Leg 2, Day 21 – Introducing The Wolf

Day 21 – Introducing The Wolf

As in previous blogs, I’ve wanted to introduce you to the key people beyond us crew of 6, the key people that without them this row would not be happening nor be the success it has been to date. Previous blogs have introduced Ella, Kirsten and Keith, so today it’s time to introduce Alex Wolf aka. ‘Wolfie’ ‘Al’ ‘The Teddybear’ ‘The task master’ ‘The Meanie’. As a Strength and Conditioning Coach, Al is accustomed to being called an eclectic array of names! Alex has become one of my very good friends, he is someone that I truly trust and highly respect as both a person and most certainly as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. At the time of me starting the row, Al was the Lead S&C coach for GB Rowing and had been for the last Olympic cycle into London 2012, meaning that the highly successful GB Rowing squad including the likes of Kathryn Grainger & Anna Watkins, Heather Stanning & Helen Glover, Alex Gregory and the Men’s 4, to name a few greats and Gold medalists at 2012, were all trained by Al and his team. Knowing that the countries best were kept well conditioned under Al’s watchful eye and structured programmes, he was the one and only person I wanted to approach about discussing how best to get our bodies resilient enough to take on the Pacific. Having personally never rowed before, this was my first question to Al – ‘I’ve got a year (which ended up being 3yrs!) to get our bodies in shape to withstand 6months of 12hours a day rowing, in variable conditions and rowing a 1tonne boat as a pair, where shall I start?’. To my surprise, Al offered his services and links to coaches at Imperial Rowing Club and later London Rowing Club which we were amazing support throughout. Alongside running the GB Rowing S&C programme (which is a full on schedule in itself with lots of travel involved), in the last 3 years of working with us, Al also completed a Masters in Nutrition, wrote a book and a number of articles and then also got promoted to Head of Strength and Conditioning for the whole of EIS (English Institute of Sport). Any precious spare time he had, he devoted to arranging weekends of testing/assessing us, training us on week nights after work, writing our programmes and monitoring our programmes. With the change in team from 4 to 6 in the last few months, Al has continued to liaise with both Lizanne and Meg so whilst we’re out at sea, he has had Skype calls and meetings with them both to set and monitor their progress. We have so much to thank Alex for, in particular I have him to thank for the 12kgs I gained before I started the row and if it wasn’t for that, then I would have been in a much worse state after 10days of sea sickness! I must admit though, after having spent 2 years of hard work gaining that muscle and fat weight, to lose the majority of it within 2 weeks of the expedition, was pretty disappointing!


Photo Credit: Neil Irwin


However I am looking forward to returning to Sophie’s steakhouse with Al post row and repeating the challenge of polishing off a 26oz steak!
Emma recalls thanking Al for his secret adding of weights to the leg press to the near point of failure, he always has a knack of getting that last percent out of you even when you don’t think you’ve got it in you. I’m pretty sure Nats also thanks Al for forcing her to finish every scrap of food on her plate regardless of how full she felt, once again Al optimising every small nutritional gain.

So in a nutshell, Alex Wolf is loved by all the Coxless Crew and we are humbled to have had his support and expertise behind us in our preparations.

On a personal note, we have sadly just learnt that Alex’s dad has passed away suddenly and very unexpected in recent weeks. Our thoughts are with him and his family at this difficult time and whilst out here we will toast an isotonic drink and share a thought to the stars on the 29th August when it would have been his dad’s birthday.



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    It is very interesting to learn of the support you have received, preparing yourselves for this monumental challenge. Devouring a 26 oz steak sounds like a bit of a challenge too. Hawaii is now over 700 miles behind you, You are all doing so well. Keep it up you are carrying the pride of a nation with you. Stay safe. XX

  2. Simon Ty says:

    26 oz steak. Easy I am sure. I do not doubt you. Did you take physiological measurements in Hawaii ? What did the first leg do to yr waistlines ? Calves fading ? arms like trees ? Hands like sand paper ?


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