Friday, October 16, 2015


Phil Jeremy Personal Training: GRAND CANYON 2 - RIM TO RIVER TO RIM:  Ooh Aah point in daylight. I awoke at 4:30 am feeling a little nervous but prepared. They say the second time you jump out of a...


Ooh Aah point in daylight.
I awoke at 4:30 am feeling a little nervous but prepared. They say the second time you jump out of an aeroplane is harder than the first because the first time you don't know what to expect but the second time you do. This is how I felt. Sue dropped me at the South Kaibab trail head and in the darkness I made my way to the trail.
It was pitch black save for my small head torch. It was not as cold as last year as I stood there alone collecting my thoughts. I knew from my research that this trail was more severe and difficult than the North rim but a shorter distance. I thought of a phrase that US ultra athletes use in extreme circumstances ... they talk about 'getting it done'. It was time for me 'to get this done'.
My view
   And of I went into the Abyss. The first kilometre was steep but fairly smooth but after I reached Ooh Aah point (called so because you stand and look out over the canyon and go ooh aah .... they should have called it Shiiit! cos that's what I thought).
The trail now became very uneven, rutted and steep, I had to really concentrate in the darkness, the one good thing was that I could not see the 6000 feet drop off right next to me but I could feel it.
I noticed a few hikers who had started earlier than me, it was weird but magical seeing their head torches moving down the trail in the darkness below. It was all 'Howdy' and 'Have a great day' as I passed them by. My concentration hardly wavered as it was so easy to fall. The trail had huge hollows in the ground which made it simple to twist or break something ... which would not be very clever stuck way out here.

The route down
After about 30 minutes dawn broke and I felt a little more comfortable as I could now see where I was going. The colours were beautiful and I would like to have stopped awhile and taken it all in but I had a long way to go so I kept moving.
Suddenly out of nowhere a guy appeared from behind a tree and scared me half to death. 'Gooday mate how's it going?'  An Aussie of course and a hell of a nice guy who was hiking the same route I was running. He took my picture and after a brief exchange we said our farewells but within 10 seconds I tripped and fell to the ground hard. 'Jesus mate are you okay?' ... I checked, I had a few cuts and bruises but otherwise I was just a bit shaken. 'You better stop talking and concentrate mate'... sound advice I thought.

I now tried to pick up the pace as I had been far too slow in the darkness. After an hour the steep descent started to affect my quads but due to all the strength and conditioning I do it wasn't a problem. The river now loomed into view below me; it is just stunning. There is a point (see picture) called 'Tip off' and you can see why.

Tip off
I eventually made it to the bridge feeling good but annoyed that it had taken me 20 minutes longer than I had anticipated. This was due to the darkness but luckily it would prove to be a double edged sword as later I would benefit.
I now traced the river all the way along to the base of the climb out and made good pace for the first time all day. I now felt calm and relaxed and let myself enjoy the experience. I felt grateful that I had completed the descent as I had been worried about it for some time. It was as hard as I had expected but perhaps a little longer.
I now felt very determined to make up for lost time on the 5,000 feet ascent up the Bright Angel trail. I picked up the pace and climbed the Devils corkscrew really well. Half way up I came across 6 female hikers just as I was taking out my super cool Black Diamond trekking poles. I snapped one shut and one of the girls shouted to me -  'Oh my god what an awesome pole you've got'. I didn't know where to look I smiled and decided not to give a response (though I had many).
Just as last year many people shouted encouragement and asked where I'd started from and what time. When I told them, the comments ranged from 'Totally awesome' ' looking good'... to 'you got this'.
The creek to Indian Gardens
I had decided before I began that no matter how tired I felt I would run the small creek up to Indian Gardens really well. Its one of my favourite spots, beautiful and calm and for awhile you can't see the canyon and it just feels like you are running along a small stream somewhere. Its magical, I can see why the Indians used to live here.
When I reached Indian Gardens I refilled my water pack for the first time that day. I had eaten and drunk very little but felt fine. The sun was up but I was still in shade due to the height of the Canyon and this was the benefit of starting in the dark. It was harder at first but easier later as I was not running in hot sun. I now began the final ascent up Bright Angel Trail and although I was tired I felt really strong and capable. The fact that I had done this before helped enormously because I could pace myself much better and I was not fazed by the climb. I now passed many hikers who were struggling with their heavy packs and not for the first time today I was grateful for my fitness and strength which enabled me to move swiftly.
Coconino Sandstone wall
The final great wall of Coconino sandstone slowly came into view and I knew that once over that I was home and dry. Its a daunting piece of rock as you climb up but you just press on and keep moving. Half way up an Irish woman stopped me and said - 'Are you Phil and  have you got a wife waiting for you at the top?' ...'Yes' I said a little surprised. 'Well she told me you'd be the only one running up and to get your arse into gear as she's waiting'.
Getting it done
We both laughed and off I went .. except I was now under pressure!
The time passed quickly, whereas as last time it had dragged and thanks partly to the shade and partly due to my fitness I climbed from the river to the top in just over 3 hours which was 30 minutes faster than last year.
 And so after 5 hours and 15 minutes I finally made it to the top. Sue asked, 'How do you feel?' My response (as I am 61 this year) was that 'I might be getting a little old for this kind of thing' ... however after about 10 minutes I was already thinking of my next adventure.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: RETURN TO THE CANYON

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: RETURN TO THE CANYON: Yes he's at it again! After much deliberation and searching for new challenges I decided that nothing can match the Grand Canyon so...


Yes he's at it again! After much deliberation and searching for new challenges I decided that nothing can match the Grand Canyon so I'm going back next month for a slightly different challenge.
   Last time I went from Rim to Rim, this time I'm doing Rim to River to Rim from the South side. Basically its a few miles shorter and I will set off and return from different points along the South rim. The main challenge is that the descent is much more severe, rocky and very steep and there are no water taps till the river. Falling, injury and dehydration are the potential problems (plus snakes etc).  There are several warning signs telling you not to do it including the one of 23 year old Margaret Bradley, a sub 3 hour Boston Marathoner, super fit and strong, who tragically died of dehydration on the climb back out. The Canyon can be an unforgiving place, even to the healthy and well prepared, the dangers are real but you just have to know what you can and cannot do... and I believe I can do this... in fact I'm going to do it.
Below is a chart of the elevation gain and descent which is 5000 feet down and 5000 feet back up again and starting at over 7000 feet but on different trails. The total distance is about 30k so not quite as far as the rim to rim but apparently no less demanding.
     So why go back and do it again albeit a different route? Well, anyone who has visited the Canyon will tell you that it is truly mind blowing and for me and many others quite spiritual. I have not trained as much as last year but feel with all the training I do anyway I believe it will be enough to see me through. Apparently the main concerns are lack of water, the heat and the steep gradient. No doubt when I am stood on the rim next month I'll be saying 'Whose idea was this?'.
I start down the South Kaibab Trail and head for the river below which I will cross and then cross back again further downstream, then I follow the river before turning into the Bright Angel Trail and the big climb out. The rim to rim took over 8 hours I believe this should take, all being well, about 5 hours plus. It all depends on heat, the terrain, my fitness, etc etc.
 I have mostly trained using the Crossfit Endurance (CFE) model which means instead of long punishing trail runs you use shorter intense workouts. This reduction in volume means less wear and tear injuries. I have been doing many different sprint protocols as well as tempo/threshold training, hill workouts and of course strength and conditioning with weights.  I also do a HIIT session at least once a week and one or two 10k runs at a higher pace. The only way that I deviate from the CFE model is that I have done a few longer trail runs. I feel that this is necessary to assist further with all the musculoskeletal, cardio and cellular adaptations and on a mental level for preparing and testing, nutrition, hydration, footwear, pace etc
    The CFE argument is that these 'long' runs are unnecessary because they only increase fatigue but I only do them now and again (whereas it used to be all the time).
But how does CFE prepare you to run 'long' if you don't practice running 'long' ? In a nutshell in works like this;-
Studies have repeatedly shown that 'High-Intensity Interval Training is an efficient way to increase your skeletal muscle oxidative capacity whilst inducing specific metabolic adaptations that are comparable to traditional endurance training'. In other words, with HIIT, you can get the same results as with high-volume training but in less time.
At its core, the CFE program is about two words you do not hear much about in traditional programs: 'Health and Sustainability'.
Cross Fit Endurance also works on developing running skill, balance and flexibility with a specific focus on nutrition and mobility,why? because ultimately a CFE athlete is not just someone who runs and races well; he or she is someone who is first and foremost healthy and strong and because of this runs more efficiently and injury-free.
 The evidence is clear, not only for myself, but for many of my clients who have run considerable distances and with faster times having never done any long slow distance training and because they are strong, their recovery from these events is super fast.
  So back to the Canyon. When I arrive I will no doubt feel the same emotion of wonder that I felt nearly 40 years ago on my first visit, it really does blow you away ... and then I will get the second emotion, fear. Its a daunting but fabulous place, what can I say?
I hope when I am alone and deep in the canyon I will feel the same sense of peace and calm that I felt one year ago.  Many things can go wrong but as someone once said:-
                                        'Adventure without risk is Disneyland'.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: THE GREAT CARB QUESTION

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: THE GREAT CARB QUESTION: There seems to be a misconception flying around that fit, healthy, lean people in great shape don't eat carbs apparently because they a...


There seems to be a misconception flying around that fit, healthy, lean people in great shape don't eat carbs apparently because they are the cause of all evil and slaves to the fat Gods. Many people seem to believe that I don't eat carbs ever, this is very bizarre.
The points in this blog should be obvious but sometimes one has to make things clear for everyone to get it. Like with most things it's not that complicated it just appears to be.
For the record I eat carbs with every meal but they aren't bread, rice, potatoes or pasta. Do I ever eat any of those? ... of course I do.
Its all down to when you eat them, how often, what portion size and importantly, what type. You need about 150 grams of carbs per day for healthy body and brain function. The main problem with Carbs is that they have lots of calories because of the type of carbs that most people eat, such as crisps, pastries, pasta, coke, chips, cakes, sauces, packaged processed foods etc ... you all know what I mean.

 Optimum Body Composition is achieved by 90% of what you eat and drink ... Not exercise.

Here are some basics you can follow if you really want to cut fat and stay healthy :-

 (10 grams of carbs, 35 grams of protein,16 grams of fat)
  1)Eat 3 protein based meals a day ... all of them with salad or vegetables (including breakfast), lots of them. Its the vegetables that provide the carbs. This is very important.
 2) Eat a portion of healthy fats eg Nuts, Seeds, Greek yogurt, 1/2 avocado, etc.
 3) Every 2-3 days add a portion of  healthy low glycaemic carbs to one meal eg Brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole grains.
 4) Drink a minimum of 2.5 litres of water a day.
 5) Once a week have a naughty desert ... that's once!
 6) Eat this way 90% of the time you will be surprised at the results and will not feel hungry.
 7) Do a minimum of 20 minutes of intense exercise 3 x per week .... (that's only one hour out of 168).

1) In my experience most people's portions are far too large (and I don't mean just in North America and the UK), cut them down by at least a third. You'll be surprised how well your body will function ... and you won't starve, trust me.
2) Avoid sugary carbohydrates especially fizzy drinks, sweets and biscuits. They are loaded with bad carbs ...that does not mean to say you can't ever have any, it just means make these choices now and again.
3) Alcohol is the most insidious source of sugar on the planet. I don't say cut drinking altogether,  just be aware of the huge amount of sugar in wine, beer and spirits... and I don't care which vineyard it comes from or how expensive it is, it's still a grape!
4) You don't need all this over processed food so just make a decision and change to a healthier lifestyle, select healthy nutritious foods, exercise more and then stick to it. You will be shocked at the benefits.

 PS  I know that most of the comments I get will be how small my lunch is. I weigh 86 kilos (190 pounds). I exercise with great intensity at least 4 times a week and I run ultra marathons and yet this is all the food my body needs, so don't go grabbing that cream cake after your Zumba class, I'm afraid you didn't even burn a 1/4 of the calories in the cake.... sorry :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: THE POWER OF CONSISTENCY

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: THE POWER OF CONSISTENCY: If there is one missing link that I find in people trying to achieve their goal of fitness, health and clean nutrition then the lack of con...

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: THE POWER OF CONSISTENCY

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: THE POWER OF CONSISTENCY: If there is one missing link that I find in people trying to achieve their goal of fitness, health and clean nutrition then the lack of con...


If there is one missing link that I find in people trying to achieve their goal of fitness, health and clean nutrition then the lack of consistency is it ... and I know why ... because they think

that consistency is boring!
But lets break this down ..
Is eating pizza boring?
Is eating chips or cakes or pasta everyday boring?
Is drinking alcohol everyday boring?
Is smoking 30 cigarettes everyday boring?
Taking your kids to school, brushing your teeth, commuting to work, having a Starbucks, reading a newspaper, checking your emails, commuting to work, washing the dishes? ... okay you get the point.
Some things you do everyday are boring, some necessary but boring and some are a habit that you can't kick and some are fun. In other words its just life, so when I hear people say exercise is boring I always think, as opposed to what ?
All you are doing is applying a convenient label to something you don't want to do. But why?
Everyday I read more and more about the health problems caused by bad diet and lack of exercise, the statistics are scary and yet the majority just close their eyes (and ears) and ignore it ... or try to.

The problem that I see repeated over and over again comes in 5 phases.

Phase 1.
A client signs up for a gym membership, or PT sessions or Boot camp, full of enthusiasm to get fit and healthy. They clear out the cupboards of crap and go to the store to buy the right foods. This is it, a decision has been made and  a new healthy body beckons. They make sweeping statements that they are going to get fit and lose weight.

Phase 2.
 A few weeks later, the body has slimmed down a bit and they feel healthier and happy with their progress ... and decide that this is their new life from now on.

Phase 3
 About 4-6 weeks later, boredom, fatigue or a feeling of not improving anymore starts to creep in. But more importantly a feeling of missing out on a fun life with friends, drinking, partying, going out, etc. The person slips into old ways, misses a few sessions and slowly puts the weight back on believing that they will start again next week with renewed vigour ... but they don't. They make excuses, the list is endless but basically they stop eating clean and exercising consistently.

Phase 4
Depression, anger, a lack of self worth or comments from 'friends' and family that all health junkies are not normal and weird, assuring you that living 'normally' is the right way to go. ie Unhealthy.

Phase 5
You feel fed up, low, disgusted with yourself or just plain fat and then finally you decide to get yourself together and sign up once more to a healthy lifestyle program ... and the cycle goes on. What a waste of time and money and effort.

You may have done this or you may never have even begun to sort yourself out ... or you maybe you are already super fit and healthy. If you are in the last group then how did you achieve this? What was the difference between you and the ones who failed ... yes, failed?
The answer is always the same: the fit and healthy live a fit and healthy lifestyle consistently. They do not drop in and out or choose fad diets or crazy fitness schemes, they have simple clear guidelines that they practice on a daily basis. This may seem boring to some but it doesn't need to feel that way if your healthy regime is a habit.
If exercising 4 times a week or eating clean 90% of the time keeps them looking and feeling great then that's what they do. Sure they may have a blowout now and again but they will spend the next week pulling back to before the blowout by eating well and exercising consistently thereby re-setting their healthy equilibrium.
And you don't have to go nuts, I know many fit people who train maybe 3 to 4 times a week for about 30 minutes only! ... and they are in great shape. But they train with an intensity that might surprise you and they do it every week, no breaks, no ifs or buts or lame excuses its wired into their DNA that this is what they 'must' do to maintain their health.
They make consistently good food choices every day and its usually very simple and uncomplicated.... and again some would say boring.
 Some people find being consistent difficult or too strict, anal even but again its just a label that they apply to what they don't want to do. I find people who smoke, drink or eat badly on a consistent basis very boring. I mean is that all they can do to enjoy life? Surely there are better choices than that. Life is full of variety and challenges we just have to be consistent in our efforts to find them.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: FACE UP TO THE FAT FACTS.

Phil Jeremy Personal Training: FACE UP TO THE FAT FACTS.:      My last blog on drinking seemed to generate a lot of interest .... probably not the contents of my blog but just because it was about ...