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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.

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Episode Transcriptions

Mat Lock:

Hey, Leanne Watson. Welcome back to the Everyday Athlete podcast. It’s a pleasure to have you back.

Leanne Watson:

Hey, nice to be back.

Mat Lock:

And if we’re being honest, we can say now, it was actually just a few minutes ago we talked about episode one with you.

Leanne Watson:

Same scarf.

Mat Lock:

Same scarf. Exactly right. No, no. So it’s great to have you back on here, but I wanted to, I guess dig a little deeper into who Leanne is. The background, not only from a Grand Slam and a Bay Games perspective, but actually it’s about you and to understand where you live, what your background is, and really dig into your athletic and sporting endeavours, but also how that fits in with life. And we all have life commitments. We have family, we have work, we have bills to pay, we have all of that going on. None of us are professional athletes, so we’re trying to do what we love around the realities of just normal life. But maybe we start with where you live, where you’re from.

Leanne Watson:

Oh, well West Virginia, little small town in West Virginia and I grew up here. I went to college about four hours from here and then I decided I wanted to be close to my family so I moved back.

Mat Lock:

You did say the town. Is it Morgantown?

Leanne Watson:

Yeah Morgantown, Morgantown. Sorry I didn’t say it. Yeah. So good old mountaineer city, born and raised and have stuck here ever since.

Mat Lock:

Ha ha, you say that like you’re stuck there.

Leanne Watson:

Well I’ve stuck around ever since.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, I understand. Well I guess with snow on the ground, the mind wanders and other parts of the world.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah. Like Jervis Bay.

Mat Lock:

Absolutely. So you’re born and raised in Morgantown. I guess, I know you as the athlete. We met through Bay Games Grand Slam last year, but maybe if we go back, have you always been really into sports and a competitor and super fit and strong or is there a backstory there that you’d like to share?

Leanne Watson:

Well, whenever I was in elementary school … So I was always in sports, but I was never really the athletic one. Fun fact, I was 200 pounds before I was in fifth grade. So I was a very overweight child that … I was always on the basketball teams that my parents coached because we were the ones that nobody else wanted on their team type of thing. So my dad was always our basketball coach because none of the other coaches would take us.

Leanne Watson:

But then I got really sick in my fifth grade year and I ended up losing a bunch of weight. And whenever I did, I took on the mentality of, “You’re never going to gain this weight back and you are going to be healthy, you are going to get fitter and healthier.” And so I started actually spending time in sports and trying to be better at them and basically trying to be the best athlete I could be and I never turned back. So, and then-

Mat Lock:

So fifth grade, sorry for my benefit, what age are we talking there?

Leanne Watson:

About 11 years old.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, okay. And you’re now … Are you happy to share your age?

Leanne Watson:

Oh yeah, I’m 28.

Mat Lock:

Sure. So that was a turning point, but quite a long time ago. Not that long, obviously.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah.

Mat Lock:

A little while.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, so after that I started getting really involved in sports and because I had lost so much weight, I had started being a little bit better at sports. I’d started getting a little bit more friends, being a little bit more social and then I just actually started taking it more seriously rather than … Before I was just like, “I’m here because Mom and Dad are forcing me to be and I just have to be.” But then middle school, high school range, I was like, “No, I can see myself doing this longterm.” So took into CrossFit and here I am.

Mat Lock:

So when did you stumble into CrossFit?

Leanne Watson:

So in college I was a thrower for my track team. After that I was like, “Well I need to still do something after I graduate.” So there was this boy I was trying to impress and he was starting CrossFit as well. So I was like, “Well, I want to show that I’m cool too, so I’m going to do CrossFit and maybe he’ll like me if I do.” And he never did. Nothing ended up happening there. But then I found CrossFit and fitness in general has now become a huge part of my life, so it still works out.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Awesome. And I think we can agree it was his loss. Okay. His loss for sure.

Leanne Watson:

It was his loss. I hope he watches this. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. There’s nothing wrong.

Mat Lock:

If you want to name and shame, I don’t mind.

Leanne Watson:

I probably better not.

Mat Lock:

No, let’s not. He knows who he is.

Leanne Watson:

He does know.

Mat Lock:

Awesome, that’s how you got into CrossFit and the rest is history, so to speak. And you’re still loving it and living life large and really throwing yourself into it eh?

Leanne Watson:

Yeah. Loving every single day. Every minute.

Mat Lock:

Awesome. And so how often do you train? What’s your training regime look like?

Leanne Watson:

So well, like we said earlier, today was a rest day for me. So usually I’ll do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays normal training day, Thursday’s usually maybe as long as I’m feeling good, a cardio piece or some mobility, just something a little bit lighter. And then Friday, Saturday are training days as well. So I usually will train in the morning and then maybe some type of aerobic piece in the afternoon or mobility or skill or something like that in the afternoon. But the bulk of my training in the morning and then just something tiny in the afternoon.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. So very focused and even on rest days it’s about active recovery or some cardio. So it’s always moving. Always moving.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah. Yeah. Something.

Mat Lock:

Sure. And how does your … What’s nutrition look like for you? Are you super focused on your diet as well?

Leanne Watson:

Yeah. It’s funny you say that too, because I’m super … I like to weigh and measure absolutely everything. So even this morning whenever I was doing my meal prep, my little pan had … For my brussel sprouts, I would weigh them out before I would roast them. So it just had all these little sections of brussel sprouts with these little dividers in it so that I would know, “Okay, well that one’s a serving. That one’s a serving. That one’s a serving.” So I’m pretty particular on my macros too.

Mat Lock:

That’s good. Do you follow any particular sort of diet or paleo, keto, vegan?

Leanne Watson:

I try to keep it clean so I guess it would be the closest to paleo, but I still will eat sweet potatoes and I’m a little bit more relaxed about that as long as it is more of a natural or clean-

Mat Lock:

So real food?

Leanne Watson:

But then, yeah, real foods, as long as they fit my macros type of thing.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure, sure. I can’t imagine life without sweet potatoes.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, I don’t know how people do that.

Mat Lock:

I don’t either. Well that’s awesome. So obviously there’s a lot of time and energy goes into your training, your competing which of course includes your nutrition. What about outside of all of that? What does that look like?

Leanne Watson:

Well, my sister and I are very, very close. I mean we live together. I like to spend a lot of time there with her. And as I said earlier, I was born and raised here in the Morgantown area. So being close to my family’s really important to me too. Being able to go out and see them.

Leanne Watson:

They’re probably my biggest athletic supporters I’ve ever had. I can guarantee my Mom is probably going to be watching this multiple times even. She watched the live feed even though it was at 2:00 AM during the Bay Games. So my Mom and my Dad, going out and visiting them. My little sister has autism so she will always be living with them. So going out and visiting and just seeing them and spending time with them is a big piece of what I do.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, awesome. In fact, I’ve had some messages with your Mom and so I’ve got to say, “Hi,” to your Mom there, and actually had we known, when you win the Grand Slam this year and when you come back and do the Bay Games in November this year, we’ll have to make sure we give your Mom a shout out on the live stream then, because that’s a big effort. Staying up till 2:00 AM in the morning to watch it.

Leanne Watson:

She does too. And then she even does a screen recording on her phone so that she can keep it all the time.

Mat Lock:

Oh, that’s awesome. Legend. So your younger sister’s at home, so do you therefore live with your older sister or are you the oldest?

Leanne Watson:

Well, I’m a twin, so I have an older sister, so there’s four of us. But I do have an older sister, but I live with my twin sister. And then my little sister’s at home.

Mat Lock:

And would I be confused if I was now not talking to Leanne, if I was talking to your twin sister would I know or-

Leanne Watson:

I don’t know. Well you said you’ve never seen me with my hair down, so … No, we’re not identical. We’re completely fraternal.

Mat Lock:

Sure, sure. That’s cool. But yeah, you said you’re very, very close.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Basically best friends, so I don’t even view us as sisters.

Mat Lock:

That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s fantastic. Really. And what do you do for a living? I actually don’t know the answer to this question.

Leanne Watson:

Well, it’s funny you say that too because within the last year I have probably switched my career path two or three different times. And it’s one of those, not a matter of job hopping, more so a matter of I’ve realised what I like and what I … Just growing up I guess. So my degree is in education. So leading into the Bay Games I was teaching at an elementary school, a local elementary school teaching reading intervention. And it was just one of those … I went to work every day. I liked it. It was okay. And then I was also in the evening I would come and I would coach CrossFit classes and I was just like, “You know, I enjoy coaching a lot more. I feel like that’s where my passion is. That’s where my energy is.”

Leanne Watson:

So the gym I was coaching at offered me a general manager position. They had lost one of their coaches and they needed someone to take over more full time hours for the general manager spot there. So I just recently, within the last month or two, took that. And so now that’s what I do for a living.

Mat Lock:

That’s fantastic. Congratulations.

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, so thanks. So, yeah, I hated to leave teaching, but it was one of those … I mean, you got to do where your passion is. So my passion is with CrossFit, so that’s where I want to put my energy at.

Mat Lock:

I can relate. I stepped out of corporate life about four years ago now, I guess three and a half years ago, because I just wasn’t passionate about it. And here we are. Yeah. And I’m passionate about … I love what we’re doing with the Bay Games.

Leanne Watson:

And you’re doing better for it because of it.

Mat Lock:

I’m certainly happier and yeah, it’s great. I mean, I do sometimes miss that monthly hug of the bank account that corporate used to provide, but I wouldn’t change it for the world, because yeah, we’re just happier and enjoying life and meeting so many cool people and yeah, it’s awesome. It’s absolutely awesome.

Leanne Watson:

I completely agree with that.

Mat Lock:

And being a part of stories like with yourself, the whole journey with the Bay Games and the Grand Slam last year, which was awesome. You never get that in a corporate environment.

Leanne Watson:

Exactly. And I’m glad you did it too because I would’ve never gotten to meet you guys.

Mat Lock:

Exactly right. You know I was interested … When we chatted last time, you said something that I guess peaked my interest because you said, “Oh you know I thought yeah I’ll give the Grand Slam a go because I want to go to Australia, but things like this don’t happen to me. I don’t win competitions that get me to Australia,” and so on. And of course you did win and you did come to Australia and I wondered if that had had a deeper impression on you and whether that had changed any of your outlook in terms of what’s possible for you and believing in yourself and so on?

Leanne Watson:

It did. Not only making it and winning the Grand Slam, but whenever I got there, I would say a huge turning point for my fitness journey in general was the Bay Games. I don’t know if it’s because it gave me so much mental clarity. Maybe I got waterlogged getting drowned there in the first event, but when I got home, I started making a lot of changes. That’s when I decided to opt out of teaching and take this general manager position. I made a lot of changes as soon as I got home because the Bay Games showed me that I was capable of a lot more than I had ever given myself credit for.

Leanne Watson:

And I had, honestly, before I even left to come to Bay Games, been thinking about quitting CrossFit in general. I was burnt out. I was, even during the Grand Slam, I was just kind of like, “Ah, this isn’t fun anymore. I don’t like it.” And something during that competition just was like, “You know what? You should be grateful that you’re able to do this. You should be grateful that you’ve been given these abilities, these capabilities. Go use them and just have fun. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, just have fun doing it.” And so it redefined fitness as being fun for me and when I got home now I’ve been on fire for training and enjoying it ever since.

Mat Lock:

That’s amazing. That genuinely warms my heart, Leanne. Honestly, that’s awesome. I’m so pleased that that was your experience and that we’ve played a small part in facilitating that, but at the end of the day you did the hard work. You had the mental fortitude to get through, it sounds like a bit of a tough time with training. Literally, I didn’t know any of that actually, that you were thinking about throwing in the CrossFit towel as it were.

Leanne Watson:

That’s why I thanked you guys so much. I’m like, “You guys literally have changed my life by that whole trip.”

Mat Lock:

Yeah, that’s amazing. Amazing. Well, well done to you because at the end of the day it was all you. You did all the work and I know you’ve got your support team around, you’ve got your family and your coaches. We all do. And that’s part of the story isn’t it? But nonetheless, you dug in and you got it done. So I’d high five you, but we’d probably break our screens. But that’s amazing. That’s amazing.

Mat Lock:

I guess I don’t need to ask. I was going to say what would be your message to someone else who was thinking about, “Should I have a go at the Grand Slam this year or should I have to go to the Bay Games?” What would your message to them be?

Leanne Watson:

I would definitely say give it a go. You never know what can happen. And not only that, regardless of where you place, you’re going to have fun doing it. So prove yourself wrong. Show yourself that even just finishing the qualifier, just finishing all the workouts, that’s a huge accomplishment of itself because those workouts aren’t easy. So just doing it and just finishing it. Give yourself more credit than what you think you need.

Mat Lock:

Oh, absolutely. I think that’s a great message that applies to all of us. Every single one of us. And I’ve seen the workouts for the Grand Slam this year of course, tested a couple of them, and yeah, they’re not designed to be easy. You’re right. Equally, they’re not designed to be mind-numbing or just simply hard for the sake of it. They’re not designed for that.

Mat Lock:

In fact, this year I gave you one snippet in the last recording. I can’t give you any more other than to say we’re really trying to be inclusive. We are exclusively about everyday athletes and so if you are a professional athlete and we’re going to define that as clearly as we can, but it’s not for professional athletes. We had a shoot yesterday with Khan Porter , Alethea Boon. They can’t compete. They can’t play with the Gland Slam because it’s not for them. It’s for everyday athletes and they liked that approach.

Mat Lock:

But it’s designed to be inclusive. It’s not just for CrossFitters. You can be from F45, you can be from a Globo Gym, doesn’t matter. So we’ve really given, as we did last year, but a lot of time and thought to the programming for this year, especially given it’s pairs now. It’s pairs, which changes of dynamics totally for each workout and a good way, in a good way. Excited to see how you go. But I’m conscious of time Leanne, and very grateful because it’s Sunday evening where you are isn’t it?

Leanne Watson:

Oh yeah. But-

Mat Lock:

But all good.

Leanne Watson:

It’s rest day. So I literally have nothing to do. So you’re good.

Mat Lock:

And are your food preps done or-

Leanne Watson:

Yeah, yeah. I finished it this morning.

Mat Lock:

Of course you have. You might need to give me some lessons about it that. My food prepping, I think because I can be a bit … I mean I eat clean but I’m not … I guess I don’t have a routine that forces me to have to be that regimented. But I like the idea of it. I see photos of different people online and, “There’s my the next week.” And you go, “God that would be great,” rather than, “Right, what should we have tonight?”

Leanne Watson:

I mean there in Jervis Bay, all those different restaurants, I don’t feel like you really need to.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, and that’s not food prepping is it?

Leanne Watson:

That’s true.

Mat Lock:

That’s really lazy. But you’re right. There’s some great cafes here. Very good. Leanne, is there anything else you would like to say to the audience before they start seeing your face around the time of the Grand Slam?

Leanne Watson:

Make sure you sign up. It’s for a great cause, but don’t beat me.

Mat Lock:

That’s right. Be good, but don’t be too good.

Leanne Watson:

Be second.

Mat Lock:

Well very good. Actually top 10 finishers this year, top 10 finishers in each division get cash prizes. We’ve got starting with $2,500 US dollars first place and it goes down in 50% increments from there. So even if you get a decent chunk of cash in the pocket and a bunch of other stuff. Actually we’re going to include as well, there’s going to be a copy of Khan Porter’s ebook, which is called Fitter Everyday and that’s got 230 conditioning workouts that he’s done in the last year. I’ve got a copy which I bought last week, and it’s just excellent. So anyway, so again, top 10 winners from each division pairs will each get a copy of that as well and a bunch of other stuff. 

Leanne Watson:

You guys are outdoing yourselves.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly right. Yeah, we’re trying to make it irresistible because we want … The more people we get involved, the more impact we’ll have for the mental health charities and the more fun we’ll be having around the world, I guess.

Leanne Watson:

I like it.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Cool. Very good. Well Leanne, thank you so much for your time and if people want to reach out to you and connect with you in some way, how would they do that?

Leanne Watson:

Instagram and Facebook. My Instagram’s Leannewatson25 and then Leanne Watson on Facebook.

Mat Lock:

No, problem. I’ll put those details in the show notes and if you haven’t already watched the first episode with Leanne, I strongly recommend that you do because it talks about her journey from the Grand Slam through to the Bay Games and everything in between. Leanne, thank you very much and I wish you a good evening.

Leanne Watson:

Thank you. You too.

Mat Lock:

You take care.

Leanne Watson:

Thanks. You too.

 

Mat Lock:

All right, Dave Harvey. Good morning and welcome to the Everyday Athletes Podcast.

Dave Harvey:

Morning Mat, how are you doing?

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Good. I appreciate your time very much. I know you’re busy running a number of businesses, which we’ll get into, but I appreciate your time very much

Dave Harvey:

More than welcome. 

Mat Lock:

Excellent, appreciate it. And for those who are not familiar with Dave Harvey, if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself, just I guess your background from your footy days onwards.

Dave Harvey:

Yeah. So I guess, yeah, grew up playing rugby, was lucky enough to play professional rugby for a number of years. Probably about eight to 10 years, eight to 10 seasons spanning across probably four countries, being Australia, or maybe five, Australia and a few in Europe and then in Brazil as well. And then, yeah, landed in F45 and ever since then has been running that business sort of coincide a little bit of pre rugby/business running and then set away from rugby and now I’m I guess a full time dad, full time a business owner and still wannabe athlete.

Mat Lock:

Well the still wannabe athlete, having seen you in action the other day under The Bay Games last year, you’re going okay.

Dave Harvey:

Still working on it.

Mat Lock:

You look amazing. You’re looking super lean and strong at the moment.

Dave Harvey:

It’s all in the kitchen.

Mat Lock:

Right. That’s interesting. We might come back to that. So that’s actually a major transition. Living 8 to 10 years you said as really a pro footy player, pro athlete. I’m guessing that was living, breathing, eating, sleeping footy every day of every week, every month, every year.

Dave Harvey:

Yeah, pretty well. Stemming from starting in Australia, I did things a little bit backwards. I kind of did Australia, a little bit of Australia and then did Europe and then came back here and then played pro back at home, which was fantastic. 

But yeah, it’s just seven days a week I guess, or five days a week with a couple of days off. Had morning sessions, time off. We’d get a fair bit of time off, but sometimes whether it’s mental reliefs or you kick back and doing nothing and then back in the afternoon for a bit of training, a bit of video analysis and studying your game, opposition games and then games on the weekend and the next day would be a recovery. And it was a full time job at the time, I loved it. Made lots of mates, lots of life-long friends. Learned a lot about myself in good and bad ways. But yeah, it was intense. But wouldn’t change it for the world.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Excellent. It was interesting, we were chatting to Felicity, now Lemke, originally Felicity Galvez, Olympic swimmer, gold medalist in fact who was talking about when she was leading into both of the Olympics, ’04 and ’08 that she competed at. She said literally her day was, I think at least five days a week was three training sessions a day and she had in between those it was eat and sleep, literally. Eat and sleep, go back and train again.

Dave Harvey:

Pretty much eat, sleep, watch TV, you’d watch TV shows, watch movies, there’d be Xboxes, PlayStations, coffee, wander down the shops and that’s it. Some clubs would let you do what you want. Other clubs were really adamant on doing nothing and relaxing and resting and recovering. Probably more knowledge and content around that kind of stuff now compared to when I was playing. Bit of a, I wouldn’t say an old school approach, but a bit more like you can do as much as you want kind of thing. Whereas now there’s a huge emphasis on recovering and resting, getting your body right. But we did a bit of that. It was training and then nothing and then training again. So switch on and switch off.

Mat Lock:

Sounds like to the everyday athletes like me and most of the audience listening, that sounds like the dream life. However, I’m guessing it was also not so easy.

Dave Harvey:

Nah, I think a lot of people perceive it as the dream life. As much fun as it was, it’s also very mentally challenging. Physically challenging, but you can get physically challenging by training as much as or as hard as you want with a full time job. 

But more the mental aspect of it was a little bit tough. Especially for me living away from home, that was pretty hard. But even playing back here, you’re studying opposition, you’re studying yourself, you’ve got to remember plays, you’ve got to remember what the opposition is doing. One bad game puts you on the outer, you never really have a full time job. You’re a full time player, but you never really have a full time job in the rugby aspect because you’re signing one, two three deals and then after that, you don’t know where you’re going to be. Whereas if you’re a school teacher, you’re a policeman, whatever it may be, you own your own business. Technically you’ve got a job for life. You tick boxes, you don’t exactly have to perform perfectly day in, day out.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. I imagine it’s an immense amount of pressure knowing that I can assume. So you transitioned then to, as you said, you bought an F45 franchise.

Dave Harvey:

Yep.

Mat Lock:

I think you said the other day when we were there last week doing the photo shoot, you were the sixth ever F45-

Dave Harvey:

Yeah. We’re actually the third F45 opened. So I was still playing at the time and I’d just left my contract playing Super Rugby and I wanted something to do. I’ve got a teaching degree, which I used a little bit, but there’s no jobs out there in the world of teaching at the moment. My rugby agent at the time ended up owning a few put me on to F45 and I bought one in 2013, I think we opened early 2014. Continued to play a bit, I was in the seventh circuit with Brazil at the time, so it was a fair bit of travelling and playing and training and working at the same time. So trying to juggle everything. But yeah, so we’ve traded at Castle Hill for about, well this would be our sixth year now, which is pretty cool.

Mat Lock:

And enjoying it?

Dave Harvey:

Loving it. Yeah. Still loving it. The alarm goes off at 10 past four, wouldn’t say I bounce out of bed, but I get out of bed and once I’m at work, yeah, I really enjoy. So yeah, I really enjoy being there.

Mat Lock:

Well you just mentioned before we went live, you were saying that your daughter has only just, I think in the last night or so sort of slept through. So I’m guessing over the last couple of years that’s been a challenge.

Dave Harvey:

It has been a challenge and there’s some good nights and rough nights. I mean there’s times where I’ve slept out in the other room, I’ve been fatigued, but there’s nights there’s three or four wake ups at night, but everyone has their own challenges and mate we wouldn’t change it for the world. And like I said, as soon as I’m in my work, it’s almost like game face. You switch it on and run the class, have a bit of fun with clients, help them as much as we can. Then if I need to hit a wall or come home then I kind of do that away from that public domain.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, of course. I’ve often seen gym owners, PTs, the emotional drain the clients can be without intending to be necessarily, but it’s not just being on your feet thinking about the workout and the programming. It’s also a little bit like hairdressers where people are sharing all sorts of life things…

Dave Harvey:

I think so, yeah. I think a lot of clients kind of look to you for advice or even just to chat, which is fantastic, which I enjoy, which is really cool. But at times, it can be draining. We’re pretty lucky at Castle Hill, we’ve got a lot of clients who are, we are not handfuls, which is fantastic. We’ve got a good client base and they’re all phenomenal, so it’s actually a little bit of fun. Like it’s fun going to work. You will help them and push them as much as you can, but it’s like chatting to your mates. Seven classes a day or so, four in the morning and three at night, yeah, it’s really good.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Fantastic. It’s great to hear that level of passion is still there because it sounds like it’s the motivation itself in training clients which is cool. Was that a hard transition to go from full, what, five days a week as a pro athlete to then setting up a business and all of the infrastructure that goes around it and everything’s involved with the day to day running of the business? How did that go?

Dave Harvey:

Yeah, that was probably the hardest thing. Probably the scariest thing is learning. I guess you probably said that, you said the words just then, the infrastructure of the business. Making the transition from playing rugby professionally to working wasn’t really an issue for me. F45 kind of gives me that team comradery and that sort of team environment, which is fantastic. But on the flip side it’s just running a whole new model, whole new business. I mentioned before, I got my teaching degree as a backup and I did a little bit of but nothing in terms of running your own business. And I guess I probably just learned on my feet, learned as I went. The first couple of years was pretty tough. I think first, probably six to 12 months I worked three jobs so I was playing footy, teaching and running the business. So trying to keep everything afloat.

Dave Harvey:

And then business started to get a little bit better, but it was just learning from the stakes and positives and negatives and probably not taking anything to heart, learning in the fitness industry that people come and go all the time. Fads change, people move, there’s waves of different ideas and different theories behind training. And yeah, just learning how to, from accounting to marketing as we discussed earlier and in terms of like Instagramming and everything, just people relations. And the way I see it, if you can speak to someone then you can run a business. If you’ve got no people skills, you’re in a lot of trouble.

Mat Lock:

That’s exactly right because every business needs customers.

Dave Harvey:

100%.

Mat Lock:

For sure. And I’m interested, did it give you a different insight into I guess what everyday athletes are doing? You know, the mums, dads, people who go to work nine to five or longer, five days a week and who are then training and trying to eat well as a hobby at the end of the day? The training and the competing is very much a hobby. Did you have a better insight having gone from being pro to trying to find your own time to get your training in and maintain your own fitness and so on?

Dave Harvey:

Yeah, definitely. I think there was a new appreciation for it. Being a full time footy player, even on days off it’s like, oh, it’s 10:00 AM, I’m going to go train now. Or I can get up early and go train or we had scheduled break times, we had scheduled field sessions and had massages and recovery. And the day was my leisure and I could do what I want. Now with the business, I kind of look at my clients and pretty much in awe of quite a lot of them. I open the studio at quarter to five or 5:30, oh sorry, 4:30, quarter to five in the morning. They come in, they train, they get changed, they go straight to work, they go home. So not only they’re working an eight til four job, a nine to five job, but they’re training at 5:00 AM, they’re getting changed and going to the city or they’re coming on their way back from work and they come in and do their session.

Dave Harvey:

And there’s just a new found respect. I guess I’m understanding now, but a bit more respect at the start to go, crap, these guys, they’re living a normal life. They’ve got to work, they’ve got to look after their family, they’ve got to cook, they’ve got to eat well, they’re on the run and they’ve got to train as well with this. There’s probably quite a few people out there going, well it’s not hard. It’s only 45 minutes of your day or an hour of your day, but I think mentally and physically it’s pretty tough. And making that transition now to family as you mentioned earlier, got a two and a half year old and family life and dad life and business life into training life now. Yeah. There’s a few hiccups on the way and yeah, huge, huge appreciation for what everyone does.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Absolutely. And so when you’re coaching your clients, when you’re guiding them, mentoring them along their journey, what’s the general advice based on that insight that you tend to give them around maybe recovery, maybe not think too hard on themselves, nutritional or maybe knowing when to push and so on?

Dave Harvey:

For me I guess a lot of the world, especially in the fitness industry is, everything is complicated. Everyone tries to overcomplicate things. There’s 50,000 diets out there. There’s 10,000 ways to do a dead lift, there’s you should be getting this amount of sleep. You should be drinking this, you should be drinking that. I just, I really try to encourage them just to keep it as simple as possible. When it comes to nutrition, just try and get your time into food right. Obviously, I don’t really tell them how much to eat or what to count, it’s great for some, not good for others. I just tell them to try and keep it really simple. Eat clean whole produce food. My family and I, we eat organic and what not and we go to farmer’s markets and we love it. That’s our lifestyle. So I try and preach a little bit of that. Otherwise try and get as clean as possible.

Dave Harvey:

And then just with training as well, just try and be as consistent as possible with the training. If they’re going to do three a week or four a week, do three or four a week every single week. If they’re training more, do that. If you want to go for recovery, get out on Sunday, get a bit of vitamin D, go for a walk and just get moving. And the consistency with food and training and just keeping it as simple as possible. I think if people overcomplicate things, I tell them, if they overcomplicate things they get a little bit stressed and they start to question why and they research and look for answers rather than researching, not looking for an answer. You tend to kind of broaden your mind and learn and educate yourself. So yeah, just kind of just tell them just keep it as simple as possible. Probably in every aspect, especially the food aspect, which is probably the hardest thing for them.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. I think we all know that if you go onto Google, you can find any opinion you want.

Dave Harvey:

100%, yeah. And most of the time people go onto Google and they go in with a predetermined or a mindset of they’re looking for an answer. So when they hop on Google, they’ll have a look and they’ll find what they can’t to see. Actually I’ve got my own coach at the moment and his best bit of advice to me was if you’re going to research something, research without looking for an answer and you’ll sit on both sides of the fence and you can make an informed decision for yourself. So ever since then, it’s probably opened up a few things for me, which is great.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. I remember watching Forks Over Knives, it’s a documentary that’s now on Netflix and certainly one of the lead doctors on there was talking about whenever you’re reading anything anywhere, the first question you have to ask yourself is who wrote it and how were they funded? Who paid for the creation of this documentary?

Dave Harvey:

Exactly. Who wrote the article, who paid for it? Because they want to get their point across.

Mat Lock:

That’s exactly right. So particularly on Google where you can be splattered with millions of results instantly. I think that’s a really important thing. I certainly try and pay attention when I’m really researching something and understand what was behind it. Is there an agenda?

Dave Harvey:

Yeah, definitely.

Mat Lock:

And it might be okay if there is, but it’s just good to know that so you can make an informed decision.

Dave Harvey:

Yeah, spot on.

Mat Lock:

For sure. Very good. Well, we’re getting close to time now. I’m interested with the F45 model, the way you run it, what do you think is the main motivation that keeps people coming back? I certainly having been to your facility and met some of your clients and seeing that amazing sense of community and that sort of loyalty to the brand and to you, to each other. What do you think builds that?

Dave Harvey:

I think you just nailed it on there. This community. Results is fantastic. Seeing people lose weight, put on muscle mass. Results, numbers speak for themselves. But for me, the first and foremost thing within business in the fitness industry community, you build community, you’ll maintain your clientele. You look after your clientele, you’ll care about your clientele, your clients will probably care about you as well as a business owner. So they show a little bit more respect. And then after everything’s secondary. So you move into your results and food and how they approach every aspect of their life and every aspect around their training.

Dave Harvey:

But community is the key. So whether it be putting on events for them or learning everyone’s name that walks through that door at quarter to five in the morning half asleep. I think that’s a really important thing. Just getting the little tiny details possible. I always tell my members learn everyone’s name, if there’s three people in the class, run it as if there’s 303 people in the class. So keeping it the same, show as much energy and as much attention to detail as possible, but not only that, but build community and build fun and build a place where people want to come and they’re safe to come and comfortable and come.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. No, I appreciate that. And that was certainly the impression I got when I came with you and yeah, that was amazing.

Dave Harvey:

Awesome, glad you did.

Mat Lock:

All right, Dave, thank you very much for your time.

Dave Harvey:

You’re welcome.

Mat Lock:

We’re going to get you on for another episode, but for now I’ll just say thank you very much. If people want to reach out to you and connect with you, where’s the best place to do that?

Dave Harvey:

Probably on Instagram, I’d say. That’s Daveharvey17. It’s probably the best to reach out, just that way as opposed to emails and trying to keep my emails for business only and try and keep everything separate. So they want to reach out or anything like that, it’d be good.

Mat Lock:

Excellent. Dave, thank you very much.

Dave Harvey:

Thanks mate. I appreciate it.

Mat Lock: 

Alethea Boon, welcome back to The Everyday Athlete podcast. It’s a pleasure to have you here again.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, good to be back, thanks.

Mat Lock:

Not at all. And today what I’d like to talk about is the fact that superhumans are human too. And I know many of us look at yourself and many other athletes and go, “Wow,” the pro athletes, and go, “Wow, incredible strength, stamina, and skills.” But at the end of the day, you are human too. And we find ourselves, certainly in the C-19 pandemic, as we talked about last time, and we talked a little bit about your routines and how you’re dealing with that and getting through that. 

But firstly, maybe if you could set the scene for those who maybe have been living under a rock and are not familiar with you, just tell us a little bit about yourself in terms of your family and athletic background, please.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, sure. So a bit of my background, I was a gymnast from a really, really young age, from about nine. And I competed in gymnastics, all the way to collegiate gymnastics in America, until, I think, 2004. After 2004, I had retired from gymnastics and was just an everyday person, studied, exercised on and off, and then I got a wee bit bored of that. I did full ill in 2010 and after that incident, I had bilateral pulmonary embolism, after that incident, it actually sparked me to see what I could get out of my body, even after that.

Alethea Boon:

So I started working towards half marathons, and I ran a few hours, and then I got bored of running and I Googled, “different way to get fit”, and hence the CrossFit journey.

Alethea Boon:

So I joined CrossFit in 2013, at CrossFit Active, and since then I’ve been going to the games since 2014. I had to take a year off to compete in the Commonwealth games, weightlifting. So that was my other sport.

Mat Lock:

Of course you did.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah. And so yeah, I’ve just been training in CrossFit and just trying to keep fit and healthy since then.

Mat Lock:

That’s awesome, and congratulations for everything so far, because it’s an amazing journey you’ve been on. And, actually, I didn’t realise that you’d been doing the half marathon thing and got bored of it and looked for something new. I didn’t know that. But I guess it’s a luxury you have as a professional athlete, being able to train eight to 10 hours every day, and doing nothing else for living. Correct?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, I wish I had eight to 10 hours to train and recover and do all of that. But no, no, the entire time I’ve actually been working full time at my full time job, working in property. And like everyone else, I’ve got to balance my schedule, balance training, and making sure that I still have enough energy to give 100% of everything that I do. So I wish I could train a lot, I wish I could have the time to recover, but I don’t, but I was able to manage and make do with the time that I did. So I go through the same challenges that everyone else does too. And also with the levels of motivation, I mean after a whole days of work, it’s really hard to actually just pick up your bag and go to the gym. But I found that if you actually just do it, just put your shoes on, and just go, you find the momentum and you just keep going from there.

Mat Lock:

Sure. And certainly, even on the days when it’s tough, I know I’m always glad I’d done it afterward. I didn’t necessarily look forward to it, but I’m glad I did it. And you get the endorphins flushed, the guilt’s gone, because if you skip it you’re going to feel guilty. But nonetheless, so you’re working Monday to Friday full time, correct?

Alethea Boon:

Yep. Monday to Friday, full-time hours. And then I train around those hours.

Mat Lock:

Right. So do you tend to train in the mornings or in the evenings or both?

Alethea Boon:

Normally, just in the evenings. If I’m training for a competition, I’ll start training in the morning. But my priority is my bread and butter, which is working, and I want to make sure that when I’m at work I can give 100% of my effort. I mean, I hate to go into negotiations feeling tired and groggy, so I’ve got to give 100% there, and doing that actually allows me to switch off in the evening, and then I can give 100% to my training session.

Mat Lock:

Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So okay, so you’re training mostly in the evenings, other than if you’re leading into a comp. And how many evenings a week is that or the weekends, are they different? Pretty sure you don’t have to work.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah. So because weekends are free, I generally push a lot of the training to the weekends. So during the week, Monday to Friday, I’ll train four days out of those, and it’ll be evenings from 6:30 PM or 7:00 PM to whatever time it takes me to finish, which is probably around 8:30 PM, 9:00 PM, maybe a little bit longer if I’m chatting with everyone.

Mat Lock:

Surely not.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah. But in the weekends, I make the most of the time. It’s the time where you get to go outdoors and bike, swim, run, and just enjoy being outdoors.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. And so, with the current self-isolation, and you mentioned in our last chat that you and Lima are somehow reconnecting because you’re having more time together than normal. That makes more sense than ever now, because you’re either at work or training, normally.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, absolutely. And we literally turned our dining room table into our office, so we’re sitting right opposite each other. But it’s good, because when it’s time to work out, we’re both holding each other accountable. We’re like, “Okay, computers off, let’s go.”

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Fantastic, fantastic. And I guess training’s only one part of the story, right? I mean you’ve got work, you’ve got training, but you mentioned, already, recovery, obviously really important. And of course nutrition, food. How do you juggle all of that?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, so I am a bit of a creature of habit. I do like routine and discipline, and I think that if you actually plan and schedule everything out, like I do. My meal plan is through RP Strength, and I actually use an app in which my meal times and what I’m eating is scheduled out, so it’s easy to follow. And I do the same with my training and my work schedule. So everything’s routined, everything’s diarized, and it just keeps me that little bit more accountable during the week. And in the weekend, I’ll have one day where it’s a little bit more relaxed.

Mat Lock:

Sure. And with RP, just to dive into that rabbit hole, do you have a personalised programme from them or are you using the app? Like I would be, let’s say?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, so originally I started off using the personalised programme with Nick Shaw, and it was amazing. It definitely was a game-changer in terms of performance. The education you learn from that one on one coaching, it helps when you transfer over to the app. So for me, I’m actually just on maintenance right now, and I’ve learned so much previously and what I need to eat and when I need to eat, that it’s easy for me to just use the app, and the reminders actually keep me accountable to eat as well.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. No, interesting. And yourself and Lima are aligned? There’s not two meals being cooked or you tend to eat the same things?

Alethea Boon:

I think …

Mat Lock:

That was a stupid question, if Lima’s there, I’m sorry Lima. It’s not a loaded question.

Alethea Boon:

Lima’s a bit more free-spirited on what he eats and drinks. I think there’s a good balance between us, is that he’s a bit more relaxed, I’m very intense in the way I approach things, so it does make a good balance for both of us.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. So you’ve found somewhere in the middle.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, we’re definitely in the middle.

Mat Lock:

And you mentioned just a few minutes ago, about, I guess, having that focus, you’re very deliberate with your training, depending on, obviously, whether you’ve got a comp coming up or not. But what motivates you to … When you go to the gym, that was the link for me, was even if you don’t really feel like it, but your shoes on, go and do it anyway. I mean that could be misconstrued as a very easy throwaway line, which I know it isn’t, with yourself. What do you tell yourself, when you … Big day at work, maybe the normal stresses. You mentioned negotiations, that’s stressful, that’s a lot of cerebral firepower required, often it can be exhausting.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mat Lock:

But when you’re sitting on the fence a bit, thinking, “I don’t really want to go to the gym, it’s eight o’clock already,” what is it that motivates you to do that? What’s the conversation you have with yourself?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, so I wouldn’t say … There’s nothing that actually motivates me, per se. It’s not so much motivation. It’s more so just I think, “Okay, show up.” I break it down little by little. I say, “Show up, put your shoes on, start your first exercise.” If you break it down into bite size chunks, then you keep that momentum going, you tick off one box, you keep ticking off another box, and next thing you know you’re done. And you can walk away feeling so much prouder of what you’ve done.

Alethea Boon:

It’s also thinking about the bigger picture. If you keep taking those little boxes, you’ll get to where you need to be later on. So like I said before, it’s staying accountable to your future self. You’re not always going to feel motivated, but if you show up and get the work done, later down the track, you will want 100% be grateful for what you did back then. You’re just not going to see it today, but you will see it down the track.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. No, I think that’s great advice, and a great perspective to have. Now, before we started recording, we did touch on the fact that you have, again, qualified for the CrossFit games this year. You and your team. The team name is … ?

Alethea Boon:

The team name is Star Strength Black, and it consists of myself, Christy Bishop, who’s actually a nurse on the front line at the moment. And then we’ve got [Jodi Gardner 00:10:03], another Kiwi, and Reese Mitchell, who was actually a Teens games athlete back in the day.

Mat Lock:

Yeah. Awesome. So two out of the four, this would be their first games year, correct?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, two out of the four, it’s their first games, and they’ve worked super, super hard. So we’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean it’s interesting, I was chatting with a couple of other athletes recently who are going to the games, about how they’re handling the uncertainty of well will that go ahead or not? Because of course, we’re now in April, so I guess from May onwards those athletes will be super focused, 12 week lead into the games. And with the current uncertainty, I wonder, how do you handle that? Where’s your mind-set at with that?

Alethea Boon:

For my mind-set, it’s still business as usual. I still train every day. It’s my non-negotiable. And every transition that I go into, I always bank on giving 100% of what I’ve got for that day. I may feel absolute rubbish, but I’m still going to give my best effort for every little piece that I do. It doesn’t have to be high volume, but it has to be quality, and that’s how I’ve approached my training since I started CrossFit. And it’s still how I approach it now. And then I think bigger picture, it’s not so much just about the games, it is still training for everyday life. And I will train like this regardless of whether the games are on or not.

Alethea Boon:

And I think for the team as well, we’re all in the same boat, we think the same way. I think we work together the same way, and a good thing that Luke Starr’s done with us, is that we actually check in with each other every week. Sunday night, 7:00 PM, we’re still checking in with each other, and it’s keeping everyone’s spirits up regardless of what happens. We’re still a team. We still made it. We still qualified for the CrossFit games in 2020. Whether it goes ahead, not sure, but still, it’s still an achievement.

Mat Lock:

Oh, it’s a huge achievement, absolutely. And of course, like you, fingers crossed that it will go ahead. Hopefully, the pandemic can be under control sufficiently where it’s all relaxed a little and events like that can go ahead. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, and I guess everyone will find a way to handle that.

Alethea Boon:

Exactly. Life still goes on. This is just a small thing in the game of life. We train for life, so we’ll still carry on regardless.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, that’s exactly … I love that, that we train for life. That’s exactly right. I mean, I enjoy competing, but I have to say for me it’s more about the routine, the daily routine, the daily grind, almost. The training, the camaraderie.

Alethea Boon:

Absolutely. Trading, pushing your body to the limits, it trains this more than it trains the body. It keeps me sharp for work, it keeps me sharp for everyday life, and I’m sure it does a lot for everyone else too.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Well, Alethea, I think that’s probably all we’ve got time for today. Again, thank you so much for sharing so many of your insights and allowing us into your lounge room, your dining room or-

Alethea Boon:

My dining room/office.

Mat Lock:

That’s the whole thing with Zoom, right? You’ve allowed us into your home. Thank you for that.

Alethea Boon:

Thank you for having me. It’s always great chatting, Mat.

Mat Lock:

Absolutely. And if people wanted to reach out and connect with you, maybe have some questions or just want to share a funny video with you, how would they do that?

Alethea Boon:

Oh, I do love funny videos. Yeah, absolutely. Just reach out to me on Facebook. It’s Alethea_Boon. Either Facebook or on Instagram. Same thing.

Mat Lock:

That’s awesome. And we’ll keep fingers crossed that the CrossFit games go ahead, but we know that it’s not the be-all and end-all.

Alethea Boon:

Not the end-all, be-all, yeah.

Mat Lock:

Lovely spirit as always, Alethea, thank you very much.

Alethea Boon:

Thank you. Thanks for having me. Stay safe, everyone. Look after yourselves and stay connected with everyone.

Mat Lock: Ed Morrison, welcome back to the Everyday Athlete podcast.

Ed Morrison: Thank you Mat. Thanks for having me back.

Mat Lock: So, this is your second time so far.

Ed Morrison: Yes.

Mat Lock: I appreciate you very much making the time to be available and share your wisdom with us.

Ed Morrison: My pleasure.

Mat Lock: Today, we’re going to talk about nutrition around competition for the everyday athletes. Because, as you know, everything we do and everything we’re about is ‘everyday athletes’ not the elite athletes.

Ed Morrison: Yes.

Mat Lock: Certainly, this one I know for myself and for mates of mine who I do comps with and so on, the whole nutrition topic in general isn’t that well understood, but particularly when it comes to competing, it’s like a big black hole.

Ed Morrison: Yeah.

Mat Lock: Everyone’s got their opinions but they’re often not based on too much. But, before we dive into the nuts and bolts of it all, just in case anyone watching or listening haven’t listened to your first episode, which is nutrition for everyday athletes, and if you haven’t, I’d encourage you to do so. We’ll put links in the show notes to that episode. Maybe give us a short intro to who Ed Morrison is, please.

Ed Morrison: Sure. Mat, I’ve been a trainer for 10 years now. I started in a CrossFit in 2010. It’s 2020, I’m still trying to wrap my head around that, which is a problematic. I guess throughout that time I was fortunate enough, I’ve worked with CrossFit seminar staff, which is something that I still do. I started a Bachelor of Food science and Nutrition at Deakin University. I started that way back in 2009.

Ed Morrison: Just from my experience, and I talked about this in the last show, I worked so closely with athletes on how to move well and how to execute all these different movements that they see in the gym. What I knew deep down, is that nutrition was the base of all health. I wasn’t talking and working with people as hard on their nutrition as I would work with them on their squat.

Ed Morrison: Over the, sort of that 10-year journey, I found myself being more and more drawn to making change to people by nutrition. That’s led me to sort of start working for The Method Now and helping people. Predominantly with their food, but then obviously, the food and training and sleep, they all tie into one another and also being a happy person at home. So, really trying to work with people on just that, being the best version of themselves.

Mat Lock: Fantastic. In the last episode, certainly you rolled out, I have to say, some pearls of wisdom around the whole topic of everyday nutrition for the everyday athletes. As we said, today we’re going to talk about competition. If we take, I guess from a Bay Games perspective, we have the two events. We have the physical event, in Jervis Bay, where I’m sitting right now. We also have the Grand Slam, which is the online comp, which is… For those not familiar with that yet, it’s a bit like the Open. It’s not a qualifier, but it’s an online competition.

Mat Lock: Maybe we start there, because I mean certainly in our case, we have five workouts over three weeks. We have two workouts in a week, one and three. We have one normally longer workout in the middle of week. What sort of general advice… I mean we’re assuming that our athletes train regularly, they’re keen, that they might be at CrossFit, they might be at 45, they might be from a Global gym but they’re pretty keen athletes. They’re still everyday athletes. They’re not elite athletes. They have a very keen interest in health and fitness, but may not be currently optimised when it comes to nutrition, let’s say.

Ed Morrison: Sure.

Mat Lock: If we’ve got moms, dads, we’ve got family life. We’ve got long work hours. We’ve got travel for work. We’ve got all of these things that get in the way, not only with nutrition but training and everything else. But, when it comes to, “Okay. Now I know what the two work outs are for week one…”

Mat Lock: I’m going to do my first workout in the first week of the competition, how far should I be thinking about nutrition and hydration, would you say?

Ed Morrison: Well, you somewhat read my mind there Mat. I think when it comes to pre-competition nutrition, we can probably break it down into two, if not three distinct timeframes where we are thinking about your nutrition. The first and most obvious one that most people sort of get drawn to is, “What should I eat on the day that I compete?” So, they’re like, “Right, I’m going to do the workout at 3:00 p.m. Tell me what I should eat leading up to 3:00 p.m, to get the most out of myself.”

Ed Morrison: Then, there’s, “What should I eat during the week leading up to competition?” Now, this one here is one that I find is, if done well, is almost the most profound. I’m going to put to the athletes during the Grand Slam, in particular, that the way that you eat probably from Monday to Thursday, is going to have more effect on your performance for the workout depending on when you do it, than will what you have for breakfast that morning. Then, of course as a new nutrition, months, if not years before a competition, what are you doing to maximise your body composition so you can perform.

Ed Morrison: I know, right now, that I’m potentially speaking to a lot of different people that are doing a lot of different things when it comes to their nutrition. So, rather than telling certain people to eat this much carbohydrate or this much protein or this much fat on the day of competition, my number rule for anybody who’s going to compete is that whatever you are going to do with your nutrition, it needs to be practised. You cannot try to adopt something new on game day and hope for it to work out.

Ed Morrison: Now, it doesn’t matter what that thing is that you want to do, you need to have almost conducted your own science experiment on yourself to see what works best for you. You can be the judge of that both in terms of, “Hey, this is the performance that I was capable of”, and “This is how I felt.” That leads me to, I guess… and, this is not necessarily just about nutrition, this piece of advice, but this is a piece of advice that I have given people when they’ve done online competitions, like the Grand slam or like the Opens. I would schedule you out exactly when you think you’re going to do each workout. And, if you believe that you’re going to need to hit that workout multiple times, I would schedule that in as well. That way you at least know what your requirements are for that period of time.

Ed Morrison: So, rather than just going by the seat of your pants and just sort of like, “Oh yeah, that workout looks like a good one for me. I might try and do that today.” It’s like, no, no, no. Decide that you are definitely doing the workout when it’s released on… I believe they’re going to be released on Thursday evening.

Mat Lock: Thursday, yes.

Ed Morrison: Irrespective of what it is, I’m doing it Friday morning and irrespective of what it is, I’m going to redo it on Sunday morning. If that’s your tactic, then that’s your tactic. That will inform exactly what your nutrition needs to be, once you have that sort of game plan sorted. I know right now I haven’t spoken necessarily to exactly what people should eat, but I think, you can’t really decide what you’re going to eat until you decide exactly what activity you’re going to do. That’s the first thing that has to happen.

Mat Lock: It’s incredibly personal. I don’t think in this environment, you could be expected to start rolling out, “Well you must eat this food or when.” As you said already, you’re talking to the masses and everyone’s got their own story at the end of the day.

Ed Morrison: Yeah.

Mat Lock: But, I think, already you’ve provided some great insight around the level of planning. The focus that nutrition should have. When you talk about nutrition, do you include hydration, or is that a separate subject?

Ed Morrison: No. We definitely do include hydration, and I don’t want to always fall back to, “Hey, whatever you should do should be practised,” but hydration seems to be just as personalised as nutrition. Look, the literature on hydration is, it’s been swinging like a pendulum. Originally there was always this sort of, “Hey, have a litre of water for every 25 kilos of body weight, plus an extra litre for every hour that you work out.” So, if you’re close to 100 kilos like myself, you’d be having four litres every day. Plus if you work out, there’s another litre, five litres.

Ed Morrison: And then, after that was sort of the, I guess, the consensus amongst people. There was this swing back, because of the rise in hyponatremia which was basically people flooding themselves. There was a few cases, one in particular and I believe it was the Boston marathon, where somebody over hydrated and actually killed themselves, like they drowned their brain.

Ed Morrison: Look, what I tend to advise when it comes to hydration is that you need to drink to until thirst is quenched. But, most of the hydration that you can effectively do is going to be done the day before the event and the morning of the event. Once the event is hours, or even half an hour away, a lot of the hydration that you will do will just be anxiety and nerves. Just you trying to sip on a water bottle, because your mouth is getting dry. At that point in time, you’re unlikely to be hydrating yourself.

Ed Morrison: When it comes to hydration, I just make a real point, during the week leading up to the event or during the Grand Slam, just being very mindful that you shouldn’t be feeling thirsty at any time.

Mat Lock: Yeah, sure. That’s great advice, thank you. So, then if we shift to an event like The Bay Games, which if you’re competing, let’s say as an individual on the Saturday, we’ll have six workouts this year-

Ed Morrison: Yeah. Wow.

Mat Lock: … which is awesome. One of which is a floater, so it doesn’t mean that we’re having an extra one there. It doesn’t mean that it’s simply making the day longer. All workouts are the same duration, for example.

Ed Morrison: Sure.

Mat Lock: There’s going to be a couple that are pretty fast and furious, to keep the day manageable and make it fun. Keep athletes moving around and rather than having long down periods, it will reduce the amount of down time. Still at a manageable and sensible level. 

Mat Lock: But, let’s say, I was competing as an individual athlete at an event where there are multiple events like the Bay Games, I’m guessing that the advice for the day, is the week leading up to that event are, again, crucial in terms of what you eat and drink?

Ed Morrison: Yeah. I mean, the specific foods that you eat on the day of a long competition day probably become more important than something like a one workout day like the Grand Slam. When we’ve got something like the Bay Games where there’s six workouts in a day… Did you say six or seven?

Mat Lock: For RX, six.

Ed Morrison: Wow. I’m going to work and I’ve got some tips that I’ll have for athletes in a moment on what they could do on the actual day. In the week leading up, I would just very much recommend that athletes not be in a caloric deficit. All that I mean by that, it doesn’t matter what your views on nutrition are in terms of if you’re vegan, Paleo, carnivore, whatever it is. I just wouldn’t be in a state where you’re losing mass going into an event like that because the reality is calorie deficit is how we lose weight but if you’re looking to perform later that week, I don’t want you in that state of where your body’s trying to beat itself like that. We want to be using the food that you eat.

Mat Lock: Yeah, sure. Certainly the rule of thumb I was given in sort of ultra endurance stuff I did was, once we get to take a week and it typically wants to take a week, keep eating the same way and I know that I did. I was very compliant with my coach and so on. I got some results I was happy with. I know that by towards the end of taper week I was starting to feel a bit pudgy, which I didn’t like obviously from the greatly reduced training. I was kind of getting ready to climb up the walls and so on. In particular, I remember feeling always just feeling bit heavy, a bit pudgy and not really liking that. I stuck with it because I’d had some results. I appreciated it on the back of that. I never liked it and the risk was I would have a lot. I’m not working out as much, I’ll reduce my intake.

Ed Morrison: Okay. Yeah. You’ve touched on something there. There’s two main points I can make around that. When you taper in, your caloric expenditure is significantly less specially endurance athletes because they tend to go from… When I taper them, they tend to taper so aggressively. The reality is you probably don’t need as much food to make sure that you’re not in a caloric deficit. Depending on the athlete, I do ask them to use a little bit of intuition. I have said to my athletes is just like, “Hey, this is the amount of food I prescribe to you.” If you know that you’re having a particularly low energy expenditure diet, whether that just be like you haven’t got your steps up or you haven’t been out to go to the gym, then don’t just eat for the sake of eating. You can reduce the amount of food that you’re eating if that makes you feel better. Like I said, you use your intuition on that.

Mat Lock: Yeah, sure. Certainly in the endurance world as I think it is here, I’m a great believer in feel.

Ed Morrison: Sure.

Mat Lock: It’s only more recently, I’ve put a Garmin back on my wrist. Yeah. I used to race, certainly by feel. I trained with numbers and then raced by… feel. Towards the end I trained by feel and raced by feel.

Ed Morrison: Yeah.

Mat Lock: For me, I found it more enjoyable for it to command over the head-

Ed Morrison: Yes.

Mat Lock: … but as well it reduce the possible failure points on race day or race weekend or three days, whatever it is.

Ed Morrison: I think you’ve touched on such a valid point that. There’s a process to get to being able to train and eat by feel. You don’t just all of a sudden, “Oh, I’m just going to train and eat by feel.” You have to go through the numbers, you have to go through the process and typically there’s some failures there as well, before you can be as intuitive as that.

Ed Morrison: I must say without getting on too much of a tangent, I think one of the big mistakes that is made by the everyday athlete, including myself, I did this a lot early on, is that we look to the elite athletes and it looks particularly with their nutrition on competition day like they are just going by the seat of their pants. I’ll never forget that Rich Froning would just drink milk or eat pizza in the morning of the CrossFit games and it’s like, “Okay, cool. I guess we can all do that.” Just remember he’s very, very practised. I’m not saying he’s practises at eating pizza in the morning, but everything that he’s doing is in the context of years and years and years of knowing what his body’s capable of. So, don’t just jump to that end point. You’ve got to earn the right to get there.

Mat Lock: You read my mind. I was thinking of exactly that clip from YouTube where all of them in the room were just stuffing pizza down their faces for breakfast and chugging whatever. But, you’re right. They’re at the pointy-end elite athletes. They spent years knowing how they feel, what they need-

Ed Morrison: Yes, that’s right.

Mat Lock: … and whether pizza for breakfast is the right solution? Anyway, different subject, but nonetheless.

Ed Morrison: Yeah. Exactly, yeah.

Mat Lock: They did it all knowingly. I for one, was astounded to see that. I didn’t expect that.

Ed Morrison: I definitely don’t… How do I put this, respectfully? I can’t help but feel a little bit of it was hammed up for the cameras. But, the reality is he definitely was eating pizza for breakfast. He got it right for him, so I’m not going to question it.

Mat Lock: That’s exactly right and he won, so…

Ed Morrison: Yeah, can’t argue.

Mat Lock: For the everyday athletes at an event like the Bay Games, during the day, you’ve given us some really good feel for the lead up to that event, but sort of on that event, breakfast through to in between each of the events. Again, I’m not asking for specific what should people eat and drink, but any rules of thumb that you’d like to share.

Ed Morrison: Look, this is the way that I ask my athletes during competition days to try and go about it. We pre-prepare the food that I’d like them to eat. Anything from the time that they wake up to the time that the competition finishes, we actually punch that into some sort of tracking mechanism. They have MyFitnessPal or whatever and they have a list of foods to eat so that they don’t have to worry. Am I getting enough energy? It’s like, “Hey, we have put this in,” and then I know that you are getting enough energy. Within that, I always allow a little bit of wiggle room, “This is the foods that you have to eat. I need you to eat this food, figure out a way to do it.” Often, we’ll practise exactly when that should take place, but everybody knows that on competition days, particularly when you hit that new level of intensity, strange things can happen to your hunger.

Ed Morrison: If it’s hunger disappearing, then that is just something that I really ask athletes to try to push through. Unfortunately, it’s part of competing that some things you have to do when not comfortable. If they don’t want to eat, I try to get them to choose from the list of foods that are provided. It’s like eating a thing that you think is most palatable now. If they feel like eating more, great, I’m all for it on competition day.

Ed Morrison: I don’t care if you have excess calories on competition day. The only thing that I do, and this again relates back to what we were just talking about. Just because you’re competing and you’re allowed to be an excess calories, I don’t want that to be an excuse for ice cream and pizza and lollies and all that type of stuff. If you’ve practised with that stuff and it’s done well for you, absolutely use it, but the reality is your body is probably craving things like vitamins and minerals, it’s still vegetables, it’s still rice. It’s still meat. If you are a meat eater, that’s going to provide you those things.

Mat Lock: Yeah. Again, I think that’s great advice. I probably need some help because at The Bay Games, we do have a selection of food vendors, which is pretty awesome, but there’s some of them for sure have what you’ve just talked about on offer, and naturally, when we are inviting vendors to be a part of the event, we’re coming from a health and fitness perspective.

Ed Morrison: Sure.

Mat Lock: We’re not looking for burgers and chips and so on, or pizza. I mean, I’m not decrying those things, but we’re local level vendors and yeah, we’re certainly having some consideration to the fact that it’s going to be for athletes and spectators, but athletes are going to want a selection of food that gives them good healthy options as well as perhaps a few discretions for those that want it.

Ed Morrison: I actually think that the fitness community’s got so much better at that sort of the fitness competitions. There was a day when you’d wake up then when you walk up and it was just burgers and chips. Now, it’s like if you were very unorganised as an athlete and you didn’t prepare any food, you’d probably be okay if you went to an event like the Bay Games because there are vendors there that are providing nutritious food for competitive athletes.

Mat Lock: Yeah, absolutely. To prove that this is not in any way scripted, I have one final question for you.

Ed Morrison: This one’s a bit easier. Yeah.

Mat Lock: No, I guess, coffee features heavily, it seems, in the functional fitness world and we take care of that at the Bay Games. We have Convict Coffee Company with their cold brew. We have local vendors with hot coffee, let’s say that. To coffee or not to coffee and here, we’re not saying is coffee evil or not. For athletes during or before competition, what are your thoughts on… In the end, caffeine is what we’re talking about.

Ed Morrison: Yeah, and it’s a great question and it’s one that I think… Let me get the things that I’ve reiterated a few times out of the way so I can give you a more specific answer. First of all, whatever you do, make sure that it’s practised.

Mat Lock: Yes, sir.

Ed Morrison: No, no, eight shots of espresso on comp day if you’ve never had a coffee in your life, that won’t end well. Second of all, it’s very individualised. If somebody says that, “No, you shouldn’t drink coffee on comp day,” that doesn’t mean it’s not for you and vice versa. I think it’s worth understanding exactly what the effect of coffee is. It does two main things for the purpose of giving you energy. It stimulates you neurologically and it oxidises fat. The oxidisation of fat piece from coffee is potentially unlikely to be super beneficial for you in a scenario where you’re doing shorter events like what you probably get asked to do at the Bay Games. However, that’s not to say that if you don’t do an endurance event of The Bay Games, that having more oxidisation of fat won’t be helpful. In that sense, coffee can be particularly helpful.

Ed Morrison: The neurological stimulation side, for most people, is purely psychological and mental. That shouldn’t be discounted. There’s a lot of getting through a good competition day is being able to mentally deal with the discomfort. If you’ve got something that you know makes you feel a little bit more up and about and makes you attack a workout, then I think that’s something very valid. The two, not negatives, but the two things that I am very mindful of with people with consuming large amounts of caffeine is that one, what goes up must come down. Stimulants, once that cortisol raises and then it drops back down, there’s a natural low, and then people tend to have more caffeine and then they feel over caffeinated. They’re almost sort of jittery and anxious and that’s problematic.

Ed Morrison: The second thing, and look this is a little bit of a stretch, but it’s still something that should be acknowledged is that when caffeine raises cortisol, cortisol raises insulin and insulin is not something that I want you to be producing or have in your blood stream during a competitive event. That’s a storage hormone that’s going to tell your body to store the food that you’re eating and we want the food that you are eating to be accessible.

Ed Morrison: I haven’t really given you an answer in terms of should you or shouldn’t you, but these are all the things that you would want to consider. Personally, and I’m happy to share, I have one coffee in the morning of a competition day and then I try to place a second one after the event that I know will be most gruelling. Not directly after it, but after the event that I know is going to take something really out of me just so I get a little bit of a buzz while walking around even though its the warm up area. That’s purely a psychological thing for me.

Mat Lock: Yeah, sure. I appreciate your answer and I think you answered it perfectly actually. It wasn’t a coffee yes or no question, and you explained it beautifully. I have to say from my own experience, I actually stopped drinking coffee about two and a half years ago purely to try and sleep better, actually, and it worked for the first week. I’m not sure it’s helped since, but I kind of got out of the habit, but certainly, back in sort of a couple of years ago, I had the most amazing example or demonstration of what caffeine and sugar in this case can do.

Mat Lock: I was competing in a 100K run race. It was an evening event in Singapore. It was hot, it was humid. End of the day, already tired and so on. When I thought it was spicy, I realised at the halfway point when I was in fourth position, I had no business being in fourth position and I turned into a bumbling mess and I remember Ned or Neridah, my wife, riding along.

Mat Lock: She found me on the bike and I was literally, I was looking at my feet. I could barely walk, almost incoherent. I suddenly had, I think it was Ned arriving, I had this moment where I realised what I needed to get me through and that was what I referred to as black magic.

Ed Morrison: Sure.

Mat Lock: It’s Coca-Cola. It was just incredible. Ned shot off, came back, bottle of Coke, a little bottle of Coke and I just sculled it, hot, thirsty anyway. Honestly, I went from being a bumbling mess, within a minute, a minute and a half, I was on my toes and I was off again, like lightening, again, way too fast.

Ed Morrison: Wow.

Mat Lock: But, the up comes down. Absolutely, that didn’t last very long. I can’t remember now the number, but she ended up basically ferrying backwards and forwards to the shops, because she couldn’t carry too many on the bike.

Ed Morrison: Yeah, right.

Mat Lock: Giving me more and more. I drank the most ridiculous amount of Coca-Cola and it was the best example to me of why I don’t drink Coca-Cola as a matter, of course and would only defer to it in situations like that where I needed something just to bring me back to life and get me through to the end.

Ed Morrison: There’s a whole host of research about the physiological experience that you would have been having, which is basically… and this happens all the time to endurance races, as you would well know. They hit the wall as it’s called, which is basically you’ve run out of glycogen stores so there’s no longer glycogen to be converted into blood sugar. You’ve got two options, your body can either go to fat and try to oxidise that fat and convert it to sugar or you can drink something that’s really, really easily digestible. That’s why you see endurance runners just shoving packets of Glu down their mouth because it’s got that sugar in it. I guess, in a perfect world, what we’ve done is train the body in such a way that when it does run out of glycogen stores, it’s got the metabolic machinery, if you will, to take from adipose tissue and convert that to sugar.

Ed Morrison: Now here’s the reality, if that machinery isn’t there, it’s not going to develop in the middle of a 50K race. You did what you had to do at the time. There was no other option. You weren’t going to all of a sudden be able to convert that, but I suppose moving forward, we’re hearing this term more and more. It’s called fat-adapted and that’s the ability of the body to switch from using glycogen or sugar as the main source of the body’s means by producing ATP and switching over to using fat. That’s where we’re starting to see more and more endurance athletes put some time and effort into that.

Mat Lock: Yeah, 100% I can relate to that, exactly and certainly. Later on in my career, let’s say, in the endurance world. Yeah, different stories and black magic now really is, I always encourage any athlete I’m working with, but have a plan B. Always have a plan B, and for me, black magic is plan D or E, I think.

Ed Morrison: Whenever I hear stories like that, and I’ve heard Coca-Cola gets used often for that type of thing. You think to yourself, wow. That’s what it was capable of for you when you were in that state.

Mat Lock: Yup.

Ed Morrison: Imagine what it does to the body when you decide to have a Coca-Cola while watching a football game and you’re perfectly well fuelled, but you have that on top. It’s quite scary when you think about it.

Mat Lock: Absolutely. My words, when I recovered off of that what was, this stuff is evil, evil. I mean it served a purpose, but for me, it’s such a demonstration of why Coca-Cola shouldn’t be featuring in anyone’s diet on a regular basis.

Ed Morrison: Yeah. I do my very best to not use the words good or bad, or you can and can’t have, but Coca-Cola, let’s say, I can think of very few scenarios and you’ve named one of them, where it would be okay.

Mat Lock: That’s exactly right. Now, very good. Ed, you’ve been very generous with your knowledge and expertise and your time, thank you very much. If anyone wants to find out more or to get in touch with you or indeed to get involved with The Method Now and sign you up as a coach, how do they do that?

Ed Morrison: themethodnow.com.au is The Method Now’s website and if you’d like to try the nutrition coaching that we offer, they can go there. If they’re particularly keen to have me as a coach, they can do that by requests. I have open bookings at the moment. But, if they just wanted to chew the fat or say good day or whatever, I believe Instagram, I’m not particularly adept at social media, but I have a Instagram, #edwardlmorrison is my hashtag, so contact me there, and just let me know what you thought. I’d be more than happy to get back to any messages there.

Mat Lock: Fantastic. In the meantime, I look forward to you and I standing in the first live announcement for the Grand Slam 2020, the location yet to be disclosed, but looking forward to working with you.

Mat Lock: Great to have you on board, be a part of the team and yeah, thanks again for your time today Ed.

Ed Morrison: Thanks so much for having me, Mat.

 

Mat Lock:

Felicity, welcome to the Everyday Athlete podcast. It is a pleasure to have you here.

Felicity Lemke:

Thank you for having me.

Mat Lock:

Not at all. Today we’re going to talk all about your journey as a professional athlete that led you to winning two gold medals at the Olympics, and you were a two times world record holder, I believe.

Felicity Lemke:

Yes. Actually three individual world records, but sorry to correct you in the first minute but yes, three individual world records in short course, so the 25-metre swimming pool.

Mat Lock:

Yes. What an amazing history. I think if we just kick-off, if you could just take a couple of minutes just to talk us through who you are, what you do, where you’re from, and then we’ll dive into, no pun intended, your swimming career.

Felicity Lemke:

Sure. I’m Felicity Lemke, married for now 10 years. But when I was swimming I was Felicity Galvez and the gym that I own now is Galvanised Fitness and a pun on my swimming maiden surname, so Galvez. And yes, I was a professional athlete as a swimmer for 10 years. I went to two Olympic games, 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing. Beijing was where I came away with two super gold medals and I’ve got them here.

Mat Lock:

Ah, let’s have a look at them. I know you were a little reluctant in fairness, but we want to see them because they’re awesome and you worked hard for them.

Felicity Lemke:

That’s them there. So both in relays and as a heat swimmer, so it was one of these, and if you don’t mind me going into it, so one of these kinds of special moments where Australia was the only country at that Olympics in the swimming space that decided to take eight swimmers for the four by two and the four by one medley relay. 

They swam a fresh four in the heats and a fresh four in the finals. Now the reason they did that was that for the first time ever, they swapped the heats and the finals times around. They had the heats in the night and the finals in the mornings. Total shift on what we were used to doing and what our bodies were used to doing and getting ready for. Everybody trains better at night time. If you’re going to go and do heavy lifts, you’re probably going to do them much better at night than you would in the morning.

Felicity Lemke:

And the same thing goes for racing as an athlete. Australian swimming thought, well, the best way to do this was to have fresh athletes for our heats so that we could qualify through as one of the favourites to go into the finals because it was tough. Everyone’s there with their best swimmers on the day. I was part of the heat swimmers for both the four by one medley relay and the four by two freestyle relay where we came away with a win and obviously, heat swimmers are valued just as much as the final swimmers and we got those gold medals as well. So it’s pretty cool.

Mat Lock:

Yes, that’s incredibly cool. I’m fortunate enough to have had the backstory before now when we’ve caught up and yes, I look forward to sharing that, but yes, absolutely. Congratulations to all of you. It’s an amazing achievement.

Felicity Lemke:

Yes, thank you.

Mat Lock:

I guess by diving straight to the Olympics and the gold medals, it overlooks a huge amount of work and training, and that must have been your life for many years to get to that point. It doesn’t happen by accident.

Felicity Lemke:

No, absolutely not. That was my job. I had a little gig on the side just working at the AIS where I was swimming, just to make a bit of money on the side as well, but it was two hours in the pool in the morning, two hours in the pool at night. Then in between that, we had an hour, an hour and a half of weights and then you’re trying to get your massage and physiotherapy done. Eating, because you can eat a huge amount of food as an athlete and then just trying to rest so that you can then prepare yourself for that afternoon session again. Pretty intense, yes.

Mat Lock:

Yes, absolutely. How many days a week would that be your regime?

Felicity Lemke:

So trained every day, Monday through to Friday and then we did big sessions on Saturday mornings, so we had Sundays off.

Mat Lock:

Literally off or active recovery?

Felicity Lemke:

No, everything you didn’t have to do anything. Yes.

Mat Lock:

That’s a heavy load. Just out of interest, not to dive into the details too much, but what caloric intake were you consuming and what would you have to eat?

Felicity Lemke:

I was one of those lucky people and I guess I still am now, where I can eat whatever I want and I don’t really have to watch my intake and calories. I didn’t ever watch calories and I still don’t watch calories, to the point where I was probably one of those athletes that had to make sure I was eating enough to keep the weight on. So I’d be doing threshold sets in the pool and then my coach would get me out. He’d tell me to smash down a power bar or something like that and a fruit tub and then keep swimming just because I would just lose weight.

Felicity Lemke:

Before Beijing Olympics, I was 58 kilos and my coach said if I dropped underneath that he wasn’t going to let me go. So I just had to work really hard on eating lots of food to try and maintain that 58 plus weight category otherwise… 

Not that it mattered when it’s swimming, but you can be too lean and with a sport where everything’s about being buoyant, you want a little bit of fat on your body to be able to help with that buoyancy. So yes, it was something I had to think about. Just eating, not worrying about what I was eating.

Mat Lock:

Absolutely. And you’re right, you are lucky in that regard. Obviously a massive training load, but as you say, it was your job. That’s what you did full-time and I’m guessing that you also had loads of endorsements and a great salary from all of the programs that the government would run and so on, or was it actually a little bit harder than that? Was it making ends meet where possible and kind of limping along?

Felicity Lemke:

Yes, look, swimming, unless you were the Ian Thorpes and the Grant Hacketts and the Leisel Joneses, sponsorship wasn’t a big thing for the other 40 swimmers on the team every year. I was lucky in the fact that I had a scholarship at the AIS, so they supported us, they gave us a certain amount of money every year to help with either rent, or you could live on-site and then everything was kind of looked after for you. But as for making really good money and retiring and living on heaps, not so much. 

For me anyway, but I’d always enter myself in some of the meets that you could go over and win great prize money just to be able to pocket some of that and put it away as savings.

Felicity Lemke:

So not a sport that I would tell people, “If you want to make a lot of money, go and do it.” Maybe do tennis or golf or something more amazing. But yes, swimming for me wasn’t about making money and I never started it because of that. I did it because I loved it. Walking away with a little bit in my back pocket was enough because winning those medals and all the memories and the world records that I broke was enough.

Mat Lock:

Priceless, in fact. Yes, literally priceless. But I think most sports are that way. There are very few sports, it’s really only the very pointy end of the stick that is earning major money. I guess soccer, football probably. At the end of the day, most sports are that way inclined and you knew that going into it. So money was never your motivation, right?

Felicity Lemke:

No, not at all, yes.

Mat Lock:

For sure. Was it very much a solo endeavor or was there… I mean obviously you won the medal as part of a team, but you also had world records as a solo swimmer. So would you describe the whole journey as a solo endeavor or was it a team effort?

Felicity Lemke:

It’s one of those funny ones. As a swimmer, you train in a squad, you’d know that with your triathlon training. I’m sure a lot of the times with your swimming stuff, you’re training with a squad. So you never really feel like you’re on your own until you get to the point where you sit down with your coach and go, “All right, what are my goals for this year? What do I want to personally achieve?” And then as a squad, you train and do it all together. But obviously the pressure is on you as an individual.

Felicity Lemke:

If you want to make the Olympic team, you’ve got to qualify individually or do the best race you can individually that then hopefully qualifies you not just for an individual event like I did for 2004 Olympics, but then hopefully your spot for one of those relays because they’re a pretty special thing to be part of. It’s one of those things that yes, it’s an individual sport, but because you get to train as a squad and you’re doing that training together and then you go away as a team, it almost doesn’t feel like it’s an individual sport. But at the end of the day, you stand behind those blocks and no one else has got your back other than yourself. So you definitely do feel like it is an individual sport when you’re standing there.

Mat Lock:

Yes. That’s an incredible if not surreal moment I can imagine. Talk us through the qualification process because certainly when we chatted about it before, it sounds really quite unforgiving. You have to bring your best game to that particular moment on that day. But yes, talk us through how that works.

Felicity Lemke:

Yes, well every year we have Australian titles, so our trials for whatever meet it is for that year. So whether it’s an Olympic year, we have that. We usually used to have it in April, and then obviously August is when the Olympics normally lands. Then the same thing every other year, whether there was World Championships or Commonwealth Games or, there was always one Olympic trial. One trial for it. With my events, I used to swim the 50, 100 and 200 butterfly, sometimes throw in the hundred freestyle and 200 freestyle, each of those at the long course meets would be a heat swim in the morning, in the afternoon or night and do a semi-final. Then the top eight summers go through to the final the next night. But then that next day you may have another event. You may have another heat some of some other event, and then you may have a semi-final and the final of another event on the same night.

Felicity Lemke:

So you could be backing up two to three times, and then if you’re swimming in a relay because you’re part of a club, you could have up to three to four swims each night as well. If you that meet, and a lot of athletes would know the whole taper sickness. So you train really hard and you put everything on the line and then you start tapering and you build down the kilometres or whatever, your strength work or whatever you’re doing in your specific sport. Then you get to the point where you’ve got minimal training in that week before your race meet, and your body can just go into a bit of a hole. There’s a thing that’s called taper sickness, and that’s that really fine line of just making sure that you’re resting enough, you’re eating the right stuff, you’re having all your supplements so that you’re keeping your body healthy, but not getting sick. Because we literally had one shot at it and if you are sick, that’s just unlucky. You’ll have had the best prep and it doesn’t matter.

Mat Lock:

Brutal.

Felicity Lemke:

Yes.

Mat Lock:

But it is the same for everyone, so I guess it is what it is. But nonetheless.

Felicity Lemke:

And look at the Olympics and World Championships, it’s not like they go, “Oh look, we’ll throw another meet on because Felicity was sick.” You have one shot and that’s it. It’s probably the best way to do it. As hard as it is, it’s no better way to prepare for something than doing it how it’s going to be in real life.

Mat Lock:

Yes, no, absolutely. Talk us through the first time you went to the Olympics because it’s something that the majority of athletes in the world will never do. Whatever sport they’re in. Was it as awesome as we’d like to imagine? 

Felicity Lemke:

Yes, I think it’s amazing. I don’t think there are many opportunities where so many amazing athletes from all different sports and all different countries around the world can all come together into one place at the one time and all have their eyes set on the same prize. Those elusive gold, silver, and bronze medals. There’s only a handful of them to be handed out to so many athletes. To be able to sit down at these epically long dining tables in the food hall and sit with Roger Federer and Nadal and amazing people. And you’re just sitting there eating because that’s what you do. Then just walking around the village and you see these basketballers, they’re just these gigantic people. All different shapes and sizes and you’ve got little gymnasts that are amazing in what they do. And then you look next to them and they’ve got this Chinese basketballer and he’s like triple the size of these gymnasts. It’s just amazing to see, you’ve got your weightlifters and they’re so big. Just to be all in that one space at the one time was pretty amazing.

Mat Lock:

Yes, absolutely. Did you get star struck at all? Did you get to meet any of your heroes?

Felicity Lemke:

Oh look, I love tennis. I think I’ve said tennis about five times since we spoke. Yes, like when Nadal and Roger Federer were there and we’re literally sitting having dinner at the same table. It’s cool. You don’t really say anything or I didn’t, you’re just too scared. You just ask for the salt to be passed down…

Mat Lock:

Maybe they were having the same thought about you!

Felicity Lemke:

No doubt. There are times where you’re like, “Wow that’s so and so.” And you just all pretend to look away and not notice them, because you don’t really want to make that eye contact because it is scary.

Mat Lock:

Yes, sure. Yes, of course, then I guess it comes to the big day when you have to actually compete. Is that like a regular day in terms of the routine that you would go through in terms of eating, warm-up, and so on, or was it all a bit special?

Felicity Lemke:

It is a little bit different. When I was swimming, we did try to replicate events and races so that your body gets used to that whole routine of this is when we have to get up, this is what we need to do pre-warm-up. Then we go and eat and you have to eat a certain time before racing so that you don’t feel too sick. Then there’s the whole travel to the pool, do your warm-up at the pool, get your race suit on. Because that’s like a whole event in itself, which we’ve spoken about before.

Mat Lock:

We’ve got a video that we’re going to share later.

Felicity Lemke:

It was just part of making it as normal as possible so that when it becomes race day, you’ve got enough nerves, you’ve got enough uncertainty going on with racing people you’ve never raced, and possibly missing the bus because if they’re full and you have to wait for the next one and maybe being late to warm up. You almost have to go in with a really, whatever happens, happens attitude. If you go in with an attitude like that, you’re going to deal with it the best way you can because so much of it is unpredictable. A suit ripping. That was just part of what happened. So you take three into the change room, be ready for two to break, and hope that that third one doesn’t so that you’re ready to go out and race. It’s just another thing. It’s weird. Yes.

Mat Lock:

Yes. Actually speaking of the suits, we had some fun. You hosted us, we stayed at your home with your family a couple of months ago, and because Ned wanted to see them all, you were kind enough to get them out and were showing us how they worked. The technology that goes into those is incredible, isn’t it?

Felicity Lemke:

Yes, absolutely.

Mat Lock:

Yours were even a special order, where were they coming from?

Felicity Lemke:

Japan.

Mat Lock:

Japan.

Felicity Lemke:

I was 10 to 12 kilos lighter than I am now. The swimming suits that were made by Speedo in Australia just weren’t small enough to fit my frame. So they had to order special size ones from Japan to bring them out for me and a couple of other girls on the team, just because you need them to be as tight as anything to be able to hold everything in so that you didn’t have any drag so that when you dived in, there weren’t big bubbles.

Felicity Lemke:

This photo that I feel like you’re going to share with everyone, I’m kind of like holding my chest [inaudible 00:17:36] so that everybody knows. What you do is you grab water and you push it all onto your body and then you flatten out the suit so that when you dive in, there’s no gap between your body and the suit. It kind of sticks to it and then it doesn’t let the air bubbles go in the suit, which makes it [inaudible 00:17:56] drag and then super uncomfortable. The last thing you need to feel is a bubble floating around in your belly when you’re swimming.

Mat Lock:

Yes, no, sure enough. Well, I wasn’t going to use that photo, but now I’m going to, and I’m pretty sure when I sent it to you earlier and asked what you were doing, your comment was that that’s how professional athletes warm-up and that’s why I wouldn’t know that. I believe your second comment was I was warming my chest up for a gold medal, which was perfect.

Felicity Lemke:

Everyone’s like, “Oh, she’s cocky.”

Mat Lock:

Well, maybe it was your second. You’d already got the first one. Those suits are incredible. When we were at your house you did the whole pour water onto it, it was just crazy. It repelled the water even before it came into contact with it, it looked like. Incredible. Yes, amazing technology. So in the interest of time, and I’m conscious of your time, was it euphoric, that moment when you realised that you’d got your first gold, you were part of the team and you’d got the first gold. How was that moment?

Felicity Lemke:

Do you know, it’s funny, I just got invited to Queensland. Obviously, because of the girls… The Olympics was meant to happen to this year, so they invited the four by two freestyle relay girls to Queensland because they had a staging camp for the prospective four by two freestyle relay girls for this year, now it’s next year. As almost like a mentorship program for them to talk to us and delve into how we dealt with it and what we felt and how we prepared and what were the kind of things [inaudible 00:19:39] to make it difficult. We touched on this and it hasn’t been years since I’ve spoken about how it felt or really dove into it since I guess I retired.

Felicity Lemke:

I don’t feel like I was super happy for myself. It was more those four girls because that feeling of when you’re behind the blocks and you’re doing it not just for yourself but for the four other girls in the heats, and that was myself and the three other girls. You just want to produce the best swim you possibly can because it isn’t just about you. It’s about those three other girls. And then for us, it was the three other girls in our heat and then the four other girls that were hopefully going to qualify for that final. For me we did our job, we qualified those girls for the final, and then when they touched the wall and that four by two we won, and we weren’t meant to. We were the underdogs. We were in lane seven, they thought America was going to take it and they should have, but we just put four exceptional swims together on the day and did it.

Felicity Lemke:

For me it was knowing what those girls have felt for the past eight minutes or just under, knowing that they touched the wall and they won, and they broke a world record at the same time. Just that elation of knowing that they’ve done it and yes, we helped them get there, but it was just that sense of relief that that’s what they did and knowing that feeling that they would be feeling, I actually felt that, but it wasn’t like, “Yes, I got the medal.” It was more that we did it. We did it as a team and we’ve represented our country in the best way possible.

Mat Lock:

Absolutely. She said taking out a world record at the same time.

Felicity Lemke:

Yes.

Mat Lock:

That’s spectacular, and what an absolutely amazing journey. I guess just to touch on very briefly, I guess the Olympics as we now know, have been shifted to next year, to 2021 on the back of COVID-19. Can you imagine the impact of that, how it must feel for all of the athletes affected by that necessary decision?

Felicity Lemke:

Look, I have talked about this a little bit because I’ve had a few people ask me that same question, and I think it’s affected, everyone. We’re all in the same boat. It’s not like it’s unfair for some countries and fair for others. I think there’s a certain period of time, and this happened for me as I’m sure it’s happened for everybody else in the last few weeks. We’ve gone through a huge change in our lives. I had a day where I had a massive meltdown and I cried and I lost it, and then I gathered everything together, pulled all my shit together because I think.

Mat Lock:

Yes, absolutely.

Felicity Lemke:

Then just thought, “Well, you know what, there’s no point whinging and moaning about it. Just get on with it and make the best you can of it.” You know what, if you were going into trials, which they were going to go into in the next few months and you hadn’t had the best prep, well then you’ve just won yourself another year of prep. Great. If you were going in with the best prep, you just go, “Well, I’m in the best shape I’m in now. Just maintain it.” And that’s not hard to do. It’s just about resetting those goals and I’ve had to readjust my whole business model with my gym, and thanks to you helping me with Zoom, I’m now discovering that I’m now pushing myself out of my comfort zone and my clients are loving it and I’m like secretly loving it too. It’s kind of special. I still get to sit down and have dinner with my family because I’m Zooming from my garage and I finish that and I come up and I have dinner.

Felicity Lemke:

There are little highlights and little golden nuggets that come out of this. And I think it’s the attitude that you take and the positive way you look at stuff, is what is going to make or break you at the end of the day. So everyone’s Olympics has been postponed. It’s not just Australia, it’s not just that individual athlete. Everyone is in the same boat. So you’ve just got to go, “Righto, we’re all in this together. See what you can do. Ships in the night.” Whilst other people might be whinging and moaning about it, be one of the ships in the night that just keep moving, and then you just take control. I just think it’s an opportunity more than anything.

Mat Lock:

Yes, absolutely. I was chatting with [inaudible 00:24:03] earlier, and we came to the conclusion, I referenced Mike Riley [inaudible 00:24:10] basically said that on race day in his case he always briefs athletes. He said, “There’s only one thing you can control and that’s your attitude. So be nice to everyone. Stay positive and know that you have got control of your attitude if nothing else.” I think that’s applicable here because there’s so much uncertainty around the whole COVID-19 topic. However, there are things absolutely in our control and the more we focus on those and take control of them, the better off we’ll be.

Felicity Lemke:

Absolutely, yes.

Mat Lock:

Very good. So Felicity, if anyone wanted to reach out and get in touch with you, what would be the best way that they could do that?

Felicity Lemke:

Well, if they wanted to get in touch with me, they can look up Instagram. So swim fit chick is me. And then there’s also Galvanised Fitness on Instagram as well. Otherwise, search websites, Galvanised Fitness is my gym website as well.

Mat Lock:

Absolutely. And do you have a Wikipedia page as well? You’re welcome.

Mat Lock:

I’ll put all of those links and so on down in the show notes as well. But Felicity, thank you ever so much for your time. Always a pleasure, you know that. And look forward to speaking to you in the next episode.

Felicity Lemke:

Awesome. Thank you.

Mat Lock: Alethea Boon, it is a pleasure to have you on the Everyday Athletes Podcast. How are you doing?

Alethea Boon:

I’m doing well, thank you. Thanks for having me, Mat.

Mat Lock:

No, not at all. Always a pleasure to chat, and as we just, I guess, said a minute ago, I’ve already burned 15 minutes of time chatting with you before we have started recording, and it’s always a pleasure. But we find ourselves in this strange time, do we not, with C-19 upon us.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, it is a really, really strange time to be living in. A lot of people have had to adapt and change the way they do things. Yeah, definitely an interesting time.

Mat Lock:

I guess in Australia here we’re, I think, three to four weeks into the current, let’s say, lockdown. It’s not a lockdown, it’s sort of isolation, self-isolation, and social distancing, or physical distancing as Brenda would like us to say from [inaudible 00:01:37] in Perth. Which I think is right, actually. It’s physical distancing. But I guess we’re all settling into a new norm and what I thought we’d do today is just take the opportunity of, I guess, digging a little bit to how you’re handling the whole C-19 situation, how you’re staying motivated.

Mat Lock:

I know that in a future episode we’re going to talk about the reality of you also being an everyday athlete and having a full-time job. You have family commitments, you have home commitments, you have everything that we all have, actually, but I’d be really interested, someone that’s performing at your level and obviously has maintained that supreme level of fitness over many years now, how are you doing? Where are you at?

Alethea Boon:

Well, I’m sure like everyone, when the gym’s closed down, I feel like my norm was just thrown out the window. Routine and schedule kind of changed a lot. I actually came back from Bali from a wedding and had to go into 14-day isolation where we couldn’t leave our apartment, and in that time I guess I was able to adjust and actually just find ways, creative ways around the house to just move.

Alethea Boon:

For the head, it’s not normal for me not to work out, so I had to make it a point to actually just get up and do something and at the same time every day. But other than that it’s all about getting creative and just trying to find ways to stay moving and stay active. It’s good for the head, the body and just keeps you normal, keeps you feeling normal through these times.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. So you created a routine for yourself? You had a routine that became your new routine for those 14 days?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, absolutely. I’m still working. I’m still working full-time. It’s probably longer hours now. I’ve had some few midnight finishes, but creating that routine, it’s still business as usual if you keep it as normal as possible in your head, writing down a schedule of get up, move for about half an hour, then have breakfast, sit down and do my work and schedule in a lunchtime break and a lunchtime walk if you can, and then just stick to that schedule. So even in the evening, it’s the same workout hours and then come back and the same routine. A bit mundane, but it puts structure to this chaotic time.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. Like all of us, I’ve got many friends who are now working from home and one in particular, it was the classic. He stood up at the end of our call and he was wearing his pyjama bottoms.

Alethea Boon:

Yes.

Mat Lock:

And I said to him-

Alethea Boon:

I’m not going to lie. The attire has definitely changed.

Mat Lock:

Fair enough. I’m not going to ask you to stand up now, just in case. But I won’t name and shame Alex Penny, but I said to him, “Mate, you’ve got to get into a routine.” I mean, you don’t have to dress like you necessarily would for work, but I personally think there’s a benefit to certainly having that level of discipline.

Mat Lock:

I’ve worked from home on and off for years, and I needed that. I needed that sense of get up, move, train, whatever you’ve got to do, but then somehow get dressed.

Alethea Boon:

Yes.

Mat Lock:

And then be in my workspace, albeit at home, and as you say, make sure, if anything, set alarms that you’re going to have smoko, have a lunch break, whatever it’s going to be.

Mat Lock:

But I personally felt that that was important to A, it helps my sanity a little bit, but also it stopped me just working through from getting lost in what I was doing and suddenly I haven’t moved, I’ve just been sitting sedentary for hours, probably not hydrated properly and stuff like that. Which is yeah, really… Look, I do have a green tea with me right now.

Alethea Boon:

Yep, I have a Hydralyte with me, so we’re still good. We’re staying hydrated.

Mat Lock:

Very good. So you came back from Bali, had literally 14 days of confinement.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, 14 days of confinement, really close quarters with myself and Lima which was really interesting.

Mat Lock:

In an awesome way, I’m quite sure.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, we’re definitely getting to know each other a lot better. We’re reconnected, I’m sure. We’ve also discovered TikTok, which is really time-consuming.

Mat Lock:

Well, I’ve been watching that. I’ve been liking your TikToks, no question. Time well spent. Time well spent. But during those two weeks, were you doing anything online with any of the gyms that you’re associated with? Have they moved to the online training? Have you got involved in that?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, so the gym I go to is CrossFit Active and they transferred everything to online. They hold Zoom classes in the morning, in the evenings, and then they also offer like mind-set and mobility segments that you can do at home.

Alethea Boon:

So I jumped in on the classes and that was the best thing to do to stay accountable, not just to yourself, but to a community in general, because if you didn’t show up, you had your friends messaging you saying, “Hey, come on. Stay consistent. Where are you?” And I think that definitely helps just keep you involved and connected with everyone in your community.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, fantastic, isn’t it? If anything, obviously it’s a dreadful situation for many people around the world and it’s uncomfortable for most of us, I think, to be in this situation, although most of us don’t have too much to complain about in reality. But I can’t help but feel that this has caused a good shift in the direction of even more camaraderie, even greater connection because we have to be more deliberate about it. We have to go out of our way to think about it.

Mat Lock:

Certainly, we’ve been sort of hosting and talking about recently about how the grand slam, it’s morphing into all about maintaining that community, giving the community something to focus on, and at the end of the day leave no one behind, actually. It’s a line, it’s a tagline almost that’s naturally evolved because that’s the spirit of it now. It’s shifted in the direction of just make sure we keep everyone with us as we go through this journey of, I guess, self-isolation yet staying fit, and also taking care of mental health.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, I think that it’s definitely forced me to reach out and stay connected with those friends and family around the world. I definitely have more time because there’s less distraction of having to be somewhere. Now that you’re at home, you’ve actually got the time to make those connections with people and I’ve found it be really valuable for myself and for my friends.

Mat Lock:

Interesting, isn’t it, how much more room there is. You’re right. I think there’s a lot of the white noise seems to have gone.

Alethea Boon:

So much of the white noise has gone, and I think we always come up with excuses to not do something or to not reach out to someone. Now it’s taken all that away and it’s actually created more valuable friendships now, I feel.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, I can only agree, and I reckon that whenever we come out the back end of this thing, we will, whenever that is, being conscious of not allowing, or at least minimising the amount of that white noise that returns to our daily grind if you like because there’s definitely a value in not having it there.

Alethea Boon:

Absolutely, I have to agree with that, for sure.

Mat Lock:

I guess we say that with all good intentions now, but of course when normality returns, whatever that looks like, it’s hard to hang onto it, isn’t it? But I think trying to be conscious of that.

Mat Lock:

Anyway, but now you’re beyond your 14 days. What do your days look like now? You said you’re working still full-time, in fact, if not more hours, which I’m sorry to hear, because I know you already worked a lot of hours.

Alethea Boon:

I’m very grateful to still have a job, and I know that the better that I do my job, other people will get to keep theirs, so it’s also bonded us as a team in my workplace. We’re actually working super hard just to make sure that everyone else gets to keep theirs.

Mat Lock:

No, absolutely. Well, that’s an incredibly positive and awesome way to look at it, which is right as well, I think. You don’t have to name the company, but you can if you want to. What do you do for a living?

Alethea Boon:

I’m a property manager, so we mainly deal with leasing for all of our bulky good furniture retail.

Mat Lock:

Yep.

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, so I work for Greenlit Brands, Freedom Furniture, Fantastic Furniture, Snooze, and Plush, OMF, a lot of other brands.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, okay. So hence the reason you’re busier than ever. Interesting times.

Alethea Boon:

Absolutely, dealing with rentals and leases.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. So when you’re not doing that, how are you managing your training and, I guess, maintaining your level of fitness?

Alethea Boon:

I’m still following a structured programme, so I’m still with Starr Strength and he gives me the group programme on a weekly basis and I try to follow it as much as I can. That way, if I have the programme set out, it takes away any excuse to not do something. So by having a structured programme, I’m accountable to that. Plus, I also have my own personal goals that I’m still trying to work towards, and I’ve got to remember the bigger picture. So I always focus on the bigger picture and not just the here and now.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. Is that something that you focus on a sort of daily basis? Is that something you work on or remind yourself of, you know, vision boards or just having it written down and refer to them? Do you meditate? Any of those aspects feature in your life regularly?

Alethea Boon:

Yeah, so I’ve actually started going back to the whole journaling process, just five minutes every morning just to set my intentions for the day. Also try to express daily gratitude each day, and the intentions are normally set out for work goals and also a workout goal and just like a connection goal with someone or a family member. And I try to, when I am training, I still think of that bigger goal.

Alethea Boon:

Yes I love to compete, and I think I put out a post the other day about staying accountable to your future self. If I take a day off, if I am lazy or if I am bingeing on food, am I going to regret that later? And more often than not it’s yes, so that motivates me to get up and keep moving.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, no, that’s amazing and obviously clearly a big part of how you’re staying motivated during the current pandemic, which is what it is. So how’s Easter weekend gone, then, if you’re being that intentional and deliberate with your training and your nutrition? Are you a chocolate fiend or…?

Alethea Boon:

I haven’t had any Easter eggs. None whatsoever. I have had a couple of hot cross buns though. I may have discovered wine drinking again, so I’ve had a couple of those, but I think you’ve also got to have a bit of a balance. You’ve got to be relaxed as well as keep to your goal.

Alethea Boon:

I’ve had a few Zoom catch-ups with some friends over a couple of wines, but again, my non-negotiable is to get up and move, so the next morning, straightaway, get up, go to a park and do some step-up lunges and go for a run. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy, it’s just stay consistent.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. No, that’s great, and the balance, that resonates with me and I think it will with our audience. But also, I remember Craig Alexander, or Crowie, who was a very successful world champion ironman, Australian, lives in Cronulla or did, I remember hearing his answer once. I said, “Do you ever drink beers? Is that part of your routine?” And he said, “Yeah, I have a beer.” He said, “I never have enough where it will affect my training the next day. That’s always my focus.” He said, “So I have a beer, but never enough that it will impair my performance for training the next day.” And it always struck me as a very sound answer.

Alethea Boon:

That’s a great answer.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely.

Alethea Boon:

That’s absolutely a great answer. You still want to be as normal as possible as like an everyday person. You still want to enjoy life. Life is there to be enjoyed. But you also want to keep going with what you have in mind and your goals.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, sure. Absolutely. So if we were to give any takeaways, I think, from today’s chat, actually, I think what you’ve just talked us through, but certainly, the journaling seems to be an important part and being, was it staying true to your future self?

Alethea Boon:

Yes. Stay true to your future self, stay accountable to your future self. That is probably my biggest takeaway if I’m to impart any sort of wisdom or knowledge on everyone.

Mat Lock:

And in particular, I think the journaling right now, because for sure, each day’s a bit groundhog day-ish for many, and therefore I could imagine the journaling being quite useful, beneficial for many just to kind of reset each day and be clear about what today’s objectives are.

Alethea Boon:

Absolutely. Journaling and setting your intentions for the day and realising that there’s still so much good even amongst all this chaos, and be sure to recognise it. They say that if you take away small wins or small things of gratitude, it builds, it builds momentum, and I think that keeping that momentum going or the positive mindset, cultivating a positive mindset, you’ll come out of the other end better.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. And look, without doubt, Tony Robbins has made popular, amongst others, one of the human needs we have, the number one is certainty, and at the end of the day, what none of us have right now is certainty. We have lots of uncertainty. We don’t know how long this is going to last for. Certainly here in Australia, will we get locked down further or are we going to try this herd immunity approach? There’s just uncertainty riddled throughout our lives.

Mat Lock:

But I think, and certainly the way I look at it is, I guess I worry about the things I can control, the things that I have direct control over, and number one, coming again from my sort of endurance competition days, one of the announcers, Mike Riley, used to say, there’s one thing you can control and that’s your attitude. Out there-

Alethea Boon:

Absolutely.

Mat Lock:

… on the course, in that case, is your attitude and no one else has control of it, only you.

Mat Lock:

I think that’s incredibly pertinent in today’s times when we don’t have uncertainty, therefore we can take control because we do have control. Even if it’s over the most minuscule of things in our lives, we still have control over it and that, to me, is a very important mindset to try and retain.

Alethea Boon:

That is definitely a great way of putting it. Control the controllables and your attitude is definitely one of them.

Mat Lock:

Absolutely. Alethea, for those I’m sure who would want to reach out and connect with you and say hi or maybe have some questions, how would they do that?

Alethea Boon:

You can just reach out to me on Instagram, alethea_boon, and it’s the same again on Facebook. Send me a message, a DM or even just email me. I’m always open to conversations, and if you ever need anything, just email me: aletheaboon@gmail.com.

Mat Lock:

That’s awesome. Alethea, thank you so much for your time today. Much appreciated.

Alethea Boon:

Thank you. Thanks for having me. And stay safe everyone.

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.