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  • Writer's pictureWill Foden

What training at 98 Riley street taught me.

It’s true to say that surrounding yourself with like minded people will get you on track with what you are trying to achieve.

Going to Australia is always amazing. Good food, good people and the lifestyle is second to none.

But what I found more impressive and inspiring was finding a gym where people only cared about living up to their potential.

I went to 98 Riley street, owned by Chris Feather.

Not only was he a legend, but he has surrounded his gym with some of the best coaches I’ve seen and been able to be around.

These are the top things I learnt when I was over there:

1: There are laws of training that are scientifically driven. Respect them and understand how they work along side each other and you will progressively improve. Try to dodge corners, go against science or pretend that your mate down the road has a better idea than years of research than go ahead. But watch that you don’t stagnate, plateau or worse get injured.

2: The environment that you are in is infectious. Surround yourself with like minded people who inspire you to be better. People who push you towards your potential and are genuinely striving to be the best version of themselves, both physically and mentally. All having a common aim of being a better human and washing away all negative and destructive traits.

3: Do the things that you hate. Doing things that can be deemed boring or long are a must for physiological improvement. 20 minute time trails on a rower or bike may be boring, but they are a must to improve cardiovascular health, mental fortitude and also is a massive must for individuals to keep their cells healthy. The funny part is that here in this gym it's accepted, nobody moans or complains, just crank the music up and get the work done because everyone else is in the same boat.

4: Nutrition is aimed at improving performance not aesthetics. Fuelling workouts is the name of the game. Having enough energy to push past your last workout, lift that extra kilo or increase the amount of watts you can hold will cause and adaptive response. This intern will increase muscle mass, make you be more energy efficient as well as by default improve your physique. Training here isn’t aimed for have muscle that isn’t functional. Vice versa the demonisation of food types or groups is none existent. Food is there to be enjoyed and the goal is long term success, not as short term photo.

5: Resilience comes with training in a place that is uncomfortable. Hammering 2 ‘Fuck you Fridays’ (FYF) workouts with the guys it was clear what the prevalence was. Functional movements, simple tasks but full on output was the game. The aim wasn’t just to put yourself in a hole. Teams or being around people who will push you and keep you going forward have a carry over to life. Whether you are in a team setting like a rugby team or you are a manager of a bank, knowing that you and your team will go the edge together is binding. Life is a mother fucker and will kick you down as hard as it can. The difference is that you have the ability to keep moving forward, whilst dragging your mates with you.

6: Don’t be a Dickhead. Seems simple right? But the carry over between having a thriving environment to grow and improve or have someone poisonous in their ranks would destroy what this gym was about. The policy was upheld by all. Everyone we met or were involved with had no ego, they were helpful and when it came down to the tough stuff went all in with you. The bosses didn’t delegate the boring tasks, they got their hands dirty, moped floors and put towels away. This principle is seen in the book ‘Legacy’ about the All Blacks. I had the pleasure of deadlifting with an All Black (Owen Franks) whilst visiting 98. His demeanour was similar to the gym, no ego, he wasn’t better than anyone else, he helped and talked to everyone. This was a huge part of what it meant to be a 98 Riley street member.

7:The gym. 98 Riley street is literally gym porn for someone like myself. The aim of the place is to have the best people to serve the members into becoming the best version of themselves. Every detail of the place made you want to perform better. And let’s face it, the tools in their tool box (kit) were aimed at improving every part of you. No pointless shit, just kit that made you a better athlete (not a bosu ball in sight.)

Overall the experience and course itself solidified my views and expectations as a coach. Being an athlete is my identity. I’ve always put my team before myself and I have always had a critical eye on my performance, not to wallow in self pity, but to improve and get closer to my potential. Being weak isn’t an option from a physiological and psychological perspective. Being around pro and semi pro sport all my life has taught me this. But now I’ve found a place where being an athlete isn’t just on the sports field. Being an athlete, wanting to better yourself as well as your family and friends around you is now being preached at 98 Riley street by their team and the members within it. It wont be the last time I visit this gym.

To my clients and friends who have the opportunity to go to Sydney, I would strongly recommend dropping by this gym. Amazing people and the places makes you want to tear the walls down and Improve. Training is all about getting out of your comfort zone and maybe a few of you, a harsh reality check.

Until next time,


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