What do you know about NEAT?

What is NEAT activity?

NEAT activity simple stands for NON-EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS. This is just a fancy way of burning calories that isn’t from planned exercise.

Increasing NEAT is something I am working hard on with my clients and members to understand.  It’s not always the best approach to go all out 7 days a week on exercises sessions.

An example of daily activity would be a step count throughout the day, when you’re at work, gardening, house work or playing around with your family.  The magic 10,000 steps per day is an effective way to measure though.

Putting this into perspective, a TYPICAL CONDITIONING WORKOUT may burn 250 – 350 kcals per workout.

Your step count for the day, 10k steps, may burn approximately 500 kcals every day.

You could argue that the step count is more important than your workouts, but the truth is they’re just as important as each other. Exercise will ensure you keep hold of muscle mass, stay strong and supple.  This is essential when we want to lose body fat AND look lean and toned, perform better and have a healthy metabolism.

When losing body fat, we need to create a calorie deficit. Your NEAT should be seen as something that will assist with this.  It’s a way of compensating for those that are sedentary during the day.  Adequate exercises + NEAT is the easiest way for you to lose body fat and more Importantly keep it off.

Your target should be 10 – 12k steps per day, every day.  How you achieve this is up to you!  Schedule walks, get off bus earlier, take the stairs, walk kids to or from schools are all easy ways to increase your NEAT.

If more activity is important can I just add more sessions in the gym or Boot Camp??

This is a great question.  3-5 sessions per week is the ideal number. When you ADD more exercise, this can increase levels of stress to the body, especially when in it’s in a calorie deficit.  There are also increased risks of injury when you train more too… recovery is vital, and walking will aid this.

The body also responds by INCREASING cravings for food to ‘feed’ the exercise.  You could be so sore from extra sessions you reduce your NEAT altogether, so you’ll burn less on a day to day basis.

Although in your head you’ve increased your sessions to help burn more fat, you’re now actually burning less calories per day and eating more…. The result is your fat levels stay the same or WORSE!

If this statment sounds similar to you then I think you NEED to try this approach rather than thrashing yourself in the gym.

“I have been consistently training 4 maybe 5 sessions per week and been pretty good with my nutrition. I don’t understand why my BF has only dropped a tiny bit. I feel fitter and defo stronger but nothing else is happening. Why, what can I do?”

I believe I have your answer…MOVE more everyday. Not train more. I honestly think this 10k per day approach would have huge impact on many of you that have plateaued.

Take home:

Moderate amount of sessions (3-5) + sufficient NEAT (10k steps) + Good nutrition = Sustainable healthy fat loss

Jane’s transformation story

Meet Jane, one of our awesome clients and members of the Progressive Fitness Community.  Jane has been with us since July 2014 and in that time has turned her life around.  I will let her explain how:


This is Jane recently after her first Half Marathon. “proudest moment of my life”

“My story goes a little like this….

I have never been a sporty type, in fairness while being a reasonably popular girl at school I was instantly put to the bottom of the pile for team sports unless is was for rounders (I have a mean bowling arm) or 100m sprinting as my friends were always guaranteed not to come last if running against me. On leaving school sport really didn’t feature too heavily in my life a brief stint playing hockey for a ladies team and swimming boring lengths at Reading Central swimming pool. In 2013 I became quite ill  which resulted in me having an operation in early 2014. At this time I was pretty down, really overweight, a smoker, drinking a lot and generally trying to put a brave face on it all. As part of my operation recovery I had two weeks off work, after the first week I felt pretty good and considered going back to work but decided instead to pack in the cigarettes, a habit that had been with me since school.


Here is Jane at her most unhappy. She told me this is the worst image of herself and when things HAD to change

So fast forward 6-months to July 2014, I no longer smoked and had put on a bit more weight but actually felt more positive than I had in years. My friend suggested that we should both join Progressive Fitness for the 6-week boot camp. The first fitness test showed me what a mess I had become, I could barely do anything and while everyone was able to complete the fitness test in under 12 minutes I took 18. Each week showed me to be more capable and by the last fitness test I had shaved 4 minutes off of my time.  In the beginning the experienced campers had scared me a little, but they were actually all really encouraging and rather than get frustrated at having to wait for me to finish some would go a little slower to ensure that I wasn’t running alone at the back. Over that first 6-weeks I had lost nearly a stone in weight and felt absolutely great. From that moment on I was hooked, while I can now burpee as good as the next person I have also learnt how to run, completing my first half marathon this year, and managed to take part in Endure 24 covering 30 miles over a 24-hour period. My total weight loss by May 2015 was just under 2 and a half stone and I have pretty much managed to maintain this weight ever since. The best bit, exercise is now a complete part of my life, I make time for it and absolutely miss it when I can’t do a session, even taking running gear on holiday with me. ”


Jane before and after pictures May 14 to Jan 16

When fitness transformation stories come up, what most people assume is that you are going to read about someone who goes from obese to 6 pack in a short time frame.  These are normally the stories and images to hook you into buying a product or service that just doesn’t exist in the real world.  Or if t does the reality is there is just a small minority or people who will ever achieve that image.  These quick fixes normally come at high price though.  Lets look at some of the Biggest Loser contestants as examples.  It was reported most of them put back on over 50% of their weight loss after the show.  Not only is this bad on the body, imagine the mental impacts and what it can do to someones confidence if this happens. The cycle just keeps on repeating.  Quick fixes are not sustainable and the likelihood of relapse and going back to square one are too high.  I do believe that in a long term programme/strategy  you can have “short bursts” of where you are very strict with training and diet, but for most part of the year its has to be something you can live with and sustain.  As long you as you are progressing and happy there’s no need to try and have it all NOW.  Play the long game for long term health and happiness.

Jane is a perfect example of what can be achieved when you keep going, when you make health a priority, when you say enough is enough and I WANT this, I want to be healthy and live a longer happier life!  She has turned it around and most importantly she hasn’t stopped, this isn’t the end, this is now her life. Health and fitness has no end you just keep going and see what you can achieve or change as you go.

YOU can do this too if you WANT to!




Alcohol and Fat loss


Are you looking to get in shape for summer?  You need to read this blog.

Here I am going to explain a little bit about alcohol and its potential to hamper your fat loss and muscle gains.

Perhaps after reading this you may think twice about your daily drink or your weekend binges.  If you read an article I posted last week from Precision nutrition you will remember the point about what you are willing to sacrifice to get where you want to.

Alcohol and Calories

The very first thing that you need to take note of is how many calories are found in alcohol. Alcohol itself contains seven calories per gram, where as both proteins and carbs contain just four.  Fat comes in at the highest calorie value per gram at nine, which places alcohol right in the middle.  However not all calories are created equally.  The calories in protein, good carbs and good fats, all have a purpose in the body and can be used as energy or to rebuild the body, they are essential to our life (well protein and good fats are).

The calories in alcohol are worthless, unless you are going for the spare tyre around your midsection look.  The spare tyre is just what you see externally, internally can be far worse.  Add in drinking your alcohol with high calorie or high fat mixers such as cream, sodas, or sugary mixers you could easily end up with a drink that packs in well over 300-400 calories per serving.  If you take in three or four of these over the course of the night, it’s really going to add up.  Let’s face it most people could easily drink in excess of 1500 calories on a night out.

Alcohol and Burning Fat

The processing of alcohol in the body is a complicated matter – but here is a (really) short course. Alcohol is processed in the liver you probably knew this as you always hear about alcoholics whose livers are failing. Our livers work great when they are new, but we humans like to give them a lot of work to do on occasion. They have many functions in the body, over 500 in fact. The one we will focus on is the liver’s role in neutralising drugs and toxins.  Alcohol is seen as a toxin by the body.  As we age livers don’t quite have the same alcohol processing power.  It just takes longer to get the job done. This is bad news because as we get older we are predisposed to gaining body fat and thus fat loss becomes more of a priority.

What you might not have known is that fat is also processed in the liver.  So the problem comes when the liver is busy processing alcohol it will put the brakes on any and all fat loss (as it sees getting the toxic alcohol out of your system more of a priority than the getting rid of the spare tyre around your middle.)  In short if your body is too busy with alcohol you will NOT burn fat.

Alcohol and Your Recovery

The last thing I want to mention about alcohol consumption is the impact it will have on your recovery rates.  In addition to putting the brakes on all fat burning, the second thing that alcohol is going to put the brakes on is protein synthesis.

This means that no further lean muscle tissue will be built up as long as that alcohol is in the body.  Given most of us have building lean muscle as part of our goals this is once again bad news.

So my message is this: if you are training hard and eating well in order to lose fat and gain muscle, then think twice about the amount of alcohol you consume, and if you really need to have it on every occasion you go out.

8 reasons why you should be sprinting

8 reasons why sprinting should be part of your training plan and how you can implement them into your schedule.
** Sprinting is tough on the the body so make sure you are injury free and warm up properly **
1) Lose fat fast
Recent studies show that sprinting burns fat faster than steady state cardio
2) Build muscle and targets fast twitch fibres
Studies show that sprinting will increase protein synthesis. This coupled with the right nutrition will help you build muscle and help you look leaner and run faster3) Increased endurance and work capacity
Sprints train the body to burn fat for fuel, prolonging work capacity.
4) Improve heart health
A 2008 study showed that the heart showed a decrease in chronic inflammation when exposed to sprint intervals as opposed to aerobic training.
5) Improve insulin sensitivity and energy use.
Sprints will improve your bodies ability to deal with sugar and improve your insulin sensitivity. Bottom line is you will get leaner much quicker.
6) Improved conditioning, circulation and lung function
Sprinting is better for pulmonary lung function than aerobic exercise
7) Improved cognition and helps prevent depression
Sprinting decreases inflammation in the brain, improves hormone balance and increases mobility which makes you feel more energized and keep you young at heart.
8) Time efficient
If you are doing more than 20 mins, you are not making them tough enough. Time efficient yet very effective.So there you have it, 8 reasons to go out and sprint!
Enjoy!! 🙂

I don’t have time to train


“I don’t have time to train!” How many times have you heard this or even said it yourself?  There are many perceived barriers to exercise and the biggest one I hear is “I don’t have the time”.

I totally get that at times it feels like you need an extra hour in the day, you can’t possibly fit it all in, let alone train or exercise.  However believe it or not, we do have a degree of choice here.  It’s about priorities and acknowledging 100% what is important to YOU.  How much are you willing to change, what are you willing to give up and make sacrifices for?  If watching Eastenders (or some other rubbish) seems more important than training, then go back and think of your goals and how important they are to you.  How much do you want to make positive changes, hit a new PB or lose that unwanted body fat?  Can you give up that lie in or just get up 40 mins earlier?  Is it worth it?

You need to balance the things you have to do, with the things you want to do.  Are all the things on your “Have To Do” list really necessary, can that list be tweaked?  Why can’t exercise go on the Have To Do list?  It is definitely something that most of us need so why not put it up there as priority one.  Do you think it’s only people who don’t have much work, don’t have a social and family life who are the fit and healthy people?…Err no, I can definitely vouch for that group!

Once you make the commitment to train/exercise you will be more likely to stick to it.  Once you make it a priority and see how easily you can you can fit it in, you won’t look back.  It will actually be one less stress in your life!

Here are some thoughts on how to make some time in your day:

1: Make sacrifices:  Don’t have a lie in, get up 40 mins earlier, give up 40 mins in front of the TV.  Find something that really isn’t as important and sacrifice it!  Once you do, you won’t regret it.

2: Organisation: Keep a training log and diary.  Schedule in your training the week before just like you would any other appts.  I put mine in my outlook diary and use that as my time, regardless!  Get your kit ready the night before if you are getting up early.

3: Be disciplined:  Once you commit to it, follow it through.  There will be times when something throws it out the window, ill children etc but make it the exception and not the rule to cancel your own training.

4: Be creative with time: If you are struggling to find a time during your day, can you run to work, run back from work?  Whilst your kids are in a kids club can you do a body weight circuit outside?  Again, get up earlier!

5: Seize the moment:  Once you have decided to go running or training, DO IT.  If you let something eat in to your time like a phone call, kids, helping with stuff around the house, your boss just wants 10 more mins, before you know it you have just talked yourself out if because “you don’t have time!”  Decide and go!

6: Don’t feel bad or guilty:  If you ignore something to allow yourself some training time, don’t feel bad.  It’s ok to have some time out for yourself and take care of YOU.  Not only will you benefit from it health wise, those around you will too.  Less stressed and more relaxed = a happier person to be around.

So there you have it, some good tips on how to grab some training time.  I will leave you on the below quote too which echoes nicely what I am trying to say.

“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.” — Laura Vanderkam

From the Wall Street Journal article, “Are You As Busy As You Think?“

What are you waiting for, get your trainers on! 😉

2 Diet Myths Busted!

                      Energy in v energy out

The below articles are not my own words but that of Zoë Harcombe.  I have been discussing both of these issues with clients lately and felt I needed to get this message out.  With this already being articulated so brilliantly I am sharing with you instead:

1) Energy in does not equal energy out

One of the favourite slogans of diet advisors is “energy in equals energy out”. They even add “you can’t change the laws of physics/the laws of the universe.” I don’t know if they know what the laws of the universe say.
The first law says:  “In a closed system, in thermal equilibrium, energy can neither be created nor destroyed.” Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it shall be conserved. The human body, however, is not a closed system and it is not in thermal equilibrium (although it is continually trying to be there). So, we also need to consider the second law.

The second law (entropy) has been called the law of common sense – it says that energy will be lost and energy will be used up in making available energy and we need to take both of these into account. This is the law that proves that a calorie is not a calorie, as even Weight Watchers cottoned on to with their launch of ProPoints in November 2010. The energy used up in making carbohydrate, for example, available to the body as energy vs. the energy used up converting protein to usable energy is substantially different. 100 calories of carbohydrate eaten may make 93 available to the body; 100 calories of protein eaten may make only 70 available (Ref 1). That’s a significant advantage for dieters and helps to explain the effectiveness of low carbohydrate diets.

These ‘laws of the universe’ were developed during the industrial revolution to help understand if we could make a perfectly efficient steam engine. The laws were and are all about energy, not weight. The laws say nothing about weight being conserved – we humans flit between energy and weight interchangeably in the world of dieting and our conversions and assumptions are wrong.

The laws of the universe were never intended to become the fundamental principles of dieting. They do have some relevance to dieting, but only when they are correctly applied and when all the caveats are allowed for. There is simply no law that says energy in equal’s energy out. Even if there were, the corollary would surely be – less energy in equals less energy out, which brings us nicely to the second piece of knowledge…

Ref 1: Jequier, “Pathways to Obesity”, International Journal of Obesity, (2002). (See reference 29 on The Obesity Epidemic)

2) Eating less will NOT make us weigh less!

Similarly, doing more will not make us weight less.

It is an almost universally held belief that people who are overweight just need to eat less and/or do more. The idea that eating less will make you weigh less assumes that the body cannot and does not adjust. It can and it does. To think that if you eat 500 fewer calories the body will give up 500 calories of fat, to make up the difference, is the ultimate naivety in the world of dieting. The body is not a cash machine for fat.

Let us say that our average person has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) requirement for 1,500 calories a day (the number of calories the person would need if they were ill in bed all day – just to run all the activities done by the body). Let us then say that they have a requirement for 500 additional calories if they are up and about (this is a realistic estimate – the BMR is the main determinant of the calorie need for the day by a margin).

The idea that a reduction of 500 calories leads to the body giving up 500 calories of fat assumes that neither the BMR requirement (1,500 calories) nor the additional requirement (500 calories) change. In reality both change. The person who eats less has less energy and they will likely do less additional activity that day – they won’t go to the gym or walk to the post box – they will be too tired. The body will also cut back on its maintenance for the day – it can save cell repair, fighting infection and building bone density for another day – you haven’t eaten enough, so it can cut back.

Think about it – you lose your job – you don’t automatically dip into savings – you cut back on expenditure and the body does exactly the same.

The exact same applies for doing more. If you think that you can eat the 2,000 calories needed for the day and then try to do 500 more calories worth of exercise, with the body making no adjustment elsewhere, you are wrong. The body is highly likely to cut back on the additional calorie expenditure above the BMR. If you go to the gym, you may then sit on the sofa all evening – too tired to do the housework. The body can also reduce the maintenance it had planned to do for that day.

Furthermore, exercise and BMR require quite different calories. Exercise is arguably best fuelled by carbohydrate (it provides glucose quickly for the body to use). BMR activities need fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates can be useful for the vitamins and minerals they provide, but the macro nutrient, the carbohydrate itself, can only be used for energy – not cell repair and fighting infection. Hence – if you eat 1,500 calories of carbohydrate (as the average citizen of the developed world currently does) – it can’t be used for body maintenance – you need to burn if off down the gym or you will gain weight.

Both the eating less and doing more beliefs also make the massive and wrong assumption that the body is able to burn fat. The body will always use carbohydrate for fuel first. Hence, if our average person has any glucose in the blood stream or any glycogen (stored glucose) in the body – this will be used to cover any gap in food eaten or activity done. The body can only burn fat when there is no glucose/glycogen available. Modern man rarely, if ever, allows his body to get to the state where it can burn its own fat – let alone will.

Eating less makes us want to eat more and/or do less. Doing more makes us want to eat more and/or do less. Neither eat less nor do more have worked, can work, or ever will work as a solution for the obesity epidemic.

What to look for in a Fitness Boot Camp

I have come up with my top things that you should look for when searching for a Fitness Boot Camp.  progressive Fitness has been running Boot Camps in Reading and Bracknell for over 7 years.  I want to share with you what I think makes a good one.  Why am I writing this, well lately there are so many “Boot Camps” to choose from that I wanted to share my thoughts on what you should look out for when choosing.  I believe Boot Camps are an awesome way to get fit and can cover everything you need in your fitness regime, if you get the right one!  I belive our 7 years experience in running them successfully gives me a good idea on what is needed.  So have a read as it might help you decide when looking for a Boot Camp in your area.

1. Boot Camps should have a start and end point, in other words be for a set period of time.  To me it has to have a set period otherwise it’s a rolling class with out any direction that you pay for each month.  Which leads me on to point 2?

2.  Boot Camps should have an aim or focus.  This can be done by Fitness testing or working towards a simple goal, such as being able to do full press-ups or pull ups by the end of the set period.  If you think about any Boot Camp, fitness ones, work ones even X-factor ones, they are all training towards something with an end goal in site.  If you don’t have a goal you’re not training, you are just exercising.

3.  Boot Camps should have variety in training otherwise it’s just another circuit’s class.  If you do the same exercise routine over and over and use the same hall, the same space in the park or same equipment at every session then it’s not a Boot Camp.  Boot Camps should take pride that they are different to all other types of fitness classes, in that they can be different and varied at every session.

4.  Boot Camps should give opportunities to clients to see progression.  Progressions can be given in lots ways like basic fitness testing.  Testing a client’s maximum plank, press-ups or even a 1km run can be a great motivator when you see improvements.  This kind of relates to point 2.

5.  Lots of Boot Camps focus their marketing on having fun.  FUN should come from the achievement you get from the challenging sessions.  Yes you should enjoy them, but if you want fun then go to a comedy show J  No doubt there will be a few laughs at each of our sessions but if a Boot Camp has an emphasis on too much fun, gimmicks and games then the real goal of training will be lost.  We have fun at our Boot Camps but most of that comes from the socials and events that we run through out the year for our clients

6. Extra help with nutrition and extra exercise.  This speaks for itself.  A good Boot camp will give you lots of help with nutrition and added exercise.  Without it results will be limited and once again you will just be attending another same old, low results based, weekly workout class.  Find one that gives you extra!

7. Boot Camps should be run by instructors who are qualified, approachable, confident, commanding, knowledgeable and passionate.  You can very quickly work this out with just a quick phone call.  Ask a few questions about what you want to achieve and how their Boot Camp can help you do this.  If you are happy with their answers and they sound professional, then that a good start.

8.  If they have been running for some time then they should have some great testimonials?  If not, why not?

So there you have it, my list of what you should look out for when searching for your perfect Boot Camp.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are booking one, a good trainer/coach is always happy to help!

4 Week Pre Summer Boot Camp in Reading

Get fit and look amazing this summer with our brand new 4 week morning Boot camp. This 4 week Boot Camp is going to give you the tools and ammo you need to get on the right track before the summer is upon us. Don’t leave it too late to look your best this summer, start NOW!

Adding some morning training sessions to your routine is going to drastically help you burn extra unwanted body fat and get your metabolism firing from the start of your day.

Fitness Boot Camps in Reading

Lose weight in Reading, summer Boot Camp

Fitness training and Boot Camps in Reading

At this 4 week Boot Camp you will get 8 early morning sessions which will last around 40 mins each. Sessions will be structured so you get the maximum benefit in as short a time as possible. This means high intensity, whole body workouts using lots of resistance equipment and techniques. Don’t expect to be standing around talking and catching up on lasts night’s soaps! We will go hard then go home (or to work)

Not only will you get 8 awesome sessions, you will also get a ton of nutrition support. At Progressive Fitness we know that without the right nutrition your results will be severely hindered. This is why we have teamed up with world class Nutritionists Matt Lovell and Gavin Allinson. They have given you access to their online nutrition course to educate yourself on all things nutrition. This will be invaluable to your success. Once you have completed the online course you will have the tools and know-how to create your own successful nutrition plan. I will also be on hand to encourage and support you with lots of practical  nutrition tips and ideas.
This 4 week programme will be results guaranteed, especially as you are getting all of this:

  • Home workouts to follow with video instructions
  • Pre-Boot Camp online nutrition course
  • Weekly fat loss tips and recipes with videos to help visualise
  • Full email support
  • Closed Facebook forum support
  • Access to our other group sessions or personal training at a discounted rate
  • A top personal trainer in Reading to help guide you through the whole 4 weeks…Priceless.

Boot Camps in Berkshire

Boot Camp in Reading

Morning fitness Camp

Do you want to sign up to the challenge?  Then consider the below before you do so.

Only sign up if you can do these things:

  • Complete a short online nutrition course
  • Commit to all 8 of my structured sessions
  • Follow some very simple to do homework sessions
  • Be willing to change your nutritional habits for the better
  • Take sound advice from a trainer who knows what he is talking about
  • Be prepared for body change

What can you achieve in 4 weeks? You can achieve a lot in 4 weeks, but everyone is different in terms of their starting point and how your body will adapt to training. 4 weeks is a great amount of time for building foundations and teaching you the right ways. At the start of any fat loss journey you WILL see changes for sure! But you need to prepare that a lot will come after the 4 weeks and beyond. It’s about lifestyle changes for life!

The 4 week Boot Camp will also be perfect to add as addition to your existing training regime or if you are a member at our evening Boot Camps. Although a full home programme will be given to you, some people will respond better if under direction at classes or Boot Camps for the entire time.

So the big questions:

When is it?  Starts on 6th May and will be on Tuesdays and Fridays.
What time? 06:10 until 06:50
Where do you meet? At prospect Park in Reading
How much? £59.00 for the whole course!

Need more information then call me now!

Made your mind up already?   Boot Camps in Reading

What is the best way to exercise for fat loss?

weights v cardio

There are so many ways to exercise and all of them certainly have their own benefits.  But what I am specifically going to talk about is fat loss.  Which way is best, if any, and what you can do to incorporate them into your training for maximum fat loss benefits.  Let’s look at the 3 main ones I use daily with personal training clients and and at my fitness Boot Camps in Reading.

Steady state cardio:  Any activity that you do for a pro longed time, usually over 30 mins.  It’s at a pace you can comfortably hold and would consider to be your aerobic zone. (approx 65% H/R).  There are lots of cardio haters out there, especially trainers that will say don’t waste time running for long periods as it’s not effective for fat loss.  However if you enjoy running and have the time to do so for an hour a day then you can definitely burn a lot of calories.  I like a good run as it makes me feel great afterwards.

Can be low be impact (treadmill, rower, bike)
Easy to plan as you all need is a pair of trainers and hour to fit it in.
It can be done safely on your own.
Burns a lot of calories during exercise
When done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach it could burn more fat.
If done outdoors you get a lot of health benefits like vitamin D from the sun and generally feel good.
Can be boring so you may not stick with it in the long term.
Doesn’t have the “after burn” associated with other types of training.  Once you finish, your metabolism isn’t raised for that long afterwards.
If it’s a lean muscular look you are after then its not going to give you it!
Can be very time consuming.
Easy to over- train for a beginner if you just run.

HIIT or High intensity Interval Training:  I have spoken a lot about this type of training in the past so you can read more about it here.  Basically HIIT is short burst of work, like sprints, followed by short rest periods.
Can be done in under 30 mins so great if you are time short.
It burns a lot of calories way after you work out, which can be up to 48hours afterwards that you have EPOC (exercises post oxygen consumption) or “after burn”.  Burning calories whilst sat on your ass!
It can be varied a lot and use a massive combination of exercises.
Recruits lots of muscle groups at once.

You need to be committed and have lots of self discipline to work out at high intensity on your own.  If you are beginner you may not know how to push to the levels required for maximum benefits.  So it could be better joining a class or hiring a trainer at first.
Technique is the key when working at high intensity as sometimes form is compromised for speed.  So again it could be great to have a partner or trainer with you to watch out for this.

Weight training: Lots of people, especially women tend to think of weight training as muscle building or “bulking up”.  Yes its true if you lift weights correctly and eat enough protein you will increase your muscle mass.  What is wrong with that?  Absolutely nothing, especially if fat loss is your goal.
It is hugely beneficial to include strength training in any fat loss program. That is, lifting heavier weights for a lower number of repetitions. Heavier weights will work your bigger, stronger, faster muscle fibres that require a huge energy demand.   Its hard for anyone, especially women to gain huge amounts of muscle so if it’s a lean and toned look you are after then weights are the key.
Gaining a small amount of muscle requires your body to burn extra calories to retain it. (You are more metabolic with more muscle)
Become stronger and leaner and have great looking physique.
Help to delay onset of osteoporosis (decrease on bone density)
can be done at home but with some good equipment

Easy to get wrong, especially for beginners.  You need a balanced programme to cover all muscle groups and address any imbalances.
Risk of injury increases (reasons as above)
you may not like gyms and don’t have space at home for weights.

So these are the 3 main types of exercise that I use daily for myself and with clients.  Looking at all the pros and cons of each (and there are lots more for each one) what is my summation?

There is no one size fits all solution and there are lots of variables to consider for each individual.  That said with pretty much all of my personal clients a mix of all 3 types of exercise works the best.  I like to do cardio first thing in the morning and use HIITS once or twice per week and add in at least 2 weights sessions per week.  Using all 3 stimulates pretty much all types of muscle through the week, gives adequate recovery and keeps you, the client, interested and not bored.  Remember I am talking fat loss and health and not sport or event specific.

The other key thing to remember is that your fat loss goals and achievements will be seriously impaired if your nutrition isn’t bang on!  This blog is about exercise but don’t forget the importance of good nutrition.  Have at look at my other posts for ideas.

A typical week training plan could look like this; I have also included a conditioning session that you could include as HIITS and weights in one session.  Great for lunchtimes or when you are time short.  This is typical of my own schedule too:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
AM 30 min run Rest Day AM 40 min run
Weights session whole body PM Conditioning circuit (HIIT) PM Conditioning circuit (HIIT) Weights session whole body

Conditioning Circuit:
Aim to complete up to 5 to times once you have built up fitness levels

Squat and press 10 reps
Renegade Rows 6 each side
Burpees 10
Press-ups 12
Walking Lunges 8 each side
Alternate squat thrusts 30 seconds
Curls to lat raise 8 each
Plank 30-60seconds


I hope you have found this useful and please feel free to post any questions in the comments box that you have.

Live to train, train lo live!






Diets Don’t Work!

Diets don't work

Diets don’t work do they?  I am sure you have heard the saying before that “if there was diet that worked we would all be on it and the world be a healthier place.”  We wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic and all the horrible things associated with it like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, osteoarthritis and cancer if there was a “diet” that worked.

Well personally I think there is a “diet” that works and can help to reduce risk of all of the above.  I’m not saying with food alone we can get rid of all these things but I am saying we can definitely lose body fat and stay healthy, thus reducing the risk of disease.  I will get to the “diet” later in the blog as I want to highlight why some people can’t find the right the way to eat.

The problem lies with a few things in society which unfortunately are really hard to avoid.  Marketing of unhealthy foods as healthy are one reason (that’s a blog in itself), and another is from so called “experts” who plague us with latest fad diets.  They make huge amounts of money and get lots of publicity on their latest diet.  As they have PhD’s we are to believe their every word.  My reason for this blog came from a news report last week on BBC breakfast which featured Dr Krista Varady and her “new” 4:3 fasting diet.

The 4:3 fasting diet is supposed to be the one that out does the 5:2 diet but follows similar principles.  The difference is that you alternate your fast days each week. Varady came across this finding while conducting tests on mice to find out whether diet restriction helped produce anti-cancer chemicals. What she found was that the mice had produced the chemicals but continued to lose weight, and on ‘feast’ days still hadn’t consumed enough calories to outweigh the restriction of their fast days.

Unlike other calorie restriction diets, what she also found during the human tests was that people lost fat, not water. “The 12 women and 4 men in the fasting group had shed between 10lb-30lb and, crucially, this was mostly in fat. There was very little loss of lean body mass (lose muscle during dieting and you’ll burn fewer calories after dieting and regain your weight – as fat).”

Sounds great right?  So what’s my problem?  My problem is this, experiments in a controlled environment for a short period of time are always going to yield good results.  The human subjects will be given what to eat on their non-fasting days and that will also be controlled.  They also only have to do it for a short period and we haven’t been told what happened to their weight in weeks afterwards.  On the BBC programme Dr Varaday told us that on non-fasting days we can eat what we like, literally!  Are you kidding me?!  Eat what we like.  This is from a Doctor.  I know from experience if you tell people they can eat what they like for 4 days of the week then they will certainly make use of that Green Light.

These are my other issues with fad diets:

You aren’t actually teaching anyone about healthy food choices and understanding food better

Calorie counting and restrictive diets aren’t sustainable

For 50% of the week you will be getting insufficient nutrients and vitamins in your diet; read that again – 50% of the time!

Short term weight loss almost always goes back on as soon as you go back to eating normally.  Given the points I have just made you can see why; people won’t be any wiser to what is healthy food.  No good habits will have been formed.

This isn’t the only type of diet out there; it’s just one of many that I find misleading.  I can speak from experience as I had lots of people ask me about these diets last year.  So I followed 5:2 for a month.  Ok I didn’t particularly need to lose weight/body fat but it claimed there would no effects on performance or muscle tissue.  I lost 2kgs of muscle mass in one month, I lost weight but I was fatter!  Not the result anyone wants!

So what do I suggest?  If follow my previous blogs or Facebook posts then this will be no surprise really. A diet which is rich in lots of vegetables especially greens, good sources of proteins, healthy fats from nuts, avocado and fish and add some fruits like berries is the best way to get a rounded, balanced and healthy diet.  It’s a sustainable way of life and not just a fad diet.  It can look similar to this:


Option 1-        2-3 eggs poached/boiled or scrambled with spinach and slice of salmon>
Option 2 –      3 egg Mushroom omelette
Option 3 –       Whey protein and frozen berry smoothie
Fish oil should be added to either option and you could also add a portion of your favourite nuts and berries too. Almonds and blueberries work well!

Mid morning snack

A piece of fruit, nuts or a protein shake.  An apple and a few almonds would work well here.


Chicken/turkey/tuna salad or any variation that you prefer.

Mid afternoon snack

Repeat mid morning snack. If you had fruit and nuts have a protein shake, or vice versa


Any lean meat , fish or veggie alternative with lots of veg.  1 portion of good carbs such as sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa or butternut squash.
Table spoon of fish oil

Drink 2-3 litres of water per day to stay well hydrated.

You will be leaner, healthier and happier and you won’t be restricting yourself of things you like.  I like to live by a rule of 80/20 which I have mentioned in the past, 80% clean and 20% will take care of itself.

Have a look this previous blog for more tips “You can’t out train a bad diet”.