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    Debunking Dogma + Digging for Diamonds

    By Tim Stevenson

    The podcast live event served up a great opportunity for me to connect and spend some time catching up with a few people who’s company I very much enjoy. On my list of guests, I had a really nice blend of practical and philosophical and, in this blog, I’m going to focus on the latter and share some of the key moments from those conversations.

    DEBUNKING (OR AT LEAST ANALYSING) FITNESS DOGMA

    First up it was my friend Ollie Marchon.

    Ollie and I have some history. I first met him whilst he was studying at Nottingham Trent University where I was the strength and conditioning coach. That was in 2010. Ollie then did a strength and conditioning internship which I led and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. He’s always been a great athlete and has now become a very well respected figure in the fitness industry and someone that I hold in very high regard for the way he goes about everything he does. A true gentleman, with a tonne of knowledge and experience from the coal face of fitness training.

    Now, Ollie has got a serious side and when it comes to training you’ll often hear him speak passionately and he generally maintains a well-measured and professional approach. But he’s got more jovial side as well which I was keen to try and bring out in the interview so I thought that I’d tap into his extensive experience and get his opinion on some of the many clichés that litter the health and fitness world. These are the things that get painted on gym walls, T-Shirts and even coffee cups. “No pain, not gain”, “sweat is weakness leaving the body” and my personal favourite; “education is important but big biceps is importanter”.

    We got through a number of these in the interview and I would recommend you spend 45 minutes treating yourself to some real insight into some of the things that you may have come to believe and adopt, but are not always as straight forward as you think.

    It would have been easy to poke fun at some of this fitness dogma but, Ollie has depth and I knew he would have an opinion that hits much further below the surface.

    For me the best answers in fitness often start with ‘it depends’ and that is what this conversation is all about. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

     

    DIGGING FOR DIAMONDS

    Next up, one of my favourite athletes, Charlotte Henshaw

    Charlotte and I also go way back to 2010 when I became her strength and conditioning coach in the build-up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It’s fair to say that Charlotte has had a long and eventful career as an elite athlete. She has had some incredible success, winning major medals in the biggest of competitions in two sports, swimming and canoeing, but she has also experienced some big challenges with recurrent injuries, plateaued performances and navigating the complexity that comes as part of Paralympic sport.

    I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of athletes throughout my career but Charlotte is right up there with those who I have the greatest amount of admiration and respect for. Training her taught me some of the most valuable lessons that have been instrumental in my approach and shaped some of the big rocks in my coaching philosophy. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with her.

    Reflecting on the conversation, I titled this section of the blog ‘digging for diamonds’ because it reminded me of the image of a person with a pick axe in a tunnel, giving up and walking away, axe on the shoulder but only inches away from breaking through and finding the treasure. Charlotte doesn’t give up and her story should be an inspiration to anyone who feels that they are in a fight for something they believe in and want to achieve but feel like they keep taking punches. Charlotte could have thrown in the towel a number of times throughout her career and no one would have blamed her. But she didn’t, she kept on pushing forwards and in the end reaped the rewards of resilience and perseverance.

    Lifetime best performances and Paralympic medals in swimming and then a very successful transition to a new sport in which she is now a multiple World Champion and gunning to take the gold in Tokyo.

    We also chatted calisthenics as this was a big part of her training programme during the Rio Paralympic cycle and something she continues to use with great effect today.

    Charlotte is awesome, I hope you enjoy the conversation.

     

    Check out the Podcast Live page here for a full list of guests and the video interviews

    Tim

     

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