Damien Kelly: fitness expert

After extensive education and many years of personal training experience, Damien Kelly has become one of Sydney's most sought-after trainers. Here are some of his top fitness tips...



Hammering yourself

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If you are going to the gym with the goal of losing weight, getting fitter or looking and feeling better, then listen up. Have a look at this program and see if your work-outs resemble this

  • 20 minutes treadmill

  • 20 minutes cycling

  • 10 minutes rowing

  • 5 minutes abs

      If they do, you are not maximising your exercise time and unless you're very lucky, you won't see any tangible results. Here's why:

      Imagine for a second I was to give you a nail and tell you to hammer it all the way into a plank of wood. I then gave you two options in hammers. Firstly, I gave you a hammer with a rubber head and secondly, I gave you a hammer with a steel head. Which would you choose?

      If you do the above program (low intensity, long duration cardio), my guess is you'll choose the rubber hammer. You like to be safe, you like to take things slow and steady, you have plenty of time and you are not that fussed if the nail ever actually gets imbedded in the wood. You're just in it for the experience.

      If, on the other hand, you like to train with more intensity (high intensity strength circuits and high intensity interval training) my guess is you chose the steel hammer. You like to push the limits a little more, you like results to happen as quickly as healthily possible, you like to maximise your time and you like to actually see results.

      The other issue in choosing the rubber hammer (ie, train like the above program) is that you'll be prone to overuse and, ultimately, damage the hammer. You'll be banging over and over again, in the same way, with no results and your hammer will be in tatters afterwards. The steel hammer on the other hand is strong, never needs to be overused and therefore always stays in good condition.

      So, the moral of my little analogy this week is that if you want results, want to avoid injuries and want to better utilise your time, you need to re-assess your training style.

      Over the next couple of weeks, I'll take you through the different training styles and guide you through their strengths and weaknesses and show you which ones you should be doing.

User comments
I have been going to my local gym for several years. In the last 18 months I have lost 30kg. I am now aiming to lose 10 more to reach my goal weight. I have now just started crossfit training and am really enjoying pushing myself to the edge. Is this an effective way for me to shift the hardest 10kg.
Cass, your trainer has got it wrong. Having a client vomiting in the toilet is as a clear a sign a trainer can have of getting their training program wrong. I want my clients working hard, damn hard, but i need to build them up gradually so they're up to it. The key component in any training program is progression and overload. Taking a client too far too quickly neglects this basic principle. In saying that it doesn't mean a person shouldn't train intensely early on in their training life it just means they need to respect where they're at and realise they need to commit to the process and not overnight success. In future you may need to do less intervals, sprint for less time on each interval or increase your rest intervals. A sign of success will be going back and doing this session in four weeks time and completing it without re-visiting lunch. Good luck. Damien
After attending my first couple of personal training sessions, I did interval training first up on the treadmill doing 20 sec flat out run then a walk for 15 sec about 10 reps. I went hard doing this and found out very shortly that i was throwing up in the bathroom I felt awful after this and like vecsta said I did think excercise was the devil after that.
I don't know if this is so much a comment, rather it is a question really. How do you count the 8 second 12 second intervals? Apart from the obvious answer which is to just look at the numbers on the screen. I think I would find it difficult to really focus on going *** bike and keeping track of the time constantly. Is there a magic gadget or way of setting a beeper on the bike or something- anything anyone can suggest? I have tried interval training on a bike and treadmill (because basically I cannot run for more than a minute!) for a minute or two interchanging. I have even found that hard to keep track of when I am really trying to push myself to the limit.
I have gone from non runner to being able to interval 4km in 4 weeks. I would not have a) been able to stick with it or b) been at the level I am had I not had started interval training. I would much rather interval and know I'd pushed myself to my limits for twenty minutes than just plod along on the tready for twenty minutes
...I started working out at a new gym in Jan. In the first month I was doing just that, 20 minutes on the tredmill and 20 minutes on the bike. I lost 4 kilos in a month. Then I started personal training and learnt about intervals (8 seconds hard out, 12 seconds slower for 10 minutes), and since then i've lost another 10 kilos. Using intervals makes the time go quicker too!
I don't understand your Vecsta. Are you saying i should give a person just starting out a boring, ineffective and injury prone program instead. I wouldn't have spent this many years in the industry if i did that. What you're forgetting is that high intensity for me might be very different to high intensity to high intensity for you. For a new client, some walking stairs, a short hill, 50 skips, 10 straight kicks each leg may be high intensity. It wouldn't get sweat up for a well trained person but for a out of shape beginner it''s be more than enough. So, yes this is exactly the advice i give to a person starting out, i just make the parameters of the workout appropriate to them. This way they'll soon build the characteristics of a steel hammer and not be prone to the common overuse injuries associated with rubber hammer training.
I hope this isn't the advice you give someone just starting out! Pushing too hard, too soon is a surefire way to get yourself injured, and a great way to convince yourself that exercise is evil and to be avoided at all costs!

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