5 Ways to be MORE Awesome



1 – Learn at least one new thing every day

learn as if

It can be anything, just so long as when your head hits the pillow there’s something new in there.
It could be a new tip on making your Jerk technique more efficient.
It could be discovering a shortcut on the way home.
It could be a whole new skill indeed. Knitting maybe.
It doesn’t matter what it is, what does matter is maintaining that active, curious and childlike mind.
Once we stop learning, that’s when we start getting old.


2 – Help someone else aka “Pay it forwards”

Few things in this world are as self satisfying as helping another. Altruism is potentially one of the most selfish acts around.
No really, it is.
If you could do something that was guaranteed to make you feel awesome and cool, you’d jump on it wouldn’t you?
Well seeing another person develop, grow, get a leg up or simply improve their current situation because of something you said or did is about as good as it gets.
There’s a great movement picking up momentum that was started by one of my members, Linda Donegan. Linda, along with one or two of her training partners and friends have started the Get1Active movement. As everyone reading this blog is into training and fitness, I think you’ll appreciate what the Get1Active movement is all about.
It’s simply a call to action, can you, as an already fit & active person, help a less active or even better, an inactive person get active?
We’re not talking dragging them down for a mad workout, we’re talking about helping them break that Arse-Sofa bond and getting moving.
For more details and to read some people’s personal stories of how getting active has changed them have a look at the website HERE.

Click the image and help Get1Active

Click the image and help Get1Active

3 – Play

Yup, play. Become a child for a few minutes of every day. And I mean every day.
Now before you pipe up and tell me about your exploits on Angry Birds or Halo, I don’t mane that sort of play. I mean move, roll about, jump, wrestle, interact with both your environment and whoever is in it.
Personally I have a distinct advantage here a I have a 2 young boys and a young dog who are always up for a play. Not a day goes past where I’m not being:

  • A scary monster
  • Batman
  • A Power Ranger
  • Batman
  • A Dog
  • Batman (Always be Batman!)


Like the saying goes, we don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.


4 – Sweat

Awesomeness grows from sweat. Find an excuse to break a sweat every single day.
Again, my own example is my cycle to and from Wild Geese every day, it’s about 4 miles each way and I could take it slow. But no, I make it a game to pass every other cyclist on the road, in doing so I break a light sweat every day.
Some days you’ll actually be at the gym training, other days you’ll be playing, sometimes you may be digging the garden or simply doing housework. Once again  it doesn’t matter, just do it hard enough or for long enough that you break a sweat. Little things add up to big things over time, and not moving enough is leading or species towards self annihilation, move more, sweat more (and shower more…) and just maybe things can be reversed.


5 – Spend time alone with yourself

Right now, you are sat in front of your computer screen, your mobile phone is sitting just off to the side. I bet there are people all round you, maybe there’s music playing.
It pretty hard to actually be alone. Even when we are those infernal smart phone jobbies are constantly at us, keeping us “connected”

It is imperative that each day you find time to disconnect from the outside world and re connect with yourself.
Get to know yourself again, learn to become comfortable with your own company. Find out just who you really are.


And then be Batman!

be batman

Each one of those 5 points could have been an article in their own right, maybe they will be another day. But there’s enough here to get you started, implement each of the 5 points and enjoy your awesomeness.






Kettlebell Swing Tutorial part V – Double Swings

Where are my hands?

Where are my hands?

This is the final part of the Kettlebell Swing Tutorial series. if you missed the previous articles, here are the links:

Part I – The Basics

Part II – Common Errors

Part III – 1 Hand Swing

Part IV – Personalising the Swing

If you’ve followed each stage through, you may well be ready for this final part, the double kettlebell swing.

Double kettlebell swings are far more intense, you’re not only using more weight, but the bells are able to move independently of each other. This takes extra stability through the body in order to maintain control of the two swinging wrecking balls.

Practising the double swing will develop a high level of strength and work capacity, it’s hard work, but it’s well worth it.

In the video I explain the three main methods for swinging two kettles. these are:

  • Inside the legs, or standard double swing
  • Outside the legs
  • Alternating

The inside leg swing is the first one you should go to, it’s a natural progression from single kettlebell work to double kettlebell work. The inside leg swing is also the precursor to the clean, if you wish to add double clean and press or long cycle into your training, you must master this movement.

Obviously you will need a wider stance than with a single bell and it is very important to keep the core active.

The second style is the outside leg swing. This is actually a favourite of mine and a drill i utilise a lot. This requires a narrow stance, the bells will be swinging past the outside of the knees, so you want to keep them out of the way.

As the bells swing back, you must sit back, the arms should not go into hyper extension, sit back so that they are in line with the body. This puts a huge load on the upper traps, so expect to be sore the next day. From there explode upwards and let the bells swing.

The third variation is one I rarely see. It was taught to me by Vasilly Ginko several years ago and I’ve not seen anyone else use it. It’s the double alternating swing.

The set up is the same as the outside swing, except the bells travel in opposite directions, one forwards, the other back.

This is a fantastic core strengthening drill, especially for rotation/counter rotation. I do urge you to be very cautious with this, it can pull you off balance quite easily.

Done right this will build a great deal of strength and stability through the midsection, it’s a great drill for anyone involved in contact sports.

Here’s the video:

This next video is a bonus featuring some swing variations that are rarely seen or used. All the drills shown here move in the frontal plane.

Most exercises, including the majority of kettlebell lifts travel either horizontally or vertically in the saggital plane. These are different, they travel laterally across the body filling in a gap that may be left out in a standard training program. If you use Indian Clubs or Clubbells in your training, you may already be familiar with these moves.

They are: Lateral swings, Circular cleans and pummelling.

Each one of the lifts will require you to turn the hip and waist, which is the key to power generation in the real world.

Practice caution with these, ensure your technique is on point before adding volume or weight to the drill. If you rush into these you are looking at shoulder, knee or even back injury. Keep the shoulder blade packed down, rotate from the foot and hip to avoid torquing the knee and keep the core tight.

Then, have fun. Here’s the clip:




An Unusual Handcare Tip

Get a roomful of kettlebell lifters together and you inevitably seem them showing each other the palms of their hands.
Each one will be checking out everyone else’s calluses and blisters, comparing them to their own.

Blisters are inevitable when you lift kettlebells enough, especially during the time when you are still perfecting your technique, or are chasing a new PR.

One of my regular lads is no stranger to these blisters, he comes in and throws himself into the days workout with almost reckless abandon, as much as I stress good technique, he just wants to work hard.
As a result, he often tears his hands.
Everytime he does this I look at him and say, “That’s going to slow your training down, why will you not just listen!”

But a few days later, he’s back and his hand is almost back to normal again. How does he do this?

Is he Wolverine with accelerated healing abilities?

No, he has young children at home, and so has a plentiful supply of Sudacrem.

That’s right, he rubs nappy rash cream onto his hands. And sure enough, they heal up in about half the normal time!
So if you lift Kettles, but want hands as soft as a babies bum, you know what to do…



Next Kettlebell Workshop:
Will be run by Mr Steve Cotter of www.IKFF.net, please contact me for details asap!

Next Boot Camp commences 15th November – But is FULL!
Bookings are now being taken for the Boot Camp commencing 31st January 2011.
Email for more details (info@wildgeesema.com)

Life saving training

A few days ago we wrote a post detailing the need to have a proper goal in mind before attempting to design or even follow a workout program.
If you remember, the article featured pictures of a hamster and followed his progress as he started out obese, took the commercial gym and goalless route of endless running on the wheel, before finally finding the pull up station and actually making progress.

He since took part in the intensive bootcamp we run (details) and took up Kenpo as taught by Wild Geese founder, Paul Cox.

And just as well he did too. Because just recently our boy was cornered in an attempted mugging.
Previously, as an obese individual with no strength and low energy levels, our boy would have been completely at the mercy of his assailants. However since shedding a huge amount of fat and building serious strength and muscle through a diet of Deadlifts, Pull ups and kettlebell work, upping his awareness and unarmed combat skills and growing his confidence with the kenpo training you can see how he was able to fight off what could have been a vicious attack.

Please watch this clip and see that if our boy can change his life and in doing so save his life, then so can you:


Who trains at Wild Geese?

Answer, anyone is welcome to join up, but fewer tend to stick around.

You see we have expectations. My writing style, as in this blog, has been described as challenging, our studio has been described as “ a no nonsense training facility” and “a real gym” and our workouts are tough.

But we are fair, we don’t try and kill you every session, we try to improve you. But our image and reputation is built around a simple fact. We train hard, and we expect you to do the same.

If you bring in your baggage from a day in the office or family feud and use it as an excuse to slump around and kick your heels, you get limited attention. If you come in with that look in the eye and an attitude of “Lets f*&^king go!” then we’re all over you.

Life gets in the way every now and again, we know this. Just yesterday two of my guys were struggling. Dave had just ran a 3:49 marathon the weekend before and was still shot, and Ray has been up to his tits at the office, while training as often as possible.
However both turned up and had to be told to slow down, take it easy. Ray was even told to take a few days off.

But that doesn’t change the fact that these guys still came in and were chomping at the bit to get moving.

If you start asking if you can go easy, start whining and whingeing or start blaming the equipment for you inadequacies, then just don’t bother. You’ll be more comfortable down the road at Curves or your local Zumba class. Or just stay at home.

We’re not elitist here, we just expect you to turn up and work hard.
For one hour out of your day, we expect you to be a focused and driven athlete.

I have a client who comes I with clinical depression, she’s morbidly obese and recently diagnosed with diabetes. This girl comes to training with fire in her belly, you can tell she’s been looking forward to training all day long.
She has more spirit than most of the muscle heads that have come and gone through our doors.

At Wild Geese there are no excuses.




Next Kettlebell Workshop:
7th November – Level 4, Double Kettlebells, includes the Long Cycle and more.

Next Boot Camp commences 15th November – But is FULL!
Bookings are now being taken for the Boot Camp commencing 31st January 2011.

Email for more details (info@wildgeesema.com)

The Paleo Warrior Zone, and Da Vinci?

I was just scanning over facebook there and Brad Pilon (author of the excellent Eat-Stop-Eat) had posted a link back to another trainers blog.
He had highlighted Leigh Peele’s piece on the Paleo diet and it’s surrounding hype.
Brad also said that if you don’t read the article, at least scan over the comments, of which there are many, some quite entertaining, others very informative from people both supporting and arguing against Ms Peele’s article.

Check it out for yourself here:

Ok, read it? Good.

The whole thing is timely as I’m about halfway through a paleo style book called the Primal Blueprint, and I’m enjoying it. Leigh’s work hasn’t put me of in the slightest, but I’m no supporter of the whole primal / paleo movement.

Before I get into it, let me just ensure that we are all on the same page, I am NOT a nutritionist, a guru or any of that nonsense. My expertise lies in Exercise, strength & conditioning and martial arts, not food.
But I’m also no idiot (you may disagree with that one…)

All these diet books are written for one thing. They are designed to sell, and sell in big numbers so that the author can sit back and watch the dollars roll in. I know this, I have a training eBook out (yes, I know a shameless plug, but you can buy it here with a load of extras at a ridiculously cheap price……) and another eBook is on the drawing board.
And while I am intent on providing the best info possible in the most usable format possible, I also wish to sit back and watch the dollars roll in.

Hell, it’s business after all.

Now that that’s cleared up, back to the diet books.
The thing that these books have in common (and I’ve read a good few of them this year) is that they spend around 50% of their total wordcount convincing you that they are right before handing out any real info. It’s a bit like a Darren Brown show, at the end of it he explains his trick and you go “Holy crap, I’m an idiot for being so easily fooled!”

All the diet books at the moment say much the same thing:

They tell you what to eat and when to eat it. The styles are different, but the actual content is actually much the same, just like martial arts, Karate is Karate whether you follow this style or that style, it is still Karate. Sensible eating is no different.
The rest of the book is creating an ethos, a legend, a cult that you so want to be part of.
Remember all the fuss over Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and all the church goers got in a tizzy and wanted him strung up. Non of them got the fact that it was a story, and entertaining story (crap film) but just a story.


Same with all the Paleo stuff, it is a few sensible recommendations all dressed up in a cool story.
Ori Hofmekler does much the same in his Warrior Diet book. And I love the Warrior Diet, it suits me down to the ground.

And there we stumble onto the point.

It suits ME.

If it doesn’t suit you, so what?!
The Wild Geese Muay Thai coach, Dave G (aka the Rasta) swears by Barry Sears and his Zone Diet and recommends it to everyone, he argued with me about it for a while when he rejoined us after his training camp in Thailand. After a month or so, he saw that my “Warrior” eating allowed me to work and train like a man possessed (the run up to the Irish Kettlebell lifting Championships) awhile maintaining good body composition and energy levels, on one main meal a day.
He also worked and trained like a man possessed eating his Zone friendly chicken salads 6 times per day.

Two men, two heavy workloads including training, two diet plans.

Who was right?

We both were.

Neither of us have been on the Paleo, but I have found myself recommending it to one very obese person and my sister who is ceoliac.
Is it right for them, only time will tell.

Should we get caught up in all the hype surrounding these books (“Get in the Zone, man!” “Are you a Warrior, a Hunter or are you a Scavenger”, “Live like a caveman, get Paleo”), no.

Read enough of these books and ignore the hype, get to the facts held within. Take a few notes. When you read the next one, do the same. Then compare the notes.
The result will lead you towards the actual truth, without the bull.

But here’s my recommendation:

Eat lots of Fruit
Eat lots of Nuts
Eat lots of Fish
Eat lots of Greens
Eat lots of Meat
Drink lots of Water
Eat untill you are Satiated
Avoid processed food
Learn to cook.

It aint rocket science.

And in case you missed my shameless plug, here it is again:


Got it?

Oh, one more thing before I forget,




Where did the week go?

Do you ever sit and wonder where the time goes?

Today is Friday, it’s almost the weekend and it feels like the last few days never happened!
However I can look at my training log and see that I have completed my scheduled training sessions on Mon and Wed, I can look at my other log books and see that I’ve had a dozen or more clients in and I can see exactly what they’ve done and on which day they did it.

So while the week feels like a blur, I can actually see the amount of work done in simple black and white.

Such is the benefit of keeping a log.

It means you never have to guess. I know that on Monday I performed a total of 21 reps in  the front squat, the time before that I hit 18. I know that today I have to hit 22+ using the same weight.
I can tell you that last friday I missed a workout, I had pain and stiffness that just would not loosen up so instead of the Deadlifts I had planned I did a mobility session.
This was all noted in my log book.

I’m going to ask you, do you keep a note of your training?

I’m guessing most of you don’t, you try to remember what it is you did on any given day. I have to tell you, if you’re looking to make improvements in performance, you’d better start writing down your results.

How else do you know if what you’re doing is working as well as you think it is?

Anyhow, this weeks saturday session:
It’s going to be a little later as I’ve clients in the morning.
So I’ll be in the Phoenix Park, by the old fort (crossing of the Military Road and Khyber Road) for 14.30.

Last week was fun, I’m already looking forward to getting out this weekend.