Coaching Q&A with Fitness Buddy

Who is Andrew Garwood?

I am a 33 year old endurance athlete, qualified fitness specialist, corrective exercise trainer and have studied exercise nutrition.  I originally hail from Tasmania.  I have completed 50 marathons (both competitive and non-competitive), several triathlons/multisport events ranging from duathlon to ironman.  I have represented Tasmania at Cricket from U15 to 2nd XI and made the Aus. U19 Squad.  I have also been a football umpire, umpiring in the VFL and AFL from 2001-2007.

Where are you based? 

I am based in Melbourne

How did you come to the sport?

I came to the sport after losing the passion for team sport where my efforts were not being justified in the outcomes I was receiving due to external factors – teammates and coaches (long story).  I was seeking a challenge where I could test my limits and explore new horizons.

How did you come to coaching?

I came to coaching way back in 1996 when I started out coaching junior cricketers (while still a junior cricketer). I spent over 10 years doing cricket and fitness related coaching.  Then my interests in fitness expanded and I decided to become a personal trainer then a fitness specialist (Diploma of Fitness) and currently now an accredited Corrective Exercise Trainer.  My driving passion is to assist others seeking greater health, fitness and mental focus through exercise.  I take pride in seeing someone eyes glisten when they achieve a goal.

What type of coaching do you do? Face to face/ internet/ squad based?

I am currently doing Face to Face, Internet and possibly in the future creating a “Not Just Fitness Team”.

Do you have a favourite distance to coach? 

No, I like to coach anyone in any discipline and any form.  “A seed is what needs to be planted for it to grow”.

Do you have a favourite discipline to coach?

Running and corrective exercise.

What is the one thing that you think is unique about your coaching or squad?

My knowledge in various aspects of fitness (Strength & Conditioning, Corrective Exercise, Nutrition, Triathlon, Running and skill based sports).  My understanding and constant availability to assist when required.  I also think my adaptability is a valuable trait.

Do you think it is important for a coach to have competed in triathlon/ competed at a high level in triathlon/ competed at the distances they coach?

Yes and No.   Experience is knowledge.  An understanding of the nature of endurance sports is important both from a theoretical and practical standing.  One thing you must be able to do is understand the mental aspect just as much as the physical.

How many people do you coach?

Currently training 11 people from  a different range of demographics.



Diploma of Fitness

Certificate III and IV in Fitness

Corrective Exercise Trainer

Exercise Nutrition Certificate

Exercise Rehabilitation Certificate


I have real life experience in dealing with the following:

Depression, Injury, Nutrition, Endurance Training, Psychology.

Coaching children, training overweight people, coaching people with disabilities.

Marathons, Triathlons and Multisport events.

High Level Competition in team based sports (Cricket & Football Umpiring)

As a coach what are your goals?

Short Term – Help those who seek my assistance develop as an athlete and person

Long Term – Have a training stable

Method/ Style

How would you describe your coaching style?

My coaching style is based on addressing the weaknesses of an athlete and developing training programs to being able to maximise performance depending on the situation.

Do you follow a general philosophy or influence, e.g. Friel, Lydiard, etc.

Functional Training

What method do you use to communicate with your clients (phone, email, face to face)? How often?

Phone – daily if required

Email – daily if required (programs can be emailed weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on  the athletes requirements).

Face to Face – When required

How do you gauge performance improvements (Races, training, tt’s, power analysis)?

Performance is gauged in many ways depending on what the client is seeking.

For weight loss; obviously scales and body measurements.

For nutrition; energy levels and body composition.

For training; programs, races and time trials.

For strength and corrective exercise I use test sets.

Do you believe in/use gadgets (Pace watch/PM/hr monitor)?

Yes, gadgets have their place as does the ability to know your body.  One day the gadgets may fail and you need the ability to be able to be in touch with body to handle different situations. 

Gadgets I utilise – HRM, Bike Computer, Watch.

How much feedback do you give your athletes on workouts (Daily/weekly/as needed)?

As needed, depending on the athletes requirements.

Do you use training peaks or something similar?


What's your experience working with people who work extreme hours and how do you adapt their programmes to that?

I have great experience as I have or had clients/athletes who have family and/ or work commitments.  It is all about finding out their availability, financial situation and then working a program to fit around these.  To become successful it requires balance in both general life and training life.

How individually tailored are your programs?

Fully individually based.  No two athletes are the same and should not be treated like that.

Do you have a holistic approach?

Yes in some aspects.

Do you offer advice on diet, vitamins, supplements and alternative therapies (such as chiro, accu, yoga)?

Yes if required or requested.


What attributes do you think make an athlete easier to coach to their desired results?

Feedback and the ability to follow a program without overdoing things.

Do you specialise in or have a preference for novice athletes, seasoned athletes, etc, etc?

No, no preference.

Would you be honest with me in regards to my goals and aspirations?

Certainly – goal setting needs to be realistic to your ability and limitations.

Have you ever sacked a client who didn't follow your advice?

No, but I have not taken on clients due to their attitude.

Have you coached mature athletes? How do you treat them differently?

I have trained the elderly.  They are treated differently by adapting programs to limit load and placing more emphasis on maintaining strength.

Do you understand the recovery needs of older athletes?

Yes, very much so.  Recovery is essential as we get older from both from a nutritional and training aspect.  Older athletes require less impact and can maintain levels of fitness by utilising other forms of exercise in their plan to complement the “normal stuff”.

What percentage of your athletes survives the training injury free?

Good question.  Injury is not caused by the coach in many aspects.  Injury is caused by the athlete possibly not following their program and/or not listening to their body.  This is where feedback is important.

Do you practice what you preach?

Yes and No, it depends on the client/athlete.  We are all not the same.  People have different genetic makeup so this must be understood.

How do you look at intensity vs volumes?

This depends on the athlete/client and their current situation.  Past history, availability and  testing outcomes all come into consideration in determining what intensity and volume is required.


Everyone’s idea of success is different. Tell me a couple of your success stories both as a coach and with athletes you train?


Coached several juniors who have become State/National Representatives.

Matthew Wade (VIC/TAS/AUS), Jonathan Wells (TAS) and several junior reps.


Nour Eldin Tarraf – when starting coaching him in mid 2013 he was able to run approx. 30mins maximum with difficulty.  Since then he has been able to complete 70min runs and also during  this time has been able to overcome his injury riddled past by using a progressive patterning in his training.


Nathan Dennis - I can personally vouch for Andrew’s effectiveness as a Personal Trainer and Coach, as in 2009 Andrew helped me to optimize my training and diet to achieve remarkable results. With a history of severe trauma to my upper body, chronic joint pain and multiple serious muscle tears Andrew helped me to change my running technique, markedly improve my core strength and flexibility, and in the process lose 40kgs of body fat.  I went from not being able to run 400m to running a 10km race in 53 minutes.  My comment to him at the time was that he made me feel “bulletproof”.

Cost and what do I get for this?

Cost depends on what you are seeking.

Online training : $25p/w or $100 per month.  This is delivered in weekly, fortnightly or monthly blocks depending on your needs/situation.  Unlimited communication.

Nutritional Analysis is $25 – Full analysis and report of current diet

Nutritional Plan is $50-80 depending on the requirements – Weekly diet plan that is functional and adaptable.

Training Programs – Corrective exercise, Strength Training, Rehab, Block plans for races (e.g. 10km Race/10 week program) all these P.O.A as they vary depending on the client/situation.


Not Just Fitness