February 2014

Learn MMA. It Could Save Your Life, Literally.

Here is a message I received recently from Lewis McClellan, who previously attended my wrestling classes and some other classes at The Griphouse Gym in Glasgow:


It was harrowing to hear of Lewis’ situation and I hope that none of you ever find yourselves in a similar circumstance and do believe that even for trained individuals, avoidance is the best technique. However sometimes, as in Lewis’ situation, this isn’t always possible… Hence why it felt very gratifying that some basic techniques he learned from me have proved to be of great assistance to him and prevented him from coming to any harm. It also raised a valid point which I have insisted on for years – everyone should learn self-defense!


A radical statement, I am aware, but everyone should have some basic form of defense, as Lewis’ story proves. From my experience in the fitness industry and martial art’s world, I always hear about self-defense classes or the latest Korean martial art, where they teach you pressure points and that how from one karate chop you can render an attacker unconscious – utter nonsense! So less nonsense and more fact… You want to defend yourself; you need MMA, the truest form of defense.


Why would MMA training help?

It is the purest and most real form of combat. Its training is so varied and covers all forms of martial arts, and therefore it provides the ultimate guide to self-defense. To learn how to take people down to the ground or how to stop someone from taking you to the ground, just attend wrestling classes. Then what do you do if it does end up on the ground? You go to a BJJ class so you can learn all sorts of crazy submissions and how to defend yourself/escape whilst on your back or when you are on top of someone on the ground. There is also the art of 8 limbs, Thai boxing, this will teach you how to punch, kick, knee and elbow correctly (no need for a penknife). Thai boxing covers all the eventualities of stand-up fighting, including evasive techniques in a tricky situation. In short, wrestling, BJJ and Thai boxing cover all the grounds you need to defend yourself in the worst case scenario. Don’t believe me? Drop in to the Griphouse in Glasgow to see tiny, 55kg women beat up grown men of all sizes, no word of a lie! So just take up MMA, it really is as simple as that.


If not only for self-defense needs, get involved in MMA as it is great fun and a great work out! You constantly challenge yourself and do so in a social context with constant encouragement from strangers and coaches, who soon become friends. With such varied training and continuous new techniques to learn, it is impossible to get bored with the sport. All sizes and levels are encouraged to take part and it has proven, many of times, to turn people’s lives around. If not just for the basic need of self-defense, MMA has great results in weight loss and strength gains. Also, the confidence you gain from this sport will be noticed by family and friends, and people will gain a newly formed respect for you knowing such a simple fact, that you can ‘handle yourself’. So with not only basic defense and protection to gain from this sport, there is nothing that should stop ANYONE from taking part and getting involved!


If anyone has any queries about this blog, feel free to contact me and I will answer any questions. Should anyone want to ‘take heed’ of what I am saying, I can’t recommend highly enough that you hit up The Griphouse Gym in Glasgow for your training. We have the highest caliber of coaching staff, a great variety of members and, not to show off, but we have been voted the best MMA gym in the UK for two years straight now. With multiple BJJ black belts teaching the BJJ program, a plethora of great Muay Thai coaches, who all bring their own different style to each class, and I also hear the wrestling coach is pretty good too! As mentioned though and most importantly, it is the great people who join us along the way that make up the gym. Everyone is welcome, from UFC fighters (which we have), to people who just want to train and have fun… It is very rare to get such a great atmosphere in a gym, but The Griphouse has this in spades.


Anyway I digress… It has truly gratified me that I have managed to help one person during a time of need and it has now made me more determined to make sure everyone is as equipped as Lewis was if they ever encounter such a situation. So help me on my, slightly vigilante, quest to get more people on the MMA bandwagon, spread the word!


Other than that, remember people stay safe and avoid trouble, at all costs, but should you want to learn how to defend yourself… Soak in the contents of this blog!


Drive for the dream, shoot for success.


Kieran Malone

From Diet Fads to Exercise Fads


Unlike diet fads, getting caught up in the propaganda and the delirious hype of the current exercise fad won’t have a disastrous effect on your health situation. However, what it could impact on is the maximization of the outcome which you are looking to achieve whether it is strength gains, better cardiovascular output or even increased weight loss.


Personally, I am a big advocate of having a varied training program which is tailored around helping my clients to achieve their goals. This is where my first problem arises with exercise fads, as with most of these fads, you cannot design the optimum full body workout with them. For example if we look at kettlebells and TRX’s – many trainers will train a client 3-5 times a week and the only piece of equipment they will use would be a kettlebell or a TRX. Now don’t get me wrong I love both of the above, and used in conjunction with various other bits of kit, they are all good, BUT they should not become the sole focal point of a training program. In doing this you have a limited amount of exercises at your disposal which means you may be missing an important component helping you to reach your targets. It’s also very tedious using the same equipment day after day… Now I am a big believer that if a client’s program is varied it will keep their excitement levels high, which has a direct correlation with motivation levels and sustainability of their fitness regime. So go ahead and pick up a barbell, a sled, a medicine ball and a resistance band too – they won’t bite you!


Classes at commercial gyms… Where do I begin? Right, I will give credit to classes such as body attack and body combat as they play a huge part in bringing people to the gym who may not have trained before, and they provide a good entry level to fitness for a gym novice. Moving forward in your fitness level from this though is unlike! Many people approach me wondering why they have plateaued after a couple of months of such classes and stopped dropping weight and their fitness levels have stayed the same… From my experience these classes are very rudimentary and don’t push participants hard enough to achieve goals that are more than beginner level. Having taught spin before I can confirm it is very physically demanding and provides the public with a great workout but doing solely classes like spin, body combat, boxercise etc. doesn’t cater to online slots individuals’ aims. Nor do they build up muscle – essential in the fat burning process and if you want to get ‘diesel’ – they are purely cardio workouts, which if overdone can WASTE muscle (not what you want). Whereas incorporating them into a varied program, this I will allow, you have my blessing!


I couldn’t resist this one… ‘Metafit’, ‘Fat Burning Extreme’, or the latest incarnation I have witnessed, ‘Tabata’. These are all similar high intensity training classes which get branded in order to create the latest trend in fitness and ensure you that this is the ONLY thing you need to reach your targets. Any high intensity, interval training like the previously mentioned are great training methods, but don’t be taken in by the razzmatazz and hyperbole, this is not the training method of the future (especially not when the instructor merely sticks on a cd to do the job for him, eeek it’s awful). Warburton’s need not worry – again, it is great training but don’t make it all you do.


Lastly, this one I probably write at my peril as I can already hear the sound of a stampeding cavalcade of crossfitters at my door with their pick axes (Disclosure: I am actually a big fan of Crossfit and utilize some Crossfit WODS (workouts), and I even love watching their YouTube channel and Crossfit Games footage. I also have mad respect for athletes such as Rich Froning and Sam Briggs, who are nothing short of monster athletes)! Nonetheless, I feel people who just do Crossfit, and only Crossfit, miss out key components in their growth as trained individuals as it can miss out and fail to target specific muscle groups which could require focus. Additionally, with any forms of exercise there is always an injury chance but with Crossfit featuring such explosive and dominant movements, you automatically have a more enhanced chance of injury. For example, any workout which prescribes deadlifts for MULTIPLE reps I am not a fan of and I feel some Crossfit workouts hammer the posterior chain for more reps than necessary. By all means fit in certain WODS as part of or at the end of a varied workout; they are very challenging and ensure progression but be careful and make sure you fill in the gaps of this type of training.


To conclude, I am not damming or telling anyone to forget any of these exercise fads, but the point I would like to make is to use MANY different training methods. Keep your training fresh. Get outside and cycle or run. Hit the gym for a strength session using lots of different equipment to target the full body. Get on the cross trainer, or why not hit up a spin class, boxing or a BJJ session. Don’t get stuck in a rut, remember after about 4-6 weeks if you are training the same way your body will become acclimatized to the training and you’re progression will stunt. Keep mixing it up sensibly and your enjoyment levels will be high which will lead to positive results in the progression to your goals.


Keep exercising and eating well people! Here’s to a healthy 2014, year of the Commonwealth Games after all!



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