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Will Harvey on Getting Strong, Lifestyle Factors and Programming

Will Harvey outdoor squat

“Your body reacts to all stimulus and in this modern world it’s often over-stimulated by technology and under-stimulated by nature.”

It’s part two of our interview with Will Harvey. In part one Will Harvey talks on Primal Living, The Athlete Centre and How To Train Like A Pro

Will has been involved in both playing and coaching sport from a very young age. He has competed at a high standard in Aussie Rules Football (AFL), Soccer and Triathlons before starting his personal training career in 2004 in Melbourne, Australia. After retiring from AFL, Will moved over to the UK to continue working in the fitness world building his client portfolio and co-found The Athlete Centre. He currently trains amateur and professional sports people and business professionals. Will is passionate about fitness, health and diet, helping to assist people to reach their goals and will regularly be seen leading a Crossfit class.

With so many different approaches to lifting – bodyweight, Olympic lifting, powerlifting, kettlebells, crossfit etc. – how does a beginner decide what to start with and what tips do you have for setting fitness goals and progression?

All of them incorporate the basic primal movements of pulling, pushing, squatting etc. so there’s no real wrong approach as long as you’re doing it correctly. My advice? Try them all and see what you like.

I like the SMART approach of setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely goals. Take a good hard look at where you are and where you want to be and make it happen.

What would you recommend as the minimum effective dose for getting strong, fit and healthy?

Three times a week as long as it’s high intensity. This is the beauty of Crossfit because it offers high intensity training that can be scaled to the individual. It also means you’re not jogging on a treadmill wondering why you’re not getting lean.

The squat clean and jerk ticks all of the boxes as far as getting the most from one movement.

On the flip side you hear of people who get addicted to the gym and run into problems due to fatigue and over-training. What are the tell-tale signs you’re overdoing it at the gym and how do you know how much to reduce your training by and more importantly what to reduce?

Common symptoms are you’re not lifting as well and you can’t sleep but you’re tired all the time. The body makes it pretty obvious.

Very general question as everyone’s training is different so knowing what to reduce will depend on that but again it’s important to listen to your body, take regular rest and active recovery days. Time and again we come back to good programming. People that over-train don’t know what they’re doing and often over-train as a result. Prevention is better than cure – follow a good programme and you can avoid a lot of unnecessary problems.

What are the things that can really contribute and make a difference to overall health and fitness that people often overlook? We’ll often look at what we’re eating and how we’re training but what other pieces of the optimal health puzzle are there?

Sleep, avoiding chemicals in as many ways as possible and getting outside more. Your body reacts to all stimulus and in this modern world it’s often over-stimulated by technology and under-stimulated by nature. It’s important to try and restore that balance.

Will Harvey Personal Trainer

“Eat well, lift hard and keep pushing.”

Do you think supplements are necessary for optimal health and performance? What supplements do you personally take and recommend?

Nothing replaces a good diet. But the fact of the matter is that soil depletion can mean you’ll have some nutritional gaps. Everyone is different but I personally take Xendurance to help me recover and occasionally a good quality multi-vitamin. I also have a matcha shot with coconut oil and Nordic fish oil every day.

What advice do you have for people looking to overcome plateaus when lifting?

Stick to your programme. Like #athletestrong in The Athlete Centre. Plateaus are natural don’t let them get inside your head. Eat well, lift hard and keep pushing.

If you had to subsist on just one meal for optimal nutrient density and performance – rather than taste – what would it be?

That’s the good thing about Primal you never have to make that distinction but something with a shit tonne of butter and coconut oil. You can’t really beat meat and veggies cooked in healthy fats and who wouldn’t want to eat that?

Who else in the fitness world do you recommend our readers seek out?

Barrie Jon (head of S&C at The Athlete Centre), Juggernaut, Charles Poliquin and Renaissance Periodization are pretty good places to start.

What projects and plans for the future do you have?

My latest venture is Rebel health. Follow and you’ll find out. I’ll say no more.

A huge thank you to Will Harvey for taking time out of his busy schedule to take part in this interview. 

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About Michael

Michael Wilson is the founder of Paleo Minds. He has been following a strict Paleo lifestyle ever since Paleo transformed his life in 2010 – from medicated, sick and suffering from autoimmune diseases to happy, fit and healthy. Michael is currently studying towards the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification and battling with various cultural and language difficulties as he lives a Paleo lifestyle in Japan. Thank goodness for Apps that automatically read Kanji!

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