Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Still getting killed by Weedkiller at Ravens Tor

Working Weedkiller (f7b) Ravens Tor

Still getting my ass handed to me on f7b or V7 but each week the weight goes down and the strength continues to slowly increase.

I'm loving this again. Waking up feeling very energized after rest days but the training days take its toll during fatigue phases in my training cycle. I will move away from this format when the weight is down to about 82 kgs, then I will concentrate on cycles of strength, power and power endurance until V7 eats it!

It was great to see someone working Mecca (8b+) on the crag. Turned out I hadn't seen the guy since I was sixteen up on Right Wall (E5) in Wales in 1985. Turned out the it was Andy Cave. He's looking strong on the project. Inspiring!

Andy Cave on Mecca (8b+)

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

V6 benchmark

Target weight

Flashed a V6 today. Just saying!!

Still at around 87kgs but although not yet bouldering hard, I feel strong underneath the Jaba ! Loving the climbing movement!

Friday, 24 August 2018

A tipping point...

The prow at CCC

I am enjoying good progress with the bouldering and have taken steps to monitor the weight reduction with scales. Climbing harder is strength to weight and it feels good to manage it in this way as well as driving finger strength gains with regular maximal weighted hangs on the finger board a few times a week before other sessions.

This way I am training for performance improvement instead of just bouldering as much as I can hoping for improvement in my performance. But the bouldering is increasingly more and more fun as I get a little closer to where I left off in 2012 in the Pyrenees.

I took a visit to Wales to climb at my mates wall (The Indy) to test out where I am at in font grades - flashing most f6b/+ and completing some f6c's. A good bench mark. Still in high eighties in kgs (and not the 85kgs I thought I was) but that is coming down a bit slower now as the initial uber jabba has peeled off!

The strategy now is stretching, weighted fingerboarding and bouldering alongside weight reduction. Should tip me over into about V6 in coming weeks if I can squeeze into 84kg body suit!

I can feel my finger strength returning quickly again, just need to align the other parts of jigsaw and we are good!

Monday, 13 August 2018

The Journey V7

Been keeping a daily training diary now. Always a step fwd towards goal setting and planning the journey with structure. Above is a nice bloc set by Will, Callum and I the other day at Corby Climbing Centre. The others have sent it but I am only 50% there. But should be in the bag in coming weeks as the fingerboard and continued weight reduction takes its course.

Loving the journey in more ways than one! Onwards!

Friday, 10 August 2018

Been continuing on the journey back to rock climbing fitness and reduced weight. Still heavy but seeing big gains finger strength (hiding behind the weight)! Good to get on a wall on a regular basis again and begin the first fingerboard session with a structured method. It’s easy to visualise my target of V7 in next few weeks with the continuation of weight reduction combined with strength gains.

Picked up a strain on my pec getting over excited on Corby Climbing Centre opening day but took some time away in the alps to concentrate on weight reduction with combined physio. Great to be in the mountains and remind myself why I love climbing so much. Onwards!

Friday, 13 July 2018


Had a few days away in Scotland and got right back into things at the wall today again. Was a little concerned that the five days away would have set me back but it felt like a few pounds have been shed as today’s session felt good. Working the flexibility and antagonistic exercises before and after each session now to improve technique and reduce injury risk as I get stronger in the fingers. Which incidentally are relatively weak but the weight is going down and the progression will probably take a few more weeks before any noticeable gains. Would be nice to nail a definitive V6 by then instead of a v4-v6! Not knowing just hurts man!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The process:Toe hooks...

I'm really in the swing of things at the moment in terms of enjoying my climbing again and in particular 'the process' of learning a new style of movement.

Working this brilliantly set v6+ yellow on the underside of this boulder is great fun. The sequence is foot lead, which is my worst nightmare as I just want to campus it to death, but I am being very disciplined and just working the technique of the move in the way it was set and to do three foot moves (toe hooks) without moving my hands feels like someone stabbing me in the eye with a hot spoon, but it also feels like real progress.

This is the benefit of training heavy (still at upper 80's kgs), it forces you to be better with body positions. The new shoes have been great but, already I have ripped the toe rubber off the fore foot of the shoes. This is testament to my aggressive toe hooking and not the quality of the shoe.The shoes have been great! Got the glue out and stuck it down ready for another session with the eye stabbing hot spoon that is the yellow v6+ in 36 hrs.

It's been great meeting new climbers of compatible standard and bouldering the moves with them. I still feel compelled to coach, but I have decided for now to focus on my own climbing for a bit until I have nurtured it to where I would like it to be.

Forgot how much I love bouldering and the small but crucial progressions.

Viva la toe hooks!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Relearning movement

It's been a great few weeks of consistency with sessions at the wall starting to force adaptions in the body. A little stronger, a few kilos lighter and a move towards more flexibility, but most noticeable of all is the movement. It became apparent on a v6 that I had been working for a weeks with slow but steady progress finding subtle body position adjustments then finally the last key move required a heavily weighted rock over onto a small hold requiring balance to allow the release of the hand to make the last hard move. Once I plunged to the mat it was a clear signal to start working flexibility and technique.

Relearning the body positions required to get the most from the available holds, especially as I try the v5/6 problems. I think the hardest I have bouldered indoors is v8 and right now an awkward v3/4 can stop me yet I am succeeding on the odd v5 and breaking down the moves on some v6's. But I am heavy and this will mix up again as I combined the changes that force improvement.

I always believe that strength to weight is king, followed by technique, core and flexibility. Some say technique is as important as strength to weight...

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Premier coaching guy...

It’s not easy being this good.., in fact, it’s the hardest thing I have ever done is being me!

Even my new rock shoes from Scarpa aren’t as good as me and that’s saying something, because after today, I think they’re great! But maybe I was just great and they tagged along passing off on my glory? It’s possible, it happens a lot?

I did my first 88kg v5/6 on crimps today. Cheating really because I could crimp your grannies scarecrows if my life depended on it. I’m lying. I can’t!

Better for me as one of Britain’s premier coach guys, I worked the s&@t out of a v5 with a heel hook crux and nailed it today after 3 sessions. But what the mere  mortals should understand is that I am dropping weight from session to session so benchmarking means nothing! It’s all about fluidity in tuning fingers, awakening upper body and increasing flexibility. 

I tried the other v6+ around the corner which involves an few crimps moves into hanging a full stretch fingertip sloper and bringing my left leg high to move. Failed! Give me a chance! I can’t even see my toes yet, never mind touch them!

Love ;)

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Some more steel for the heel...

“Shoe with good heel. Turn toe out. Don’t drag heel, pull in a line from toe to heel. Think of the heel and foot more like a hand. You can’t just touch something and expect to hold onto it, same with the heel. Activate it.” (someone who knows!)

Corby Climbing Centre is looking more and more amazing each day. Suzi has really nailed this with the fantastic guys from Rockworks who are delivering what looks like an absolutely outstanding wall design.

As CCC progresses, so is my training and weight reduction. It is starting to feel like I can move a bit more freely now on the wall when I am training. trying to climb every second day and if not, doing alternative workout to keep the weight reduction versus strength gains collision on target. I walked 52 miles in 24 hours at the weekend and lost a few kilos there!

I have done this before back in 2010 when I got 8a fit after a long period away from climbing and although it only takes a few months, every day of that month is focused on the goal. I understand the process very well and the risks during the most injurious periods and the approach required to successfully turn the corner to a more normal training conditions.

# Small power based sessions (1/1.5hrs) completed regularly ( every 2nd day if possible) in conjunction with KCAL reduction and aerobic activity on non climbing days. That's my formula  for the first 6 weeks until the weight is down to a more manageable level.

I have been practicing my heel hooking as prescribed and seeing some gains. My butt cheeks hurt more, the more I squeeze my heel hooks, so it must be working! Scarpa shoes arrived but were as tight as my heel hooking buttocks, so acted like an adult and returned them for the bigger size. Can't wait to try them when they're back in a few days.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Achilles heels!

I just bought these shoes tonight to make the first moves towards addressing my climbing weaknesses. Heel hooking is my nemesis. I hate it. I like crimps and campusing but this is about addressing what I don’t like and heel hooking is at the top of my list.

It’s a process I’m going to aggressively address until I can hook a ripple like it’s a bivi ledge!!!!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Corby Climbing Centre

I’ve been working away at getting fit for the opening of Suzi’s Corby Climbing Centre on the 28th of July. So still heavy but dropping around one kilo per week and using the extra weight to train strength on the fingers. Lots of work to do to get coaching fit again but really psyched to get back into a climbing lifestyle again.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Bringing focus to an emergent training strategy - an opening sequence

Working things out!
I was out running the other day and was chatting with a guidebook editor from Scotland about providing them with some content for their book about a crag near central Glasgow where I had spent some time climbing in my youth and as we got chatting about different things he asked if I was still climbing. I said a little but really a little was, well, not enough was the real answer. But that's changing with the opening of Suzi's new climbing wall in Corby in the spring. I finally feel that things are coming together well.

It's been a tough process to kick start any kind of training but it has began with running, walking and some reverse pull-ups but still no real structure and discipline but I suppose I am  just getting a feel for what I want to achieve before working out how to go about it.

Boxing with a bag for 2 mins with some other free weights over three sets is a great way to condition both upper body and one's aerobic capacity in a short time without hurting anybody!

To set stretch goals, for me, requires inspiration. Inspiration comes from investigating an authentic personal goal via an emergent process where I personaly begin by taking basic action then follow the truth from there...

So it's just an opening sequence but we are defiantly underway now... I love this feeling of my body coming to life again!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Coming back to life...

Today was the second day of freedom from full time employment and my second day of training back to some kind of fitness with a focus on running and walking to work down my weight before I begin to train rock climbing climbing specific. It took me 10 months of working in an office to realize I will never work in an office job again.

Perhaps the lack of creativity in my role and the lack of development played a large part in my experience as I am sure the right role surrounded my the right team could be fulfilling and meaningful.

I enjoy learning, teaching and training, so that's what I have designed for myself for 2018.

A 72kg version
Working with a good 90kg requires careful management when it comes to rock climbing specific systems training or finger strength training. It's not new to me. I enjoy finding ways to train heavy to maximise gains as the weight comes off against an increase in power.

I have given myself till May to get to a manageable climbing weight in anticipation of my wife's charity iDID Adventure opening the new Corby Climbing Centre in the spring. All very exciting and great to have a climbing gym 12.5 minutes from our cottage (just sayin!)

Will probably begin upper body training with things like reverse pull-ups to wake up the muscles from the 18 month hibernation to avoid injury.

It feels like I'm coming back to life...

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Recruiting now for Online Training Team - 6 Week Dual Factor Online Training Programme

 We are recruiting for 5 clients looking to train using our online Dual Factor Training Programme beginning early 2018. The programme will consist of online access to a selection of relevant training documents from Reach, alongside a programme scheduled around a proven training cycle of Strength > Power > Power Endurance against a back drop of Aerobic uploading to fatigue then downloading to a performance taper.

The programme costs £50.00 and lasts for 6 weeks.

Please contact to join the Team.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

¿Está buscando un orador invitado inspirador? Mentores, entrenamiento & liderazgo

¿Está buscando un orador invitado inspirador?

Mark McGowan

Mentores, entrenamiento & 

Mark McGowan - MBA

Actualmente trabaja con la Universidad de Northampton y Northamptonshire Growth Hub junto a eventos de oratoria en torno al tema de Liderazgo para organizaciones como la Universidad de escuela de negocios de Portsmouth, Negocios Gales, el European Mentoring & Coaching Council y la Universidad de Bangor.
  • Ganador de la categoría 'Inspirando a otros en los premios de aventura nacional  2016'
  • Liderar la primera ascensión del Para del mundo del Eiger en 2015.
  • GB Equipo Para-escalada Entrenador en jefe 2014/15
  • Referenciado en el libro "Quien es Quien Libro: Joven Emprendedor" en 2002.

"Defiant - The Eiger Paraclimb" Trailer Oficial 2015 de Finalcrux Films
"Recibí comentarios fantásticos de la audiencia en la Universidad de escuela de negocios de Portsmouth después de la charla de Mark que combinó sus logros de escalada con su visión de completar su MBA.La gran cosa acerca de la charla fue la autenticidad de Mark se encontró a causa de su único y personal A diferencia de las conversaciones comerciales más "típicas" se oye la mayor parte del tiempo, lo que la hizo fascinante e inspiradora ". (David Hall, Director de MBA, Universidad de Portsmouth)

" Mark es el trato real, no es blarney, habla desde el corazón y permite que su público se conecte con su alma.Es un hombre apasionado que inspira a la gente no se limita por sí mismos u otros.La gente se agita para escalar sus propias montañas metafóricas con orgullo Y valor, ¡te hemos amado, Mark! ¡Buena suerte ! (Charlie B-Gavigan, BRAVE IDEAS -Curator)

" Usted cumplió el breve más allá de las expectativas! " (European Mentoring & Coaching Council - North Wales)

Si desea más información sobre la reserva de mí como su orador invitado para su evento, por favor, correo electrónico
Copyright © 2017 Mark McGowan, Todos los derechos reservados. 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

6 Week Training Programme: Sport Climbing 6a to 7a

If your motivated to lift your sport climbing grade from 6a to 7a the get in touch about our online 6 week training programme beginning  next month.

The cost is £50.00 for the six week programme.

Contact for further details or to register for this training cycle.

Friday, 2 June 2017

1 to 1 Rock Climbing Coaching for 2018 - Beginning next month

Contact for 1 to 1 coaching and training sessions for 2018 beginning next month. Focusing on increasing your bouldering and sport grades through a proven Strength - Power - Power Endurance cycle...

Sunday, 25 September 2016

#myopiaproject #reflections #trainingwithoutaproject

It feels a little weird to be retraining without a specific project or goal in mind. But it also feels good for me.

After four weeks I'm finally beginning to enjoy the bouldering sessions for the fun of the movement and not like hauling a bull around. Once you start moving on rock something resembling what you know you can, it motivates me. It feels good as I love that movement.

In Glasgow I was lucky enough to have easy access to world class bouldering centre called The Climbing Academy and this access just motivates you more and more and eventually the training stops being training and becomes fun and a large part of your social life, a climbing lifestyle if you like (be it indoors).

So, it feels like I need to concentrate on gaining more access to bouldering and build that back into my weekly lifestyle.

Been doing more press ups for the elbows and shoulders. Need rock shoes that fit and will improve my heel and toe techniques.

Friday, 23 September 2016

#Week4 #81kg

Week 4:

Weighed in for first time in long time... 81kg

That's heavy. I climbed 8a in 2010 at 77kg and 8a+ at 72kg in 2012. Strength to weight is everything in climbing and at the moment I need to concentrate on developing finger strength and general conditioning for climbing before focusing too much on weight.

Working the fingers this week with weighted finger hangs.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

#myopiaproject #daystoweeks #week3 #strengthtoweight

Week 3:

Moved my diary to weeks so that when I was being lazy I could hide it easier. Always a good tactic to remain strategically motivated :)

A good week with finger strength gains noticeable during my bouldering and systems session. Happy with strength to weight at this stage.

Need to increase antagonistic training for balance and injury avoidance.
Really enjoying the slow paced progression and fitting rock climbing training back into my life. Need a wall closer to home (Suzi!)

Stretching needs more love. Again! Keep saying it..

Monday, 12 September 2016

#myopiaproject #strengthtraining #15kilosdifference #edgehogE4


Weighted finger hangs on front three then back three. Working enslaved fingers for quicker gains. Then some reverse one arm work.

No run today. Feeling a little stronger with this weight. Keep up the same strategy for now.

I was 65 kilos back then...

Sunday, 11 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #Day13 #core #stretching

Day13 :

Feeling motivated after yesterday's session. Morning run, core, stretching and some weights.

Need more stretching.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #Day12 #fingersfirst


Back on it with fingers on systems board with the four move campus sequence sets. Then managed a 6c flash on a rope with Suzi.

A run back at home. Happy with gains.
Keep going at this weight for a bit. Feeling good.

Need new Rock shoes and a sport rope.

Friday, 9 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #RIPcurl #Dogs #Horses #TCA

Day 10 & 11:

Day 10 fell into 11 with only stretching and some walking in flip flops. Day 11 was scheduled for fingers but fell off the horse.

My dog recently ate my gifted Ripcurl flip flops from Zermatt: They cost zillions. But luckily they 
are still usable. 

A package arrived by post but wasn't in so postman left a card. I think I know what it is! It's for my fingers from the The Climbing Academy (TCA)

Weight is coming down...

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

#Myopiaproject #Day9 #core #strawberries

Day 9:
Did core and stretching in evening. Getting bendier.
Fingers and shoulders recovering from last night's session. Had a great night time run. Inspiring. Reminded me of runs from Auzat to Spanish border.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

#MyopiaProject. #Day8 #fingers2

Day 8: Had DOMS in forearms for a few days. Feels good again. Working fingers on systems. Can still smell the cheesecake!

I've know real idea where I'm going with this. But I'm going!

Referrals from clients:

"...This training season I decided to get all the help I can to speed up my improvement. I needed guidance to work towards my goals in long term. I also needed more vision and opinions about my exercises and weak links. I am glad I can share my training with Mark..." (Ville Mustonen, Finland)

" I met Mark in Glen Nevis on his return to climbing to check out some lines he had in mind for me, I wasn't really training at this point but after a day or two talking and training with him I had a much more structured idea of what to do to improve and I did" (Kev Shields)