Latest ‘Exercise of the Month’ – October 2012

I have just released my latest ‘Exercise of the Month’. This month we look at the muscles of the stomach and upper leg. This lower abdominal and hip flexor exercise is a great exercise for gaining a flat stomach and a strong core.

In this video I show a progression from a beginner to a more advanced exercise. The most important point to make about this video is about the posture through the spine. Whilst lowering the legs, the stomach must remain tight holding the back on the floor. Only do these exercise if you can keep your back on the floor and not arching the spine. When the exercise becomes too easy, progress to the next but only if you can maintain the same posture through the spine when progressing.

So here is the video for this months lower abdominal & hip flexor progression…..

I hope you enjoyed this months exercise and don’t forget to leave your feedback on my contact form.

COMING SOON!

Recently I’ve been looking for a few courses for CPD(Continuing Professional Development) and also some qualification that will enable me to put on an extra class or two.

I’ve been using the TRX Suspension Trainer for a long time so it seemed the perfect place to start. TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise. It’s such a fantastic piece of equipment that I recommend highly and take with me whenever I’m away from my studio and want a workout. It’s portable, light, versatile and creates an amazing full body workout. So, last week I took it one step further and gained my Level 2 Certificate in Suspension Training. This enables me to put on a class and show everyone else just how good a workout that can be achieved with the TRX.

So I’m thrilled to say that I will be starting a TRX class in the very near future. The wheels are now set in motion and the equipment has been ordered, so keep your eyes peeled for class dates really soon! If you are interested in a TRX class, please feel free to get in contact and ask any questions or ask for your name to be added to my mailing list, that way you will get up to date information on classes, offers and much more. If you’ve not heard of the TRX or you don’t know much about it, don’t worry, I’ve made the video below especially for you. This will give you an introduction into the TRX, how to use it and some of the many exercises that will be covered during a class with me. Enjoy the video…..

Now you’ve seen a taster of the TRX, if you are interested in attending a class as part of your training, contact me by filling in the form on my contact page or call me on 07949 235586.

It’s time to take your fitness to the next level.

Latest ‘Exercise of the Month’ – July

It’s that time again where I give you a short video clip of my favourite exercise for the month that you can do at home by following my pointers. This month requires a little imagination and although I use equipment, there are plenty of railings or climbing frames at local parks that will be sufficient to carry out this exercise, so here it is…..

Exercise of the Month – Body Row Progression – July

This months ‘Exercise of the Month’ is an upper back exercise. It’s the perfect exercise for completely changing a kyphotic posture typical of your average office worker that is hunched over a desk all day long. By strengthening and tightening the upper back muscles(Rhomboids and Trapezius), it pulls the shoulder blades together stopping the rounded posture of the shoulders and the hunched back. Here I show a progression from a basic body row to a more advanced body row by using a stability ball for added balance and to engage the core muscles. If this exercise is too difficult, you can always walk your feet closer to the body and stand more upright if there is a bar high enough to do so. This will decrease the weight you will lift during the exercise and as you progress in strength, you can always walk your feet further away again. Follow the quick tips and give it a go.

You don’t necessarily need a squat rack like I use in this video, I have also performed the same exercise at a local park using a dip station, a waist height  horizontal pole round the edge of a car park and even a climbing net in a children’s play area. If you use your imagination, the great outdoors can be your equipment!

Don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

So, you now have another month before the next video is published, which should be plenty of time to practice and progress through the three stages of this exercise, that’s if you have some extra equipment of course! Remember, I like to hear your stories and how you find the exercise when you try it out, so please feel free to comment and leave your feedback.

Thanks for viewing my video and I’ll see you again next month.

Starting at the beginning

Recently I’ve found myself thinking a lot about people starting exercise for the very first time and trying to remember how I first started exercising. During my long training runs in preparation for the London marathon, I have had a lot of time to reflect on my life, my training, what drives me and the goals I’ve set and achieved over the years, and it has got me thinking about what it would be like for someone who isn’t naturally into keeping fit, or those where exercise isn’t second nature to them. For someone like me it’s very hard to imagine not having regular exercise in my life, so from time to time it’s good to take a step back and think about it from a beginners point of view to appreciate the difficulties they have to overcome. To do this I started by asking myself a few questions…….

 Q1. How would I feel about going to the gym for the first time if I didn’t know where to start?

 Q2. What would my fears be about exercising if I was overweight/out of shape?

 Q3. What advice would I like to be given if I was starting to exercise for the first time?

Answering these questions as if I was a beginner gave me a good idea about how a beginner might feel and it gave me an idea about how I can help others that don’t know where to start or what to do.

Here’s my conclusions: With anything in life, the unknown can be daunting and exercising for the first time is no different. We all get paranoid that people will watch and stare if we don’t know what we’re doing and they might make comments. The truth is, everyone has to start somewhere and making the first step is the hardest. Once that’s done, it gets easier each time you are willing to put the effort in. People don’t like to fail so if we look at something in a negative way and believe we can’t do it, many people won’t attempt it and therefore they can’t fail.

I think Michael Jordan’s quote sums this up quite well…..

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

– Michael Jordan

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

– Colin Powell

In life, the best athletes don’t become the best because they never fail, they become the best because they have failed at times, they learnt from their mistakes and improved on them until they became the best. Failure isn’t losing; failure is not trying in the first place!

So I believe a beginner would like a few tips that could help with the basics and give them a base level or something to build on. With that in mind I’ve come up with a few ‘do’s and don’ts’  that could help someone take the first step to a healthier life.


Do……commit to a schedule whole heartedly as results don’t happen over night. It takes time to get in shape so stick with a routine and let your body respond to it. Nothing in life is free we have to work hard for it, so don’t expect it to come to you, work hard to go and grab it.

Don’t…..make excuses and miss workouts unless it really can’t be helped. Missing workouts lead to a slippery slope of not doing them at all and lets face it, what is more important than your health? NOTHING!

Do…..take things slow. The Sistine Chapel wasn’t built in a day and neither is your fitness levels. If you’re starting from the beginning, you have to WORK your way to the end before you reach your goal. See it as the rungs of a ladder, take one step at a time! This leads us nicely into the next don’t…..

Don’t…..push it too hard too soon. Imagine your muscles as elastic bands; if an elastic band sits in a cupboard for too long without being stretched it loses its flexibility and strength, and if stretched too much straight away, it will snap. Your muscles and body are the same. They need time to adjust and get the flexibility and strength to progress step by step and pushing it too hard too soon will only lead to injuries.

Do…..set yourself goals but make them realistic. Giving yourself something to aim for is great for motivation but if it’s well out of reach and unrealistic, it can also become demoralising if you don’ t reach it. SMART(Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time) goals are always a good start.

Don’t……set yourself one big goal. It’s always good to set short term and long term goals so that there is always something to aim for that isn’t in the distant future. Never reaching a goal can again be demoralising so small goals will keep you heading in the right direction(going back to the rungs of the ladder again!).

Do……ask for help or advice if you don’t know what you’re doing. There is no harm in asking someone who knows what they’re doing for some advice. There are a lot of people out there that are willing to help, so don’t think you are on your own.

Finally…..

Don’t…..give up! We all have good and bad days but we need to experience the bad to really enjoy the good. Exercise is a learning curve and over time it can really improve your health and life as a whole. There are many benefits to keeping fit and healthy, so remember next time you feel like giving up just how much good you are doing for your body. The fact that regular exercise can help you live a longer, healthier life should be enough to keep you wanting to make a habit of it.

So there are my tips for any beginner that is thinking about exercising for the first time. I hope they help you reach your goals and inspire you to start making your body healthier sooner rather than later.

Good luck!

Fail to Prepare; Prepare to Fail!

After using the phrase ‘Fail to prepare; prepare to fail!’ this week, I thought it would be a great place to start when writing my blog. As I’m in the process of training for the London Marathon in 2012 I find myself back in the same mindset as I was as a footballer, not leaving anything to chance and making sure every training run is prepared for properly. It made me think about how others prepare themselves for their sports or just for training in general. I’ve come up with a few questions and tips that might help you train and perform to your best…..

  • Are you eating the right foods before training or the main performance? 

TIP – What you put into your body prior to training/performing will provide you with the energy you need to perform at your best. If you don’t eat right, don’t expect to perform to your best! High carbohydrate foods before hand should leave you with the energy to perform at a good level without feeling tired/drained. I tend to eat foods like, chicken, pasta, rice, bananas, toast and cereal. The size and type of food depends on the time of day I eat it and how long I have before the performance. Ideally, a big meal should be eaten 3 hours prior to the performance or smaller, lighter foods such as toast for anything closer to the performance. Remember to leave enough time for your food to go down and start the digestion process or it will sit on your stomach and make it uncomfortable to run or move when performing.

  • Are you drinking enough of the right fluids before and during training or the main performance?

TIP – Very similar to the tip above, the fluids that you put into your body prior to and during training/performing, will prevent you from becoming dehyrated and will replace lost salts from sweating. Drinking plenty of water before training/performing will help the body be at its best. If you feel dehydrated the damage is already done! It only takes 2-3% of water loss in the body before endurance starts to suffer and your performance also suffers. A little bit more(5%) and it effects the mind making it hard to concentrate and the body continues to suffer with pace slowing down. Keeping hydrated is vital! Isotonic drinks are a good tool during training/performing as they replace lost salts and also have a high concentration of carbs to keep the energy levels up. If possible, try to take plenty of fluids with you during your training/performance and keep drinking small amounts at regular intervals. It’s easier for sports like cycling for obvious reasons that you can connect a drink to your bike, but I’ve been known to hide drink bottles in a quiet place on a route I plan on taking a long distance run, so that I have a drink at certain stages of that run. Don’t neglect drinking fluids and make sure they are the right fluids, not fizzy drinks, tea, coffee etc as they are diuretics and will only dehydrate you more!

  • Do you have the right equipment and clothing?

TIP – This is a very important tip! Having the wrong equipment or clothing could be costly, not just because of comfort but because you can risk injury. Until you know a sport, it’s very difficult to know what you might need, so make sure you speak to the right people and get advice on the essentials from people who perform in that sport or know their stuff. An example: Until running long distances, you might not have ever thought about blisters, chafing, correct trainers for your gait etc, but all of them can make the difference between performing at your best and a very uncomfortable event. Clothing such as 1000 mile blister free socks, lined shorts, vaseline or other lubricants to prevent chafing and correct trainers(sometimes fitted with orthotics if necessary!) are a must. Sometimes it’s trial and error but there are specific sports shops that can advise you if you need help. How about riding up a steep hill on your bike and the gears keep slipping? Again something that can cause an injury if you’re on a road amongst traffic and can really make your ride much more difficult. Maybe it’s about the right foot wear in a football match. Do you have moulded boots for hard grounds and studded boots for soft weather grounds? It’s not just the equipment/clothing it’s also the colour! I have recently been on a training run in the clothing you can see in the picture to the right which looks fine until you know I went out later in the day and misjudged the time. I ended up running in the dark in black clothing without any reflectors on. I rarely make mistakes like this and there were no problems on the run, BUT there could have been and next time I might not be so fortunate. I have learnt from my mistake and it’s a good mistake to highlight as an example of the title of this blog.

So in conclusion, don’t leave things to chance! There are many more tips I could give you about performing to your best but the blog would go on all day, so I’ll save it for another day. The higher the level you perform at, the smaller the margins are. Not drinking enough, eating the wrong foods at the wrong time, wearing the wrong clothing and using the wrong equipment and generally not preparing for your performance could be the difference between being a winner or a loser! What would you rather be?