I’m Gus Lam, Performance Coach. I work with school kids, office people, CEOs and the odd household name – helping them achieve their life goals by lifting standards in fitness, health and wellbeing. This awesome magazine asked me to share some of my philosophies on training.

I’m a lucky guy, I get to work with a lot of inspiring people mornings and evenings, often training them either before or after they go to work. This sometimes leaves me some spare time in the middle of the day to catch some of my favourite shows on the Jones channel:

There are a few Westerns on Jones – and I love ‘em! Especially shows like Bonanza and Little House of the Prairie where the rules of survival in those places and times are clear; work hard or suck out. And I like how the characters are often newcomers to the territory, always striving to make themselves better, to build a bright future for their families. I also love the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, mainly because of the amazing characters, the awesome music and Clint Eastwood’s poncho. There’s also a great saying in it: “There are two types of people in the world my friend, those who have guns and those who dig.”

Today, in beautiful sunny Mission Bay, I’ll be taking Undisputed #10 Dan Carter through his paces. I’ve been working with Dan through a couple of World Cups now. Obviously, he’s away a lot these days playing overseas, but whenever he’s back, we get together for some serious off-season training.

Now you can recycle that saying in lots of ways; “there are two types of people in the world my friend, those that train hard and those who are tourists” or “those that look after their bodies and those who fill them with junk.” And they’re all true because, any way you slice it, there does always seem to be two types of people in pretty much every case.
But it’s not always as simple as Goodie White Hat Clint vs Baddie Black Hat Lee Van Cleef. Sometimes the two types are both goodies like; Newbies and Old Hands; Cautious and Confident; and the Champ and the Undisputed Champion.


A Champ to me is someone who has set themselves a goal – then nailed it. Now, these can be big muscly deals like nabbing a job promotion or really scrawny ones like deciding on a time to get up and have breakfast. They’re all goals and if you can give them a big, fat, juicy tick – then you’re a Champ to me.

Keep hydrating – even if it isn’t an awesome summer’s day!

“What’s the big deal about getting up in the morning?” I hear you say? Well, nothing in particular – but I’m talking about smashing goals so anything will do. Besides, I don’t think we celebrate our victories enough in life, and feeling good about anything should be celebrated – just because it feels good!

Myself, I love feeling happy about achieving a goal. In fact, I like feeling happy so much I set myself even more goals to achieve so I can crack out even more happiness buzz. Next thing you know, I wake up feeling happy knowing I’ve got heaps of chances to achieve my goals in the day ahead. You see? I sneaked in a free buzz!

But it’s not just about feeling good, achieving goals can also be great strides along the long and dusty road to glory. To win the Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have to beat teams like Portugal and Namibia as well as the big fish like Ireland, England and South Africa. And if they don’t achieve those smaller goals first, they won’t even get to have a crack at taking Bill home.

With the Plank; focus on engaging your core – and squeeze those gluts if you want maximum benefits.

It’s the same in Test cricket. Man, it’s a real big ask for batsmen to march out onto a field and say; “I’m going to concentrate 100% on shot selection for the next six straight hours”. No wasting even a single second thinking about lime milkshakes or Meghan Markle’s dress sense neither. So they don’t. They bat with little mini mental goals like; “I’ll try and score ten runs,” “I’ll try and bat until drinks” and “maybe I can get through until the end of the day” – nek minnit, they’ve racked up a century! And if some of the batsman’s teammates are on the same wavelength, who knows, maybe all those little mini-steps lined up one-after-another could even help them stuff the Aussies at the Gabba!

You see, that’s how Champs become winners.


Now to me, an Undisputed Champion is someone who’s set and achieved a lot of goals, then faced a major setback – and smashed it!

A classic example of this is the great DC. The ABs went to the World Cup in 2007 and, as we all know, had a shocker. (The stink grey jerseys didn’t help!) Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, DC then pumped himself up to set things straight at the very next World Cup. At home. After 24 years. No pressure.

Then he did his groin in the warm ups before Canada and couldn’t play the tourney. Ow…

Fast forward to 2015…

In the Final, in front of 80,165 screaming fans, after 52 minutes the ABs had Aussie on toast. Then Bender got sent off – say what?! Pocock scores a try… then Kuridrani… and suddenly ‘Stralia were only four points behind and our chairs seemed to have seats barely a few mill wide.

Up steps DC. Shrugging aside the disappoints of 2003, 2007 and – personally – 2011, he then just owns the game. He kicks a penalty, a droppie from near halfway and his tactical kicking pins the Aussies back on their line. You can see it written all over his face; “forget it guys, this is MY Final. I’ve waited too long for it!”

Undisputed Champion.

Of course, if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid hardships throughout your life so far – then well done! Keep it that way! Never dream up problems to overcome – just handle the cards you’ve been dealt as bad news is different for different people.

To really build stamina; start with boxing, finish with the Watt bike.

For example; I’ve never copped whiplash from a Formula One crash nor had my astronaut suit torn by floating space debris – and the odds of those particular hassles badgering me ain’t great. So whenever I need to find myself a challenge to overcome, I don’t go looking for a spicy work story – I just suss something that’s already there in my life. Be it big or small.

Find what you can to overcome – smash it, and you’ll be an Undisputed Champion too. Or you can just settle for being a happy Champ, setting up goals and knocking them off one-after-another. Remember, there are two types of people in this world – so either one is good!