How long have you been doing our classes?

Classes….technically I’d say since about Feb 2016.


What made you decide to give 7 Mile Strength & Fitness a try?

It was Christmas 2015. My first child was 3.5 and the second was 2. I’d lost my mum that year, changed jobs and moved house and had lost a lot of shape in a number of ways and I was physically and mentally exhausted, but I knew from the rest of my life that I needed to move to help me improve both and I wanted to have the energy to play with the kids. I also knew that I wanted to be able to get my fat arse off the toilet when I was 80……

I’d previously come to the gym some time a few years previously and wanted to get some PT to help put me back on the straight and narrow physically and try to get myself in a better place mentally. So I got in touch with Carl, he asked a couple of questions and he set up a meeting with Chris and the rest, they say, is history.


What was the hardest part when you started out and how did you overcome that?

Wow. There’s a lot to unpack here.

The first was simply to get moving again. Second would be that I told Chris in no uncertain terms I wasn’t interested in joining classes, I didn’t appreciate high fives as any form of encouragement, don’t ever tell me that I’m doing a ‘good job’ when it’s clear I’m not etc….you get the picture…!

Eventually he persuaded me to join classes, but, for someone who had been very physically active and capable for most of their life and who found most sports easy to pick up and play, almost every movement in the gym was a battle and I found the weightlifting and anything gymnastic-y incredibly difficult.

In fact, Dona unfortunately got the brunt of my frustration with myself and complete lack of ability during one class when we were doing snatches very early on and she moved me to a 15lb bar and 10lb plates. I told her to go forth and multiply (sorry again Dona!!) and it took me a week or so to consider coming back in. I still remember how I felt and it was all to do with my own sense of self.

So, every time I feel like that I have to check myself and, with Chris’ words burning a hole in my brain – “Leave your ego at the door” was and remains the hardest aspect of being at the gym for me.


You come from a pretty athletic background – did that help you at all when you joined our gym?

As you can see from the previous answer, I think it actually hindered me mentally. I’d played hockey (real hockey with no pads, helmets or gloves for the Americans and Canadians reading) competitively to a relatively high level for about 20 years and then just stopped because of bad knee pain. So my expectations of myself physically far outweighed my actual abilities. And at times they still do. I’m dealing with 20 years of poor movement patterns and mobility which is hard to knock off in one go.

That said, it means that I know what it is like to train hard and how to hear what my body is telling me (despite the fact that I often don’t listen (theme anyone?)) so that I can work out what I’m capable of physically on any given day. The problem is I need to remind myself that I’m 46 not 26!

My favourite for this is the Instagram page – makewodsgreatagain. An old man revelling in his hopelessness!

I wish that CrossFit had been around when I was 26 or that there was a focus on strength and other types of training, particularly gymnastics. It’s a great all round way to train.


We are in the last month of 2020 – a LOT has happened this year. What are some things you have learned about yourself during this crazy year?

I fear at 46 yrs old that I may be in the downhill leg of this whole thing, but I’ve learnt that old man strength is a thing. But so is old man lack of mobility, old man stiffness, and old man moaning.


Bombay, The Botanist or Hendrick’s?

Probably Botanist, Hendricks and Bombay in that order. But the key thing is the right measures. A real gin and tonic in my view is something that is refreshing and has a strong flavour of tonic of whatever your choice. For the purists this is the ultimate British colonial drink and so should be heavy on the quinine, lemon and gin. No short measures please and I don’t want to taste the alcohol!! Best G&T on island in a bar is at the Marriott. Other than that it’s at my house!


Gotta ask….where is the first place you will travel to once we can travel?

Honestly I haven’t missed travelling at all. In a normal year I’m often off the rock at least once or twice a month on business and not having to deal with that has been a blessed relief. I do miss the seasons though as I love a good autumn/fall. But if we aren’t really able to go anywhere abroad until later next year I won’t be complaining!

That said, we have fallen in love with the Brac in recent years as a family. Highly recommend it. Get your food strategy right and you can have a great time!


Anything people at 7 Mile Strength & Fitness don’t know about you?

Probably an awful lot….!

But one that I’m quite proud of is my dad was a builder who specialised in renovating period property. When I was 15 he was doing a job for Jack Bruce who had been the bass player in Cream ( When I was 15 I played the guitar in a band (don’t any more due to too many broken hands playing hockey!) and one night he overhead me practicing when my dad was on the phone to him. He asked who it was and my dad told him and he said “Bring him over, let’s have a jam”.

So off we trooped. I was nervous as hell as I was mad into Eric Clapton, Cream, Jimi Hendrix etc.

Got there and we went into the studio to play for about an hour. Gold discs from all the big Cream hits on the wall like Sunshine of Your Love. We then went back to the kitchen where my dad and Jack’s wife were chatting about the renovations. He then proceeded to roll the largest spliff I’d ever seen and passed it round.

Both my dad and I politely declined.

Still remember it clearly to this day!


Anything crazy on your bucket list? (bungee jumping, sky diving, hiking?)

Nope. Done all of those already and have travelled A LOT! I’ve no desire to go backpacking again, ever!

I think I’d probably put buying some land in the Brac or on a lake somewhere (possibly Canadia) and building a really well designed tiny house. I like the simplicity of that movement.


What is your favorite WOD and why?

Anything with deadlifts as long as it’s not coupled with burpees or gymnastics.


What is your least favorite WOD and why?

Anything with skipping or burpees. The devil’s work.


Would you recommend 7 Mile Strength & Fitness to others and if so, why?

Definitely. Despite what I said when I first joined, I love the atmosphere in the gym and enjoy group classes (when there isn’t any skipping) and the fact that no one really judges you (unless you are miscounting your reps or not squatting to depth of course) for rocking up, getting it done and moving on. Chris has helped me immensely both physically and mentally over the last five years, and the culture and ethos that he brings to the piece with the rest of the team is great. A long way from the testosterfest that it was in 2015!!!


Thanks Matt, we are proud to have you as our December 7 Miler.