One of the Highlights of my Year is sending out the Oxygenfitnesskiama Yearly Wrap as it’s great to go back and reminisce over everything that has happened in the past 12 Months. I’d encourage you to do the same in your life as there is undoubtedly things you’ll have forgotten about and it’s great just to review what lessons you might have learnt and what things you have to be grateful for.
It takes a while to compile but it’s always worth it and it helps give you 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 write a letter and post it to relatives and friends at Xmas time. I know I really look forward to reading her letter.
Thanks to everyone who contributes to Oxygen Health & Fitness – Kiama’s Best Gym.
Here’s our 2018 Year in Review:
First Program of the Year
A few committed peeps started their 2018 training straight away, like January 2nd. For only the 3rd time ever, we remained open during the Xmas/New year break and a few people joined us Coaches for a few Sessions. For most Members though, it all resumed January 8th with our 3 Week Back to Basics Program.
The Group Timetable was split into 30 Minute blocks in January with the options to come in for 30, 60 or even 90 Minutes of back to back Sessions. This gave everyone a bit of structure but also some flexibility. That time of year often sees people coming in with one of two mindsets:
- no idea what to do except for the fact that they need to burn off their Xmas calories
- a way too complicated routine involving advanced supersets, body part splits, intermittent fasting and 2 sessions a day programs of strength in the morning and cardio at night
This Program helped everyone focus on the basics again, re-establish some technique for 2 or 3 Main Lifts and finish with a short bout of Conditioning at the end.
We were setting everyone up for long term success. We knew a lot of people just wanted to get in and smash it out of the park, to get after those Goals. But this Program created something sustainable so they didn’t fall off the wagon come February when that initial motivation tapers off.
After a big wake up call for a few muscle groups in that first week, Week 2 of our Kiama Strength Program was kinder on the body. Getting back into the groove of lifting weights again was great with Members focused predominantly on Technique.
Kicking off that first Set with a manageable weight and really nailing the exercise technique is a great confidence builder. With each corresponding Set we encouraged everyone to add a little bit more weight, only if you are still in control. No ugly grinding Reps. By that 4th or 5th Set everyone was using a challenging weight and finishing off the exercise well.
It put everyone in a good frame of mind leading up to the first Testing Week of 2018 in Week 3.
New Year’s Revolution begins
Body Transformation Challenges are a dime a dozen these days. That’ s not to say it’ s a bad thing there’ s just multiple different options at your disposal and they certainly have become a great way for fitness companies (including ours) to market their services. Obviously you want to check out the Company, their track record of success, how long they’ve been in business and their methods. Plenty of them will get some great looking Before & After Photos but what sort of sustainable Results have they been able to achieve for people in the long term?
People often throw themselves into these 30 Day, 6 week, 10 Week & 12 Week Challenges with excessive Exercise Programs, they drastically reduce Calories, Carbs, Fats etc in a misguided attempt to lose weight and get ripped. It’ s not a sustainable approach and inevitably the fat soon returns and the metabolic damage is severe. This causes yo-yo type effects which people can be stuck in for years. Each failed attempt sapping away at their motivation that they will ever ” get it right”.
In 2018, Oxygen Fitness Kiama had the New Year’s Revolution Challenge with a Long Term Approach to help sustain those hard earned Results.
Challengers got Open Gym Access from 6am-8pm Monday-Friday. They could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted but each week we showed them the Program that full Oxygen Members were doing for best results. We also sent them the Conditioning and Workout of the Week via a Video to show them how it’s done. We created Programs each month for:
- Muscle Gain
- Fat Loss
Although it may seem easy to just create a new Program every few Months, a lot of thought has to go into what exercises to include, what exercises pairing work well together, what regressions or progressions can we include, what makes best use of the space, what will work based on the number of Members we expect will attend a given Session and many other factors. Throw in the fact that Programs caters to 3 different types of Goals (Fat Loss, Strength or Hypertrophy) and the variables are massive.
There was also plenty of activity in our Precision Nutrition Coaching group to guide people with healthy eating to meet their Goals. Sometimes we asked them to keep a food diary. Sometimes post a photo. Sometimes both. Sometimes, they were free from that responsibility all week BUT we might ask to see your weekend meals. Ah yes the famous weekend binge.
FitChicks Sessions return
Back in 2013 a brave group of Boot Campers took on my suggestion to try a 6 Week program of lifting heavy weights. We did that outside at Surf Beach in all weather conditions.
5 Years later, it’s transformed our business and with a well equipped Strength & Conditioning Gym, Fit Chicks Club is now our Signature Female Membership.
When we first opened the Gym in 2015 it was female only Sessions (Fit Chicks Club) or Male Only (Spartan Training Club).
Then we made Unisex Strength Sessions in mid 2016. Unisex Strength continued in 2018 but Fit Chicks Club Kiama, women’s only Sessions, made a comeback on the Timetable during February as a few new ladies come in for a 4 Week Intro Program.
The first 30 Minutes of the Session, FitChicks predominantly worked on their Main Lifts geared towards Strength, Fat Loss or Muscle Gain. Then, the second half hour the Coach took those girls off to work closely with them on targeted exercises for specific areas of the body those girls want to improve. It led to the introduction of some great New Members, one of which went on to become our Rookie of the Year (Kyla Reeves).
During my 18 year career in fitness, I’ve been an Independent Sub Contractor doing 80 PT Sessions a week in a Gym, a Sole Trader, a Business Partner, a Boot Camp Trainer for over 250 people at a time, a PT Course provider, a Celebrity Trainer, a Gym Employee and now a Company Director of Oxygen Health & Fitness.
Why I am telling you this is that what I know for sure, is there is so much power in having a Coach take care of this stuff for you. Look at professional athletes. They’re fitter, stronger & faster than most people you’re ever likely to meet. Yet they still have Coaches taking care of this stuff for them. I’m not saying we know it all, but we kinda know a thing or two.
The other important thing I know, and I’ve structured my business accordingly, is Group Training is one of the best ways to achieve Results. Regardless of how experienced you are, training in a group of like minded people pushes you to continually improve yourself. Sure you might have periods of time where you’re focused and motivated but no successful person in any area of life ever got to the top on their own.
Sometimes being in a group of more experienced people is a great way to improve yourself. It forces you to aim up or you can feel like you get left behind.
Other times being in a group of less experienced people is also a great way to improve. You can be more of a leader. You can teach others what you know. You can be a mentor.
Oxygen has always been a great community of friendly personalities. We encourage everyone to get to know your training buddies. Introduce yourself. Ask questions. Encourage someone and give them a yahoo. It adds value to our community and everybody wins in the long run. Conversely, if you stick to yourself, don’t get to know anyone, don’t show much enthusiasm and only worry about yourself, well, that’s doing yourself & others a disservice.
We ran a few different 21 Day Habit Challenges earlier in the Year for those wishing to improve their Nutrition. No huge commitment, and it wasn’t even mandatory, but anyone interested in fat loss or muscle gain benefited from focusing their effort for a few Months with our Kiama Nutrition Coaching.
The Challenge over the first 21 Days was to show the Protein you were eating once per Day. Breakfast one week. Lunches Week 2, and the last Week was Dinners. Those participating were asked to state what they believe was the Lean Protein in each Meal. Simple, but don’t overlook how important simple little things like this are.
Of all the people Precision Nutrition have worked with over the past 15 years (over 200,000 from all over the globe) 85% of them weren’t eating enough Protein. As the most important Macro nutrient, that’s where we started. Just the accountability to keep posting, showing us that you’re living up to your end of the deal is important for long term results.
You can’t make physique changes without changing nutrition habits and if posting a photo is too much work, then changing your body composition might be too. Congratulations to the people who committed to the process and showed great accountability.
It can seem like a waste of time, it can seem a bit tedious, it might annoy your friends, but it’s a simple task that everyone can do because we all have a camera.
It’s one thing to say “I’ve been eating healthy” – prove to me that you ate healthy.
It’s one thing to say, “I didn’t eat that much” prove to everyone what your portion sizes look like.
One of the best parts of this is just the ongoing accountability to keep proving it.
Anyone can be on their best behaviour for a couple of weeks.
That first up focus on Protein was great as it’s the most important Macronutrient in regards to improving your physique. However, it is also highly acidic and a chronically acidic diet can lead to negative health outcomes. The best way to counteract these issues is to focus on the Precision Nutrition rule:
“Eat Vegetables every time you eat”
Apart from all the obvious benefits like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, veggies are powerful acid-neutralizers so the Next 21 Day Habit Challenge people were asked to demonstrate what Veggies they eat. No pressure to post ALL the time. Some people do, others don’t. We all forget here & there.
But if you want to tidy your diet up a bit, there is a certain accountability to sharing what you’re eating.
Those who got engaged, who shared what they were eating, ended up leaner than those who didn’t. Those who shared the odd thing here & there had some success too. But those who show us nothing in regards to that side of their health often didn’t progress as well as they’d like.
Over the first few months of 2018, we advertised a few different offers on Facebook that required people to comment on our post to get more information. It allowed us to attract some great new people into our community who tried out our 4 Week Fit Chicks Club offer or Learn to Lift Program. In April, it was the Kiama’s Greatest Athlete Challenge.
This was a Challenge we ran back in 2016 and although it was pretty successful, at the time I thought it was a tad too long (10 weeks). This time around, it was only 4 weeks and it really was a good all round athletic challenge again. Sport. Barbells. Body Weight. Indoors. Outdoors. It had the lot.
It all kicked off right after Easter (Tuesday 3rd April) and continued all April. In the middle of that I celebrated my Birthday which always involves a killer Workout Session.
It’s honestly one of the best packages we’ve ever put together that gives people a taste of what Oxygen is all about.
Over the 4 weeks, people took part in all sorts of different fitness & sports activities at our Group Sessions.This included things some people had never tried before. Fun was the name of the game but it was definitely still a great workout.
Week 1 tied in with the Commonwealth Games, which was on at the time. For the Oxywealth Games, Strength workouts consisted of Powerlifting, Gymnastics & Weightlifting Challenges. Conditioning came about from Boxing for the first time in ages and Rowing. Then on top of that we tried our hand at a heap of Sports such as Volleyball, Squash, Hockey, Basketball and Rugby 7s. My personal favourite was Squash but all of it was fun and a great way to kick off the month.
Week 2 was Testing Week. It’s something we do every Quarter to assess how everybody is going, whether they’re getting closer to or further away from their Goals.It’s always an inspiring week especially when you see the newbies surprising themselves with what they can do. Despite a few people being unsure, not too confident, nervous, we got in and gave it our best shot anyway. THAT is what it’s about. If you hide away from it, you get nowhere. Congrats to everyone for pushing themselves.
In Week 3 the Bi-annual Battle between Blue, Green, Red & Yellow was into it’s 16th Series of our International Award-Winning Team Fitness Event called Challenge Week. Over the course of 1 Week Members were challenged to attend as many Sessions as they could to earn points for their Team. Within each Session there were Barbells, Dumbbells, Rowers, Battle Ropes, Body weight & more in all sorts of different combinations.
After suffering from low numbers last Series, RED turned up in droves and performed strongly all week. Yellow were snapping at their heels, whilst Green, and especially Blue had the lower numbers this time around. There were some seriously tough sessions through the week but the Finale on Saturday morning was up their amongst the toughest workouts we’ve ever produced. Four 15 Minute Stations with ascending Reps. No finish line. Just keep going up. 72 tonnes later it was over and we all celebrated with a Beer and a laugh at the Blue Diamond. Red did just enough to keep their lead and were crowned Series 16 Champions.
We brought out the Boxing gear for a few good combos and a good tough workout. Boxing always produces a few laughs. Then came the cries. ANZAC Day was tough. The Hero WOD (Workout of the Day) called “Murph” was the order of the day with a 1 Mile Run, 100 Pull Ups, 200 Push Ups, 300 Squats and another 1 Mile Run on the agenda. I scaled it back a bit by cutting out the second run and I also switched the first 1 Mile Run to a few hill runs up & down Brown Street. But we still had those 600 Reps to contend with.
May brings changes
Off the back of our Awesome April Timetable, I made the decision to implement a few changes in May. April was all about high energy Group Training Sessions, something we’ve always been renown for at Oxygen. Just like we promoted it, April really was awesome. Lots of different events kept things interesting but the common theme was Group Training and everyone loved it. So we kept it going through May.
Earlier in the Year, our promotion was the New Year’s Revolution and the idea was to offer a Gym Membership on par with anywhere else in regards to price. Once we attracted people in, the plan was to over-deliver by actually caring about the people and their results. That meant assessing people, showing how to improve some of their weaknesses in warm ups, designing their programs, showing people what to do and then re-teaching them (nobody nails their technique straight away). We offered them the usual flexibility of a gym membership that meant you could come in at a time convenient to them.
Throughout February and March, this resulted in people coming in at all hours of the day and it dam near killed me. It’s really expensive paying Staff to man the Gym for that many hours each day, especially when you’re not sure if or when people turn up. Because of that I was literally at the Gym from 4/5/6am until 6/7/8pm and not getting much business work done. It is nothing personal against any of the people that I was with, it’s just not a smart way to operate. In a building which we’ve successfully run groups of 36 people I was helping 1 or 2 people an hour, every hour, all day some days.
Open Gym proved not to work for us or the Client. I suppose for larger Gyms with hundreds of Members at any one time it’s different. From our point of view, we can’t be that Gym that lets you figure it all out for yourself. We can’t be that Gym who doesn’t care or that watches you train with poor form but ignores it. Some gyms can, but we can’t.
If you do things with poor form, or no intensity, or too much intensity with poor form, you get no results, or worse you’ll end up injured. Then you won’t rave about the experience and you won’t refer anyone or renew your membership when it’s due. But if we do help you, we’re giving away our time for free, we’re selling ourselves short and de-valuing our regular Memberships.
Some might say, “I’m fine, I don’t need help” but every single Client we left to their own devices trained less consistently, with less intensity, with less structure to their training and guess what, less than average results.
The sweet spot is Small Group Training where we can offer a personalised service for a more affordable price to Members. You get the individual attention of Personal Training with the dynamics and energy of a Boot Camp Session. There’s also accountability to not just us, your Coaches, but your other training partners. Sessions are exciting and interactive instead of quiet and boring.
I’d like to think we’ve over-delivered tons of value in 2018 to justify these changes.
My most important Blog Post ever
It was raw, true and insightful.
It explained my journey through the fitness industry, the ups & downs, the challenges we were facing and the next exciting chapter of my life – fatherhood.
It was nice to feel the love from Clients, Friends & Family that Jade and I had a Little Lamb due in December!
Winter Warrior Challenge 2018
Since 2012, we’ve come up with a promotion to keep things exciting during the Winter months. Obviously, it’s a time of year that can test anyone’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle so we’ve tried all sorts of different creative ways to make things a bit more exciting.
Last year was certainly a tough Winter Warrior Fitness Challenge in Kiama as we set about tackling some advanced Programs like the Ladder of Death 300 Workout. We had some massive Sessions with 36 people at a time pumping out the reps.
In 2018, we again tackled some similarly tough Sessions but the entire Winter was split into 3 Stages.
Stage 1 – STRONG, started in June.
It had a specific focus on improving the Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Power Clean, Push Ups, Pull Ups, Plank & Rower. Sound familiar? That’s right, it prepares you for… Testing Week which was coming up Mid-July.
Prior to Winter Warrior kicking off, I was slightly concerned. Attendance across every Timeslot had been low. A number of people had been sick, a few Members had been away here and there with work or holidays and a number of people will admit they’d been just plain slack. Most gyms don’t care whether you attend or not and plenty of people will tell you that’s why they stop – there’s no accountability. We’re not like that.
That’s one reason we split your Year up into different Programs & Challenges. It keeps people engaged and motivated, or gets people re-engaged and motivated.
Challenge Week, Commonwealth Games, Sports, Olympics, Testing Weeks, Outdoor Sessions, Road Trips, Events to train for, as well as different types of Gym Programs and Challenges. It makes training fun, enjoyable and challenges you in different ways.
The Winter Warrior Challenge has traditionally been one of our most popular and challenging Gym Programs over the past few years. But it doesn’t matter how good our Program is if nobody shows up.
Thankfully, everyone got re-engaged, ripped in, and it was an awesome lead-in to Testing Week.
Strength was twice per week and it worked on the Barbell Lifts like Squat, Deadlift & Bench Press. These are all BIG Exercises, and to do all THREE in one Session, and do it twice per week ain’t easy. We kicked off Week 1 with 6 Rep Sets and 2 Minute Rest Breaks. Each week we knocked a Rep off (so 5 Reps the next week, then 4, 3, 2 etc) but added more Weight and a longer Rest Break.
On alternate days, we tested everyone’s Muscular Endurance and Conditioning a bit more. We practiced the Body Weight movements like Push Ups, Pull Ups and Planks. We did a few quick little Tests at either the Push Ups or Pull Ups. We also got plenty of practice at both the 500m and 1km distance on the Rower.
Practicing all these things, all the tasks we do during Testing Week, gave everyone that little bit more faith in their abilities each week.
Congratulations to our Saturday crew that regularly attacked those brutal 300 Weekend Warrior Workouts. It was was exciting to see everybody complete the 300 Reps including the Advanced crew who did 100 Goblet Squats, 100 Incline Dumbbell Presses and 100 Ring Pull Ups in only 45 Minutes. I remember this took quite a number of attempts to complete it in 2017, so to knock it off in only our second attempt this year was very rewarding.
Click here to read Part 2