By Daniel Hunt
It’s the time of year where we wrap up our articles, and look back on the year - wins, losses, lessons learnt and changes made. I guess if I was to summarise the year of 2020; what the fuck?
Just to name some of the big hitters of the year - we had bushfires, a global pandemic and at one point I think there were even killer wasps flying around somewhere. The year of 2020 will certainly be remembered by most, for better or worse, as a year to remember - no one was left unaffected by the changes made to daily life for the sake of public health. Relationships, businesses, educational institutes and more were forced to adapt or suffer - very few were able to continue as they always had, and it looks like certain areas of the world will be going into 2021 still fighting the health and economic impacts of 2020. The last year has been what is considered a ‘once in a lifetime’ event, bringing changes that some never thought would happen - or were at least a few decades away from happening. I, for one, remember thinking that the Australian state governments wouldn’t close borders - turns out they absolutely will. This is one of many hard decisions of which we’re only now seeing transition towards the ‘new normal’.. Some of the changes made in order to adapt have been excellent - especially in regards to the integration of technology. Education, social engagement, medical and psychological support - all made more accessible through online platforms. This year also encouraged remote working to become a commonplace practice - something that had long been scrutinised, and looks to be sticking around for certain industries.
Naturally, not everyone likes the changes made - and they’re within their right to think so. But necessity demands adaptation, and adaptation leads to progress. This includes us at Anvil T&D - we sat down early in the year as the COVID restrictions were being put in place, and reviewed what we could do to make it through the pandemic and the restrictions. So for this article, I’ll be giving a look at each component of what we do - and how each has grown this year.
The training we facilitate was hit the hardest, with gyms closing down and any face-to-face contact heavily regulated - maintaining any kind of conventional coaching just wasn’t feasible. For anyone who paid attention this year, you probably noticed that the online coaching market quickly became flooded with gym trainers and individuals who had just noticed their first bicep vein or looked good in a swimsuit. It was a very tough time in the training industry, and the saving grace for us was our niche. The type of training we’ve run this year has been purely for veterans, who conduct training as part of their mental health maintenance. Even though conventional coaching was off-limits, our head coach Marshall was still able to maintain a coaching relationship with his clients, and facilitate physical activity through program writing and consistent communication. It was a challenging process - often requiring him to cater to what equipment was or wasn’t available to the client, and also liaising with their mental health expert to gain a better understanding of what will best benefit that person. As restrictions eased over time, normal coaching sessions could take place - something everyone appreciated after a period of time where no one could even get into a gym.
Concurrent to all this, Marshall was busy putting holes in his keyboard - releasing an article each month on different aspects of training. The Anvil Training Series, as it's been called, covers everything you could want to know on general and specific training principles and the three big lifts (squat, bench, deadlift - you can find these linked at the end of this article). Despite being unable to train people in person as he loves doing, Marshall was getting out what information he could to whoever would listen (or, in this case - read).
Things are basically back to normal for the training side now, and next year will be an exciting year of new clients and more learning for both the trainer and those being trained. Training will be expanding to encompass more than just veterans - with the opportunity for everyone to receive technique work and programming from Marshall!
It was a big year for everything that falls under our banner of ‘education’. We’ve been podcasting, live streaming, recording and collaborating with others to get as much information and entertainment out there. We’ve released two articles a month on topics related to training and mental health, containing information which we considered especially important considering the year we’ve all had. It’s a bit of a regular joke now that everyone and their dog is starting a podcast, and we get it - but, we still did it. Getting the information we put out onto a new platform and in a new format is reason enough for us to invest the funds and time into providing that content, and we’ve had a lot of fun doing it. It hasn’t just been hours of general training advice or telling people why they shouldn’t eat pizza every day - we’ve intentionally made tens of hours of just pure shit talking. We know that’s not for everyone - but we make the effort to be sincere in everything we do, and sitting around talking trash is part of what we do as friends.
As we continued to release articles and put out live streams five days a week, we started to realise that we can combine those two formats - so, we did. We now have over 40 hours of podcast content purely on articles we’ve released, giving more access than ever and catering to those who find listening more palatable or just more convenient. In addition to that, our ‘Wild West Wednesday’ - as they’ve come to be known, got more interactive with the community who tuned in. We’re extremely proud of the crew who frequently watch and interact with us on our live streams, and we’ve taken more steps towards the end of this year to continue to extend our reach. The live streams are now all on Twitch.com, the biggest streaming platform online - and I’ve been committed to creating a channel which provides entertainment through gaming and chatting to viewers, with a focus on physical and mental health. By making this transition, we want to bring a presence to another large platform which can give people a place to just relax and watch something entertaining, but also give them the opportunity to ask questions that they aren’t comfortable asking elsewhere. We’ll always be passionate about physical and mental health, whether someone is a veteran or not - so, next year will bring more time and effort into growing that community and cultivating a positive online influence. Just as they have this year , the articles will continue to flow out as they always have - with Marshall looking to consolidate a bunch of his work into ebooks that will include more information than ever.
I’ll start off this segment by saying thank you, to everyone who supported our business this year by choosing our products and services. It was an extremely difficult year for capitalism - with no one being safe from the sudden hit to the economy. We are fortunate enough to be an online retailer - meaning we don’t require a store on a busy street to sell our products.
In saying that, we still had our fair share of uncertainty and concern earlier this year - with our manufacturer for custom weightlifting belts shutting down due to health restrictions and the entirety of the postage and shipping industry in turmoil. Despite that, we adapted to the dynamic nature of sudden change, and managed to produce and sell everything that was asked of us by customers. Thanks to this, we hit our goals this year, including adding new merchandise and gym products to our online store (all of which took months at a time to first test and approve). As a business in its first year, we had a ‘baptism by fire’ experience - and we’re proud to say that we’ve come out the other side with a lot of lessons learnt.
Thank you to anyone who reads our articles, listens to our content, or buys or products - but also thank you to everyone who we collaborated with this year. Our affiliates, our gym owners who we work closely with, our in-house psychologist, and even our local cafe (especially you guys). All of these people helped keep us afloat in this once in a lifetime global event. Moving forward, we’ll continue to grow and expand what we can offer to online shoppers and gym enthusiasts - not only adding more, but also improving what we already do. An updated custom belt builder, more opportunities for athletes looking to improve their lifting through coaching, and building an online community to better educate others on wellbeing.
Happy holidays from all of us at Anvil T&D, and we hope everyone enjoys some down time before rolling into the New Year. I think we can all agree that a bit of normality will be welcome in 2021, in fact even just being comfortable standing next to someone again would be a welcome change. I speak for all of us here when I say we’re keen for some down-time - but we’re also looking forward to hitting the ground running come mid-January next year.
Thank you again to everyone, see you next year!
Train Smart. Train Hard.
Anvil Training and Development is a group of Australian veterans who care about the physical and mental health of veterans and emergency service workers. We’re passionate about ongoing education and working with others to implement positive change.
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(Article Edited, Proof Read, and Fact-Checked by Charlotte Officer)
VES Mental Health Resources: https://anviltd.com/pages/ves-australian-mental-health-resources