Check out the Macpherson Fitness Client Area

Every Macpherson Fitness client has individualised access to the ptEnhance client area where their exercise programs, videos of exercises and history and other reports of their training are available. There’s also a schedule of Mark’s availability (so you can request training times) and your own training schedule is there too. Lots of other stuff.



Personal Training sessions

Contact me on 0414 842 584 or email


Posted May 6, 2014 by Mark in Fitness News

Barefoot Running

Great video from Nature about the research into barefoot running.

If you’re going to give it a try my suggestion is to start slowly, REALLY slowly!

Although you may be able to run 30+ kms I would suggest your first barefoot outings should be 1 km tops. Most people’s calves (and other lower limb muscles) aren’t strong enough to handle the changed stresses in the legs and, like all smart people who train, we have to build strength and muscle endurance before attempting heavy workloads. Right? It’s all about patience, remember?



Posted May 10, 2014 by Mark in Fitness

Partial Reps vs Full Reps, or Both?



Great article on the Bret Contreras (the Glute Guy) web site. Explains the current research results (with references). Well worth a read for the serious exercise enthusiast.


Posted May 7, 2014 by Mark in Fitness

Turkish Getups are tough (but awesome)!

Turkish Getups are tough to do well with a smooth and seamless motion. But they are an awesome full body workout just on their own. However, like any exercise, they require practice and patience and regression.

Practice them in stages and perfect each stage. A tip: The placement of your points of contact with the ground will be subtly different for each person, practice the movements and perfect them without weight to find what works for you.

As with most things in life, there are people who are better or more advanced than you. That’s not a problem, as long as you’re willing to learn (critically) from them.

Here’s Gray Cook teaching the Turkish Getup.


Posted May 6, 2014 by Mark in Fitness

Box Jumps done right

Box jumps are a triple extension power movement. They’re not a test of how high you can raise your knees. They’re great for training, using just your own bodyweight, the same movement pattern to use when doing Cleans and many other powerful movements.

Your box jump height is (truly) measured by how high you raise your hips, not how high you can get your feet off the ground.

However, instead of me rambling on, this discussion has already been done well by master trainer Dave Donatucci from the Florida Institute of Performance. Dave’s an awesome trainer, I’ve seen first hand the results he’s been able to achieve.

And here’s the link to the complete article Dave wrote.


Posted May 6, 2014 by Mark in Fitness

Life is not sagittal

Life is not sagittal? What?? What does sagittal mean?

These are the usual responses I get when I talk to people after they’ve seen me training myself and/or clients.

There is a component of “Writing 101″ about using that phrase. i.e. Write positively, don’t be conditional. The phrase should be “Life is not only or solely sagittal”. I don’t mean to imply that there is no sagittal component to life at all.

BTW, the sagittal plane is one of the three planes of movement. It’s the forwards and backwards plane (there’s also the frontal plane, side to side movement and the transverse plane, which is rotational movement).


So much of what is done in the gym is sagittal and, while it does lead to strength and endurance gains, it is not, on its own, sufficient to keep us  out of harm’s way in our day to day activities. Performing a non-sagittal movement under excessive load can lead to injury. That movement could be as simple as twisting to retrieve something out of the back seat of a car.

My suggestion is that if we’ve made an effort to get into the gym to train (and this article is directed at those fitness enthusiasts who already get themselves to the gym) then, with little or no extra time we can reach our normal training goals as well as be strong enough to handle the unexpected non-sagittal events life sends us.

Athletes already know this. Golfers, pitchers, bowlers, runners, etc know they have to work on lateral movements as well as rotational movements to improve in their sport. However, I’ve seen too many people working out in the gym training in one plane of movement. This is an injury waiting to happen.

It’s easy to include non-sagittal components to your exercises. Really.

When working on your upper body, some push/pull exercises could be replaced with cable push/pull with added rotational movement. These can be progressed to single leg and on to unstable surfaces. You don’t have to do these exercises all the time but some of the time is better than nothing.

Lower body workouts can be augmented with lateral lunges or squats. Rotational squats, just bodyweight, can be really tough even for people who back-squat heavy loads.

As an efficient time use example, when you’re bench pressing don’t sit there and check social media during your rest periods, why not do a set of single leg, single arm dumbbell RDLs and then get straight back into your pressing? Or throw in a set of kneeling Pallof presses in between your heavy rowing exercises. Simple, really.

The possibilities of combining exercises into continuous sets is unlimited. You can get your non-sagittal work done in the gym in the same amount of time you currently spend in the gym. And the rewards are plentiful.

As an example, for the older fitness enthusiast, engaging in vigorous play with a squirming two year old grandchild is possible without the risk of injury.

Life is not sagittal, it’s more than sagittal. We should train accordingly.

Posted May 6, 2014 by Mark in Fitness

Why you must workout

A regular workout is good for many well documented reasons: you look good; you feel good afterwards; you live longer; the chances of succumbing to many modern diseases is reduced; exercise has been shown to grow neurons; stress caused by uncontrollable events in other areas of your life can be alleviated by regular exercise.



The list goes on.

This second list is much longer than the first. However, the number of items in a list does not make that list more important.All this is well known and advertised, then why don’t more people indulge in physical activity on a regular basis? This is another long list, but this one is often full of excuses. This list is dominated by time constraints, and many of those time constraints include  pressures from family and friends. For example, having to work for a living, spend time with spouse, children (or grandchildren), or just not having enough free time to workout or the inclination to workout when time becomes available.

There is one overriding reason why you must workout regularly and that is to live a healthier life. The only way to achieve that healthier life is by applying consistency to your health just as you apply consistency to everything else you do.

You already apply consistency to your work, your studies and your family. You go to work/school when you don’t really want to and you complete tasks that are not to your liking. You apply consistency to your family life as a role model/supporter/bread winner for your spouse, children and, perhaps, grandchildren.

A regular workout is as important to others in your life as it is to you. A regular workout is not an indulgence, it is one of the ways to contribute to the success of your family and the relationships with your friends. It is as important as any other mandatory aspect of your life. The trick is to be flexible in your planning and balanced in everything in your life while maintaining consistency.

Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act, it’s a way of helping others in your life. Having a balanced mind, body and spirit allows you to successfully tackle the problems and difficult situations of friends and family. Direct involvement in the affairs of others is not always necessary, a person who is strong in mind and body can be a direct influence on others they know and meet.

Each workout you complete is one step on the way to being the best person you can possibly be and, hopefully, influencing others to also be as healthy as they can be.

Live a healthier life, for you and your family’s sake, by regularly working out.

Tony Horton, “The Big Picture: 11 Laws that will change your life”

Posted February 15, 2014 by Mark in Fitness

The Tragedy of Euan and Kate published

EuanAndKateCover1I decided to finish and publish The Tragedy of Euan and Kate first, as part of the Version 2.0 project.

Some character alterations were required. As well as some of the plot items. The ending was a bit weak, I thought. It was based on some real life things that happened to me but I felt it was unrealistic (funny how that is. Real life seems unreal when written down). So, the ending has been re-imagined.

However, overall there was not a lot of work required for these changes and it’s always nice to finish something and get it out of the way.


And now it is out of the way.

BTW, links to purchase the book are in the side menu :-)

I’ve now almost finished re-writing ‘The First Genesis’, which will be renamed ‘Flawed Gods’. There are substantial changes to the second half of the novel. It’s much more than the back-story the original book was. And Hachakyum’s brother makes an early entrance. And the Earth is almost destroyed. But apart from that…

I’m hoping for a 2014 release.


Posted September 9, 2013 by Mark in Books & Writing

Should books have versions?

You know, like software.

It’s unrealistic for paper-based books, obviously. Also, for successful ebooks why would you bother? If enough people have bought/downloaded the book then a writer is better off producing more content.

Cover1However, what if the writer is an independent author and not too many copies have been sold? (How many is “not too many”?).

Independent authors don’t have the luxury of skilled editors. They have friends and others who may or may not be the best ones to offer skilled advice.

I think, yes. If the ideas are strong enough.

I’ve begun re-writing all my books in the ‘Gods” series as Version 2.0’s. I’ve had better ideas for the overall story-lines and ideas about better defining the characters. These ideas allow the novels to become a coherent series.

Many of my readers have commented how they like the books/stories/characters but have mentioned disappointments in them and have offered suggestions for improvement. Many I agree with! I wish I’d had the benefit of a “real” editor but I didn’t.

In my first attempt to produce a series of books I wrote them with beginnings and finished in the middle. There was no end. I had my mind on the final ending of the series and each book sort of, well, just stopped at a convenient place in the narrative (often dictated by word count).

This was a rookie mistake.

It worked for me, I knew where the stories were going, but it most certainly did not work for readers. It was frustrating to have a story halt, almost arbitrarily.

So… The version 2.0’s of each book will have real endings, so a reader can just read one, if they wish and have a complete story-telling experience.

Let’s see how this goes. My apologies to those readers who liked the original books but, unfortunately, there just weren’t enough of you. And I firmly believe the series story is just too good to leave and write something different from scratch.

Forgive me! But I hope you like it.


Posted March 21, 2013 by Mark in Books & Writing

The Speculative Fiction writer’s solution for necessary violence

The problem of necessary violence can arise in story-telling. Death occurs, people are maliciously injured, races of people are destroyed. And violence of some description is expected when a principal character in fiction is a god. Or, at least, a being powerful enough to destroy a world. Destroying the world is a fairly violent act on anyone’s scale.

I required a god for the At the End of World series of novels, based on the Mayan end of world scenarios. There are some obvious problems that arise.

I required a god interested in the lesser beings and interesting in their own right. And someone that made mistakes since rectification and resolution are important to interesting story telling. I could create a believable character with those attributes but what to do about necessary violence? A god of sufficient intelligence should get no pleasure from terminal violence, like most of us get no pleasure from squashing an ant.

However, sometimes, an ant needs to be squashed.

What to do?

My solution to the problem was that my god could erase individuals, groups, races and species. It may be possible with sufficient technology, a large power source and a bit of stretched imagination. The god would be able to remove all traces and the effects of an individual, a group, a race and even a species. It would be as if they had never existed. So, no suffering is caused (as long as annihilation is instantaneous), no lingering anxiety, no memories for those that are not erased, just nothing.

It would be the same effect as if your parents never procreated. You never existed for everyone who knew you.

Would you need a large power source for that? Would you need an understanding of physics we don’t have yet? Of course. But it’s a story, let’s not let the current state of science and technology get in the way of our imagination.


We then run into the problem of fallibility. No-one is devoid of mistakes. Especially my god, who is just a powerful being with awesome technology and an understanding of higher physics.

Then the thunderbolt struck. Erasure mistakes, in response to necessary violence, would be brilliant! It allowed my god to re-make human species and races multiple times and then erase them when dissatisfied. However, leaving imperfect traces in the archaeological and paleontological record.

No inhabitants of the Americas before approximately 15,000 years ago? Why not? Erased, that’s why not.

Multiple modern-human migrations out of Africa before the most recent approximately 70,000 years ago? Why not? And some might have reached the Americas only to be, you guessed it, erased.

Multiple human species with scant traces? Floresiensis, Denisovan, etc, not a problem. Each a work in progress imperfectly erased.

Necessary, terminal violence without suffering, without revenge. This god would be a Speculative Fiction author’s perfect answer to alternate history. Except it wouldn’t be alternate. It happened but was removed imperfectly, leaving many story lines based on scant traces.

On an individual level, erasure seems an elegant solution to a god’s necessary punishment of wrongdoers or removal of imperfect experimentation. We all know or know of (even if only through news reports) someone who may deserve death, but not necessarily the suffering associated with the end of life (no matter how deserving of termination they may appear). And, the loathed one’s loved ones do not necessarily deserve to suffer because of association.

Think about it. If you had that power, and you were intelligent, and violence was necessary, erasure would solve many issues. Intelligence does not require revenge.

And what if the powerful being was innocuous and lived among us? What if they were the person close by as you’re reading this? The person who suddenly appears quite annoyed that you’re looking at them.

At least you, and your loved ones, will not suffer!

Posted December 17, 2011 by Mark in Books & Writing