the end of fitness as we know it

my world has been rocked


is everything we thought we knew about fitness been wrong all this time?


If so, it would explain why so many of us fail to achieve our goals of looking and feeling better.


Here’s just a few points to think about:




We’ve been sold the dream that training at a maximal heart rate for repeated sets of 30-45 seconds will increase fitness and burn fat.


Problem is, the research now shows HIIT training may contribute to overtraining due to massive levels of stress on the heart


The heart actually remodels itself depending on the type of exercise, and this must be specific.


There is a ‘strength trained’ heart and an ‘endurance trained’ heart, with differing characteristics dependant on the choice of training.


Thing is, marketing and the fitness industry told us that increased cardiovascular health and fat loss AKA endurance-type results would come from HIIT training.




Evidence shows that HIIT training actually develops more of a 'strength trained' heart.


Cardiovascular improvements come from cardiovascular training, there isn’t a shortcut




All recent research demonstrates that static stretching can be effective at improving flexibility


But not as effective as ACTIVE stretching (i’ll explain in a sec)


Yet what’s more interesting, is the measurements taken a few days later…


Static stretching appears to trick the body into allowing more flexibility immediately, but a few days later the muscle length is back to it’s ‘normal’ range.


Which explains why so many people stretch their hamstrings a lot yet never get any closer to touching their toes!


Active stretching is where you do two things back to back:


1) pull yourself deeper into a stretch using the opposing muscles (e.g. quads pulling hamstrings into a deeper stretch) 


2) contract the muscles you want to stretch and then relax deeper into a stretch


For example:


1) Sit on the floor, straight legs, drive your feet into the ground (contracting your hamstrings, the muscle we want to stretch)


2) relax and go deeper into the stretch


3) actively pull yourself deeper into the stretch with the opposing muscles (try to lift your legs from the ground)


4) relax in that deeper position


REPEAT for reps



Active stretching is MORE effective vs static stretching when compared side by side


and active stretching improvements actually affect the muscle long term, you keep the mobility improvements




Think about our evolution


We were hunter-gatherers for thousands of years


Yet right now I’m sat on my arse staring at a screen, which isn’t a classic example of hunting or gathering


You’re probably in a similar position, slumped over, reading my words (bet you just sat up straighter haha)


So our bodies are NOT being used for the tasks that evolution selected us to do


Like climbing, hanging, throwing stuff, jumping, squatting…




For years I’ve said that running is a stress to the system and may affect fat loss if people run whilst trying to lose weight


Now my opinions are shifting, based on research (and the above HIIT training reasons) that the best way to create a fitter, healthier body is to train the aerobic energy system


Of course, this could be fun stuff in the gym if you hate running, we don’t all have to go barefoot running just yet


But think about training the aerobic energy system as training a task you were designed to do.




Above all, the message I’m trying to send today is this:






COMPENSATE FOR THE FACT WE AREN’T LIVING AS HUMANS ANYMORE (aka train movement, strength and aerobic capacity)




Anyway, know that for YEARS I have pushed HIIT training, static stretching and strength training hard - and honestly there are still places for these tools.


But it’s time to change the priority AWAY from trying to get better at fitness ‘things’ and start getting better at ourselves. 


We now look at all our clients movement, test their strength, give them easy nutrition programs and give them lessons on sleep and recovery.


Modern life is MASSIVELY stressful, and the end result tends to be sleep-deprived caffeine and sugar monsters.


That’s who we help.


Are you a sleep-deprived, caffeine and sugar monster?


Well I have something for you today.


I have two 2x per week PT slots at the following times:


> 7am weds and fri


> 8:15pm mon and weds


Email me if you’d like to discuss this option.


Also I offer hybrid PT programs now, training with me once per week inside RSG and then completing 2 more workouts in your own time at another gym (good if your schedule is busy or you travel a lot).




PT is £234/month for 2x per week


Hybrid PT is £149/month for 1 workout per week plus a program


Both include our full online support and nutrition levels (5 progressively detailed homework tasks on nutrition)




Rise above




Anthony Shaw

Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym