Getting Motivated

You may have noticed the blog has been a bit sparse of late.

I offer no excuses, I’ve simply been a combination of:

  • Working on another project
  • Spending “quality” time with my family
  • being unfocused and a little unmotivated.


Not something people usually associate with me, well not since school.

This got me thinking.

You must have noticed the massive surge in motivational pictures and phrases spewing forth from your computer screen everytime you log into facebook.

Yet, here I am look at them and not feeling even the slightest smidge of motivation rising in me.
I wonder if anyone really ever does.

Who has ever looked at one these meme’s and then actually got of their arse and done something awesome?

I bet the answer is none.

The most these things tend to do is motivate you to click either on “Like” or “Ban User”

So. How do we get motivated?

I’m no life coach (thank god!), nor am I a psychologist. I am a coach, a guy that makes a living motivating people to push out that last rep, to add that little bit more the the bar, to come again the following week.
So I tend to look at motivation through the eyes of an athlete, an active person, a fighter.

And this is what I think:

  • SAID principle
    This is pretty much lesson one in Fitness Instructor school. It stands on “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand”
    Essentially it mean that if you overload a muscle, it will be motivated to adapt to that stress by getting stronger. Simple.
    Does this only apply to muscles? Hell No!
    When you do something or think something, this starts to create a pathway. Each time you do this thing again, the pathway gets clearer and easier to travel, before long the behaviour becomes pathed out so clearly it becomes the easiest route to follow.
    That’s a bit metaphorical, but stick the word “myelination” into Google and read about how neural pathways are strengthened through repetitive use.

    This is NOT Myelination

    This is NOT Myelination

  • An eye on the prize
    People talk about setting goals and using these for motivation. This is cool idea, but do you notice how everyone puts down massive goals and then fails to even get started. The goal is so lofty that it becomes de-motivating.
    Yeah, there are those amongst us that look at the most ridiculous challenges with an attitude of “Bring It!”
    bring itBut most don’t, we look for the path of least resistance.
    So for these people the best option is break whatever goal you have into small steps. Think of it as a road trip.
    You know where you start (hopefully) and you know where you want to drive to, so plan the route, figure out the fuel stops and the overnight stays. Break the journey into small segments and it’s easy. Do it in a single sitting and you’ll probably end up in a ditch.
    This is how you achieve pretty much anything.
    A marathon is run one step a ta time.
    A double bodyweight deadlift is achieved one workout at a time.
  • Understanding the Why
    One of my old martial arts coaches used to tell us “Understand the Why and the How will become clear”
    Wise words.
    Why do you want to be this motivated person? Why do you want to achieve this thing you are trying to achieve?
    Figure this out and then re read the above two points.
    By figuring out the why you move towards whats known as intrinsic motivation, ie a real reason for promoting your well being as opposed to an extrinsic reason which is essentially keeping up with the Joneses
    miyagi awesome
  • Habits & Routines.
    When my competitors train they do a specific warm up. They create a little routine. They know that by the end of this routine it’s performance time.
    I don’t allow them change their warm up routine for around a month before any event, they do what they do day in, day out. When the travel to the event, they do it there too. This habit, this liitle bit of routine makes life a little sweeter, a little easier and makes succeeding a little less difficult.
    As I eluded to in the first point, we are creatures of habit. We also set our selves triggers.
    Think about a how a certain smell can take you back to a childhood memory. That smell is a trigger for that memory.
    Your everyday routines become triggers for bigger things. Start setting up deliberate triggers to lead into bigger actions.
    For example, back your gym bag the night before, be sure to have your lucky socks in there, or whatever you like to use.

    355kg for 11 reps, gotta be the lucky green socks!

    355kg for 11 reps, gotta be the lucky green socks!

Motivation is a funny thing. But action begets action, a rolling stone gathers no moss and things snowball or set of a butterfly effect.

Stop reading shit and looking at motivational pictures and start creating your own.
It all starts with a thought, but don’t let it end there.

Also, check this out it’s comedian Tim Minchins address to his old University, I think it’s awesome, you might too.


Dave Hedges

For details of upcoming Workshops, please click HERE

Your Excuses are Invalid and How to Achieve Your Goals


“Glory is fleeting, mediocrity lasts forever”
– The Rasta Jesus

I asked on Facebook the other day “what exercise to see being butchered the most?”
And the answers are coming in thick and fast, here are the most common so far:

  • Plank
  • Push Up
  • Squat
  • Deadlifts
  • Pull Ups
  • Cleans

Also getting a few people mention the Lunge and even the Punch!

So I guess I’ve a busy few days putting together some video footage for you.
I’ll get a few tutorials done covering the above list, much in the same vein as the tutorials I previously recorded covering the kettlebell lifts.

So that’s what’s coming up.

Today though I want to talk about getting your head right.

Everything say,everything you do, everything you’ve ever achieved and everything you are today and everything you’re going to be. It all starts and ends in your head.

And that means you need to gain control of your head.

There are a multitude of blogs and websites talking a vast amount of crap about self help, positive thinking, meditation, visualisation etcetera, etcetera.

Most of these sites are run my hyped up ego’s bent on emptying your wallet.

So here’s the Dave Hedges version.

Free of charge.

Workout what you want.
Workout why you want it.
Workout how you’ll get it.

End of.

Right now, I have a list of people working towards a list of training goals.
I’ve 8 guys on the Kettleheads GS Team working towards a Kettlebell competition.
I’ve a lad on the final approach to an Ironman triathlon.
I’ve a girl who desperately wants to get back to triathlon following injury.

And I’ve got Seb.

And because of Seb, all your excuses are invalid.

Seb managed to mess up his knee about badly as is possible and still be able to call it a knee.
As soon as he was somewhat mobile again, he asked me if he could come back training.
Seb is a BJJ player, last year he won a bronze medal in his category at the European championships. I look after is Strength & Conditioning needs.
When he asked to come in, I said yes.

We had a think and got him working. Mostly Pull Ups and Dip, with some pilates core work and seated battling ropes.
This went on, three days per week for a few months. After the first few days, I could see the changes in his personality, the damaged and depressed Seb was fading away in the face of this physical onslaught. The old Seb, the athlete, started to come back.

A while later he got rid of one crutch.

Then the other.

Then we sent him to our Physio, Andy Watson, who knows knees.

Pretty soon we got rid of the knee brace and upped his training from 3 to 5 days per week.

Seb now runs, he squats, he jumps and he even started skipping.

In January, he will compete again at the European Championships.

And only because he kept his head right.

He chose who to talk to and who to ignore. He knew the physio at the hospital wasn’t up to the job so he asked for my input. I sent him to Andy, who’s a no BS kind of guy.

Seb kept coming training, even though he was limited in what he could do. He threw his entire focus into what he COULD do not wallowing in what he couldn’t do.

He hung around the gym longer than needed, just so he could be around motivated people. Turned out, his presence and persistence is a huge motivating factor for the rest of my crew, they know their excuses are invalid when he’s around.

Seb took the time to get his head right. He found the people that would keep his head right. He did, and still does the work to ensure his head stays right.

This is why his injuries are making such good progress.

This is Seb a few weeks ago, remember only a few weeks previously he was wearing a massive knee brace, and before that was on crutches:

So what can we take from this story?

How about the following:

  • If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the motivation to get on with it. Seb said from the word go, that he wanted to be in the European champs, this is when he couldn’t even walk yet. This thought is what kept him working.
  • Surround yourself with people who will support you.
  • Set small goals and tick them off along the way.
    Seb went from two crutches, to one to none. He now doesn;t even wear the brace. Then we got him walking right and are working on regaining full ROM in the squat. Each is a step towards the greater goal.
  • Consistency is key.
    There will always be days where you don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Sometimes you just have to get on with it.
    This is where all the positive thinking bull shit falls down, you don’t have to be happy about doing your work, just remember what it is your working towards and dig your heels in and go for it.

Anything is possible.

Are you willing to work for it?


Dave Hedges

The Unglamorous Truth to Smashing Your Goals

“So, where are all the best downhills?” asked the young mountain biker.
“At the top of the best climbs!” replied the seasoned local.

And in that brief exchange overheard in a Mountain Bike shop and hang out in the English Lake District, you can learn everything you need to know about achieving your goals.

Modern society has developed around shortcuts.
We have perfected the microwave, the dishwasher, we drive to convenience stores, we drive THROUGH restaurants. We have 7 day detox’s, we can “get shredded” in 90 days we even have 6 second abs!


Every piece of knowledge and information you could ever want or need is a few clicks away on the internet, and you have the internet at you disposal on that smart phone that’s never out of easy reach.

So are we more productive?
On average, no, we have every time saving, convenience device on offer, yet the only result we seem to have gotten out of this is a reduced attention span and the inability to so the herd graft to get the cool results.
The graft has been removed, technology does it now, in return we have instant gratification.

Which is hollow at best.

But if we really want to hit the best downhills, find the sweetest singletrack and gain the most satisfaction from our ride, we must first grind our way up the mountain.

If we really want that athletic physique, we need to eat real food and train with real resistance.

If we really want to be able to do that cool push up variation, you know, the one you saw on youtube, then first you need to master the basic push up.

You want to do more pull ups, DO MORE PULL UPS!

You want to emulate your sporting hero, don’t watch what they do in the arena or on the pitch, find out what they do day in, day out, week in, week out. See how methodical, boring and repetitive being truly great is.

So take the advice of the Lakeland mountain bike man and remember, the best downhills and found at the top of the best climbs.



4 Tips To Ensure a Great Performance

We’re on the countdown now.

Saturday is fast approaching and with it comes the 1 Mile Kettlebell Swing Challenge.

Last Saturday I was very lucky to witness 5 of my athletes take the platform at the Irish Kettlebell Lifting championships. One of whom had never been involved in competitive sport and another who is dealing with a chronic injury. Every one of them looked and behaved in a very professional manner and every one of them hit personal bests.

The two events are making me think about the mental side of performance and how we get ourselves right in order to perform on the day. Especially in something as mentally taxing as kettlebell sport and the Mile. These are strength/power/endurance events, they involve explosive lifting of a weight again and again and again. Every one who experiences kettlebell sports for the first time is blown away by the sheer intensity of it.

So how do we get our minds right?

How do we know that on the day we’ll be able to pull it out of the hat?

There is no one answer but here’s my take.

  1. Routine.
    When one of my guys begins preparing for a competition or event, we get them into a warm up routine and never change it unless absolutely necessary.
    This means that on the day they have this to hold onto. They may be in a strange location surrounded by strange people, but they have their routine to go through, something they’ve done so many times that they can do it with almost no thought processes.
    This routine acts as a switch, they are used to going through the sequence in preparation for training, they know as they warm up they need to mentally switch on.This rarely fails.
    On the other hand when an athlete does a different warm up to the one they’ve practised in the gym, very often their on stage performance suffers.
  2. Visualisation
    I heard a lecture from a top Irish Sports Psychologist recently and he talked at length about the power of visualisation. My first coach and mentor,  Jack Parker spoke about visualisation, in his own inimitable way, constantly as I was growing up in St Martins Junior Karate Club.
    Jack would tell us to practice at every opportunity. He even told that we could practice while sitting on the toilet by simply visualising ourselves going through the techniques.
    So with this in mind it helps an athlete to see themselves going through the event, close your eyes and really see it, feel it, experience it. In your minds eye, see it going right, see the tactics and feel the adrenalin. Do this enough and by the time you are actually performing, it’ll be like you’ve already done it a dozen times before.
  3. Preparation
    I’m of the “Always Ready” school of thought. This is because, as already mentioned, I grew in martial arts where there is no season. You may have competitions, gradings and other events happening at the drop of a hat and if you weren’t ready, you got hurt.
    To me a high level of GPP (general physical preparedness) is of vital importance. Can you perform on any given day? The answer should be yes. That way all you need for a big event is fine tuning.
    I believe that any athlete should be able to get out of bed on any day of the week and put in a good performance right there and then. If you can’t why not?
    Maintaining this level of GPP takes hard work and discipline on a near daily basis, but it also develops the kind of grit, determination and confidence to step up anytime, anywhere.
    It also means that when you enter into a pre competition training phase, it;s an easy transition and all the training really does is sharpen your skillset and raise the confidence even further.

There’s a lot more to success than just these three points, but these are things I’ve seen time and time again with myself, my peers and training partners as I grew up and now my clients/students as a coach.

We all have doubts, we all have demons clawing at our self belief and confidence. But we must refuse to feed them.
We have to accept that they’re there, but that’s all. Give them more than this and they grow in power. If we give our demons power we may let them take over, and that is bad.

As I said earlier, the Mile walk is on this weekend. Our online fundraising page is in operation and will remain so for a month after the event, please click on the image below to be taken to the page and join the list of supporters who have already donated to our cause.
Each time I see a new entry on the page I get a little more excited about the event, this leads to point number four.

4.  Motivation – Why are doing what you are doing. I always say that if you understand the Why, then the How becomes obvious. In this case the Why is a group of people that need funds to help their recovery from Mental illness. The How then is to do a madcap fundraiser and have you lot sponsor me.
Click this image to do so:


Who Inspires You, And Who Can You Inspire?

 Where do you look for inspiration?

Who do you look to and think, “if I train hard enough, I may just be like them”

It’s a very personal question I know, but one that from time to time needs asking.

All of you who read this blog are active, you train, you strive to improve. If you’re not, then chances are you found the site by mistake.
But each of us is on our individual journey through the world of physical culture for a slightly different reason. We all started out for different reasons and we’ve all had different influences along the way.
But I’ll bet that throughout your entire journey so far there have always been a small handful of people in the back of your head that inspire you to keep pushing forwards.

Personally I’ve always been inspired by the older guys.
First and foremost is Jack Parker, my original coach, my old karate instructor. Jack always seemed to so full of energy, power and strength. As I grew from an 11yr old weed into and 19yr old, fit, athletic black belt, I could never touch him. In that time, I grew physically, mentally, I developed a reputation for the speed and timing of my strikes, I strength trained, I ran. Yet Jack was always Jack, and he was always better. Even now, I’m 35, Jack is in his 60’s, he’s still in the kind of shape I want to be in. I’d guarantee he’d run rings around any 19 year old even today.

Back when I was working in the Hotel trade in the Lake District as young man, there was a gentleman there who still comes to mind. Mr Charles ran the restaurant, he was around 50, tall, lean and the epitomy of what  Maitre’d should be.
He would be first in and last out of the restaurant every breakfast and dinner service, he’d run rings around the young waiting staff. Plus he lived 4 miles away and almost every day he’d either run or cycle to work. Twice a day.
I remember when Mr Charles had to go for knee surgery, it was a simple keyhole job but he was back on the restaurant floor within days, and I’ll never forget the look in his eye as he told me he could no longer run to work, he’d have to just cycle.

There are others as well, but more often than not, the people that fire me up to keep pushing are the older guys who are still doing it. I want to become one of those. If at 86 I can have even a fraction of this awesomeness:

I’d be happy.

So who inspires you?

Next question then…

Who do you inspire?

Obviously this is my job, but many of you just train for the pleasure of it.
But as this study shows, we make up a mere 50% of the population. 50% of Irish folk are considered physically inactive.
Two of my guys have put their heads together and come up with the Get1Active idea.

The idea is to inspire one other person to become active. Just one. They then inspire someone else and so on. Essentially it’s a pyramid scheme but for activity, health and fitness.

They’ve a facebook page just set up, it’s only a day old so there’s not much on it, but myself and others will be contributing on a regular basis. Click on over and have your say, get the ball rolling, become someone’s inspiration.

Here’s another take on the subject, Zach Evan-Esh talks about finding your spark:




Glide Ratio – Why I Workout as Maniacally as I Do

I can start by saying that a fair amount of what keeps me going is the phrase, “glide ratio”. I’m guessing that it was approx 10yrs ago that I was treating a recently retired long-haul pilot. Despite just having come back from Asia myself, I joshingly told him that I didn’t believe in aeroplanes. “Think about it: you fill a giant cigar tube full of people, throw it 40,000ft up in the air and it lands on the other side of this planet in someone’s driveway — AND you know which driveway it is!!!” He chuckled and proceeded to tell me the many ways that 747s were remarkably airworthy, “you know they have a glide ratio of 8:1.”
His point was that a fully loaded plane (w/all engines cut) would glide 8miles for every mile of drop. Suddenly I had the image, the phrase that I could use to succinctly describe why I worked out as maniacally hard as I did and do. The fact is that we are all going down. Eventually, we lose all our engines – my job is to keep maximum elevation going. No matter what my personal glide ratio might be, the higher I can keep my plane flying, the longer the ride.

If you can get yourself to fully believe in it, Death is a tremendous motivator.
One day – and mostly likely not one of your choosing – you will be dead. Really, truly, fully dead. Gone. Whatever the arena, I want to play big and play hard while I’m still allowed to. Lifting, running, loving, working – doesn’t matter, I want to do it full heartedly. Whatever you do, don’t wobble! The corollary to this is of course,

This life is such an incredible gift – I didn’t earn it (leaving aside any metaphysical/incarnational convo for the moment).

“BOOM!” and here I am, privileged beyond understanding with a healthy body and mind, and the personal resources (just like anyone else on FB) to maintain and even improve that healthy body and that healthy mind.
For me the question would be how could I be unmotivated???
To not make use of the incredible opportunity given to me in this life would be the same as actually, magically having the chance to spend the night with the fantasy person of your choice, and instead you turn on the TV and watch the shopping channel!

So get off your ass and go train, volunteer, love your significant other, but fuckin’ DON’T WOBBLE!

Wolfgang Brolley

The above article is one of many taken from our ebook Motivation which is free to download by clicking on the image below:

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How to Rock a Home Workout

Pistol Squat

Making the most of a rare sunny day in Dublin

I was asked a good question yesterday. It was one of those moments I always mean to have a voice recorder handy for but never do, because it was an important question with a big answer.
I’ve a feeling that now, 24hrs later, I’m not going to do it justice in writing.

However, here goes:

Q: “Why is it so much harder to train at home, I can’t seem to lift nearly as heavy as when I’m in here (wild geese)?”

Ok, that was paraphrased somewhat but the conversation was with a pair of women that train with me, and train hard. Over the last week though they’ve both had various commitments and have been forced to get their workouts done at home as they simply couldn’t get to me.
Fortunately both are well prepared, have their own kettles and notes on what to do.

The problem was different for both of them. One struggled to stay the course and get the reps done while the other simply struggled with a weight that she can usually handle while in the gym.

Neither of these issues are uncommon, so lets see if we can provide an answer.

A: There is no one simple answer, after all both girls have different symptoms. But we can generalise and cover most of the issue. Lets break into sections:

  1. Mental Preparation
    When you are scheduled to come into WG to train, it takes forethought.
    This starts many hours before you arrive at the gym, maybe even the day before. The first stage of this is remembering the Mental preparationappointment, this then triggers you to get your workout gear ready and have it somewhere you won’t forget it when you leave for work in the morning.
    You’re probably aware that you need a good dinner, a good nights sleep, plenty of fluids. You know that the workout will be tough and that too much coffee and biscuits through the day will leave you listless in the gym, and Dave doesn’t like that, so you drink water and eat cleanly.
    You know that you must be out of the office by a certain time to make it into the gym ready to go, you may even be relishing the opportunity to release that pent up office stress when you get there.
    Essentially you’ve spent the entire day planning to have a good workout, this may be subconscious or it may be conscious, either way, you’ve been doing it.
    By the time you actually step on the floor and get moving, you’re more than adequately prepared, mentally at least.Now compare that to most people’s home workout. You may have been in the house all day already, especially if you work from home. or you may have just arrived home from meetings/conferences etc. Either way, you’re entering a “comfort environment” and I guarantee, as soon as that arse hits the sofa it will form an almost unbreakable bond.
    The trick I find with home workouts is to get outside. If you have a yard, a balcony, a garage whatever, just get out of the “comfort environment”.
    This change of scenery can (should) be scheduled, so you know that at X-O’clock you get your gear on and get out the back to train. you should also have a plan made out well in advance, so you know what you will be doing. For my online clients this is done for them, but for the occasional home trainee you need to think ahead.
    All this will keep the though process as close to what it would if you were coming into me as possible. You’ll lay out your gear in the morning and have the plan beside it, you’ll have a predetermined time that you will go and change, pick up the plan and anything else you need and you’ll step outside and simply go for it.
  2. Distractions
    I already mentioned that your home is a “comfort environment”. You have deliberately set it up as such. You have a comfy chair set just the way you like it, the kitchen is fully stocked, just over there. The TV is sat proudly in the corner with its little remotes on the arm of your favourite chair. There’s no one breathing down your neck to get stuff done. It is your home, your place of refuge against the chaos of the outside world.
    Compare that to the gym, especially somewhere like WG.
    We are set up as a “training environment”. There is absolutely no mistaking this, you can smell it as soon as you enter. There’s music thumping out, there’s people moving around, hitting bags, practising rolls, lifting kettles or performing calisthenics.
    There are photographs of us training along the walls as you enter, just past the training certifications. There isn’t much comfortable in the gym.So in your home you must try to replicate a training environment. This means turning off the TV, the Computer and the phone. It means clearing away anything that may distract you, this means any coffee cups or kids toys that are lying around, it may mean rolling up the rug or putting down your training mat. Or it simply means stepping outside. Then fire up the stereo or put on your iPod with your favourite training tunes. I recommend building a play-list especially for this time, all high octane tracks that get you fired up.
    Once this is done you should have a distraction free environment. You can now get to work.
    One more thing – if you’re just in from a work day, DO NOT sit down or put the TV on, get changed straight away and crack on with it. TV & Sofa can wait, they make a powerful and dangerous couple and once you give in to them it’s very hard to escape.
  3. Lack of Motivation
    This is the biggest downfall of all. You can overcome any distraction if you are motivated. And for this you may need tools.
    If you’re a procrastinator, get a stopwatch/countdown timer. If I’m not there to shout at you, use a

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    machine that will beep at you. If you train alone a timer is your best friend.
    If you struggle to build the intensity to push hard by yourself, then you need to workout why. Why can you do it when I’m glaring at you but not on your own?
    You need to work out you “why.” Why do I want to lift this? Why is this important to me?
    Once you know the why, then the How is easy, just get on with it.Either way, keep a training journal and note down everything that happens in your workout. note the weight, the reps, the sets, the rest periods, the music playing, the time of day, the weather, the location, how you felt before/during/after.
    It doesn’t need to be an essay, bullet points are fine. Over time you can look back over these notes and see what you need to create your training environment as well as the points that seem to hold you back.
    Maybe certain songs get you pumped for lifting heavy while others leave you weak and unmotivated. Maybe you train better at a certain time of day. Do certain weather conditions suit (I work best in inclement weather, I set a PR on the kettlebell snatch one day in my back yard during a hail storm and gusting wind!)

This is by no means an exclusive list, these are general suggestions. Each of us have our own personal lazy demon that we must battle. But battle we must.
Training at home is great, everyone should be able to do it, many’s the time that life will throw a curve ball at you and you simply can’t get to the gym, so having the tools at your disposal in the home are vital.

Now, shut the computer down and get on with it!