Movement, Thought Processes, Ido Portal and the Asylum


LtoR: Mark Smith, Ido Portal & Me

Well, it’s been a hell of a week!

And by that, I mean a good week.

Last Friday I collected fellow My Mad Methods magazine writer and friend Mark Smith of Asylum Fitness in North Carolina from the airport.
He’d flown across the pond to join me and many others for a workshop with the legend that is Ido Portal.

If you haven’t heard of Ido, why the hell not?!?!
Watch him and his guys do some of their thing here:

He calls himself a “Movement Coach” and damn does that boy move.
Not only that he’s ridiculously strong.

Better yet, he brought with him three of his students as assistants.

And they could move.
And they were ridiculously strong.

The workshop was titled “Movement X” which is cool speak for “Movement Experience” and was an insight into the Ido Portal Method of training and a glimpse of the thought processes that fuel the method.

While we learned about the Squat as a basic human need, we looked at mobility both solo drills and with a partner. We did what he called kinesthetic puzzles where we had to figure out how to move a stick around with our bodies.
We were shown core strength and full body tension via handstand work.
We were shown how a simple set of gym rings, no people, not that overpriced TRX nonsense but a set of rings that cost a third of the price, are the foundation of Ido’s upper body strength work. This was also a time spent discussing the needs of the scapula, an area Ido has clearly studied in depth.
We learned straight arm strength, we learned bent arm strength, we learned progressions and repressions to both.
We learned locomotion patterns, bipedal low gait patterns and quadrupedal crawling patterns.

But more than that we were offered an insight into how Ido thinks.
The logic in the system, the madness behind the method and the incredible mix of art, science, philosophy and old school grit that really make the method work.

Exercises and movements are merely exercises and movements, but when you add to it the correct mindset and thought process they become so much more.

And that is what I saw over the weekend.

It’s something I look for every time I attend a workshop and often don’t see it presented, but if you earn it, Ido will offer you his soul. In two 9hour days he offered us a glimpse of what goes on behind his eyes, and inkling of how he thinks and a glimpse of what is possible in his world.

And I liked that. That alone made the course worthwhile, the actual training drills are just the icing.
After all, as Steve Maxwell often quotes, “Nothing is new in the world, its how you out it together that counts”

Earlier this year I was introduced to the Anatomy in Motion system which parallels the Ido Portal method in terms of the thought processes even if it has differing goals and methods. Different methods and goals, but a similar global view and overall goal. To help people move better.

This mindset is going to make WG-Fit better. The information will be amalgamated into the WG-Fit methods to further improve the training we offer our clients both in the flesh and online.

Before Mark left to go home to the States, he dropped by WG-Fit to pick my brains on the kettlebell lifts and then teach a class for me. They loved the Asylum Fitness bodyweight and movement stuff, well, loved to hate it……..


Dave Hedges

Don’t forget:

This Sunday: 1 Day Rapid Response Self Defence workshop, limited places still available HERE

Sat 26th July: Building a better cyclist workshop, details HERE



Being a Better Animal

I’m sat here thinking about the BJJ lads that I train and how they all brought medals home from last weekend’s tournament.
I’m also thinking of the upcoming Movement Experience Workshop with Ido Portal this weekend.

Two seemingly unrelated events but with one thing in common.
They’re about moving better, with skill and control. They’re about more than brute strength, more than speed, more than endurance and definitely more than aesthetics.

Many times since I started this blog I’ve mentioned a guy named Georges Herbert (say it in a French accent)
Georges philosophy of training speaks to me in many ways. He established a philosophy based on proficiency in several movement categories. He said a human should be able to walk, run, jump, move on all fours, climb, balance, throw, lift, defend yourself and swim
He also coined the phrase “Être fort pour être utile” or “being strong to be useful”

Think about that.

Be strong to be useful..

I call it “raising the average” or becoming a better animal.

A few years ago I used to work the doors with a burly bodybuilder who couldn’t box apples. The amount of times we had to rescue him as he couldn’t utilise his gym bulk and strength for anything other than looking good in a tight t-shirt.
To me that’s hours and hours of wasted time and energy. His training had made him less useful.

It is possible to look a certain way and still be athletic and useful. It’s just a matter of rounding out the training.

Why not add rope climbs, crawling movements, agility drills and the like to your training?
Why not learn to move fluidly in multiple planes of motion?

Your body will thank you for it as the nervous system relishes different challenges and movement patterns.

Add in some heavy bag work as a finisher, throwing solid punches is also one of the best ab workouts you’ll ever do.Superset this with some crawling or agility drills.

Do some plyometric work and multi direction lunges in the warm up.

Just don’t get one dimensional in your training. Do your main work but sandwich it with fun stuff, learn to be creative and to play. You’ll be a better animal for it.


Dave Hedges



The Real Purpose of Training

I see you all enjoyed Mondays guest post.
If you missed it, CLICK HERE and find out why Hardcore Core training and Ignition nutrition coaching founder Karen Coghlan gets really pissed off with the whole fad diet thing.

All going well, Karen will become a regular contributor to this blog, so finally, you might get some decent nutrition advice other than me repeatedly saying “Eat meat, veg and stop being a baby!”

But anyhow, back to my usual ranting and raving.

And today in the gym I was waxing philosophically about the point of fitness training.

One of my clients is studying acupuncture. She comes into the Lunchtime Sessions on an almost daily basis to work on basic strength. At the moment she’s doing more pull ups and harder variations than many of the lads, she swings bigger kettles than most of the lads and her squat and deadlift are creeping up.

But today she was taking things handy as exam stress is taking it’s toll, so the training stress is being reduced.

While she was in we discussed the cross over between the therapeutic method of acupuncture, the martial arts, Anatomy in Motion and of course, lifting heavy stuff.

What have they all got in common?

They are all there to increase our potential for performance. And by performance I mean everything you do, be it in day to day living, an emergency situation or in your chosen sport.

Training is there to increase your potential to move with speed, power and grace.

Discomfort is a normal by product of training.
That burning sensation deep in the muscles as you push out thise last reps.
The feeling that the heart may burst out of the rib cage on that last set of squats, or the second round of that complex.

The next day may be marked by some very slow, tentative moving as the body recovers from the training.

But come go time, you can go.

You can go further, faster, smoother. You can run, jump, crawl, throw, punch, kick, climb, swim and be all kinds of awesome.

If your training takes away from any of this, then what the fuck are you doing?

I’ve met people who can do the splits, but can’t do a full range bodyweight squat.
I’ve met guys who can deadlift a car, but struggle to simply step over the bar.
I’ve met runners who can’t do a push up and bodybuiders who couldn’t run for the bus.

And I’ve always wondered, why? Whats the point.

Ok, so if you compete at a high level, then specificity is important, but unless it’s paying your bills, why would you sacrifice your long term health?
Something to ponder on next time you’re resting between sets.


Dave Hedges

Fad Diets Piss Me Off

We have a special treat for you today.

Today we have a guest post from the owner of Hardcore Core and the Ignition nutrition program.
I asked Karen to write something for me after she joined WG-Fit recently and we started to learn about her no nonsense, (un)common sense approach to nutrition coaching.
Many of my crew have been quizzing her and I’m liking the answers she gives back.

So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Karen as she says:

Fuck Fad Diets

Fad diets piss me off. Because they completely and utterly fuck with your mind. They are pseudo-science. They make you skinny, for a while. Then they make you fat again, then skinny again, then fat again, then skinny again, then fat again. See the pattern? Fad diets are nothing more than a money robbing vicious circle of unhealthy muck.

Fad Diet Transformation

Not only do fad diets make you fatter than before, they also make you feel guilty, like a failure, like a piece of shit and just pure useless at times. Fad diets are not realistic, not sustainable, not maintainable, and are a complete mind fuck. They tell you what to do and don’t allow you to think and choose for yourself. They tell you not to listen to your very own body’s wants and needs. Unless you are completely devoid of hormones, as well as being emotionally detached from your body, then fad diets are bullshit.

Fad diets encourage compulsive obsessive habits and nutrition “rules”. They restrict or eliminate fun foods, which can later lead to binge eating. They encourage extremely unhealthy disordered eating patterns, or even worse, full blown eating disorders. Fad diets are simply harmful. They are gimmicks that drive you away from having a healthy relationship with food.

To build a healthy relationship with food, you must first FREE YOUR MIND. This might sound a bit hippy dippy to some people, but this is the bottom line. If you don’t do this then your relationship with food will be an extremely unhealthy and unhappy one for forever more.


Here’s an example of what I mean. You’ve decided to start following the Paleo diet, now picture the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1.
You get up in the morning and commit to being 100% compliant with your diet that day. You have a super duper healthy breakfast of eggs, some lean bacon and salsa. Elevenses hit and you have your berries and nuts that you brought to work with you. So far so good and feeling amazing, well done you, 100% so far.
Lunchtime rolls around and you unpack your Tupperware of salad with chicken breast, nom nom that was good and still 100% on track, woo! But then all shit hits the fan, uh oh, a meeting goes on late in work and by the time you get home you are STARVING so you grab the nearest thing when you get inside the door, a slice of toast.
Ensuing thought process: “Argh I’ve ruined my 100% compliance, I’m such a failure, I’m so useless, I can’t even stick to one day being 100%, I’m doomed, may as well have 3 more slices of toast now and half a pack of biscuits considering I’ve messed up already.”
You go to bed that night feeling like shit and wake up the next morning with a pending feeling of DOOM that you have to start your diet ALL OVER AGAIN, UUUUGGGGHH. Fuck it, you’ll wait until Monday and start the diet then instead.


Scenario 2.
You get up in the morning and say that you will give your best effort that day to be as compliant to your diet as you realistically can. You have a super duper healthy breakfast of eggs, some lean bacon and salsa. Elevenses hit and you have your berries and nuts that you brought to work with you.
So far so good and feeling amazing, well done you.
Lunchtime rolls around and you unpack your Tupperware of salad with chicken breast, nom nom that was good and still giving my best effort, woo! But then your meeting goes on late in work, uh oh, and by the time you get home you are STARVING so you grab the nearest thing when you get inside the door, a slice of toast.
Ensuing thought process: “Grand that will keep me going while I chop my veg and throw some chicken under the grill. One slice of toast is barely 10% deviation from my nutrition program… deadly that means I am still 90% compliant, go me, I am great, job well done! Now to find the hot sauce to drown my chicken in…” That night you go to bed feeling great about yourself, and wake up the next morning feeling even better knowing that you are one step closer to succeeding with your goals, HOORAY!

The single ONLY difference that day was the thoughts you had that morning. Those thoughts became your behaviours, and your behaviours determined the outcome. Think effort, not perfection. And if you fuck up from time to time, then that’s ok. Life happens.

Give yourself a God damn break.

This “All or Nothing” mind-set leads to the same sort of behaviour that fad dieting encourages. This is a very demeaning way to live your life and encourages very low self-esteem due to a constant perception of failure.

Change your thoughts, change your behaviours, and ultimately change the outcome. I know all this because I have been there. I’ve been an obsessive dieter. I’ve been to the bottom of the fad diet barrel. And it is my sincerest hope and intention to do everything in my power to prevent others from going there too, as it is the most unpleasant, darkest and unhealthiest place I have ever been.

ACCEPT who you are.
BE who you are.
GIVE yourself a break.
FREE your mind.

And for fuck sake, GO EAT a Mars bar every now and then.
Enjoy every single last lick of the Mars bar. Then move on and never think of the Mars bar ever again. Vote for moderation. Vote for a freer happier mind. You will be more confident than any magic diet pill or fad diet will ever make you. The body will follow.

Colours in between

My final thoughts: Succeeding with fat loss takes a truck load more than just blindly following a “diet” or mindlessly eating from a meal plan that a nutrition guru gave you. It takes patience. It takes consistency. It takes finding a balance that works for you. It takes setting achievable realistic goals. It takes ridding yourself of unnecessary expectations. It takes understanding that it will take time. It takes giving yourself a break. It takes eating a Mars bar every now and then.

by Karen Coghlan


You’ll be hearing more from Karen on this blog, but until then, check out the links above.



Dave Hedges


Building a Better Cyclist Workshop – Supplementary Training for Performance


Cycling is a growing sport and an excellent form of training and exercise.

But on its own it can create imbalances in the body that can lead to poor posture and injury.

So I’m going to be running a one day workshop where I’ll teach you how to warm up in preparation for getting on the bike.

We’ll also cover supplementary strength training to redress the specific movements of cycling.
The supplementary strength training exercises will mostly be based around using bodyweight only to keep it as accessible as possible to everyone who spends time in the saddle rather than in the weight room.
We may throw some kettlebell work included if we have the time and/or interest on the day. The kettle is a great tool for rounding out the cyclist, but there’s nothing we can’t get the same results from with just our own body and maybe a few old inner tubes.

These supplementary strength exercises will aim to bring balance back into the body, which significantly reduces the risk of those niggling, nagging, energy draining injuries as well as upping the potential for putting power down through the pedals and into the bends.


Opening the hips and spine

We will focus on:

  • General Mobility 
  • Specific mobility for the spine and hips
  • Core strength
  • Upper back strength
  • Gluteal activation and strength
  • Hamstring strength
  • and of course, your quads.
  • Breathing and breath control.

We will also discuss stretching techniques and the best stretches for a cyclist to be doing after a ride.


If we have the time, and adequate flooring, we may look at the art of breakfalling, for when the inevitable happens!


Here’s an article I have on the Onnit website that shows a training program I’ve put a few triathletes through, to read it CLICK HERE



For more information and booking details please CLICK HERE






You Don’t Get Tired! A Lesson from a Karate Champion

I’ve been having fun these last couple of weeks.

Paulie, my old sparring partner has been away on a holiday so I’ve been covering his Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) class for him.
His crew is currently working towards the Doce Pares World Championships, so they’re working pretty hard.

At the other end of the room I have my Kettlebellers. The regular crew and also my Kettleheads Girevoy Sports Team who are ramping up for a Kettlebell Sports competition.

So you could say, it’s busy.

And that’s not counting working with the BJJ lads who compete this weekend…

All of these guys require a high level of conditioning. Being strong simply isn’t enough, being strong for extended periods of time is more important. Being able to recover quickly from exertion is vital but possibly more than that is the ability to stay focussed while fatigued.

I can’t think about this without thinking back to being a teenager coming up through the Karate belts.
Back then we all had serious man crush on a black belt that’d occasionally travel up and train with us.

His name was Gerard Burke.

He was a Fireman
He was a champion karate fighter
He had possibly the fastest Gyakuzuki (reverse punch) in the business (he even had a telegraph before he threw the damn punch, but he still nailed us every single time!)
He had insane fitness levels
He was a genuinely nice guy
He was a good instructor.

Needless to say, we loved him and were in awe of him.

As both fireman and Karate-ka, he placed a high value on fitness and the ability to resist fatigue.

He used to say to us, “When you get tired, you must tighten up your technique, minimise everything, become efficient, never sloppy.”

That lesson hasn’t left my head since he taught it to us over 20 years ago.

Anyone who’s trained with me, especially if it’s for a competitive reason will have had me yelling at them “You’re not tired! OTHER people get tired, YOU don’t get tired!”

I guess that’s my version of Gerard’s lesson. Maybe not as eloquent, but the message is the same.

Whatever it is you are doing, fatigue will build. Your vision may become obscured as sweat drips into your eyes, your heart of pounding out of your chest and muscles are screaming out for more fuel, more oxygen and to simply stop.

This is the point where you must decide, “Who am I?”
Or more importantly, “Who do I want to become?”

Then it’s time to strip away any excess movement, any excess thoughts, to dial in and focus. Become a laser beam, ignore everything that’s going on around you, even in you and simply do the job that’s in front of you.

It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.


Dave Hedges





So How Do You Train for Self Defence?

The scene that got me so pumped, the following day  I joined a Karate club!

The scene that got me so pumped, the following day I joined a Karate club!

Only a couple of weeks left until I put on my other hat.

Most of the time you read my blog posts or attend my gym for the fitness info, but before I was getting people strong, I was training like a maniac in the martial arts.

I got pretty good at it too!

A huge part of my own training motivation revolves around being fast, strong and agile enough so that if shit comes to shovel, I’m well prepared.
And while I have accumulated somewhere in the region of 25 years worth of training under a variety of instructors in various martial arts systems I don’t teach any of this, other than to a handful of private students. Basically because being able to effectively apply many of the martial arts tactics in the real world requires hours and hours of practice.

In my life, I run a business, coach a stack of classes, clients and groups and have a family to spend time with. So I don’t have the motivation to put in the hours any more. I’d rather be home mucking about with the kids!

So what do I train and what is it I’ll be teaching on the Self Defence Course in a couple of weeks?

In short, when I train for self defence, I hang the bag and I drill heavy hits. Really heavy hits. I focus on the body mechanics required to create the best leverage and get my bodyweight into every strike.
I have three strikes that I train with umpteen variations that can be applied from each of the three.
I train a couple of kicks too, but not as much as the hand/arm strikes.
I also practice two defences.

And that s about it.

But most of the time, this is all that’s needed.

Self defence is about stopping an attack. It’s not about scoring points, it’s not about punishing the attacker. It’s about getting the most effect in the shortest time frame and getting home to cuddle the missus.

There’s no medals.
No glory.
No refs.

Simplicity is the key to getting out of trouble quick.

And that’s what I train.
It’s what Mick Coup, founder of the Core Combatives (C2) system teaches, and it’s the essence of Pat O’Malley’s Rapid Response system. Two lads that I’ve spent time with and hold in high regard. Both teach from experience and their core methods revolve around the idea of simple, effective principle based training.

Mick Coup talking about the punch

Mick Coup talking about the punch

If it’s principle based, it has universal applications.
If it’s simple it can be kept sharp even without regular training, although the more training you do, the better you will become. Simple techniques built upon solid body mechanics and supported with simple tactics.
And that’s exactly what I’ll be teaching on Sunday 29th July.

One question that always comes up is “why don’t you kick more?”

This was asked when I taught the Rapid Response knife defence module in Tramore a while ago, the guy I’m using to illustrate the point is a classically trained dancer and also a Thai Boxer, so he can kick.

I’ve given him my arm to hold onto and all I’m doing is moving him around while he attempts to carry out my simple instruction:

Kick me as hard as you can!

Here’s what happened:

That doesn’t mean kicking doesn’t work, just that hand strikes are far more efficient.

And in the one day course, we’ll break down the strikes and rebuild them to ensure that when you hit, you hit with everything you have,

The course is running on July 29th at Wild Geese from 1000 – 1600.
Get further details and book a spot CLICK HERE


See you there


Dave Hedges