Motivation

Proper Training Creates Sexy Bodies

Firstly, no one cares how good you look naked if you can't perform in the bedroom.

Secondly, ........................................................................................................

Jenni said that I have to use more full stops, so that should keep this blog pretty solid!

On with the topic at hand though, what do you think is going to happen when you reach your dream weight? Your target body? With your new flat stomach and chiseled cheekbones, anything in Victoria's Secret is no longer a secret to your sexy body... I'll tell you what happens, you still won't be happy and three months later you'll be back on track to having your normal chub chub.

When we sign someone up at Varangian it is for a change of overall lifestyle, not six week abs. Six week abs works, if done right, but it will be the most miserable six weeks of your life. And, because the change happens so fast, it is not sustainable.

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It is shocking to me that even with all the really good information out there, there is still people that are just happy enough with hitting a Spin class a few times a week. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Spin, and some people that do it are in phenomenal shape with a good diet, but what's the long term? What can you tell people? What have you found out about yourself? And do you feel strong?

Your long term is:

  • You keep up with the classes and maintain your nice weight.
  • You can tell people you go to a spin class.
  • You have found out you can go like f**k on an exercise bike
  • Your legs probably feel quite strong but push ups are left to be desired...

Is that sustainable? Yes, maybe. But personally I think it takes a certain type of person to be happy with that and that alone. Most people though? They get bored, generally around... February.

What we love about the way we train is that FEELING strong, ACCOMPLISHING small goals and CHALLENGING yourself daily keeps you motivated for longer. What's the long term? Well, there really is no end game. You will constantly be learning new things. The stronger and more flexible you become the more choice you will have with skills you want to learn.

What can you tell people? You can tell them you lift heavy ass weights, practice Olympic lifting, do gymnastics exercises, and strive to have complete body dominance so that you are an unstoppable force that needs NO MAN!

What can you find out about yourself? You'll find out you have weak days, strong days, days that you perform well, days that you want to challenge people, days that you just want to be left alone to lift. You'll find out that you actually enjoy the feeling you get from overcoming a struggle from a something that many people would just see as a "workout". But we know it's more.

Will you feel strong? Yes.

Why is feeling strong so important? Well Timothy, it's as simple as this, going through life being a weak little bitch won't get you anywhere. Strength gives you confidence, not only in your abilities but in your mind. It's a lot easier to have an argument with someone when you feel like you could fling them over a rainbow at any point.

Back to performance in the bedroom, you want the exercises that you do to carry over to other things that you enjoy, even be it the simple pleasures of the flesh. Think about it.. you'll need:

  1. Strong, powerful hips (kettlebell swings, deadlifts, squats)
  2. Arms that can hold you up (push ups, handstands, overhead carries)
  3. Stable core (planks, farmer carries, trunk rotations)
  4. Good grip to hold your partner down (rope climbs and pull ups)
  5. Increased flexibility and ability to hold yourself upside down for extended periods of time (yoga, mobility work and rings)
  6. Endurance, no one likes a Sweaty Betty three minutes in....

As funny as it may be to read, you cannot help yourself thinking that I am right. Being focused on making yourself stronger and more flexible keeps things more interesting and increases your longevity.

The best part is, if you do all of those things regularly, you will have a sexy body, you just will. Your body has to adapt to be good at those things and the way it adapts is by giving you lovely muscles. Taking your time and learning things properly is the most beneficial way to train, and although it may seem like it takes longer to lose the weight, when you finally arrive at a place that you are happy with, you will be able to eat a donut and "get away" with it.

Life is about having fun and there is so much to experience, give yourself the physical tools to do more stuff.

- Tom

Why choose Varangian?

Why choose Varangian? Well first off, you're not completely sure how to pronounce it! That's pretty cool! How many people have an exotic gym name...

Mainly though, it's the grind. Everything that Varangian is, is purely down to determination and effort. When we started off Varangian was just Tomek Marynowski PT, running a few conditioning classes for fighters. He had legendary nutrition knowledge, an awesome reputation as a personal trainer and lots of accomplishments to date; opening one of the greatest gyms in the world would be easy for him right? Not exactly.

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With very little money for funding, getting equipment was a major struggle. Any athlete that came to see what Varangian was like left with the comment "The coaching is amazing, but, you just don't really have the stuff..."

Even with the aid of the sexiest man in the universe 'Tom Morrison' our sparse facilities and four bay rig left a lot to be desired. Nevertheless our peristence and hardwork meant we were able to grow every month, get creative with our workouts and adapt to suit as much as possible. I still remember being so excited because we finally had enough money to afford ONE rower! And that was several months after trying to get a loan to buy one.

Every year the Open came around it was pointed out to us time and time again that we still didn't have the full facilities to be a "CrossFit" gym: one rower for 50 people, a low ceiling and no high rings... it's easy to talk about now but at the time it was so hard to not feel disheartened and sometimes, completely embarrassed.

What is my point with this story? Well hopefully you all now recognise me as the sexiest man alive (#tommorrison) but also, fitness is a struggle. Being motivated all the time is a struggle. There is always set backs. You are always going to feel like people are laughing at you. But if you persevere, keep going, ignore everyone else and stick to your guns you WILL become everything you want to be.

Some of the greatest elements of our box has came from us improvising. Our Primal Movement class and Mobility sessions have became some of our most loved classes. Due to not being able to carry out some of the CrossFit methods for many years has made our programming a lot better, and we're actually noticing CrossFit changing and doing stuff we have already been doing for years!

We could have thrown in the towel many times, but to see where we finally are now?! No way. If you want to do something, just put yourself out there! There will be hard times but ultimately, you will win.

What is the CrossFit open and can I do it?

The CrossFit open is a test that happens every year to challenge the best athletes around the world through five gruelling workouts over five weeks to hopefully take the top spots to qualify to get to the regionals, to then be the small 1% of CrossFitters around the world that actually make it to the Crossfit Games in America! WOW!!

So, where do you fit in?

The original premise of CrossFit was to be scaleable to any level: ANYONE should be able to do any of the workouts available just by using scaling methods. Scaling regresses the exercises so that the adaptation is the same but just more relevant to the athlete and their current ability level. Are you going to the games? No, probably not, should that dishearten you? No, definitely not. The great thing about CrossFit is that in a controlled environment you can be subjected to that competitive edge and train with others doing the same thing as you with the same struggles, everyone has bonded over burpees: they always suck no matter how fit you are.

I have two missions this year, I want to get the world more flexible and get people to stop giving a crap. A lot of times when you ask someone if they're doing the open you see their face fill with fear and a statement like: "Oooh no, I'm not good enough" or "Awk, I've no interest in all that". NO. Lies. You should do anything that you want to do, if you're going to shy away from a fun fitness competition then you're going to find it carry over into your daily life! The open is the best chance for you to put yourself out there, have fun, learn more about yourself, increase your confidence and bond with many other people old and young, fat and thin, take part in a worldwide event and just HAVE FUN.

Always encourage others to try things, if you get bored halfway through or miss a workout, it doesn't matter! The key is just to have a stab at it and see what you can do! If you took part in last years open then this is your chance to hit back at all those things that robbed you of seconds last year (chest to bars for me). All of the movements will have scaling options and it's also a great way to find out how you move, as you're allocated a judge you can't get away with anything... yes sometimes you do bad reps sorry to inform you of that.

If you do enrol for the open I would also suggest doing the judges course, it's not very fair to expect other people to judge for you and not return the favour, plus it really does help you to understand the movements and also by watching how others move. You will notice things about yourself and how you move, and you get a clipboard! That's pretty cool! This is especially helpful for your Coaches. If your Coach is available to coach rather than judge it makes the whole session go smoother and gets through a lot of people in one go!

So there you have it, yes you can do it, no you won't get laughed at, sign up right now, do the judges course, have fun, laugh, and curse the day CrossFit was born for making you do rowing and burpees at the same time!

Tom

Post-Surgery Revelations

Hey everyone!!!

So I wanted to share something with you. As some of you might know I've strongly decided that this whole lay-off from training due to my Hernia operation will be a learning thing for me, and no matter what I will be a better athlete and coach because of it. So I wanted to share one of my "revelations" I had in my head from saturday morning... once the morphine and codein had wore off:

"Holly shit I miss training! And I honestly say miss it like you would miss your partner or family or a macro friendly pizza!!!! I had quite the intensive week of training in anticipation of the longish break period, but after analyzing the structure of my day and the structure of my training I realised I could have done SO much more every day.

This is not one of those posts where I cry over spilt milk, trust me! This is more a realisation of how much time we all waste on a daily basis telling ourselves that we dont have time. I mean seriously, if we think about it money comes and goes 99% of the time you will be able to earn more... but unfortunately you won't be able to buy more time! Unless you properly invest in your training and nutrition.

Not being able to train showed me again how much it matters in my life, and how great even the shittiest burpee/wallball layden WOD makes me feel! How awesome you are through out the day after smashing that morning WOD. Think of physical and mental benefits of going through the grind day in day out and actually teaching yourself to love every second of it. Think of how many people you would inspire! How many people would see you as a role model. It may sounds over the top, but that's the difference you can make to your own life and the ones surrounding you!!!

This should have been a no brainer for me, because of my training many years ago "lol" and military background, yet somewhere the laziness started setting in and slipping into my life without me even noticing. The one thing I can say is that I am very grateful for this sudden realisation. As it allows me to plan the next few weeks and months with a big sadistic like smile on my face.. in regards to both me and you pumpkin!"

Now GO! Smash that workout, cook those meals, eat the macros! Seize the day! Everyday.

Inspiration from within: How becoming half the man made a legend in fitness

We first met Dee at our January onramp. As our busiest onramp of the year, we’re used to enthusiastic people around that time, “new year, new me” and all that, but Dee seemed to have something a little bit more about him. Smashing through his onramp, he completed his first (scaled) Fran first out of the whole group.

 January Onramp 2016, spot a happy Dee!

January Onramp 2016, spot a happy Dee!

Unlimited membership was soon to follow, along with questions of “How often can I train?”, “Am I allowed to come twice a day?”… To which my answer was “No Dee, you’re a Crossfit beginner, if you train twice a day you’ll end up run down and injured.” That’s what I said. But what Dee heard was “Yes, of course, 3 times if possible!”

Everyone in the gym knows him, but no one in the gym can beat him. If Dee is doing the WOD with you, you’re aiming for second place. Always a smile on his face, never a WOD to hard or too long, never a challenge too challenging, Dee will be the first to start and the last to give up.  Just over a month after he joined he’d already entered his first Crossfit competition alongside people who’d been training for years – and held his own pretty well.

   Dee, WST Scaled Championships, Feb ‘16

Dee, WST Scaled Championships, Feb ‘16

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But pretty soon after he joined we found out something surprising about him. Just two years earlier, he had been over double the bodyweight he was now.

 Dee, pre-January '14

Dee, pre-January '14

At 203kg (32st), January 2014, Dee begun the hardest journey of his life.

 “It started off as a New Year’s resolution. I needed to lose weight for my health because it was starting to suffer. I made big changes in my diet, started walking and joined my local Slimming World.”

 After only a month, he lost 12kg (2st) and took the step of joining a gym. Each session he spent 20 minutes on a bike, 20 minutes on a treadmill, doing as much as he could. 3 months down the line Dee was sitting at 154kg (24.3st).

 Dee, May '14

Dee, May '14

I gave myself a year and half to lose as much weight as possible. I gave myself mini goals as I went, like 3 stone at a time - which didn't seem so bad. My goal at the start was to get to 20 stone (127kg) never ever thought I'd get to 14 stone (88kg).
The biggest challenge I faced was learning how to eat right and control portion sizes that I ate. Plus joining a gym without having a clue what to do - no one really wants to help the new guy, but I never gave up on it”
 Dee, September '14

Dee, September '14

“The worst moments for me were when you’d work so hard, eating right and exercising, then standing on the scales and not have lost any weight - or even worse put weight on, plus seeing everyone out at the weekends enjoying themselves. But I had to make changes and fortunately for me it paid off in the end.
When I hit my target weight [of 20st] was my best moment, then just kept moving the target lower and hitting it every time. Being able to go and buy new clothes in normal clothes shops and seeing myself improving in the gym was amazing – I could feel myself getting fitter as the weeks went by”
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 Dee, December '14. Just shy of a year of weight loss

Dee, December '14. Just shy of a year of weight loss

To take his fitness to the next level, Dee bought a bike and started going cycling on his own. 6 months later, he was completely hooked. Almost a year after he began his weight loss, Dee joined a cycling club called SMCC and started physically challenging himself more than he ever had before, completing some serious long distance cycling.

 Amost 100 miles completed in 6hrs 10mins. June '15

Amost 100 miles completed in 6hrs 10mins. June '15

Motivation for me was simple. I keep a picture of when I was at my biggest, and when I felt like giving up I just looked at it told myself I'd never go back to this. Even to this very day I still do the same when I feel like getting pizza or Chinese, I just look back at the picture and remember who I used to be.

2016 was looming, marking 2 years since the beginning of Dee’s radical changes. His next step was to successfully qualify for surgery for excess skin removal; which occurs when you lose so much weight so quickly; but he had hit a plateau:

I was stuck at 14st 10lb, and I needed to shift that bit of weight that I just couldn’t get rid of. I’d heard Jenny [long standing Varangian!] talking about Crossfit and heard of a few other people trying it. Plus I wanted a new challenge and to build some muscle. Since I’ve started with Varangian I’ve lost nearly another stone (6kg) [around 6 months at time of writing], not to mention put on muscle, and my fitness has gone through the roof!”
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In my opinion if you want to lose weight, the most important this is you have to be willing to change your lifestyle; no one else can do it for you. Then comes nutrition, you really do have to start thinking about what you’re putting into your body. I had to teach myself what was good what wasn’t; I had to learn how to cook right and how to cook meals from scratch. Only then comes exercise, it helps you in a big way to get rid of a few extra pounds, plus keeps your head in a good place.
"But main advice from me would be you have to WANT to lose weight. There’s no point trying to do it half heartily. You have to do it for yourself, no one else. It’ll be the hardest thing you’ll have ever done, you’ll constantly be battling with yourself, but I can tell you that the sense of achievement when you hit your target weight is amazing. When you can see your whole body shape change, there is no better feeling. My only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner.”
I just want say a massive thank you to the Varangian coaching team Tomek, Tom, Jenni and Maciej for helping me over the last 6 months and especially over this last week I've finally hit my last target weight which I'd been struggling to get to since before Christmas. I've been at Varangian for 6 months now, my weight's down and strength and fitness is unbelievable - not to mention I'm doing things I'd thought I'd never be doing such as Crossfit competitions. Again guys thanks for advice and pushing me to my limits

We’ve only known Dee for the last part of his journey, and despite not knowing him as he was, we know who he is now. He’s the guy who’s in twice a day, who works on his weaknesses, who pushes through every barrier he faces; every single one of us is happy to train alongside him and we're proud to call him a Varangian.