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Everyday Athletes Podcast

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

Episode Transcriptions

Mat Lock 

Hi and welcome to the bay games online get together. I’m Mat Lock your host, and I’m joined by my co host, Mr. Ed Morrison from Melbourne. Hello, ed. Hi, Matt. How are you? Yeah, I’m good. How’s life in Melbourne? I might it’s a bit. It’s a bit chilly down here. We’re just speaking off air before that potentially looking forward to getting back indoors because outdoor sessions are getting pretty old pretty fast here. But other than that, all good in Melbourne.

Mat Lock 

Excellent. Good to have you here. And I guess what’s the idea for these get togethers? Well, you can only watch so much Netflix and we wanted to bring something special, straight to your character. With that said, welcome to our audience here within the Zoom Room. And of course, to everyone watching this right now on Facebook Live. If you have any questions you’d like to ask either of our guests tonight, just comment under the facebook live feed and we’ll do our best to get to them. So don’t be shy. We are live and this is your chance to chat with a couple of the legends. Of course if you’re here with us in the Zoom Room, then you can ask you questions directly. You see about halfway through the 60 minute chat best. We’ll be opening up the floor so that you can chat with these guys directly. Okay, there’s no doubt Coronavirus is changing the way we live, work, communicate and play this pandemic and the government’s response measures such as restrictions on social gatherings, they’ve had a significant impact many people around the world, often causing stress, anxiety and concern. Prioritizing our mental well being has never been more important and it’s one of the keys to staying healthy. Now, as many of you know, long before c 19 stepped into our lives. The Bay Games has been supporting suicide prevention and mental health charities here in Australia and in other countries around the world. It’s been a testing time for everyone and we’d like to open tonight by hearing from the CEO of IU Okay, Catherine Newton, who is reminding all Australians that having meaningful conversations with mates and loved ones could literally save lives.

Hi, everyone. I’m Catherine, CEO of IU. Okay? Right now we don’t need to tell you that it’s challenging times. What we are here to tell you is that we can be a nation of kindness, of looking after others and of connectedness.

Many of us right now will be feeling different levels of anxiety, fear and confusion. But for those who are feeling when unable, we’re encouraging you to check in with your friends, your family and your teammates. How can you do this when we’re being told to distance where we can use the devices that are at our fingertips, locking, a FaceTime, locking a phone call, send an SMS or post online, all of these things are available to us. And it’s also a way that we can trust the science. If we spot this, someone’s behaving even more out of the norm, for example, that might be listening or looking at the language that they’re using, what they’re doing online. Are they posting more or less? Are they answering your calls or your messages, just anything where you think your gut is telling you that something’s not quite right Most of us right now can be a virtual showdown. So please stay connected and ask.

Mat Lock 

That’s such an important message now, apart from being absolute bloody legends, our two guests tonight are also Are you okay ambassadors? And with that said, I’d like to introduce the first guest, Mr. Steve Willis, also known as Commander Steve, who’s an Australian personal trainer, author, and television personality. In fact, he appeared on the Australian version, the biggest loser as a trainer from 2007 until 2015. But as we’ll find out tonight, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Steve, good evening. It’s great to have you with us. How are you doing at your end?

On wonderful, Matt, thanks for having me on and hello to Aaron Khan. Good to see you faces it’s been some time.

Mat Lock 

It’s a pleasure to have you here and where are you? Where are you coming to us live from tonight? Where in the world are you

So I’m logged from, from Sydney. I’m at Castle Hill way. And yes, I as, as I was saying earlier, it is getting a little chilly in the outdoors sessions are getting hotter, hotter each day.

Mat Lock 

That’s exactly right. We’re looking forward to the 13th of June. We can get back into. Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. Now very good. Thanks, Dave. Appreciate you being with us. And what I’ll do is, I’ll hand over to you and you can introduce our second guest for this evening.

Yes, well, our guest tonight is a man of many talents. He’s a four times individual CrossFit Games athlete and one times team member on a CrossFit Games team. And it’s fair to say that he’s one of the most likable people in the competitive functional fitness scene both for his ability to to completely send it when necessary, and also how approachable he is off the competition floor. Now whilst being one of the most consistent crossfitters over the last decade, he’s also been a gym owner and he has helped raise awareness and promote conversations around mental health and the role that he exercise and training can play to improve mental health by being open and honest about his own challenges. He’s more recent brainchild the sweat therapy company is a unique training philosophy with self discovery, happiness and growth in all walks of life at its core. And as Matt said, He’s also an IU. Okay, Ambassador of course speaking about con Porter con. How are you this evening, man?

Good. Thanks, buddy. Lovely little rush here from you, man. Very fun of you to say those nice things. Yeah. Good to see everyone good to kind of catch up a bit chilly as well over here but are loving it.

Excellent night. Well, we’ve got a lot of topics to dive into with yourself. And let me just say it’s nice to finally get to chat slowly with you because I always feel like I’m just chasing after you while you’re trying to warm up or you’re in the marshalling area of a competition for me it is it’s always that back and forth. I will apologize as well in advance. I’ve got a very excited copy. That’s pulling it cords on my computer trying to find every noisy toy in the house if you see me kind of diving out of screen, see grab something out of us me out, but he’s not supposed to.

Mat Lock 

If you want to get him on camera, we’d like to say hi as well. And they’ll probably say hi at some point I’m sure you’ll hear us right now actually speaking the devil is I counted the challenges of COVID-19 have been pretty evident for everybody. So I guess we’ll start there but but for you made a sort of feel like elite athletes, their challenges have been very public in terms of having their livelihood or there are the events that are going to compete in taken away now for yourself. You qualified for the 2020 CrossFit Games as an individual last year, you didn’t go as an individual. So a lot of people and I’m sure yourself are looking forward to your return there. Have the last few months being for you to sort of grapple with with the uncertainty around the CrossFit Games.

A good question might have Given the context of a lot of things in the world at the moment, my, let’s call them issues around not knowing what’s happening with competition seemed pretty small comparatively. So in that sense, you know, as much as it is, like frustrating not having a very clear end goal and not having clear goal posts for what I’m working towards as an athlete. It’s certainly it’s kind of like, given there’s a bigger canvas. There’s bigger things going on, if that makes sense. So sometimes Yeah, it can be frustrating and I certainly went through a long period early on in the quarantine stuff. So when I was trying to train and then sort of became a little bit apparent that we had no idea what we were trading on another toy, I’ll be wrong.

Mat Lock 

Never will never work with animals.

I think what I’ll be I think that’s all the squeaky ones go on. I think that’s that’s the only noise making ones

Anyway, yeah, no, the only the whole period I was trying to stay pretty dialed into training. And then obviously, as things became more and more apparent that this wasn’t going away anytime soon, I definitely had to kind of drop off from doing the full volume. Obviously, they’re still, I mean, they’re still planning to try and go ahead to the games in some capacity. I don’t know what that’s gonna look like. But I was one of the lucky few that, I guess. Pending, a lot of things could still compete. But then again, like, there’s so much going on in the world that I just, yeah, I don’t know. Like, it’s hard to say. I feel like it’s as much as I would love that to be the thing is at the forefront of what I’ve been thinking about and thinking about during this period. It’s not so yeah, it’s been it’s been interesting.

Absolutely. And I think a lot of people would, would resonate with that in terms of what what was at the forefront of their mind a few months ago sort of gets pushed to the back. So I think I think that’s something that that listeners would definitely resonate with.

MADI if we cross to you, sure.

Mat Lock 

Yeah, absolutely. I guess. Yeah. So Steve, I mean, from your perspective, obviously. It’s been, I imagine having a huge impact on life and business at your end. How have you been, I guess, lots of trainers lots of gyms have taken their training online. What’s it look like from your perspective? Have you tried to keep your your athletes and your members active and moving and sort of have the right mindset?

Yeah, a lot of going online and engaged. It’s, you know, with people through zoom, I guess fortunate in the in the profile piece to have had many, many gyms in the like, reach out and ask me to run like a zoom session for the members. Just as an offering and something different, so I’ve done that numerous times, you know, from James O’Brien, Perth, down Melbourne, ya know, here in New South Wales and up in Queensland, and and that’s great. And I guess it’s, it’s the description too, and a lot of people don’t have the resources or the equipment at home. And those that do, I guess, are quite fortunate. It’s it that’s definitely a benefit. So a lot of bodyweight workouts for me and I think that that online space, it’s much like taking a group fitness class, you know, it’s not like you can just stand there on the end of the camera and just dictate, you know, are we going to do an email and you know, explains rosters and doubles press and whatever you want to do some, you know, lunges and sit ups and the like, and just let them go at it. You kind of got to do it with them. So I was getting a lot of volume in myself in that way. But I think now how these restrictions have lifted a little it’s, it’s great to get outdoors and be trying to group so Bringing number of trainers together. And then just breaking those groups up over an hour and just playing the rotation game. And so they can all share the love and just have, you know, a few little lamb wraps here and there. And, you know, I’ve got a load of equipment and a full drive, so I just load it up and go to the park. But it’s, I guess in in the, in the biggest sense with business, it’s, it’s killed pretty much everything for me. Like I used to do a lot of appearances and a lot of travel and a lot of almost ambassadorial type work and with corporates, and in one day, that old disappeared. I’m talking every job through to the end of the year. And you’ve got to do you’ve got to do the best you can with what you’ve got. And I’ve got a satin, you know, shed many tears, but I just had to do the best with what I’ve gotten. You know, just just stick with it. And I think that all rookie signing, you know, it’s about taking the punches and get knocked down and it’s just about getting back up. You just got to keep getting back up and just keep in check that emotional state solid about being, and it’s like a breath around it and just put a process procedures in place that, you know, see you stepping forward. And as we gain more clarity, you can you can expand back out into what you may have been doing previously.

Mat Lock 

Yeah, sure that I mean, yeah, absolutely. And it sounds like some of the terminology, we’ve invented a heart back to your days with ADF. In terms of you can only deal with what you’ve got. Yeah. Got and, and basically, yep, create a new plan when that plan hasn’t worked. So well. Isn’t there something Yeah, everything changes. I guess you’ve been faced with adversity in many different aspects over your career so far. It certainly sounds like that had an impact on how you’re now adapting.

Yeah, and and again, I don’t know what the future looks like in a few months time. It’s some you know, jobs wants that coming back in because people trying to You know, all companies trying to market themselves again and get their get their wares out there or might not and, and I’ve been enjoying the grassroots stuff I love, I’m passionate about what I do. I’ve been in the game, you know, for a long time. And I’ve loved CrossFit from the moment I was introduced to it back in 2004, or to the end of 2003 started 2004 and I’ve adopted and pulled that methodology across the board for myself with on the biggest loser which, you know, I great success competing in CrossFit. And I guess just promoting it in many different ways. You know, I guess I had a number of different things that were all happening at the same time and I chose those over continuing my efforts as a as a CrossFit athlete, but it’s great to see guys like Khan come through and you know, host a whole host of others and you know, it’s CrossFit evolved in in leaps and bounds and I get to deliver that Every day, you know, whether it’s indoors or out in the park, you know, you might call it a boot camp or group training, but to me the methodology is the methodology and, and that’s what I adopt and you’ll see me pretty much with my truck going all over the place with with Gallo PVC, you know, and it’s it’s, it’s that skill sets it’s that vise and pay when you employ that, and I guess you, you show you care, you give a damn. And you help people to move better. They want more of it, and I’ll come Yeah, degrees I’m saying

Mat Lock 

that’s exactly right. What was interesting I sent you um, I think it was an interview or maybe it was one of the key pieces that you’ve done where you reference the the onscreen persona of the commando from the biggest loser. And the real you are that there’s no difference. Because you are passionate about what you do and you absolutely you brought What you brought on screen is what you bring off screen. That’s just your philosophies. I think what you’re saying is that that’s how you operate.

Mm hmm. which is fantastic. Now we’ve got them. Yeah. And I guess you know what? Sorry. Yeah.

No, no, no, you read the site. You’ve got you got a question. Oh,

Mat Lock 

yeah. We had a question sent in from someone called narrowed, Alok who is related to me, I’m not going to lie. But like everyone else, she has sent a question. And it seems appropriate. She certainly said after leaving school, he joined the army spend a great deal of time in Special Forces. And what did you learn about yourself and those you served with the translated into your career as a fitness professional? awareness, observation. So it’s your ability under immense amounts of pressure to remain observant or, you know, had that awareness of your environment and self and you know, look at look at the tier one CrossFit athletes it’s their ability to, to assess what they’re doing in very small time frames, or very short time frames and under a lot of pressure. And it’s, it’s that observation, there’s a, there’s a great book actually, I think it’s called chasing fire where they they delve into that a lot more about those who step out into the peripheries of, of life and, you know, achieve amazing things. And it’s, it’s that skill of awareness. And that’s probably the greatest thing for me from the military. And I’ve gone on, I guess, in many senses, you know, with all you Okay, and I guess just getting older as well, where you recognize that your energy and your time is precious, and the way you afford or you know, that direction, what you choose to put your energy and time into his arm is an art and I’ve really enjoyed cultivating a lot more of these Inside of things, just focusing on being more calm and still and away, and it’s actually helped me even in my own training. Now you can be in the midst of your training and what people will see from the outside, what you’re actually feeling is this just, this is hurt, but you co exist in the middle there somewhere. And you can still achieve this state of calm and you talk to endurance athletes about the rhythm, they’re getting into this, this flow. And when you get there, it can almost seem surreal. And it’s like it’s not really happening and you can almost pick yourself up intentionally to break out of it. But once you start to experience it, you want more of it, it’s almost addictive and you just want to go to that place. there in the middle in and amongst all of it, it’s like almost having an out of body experience on site. and off you go.

Mat Lock 

It can be described as almost hypnotic, I suppose. And that was a nice feeling that would make you wanted it. For you,

that probably is a nice segue, I would say for us to talk about. I think I could direct this to both of you, gentlemen, because you’re both iraq ambassador. And I know this is something you’re both passionate about. But can perhaps I’ll start with you. You’ve always talked about how training and exercise can improve mental health and, and some of the struggles around mental health and and that we need to have more conversations about that. Do you think that the last two or three months one of the silver linings is perhaps that people have been more open to have those conversations given that everybody is going through some sort of challenge?

Yeah, I am. I certainly think that it’s been a really good period, because people have had time and when people have had time, particularly downtime with themselves, you get a come face to face with some thoughts and feelings and have to explore them in greater depth. And one thing that we’ve still been able to have during this period is the ability to communicate with each other. So it’s certainly something I think that in my immediate circle, I’ve seen a lot more conversations. But I think and hope that that’s a shift, irrespective of code, and that’s something that is starting to become more normal. And sort of how I look at mental health and how I look at talking about mental health is it shouldn’t be and it in my opinion, it’s no different to talking about physical health. If you get someone that’s going to the gym, or they start a new diet, and people start a new diet, I shut up about it, but I’m starting a new thing. They talk about it and it’s so normal. I’m going to the gym this afternoon. I’m going to do this this afternoon. The altar the goal, ultimate goal was not for me, but I think for society. And what I would love to contribute to is a cultural shift to talking about mental health in that same way. And I think that the conversations are starting and they’ve certainly been given a little bit more light of it’s a given recent events, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet, because I still think that we’re here. Nicola, the awareness stage, if you’re going to look at like making massive change, I think change requires three things, awareness, understanding, and then action. We’re aware that mental health is a real issue. We’re aware that it exists. But I don’t think other than the people that are kind of dealing with it diving into it headlong every day, I don’t necessarily think that the understanding is there yet. And I think that there’s going to be more education required before we can actually create meaningful change through action. That’s going to lead to, I guess, normalizing the conversations at a level that needs to be normalized, I think for particularly blokes to be making any kind of big changes.

Yeah, sure. I think we should, like respect the fact that both of you gentlemen at a high level CrossFit Games athletes and there’s a there’s a view around I guess, hyper masculinity that you’re incredibly mentally tough or you have to be incredibly mentally tough to get to that level of athleticism and stuff. Sometimes people think that means not showing that you’re struggling. Steve, can you speak to that? How do you balance out being mentally tough in in situations like the CrossFit Games, but then also being honest and open with the idea that hey, at the moment, I’m actually struggling?

Well, it starts with acceptance in my book, you know, we, I guess, use the phrase mental toughness, and I’ve been in Montreal, I’ve worked with some guys, I thought were phenomenal human beings. And they did the job, too. And never left anything on check. yet. They’ve then transitioned out of the military, and they’ve unraveled. And, you know, you talk about resilience, and you talk about this, this mental toughness, and I had all of that, but in a different environment, and in a place where there was a lot of uncertainty and then maybe they were in hyperbola adopting or utilizing the skills or manner meant that they, they, they struggled and for me, I guess from the military, you know, CrossFit doing some television stuff. And again, just life in general through experience is is the ability to accept, in the present moment, what’s going on within the environment. So there’s that acknowledgement of what’s taking place within the environment and how I’m re reacting. Or if I’m mindful of my reactions, and I’m gonna put myself in a place where I can be more responsive and with the response means you don’t have to respond. And so you don’t have to afford time and energy to something that doesn’t need a response. So then you can be more focused and do the things that you do. And the big thing is acknowledgement as well. So acceptance and acknowledgement, and when something is acknowledged, it tends to come and Then it’s not it’s not hyper vigilant or it’s not, there isn’t agitation, or anger, or too much aggression in that sense. And it just you can sue things you can, and I’m talking more so from inside as well. And you put that in the context of working out a lot of people. If you look at CrossFit in its early days, they never told you what the workout was going to be. There was always that uncertainty and it was sprung on you, you know, within, you know, a couple of days or even hours, I was like, This is what you’re going to do. And you’d see people go to water when when exercise, you know, or workout wasn’t a strength of this. They were always they were already beaten. And that’s I guess that was the kind of the Dave Castro art being an ex Navy SEAL as well. He would just play with people in that way. That’s that’s where I think the mental toughness is Things is where you can, regardless of the situation and or the environment and how you’re reacting to that you can calm things through things and just come from a place that’s a little more centered. You then don’t burn up and utilize too much unnecessary, I guess mental energy and physical energy so you can then just you can you can have laser focus on what it is that you need to do.

gonna love to hear and we all we all you. Yeah, sorry. Go ahead, Steve. Go ahead.

Yeah, it’s um, we everything that we do, there’s an emotional response to it. We can’t we cannot do anything in life without there being emotion attached. And it’s being it’s being observed and if that emotion you know, are coming from the military again, you know, you talking on that. They used to say to us, it’s the ability to compartment laws and to remove emotion from action. And you might be able to suppress emotion for a period of time, but it will always come back. You’ll it’ll always be triggered in some way shape or form over time, the more you suppress something, or you resist something, the bigger it gets. And that’s like what Tom was saying before humanity at this, you know where we are in the year that we’re in, because we’ve been ignoring things for such a long period of time. It’s getting bigger and bigger. And if we don’t do something about it, well, it’s our own fault. Because it’s not the world that’s in crisis. It’s humanity. Humanity needs to just calm down, be accepting and acknowledge the things that are taking place, and then put a plan and procedures in place to interact and be more connected and kind and loving and, and compassionate with one another because we’re not

Yeah, absolutely. Um, can I I wouldn’t mind just hearing your thoughts quickly on That I’m using the word contradiction, but I would prefer it to be a different word between the extreme mental toughness that I know it takes I mean, I, I watched you your performance, I think was regional 16. That last workout the rope climb thruster where you you made it to, to the games by winning that workout. That’s probably one of the most mentally tough things I’ve ever seen. But then the the other side of that is being open enough to admit when things are a struggle. So how do you balance out those two things?

Yeah, it’s kind of exactly what I wanted to. What I would love to add to that is that I think mental toughness is a concept is almost contradictory in nature, because I don’t, I think the toughest thing mentally that you can do is actually to be vulnerable. And I think that you will gain more. Let’s call it strength through being vulnerable, then by trying to be kind of like, extremely tough of mine. And I think like what Steve was saying is perfect, like you’ve got to acknowledge and you’ve got a He said, acknowledge and like speak about what like your current situation and where you are in life and where you are in the world. And to do that, to give an honest appraisal of yourself like nobody’s perfect, there is a great deal of vulnerability that comes with accepting where you are right now. And then taking responsibility for change. And I’ll even say if you look at like sort of mental toughness that it is, there is a great deal of ability, ability to deal with discomfort plays massively into being in cost with that, in fact, I would say that my ability, I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily the finished or the strongest or the most skillful athlete, but I can really, really, really hurt and I could deal with it really, really, really well. And I’ve always been good at that. Whether that’s because of my background or whatever it is, like, I’m just good at that. I get that. But the hardest thing for me about being an athlete and I’d say I mean hats off to him, he was on national TV as well. The amount of vulnerability that goes into putting yourself out there in front of people, opening yourself up to criticism And particularly doing something that you care about, like I give a shit about being an athlete, I really care about that. And every time I take the competition floor, I’m going out there and I’m putting myself on display at something I’ve worked really hard for, and I care deeply about. But in those moments of vulnerability, that’s where I gained the most mental strength. And I think that that’s the shift that we need. That’s what I would love to instill into people. When they’re thinking about how to become more mentally tough. I’d say the answer lies in becoming more vulnerable.

Mat Lock 

Interesting, fantastic answer from both the graph and thank you for being so candid. I guess it flies in the face of I guess the way a lot of us have been brought up, especially for the males who still these days, you know, certainly from my generation, were brought up very much you know, being the providers and a little bit the caveman mentality and so on, where we weren’t encouraged to To be open and be vulnerable, it just that’s not the way life works. I mean, what would you suggest is the first step for those? I mean, obviously, for the next generations coming through, if we’re parents, of course, we can have an impact there and that the whole subject is more openly discussed. So hopefully that has an impact for future generations. But what would you say? I mean, how did you what was the turning point for you can for example, what’s the tipping point where you felt able to and felt the need to show that vulnerability? Was there? Was there a tipping point? I mean, was there a moment you remember? Yeah, it was definitely a tipping point when I realized I needed to take action on the state of my mental health and it was a fairly dark, dark period in my life. In terms of being open and honest about it, I guess, as an athlete, I’ve always had a public persona and I felt like for a long period of time, my public persona was this idealized version of myself. I wanted to put out there and the weight of them Trying to go through this process of addressing some mental health issues that I’ve had since I was a key they just didn’t align and just one day I think like I was just so over the the kind of mental and emotional toll that it was taking on me kind of living is almost like a double life, let’s call it where I was betraying one thing online and then dealing with another thing in my own head. And I was just really I had a really open and on a really long open post about just how badly I battle with anxiety and how much that is triggered by the competitive process. I was back then. And I think that I got such an overwhelming response of people saying like, Oh my god, I can’t believe you’re just admitting to that and like I really resonate with the age that so many dudes reached out to me and it was right around them that actually decided to go back and study psychology and counseling and I saw that that was so much more powerful a path for me to go down then the athletic popping in itself. And yeah, I don’t know if you call that a tipping point, but it Kind of like I just just bit the bullet and spoke openly about how I was feeling. And then that was cathartic in its own way, like I’ve always used writing as a means of managing my mental health. So when I’m going through something, I’ll write about it. And often just in my notes section, it’s really easy way for me to brain dump when I’m being overwhelmed when I’m in like, an anxious loop about something and I’m in a really bad like, part of like depressed state, I’ll just write about whatever it is, and it gives it kind of it almost, it takes it out from being just in my head, gives it a tangibility, and it separates me from it for a period of time. And I know that I can come back to that and look at it. And you know, it’s not something that I need to keep thinking about because I’ve got it there and I can come back to it. And I think that was just like, one day I just brain dump and then posted it. I was like, like, here we go. Let’s see what happened. They said that was a big tipping point for me, wasn’t how I was able to manage my mental health and how I was able to approach the whole process of being an athlete and The value that I can take from that experience over and above just performance based things. So yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know if there was necessarily there was definitely a tipping point where I decided to go and get help from a mental health. But I don’t know if that was necessarily when I then opened up to the public It was probably was two years before I really opened up to the public, I guess about everything that was going on for me.

Mat Lock 

Yeah, sure. No, again, I appreciate the kindness of your own friend, Steve candidness is important. That’s what I’m trying to talk about to Sorry, I hate to interject, I doubt it. I speak about it candidly, because for me mental health should be spoken about like that. It shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be something that you should be embarrassed about. And it shouldn’t be something that requires great deals of bravery or praise for speaking about openly and honestly I think to normalize talking about mental health, we need to speak about it super candidly and not from like that perspective of like embarrassment and shame and not from a perspective of like a place of like our you know, bravery. And look you What I’m doing type thing I think it’s a really big distinction to make. But the more candidly, we can have these conversations, the better it’s going to date.

Mat Lock 

Yeah, absolutely. Hundred percent. And Steve, I mean, being very, very mindful of what Cannes just said, nonetheless, from, from your perspective coming from, you know, from the regiment, I can’t imagine a more blokey bloke career path to have taken it in terms of an external stigma that’s attached to that. And for you, when you spoke openly about your your history, with bullying at school, and so on, and how that impacted you and what you took away from that, which were positives, certainly as from what I’ve listened to and read, how did you go about taking that first step with breaking down the barriers of this, you know, this external perceived persona of a career path you Jolla. I guess for myself It stems back to childhood and for most of us that does, you know, the issues that I’ll put them body armor on when I was quite young and it was it was, well fast and insecure for many years and I, you know, shut myself down it served me well as a child in my teens, you know, I struggled and I actually used exercise as a means to try and change changed myself. I didn’t think too much of myself, I didn’t like who I was. And I did it in a way to, to gain acceptance, I guess from my peers and parents and those that were were older than me. And I guess I, I pushed myself hard and found myself in the military and doing those roles for some maybe delusional illusion that, you know, I needed to step up to this mark, and if I did, you know, I’d get this, this, this praise and this, this acknowledgement. And I did that for many years and I think I was so scared living in a, in a sympathetic state. I photo flight. I didn’t realize I was right. But looking back, I was always sick. I was always getting a cold I was always run down. I was always just, you know, a crush myself in workouts and then and then it would take me days sometimes to come back from things. And I remember after the CrossFit Games in oh nine are the thought of exercise and doing anything hard for Betty Ross or just, yeah, just couldn’t even entertain the thought. And I had to have a long, hard conversation with myself and I was 33 at that time. And I was just like, what am I doing? You know, I was, I was engaging, I guess, with thought processes, an emotional state of being that came from a lot of aggression and anger and upset and, and self loathing. And I realized at that point in time, that if I continued on that trajectory, I was done. I would have cooked myself and I needed to do something about it and I in that relationship with exercise back in my teens, it grew over time because anyone knows you do anything hard enough for long enough. And you got to dig deep. You got to ask yourself some pretty big questions and you might be engaging with it superficially at the start, but to maintain it long, long term and have that commitment, that consistency, that fortitude, kind of mental strength, right, you’ve got to have a sound intent. And at that point in time was like, doesn’t matter. I’m not it what it comes down to is what you’re willing to do when the lights are off. polls are closed and no one else is around. And, and I enjoy doing what I do to that degree that I can do that and having others around, just magnifies it and makes it so much more beautiful and and joyful to want to share in those experiences. But at the heart of it, I can, I can do it on my own. And I guess I’m fortunate I’ve always been able to do that. Sorry, the kids are all at someone’s house and they’re all running around killing each other. That’s about me bursting here in a second. But Mat Lock  any squeaky toys? Yeah, it’s Yeah. The 33 and then and then moving forward was some, you know, my kids and realizing that I didn’t want to parent or be a father to my kids like how my father was to ask growing up and not that that’s his fault. But it could definitely do with some improvement and I didn’t need to use a lot of anger and, you know, an aggression to to kind of subdue a situation because I was uncomfortable. And there was, you could come at it from a comma splice and learn to Just be a little more eloquent with your language and the words that you use and not so aggressive because most us blogs are big enough and have deepened out even raising your voice. And to be a little more gentle, you know, kind of calm and I guess I’ll just deepen that understanding, you know? Jason, it was 44 on Friday, can you believe it? And there you go. Things like, what? Saturday Hey, I can’t believe it myself. It’s like, Well, you know, 44 but, but yeah, just a lot of many wonderful things. And more so than anything is, I guess, some clarity and an understanding and, and a body that functions well, you know, I move better nowadays than I moved in my younger years and that that’s because of that awareness and a willingness to Want to explore? You know, we all have injuries and you know all of these things, and it’s, um, I think when you go after it, and you and you chip away at it, you know, it’s we’re organic, aren’t we? Yeah, that’s exactly we can transform ourselves which way shapeshifters we can. We can do amazing things, but it’s a willingness to want to do that. And it first starts, you know, within our head, you know, we conceptualize and have these ideas, these views around things. And then we put the effort in and we create the form, whether that’s ourselves or, you know, whatever we’re most passionate about.

Mat Lock 

Absolutely. Well, you’re certainly both of you are leading by example, which I know, I appreciate, and I think many of us do now, where we’ve talked, we’ve used the term mental toughness a few times this evening. And we actually had an email sent in from elk Brooks with a question that kind of centered around mental toughness. mental blocks. But I’m actually pleased to say that LP has also joined us live in the Zoom Room. And I think Jim from undefined media is pushing buttons in the background. And elke is about to There she is. Okay. How are you?

Good. Thank you. How are you guys?

Mat Lock 

Yeah, we’re doing well. Thanks. LTM. Where are you? Where are you streaming from?

I’m in Torquay. So just L’Oreal.

Mat Lock 

Yeah. Fantastic. Excellent. Well, thank you for joining us. And I know you have a question and it can be for either or one of our guests, Steve or can over to you. What’s your question? Okay.

So my question is for both of you just like if you’ve ever suffered any mental blocks, just how you’ve overcome them, whether that be leading up to CrossFit Games and training for that or as work as a personal trainer, how you guys have overcome those

Mat Lock 

Do you want to join a lead on that one? Great question. Okay.

Yeah, it’s a really good question. And it’s a it’s a pretty common one, I think. Geez, I can’t come up against mental blocks all the time. As an athlete as a human being, and I think I kind of come at it in two different ways. The first one is that I will always and this is something I’ve got a lot better at. So I will always ground myself in. I’m gonna call it like a higher purpose or a sense of like a knowledge and an understanding of why I’m doing whatever I’m doing. So I know I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what that is for me and what it is that genuinely motivates me and making it big enough and powerful enough for me that at the absolute hits of whatever things going on, it gives me enough kind of reason why to go through that suffering. In fact, there’s a brilliant quote that kind of goes with that from nature, and it’s He who has a why can enjoy anyhow. And so I think that’s always for me a big overarching thing that I can anchor back to when I do come up against a block. Now, that said, it doesn’t necessarily take away from when I say that Let’s say I’m feeling anxious leading up to a competition or like that negative self talk and that doubt, and I think, like what Steve was talking about earlier like that, that acceptance of the negative as part of the journey, and knowing that when I feel anxious when I feel nervous when I feel upset when I feel all these negative emotions, rather than trying to push back against them and ignore them, I just let them happen and understand that they’re a part of the journey and that they don’t actually have any power over me or my performance. Unless I let them you know, I know that I worked hard enough to do what I’m about to do. And I have to rely on the fact that even though I may be nervous and to the point where like, I’ll throw up before some events I’m so like, secret nerves and anxiety. I can. I’ve competed with having slept barely an hour the night before at regionals, because I’m so nervous about Pilates and pieces and you look at that 2016 perfect example. First time in three years, I found myself out side, the top five looking in going into the final day of competition. And I knew I had to pull something out my ass and I don’t think I slept more than say 3045 minutes that night. But I still managed to come back and take a third in the first event then when the final event, because I just put all of those kind of nervous, like those terrible thoughts into the back of my mind or not into the back of my mind, I just let them run there. I didn’t try to push them away. I didn’t try to tell myself I’m not nervous. I just was super accepting of the fact that I was and then again, it all goes back to that vulnerability, being willing to feel negative emotions, and understand that they’re just a part of the journey. But then I think that anchoring in that why, like that’s superduper important as well. And it’s, it’s sort of seems cliche and people but people harp on about it for a reason. And it’s because it is it can be really powerful. But it’s not a it’s not like a sit down in 10 minutes and you’ll realize exactly what that is. Sometimes it takes like big life events to happen for you certainly get For me to really be able to figure out what it was that I got out of, let’s say being and I think there’s probably use that as one of the biggest things that I regularly come up against mental blocks in. And I can always anchor back to that meaning to why I’m doing that. And then that allows me to push past it.

Thank you.

Mat Lock 

Thanks, john. And, Steve, how about yourself when it comes to either training or competing, overcoming some may pop up?

Well, I guess first and foremost is that you’ve had the ability to acknowledge mental blocks. So there is in a no but self awareness. And a lot of people lack or aren’t in tune enough to be aware of mental blocks because they’re too resistant. So things start to come up for them and they will push away. And a lot of the time was so we we create justification. They’re almost excuses for reasons why, why not. But that acknowledgement of the mental blocks and that recognition, like Kahn was saying is just just observe and just let things be. And a lot of the time it does, it takes practice, to engage or be in the middle of something with all of that kind of running at the same time. And I found that for myself, Well, you know, my younger years, definitely the training side of things, which I would consider is like an active meditation, because you help to calm the mind because you draw your focus, you narrow it into what it is that you’re doing. But that doesn’t mean that what you’ve, you’re not dealing with at that point in time has been dealt with. You’ve maybe just pushed it to the side for a little bit. But bringing it back to just being still and one of the hardest things to do is to just sit quietly on the floor and let whatever is beat what’s going on. Within your mind and within your physiology your body, I’m just accepting of that and just calm, calm things down, you know, give provide reassurance for yourself legend, let yourself know that just safe and with that with that acknowledgement thing I was saying at the start, they just they just come in, you find that you are you can go into whatever it is that you need to go into with with a little more focus. And another perfect example of calm said there is that you’ve put the effort in the trainings there the consistencies there, you know, you provide yourself with that reassurance. And then you go after it, you know, and last year I did a I did an Ironman distance triathlon with Maddy Rogers. And you know, I’ve done some long cycles and runs and stuff in the army but doing a three point ik swim together with a 190 k bike and then a marathon off the back of that I can tell you my that’s different ballgame. Cross and, and, but and and you’re absolutely I would say stupid to think that you could participate in something like that without any training or with very little training and you just got to be diligent, you got to put the hours and the time in and I came up many mental blocks, and a lot of it for me was the swimming, and the running the cycling, I pretty much had in the bag that was probably that was my strength. But the running this ID, if I’m going to go and run, I want to run five minute case, you know, we’ll find 30 case, but really, my body and with all the training that was in the bag, I was maybe only capable of running six minutes or six minutes 30 case, but to go out there and actually run at those at those times, which I know I could run faster but because of the training I was incapable of that moment, helped me build the foundation, but it’s overcoming those obstacles and those obstacles Psychological there, there are a mental obstacle and with the training and that consistency and you build at it, those times gradually come down so when I hit that marathon off the back of cycling 100 and swim in cycling 190 days, and I started out at 545 K’s and I think you know averaged six minutes 25 K’s for a marathon which I’d never done before my law at the age of 40 at 43 and that I think that’s just looking at the looks of some mental blocks and I just wanted to prepare myself as best as possible for that day. And I was just fortunate that you know, the, the guards were looking down on me favorably because many people come on stock even with all the all the training in the world.

Mat Lock 

That’s exactly right. That’s a that’s a huge undertaking. Right. Well then.

Thanks. Thank you guys.

No worries. Okay, and diligently taking notes. great answers now, I believe we we have Shannon on the line as well. I think Jim is going to unmute you Shannon and I believe you’ve got a question for one or both of the Jets.

Hi, um, this kind of leads on a bit of what okie said so she’s started with it. Um, I have a friend that has a quite a bad injury and can’t actually do CrossFit at the moment and is struggling in terms of mental health and staying motivated in that way. And I myself am struggling. I really want to master muscle ups and given that sticks I’m shocking like I’m terrible. And I guess mentally heating it. I’ll get so far and then take a lot of steps back. So I guess leading on from any little other tips to add I guess for both of us injury wise and when you’re really trying to stick it out with something. Yeah, just things to keep in mind. Because I get quite easily frustrated and cranky at times, but um, yeah, anything else, I guess further to add? And it can be for anyone if they want to answer, totally open.

Let’s start with calm. Oh, yeah, set the bar really, really low, like really low. So we’re I’m really unmotivated. So let’s use COVID-19 for example, super motivated the startup I had during I was meant to be going away twice during the last few months for some competitions. The last 12 months have undoubtedly been the most I’ve put into my training the best my trainings ever been in the best shape I’ve ever been. And probably the first time I’ve really just gone You know what, for 12 months, I’m gonna make being an athlete, my 100% focus, and it was cool. It was amazing. Like the progress that I’ve had in the last two months been awesome. I felt really, really good at these competitions. Kind of lined up as a bit of a benchmark to test where I was at, go overseas to do them, and then boom rug pulled out from under us. So I sort of try to go from that place of being right up where I like in a really good shape to cool. I’ll just keep training like normal, because I don’t know when I’m going to be able to come back and compete. I really don’t want to lose what I’ve already got this little bit of momentum that I’ve got at the moment, or I’ll start to be annoying. What happened was, that was fine for two weeks as kind of lockdown sort of going I realized that I had no clue when I was coming back to training. And rather than try to drop the bar back down, I just kept trying to push on with my you know, two sessions box and additional cardio session here in there. Make sure you stretching for this amount of time per day, and I was getting really frustrated, really angry at myself really anxious about worrying that my performance was going to drop from where it had been. So what I did was I dropped it back and I’m set the bar extremely low. And I went back in from there. So it was four times a week, I had to do two parts of the train two part training day. So like one thing, two things in a day, that’s all I had to do. And for someone that normally does maybe like a seven, eight part Training Day, that’s setting the bar really, really low, and how motivation works. You have to be you have to be ticking boxes to keep motivation going the way that it kind of works neurologically, and stuff like that is it feeds off success, you have to be taking things off. Otherwise, you’re going to be getting frustrated. And it’s going to be hard to keep going without motivation. So if you set the bar really, really, really low, like really low, super achievable, process based goals, so whether it’s process based meaning something that you can control, and it’s just a part of the training process itself, rather than if I don’t have a muscle up in the next four weeks, I’m gonna beat the dummy and I’m not going to try it anymore. It gives you power to be achieved power over achieving those goals. By starting to tick off the little goals that’s going to in itself provide you with motivation. So as your mate with his injury, his or her injury, sorry, they might not be able to do CrossFit exactly as CrossFit needs, but they’re injured, right. So logically, there’s, there’s a reason why they can’t do that. I guarantee you, they can do one thing every day, that’s still going to be productive towards them improving their health and fitness that they can just tick that off. Do that for seven days, then add another thing. Do that for seven days, then add another thing, right and keep building it on from there so that you feel like you are you’re still moving towards something. I mean, that can be something as simple as get a really good book on sports performance and read 10 pages a day, you can be completely bedridden and still do that and you’re achieving a goal that benefiting you and it’s pushing you, it’s still moving you towards where you want to go. Rather than setting the bar here, not hitting it and then going fuck this, I’m out. I’m leaving. I don’t want to train anymore. Yeah, that’s my biggest, biggest thing for anyone that’s struggling with motivation, set the bar way lower, and then know that you’re going to build on from there.

Yeah, that’s really good. Thank you,

Dave, walk us through that for us.

Yeah, I guess was, in a roundabout way, it’s very similar to what Khan is saying. And I guess the the one word is expectation, be mindful of expectation. And a lot of the time, you can work yourself up, you know, into a tether, because you’re trying so hard. And you want to have something now, when, you know, the universe is saying you ain’t have in it right now. And that’s where the consistency and the discipline and the work comes in. And you just got to keep chipping away at it. And if you’re coming at it from a certain angle, or you know, like a bearing on a compass, and that’s not working for you, well, then you’ve just got to rethink, rethink things. You’ve got to, you know, shift And come at it from another angle. And if you don’t know, that’s where there’s a we’ve got technology now to who’s and Dr. Google helps, you know, that works wonders with getting online and just watching how others break down and muscle up to check out what Karl’s doing and you know, put into practice some of the things that he does or, you know, one of the other, you know, athletes that you see just making muscle ups look like they’re easy and, and giving it a go and that’s the big thing is the frustration is that agitation, we create our own resistance through expectation and just calm things down. You know, bring that Bob back down. And, and just chip away at some of the smaller things, you know, a lot of the reasons people don’t get a muscle up is is because of that first pole, you know, and getting getting themselves getting those rings or if it’s the bar to the chest, so working on improving you know, some of the baselines in doing that, you know, and then dips, and that’s and then there’s that new Ural transition from the pole into the bottom position of a dip and then the drive out. So just nearly facilitating that greasing the groove, you break it down into its parts, and then try and bring it back together as a whole down the track doesn’t work all right, where is it that I need to come at come at it from again. And that’s just the muscle up and Gosh, this could apply to anything in life and but you’ve just got to be mindful of expectation and, and due diligence, you just, you just gotta keep going. You want something bad enough, you’ll get it. And it’s just, it’s just a matter of time and surrounding yourself with people who believe enough in like, that’s one of the things that I really enjoy is imparting a belief into people that they then believe more in themselves. And that’s why I think CrossFit facility He’s so darn amazing because you walk into one of those rooms and you’ve got others pumping you up and they’re chanting your praises and they’re they’re uplifting. You can you can achieve amazing things and they look at competition. It just helps. It helps people to just step it up to the next level and they do things you know, they sit PBS appear. And lawyers things. Yeah, in in that kind of meaner sense. So don’t give up.

Really, Thanks, David Am I make sense? Thank you as well for the injury advice to you. Thank you, Shannon. for that question. Gentlemen. I’m mindful of time but I’m gonna I’ve got one more for each of you. And they’re they’re selfish ones that I wanted to ask you, but I’m gonna start with you because I was really fascinated before that you said not to necessarily react to people talking about mental health and saying things Like, oh, that’s really brave. And and I was really interested by that, because I think that’s probably been a reaction that I’ve had to sort of think, Oh, it’s so brave to come out if someone talks about their mental health. So I guess what I want to follow up with because it was really insightful. How should we react? Like, what should the response be when somebody does talk openly about mental health how, how, as a friend or as a mate or as a coach should? What should the response be? made? Fantastic question. And I guess given the short time of short timeframe before it is extremely brave, to speak openly about mental health for the first time and when you are starting to come to terms with it. I don’t want to minimize the fact that it is extremely takes a great deal of vulnerability to do that. And what I meant by that more so was I wish he did it because that is how like stigma exists. On both sides of the equation, when we say cheese, That’s so embarrassing. There has been a stigma attached to that. When we do say cheese, that’s really brave, that in itself attaches a stigma to it as well. Yeah, it’s not having the conversations with other people, though you’ve, it’s a really tough honestly depends, I guess, with what they come in with. The biggest and most important thing to do is to understand that most of it, again, pending the severity of whether they’re dealing with just a bit of general anxiety, or an anxiety disorder, a little bit of general sadness, or genuine depressive disorder. The first and most important thing to do is don’t minimize what they’re saying, no matter how, like they’re probably coming to you in a highly emotional state. And the absolute worst thing you can do when someone is emotional, is tell them that what they’re feeling is invalid. Because all that’s gonna do is is amplify it out of control. And that’s, I mean, we see it so much at the moment with the world everyone’s got an opinion and a highly emotionally charged opinion on all the different issues that the world is going through right now. And you just I mean, I spend way too much time reading comments on Instagram in different posts and just watching the world descend into chaos, because I just think, defies belief in my head sometimes. But when you see this conflict stem from it’s where people push back against an emotional reaction. And they try to say, No, you’re wrong because of this. And it’s one of the worst ways that you can deal with someone that is emotional. And I mean, look, I’m not perfect at this as well. I’m not sure my partner would say the same thing. But we need to start to get better at trying to understand or not understand where people are coming from, empathize with them, and do our best not to minimize whatever it is that they’re feeling. And that also includes not trying to problem solve. I really think particularly for guys, when we’re faced with a problem and want to solve it, and it’s just human nature, and it stems from a good place. You’ve got someone you care about going through a tough time and they reach out to you about it. What do you want to do you want to fix that? Most of the time that you’re not going to fix it in that initial kind of like conversation, where they’re coming to you emotionally charged, they probably just want to listen. So that would be I mean, that was a really roundabout way of saying that the best thing you can do when someone comes to you, and they want to talk about their mental health is just listen, hold space for them, try to understand as best as possible, rather than pushing back with your opinion or your thoughts on it. Even if you think that your thoughts and opinion and the logical thing in that situation, it’s never, it’s not gonna help, it’s not going to solve the problem, and you’re only gonna add fuel to the fire, when they’ve calmed down. That’s when you can kind of work on problem solving together, but it’s got to be collaborative, and you should probably let the person that’s got a problem, initiate that active problem solving, right when they’re talking to you about potential solutions. That’s your time to kind of chime in and offer some of your own thoughts and opinions, particularly if you’re not qualified in that sort of area as well. Because I think that that’s where like Like, inadvertently, that even in of itself adds to the stigma when you’re when you’re feeling something so strongly and someone gives you a real simple, that’s how you’re going to fix it. You know, man, like I’m really stressed. I’m really anxious. I’m really stressed. I’m really anxious. Oh, you need to get more sleep.

That’s it. That’s that’s the answer to all my problems in that statement right there. Man, man, I’ve never thought of that before in my life. And can you see where someone’s saying that’s gonna come from a place of genuine love and care? And then and then my Fuck, I’ve read all these studies on sleep, we should probably get more sleep now. Right? But I should sleep more. But in the heat of the moment, it’s very minimizing it the way that the person feels. But in terms of getting it, I mean, that’s when you’re having those conversations. If we’re looking at kind of more culturally, how do we get rid of the stigma? It’s really fucking tricky because you do want to encourage people to speak up and that is difficult, and that takes a great amount of strength and vulnerability. But perhaps it’s on that kind of big level people like myself. The aspects that are comfortable speaking out about it or people that you see, regularly speaking out in that space, being more kind of just, I mean, allowing it to just be a conversation rather than a kind of a round of applause for this person’s bravery or Geez, oh my god, that’s so embarrassing. And sadly, I still see both sides of the coin I have seen on other people speaking about mental health, and people will go like, I don’t know why you’re speaking publicly about it. That should be for your own private life and stuff like that. I get fucked, like, encourage people to speak, be encouraged and to speak in a way that allows for continued conversation rather than it’s just like speaking.

Mate. It’s just brilliant and super practical advice. I think I’m like, elfi. I was taking notes here. So thank you very much. Steve. My last one for you is super, like very superficial. I’m sorry. I have to ask you. Everyone talks about 1009 CrossFit Games like the worst, by far Is it? Is that the truth on games? Are they the worst?

Lou said that I just was like, Yeah, okay, fair enough. But I talked about that like it was just a destroyer of souls and the programming that year. I think a few people if you’ve been around the traps across it for a while you’ll know this but a lot of people potentially don’t know you’re the, the highest ever male finisher that Australia has had at the CrossFit Games. Do you? Do you reminisce about those times often, like we own our own games?

Not too much. Like it’s, it’s kind of in the past. It’s, you know, hey, I’m proud of my of my achievements, but it CrossFit as a sport and the caliber of athletes has definitely evolved. And I guess you’re much like talking. The topic of mental health. There’s got to be pioneers. There’s got to be people kind of part The kind of paving the way and then and then those come those who come behind deep understanding and then a knowledge base that’s that’s next level but for me yeah it was that was sort of what I knew and that’s that was way cross it was at that point in time and that was the expectation was kind of rough and tough it out and I remember standing there at seven o’clock in the morning and Dr. Castro telling us what we were actually going to do and everyone’s like oh shoot here we go maybe they everything was printed on like a full pieces of paper and yeah, it’s just it was it was very rudimentary. And I remember my daughter she was with us she was on a game on solvent. You know, she was commenting from head to toe from running around, out on the out of the property there and all my I had a blast but but You’re freaking ruined me all I was all after some of the most simple simply simply prescribed events that I would just just absolutely hectic by they just left you on the floor and they’ll twice I got carried into the into the into the tent with the medics and the like and they’re actually gonna send me to hospital because I think I started the experience a little hate exertion because you gotta remember it was it was winter back here in Australia. So I was trying in leading up to them and got to the San Francisco and out to around Miss and it was pretty Don Hall. And the first event was that something like a seven k he’ll run all that crushed everyone. I think Jason khalipa passed out in the round and smashed his face on the ground. And, you know, he fought he fought back to finish just behind me and it was a reverse though.

Sorry, my brother just tried calling me then it was a reverse starting sequence. So depending on where you finished in the event previous was where you started in the next Have you finished last in the in the first event you started the next event first? Yeah. And yeah, it was just, I was toying around with a whole host of different things. We were just a guinea pigs. Brutal

Mat Lock 

Oh good. conscious of time, gents. Great questions, Ed, and equally great answers. Now we have focused on the importance of mental health and our desire to make it a regular part of daily conversations. Our two guests have been candid and compassionate around the subject leading the way as role models and for that, we appreciate them for everyone watching now, or in the future. Let’s all be vigilant. Let’s keep an eye on our loved ones and our mates. When you notice a change, no matter how small trust your gut and ask Ask, are you okay? Then follow up with that conversation? as we’ve talked about tonight, if you’re concerned about someone, and you’re not sure how to have that conversation, the team are you, okay? Have a whole heap of information on the website. So please reach out. They’re an awesome team and they’re there to help. With that said, thank you so much for tuning in on this Australian long weekend. Steven can from Ed and myself. A huge thank you for joining us tonight. And until next time, everyone, lead by example. Have fun and stay safe.

Thank you, guys.

Mat Lock:

Brendo McCormack, welcome to the Everyday Athletes Podcast.

Brendo:

Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m about as every day as it gets. So this is great.

Mat Lock:

No, no. I’m taking that title. I’m more every day than you are. I’ve seen your videos.

Brendo:

I love it.

Mat Lock:

Great to have you aboard.

Brendo:

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Mat Lock:

I appreciate you making the time to talk to us. So big picture stuff, if you could just tell us a bit about yourself and how life is in WA right now.

Brendo:

Yeah, for sure. So, I’m Brendo McCormack. I’ve been in the fitness industry since I was 18, so it’s 17 years this year. So I’ve pretty much spent more than half my life within the fitness industry. As I grew up, all I wanted to do was sell protein and I got to realise that dream at 18 years old, which is pretty cool.

Brendo:

I live in Perth and I’m the founder of a popular platform, Perth Fitfam. So some people over East may have seen that, may or may have known me. I was a commentator for The Bay Games last year and hopefully back this year.

Mat Lock:

You will be back. If we can run it, you’ll be back.

Brendo:

On top of that, also one of the CrossFit Games commentators, I’ve done some cool stuff. I’m shot with Arnold Schwarzenegger. So, that was all built around this Perth Fitfam platform. But then from there, really stemmed, I guess, what I help fitness business owners with, which is a social media marketing.

Brendo:

So, 85% of businesses that I catch up with, which is about 400, whenever I ask them what the biggest issue is within their business, it’s always marketing. So they had a great product, they love what they do, they’re great trainers. They just never reached their potential because they didn’t know how to market themselves. So, that’s what I do.

Brendo:

So that’s where Fitfam Social Academy came in. And what we do is we teach fitness business owners, how to market their business. On top of that, before we get into it, I’m also a little bit of an entrepreneur. And last year we launched a dating app for fitness singles. So that got launched actually at the start of this year, by the time it was actually available on the app store. So primarily that’s where I spend most of my time at the moment.

Mat Lock:

And that’s a massive congratulations as well, because it’s going really well. It’s no mean feat, so massive congratulations for what you and the team have achieved so far.

Brendo:

Yeah, that one’s been a fun one.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. So, obviously we’ve had the… at the time of recording this we’re just starting to hopefully come out of COVID-19 and hopefully there’s not a second wave or a spike, let’s say. But obviously the fitness industry globally has been absolutely slammed with COVID-19. And the realities of not being able to operate and taking [inaudible 00:03:22], lots of gyms have taken their training online and so on.

Mat Lock:

And certainly here in Australia, we’re just on the precipice where the rules of being relaxed sufficiently to have 10 groups in some areas, 10 groups for act or boot camps and so on. Nothing indoors yet. But there’s certainly setting a relaxation. And I was really keen to get you on the podcast to have a chat about, if I was a gym owner or if we can talk to all of the gym owners out there, and just give them some really good advice about some of the things that they can do to help themselves in the way they handle their social media stuff around the whole COVID topic.

Brendo:

Yeah, for sure. I think that we’re in week number eight now that we’ve been in lockdown, at least from WA’s standpoint. So eight weeks ago or nine weeks ago as this-

Mat Lock:

You have a lockdown and WA.

Brendo:

Oh, we’re pretty much out of it now. So I’ll touch on this in a second. So, I’m going to go right back to the start. I’ll give you guys the advice that I gave my students and people, and I’ve done multiple interviews and podcasts on it. I spent two weeks just helping out business owners that didn’t know what to do. So I just said, if you guys want a free half an hour call, if you just want someone to voice with, to work out a plan for you, I’ll open up my Zoom. And so I spent a lot of time with business owners over here doing that.

Brendo:

So first of all, my main thing was that people needed to look at their finance. And obviously there was different stimulus packages that came out at different times and they needed to establish that they were going to be okay. So that they either came out a job seeker, job keeper, that they could get the super payouts, whatever was suitable to them.

Brendo:

As soon as they had that sorted out, then they could remove the… They could remove the fear that their business was going to go under, that they were going to lose their house, that they weren’t going to be able to eat. And as soon as those basic things were taken care of, then they could start to think a little bit logically. So the first thing was sorting out the finances.

Brendo:

On top of that, as part of the finances was making sure that you could keep memberships or subscriptions going. So a lot of people that are going to be watching this, they would be from the boutique or the studio based gyms. Like, your CrossFit, your F45s, these sort of gyms. Different payment gateway providers, they had different outcomes.

Brendo:

So some of them cut membership straight away. Some of them you just needed to showcase that you had adapted, and you could basically keep your memberships ongoing. So for a lot of gym owners that I’ve worked with, I would say that the median drop off of memberships is around about 30%. Which means that, with the government’s stimuluses if you’re retaining 70% of your members, then you’re actually going to be in a decent situation. So that was the first step. From there-

Mat Lock:

[inaudible 00:06:07], sorry, I’ve heard a similar number, anyone I’m talking to. But of course, a lot of the gym owners have cut their rates, their membership rate. So even though it’s only 30% of their members per se, they’re actual dollar value of their revenue was significantly lower.

Brendo:

Yeah, I wouldn’t have done that. So my advice on that was, if you could, maintain it the same. And I know that different gyms have gone about this process differently. So some had kept it the same, some had had a lower rate and then some had still offered their services for free, that people that lost their jobs. And I thought that was a great thing to do too.

Brendo:

So if we look at the value, so for me, I pay, I think $60 a week for my gym membership. And I kept my payments ongoing, except every gym was a little bit different. So I was like, “Okay. Well, you can no longer charge that high rate if you’re just doing online training because the value doesn’t equal the same.”

Brendo:

So you needed to adapt your membership options. So whether you were lending out equipment, online programming, whether you’re doing Zoom workouts, whether you’re doing a weekly Zoom. You needed to showcase additional value within that membership, because you probably had about a three to four week period where people would be okay to pay. But then if the value didn’t stack there and finance got here, then the gyms is a luxury item. I guarantee you, it would have been the first thing to go.

Brendo:

So these are the things that we addressed early on. From there, once I had established in the early stage that their business was going to be okay, it was about innovation. So they obviously, as we touched on, they needed to innovate their product to be able to create something which not only was good for their current members, but all of a sudden there was all these people that were stuck at home training at home, wanting something to do, which for me opens up an opportunity that, hey, you can start to provide value to people within your community that probably would never have come to your gym, but all of a sudden would be looking for something to do at home.

Brendo:

So if you were to able adapt your product and then innovate it, you were then able to market it to a completely new market that you wouldn’t have had before and bring on more memberships that way. So, that was starting right at the unknown where we didn’t know what was going to happen with COVID. Some businesses did well, some businesses kind of got to that adaptation stage, but they didn’t get to that growth stage. Which is okay. It’s absolutely fine.

Brendo:

But fast forward through this eight weeks, and I can give you guys an update from Western Australia. So as of the 18th of May, which is Monday from when this podcast is being recorded, gyms are actually able to open up under certain restrictions. So you can have indoor or outdoor classes up to 20 people provided that there’s minimal to no shared equipment.

Brendo:

You don’t use machines. So that’s things, assault bikes, rowers, skiers treadmills. Provided that you disinfect or wipe down the equipment after every session, which should be self explanatory. I know we do that anyway. And provided that you don’t go over one person per four square metres, which if it’s 20 people, that’s probably okay for most gym sizes. So we’re essentially about to go back to normal with classes capped at 20. That’s really, really good.

Brendo:

Which means that we’re going to start to see things rolling. Now over East, I know that you guys are a little bit different. You’re a little bit behind, I think you mentioned they’re just about to open up outdoor training.

Mat Lock:

Yep.

Brendo:

So we’re about to see some normality come into play. Now, from the recommendations that I’ve been giving my guys, because it’s been very reactive. You try and stay in front of the game, but we’re always trying to get people ready for what’s coming next. So throughout this process, the kind of content that we’ve been getting people to deliver is just honest content with where they’re at, at the moment.

Brendo:

So I know for me on my personal platform, I don’t often do workout videos, it was never really my style. But before coming into lockdown, I made a decision to myself, that I was going to be better off physically, by the time we got to the end of it and I was going to be better off financially, by the time I got to the end of it. So it was just two things that I could stick to.

Brendo:

And then from a physical standpoint, I knew I wasn’t going to have equipment. So I just said, “Okay, I’m going to have skipping rope. And I’m going to have a 24 kilo kettlebell.” And whatever the workout is, I’m going to adapt it to be able to use those two things. And as I started training, I just started recording my workouts, putting them out there in a way just to showcase the people that, “Hey, I’m doing this I’m with minimal. So you can do it too.”

Mat Lock:

Leading by example.

Brendo:

Leading by example, yeah. And I didn’t expect it, but the engagement on that content actually became really strong. Not just with likes and comments, but from people actually saving the workout for later. People then tagging me in the workout. And then people just coming back with messages, like really nice messages about how that’s helped keep them going.

Brendo:

And we’ve got the gyms to implement a very similar strategy with just putting out things and providing value through this time. Not trying to jazz it up through content that they’ve shot within the gym from ages ago. You’ve really got to meet people with where they’re at, at the moment and be relatable through that. So that’s I guess, from a content side of it.

Brendo:

We are going into stories. Stories is like 100% where it’s at. That’s your engagement component of the platform. Now, coming out of COVID and going back to WA where we’re at. So, hopefully with the Eastern States, you guys aren’t too far behind, you’re going to see a massive influx. Like people are going to be hoarding to come into the gym.

Brendo:

And the trick of this is you’re going to have to kind of balance between taking care of your current members that are there, making sure that you fill up classes and that everyone can get in, and then establishing through your booking system or however you go about this, realistically, how many people can you onboard at this point in time? Because you’re going to get an influx of people wanting to join. You’re not going to be able to service all of them.

Brendo:

So you really need to understand from your business point of view, how many people can you service at this point in time? Because getting new members at the moment is going to be the easiest that you’ve ever experienced within your business. You’re probably never going to experience this again.

Mat Lock:

Right. Yeah. But kind of a nice problem to have, however [inaudible 00:12:27]. But having awareness of that and building a strategy around that. The how to handle that. Especially with the restriction around numbers and so on. And whether that therefore means you have to put on more classes. More [inaudible 00:12:39] to accommodate the volume of people and so on.

Mat Lock:

But in terms of communicating. I mean, for me I think communication is the key, isn’t it? And I can only… It resonates when you say, you meet people where they are or where you go. And communication’s the key. And so certainly for our business. The question when it all kicked off was the how to handle that. You can hunker down and go quiet and stay out of the way, or you can reach out and offer all sorts of support and so on.

Mat Lock:

And so we decided to… Because when it kicked off, social media was just flooded. So everyone in the world was being thrown upside down. Not only with training, but with possible work, possible finance issues, health issues maybe, who’s at risk, who’s not at risk and so on. So it was just kind of massive.

Mat Lock:

So certainly from our perspective with the events in mind, so we’re not so much of a day to day consumption, let’s say. We’re not part of a daily routine per se. We decided to just reach out, be of help, but equally recognising what everyone else was doing. And basically not trying to just become part of the noise, let’s say.

Brendo:

Yeah. Well, social media had an increase of, I think Instagram was 30%, I think Facebook was 40%. So, it was super active. It’s definitely gone through the roof. People are just at home. There’s not as much to do. But then you have the mix of, there was a lot of doom and gloom. There was a lot of uncertainty, there was a conspiracy on… Yeah, walls are full of conspiracies. Sorry I press mute a lot.

Brendo:

Yeah. There was definitely a lot going on. And even now the biggest thing that I find from our guys in Perth is when the government releases an update is they’re uncertain about how to handle that situation, even though it’s positive. So I’ve found out that people… Not everyone, but a lot of businesses out there, even if they’ve been told what they can do, they on asking for more clarity. Where my big thing is, it’s very obvious for you.

Brendo:

You need to innovate and you need to have a plan to put in play. You shouldn’t be on the back foot in this situation. It’s like, okay, you’ve been given the guidelines, understand what that means for your business, put that into play now, have your steps. So, get your members, your current members, sorted out. And then work out, “Hey, can we bring on more people at this point in time?”

Brendo:

What’s your offer? So what are you going to provide these people? Is it going to be a standard membership? Is it going to be a post COVID special? Like, what are you going to provide to these people? And then put that into play. That’s what you’re going to start to market consistently at this time and keep people up to date with what’s going on.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, absolutely. Certainly, as you know, with my background around business model innovation, I think one of the biggest missed opportunities for a lot of business owners will be to simply go back to normal. When we can, to simply get back to normal. Back to the status quo. I think that will be a massive missed opportunity for many, many business owners.

Mat Lock:

And if I think about this industry, the fitness industry, I’ve spoken to a lot of gym owners in the last eight weeks. And there’s been an overwhelming response about how the online training has created an increased sense of community, a better connection.

Mat Lock:

And it’s not all about just doing workouts. I mean, some of those gyms have gone, “Okay, well, we’ll do a stretching session at 7:00 PM on a Thursday and have a glass of wine.” If you want to have a glass of wine, well, we’re doing it. That kind of thing that had just literally a 30 minute check in, “How are you going?” Everyone just jumps on, chews the fat for half an hour, off they go.

Mat Lock:

So much more social rather than just, “Right, we come online for just this, and we’re doing that, and there we’re going again.” And that’s important, which is from a workout perspective, having a routine is important. But some have gone beyond that. And I think it would be a shame if they let go of all of that, just because they no longer have to be online.

Brendo:

They innovated, it was so good. So I can give an example of someone within my network that implemented this really, really well. So he’s actually a trainer at a big box gym, so just a personal trainer within there. And so straight away, a lot of his business is gone and he would have had the option to do one on one coaching through Zoom. But what he did is he actually created a group.

Brendo:

So he had his weekly rate or his monthly rate, whatever that was he had within Zoom and exactly the things that you’re saying, like the stretching, he brought on a yoga teacher, he brought on a nutrition coach. He had his things that he was bringing to the group. And it was set schedules and people just jumped in and they did it together. It was that sense of community. And he actually got so many new clients who were outside of the gym, who hadn’t trained before.

Brendo:

The people that I was saying, the people that generally wouldn’t be your client. He came on and they opened up outdoor training last week for us in WA. And was out there and he said, “All my outdoor group training sessions are completely booked out.” He never did that before. And he said, “My business is actually doing much better now than what it was in the gym.”

Brendo:

And he’s not like I’m a young techno PT. He’s been in the game for years. He’s definitely at the older stage of his career. But he was able to adapt and innovate and use technology. And now he’s got a complete online business where he has all these clients that are going to stay with him online and he’s way better off.

Brendo:

And that’s literally what I wanted for people. I’m like, “Innovate, understand where you’re at and your business should be better off if you do this smart.”

Mat Lock:

And having a bigger impact, you could argue rather than just being a PT, that’s only one part of the story, isn’t it? To then have the mobility, to then have nutrition as well. It’s a much more holistic service that you’re actually offering.

Brendo:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, it’s interesting, It’s interesting, that example. I was talking with a gym owner I know, who initially wasn’t confident about charging for still providing this. Well, they found their feet they just wanted to keep their members active while they figured out how they were going to handle it. And handle home life, homeschooling, everything around it.

Mat Lock:

But they were running basically… Had their Facebook group and they were just running the daily workout. But loads of people were really engaging and sharing and loving it and commenting. And same thing, it was like a magnet. Quite a number of new clients now, come to them going, “Oh, how do I be part of this? I keep seeing this and I’ve heard about it. It’s awesome. It looked like fun. I need to do something.”

Mat Lock:

So new members, absolutely new members who now… I mean, at best staying with them, then it’s not just a fad. That they’ve now onboarded a whole bunch of new members that they would never have accessed previously. So-

Brendo:

It’s so important. So, one thing that I’ll point out… And I always reiterate this to the business owners over here is, in Western Australia less than 17.9% of the population has a gym membership or does regular exercise apart from walking. So, it’s less than 20% of the population actually trying.

Brendo:

And the biggest thing that I say is, the industry I don’t believe is saturated. I believe our ability to market to different kinds of people is probably limited and this is a big part of why we teach people marketing. Is to find their niche, find what they’re good at, and then hone in on that. Because you can have gyms on different corners, but provided that their product or service is tailored for different people, realistically, the goal of the industry should be to turn that, 17.9, 18% up to 30% or up to 40%.

Brendo:

And this gave us a great opportunity to do that now, because all of a sudden that became of interest to people that wouldn’t normally train, which is what we’re saying now. So I would hope that people would learn from that and that they would be able to adapt that, to make a bigger difference in a world, which is really stickly, getting people fitter is what our industry should be about.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, plus their healthcare, absolutely. And in our local area here, we’ve commented a few times, how we’ve just seen more people out walking or jogging or cycling, or whatever they’re doing. Just more people at about, because I think you’re right. It’s just raised the conscious level of needing to move and not be sedentary and to get out of the bed and so on. And clearly an opportunity, if you’re in the fitness industry. Clearly an opportunity.

Mat Lock:

But Brendo, I’m conscious of time. Obviously you are a huge wealth of information around this subject. If people want us to reach out to you and find out more about, you mentioned the academy earlier that you’ve got designed for exactly this. But maybe just take a minute to tell us about that academy and where people could find out more about that.

Brendo:

Yeah, for sure. So as I mentioned, Perth Fitfam is my main platform, which is the social group of the Perth fitnessing over here. So I run that. But from that, as I mentioned, the biggest issue with fitness business owners was their inability to market or reach their potential. So that’s how Fitfam Social Academy came about, which we officially launched as a brand the day after we got told that gyms were going to be locked down. So, interesting time for us.

Brendo:

So we can be found on Instagram at Fitfam Social Academy or on Facebook at Fitfam Social Academy. And throughout that programme, we offer a range of courses to be able to help fitness businesses, crushing business by utilising their social media platforms.

Brendo:

Most of our clients who come on, they’ve got minimal to no experience with social media, or they might have used an agency in the past. And we basically just supply them with the tools and the accountability to be able to run their social media campaigns, their social media platforms efficiently and effectively themselves. So they can generate leads and sales by utilising social media.

Mat Lock:

Yeah, awesome. And I’ll put all of those links in the show notes, of course. No question about it. And I’m assuming, and fingers crossed that The Bay Games can go ahead and November as planned. We haven’t announced it, but I guess we’re doing so for anyone who’s listening to this podcast, when it goes live, we are going to have a business workshop day, the day before the weekend kicks off on the Friday.

Mat Lock:

And that you’re going to be one of the guest speakers there. And we’re going to have a workshop dedicated to exactly this and what we’re going to be telling anyone who’s coming to that workshop is, bring your phones, your laptops with you, because it’s going to be all about implementation, actionable advice and implementation.

Brendo:

Yeah.

Mat Lock:

Excited to have you come and share the wisdom that you developed over the years, and having personally been helped by you with a couple of tricky aspects around Facebook, I can attest to the fact that you really know what you’re talking about.

Brendo:

Yeah. I think that’s the biggest thing for us. It’s being able to really educate business owners that didn’t have that understanding how to do this. Like, just teach them how to do it at a high-level. And so they can do it themselves. For me, that’s really, really powerful. So yeah, I look forward to it. I look forward to dropping some knowledge whilst I’m over there and having some fun on the mic.

Mat Lock:

Absolutely. Well, we look forward to that too. Brendo, thank you very much for your time. Appreciate it, man.

Brendo:

Thanks Mat.

 

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.

 

 

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