As Simple as Peace

By John Rahme


I woke up to believe in an empty void.

This void I needed to satisfy with something to believe in.

In something which I was to praise.

But had no idea of why I would or should I praise it.

I believed if I praised this entity, that I would be rewarded with materialistic pleasure or verbal appraisal.

I felt that this entity was to be raised above me and placed as greater than I.

At the time though, everything was greater than I.

Everything was above me.

My eyes upon me only looked down at what I saw and felt.

Not worthy was I.

Ill placed and misplaced on this round turning planet was I.

I, I whom was lost.

Scared I could feel.

A guard I looked for.

A guard whom would make me strong was the dream I played.

Unaware of who I was and what it was I was supposed to become.

No direction from my parents.

What was I to ask?

What was I too say?

I am scared?  Scared Of what?

I have fear?   Fear you what?

My head talks to me with ill discipline and it frightens me.

Boy wake up from your dream as a dream is all it is.

If a dream is all it is then how can I feel it to be real with fear.

To be real in feelings.

To be real with emotions.

Why is life and tests only real for you but I am denied of dreams through nightmares.

I wish no nightmare.

Only a void I endeavour to fill.

Help me understand this void and what meaning it comes with.

I want fear no more but an understanding of peace………peace.


Yes, it is peace I ask for.



The Watson 4 (The Four series)

By John Rahme


I still had not entered the world of Strength and Conditioning when I first met Paul Watson. I knew of him as I was preparing for a fight with alongside Grant “Bomber” Barker and had met Paul whilst doing some conditioning sessions together. These conditioning sessions were Mainly on Paul’s private playing fields, “THE SAND DUNES.” My first meeting with Paul was whilst working at the Cronulla-Sharks home ground doing concrete works there. I stood outside of the gym and was reading the board which had their weight program on. The exercises were not alien to me but the sets, reps and percentages were. I was completely confused to why you would have such a set and rep scheme? And percentages?  What for? Where you trying to make yourself look good? You see my background in weight training was bodybuilding. Paul then approached me and I introduced myself to him and I asked him would he mind if I asked him a question. Anyone that knows me will know that it wasn’t one question I was after; it was every single bit of knowledge Paul had in his head. Our conversation went well over an hour.


Without further ado, the four questions.


  1. How has strength and conditioning changed in your time over the years?


As John Rahme alluded, we first met many, many years ago, outside the Cronulla Gym. The Cronulla players were still not full-time professionals, I along with some of the players, upgraded the gym with some new equipment, laying flooring, painting and building gutters outside for drainage. The gym budget was small and what we could do would allow more money for equipment. I use to put the programs up inside the gym on a blackboard written in chalk. What John doesn’t mention about our chat was that I was also questioning and learning from him. This was my first paid S & C job and I was on a steep learning curve.

The Wanda Sandhills, where we had crossed paths, we're still wild and untamed. I had loved them since young and while quizzing the late and great Peter Armstrong (Ex St. George Legend and our Cronulla CEO) he told me that during the Saints 10-year Premiership run they had trained out there frequently. This just confirmed my love of training at the Sandhills and would be a basis for my S & C journey.

When I first started my S & C journey there weren’t many defined career pathways, a few years before the Sharks opportunity I had enrolled in a Diploma of Exercise Science which evolved into a Degree in Sports Science. The thing I most loved about it was that our Uni had a very practical component to it as well as having an academic flavour. The lecturers (Dr. Paul Batman and Dr. John Shell) walked their talk and not only delivered the latest science, training methodologies, testing methods and theories but also were actively involved in exercise and training themselves. Part of our course was performing various sports, physical training and reaching certain exercise physiology standards. It wasn’t just about the course but transforming your mind and body and exploring its potential.

We did however think we were on the road to nowhere, we use to sing “We are on the road to Nowhere”, as there were not really many defined career paths to pursue other than working in a gym or as a PT.

I was very fortunate that John Lang and Shane Richardson took a chance on me, and definitely owe Bobby Sheens the outgoing S & C, a depth of gratitude for giving me a recommendation.

These days there are so many career pathways and jobs available not only in S & C, but also in High Performance, Exercise Physiology and many other health and fitness related fields. The change has been enormous and it will be so interesting to see where we are in another 20 years.

The internet and computers had just started to become accessible, and as with most other areas of life, this would lead to dramatic changes. There is now so much information available to everyone and with the influence of Social Media, the landscape has changed dramatically.

Everything always evolves and what I love is the access to the latest information, which can be both good and bad, so always critically appraise what you read and see. That is why it is important to keep learning and apply some analytical thinking!




  1. What is the method which you subscribe to or YOUR way when it comes to athlete preparation in the gym and field?


I’m not sure if I have a “My Way” though some might differ. I am a really positive person and I know not everyone likes that. The thing I do know is that I have always loved training and probably enjoyed training alongside my athletes as much as coaching them.

I know myself; I want the people I am training to be their best version of themselves, and give their best in preparation. This encompasses all facets of their lives, as what we do away from training is as important as the training itself.

I want the individual to have gratitude for their wonderful opportunity and ability to pursue their sport, health and fitness, whilst doing something they love! I would like them to appreciate this amazing part of their lives where they get to explore their potential.



I believe It’s important to get to know and to train the individual firstly, but also (as part of a team sport) in the team environment! I think these days this can be performed more effectively with the High-Performance set ups that most teams and individuals have. When I first started it was basically you with the task of programming over 70 athletes. There was hardly any budget and most of the monitoring systems were nonexistent. So, it came down to the art of coaching more than having science and statistics to guide you in load management. These days there are so many monitoring systems and brilliant people analyzing and using such systems that the science of training has improved exponentially.

I really believe in athletes training hard, which basically is having a high work load. But this has to be performed to a plan that allows the time for the loads to be adapted to and once adapted maintained.

After the off season it was always expected to test your returning athletes to have a base for going forward. I have always believed that you should spend the first two-three weeks adapting back into the training regime and then test. It doesn’t look as good on the improvement scale but definitely helps with the injury reduction rates as it gives the athletes time to adjust to the loads. I know that many of today’s athletes do not allow themselves to detrain during their offseason, and so come back into the programs ready to go, so consider this when you are planning.


Next manage your spikes in load which I have usually performed through periodization and offload from a classical Tudor Bompa perspective. Again, try to apply this to each of your athletes individually as well as team wise.


Recovery is critical, with my favourite of all-time sleep, then nutrition and then what works best for you. If your training is highly demanding and you want to be your best then sleep, nutrition, hydration, mobility and pliability are essential for you to remain at your best and for reducing the chances of injury. Recovery reduces your risk of injury; lets you train to your potential and balances your stress.



  1. What does leadership mean to you? 


Being true to yourself firstly so you can be an example to those you wish to lead. I love the saying “Walk your talk”! If you are in the field of health, fitness, high performance, nutrition and wellness and not living what you are preaching then you are out of touch with your true values. I know it can be hard at times with the working hours and the rest of life balance, but if you truly believe what you are preaching then be a living example in your own life.




  1. What advice would you give to a young sports scientist, strength coach?


Number one don’t “become an expert” as you then start to become set in your ways and experts generally stop adapting to new ideas. I’ve always preached lifelong learning! Keep learning, keep asking questions and learn to ease off on your ego and stay humble!

Don’t fall into the trap of “I’ve got the secret”. If I could critique what I have learned to now, with what I thought I knew at 20, some thoughts and ideas would hash but many theories would not hold sway!

Get to know who you are training as it’s not just about the training, it’s a relationship.

There are also so many variations in training factors and not all are what you can control.

Some athletes can handle high volumes and rarely get injured, some are highly strung machines and you need to be careful as they have a higher likelihood of injury. While some are the “inbetweeners” who are a little bit of both. This is a simplification but I like to think about this individuality when setting out the training programs. Always get feedback from your athletes as this will give you so much information on how to train them.

Lastly the demands of sport are very intense so you have to train hard to let your athletes realise their potential. Develop your own philosophy but you owe it to them to see how high they can rise!



I could not think of one strength and conditioner today who would stand with me for over an hour in front of a gym and enlighten me on a new way of training other than Paul Watson and Ashley Jones. I interrogated Paul with questions. Why? How come? What if? If you? And he stood there and answered all of my questions and more. Paul ignited a flame within me for more thirst and knowledge in this field and Ashley Jones filled up a very big well in the ground with information. Some meetings with people are easily forgotten to them. And some meetings with people are the start of a path for you. Thank you, Paul, for helping me start me journey.

Muddy Water - Thanks Mum.

By John Rahme

I remember as a child, my Mother losing her mind at me because I had worn a brand-new pair of white shoes and of course, I ran through the mud wearing them. Not just once did I run through the mud, but I made sure that I covered every single part of that white shining shoe with dark brown, black wet soil. This was my job. This was the reason why I was born. To ruin any new shoe, especially if the colour was white in one sitting. Forty years later, it is I who is losing my mind at my kids for doing the same thing. It’s a beautiful cycle which includes payback. So, my Mother tells me. Except I do not dare raise my voice toward my children in front of my Mother. My Mother’s in tuned neural system and muscular strength is just as conditioned today if not even more so than when I was a child. By this I mean, if I am to scold my children in front of her. Her shoe or slipper comes off her foot quicker than Clint Eastwood’s gun would be drawn and shot in his western movies. Without fail, she does not miss. I have still a many scare across my skull to tell many stories of a shootout with my Mother.

Not long ago, whilst sitting with my Mother and for the record I was wearing a crash hat. My Mother said to me, “John, why is your jug filled up with muddy water?” My first reaction as you would imagine was to dive and take cover under the couch. My Mother was wearing a pair of shoes which were pointed and had heels on them. That’s double action hitting pain! Not quite understanding her I questioned what she meant. She relayed to me that she was my Mother and she knew when something was bothering me. Also, she could tell when I was doubting myself, my ability and allowed negativity into my thoughts. My mother then went to explain the following;

  1. Your mind and thoughts are like a cannister or jug full of clear water.
  2. In troubled or worried times without being aware we allow muddy water on top of this clean water.
  3. The muddy water is ten times heavier than the clear water.
  4. It only takes just a little bit of muddy to be allowed into the jug, being so heavy that it will force then clear water out of the jug.
  5. What started with a clear jug of water with just a small amount of muddy water, before you know it the jug is just full of muddy water.
  6. No one wants to drink muddy water and no one wants to look at it either.


I was taken back with what I had heard my Mother describe to me. It made me have a look at what was going on for me.


I am in the process of finding a job. I have a few skill sets. Firstly, within the building industry working as a site manager. Secondly as a strength and conditioner. Last but not least, working as a consultant in the area of Leadership, team building, developing culture and my favourite one on one mentoring. To be honest, I believe I am great at it. Yes, at all three.


In the process of looking for work you create a CV, where you place your life works on this piece of paper. This piece of paper is you. You are measured by this piece of paper. A value is placed upon you and you are compared to other applicants. All through a piece of writing on a paper. The majority of the time, when applying for a job, it goes to a recruitment company. These men and women sypher through the applicants and decide which ones to engaged. I have had a many of conversation with the recruitment companies but have found it enormously difficult to get a returned message from them. After applying for a lot of jobs and not having any success. You start to ask yourself questions. And for me, they have been the wrong questions. Actually, more so they have been statements with no answers in the form of questions. And this is how the muddy water starts.

  1. Am I really as good as I think I am?
  2. What is it about me that people don’t like?
  3. I really must be hopeless?
  4. I mustn’t be as good as I thought I was?

I think you get the point.

When my Mother said to me that no one likes to look at muddy water. What she meant was that what you feel on the inside about yourself, cannot be hidden from the outside no matter how hard you try. You unwarily change in composure. Your demeanor changes and to be blunt. You become dark. I found this to be true about my situation. I had allowed what people read about my on a CV determine who and what I was. I let them influence how I thought and felt about me. What I was doing was not helping me your serving me.

All people have their jobs to do. Whether you are in HR or working at a recruiting agency, it is their job to find the best person to fit the job description. The opinion and judgement of such people is theirs and theirs alone. You must be careful not to let their opinion, judgement or how they measure a person infiltrate you personally and mentally. Allowing it then to become ugly heavy muddy water in your head.

Staying true to you, staying true to who you are and what you can do is not the easiest of tasks in worrying times. I am not arrogant or egotistic, I am way to old to be any. I do know one thing for certain. In any role which I will be hired for, I will add value to the company and environment. I will compliment the team and its culture. If needed I can mentor and help people through hard times. Last but not least, I will always LOOK AFTER THE PERSON FIRST. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. Generally speaking, you are in the role that you do because you are capable. The majority of my success has always been to LOOK AFTER THE PERSON FIRST. When you do this, it leaves them to do their job better.






Standard Dump

By John Rahme

Believe it or not within you, you have an incredible power. A power so great that IT WILL change your life. This power are your words. Your words mean more to you than you could ever imagine possible. When you are alone, even that feeling of been alone at a rock concert, you are having words with yourself. These negative conversations you are having with yourself when you are alone are slowly hurting and grinding you down. They are filling you up with feelings and thoughts of a negative nature toward you.

You become what you believe.  Let that sit with you for a minute.

Language is our primary method of communication. A bit of an obvious statement to make! I’m attempting to wow you with my in-depth philosophy. Did it work? Let’s move on. Personally, I find that I learn a lot about a person whilst listening to the way they express themselves, views or in what regard they think of themselves. There are many of what I call “Standard Dumps”, meaning that in conversation and unconsciously we use a many of universal sentences and phrases. These SD’s (standard dumps) are used in so many different scenario’s in conversational engagement, stemming from hearing the SD so often, been conditioned to do so or as simple as it just sounded right.

I am going to make another obvious statement. When we do speak, we actually hear what we are saying. Hearing what we are saying will influence our thoughts and belief’s. it could be a conversation about sport or something which you have recently done. As you are talking about it, you are listening to yourself and you are believing what you say. Even if you are telling a small little fib. Say that little fib enough and it becomes reality in your thoughts.

HOW we say something about OURSELVES and WHAT we say is just as if not more important than what we THINK and FEEL about OURSELVES.


  1. I’m going to try my best- You have already placed a get out clause and excuse in the activity or goal which you set out to do, by using the word TRY.
  2. I’m going to do my best. OR I’m going to do it. No get out clause and the statement describe exactly what you will do.



I am not headed into the directions of asking you to do Positive Affirmations. Positive affirmations work for a many people. Please continue to do so if they work for you. Where I am headed is about how we speak about ourselves. How we describe our life and what we are doing. Most of the times we are in an inner conflict with ourselves. We want to achieve. We believe we are good people. We have been there for a friend, family or loved one. We are good honest caring loving people. But we have immense difficulty in thinking good things of ourselves and almost a fearful anxiety of saying anything nice about ourselves. We are taught that ego is not a good thing. Arrogance can be the devil itself and self-appraisal only comes from people who have their head up their A--.

If you believe and say you're worthless in different types of statements. Then guess what, that's what you will become. If you tell yourself, and by telling yourself I mean if you consistently hear yourself say that you will are crap at your job and won’t make money. Then I certainly tell you that you are crap and you’ll never have money.


Really Simple, I have got just over 49 years of research. I was exactly that person whom I ask you not to be. I was that very negative person who crucified himself and put himself down on a moment by moment, hour by hour………YOU GET IT.

I was this person. I had all the sympathy, empathy, care and love for everyone else except for me. Me was treated in conditions let’s just say of not a good standard. Until one day.,


One day, I changed the conversation that I was having with myself. I needed to do this. I needed change and belief from me. No one else was giving this to me, they were busy waiting around all day for me to make them feel better. My life didn't change overnight. My life didn’t miraculously change immediately. I had to consistently work at it. And I still do. I wanted to change how I felt about me because I knew deep down, I was a good person. I didn’t want anyone else to tell me, I wanted to truly believe this.


I felt a lot of things about me and not many were positive. If you are reading this article and find many similarities, I really suggest that you make a decision. A decision right NOW to stop treating yourself so badly. Start with simple steps. Firstly, be more aware of the conversation which you have when you are alone. Be vigil with the language which you use to describe yourself. The sympathy and empathy which you show toward others, turn these traits inward to you.


Language is a part of our everyday life, undoubtedly. Be comfortable in the language which you use towards yourself. You are the person which whom you wake up with. You spend every single second of the day and night with. And also travel with.


Everywhere you go, YOU WILL BE THERE.