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4 Things I Learned In the 9 Years of Wg-Fit

My family and I just celebrated our oldest sons 9th birthday.

And while it’s incredible to believe that my boy is now 9, his lifespan so far is also the story of WG-Fit.

My journey from my old career into my current career had just begun when my then girlfriend, now wife, became pregnant.

Paulie and I were running Wild Geese as a bit of a hobby.

But when Son no 1 was born, so was Wild Geese Fitness Training.

Or to put it another way:

Shit just got real!

So from running a few kettlebell and circuit training classes 9 years ago to running a flat out training service that includes injury rehab, Kettlebell Sports, Athlete Preparation, personal training and drop in group sessions.

A post shared by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Sep 13, 2017 at 3:04am PDT

What have I learned along the way?

1: Training programs and exercise selection are not nearly as important as we think they are.

Now I can see how some of you will look at this and think WTF!?! Dave’s lost the plot, but let me run with this.

Dan John said it best, “Everything works some of the time, nothing works all of the time” Which really takes the pressure of. All we really do is give our clients ways to progressively overload their system in order to stimulate super compensation. In other words, they recover to a point beyond where they were when we trained them.

The actual methods used to acheive this is almost irrelevant.

I use mostly Kettlebell and Bodyweight exercises, with barbells, Sandbags, Clubs, Maces and Battle Ropes thrown in as appropriate.

The gym down the street has a full Crossfit Set up, another up the road has only power racks, weight plates and medicine balls.

Each gym uses different methods.

Each gym gets good results.

Because what they really provide is knowledge, support, accountability and a kick up the arse as needed.

The client buys into the Coaches philosophy, not his equipment. The programming is a reflection of the philosophy.

2: Two People with the exact same goal may still need different training.

This should be obvious, but seemingly it isn’t. Think of it this way.

You and your friend are going to meet up a certain location, for arguments sake, lets say the Eiffel Tower. But you’re starting in Dublin, he’s starting in London.

You’re both going to the same place, aiming to arrive at the same time, but you’re starting from two different places. He can simply grab the train, go through the channel tunnel, train on the other side and he’s there. You have to either fly in, get a ferry or get across to England to the tunnel.

1 outcome, two different stories.

Why is training not the same?

You aren’t starting from the same place your mate is, even if you’re training for the same outcome. So while your training will have many of the same elements of your buddies, it will also have many differences.

And if it doesn’t, maybe you should ask your trainer a few questions as to why.

3: Core Training is Important, but not THAT Important

Yes, I went through that phase of “get your core strong and all your inuries will fall away by magic”

In fact, it still seems to be the go to advice for many physio’s that I’ve come across.

But it’s not all that.

Certainly not if you believe lying on the floor waving your legs about is the same as core strength, or that you must brace your core all the time to prevent spinal movement.

Core training is a part of a larger training program. A training program that uses multi joint compound movements that, guess what? Engage the core! More importantly, they engage the core in a reflexive manner. Kind of how you want it to work in real life.

Yes, you add in direct core work because developing the abdominal muscles as you would all the other muscles is simply common sense. But like all isolation work, it’s filler by comparison to the rest of the training.

And that bit about bracing the spine to prevent movement, stop it. Unless you are doing heavy lifting (Squats, Dealifts, Presses etc) you don’t brace the spine in neutral. No, in fact you load up the musculature of the torso which works best if the spine can bend and twist using that wonderful architecture to move storing, transferring and expressing power in what ever manner you wish.

Go to a wrestling/judo/BJJ/MMA match and see spines bend and twist under load without issue. Watch a Javelin thrower load up the spine before he releases the arrow Watch a sprinters abs get pulled in oblique lines as the spine transfers torque between the hips and shoulders….

3: The Foot

Oh, the foot. What an absolute marvel of evolution.

But how much is it ignored and taken for granted.

26 bones, 33 joints. All expected to carry us all day every day. To run. To kick. To Jump. To Land a Jump.

Hey Bolo, have a look at me Foot!

Consider the forces the foot has evolved to endure.

Now consider how much time you spend looking after it.

You do your core work, your glute work, your rotator cuff work, but what about the foot?

Learning from Gary Ward and Chris Sritharan in the Anatomy in Motion training was eye opening. It is without a doubt the most valuable training I have undertaken since becoming a full time trainer.

Gary Ward (left) and Chris Sritharan, the brains behind AiM

As a martial artist, particularly Karate. As  former mountain runner. As a dude who’s never really had a sitting down job, I’ve always known the feet are important. I believe they are unique in the animal kingdom, no one else has that three arch structure. Other animal have opposable thumbs, other animals have big brains, plenty use tools. But who has our feet?

You want to celebrate our uniqueness as a species? Look down.

4: Training offers a window of sanity that people may otherwise not get

As my involvement with the HOPS centre for mental health has developed, to the point where I, with a small team behind me, have launched the as permanent fundraising website for Mental Health, I’e started to really appreciate how physical training keeps people on an even keel in their own heads.

We are animals, and like all animals we need to move, to “exercise” and to stimulate the musculoskeletal system that we call home.

If we don’t, we grow weak and lethargic.

It also gives a period of time where a person can be completely selfish, focused on themselves. They train to make themselves feel better, but in doing so they gain vitality that means they can help others. They move well and feel free and confident.

They can put aside worldly problems and focus on that one rep, that one movement. It is a mindful practice, akin to meditation.

And they can see and feel tangible improvements. That one extra rep on the press, that first or second pull up, that few seconds shaved off that run, the extra 5 kilo’s on the bar. These are undeniable, quantifiable markers of progress.

And if that’s not good for the ole head, I don’t know what is

Now, speaking of the Mighty Mile.

We’re getting close to October 7th where we will be doing a mile of walking kettlebell swings, or a mile of lunges or similar.

Sweat, blood, chalk and a lot of grim determination

Last year we raised around €7,500. This year we are looking for €10,000 We’ll only reach that with your generosity.

To support us support Mental Health, simply go to the site and hit the PayPal button, enter whatever amount you wish to donate and that’s it. The money will be be used to support research, provide courses, equipment and outings for those struggling with Mental Health. Here’s the site:

Thanks for the support over the last 9 years, lets make the next 9 even better!


Dave Hedges

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