You might be wondering why my book is called Spartan Strength. The short answer is because my training business (which has nothing to do with the film 300) is called Spartan Performance and we specialise in getting people stronger.
I chose that name for my training business, and the gym I now run in the northeast of England because I’ve always been fascinated by Sparta, the ancient city-state whose citizens dedicated their lives to training and excellence. True, their efforts were centred on getting prepared for conflict but I see no reason why their focus and work ethic can’t be applied to our own everyday battles, whether that’s entering a strongman competition or just being the best version of yourself that you possibly can be.
The book is for anyone who wants to maximise their strength training potential, whether you’re a regular gym-goer or a personal trainer looking for inspiration and guidance on how to help your clients excel. It’s not an exhaustive treatment of my strength training knowledge and experience. It’s a distillation of everything I have learned since I first picked up a barbell, and it contains the essential information that I believe you need to get seriously strong. This has been forged during the thousands of hours I’ve spent coaching clients, ranging from World’s Strongest Woman champion Donna Moore to gym newbies who are just starting out on their strength training journey.
The manual I've written is a reflection of what I believe matters most if you want to get stronger. I’m not trying to impress you. I’m not trying to entertain you with fancy exercise variations you’ve never seen before. I’m giving you what works. That’s why the structure of the book – which starts with the foundation exercises that I want you to master before you start loading up the bar and ends with an overview of programme design – is designed to make it as accessible and as effective as possible.
I wanted to do this because I know how rewarding strength training can be. It has given me so much – including the discipline to achieve my goals and the mental toughness to push on when faced with a challenge – and I want to pass that on. One of the things that I love about strength training is that it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a complete beginner or a World’s Strongest Man competitor. If you apply yourself in the right way with the right effort, you’ll be rewarded.
There’s a phrase my warrior heroes used before going into battle and I’ve adopted it as the Spartan Performance motto. It resonates so deeply within me that I have it tattooed down my back. It reads ‘I TAN I EPI TAS’ and it basically translates as ‘with it or on it’. Simply put, you either return victorious from battle with your shield, or you return on it, having given everything to the cause. That’s the mindset I use to approach every session, and it’s one that I’d encourage you to adopt.
Yours in strength,