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The information being delivered is outdated, not really agreed with within the fitness community and often the cause of misinformation and constant arguments.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

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 


Why you are doing your gym challenges wrong Part 1

World Gym Challenge says think about your gym challenge.

There are are million plus combinations into creating gym challenges. In fact it’s fair to say the list is endless with the right combination of distance , weight, reps and equipment. The current trend is to go hard. In fact go so hard that nothing else seems to matter.

Thats where we are now. There is a tough is best mentality out there.

I’m here to question that.

Is it really best to go hell for leather without the consideration of what best for your body?

So lets start at the beginning.

A gym challenge should always come in three categories of challenge Novice , Intermediate and Advanced. And before you start any challenge you should know your level of fitness.

This is where a lot of people go wrong at the very first hurdle. They undertake a challenge that is wrong for them and have no real idea of their own level of fitness. They have an idea, but nine times out of ten they are in for a shock when challenge ends. Simply put they were not in the right condition in the first place.

So how do you know the level of fitness you are in?

It’s quite simple you benchmark yourself against others and see what the total results are.

World Gym Challenge was the first website in the world that looked at the significance of splits in training for gym challenges. Its no good having a final time scenario for a challenge, that only gives you the end result, not the training pattern required for each stage of the challenge. And if you are training not wearing a watch with a stop watch function then you have even less idea about your projected finish times.

Next time you are in a gym look at how many are wearing a watch to time themselves. You will not see many.

So now you have something to time yourself with whats next?

Thats the next post …

Lets recap .. Know your fitness levels … wear a watch with a stop watch function .

Andy Brown at TruGym Chatham Kent – Sitting Bull Intermediate Gym Challenge

Andy Brown

Ive know Andy for the best part of ten years. He is a top ranking Intermediate Gym Athlete who has competed regularly in the online challenge series over the years. So for him to make the journey from his gym in Camberley, Surrey (formerly Fitness First) to TruGym in Chatham Kent, for a gym challenge that will take roughly 13 minutes was a real commitment to his training. Plus it was great to see an old friend.

The Gym Challenge is designed so that any gym member can attempt these challenges, without too much fuss or disruption to a working gym , using equipment at hand and easy to use. All that is really needed is the format you need to follow and in this case Sitting Bull is:

30 x 30 kg Lat Pull Downs
30 x 20 kg Shoulder Press
20 x Medicine Ball Press Ups (Alternate hand)
1 minute recovery
500 m row
400 m 10% incline
500 m row
400 m 10 % incline

The first circuit is a little power circuit to engage and all over workout, followed by a 1 minute recovery to enable you to transfer to the row. The legs now have to do a lot of the work, to complete the row to treadmill x 4 circuit.

This circuit is set at Intermediate level and if you can achieve a sub 15 minute circuit you are basically Intermediate level.

What time time do you think you could achieve ?

World Gym Challenge supplies a free online leader board for any gym that subscribes so that members can train towards these events.

There are 36 challenges to complete over the year in the Online Fitness Challenge Series

World Gym Challenge / Exercising with High Blood Pressure – 3

Todays circuit in the gym was an amended old favourite concentrating on on 4 stations

Bike 5 km

Aim – to hit sub 10 minutes (90 – 100 rpm) on target 5 minutes at 2.5 km

Step Ups 4 x 50 x 2 10 kg db

Aim – 50 step ups under 2 minutes

Bench Press 4 x 15 x 40 kg / 30 second recovery

Aim – Complete all reps non stop

Row 1000 m

Aim – Complete in 4.30

Bike 5 km

Complete a sub 10 hit sub 5 at halfway stage.

X Trainer

Aim – conclude with 5 mins active recovery

Break down of splits

Blood Pressure Pre Exercise
Blood Pressure Post Exercise

Medication – Ramipril 5 mg / 5 mg Amlodipine

The medication is meant to be the driving force in keeping my blood pressure down. It’s unlikely that coming off the medication will keep my blood pressure down. So Im currently able to exercise due to medication, which seems a little ironic and there is no go to help to find out if I can come of medication. Or at the very least reduce it with the aim to be med free in the near future

World Gym Challenge / Exercising with high blood pressure / What the Doctors are saying.


Since early 2017 my world as I knew exercise changed drastically. Having spent the best part of twenty years training and the last 12 running World Gym Challenge I have been consumed that exercise done correctly and effectively I would assume  with a mixture of recovery and high intensity training that this would be the blue print for a normal and active life without complications.

It turns out the reality is somewhat different. Having hit 52 this year, in early January after a routine health check a notice

able change in blood pressure started to occur. This increased and spiralled out of control in late June, where it became inevitable that medication was the only answer.

To say I was shocked is a understatement. But it doesn’t end there. What has been even more astonishing has been the reaction from the medical profession. Having been diagnosed with high blood pressure and been put on medication (5 mg Ramipril/ 5 mg amlodipne daily) They are simply at the prescribe medication and forget about anything else..

So this brings me back to exercising effectively and safely, whilst on medication.

The obvious place to start is at the Doctors surgery. This is also recommended on most online search processes. However that is the start of the problem. There simply is no go to recommended protocol for training with high blood pressure for an athlete except standard guidelines. And that does not really help.

To train with a variable pattern of biking , rowing, running  and weights needs a bit of a specialised approach. When you consider that throughout my entire process of being diagnosed with high blood pressure on not one occasion was I asked about my physical activity routine and what type of exercising I have been carrying out. It does come as a slight surprise then, that with the current emphasis on physical activity to prevent heart disease, why is it that they’re is no interest in the history of physical activity in its diagnosis? Or indeed no access to coping with exercise on medication ?

That leaves me in a precarious position in real terms. and leaves me with two choices, give up exercise, or continue on the path that I have been following over the last 20 years.

Pretty easy decision really, but surprisingly hard to come to. You see, during the best part of this year I have been debating whether to carry on fitness. I mean what was the point ? I’d been training regularly for years in order to prevent conditions such as this.

So Im going to continue to train. In truth I find it hard not actually being in the gym and setting myself goals to try and achieve. I found that being at home lead to depression and frustration. So my game plan was to be more positive.

But this is not down to the Doctor prescribing exercise in helping me. Their job was done at prescribing medication. This is me just taking it on the chin and getting back into the gym.

So the plan is to incorporate my training regime with a continued story of results.

Exercise should include variability , recovery and a good warm down.

That will be the subject of my next blog

Here is a quick video of how often you should train.

4 Rules of Gym Training from sean blyth on Vimeo.