Tuesday, 30 November 2010


One of the biggest problem we face nowadays is choice. When there is no choice, you go with whatever is in front of you, and think nothing of it. Whilst sometimes having a choice can be great, when you have too many choices, it just makes life unnecessarily complicated and stressful. 30 years ago having a television was a big deal (South Africa only started a television service in 1976!). Today if you don't have a television you are living in a cave, and how many different choices do we face when buying a television? Flat screen, LCD, Plasma, HDMI, HD, 3D, etc... We live in a consumer driven market, and not only are more and more companies trying to get a share in the market (for your cash), but existing companies are trying desperately to expand their market-share by offering additional products and also more diversity therein. We don't need more! All this 'more' is there to try and lure you into making an additional purchase that you didn't yesterday. The choices (more often than not) exist not to benefit you, but the line the wallets of someone else. What has this got to do with health & fitness you might say? Everything!

How many different diets are out there? All 'scientifically-proven' to work, all saying that they are the only way to being healthy & looking good. From Vegan to Paleo to Atkins – who do you believe? Exercise is equally confusing. Should I be using an elliptical in a commercial gym, or should I be battling ropes like John Brookefield? Should I be curling and pressing barbells, or swinging and cleaning kettlebells? Maybe I should just be using my own bodyweight and training outdoors, or should I use resistance bands in a pilates studio? In the fitness industry we are bombarded with more and more information. We are suffering from information overload – enough already!

So what's the answer? Well the choices we have won't go away, so the answer is simply not to get bogged down in trying to decide which is best. Pick what appeals to you and go with it. Forget about wondering if you should have picked something else. Just make sure you pick something that suits you, your lifestyle and your needs. If you just want a great beach body, lift iron like Arnold. If brutal, sweaty sessions are your thing, try Crossfit. If you need something to balance a hectic lifestyle, try yoga or Tai Chi. If you want a great all-rounder, try Kettlebells. As far as nutrition goes, just cut out the junk & processed foods and you're pretty much there.

Keep it as simple as you can. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Challenge everything, especially yourself.

Alex Kay Grimmer

For BodyQuest Kettlebell classes and Personal Training in Southend-on-sea, you can contact me HERE

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Importance Of Recovery

This post is directed at those of us who love exercise, who exercise regularly, who can't get enough of it. We thrive on the pump, the burn, the sweaty state we are left in after a grueling workout. Of course we are rewarded with the increase in performance, our bodies getting stronger, fitter, more mobile & flexible, greater endurance, and of course, we love to look better too! Whilst I love exercise as much as the next athlete, too many athletes fail to realise (or just forget/don't think about) is that exercise is catabolic – it breaks our bodies down. In order to achieve the anabolic effects we are really after, our bodies require rest in order to recover. We don't change or grow in the gym, we do so afterwards when we are resting. Too many athletes train too often. 

Think of a fighting video game; your character has a life or energy bar, and as you burn energy (or in the game, get attacked) that depletes down until you have nothing left – and you die. Of course real life isn't quite as dramatic, but the same system is in place. You have a finite amount of expendable energy. Everything you do takes some of that energy, and not just the physical activities, but the emotional & mental activities as well. If you are stressed, that will sap your energy. Yes, exercise is great for counter-acting stress, but that is another topic of discussion entirely. If you work a physical job like a builder and then train 7 days a week Crossfit style (for example, nothing against Crossfit, but it is the most brutal system that comes to mind!) you are heading for trouble. Without adequate recovery you energy levels will never fully recover, and you will have less in the tank for the next session. Eventually you will suffer as a result. Call it burnout, call it adrenal fatigue, call it what you want - it's the same thing.

So what is the solution? Plan your workouts around your recovery. Not the other way around.

Here is a great method of assessing how well you are coping with your routine:

Every day assess how good you feel (recovery) on a scale of 1-10 (1 being horrible and 10 being super-charged), then assess your workout on a scale of 1-10 (1 being as easy as reaching for the TV remote and 10 feeling like you have melted into a pool of sweat and blood under a ton of iron). If you keep a record of your recovery and your workout intensity, you will soon see if your workouts are taking too much out of you (or maybe that you aren't working hard enough!).

If your recovery is always high and your workout always low, step it up.

If your recovery is always low and your workout always high, dial it down a notch.

Plan your workouts around your recovery always.

Challenge everything, especially yourself.

Alex Kay Grimmer

For BodyQuest Kettlebell classes and Personal Training in Southend-on-sea, you can contact me HERE

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Personal Training Southend-on-sea

Are you interested in reaching your physical potential? Would you like to develop authentic strength, to be as strong, if not stronger, than you look? At BodyQuest Personal Training I train my clients, as well as myself, for authentic strength, cardio that just won't quit, and amazing mobility. My quest is for "strength-in-motion", and I can help you achieve it too. Using unconventional tools like kettlebells, ropes, Indian clubs, medicine balls, jumping platforms, tires, hammers.... etc.. you can and will get twice the results in half the time of conventional mainstream gym training.

If you are ready to challenge yourself, I guarantee you twice the results in half the time.

No gimmicks - No secrets - Just genuine results

Come & discover THE TRUTH about health & fitness

Contact me via my website, BodyQuestPT, to get the results you want!

Challenge Everything, Especially Yourself

Alex Kay Grimmer

Kettlebell Classes Southend-on-sea

Kettlebell classes are a great way to burn fat, build strength, increase mobility and develop cardio that just won't quit! If you are bored with your current workout and fancy trying something fun & challenging, come down to the BodyQuest Studio in Southend-on-sea and take things up a notch! Here is the current class timetable, although I can and do put on private classes for groups that would like to train outside of the below times.

Tuesday: 7pm

Thursday: 7pm

Saturday: 8AM - coming soon!

Please contact me to book in for the classes. Spaces are limited, classes are popular, so book in to avoid disappointment!

Contact & location details are on my website: CLICK HERE!

Challenge everything, especially yourself!
Alex Kay Grimmer

Friday, 19 November 2010

What's the most important thing in the gym?

The most important thing in any gym is Space. The minute you put equipment in a space, that space becomes dedicated to that piece of equipment. This is never more true than in a commercial gym where the piece of equipment is something like a leg press machine. Now that space can only ever be used to leg press. This is not to say that your gym must be empty – far from it. You need equipment, things like kettlebells, ropes, jumping platforms, clubs, hammers & tires. But don't get sucked into thinking about equipment first. Think about space. Space to DO stuff – swing kettlebells, flip tires, undulate ropes, throw medicine balls, do burpees, duck-walking, handstands, etc. Space is your most valuable asset in the gym. Space to DO things.

Challenge Everything, Especially Yourself!

Alex Kay Grimmer.

Thanks to Matt Schifferle, The Fit Rebel, for inspiration!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

BodyQuest Challenges

One of my favourite sayings is "Challenge Everything, Especially Yourself". To help create the right mindset, I started introducing specific challenges for my kettlebell classes - and if you are able to complete a challenge, your class session is free! So far 4 challenges exist:

1 - The Wall Squat - Facing the wall, both feet together, toes touching the wall, squat all the wall down to rock bottom and come back up again.

2 - The Strongman Lift - Using only one arm, lift 50% of your bodyweight into an overhead lockout position. You can use any technique you want (Clean & Jerk, Turkish Get Up, etc).

3 - The Hand Stand Press Up - A free standing hand stand (ie: not against the wall), lower yourself and press back up.

4 - The Pistol Squat - Place one leg out in front of you, keeping it there squat right down onto your haunches and drive back up again. Basically a single leg squat with one leg in front of you the entire time - ALL the way down and back up folks.

As I dream up more challenges I will add them onto the board in the gym :)

Very well done to Errol for being the first to complete a challenge - The Wall Squat.

Challenge Everything, Especially Yourself!

Alex Kay Grimmer.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Is your trainer qualified to teach kettlebells?

Kettlebell training is fantastic. It offers far more bang-for-your-buck than regular gym training, as you learn to train your muscles as they were designed to move - in concert with each other rather than in isolation. Kettlebell training is so effective because you burn fat at an incredible rate, whilst building strength, fitness & endurance, as well as flexibility & mobility - all at the same time!

Recently I have seen a local facility offering kettlebell classes to it's members and to the public. I am all for kettlebell training, whether it is with me or with somebody else, but I am deadset against people jumping on the bandwagon and teaching (or trying to) kettlebells when they really do not have a clue.

Kettlebell training is VERY different to conventional training. Like anything else though, if it's done correctly it can have huge benefits. If it's done incorrectly you are just setting yourself up for injuries. To become certified as a kettlebell instructor you will do as much, if not more learning, training, performing & coaching as you would with the highest levels of fitness qualifications out there. You cannot become a credible instructor in a few hours - regardless of whatever other fitness qualifications you might have to draw knowledge/experience from. A true qualification will require you not only to attend, but to perform & coach to a high level.

If you want to reap the amazing benefits of kettlebell training, your instructor should teach under one of the following 3 organisations:

AOS (Art Of Strength - Punch Kettlebell Gym under Anthony Diluglio)

IKFF (International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation under Steve Cotter)

RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified under Pavel Tsatsouline)

Yes, there are a few other credible organisations out there such as the AKC under Valery Fedorenko, but largely any reputable kettlebell certifying organisation will be following from the above 3 (4 to include the AKC).

So next time your fitness centre or trainer offers you kettlebell training, question them. Ask them to explain a specific technique. Why are you doing that movement? What muscles are you working? What should you be concentrating on? What shouldn't you be doing? What can you do to improve your technique? What certification do you have? If the instructor cannot give you immediate, credible answers to these simple questions, not only are you wasting your time with them, but you are risking injury.

If your instructor has qualified through a mainstream fitness body, looking for another REPS badge, it is probably advisable to walk away. If they are teaching with plastic kettlebells, walk away. At best, you will never reap the rewards kettlebell training is famous for, at worst you will injure yourself. Find a genuine instructor who understands how to lift correctly, and your health & fitness will skyrocket to new heights.

Challenge everything, especially yourself.

Alex Kay Grimmer.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Simple Ideas, Complex Results

Most people really want to be in better shape, but do not know what they need to do to get there. There is a minefield of information out there, with many credible people contradicting each other on what is best for health. On top of that, a great deal of advice is complicated. Whether its nutrition or exercise, it just seems like a huge effort to figure it out before you even get started. So with one of my key principals (keeping things simple) in mind, here are some easy to follow points for the 3 main areas, Nutrition, Exercise & Lifestyle, to help you achieve the results you desire.

Whenever I ask people what they want, the answer is quite often “lose weight and tone up”. What that actually means, is less fat and better muscles. Let's start with the fat loss.

Fat loss via nutrition is far more effective than exercise. You can't out-train a bad diet, and besides, how can you expect to get rid of fat if you keep putting it in?


1 - Cut out junk food. This is the BIG one that will make the biggest difference. Junk food includes food sauces like ketchup, brown sauce and bottled sauces for Italian/Indian/Chinese/etc dishes. Junk food also includes junk drinks like ANY fizzy drinks, energy drinks, squash & alcohol. Oh and don't use sugar or artificial sweeteners. Ever.

2 - Eat more vegetables, especially dark green ones. Things like broccoli, kale, spinach, spirulina, seaweed. Then add as many colours as you can.

3 - Cut out dairy. You just don't need it.

4 - Cut out bread. This just bloats most people.

5 - Eat little & often (6 half size meals instead of 3 'normal' size). You don't even need to eat less. Just spread the same amount out more during your day.


1 - Lift weights. Heavy ones. Light ones do nothing for you.

2 - Get a sweat on - if you don't you're just not doing anything.

3 - Do complex movements rather than isolation (Overhead press, squat, deadlift, pull ups, swings, cleans, jerks, snatches, etc).

4 - Loosen up first, stretch after. Not the other way around.

5 - Do this regularly. Exercise 3-5 times a week for about 45 minutes each time.


1 - Get more quality sleep. This is when your body regenerates itself.

2 – Make time for you, to do whatever you want to do that you enjoy.

3 - Watch less TV. Read a book. Go for a walk. Spend time with people. Engage yourself more and be active.

4 – Get rid of stress in your life. If you hate your job, change it. If you're in a bad relationship, get out of it. If a 'friend' is always really negative, cut them loose. If you don't these things are just anchors weighing you down.

5 - Laugh more - it really is the best medicine.

Of course, things can always get complicated, depending on how far you want to take things, but the above will enable huge strides towards your goals.

Challenge everything, especially yourself.

Alex Kay Grimmer.