Posted by John on

Technology in Training

You know what I did before I dedicated my life to football and driving myself?

I programmed. I read. I played chess. I spent a lot of time in school taking crap from the guys who played football because I was interested in breaking down the numbers. I wanted to see the patterns and understand the logic and reasoning behind something.

working technology

The same holds true for my training. I want to understand the reasoning. If I’m making gains I need to know why. If I’m falling behind I want to know what is causing it. What’s working for me on the strong days what was the pattern behind the two weak days this week?

So I geek out in my training. I’ve had people try to give me crap in the gym for sitting with a pencil and paper but I outperform them. Not that it’s a race or a competition with people I don’t know in a gym. But there’s a reason I outperform them.

But I’ve moved on from a pad and some paper. Technology drives me now. I used to hire coaches to tell me what to do and when to do it. For sport specific stuff and physios this is still the case but maybe at some point computers and technology will catch up on them too.

There are two parts to my training. The technology and devices available are much better for anything cardio related. The heart race monitor I wear hooks directly up to my phone and tells me when I’m slacking off. I don’t personally need the GPS and step tracking stuff although I know it works as a good motivator for some but the automating timers are a useful indicator of how I’m performing that day.

For strength the choices are a lot slimmer. The Beast Sensor was the closest thing to looking useful but honestly? While the adverts look great for it the actual hardware falls short. It looks a bit like the engineers behind it and the marketers promoting it didn’t really get on too much. One sensor is just not capable of picking up that much information. Again it might help people just getting started if it gives them a rough idea of what they’re doing each day. But the hardware just isn’t there to deliver on the claims it makes. And this isn’t just my opinion.

The hear rate monitor still helps give a rough idea when I’m performing as I should be. And I might use a spreadsheet instead of a pen and paper but the best thing I do is still just keep track myself. I know my own body more than electronics and sensors ever can. I know when I was capable of finishing my set and when I pushed it as far as I could go.

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Wireless Booster and a Pulley

So what did Santa bring me this year? A wireless booster and a pulley. Not quite a partridge in a pear tree but I doubt there’s much protein on those anyway.

Seems like a strange mix but I haven’t been this excited for anything to come through the post in a while. I’ve already said by bit on  technology and training and by having the equipment to train better it means I perform better.

The Pulley

building pulley

Nothing fancy. Simple bit of steel, decent size. I might need to explain a little bit of the logic behind it though. For certain things I’m doing I need to add weight. I really need to get the strain going so I might use a vest or occasionally just hang bars from my harness. The pulley is basically the opposite of that it will take weight off instead of putting it on. While pulling up for example it will lower weights meaning I have less to deal with. Not normally what I want.

In specific circumstances though this makes a huge difference. In my case I’m going for the one arm pull-ups. I know I just ranted against new years a few days ago and I don’t do the whole new years resolution thing. But as a completely arbitrary time frame I want to be able to do them by the end of 2017 and working them normally is a nightmare. And I mean a proper nightmare. Entirely possible but my goal is to be fast and efficient. Not slow because I couldn’t spring $10 for a pulley. Took a bit of a weird setup to get it on my door frame and the landlord might not be too happy if it ends up causing damage but I’m already able to get started and all I do now is keep reducing weight until I can put the pulley away.

A team mate of mine does a similar thing with bands but I want to relax my other arm each time and the band still has it working so this takes a bit more setting up but it’ll be worthwhile I think.

The Wireless Booster

I mentioned I like to geek out with my training right? Well nothing quite has me geeking out like a new piece of hardware. I started keeping my logs and storing everything basically online. It was great because I could access it from anywhere from my phone to my desktop but I couldn’t get a wireless internet signal to my shed which meant I had to write everything down and enter it again online when I got back inside.

I can’t even use my phone data signal it’s just a wireless black hole out there. Cool in the winter though I just can’t give that up.

wireless booster

For a few minutes I had considered trying to reach an ethernet cable from the shed to my house but that was out of the question. Even if I crimped together the longest cable in the world and it managed to survive the foxes and whatever else goes through my garden there is no chance I’d be allowed to do it. :p I tried moving the wireless router closer to the window heck I even tried fashioning a wireless antenna out of some aluminium foil and directing the antenna signal towards the shed. Believe it or not if nothing got moved this did actually help a little but it wasn’t enough to make a difference so I added a range extender to my Christmas list.

I found this cool WiFi booster idea which mirrors your wireless network and you can then connect to that device. They did have specific models for outdoor repeaters which I could of placed in the garden but they did cost more. I settled on a high strength wireless booster with a directional antenna. It looked a little sleeker than my attempt with the tin foil and it really did the trick. I was able to put it up in the attic where it still got a connection to my router and then point it down at the shed where I get full signal.

Being able to connect to the internet means I can track everything and (god yes) it means I get back on Spotify in there. It also doesn’t hurt to have some YouTube videos to fall back on for technique if I’m doing anything I’m rusty on.


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Training and Eating Right

One of the biggest things I think people don’t seem to get when it comes to eating habits is:

  1. How much work it really takes to improve them.
  2. There’s not one single “cookie cutter” thing you can do.

Sometimes the hardest part of my training is my diet. And I don’t just mean avoiding the junk food. That stuff I find easy. Once I’m in that training mindset I don’t have the urge for junk food and fizzy drinks.


I feel that hunger. I feel that urge to push myself every. Single. Day.

What I do have a problem with is making sure that I’m hitting all those key points. Getting the measurements right. Getting the nutrition right. Eating at the right times. Avoiding empty carbs is the big thing for me. And I’m still very bad at preparing meals ahead of time which means I’m constantly on the back foot trying to catch up and eat proper meals. This means I end up eating quick and easy meals which means preservatives and that means less nutrition.

Innocent Smoothies are a good example.


They’re packaged and sold as a healthy alternative. There’s a lot of sugar but that’s a fruit smoothie there’s always sugar. That’s the defence the company makes anyway. The problem is normally there’s plenty of fibre in with that sugar which helps you put it to some good use. These things are so packed with preservatives though that goes out of the window straight away. Straight away. They’re still probably better than drinking a bottle of coke or beer but that’s not exactly saying much.

If you want a healthy smoothie then you have to be putting the right stuff into it. Not just the fruit that tastes good. Get some Kayle in there. Get some beetroot. And you need to be taking fresh fruit and veg and putting it into a smoothie – not a juicer.

My diet always changes. If I’m training I want to train heavy. I need all those carbs. If I’m performing I need to go light. I need to feel quick and agile but I still need that energy. I still need the nutrition. It’s a fine line to walk. Not an easy one but I’m slowly getting better.

Posted by John on

The Hero In You Not New Years

I don’t do new years.

The first of January is just another date on the calendar for me. I don’t say this to be some kind of edgy character. I know a girl who refuses to talk to anyone over Christmas because it’s a “quirk” of hers. I say it because I 100% believe it is a waste of time. If you have a a passion for something. A dedication. A motivation. The only way you get anything out of that is with obsession. Obsession to be the best, do the best and do it every single day.

Without that obsession you have nothing. No amount of training, skill or natural talent is going to be enough. No amount of great ideas is going to cut it. The ones who make it are obsessed by it. Driven by it. Motivated by it alone.

Don’t get me wrong. I like videos like this. I don’t rely on motivation. Motivation is too fleeting I rely on sheer, hard discipline and determination. I motivate myself by being die hard determined that I’m going to make my own reality.

And new years presents this idea to people. The idea that things are going to change. That somehow everything is going to get better. This article on procrastination by the NY Times has stuck with me for the entire year as exactly the problem with people. They try to justify a problem. You’re not procrastinating you’re “letting the idea sit” and in the new year it’ll be a new you so you can start the diet then.

I’m not even bothered by the fact people use it as an excuse to drink and party too much. If you’re going to do that then you’re going to do it anyway regardless of the date on the calendar. We just find it more socially acceptable to be slurring your speech on certain times of the year.

And I have no problem with this.

I don’t judge people for what they want to do with their spare time. Your life is yours just as my life is mine. I’m not doing things better or worse than you I’m just doing things differently.

I didn’t spend new years drinking – I spend it training. Right up until about 10PM I was in the gym. I crawled out of there after giving it my all like I do any other day. And you know what I did New Years Day? I was out in the field from first sun up.

And that’s my choice. My dedication. It doesn’t place me above or below you for whatever you did with your weekend.

What does get under my skin is letting it dictate your life. I had people tell me they wanted to start training. They wanted to do something different. They wanted to make that next level. And they were going to start – in the new year.


They looked at me like I had two heads when I asked that question. When you think about it the new years is an arbitrary date. Nothing is going to change. It’s not going to be easier then. It’s actually going to be harder. Every moment you leave it the harder it will become. Not to mention that studies have already shown us after a festive period we feel diminished by going back to everyday life. I was elated during that season I had more free time to spend doing what I wanted and I made full use of it.

I came off my last injury around December 15th. My ACL in my knee was injured and the rotator cuff in both shoulders needs some serious attention. But I was able to get back into it with plenty of prehab and effort. I spend most mornings up before anyone having to work prehab training things just to get them to the point where they won’t get injured. And I started doing this on the morning of the 15th as soon as I got the all clear.

This blog. This project is starting for the new year. I want you to watch this kind of video if you it to get motivated. I want you to learn the skill it takes to drive yourself forward when everything else is saying stop.

And I want you to be here next December 15th. That’s fine you do whatever you want on New Years just make sure you’re doing it on your rest day because the rest of that week is booked.