Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Injury Update

Surgery has happened.

According to the MRI I had a torn lateral meniscus, it didn't show any other damage to the ACL or any other ligaments which is a major bonus.
So this led to arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery to fix it. The doctor had told me that they would either repair the meniscus, or if the damage was too severe they would remove part of it.
The repercussions of each:
Repair - Long ass rehab to allow the meniscus to fully repair before strengthening the knee and the quads, hamstrings etc. Better in the long run as I should have a fully functioning knee again.
Removal - Much quicker rehab as there is less recovery time to allow repair, BUT a much higher chance of osteo-arthritis in the knee in later life.

Let's be honest - I've been playing sport since I was 7, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to be riddled with arthritis when I'm older anyway, so I was asking them to do the removal so I can get back to my best quicker, BUT I suppose I should be looking at the long terms and at the positives.

So now I'm in a leg brace that limits my range of movement - I can go to full extension (I can't quite get there yet, still a bit of pain at the bottom of my patella when I try), but can only flex or bend through to 90 degrees at the knee (I've reached it a few times, which is a massive positive as I couldn't do that pre-surgery).

The plan now is to where this brace for 6 weeks, then on to rehab. I'm hoping that coming from a sporting background and a higher training base than the average guy will help me to rehab faster but I am definitely not going to skimp on it. I don't really want this to happen again as it's been a pain in the arse - especially with the Internship at Harlequins. It's kind of stopped me from being so hands on which is absolutely killing me as I want to be as involved as possible to learn as much as I can and allow myself the best chance for progression.

So there we go - that's the injury update.

Cheers for reading.


Sunday, 12 October 2014


So training has been going really well lately - particularly the squat which has been making fantastic progress.

But unfortunately I have some bad news in the fact that I have injured my left knee. I went down to a rugby training session and out of the blue when I was standing up from the floor after carrying the ball my left knee popped and then locked up.
This had happened to me before - first time back in March 2013 when doing some MMA with Jon Bradley in Worcester but it popped straight back in and gave me no further issues. Since then it has happened once but again it went straight back.
Unfortunately this time it didn't go back in to place. I went down to A&E and had three people cranking at it trying to manipulate it back into place. This was hands down the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Thinking back to it now makes my ties curl. Horrific. But they couldn't get it back straight - it's much closer than it was but I still can't get to full extension and it also hurts to bend my knee.
I stayed in overnight had a couple of scans etc and then got sent home with a budget knee brace. Less than ideal.

So now I've had an MRI as well and am awaiting my next appointment with the consultant this coming Friday and yes told me to go in fasted to be prepared for surgery to repair my torn meniscus and cartilage.

Now this has obviously put my training back, in particular lower body. But one of my colleagues at Quins has put me on his 6-week bench program for lower body injury players. Its essentially bench press twice a week and then close grip bench once as well. This way it keeps me off my knee but still let's me make some kind of progress. It is a percentage based system and should have me hitting 160 by the end which will be a 15kg PR.

Definitely be keen to have a 160 bench. Then once my recovery is done it will be on to rehab and then back to squats etc. Makes me think that's its basically time to settle and just get focused on the career, and train for enjoyment and performance but not really for any particular sport. I would help however like to start doing more Olympic weightlifting so maybe that can be used as my base and build off that with regular strength training. I'd also like go get back to doing more stuff like farmers walks, prowler etc. I enjoy that stuff and it has always reaped rewards for me.

Anyway there's the update for you all.

Til next time.

Sunday, 21 September 2014


Hi everyone,

Exciting news - the website is now live!


Go check it out and tell me what you think.

The general premise is this - S&C Coaching for athletes looking to improve for their sport. But I'm also doing general Personal Training, online programming for people with gym experience who just want a program to follow, and also - the area I'm going to try and push the most - Group training.

Now with the group training I'm looking to coach small groups of 4/5 people at a time, for 2 x 90 minutes sessions a week for 4 week programs. So that's 8 sessions. And this is going to work out a hell of a lot cheaper for the participants as the price will work out to be about 30% the price of the equivalent if you had one-to-one sessions.
I'm currently looking at holding a rugby-specific group on Mondays and Wednesday evenings at CrossFit Guildford, with the aim of building strength and power whilst also working on little things like mobility and technique, and also the big one - Conditioning.
I may also look at doing this like this for other sports - but I figure with my background, and my current exposure to top level rugby S&C, this makes the most sense.
I'm also looking at doing things similar to what my old coach Josh does at OneSpaceFitness in Malvern. He does things like the APP (Athletic Performance Project), NSP (New Strength Project) and other boot camp type classes. These will not be designated to any one sport - but more of a general training session aiming at improved athletic performance.

So have a look at the website, and get sharing!


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

3 Peaks Challenge

Hi all,

I haven't done a blog in here in a while so here is a new one for you all.

This past weekend I took part in the 3 peaks challenge. I agreed to take part along with my old colleagues from the University of Worcester back in January I think, so I didn't want to back out of an agreement. Plus - I kind of fancied the challenge!

For those of you who don't know what it is - it's basically walking up the 3 highest peaks in the UK - Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scaffel Pike in England, and Snowdon in Wales - all in the space of 24 hours!

Now - I went into this with ZERO training. Pretty dumb I know, especially for someone in the S&C Industry, but I don't really enjoy that type of training so just figured I'd give it a go with what I've got. I went for one walk in preparation - on the Monday before to break in my brand new walking boots I had bought on the Saturday. Didn't want to be covered in blisters after all!!

So - we departed on Saturday 30th at 06:30hrs from the University of Worcester and made our way to Ben Nevis in Scotland. This is the Highest peak in the UK at about 1300metres. We set off at 16:55hrs.

Now let me tell you - this was tough! There was a right mix of terrain, and different gradients etc. Essentially its uphill walking on uneven surfaces for a long ass time! Not something I'd normally enjoy - but I actually did! Probably because it was challenging. My plan for the walks was to keep up with my boss who is Ex-Army and still in good nick for his age especially. So I wanted to stay in eye-sight of him.
I ended up beating him up there! Only by a few minutes, but I'm happy with that. I was the second of our group to reach the summit, only beaten by a regular half-marathon runner. So I was chuffed. It took me around 2 hours 20 minutes to get from the bottom to the top.
Some of the views were simply stunning! Unfortunately at the top it was very misty and foggy so you couldn't get the views from there, but from about half way up there was some stunning scenery which I won't forget in a hurry.
It was bloody cold at the top too - the water on the outside of my hat froze! Absolutely bitter and a strong wind to boot! So we didn't stay up there long. Got a nice little selfie, and another photo - then started our descent.

Part of my game-plan for the challenge was to do the descents as fast as possible and waste as little energy as possible. Easier said than done though unfortunately.
I managed to injure myself on the way down too. There are some quite steep drops off rocks that almost form steps, and when I dropped off one, my right spinal erector went into spasm. This isn't a great feeling at the best of times, but when you've had other muscles cramping up as well it really rubs salt in the wounds.
By the time I finished the spasm was gone but I was having sciatica pains which really suck. So I stretched, rolled on my roam roller and lacrosse ball to try to loosen it off and allow myself the chance to carry on.

We got to Scaffel Pike early on Sunday morning (I can't really remember what time) and I set off with the group with the challenge still in sight.
I was walking for about 45 minutes I think, then packed in. The sciatica pains down my right leg were pretty bad, and I was effectively walking uphill on one leg - which is never a good idea especially when you weigh 115kg!
Plus in the back of my mind was the fact that a lot of people get lost of Scaffel, and I was either going to get lost or slow down the entire group and risk their opportunity to complete the challenge.
So I headed back down to the minibus and wrote off my chances of completing the 24 hours challenge.

I was pretty damn disappointed, and honestly still am. I wanted to complete this challenge, it was kind of a bucket list type thing. But I failed due to injury.
I'll be honest - it was damn tough! Especially with limited sleep etc. But I genuinely think that I would have given it a damn good crack if I'd stayed healthy!
So at some point in my life I'm going to head back to Scaffel, and to Snowdon, and dominate those fuckers just so I can say I've done them. The bastards!

Now the rest of the team did fantastic! Ben Nevis claimed a few others as well as myself, but we had a solid group of people who completed all 3 peaks, and some who completed the challenge in 24 hours! This really is some achievement! I'm jealous, but proud as well. They did bloody fantastically to complete it!
It must also be said that our support team - Mark White, Mark Groves, Graham Cozens, Richard Wishart and Nigel (can't remember his surname, sorry Nige!). These guys did all the driving, all the admin, and did a load of cooking etc. Without these guys the whole thing would have fallen apart without a doubt! They played a huge role and need a lot of recognition for it.

So there you go. That's my write up of the 3 peaks challenge.

Just a little side note - my website for my new training business should be live soon. I have an official logo, and have purchased the website and space, I'm just waiting for my web designer to finalise the site and put it live to the world! So watch this space and be ready to spread the gospel of ...
Nitman Performance Training!!!

Cheers for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.
Peace x

Monday, 28 July 2014

Get unspecific to get specific goals

I've had something in my head for a couple of weeks - so I've decided I'll write about it.

So the idea behind this is basically how to use different sports to make progress in your own.

For instance, recently in my internship the team have done sports such as Basketball, Football and also Swimming. Now swimming has been used a lot for recovery in sports in recent years as it can help to increase blood flow and is a non-loaded activity (I would put references - but in all honesty I can't be arsed as its 21:30. Next time I do one of these I'll go about it properly ... maybe), but how about using swimming as a tool to improve performance? Rather than just enhance recovery.

Ooooh interesting I hear you say ... Hopefully ... maybe not but I'm going to talk about it anyway.

Another reason for getting my thinking on this was a couple of weeks ago I played Squash. Yes, Squash. Not really sure why, but me and Richie - a.k.a Dick Steele (p.s. best name ever) - decided we'd play a friendly game or two of squash before our day at Quins. So the first game was great, good ralleys and stuff, and then it fell to shit because I'm out of condition.
A few years ago I started playing squash regularly with my dad in an off-season, and I went back fitter and more agile than I'd ever been.
Coincidence - possibly. But I think that the amount of specific work being done to enhance change of direction, deceleration, and acceleration was much greater than what I would normally have been doing in my rugby training. Thus improving these areas for me - in case you couldn't put that together for yourself.

So now back to swimming.
We have been in the pool twice so far this pre-season at Quins (scheduled that is - some of the players use it for recovery ... you see how I tied that in ...)
Once was for a recovery and conditioning session after our monster day at GSK.
The other was Wednesday of last week when we did "The Great London Swim" Conditioning Challenge. Now unfortunately I can't tell you the ins and outs of this as A) I wasn't there for it all & B) That would be telling you sneaky little buggers.
But I can say this - it ranged from a mix of strokes (ha!), rest periods, and also swimming on the surface and also doing whole lengths submerged.
Obviously the work submerged is to help improve anaerobic performance and lung capacity (maybe not lung capacity as it's not being done often enough to have an effect on this really) but for the players to be able to exert force repeatedly whilst not using a constant intake of new oxygen is a good shock to the system. The majority of their training is running or aerobic based, so it's a new twist and another way to shock the body and create adaptation.

Basketball on the other hand - is a whole different ball game to rugby (again - see what I did there ... ball game ... anyway) and requires a high amount of hand-eye coordination which is prevalent in rugby also.
So the skills coaches have been getting the guys to play to identify a few things:
1) recognising and utilising space
2) ball skills
3) conditioning effect
4) communication
There are probably more but I can't really think right now.

One thing to bear in mind through all this - and I'm sure all you reading this are smart enough to figure this out for yourselves - but do not let trying new things get in the way of what is important ... Your Own Sport! That is still number 1 priority and always should be. So if by doing things differently your players start to lose touch in their own game - sack it off! or at least tailor it back and see what happens. But it's definitely worth giving a go as it can keep training fresh, and add new stimulus physically as well as mentally.

So yeah - I kind of went off on a tangent a little bit during that, and for that I 100% do not apologise, but my general point is this:
Try chucking some training into your schedule that utilises the benefits of other sports, and watch how that can carry over to your own.

'Til my next random thought or planned area of jibber jabber.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Success Stories.

Since last summer I have been working with the University of Worcester Men's American Football team, the Worcester Royals, and the University's Men's Rugby team.
The Royals was mostly on a consultation basis - I have been designing programs for players to meet their physical positional requirements. I did attend sessions, and some games, but my appearances were rare due to working a full time job and also working with the Men's Rugby team and individual athletes externally to the University.
The Rugby team was a lot more hands on. I was able to attend Monday morning fitness (every Monday morning at 7am, rain, shine, snow whatever - the boys trained). I also attended other sessions, and was occasionally able to put on different things for them. Such as taking in different training tools to use on a Monday like kettlebells, battle ropes, slam balls etc. We also did sand dune sessions, hill sprint session, circuits around the local area, and sessions in gyms.
The Royals started their season 3-0. This is the best start to a season they have ever had, and they also went on to have their most successful season to date. By no means am I saying this is my doing, but I know that my programming and influence impacted on their performances throughout the season.
The Men's Rugby team also had an incredibly successful season - achieving their two goals they agreed at the start of the season:
1) Promotion to Prem B in the BUCS Leagues.
2) Win Varsity (the biggest game of the year against Gloucester University - played at Kingsholm-the ground of Gloucester RFC Premiership and European rugby team).
I simply cannot be prouder of this group of lads. They worked through a lot of hard times, and thanks to their coaches Jamie Tsang and Ieuan Mustow the old ways were brought back. Cohesion, hard work, and simple game planning led to a hugely successful season and I can't wait to keep hearing success stories from them over the coming years.

Another success story I want to touch on, and honestly the main reason I wrote this blog, was to talk about 3 of the American Football players who asked me to program for them in the lead up to a Powerlifting competition.
The local gym they use, Legends Gym Worcester, decided to run an in-house Powerlifting competition, so the guys, who had been part of the "HPC" group of players who trained with me on a more regular basis at Hill Performance in Hallow, asked if I would be able to design a program to allow development for the three lifts - Squat, Bench Press & Deadlift.
So I sat down and started to write a generic program for the 3 of them, but one that is specific to to their own personal bests of each lift. I took inspiration from several programs such as Jim Wendler's 531, Brandon Lilly's Cube Method, Chad Smith's Juggernaut Method, and more known theories like periodization etc and it worked on a two-weekly location and it included work at the high percentages of their max, as well as volume at lower percentages, and also rep work.
The three athletes - Carlo Richards, Josh Milgate and Andy Thomas all made significant progress throughout the training cycle and came out of the meet with PBs. Some got over 20kg of progress in just 7 weeks of training.
So I was absolutely over the moon as it was something I came up with sat at home, worked out all the lifts for each training session for them and everything. This is probably the first fully in depth training protocol I have come up with, and for it to have been so successful I am chuffed to bits.

Onwards and upwards from here. The internship with Harlequins starts tomorrow morning and it's only positive from there.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014



So after passing 3 of the 4 modules (Case Study, multiple choice exam and PAS {plyometrics, agility and speed}) on the first attempt back in November 2012 - I have now finally put the final nail in the coffin and completed the weightlifting module of the UKSCA Accreditation.
So I am now a fully accredited strength and conditioning coach with the UKSCA.
Pretty damn happy man.
And good timing too - just before I head off to my internship with Quins. So hopefully I can pick up some clients and work 1-on-1 to earn some money, or find a local team who want some assistance. We'll see.
But the good thing is this - my first years CPD is covered by doing Quins. So even if I can't find anything else, then at least that is covered.
Also - by the time I leave Quins, I have my degree, my ASCC status, and also a years experience working with an elite level team. These are regularly the 3 ESSENTIAL criteria that I keep seeing on job applications and things.

So hopefully - one year with Quins and I can get a sweet job elsewhere and start getting paid to do what I love. OR - open a small facility of my own and coach off my own back.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Promises, promises

In my last post I spoke about posting more often ... that was months ago! My bad!

I've just started up a fresh blog on here too with big news about my internship with Harlequins. So when I start down there I will be posting weekly with updates on what has been going on, and just showing people the daily life of an intern with a premiership rugby team.

My own training and stuff has been relatively mediocre of late. I spent a good 6-8 weeks focusing on Olympic lifting to pass a module in my UKSCA. I am now back to strongman training and trying the Cube Boss/Kingpin program for the first time. So far so good, I like the rotation of maximum, repetition, and speed work. Keeps me quite fresh which is nice. Give me another 7 weeks and hopefully we will see some PBs.

General life - things are looking up. I will be moving to Guildford in June for this internship. Which will mean I will be closer to my family which is nice. I will still be making regular trips back to Worcester (all going well) to see Naomi (my new girlfriend) and her daughter Lily, and just to make sure I don't lose contact with all my friends up here and with contacts that I would like to potentially go into business with following my internship journey.

So, again I will say that hopefully posts will be coming out more often but we shall see.