Archive for the ‘Our Services’ Category


I saw the above picture over at Coach Rut’s blog and it made me smile 🙂

The number of people who think that exercise will solve all their problems is astounding.  Sadly, they are mistaken.

Exercise is just one piece of the puzzle – if you treat your body like shit the rest of the time then your health will not get any better!

Eat properly, stop polluting your body, get enough sleep and de-stress – these are just some of the things that make up a healthy lifestyle.

You need to be doing the right stuff outside the gym to maximise your gains and this is why we offer a holistic service to keep you on track.  If you don’t already train with us and you think you need some help, drop us a line.  If you do already train at CFW and you think there are some areas you need to focus on, then ask for some support.


Beyond the Whiteboard

Posted: March 6, 2009 in In The Gym, Our Services
Beyond the Whiteboard Screenshot

Beyond the Whiteboard Screenshot

We’re now registered on Beyond the Whiteboard.

This is a really cool site where you can log your CrossFit workout results.

We’re set up as a gym on the site which means that if you’re a member, you can record your results for our workouts and then compare yourself against the rest of the gym or the CrossFit nation as a whole for each WOD.

I’ve been playing about with it and I’m really impressed – you get graphs and comparison charts and everything is really flexible for scaling etc.

If you’re coming to CrossFit Westcountry – please sign up.  It’s completely free for the Beta release and I’m planning on keeping it that way for my members once the full release is out.


Whether you like it or not, the most efficient and effective way to get your nutrition on track is to weigh and measure what you’re putting in your mouth.

First you need to get set up with a FitDay account.  This is an awesome FREE nutrition and exercise log that allows you to input what you’ve eaten and it’ll do all the calorie and nutrient ratios for you.  Fantastic.

To be accurate though you need to know quantities – guess work won’t really cut it.  This is where a set of measuring cups and spoons is essential – a set of scales is also a good investment and you can get all three for under £5 ($10).  For me, one of the best investment returns ever.

Then all you do is use the measuring equipment to see how much of everything you’re eating and plug the numbers into Fitday.  If the numbers don’t mean anything to you, then you have a few choices:

  1. Drop us a line and if you’re local arrange a one-on-one consultation and we’ll get you on track.
  2. Sign up for our remote consultation service where we’ll communicate via email and find out everything about you so that we can get you on track.
  3. Do some research online about where your numbers should be.  The Zone is a good place to start and by using a calculator such as this one, you can find out what your protein requirement is and work from there.

Nutrition can be a bit of a minefield, but you can’t expect to get to where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re coming from.  Plug in the numbers, see what the current situation is and then if you need any help, drop us a line.

Fitness is about progress.

You don’t get fitter if you don’t push yourself to a higher level.

The beauty of CrossFit is that it offers numerous ways to measure your current ability level across a range of skills and provides benchmark information so that you know how you measure up to everyone else.

A while back I came across CrossFit North’s (Now CrossFit Seattle) Athletic Skill Levels document. This is basically a list of goals for all of the elements of fitness organized into ability levels.

I love this document and its pretty much the cornerstone of how I focus my training and also how I go about analysing my athletes and designing programs to meet their specific needs.

Understanding the Chart

First things first… You’ll want to download our version on the Skill Levels so that you’ll be able to follow what I’m talking about. This is an almost identical document to CrossFit Seattle’s if you prefer to use that.


As you can see there are 4 skill levels across the top – Superstar, Action Hero, Super Hero and Legend.

You can see that on each line of the chart you have a different activity type i.e. squats, 400m run, deadlift etc. As you move across the columns, the goal or benchmark gets progressively harder, but is still the same type of activity allowing for easy reference as to where you need to aim next.

Using the Chart to Evaluate Strengths and Weaknesses.

The next thing to do is to print the chart out.

Now go grab yourself a highlighter.

All you now do is go through each activity and if you can do it, highlight the box. Obviously if you don’t know if you can do something schedule in some time to test yourself.

This should leave you with a chart that looks something like this

CFW Skill Levels

The great thing now is that you can start to look for patterns.

Now you can’t see particularly well on the above image, but this person has reach Legend status on the Deadlift and the Military Press, Super Hero level on the Squat, OHS and the Clean so obviously this person has the weighted strength and power exercises down pretty well.

For the above athlete, all of the gymnastic skills are sitting at the Action Hero level, which is great, but shows that this is an area that needs some work to get it up to the same level as the Weightlifting elements.

Looking at where there is a bunch of white boxes, this is where all of the MetCon and endurance stuff can be found i.e. your runs, rows and high rep work.

So for this athlete we’d tailor their program so that their Weightlifting ability will be maintained, but we’d be looking to increase the gymnastic work and really work hard on pushing the MetCon work.

Our goal is to build well balanced athlete’s who are capable across a wide range of athletic activities and in doing so, this simple tool has proven to be very effective.

In Summary

  1. Download and print a Skill Levels Chart (Get ours here).
  2. Highlight the skills you are currently capable of completing.
  3. Look for patterns – are you generally better at Weightlifting, gymnastics or MetCon? Are there any skills within these areas that are lagging behind i.e. are your pullups way better than your pushups? Is your Military Press lagging behind your Deadlift?
  4. Devise a training schedule that adresses these imbalances
  5. Re-evaluate regularly.

What are you waiting for – get cracking…

Photo by la tartine gourmande

I’m consistently told by people that they eat healthy.

Their bodyfat % usually tells me otherwise.

So what are my top 3 rules for getting your nutritional ass into gear? Let’s take a look…

1. Eat natural

If you couldn’t have dug it up, cut it down or caught it yourself, then chances are you can make a better food choice.

Think meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds.

If it’s something that has been processed to make it, go for foods that have had relatively few processing steps i.e. olive oil = 1 step (the pressing of the olive), therefore good. Snickers = god knows how many steps, therefore eat something else.

A couple of other ways to think of this are to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh stuff is and to avoid pretty much anything with bright, eye-catching packaging – it’s usually EVIL!!

2. Quit sugar

This kind of goes with number 1, but refined sugar is a killer. From diabetes to gut problems and a whole host of metabolic derangement conditions, sugar sucks. Get it out of your diet now.

Only drink tea or coffee with sugar? Cut down or find another drink. I had a client who drank 10 cups of tea per day, each with 2 sugars – that’s 20 teaspoons of sugar per day just from beverages.

Oh and kick your soda habit as well – apparently there are the equivalent of 12 teaspoons of sugar in 1 can of coke.

Excess sugar screws up your insulin functioning and when this goes crazy, that when you start storing fat and starting on the road to type-2 diabetes.

If you eat a lot of fruit, that can be just as bad, so make sure you get the majority of your carbs from veggies.

3. Eat enough protein and healthy fat

Nowadays most people I talVeggies!k to are scared of fat. Don’t be. Fat is your friend. Your body needs it for a whole range of jobs. Just make sure you eat the right kinds.

Stay away from processed foods and you’ll avoid the majority of trans-fats – these are man-made fats that succeed in actually stripping vitamins from your body. Not good.

You want to get the majority of your fats as monounsaturated. You can get this from olive oil, avocados, almonds, macadamia nuts and a bunch of other places if you google it.

Take a good fish oil supplement to get another dose of healthy fats, this time polyunsaturated.

Believe it or not, you can also get healthy saturated fats and a good source of this is coconut oil or coconut milk.

As for protein, eat lean sources like chicken breast or fish and aim to have one serving at each meal. Don’t be scared of eating protein, but in all honest even if you’re training hard you don’t need to go overboard.


As long as you eat clean, you’re most of the way there. The next thing to do is control your insulin by reducing sugar and carb intake whilst eating plenty of veggies. Next make sure your getting enough nutrition in the form of quality protein and good, healthy fats.

Get this far and you’ll be eating better than 90% of the population. From here on in, it’s a case of optimizing your nutritional plan to suit your lifestyle and personal needs.

If you need help designing a custom nutritional plan, sign up for our Online Personal Training Service and we’ll work with you to optimize your diet.

In no particular order…

  1. The body is designed to work as a single unit. If your program consists of barbell curls, side raises, crunches and a few reps on a leg-press machine, then you are not giving the body what it needs to provoke progress. We center our program around whole body exercises and movements that use multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
  2. We have standards. How can you expect to win the game of life if you don’t know how to score? For each exercise we do, we know how much a person in your situation should be capable of doing. This means that we can highlight areas for improvement quickly and effectively and set achievement goals that are both realistic and attainable.
  3. We “coach”. Your typical gym is set up so that you can do your workout with minimal supervision and they don’t have to worry about you. This is why you get taught simple isolation movements and are told that weight machines are a good idea (they aren’t). What we do is assume that you have a brain and that you actually want to develop your body. We then teach you movements that require coordination and make you use your whole body, we guide you step-by-step and make sure you have everything set-up as it should be. This takes time, attention and skill on our part – these are the things you pay us for and the results are incomparable to the typical gym model.
  4. We take a holistic approach. If you’re fat, you need to address nutrition. If you’re fat, you need to exercise and change your lifestyle habits. If you want to gain muscle you need to address nutrition, you need to focus on exercise and you need to make lifestyle changes. If you want to get fitter you need to focus on nutrition and exercise and see where your lifestyle may be holding you back. You get the picture – everything is inter-related. This is why we look at everything. It just makes sense.
  5. We focus not on body-image goals, but on athletic achievement. If you come to us we will work you as if you were an athlete. Obviously, we will scale the workouts to your ability level and keep intensity levels within your grasp, but the workout format and exercises will be the same for you as for an Olympic athlete. This is how we get results. When you do this your whole outlook changes as you become fitter. You become more confident AND your body-image improves as your ability to move your body as nature intended increases.
  6. It’s addictive. You will find yourself doing things you never thought possible and that the majority of people will find incredible. For some reason this brings people back for more 🙂
  7. We are striving to build a community out of our clients – a place where people are excited to come and where they can workout with friends and enjoy the progress they are making. We intend to have regular fitness get-togethers (i.e. events, competitions and charity fund-raisers) and also socials. We are also looking into ways we can post results and performances online for those who wish to share and compare their progress.
  8. We can take anyone at any level and make them fitter. Our program is scaleable and as such is suitable for anyone. Even our most challenging exercises have well developed progressions for people to work their way through. Mastery is about time, not about talent.
  9. We guarantee our results. If you aren’t fitter in one month, you’ll get another month free. This means you can have utmost faith in our program and know that your money is being well spent.
  10. We care. We do this because we want to make your life better. It’s not about money and it’s not about what you can do for us. Our sole aim is to get you to achieve your health and fitness goals.

If any of this strikes a chord with you, please feel free to contact me at and it would be an honour to book you in for a free intro session.

I’ve spoken to a number of people recently who are on “diets”.

Now, “diet” is a word I hate to use – it reeks of short-termism.

These people are eating rations of fruit, cereals or bread for breakfast and lunch and then eating a typical meal in the evening.

What they are in effect doing is starving their bodies of protein and fat during the day and instead living on carbohydrates – almost 100% in fact. For one thing, this isn’t good for insulin levels.

Now, they are restricting caloric intake, which will potentially lead to weight loss (assuming the aren’t spking insulin with carb-heavy daytime snacks), but there isn’t a bats chance in hell that they are getting adequate nutrition.

All that will happen is that they may lose weight in the short term, but as soon as they begin to eat “normally”, their bodies will breathe a sigh of relief and store more food as bodyfat should another famine period come around.

What we try to do is look at the long term. We try to educate our clients as to what they should be eating – what kinds of foods, how much and when, so that they can construct balanced, healthy and tasty meals and make the shift from “dieting” to a lifetime of healthy nutrition.

Our program works on the following simple principles:

  1. The body needs a certain level of protein for healthy function.
  2. By controlling carbohydrate intake we can control insulin levels to normalise body-fat %s
  3. Fat is a good thing and is essential to health – you just need to know how much you need.
  4. There are certain foods we are designed to eat as humans and some that we are not.

Ultimately, we utilise Paleo food types and combine these with Zone-style proportions to tell us how much a client should be eating and what types of food they should consume.

The trick with all of this is implementation and this is where it can really help to have someone on hand to guide you each step of the way.

These are the very same principles I follow and I haven’t looked back since I started. I know first-hand that this stuff works.

So, if you need some nutritional guidance, then give us a call at our gym in Totnes– we’d be glad to help.