Oxygenfitnesskiama 2016 Year in Review – Part 1

Welcome to the Yearly Wrap.

Most Weeks throughout the Year, a Weekly Wrap Newsletter is emailed out to Clients to stay up to date with “What’s been Happening“, some “Weekly Wisdom” and “What’s Coming Up“. We also recognise a Member of the Week who has excelled.

It’s been a good way to keep clients up to date, although our Facebook Groups are a much faster way to stay in the loop.

One Goal I already have for 2017 is 2 Emails a Week. At times in the past I have written anywhere from 0-5 emails a week to different groups of people and I’ve always been pretty good at it. It’s time consuming but important as it’s a great way of educating our Clients and Prospects on what we do, how we’re better and why they should join us at Oxygen.

We’ve also done things like Youtube Videos, Print Newsletters and Recipe Books so we’d appreciate your feedback as to how you’d like to consume information.

The Yearly Wrap is a big deal. It takes a while to compile but it’s always worth it when you reflect back on all the cool stuff that happened this year. I recommend you do it in your own life to develop an attitude of gratitude. You don’t have to write a long Blog Post about it, but maybe like our 2 Time Member of the Year Leanne Williams you could just type out a letter and post it to relatives and friends.

Thanks to everyone who contributes to Oxygen.

Here’s our 2016 Year in Review:



The New Year Assessment process saw the addition of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) along with Girth Measurements, Body Fat % and  Strength Testing. This simple but effective screening process gave us a great idea of any areas of your body that needed strengthening, stretching or further investigation. It led to the Introduction of Corrective Exercises and Organised Warm Ups.

Warm Ups and Mobility Work will get even more structured and individualised in 2017 so clients move better, stay injury free and prepare better for higher intensity training sessions. Everyone can use more focus in this area during and in between Oxygen sessions next year.


Strength Testing

A LOT of research and hard work went into the creation of a Ranking System for both FitChicks and Spartan. Similar to the Belt Ranking in Martial Arts, the Oxygen Rankings are now a very important tool designed to promote motivation by teaching everyone how to set and achieve both Short and Long Term Goals to move up the Rankings and onto our Wall of Fame.

This impressive display sits upstairs on the Mezzanine level near my office but plans are already in place to re-locate this celebration of awesome Member Achievements downstairs in view of all that train here. There’s been some incredible feats and some awesome body transformations this year at Oxygen. Those achievements need more recognition.

Being an Oxygen Member is about self improvement. Training here develops the determination and self discipline essential to achieving anything you want out of life. There is no end to your learning and progression with health & fitness.

There are 4 Rankings starting with the entry level FitChick/Spartan, then FitChick/Spartan AthleteChampion & Elite.

A range of physical skills are tested over the course of 1 week and were assessed roughly every 3 Months throughout 2016.

People progressed. Some people lots.

Goals Posts were moved and tougher standards set.

Squats went from strictly Safety Bar Box Squats to Ass to the Grass Barbell Squats. Some people mixed between Trap Bar and Straight Bar Deadlifts. Push Up standards were raised, as were Planks. Chin Ups continue to be refined.

We’ve been hitting them all again once more for 2016 this week. With a a twist. 3RM Testing & 1km Row!


The first Testing Week of 2017 begins Monday January 23 in the lead up to what will likely be a looong Australia Day Weekend for millions of Aussies. Thur 26th/the old Friday sickie./Sat/Sun. Urrgh, right no more alcohol.

The good news is you can set yourself a Short Term Goal as a New Year’s Resolution. However this is one you just might keep.

Take on a 21 Day Challenge for $21. Gift one to a Freind or Family Member. Or take an area of your training you’d like to immediately focus on in 2017. Take the challenge, see how well you stuck to your guns. Reward yourself (in moderation) come Australia Day. Re-assess what you want to do in your training in 2017. What lifts/exercises and other health related Goals will you commit to?

Click here to commit yourself to a 2017 New Year Challenge right now.

Expectations for 2016 Explained

Client Expectations were discussed at the start of 2016 and we didn’t make everyone aware enough at times this year.

It’s for everyone’s benefit so we can all enjoy the benefits of the great little fitness centre we have created.

Training Sessions at Oxygen need to be well organised, scalable and customised to suit at different times. It takes a lot of preparation beforehand and coordination especially with so many fast paced sessions back to back to back. When we throw in events like New Programs, Challenge Week, Challenges, Accessory Exercises, New Workouts or anything in a decent size group, the margin for error/delay/confusion increases.

Then this year we made major changes to our Timetable. For the first time in about 3 years we changed back to Unisex Sessions. This was a successful change for our operations this year. I know some Members weren’t sure about it at first but Unisex Sessions have allowed us to create a Timetable that is more profitable and gives Members access to more Sessions than they’ve ever been able to attend. It also allows us the best opportunity for growth which we 100% require to have a successful 2017 and beyond.

Oxygen HQ is the biggest and most expensive risk I have ever taken in my life and at times in 2017 I have struggled to maintain time management responsibilities for all the different roles I undertake. I am a the Number 1 Motivator all the time both to my Clients and my Staff, I’m also a Coach, Admin, Manager, Marketer, Janitor, Touch Footy Captain, Opening Batsman. That’s all my choice and I really enjoy all those areas when I’m more organised but at times it just tires me out mentally. I don’t expect sympathy, those are my choices. But I’m also now a Husband and I want a thriving business to be able to contribute more to our family to develop a little more self worth. We’ll require help next year with Admin, Marketing, Coaching and more. If you or someone you know are looking for some Casual and Part Time work, for a great local company we want to hear from you. In the past, Oxygen had over 100 Active Clients with 6 Full Time – Casual Staff and we need those sort of numbers again to be more profitable.

At Oxygen you’re part of a Team. We’ve always trained as a Team. The Staff are a Team. We went from Boot Camp Teams out on the beach, to Semi-Private Teams at Kiama High School, now it’s Unisex Teams in our own Gym. Please remember that when you train. We’ve all got friends who we’re closer with at Oxygen, but talk to others, warm up as one group, help spot a Member you don’t know that well. Joy and I feel like we’ve lost control of our Teams at different times this year so we need to be better to ensure we deliver a great experience in future.

Below are Oxygen’s Core Values and Mission. They’ve gotten us to where we are today but to be honest I would not have remembered them properly if you’d asked me what they were. that means I’m not living those Values so I’ll be updating these over the Xmas break, going over them with Jade and Joy and releasing them in the New Year.


There’s always areas to improve in our Sessions and we appreciate when clients give us a few minutes at the start of your Session and several times throughout, to listen to your Coach. This means not talking over the top, making sure all Members can hear the explanation, even if you have before, but really just listening before jumping ahead into your workout. I know we talk a lot. Most of the time it’s for your benefit.

We have a great crew of people at Oxygen and there’s lots of little different subcultures. It’s just a common courtesy that we all forget sometimes. I’ve done it myself when Joy has been Coaching and I see how easy it is to do. However sometimes we all need to just stop the jokes, wise cracks, general conversation so we can help everyone get on with their workouts and enjoy themselves.

Our responsibility is to give you a safe, intense, effective session and part of that responsibility lies with Members. The gym can be dangerous. Anyone can easily injure themselves and other people by a lapse in concentration. There are sometimes genuine accidents and then there are avoidable injuries from a loose plate falling off a barbell or a dodgy technique causing injury. We need everyone to train safe, respect the equipment and listen well.

Oxygen clients have always been very helpful in lending a hand and and, at it’s core, Oxygen is a business that is about Team work. I am the Leader of that Team and Joy is one of the most competent Coaches I have ever worked with. We’re here to lead you to your health & fitness goals.

I have really slipped with my leadership responsibility the past few months as a whirlwind year comes to a close. I apologise for that. I’ve made some major life and business changes at times this year and I believe I met most of those challenges well. There is heaps I know we need to improve at Oxygen next year starting with myself. Long hours in a job where you are always the motivator can take a toll mentally. Along with being a Counsellor at times you also take on every clients best & worst days which means I’ve had best & worst days. We all do. I’ve played the role of motivator for 16 years and 3 or 4 times in that period i have hit the wall. That’s been me this year probably since Halloween. Oxober was massive on the back of everything else this year and I made it until the night of the October 31st. I haven’t really recovered since then and I must say I am looking forward to a break. Thanks for understanding

I’ll outline our 2017 standards and expectations in the New Year and I’m looking forward to starting up again then.

I’ll endeavour to give everyone clearer information about Timetables, Membership Entitlements, Payment Terms, Membership Bonuses and Client Success Principles that include things like Session Times, Warm Ups, Energy & Attitude, Membership Rewards and many more.  We would be very interested in feedback from you the Members and we do have a Survey at this Saturday Night’s Xmas Party we would appreciate everyone filling in (anonymously if you’d prefer).


Joy completes Cert 4

Joy Briggs completed her Certificate IV in Fitness two weeks ahead of time. Everyone is busy these days but in the time Joy has completed her studies for both Certificate III & IV she has had three kids under 12 to look after, one starting high school, a husband who works odd hours, art exhibitions to prepare for, all the while taking her fitness levels to the best they have ever been.

When we first revealed our plans for Oxygen HQ back in October 2014, Joy knew then that she HAD to be part of it. A number of people tried to shoot her down, question if it was the right thing for her to do etc but like the issues Joy has faced with her thyroid health, she used these comments and theories to prove people wrong.

Her enthusiasm for the role fast tracked our plans for Oxygen HQ and we could not be where we are right now without her. She continues to have a pivotal role with our Company and unlike other people who have worked here in the past, she is genuine, really good at her job and someone who we can trust.

Joy is our Number 1 Coach and she commands respect when conducting sessions in 2017. She has better technique and strength levels than almost anyone at Oxygen across every exercise. Except the Rower probably, she’s $hit on that. jk Joy


30 Min Sessions and Express Memberships

We made a transition to 30 minute sessions called Conditioning, Warrior, Power and eventually Workout of the Week.

These Sessions have been excellent as the intensity has ramped right up and delivered a great metabolic resistance training session. These types of sessions are a perfect addition to your two heavy strength training sessions which form the foundation of your program. Add in a Conditioning session of high intensity intervals and Mobility to stay strong & supple and you’ve got a well rounded program.express-30min

Clients often ask me two things: can you lift weights every day and why are our strength sessions two days apart?

Firstly you can lift 6 Days a week. I’d always recommend a minimum of one Rest day each week. This is where you would train in body part splits like Chest & Triceps Day, Leg Day etc. Powerlifters do it too, with Deadlift Day, Upper Body Push, etc.

Secondly, our STRENGTH Sessions at Oxygen are 2 Days apart because they are full body routines. You get bang for your buck across a range of big movements that build overall strength & burn lots of calories. They get best results with around 48 hours recovery from the Big lifts. Take home point – you can’t come in and Bench Press every day for example. If you want to get better at Bench Press that’s fine, you need a Program that requires more thought than just “I wanna get better at it so I’ll come in and do it every time I’m here“. It even requires more thought than “I did it yesterday so I’m just doing lighter sets today“. Ask us in 2017 how we can help you get the best out of your routine but actually listen and apply the advice consistently.

Our Programs are designed on the most common problem our clients want to solve – Fat Loss, Increase in Muscle Shape and Size, Sports Performance. We’ll sit down like we do at the start of every Year and discuss our Goals as a Group. This is always a useful session to coincide with New Year motivation.

30 min Express Sessions like the ones named above help you to improve body weight strength from Push ups, Pull Ups, Planks, Squats and Hip Hinges. You can improve your Conditioning from Rowers and different Ropes as well as Endurance from higher rep strength exercises like Squats, Kettlebell Swings, Push Presses. These sessions give your Program some volume and also assist with things like Mobility which is critical to improving your Big Lifts and also staying injury free.

In 2017 I encourage all Members to attend at least ONE 30 Minute Express Session per Week to develop different areas of their Fitness routines. This includes Workout of the Week, Conditioning and also Mobility Sessions. Strength Coach Jason Ferrugia, who runs the number 1 Strength Training Blog on the Internet, recommends:

  • 3 strength based sessions per week
  • 1-2 Conditioning sessions (30 Min Sessions at Oxygen/Sports/Surfing/Swimming/Sprints/Hill or Stair Running)
  • 1-2 Mobility sessions (30 Min Mobility on Friday at Oxygen/Yoga/Corrective Exercises/Foam Rolling)

30 Min Sessions could be the missing piece of your exercise puzzle.

Bruce’s Big Bash

Long term Client Bruce Borchardt brought the curtain down on his time with Oxygen and Kiama as he set sail for a  Mediterranean adventure with his Wife Sue! We sent Bruce off in style with a few of his least favourite things in his Farewell session before hanging out at the Rugby 7’s and Blue Diamond Bar.

Bruce first trained with us on April Fool’s Day in 2011 and he must’ve though it was a joke when halfway through his first Session at Black Beach he had to have a little laydown for about 5 minutes. We didn’t kill him thankfully and although he claimed many times I was trying to, he survived & thrived through 5+ Years of Membership at Oxygen. He won spartan of the Year, Challenge Weeks with Green, survived the Saddleback Smash and was our oldest Spartan. A top bloke and hard working Client.



We got Married!

It’s impossible to cover everything but our Wedding Day was awesome, we loved it, and as everyone says, it went really fast. Our Oxygen Bridesmaids Rach, Joy & Alice (and Mouse for those that know her) looked stunning and our Oxygen Groomsmen Brendan, Steve and Azza (and Cam the Best Man) scrubbed up alright too.
Jade looked beautiful, truly beautiful, and I’ll always remember the way she looked walking out of that House down the aisle. Our Venue was picturesque, our Singer sensational and the food was delicious. I want to thank Oxygen Client Val Perkovic’s wife Sanja for creating our awesome, delicious Wedding Cake, our parents polished it off over the next few days!
Our Guests seemed to have a great night and a number of people seemed to enjoy an awesome weekend as we continued celebrations the next day at our DJ After Party. There were some hilarious outfits (something starting with “D” or “J”) and it was great to wake up first day as Husband & Wife at an awesome venue and continue the Party. Thanks to everyone for their well wishes.



We won’t be forgetting our Honeymoon in a hurry, it was an awesome time in three separate places and a few good stories to go with them all. First stop was New Zealand, the only Country I had previously visited (albeit 5 times) with a night in Auckland and then up to Paihia in the Bay of Islands where Oxygen Client Moo Morunga is from. We got a chance to catch up with Moo’s Cousin, former Oxygen client Nelz Orupe which was cool and our time there was great, especially doing a half day Boat Ride through the hundreds of little islands and the famous Hole in the Rock.
Where we really wanted to get to though was Tahiti, or specifically Bora Bora. We had one day in Tahiti before we had to board an afternoon 45 minute Flight to BoraBora and Jade and I had already discussed going to Teahupoo, the world’s most perfect but deadly wave. Click here for the most amazing footage of this wave’s awesome power.
We hired a car, drove an hour and a half down the only road on the coast (on the right side of the road which felt weird) and got to the famous break, now to find a Water Taxi. Found it, where’s the boat driver? Nobody spoke English (it’s all French or Tahitian) but after a short delay we were on our way out to the waves.
Un-be-lievable, even at 6 foot on mid-tide the waves were so powerful and the reef so shallow. I know Jade was amazed too. What she wasn’t so amazed at though came next. Our Boatie encouraged me to jump out and have a swim, “waters beautiful and you’ll be pretty safe here” (pretty safe he says) but consodering I may never get back there, in I went. That was awesome swimming about at this surfing mecca. But then, I felt suddenly lighter as my Wedding Ring flew off and onto the famous reef forever – noooooo! Fuck! We did swim about for around 20 mins trying to find it, and the water was so clear we could easily see. At one point I thought, “that’s it, that shiny round silver thing down there” but I swum down and spotted… a Beer Bottle Lid. Oh well, I guess if you’re going to lose it that a pretty great place and it will always make a cool story. Especially now that I decided to replace it with a Polynesian Tattoo on my Wedding Ring Finger. It has a symbol for Marriage, a symbol meaning union and then waves to represent where I lost the original wedding ring. It will make a cool story, won’t it Jade?
I ticked something off my Bucket List but the real one was to come next when we spent 5 nights in an overwater Bungalow in Bora Bora. Yes the water is even more blue than those Travel Agent magazines show you. An absolutely beautiful place to relax, unwind and celebrate together. Some amazing Sunsets, paradise looking beaches combined with some different exercise and some great food and too much alcohol. Jade and I even swum with Sting Rays and Sharks.


Challenge Week Series 12

Yellow claimed their fourth Title after numerous Runners Up Awards in recent years. It was a great reward for some of our long term loyal clients like the Williams family, Kat Hayward and Kayla Wrigley whilst it also gave people like Val Perkovic, Ryan Smith, Dean & Jess Alaban their first taste of Challenge Week success. Deano’s victory speech before skulling from the Cup will take some topping.


Ultimate Athlete Challenge

Challenge Week Series 12 was also the start of our first ever Athlete Challenge. It was a great concept that carried the motivation and excitement of Challenge Week each week for 12 weeks. It involved a weekly Exercise & Nutrition Challenges to accrue Team Points and be in the running to win Best Female & Male Transformations, Best FitChick/Spartan and Number One Nutrition Nazi. It went from April til late June with Blue Team taking out the Title and some awesome Strength improvements and Body Transformations from all the Teams. Kylie Strong won Best Female Transformation, Rachel Braun Best FitChick, Jason Lynch won the Male Transformation with Ryan Smith taking out Best Spartan. Ryan also collected our first Champion Membership based on his Results on the Spartan Rankings Chart and also referring 2 new clients in Doudee and Tyler.





Whitey retires

Ultra proud of my Lake Illawarra Cricket Champion, Groomsman and all time top mate Brendan White who announced his retirement at the end of year Presentation Night. Whitey retired as Lake’s all time leading Runscorer with 8000+ runs. Amazingly he scored 12 Centuries, 8 more than anyone else in the Clubs history. Agonisingly he finishes his career on 199 games with 4 Premierships, numerous One Day Titles, 20/20 Trophies, the Premier League Triple Crown, Back to Back Premierships, Rep Double Hundreds (twice) and outstanding Mad Monday’s many times. 

Proud to have played alongside a legend of the club, won Premierships, played Rep Cricket with, partied hard with, enjoyed celebrating each other’s Weddings. I’ll never forget scoring a hundred at Bradman Oval playing Rep Cricket with this guy in a small patch of good form, one season, it was one of few days I outscored him. What this guy did to opposition bowlers over the many years I have played along side him was dominate. 

In his final Season he added 2 more Centuries, the Batting Trophies, his 9th Cricketer of the Year Award, he Captained the Club to another Premiership. He selflessly then nominated two other people for Life Membership of Lake Illawarra, and in turn was surprised that he also received Life Membership. He joins the list with his Mum Donna and Dad John to become a living legend of the Club. Whitey that is a dream retirement well done. Along with the Engagement that was perfect reason to break my self imposed no alcohol policy. Gee it tasted good too.

HUGE Special mention to Ryan Smith who won a Premiership again along side Brendan. Smithy gave three excellent speeches on 3 of our retiring legends of the club and researched these amazing stats as therapy whilst recovering from cancer treatment. What a legend of a bloke!Great work Whitey grab yourself a Free Post-Workout Smoothie some time in the next week.


Milk & Honey

I formalised an awesome new agreement with Milk & Honey Cafe up at the Blowhole in May. EVERY Saturday morning at around 8:15am we head to Milk & Honey Cafe to refuel after a tough workout and ONE Lucky Oxygen Member WINS a Free Breakfast every week.
We really appreciate what Mark & Liz do for us each week plus it’s great food, coffee, service and it’s also a cosy spot to soak up the sun and read the Newspaper or a Magazine.
Located near the Lighthouse and famous Blowhole it’s also a great place to enjoy the views or get out for a nice walk around the harbour.
Either way it’s always a great start to our Weekend!


Touch Footy

Since 2010 Oxygen has always incorporated the hype of State of Origin into our training sessions. We started with a concept of Kiama v Rest of the World, an hour long game of Touch Football on Black Beach on the morning of the big Game. One Challenge Week Finale we had a game of 20-a-side madness. Last year before we moved into Oxygen HQ, we had three games inside Kiama High School on their Basketball Court. In June though, a great new Game was born.

3 Minute 3 on 3 Touch Footy.

Clients couldn’t get enough of it. I literally saw every client laugh, smile and have some fun. Clients of all shapes, sizes ages and ability levels. It was fun! And that’s what training needs to be about. Yeah there are hard days, heavy days & low energy days but if you always include something you enjoy in your training, and continually look to try new things to enjoy, health & fitness truly becomes a habit you will maintain.


Oxygen became a multi-use facility which offers Strength & Conditioning Sessions with the option to include Sports on the side. If you don’t want to play Sport you don’t have to, there’s still the Gym and most of the equipment to utilise. But considering so many of our clients play different sports, and we have always had a very successful Oxygen Mixed Touch Footy Team in the strong Jamberoo Comp, this was always going to work. Cricket would be the next logical step.

South Coast Institute of Cricket

It was also in June that myself, Joy and Ryan Smith conducted a Program I have been creating for years called CricFit. We had 24 of the South Coast’s best young Cricketers (including 1 Girl) at Oxygen for a comprehensive Fitness Assessment. The South Coast Association booked us for 4 Hours to screen them at general fitness markers like the FMS, as well as Push ups, Chin Ups, Plank & 500m Row. They were also put through a barrage of Batting Bowling & Fielding Assessments nobody had seen before. That same Group were booked in again for 3 Months time.

In between, we invested to make Oxygen a multi sports and fitness facility that will be the best place for local Athletes wishing to improve their Sport. We installed retractable Curtain Netting and later the addition of a David Warner Bowling Machine. It gave us some true sports specificity and something very unique.

I was pretty stoked when we had that same group back, each of the 24 kids had 3 overs (18 balls) to see who could hit up the highest Score. Up for grabs was a Free Smoothie for the Highest Score and a T Shirt for anyone that could hit hanging from the ceiling on the back wall. I did the Demonstration, faced the 18 Balls and hit the Free T Shirt on the last ball and brought up my 50. The kids went bezerk, and all had their go and it was a great fun way to finish off. A number of those kids have continued to train on the Bowling Machine every week and improved their Batting.

That basically set up what has been a very successful Cricket Season for me so far.


Check out Part 2 here

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