Guest’s Blog

Torn between specific and generic training.

This article was originally posted on

I don’t think I have any “real” competitions until the indoor season kicks off again in October/November. Sadly I can’t make the Devon Indoor champs on 16th September, so the next race I think I have is the WelshIndoor  Champs in November (if I can work out how to get there and back without it costing a fortune).

Yes there are challenges like the CTC, monthly Facebook challenges and the odd extra online challenge – but nothing to aim for, and more importantly, nothing to focus my training.

It would, however be daft to not continue to build on the sprint training I’d been doing for Coetq. The last few intervals were down at 1:22 (on 115Df) – and if I can keep that kind of speed up, hopefully my 1k and 2k times will benefit.

When I eventually got back on the machine this week, it was at DF 130 – and it felt awesome. I felt strong, controlled, and powerful.  This soon waned when my energy stores ran out, but it felt as though all that sprint training had bedded in somewhere and I was stronger for it.

But I can’t keep training at the pace for the next 5 months! And I certainly won’t do another 5 hour interval session for the hell of it. But st the same time, I don’t want to just go back to low rate slower/longer stuff. There’s no doubt that it helps, and maybe I need to be more confident in trying some full effort 2ks at 26 or 28 instead of 32.

Take for example this week’s RowSeries test. 3k total row for time, but the last 1k was also scored for tims. So dialling in 1:42 for the entire thing wasn’t going to work (as my final 1k wouldn’t score too well)

Not that my result will blow the competition out of the water. It was ok – but I’m sure I could have done better. After spending most of the week recovering from Coetq, Friday was the only chance I have had for this. Maybe if I had had a chance to do it on Monday first, then set a better time on Friday it would be a different result. Not that I’m too unhappy with this. The first 2k could have been quicker I think, but I don’t think I could have gone much quicker in the last 1k.

The reason I’m brining this up here though is because of the rates. The first 2k was at a rate lower than my usual (32) rate. And I wasn’t pushing hard on he’d (as I knew I still had the final 1k to hit hard.

So maybe if I start training for power at 26/28 instead of letting a higher rate give me speed. Then I should be able to combine the low rate power with the high rate – and be even faster!

We’ll see about that!!

Either way, I need to build on my sprint training if I ever hope to break the 1k record. Even if I just make sure to throw in some high speed intervals at the end of other sessions… But then, I’m always knackered at the end of other sessions!

The “More is more myth”

The “More is more myth”

In a highly competitive world where athletes are bigger, better, faster, and stronger than ever we feel it is necessary to increase our volume and length of workouts to reach optimal performance. While one on the outside looking in watches professional athletes working out multiple times a day has to be reasonable and understand that they have the highest standard of care between workouts, best supplements, and have the time to do what it takes to rest accordingly. As a very competitive person and Cross Fit athlete this has been an exceptionally hard pill for me to swallow. However, I know it is best thing we can do for our self is not over thinking our training and to trust the process.



In all honesty I have fallen in that way of thinking only to be dissatisfied by the outcomes. I was mentally motivated to be better, but my performance were on a downward slope along with life outside of the gym. Health is so much more than physical. Mental health needs to be in a homeostatic state or it will be a dull, dry, unfulfilled, and empty process.

When working out our muscles break down, our central nervous system is working in over drive, tendons strained, glycogen, and electrolytes depleted. Our body enters a catabolic state where we are breaking down enzymes, proteins, and nutrients. When working out our hormones (Cortisol) fight the stress that is produced in our body to build it. Cortisol is necessary for immunity, gluconeogenesis, metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. When we are constantly in a stressed state we never produce enough cortisol which will decrease all the above functions. This depletion of hormones can also cause levels of testosterone and estrogen to deplete which can decrease libido and cause depression. With proper diet, nutrition, and rest our body is able to be in an anabolic state to which we can perform optimally and actually benefit from our hard work. To which, our endeavors can be rewarded. With the less “stuff” in our life. We have a clear mindset and can focus on the things that mean the most and are most beneficial to our happiness.




All in all more is NOT more and realizing that has improved EVERY aspect of my life. It has especially helped me mentally. I am not anxious in my day or wandering off wanting and feeling I need to be at the gym to be getting better. The best programming and hardest workouts in the world will not better you. Your work ethic and intensity for the hour of the day you set aside will be what you need to be the best you.

Rowdy Hurst. Fitness Matters MetCon Rowing Coach.

Mind Over Matter

This phrase came to mind during and after a session which had me lying on the ground gasping, legs burning, and looking at the seconds tick away between sets. I had came to terms on my third set that this would be my last set even though the work out called for four. As I laid there gutted the last thirty seconds of rest was near and my mind said, “go.” My mind knew what it was about to endure, but it also knew it would hurt so much more to quit. When finished sprawled out on the floor it amazed me how much physical training is apart from the mind and mental strength will carry us through the “dark place” when the body has given up.


Our reasons to engage in physical activity are all different. For the parent or grandparent may be doing it for longevity, to hold, and run around with their child or grandchild. For the competitor subjecting their body to rigorous training day in and day out for that extra rep or to gain an extra tenth of a second on the opponent. When your body screams to stop, but your mind says, “go.” For each scenario the reason is there, but how bad do you want it? How bad do you want to be here to walk your daughter down the aisle? How bad do you want to play catch with your grandson? How bad do you want to run your first 5k? How bad do you want to be healthy and off all medication?  All of these desires require effort and raise the question of how far are you willing to go to achieve it? Will you lose sleep so you can get the time in that it requires before you go to work and fulfill your roll as a spouse and parent at night? There is no time for excuses, just action. Start a regimen that allows for consistency and with consistency comes habits. If someone were to ask me what I would be doing at 430AM tomorrow or in three months the answer remains the same. I will be training. Sure, sleeping in until it is time to go to work sounds enticing, but there is no reward in that. There is not an euphoric feeling of achievement by hitting the snooze button. When you know you are doing what it takes it feeds the mind and builds confidence in your abilities. In the past, I have found that morning sessions have been the most beneficial to my training. It doesn’t allow things from work, poor food choices, or other things of life to mentally block my focus. When we are talking about tenths of seconds 99% focus will not cut it. The discipline gained from waking up each day for training caries into work which will flow into your marriage and parenting rolls. Doing things that are hard equip us to better handle the stresses of life.


We are subject to great things if we are willing to get uncomfortable. Integrity is built by the hard times that require us to endure with progress on the receiving end. The “mind over matter” mentality is a one size fits all. It’s talking to your spouse, at your place of employment, or in your spiritual life. If we always chose the easy route we would never achieve goals, aspirations, and dreams which would be a very depressing lifestyle. Be honest and picture in your mind standards for yourself that are uncommon. Be brave, focus, strap in, and….. “GO!”


Rowdy Hurst, Fitness Matters MetCon Rowing Coach.