I do. It’s almost surprising to then that I bother with recording the workout that I have already done. “It’s In the past” I hear. They sometimes follow with a similar question to shouldn’t you think more about the next workout instead?  Or make a comment similar to they don’t bother as “I know what I’m doing”. Well I do think about the next workout, however the next workout is always based on what I’ve done before and at my age I don’t think that a can recall what I ate for breakfast a week ago let alone what workout and movements I trained or in the previous two weeks! so it seem fair to write it down for the reasons ill cover.

It hasn’t always been the case. In the past (when I was younger) I pretty much trained on a regular basis and my workouts were broken down from body part to body part playing around ( getting buffed bro! )  doing a 3 split or 2 split program. Never wrote it down. What for? For example Chest – Monday, Back Tuesday, Rest Wednesday, Shoulders – Thursday, and legs Friday….might even do chest again on Saturday and see my mates. Now that I’m slightly more organised, OLD, in the Fitness industry, writing programs, record client’s measurements and have now have access to more data, writing it down certainly has its benefits.

Here are my two reasons. It’s the basis of reaching your/my goal and because I simply can’t remember!

The benefits of writing it down for progress are many. So I have kept it brief and relative to health and well being with what I consider the important points in you actually achieving not only you fitness goal but perhaps other endeavours you are working towards.

Writing it down keeps you accountable and shows your habits ,it’s a true reflection on what you have done and haven’t done , so if you skip that run, walk , gym session that you originally planned , you will know by reading it whether you actually bothered or not. It also allows you to reflect back over a given time frame and see what sort of habits you have. (An honest and objective way) Do you find that training on Mondays is always achieved, do your Friday afternoons suck or was that long run on Sunday morning you once wished for now a regular habit. By writing it down it eliminates the guesswork and allows you to plan moving forward.

It helps you see what works and what doesn’t work, if you have taken the time to write it down and have found that certain exercises sets/reps or movements leave you a little sore or running after a particular workout you are left too exhausted and its creating a negative return on your time exercising, then you will most likely look back and discover what is causing this effect. Because you wrote it down. This way you will be able to make the necessary changes and remedy situation.

It shows you are serious about your fitness and health. The mere fact that you are documenting your fitness regime basically sets you apart from most individual. (sadly people just turn up and do the same thing week after week) It’s another way in keeping you accountable and being serious. Over time when you have gone through this process once or twice and achieved your goal, let’s say calories required for energy  here. You will most likely just be mindful on how much food intake you need based simply on your acquired knowledge from documenting it before – a common theme among typical seasoned fitness professionals who diligently take into account how many calories are burned during workouts and reconcile this against the calories required for optimum results.

For just weight loss needs keeping a food diary helps (a popular method used by trainers)  An excellent choice to make when initially figuring out what your current habit is towards nutrition in reaching weigh loss goals. For some this is quite cumbersome, but to the few who manage their food intake diligently changes can easily be made according to particular needs. Take a sport that is dependent on bodyweight categories. (for example boxing) from a nutritional point of view this is critical in achieving weight loss results. It helps you keep track of your food intake in both maintaining current bodyweight and possibly dropping those last few pounds/kg’s in making weight. If you are one of the fitness buffs out there that is a little bit more pedantic with food recording who chooses to breaks it down even further in recording carbohydrates, protein, fats in grams in finding out further information. its the way to go. This is quite an in debt form of record keeping if you are new to it I would recommend a suitably qualified person when needing to take it this far.

And lastly it helps you track your progress and stay motivated. That’s right motivated! If you are recording it than you will likely see the results and how you got them. This is the best form of motivation to get. Once you see results the maintenance justifies itself and you simply keep going and continue to improve.

So the message is clear, take the time to write it down and eliminate the guess work. Be honest and diligent and you will get the results you are after. Stick to the process and reap the rewards.

A fitter, stronger and leaner body.

Its fun run season

As the Melbourne fun run season is well on the way, the Claudefit/Nikfitness guys and gals are well and truly exited or as the young folk say “pumped” It’s the one time during their personal workouts that I encourage my clients to push the pace and get that PT. (personal best) after all it’s a professional event that is timed and you get to wear a race bib (number) and somewhat feel part of it. Basically you get to do it on a flat road with no traffic. Truly a runners dream.

Along with the rest of the participant that sometimes number 35,000 it is the perfect stage to showcase you fitness and do it for a worthy cause. Plus it’s a lot of fun to have. This Season will be or second weve decided to have some targeted runs to both measure our progress and just for the pure enjoyment of it. The enjoyment being getting up at 5:30am on a Sunday to make it down to the event , get ready and run anything from 4klms to 22klms depending on the event. Chuck in Mud and obstacles if you include tough Mudder and Spartan race.

In addition to the Mothers day classic coming up we have the Spartan Race (think mud and obstacles here) Stadium Stomp (running up and down the MCG stairs) Run Melbourne and our last team event, Melbourne marathon. Might even give the Eureka Tower a crack also !

In regards to the Mothers day run this weekend here’s what my respected peer Nikki had to say.

The Mothers’ Day Classic is on this Sunday! Running around the TAN track in the city. Either the 4kms or 8kms course – And the dreaded “Anderson Street Hill” (to do twice if you’re doing the 8kms!)

Look it’s not so bad the Hill, it rises about 30m in 400m, It’s a moderate beast but with fresh legs (the first lap) it’s quite doable! And I was like what the fuss is about, this hill isn’t so bad.  Second lap around and 5kms already run, I found the going tough, even with my tunes pumping in my ear willing me to the top there was no way my legs were going to be running the whole way up.  It was my only walk of last year’s 8km race, my hips were burning , but I ran the rest out! Till we meet again Hill!

It’s a special run the Mother’s Day Classic, the Run for Breast Cancer research and one close to my heart, as it is a lot of people. The day starts before dawn, you’re at the track as the sun is rising.  There is a sea of pink everywhere and you see many tribute cards worn as a dedication to a loved one’s memory.  It’s an emotional morning with a minute silence before the runners commence. It’s a run I’m very proud to be a part of and I’ll continue to keep running for this cause as long as my legs will let me!

With my team alongside me, we begin the run together and we make sure we all finish (as we do every run).  There is a lot of support for this run it’s getting bigger every year with a lot of celebrity support too.  Hello Michelle Bridges! And I’m very much looking forward to Round 2 with Anderson Street!

If you’re interested in joining a Fun Run please let me know we can help train you for it too.

See you at the start line!

Ladies group training : Why Kettlebells and Boxing go together.

Over the past 8 years that I have been involved with personal training the smaller groups and more focused training for ladies has always been more popular due to the size and comradeship that is quickly developed within this particular set up. Whether it was a session conducted within a commercial gym environment, taking it outside when weather permits and now in my own private facility at Claudefit the groups of 4 (the maximum I will run) has always appealed.  It is an environment that I can focus completety on participants and delivering the service they are entitled and pay for.

Remember this is a service industry and my sole objective is to deliver results. It is the bottom line.

How this is achieved at claudefit is with a solid mixture of both kettlebells and Boxing as the base of the overall program. In addition to other equipment used, these two systems of exercise are quite dynamic and are well known in returning great outcomes on their own. When it comes to delivering results to my ladies groups, it is these two elements that have allowed me to hit the mark with most in reaching their weight loss, strength, fitness and to some, appearance goals.  The benefits of using the kettlebell along with a boxing bias program are many. The following are just some of the reasons that I believe are the basis of building a more resilient, stronger and fitter body. Once you have these tools in your fitness arsenal along with a healthy nutritional approach, the aesthetic results follow thereafter pretty much straight away.

 With the Kettebell you are able to move it in more directions that you are not able to with a traditional barbell or dumbbell. You can swing it, flip it, Press it and turn it around in various ways in working towards you fitness and conditioning. In the right hands this piece of ancient equipment can deliver amazing results in a safe and challenging workout.  As an RKC11 Instructor I am always mindful of delivering a service that is both technically proficient and always safe for all my clients.  For others who already have a solid training background and are looking at other challenges the kettlebell   offers a new level of movement complexity which builds superior coordination and can even improve athleticism.

Where the Boxing compliments this tool is simple. A true boxing program delivers a total body workout on its own and given the mixture of the two we are able to compound the loading (in increasing work capacity )and charge you up during these sometimes intense workout sessions . With a few solid pointers on the main punches and stances  that are performed along with the basic footwork movement all group participants are well on the way in ducking, slipping and throwing punching combinations in rightly charging up your heart and lungs. Add an instructor (Claudefit is a registered Boxing coach) who knows boxing and you will soon appreciate what a solid 2 minutes of one on one pad work round does to the heart and lungs.

Here at Claudefit, you will be taught the basic punches, stances and movements in getting the job done in a safe and non intimidating environment. The 1 hour classes are a workout, not a beat down where you are encouraged by your group members in working your butt off and also have a bit of fun.

Just think calories instead of hard and you will be right!

The heart and lungs get an amazing conditioning workout with kettlebells. Ladies if you still think that Lifting weights and cardio are two separate things, try any of the ballistic kettlebell exercises!

Movement like, Swings,  cleans, snatch  even jerks  are a sure fire way in burning all the calories you want not only during the session bit also in the hours post workout.  They are just part of the ballistics movements that you can perform with a bell and hit those target areas of your hips, thighs and core. Take for instance a solid swing set with a kettlebell for a minute multiplied by 3-4 sets with minimum rest. Well I can guarantee that is a  Its a sure way to fire up your “cardio” not only during the session , but will leave you feeling it way after you are done. It’s the kettlebell way!

Can I just lift them?

 Yes! Even low rep kettlebell grinds (Compound lifts) that are complimentary to any regular weight training program can be achieved with a kettlebell. Lifts like Standing Shoulder press, Squats (front version) Deadlifts, Bent over rows and floor presses if you are keen can all be performed with a kettlebell.  Take for example a simple workout like a set of minute swings or cleans performed straight after a set of Kettlebell squats! (Yes more swings) If performed correctly with the applicable focus and approach you get a full leg burning exercise. Add in Single leg Deadlift and I’m sure I won’t be on you Christmas card list come December!

A lot has been said about what some call the “sweet science” used for fitness. It’s one of the most honest, simple and to the few who participate in it as a real sport, quite brutal. The boxing equivalent that we use at Claudefit given our pure “fitness” approach is with a simple yet very effective series of punch-out drills, punch combinations , skipping and timed pad holding sessions. Along with the use of the Heavy Bag, They are what I consider straight forward and effective.

The one Thing I won’t accept in my premises is a compromise on poor technique resulting in an avoidable injury. Once you have been taught proper punching techniques , the use of the hips and your hands and joints getting used to the impact, you are ready to push you workouts  harder  in getting results.  Far too often people come to me with sore wrists due to not being taught how to punch properly.

 A safe approach

You can do whatever you like with a kettlebell. However as an Experienced RKC11 instructor /Boxing trainer entertaining you with tricks is now what I’m about. It’s about safety and results first while establishing what your needs are and catering to them through the use of the bells. They can be used simply as a teaching tool for movements leading into other heavy duty lifts or can be challenging just by simply working with the vast amounts of Kettlebell specific movements on offer.

The boxing component compliments this type of training quite well and is a preferred conditioning tool for many athletes involved in the striking sports.  We simply put the two together plus other equipment in getting you the results you are after.

Both are great in delivering a great calorie burn and given the group environment the support and motivation you receive all add up to a fun and rewarding workout.

In a safe, private and encouraging atmosphere.

Stay active and move old fella

If you’re a busy man that simply wants to regain your lost energy and build up a bit of fitness and strength or wishes to maintain these elements you are just like me!  As a father of two past my mid 40′s I understand the daily demands of work and family life taking up most if not all your time. While other active types are still playing their chosen sport, signing up for obstacle races, fun runs and triathlons I’m happy in still being an active older bloke that enjoys lifting weights, playing with Kettlebells, food , running and most importantly, enjoy active fun with my kids.

Given that most of the fitness market is catered towards the fairer sex with an abundance of group fitness options, like booty camps, hips and thigh classes, suggestive advertising on what you should look like, watching the morbidly obese get smashed and ridiculed on TV and the local commercial gyms female dominated group class it’s no wonder this is not your first choice in maintaining or regaining your fitness and strength.

Some of us stubborn types are still hanging around weight rooms, commercial gyms, and even now joining CF boxes and PT studios of all sorts. As a bloke we all like to think we can still handle the intense stuff!

Yeah, Yeah, I know YOU still can!

Obviously our own thoughts on what intensity and strength will be different to others and as we age sadly changes from what it used to be. It’s funny that will all my experience and supposed maturity. I still have that sense to lift heavy and push the pace, even now with running I reckon I can knock off the Olympic world record in the 10klm or am the faster’s alpha male at Spartan race! “Just give me more time please”

This is where my old head takes over and says “hold on there champ” you are no longer the young man you were.  Really? What went wrong?  I’m a man and don’t want to wear Lycra and do group classes dammit!

It’s important that for some of us not fighting it we recognize we are no longer bullet proof and while some of us even carry old wounds hopefully have realized we don’t recover like we used to. So if it hurts when you do an overhead extension (lifting your arms up above you head) or are unable to fold at the hips (say to pick something up ) without buckling in. and can’t see your toes, my good man I got news for you. You need to move, and move well. Even worse when these basic movements diminish they might even prevent you from earning an income.

I don’t know about you but it’s not what I look forward to heading into my later 40’s

Once you start to move and get the patterning correct you can still take action in achieving the following goals. Just like you car, if you don’t look after it. You are not going anywhere! If you are still interested in, Losing the gut, (For some) to be stronger and in better shape at 40 than we were at 20, Minimize the time needed to get in shape so that you can spend more time having fun with family and doing other stuff you enjoy, have the physical and mental resilience that will allow you to better deal with whatever life throws at you Or simply to be the coolest dad in the park by simply participating in play and not just watch from the outer. – TAKE ACTION NOW!

Whether it be running, swimming, cycling , Weightlifting , Powerlifting, Kettlebells, bodyweight or even boxing it’s important to recognize that movement of the body should be a priority with all disciplines. With the basic progression of movements I found in Primal Move and PCC syllabus I first found the movements/positions challenging. However with most things you just need to practice and eventually you will find your grove. I’m feeling a lot better with my overall patterns and still manage to keep on lifting weights.

Now pain free.

The whole change to a greater emphasis of movement in my training and my knowledge in martial arts compliments my bodyweight trainings quite well. As a personal trainer and Strength and Conditioning coach who’s been lifting weights for around 26 years now I’m always looking for ways to execute movements that eventually assist me with helping others move better and ultimately feel better about themselves.

The goals is simple At our age, train towards a more complete package of physical strength, fitness with better movement.

Or simply ageing older and stronger!

Book A Session Today!