Thursday, 6 December 2012

DTP training

Monday the 3rd of December was the day that the gym team put themselves through a hardcore training regime. DTP (Dramatic Transformational Protocol) was founded by Kris Gethin who is an ex weight-trainer, and a well respected health and fitness professional from America. He designed the programme as he was getting far too many injuries from lifting heavy weights in the 6-8 rep range. The programme is based on a pyramid system with lots of volume and lots of reps. The basis of DTP is to start of with 50 reps and work your way back down in multiples of 10, to 10 reps (50,40,30,20,10). That is only half the battle, once you have done that you start the process again, this time starting at 10 reps and working your way back up to 50 reps. The science behind this is to work all 3 different muscle fibres. In all of us we have type 1 fibres, type 2a fibres and type 2b fibres. They all have different properties Your type 1 fibres are your endurance fibres, they are resistant to fatigue and are needed for endurance events such as long distance running. These fibres really do not get much training in the weights room, but with this system they are put under extreme amounts of tension and pressure which your body is not used to, and the only way it will respond to this is to adapt and grow. Type 2a fibres and type 2b fibres are used most of the time during your weights sessions.

Now for our DTP session we picked the hardest muscle group - Legs. Squats are normally hard work but when you are doing around 300 reps, things become a little bit harder! The first 50 are used as a warm up set. This high amount of reps promotes the flow of synovial fluid to your joints, opens up neuromuscular pathways, gets more blood to your muscles, and activates nerve endings to get those motor-neurons firing for proper muscle-fiber contraction. As the weight goes up you take longer rest periods and believe me you will need it! As we worked our way down to 10 reps everyone was feeling it and working back up to 50 reps was twice as hard. As you start working your way back up, fatigue really starts to kick in and your type 1 fibres will be firing. Once we finished the second set of 50 everyone was completed knackered. Joe collasped to the floor, whereas Oli 'The Machine' Martin looked like he could do another 50.

That was not the end of the workout as we shifted the attention to our calves. We paired off, Joe and Dan (who by the way did not do the squats poor show!) were on the rack doing calf raises, and Oli and Paddy on the leg press doing calf presses. As we started the torture once more, the calves are a much more smaller muscle group and contain more type 1 fibres but again you will feel them by the time you have finished. By the end of the calf workout we were all struggling to walk around the gym, and rumors were circulating that paddy even shed a few tears! It was an emotional workout! Now you may be thinking that high reps do not build muscle and that you have to lift heavy weights all of the time, this is not true. You will definately build muscle with DTP and more importantly, you'll build muscle density. Give DTP a go if you are unsure ask any of the gym team for advice on the programme and what you can expect out of it. Its extremely hard work, but it will bring you results.

Good luck!


Monday, 19 November 2012

The Meat and Nut Breakfast

A breakfast that is currently growing in popluarity at the moment is the meat and nut breakfast. I myself have followed this breakfast plan and have noticed increased mental focus and increased energy levels throughout the day. The meat allows for a slow steady rise in blood sugar. The nuts provide a great source of healthy 'smart' fats that allow the blood sugar levels to remain stable for an extended period of time.

The main benefits of this diet include:

  • High mental alertness
  • Better decision making throughout the day related to food choices
  • Increased protein synthesis
  • Decrease food allergies
  • Higher energy
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity
  • Feeling full for longer therefore less cravings
  • Reduced body fat levels
  • Increased muscle tone
Sample 5 day menu:

Day 1

1 -2 Chicken Breasts
Handful of Almonds

Day 2

1 Large Steak
Handful of Brazil Nuts

Day 3

2 lean ground beed Burgers
Handful of Cashew nuts

Day 4

1 - 2 Turkey Breasts
Handful of Hazelnuts

Day 5

1 - 2 Salmon Fillets
Handful of Macadamia nuts


Thursday, 1 November 2012

German Volume Training

If you are bored of the same old weight training routines and you are stuck in a rut, why not try German Volume training (GVT)? GVT is also known as the 100-rep method. You pick one body part and you do 10 sets of 10 reps on that exercise (100 reps). There are a few rules to follow:

  • Lift at 50 - 60% of your one rep max
  • Rest times should be a strict 60 seconds between sets
  • Stick to the 3 workouts and make sure you're getting enough rest between workouts

Sample routine:

Workout 1 Legs and Abs

Barbell Squat 10 sets of 10 reps

Weighted Cable Crunch 10 sets of 10 reps

Leg Extension 3 sets of 12 reps

Hanging Leg Raise 3 sets of 12 reps

Workout 2 Chest and Back

Incline Dumbell Press 10 sets of 10 reps

Lat Pulldown 10 sets of 10 reps

Cable Flys 3 sets of 15 reps

Seated Cable Rows 3 sets of 12 reps

Workout 3 Shoulders and Arms

Dumbell Shoulder Press 10 sets of 10 reps

Incline Dumbell Curl 10 sets of 10 reps

Lateral Raises 3 sets of 12 reps

Hammer Curls 3 sets of 12 reps


The last two exercises only include 3 sets. These are known as assistance exercises. They allow you to target the muscles you have been working but with a slightly different move. This should finish each muscle group off nicely!

Joe - TSC gym team.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Richard Gofton's 40km Challenge

A big congratulations to one of our regular members Richard Gofton, who completed his 40 Kilometre challange on saturday the 20th of October. This challenge consisted of a 10km run, 10km row, 10km on the cross-country ski machine and 10km on the bike. The last time I spoke to Richard he had raised over a £1000 pounds for the British Heart Foundation.

Richard works full time and is a family man. This just goes to show that although we think we don't have enough time to exercise, Richard managed to fit in long training sessions amongst all his other commitments.

Above, working hard on the rowing machine (but still with a smile on his face) and below, hitting the crosstrainer.

Well done Richard! Maybe 80km next year!!!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Athletics Australia at TSC

As you may have noticed we have had some very special visitors over the course of the last month here at TSC.

 In the build up to the Olympic Games in London, Athletics Australia has been using the facilities at Tonbridge School and in particular at the School Centre as a training base prior to heading to the Olympic Village.

The Centre has been transformed in recent Months to ensure the Australians were afforded the best possible surroundings in which to both train and relax ahead of the big event and this is something our Members will all hopefully benefit from following the departure of the team on the 6th of August.
One major development has been the installation of an Ice Bath Room. Ice baths are used to aid recovery following a training session. In very simple terms the exposure to very cold water causes blood to exit the muscles and move closer to the body's major organs in order to prevent the body's core temperature from dropping. Once the athlete exits the bath, a flood of highly oxygenated blood rushes back into the tired muscles and boosts their recovery. Chances are you won't like getting in much but the benefits are untold.

The track and field area has seen some changes too. The Long Jump pit has been extended to accommodate Long Jumper Mitchell Watts' run up and 8.54M PB (!) and the track has seen the addition of a special 50M 'tailwind lane' running at right angles to the home and back straights to allow Hurdler Sally Pearson to practise hurdle and starting drills with the wind at her back.

Sally, reigning 100M Hurdles Champion was the first to arrive along with her Coach Sharon Hannan. Sally had arrived ahead of the rest of the team by special arrangement and immediately began her preparation on both the TSC Track and in a purpose-built Gym supplied by Technogym Uk and ESP, and overseen by Oli Martin-the Centre's Health and Fitness Manager.

Sally Pearson Practicing her starts along the new 'tailwind' lane at the TSC track.
There was enormous anticipation amongst both Staff and Members surrounding the Team's arrival and with it being just herself, Sharon, her two training partners and her husband Kieren it must have been quite daunting for Sally during those first 2 weeks. Despite the numerous onlookers, she went about her training regime with a quiet focus that really set her apart, whilst all the time remaining cheerful and happily posing for photographs with Member's and their children when the opportunity arose.

It was fascinating to see a top-flight athlete in action at close quarters. Most of her work took place along the 'tailwind' strip and consisted of starts, plyometrics and hurdle work with her recovery time spent in either the ice baths, physio room or swimming pool. Spectators assembled in the Bar and Cafe areas of the Centre and could enjoy watching these sessions from a well positioned but discreet vantage point. Needless to say, athletics fan or not, the athletic ability of Mrs Pearson was something everyone could appreciate.

From the 15th July, the rest of the AA Team began to arrive at the School and immediately came to inspect their new surroundings. First to arrive were Andrew MCcabe and Tim Leathart of the 4x100 Men's Team and both were delighted with what they found in terms of the Gym, Track and Recovery Facilities and set about a light session to get over the flight almost straight away.

Throughout that week the number of Athletes continued to grow, as did the crowds assembling to watch and meet them. The AA throwers, sprinters and jumpers were prominent figures and could been seen training in the gym most days. As with Sally, all of these new arrivals were superb with the Members and their families, signing autographs and posing for photos as well as taking part in pre-arranged 'Meet the Athletes' sessions for local Primary and Secondary Schools along with their Team Mates.

Members and Locals line the TSC balconies whilst the Aussies go about their business below.
In the Gym, myself and the rest of the Fitness Team had unprecedented access to the Athletes workouts. The diversity and specificity was quite eye-opening and it was reassuring to see a lot of the exercises and techniques we use here at TSC were present in the workouts of world-class sports men and women.

Core work was prominent in all sessions as were the basic lifts such as squatting and bench pressing.

Kim Mickle, Steve Solomon and Kathryn Mitchell train in the 'Aussie Gym' at TSC

There was, of course, an awful lot that was new to us as well. 'Olympic' lifts such as the 'Clean' and 'Snatch' play a huge part in the training of most of the athletes across a number of disciplines but the emphasis is firmly on technique and fluency of movement-which in turn leads to some very impressive weights being thrown overhead!

Whilst these exercises can be taught at TSC, the small proximity of the Gym space does not always allow for these to be practised safely. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a lifting technique session with discus coaches Gus and Ken and a full report of this will be posted shortly.

Javelin Pullovers - Not for beginners!

Soon enough it was the opening ceremony and our guests were preparing to move into the Olympic Village. Slowly but surely they departed and we now look forward to watching their progress in the Games. Thank-you to all the athletes for choosing to train here with us ahead of such an important part of your sporting careers and for making the London Olympics even more special for everyone at Tonbridge School- we wish you all the very best of luck!!!

Patrick Latter - Gym Instructor at TSC

Athletics Australia Team at Tonbridge School

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Overhead press for good abs

In 1972 the clean and press was removed from the olympics due to some competitors using excessive back bend to assist the movement. Now we see the clean and jerk and snatch. Two fantastically impressive lifts to watch. When the overhead press was removed from the olympics, its popularity started to drop. Instead, people started to use the bench press. This move however is fantastic for not only improving strength in the shoulder muscles and triceps, but done with the correct technique, has a great affect on the core muscles.

On this exercise it's important to to draw your abs in tight (pull your belly button into your spine). You can also squeeze your glutes to support your back. As the reps increase and the weight feels tougher, its important that you focus on this even more to avoid any back bend. Remember, one of the main functions of the core is to support the spine. There is a lot more support going on in a tough overhead press, than simply doing crunches on the floor.

Make sure you substitute the old fashioned back bend shown above, with strict pressing above the head as shown below!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Quick workout ideas for when you really only have 10 minutes to train

N.B. Always ensure to warm up properly for 5 minutes minimun before commencing any exercise.

1.       High intensity cardio intervals

These will only work if you really give them 100% effort on every single work phase. The easiest way to ensure this is to make sure the first one you do is at 100% maximum effort and then try to hit the same distance/speed/level/equivalent on every single attempt. The intervals can be completed on any suitable piece of equipment bike/rower/garden(sprints) but make sure it revolves around short high intensity intervals and the technique must be perfect don’t put joints/muscles at risk when working at such a high intensity.

~30 seconds of Maximum 100% Work Output Vs. ~30 seconds complete rest x 10 Reps

2.       Short Full Body Circuits

These need to be completed again with perfect technique and obviously as working for a short period of time the weight/speed/exercises you use needs to challenge you throughout if you don’t feel really challenged come the last rep and your technique is perfect you need more weight or a harder exercise if so let the gym staff know.

Weighted Circuit x 3 Reps
(Each round should take no more than 3.5mins)

Dumbbell Squat/Curl/Press
15 total
Fast Star Jumps
30 total
Dumbbell Lung/Press
15 per leg
Slow Rotating Mountain Climbers
30 total

Bodyweight circuit x 3 Reps
(Each round should take no more than 3.5mins)

Warrior Jumps
15 total
Press Ups
15 total
Walking Lung
15 per leg
30 total

For more help/motivation with your goals please speak to or email
Daniel Byrne:
Tonbridge School Centre Personal Trainer

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Better Breakfasts

We all know the saying - "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". Although this is the case, what we eat for breakfast can determine its effectiveness. Eating the wrong foods can be just as detrimental as skipping it.

When we 'break the fast', we up our energy levels and get the metabolism revved up for the day. If we choose the right foods, we can get our blood sugar levels on a steady track. If kept balanced (not too many spikes or dips), this will lead to a day filled with better food choices, more energy and generally less calories eaten over the course of the day.

The most popular breakfast for the majority of UK familes is cereal. This is quick and easy. Although cereals are often claimed to be healthy, some really aren't. The majority are high in sugar and salt. The box often states that they have added vitamins and minerals. Often because they lack any in the first place. Many cereals are the equivalent to eating a dessert for breakfast due to their sugar content. Based on the study by Which Magazine, the Going against the grain report showed some of the worst offenders:

  • Kellogs Special K - 99% fat free but it has the sugar equivalent to a bowl of Tesco's Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake ice cream.
  • Nestle's Golden Grahams  - This has the same amount of salt as a 50gram packet of salted peanuts
  • Asda's Good For You Fruit Muesli - Contains man-made trans fats (not so good!)


A big problem with a cereal only breakfast is not only the high sugar content, but the lack of protein. A study in the International Journal Of Obesity, split young students whole routinely skipped breakfast into 3 groups:

  1. Group one skipped breakfast as normal
  2. Group two ate a normal protein but high carb/sugar breakfast
  3. Group three ate a high protein breakfast
The interesting outcome of the study was that the group that ate the high carb breakfast ate the same overall daily calories as those who skipped breakfast completely. The affect that sugar had on them during the start of the day was just as bad as eating nothing. On average, the high protein group ate around 150 less calories at lunch than the other two groups and reported better concentration throughout the day, better mood and had less cravings!

What should a good breakfast include?
  • Chose complex carbs. Avoid refined foods i.e pastries and white bread. Avoid simple sugars (cereal!)
  • Add protein. This will stabilise blood sugar levels. Fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, meats, natural yoghurts and cottage cheese are all great sources.
  • Add in foods that are high in vitamins and minerals like fruit and veg
A well balanced breakfast could include scrambled eggs, with smoked salmon on wholemeal toast. Poached eggs with grilled tomoatoes and mushrooms. Oat porridge with blueberries, nuts and seeds. Or oily fish with ryveeta and fruit. Why not go for the evenings left overs? If it includes the right foods then it's a great choice.


Convenience has also been a big reason for the increase in popularity of cereals. I gaurantee if you get up a little earlier and spend the effort making a better breakfast, you will feel less tired during the day than choosing a little extra sleep!


Monday, 11 June 2012


When planned properly super-sets provide a great full body workout whilst at the same time reducing your overall workout time. A super-set achieved by performing two exercises back to back with limited or no rest in between.  Any exercises can be chosen and put in any order but choices should reflect your goals.
Example 1.

Dumbbell Chest Press
Performing upper body V.s lower body super-sets is a great way to test all aspects of your fitness. Depending on amount of sets and repetitions you perform you can expect to see improvements in your muscular strength, muscular endurance and aerobic fitness. By switching between upper and lower body you also allow each set of muscles a rest period, whilst the other set is working, which should allow the intensity of both exercises to be keep high.

Example 2.

Chin Ups
Dumbbell Bicep Curls
Performing super-sets with two exercises which target similar muscle groups can be very demanding. Depending on amount of sets and repetitions you perform you can expect to see improvements in your muscular strength, muscular endurance and aerobic fitness. Specifically you will test your body’s ability to buffer/tolerate and clear lactic acid. This type of training will provide a large amount of overload and can be a great way to introduce some variety into your weight routine when training for hypertrophy (muscular development). You will need to rest after completing both exercises before starting subsequent sets.

Example 2.

Shuttle Runs
Not all supersets need to be performed with resistance/weight based exercises. Performing super-sets with just your body weight and an aerobic exercise like moderate pace shuttle runs can be a great way to develop your local muscular endurance and aerobic fitness. This type of workout can also be taken anywhere providing you’ve got a bit of space to move about. So when the sun finally comes out you can have fast fun flexible workouts wherever you want, on the odd occasions you can’t make it to the gym.

For more help/motivation with working out your super-set workout please speak to or email Daniel Byrne: Tonbridge School Centre Personal Trainer

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Reducing my body-fat with diet alone

In March, some of you may have seen that we were offering free body fat tests. This was an ideal time for me to review the damage i had caused during the winter months and give myself a few months to see if I could get this down. I got my body fat re-tested today and it had dropped 4% which I was very pleased with. I have managed to drop this purely through my eating habits. I have only done weight training (which I did previously anyway) and no additional cardiovascular work. Since giving up football, I don't do dedicated cardio sessions, although some of my weight training workouts are similar to circuit training which will get the heart rate up. So to drop a significant amount of bodyfat through diet alone, is encouraging for people who find exercise sessions difficult to fit in.

Here is what I did:

  • Reduced my carbs to pre and post workouts only. This gave me some energy for the session. This allowed me to stay reasonably strong in the gym. Having carbs post workout is great because your body will use them to repair and recooperate. So the only carbs I had were used immediately for, or just after the workout.
  • Only ate brown rice and sweet potatos as my carb sources. Both are less starchy and more fibrous.
  • Increased lean protein. I switched from fattier cuts of meat i.e. beef, to chicken and fish. Another way of eating lean protein was removing the egg yolks for scrambled eggs. I would have have 1-2 whole eggs and 3 extra whites.
  • I cut out bread and pasta. This includes gluten which can bloat you.
  • I cut out nearly all dairy. I had milk with porridge, but tried to switch this to goats milk as my body doesn't agree with cows milk. I had natural yoghurt with some meals. This helped me digest certain meals slightly better.
  • I upped my green veg intake. I ate raw spinach, mangetout, broccoli and green beans on a daily basis.
  • I cut down on sugary fruits i.e. bananas and dried fruits. I ate fruits with a lower Glycaemic Index (Apples, pears, berries).
  • Drank plenty of Water
  • No alcohol
  • No processed foods i.e. sweets, chocolate, cakes
  • Had either one 'off day' or 'off meal' a week. This would mean I could eat what I want. Generally something carby. Something that would mean I could refuel for my workouts. This would be at the weekend, so it means you can live a little and it means you don't go completely insane from being strict during the week! Psychologically, this allowed me to adhere to the programme much better. In a book I have just read called '4-hour body', the author wrote down any cravings he had during the week and promised himself he would eat them all during his off day! When that day came he didn't get round to eating them all but kept him on course in the week!
  • I ate every 2-3 hours. These were small mini-meals to boost my metebolism and to stop me from feeling too hungry.
Here is a typical day:

7am = 2 whole egg and 3 egg white omellete with salad
10am = chicken breast and apple
12pm = Fish and vegetables
2.30pm = Fish and Berries
5pm = lean meat, veggies, small carbs (sweet potato)
7.30pm = Lean protein, small carbs (sweet potato)
9pm = protein shake and fruit

I tried to follow this as well as I could but sometimes things didn't go to plan. The key is consistency. There is a lot of protein in the above. This agrees with me. For some of you this may not work. For many others I have worked with, this has helped them drop fat dramatically.

For more tips on fatloss, email me on orm@tonbridge

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

80:20 rule

A lot of people are all or nothing when approaching exercise and nutrition. However, consistency is the key. The saying "We are what we do consistently", couldn't be further from the truth in the training environment. When we train, our body makes tiny adaptions to the stimulus, if the stimulus is regular. Building muscle is a prime example. Micro-tears in the muscle will occur after doing resistance training. These repair and re-grow slightly stronger/larger.

If you want results, a gradual approach is often the winning way. If you train 5 days one week, 1 the next, then 4 days, then no sessions for 3 weeks, etc, it is difficult for your body to adapt, recooperate and move forwards. Training once or twice a week, consistently over time, will more than likely produce visual results.

Nutrition is very similar. Living like a saint one week and then eating takeaway every night the next is not a good way to go. I live by the 80:20 rule. Doing things well with my food 80% of the time and relaxing for the final 20%. Preparing good meals during the week and healthy snacks. I love using the routine of work to fall into a healthy eating pattern. Knowing where you are and at what time you can eat, means you can plan ahead. If you have a meal on the road at the weekend or a bithday celebration, etc, then this won't affect your progress because you have had a good week. We are what we eat. If you want to be lean, eat lean. Fish, good cuts of meat, salad, veggies, fruit, nuts.

Routine scares some people but in this game it really works. Get into the HABIT on a regular basis and you will see the changes!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Repetition Guidelines

In any resistance based training routine there are many factors which need to be considered when designing your own specific program. The first most important step is recognising / deciding what outcome / progression you would like to achieve from the implementation of a set program.
Are you looking to improve your strength to perform better in a particular sport or athletic event?
Are you hoping to increase the amount of lean tissue your body is comprised of (hypertrophy); helping you to lose weight?
Do you want to work on your muscular endurance before attempting to complete for a longer duration event?

Only when you know what you want to achieve can you begin to set your repetition ranges and design an effect routine… So ask yourself what do you want to improve?

 Repetition ranges have been studied closely for a long time and we now have a good understanding of how an individual’s performance will be affected following different periodised exercise programs. This has led to average reps, sets, weight as % 1RM (Repetition Max), recovery time and contraction velocity (speed of contraction) guidelines being established.




Local Muscular Endurance

Repetition Range















Recovery Time





Contraction Velocity
(concentric seconds/eccentric seconds)

2 - 2

1 - 2

2 to 5 - 2 to 5

1 to 2 – 1 to 2

* All recommendations should be viewed in context of individual´s target goals, physical capacity, and training status (beginner/intermediate/advanced).

From experience I can also say not everybody will fall directly into these categories so use the ranges as guidelines and find what works best for you. You will also get “crossing-over” and when training directly for strength you will inevitably experience changes in hypertrophy and muscular endurance performance as well so don’t worry if you are aiming to improve in more than one area.
For more help or advice in program design or to find out what area (strength/power/hypertrophy/local-muscular-endurance) you should be working in to improve your performance/ goal progress please contact a member of the gym team or email .