John O

Writing this has given me time to fully reflect on what has been a great year.

I’m by no means new to training, many of you already know this and I can’t imagine not training on a regular basis.

My background is firmly embedded within combat sports, competing at National and International level and I guess that’s where my competitive traits were honed from an early age.

Anyway, why am I sharing this?

Firstly, I’ve been asked to, that’s a simple answer. It’s quite humbling to be asked and I hope my story helps motivate and encourage you to exceed (what you consider to be) your current limitations.  

Goal setting certainly helps me, working towards a tangible objective provides focus and purpose to those gruelling gym sessions. With this in mind, around ten months ago I decided to sign up for a Spartan Race. These briefly consist of various stations around a course to test strength and endurance…it didn’t disappoint. I knew physically it would be tough and could train accordingly, but I also knew I’d need to apply myself mentally, to keep going when the easiest option would be to quit.

My approach was separated into two distinct areas …. physicality and mindset or what could be termed as mental attitude. I couldn’t have completed the course without both elements.

Chris coached and supported me through the months with tailored training plans, advice on nutrition and regular check-ins all designed to keep me accountable.   As the weeks and months progressed, I became stronger, leaner and much more proficient at full burpees (there’s a reason for that) and enjoyed being pushed further by the whole team of UHF coaches, ultimately reaching new levels of fitness and endurance.

Training intensified as the event came closer and my mindset switched from ‘just wanting to complete the course’ to ‘I’m going to complete the course in my fastest possible time’… ‘I want to win! ’the competition was on!

The Midlands Trifecta Weekend event arrived, hydrated and fuelled up, we headed down on one of the hottest days of the year. Thirty seven degrees would play a major part in completing the course in a competitive time. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say, the course was tough, spread over 6k of steep inclines and rough terrain. My objective was to finish within the hour and managed to come in at 60.51, giving me an overall placing of 14th out of 256. I was pretty pleased with that under the circumstances!  

Physically, I was spent after finishing, but knew mentally I could push on if necessary, opening up the possibility of longer races in future which are already planned.  

Upon analysing my performance, mindset turned out to be crucial. Often, your mind tells you to give up but I never allow those thoughts to grow or persuade me to stop, I just don’t listen!


Getting to the gym and having a tough workout is guaranteed to make you feel better about yourself, even though it may not feel like it on a cold wet February evening after working all day, I don’t think I’ve ever regretted a single session in 40 something years  


My goals and objectives follow a simple formula, SMART which is set out as follows

● Specific – be clear about what you want to do

● Measureable – how will you know you’ve done what you set out to do

● Achievable – make sure you have a realistic chance of success

● Relevant – does it align with your vision

● Timed – set a timeline for completion  


I’ve learned over the years that consistency plays a major part in any fitness journey, just show up regularly and do your thing. Be sensible with nutrition, don’t starve yourself, eat healthily and adjust calorie intake or activity if you know you’re likely to be over indulging on a night out for instance.  

UHF provides everything you need… take advantage, ask questions, compete and do the work, results will naturally follow, whatever your goals.