Banned from UBX Training Gym – For What ??

Banned from UBX Training Gym – For What ??

WARNING – This post has become very very long (and getting longer)… Unfortunately, what should have been a very simple story, and not worth posting about at all, has evolved into a bit of a Saga – mostly due to the horrendous way an alleged complaint against me to UBX Greenslopes has been handled…. Despite Permanently Banning me from the gym, UBX have still not deemed it necessary to tell me what I apparently did wrong… This post is about my thoughts, feelings and disgust at the way this has been handled – with the aim of ensuring no-one else is treated so poorly by UBX in future.

Summary

This summary does not contain the full context or details of the entire situation, but it provides an overview of my experiences and feelings throughout the suspension and complaint process.

I have been a long-term fan and member of UBX for over four years, with more than 1300 visits to the UBX Greenslopes Gym, and attribute some of my significant weight loss and improved fitness level to the training provided by UBX.

However, out of the blue, my membership was suspended following a phone call from the UBX Greenslopes owner, who stated that a complaint had been filed against me. The nature of the complaint (who, what, when) was not disclosed, neither was I informed (until recently) of the complaints process.

I was shocked and confused by the suspension, as I was completely unaware of any incident that could have led to such a complaint. I attempted to communicate with the gym owner and seek information about the complaint process and the nature of the complaint, but received no response initially.

I continued to press for information about the complaint and the status of the suspension, and was eventually informed that I had been “permanently banned”. I was concerned about potential motives behind the complaint (and whether or not it was even true) and wondered why the complainant didn’t approach them directly to resolve any issues, or the gym didn’t ask for my side of the story.

Thankfully , I have received great support from fellow gym members, who were also surprised by the situation.

Eventually UBX HQ responded and promised to investigate the complaint further and work towards a resolution, and I was eventually provided with the UBX Complaints Process (after I had been banned and my membership terminated) but still did not receive any details about the complaint.

I am determined to know the truth about the complaint and have sought clarity from UBX HQ. They have expressed their belief that a fair resolution and transparent complaints process were essential for both members and the gym, and, to their credit, have acknowledged issues with how this has been handled, and agreed to react to feedback. I hope they do.

I am still oblivious to the nature of the complaint, have not been asked for my side of the story, or been give any right of reply, and actually have my doubts whether a valid complaint actually exists, but am determine to find out the truth.

Monday 10th July – “You Have Been Suspend Subject to an Investigation”

I’ve been a long term fan of UBX (formerly know as 12 Round Fitness). I have been a member of the UBX Greenslopes Gym for more than 4 years and have had more than 1300 visits. I love the way their exercise program is setup and attribute a chunk of my weight loss (55kg), and current level of fitness to the training I have done there….

UBX training is an important part of the reason I have been able to maintain my weight loss for so long (nearly 5 years) and I am now probably the fittest and healthiest I have been for more than 30 years…. so to be told.. out of the blue.. that my membership had been Suspended came as quite a shock.

Gym Membership Suspended

On Monday 10th July, I received a brief (but shocking) phone call from the UBX Greenslopes owner (AJ), saying that they had received a complaint about me, that my gym membership had been suspended, and that I wouldn’t be able to attend the gym until further notice … I was stunned …

He went on to say that for “confidentiality” reasons he wasn’t able to say who had complained, when it had occurred, or what the complaint actually was, and that he had to follow a “process” in case it went legal.

I was immediately concerned and worried about what may have occurred to be serious enough for me to be suspended, and that could potentially go legal ????

I wracked my brain for any incident or situation that may have resulted in someone being uncomfortable – and could not come up with a single thing.

I was told that the complainant had also been suspended subject to a review of the complaint, but was NOT told :

  • what the complaint process entailed
  • how long it might take
  • when I would be told what the allegation was
  • when I would have a chance to respond
  • or whether he suspension was temporary or permanent

Oh My God … What just happened

I left the phone call feeling numb.. I didn’t know what had just happened… Suddenly I was torn from my daily routine (I usually go to the gym up to 2 hrs a day – 6 days a week) – to being banned (perhaps forever) … I didn’t know what I had done… I didn’t know who I had upset.. I didn’t know how serious this was (but had to assume the worst).

I reviewed my gym sessions for the last 2 weeks in my head and tried to remember everyone I had spoken to… a wrote down a list of every female (at least I assume the complainant is female) that I had spoken to and thought through each interaction and came up with nothing that could be considered remotely inappropriate.

What’s Going On ??

I sent an email back to AJ that afternoon asking for information about the complaints process, and included a list of people I had spoken to in the last fortnight and told him I was very happy for him to speak to any of them about this issue… No Response

I started worrying about what AJ had said about “if this goes legal” so sought legal advice and sent another email off to AJ asking for the following – and again – No Response :

  • Details of the complaints process
  • The nature of the complaint
  • Where and when it occurred
  • The impact on the complainant
  • What the complainant is seeking as an outcome / resolution

Since then I have messaged daily to try and find out the status of this, and heard nothing until late Thursday (13th July) when AJ messaged me with “I’m expecting to hear back from HR today sometime.”…

Gym Etiquette

The social aspect of the gym has (surprisingly) become important to me…. I do tend to chat to people… I think I am pretty indiscriminate about who I talk to… but I am very aware, that as an older guy (nearly 60) I need to be careful how/when I talk to young females or it could be misconstrued (no-one wants to be “that creepy guy at the gym”).

I have on occasion, realised that someone didn’t want to chat – they wanted to focus on their training…That’s absolutely fine and reasonable.. I get it… and there are some people at the gym, I simply acknowledge and don’t engage with… no problem.

But Why ?

I was concerned how I could have done something to annoy someone so much to make a complaint – without being aware of it … Am I really that clueless ? Surely if I made someone uncomfortable, the first option would be to ask me to back off rather than raise a formal complaint ?

I began to wonder why anyone would do this? What’s the point of submitting a complaint ? What would they get out of it ? Is this a real complaint because I actually upset someone, or is it just part of some “master plan” to get me out of the gym ? Or is someone simply using this as an excuse to cancel their gym membership?

I can’t think of ANYONE that I have upset… and if I did I would have done my damndest to resolve it.

How am I feeling?

I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster.. (probably partially fueled by the lack of endorphins I am used to getting from training )

I am sad, upset, confused…
I am concerned, worried, frustrated…
I am anxious, depressed and sometimes angry.

Occasionally I see it as an opportunity to move forward and make some positive change’s in my life.

I am confident I have done nothing wrong… I am hopeful (but not certain) I will eventually be vindicated, and I am wondering if/when I am allowed to return to UBX Greenslopes whether I will actually want to.

(Update Friday Lunchtime)

Thanks for the Support

I had a number of my Gym Besties contact me to see why I hadn’t been training and see if I was OK…. When I explained what was going on, they were as shocked as I was :

  1. That someone had complained about me
  2. at how I had been treated
  3. that I was being left in the dark with no option to respond

I have subsequently contacted some of the other’s and they are stunned as well… Thanks VERY MUCH for he support guys (and girls).. feeling a bit better about the world just now 🙂

(Update Friday Afternoon)

“Permanantly Banned”

I’ve had an update from AJ… apparently UBX Human Resources have reviewed the complaint and decided to ban both myself and the claimant permanently from UBX Greenslopes … which I believe allows us to join another UBX gym, but prevents us from returning to Greenslopes for at least 12 months. This comes as a bit of a surprise because they still have not contacted me… I still don’t know what the complaint is… and I still have not been informed of the complaints process.

Not sure quite what they based their decision on … Did they talk to the claimant (they certainly didn’t communicate with me)?… How did they judge whether it was a legitimate complaint, and if so, who was at fault ?

Have they just decided it is all too hard and hoped that by banning us both the problem would just go away ?

I have reached out to UBX HR and asked of a copy of the process… including (if one exists) their Appeals process… more to come ??

(Update Friday Evening)

Its a Guy (apparently)

I’ve been making some enquiries, doing a little detective work and asking around my gym buddies, and although I still don’t yet know what the actual complaint is, it seems that the complainant is a guy (NOT a girl as I had assumed).

Discovering this has probably shocked me more than anything else so far… I had assumed the complaint would be related to a female feeling uncomfortable about something I had said or done… I have even less of a clue what I could have possibly done to offend a guy – and why he couldn’t have just told me there was a problem so we could have resolved it simply…

In some ways I am greatly relieved that I hadn’t somehow overstepped the mark when chatting with a girl.. I am always very careful to try and keep everything appropriate, so was horrified when I thought I may have offended a girl. I’m also glad that it rules out one of my ex-best-buddies as a possible complainant 🙂

(Update Saturday)

Nothing from UBX (yet)

Saturday morning, and nothing new really to report, but I am glad I am at peace with AJ from UBX Greenslopes. I am enjoying the support I am still getting from my gym buddies, and reading and responding to the comments. Some useful insights here, but overall most people seem to be as stunned as I am at the process (or lack thereof).

I (like most people apparently) am wondering how I could have been banned for something that I didn’t even notice doing at the time ?

I’ve been training most of the week with F45 and am actually really enjoying it (and being challenged by the new training regime)… I will probably also check out the local Body Fit Training too.

No Response from UBX HR yet, but I guess this is the weekend. I hope they don’t think ignoring me is a viable strategy, as I am now focusing my anger and frustration on them… Now that I have all this extra time on my hands, I have already started putting in place a few of the “court of public opinion” strategies suggested in the comments.

(Update Sunday)

What Would Be “Fair”

Sunday and still nothing from UBX, but I have been pondering some of the feedback and comments I’ve received, and started to wonder about what I would consider a “fair” outcome…

Obviously I’d like to know what I had apparently done wrong.. I guess then I could decide whether or not banning me was fair.

I am guessing the complainant wasn’t expecting to be banned, and I don’t actually think (as long as he believed he had a legitimate reason to complain) this is fair either.

It’s certainly not fair that UBX Greenslopes has lost 2 members, and it may not even be fair for me to air UBX’s dirty laundry… but at the moment I have few options – and if the only positive outcome to this is for UBX to improve their complaints process (so it doesn’t leave members worried, anxious and depressed) then I reckon its a win.

One of the comments to this post asked what would happen if the complainant withdrew the complaint… I don’t know if this is an option, or would make a difference.

I don’t know who has complained or what the problem was, but I am still unaware of any gripes or issues with ANY member (male OR female). I’d be quite happy to talk to them, understand their concerns, apologise and sort out an amicable resolution… and if that involves us avoiding or ignoring each other, fair enough.

I don’t believe either of us should be banned, or that UBX Greenslopes should lose 2 members in an already tough economic climate, but UBX really do need to sort out their complaints process…

(Update Monday)

Sometimes You Have to be Pushed !!!

Wow its only been a week – but feels like a month. Still waiting/hoping to hear from UBX HR – but not holding my breath.

I’ve been training at F45 for the last week and to be honest, I’ve been loving the training, being physically challenged, and all the positive interactions with members is like a breath of fresh air.

Although I do miss my UBX buddies, I am already feeling more welcome at F45 than I have for a long time at UBX … I guess that sometimes you need to be pushed out of your comfort zone to make positive changes in your life.

I’ve been re-evaluating my priorities, and at this stage am likely to continue with F45 (although I should probably give the local BFT a trial too). I would prefer to have my UBX membership reinstated, so I can from time to time catch up with my UBX Buddies (and also be able to justify continuing to work with AJ), but I can’t see myself returning to UBX full time.

I am still VERY focused on holding UBX accountable, and am determined to get to the bottom of this complaint.

(Update Monday afternoon – 1 week after suspension)

UBX HQ Responds…

I have heard back from UBX HQ late this afternoon… they’ve acknowledged that the way this has been handled has caused confusion and frustration and have initiated action “to investigate the initial member complaint further”. They have also promised to keep me up to date as they “speak with all of the relevant parties” and they work towards “the best resolution”.

It certainly doesn’t mean my membership will be reinstated… but seems to be a reasonable (if delayed) response for now. All I really want is a fair and reasonable outcome for all parties…. because at the moment EVERYONE seems to be suffering.

(Update Wednesday)

UBX HQ Responds ?? … NOT

I was in some way encouraged that UBX was “taking it seriously” when they eventually contacted me on Monday… but when they said they were contacting “all interested parties”… it seems that I wasn’t included in that list, because they have still not contacted me, and I am still being kept in the dark.

Apparently what they meant by “all interested parties” is everyone that I have allegedly pissed off or annoyed in the 4+ years I’ve been at the gym, because all of a sudden I have been told there are numerous other “complaints” – most of which I was completely unaware of.

UBX has essentially threatened to talk to everyone who has ever had any issue with me at the gym…

I have also been accused of “playing the victim”… but it’s hard to see it any other way when I still don’t know what I’ve been accused of…. If I’ve actually done something wrong, fair enough, I’ll acknowledge it, and cop the punishment. But I can’t accept (or fix) something that I don’t know.

It is pretty clear that there is no hope for this complaint to be dealt with objectively.. I am a thorn in the side of UBX, and now that this post is getting more attention, and gaining momentum, they just want it to go away… Unfortunately, threatening me is probably not the best approach.

Despite me asking repeatedly (from day one) what the UBX complaints process actually is, I have received nothing – except today confirmation from AJ that there is no appeals process.

I don’t want to embarrass UBX unnecessarily, but I think that UBX Members deserve to be told what the UBX complaints process entails, because at the moment it seems that UBX Staff, Owners and even UBX HQ don’t seem to know what it is. … And if there isn’t a defined complaints process, members should be VERY concerned that any action they take, whether unintentional, accidental , or otherwise could lead to them being banned.

(Update Thursday – 10 days after initial suspension)

Ding Ding….

I heard back from UBX late yesterday… via an email from AJ – the Franchisee owner of UBX Greenslopes…here are some of the highlights.

“After careful consideration and a thorough investigation into the complaint that was filed against you, I regretfully have to confirm the termination of your membership.”

Not sure how a “thorough investigation” would not include me… and I am unaware how “membership terminated” differs from “permanently banned” which was what I was told last week – either will prevent me from going to the gym I have attended almost daily for the last 4 years.

“I have been speaking to all relevant parties and after a thorough investigation I have determined that your actions were in violation of the terms of your membership agreement”

I wonder what actions those are?. because they still haven’t told me… and it seems that I don’t qualify as a “relevant party”

“I have been informed by the complainant that the matter is under legal advisement and as a result I cannot disclose any further specifics”

Sounds like a dodge to avoid explaining the “complaint”… surely I would have noticed if I had ben involved in some activity that warranted legal action ?

UBX HQ seem determined not to communicate with me directly – they are leaving all of that to the UBX Greenslopes Franchisee… so despite AJ’s assurances last week that he was “waiting to hear from UBX HR”, it appears that they are putting his head on the block to try and avoid further attention on UBX HQ… or perhaps it has really been personal all along ? Maybe its just a part of their complaints process ? (but I wouldn’t know because they still haven’t told me what that is).

I have been punished : suspended, permanently banned, and had my membership termninated.

I have been kept in the dark : not told the nature of the complaint, and not given an opportunity to respond.

I have been threatened : with exposure (which doesn’t concern me because I am not embarrassed or ashamed of any of my actions), and with legal action (bring it on, at least then they would need to inform me of the “complaint” and allow me to respond).

At this stage, UBX seem so desperate NOT to tell me what it is, I’m beginning to wonder whether the “complaint” is real at all… Was there really a complaint in the first place , If so, is it legitimate or fabricated ? Could it be a case of mistaken identity ?

I’ve been wondering what Danny Green (Australian professional boxer who held the WBA light-heavyweight title from 2007 to 2008 and also a co-founder of UBX) might do in my situation ?… I am certain he would not back down.. He would come back fighting – Hard.. so thats what I’m going to do too. I may have been forced to hang up my gloves, but I have certainly not thrown in the towel.

I have plenty of options, so unless UBX decide to start communicating sensibly about all this, I reckon we are just in round 3 or 4. :).

For now, I have asked (yet again) for details of the UBX complaint process and the nature of the complaint, and will give them a reasonable amount of time to respond before I escalate further.

(Update Friday – 11 days after initial suspension)

UBX Complaints Process – at Last

Well I have finally heard from a real person from UBX HQ… and they have finally provided me with a copy of the UBX Complaints Process. It is simple, clear and reasonable…. Not sure why it took them nearly 2 weeks to provide me with it (but I am guessing that it may not have existed until a day or two ago).

They state :

“Our goal is to manage all complaints in an open, accountable, responsive, fair, efficient, and effective way. We appreciate your feedback and will use it to improve our processes in the future.”

which is awesome, because my experience of their complaints process probably only ticked 2 of these boxes (efficient and effective).. they have failed miserably on the rest. I really do hope that they take my feedback on board to ensure that no other UBX Member (or complainant for that matter) has to suffer through the same traumatic experience I have.

They also explained, how the process was handled in my case… They said that the business owner of UBX Greenslopes received the initial complaint, carried out an investigation, and made a decision to terminate my membersip… They explicitly state that UBX HQ “were not involved in the decision to “ban” anyone from the club”…

Which is completely at odds to everything I had been told previously.

I was informed that the complaint was submitted direct to UBX HQ, was investigated by UBX HR (with input from UBX Greenslopes), and it was UBX HQ who made the decision to first initiate a Permanent Ban, and then “after reviewing with all interested parties” (but not me) decided to terminate my membership.

Something stinks here … someone is telling me bullshit … I’m just not sure whether UBX HQ is throwing AJ under the bus, or AJ is covering his arse… but in either case I have been misled and lied to by someone.

So What Did I Do ??

I still don’t know what I did that was so terrible that deserved being banned (or how I could have done it without noticing). I have (yet again) asked UBX to provide me with details of the complaint.. where, when, what (but not who)…

So far they have refused to provide this. Initially details of the complaint were denied on the grounds of “confidentiality”, and then, because the matter may be under “legal advisement”… UBX HQ have told me that they don’t actually know the details and have requested these from UBX Greenslopes..

I’d prefer not to make this a legal issue, but I am confident I’ve done nothing wrong, so if I need to escalate this further to shed some light on the complaint (and presumably, the complainant too), then so be it.

(Update Saturday – 12 days after initial suspension)

When is Enough, Enough ??

I have been asked why I keep pursuing this , why am I making such a drama, why dont I just suck it up and move on ??

Ask yourself…

  • If you were accused, and punished for something… but you didn’t know what it was, and had your doubts whether you’d actually done it… What would you do ?
  • If you had signficant changes forced onto your life, but werent told why, and were facing weeks or months of wondering what you had done wrong … What would you do ?

I actually believe that this situation (and my perseverance) has already had some positive outcomes :

  • on me.. It has forced me to try another gym (12 days straight so far) – where I am feeling more welcome, am being physically challenged … and am enjoying.. a LOT… It has motivated me to make some lifestyle changes : I dont have to drive 20 minutes to and from the gym every day… I get to sleep a bit longer… I’ve completely stopped taking pre-workout…
  • on UBX … I am actually impressed with their complaints policy (even though it clearly hasn’t been followed with me), and I actually believe (perhaps naively) their assurances that they will take my feedback on board.

But I do still need to know (for my own peace of mind), the TRUTH about the complaint.. Was their actually a real complaint, if so, what the allegation was… and then, if I am guilty of it, I can acknolwedge it, apologise for it, try to resolve it, and try not to repeat it.

At the moment the accounts of how this has been handled are so dramatically different between UBX HQ and the UBX Greenslopes Franchisee, that someone has to be lying to me.

Enough will be enough when I am satisfied that I know the truth about the complaint…

(Update Wednesday – 16 days after initial suspension)

Well… I’ve taken a few days to chillax and consider… and given AJ and UBX a chance to do the same… but nothing much seems to have changed.

Despite UBX HQ :

  • asking AJ to provide them with details of the Complaint
  • advising me to liaise directly with AJ,
  • and instructing AJ to provide me with more information,

…I am still no closer to finding out what I have been accused of… and in fact AJ now seems to be refusing to communicate with me at all – his most recent communication regarding the complaint (last Friday) was “Stop messaging me!!”.

I have taken time to more carefully review the UBX Complaints Process, and whilst my initial opinion was that it was simple, concise and reasonable, I now realise that it includes nothing at all about procedures for the Complainee (if – as in my case, the complaint was about a person)… So if a member complained about another gym member, or member of staff, it doesn’t address their role, rights or responsibilities at all. Even as it stands though, the UBX complaint process has (very clearly) NOT been followed.

My main concern, is still that I have never been told what I have been accused of doing, or been asked for my input, or been given a right to reply, or an opportunity apologise if necessary, or even learn from my mistakes.

I cannot think of ANY situation (in the civilized, free world at least) which involves someone being accused and punished, where they would not be made aware of the issue. Imagine if you received a speeding/parking fine but not told where or when it occurred, or you were arrested by the police and not told why ? There would be an uproar.

UBX Members (and Staff) Beware

If I was still a UBX Member I’d be very concerned…

At the moment UBX HQ seem to be supporting this flawed process and you run the real risk, that if you are accused of something (whether it is true or not) you may have no right to state your case… It appears they expect you to just shut up, accept the punishment and go away …

What Does ChatGPT Think ?

In the course of my work I have been recently doing some investigation into AI learning and in particular ChatGPT… so I thought I might see what ChatGPT thought about all this by asking it “I have been banned from the gym following a complaint… what should I do ?

I thought that it came up with a pretty reasonable set of options, however, of the 8 suggested steps I am only able to do :

# 1 – Stay Calm and Respectful – which I hope I have mostly done
# 8 – Consider finding a new gym – which I have definitely done

Unfortunately all the other suggestions are dependent on me actually knowing something about the complaint … (see here for ChatGPTs response in full).

While I was on a roll, I also asked ChatGPT “how do I publicise an issue I have with my gym” and was given 10 suggestions on how to address, promote and publicise my concerns… some of these I have already initiated, but there were a few which are worth considering further 🙂

Update Monday – 3 weeks after initial Suspension

Still No Change… I am still Banned, my UBX memberships has still been Terminated…. I still don’t know the nature of the “complaint” (or if it actually existed), and have not been given the opportunity to present my side of the story as part of the “UBX Complaints Process”.

Time to Escalate…

Update ~ 7 weeks after initial Suspension

So… what’s been happening ??

I’ve been pestered by people asking for an update … so here it is 🙂

Despite an ongoing investigation by the Office of Fair Trading about how this “complaint” has been handled by the owner of UBX Greenslopes, I am still not really any closer to finding out the truth of what happened… and maybe never will.

Sometimes the simplest answer is correct though – the most likely scenario seems to be the one that pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to from the outset has insisted is the reason (but I had just not wanted to believe it).

It seems that an Ex-Best Friend and gym buddy of mine, and the Gym owner have colluded and concocted the complaint, as an excuse to get me out of the gym so she can come back training without having to face me.

AJ had assured me this isn’t true, but most everything else he has told me has proven to be a lie, so why should I believe him ?

Regrets ?

Not really … despite a lot of angst, anxiety and frustration, over the last months, I have recently turned 60 and am fitter and healthier than I have been for 30 years – some of this I attribute to the training I did with UBX… But I have joined a new gym (that I am loving, and getting better results)… I have maintained friendships with some of my old UBX Gym Buddies, and have developed a whole bunch of new gym buddies at F45.

I am disappointed that my ex-friend didn’t seem to care enough about the “friendship” to explain the issues or try and resolve them… she’s not the person I thought she was. I suspect that AJ may have some regrets that he didn’t think it all through first, I wish him every success with the gym and his side business, but have doubts he can ultimately make it a success.

I do regret dragging UBX Headquarters into this, they have mostly been helpful and professional, and probably as much victims of this as I am… I am certainly not claiming to be blameless, I am sure that I have rubbed some people up the wrong way.. and perhaps a ban is even an appropriate outcome…but the way this process has been handled is just appalling… I hope this post goes some way in explaining my perspective, and that any future, legitimate, UBX member complaints are dealt with appropriately.

12RND Fitness Training Camp “Competition” – Fair or Farce ??

12RND Fitness Training Camp “Competition” – Fair or Farce ??

I apologise for the length of this post … It started out fairly long anyway… but has evolved (and is still evolving) as I receive comments and feedback from readers and as new information (from 12RNDs Fitness) comes to light… I did consider creating a new post, but thought it better (and fairer) to keep it all together so it could all be examined in context…

below is a brief timeline of events / updates :

  • 26 Jul : 11// Training Camp Starts
  • 4 Sep : 11// Training Camp Completes
  • 29 Sep : 11// Training Camp “Winners” announced
  • 1 Oct : This Post originally published
  • 17 Oct : Updated with extra info
  • 19 Oct : Apology via Phone from 12Rnds CEO
  • 20 Oct : Email from 12Rnds CEO
  • 21 Oct : follow up Phone Call from 12Rnds CEO
  • 24 Oct : Updated with my reaction to 12RNDs Responses

It is no secret that I have been a big fan of 12Rnd Fitness and have published a number of posts explaining some of the things I enjoy about their gyms. One of the things I did like, is that several times a year they hold a nation-wide Training Camp (6 week challenge), and as a motivator for members they offer prizes and awards for the “top performing” participants in recognition of their efforts.

Over the last couple of years, I have participated in most of these challenges, but never really took them too seriously, or pushed myself too hard… The latest 6 week challenge however (July to September 2021) was different…. Despite regular workouts (generally 6 times a week) my weight had plateaued and over the last few months had started creeping up… so I decided to take this challenge seriously, and not just push myself with exercise, but also be strict on food and diet as well. I was curious to see what impact good diet would have.

I set myself a target of losing 6Kg and 6cms …. and for the 6 weeks I worked hard – increased my exercise level by about 30% (7 days a week 1 1/2 to 2hrs a day) and whilst I wasn’t super strict on food…. I was MUCH more careful about what I was eating…

As per the Training Camp competition guidelines, I did the before and after photos, benchmarks and body composition analysis scans (these were stated as the criteria for judging the national competition)… and to be honest was astounded by my transformation.

My 6 Week Transformation

Over the 6 weeks I smashed my 6Kg weight loss goal… I actually lost 9.9Kg of Body Fat (11.4%), put on 1.7Kg in Muscle Mass… and reduced my waist measurement by more than 14cm.

I also :

  •  Improved my 1:20 Row Benchmark by 22m to a total of 410m
  •  Improved my 3:00 Push Up into Clean and Press by 5 Reps to a total of 42 reps
  •  Improved my 15 Cal Ski erg by 8 seconds to a total of 33 seconds

National Competition Winner ???

I actually thought I might even be in with a real chance for a win in the National Competition, as previous winners simply hadn’t achieved these sort of body transformation results :

  • #10 male winner lost 0.4kg total body weight and 3.9% body fat
  • #9 lost 10.5kg in total body weight and 10.3% body fat!
  • #8 lost 7.9kg, dropped 7.3% body fat and gained 0.5kg of muscle
  • #7 lost 6.5kg and reduced his body fat by 6.1%

The winners of the national 12rnd competition were announced 29 September… Unfortunately, I didn’t win … it seems that my results just weren’t good enough… Fair enough I thought…. the winners and runners up must all have achieved some truly amazing transformations….so I was VERY keen to see the winners results.

Update 19 Oct : One of the problems admitted to by the 12RNDs CEO is that some winner submissions went missing, because of an “administrative error” … I know of at least one other participant (also with amazing transformation results) who also questioned the judging process and whose submission also disappeared…. Neither of our applications (and I have to wonder how many others ??) were even considered by the judging panel for 11// Training Camp !!!!

Unfortunately… and very frustratingly… despite the fact that stats have been announced for all previous challenges…. Although they have published some Before/After photos… the Body Composition and Benchmark stats for this particular 6 week challenge have not (yet ??) been published. (I have asked if they plan to publish these, but they have not yet responded).

Update 17 Oct : Nearly 3 weeks later and I have tried to contact 12rnds several times about publication of results, but despite promises of a “human” response within 1 day – I am still waiting…. I know of a number of other members (and even Franchisees) who have raised concerns and they have also been ignored…

Update 19 Oct : Finally heard back from 12Rnds. Michael Jordan the CEO gave me a call (Interestingly the day after I sent them a link to this post and they became aware of how many people had been reading it) … more Updates added below, but at the moment I am not quite sure how to react to his response so want to sit on it for a bit while I calm down…

Training Camp Competition

The stated judging criteria for the Major Prize Winners of 11// 12RND Fitness Training Camp (6 week Challenge) was :

+ Before + After Photos
+ Body Composition Changes
+ Benchmark Improvements

However the only justification that has (so far) been provided for selecting the winners has been their before and after photos (which, to be honest are good… but not great). I am (of course) biased, but are pretty pleased with my own before/after photos, and believe (as do most people who have seen them) that they show more significant transformation than the “winners” photos. I guess I don’t fall within the demographic of their target market ??

Update 19 Oct : The 12RNDs CEO has admitted that “at some stage” a decision was made to change the rules of the competition so that the Major Prize ONLY took into account the Before/After Photos, and the Runner Up Prize would apparently include the Body Composition and Benchmark Stats.. This was apparently done so that clubs/members experiencing lockdowns as a result of COVID would not be disadvantaged… In principle I support this… they certainly deserve to be recognised… my BIG concern though is that 12RNDsy changed the rules but didn’t actually tell any of the participants about it. Michael said that they realised a rule change might be “controversial”… It seems to me that they made a decision to keep the rule change low profile and they just hoped no-one would notice ??
It is not clear exactly when the rules changed, but I have reviewed every email I received about the Training Camp… and right up to the final week (week 6) update, the Major Prize criteria was still stated to be based on Photos, Body Composition & Benchmarks !!!!

I am hopeful that the Body Composition and Benchmarking stats will at some stage be announced… and that the winners stats are amazing… but at the moment, it seems that as well as the stated selection criteria, there may be some other (undisclosed) factors at play…

Perhaps “judging” also takes into account the status of the club, and uses Training Camp as an opportunity to promote and raise the profile of certain clubs ??

Irrespective of winning…I am very happy with my own results… but it would be nice to be able to compare them with those of the winners… and it does leave a sour taste in my mouth wondering whether the judging is actually fair… or is the whole competition a bit of a farce ??… designed as a marketing tool rather than a proper competition based on the criteria they specified??

I guess 12RND Fitness can decide whoever they want to choose as winners – without having to justify it…. but if they plan to use their Training Camps as simply a marketing exercise, they probably shouldn’t pretend that Body Scan and Benchmark Data is taken into consideration.

Does it Really Matter ??

The more members and clubs that I talk to about this, the more I am realising how big an issue this really is… and that it may have been a problem for some time.

In asking around… it seems that there have been questions raised about the validity of winners for some of the past 12rnd Fitness 6 week challenges as well… with other participants in past challenges with amazing results (often apparently significantly better than the winners) not being recognised or rewarded. A number of people from a number of clubs that I have spoken to, have also expressed surprise and concerns over the selection of winners from past events.

I suppose that a win probably generates a bit of excitement at the “winning” clubs, it provides a marketing opportunity for them, and may even result in a short term boost to memberships… However, I suspect that if 12RND Fitness looked at the numbers, they would see a much more significant (and longer term) drop in motivation, participation, and probably memberships at many other clubs where Training Camp participants (who felt that they could/should have won) felt overlooked or ignored.

I know at some clubs there has been a drop in participation in challenges… (which I now realise may be because of this issue… from earlier Training Camps they had participated in…)

Fair or Farce ??

A Farce can be defined as “an empty or patently ridiculous event” and despite the fact that members can and have benefited individually as a result of the effort they put in during a 6 week challenge…. as a “competition” the 12RNDs Training Camp results could be considered farcical and certainly do not seem to be “fair” according to their own competition rules.

Future Training Camps ??

Unfortunately, I believe that many 12RND members seem to have lost confidence in the 12RND Training Camp judging process.

At the moment I personally, am disinclined to participate in future 12RND Fitness Training Camp “competitions”. However, if I do, it will be as a personal challenge, because the lack of transparency and questionable judging process means that “competing” for prizes and recognition is no longer a motivating factor.

Update : 17 October… It’s now 6 weeks since the last Training Camp, and 3 weeks since the “winners” were “announced”… 12RNDS have still not disclosed the winners Body Composition or Benchmark stats, but have been heavily promoting the //12 Training camp (commencing 25 October) and interestingly have declared the same judging criteria as previous challenges – i.e. :

An expert panel of judges will select a Male and Female Major Prize Winner at the end of the Training Camp based on their overall transformation, body composition changes and fitness benchmark improvements. An additional Male and Female Minor Prize Winner will be selected based on their Before and After visual transformation.

Lets hope that they actually do announce the results this time (but don’t hold your breath)….

Runner Up Winner Stats Announced

Finally, nearly 6 weeks after the completion of 11// Training Camp, 12RNDs started to announce the Body Composition and Benchmark Stats for the Minor Prize winners (which because of the unpublicised Competition Rule Change do apparently take these results into account… some good numbers, but unfortunately (for us), not as good as at least 2 entries I am aware of that weren’t considered because of an “administrative error” :(.

You would think that 12RNDS would be able to offer more than excuses and a private apology to those that missed out… but apparently not..

My Response…

Since hearing from the 12RNDS CEO, I have intentionally held off publishing my reaction for a few days. I wanted to see if they would step up to the plate to fix this issue, and also wanted to cool off a bit..

An Apology ??

I did eventually get an explanation and apology by phone and email from Michael Jordan, as did another member who had raised similar concerns of their own several weeks earlier.  Michael’s apology seemed sincere, he seemed to care,  and I do appreciate the effort… but a number of things in his explanation just didn’t ring true, and why did it take so long for them to respond in the first place ?  I am sure the 12RND CEO is sorry, but is he sorry for the situation, or sorry that this issue seems to getting such a high profile publicly ??

The Excuses

According to the 12RNDs CEO this is a highly unusual situation which occurred as a result of a number of issues :

  1. COVID resulted in lockdown of a number of Gyms (particularly in NSW and VIC)
    Some gyms which started the 6 week challenge went into lockdown so some participants were not able to complete their benchmarks or body composition scans.  We all understand that many gyms and their members are facing tough times at the moment and I think that everyone would agree that those affected by Lockdown should ideally not be negatively impacted, but : 
  2. They decided to “Change the Rules” part-way through (and not tell anyone)
    Apparently, part way through the 6 weeks 12RNDS Management decided to change the competition rules, so that the International Prize would ONLY be based on Before/After Photos and the runner up prize would be based on Photos/Body Composition Transformation/ Benchmarks.  It is not clear when these rules changed because although Michael assures me that participants were notified, I have not been able to find anything supporting this… each of the weekly Training Camp update emails (even the one for the final week 6) clearly state that the International Prize would be based on Photos/Body Transformation Stats/Benchmarks… Michael admitted that they realised this could be controversial, which I would have thought should make it even more important to keep people informed… perhaps the rules changed after the challenge was over, and they just hoped no one would notice ??. 
  3. Some submissions  “got lost” and were not considered, because of “administrative errors”
    Apparently some submissions (that were correctly submitted via the process defined by 12RNDs) were misplaced or overlooked and therefore did not make it through to the judging process… I was told that my submission was flagged as Spam (“possibly because it contained semi-naked before/after photos” – but didn’t everyones ??).  I know of at least one other application that went missing and they were told that this was due to an administrative error…  Who knows how many other applications didn’t make it to the judging at all ??  In both these cases Michael admitted that these applications were serious contenders for awards.  

The Outcomes ??

  1. Michael says that selection of The International Prize Winners by Before/After photos ONLY was a One Off caused by Lockdowns, and that past and future judging really will be based on Photos/Body Composition/Benchmarking as advertised (although what happens next time there are more lockdowns isn’t clear)
  2. 12RNDs will apparently review and change the submission process so that future submissions should not go missing again (but that doesn’t really help those who were overlooked in the past)   

I suggested that a fair option might be for any submissions which went missing because of the 12RNDs “administration error”, be included in the 12//Training Camp judging, however the CEO very quickly shut this down because it would “raise questions about their integrity”. This is an interesting response, because as far as I am concerned that is exactly what this whole issue is about…

Surely if “Integrity” was a concern, the right thing to do would be to ensure that all submitted entries were judged against the original (and heavily promoted) rules ???  They have refused to do this.

12RND decided to change the rules but did not communicate this.  When the results were questioned, they claimed that some submissions (which as it turned out would have been winning entries) had disappeared, so were not included in the judging process.  They also only responded/reacted to concerns, several weeks after the fact – once they realised that the issue was starting to become public.  12RNDs management don’t seem to be concerned about individual members or clubs suffering as a result of these issues, but they are concerned about the reputation of 12RNDs Fitness.

My Final Say ??

Despite my bad experience with the judging process of the 11// Training Camp, I would certainly encourage 12RND members to participate in future Training Camps  (and despite my experience, am still an advocate of it within our own club)… A 6 week challenges is a great way to motivate yourself,  and you can achieve great results… but don’t necessarily focus on “the prize” and ensure that you :

  • scrutinise the submission and judging process
  • get confirmation that your submission has been received
  • and if anything seems fishy… call them out about it  and complain… and don’t accept “Sorry, we messed up … Better luck next time” as their response !!!

I appreciate that 12RNDS have admitted their mistakes (privately), recognised that some members have been overlooked, and apologised. Obviously the CEO is more concerned about the reputation of 12RNDS than the experience of a couple of members, and I have to respect that, because that’s his job.

I didn’t write this post for recognition or reward, I simply hoped it would highlight an issue and result in it being fixed…. I believe that 12RND do recognise that they could and should have done better…  I hope they have taken positive steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and I (and others) will be keeping a very close watch in the future…

All in all a WIN for everyone (I hope) ?

Multi Speed Bag Training – What / Why / How ??

Multi Speed Bag Training – What / Why / How ??

Most people (even non-boxers) are familiar with, or at least aware, of Speed Bag (a.k.a Speed Ball) Training… It looks complicated, and pretty cool and there are a plethora of Youtube videos which feature different Speedbag techniques… However, there has been very little exposure or even awareness of the use of multiple speed bags as a training technique.

This post describes What Multi-Speed Ball Training is, Why it is such an effective training technique, and some things to consider when setting up a Multi Speedball Training Station.

About Speed Bags

Speed bags are small, air-filled bags anchored to a rebound platform (usually) parallel to the ground.

Striking a speed bag with rhythm requires focus, coordination, and speed and provides a pretty effective cardiovascular workout.

Working with a speed bag helps develop shoulder and arm muscles, and hone reflexes.

Fast-twitch muscles are developed by engaging in exercises that involve speed, explosiveness and short reaction time. Using a Speed Ball will not result in bulky muscles like a weightlifter, but will help develop powerful lean muscles like a swimmer. The speed bag encourages physical muscle development while training fighters to keep their hands up.

What is Multi-Speed Bag Training

Traditionally when using a Speed Bag, you would use a variety of different techniques and punch combinations on a single Speed Bag. Multi-Speed Bag Training involves the similar punch techniques across two or even more Speed bags at the same time… so rather than hitting a single bag, you use multiple speed bags.

The basic punch combinations are essentially the same, but because you have multiple targets there are significantly more punch combinations available and an effectively endless range of possibilities.

Why use a Speed Bag ?

Speed Ball Training has been a core part of a boxers training regime for a long, long time, the main benefits attributed to Speed Bag Training are :

  • Hand Eye Co-ordination – enhances the coordination between your eyes and hands, improving the speed and accuracy of your punches
  • Hands Up – trains you to always keep your hands up (with a Speed Bag you rarely have time to drop them)
  • Footwork – learn to shift weight between your feet. With a speed ball, you can practice footwork and quickness while training. Moving in rhythm with the ball will help mimic a boxing bought.
  • Timing – fundamental to Speed Ball techniques… if you don’t get the timing right you wont be able to hit the bag consistently or accurately
  • Hand Speed – “Speed” Bags are called that for a reason – it is NOT about Power, it is all about the speed, timing and accuracy of your punches
  • Accuracy – to achieve consistent results you MUST learn to punch accurately
  • Strength & Endurance – Simulating a boxing fight with a speed ball will improve your overall endurance so you can last longer in the ring. The last 30 seconds before the round finishes is the most important and improving your endurance will enhance your chances of getting more accurate punches in.
  • Fitness – Another benefit of training with a speed ball is the fitness and endurance workout. If you’re having a hard time enduring a long fight, use the speed ball to improve your overall endurance.

Why use more than one Speed Bag ?

Using multiple Speed Bags offers all the benefits listed above for more traditional Speed Bag Techniques, PLUS some significant EXTRA training advantages :

  • Peripheral Vision Training – traditionally the only way to improve peripheral vision in boxing has been through sparring. Sparring develops a whole lot of different skills in attack and defence but a sparring partner is not always available… and sparring training may not be practical. Multiple Speed Bag training enhances your response and reactions to peripheral vision triggers
  • Reflexes – by its very nature a Speed Bag requires good reflexes, with multiple balls you simply don’t have time to think and plan – you MUST learn to react reflexively
  • Improved Core – interacting with multiple targets requires a LOT more twisting and turning so your core gets a significant workout
  • Improved Footwork – you can not just rely on “reach” to get to your target… fast footwork and and footwork timing is a fundamental skill requirement for multi-speed ball training

Setting Up a Multi-Speedbag Training Station

The fundamental requirement in a Multi Speed Bag Station is accessibility. It is critical that all bags are accessible – within arms reach – although extra footwork is also usually required particularly for 3 (or more) bags… so the placement and mounting of bags is critical.

Other factors that must be considered when setting up a multiple speed bag station are :

  • Stability – it is VERY important that each bag is (independently) stable… any vibration or movement can affect the rebound capabilities and hence the speed
  • Height – are all bags setup at the same or different heights ? varying the height can add to the difficulty, but can also enhance the training experience (and fun)
  • Layout – a 2 bag layout us relatively straightforward, but a 3 (or more) bag layout becomes increasingly tricky to create and use
  • Bag Size / Type – Should you use the same bag type/size … or a mixture ? Different bags have different timing/rebound characteristics and even subtle changes can dramatically change the training experience… bag combinations make for harder, but also more interesting (and probably more effective) training.

Why I keep going back to 12RND Greenslopes

Why I keep going back to 12RND Greenslopes

I’ve been back at the Gym for 18 months now… and have written before about why I go to a 12RND Fitness gym… In summary the main reasons are

  • No Scary Machines
  • No Fixed Start Time
  • Quick Workout
  • High Intensity Training
  • MyZone
  • Variable Workout
  • My own Personal Trainer

… however I recently moved house, and am now living further away from my usual gym – 12RNDS Greenslopes… Despite the fact that there are MANY Gyms that are much closer and more convenient, and even 3 other 12RND Gyms that are closer (one of which I drive right past on the way to Greenslopes) … I find myself still going back to 12RNDS Greenslopes… Here are the reasons why :

Here is why I Love 12RNDS Greenslopes :

  • Convenient – even though it takes me 6 minutes longer to drive… it is still convenient, and the extra time makes very little difference
  • Parking – Plenty of free parking – it is rare that I need to park more than 15 metres from the front door of the gym
  • Space – 12RNDS Greenslopes is one of the largest gyms (in terms of floor space) in the franchise.. There is plenty off space for each round, and in fact, Greenslopes is certified to allow 2 people per station, so great tpo train with a buddy… or you can double up at peak times. Some franchises can only have 1person per station, and some of the smaller ones cannot even cope with 12 people training at once.
  • Opening Hours – 12RND Greenslopes has longer opening hours than most other 12RND gyms (they are open 0500 to 1000 and 1500-2000 most days), and regularly review and update opening hours to suit their members… they are considering extending these opening times by offering lunchtime sessions a couple of times a week, and are even looking at options for 24×7 access
  • Not too Crowded – because of the long opening hours, it is reasonably easy to find a time that it is not crazy busy… although (I believe) 0530 to 0630 (AM and PM) most days CAN get very busy, most other times are reasonably quiet
  • Shopping – because there is a Coles right upstairs, it is convenient to do my grocery shopping after a workout… and because I am usually tired and with a “health” mentality, I tend not to buy too much of the wrong food
  • Community – even though I tend not to “chat” to much during a workout (If I have breath enough to chat I am not training hard enough 🙂), over time, you do get to know other members and there are a variety of non-training and out-of-gym activities to get involved in
  • Experiences Trainers – the Owner and the Head Trainer have backgrounds in a mixture of “fight” disciplines (including Judo, Muay Thai & Kick Boxing at representative and professional levels), so have a wealth of “real life” experience and can offer better tips and advice than the “average” personal trainer.

I am definitely a BIG fan of 12RND Fitness as it is a perfect fit for my lifestyle and the type of exercise regime I need.

22 Months Update

22 Months Update

22 months since my gastric Bypass Operation – and my weight has finally started to level out.

At the moment it has been as low as 80KG, but is currently stabilised at around 82KG… which is remarkable because when I first started this journey I had “hoped” that I would get down to 95KG 🙂

I am still considered “Overweight” by the BMI scale… my “ideal weight being under 73Kg – apparently … but BMI does not take into account muscle mass… which I have increased significantly. (note: most 1st grade NRL players are also considered Overweight according to their BMI).

The graph below shows my weigh loss journey since a Gastric Bypass operation in September 2018.

Whilst my weight seems to have stabilised, I am not actually eating particularly well…. Certainly the quantities I am eating are significantly less (I still can’t physically manage a large meal without feeling uncomfortable), but am confident, (if I start eating healthier”), that I could probably drop another 5Kg. Not sure if I can be bothered at the moment… but would be interesting to see if I can get down closer to my “normal” BMI weight range

In the last 22 months I have :

  • Lost over 50Kg in weight
  • Been off ALL Diabetes medication (since the day of the operation) and have been officially Diabetes Free for more than 10 months
  • Continued going to Gym (except for the Coronavirus restrictions), and are currently going 5 or 6 times a week
  • Never Felt Better !!!

My Myzone Musings

My Myzone Musings

I have now been going to the gym (12Rnds Fitness) for a little over 1 year… (and have posted previously about my exercise obsession “passion”). I have been using a Myzone Heart Rate Monitor for nearly 6 months and (remarkably) for the last few months have been “topping” the Myzone Table for our local Gym, and am (for now) even Top 10 nationally (currently #2) across more than 2,600 participants. 🙂

However, I have recently started to notice some oddities in our local gym results…. some members have, all of a sudden, started getting amazing Myzone (MEP) scores for their workouts… which seemed odd. Some of the national figures also seemed a bit iffy (with some members getting scary big MEP scores consistently, day in, day out).

This prompted me to do a bit of research into how Myzone actually works… here is what I discovered 🙂

What is Myzone

Myzone is a heart rate monitoring system used by many fitness clubs that uses wireless and cloud technology to monitor physical activity.

It involves members wearing a heart rate monitor (on an elasticised strap around the chest) during their exercise sessions. It can be worn in the gym, (tracked by a monitoring device in the gym), or externally (either recorded on the device itself or tracked via a smart phone).

The device records heart rate over time, and the Myzone system generates a LIVE view of your heart rate on a gym-based monitor (as a color-coded, easy-to-read “tile”) as well as recording it against your account.

Myzone Tile

How does Myzone Work

When you purchase a Myzone device and create an account, your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is automatically determined (based on your age)… The MHR represents a heart rate that is considered to be the Maximum Heart rate you should be able to (safely) achieve with exercise. The MHR is used as the basis for the calculation of MEPs.

MEPs is an acronym for MYZONE Effort Points, and it’s the metric by which everything is measured in the myzone system. MEPs are earned by exercising in your target heart rate zones over a period of time. The more effort you put into each of your workouts, the more MEPs you earn!

There are 5 different Heart Rate Zones (based on your heart rate as a percentage of your MHR)… and each zone contributes a certain amount to your total MEP score.

  • Grey = 50-59% – Earns 1 MEP/minute
  • Blue = 60-69% – Earns 2 MEPs/minute
  • Green = 70-79% – Earns 3 MEPs/minute
  • Yellow = 80-89% – Earns 4 MEPs/minute
  • Red = 90-100% – Earns 4 MEPs/minute

…so if you exercise for 45 minutes with 10 minutes each in the Blue, Green and Yellow heart rate zones and 5 in the Red, you would earn 110 MEPS (10*2 + 10*3 +10*4+ 5*4 = 110)

Under normal circumstances, if you start to regularly hit 100%, then your MHR is automatically adjusted UP by the Myzone system. However, it is possible to also CAP an MHR so it does not increase above a specified level (although I am unsure under which circumstances this is set).

You are unable to adjust your own MHR, but your Gym owner, or Myzone support can do it.

Myzone can be a great Motivator

One of the primary goals of Myzone is to encourage you to pay attention to your workouts – with the aim of motivating you to work a bit harder… or a bit smarter… to achieve your fitness goals…. and it can do this VERY effectively…

It’s amazing how often you find yourself pushing a little harder to reach a different level… or training a little longer to get to a particular MEP or Calorie target… or finding that extra energy to push you to achieve your MEP goals.

The leaderboard can also be a great motivator…

  • striving for Top 10
  • or working hard to be #1
  • or pushing a bit harder to beat someone else’s score
  • or even just trying to improve your own score

If you are getting good MEP scores, or doing well in the leaderboard, or seeing your fitness levels increase with the extra effort you’ve been putting in, Myzone can be a fantastic motivator….. but… when things aren’t going “right”, Myzone can also be a powerful de-motivator…

Myzone can be a great De-motivator

I have noticed some members training REALLY hard but still struggling to reach RED or sometimes even YELLOW Heart Rate zones… but other members seem to be able to achieve very high scores (even hitting 100% for most of their workout) with seemingly relatively little effort.

I realised that it was pretty simple to “reverse engineer” the Maximum Heart Rate and Zone (%) readings on an individuals Myzone tile… and pretty accurately determine their MHR and “Excercise Age” (I plan to do another more technical post with more information about this).

HIGH MEPs

I was stunned to discover that some people (often hitting 100% multiple times within a single session) had a MHR of just 160 or less (an effective “Age” of 80 years old)… and one even had a MHR of 120 (an exercise Age of 142)… This would have been very impressive if they actually were that old… but I really don’t think they were.

I also realised that for some, their MHR did not seem to be changing over time (as it should – to reflect regularly reaching 100% effort). The average person would only be getting a BLUE or GREEN level for that type of HR.. These people seem to have their MHR Capped…so were getting significantly higher MEPS for each workout – and an unfair advantage for the Leaderboard.

These people are often quite motivated (and are sometimes training pretty hard) because they are seeing great Myzone scores… but their scores are a great de-motivator to everyone else who simply can’t compete because of the unfair advantage.

I would like to see the MHR Cap removed for these people (unless there is a specific medical reason) and their MHR reset to more closely relate to their actual age… then let the Myzone system do its thing and adjust accordingly.

LOW SCORES

I had also noticed some people training hard who really struggle to get into the red zone (if they can get there at all). These people mostly seem to have reasonably accurate MHR and Age levels (i.e. close to their actual age), but they find it VERY difficult to get decent MEP scores and almost impossible to show up on the top 20 leaderboard ..despite the effort they put in… This is pretty de-motivating for most of them.. there is little added incentive to work harder.

I would like to see the MHR of these people adjusted down to a level where they are consistently able to reach the red zone (at least once per session).

Myzone HEROES

I also noticed that a few people in the Leaderboard had VERY HIGH MHRs (some as high as 200 – an effective training Age of just 17). These people, through training VERY hard, are still able to achieve decent HR levels and good MEP scores. There MHR has most likely been automatically adjusted up over time by the Myzone system.

As far as I am concerned, these are the real heroes of the gym and although they are clearly motivated… probably deserve more recognition.

My Suggested Resolutions

As a lowly gym junky, I clearly have no actual say in how this works… but as far as I am concerned Myzone and the gyms should be doing whatever they can to “level the playing field” so that as much as possible everyone has the same chance to get decent MEPs. I would suggest :

  • Ensure that all MHR CAPS are removed (unless there is a specific medical reason) – allowing the Myzone automated MHR Upgrade system to work properly – this will reduce the chance of any unfair advantage caused by Low MHRs
  • Introduce an automated MHR Downgrade process… so that the MHR is automatically reduced for accounts that have not (say) reached the Red zone in the last 5 sessions – this will help reduce the chance of people working hard but getting little reward
  • Have a mechanism to flag for manual review (by either Myzone or the Gym owner) accounts where the Myzone Age (calculated from MHR) is significantly different to the actual age….. Those with a much higher Myzone Age are probably getting an unfair advantage… those with a significantly lower Myzone Age may deserve a pat on the back.

O.M.G… What a Difference a Bowl of Muesli Makes !!!

O.M.G… What a Difference a Bowl of Muesli Makes !!!

You might assume from the title that this post is about food… You’d only be partially correct, as it is mostly about Exercise – and a bit about Nutrition

I’ve been going to the gym (see Why I Love 12rnd Fitness) for almost a year now… and for the most part do morning workouts… usually before I have had anything to eat or drink… This has been going pretty well, but recently I have started to do a few more (extra) Lunchtime and Evening sessions.

I have noticed that I seem to have more energy in the training sessions I do later in the day… I can train harder and longer without feeling so exhausted…

This Mornings Training Session

This mornings session in particular was tough. I found it difficult to raise my heart rate into yellow (80-90%) on my Myzone Heart Rate Monitor, and only managed an hour and 145 MEPS – my “worst” session for months….. (see workout graph below) :

I have been pushing it pretty hard at the moment because of a Myzone 6 Week Challenge (shockingly, I am currently ranked #1 in Australia – out of more than 2,500 12Rounders)… and I did 10 sessions last week, and a double session yesterday, so it is probably not surprising that I am feeling a bit “flat”… However, I wondered if maybe food was a part of the issue, so decided to go home … have something to eat… and try again at lunchtime…

After a Bowl of Muesli..

So.. I went home, had a bowl of Bircher Muesli (and a couple of pots of tea), did a couple of hours work (sitting in front of the computer)… and went back to 12rnds for a Lunchtime training session.

Oh.. My.. God… What a difference it made !!!

The Lunchtime session felt SO much better…I was almost immediately (in my warmup) able to get into the yellow zone (80-90%) and managed to sustain it (or higher) for most of the workout – giving me a 270 MEP, 80+ minute workout. 🙂

Workout Nutrition ??

The above should probably not have come as a great surprise to me, but I had not really thought about it much before…Apparently if you work out first thing in the morning before eating breakfast (what’s known as a fasted cardio state) it is believed to help with weight loss. However, working out after eating may give you more energy and improve your performance.

Looks like I need to do some more research (watch this space)… but in the interim, I think I will start having a small meal/snack at least 1/2hr before my workout… and see how it goes.

Why I keep going back to 12RND Greenslopes

Why I Love 12RND Fitness

My Obsession Passion for Exercise has gone a long way to helping me through the process of losing weight and getting fit… and to a large extent, I attribute my new found interest in exercise to 12RND Fitness

12RND Fitness is an Australian based Gym Franchise, founded by Tim West and Danny Green in 2014. It is based around a “circuit” oriented exercise “system”, focused around boxer fitness training techniques.

A 12RND workout session is designed to be like a 12-round championship fight – 12 x 3 minute rounds with 30 seconds rest in between. That’s 36 minutes of total training time at high-intensity with structured breaks in between.

Each round, includes two movements (which change daily) that involve either punching combos on a bag, bodyweight exercises (sometimes with dumbbells, medicine balls, or sand bags) and/or functional fitness movements. 

Here are some of the things I LOVE about 12RNDS :

  • No Scary Machines – some rounds may include a simple exercise machine (Rower, Ski erg, Cycle), but there are NO treadmills in sight and definitely no scary exercise machines (with more cables, weights, pulleys and levers that you know what to do with). Most exercises are bodyweight based. I’ve done machine based gyms before and are OK with them… but have been surprised how many people feel overwhelmed and put off by all the scary technical exercise machines at the typical gym.
  • No Fixed Start Time – 12RNDS are not 24×7 Gyms, and they only open certain hours of the day (times vary depending on location)… but you don’t have to turn up at a particular time for the start of a “class” or session. You can arrive whenever you want and start your session at a time that suits you.
  • Quick Workout – a “full” 12RND Session of 24 different exercises takes less than 45 minutes, but you can easily do fewer rounds if you are pushed for time (or more if you want a longer workout)
  • High Intensity Training – Each of the 12 rounds includes 2 different exercises, and typically at least one of the exercises in each round is based around High Intensity Training.
  • MyZone – 12RNDS supports the MyZone Heart Rate Monitoring System… this is a fantastic way to measure and monitor your activity level – providing feedback on how you are doing, and motivating you to push a little harder.
  • Variable Workout – The exercises that make up each of the 12 rounds change EVERY day… so you are not “stuck” doing the same boring exercises over and over. Every day/workout brings a new set of exercises (and a whole news set or sore muscles – in a “good” way).
  • Flexible – You don’t have to do the assigned exercises at each round… you can choose your own alternative exercise -e.g. if you need to go easy on a particular exercise, or are working on a specific muscle group… or if you just don’t like it… You can also do fewer, or more rounds if you choose… When I first started I could only manage 6 rounds.. but these days I often do 16 or more…
  • Not Cheap – 12RNDS membership is cheaper than comparable gyms, but it is more expensive than some of the 24×7 gym franchises… I think that paying a bit more is actually a bonus. It is a great motivator… because I damn well want to get my moneys worth (and I really do… I typically do 6-9 sessions a week, costing me less than $5 per session).
    I know too may people with “cheap” or even free gym memberships who just don’t value it, and go weeks or even months between workouts.
  • My own Personal Trainer (for free) – at 12RNDS there is ALWAYS at least 1 personal trainer on hand (and sometimes 2 or 3 at busier session times). They will :
    • explain any exercises you are not familiar with…
    • point out any “technique” issues you may have…
      and (most importantly)
    • encourage you to work harder – at least once per workout (and sometimes 2 or 3 times) a trainer will tap you on the shoulder and coax you through a quick (but often Very High Intensity) sparring, padwork or HIIT session – pushing you way harder than you can yourself, and reminding you of your capabilities 🙂

I am definitely a BIG fan of 12RND Fitness as it is a perfect fit for my lifestyle and the type of exercise regime I need.

Iron Infusion – A Burst of Energy ??

Iron Infusion – A Burst of Energy ??

My Gastric Bypass surgery has been a spectacular success…

  • I have lost more than 45Kg (over 62 weeks) – am still losing weight
  • I am now Non-Diabetic – My blood sugar (Hb1ac) levels are normal and I have had no diabetes medications since the day after surgery… in fact pretty much the ONLY “medication” I have had since surgery has been multivitamins
  • My Liver function is perfect
  • Almost all my Blood tests are normal (or better than normal)

Iron Deficiency & Anemia

The ONLY medial issue I have at the moment is low Iron levels (apparently) – which is actually a very common outcome following Bariatric surgery.

I have been taking Iron supplements (daily Maltofer tablets) however, because of the bypass surgery, it is not being properly absorbed.

Iron deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t have enough of the mineral iron. This leads to abnormally low levels of red blood cells (because iron is needed to make hemoglobin – a protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen around the body). If your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin, your tissues and muscles won’t get enough oxygen and be able to work effectively.

Iron deficiency can therefore lead to anemia.

Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency vary depending on the severity of the anemia, how quickly it develops, your age and current state of health. In some cases, people experience no symptoms.

Iron Deficiency Symptoms

Here are some signs and symptoms of iron deficiency, starting with the most common.

  • Unusual Tiredness – Fatigue is one of the most common signs of iron deficiency. This is due to less oxygen reaching body tissues, depriving them of energy.
  • Paleness in general or in specific areas such as the face, lower inner eyelid or nails may be a sign of moderate or severe iron deficiency. This is caused by lower levels of hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color.
  • Shortness of breath is a symptom of iron deficiency, since low hemoglobin levels mean the body isn’t able to transport oxygen to muscles and tissues effectively.
  • Headaches and dizziness could be a sign of iron deficiency. The lack of hemoglobin means not enough oxygen reaches the brain, causing its blood vessels to swell and create pressure.
  • Heart Palpitations – In cases of iron deficiency, the heart has to work extra hard to transport oxygen around the body. This can lead to irregular or fast heartbeats and even heart murmurs, an enlarged heart or heart failure.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome – People with iron-deficiency anemia have a higher chance of experiencing restless leg syndrome. This is a strong urge to move the legs when at rest.

I am not really suffering from any of these symptons (that I am aware of), but my blood analysis, IS showing low iron levels.

Iron Deficiency Causes

Some of the common causes of iron deficiency in adults include:

  • Inadequate dietary intake – there are two types of dietary iron, haem iron (found in animal tissue) and non-haem iron. The body absorbs haem iron much more easily than non-haem iron. There are many reasons why the dietary intake of iron could be inadequate, including a poorly balanced vegetarian diet, chronic fad dieting or limited access to a wide range of fresh foods – for example, as a result of living in remote areas or having a low income.
  • Blood loss – iron deficiency easily occurs in situations of chronic blood loss. Common causes include heavy menstrual periods, regular blood donation, regular nosebleeds, chronic disorders that involve bleeding (such as peptic ulcers, polyps or cancers in the large intestine) and certain medications, particularly aspirin.
  • Increased need – the adolescent growth spurt, pregnancy and breastfeeding are situations when the body requires more iron. If this increased need isn’t met, a deficiency can quickly occur.
  • Exercise – athletes are prone to iron deficiency because regular exercise increases the body’s need for iron in a number of ways. For example, hard training promotes red blood cell production, while iron is lost through sweating.
  • Inability to absorb iron – healthy adults absorb about ten to 15 per cent of dietary iron, but some people’s bodies are unable to absorb or use iron from food.

For me absorption is likely to be the main issue (this is fairly common in Gastric Bypass Surgery)… but the exercise element may also play a part as I am doing quite a lot of gym sessions… (6 or 7 one hour sessions a week at the moment – plus fairly regular 5 or 10km walks)

Iron Deficiency Treatments

The main aim of treatment is to restore hemoglobin levels to normal and replenish iron stores. The most common treatments are to increase dietary intake of Iron rich foods, and Iron supplements

Eat Iron-Rich Foods

If your doctor thinks your iron deficiency may be caused by a lack of iron in your diet, consuming more iron-rich foods, such as the following may help :

  • Red meat, pork and poultry
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
  • Peas, beans and other pulses
  • Seafood
  • Iron-fortified foods
  • Seeds and nuts

Boost Your Iron Absorption

Eating vitamin C will help your body absorb iron better, so eating enough vitamin C-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables can help with absorption.

It may also be beneficial to avoid certain foods that can inhibit iron absorption when eaten in large amounts. These include tea and coffee and foods high in calcium such as dairy products and whole-grain cereals.

Iron Supplements

If increasing iron levels through diet alone is not working, then it may be necessary to take iron supplements – which sometimes may have unpleasant side effects such as stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, nausea and black stools. .

Iron Infusion

As I have pretty much tried (and failed at) the above treatments – primarily because the Gastric Bypass operation restricts the absorption of Iron, my next course of action is an Iron Infusion

Iron infusion is a procedure in which iron is delivered to your body intravenously (i.e. into a vein through a needle).

An iron infusion is a way to increase the body’s iron levels quickly. It’s a more immediate treatment than supplements or dietary changes.

Burst of Energy ??

Apparently, Iron Infusion will give me a Burst of Energy… which is pretty hard for me to imagine because I don’t at the moment feel lacking in energy (6 or 7 gym sessions a week doesn’t say “low energy” to me…) but I am very curious to see the outcomes 🙂

Oh Dear… I have Been Dumped !! … Again

Oh Dear… I have Been Dumped !! … Again

Despite being the fittest, healthiest and skinniest I have been for more than 30 years… and in fact, quite probably because of it, I have been dumped multiple times in the last few months !!!

I have had several people, who have played an important part in my life over the last few years, who have decided that our relationship is no longer necessary and that they no longer want to see me on a regular basis !!!

But it is not actually a bad thing… in fact it is a very good thing.. because it is my medical specialists who are “dumping” me in droves…. They have determined that because my health has improved so dramatically over the last 12 months, that there is no longer any reason to see me on a regular basis… and that just an occasional catch up (if that) will do fine.

Endocrinologist

As I have been completely Diabetes medication free for over 12 months (since the day after surgery), and my Blood sugar is well within the “normal” range, my Endocrinologist has declared me “Diabetes Free” and told me not to come back…

Liver Specialist

My Liver specialist says that despite permanent scarring (from Cirrhosis), my Liver is functioning beautifully and my blood data is giving no indication of liver problems at all. She suggests that I touch base in 6 months or so.

Bariatric Surgeon

My Surgeon and Dietician are VERY happy with the outcome of my surgery (62 weeks ago) – and so am I… I weigh nearly 10Kg less than I once thought possible and am still losing weight…. I will catch up with them in another 6 months or so too.

General Practioner

Even my GP is not in any hurry to see me again 🙂

My Gym Trainer/s

The only relationship which I am still fostering is with my trainers at the gym…:) … but even that might be on a downward trend, as I have determined that my Passion for Excercise (NOT an Obsession – I promise) maybe just a little excessive and am considering reducing my 6 or 7 workouts a week (although I am tempted to start swimming as well).

Perhaps I should consider establishing a NEW relationship…. with a Plastic Surgeon…. for an Abdominoplasty – Joking !!! (at the moment) ….