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Everyday Athletes Podcast

Join Mat Lock in these unscripted and intimate conversations that provide a ‘behind the scenes’ look into programming, training, mindset, nutrition and work-life balance for the everyday athletes around the world. These episodes shine a spotlight on the tips, tricks, and techniques that help transform everyday athletes into extraordinary humans.

Episode Transcriptions

Mat Lock:

Leanne, welcome to the Everyday Athlete podcast. It’s a pleasure to have you here and to see you again.

Leanne Watson:

Nice to see you too.

Mat Lock:

How have you been?

Leanne Watson:

Pretty good. Just enjoying life, missing Australia.

Mat Lock:

Well, you didn’t miss much of a summer here, I have to say, with all the bushfires. Right now, I’m not going to lie, you can see with the white shirt I’m wearing, the sun is shining and it’s pretty lovely. As I look across Jervis Bay, which is, of course, a place you know well.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, I think we have snow on the ground outside, so I really missed that.

Mat Lock:

There’s the difference. We’re not building snowmen outside right now. Certainly. Yeah, certainly it looks like all of your training’s been going really well and you’re kicking some goals at your end.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah. I’ve had some ups and downs since I got back, but I am finally on the upper end of it. I hurt my back as soon as I got back, but then probably about three, four weeks ago, it started really healing up, and I’m back in full training now. So I’m pretty excited for it.

Mat Lock:

It took that long, hey? Because we are recording this at the beginning of March and you would’ve got back in middle of November, I guess.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, it was one of those. It progressively got really bad and then I started actually kind of working with it, and now it’s really good.

Mat Lock:

I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend, that’s awesome, of course. Certainly some of the weights I’ve seen you pushing around on social recently, your back seems to be okay.

Leanne Watson:

I’m feeling strong.

Mat Lock:

You’re looking strong. Good for you. Of course, you were here in Jervis Bay as the winner. As the RX international female of the year, of the Grand Slam 2019.

Leanne Watson:

One of the best accomplishments in my life.

Mat Lock:

Well, I’m glad to hear that, awesome. 

It was a pleasure to have you here and it was a pleasure to see you compete in the Grand Slam as well. What would be really great for the viewers and the listeners, if you maybe talk us through right from the beginning, how you first heard about this event that was being run from Down Under and how you got involved with it.

Leanne Watson:

It was really weird and kind of random. My coach got an email from you guys and it said that if you win this Grand Slam competition, they pay your plane ticket to Australia to compete at the onsite competition there in Jervis Bay. And I was like, “Well, that literally is the only place in the world I have ever wanted to go. So I’m going to try this competition. I don’t care what else is going on at the same time, I’m going to try this Grand Slam thing and see, if anything, how close I can stack up.” Then Grand Slam started and I actually had another qualifier going on simultaneously with it.

Mat Lock:

Of course you did.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, so one of my other coaches was like, “Well, you have to choose which one do you want to go all in on. You either need to go all in on Grand Slam and then let the other one kind of go to the wayside, or go all in on the other and Grand Slam, just be what it is.” So I was like, “Well, there’s a good chance I’m not going to qualify for the other one. I want to go to Australia, so I’m going all in on this one.” So I started doing those and I am the worst video person ever.

Leanne Watson:

There were so many of the Grand Slam workouts I had to end up redoing because I messed up the video, or I messed up the metres to feet conversion for one of the walking lunges. So anyway, I finished out that qualifier. Whenever I saw the assault bike WOD for the last one, the 100 calories, I felt pretty confident on finishing strong enough to hopefully make it to semi night. I’ve got to, so I was pretty stoked about that.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, you certainly did. I remember one of the lovely comments you made at the time, I think we were into week three. By the way, as a side comment, this year we’ll have metric and Imperial weight and distances for all the workouts.

Leanne Watson:

Awesome.

Mat Lock:

Otherwise, we can’t call ourselves an international event if we don’t take care of it.

Leanne Watson:

I have my little unit converter.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. But nonetheless, we’ll try and do the heavy lifting in that regard on your behalf. I think you were sitting in first place when we got that most wonderful message from you, because you could see that, “Yeah, actually I really have a chance at winning this thing.” You were in the lead and looking strong. Do you remember that message that you sent through to us?

Leanne Watson:

Is it the one that I was asking, “Are you going to fly me home too?”

Mat Lock:

Yeah, exactly right.

Leanne Watson:

I was convinced that, “Oh well, there’s no way that me of all people could be sitting in first place to win a trip to Australia.” Things like that don’t happen in my life. So I was like, “There’s got to be a catch here somewhere.” And I think that was your response, “No, there are no catches. We will fly you here and fly you home.” So yeah, I’m still kind of mind blown that all of it happened.

Mat Lock:

Oh no, you’ve earned it. At the end of the day, you work hard and you have years of training behind you as well. It’s fantastic. I often tell that story about that message, because I guess from our perspective, because we know we’re completely legit, but it’s online, right? And you at that stage had no relationship really with the Bay Games. You didn’t know the Bay Games and the Grand Slam. And so, of course, we sat there, I received that message and thought, “That’s such a fair question.”

Mat Lock:

Because you don’t know us, it could just be a massive scam, couldn’t it? But it wasn’t, as you know. It was great, that reaction. That’s all right. That’s why I felt the need to go, “Yeah. We’ll get you home again as well. It’s not just a one-way ticket.” Yes, Australian immigration won’t let you in one way.

Leanne Watson:

Whenever I got there I had some user errors on my visa, but that was my own fault.

Mat Lock:

They don’t make life easier, I don’t think. So that was fantastic. Did you enjoy the workouts for the Grand Slam?

Leanne Watson:

Oh my goodness, yes, I did. Loved them, I loved every single one. Opening up with a max three-position clean and then finishing off with the assault bike. I don’t think I could have asked for any better online competition.

Mat Lock:

It was kind of written for you, wasn’t it? In hindsight, those workouts over to you. There were no shenanigans, we hadn’t met you before.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah. I definitely had a lot of fun with that one.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, fantastic. So yeah, I guess we broke the news. You won and we got you on the live broadcast to let you know the great news, and then you came to Australia. How was that?

Leanne Watson:

That was amazing. Even as soon as I got there, you guys met me at the airport, on our way back you guys were extremely hospitable. The entire time we were going to Jervis Bay, you guys made sure that I always had everything I needed. Honestly, I even called my mom. I remember calling her and talking to her while I was there and saying that I felt like a queen. I felt like I was being treated like a queen the entire time I was there. It literally is one of the best experiences I think I’ve ever had in my life.

Mat Lock:

Oh wow, that’s awesome to hear. I couldn’t be more pleased to hear that that was your experience, that was the intention, of course. It’s not just, “Yeah, there’s your plane ticket.” We were so happy to have you here. And obviously you just fell in love with the area, that was clear. And you and I went for a swim off the wharf.

Leanne Watson:

You taught me how to dive.

Mat Lock:

I taught you how to dive, that’s right. Clay and I were giving pointers. Although I have to say in fairness, Clay was more adept at keeping his goggles on when he was diving in.

Leanne Watson:

I just needed to learn how to get my head in first.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, that’s right. How do I dive in without getting my head wet? It’s a neat trick. Yeah, but you certainly got involved and you seem to enjoy the area. It’s hard not to, I guess, but what was your impression of the actual area on his day?

Leanne Watson:

Oh, it was so beautiful. And afterward I went and toured all throughout Australia, and Jervis Bay was literally my favorite place in the whole country. I mean, we went Great Barrier Reef, we went all these different places that you hear about all the time, but it’s like Jervis Bay is this little well kept secret that you don’t hear about it. You don’t know a lot about it, but it was the most beautiful place in the entire country that I went to.

Mat Lock:

Oh, yeah. Honestly, I can only agree with you. There are lots of beautiful places around Australia, but I love calling Jervis bay “home”. But you know what, we shouldn’t tell everyone. It is a well-kept secret. Although we had the big event over this weekend with the 4500 athletes, and I don’t know, 8000 spectators. So it’s not that well kept a secret. Yeah, triathlon.

Leanne Watson:

You guys let the secret out.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Now, unfortunately, the triathletes have found out about it. It’s a pretty special area and I’m glad that you felt as welcome as you did, it’s important. I mean, you were traveling alone, it was your first time to Australia. We were obviously aware of that and we wanted to make sure that you felt very comfortable. You certainly brought your competing pants with you because you came, what? Where did you finish in the end?

Leanne Watson:

I ended up getting second.

Mat Lock:

Exactly right.

Leanne Watson:

Which I was super surprised about too. The entire thing was just a pleasant surprise to me. I had zero expectations and I left feeling like an extreme winner.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, this is exactly right. The swim wasn’t easy, let’s face it.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, the swimming didn’t bode well for me.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. No, absolutely. I wonder if you had been able to do well in event one, how that would have placed you overall in the end. But I guess that’s the game, isn’t it?

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, I thought about that too. I’m like, “Man.” Because I know I got stuck in that current, I know I’m not a strong swimmer. Even the current being aside, I’m really just not a strong swimmer anyway. But at the end of the day, it showed me what I need to work on.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure.

Leanne Watson:

So I know it for this year.

Mat Lock:

Well, we were chatting before we started recording that we did a week ago in Canberra. When asked how we got on, I said, “Yeah, it certainly exposes your weaknesses.” Shines a bright light on them because there’s no hiding. But you’ve seen the workouts for the Bay Games 2020, and you may notice there’s actually not so much swimming this year. Less focus on swimming.

Leanne Watson:

I did notice that.

Mat Lock:

I’m sure you did. Lots of people did, although they didn’t notice as well. It’s a bit more of a run in there.

Leanne Watson:

I can handle running.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure.

Leanne Watson:

In West Virginia we’ve got access to places we can run.

Mat Lock:

Well you can’t drown running, can you?

Leanne Watson:

Exactly.

Mat Lock:

That’s a common tale given over the weekend. It’s like, “Yeah, I don’t really like running, but I’d rather run than swim.” So they’re very good. I’m glad that was your experience. I know that you’re planning to have a red hot crack at the Grand Slam in 2020.

Leanne Watson:

I’m shooting to.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure.

Leanne Watson:

I’m working on some partners. Actually, in the process of this I think I might have gotten a couple other people to sign up also. So I’m like, “That’s fine. You guys can sign up but you’re not allowed to beat us.”

Mat Lock:

It dawned on me the other day because obviously we want the viral effect. We want everyone to get involved and the more people the better. But as you say, you’re kind of looking around your gym, look at some of the weapons, you go, “Well, I don’t think I want them to compete because they’re pretty strong.” I think we’ve got a fundamental flaw in our marketing approach.

Leanne Watson:

Especially not knowing what the workouts are, because they could be pretty good if the workouts fall in their favor, but then they’re going to beat us. So yeah, it’s kind of fun though to look around and look at it like that.

Mat Lock:

Well here’s a little secret I’ll share with you. Obviously I know what the workouts are, they are fully finished and tested. I can tell you now, there’s no bike.

Leanne Watson:

There’s no bike?

Mat Lock:

The only thing I’ll give you, there’s no bike.

Leanne Watson:

Oh, no. That was my strength.

Mat Lock:

I don’t know if I’m helping or hindering at this point, but now we’ve decided. It’s hard, you know. With the different brands of bikes out there now, it’s really hard internationally.

Leanne Watson:

I can see that.

Mat Lock:

Well, this is the bike you must use and that’s really the only fair way of handling it. But it’s not fair if it’s not the bike you’ve got at your gym. In fact, in some areas, like here on the East coast of Australia, particularly New South Wales, there’s a local brand that is not the Assault bike. They’re really quite strong because they’re here. There are lots of those bikes out there, but they’re not the assault bike, which is the sort of more traditional go-to for the CrossFit community.

Leanne Watson:

That makes sense.

Mat Lock:

And of course, they’ve got the Rogue Echo bike coming out, and so on. They got very many different algorithms for the calories, and so on. So anyway, there’s no bike, but you’re the first to hear that outside of the inner circle. So there you go.

Leanne Watson:

I feel honored.

Mat Lock:

This will be going out in a few weeks, so you’ve got a head start. You know not to be training too much on the bike.

Leanne Watson:

Okay. So don’t ask anyone that’s great at the bike.

Mat Lock:

That’s right. No, exactly right. Of course, I shared with you the other day, and by the time this goes live it will be well publicized that we’ve kind of flipped and become a pairs event. Grand Slam, 2020 is going to be a pairs event and will be forevermore, I would say. I guess we decided to do that for a couple of reasons. One, because we’re aligning ourselves with mental health charities around the world, and certainly a portion of every single registration will go to a mental health charity in that country. So in your case, it will go to “The Walking Wounded” project in the US. If it was me here in Australia, it would go to, “R U OK” and so on. So a portion of your rego goes to your charity in your country, let’s say. We decided that, given that we’re focusing and wanting to support the whole mental health topic, then having an individual workout, a competition where you do it solo, that wasn’t the right message really.

Mat Lock:

We felt we’re doing it in pairs, at least at the end of the day it creates conversation, connection, comradery, community, at the end of the day. That’s what it’s all about. Here we’re doing it through competition. And when we were honest with ourselves, and we polled our entire audience, and I think you probably saw that last year, “How do you like working out?” Is it individually, pairs, teams of 14 to six? The clear winner was in pairs and that made us stop and think, “Well yeah, actually we like competing in pairs.” As very much everyday athletes. It makes you more accountable, but somehow there’s less pressure because you can kind of bounce off each other. But you’re accountable to each other, so you go harder. It’s a good excuse to train more regularly with who you’re going to compete with, and therefore it’s creating that connection and conversation.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah.

Mat Lock:

All important. I know that seems to resonate with you, when I told you about that.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, I love the whole reasoning behind it. I love that you guys are doing that for the charitable cause, really, I do. I love the whole thing. I’ve never actually competed in a pairs event, so it’s different for me. It’s different, but it’s a good different. It’s forcing me to even branch out and to find people to work with. That whole communication thing and bonding thing, and all of that. I love it. I love the whole thing.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, awesome. What’s been interesting, yesterday I told you we did a video shoot for the Grand Slam and we had, I’m going to call them everyday athletes on camera, but they’re pretty handy everyday athletes. We were at CrossFit Play, which was founded originally by Khan Porter. By default, they’ve got a lot of pretty handy athletes there. They are everyday athletes, they’re not professionals. Nonetheless, they’re pretty handy. But what was interesting was you’d say, “Okay guys, we’re going to do lateral burpee box jump overs.” “Oh, okay.” “But they’re synchronized.” “Oh, yeah, yeah, no problem.” And then they go to try and do them and they’d have to stop and go, “Oh, hang on. So we’re going to go on three, two, one.” You could immediately see the need for communication.

Mat Lock:

We’re doing synchronized double-unders, which actually isn’t going to be a requirement, but we thought it would look fun on camera, and it does. But even then again, “Yeah, here we go. Oh, no.” Stop, have a conversation, think about it, have a laugh, laugh at each other. It was just great to see immediately as soon as you make it pairs, that it does. It gets the conversation going, it’s a bond, as you said. Strengthens and having a bit of a laugh at each other in a good way. It was good to see.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah.

Mat Lock:

But yeah, so looking forward to that. Of course, the burning question, and you don’t have to name them yet, but have you found the buddy that you think you’re going to train with?

Leanne Watson:

I’ve got a couple of friends that I’m trying to get to do it with me. I guess I would call them my coaches. They have definitely helped me mentally, physically, everything. One of them is the coach at my current gym and another one is one that just comes up and trains with us a lot. Both of them, I’m trying to get one of them. I’m hoping, this is what I was saying earlier, I’m really hoping that they don’t decide to pair with each other and then leave me out, and then I still have to find someone else. That’s my biggest fear right now. But I’m hoping one of them will at least join up with me, and then the other one will find someone else.

Mat Lock:

Are they male or female?

Leanne Watson:

Male.

Mat Lock:

Okay. So if they did pair up together, they’d be a different division anyway.

Leanne Watson:

They would. But I’m still just like, “Guys, don’t do that, pair up with me. One of you pair with me, the other one can go pair with another guy and then we’ll still be in different divisions.”

Mat Lock:

Because they have the advantage. A lot of boxes around the world, they know it’s real. They know they can really come to Australia if they win.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah. Oh yeah, they’re fully aware. And that’s where I’m like, “Well, get me there and then you guys can still get there by getting someone else with me.”

Mat Lock:

Maybe you talked it up too much. Maybe you have to start going, “Actually I was wrong about the trip to Australia. It was pretty crappy, actually. Jervis Bay is ugly, the water’s dirty and the sun never shines. The view was horrible.”

Leanne Watson:

It will be like a good cop, bad cop thing. Only tell one of them that it’s really bad, so the other one will still join with me.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. Oh well that’s good. That’s great to hear. Even there we have conversations being created about trying to get a buddy, we’ll find out which. We sort of grab a mate, get involved. So I’m sure you’ll find some. So you are ideally for the mixed division?

Leanne Watson:

Possibly. Then if they do end up pairing up, I do have another friend. I haven’t really talked to her about it yet, but she was very competitive with me in the open this year, to get one of the sanctional spots. We’re very fairly matched as far as athletically, so I might reach out to her and be like, “Hey, would you want to partner up for this Grand Slam if they end up leaving me in the dust?”

Mat Lock:

Sure. No problems, regio is open on the 27th of March, which is probably going to be already passed. But I’ve just timestamped this episode. But nonetheless, it’s probably already passed by the time this goes live. But so that you know, we basically go live in three weeks. For the first couple of weeks we’re going to have an early bird package, which is going to be irresistible. I’ll tell you more about that offline maybe. But yeah, pretty exciting. So you’re only a few weeks away from signing up, I’d suggest. You need to try and pin the guys down or find someone else.

Leanne Watson:

I definitely am, every day.

Mat Lock:

Very good. Well, I guess we’re getting a little bit short on time now for this episode. I know you’re going to join us for a second episode, we’re looking forward to that. If people want to reach out to you and ask you questions, or just connect with you in some way, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Leanne Watson:

I’ve got an Instagram, @leannewatson25, and then I’ve also got Facebook. Both of those are great ways to get a hold of me.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, fantastic. I’ll put both of those down in the show notes so that people, wherever they are watching or listening to this, they’re able to. If they want to, they can connect with you. But Leanne, thank you so much for your time so far. It’s a pleasure to see you and we were laughing before we started. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you with your hair down. You’re always in training or competing mode when I see you.

Leanne Watson:

Rest day.

Mat Lock:

When we first got on line “Oh, Leanne’s got long hair.” I didn’t know that. Very Good Leanne, thank you so much for your time.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, thank you.

Mat Lock:

I can’t wait to see how things unfold for you in the Grand Slam this year.

Leanne Watson:

Thanks.

Mat Lock: Hello Will and thanks for joining us here on The Bay Games podcast.

Will Henke: Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me Mat.

Mat Lock: Yeah, of course. And you are the Head of Programming for The Bay Games, which includes the Grand Slam naturally and we love having you aboard. As you know, we’re friends as well as now somehow working together in a business environment and yeah, we love having you guys as part of the team, you and Carrie.

Will Henke: Yeah. Thank you. Just before we go on. You know that Carrie and I live in Bali, so if you hear any motorcycle sounds or dogs barking or things going on, it’s just the natural sounds of Bali. I say some times that it sounds like the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle gang is doing runs behind our house, it’s so loud. It’s like this small little alleyway with the motorcycle stuff.

Mat Lock: It’s real life and I think they’re part of the charm of Bali. Are they not?

Will Henke: Agreed. Yeah. It’s a very unique charm to Bali. Some love it, some hate it, but the ones that hate it leave, which is nice.

Mat Lock: I love that before we started recording I mentioned, “Ah, classic Will, no tee-shirt,” and you went to go and get a tee shirt. It’s like, “Well actually no. I guess this is an opportunity for the audience to experience Will, and Will is without a tee-shirt as often as possible.” Correct?

Will Henke: Correct. It’s one of the things I was just talking to a friend … I feel like so many times in life people will do things they don’t want to do just to appease other people or they don’t do something because they’re afraid of how it may look to someone else that makes them feel good. 

So for me, my wife and I live in Bali, we came here from Miami, which Miami is probably one of the most superficial places you can live in America, maybe the world. So there everyone cares and judges you based on what car you’re driving, what watch you’re wearing, what shoes you’re wearing, and Carrie and I are not about that life. So when we came to Bali, it’s like, “I enjoy not wearing a shirt. It’s comfortable. And so yeah, it makes me happy and that’s all that matters.”

Mat Lock: Yeah, that’s exactly right. 

Now for those who are watching or listening to this who are not familiar with Will Henke, just maybe if you can give us just a 60-second version of your background as it relates to functional training, life, quality of life and the like.

Will Henke: Sure. Yeah. So a large part of my experience with functional training stems from my time in the military. So, I spent just under 9 years inside the Special Operations Community within the United States Army. In that time I found and was able to have the opportunity to learn a lot of very different and unique functional training methods to go along with preparing soldiers for combat and just overall relative strength-focused training. So being as strong as you possibly can at the healthiest and lightest bodyweight possible. So it’s being able to lift heavyweight but also move for extended periods of time. And if you’re too big and too heavy, you won’t be able to move. And if you’re too small you won’t be able to carry your weight and contribute. So it’s a very neat balance when you think about what it takes, and again, what body types go into that.

Everyone’s not one kind of body. So learning that when I got out of the military, I transitioned to coaching CrossFit, which is when I started learning Olympic weight lifting, gymnastics, and then more complex movements that weren’t so simple as far as snatches and clean and jerks, things like that. So being able to take those two very different concepts and marry them into one allowed me to develop myself and my philosophy and how I do program design, which I feel sets me apart. And I think that’s why you approached me. So when I met you and Ned when I was coaching here in Bali. Yeah, we struck it off and did a PT with you guys and I think from there it was, yeah, here we are.

Mat Lock: Yeah, exactly right. That was the beginning of what is becoming a beautiful relationship. And, as you know, we’re avid fans of Bali as well. We love Bali. But I guess from that PT actually and that meeting and honestly the discussions that stemmed from there, you joined the team last year to do the programming for the inaugural Bay Games Grand Slam in 2019.

Will Henke: Yeah. I guess I’m biased, but I think it went off very well. The feedback we got from the programming, both from my close friends and also people that I’d never met, from the feedback you guys sent out, the anonymous feedback, came out very well. We had some lessons learned, which is probably my favorite thing about doing a program is yes, people will say, “Oh, it was great. I loved it.” Although that’s not the most helpful, it’s nice to hear. 

But it’s helpful when people really give constructive criticism and say, “I loved this, but this wasn’t a thing,” and it helps both the Grand Slam and the upcoming Bay Games, to reassess and evaluate what we’re doing so we can start having a programme that we’re designing that we feel is the best possible programme to test the fittest of that specific field.

Mat Lock: Yeah, exactly right. And by the time this goes to air, we will have announced already that the Grand Slam 2020 and onwards will be a pairs event, which is something that we’re really excited about and I know that you guys are as well. And in fact, tell us a little bit about your week so far this week because I had a great message from you last night. What have you been up to this week?

Will Henke: So normally in my training weeks, I have a different approach to training. The days of going in the gym and doing workouts where you start at 100%, you go to the middle of your workout at 110%, and then you finish your workout at 120%, those days are well out the window and aren’t conducive to the longevity of training. And we’ll get into that a little bit later in a different chat about programming for the real world.

Will Henke: But competition programming is much different. You want to be able to test the programme and you should be going as hard as you can because in that specific condition you’re testing your fitness against others. So you have to go hard. So with this week, all the testing that I’ve done for all the events for the Grand Slam, I’ve had to go and push as hard as I can each day.

Some workouts, when I tested it, I wanted to change something and see how it was a little different so I would test the same workout the next day at the same intensity or as much as I could. So the three weeks, and we’ll say the six scored events of the Grand Slam, it was all condensed for me in a matter of one week. So that was quite taxing on just my body in general, my levels. But it was good fun. And with having a partner to test it with, and we’ll get into why we decided to make the shift of individual to pair to the Grand Slam, but having a partner there allowed me to push harder than I probably would have on my own, especially in the testing phase. So I’m excited to see how that translates over into the Grand Slam. Yeah, it’s been a fun but exhausting week.

Mat Lock: Well I know that I and we… all of us appreciate all of the hard work that’s gone into both developing the programmes but testing them as well. And I guess one of the key points for wanting to have this particular chat for the vlog was to try and help people understand, for the everyday athletes that are our audience, exactly what it is that goes into developing a programme. I guess most of us walk into the box or the studio or the gym and when we do the programmed workout of the day, we don’t necessarily think about how it’s been constructed. We just turn up, we do it, we enjoy doing it and then we leave again, and we come back the next day.

I’m guessing there’s a big difference between that type of programming and programming for a comp, but even so, I mean, both require a deep level of understanding and expertise, but they are different. Correct?

Will Henke: Yeah. I’d say vastly different. If you take general programming for let’s say a regular functional fitness gym, you have to look at who your members are. A lot of gyms, from my travels and Carrie’s travels, we’ll go to gyms and the programming on the board is a workout where it’s super ridiculously long and the weights, they’re very heavy and they’re like that every single day. So it’s not allowing for the body to recover. So if you’re constantly pushing your body to 100%, you’re not allowing your body to have the state of rest that it needs to recover to progress forward. So with everyday programming, there needs to be some consideration and thought into the amount of volume you’re doing and the amount of intensity you are doing and how those are going together where it promotes a healthy lifestyle moving forward, not just for that specific week.

Now with competition programming, it’s different. You’re trying to bring everyone together and test how you’ve been training. So every workout that you’re trying to get into and test your maximal effort. Sometimes with sport, sometimes form is sacrificed for speed, but in normal training, there shouldn’t be any sacrifice of that form for speed because you’re trying to accumulate as many quality reps as possible in your training life. That’ll get you into better positions that allow you to stay healthier longer and train those positions and strengthen those good positions versus if you take an Olympic weightlifter in a competition and they do a lift, they may not have the same form at their maximal contraction that their testing, but they’ve still got that wrapped up.

So there’s a huge difference in how you approach these two types of things. The everyday athlete versus a competitor athlete and the everyday athlete is generally the mass population that you’re programming for. The affiliates you go to, things like that, but when you’re doing this testing, it’s typically a very small pool of people that you’re looking at.

Mat Lock: Yeah, sure. And so just for the layperson, when we first approached you and we talked about the Grand Slam … Let’s use 2020, the pairs comp, the inaugural pairs year as a basis, I mean you have a sheet of paper that has nothing written on it and you have a pencil. How do you begin to flesh out what becomes the programme for a comp like the Grand Slam 2020?

Will Henke: For me, it’s thinking about what areas you want to test. So the first thing I think about is what makes a team, a holistic team? Because if you just give everyone all team events, you’re not testing the individuals in the team. Especially with a team, you have to test the strength component, communication, how well they work under fatigue, how does that communication change when duress is brought into the picture? I think one of the things I was telling you is the strength component that we are going to test for the Grand Slam … Obviously I’m not going to say what it is.

Mat Lock: No that’s right.

Will Henke: Yeah. But it was a lot of fun to test it and the big thing I learned that I’ll explain, when we do talk about my tips and things for the workouts is although yes, you may be very strong and be able to do a hundred kilos of a specific movement, but when you’re working in unison with a partner, whatever the movement is, you may not each be able to do that 100%. You may have to go to your 95% because if you’re both at 100%, how are you going to manage your communication when you’re doing these things, if you’re working together? So it’s going to take an ego check saying, “Yes, I can probably do this weight, but communicating well and working together as a cohesive unit, we probably should back it down to this weight and find what it feels like first.” And that’s going to be the cool thing that I really like is testing these pairs to see who has the innate ability together to command a team that will be the best team, not two individuals that are just partnered up.

Mat Lock: Yeah, absolutely. It will be interesting to see and actually having watched that video that you sent … Because of course when you’re testing the workouts, you’re also testing other factors like camera position so that when the judges are reviewing one of the workouts to make sure that the camera is able to capture, it’s placed in the right location to capture all the movements correctly and so on. But, so you sent me an example last night, one of this year’s workouts … Is it fair to say that that one is locked in there in your mind?

Will Henke: Yeah, that one’s locked in, yeah.

Mat Lock: Yeah. Great. And so the person that you were working with, the partner that you were testing with, did he also have some lessons learned, let’s say some observations he hadn’t thought about as a part of that testing?

Will Henke: He did. He really liked how the tiebreaker was scored on that workout, but he also had to find himself slowing down. So in the first phase of the workout when we are moving was not easy, but it was more manageable and didn’t take a lot of thought. But as we got to the later phase of that movement or of that piece, I found him trying to move faster because that weight may have been a little too heavy for him. And he saw that and he slowed down, which changed the movement entirely, especially if you’re testing a strength piece. If you have to slow down when you’re trying to use some kind of momentum, it can be challenging. So in the end we were both, like “Yeah, that was a lot different than we thought,” not just because of the weight, but how you work together as a team.

And going back to finish your question you asked, the blank sheet of paper, what are you looking at testing? What makes a holistic athlete and especially what competition conditions, like the Bay Games and the Grand Slam, and how does that tie into it? So if you look at a sport like CrossFit, they have the three modalities they typically test, the metabolic conditioning, the gymnastics and the Olympic weightlifting.

With F45 for another example of a functional training tool is they don’t do complex barbell gymnastics. They don’t do a lot of very heavy testing. They don’t do double unders. This was those things, and we’re trying to make sure that we’re creating a competition that tests the everyday athlete. So, anybody that can do CrossFit, that can do F45, various boot camps, OrangeTheory Fitness, all these places, I go into it. So how do we test a strength piece that allows everyone from all those different areas of functional fitness, without excluding anyone or giving an inherent advantage to someone?

Will Henke: And that’s one of the biggest things is obviously we don’t want to make … If someone’s doing various boot camp and we do a movement that’s specific to them, that doesn’t really make sense because then it takes everyone away from it. So it’s challenging in that part. So finding what exact things you want to test that you feel will create the best team. That’s what you have to figure out first on your empty sheet of paper. And then from there you can start to mould, “Okay what energy systems are we looking to test in those specific things and how do they relate to the weeks that go one, two, three and so on?”

Mat Lock: Yeah, absolutely. So far more to it than the layperson could perhaps understand. I know certainly last year talking to you about it, I find it fascinating and understand the methodology or the philosophy of how you programme it, is so important. And what’s the ultimate goal? If you were to… if you could, and I’m putting you on the spot now, in one sentence the ultimate goal of a programme like this is to test what?

Will Henke: To find … I guess it comes back to that, the whole, for me at least from my philosophy, is to find what is the strongest relative team? And that for me goes back to my military days is you want to find … For me, find the person that has the best fitness ability is the person that can do everything very well, but not one thing more so than the other. So you may take one strong person, they can do a 270-kilo deadlift, but their mile run is like a seven or eight-minute mile run, not very fast. For some people it may be, but for a competitor, an eight-minute mile is not fast. But you take someone else can do a 235-kilo deadlift, but they run a five 30 mile. Who would you say is fitter in that point? Someone that can do a little bit of a heavier deadlift or just slightly less, or can run two or three minutes faster on their mile, not just with two of those things but also can pull their body weight, can lift their body weight and move everything and communicate well.

You’re trying to find a team, at least for the Grand Slam now with 2020 the philosophy behind that is finding a team that is the all-around best team with communication, strength conditioning, also separate conditioning and strength, not just together. So although we’re testing a pairs workout, spoiler alert, there will be some parts of the programme that do test individual abilities with their fitness.

Mat Lock: Excellent. Very good. Well, I think we’re about out of time. Is there anything else you’d like to add about Grand Slam 2020 around the programming or is it just a case of we have to sit back and wait for them to be released in June and, I guess have a lot of fun like we did last year watching people, in this case, teams, really have a red hot crack at it?

Will Henke: I’m really excited to see how teams are going to respond to when the workouts are released at the live announcements. But I’m also excited to see the feedback from it. One of the biggest things that we’re going to do, and you were talking about the early bird signup, is we’re going to do a drip sequence of one team work out every week for, I think you said 12 weeks leading up to it. So there will be some insight into those that do sign up early, that way they can start working on communication, pacing with your partner. Because when you do partner workouts, how do you pace that? Because sometimes you may work one-on-one. Are you working at 100% of your effort before you switch? If there was a workout where you’re both working at the same time, what level of intensity should you be working at where you can sustain that over a period of time? So it depends on what you’re doing. So I’m excited to see how teams strategize and execute these when we see the videos coming in for the judging.

Mat Lock: Yeah, absolutely, likewise. And I know that you’ve also programmed two sample workouts, both for Advanced and Open athletes. They’re on the website, thebaygames.com and the .com.au. But I guess even if you’re watching or listening to this after Early Birds have closed, you can go to the website, you can download those and we’d encourage you to give them a go. At the end of the day, they’re designed to be everything Will’s talking about, but a bunch of fun as well, which is important. That’s what it’s all about in the end.

Most of us are not competing for a living, and it’s about getting together with a mate or a bunch of mates, having some fun around it, pushing each other, growing, learning and yeah, leaving with a big sweaty smile on your face.

Will Henke: Yeah, and I think everyone’s going to be able to compete in this environment because they have a partner and they’re going to have that satisfaction of not wanting to let them down, which makes them push harder, which will give them more of a rewarding feeling in the end. But I think that’s going to be something cool to listen to at the end of the three weeks.

Mat Lock: Yeah, absolutely. Will, thank you very much for your time and we’ll leave it there and look forward to chatting with you next time.

Will Henke: Always a pleasure, Mat. Thanks.

About The Bay Games:

The Bay Games is the home of the world’s everyday athletes! The team at HQ in Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia are all about creating connection and community through competition 

You do not need to qualify for their events – they are for all abilities, all ages and all are welcome.

 

 

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