I did the Gym Jones Foundation course way back in 2010. Even then I was no longer a slave to the desk, instead, I was most of the way through my career in an outdoors shop, and already a qualified Sports Massage Therapist. I was certainly no-where near athletic, and had been intrigued by Gym Jones for a good few years. My main reason for going on the seminar was to meet with something of a hero of mine – Mark Twight. Legendary Alpinist and outspoken head of Gym Jones, but also, a man who has remarkable insight into the world of physical training.
From that workshop I gained a lot, and when, 4 years later, the Level 2 seminar was advertised in London, I jumped at the chance to go, and signed up as soon as I saw it. Over the past few months, I have been trying hard to get into some kind of seminar shape, whilst keeping in good form for fellracing. It hasn’t been the easiest thing to do, as max push ups and pull ups do things to your arms and shoulders are somewhat suboptimal for fell running.
“OUR OBJECTIVE IS GENUINE FITNESS,
NOT THE APPEARANCE OF FITNESS.”
Through the summer there were times when I doubted my ability to be physically able to participate in the seminar. However, I pulled myself together and hammered myself in the final few weeks when racing was minimal (except for the Ian Hodgeson relay), and was ready to go for the middle of October.
The Seminar started pretty much bang on time, with a lot more people than I was expecting, and for the first time in 4 years, Mark appeared alongside Rob – the lead trainer – for a seminar, so we were somewhat honoured. The rumour went around that we were going to be in the classroom to begin with, and then a workout before lunch followed by the same in the afternoon. There was a slight sense of relief across the room, until Rob said – ok everyone, change of plan, lets go do a 2k row for time. Go!
Fine. So at least we wouldn’t be wondering when the notorious 2k was going to be sprung on us… we might as well get it over and done with now.
5 Concept2s were lined up, so 5 people warm up and go. I was in the second wave, and knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant. Sucking down hot air in a sweaty basement gym in London, I rowed my guts out. The last 100m was fairly memorable for being a complete blur. I couldn’t actually see anything, not sure if it was because I was closing my eyes, or if the world just closed in around me – and ended up with 7:02. Two seconds outside of the “standard”, and a PR for me. Of attendees, I was the closest to 7 mins of those that didn’t make the grade, but there were a good 7 who did, and 1 in particular who smashed out a 6:37.
2k Row times posted, we stumbled back into the classroom (but not before getting a little fresh air outside) for the first section of the teaching. A thorough review of the previous seminar, in terms of programming for General Physical Preparedness, and then we went through a couple of sections of the Appendix which we had just been given. There was plenty of time for questions as the theory was laid out around us, before we broke for lunch.
Post lunch, we sat down and went through a very specific way of programming for the GPP programme. Each step was thoroughly considered, and although we took a long time over it, as each section slotted into place, it became apparent how easy it could become, given practice, and given the right ideas, mindset and knowledge.
Once the theory had been knocked around and chatted about, we came out onto the floor for a workout which was a lot more challenging in real life than you would imagine when you read it on paper. This particular feature is a real specialism of Gym Jones – make it seem easy, and watch the expressions on people’s faces as time wears on.
The first part was a shoulder heavy workout- but using relatively minimal weights. As a final year Physio student, my ears pricked up as Rob started saying “no-one talks about longeveity”, and proceeded to give us a great talk about shoulder health, and gave some excellent ideas on how to warm up, how to strengthen, and more importantly, how to protect them from getting blown out. You only really get one set of shoulders, and if you screw them up in the gym, that’s you, pretty much done.
So following a shoulder intense warm up, Turkish Get ups and FLRs got an airing, followed by a particularly fun Z-press session which lasted 10 mins, which was far, far harder than pretty much anyone had expected.
We finished on a high, and broke out, ready to eat, and excited for more learning and movement on the Sunday.