3 Simple Principles to become Pain Free when you Train

Let me ask you a question, do you train at the gym and get pain during or after your session? Would you like to become pain free?

You know that the exercises you are doing are good and appropriate to what you want to achieve, but are getting frustrated and fed up of being in so much pain after your training sessions and not seeing the results you want.  You feel that to solve this you have to do more, but are then struggling to fit everything in with all the other stuff in your life…work, family, kids.

The problem is as all these negative elements start to dominate your trading you feel like you are stagnating or even regressing and simply lose the love, drive and motivation that you had for training.

You’re not alone, 90% of the clients I work with have experienced similar.

Like them, I know you want simple, easy to integrate methods to get your body back on track… You want workouts that are fast, effective and get the “job done” without living in the gym.

You want to integrate exercise as part of your life, without sacrificing time with your family and kids, and you want to train without feeling guilty, like you should be doing something at home…

… Not only that, I know you want to look in the mirror again and be in the shape of your life…

It’s possible, we have clients who are in their late 40’s who have bodies they’d dream of having in their 20’s. 

Let me share with you the 3 key principles that I use to help people address their pains and frustrations.

  1. STABILITY – we need to know what parts of the body for the given lift should be in the role of a stabiliser.  A phrase that is thrown around here with poor understanding is ‘core stability’.  this leads to people thinking about sit ups, oblique work and maybe some planks.  A better term would be torso stability.  This then brings into the equation far more of the body and helps people understand things beyond the core region.  It is important to understand that different parts of the body are designed for different things, and when a lift is compromised by poor technique the risk for injury is far greater. 
  2. APPROPRIATE MOVEMENT – This goes hand in had with point 1.  If the part or parts of the body that are meant to be moving aren’t then the forces/loads places on the body are more likely to negatively stress the body which will compromise training adaptation.
  3. APPROPRIATE LOAD  – I should add in here appropriate load for YOU! Whilst you may get a buzz out of hitting PB’s every week or maxing out multiple workouts, with loads that are not appropriate to you then the risk of injury is great.  The body is an amazing bit of kit, but if you abuse it, eventually it will break.  Often people get obsessed purely by the numbers of the weight they are lifting…this real danger here is that technique gets compromised or lost when the load is increased….the irony is that this will in the mid & long term will negatively affect your training progression, it will get you injured, and you love of lifting will disappear.


If you think back to any time that you hurt yourself during or after a weights session, the most likely cause is poor lifting technique.  By using these 3 principles, most of the time the ‘why’ of your pain can be identified and worked upon.  Sometimes all that is needed are a few small tweaks, other times more in depth work is required.


Why I don’t do Online Training

Why i don’t do online training….

Over the past number of years and in tandem with the development of technology, ONLINE training has developed.  Online training has become a perceived ‘easy’ way to earn lots of money.

I personally got into this game for one driving reason…. coaching …  its my passion.  Interacting and creating relationships with people on the gym floor is what I enjoy most!!!  I’ve tried online training and I despised it.  Using computers more than I have to is just not me.  I love to be on my feet moving about and engaging with people – its why Custom Fitness Health & Performance Training Facility exists.  The gym floor is where I love to be! I love working with clients, training performance athletes and coaching classes.  The interaction you get in all these sessions is ace. Reacting to whats happening in front of you simply cannot be replicated or replaced via computers.  A fundamental reason why this industry although is continually evolving will never die out.

It’s often the case that the lesson learnt when trying something different is to clarify and cement what your ‘why’ is and the ‘how’ it happens.

Is online training systematic of something more?

I 100% accept technology is here to stay (as i sit working on my mac with my I-phone near by…). It doesn’t mean that I like using it.  If I had the choice to go back to the ‘old-days’ I think I would happily stick to pen and paper.  The only draw back is the all the disclaimers, programs, and other documentation that takes up a lot of space.

The electronic age has enabled many problems to be solved.  With time efficient devices to help get tasks done in a fraction of the time. Its also created as many problems as it solves.  In one aspect you have saved time and money….which ideally then frees you up to do more cool stuff…. the stuff I love to do, but then equally if not more, it creates problems and bigger costs in other areas. Software thats is about as user friendly as a chocolate fire pot has in the past made me want to throw my laptop out the window!!!

Generically, the internet has enabled a monumental amount of information to be available.  Which in its own way is ace, but have evolved a newish role of the coach to clarify the facts from all the BS online…and certainly for this industry there is a huge amount of it flying around.

Sitting down in front of a computer sucks.  When I have sat for prolonged periods of time (in this job and previous ones), I tend to start to get neck ache and lower back pain.  In the morning I would shuffle around for a bit before I loosen up.  Its down to having my head in a project that has engulfed me, and accept that even doing the love I absolutely love, there are always crappy bits. The key is that as I know my ‘why’ its less crappy that could be.  This (the aches and pains) is especially true if for some reason (like surgery and opening a new gym) means my training has gone kaput!  Safe to say now I am coaching more (ace), on the gym floor more (ace again) and training  again (ace x3) all the niggles and aches have all buggered off!

So as much as you’ll find me sat at my desk getting the essential work done to keep the business running…it will be to support the stuff I love to do – coaching face to face on the gym floor – that will ALWAYS take priority for me.




Recently the coaching team at CF have been discussing a number of technical elements.  Squatting and ‘how to squat’ has been a constant topic.  The net result is that with any movement pattern there is, and there will always be an element of individuality. Factors such as anatomy (bone lengths, body/limb ratios and joint variations), past injury and training age all play their part in how someone squats.

For me as a Coach the key to a client performing an excellent squat is to take the fundamental principles of ‘how to squat’ and apply them to my client.  We then look to make them work to the best that can do.  We don’t just keep racking up the load lifted, mask issues with a belt and/or shoes, and then say ‘all is good!’.

I like to get my clients to ‘learn by doing’ to a certain extent. To actually get them to feel the variations/tweaks and understand where ‘their’ correct squat position/movement pattern is. By getting my clients feedback/input the end result is always far better than simple telling them to do ‘X’.

In the past I use to get obsessed with getting my clients squatting a very specific way. I was obsessed with foot position and range particularly. Now as I’ve continued my learning and matured as a coach – and dare i say it a better one! – I’ve chilled out about it all now. I put far more focus on the principles and allow clients to explore how it works for them as an individual.

This gives a far better learning experience for the client, which helps cement their technique. This allows more time to be dedicated to training, and less time to repeating the direct ‘teaching’.

Sometimes it is far better to allow people to explore things more rather than just telling them what to do and spoon feeding them!

Next week I will post a video to help demonstrate how and why applying principles is a far superior means of coaching. I will demonstrate how two people can apply the principles of squatting effectively even though there are a number of difference in their technique.


Latest News

New Coach at Custom Fitness Gym

Did you know we have a new Coach at Custom Fitness Gym?

Nicola was the first person who was successful in completing the internship program that we have run at Custom Fitness Health & Performance Gym Lincoln.

Since the completion of the internship Nicola has not looked back and has become a great Coach.  Being on/going through the journey that many of her clients have taken has given Nicola a unique ability to empathise with them:

‘I myself know exactly how it feels to have no confidence and hate the way I look and feel, especially after body changes from having children….I can also relate to how life gets in the way of training and sometimes…I feel through my own personal experience I could help women like myself achieve their goals and not just feel like a mum but feel like themselves again.’

Nicola is already churning our some pretty awesome results with her client….


Those people at Nike have got it right, sometimes your best experiences can come from the ‘just do it’ attitude.

Having seen an advert on Facebook for the Custom Fitness 6 week transformation, and with a dwindling fitness mojo, I decided to just go for it. I can honestly say it has been a great journey. Within 2 weeks I had seen noticeable results! And after 6 weeks i’d totally caught the bug and decided to carry on for an extra 4 week programme.

Nicola took time to understand me as a client, remembering what my aims were and what motivates me to achieve. I felt fully supported through the whole process. At training sessions she used her expertise to know when to motivate and support but also when a kick up the backside was needed. I was always encouraged to beat my last achievements and when I did they were there to celebrate with me!

Having them available for support online, where they (Team CF) shared recipes and food ideas as well as answered all manner of questions, helped massively in those times of need when away from the gym. The past 10 weeks have changed me both physically and mentally.

I feel fitter, healthier, happier and more motivated to achieve long term goals. It has been an absolute blast and this is one ride I’m not ready to get off just yet.



Mass (Kg) down by 4.6lbs

Body measures down 12inches in total

  • 5inch off waist
  • 3.5inch off hips


Nicola’s training philosophy fits in perfectly with our core beliefs here at Custom Fitness Health and Performance Gym.

  • Being happy/positive
  • Great quality food + in appropriate amounts
  • Tailored training for each individual
  • Support
  • Motivation
  • Accountability

If you think Nicola can help you fallout the form via the link below and we will drop you a line.



Personal training for Endurance Sports

Personal Training for endurance training/sports.
It’s a commonly believed notion that to get better at running, all you need to do is run…..and to a certain point that is true.  However, the scope to get better at running or any other endurance sport without actually doing the activity is huge!  
I’ve been working with Shel for a while now.  Shel is one of my awesome personal training clients who’s goals are focused on endurance sports. 
With Shel, we have been focusing  on a number of areas that relate to running and canicross.  Below is a screen shot of a message she sent me PLUS some raw data from her watch.
For Shel, our focus in the gym has been on getting her stronger – generally and relatively along with working better as a whole unit. Outside the gym, improving her nutrition and building more consistency have been the focus.  I’m really looking forward to continuing Shel development and to see what she can achieve over the next few months.
Lea comes along to a S&C session I run.  He had a goal of improving his time of the half marathon.  I can assure you that there is NO running is these sessions, but still the benefits of strength work pay dividends again in improving performance in Endurance sports….
The common factor in all the endurance athletes that I work with is that they aren’t doing any running/biking/swimming with me!!!
The untapped potential that a huge amount of endurance athletes miss out on is the unquestionable benefit an appropriate training plan can add to their performance without the additional negative elements that come with a clyndrial and sometimes impact sports. 
If u r training for an endurance sport be it running, OCR, tri or other then getting a tailored health & performance program and supporting coach will be a massive assist and investment in getting better results
TO arrange a time to get your performance better click the link below….
I will get back to u within 24hours


Biomechanics – a fancy word that refers to the study of mechanical principles of living organisms, particularly their movement and structure.[1]   and is often associated with professional/elite sport.


This isn’t necessarily the case.


Take me for instance – I’m getting on a bit, not an elite athlete, have a list of injuries past and present that will all affect how I move/lift/train.

Here are two videos that I took during my training last week whilst doing power cleans.



The purpose of videoing my sets was for me to analyse my technique (it’s most defiantly NOT for vanity!).  I often train on my own, alone in the gym, and its the only way I can get any feedback beyond how a lift ‘feels’.  I like training this way as I don’t get distracted whilst it allows me to focus on what I am doing.  The videoing for me is like having a coach; I can watch my technique, see how it went, look at what I can tweak/alter to improve.

These two screen shots below help to expand on this point about Biomechanics in action.

The first Picture shows (via the red line and green arrows) that in my ‘set’ position for the power clean, my lumbar spine is flexed (rounded).  This isn’t a great position to be in when lifting, let alone at speed, and without the visual feedback the video gives me I may not have picked up on this.


This second picture (below) shows post technique amendments.  The changes were subtle, only a tweak in foot position and grip, but the changes allowed me to ‘set’ my back into a far stronger and better position.


The result – more weight lifted better, with no lower back pain post workout.

This is the TRUE essence of Biomechanics.

Yes its not super fancy, the cost of the equipment was relatively low – nothing like the cost of full motion analysis cameras and software like you would have in a science lab, but this is really world use. This is where the environment isn’t controlled, the individual isn’t an elite athlete, and the facilities aren’t world class (although they are pretty dam good!).

It reinforced the importance of getting the ‘set’ position correct.  I felt I had a strong set position for the power clean, but the video feedback showed it wasn’t as good as I though PLUS what happened when I tweaked it with a end results of it getting better.

Great technique allows repeated safe lifting to occur, and is one of the core principles of CF coaching philosiphy.  Regardless of your training goal, optimal lifting technique will benefit you – great load lifted, great muscle activation, increase calorie burn, increased power production – they can all be related to lifting with better technique.

If you want to lean how to lift correctly, want to achieve a goal in your training, or simply want to reduce your risk of injury, then drop me a line here and we can meet up for a coffee and discuss your requirements.


  1.  Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, November 2010, s.vv.

The Latest Fad???

The latests fad…..The Body Coach

The cook book is out, the online training programs are flying off the shelf and now C4 have had let the body coach on their channel….


I have looked around to see what all the fuss is about regarding the body coach, and attempted to cast a critical analysis on him.

As ever with success, and especially within the H&F industry, there are the fans and the haters – and they go to the extreme both ways.

Lets firstly look at some of the positives that I can see:

  • Due to the success of the system, the reach that he has made is massive.  The key as well is hat due to the ‘radical’ (or is it?) approach, and some clever marketing he is reaching a lot of people who may have not/never considered working on improving the health &/or fitness.  The older ideas still of gyms being full of ‘fit’ people (WTF that is i don’t know!) and you have to eat rabbit food and have no life as still abundant.  To take line of do less, eat more is defiantly a eye catcher!
  • Getting people to try new/different foods that they may never have considered trying.  It feeds (excuse the pun) off the tag line and with his specific style (hitting social medial hard) and the relative easy now of getting some many different types of foods  is making more people try different things.  Variety is an excellent addition to developing great nutrition.
  • Getting people to address/confront their issues/problems (i.e – their lack of physical activity/shit nutrition).  this came across particularly when watching the TV program.  Personal responsibility is slowly dripping away – there is always ‘someone else to blame!’ Actually getting people to address their failures in a positive manner allows them to develop and improve their mindset.  I have talked about the importance of this on the CF Facebook page.
  • From feedback received the cook book is good.  Keeping stuff simple, quick and easy is crucial, and along with the digital support enables people to believe they can make a recipe.  More and more people are losing/not learning how to cook plus we are slowly getting lazier and/or too busy/not prioritising making food from scratch ourselves.
  • Its NOT a diet! its a change of lifestyle.  Need i say more?!
  • His business model allows him to reach way more people than he could just doing face to face.  CF gym allows my team and I to hit a 100+ people face to face.  Our business model is that face to face format, plus we are pretty indifferent at technology.  The body coach is all over the digital marketing like a swarm of bees on surge water! (cleanest simile I could think of – your welcome Katie x)
  • For some – he’s very easy on the eye…something I never aspired to be! This can help the amount of time people will listen/watch him.

No I have finished blowing sunshine up his arse, lets look at some negative points/realities;

  • If you take his recipes and google them, a lot of them existed long before he was doing what he does. – give credit where its due!  This may be down to my academic background, but a simple search on google shows this.  Overnight oats we about a long time before the body coach existed.
  • For me – his voice.  Thats a personal thing, and I imagine there are people who don’t like my queens english either!
  • Mis information/lack of correct/appropriate information & facts.  I have seen clinical nutritionalist post about this topic a lot regarding the body coach.  Whether or not this is more of the marketing people twisting stuff I don’t know but if I ‘ate more and exercised less’ I’d get fat….how do i know this, I have walked that journey!  As with all systems, if you get enough people following it you will get enough success stories to keep the system working.  The style workouts that are given are ok for a small percentage of people…it’s the same as when insanity came out – the amount of people getting injured due to them simply not being ‘fit’ enough in the first place to do the workouts.  There are far smarter people than me who have been seeking clarification on a number of his statements long before he became popular/famous.  MacNutrition is on excellent example.
  • Using measures like cm lost and total body mass for feedback when he is claiming fat loss, but he doesn’t actually measure fat loss!  This will only feed into the misconception that total body mass isa appropriate feedback mechanism for body fat levels.
  • To follow his advice, once I’ve hit a plateau, I should eat more again and do less exercise.  this will then become a negative.
  • In a position of power comes responsibility (uncle Ben – spiderman)  stop BS.  In my opinion he has now ‘sold out’ to the £££’s over principles that are true and stand the test of time!
  • A massive lack of individuality is the program.  They key to making something work for a person is to use a set of principles and allow the individual to work within them to find what truly works for them.  As humans we are individual and there is NO ‘one-size fits all!!!’
  • He is NOT a guru – the master of all knowledge!


In reality

  • Any change will get results for first 6 weeks – training/nutrition/lifestyle/mind set.  Its what happens after that where the skill of the coach comes into play.
  • Are his transformations ‘that’ impressive? or are they more a step in the right direction for people?. Look at this place for ‘transformations’ – Ultimate Perfromance
  • If by changing your nutrition (what you eat) you reduce your total calories you will lose weight.  Proven fact.  That does not mean you will lose body fat, improve how you look naked, or feel any better!
  • Plus the change in food that he advocates I can potentially give a increase/rebalance in nutrients/fibre.
  • What happens after the 3 months? A quick search on google gives the average lifespan of an individual in UK of 81.5 years. 3 months (if you do the 90 day plan) is not a lot in the grander scheme of things.
  • Should have a toolbox of principles and then look to allow people to use them in a way that enables them to get a result or results.  (E.G – CF Facebook post ref squatting)

In conclusion

Depending on how much weight you give to certain things outlined above, in my opinion the chances are that he will most likely do more good than harm. Getting people more aware/curious of eating better quality and variety of foods and getting them off their arses and moving can only be good.  Then it allows in time the masses to become more/better educated, by seeking out H&F professionals like us (Team CF) to educate to a far better quality.  He is not a guru, merely someone who found a unique way of present things mixed in with a bit of luck!


He’s not my cup of tea, and I will never sell out to the big corporation as it were…my principles are continually evolving and setting yourself to have ‘the system’ that works for everyone is a move that will ultimately fail…not necessarily in the next few years, but in the long long term it will. The next ‘fad’ will came out and all his cookbooks with be sat on the self gathering dust.


Body Shapes

CF Coach Shane, has put pen to paper for this read regarding body shapes.

Read it and think, which one are you? Or are you a mixture?

Starting your fitness journey can be stressful with various questions that will arise before you even consider starting your journey…

– How should I train?

– Where do I train?

– What do I eat?

– When is good to eat?

Although being a trainer myself I will be biased towards seeking professional help before you start, it’s usually a good idea that you do. I wouldn’t attempt to plumb a dishwasher in because I have no idea what I’m doing and it would 100% end in disaster, so I have two options… Seek professional help and get it done correctly OR continue to let the misses wash the dishes and leave food on the plates from the night before! J

Without complicating the situation with all the above questions, lets strip it back to the basics.

You NEED to understand what your body can and can’t do, you’ve had long enough living inside it to know where you gain weight, where you lose weight, injury restriction etc. Usually speaking, when you know everything you need to know about yourself that’s when you can answer the original questions about getting your training started.

Without boring you with scientific formulas and confusing you with every little detail (which can aid your fitness journey when you hit that inevitable plateau), let’s take a look at YOUR body shape!



Usually very slim and tall, both sexes can resemble the ‘skinny fat’ look and have weaker muscle tone. Typically speaking your metabolism runs faster than most and your what’s called a ‘hardgainer’ and because of this, when training you may wonder why training regularly for 1 month hasn’t resulted in a body worthy of a podium finish or magazine front cover!

For you ectomorph’s its all about getting that diet and training right, if muscle gain or toning is what you’re looking to achieve, try cutting back on the endurance cardio and look to weight training as your new ‘go-to’ (Strong Circuits or Modified Strongman classes are advisable for you at Custom Fitness). Calorie intake is a big one for you, you must give your body the building blocks to generate muscle growth and by doing

This you must take in calories by the plenty. A tip of mine would be to eat before bed; this will prevent muscle catabolism during your sleep.


Usually smaller in height and very broad you Endomorph’s are naturally quite strong but without the correcting nutritional guide and training plan you can potentially carry a lot more body fat. This is usually due to a slower working metabolism. Unlike the ectomorph, muscle gain comes to you a lot easier unfortunately so does fat, so getting that athletic look isn’t always easy.

If weight loss is your goal, you will most likely have to ramp up your cardio in a bid to strip the body fat required to achieve your ‘beach bod’ typically your calorie intake will be relatively high so making sure your working at a deficit (expel more than you eat) over time, SHOULD get you to where you want to be. When it comes to classes you might want to go for HIIT and bootcamp slightly more than you may already want too, however DO NOT cut out the weight training, a well rounded training plan is the way forward for an endomorph.

A tip of mine would be to focus on low-glycemic carb foods, those that have less of an effect on your blood sugar levels so your level remains steady.


Visually you will adopt an athletic build. Your body type will sit in between that of the ectomorph & endomorph. Given your athletic build you will also find it easier to maintain if training and eating correctly. Like any body type, without guidance or a training program you mesomorph’s can gain a lot easier than the ectomorph’s so if you’re not watching what you eat this is likely to result in higher body fat % readings. On the flip side, with the correct training program muscle gain is typically achieved easier than an ectomorph and body fat stripping is usually achieved easier than the endomorph. When it comes to training a combination of cardio and weight training should keep you maintaining, obviously if you want to gain or strip you will need to make changes to both cardio and weight training accordingly.

Tip for you mesomorphs would be to balance your macronutrients in your nutritional plan 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fats would be a good place to start. Keep those sugary foods in check!


Like all body shapes, it’s in your genes! Don’t sulk about it; use it to your advantage… knowledge is power, if you’re aware of your body shape and how best to achieve your goals before you’ve even finished tying your gym trainers then your onto a winner. Take control of your own body and make the most of the precious spare time we have to focus on our own health these days by choosing what’s right for YOU.


Shit happens….but every cloud has a silver lining!

CF Coach Jo has started to put pen to paper to help with the flow of content and to present a different perspective to things on the CF blog…

Shit happens….but every cloud has a silver lining! Last week I was looking forward to meeting a couple of prospective new clients, both coming into the gym to talk about various barriers they face in relation to training.

Having already taken the time to discuss and carry out some research into some subjects that until now I hadn’t had experience of you can imagine how disappointed I was for neither to turn up. (this is the shit bit)

Both had valid reasons as to why they didn’t make it and apologised profusely, but this raised a couple of questions for me…..

  • Do people realise the work that goes into being a coach behind the scenes, the things you guys don’t see, session planning, research, training, commitments outside of the gym .
  • Who is it they are they really letting down?

You may have thought about starting to get fitter, lose weight or maybe you’re returning to the gym after taking a break from training or a busy period at work. You nearly came to class last month but then you finished work late, or you saw the advert but didn’t quite get round to making that call.  The Silver lining bit is that I learnt more, I’ve up skilled myself and its also made me reflect on some stuff that is pretty dam important too!

You see even as coaches in the industry we miss some training, we get that ‘sometimes life gets in the way!’

It’s easy to keep putting it off as there is always something else needs attending to, but then you kick yourself for missing it, promise you will get on to it next week – what difference will one more week make?

As a coach I realise what’s important to my clients and prospective clients and at Custom Fitness UK we pride ourselves on a personal, individual approach and value each and every person that crosses our path.

This is mirrored in the work that is done behind the scenes not only day to day; planning classes and training sessions but also answering messages and emails from members and enquiries, reading and researching, or like this weekend-attending training seminars to ensure we do our job to the best of our ability.
planningclass planning

So you see we think your important enough to take the time to get it right and provide a great environment to train do you think you’re important enough to start??

If you’re not sure where to start, need some guidance in the right direction or just need encouragement to get back to training contact us HERE or message us on our Facebook Page.


Is your exercise regime making you fatter?

Is your exercise regime making you fatter?

It seems logical at this time of year that people are more critical of their body shape than any other. With “summer” and holidays kicking in, people want to look good in less clothes.

Yet there can be a lot of frustration that, having decided you want your body to look different, and despite a huge amount of effort, your body is just not towing the line.

Maybe you’ve been working out hard for a good few months but are frustrated with the lack of visible change in your physique.

Is your exercise/activity regime actually making you fatter?

Well no, not exactly.

We know that exercise is critical for long term weight maintenance (Pavlou 1989) – so those that exercise whilst focussing on nutritional intake tend to keep weight off, compared to those who just diet.

Exercise supports your health in a number of ways including reducing visceral fat, increasing energy usage in the hours after exercise (to a certain extent) & preserving muscle mass.

There are also the benefits that you just can’t see – fellow coach David Poole has put out some awesome posts on this recently on Custom Fitness UK’s Facebook page, spelling out the psychological benefits of regular exercise on the CF Facebook page.

So why aren’t you getting visible results?

I’ll look at 4 areas with you:

  1. Your training intensity
  2. Unrealistic expectations
  3. The majority of your day
  4. Overcompensation
  1. Training intensity

Put simply this is the amount of effort that you put into your chosen activity. Just turning up to do an activity does not tick this box!

Let’s look at an example:

“the same person doing a moderate weight lifting circuit will burn 78 calories in 20 minutes of moderate effort, or 138 calories in 20 minutes of vigorous weight lifting[1]”.

If we multiply this up to an hour’s worth of activity, your energy expenditure can vary by 180kcal (or more!) by virtue of the effort you put in[2].

This relates to the second in a series of 3 videos I’ve posted on my Facebook page recently about what you need to achieve results. In this video I talk about the need to “Do the work”.

Be realistic about a sustainable level for you to exercise at and realise that what is a challenge for you may not be for someone else, and vice versa.

  1. Unrealistic expectations

Accepting what it is realistic for you to do in the short and medium term has a direct bearing on your long-term results.

If the results you “want to achieve” require you to work out 6 times a week and really nail your nutrition BUT you can only manage 2-3 times a week and stop for a take-away on the way home and enjoy several glasses of vino along the way….it’s just not going to happen!

That series of videos I mentioned on my page above…the first one was on the need for patience. Think about where you are now – how long has it taken to develop and evolve? Transformations do not happen overnight….at least not long-lasting, non-photoshopped, still healthy and feeling great transformations.

  1. The majority of your day

This is a subject I’ve written about previously but just as a quick review – if you work out an hour a day, 6 days a week this accounts for only 5% of your waking week. How much you move during that 95% of the week is hugely relevant!

We refer to the energy use in non-exercise activity as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). It’s interesting to note that NEAT can be 352kcal/day less in obese than lean people[3].

Walking contributes to the majority of daily NEAT – every day walking – stairs, walks moving around the house, garden etc. Even fidgeting can affect your energy expenditure (usage) through the day!

NEAT Energy expenditure

Activity Energy expenditure [kcal/hr avg]
Resting 77
Sitting motionless 80
Sitting fidgeting 118
Standing motionless 88
Standing while fidgeting 148
Walking @ 1mph 197
Walking @ 2mph 235
Walking @ 3mph 304

So doing your chosen exercise does not give you a ticket to ride for the rest of the day. Similarly though, if you train so hard that you don’t wish to move for the rest of the day, you have to question whether you are optimising your activity levels overall.

Pedometers and accelerometers (e.g. Fitbit & other similar devices) help increase physical activity in a large number of studies. Accelerometers also increase physical activity and can be a way to ensure you’re not compensating for planned exercising by reducing NEAT.

That’s right – if you reduce your movement through the rest of your day because your body is compensating for the energy you’ve used in training, it will affect your body composition and results.

Making sure you move a little in every hour is a great way to avoid this pitfall. Set an alarm (use your phone or computer), get up, move around, go up and down the stairs – put the radio on and have a bit of a dance around!

Here’s an illustration of how doing that can help:

Time period Walking time per hour and effect on energy expenditure
1 min/hour 2 min/hour 5 min/hour
1 hour 3 kcal 7.4 kcal 16.5 kcal
8 hours 24 kcal 59.2 kcal 132 kcal
1 week 120 kcal 296 kcal 660 kcal
1 month 480 kcal 1,184 kcal 2,640 kcal

It’s accumulated activity over 24 hours that counts, not just time in the gym.

  1. Overcompensation

I mentioned above that doing physical activity does not give you a ticket to ride for the rest of the day. Similarly, your activity does not necessarily ‘entitle’ you to eat more, earn you a cake/chocolate/gingerbread-cinnamon-carrot-cake-latte with extra cream etc…

If the amount you are eating over the whole day & week does not fit with your overall goals, you will not see results.

Points (1) and (3) are once again relevant here because if you are (a) not working out as intensely as you think you are and/or (b) are not moving enough for the rest of the day, then you may well be compromising your results, especially if you subconsciously eat to compensate for the activity you have done.

This can be a real surprise!

How much you need to eat obviously depends on what your goals are but also on what your total energy usage is over the whole day (see points above). Plus, your journey so far can have a huge bearing on the base amount of calories your body actually needs.

What can you do?

This may all make sense but you may still be thinking “what does that mean for me?” or “what should I do about it?” – why not get in touch for a chat and we can listen to where you are, where you’d like to get to and discuss exactly how we can support you.

Lisa is a Female Health Coach offering health, fitness & wellbeing coaching at Custom Fitness, LN3 4PH.  Further information on her services can be found at and


[2] Please bear in mind that any numbers like these depend on various factors including your weight and activity and so should only ever be treated as estimates.

[3] Weightology by James Krieger