Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Vires et Honestas

Some of you have been asking what “Vires et Honestas” means at the end of every blog post and on the whiteboard. Quite simply it is the Latin for “Strength and Honour”. Most of you should recall this phrase from the movie “Gladiator”; Russell Crowe’s title character Maximus uttered it repeatedly to his cohorts in the Roman Legions and later to his Gladiator comrades.

Why do we use it at SPQR Fitness? Well, aside from the whole Roman Legion thing, the phrase encapsulates what we are all about and how we train – both with Strength and Honour. Strength is obvious, we lift weights, perform calisthenics and exercise hard in order to become fitter and stronger so we are ready for whatever life may choose to throw at us but the Honour part might not be so clear.

When we train at SPQR Fitness we train hard, using a variety of functional exercises to build an all-round athlete. This requires us to put in a lot more effort than may be considered the norm by those used to the traditional body building style training found at most regular gyms. We eschew the long, slow (boring) distance work on the treadmill in favour of more intense interval and sprint work; we ignore the traditional doctrine of back and bi, chest and tri days and work large compound exercises designed to move large load over long distance to provide a full-body stimulus.

Yes, but what does that have to do with honour? I hear you ask. It’s simple; we expect you, the athlete, to put in as much effort as you possibly can and not cheat us. As coaches we try to monitor your every rep, but as people we know that simply is not possible all the time. We also know the temptation to cheat just a little – maybe dropping a rep in a set of 21 or perhaps not quite getting the full range of motion on an exercise when the coach is not looking or even scaling a weight when you know, deep down, that you don’t need to. This is where the honour part comes in. It is incumbent on YOU to make sure you resist the temptation to cheat because at the end of the day it is YOU that will pay for it by not achieving your goals or being called out on it by a cohort.

Same goes for your diet. We can’t be with you 24/7 (trust me, you’d get pretty sick of us if we were) so we are relying on you to be honest when we talk about your nutrition. At SPQR Fitness we specifically don’t tell you how to eat but we will make certain recommendations that we think might help you achieve those weight loss or performance goals, but at the end of the day, if you want to eat junk foods, that’s fine – just don’t come and tell us you were eating purely organic, clean food and still wonder why your numbers are getting worse.

It works both ways too though. We will always strive to give you the very best training possible and we will do our utmost to help you perform to your highest capabilities. That is a promise we make to you, and it is our honour that keeps us in line to do so.

So, when you see those words on the blogspot and on the whiteboard above every WOD, reflect on what they mean and, as you are lying on the floor in a pool of sweat at the end, determine for yourself if you gave it your all today and whether your honour is intact.

Vires et Honestas 

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