I got tagged to see this short video, so I’m afraid its not mine.  It does however offer a great bit of motivation for a time of the year when motivation can dwindle.  Watch it and be ready to open a can of ‘whop ass’ next time you train!!!! 😀




Personal Training is not (just) about exercise!

get fitterIt’s this time of year more than any other perhaps that people consider working with a Personal Trainer. Their reasons for doing so can vary hugely and what they expect is interesting.

For me Personal Training is just that: training that is personal. The personal aspect is key – I need to understand the person, what their real goals actually are and why they are important (what they say is often different from what they mean), what they’ve tried before, what they enjoy and dislike, what has worked before and what has not.

I need to gain a view of what their life entails in terms of work, family commitments, social life and lifestyle habits….even their sleep patterns are relevant. I need to gain their trust so they can be honest with me about what they eat, when they eat it and how much and often.

Their posture and movement needs to be assessed to enable me to programme effective exercises that will improve their mobility, strength and flexibility where relevant.

The training provided then includes sessions of exercises, throughout which a client is being assessed so I can judge when to push them further, when to tailor or change a movement to improve joint stability, movement efficiency or muscular imbalance.

Although each session is specifically planned, I judge someone’s mood and movement from the moment they walk into the gym or workspace and tailor it accordingly – my clients will tell you that there have been times when we’d discussed a strength session but they walked in having had a stressful week, feeling a bit under the weather, are sleep deprived, “hormonal” or any other reason that tells me from their demeanor that such a session would be counter-productive so we work on mobility, breathing, flexibility – whatever will restore them to a place where we can regain that focus.

Training covers other aspects too – nutrition, life balance, stress management. All of these factors, and more, impact directly on your body composition and frame of mind. Clients have “homework” whether this is a programme to follow, nutritionally orientated, time planning or goal defining. I know when they haven’t done their homework and this tells me something again about how I can improve the way I work with them and, importantly, their level of commitment.

Hopefully the above illustrates the fullness of the role of a Personal Trainer. In return, for you to get maximum value for your money, you need to commit to the process. You need to inform your trainer in advance if you sustain an injury or illness. You need to be honest about the time you will make available to do what is asked of you.

Whilst a trainer can support you throughout your journey together, they cannot do it for you. They cannot be with you, even with today’s technology, 24 hours a day.

You need to take responsibility for yourself, your actions and inactions.

If you have doubts or fears, questions or queries you have to voice them – psychic powers are unfortunately not amongst a Personal Trainer’s skill set!

You also need to be consistent, consistent, consistent. Some seem to assume that Personal Trainers have a magic wand and because they’ve paid for their services, their results are guaranteed. Not so! We can advise, guide and instruct. Even if you have 3 personal training sessions every week, this equates to less than 2% of your total week, so what you do with the other 165 hours totally counts!

So if you are thinking of working with a Personal Trainer be prepared to be open and honest, to be questioned and challenged and to have to work yourself in the time you are not with your trainer. If you are already working with a Personal Trainer, review the part you have played in that relationship and make sure you get the greatest value for your money.

The reward? You feel healthier, happier and make continual gradual improvements that are sustained and perpetually improved on.


CROSS FIT…..Whats all the hype about?

Over the past couple of months crossfit has hit Lincoln.

If nothing else crossfit has most definitely created a reaction, there are the hardcore lovers of it who will defend it passionately to the death and those completely opposite.

It comes across a bit like marmite; you either love it or hate it.  For every post/video/blog in support there is the same destroying it.

In this blog I will try to look at it from an objective standpoint and analyse it accordingly.


Community – in any successful ‘box’ the sense of community that is developed is amazing.  People are encouraging, positive, motivated and interact with each other.  Many of these do not happen in commercial gyms where once people have signed their contract, they are pretty much left to it.

Support/encouragement – this ties in with the point above, often participants will support, encourage and positively interact with each other.

Quality of coaches – when the coach is high quality, then the sessions are run in a safe and effective manner.

Challenges people – by the design of crossfit, people are always challenged to push hard and set PB’s throughout the various workouts.  The crossfit games are building momentum and offer a means of competition.

Hard work – crossfit will defiantly make people work hard.  Then nature of the classes, the exercises used and the class formats will always push people hard and take the out of their ‘comfort zone’,

Coaches – In one ‘box’ I visited, the quality of coaching was excellent.  In support of this, the team had specialist in to help with specific aspects of the technical lifts.


Appropriateness – Some elements are too technical for the ‘average’ public.  Getting people to do Olympic lift, especially the snatch for a high volume of reps is horrendous when they have numerous postural issues, and is a recipe for injuries.  I have witnessed this first hand.  Ultimately, like many exercise classes it’s a form of circuit training, that’s it.

Quality of coaches – this is highlighted in both sections as there are many bad crossfit coaches mixed up with the good ones.  Unfortunately a two-day course doesn’t make you qualified to coach any of the technical lifts or address the underpinning knowledge that is required to plan safe and effective workouts.

Unjust claims – “Fittest man on earth” this statement is given to the winners of the crossfit games.  Whilst the individuals are extremely fit (as are to top athletes in any sport) to claim that they are the fittest on earth is highly incorrect.  They are in fact the winners of that specific crossfit competition, not the fittest people on earth.  Also, there are numerous facets to what ‘fitness’ is; are they the best? The answer IS no!

Technique – this also relates to the quality of the coach’s but crossfit is ruining the technique of excellent exercises. Pull ups, (from a dead hang with no swinging of the legs/body) is a fantastic exercise. Other exercises that are commonly done poorly are the Olympic lifts.  With the emphasis to do ‘reps’ of these and then ‘against the clock’ completely shows poor understanding of what the Olympic lifts are all about.

Crossfit seems to be a double edge sword.  One one hand it seems to be very much as jack of all trade and master of none, but the looking to be the best at that.

Overall there are many points of debate that crossfit will raise and this article has only touched on a few.  Ultimately it will be a love or hate relationship that you have with crossfit.  From my perspective as an owner of a health and performance gym I do like some aspects of crossfit, and I have integrated many of these into my facility even before crossfit hit Lincoln.  By ensuring great coaching, a positive and buzzing atmosphere and being able to interact with numerous amazing people we are able to be more inclusive in our classes, are able to work with a much wider spectrum of clients, and are able to offer a far more individualized/bespoke product to individuals and groups.


Follow up….

So, following on from my last piece about why diets suck, I will look at things that YOU can do to start improving your health.

The first thing is to decide why you want to ‘lose weight’, ‘get healthier’ etc. and who is it for. Is it for you or someone else? Ideally it should be for you, as when this is the case more often than not you will be prepared to do more to get what you are after. Don’t get me wrong, having other motivations and training buddies is great, but ultimately you have to want it for YOU. Its not someone else’s fault that you cant do something, if you want it enough, you will find a way. If you are able, be as precise as you can to exactly why you want it. This can sometimes be a bit tricky so again, make sure the reasons are personal and relate to YOU.

After deciding the why, the next step is you what you want to achieve, setting yourself a specific goal can do this. Ideally put a time scale to it and relate the goal to what you want to achieve. Don’t think, ‘I need to lose 2 stone’ unless weight loss is your goal. If you’re actually more focused on losing body fat/looking better naked you’re your body weight is not a great feedback mechanism.
‘I want to weigh the same as Jessica Ennis-Hill’ (or any person with the desired physique) Said NO-ONE EVER! Actually the goal there would be to have a similar physique, i.e. amazing definition, lean and toned.

The third step then would be to get/find yourself a means of tracking your performance; be it pictures, some clothing you want to get into, a body composition test, a mood diary, and then hold yourself accountable. How strict this accountability is and the time scale for the target, and the speed of progress is something you need to judge in relation to all the other things that you have going on in your life; family, work, children, financial. If you are in a position to get external help defiantly go for it! For example, having an accurate body composition to measure body fat levels will be far superior to weighing yourself on your bathroom scales.

When setting your end target and time scale, do look at breaking it down into smaller pieces, mini-goals if you like. This will then reduce the risk of straying off target and stop you getting overwhelmed with the larger goal. Just focus on a week at a time or a few days, whatever works for YOU, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t expect long-term massive changes to occur in a few weeks. Often the longer-term approach with realistic targets allows for better, more achievable, and ultimately healthier results.

So to recap;
1. Why do you wan to achieve your desired ‘goal’?
2. Make the goal specific to YOU!
3. Time scale for the goal.
4. Get accurate and appropriate means of feedback, to track progress and hold yourself accountable.
5. Set smaller mini-goals along the way.


Why Diets Suck…..

Why diets suck….

Before Christmas I was invited to join the breakfast show on BBC radio Lincolnshire to talk about intermittent fasting and in particular the 5:2 diet.  My opinion of the 5:2 ‘diet’ is that it sucks, why? It’s a diet!!!

The psychology of a diet means that you are making a temporary change when you are ‘on’ a diet, and that eventually you will come off the ‘diet’ and go back to eating habits of before.  This leads to the adage of yoyo dieting where you lose weight, go back to your old eating habits and then actually become heavier/fatter than when you started.

You then have a new goal of your initial starting weight/size.  This then can become a vicious circle with no clear end.  There are a number of factors here that need to be addressed her but the biggest is to find fact in amongst all the myth that is published in the media.

So many time I hear, ‘I have read this…. it must be true’ when in reality it not, or its been taken out of context.  As soon as the person/company stops caring about the information they present and focuses on their bottom line half-truths and misquotes start to appear.

To take a step back, the biggest reason people go on a diet is to lose weight, although it’s not the only reason.  Is this good? No, but it all depends on the individual.  Society continually bombards us with the weigh loss aspect, but when I sit down with individuals and discuss with them the specifics of what they want, it very rarely is weight loss they are after.

In reality the biggest training goals are to lose body fat/improve health.  They go hand in hand and to achieve one without the other is doomed to fail long term.

A point to consider is when you look at a picture of an athlete, model, or celebrity do you actually think ‘I want to weigh the same as them’ or ‘I want to have a body that LOOKS like theirs…’ more often it’s the second statement.

The reality is that to alter your body composition/improve health, or any other training goal requires change.  Not necessarily massive amounts but change none the less.

If you are not prepared to make a change or changes then stop whining about how much you are unhappy with yourself.  Habits need to be set that alter calorie intake, activity levels and lifestyle in a positive manor related to the individual and the specific training goal.

Without address all 3 aspects the chance of success is drastically reduced.