As a personal trainer in Eastbourne I am always on the lookout for new opportunities to experience, learn, apply and ultimately EVOLVE so that the service I provide is current, cutting edge and keeps me at the top of my game.
With this in mind I was up very early on Sunday morning making a fresh coffee and preparing protein porridge ready for a morning of what I anticipated would be filled with serious graft and a fair portion of suffering!
My destination was Greenwich Park, the mission; to have my first Go Commando Atomic Workshop experience and to see how another very well established PT ran their outdoor group sessions. As I see it, it’s always good to see things from another perspective from time to time and I was looking forward to being part of a group instead of leading one.
I first became aware of the work of Rob Blair (Personal Trainer, Ex Royal Marine Commando and owner of Go Commando Personal Training) and the Go Commando team through reading an article in one of the men’s fitness mags; I went on to browse his web site www.bestronger.co.uk and watch some of his excellent videos on You Tube. The thing that struck me most was the no nonsense attitude towards hard work, suffering and self improvement – I liked it, it grabbed me and most of all inspired me.
I traveled to Greenwich Park with a good friend of mine and as we drove we chatted about what may lie ahead. The 90 minute drive flew by as we arrived like a couple of excited school kids.
On reaching Greenwich Park it was easy to find Robs sign written Go Commando vehicle and there was a group starting to unload a huge range of kettlebells and Bulgarian bags ready for the session.
After a brief, non nonsense introduction it was down to work – the warm up – chin above the bar wide grip pull-ups of course! 20 or so comrades cycled on and off the bar, getting the work in and obeying the commands. The tone was set and it was serious.
Numerous sets of chin ups completed and Rob gave our next instruction. A fast paced run around a section of park taking approximately 4 minutes to complete. I set off at a comfortable pace which gradually increased to full pelt. The pace was high and I intended to stay there as long as possible. On returning to the start line we received another instruction; “Go back the way you came!” – Of course, should have guessed.
From there we spent what seemed like an age in pairs working through various body weight / partner resisted drills designed to pit man against man, woman against woman and woman against man. It was testing, it was tough, adrenaline and testosterone filled the air and everyone gave their all. Push ups, endless sets of push ups, wrestling, resisted “punching”, trunk rotations – agony and bliss all rolled into one.
I learned some great new techniques in this section and felt humbled by how hard it was purely using body weight against that of another – pure genius.
Next up was a few rounds on the grass, more wrestling, burpees which progressed into bastards which then evolved into bastards with tuck jumps. My chest and shoulders were already wrecked from the push ups and the chest to the floor bastards seemed to take an eternity. The “working rest” of partner wrestling gave no rest and fostered a dig deep, then deeper, toughen up and engage survival mode!
Some rounds of running touching trees as fast as possible were a welcome respite – even when we were instructed to do the same carrying a heavy kettlebell in one hand.
Bear crawls and crab walks were next. The clever programming of the session meant that my upper body was smashed and just holding myself up to move was hard enough. Numerous times the will to continue began to slip away and crawling over some spiked chestnut shells made matters worse. With thorns in hands I battled on and into the next section.
It was time for some Kettlebell work and Rob had a plan. It was simple and beautiful yet hideous at the same time. Controlled, straight arm kettlebell lifts which required complete body tension followed by kettlebell squats and a heck of a lot of them at that.
The big bells were out in force, some on the 62, others on 56, 54, 52kg monster bells while the girls repped away from anything between 24’s and 36kg bells. It was a sight to behold, people bonding over iron, encouraging, toiling, sweating and grinding.
With upper back, arms and legs suitably tested it was time for Bulgarian Bag action.
I am a of bit fan of the Bulgarian Bag and have a wealth of experience in using this fantastic training tool with clients and group sessions.
Rob knew this and kindly suggested that I should don a 70’s ex military flak jacket to make life just that little bit more difficult!
We ran with Bulgarian Bags on shoulders down a hill and into a crater in the ground. Bulgarian Bag Spins were the exercise of choice which hits vast quantities of muscle explosively while testing grip strength and mental fortitude to the MAX! 10 reps each way were followed by climbing up a short steep hill (carrying the bag) which had us gulping down lung fulls of air, testing sinew and cardio simultaneously. This felt tough, but it was nothing compared to The FINISHER!
Any lasting energy was obliterated during 10 rounds of spins, short power climbs and the added delight of a steep grassy long climb for each rep. I admit, after the 3rd round I felt in trouble, the will to continue was evading me. The idea of stopping felt like a heavenly oasis – yet battle on we must and we did. I don’t know how long we worked for but when one of the crew eventually completed all 10 rounds it was time to stop – thankfully. I had 8 on the tally, so near, so far and just not good enough.
A scramble with the bags on shoulders up a hill to the observation tower then it was time to loosen off. Out came the broom sticks and into some brilliant mobility drills that seemed just as hard if not harder than some of the work in the session. Muscles complained, we groaned, stretched and sucked it up.
What a session! My first Go Commando Atomic Workshop experience was something I value HIGHLY. Challenge and suffering aside I learned a great deal including techniques that I have already started to implement with my own clients and boot camps – much to their enjoyment.
It’s fair to say that Rob, Suzanne, Kirsty and Fiona put on a great session. Rob’s branding is bang on, it permeates in totality. The air was THICK with it!
Will I do this session again?
Hell yeah! I’m going back next month!
Are these sessions for everybody? Absolutely not. It was challenging, punishing and relentless. It was pain filled and that’s what I wanted. It did make me ask questions of myself and ultimately answered them by coming away humbled, stronger and more knowledgeable.
I would like to thank Rob and his team for putting on such an incredible mornings activities and I look forward to attending more of your events and becoming – STRONGER.
If you are looking for a new kind of challenge without BS then visit www.bestronger.co.uk