Fitness – Are you training the body ? What about the brain ?

Training is a minefield.

  1. What happens at the point of arrival to the point of departure when you enter the gym?
  2. How do you get the balance right in training?
  3. What will make you return and continue the cycle without getting bored?
  4. How do you know if your training is working?

Ive been going to the gym for the best part of twenty years and in all that time, Ive been searching for the answer to the perfect workout. I will get something out of the way first aesthetics has never interested me. How you look and how you want to look is more of a personal issue and for those of you who train for this, there is nothing wrong with it, but this post will not be aimed at you .







Ive noticed over the years, that fitness magazines basically regurgitate the same information and pictures of training, the bent over row, the standing shoulder press , the same type of sets, the same type of training.

The information being delivered is outdated, not really agreed with within the fitness community and often the cause of misinformation and constant arguments.

So what makes the way we train at World Gym Challenge any different, why do we consider ourself ahead of the game ?

And the answer lies in its focus on the brain. The brain is the powerhouse for the body. If it says stop, you will stop. If it says give in, you will give in. And everybody is governed by the brain when it comes to training. The brain is point of focus that has to be in tune with your body, if you are going to train effectively.

Ive been working on a simple principle of repetitive training. Its the same old argument if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will get what you always have. Or will you ?

Why is it then , the 2000 m is the set distance for the rower?

Why is the marathon at 26 miles?

Why is the fastest sprint in the world 100 m ?

The answer is so that you can create the right training pattern for a set distance. If you have random , constant changes, that you will forever be searching for answers about your training.

So the circuit I created was

  • 5 km Bike
  • 1 km Row
  • 400 m 10 %

Each with a two minute recovery between them. And completed twice . That will be around a 43 to 44 minute circuit.

The idea is to run, the last 400 m at 10 % incline  at a  constant speed of 9 kph (depending on fitness levels) speed levels will vary.

The row is at 18 spm with a variable of a 2.05 / 2.07 500 m split

The Bike is touching on between 95 – 100 rpm (level 12 Life fitness)





It is essentially six challenges done back to back with 2 minutes recovery. Each peak represents a section of this challenge

  1. Peak 1 – Bike
  2. Peak 2 – Row
  3. Peak 3 – Treadmill
  4. Peak 4 – Bike
  5. Peak 5 – Row
  6. Peak 6 – Treadmill

Its the treadmill we are focused on to enable all six peaks to to have only one pinnacle and not be broken as seen in Peak 3 and 6 .

I will show you 3 more graphs where I have tried to get six single peaks and failed


















There is a kill point at which time the brain, says give up on the treadmill and it only happens on the treadmill, the bike and row are not maximal efforts, although the heart rate would suggest it is on the row. The row is tough, but at 153 – 156 hr you do not reach the kill point on the row (the moment of absolute exhaustion where the brain has given in) but you do on the treadmill



That is not to say it can’t be reached on the rower – ask any rower! But on this test the 400 m 10% incline is the final test for the brain to be tested.

To reach six peaks only is the desired goal.

So in theory you can train the same system, same routine, but your goals are defined by your mental ability to endure the rising heart rate and being able to control the signals to your brain with the urge to give in.

If you look at the first 4 questions in this thread, by completing six peaks, will answer them all. The focus and desire is there, the only restriction is controlling the brain signals which force you to stop.







That is how we train at World Gym Challenge. That is what makes our training different.

Its not about how we look, but how we focus during our training.

Point of interest. You can get a faster time on the treadmill by recovering when you have completed 50% distance (over 200m) and then sprinting at a far higher constant speed – but that defeats the object. It’s cheating without cheating. To run the constant speed is the test. To get only six peaks. And this is where you be challenged.

You will need a good heart rate monitor to train this way.



FitBrit 2017 – 13 weeks to go.

FitBrit 2017 

There are roughly 13 weeks to go till the final of FitBrit and probably the winner is already at peak fitness now. That it is to say , the qualifying time and the actual final result, will not vary by much. Excitement and the the encouragement of the crowd will create an edge and your winning time may be a few seconds quicker, but then again you can get penalised for non reps and keeping focused, when being frustrated is another complication and very hard to deal with.







Mental Focus

Before you know it the final is here. These past weeks of training have now come to an end and you have arrived to take part in your possibly your first final. How do you keep your body in tune? How do you not let the nerves get to you ? What should you eat ? How will you cope with being judged? These questions all rely on what you do now and what happens on the day of the final and its all about preparation.


With 13 weeks to go you may think that you now have it covered. But what is your opposition thinking? Are they thinking we can train relentlessly , and go all out giving the body a  huge beasting to prep and be ready for that day. Or are they thinking , Ive peaked now and now I need to train smart. I need to know every part of this course. I need to be trained in all aspects of recovery and taking my body to its limits. I need to look at my nutrition so that when I turn up , there is nothing more I can do. I am ready.

Being ready 







The winners of Fitness events at extreme level will not vary much, those that won it last year will rank well this year. They are looking out for the newbies, who have come out of dark and waiting to unleash their talents. There are those as well that have been involved in Gym Sports for ten years or so who may choose to enter.  There is a certain breed of athlete who is just formatted to cope with circuit type event and they are ready now. They are fine tuning their training. They have the confidence and more importantly the ability to push any single athlete on the day to their extreme limit. They have what it takes to be at the top of their game for around ten minutes extreme pain , where every second counts, every transition has been prepared for and in some cases, their game plan is going according to all of their training. Thats what will make the difference.

World Gym Challenge will help you in that preparation. 

We will provide a number of gym challenges specifically aimed at FitBrit, to help push you to your extreme. To keep you focused in the gym.

Look out for our FitBrit Challenges … coming soon


World Gym Challenge – Gym Sport Championships – Black Hawk – Advanced & Intermediate

Charles Green

Charles Green is from a number of gym’s. Fitness First in Romford, Absolute Gym in Romford and his local CrossFit Box too. At one time he was spending over £200 a month on gym membership alone. Charles is a dedicated gym athlete. He also won FitBrit in 2015, beating Mens’s Fitness promo athlete Will Kane. In 2016, Charles for some reason was not invited to the finals, although having submitted a time that allowed him to qualify.

Gym Sport Championships

World Gym Challenge created 36 events to be completed each year at your own gym. We supply the database so that any member of a gym take part and have their results uploaded into a giant database so that all results can be be compared.

The events are broken down into 6 Series Events

  1. Legends
  2. Baddass
  3. Bite Hard
  4. Braves
  5. Hard Steel
  6. Psycho

Each Series having six gym challenges to complete.

This is Black Hawk from ‘ Braves’ it allows both Intermediate and Advanced athletes to see their combined comparisons.






This is the video that shows you the disciplines involved in Black Hawk



Black Hawk Advanced / Charles Green / World Gym Challenge

This is Charles Green completing the final phase of Black Hawk and the final stage of the challenge having already completed .






Charles was consistent on the row at around a 1.36 split and then faced the incline runs at 10%

This was how he coped on the final 600m 10% incline. A full edited version will be uploaded asap.

Quite simply amazing. Outstanding performance. The reaction at the end is testament as to how hard this challenge.

World Gym Challenge / New Event / The Cornwell / Advanced

New Gym Challenge – The Cornwell at Bannatyne Health Club.




Once the gym sport bug takes hold it grabs you for good. You don’t let go of it. You become engrossed into the challenge. And then you start understanding the balance of disciplines. And then you put on your own event.

Ben Cornwell (Read this short profile )






Ben has now constructed his own challenge based on years of experience in Gym Sport. The club that he trains at Bannatyne Health Club in Sutton Coldfield will be hosting this challenge for its members on the 4th November.

There will be three levels of fitness for this event, Novice , Intermediate, Advanced. Lets just have a look at the Advanced. There are some very challenging aspects to this race and at this level.






Of note on this challenge is the transition between Alt Squat Thrusts, Box Jump Overs to Shoulder Press. Static Shoulder movement in both the AST and Box Jump Overs means there will be an excruciating section with the shoulder press. The very high lactic generated at this early stage will allow a welcome transition to the Sit Ups.

Sit Ups do get a bad deal in modern ‘functional fitness’ but in Gym Sport they will allow you lie down and recover somewhat but also keep the momentum of the circuit to continue by stressing the CNS with forward flexion from the hip. The relationship between core strength and CNS /  movement is dubious at best, basically train for sit ups and continue them in a all round training and then you should be able to complete the required rep range.

Step Ups 







At 2 x 16 kg and 65 reps we are looking a combined 32 kg weight transition between steps that are 5 risers high. The average gym user will not be able to do this and Step Ups are a constant source of training for the gym athlete. Only by continually taking on high rep training will you be able to sustain 2 x 16 kg.




Press Ups 

The traditional press up (off toes) is a classic movement pattern and a firm favourite for setting up events that rely on space saving and equipment saving. In this case the traditional bench press has been replaced with press ups.








The king of the Bike in the gym. Too many variations in cadence between other brands allow the WattBike to dominate a professional quality of movement.








Concept 2 rowers have long played a vital role in all Gym Sport events, the ultimate all round exercise. At 650 m the distance will have to be taken with caution as the follow on Chest to floor Burpees will sky rocket your heart rate and do you want to be be gassing as you approach these?

Chest to Floor Burpees

Again space saving and equipment free, the CTF Burpee is mostly about technique and letting flowing movement work for you . If you break these into static and slow patterns the time impact will influence your end result.


Nice to see the 2% increment at 200 m coming into play for the first time in events. WGC has used this measure of training for a number of years and forms part of our 5 treadmill inclines at a fixed pace challenge. For those of you who don’t understand the increment, its a 2% increase from 200 m and every 200m till you reach the final 1000 m which will be at 800 m to a 1000 at 8 % incline.


Ben has put together a good combination of disciplines. At this level this is very much an Advanced Athlete level. This would mean that this challenge is not something you should do without significant training and understanding your body limitations. Do not take this challenge as goal, unless you are already very capable athlete. For those of you who are at the correct level of fitness, I think you will struggle early on and find it very taxing throughout, so you should enjoy it. Good luck to those of you who take this on.

World Gym Challenge / Low Aerobic Conditioning / LAC

Low Aerobic Conditioning







When training in a gym there is nothing worse then feeling like you have not achieved anything. Simply walking away and not feeling a benefit is almost a crime . So how do you achieve something and feel like you have not worked that hard, the answer lies in LAC

Any good coach will tell you not to over train. Its a sin. It should be avoided. You should not do it. Thats my take on it. Yet as much as I hate to say it. I struggle not to train consistently hard and there are thousands like me.

Thats why the discipline in training is not to over train. Take a step back from the very hard physical training that you do and take it down a few gears. You will find surprisingly the benefit is has for you .


How can training less increase your fitness? 

Lets remember we are talking less intensity and not volume. We are still in the gym for around an hour, only the heart is not working like V8 beast engine, more a subtle 2 stroke taking it easy. And this is important to allow the homiostatic body to recover in finding its own resting ability. If you keep flogging a horse, eventually it will collapse. However, let it out to pasture and graze, it will enjoy the full energy that it can delve into when it wants to.

Training energy systems

Training the aerobic system is as important as training the anaerobic system. Muscle tissue will react to rest and regenerate and allow the body process to start building again. But if you continually beast your body and do not recover adequately, you will ultimately suffer the consequences of poor performance.

Setting LAC targets in the gym

When wearing a good heart rate monitor set a target and do not go over it. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, set a constant speed on the treadmill, or an rpm on the bike, or a slow pull ratio on the rower, but keep your intensity low. On the RPE scale you should be able to talk to somebody training next to you – even give them a friendly smile (but careful not to scare them!) Its very much always a learning curve in discovering just what LAC sessions are like and how to adjust them so its suits you .

Here is an example of LAC Circuit and the heart rate graph


World Gym Challenge / Creating the perfect full split circuit

Split routines are traditionally split towards the breakdown of body parts say chest and back , legs and chest day etc. But WGC uses time as the routine definer and incorporates

  • high intensity
  • low intensity
  • sliding intensity

Each routine is focused on the body as whole.

Each circuit can be broken down into

  • Full Split Circuit
  • Individual split circuit

We are going to look at the full split circuit today.

Equipment management

When creating a personal circuit  you do in the gym, probably the most important factor is your gym layout and where you can safely carry out your circuit. Always make sure its feasible – going from a deadlift to benchpress for example relies on two areas of the gym to be free. WGC always cater for a full gym in operation so that as a rule you can complete the circuits hassle free. In this case we used a bike, rower and a medicine ball. The gym had plenty of these – but there may just be the the odd occasion where its not possible to create a circuit, but it is possible to always create circuit.

The Full Split Circuit

Sometimes  creating a circuit that has too many splits and recovery breaks can be a bit time consuming, to enter in your WGC personal folder,  so the full split circuit  allows the bigger time based entry to be entered saving time in recording the information.

Breakdown of circuit.






Any gym circuit that is completed in WGC relies on good working knowledge (based over time) of understanding your intensities and heart rate variation of exercise. This mean that no longer do you just cycle and look at the data in front of you , it means that at each stage you are focusing on your halfway splits and the rpm range. You will know at any stage where you need to pick up speed, cycle faster or maintain a steady rpm to reach your desired goal – all of this as you are cycling. Physically and mentally you are being challenged. The same can be said for the rower and completion of the med ball press ups.

Looking at intensities. 






In this circuit you will see High Intensity , Low Intensity and Sliding intensity as fatigue sets in.

Depending on your fitness levels, the duration of each full split will begin to vary as will your heart rate. The split may well take longer but your heart will still be working at the same level so that means you are actually working at the same level physically, but because fatigue is setting in your split timings are slower this is the sliding scale of intensity and although your performance may be getting slower, the momentum of training is continued.

Focus, motivation and achievement .

These words are used a lot in training, but it is essentially the corner stone of each visit to the gym for a WGC athlete. There should never be a visit to the gym, that does not  incorporate all three. To enjoy your visit you must feel like you have achieved something, you must be motivated throughout the session and during the session you must be focused.

World Gym Challenge / How to construct the perfect Gym Circuit for you.

My name is Sean Blyth. I am the creator of World Gym Challenge. I have created the Online Database for gym challenges so that gyms can use them for their members to record results, or members can use them for themselves. In this case, we are going to look at how individuals can create the best gym circuits for themselves.

This blog is aimed at those who train in a gym, normally by themselves, without the need for a personal trainer and are wondering how to get the most out of their training. If you find yourself in that bracket read on.

Search the internet for your own purpose if this is not for you.

There is an abundance of specialised training out there on the internet. More often then not it is a paid for service. You tube is just awash with information and you can google more or less any workout to give yourself that edge and motivation.

What’s the best way to train ? 

Ask any good coach what is the best way to to train in a gym and they will say – The one that keeps you coming back.

Now that may be a dance class, spin , Zumba , circuit training .. well you know the list goes on obviously. So, its pretty well conclusive that you have to enjoy what you do to continue to do it. Preferably if it is free, then the chances are its even more of a bonus.

World Gym Challenge is free

Well the good news about World Gym Challenge is that our service is free.

The equipment we offer for you to use, is free (as you are a paying member of a gym) and the workouts we offer are free.

The only cost implication there is – is you must have a good quality sports  watch or heart rate monitor, with a stop watch facility, as all of circuits are timed based.

That is all the motivation you need.

World Gym Challenge allows you to walk into a gym and find out just how fit you are and by benchmarking and keeping a record of all of your training , you will see over time if the workouts you do are actually working.

Creating the perfect circuit

Any gym that you walked into will provide you with a multitude of equipment and will entice you with the promise to get you fit.

But the hard part is, getting fit is left to you.

So, it makes sense to be able to walk in any gym, create a circuit and leave feeling like you have really enjoyed the experience and have a achieved something.

Take a look at this circuit .

Incorporated in this circuit is The Bike, Treadmill and Rower. There is staged recovery and active recovery. The intensity is varied. And the circuit is bench marked.

  • This means that every time you walk into a gym, if you so wish, you can do this circuit.
  • You will know beforehand more or less exactly how long you will be in the gym
  • How many calories you have burned (if you have a monitor)
  • You will have know and what rate to row at, to cycle at and what speed to run at on the treadmill.

All of this because you do the sensible thing of recording what you do when you go to the gym.

Now take a look at the same circuit three weeks later

There is an improvement of 22 seconds and we know this because we have benchmarked this circuit.

All of this information is stored in your WGC account.

If you have a heart rate monitor you can record the intensity too and in this graph you will see there is a mixture of high intensity and low aerobic conditioning too .

The bike acted as the warm up , there was then suitable recovery period of two minutes. The Row was at a fairly hi intensity pace , with a suitable recovery phase . The treadmill was a full out burst of energy which needs training for, and reached the highest peak of heart rate. Followed by suitable recovery. The trick is then to try and have the same time or better in the row and bike. In this case I failed in the row, but achieved a better time on the bike.

Warm down

After the workout, a suitable phase of ten minutes on the X Trainer with a fixed heart rate of around 130 was completed.

To conclude 

The equipment used is the equipment I am paying to use in the gym. The motivation and focus I have is all based around a time based gym circuit. At no time in the gym was I bored or unmotivated. I knew exactly what I had to do, the intensities I needed to be at and the recovery that I was going to allow myself. It is basically is the perfect circuit.

The good news 

As you become a more experienced World Gym Challenge athlete, the format of your training, the exercise variation you choose and the time spent in the gym will be second nature to you . There are literally hundreds of circuits you can choose to do and finding the right one for you  is the best circuit.

Good luck in your training.



FitBrit 2017

So it looks like FitBrit is back on the agenda for all you gym members out there.

Let me tell you this, FitBrit ain’t easy and probably this year, the winner will be somebody who thoroughly deserves the title of UK’s fittest gym member. And thats for one reason, because FitBrit is the only gym challenge of significance that caters for a multi regional event. Meaning that from all over the UK gym members can go up against the best.

Let’s have a look at this years event.

And break it down into the Male category

Traditionally this event has always been a Run , Bike , Row meaning that is where the significant time gains can be made, but this year with the lateral CTF (Chest to floor) Burpee that could well be a game changer.

A lot of new exercises into this year’s challenge too incorporating more Barbell, Kettlebell and high lactic exercises. So a welcome break from previous years where the exercises were too generic to really test the individuals down the course.

If you want to send splits to World Gym Challenge then its quite easy, all you have to do is get a personal trainer to fill out the online verification form and we will enter it for you free of charge.

Remember , the smart people will look at their splits, because thats the way the smart people train, just ask, Tracy Davies (Winner) Nicci French (Winner) and Charles Green (Winner)

World Gym Challenge Training Tip

Here’s some advice in how to train for FitBrit – if you want to push yourself hard , then create a circuit . Look at the split for that circuit and try to beat it .


How to create the perfect ‘Gym Challenge’ for your gym.

The perfect gym challenge

It seems in this day and age that the dawn of the WOD (Workout of the day) has set a precedent in what challenges should be like. And in theory if you are CrossFit orientated and of a fairly high and competent level of fitness with a good understanding of your body, then completing WODs is no bad thing.

What World Gym Challenge does is break down the format of a challenge and engage the athlete to tackle a challenge in stages. This allows the athlete to be more focused on the challenge ahead and by breaking down the splits, you engage not only the physical stress, but also the mental stress too. For example The Run Bike Row Gym Challenge . This was designed for its simplicity and its generic compatibility with almost any gym.

  1. Treadmill – 400 m 10 % Incline
  2. Bike – 2 km
  3. Row 500 m

Each of these stages require specific adaptation over time to overcome. Periodisation of this challenge is in the region of  8 weeks to 3 years to peak.

Now thats a pretty bold statement and reflects on your current levels of fitness , your history of training and your mental state. But there will be an element of this challenge that will throw your entire body into breakdown if you have not trained for it properly. Having said that, you can also do this challenge without any real physical preparation as a training day.

Training your mind

The perfect gym challenge must be doable by any one athlete. If you think about it running 400 m on a track strikes this balance. Anybody can run 400 m who is of general good health, the trick it comes down to is the time it takes you to do it. And a good gym challenge takes on that principle. Once you know you can complete a distance you can then train for it properly.

Understanding the splits

Breaking down the splits and pre preparation comes in time. Knowing what speeds to run at , what pull ratio you must complete the row in  and the rpm of the bike all comes with time and practice. You must have a a sound understanding of these basic requirement based on your own level of fitness if you want to become a gym athlete. If you are not wearing a watch with a stop watch function you are not going to be able to train properly

Your Gym Layout

To create the perfect gym challenge your gym must have the space or the equipment set out in the appropriate order. This must be done so that the transitions from equipment are done as safely and as fast as possible to save on time. At each station you must be timed.

Periodisation to the event

Make announcements that the event is going ahead in good time. Involve as many personal trainers and gym staff as possible and create a community feel for this occasion. In the gym itself members  can find training partners to push one another and time each other making sure you record your progress. A good standard time is eight weeks from start to finish. But that is only for the first occasion, remember the peak training time for this event is around 3 years.

Create an atmosphere

The biggest stumbling block by far. In the gyms we have used so far there is normally one person who leads the way. One person who needs to inspire the entire gym to get motivated and focused. And this is where the problems start. Unless there it total commitment from the management to the athlete, there will be no challenge. The day to day running of any gym takes precedent over any challenge. So creating an atmosphere  is the singular most important part of any challenge, without a sense of taking part, you will not have an event.

Letting people know their results

Having trained for eight weeks, its important that you know your splits from the event so that you can benchmark them for any training plans or challenges.

World Gym Challenge

Fortunately World Gym Challenge  allows any WGC  event to take place in your gym and have an online leader board on hand so that all splits can be inputted at the time of the race for cross comparison. It is here, when you see the breakdown of the splits that you will understand just what is possible and how much more in the way of training you will need.

Post Event

Use social media to really showcase what your gym did. Create video and photo content. Interview your members like they are top ranking athletes and write about them, promote them and use their stories so that the next event gains the momentum so everybody is looking forward to it. It is true to say after every gym challenge I have ever taken part in I have never heard anybody say that they did not enjoy it. Your members will thank you for it and stay, possibly tell their friends who may want to join and be at your gym and membership retention would benefit , its very much a win win scenario.

Training for the Run Bike Row