Caveman Conditioning

Caveman & me

Paul Underwood

Three squashed discs at the base of my spine used to cause me two to three weeks of walking like an 80 year old. I was told to “get stronger” later prompted me to give Caveman a go. I’ve been Caveman for over 3 years now and haven't had an episode since.

The Caveman sessions are great because if you want to join in the banter, you can; but if you want to come along and concentrate on your session, you can do that too. There’s no pressure to get involved and I’ve not seen any looking down noses at people because they can’t or won’t do something. I’d go so far as to call it a Caveman family! Everyone is there to work themselves hard, and to help motivate others to do the same - I love it!

Martin Vine

9 years ago I was feeling unfit and unhealthy – a ‘relatively’ young dad with a busy family and social life, noticed that I was needing bigger trousers than before and was quickly out of breath chasing a football with my boys. On discussing with a friend, he had heard about “this Caveman thing, or something” – a new type of training that we might be able to get in at the start of. We turned up one mid week evening and could barely manage the warm up, but 9 years later, not only am I still going to Caveman, I do PT and LIFT sessions weekly, both my boys are actively training and working with Stu and the team and I’ve never felt fitter or more informed about my training.

Over the course of the years, I’ve watched Caveman develop from a small group of like-minded people buzzing off each other, turning up in the worst kind of weather knowing that if we didn’t, we would feel like we’ve missed out, to a proper, scheduled part of many people’s lives. As a group, we’ve invited our friends to come along and try it and very few don’t return. We leave a session saying “see you on Wednesday” knowing this is part of our weekly routine. There are days when you just don’t feel like going, but you always do because you know you will feel elated once it’s over, you know there will be lots of other people feeling the same but most importantly you know that with Stu’s cheery, upbeat direction and coaching and the banter and encouragement from your peers training with you, you will actually enjoy it once you’ve got there.

I’ve been through some tough emotional times and all I’ve wanted to do was train. Stu has been brilliant in recognising when I’m on form or when I’ve got something on my mind and he works with me to ensure the session is right for me and my mental state (not just my physical state) without even making reference to it. Similarly, I have suffered from a couple of shoulder injuries that Stu has always been mindful of and adapts both my personal training and group training exercises to ensure that not only do I not aggravate the shoulder, but to repair and protect it. I see that with all the guys that train that have injuries – he is mindful of each and every person, and there is always an alternative exercise, never an excuse not to train.

With both my sons having worked with Stu setting up sessions, doing the weekly tidying and shuffling of equipment from storage container to fitness room, Stu has provided a friendly, happy and safe environment for them to work in. My youngest son trains 4-5 times a week with Stuart and has been inspired by what Stu has achieved to the point that he has chosen PE as one of his A Levels and is looking to become more involved with Caveman as he gets older. As Stu became a friend, he spent a lot of time at my house and with my family and has undoubtedly inspired Harry with his health and fitness. He was also aware of Stuart doing his Bachelors and his Masters whilst continuing the Caveman training and growing the business, watching and learning from Stuart's work ethic. That kind of experience is invaluable but Stu does it and gives it freely. He is a great example of proving that if you work hard, you get the rewards, and every parent could do that with their help with their children, I’m sure.

Over the last couple of years, Stuart has built an excellent team around him – not just those that work at Cave, but the professionals that he works with to gain his knowledge, and that is so evident. You see it in the detailed preparations, the warm ups, the different exercises and the constant awareness of each individual's techniques. What really brings it home is when you watch the likes of the England Rugby team training, or even the likes of Leeds United training or doing rehab work, they are doing exactly what we do at Caveman – so we really are benefitting from a guy who believes in what he’s doing and is doing it the way the elite athletes are doing it.

Personally, having been on this journey right from the beginning, I take great pride in Stuart and Caveman and am proud to say I have been there alongside Stuart, every step of the way. Of late he is enthusing about the next chapter of the Caveman journey – the passion and enthusiasm never subsides, and I hope to still be training in another 9 years time and be fitter and stronger than I was when I started 9 years ago. I’ve met lots of new friends through Caveman, I’ve got to train and spend valuable time with my children at Caveman, and I’m 100% certain I’ve increased my knowledge of the human body, nutrition, training techniques and prolonged my natural lifespan by being part of the Caveman journey."

Georgie Donaghy

Caveman & Me

If I can make a cup of tea, and drink it whilst it’s still hot, I’m having a good day. If I get to sit down whilst drinking it, then it’s a really good day. So you can imagine fitting in exercise is an even bigger challenge.

Everyone’s lives are busy, no matter what your story is. But throw in 2 young kids, a full time job (with a 3 hour round commute including unpredictable public transport!), a husband & trying to have some sort of ‘a life’, then finding time to fit anything in for myself is tough.

Before kids, I’d make it to Caveman religiously 3 times a week - getting changed at the office on Tottenham Court Road & praying the train wasn’t late so I could make the mad dash from the station straight to Olney. Post kids, I go twice a week (with a run on Sundays). I managed to exercise throughout both my pregnancies until well into the third trimester each time. Obviously my ability changed pretty much immediately but Stu modified the exercises straight away for me - such as lifting slightly lighter weights, being very careful with anything involving the stomach area & (so it seemed) making me do a lot more squats! I was never made to feel like I couldn’t take part because I was pregnant, which was amazing as staying as fit as I could was very important to me. I returned exactly 12 weeks post c-section both times & again Stu kept an eye out & made sure I took things slowly, but before I knew it, I was gaining back my strength & losing the pounds - and feeling back to my old self.

I think it's easy when you’re a busy (working) mum to say you’re too tired for exercise, but I have to say I think an hour spent with the Caveman crew does the exact opposite, and actually fills me with energy. The thought beforehand might be of dread, but I have never, ever walked away from a session wishing I hadn’t taken part.

I think it does as much for my mental state as my physical one, and my couple of hours a week in the great outdoors, with a fab group of like-minded people, thinking about nothing but how heavy a weight is or how many more push ups I have to do, really is my salvation."

James and Julie

It’s dark; it’s raining; too busy; can’t be bothered. Excuses excuses…That was us. Dinner and a quiet night in was preferable to anything that brought us out in a hot sweat.", "Julie joined first back in 2013, quite a few months before me. She tried to encourage me to go to Caveman. I didn’t want to. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to cope. Eventually I plucked up the courage to go and since (pretty much) we have never looked back. I don’t think we have ever been fitter and the friendly positive attitude has improved my self-confidence no end.

We try and get to two or three Caveman sessions a week. Having a range of start times means that we can both go and still look after our children. The sessions are always structured to provide a proper warm up and then vary through short but intensive reps which keep the sessions fresh. You can’t feel up for putting in maximum effort every time, my experience is that life isn’t like that but on the tricky days the people around you keep you going. Hopefully we provide that encouragement to others when they feel similar.

Neither of us thought lifting weights was our bag either. It was something we’ve never done before but now try and get to two sessions of LIFT a week. Teaching technique is a priority for Stuart and his team and the class size means that you will always get assistance and guidance. The session has evolved over the years since I first started and compliments Caveman brilliantly. For us, it is not a fad, it is a lifestyle."

Helen Donaghy

Caveman has been an incredible life changing experience for myself and my family. I work full time, do a ridiculous amount of travel with work and am a mum to an active 8 year old, and after a stressful long day at work I like nothing better than to get out into the fresh air, rain or shine and train with like minded people. The type of exercise we do at Caveman is varied, effective and challenging and you can literally feel the strains of the day slip away. It’s therapeutic mentally as well as physically.I love the fact that it’s not conventional and it’s different and importantly you are all in it together , no one judges - it’s like training with one big friendly team of support.

For me caveman has been life changing. Physically I am fitter, my shape has changed and I feel strong. Mentally it’s a way of dealing with whatever life throws at you! I also love the fact that my daughter can see that I am training hard to be fitter and stronger - that's such an important message for children.

I highly recommend Caveman to anyone whatever their age, it’s a way of life!

Jo Fardoe

The fitness industry is notorious for fleeting fads, promises of quick fixes and body transformations. Unfortunately I was sucked into those promises time after time in the hope that it would miraculously make me look and feel better about myself. Oh how I was wrong.

Understanding my frustrations and how bored I was of the same old, a friend told me about this outdoor training group he went to called Caveman. He said “Jo, you’ll absolutely love it.” 

That was in 2015 - and he was right. Since then Caveman has become my constant. 

The one hour of my day (whatever the weather) where I get to let off steam after a long day at work, have a giggle and make progress in my training. Having battled with mental health issues since my teens, physical activity is so important in helping me manage symptoms. Yes I had to pluck up the courage to show up back in 2015 initially, but once you’re there, among some of the most friendliest, welcoming people you’ll ever meet, that anxiety soon disappears. 

These people, the ‘Cave family’, have picked me up when I’ve been at my lowest. In 2019 I lost my Mum to cancer, and they were there. When I was ready, I returned to training, signed up to a half marathon and was supported through it all by Stu and this amazing community he’s created. It truly is one-of-a-kind.

Kudos to Stu, the mastermind behind it all. His passion for what he does is infectious and inspiring. He really knows his stuff and if you’ve got a niggling injury (I’ve had a few), he’ll safely adapt the sessions for you - “there’s always something you can do.” Because of Stu and Caveman, I’ve gained confidence, strength and friends for life.