Early last week I wrapped up my first month of Gym Jones programming. Actually, it was a month and a half’s worth since I repeated the first two weeks as I missed a few workouts the first time around.
There’s no great mystery in Gym Jones’ programming. To quote Mark Twight himself on the madness of his methods: “The secret is a well-kept secret called commitment and self-discipline.”
There you have it. Simple.
I’m not going to lie, going in I was intimidated. Gym Jones has a reputation for being elitist and hard core. However, after spending a lot of time on their site and doing one of their programs I think neither is true. They just expect you to work hard and push yourself to your absolute limits. That’s not elitist or hardcore, that’s just the way life should be lived, in my opinion.
Their mantra is “the mind is primary” and once I figured that out the workouts were no longer so scary. There are two options when you get into a workout: 1. stop or slow down when you think you can’t go on; 2. stop or slow down when you reach your real limit and your body just won’t go any more. When you come to understand the “mind is primary” you realize that option number one really isn’t an option any more because your mind lies to you.
“It was hell and wonderful at the same time. [My trainer] Mark Twight gave me a whole bunch of workouts to do by myself to get my fitness levels up, so that when I arrived in LA the really hard stuff would start. I did two months training on my own and four months training in LA with Mark, and that was excruciating – breaking boundaries I didn’t know I could. I remember one moment, doing some horrible rowing sprint thing, and I said, “I can’t do this Mark, I can’t, I’m done,” and he said, “No you’re not, don’t listen to the lies.” I kept on pulling and pulling until suddenly I realised I had finished. That’s what Mark taught me – one of the many things – don’t listen to the lies, your barriers are breakable.” – Henry Cavill on training with Gym Jones for his Man of Steel role
But… I don’t want to make it seem like Gym Jones is all about crushing you until you are like a ground up bug on an eighteen wheeler’s bumper. Their programming is smart, well planned, periodized and has built in progressions and recovery days. CrossFit hates on Gym Jones because they say they are ripping them off. Um, no. Gym Jones is what CrossFit could have been if they weren’t run by five year olds and would have listened to any of those smart dudes and dudettes they kicked out (Twight, Rippetoe, Wolf, Everett, OPT, Attitude Nation, etc.)
And… I want to be clear that I’m not slagging off CrossFit. There are some great affiliates out there doing wonderful work whose programming probably looks an awful lot like Gym Jones or OPT. Good on ya. I just don’t think main site CrossFit puts enough emphasis on recovery or periodization/progression.
I made some really nice gains on my month and a half of Gym Jones – both mentally and physically – and I’m really excited to start another program today.