Hi, I'm Will Newton
They say that if you want to achieve something, you should find someone who has done that very thing for a long time and copy them.
I'm the wrong side of fifty and I'm one of the fittest people I know - and have been for years - which is quite something because I know some pretty fit people.
On this site, I share what I've learned about getting results for myself and people just like you.
I Live This Stuff
If you're tired of being preached at by twenty-something gym-bros, living in their parents' basements, dishing out advice about how to live to 100, when their biggest daily challenge is which teeshirt to wear, you're in the right place.
I have a wife and kids, a busy life and over 50-years living in what is now a very high-mileage body.
Yet, I've worked out how to be in enviable shape and I live by my own advice.
No Hacks or Snake-Oil
Online fitness influencers peddle hacks and shortcuts, promising you quick wins with little effort. Chasing shortcuts like this are a well-trodden path to failure and disappointment.
I don't teach hacks, I don't present you with a costly list of supplements to take or novel, "magical" equipment to buy.
I teach a simple sustainable approach to health and physical training that anybody can apply, and which works in the long term.
Here are a few things about me...
- I spent 8 years working for British Cycling as a Regional Manager, growing clubs, teaching coaches how to coach effectively and guiding riders to achieve their ambitions withion the sport of cycling.
- As an independent coach, I've coached two amateur long distance mountain bike world champions, an adventure racing world champion, and scores of amateur world championship competitors in the sport of triathlon.
- Just in the sport of Ironman Triathlon, I have coached over 200 finishers, including not only age-group winners and Hawaii qualifiers, but a large number of people who had signed up for the challenge on a whim and didn't believe they could actually do it.
- I've completed the Ironman distance triathlon on nine occasions myself, twice in under nine-and-a-half hours.
- I'm not just a "weak as a kitten" endurance athlete. Since the birth of my kids, I've built an impressive level of strength, including a deadlift of 2.5x my bodyweight and a half-bodyweight strict kettlebell military press. Strength really does matter!
- Over a thousand coaches and instructors have attended my education courses over the last 11 years.
- A number of journalists regularly contact me for input into articles and features.
I mention all of this here to point out that I coach and teach from a vast background of experience, not simply based on a weekend or two on a coach education course. Not only do I coach this stuff, I live it and I teach others how to coach it.
I don't operate on a "DO AS I SAY" basis. I explain why something is necessary and what the options might be; yes, there are often options, the world is composed of shades of grey.
My philosophy is that anybody can build impressive health physical capacity and I believe everyone should know how to do it.
In a world full of people selling gadgets and hacks, I teach a simple, sustainable approach to being in great shape at any age. Of course, simple doesn't mean easy.
The route to results lies along a path of consistent work. And as smart as that work may be, the work is often hard. To say anything less is would be an outright lie.
I apply this principle in my own life. It's not flashy, but it's superbly effective.
What is Limitless Fitness About?
I did my first triathlon in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in the late 1980’s and coached my first triathletes in 1998. Since then I have coached numerous swimmers, cyclists, runners, adventure racers and triathletes to success in a large range of events around the world.
All of these athletes had different goals, defined success in different ways and had different areas of strength and weakness.
However they shared one thing in common: Every one of them was a normal person who did their sport because they loved it. Their sport was something they wanted to do, but which had to share life-space with their family, job, friends and a host of priorities, all of which demanded for their time to one degree or another.
They’re the only reason many sports still exist in the professional arena. They’re the reason the massive equipment, supplement and clothing industry based on fitness and sport exists. They’re the reason professional athletes have sponsorship deals and prize money.
Working as a coach, I quickly came to realise that most of what passes for coaching offered to amateur athletes and people looking for improved fitness is simply a watered down version of what professional athletes are doing.
Much of the advice and advertising aimed at us doesn’t actually have our long-term wellbeing at heart, rather it is simply a way to extract more money from us.
We’re different to professional athletes in numerous ways.
Most obviously, we have to balance our training time with our jobs.
However we also spend more time sitting at a desk or in a car. Often we have to share training space with people of massively different ability, many of whom we don’t know and who don’t care about what we’re trying to achieve.
There Has To Be A Better Way
The coaching programme I ran for the first few years as a coach and my time working for British Cycling taught me that the standard model really doesn’t work optimally for most of us.
We need to change the game.
Because of this, I started the Limtiless Fitness website. It exists to share all the stuff I have learned over the past 30 years about being an athlete and seeking improved fitness while dealing with competing priorities.
I don’t coach professional athletes anymore, and I don’t have any desire to do so.
Instead, I am very good at helping amateur athletes and those looking for improved health and fitness, to achieve their goals. Yes, I specialise in working with people just like you.
I use knowledge gained from working with top teams and talent programmes in sports as diverse as cycling, triathlon, rugby, powerlifting, tennis and cricket, as well as my training as a strength and conditioning coach, sports therapist and coach educator to find those things that get the best results for people with limited time.
I believe in lifelong learning; every experience is an opportunity.
Every year I spend a small fortune on continuing professional development, reading books and attending workshops with world leaders in all kinds of fields related to sport, fitness and neuroscience. I hold coaching qualifications from British Cycling, the Amateur Swimming Association, British Triathlon, UK Athletics, the RFU and a few others. I also hold numerous strength and conditioning and fitness certifications, among them Strongfirst and Functional Movement Systems.
On this site you get the benefit of my obsessive reading and learning habit. I don’t just accept what I encounter, but I compulsively question the accepted way of doing things (if you’ve read more than one blog post, you’ll have seen that). I know that some of my stuff may seem weird at times, but then so was the idea that man could fly until the Wright brothers did so in 1903!
I will seek to support you in the way that you would like to be supported. I will support you to the level that you want support.
Hopefully, I will also challenge you to re-assess what you already do.
Here are a few blog posts that will give you an idea of what to expect from Limitless Fitness...
I was the weedy kid at high school.
Perhaps that's not saying much when you consider I went to the school that produced England Rugby's Mike Catt (a year behind me at school) and the captain of South Africa's Rugby World Cup winning side, Siya Kolisi. It was a school filled with very physical young men and I was small and thin.
Perhaps that's why I've been so stubborn about getting in great shape and staying that way over more than 30 years.
We were all made to play rugby unless we had a reasonable excuse. I played for the under-14F team in my first year at school. I didn't lack handling skills or fitness, I was just smaller, weaker and slower than boys who made the higher teams. As I often point out to young athletes, we all mature at different rates; I was just unfortunate to be a late developer.
That same late-developer "disadvantage" taught me the value of consistent effort in terms of both skills practice and physical fitness.
I played any sport that involved a ball and was always far better than average skills-wise because I practised so much. To this day, I love the game of rugby and will pick up and throw about a rugby ball with huge enthusiasm.
It's a little instructive that whenever we were made to run laps as part of rugby practice, I would easily lap the rest of the team. Add to that, in the annual school cross country competition, I'd always finish in the top handful of runners without having done any training. Nobody ever suggested I take up running!
Triathlon - Good at Something Physical
Sometime in the late 1980's I joined some of my friends to watch our mate, Jonathan, take part in a local duathlon on our city's beachfront. He won by a long way and I was massively impressed.
At the time, I was working quite a lot, including a bunch of night shifts, and was becoming increasingly aware that I was not very fit, felt sluggish and slept a lot.
Triathlon seemed like it might keep my interest, and I asked Jonathan whether he thought I could do it.
I'll never forget his reply because it set me on the path I'm on today: "You know you can run," he said. "We all swam at school and you used to ride your bike everywhere. So I definitely think you could."
That's what I did. I bought a season ticket for the local pool and swam 50m. I thought I was going to die!
So, I did what any sane person would do. I went back the following day, swam 100m and thought I was going to die!
A few months later I did my first triathon, what would now be called a super-sprint event (Swim 400m, Bike 10km, Run 2.5km). After a tough surf swim, I rallied and finished well up the field thanks to my running.
I was hooked.
In years to follow, I won medals in regional competitions, raced Ironman numerous times and eventually ended up coaching other athletes.
Coaching - Meaning Beyond My Own Racing
In 1998, I'd just finished my fourth Ironman race, having got under nine-and-a-half hours for the first time.
In the weeks that followed, I did what we all did at that point and took some time away from any significant training volume.
During that time, a few athletes from the local club approached me and asked if I'd be willing to do some swim coaching for them. I decided to give it a go. We booked some pool time and got to work.
Over the first six weeks, that small group of swimmers went from being not far off non-swimmers to looking and swimming like real swimmers. Not only was the improvement vast, but the reward I felt was amazing. Seeing those beginner triathletes get so much better and the joy they expressed at doing so was all I needed.
Once again, I was hooked.
I'd found something I wanted to do that had meaning beyond myself and immediately made a plan to study personal training (there were no coaching qualifications then). Three years later, I resigned my job and set about training people full time.
While I remember every person I've worked with, some stand out more than others. And it's not the athletes who've won world championships, as proud as I am to have worked with them.
It's not the captain of the England Women's Cricket team. Or athletes on British Triathlon's talent programme, some of whom are now well-known. Or Elite World Championship medal-winning cyclists.
The clients who stand out in my mind are those who have overcome their doubts that they could do what they'd set out to do, chronic illnesses they thought were the end of their opportunity to do anything physical, injuries they thought would never heal and life-circumstances that most people would see as a legitimate excuse to park themselves on a sofa and never attempt anything challenging ever again.
As I've changed as a person, and adopted different goals, I've added significantly to what is included in my coaching.
Because as we get older, it's no longer enough to rely on our bodys' youthfulness to forgive our indiscretions. While in our twenties, an injury was just a nuisance which cleared up in a few days, past fifty injuries become like that annoying house-guest who simply will not leave!
Now, I'm as interested in your sleep, nutrition, strength and stress-management as I am about how far or fast you run.
Courses - More Knowledge to More People
A big part of my recent activities is the development of the fledgling Limitless Fitness University, a grand title for something small which I hope to expand dramatically.
It's long been clear to me that there are a lot of people who want the knowledge and input a coach would give, but are either unwilling or unable to hire one.
Part of my lifelong learning habit flows from not being in a position to hire a coach in my early days in triathlon. I read everything I could find and took every opportunity to learn more. I spoke to any top athlete I could find and was very grateful for their time. Simon Lessing, Spencer Smith, Thomas Hellriegel, Ain Alar Juhanson, Liz Yelling and Mark Foster stand out as people who shared insights even when they didn't know they were doing so. They were all friendly and approachable. In fact, I have never met a true elite athlete who was anything but a genuinely nice person.
The problem we have now is an internet filled with a combination of great information and junk information. If you have no background in this stuff, how do you filter one from the other?
The goal with my courses is to provide solid information, clearly-explained and well-reasoned.
This will probably be the shortest paragraph I have ever written...
"I want to be in better shape at 70 than most people are in their twenties. And I want to help as many people as possible to do the same."