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Calibre Fitness Blog

Mansour Bahrami is one of the leading names on the Seniors Tennis Circuit. With his gift of showmanship, his special athletic talent and his famous trick shots, he is now instantly recognizable to tennis fans everywhere. Watch this compilation of some of his best tricks!

Posted in Latest News By Calibre Fitness




Visit us at the 2013 Australian Fitness and Health Expo. Calibre will be displaying our Full Commercial Cardio and Strength ranges at site H28 in Hall 3 of the Convention Centre and we would love for you to come and check out what we have to offer!

Where:

Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre
Darling Drive, Darling Harbour
NSW 2000
1300 786 688

When:

Friday, 19 April, 2013 - Sunday, 21 April, 2013
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
E. Australia Time

 

Floor Plan (Click to enlarge)

Posted in Generic By Calibre Fitness

Featured Interview: Tom Hafey

November 27, 2012

Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness talking with Tom Hafey. How are you doing Tom?

Tom: Sensational Steve... and getting better.

Steve: Fantastic. Tom Hafey is a former Australian Rules football player and coach and an icon of Australian sport. He is 81 years young, but age that number doesn’t play a big role in Tommy’s life. He’s still going strong, training harder than most men 60 years his junior!
Tom is considered to be one of the most successful and inspirational coaches of the post-war era. He began his senior football life as a tough, relentless back pocket specialist who played 67 VFL games for Richmond between 1953 and 1958, but it is as a coach that he is better remembered. Throughout his career, Tom Hafey coached four teams to Premierships in ten Grand Final appearances and is one of only six coaches to have coached over 500 AFL/VFL games.


These days, while most people his age would be happy to still be walking, Tom is still training every day like an athlete, doing motivational speaking all over the country, running coaching clinics and having a massive, positive influence on tens of thousands of Aussies every year.

Tom, you’ve never touched alcohol or cigarettes and gave up cakes and biscuits 40 years ago, so you obviously have a pretty phenomenal diet. What does your diet consist of and is there anything you let yourself indulge in.

Tom: Well, ice cream is not lollies biscuits or cakes. I make new resolutions and you need to make new resolutions you know you can keep, because I’m trying to show my little girls when they’re coming through the years to set your mind to do something and nothing should sway you. So I said ‘I won’t eat lollies biscuits or cakes for 12 months’, that was 38 years ago and I haven’t eaten a lolly, biscuit or cake since. But ice cream’s not lollies biscuits or cakes. Is that right?

Steve: Haha, exactly.

Tom: So Steve, I have a lot of dessert, but the meals I eat are pretty basic and simple. I have cereal for breakfast with fruit and yoghurt and a cup of tea. At lunch I often just have a salad sandwich, or if we’re out I’ll just have what they have there. Then for dinner, we have red meat once a week; fish probably twice a week, pasta and pretty basic things like that and I eat a heap of fruit. When I go for a drive, and I go for a lot of big drives when I speak to schools, I might take a dozen pieces of fruit. I’ll eat them on the way up and on the way back. It keeps me awake for a start, but it’s also good healthy food, isn’t it.



Steve: Yep, absolutely. Your training routine is pretty well documented; waking up at 5:20am, an 8km run, followed by 250 pushups and a swim in Port Phillip Bay, then up to 700 crunches and sit-ups. Is this still your daily routine?

Tom: Oh, yes it is. I don’t do all that on the weekend. I get out of bed when I feel like it. Instead of getting out of bed at 5:20, it might be 7 o’clock or even 8 o’clock, and I might not do as much... But I never not do anything. The only time I might miss out completely is if I have to catch a plane at 6 o’clock in the morning or something like that because you have to be out there an hour before the plane goes. But in most cases, probably 360 days of the year I would be doing exactly what you mentioned.

 

Steve: As each year passes, how hard is it to maintain your fitness level?

Tom: Well, I was one of the first players ever to use weights and that came about when one of my teenage friends, a mate I went to school with and we knocked around with each other and stuff like that, went into weight lifting. He actually represented Australia in the Olympic Games in 1956. I would go down to his garage where he had his own weights and then after that I went to a gym in the city. It would have been 1952, and incidentally Steve... I bought some weights in 1952, they’re very rusty but they weigh exactly what they did when I first bought them, how about that? But I still go to the gym now. I’ve been to Bodyworld tonight and I go there, once the footy’s over when I can get to the gym in a really consistent manner, I’ll go 3-4 times a week and I work really quite hard, as hard as I can do. I never leave unless I finish the card. I tick off the exercises I put down and go right through that and I’ve also got a wave rider so I’m down in the big surf with my grand children at Portsea or around at Point Leo, Flinders, Honeysuckles, places like that. I say to everybody every different day is a great day; if you don’t believe me, try missing one.

 

Steve: Haha, absolutely. Tom, you played for a few VFL teams, but predominantly Richmond. Are they still the team you follow these days?

Tom: Yes. I come from Richmond. We were born in Richmond and lived in 6 houses during the depression, in my first 4-6 years. Then in the depression, my dad had no job and 2 little children, so we went up to Canberra. He was a printer. We lived in Canberra for 5-6 years, which only had a population of 11,000 back then. Now I think it’s about 360-380 thousand. So 11,000 would be as big as Benalla or Warragul or Colac or somewhere like that. Then we lived in East Malvern and that’s where I was recruited from. Then when Maureen and I met and got married, we had a milk bar in Bridge Rd Richmond for 5 years where 2 of our 3 children were born in the shop.

Steve: How do you think the Tigers will go next year?

Tom: Well, I like to think they’re on the right track, but everybody says ‘on the right track’, but being a realistic sort of person... This year we finished 12th, we lost more games than we won. There are 11 other sides that think they’re going to be better than us. But I was really pleased with the way they went about the job, we lost some games we shouldn’t have lost. Lost to some very ordinary teams, and yet we beat the premiers. We beat Sydney Swans by 6 goals; we beat Hawthorn by 10 goals. You can’t work that out. We’ve actually won against West Coast and Geelong by 10-12 points in the early part of the season and yet we’ve been beaten by teams that we definitely should have beaten. Hopefully we might learn a bit from that.

 

Steve: Who do you think is the best footballer you’ve played with or against?

Tom: Yeh, that’s too difficult a question. I don’t like to compare the boys I played with. I think that each club I’ve gone to, there’s been a lot of great people and players. I guess, Francis Bourke, Royce Hart, Kevin Bartlett, Kevin Sheedy, Ian Stewart, Billy Barrett, Dicky Clay, Michael Green, Barry Rich-there are a lot of good players... and yet when I go to Collingwood, the older players who had been the big names such as the Des Tuddenham, Wayne Richardson, people like that, they’d gone a little bit past it. But then you’ve got Peter Daicos, Peter Moore, Billy Picken, Ronny Wearmouth and fellas like that who came on the scene. So it was really great. Then I went down to Geelong and 2 boys who we got that were rejects from other league clubs happened to be superstars. One was Gary Abblett Snr who was let go by Hawthorn. Well he was a superstar. There’s no doubt about that. I think everybody recognises that now, and the other was Greg Williams who wrote to me and asked if he could come down for a trial because he’d been knocked back by Carlton, the club that he was actually sewn to after two occasions after winning the best and fairest in the Bendigo league. He was an instant star at Geelong, won the best first year player, best and fairest in his second year and I think it was his 3rd year that he won the Brownlow. Ironically, he went back to the club that originally rejected him and won another Brownlow. It’s an amazing career isn’t it?

Steve: Oh, absolutely.

Tom: When I was up in Sydney, we had a lot of boys who came up there, but there were some really good players up there; Mark Brown, Dennis Carroll, Mark Bayes and obviously David Murphy, Warwick Kappa. See Warwick kicked 92 and 103 goals in his 2 years with Tommy Hafey, so that will give you some indication. It was a really great effort in Warwick’s case.

 

Steve: You were the first coach to introduce the practice of 3 training sessions a week and were always renowned for having the fittest team in the league. How did you maintain such a fit group?

Tom: Yeh. Well I just felt that you only get out what you put in. I know that the boys had a feeling that, when the going got tough we’re going to win these close games, which we used to, because we’d trained harder than the opposition. Sometimes a lot of people are very negative and anti anything someone puts up. But I just knew that’s what was required. I knew that we’d done the same up at Shepparton and won 3 premierships in a row, so I just felt that you had to train hard, work hard and live well. I don’t mind the players drinking, but I get upset when they do the wrong thing by their team mates. I really hate that.

 

Steve: Could you tell us a bit about Percy Cerutty and the effect he had on your life and your coaching style?

Tom: Absolutely sensational. He was a man who I really admired like you wouldn’t believe. I read his first book when I was coaching Shepparton and I could not put it down. I immediately wrote to him and we became very good friends. I’ve got the 6 books that he wrote, I’ve got 2 books written about him and somebody sent me a book from America earlier this year, Training with Cerutty. I’d never known those books were around, so I’ve read them with interest. But I’ve re-read and re-read the Percy books, and people, when I lend them, say this is 30-40 years before it’s time. I suggest to everybody, if you can get the chance to read a Percy Cerutty book, you’ll be absolutely staggered because we’re talking early 60s, when he wrote his books, yet it’s the sort of things people are just doing now. I thought he was just marvellous. We went down there as a group, I brought him up to talk to our players, things like that. He wasn’t a football person, but he liked it enough. I just thought he was absolutely marvellous.

 

Steve: What age did you actually play football until and do you still play any sports?

Tom: Well, everybody played football when they were young in my time. There was no such thing as the idiot box, when you come home to sit and watch that or play these games on the whatever. My mum would say ‘get outside and play’, so we’d be outside kicking the footy or bowling the cricket ball. Everybody played football during winter and cricket during the summer; it was just the national thing to do. The girls would have been playing ‘rounders’, which is now softball and basketball which is now netball. There were other sports there, but they weren’t as popular. They weren’t the sports that were in the paper or anything. We didn’t have any of the junior teams they have today, the under 10s, under 12s, under 14s, under 16s. So the first football I played was in the under 18s with East Malvern. That was probably when I was 16, so 2 years for the under 18s, then I went into the seniors.

 

Steve: Are you playing any sports at the moment?

Tom: Oh, no. Not really. I just go to the gym and do my fitness things which is very constant and something I enjoy. Look, I go and see a lot of games, but I walk away a lot of the time when they start messing around with the ball. Kicking the ball backwards, sideways, having 150 interchanges, 200 handballs. It’s not the game I was brought up in. I know a lot of people my age say that and people then say ‘that’s just the old folk, whatever’, but I just don’t enjoy it. I’ll tell you what I do enjoy, I see more games in the country than in the metropolitan leagues. I like the atmosphere, I recognise the great skills of today’s present players and I wouldn’t dare compare country and metropolitan with the great skills our AFL players have got. But I just prefer the way the game’s played to be quite honest.

 

Steve: Sure. Tom, you’ve won a lot of big football accolades, but what do you consider is the highlight of your football career?

Tom: Look, I think playing your first game is something special. A lot of children ask me that at the schools that I go to and I know it’s a selfish sort of a thing, but there’s a lot of people that have been sensational players in the local teams and country teams and all that sort of thing and yet if they play one game with an AFL team, people immediately take them up to an eliteness, so I suppose playing my first game was something special and I was a very ordinary player at that level, incidentally. But I guess, being connected with football for so long, having so many good friends who I’ve kept in touch with all these years. Being godfather to some of their children, being invited to their children’s weddings and things like that. I just think that’s what life’s all about really. I try to encourage people to really keep your friends, get on the phone, ring up people who you might have been very, very friendly 20-30 years ago when you were a youngster, and all of a sudden you drift apart, understandably. But it doesn’t hurt, now and again, to put in a phone call, so I do that a lot to be honest. I’ll tell you what I also do, Steven, I ring up 130 boys who played with me at Richmond, and come Christmas time... I take them all out to lunch. That happens down at the London Tavern down on Lennox St in Richmond. It’s the pub that the boys used to drink at when they didn’t think I knew they were drinking. We go there and I get probably 70-80 to come along. If I’ve got their phone number, I’ll ring them up- all the boys that played with me at Richmond. They come from miles, 10 of them come back from interstate every year. They put their arms around each other and cry. But that’s what teams are all about, having feelings for each other and enjoying each other’s company.

 

Steve: Did you have to make any particularly hard decisions in your sporting career?

Tom: You probably do, mainly with other boys who you have to let go after 2-3 years and you just have to make a decision whether they’re going to be good enough to get a game and be a very good player for your team. I think anybody who coaches has to make hard decisions, it’s not nice to do, but it has to be done. You’ve only got 40 players on the list, so you often have to drop certain players. A lot of the boys get rejected by a certain club, but make it big at another club and incidentally, there were 6 of the 22 players in the Sydney swans premiership team this year who were rejects from other league clubs, there would have been 7, but Ben McGlynn who got the axe from Hawthorn was injured so he couldn’t play in the Grand Final. Last year there were 5 in Collingwood’s team and when St Kilda nearly could have won the premiership twice in the last 4 years, 8 of their players were rejects from other league clubs. How interesting is that? That’s the thing I tell the children, ‘don’t get upset when things don’t go your way’. The great Shane Warne took no wickets for 150 in his first test and he finished up having taken 708 wickets and was probably the 2nd best cricketer who ever played the game. So if you’re feeling sorry for yourself and get really down, you’re probably never going to reach your potential, are you?

 

Steve: No, exactly. What advice would you give to a young athlete/footballer just starting out?

Tom: I just tell them to listen to what the coach has to say. They shouldn’t take their faces away from the coach, look into his eyes and ask him questions as well. But make certain you’re the most enthusiastic and passionate person on the football ground. You need to really work hard. I go down and watch some of the players train and sometimes I’ll take training... and I know that it’s very social, especially in country and metropolitan leagues, but you always think that the players could be a little more passionate about it. I know that’s somewhat the coaches job, but I just know a lot of the boys come back a few years after and wish they could have their time over again. They apologise for their slackness or for their lack of discipline when they had their chance.

 

Steve: Yep, exactly... and just finally Tom, which up-and-coming footballer are you most excited about?

Tom: Well, obviously Trent Cochin, who’s still an up-and-comer even though he’s won 2 best and fairest. I’m fanatical and crazy about his tremendous courage and his talent and I think he’s getting the best out of himself. It will be interesting to see how he goes being a leader. There’d be a lot of players like that though, there’s no doubt about it. Naturally enough, being connected to Kevin Morris, his boy Stephen, I’ve been so pleased and proud because he didn’t get it easy, even though he might have been the son of a champion, Kevin. He was at Richmond; he was at 3 other clubs then had to go to West Adelaide in South Australia where he was actually recruited from and he finished 7th in their Best and Fairest last year. So you find a lot of things like that, don’t you?

 

Steve: Yeh, absolutely. Okay, well... Thanks Tom, that’s all I have for you. I appreciate your time and all the best in the future.


Tom: Good lad.

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Post-Pudding Workout!

November 26, 2012

The holidays can involve a lot of time away from the gym, often in places where it's hard to find any equipment to work out with. But never fear... Calibre fitness has come up with a 15 bodyweight exercise workout you can do basically anywhere to work off the Christmas Pudding!

Warm-up

1. Power skip. Skipping isn't just for kids. Raise the right knee up towards the hip while reaching your left arm overhead. Land on the ball of your left foot, and then alternate the skipping motion with the opposite arm and leg. Shoot for 10-15 skips as high as you can go.

2. Stair climb. Think of stairs as the cardio equipment in any building. For a great way to get the heart rate up, briskly walk up and down a stairway until you start to sweat. To avoid any dizzy spells, make sure to travel the whole stairwell to limit the amount of turn-arounds. Pro-tip: Skip the elevator when going to work and sneak in a workout before getting into the office!

3. Inchworm. It really is a Bug's Life. Stand tall, and bend over until your fingertips are on the floor. Next, walk the hands forward while keeping the legs straight until you've reached a traditional push-up position. Finish off the move by taking tiny steps to get your feet back up to your hands. Repeat for 4-6 reps.

4. High knees. Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Raise up your right knee as high as it'll go, and then place the leg back down. Alternate legs and start picking up the pace. Try this jig for 30 seconds straight.

5. Butt kicks. These will literally kick your butt -- in a good way. Jog in place while kicking your heels back towards your glutes. Make sure the movement is being driven from your hamstrings (not just your feet kicking up dust). Keep it up for a minute straight while picking up the pace!

Full Body

6. Tuck jump. It's time to catch some air. Stand up tall with the knees slightly bent and jump up -- bringing the knees into the chest and extending the arms straight out in front of the body. Lower the arms when you hit the floor. Aim for 8-10 reps.

7. Basic burpee. This move is something we all love to hate. Start in a low squat position with your hands on the floor. Then, kick your feet back to a push-up position and quickly return to the squat position. Last step? Jump up as high as possible before squatting down again and jumping back into the next push-up position. Shoot for 10 strong reps.

8. Push-up burpee. This move is just like the basic burpee that's a bit more advanced. Begin like normal, but once you reach the push-up position, actually do the push-up before coming back up to the squat. Shoot for 8-10 of these bad boys.

Legs

9. Lateral step over. Find a bench and stand to its side with the right leg closer to the bench. Lift your right knee up and bring the leg over the bench, not stepping on it. Then lift your left leg to meet the right, bringing the feet together before moving back -- left leg first this time. Go to step city for 15-20 reps.

10. Lunge jump. The only thing more fun than a lunge is catching some air in between. Start standing with the feet together and lunge the right foot forward, bending the knee about 90-degrees. Then it gets fun: Jump straight up, and while in the air, switch legs and land in a lunge with the left foot forward. Try for 8-10 reps (or as many as you can do with good form).

11. Squat jump. Perform a normal bodyweight squat (keeping the heels on the ground while bending the hips and knees until the thighs are parallel to the floor). Jump up immediately at the bottom of the squat and extend your arms overhead. Aim for 10-15 reps.

12. Box jump. Stand in front of a sturdy box that's just high enough so you can land on top with enough effort (but without missing your target!). With feet shoulder-width apart, bend the knees and then explode up onto the box. Secure your landing and then step back down and repeat for 6-10 reps.

Arms And Core

13. Jumping Jack planks. There are planks, and then there are planks with pop! Start in a traditional plank (shoulders over the wrists and the body in one straight line), but keep the feet together. Then, simply do jumping jacks with the legs, moving them out to the sides, then back together. Aim for 12-15 hops (out and in is one!).

14. Flutter kick. Time to kick up the cardio -- literally. Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides and legs extended. Then, lift your heels off the floor (about six inches) and begin kicking up and down. Try to keep this up for a minute, and remember to keep the core engaged!

15. Bicycle. Lie down on your back with knees in towards your chest and hands behind your head. Bring your right elbow towards the left knee while the right leg simultaneously straightens. Alternate sides just like you're pedalling on a bike and pedal out for 30 reps.

Posted in Featured By Calibre Fitness

Paintball Warfare

November 26, 2012

Unfortunately, we couldn't find a Christmas video that was exciting enough to include in our newsletter... Please accept our sincerest apologies and enjoy the most awesome paintball battle of all time! 

Posted in Latest News By Calibre Fitness

Buying a gift for a fitness fanatic has never been easier, whether they’re a fitness Newbie or a Seasoned Athlete. Here is our round-up of the 10 best fitness related gifts you can give this Christmas.

1. Kettlebells

Kettlebells are a very good way to do strength training at home. Whereas barbells take up a lot of space and require a bench and safety rack, kettlebells do not require any additional apparatus. They come on many sizes depending on the strength of the individual and the exercises that they perform. For basic two-handed swings a man generally starts with a 12kg – 16kg kettlebell and women are likely to start with 4kg – 8kg.

Price: Calibre Fitness Kettlebells come in 3 different styles and start at just $11.40 for a 4kg kettlebell. More information can be found here!

2. Heart Rate Monitor

A heart rate monitor is very useful for athletes and runners who are trying to get as fit as possible. Also, many people like to workout in their chosen heart-rate zone to ensure that they do a steady and controlled fitness session. A watch with built-in heart rate monitor is an excellent gadget for any fitness enthusiast. A seasoned fitness pro will appreciate a more “advanced” heart rate monitor that tracks parameters such as distance and speed along with heart rate and calorie burn.

Price: A basic heart rate monitor costs about $50. An advanced monitor will set you back $150+

3. Boot Camp Classes

Boot camps were once only the domain of the military, but nowadays the fitness industry has heeded the boot camp call after directly observing the kind of staggering physical results that can be delivered by using a bit of old-school discipline. Don’t let this put you off as fitness boot camps are now designed to keep you wanting to come back for more (so there is no ego-bruising bellowing, but instead more helpful hollering to encourage you along as you are put through your paces) and, believe it or not, they are ultimately a lot of fun.

Price: Boot camp prices will vary, but generally be $15-25 per session.

4. Skipping Rope

Many people today have dismissed skipping as an old school form of exercise or people forgotten about skipping altogether. However, it’s making a big comeback and is now a staple exercise in any conditioning workout and athletic training, like CrossFit and Boot Camps. Skipping is an excellent form of exercise that can be done anywhere. A skipping rope is also a great gift especially for someone who travels a lot on business.

Price: Calibre Fitness has 3 Types of Skipping ropes: Standard skipping rope- $8, Deluxe Speed Rope- $15 & Heavy Duty leather rope- $20

5. Annual Subscription to a Magazine

There are so many good health and fitness websites now that it is easy to forget about the good old-fashioned magazines. A magazine subscription can be a really nice gift as it is not something many people think to buy. Many magazines have articles that are of a very high quality and go into more detail than is often found on websites. These monthly journals can really help a fitness enthusiast to improve their knowledge and understanding of fitness.

Price: An annual subscription to Men’s Health magazine cost $79

6. A Sports Massage

This is another gift that is often very well received. Few people think to book themselves a massage; however, few people fail to appreciate them after receiving one. A good massage does more than just relax; it helps to reduce aches and pains, flexes the joints and can improve range of motion. This all helps to decrease the risk of injury and therefore makes exercise more effective in the long-term.

Price: Sports massages generally start around $50 for 30 minutes. Most massage centres will also have Gift Vouchers available.

7. Resistance Bands

For the fitness buff that travels or works out at home, resistance bands are an ideal gift. With resistance bands, you can get a strength workout almost anywhere. The lucky recipient can use them to do strength exercises at home when they don’t want to go to the gym or drop them in their suitcase when they travel. Resistance bands are not only versatile – they keep constant tension on the muscle during an exercise. You don’t get that with free weights or dumbbells. Plus, you can use them to work almost every muscle in your body. What fitness lover wouldn’t appreciate that?

Price: Calibre Fitness Resistance bands range from $19-$39.

8. Pedometer

A pedometer is a gift that both newbies and veteran exercisers can appreciate. For someone new to the world of exercise, wearing a pedometer is a source of motivation, encouraging them to take more steps. But even a fitness pro wants to know how much they’re moving around during their busy day. You can find pedometers at all price points. A pedometer is a gift that almost anyone can use to track their steps and as a motivator to get up and move around more.

Price: You would be able to find basic pedometer’s from about $20, ranging up to $60-70 for one with more advanced features.

9. iPod Shuffle

This itty bitty music maker comes in 8 colours and lets you have all the musical fun without the weight and bulk of an iPhone or iPod. With up to 15 hours of playtime, runners and triathlon athletes can enjoy music for miles and miles. With the voice over feature, it’s easy to find the right playlist or find out the name of the band playing at that moment because it talks to you. Cute, convenient, portable and smart – you can’t go wrong! Just clip it to your clothes and go!

Price: iPod Shuffles are a steal at only $55.

10. GymBoss

This interval timer turns into a trainer that tells you when to work, and when to rest. Adding a timed component to training majorly boosts intensity. Trade sets and reps for a predetermined time of work and rest, like 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off. A great tool to add to anyone’s fitness tool box. Just clip the GymBoss to your clothes and get ready for muscles to burn – and your body to sweat!

Price: Gymboss interval trainers starts at $25.

... Or, if you’re still not sure what the perfect gift is? Why not let them decide and buy them a Calibre Gift Voucher! Vouchers are can be found here and are available for amounts ranging from $25-$500.

Posted in Latest News By Calibre Fitness

Watch Features:

  • 50m water resistant
  • EL backlight
  • Timekeeping
  • 100 year calendar
  • Countdown timer with alarm
  • Stopwatch inc lap time and split
  • Dual time enabling 2 separate time zones
  • Birthday - set up to 8 dates
  • 5 alarm settings

 

Valid while stocks last until 30th November 2012.

Please indicate in the notes section which team’s watch you would like.

Posted in Generic By Calibre Fitness

Steve: This is Steve from Calibre Fitness, I'm here with Ben Schwartz from Crossfit Melbourne. Hi Ben, How are you going?

Ben: Yeh, Good mate, good.

Steve: Ben is the founder and owner of Melbourne's premier Crossfit Gym, Schwartz's Crossfit Melbourne. The Swartz team won this years' Australian Crossfit Games and went on to acquire 9th place overall in America. Ben has managed to train a champion team.

 

On top of being a top-level coach, Ben is also an athlete in his own right. Having competed in football, athletics, martial arts and body-building, where at the age of 16, he won Teenage Mr. Melbourne.

 

Martial arts have always been a particular passion for Ben and he has trained in many of its disciplines, particularly kickboxing/boxing and Brazilian Ju-jitsu. Brazilian Ju-jitsu, now consumes most of Ben's martial arts training and he has competed several times at MG tournaments were he has placed as high as second place.

 

Anyone who trained with or been trained by Ben knows how completely committed he is to fitness, it's not just his hobby, but truly his way of life and he brings enormous enthusiasm, passion and encouragement to every single training session.

 

This interview may be the first time many readers/listeners are exposed to Crossfit. Can you give them an overview of what Crossfit is?

 

Ben: It's a mixture of gymnastics, power lifting, weight lifting, running, rowing and jumping all thrown together. Combined, they make really hard, tough workouts. The idea of Crossfit is that when you train, you train to be good at everything. Usually runners run, people who lift weights lift weights, people who swim swim. In Crossfit we try to do it all and try to be very good at it. I suppose when Crossfit first started and for years after that even, there were always limits placed on people. Say, if a guy is running this fast, he can probably only lift that much and if a guy's dead lifted this much, he can probably only run this fast, where now guys keep breaking those boundaries. Their runtimes keep getting faster and their lifts keep getting bigger. At the moment, everything keeps going through the roof, what we thought was impossible in now becoming possible, in terms of guys clean and jerking 150-160, but running ridiculous 5k times as well and running triathlons and doing amazing stuff.

Steve: Fantastic. How and when did you actually get into Crossfit?

 

Ben: 2006. I already had a gym and was pretty much training in Crossfit style without the named workouts, Fran, Diane... All that stuff. I always liked doing the heavy lifting and I always liked body weight stuff, so I was always doing my deadlift squats and doing handstand pushups, chin-ups, dips all that sort of stuff. Then in 2006, I was in Borders and was having a look at an MMA magazine and there was this little tiny article on Crossfit and it had climbing ropes. It had a lot about lifting and climbing and I thought, this is the kind of stuff I like, it sounded really interesting. I got home, jumped on the internet, tried a couple of workouts and thought this stuff's the real deal. I booked a flight to the States, did my first seminar there in May 2006, came back and was incorporating a bit of it, with myself and clients, but it wasn't a full-on thing yet. Then each week, slowly, slowly, more of my workouts and more of my clients workouts were only Crossfit based and it just went from there. Then at the end of that year in 2006, I affiliated with Crossfit.

Steve: Sure. Can you tell us a bit about your sporting background?

 

Ben: When I was really young, as a kid, I used to play football all the time and martial arts... That was sort of my thing. When I was younger, say 13-14, I was always doing 400 pushups a night, 100 chin-ups... Then when I was 16, embarrassingly enough, I went into body-building and competed a few times and won Mr Melbourne. I was over that pretty quickly though, did it for a year and then hated it. I just didn't like the idea of training to pose/ look good. So then I got more into purely strength training and martial arts and then kept just doing those sorts of things all the way through until 2006 when I started the Crossfit. Eventually Crossfit started taking over more, until I totally gave up the martial arts because I didn't want to get injured from that.

Steve: Could you describe your personal typical training week?

 

Ben: My training week, it's difference to when I was younger. About 4 years ago I had an operation on my shoulder. When I was younger I used to train by the philosophy that 'if it's injured, you can still do everything' and I'd train through any injury, nothing would stop me, I'd just say 'I'm lucky, at least I've got a shoulder... Some people don't'. That was my mentality; I'd say 'I'm not dead, so I can keep doing it'. That was all good, until you get a bit older... I went to the surgeon to have a look at my shoulder and he said it was the worst shoulder he'd ever seen on someone my age! It took me 3 years because my shoulder was so bad, to rehabilitate myself properly so I could compete again, but now I'll train differently in the sense that I listen to my body. So, in the old day I wouldn't have rest days and would just train through anything, now I will. A lot of the time those rest days, I'll still swim or row, but its different now. Mostly throughout the year, I'll just train once a day and usually it'll be some kind of strength stuff, whether it be a snatch, a clean and jerk or a squat or some kind of WOD (Workout of the Day). That's what I do all year, before the world games and regional's, we probably split it up a bit more, do a bit more strength in the morning then another WOD later in the day, but not more than that for me, that's all I could take. Some of the guys probably do a bit more than that, but it depends on their age and what their bodies can take.

Steve: What is your diet like, are you very focussed on your diet these days?

Ben: Nutrition-wise, I've always been pretty focussed on it. A lot of Crossfitters are into Paleo (*Paleo is a diet mainly consisting of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts). I suppose a lot of what I do is Paleo, but a lot isn't as well. I'll have protein supplements, it's just a quick way to get some food down but isn't really Paleo, some other products too like Tuna and Dairy. But primarily I eat meat, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds... All that sort of stuff with little starch and stuff like that.

Steve: You've mentioned having some trouble with your shoulder. Have you suffered any particularly bad injuries while Crossfit training?

Ben: Crossfit didn't get my shoulder, my shoulder started when I was 19 playing gridiron one day, then I kept going for 11 years without doing anything and it just got worse and worse. It wasn't one thing, I got it through grappling, which is pretty hard on the shoulders, then Crossfit you use your shoulders a lot. When I first started Crossfit, I was like 'more is better'. It was pretty stuffed before Crossfit, but Crossfit just seemed to bring up all the issues. But besides that, I haven't had any injuries.

Steve: What do you think are the main advantages of Crossfit training over other forms of 'traditional' training?

Ben: You just can't compare it. It's the best thing. Motivation-wise. Whether you're an athlete or whether you're just an everyday person, I'd hate to go to the gym and think I'm going to go do cardio, I'm going to go do biceps, I'm going to go do legs... There's sort of no motivation there. But for us, we come in and say we're going to work things. So we might work snatches to get better technique to lift more weight or whether you're working handstand pushups or muscleups technique. A lot of its technique-driven, it's always you going out because you want to go practice stuff. It's fun because you're practicing, not just training. We don't do things to look a certain way. There's always a next stage in your training. So first you try to do pushups, if you can do pushups in terms of bodyweight and gymnastic movement, if you can do pushups, you might start bar dips, if you can do bar dips you might go to ring dips, if you can do that, you might start handstand pushups, if you can do that you might go to muscleups... So there's always a progression. With Olympic lifting, you might start off doing air squats, then you might try an overhead squat, then you go to a snatch. Even with handstands, you might first start it holding against a wall, then free-standing, then handstand walking. There are guys in this gym, not myself, who love handstand walking over obstacles, around things. There's always a new thing or something harder to do. You go to the gym, you do biceps curls, it doesn't lead to anything else. You might put some more weight on, but really it doesn't lead to another movement. Crossfit is so fun and challenging. People come in here every day and do things they never thought they'd be able to do and the smile they walk out with is amazing. My guys in this gym can do anything that anyone can do in Genesis, Fitness First, all those gyms... But none of them can do what these guys do. Crossfit is a bit like the MMA of fitness, you need to be good at so many different skills. It's also a respect thing. In MAA, you might be an amazing grappler, but you respect someone's Muay Thai skills. It's the same in Crossfit, you might be amazing at everything, but someone comes in that's just kickass at handstand walking, you're just like 'that is awesome!' You can respect everyone for their little abilities that are different.

Steve: Sure. In my limited experience with Crossfit training, what I loved about it was the variety and that I was doing exercises that I'd never done before, for example a cartwheel. I didn't have the desire to do a cartwheel until I started Crossfit. I loved that, you never knew what was coming at you next.

Ben: Of course the variety is a massive factor of it, along with all the things we've just mentioned. There's just so much there.

Steve: Your team came 9th at the world Crossfit games this year in LA which is a massive achievement. How have you developed such a strong, world-class team?

Ben: Everyone who's ever walked into my gym, I've always trained them, not them knowing this possibly, but to compete. I don't care how bad or useless they seem when they walk in, I want to try to make everyone as good as possible. The advantage of why this gym does quite well with competitions is from the bottom up, we treat everyone the same. So we try to make everyone good. I think most gyms try to get 1-2 guys in and this, these are our new freaks, our new monsters and really push them, but let everyone else coast by. I'm always trying to be really hard on everyone that comes in, in terms of their technique, their standard and trying to get them to be as good as they can be and possibly to a level to compete. So if you bring your bottom guys and your average guys up, then it brings up your top guys as well. So I think that's one of the reasons that we've been lucky to have quite the athletes.

Steve: Did you participate in the games as well?

Ben: Yes.

Steve: How often does the team train?

Ben: Most of the team members train 5-6 days a week.

Steve: How does your teams' training differ leading in to such a big event?

Ben: We do a bit more conditioning work and probably rather than train once a day, we'll start training twice a day, split up the sessions. Not necessarily that we do more, but its just strength you can focus on strength or conditioning, you can just focus on that.

Steve: What are your prospects for next year? Can you better this year's result?

Ben: It all depends on who's in the team. If the girls all qualify individually for the regionals, if they all want to compete in the team event, then it will be a totally different makeup. So a lot of that depends on what each of the individual boys and girls want to do. So you can't really say anything about it now and I'm not the type of person to put pressure on them to do the team or to do the individual. I used to put pressure on people to do individual and I'd put a lot of emphasis on that, but these days I probably let people make their own decision and don't say 'you have to do the team' or 'you have to do individual'. So I can't really say what the prospects are for that at the moment. But if we had a similar team together, hopefully we could.

Steve: What do you feel is your greatest Crossfit achievement?

Ben: Definitely my greatest achievement is that I'm proud of the middle guys at my gym. I think again. I think our 'average Joes' that come into our gym are better than any others about. Definitely out of all the gyms that I've seen, and I'd go as far to say better than a lot around the world too. I don't want to come off as smug or arrogant about that. A lot of coaches put their pride on their 1 or 2 top athletes, but I always put my pride on my lower tier people. I think they're the guys that really make me proud.

Steve: Yeh, sure. How do you see Crossfit's future in Australia?

Ben: It's just going from strength to strength. When I joined as an affiliate, I think there were maybe 70 affiliates. I remember Glassman saying that he hoped it would be 100 by the end of that year and now I think there's 4,500 or something like that. I think I was the 2nd affiliate in Australia and now there'd be 200 at least, and just growing more and more. What people don't know at the beginning is, Crossfit isn't like going into McDonalds, you don't walk into every Crossfit and it's the same, they're all different. There are definitely some not-so-great crossfits and there are some better ones. So I'd advice people, if they are choosing a Crossfit gym, not to just choose the first one or the closest one, but to have a look around and find the one that best suits them.

Steve: Well, thanks for the interview Ben, I really appreciate it. You've got a fantastic setup here. For our subscribers, we're at 904 Glen Huntly rd, come on down and check it out. You'll love it!

Posted in Interview By Calibre Fitness

Crossfit Workout: The Girls

October 26, 2012

Rather than just having one Crossfit Workout this month, we’re going to list a collection of the ‘Girls’ Workouts of the Day’. Many ask Greg Glassman, founder and President of Crossfit, “Why are the workouts named after Girls?” , he explains “I thought that anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking ‘what just happened to me?’ deserved a females name.  Workouts are just like storms, they wreak havoc on towns.”  

So, below are some of the most popular ‘Girls WODs’. Attempt them at your own risk.

“Amanda”
9-7-5
Muscle Up
Squat Snatch (135#/95#)

“Barbara”
20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats
5 rounds for time

“Cindy”
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats
As many rounds as possible in 20 min

 

“Eva”
Run 800 meters
2 pood KB swing, 30 reps
30 pullups
5 rounds for time.

“Helen”
400 meter run
1.5 pood Kettlebell swing x 21
Pull-ups 12 reps
3 rounds for time

“Karen”
Wall-ball 150 shots
(men 20#-10′ – women 14#-9′)
For time

“Lynne”
Bodyweight bench press (e.g., same amount on bar as you weigh)
pullups
5 rounds for max reps. There is NO time component to this WOD.

 

“Nicole”
Run 400 meters
Max rep Pull-ups
As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.
Note number of pull-ups completed for each round.

 

“Angie”
100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 Sit-ups
100 Squats
For Time – Complete all reps of each exercise before moving to the next.

“Chelsea”
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats
Each min on the min for 30 min – number of rounds completed is your score.

“Diane”
Deadlift 225 lbs
Handstand push-ups
21-15-9 reps, for time

“Fran”
Thruster 95 lbs
Pull-ups
21-15-9 reps, for time

“Isabel”
Snatch 135 pounds
30 reps for time

“Kelly”
Run 400 meters
30 box jump, 24 inch box
30 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
Five rounds for time

“Mary”
5 Handstand push-ups
10 1-legged squats
15 Pull-ups
As many rounds as possible in 20 min

 

“Annie”
Double-unders
Sit-ups
50-40-30-20 and 10 rep rounds; for time

“Christine”
3 rounds for time
500m row
12 Body Weight Dead Lift
21 Box Jumps

“Elizabeth”
Clean 135 lbs
Ring Dips
21-15-9 reps, for time

“Grace”
Clean and Jerk 135 lbs
30 reps for time

“Jackie”
1000 meter row
Thruster 45 lbs (50 reps)
Pull-ups (30 reps)
For time

 

“Linda”
(aka “3 bars of death”)
Deadlift 1 1/2 BW
Bench BW
Clean 3/4 BW
10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 rep
rounds for time

“Nancy”
400 meter run
Overhead squat 95 lbs x 15
5 rounds for time

Posted in Featured By Calibre Fitness

What is Crossfit?

October 26, 2012

Crossfit is a new type of high-intensity functional training which has taken over America and is fast sweeping across the world. Workouts are typically short and extremely intense. Want to know more? Watch the video and find out what Crossfit REALLY is!

Posted in Latest News By Calibre Fitness

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