My Training Update | 4 weeks into fitness block

February 19th, 2018

Four weeks into my intervention on my fitness and body comp block of training. I wanted to take a measure of the last four weeks and was really pleased to see my programme is working and I’m on the right track – body weight is coming down and fitness is improving (new row pb).


The Aftermath

January 13th, 2018

My Training Update | Fitness & Body Composition

January 13th, 2018

The start of the year is a busy time for anyone involved in rugby due to the international calendar. For me, this means working down in Edinburgh a fair amount as our Scotland U18 squad have prep camps and training ahead of their tournament in March/ April. Instead of beating myself up about getting to judo intermittently for the first quarter of the year, I’ve decided to really make a good ‘dent’ in my fitness and body composition so that I’m ready for stepping on the mat 3 x per week and competing. Of course, I will be dropping into Judo practice wherever possible during this time; however, due to my schedule it may be 0-1 x per week! That said, I have access to a gym wherever I am with work and can train at varying times of the day so there is no excuse not to really make a significant change in my aerobic capacity and body composition (meaning I want to get down to only +2-3kg of fight weight…And stay there).

My Objective Measures and Current Scores:

- 2k Row | 6.53.3 (December) / 6.44.8 (Current)

- BODPOD | 11.9% body fat (current)

During this time, I am not concerned about developing power or strength; however, I am training hard to hold on to every bit of strength/ power I developed from my last block of training. I anticipate my absolute scores in strength/ power will decrease by ~5% though I shall be fighting to keep as much of it as I can and will certainly shift to power development upon completion of my fitness and body comp block of training.



October Announcement | Last Training Slot of the Year

October 10th, 2017

I’m excited to announce I have a slot available to take on a new client (or small group) either on a Tuesday evening or the tail end of the week.

Though I predominately train athletes trying to improve their sporting performance, these training slots are available to anyone who has an athlete’s attitude and appetite for ‘getting after it’. Whatever your goal, I’ll have the right carrot (and a few sticks) to get you there. You can read-up more on my qualifications and motivation for training people on my home page (and please excuse the twenty-one year old fresh faced Fraser who still occupies a picture there).

It’s worth noting I can take three people per training slot and would fully encourage you to train with your friends, regardless of a variance in ability. That said, with group training it is important that members of the group share a common fitness vision (i.e everyone wants to improve their aerobic fitness, or body composition etc).

Please use my contact page to register your interest and request more information. To maintain standards of the highest quality (what I expect of my own training) I’m cautious of how many people I take on at one time. This will be my final free space for the year  – act fast if you want to take your training to another level.


Venue | Exclusive access to a private gym facility for our weekly session (free parking / showers and changing room space)

Blocks | 10  x 70mins sessions (maximum three people per group)

Expectation | Completion of agreed upon sessions (designed by me) outwith our weekly training slot

Session 1 | Establish the baseline (movement screen as part of the session coupled with tests appropriate for your goal)

Sessions 2 – 9 | Weekly 121 coupled with a planned intervention to achieve goals established in session 1, including nutrition guidance if appropriate to goals

Session 10 | Retest and evaluation of progress

Happy training!



The Rule of Specificity

October 2nd, 2017

Nothing like a bit of a fight to remind you that it is a good idea to include some hard randori (sparring) and attend your given sport’s training sessions before you compete.

The rule, or rather the principle, of specificity states that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport for which you are training in order to produce a training effect. Simply put, do judo to get better at judo. Now there’s more to it than that and there are many training adaptations which will accelerate and compliment doing judo; however, it remains true that it’s a good idea to practice the sport you want to improve in.

My work schedule has been hectic of late, and though I can always get in some lifting, running, *insert the individual activity here*, I can’t always attend class. In fact, in the last two months I went to judo three times. Not good.

I was pleased this weekend to get to the finals of the granite city open, and I gave it my best shot in the final. I was absolutely gutted to take silver; however, it may be the best thing that could of happened to me as I’ve caught the judobug again and will be prioritising getting to judo class and working on a better work-life balance.

I’m very much looking forward to getting my movement more fluid and ultimately becoming a better fighter with a few more competitions on the horizon. Needless to say, I was pretty happy to successfully land a big throw during my first match (pictured) – that’s one way to settle the fight nerves.


Strong Saturdays

August 12th, 2017

I’ve been having a little fun with video editing recently when I have more time on Saturday.

My typical Saturday, or at least the one I hope for, starts with judo from 12noon – 2pm. And at 6pm, we lift!

Client Progress | He was only suppose to hit 120…

June 23rd, 2017

My process for training people is really pretty simple;

  • Test (get a baseline)
  • Plan the intervention then deliver it
  • Monitor as we go (and potentially modify if necessary)
  • Retest (check results)
  • Evaluate

A simple process. For the most part, this means I am testing my clients every tenth session to ascertain the progress they have made towards their long term goals (and by how much they smashed their short/ middle term goals).

It was very pleasing this week to be spotting Stephen for his Bench Press. The goal for block 2 was to take his 110kg Bench Press and hit a 120kg single; however, that flew up with ease and so we went up to 130kg…


This is a Judoka who is trying to get in the best shape for his sport (not a power lifter), so it’s very pleasing that he’s making good improvements on all markers while still developing his judo specific skills (he trains judo 2/3 times per week). With that in mind, Stephen needs to become more powerful and improve his aerobic capacity too. One tool we have been using to further develop athleticism is the power clean. Stephen couldn’t clean when we started training; however, with the reverse chain method we have made some good progress in technique (and power measured in RSI/ Broad Jump/ Power Clean). Stephen can competently clean his bw 90kg and the video below shows him hitting a 100kg Power Clean single, with less than optimal technique (yet safe). We’ll refine this as we go, and the goal with that specific move is ‘to make 100kg look like your 90kg clean’.

Velocity Based Training (VBT)

June 15th, 2017

I’m currently on a body composition and strength block of training with the volume now decreasing with the intensity increasing – pretty standard, only there’s a few tweaks that make this programme brutal (necessary for the adaptations I’m after). For today’s training I threw on a PUSH-Band to discovery my power and velocity on a heavy double squat. I’ll discuss this more from an educational point of view if there is interest as tracking velocity in the gym can be a very useful tool for coaches working with athletes who have graduated from the novice stage of training.

Tonight my Reactive Strength Index (RSI) was  2.41 m/s (suggesting I would benefit from a plyometric/ power block of training, however I completed a 30min run this morning which may have impacted my ‘spring’ in the evening.

My heavy double on the back squat was at 180kg which is 90% of my 1RM. Therefore I should of had one rep ‘in the tank’ or possible even two at a squeeze; however, my velocity of 0.25 m/s on the second repetition suggests this was my 2RM for the day (95% of 1RM). This makes sense as fatigue masks fitness and I am on a planned overreach stage in my programming.

More information on how VBT can influence your programming coming soon.

Client Progress | Upper Strength (chins)

June 9th, 2017

It’s great to see a client smashing their physical preparation goals. This is Stephen knocking out eight reps of chins with a 20kg plate around his waist at the end of a session.  We were not testing this today; however, I am known for throwing a few curveballs at my clients from time to time…

Pre Training Testing | 10reps @ Bodyweight

End of Block 1 Testing | 10reps @ Bodyweight + 10kg

Midway through Block 2 (today) | 8reps @ Bodyweight + 20kg

We’re definitely tracking to smash Stephen’s upper strength goal (10reps @ bodyweight +20kg), which is only one ambition of many!

Refinement | Nailing the Basics

June 8th, 2017

In judo you spend a lot of time practising the basics. Repetition, repetition repetition. That’s what it takes to learn the language. I’ve been doing judo for a fair few years now and there’s still plenty to work-on with the basic movements and principles which will make me more effective at having conversations :-) .

Whether it’s the fitness industry or the business world, there is often a desire to discover the next big thing‘What should we add to make a big change and get ahead of the competition?’.

Sometimes the biggest bang for your buck is refinement in what you’re doing and focusing on becoming a master of the basics.

Below is some footage of my second session on Thursday, repeating the entry of a throw. My body really didn’t want to be there after a high-volume squat session in the afternoon, but my future opponents don’t care about that, and so neither shall I.

Whether it’s nutrition, lifting weights or whatever else; if you can perfect the basic principles you may find yourself more successful than if you chase the smoke and mirrors.