‘Well meaning’ – is it acceptable?

Is ‘well meaning” good enough?

‘It’s ok, they meant well…..’

This is a topic that has raged in my head for a while.

The first time I heard someone really address the question of ‘is “well meaning” good enough?’ directly was in the beginning fo 2018 whilst completing my MNU nutritional certification – Martin was address the topic in a video on social media.

Its gnawed away in my head on & off for a while, and whilst I was watching a bit of Sunday brunch yesterday the topic was brought to the front of my mind once again.

The guy who played Ken Barlow was being interviewed…

They were discussing the release of his new book, and although I can’t quite remember the reason why, he started going on about how bad sugar and carbs are.  How they were the reason that we are getting fatter.

Now whilst his intentions are 100% well meaning, that type of talk is dangerous.

The facts are that it’s not sugar or carbohydrates that are the cause of the nation becoming fatter, increases in obesity and related conditions/diseases. It’s the excess calories that’s the problem, not a set food type/group.  You could also add in how, as a nation, we are becoming less active, as well as the social elements like losing connection with food and where it comes from and how to cook etc. 

On the MNU course, Martin has a phrase for these type of people….the ones who mean well, but don’t really have a clue. I’m not going to repeat the comment that was used word for word – I can’t remember it specifically, but this ‘well meaning’ scenario  seems to be popping up more and more.

People with no education making bold statements about a topic and being incorrect.  This is the same principle as people saying/advertising that they are X specialist coach, run a program…and they aren’t.  Using technical and fancy words to make themselves sound amazing.  Recently I’ve worked with a number of people who have been to such set ups – buying into a product – with the same end result – injury.  Our sessions have all started with addressing all the issues/injuries (with the support of Hannah@Restore) that have picked up, with the end results NOT being what was written on the tin.

It frustrates me massively …..

Massively massively….

Before putting pen to paper I even discussed this topic with some of my colleges as I was questioning my motives…was I simply being a dick about it all? It was only when I hear someone else discuss it, and present that standpoint that I realised that I wasn’t being a dick.

I can accept that I’ve been in this industry a long time, have gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience, and that I have high standards…plus I defiantly know I went through that stage as a PT when ‘I was right’ and ‘everyone else was wrong’. My position now far clearer – using the principles of training, nutrition and lifestyle management to help people become a better version of themselves. If the end result wasn’t scaremongering, adding to people’s already poor relationship with food, people being injured and being ripped off then it wouldn’t annoy me as much, but unfortunately these things happen and that is something I detest immensley.

I’m pretty good at NOT making statements about topics I know nothing about….I refer to specialists, or go find them. I will go as far as ‘it’s fucked!’ when something isn’t working/broke, but then I leave it to someone in the know to expand on the specifics.

When giving out advice, I am always clear on the words I choose, and more often than not seek peoples clarity before our conversation is over.  Likewise, when coaching, I use my knowledge and experience to react to what’s actually happening in front of me at that specific time.  I also  (as much as possible) look to get the individual involved in some of the thought processes, helping them make their own conclusions based on the facts presented.

So whilst people may accept that ‘it’s ok, they meant well!’, when it comes to people’s health and wellbeing I don’t accept that as a reason.  We have to hold ourselves AND others accountable and take ownership of the services we deliver.  As coaches we have to develop a strong underpinning subject knowledge base and apply principles to our coaching.  This process NEVER stops. Whilst I cant hold everyone else accountable, I can hold myself accountable to standards, and the immediate coaches around me.  We ask each other for help, refer to each other, and discuss clients to get the best possible outcome.

At Custom Fitness,all the coaches/therapist talk to each other.  Like I outlined above.  Its one of the many things that I feel makes us completely unique – and its something that I’m personally proud of.  If you know me – then you’ll realise what a big statement that is!

If you have any questions comments please stick them in the comments section below, OR ping me .


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.




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.



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.


Consistency – The ingredient you really need that could still be ruining your success

We’re into February and for many those New Years Resolutions to “get back on track”, “lose weight” and “get fit” are dim and distant memories already.

We’ve had Blue Monday and even “National Sickie Day”[1], washing away our good intentions as the dark mornings seem to persist, the credit card bills from Christmas extravagances require payment and “dry January” comes to an end.

Real life hits home and it gets harder to remain consistent with your plans.

Ironically though, this is one of the main ingredients you need to succeed at implementing any form of change.


This is why, when implementing changes, it’s important to ensure they are something you believe in enough to stick to them. Not just for a day, a week or even a month….but consistently for the long-term.

“We are what we repeatedly do” is part of a famous quote by Aristotle. This applies through all areas of life, including your health, fitness and wellbeing.
















Change is a journey. It takes time. Making each change a success requires you to repeatedly implement that change, until it becomes a habit.

However, this is where consistency can literally bite you in the bum!

Say you’re on it. Your nutrition is “on point”, you’re “nailing the workouts”. You may even be making great improvements in your hydration, sleep quality and stress levels. Great! That’s fantastic.

Then you regularly binge drink on a weekend. Or frequently add in “cheat meals”. You might increasingly skip your activity sessions.

And surely that handful of nuts/Haribo/chocolates/sweets or biscuit with your brew won’t really make that much difference will they?

As a one-off, no they probably won’t. If however, you’re doing this every day….or even every time you make a brew – it does make a difference. Maybe you consistently nibble at the ingredients when making a meal without realising that you’re doing it.

Perhaps you consistently underestimate the amount you are eating and/or drinking at meals, or in between meals. Another latte to go?

You become consistent at deviating from implementing your chosen change(s).

“But I was good all week!”

That’s as may be. However, if, through “being good” you accumulate a 1,000kcal deficit during the working week but then have a 1,500kcal blow out every Friday night…you’ve blown your positive consistency out of the water.

Einstein hit the nail on the head when he said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.


The answer to your weightloss and health issues is not to keep hopping onto another diet, buying another detox product or choosing a meal replacement approach.

The answer does include being honest with yourself about where you are now and how you got there. Being realistic about one change you can implement right now….you don’t have to wait til Monday!

Then implement it consistently.















Consistency is better than rare moments of greatness. What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.

All clichés that come with pretty pictures on the internet….but they’re true.

Just as I talked about looking at your overall week above, it’s important to give yourself room to enjoy life.

Consistency is important but you don’t have to be perfect.  Health is about an overall direction – Kriss Carr

Choosing the approach that will support you in the long-term and implementing it can be harder than it sounds. For coaching that focuses on You and the life you lead, contact Lisa at Custom Fitness or via our FaceBook Page.

[1] According to the Stress Management Society


New Year, New You!….Again?

New Year, New You!!!

How many times have you seen or heard that in the last couple of weeks?

All the new diets are out, gym deals and detox products promising the answer to your needs. Everything rebranded, looking glossy with something to suit everyone…..or at least everyone’s wallet.

The question I have is – what’s wrong with the old you???

At this point, people will reel off a list of reasons they need to lose weight and get fit. How often though do you think through the reasons you’ve got that list of reasons?

Here’s the crux of the issue for me.

People pop themselves on a diet and/or start hitting the gym. They might even hire a trainer to push them a bit harder. They work hard and stick rigidly to their regime for a number of weeks, maybe even months.

Results start to happen so you ease back a little. Maybe add in a “cheat day” on the eating…maybe more than a day.

The little things start to creep back in. Biscuits, beer or whatever else your Achilles heel is.

So gradually your “gains” are eaten into and the habits you fought to establish start to wane a little. You started January determined and focussed, but end March with your resolutions being a fading memory.

Life returns to the way it was. Your schedule is hectic. Your “free time” is busy. You naturally default to the way you lived before your resolutions.

Then summer’s on the horizon and you think about your holiday, summer clothes and outings. That aesthetic appearance becomes more important again. The obvious thing to do is to hop back on the diet bus and hit the gym a bit harder again.

Autumn arrives bringing with it darker nights. The wetter, colder weather chills your enthusiasm somewhat. As this morphs into winter and the pre-Christmas parties start, your social calendar and the lure of a warm, comfy sofa dim any intentions to ‘stick to it’.

Then it’s Christmas and the real indulgences start. “It’s only for Christmas and then I’ll get back on it” – right? You then end up in the next January right where you were in the previous one – although you may even weigh that little bit more….

When people use the phrase “New Year, New You”, they’re typically referring to just the way you look. But does this actually change the lifestyle approach behind the diet?

Following a diet plan only ever teaches you to follow a diet plan.

lisa blog

How many years do you plan to allow this yo-yo approach to continue? If you look back over the last 10 years, how many times have you done this?

Is it time to put aside those ideals of losing a miraculous amount of weight in an unrealistic timeframe? Are you ready to start to question the reasons why you fall off that diet bus.

Could you start to look at your whole lifestyle, including your relationship with food, and consider making gradual, progressive changes to those things over time? Would this possibly allow you to ingrain new approaches into your everyday life in a sustainable way, to last for the longer term?

What about changing your focus? Instead of concentrating on the number on the scales, you could:

  • look for ways to achieve more balance in your life – between work, rest & play
  • concentrate on your health – increasing energy levels, quality of sleep, improved immune function
  • identify something you really enjoy doing, activity-wise, and work on improving your skill at it by becoming stronger, fitter, more flexible…whatever your activity requires. This could be increasing opportunities to move without pain or inhibition.

We’d all love a quick fix, or miracle approach to achieve that “New You”. In reality though, the way to find the “New You” lies very much in the “Old You”.

Lisa is a Personal Trainer & Pilates coach, specialising in female health at Custom Fitness. Lisa believes in sustainable life changes to help you increase vitality, improve strength, health and wellbeing. You can contact Lisa HERE

Why not LIKE us on Facebook to see our daily tips to help you keep motivated!



Aches & Pains Part 4 : The Lower Back

In Hannah’s final piece in the Aches & Pains series, she looks at the lower back.

You can read the previous posts by clicking below:


Lower back pain or discomfort can become frustrating. The pain can be anything from an occasional ache, tightness when you get up off the sofa or more severe leaving you in what seems like permanent discomfort.









Sports massage can help relieve lower back pain by relaxing the muscles through the application of pressure. The techniques used help to restore and improve circulation, which can aid in the recovery of muscles by riding them of any waste products.

Sports massage can also release muscle tension, which can be part of the cause of any pain or discomfort you may be feeling. By releasing tension from the muscles it allows them to relax, which not only makes you feel better but also allows full movement. Besides pain and discomfort reduction relieving the tight muscles can make you feel better as massage results in increased levels of “happy hormones” which can lead to an improved state of well being.

So if you are suffering from lower back pain or discomfort or are just feeling a bit stiff. Why not book in with me and get yourself loosened off.



Thoracic mobility

In today’s blog, Lisa addresses Thoracic mobility and some easy to do drills to improve it.

To contact Lisa about this video, drop her a line HERE

To view the previous 3 videos in this series click on the relevant link below.

If you have a go at any of the thoracic mobility drills shown in the video do let us know how you got on 🙂