TRX’ercise Training is here!

Finally, after lots of planning and finding the right venue, ‘TRX’ercise Training’ is finally here and I have now started two TRX Suspension Trainer classes each week.

I am very excited about these classes as I never recommend a product or service that doesn’t work. I’ve been using the TRX for years both with clients and more importantly my own training, so I know first hand the benefits of it. It really works and my training hasn’t just improved, it’s become more fun and functional with the TRX. There are also a number of sports clubs and football clubs using the TRX at present as part of their training, such as Liverpool F.C and Manchester City F.C. If professionals at that level use it, it can’t be that bad, can it? Personally I think it is one of the best fitness tools anyone can have and I’m sure my classes will be very popular when others experience the TRX and see or feel the benefits for themselves.

So what does the TRX give that other workouts can’t?……

The TRX doesn’t restrict movements at all, so the workout can be functional creating exercises from everyday movements. It also helps control exercises that people might struggle with normally because of bad posture or technique. It adds a balance factor which helps hit deeper stabilising muscles(especially the core and the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders) and adds more difficulty to an exercise. The most important feature is that there are no heavy weights or no need to change weights between exercises. The simplicity of its design means that all exercises are with your own body weight and can be changed easily with a simple shuffle of the feet or hands, to increase or decrease the amount of bodyweight you are performing the exercise with! For example, many women struggle with press ups because generally they aren’t physically as strong as men, in fact a lot of men struggle with press ups too! But with the TRX the resistance can be decreased by raising the angle of the body to perform a press up at more of an incline. This makes exercises like press ups more manageable and appealing to a lot of people. One main benefit is that impact exercises can be controlled a lot more, so a great cardio workout can be achieved as well as a strength session. My favourite benefit is that the core of the body stabilises every movement we make but with the TRX it enhances the work through the core giving a fantastic session with each and every workout. With all these benfits, how can you not give it a try?

Now you’ve heard about what the TRX can offer you, why not come along to one of my classes and try it for yourself. Here are the details of classes…..

If you would like more information about the classes, please feel free to contact me on 07949 235586 or via my contact form to ask any questions you might have.

If you want to experience the TRX before committing to a weekly class, I am currently offering the first outdoor class at Bankside Park for FREE, so you can try it first. Remember to book in if you want to take advantage of this free class.

Come along and see what all the fuss is about. I hope to see you at a class in the near future.

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.


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.

Charity Challenge – 100 miles in 10 days!

Recently I have been doing my bit for charity by setting my own personal challenge in Spiceball Park, Banbury. I believe everyone needs a little motivation at times and this challenge was the perfect motivation for me, to test me and raise money for a fantastic cause. So let me tell you a little about what I had to do….

Firstly, the challenge was set up in memory of my dad who passed away on 10th September 2007, so it was fitting to start on that date 5 years on. I decided to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support to add to the money already raised for my marathon challenge earlier in the year in April. I wanted to make the challenge something a little more difficult than the average person could do so here is what I came up with:

  • I had to run 100 miles in 10 days with just 10 runs.
  • I had to run once a day at 9.30am for exactly 10 miles.
  • Each 10 mile run had to be completed within 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The challenge started on Monday 10th September and finished on Wednesday 19th September and I’m glad to say I completed all 100 miles with every 10 mile run inside the time limit. It wasn’t easy at times and my body suffered over the 10 days, but it was all worth it to raise valuable money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

So far, including offline donations, I have raised £295 but I would love to raise much more if possible. So if you want to help and do your bit for charity, please take a minute to visit my Just Giving page, which will be open for a couple of months, to donate what you can, thank you.

I was lucky enough to have plenty of support throughout the challenge and lots of photos taken. Here are a few of the photos given to me to use after the challenge. Enjoy scrolling through…..

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.

Rewarding Clients

I have recently made a decision to reward clients that have been training with me for a while. I felt like those that are committed enough to put the work in over a long period of time to make changes to their health and their body, deserve a little gift as added incentive to keep them pushing, working hard and heading in the right direction.

It’s always nice to get a little treat, so I have had branded items made as those little gifts for my clients. The gifts are ideal for helping clients for their training sessions and outside of their sessions with me. So I will now be offering a FREE gift to all clients when they reach 25, 50 and 100 sessions. Here is what clients are likely to receive when reaching those milestones……

Flexercise Drawstring Bag – 25 sessions

The drawstring bags are the ideal gift for clients to use for bringing their training kit with them to their sessions. They’re small and light and come in a range of colours. With the Flexercise logo on the front, they’re a nice gift when reaching the 25 session milestone….

Flexercise Water Bottle – 50 sessions

The branded water bottles are a great addition to put in the drawstring bag for each session once the 50 session milestone has been reached. The stylish water bottles come with two lids for you to change, depending on what you plan on using the bottle for. The screw lid is ideal for outdoor use where you might prefer not to have the bottle leaking in a bag filled with other items, and the normal, easy flip and pull lid is perfect for quick access to fluid during training sessions especially when using the CV equipment and in need of a quick drink…..

Flexercise Hand Towels – 100 sessions

The hand towels are another great item to have with you during a session. Although I supply towels for clients during sessions for wiping their brow or wiping down equipment after use, there’s no better feeling then having your own personal towel, especially when it’s the perfect size to fit in a bag and use during sessions, without being too big that it gets in the way. The red trim around the edge of a black towel is a great look and compliments the Flexercise logo nicely. A very nice gift to receive and complete the set when reaching 100 sessions….

So far the gifts have gone down very well with my present clients, so I am considering selling these items if there is a demand for them. So if you come to one of my classes and feel you would make use of one or all of the items, or you would use any of these gifts for other purposes, please feel free to contact me to ask about prices and ordering the items you want.

If you are thinking about contacting Flexercise about personal training, these could be yours with a little hard work and commitment to achieving your goals, so don’t hesitate, call Flexercise today on 07949 235586 to arrange your FREE consultation.

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.


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?

Running the VLM Marathon in Memory in 2012

Many people out there will know it is the time of year where they are starting to prepare for the Virgin London Marathon in 2012, after receiving an acceptance letter from the ballot, or feeling the disappointment of receiving a rejection letter instead. I was one of the latter and when you have your heart set on something as much as I did, I can tell you just how bad it feels to have the chance taken away.

I was determined that 2012 was going to be my year for running the marathon and I decided the ballot wasn’t going to be my last hope, so I made the decision to go for a gold bond place with a charity instead. I had planned on raising money for Cancer Research if I was accepted through the ballot, so this was the first charity I contacted. Unfortunately all their gold bond places had been taken so I contacted other relevant charities that meant something to me. I’m happy to announce that I was accepted by Macmillan Cancer Support and I can’t put into words how happy this has made me. If you read my story you will understand why. The story behind running the London Marathon for a cancer charity can be seen at my Just Giving page. I urge you all to read my story and then decide if donating is something you would like to do. If it isn’t, all I ask is that you share the link and make people aware of what I’m doing and for doing that I will be very appreciative.

So, now the hard work begins! The long training runs and the fundraising over the next six months all leading up to one day. I have no doubt it will be one very long emotional day for me but with all the support I have behind me, I know that when my legs start to fatigue, thoughts of everyone that has donated over the six months will give me wings and lift me to my goal. I will remember every penny donated to such an amazing cause and together we will make a difference to so many lives around the world.

As part of my fundraising and aim to raise awareness, I have started a facebook page to keep everyone that joins, up to date with my latest training, news, fundraising events and ‘thank you’s’ to everyone that donates to the cause. If you are on facebook, please feel free to join my page and support me. It’s amazing how far a few words of support can go on someone’s wall!!!

For the next six months, deep in the back of my mind one date will always be there…..22nd April 2012. When that day arrives I will run with all the passion and emotion I have in me and I WILL NOT let anyone down. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this blog and my story, and also thank everyone for all the support you have given me so far and right through to race day. Without you, this would never be possible.

Thank you all.


Exercise: Back to Basics!

Recently I have heard a few people say “Don’t you have to be quite fit to have a personal trainer?” or “I need to get a little fitter before I have some personal training.” and my answer has been…..”NO, not at all! Every single one of us is an individual and our bodies work in very different ways. We all have to start somewhere and what better way to start than have professional advice from the beginning, rather than try when you don’t really know what you are doing!”

A friend of mine sent me some fitness blogs a few days ago and although most of them were a good read, there were points I disagreed with, one point in particular stood out in my mind and I would like to give my opinion to it. Here is the quote……

“Never do cardio right before weight training, doing cardio uses up your stored glycogen which will greatly compromise your energy level during weight training. On the other hand, doing weight training first will use up the stored glycogen then the body will look for fat to burn as energy.”

As I said above, every individual is different and has different goals. It is true that if you do cardio before weights, you will generally feel more tired during the weights but there is no reason why you can’t burn fat during a weights session too! Also, it completely depends on what is more important to you as an individual to what you do first. For instance, if you want to burn fat and gain general fitness, I would suggest the cardio comes first as it is more important for your overall goal, whereas if you wanted to concentrate more on building muscle or toning up, then the weights section would be more important and should come first, whilst you are fresh and can perform to your best. The other reason why I disagree with this statement is that when doing cardio, if you keep your heart rate to the correct zone, burning fat as an energy source rather than glycogen is easily done. So, like I said, we are all different and it’s about finding out what works for you.

Exercise is like trial and error, as long as the basic guidelines are followed and you are exercising in the correct manner and performing exercises safely(with the correct posture), the rest is about what works for you. You might find that a friend tells you to try something that has got them great results and when you do, you achieve nothing. This is because your body is not the same and will respond differently to some exercise than others.

What is important is consistency, will power, a positive mental attitude(PMA) and belief that with hard work you CAN……be what you want to be, work towards the shape you want to be and become a fitter healthier person. So, with this in mind, I’ve come up with a few pointers that might work for you and help you in the right direction to living a healthier lifestyle:

  • When starting to exercise for the first time or starting up again after a long break, don’t be stubborn and push it too hard too soon. Listen to your body and what it is telling you. If it has a few aches and pains, acknowledge them but don’t ignore them. If you try to push through them you are likely to injure your body by putting it under too much stress before it is ready.
  • Don’t neglect the boring bits! What I mean by this is the warm up and cool down before and after each session. These are not there just to make you look like you know what you are doing, they are there because you DO know what you’re doing! A warm up and cool down will get the body ready to exercise and also bring the body back to a resting state afterwards. Imagine your muscles like an elastic band; if an elastic band is left for too long in a draw and then taken out and stretched immediately, it is likely to snap. The idea of a warm up is to get the muscles warm and more flexible so they aren’t overstretched straight away and tear like the elastic band! Dynamic stretches(stretches on the move) are a big part of a warm up. It is also there to increase the body’s circulation and dilate the blood vessels ready to deal with the body’s need for oxygenated blood when exercising more vigorously. A cool down is just as important to flush away the lactic acid build up in the muscles to reduce stiffness/soreness in the body over the following few days. Static stretching is a big part of a cool down so that the muscles don’t tighten up and shorten after exercise. Keeping the muscles supple is a major part of any exercise programme.
  • Rest is just as important as exercising itself! If you continuously put the body under stress you are actually making micro tears in the muscles of the body. Without sufficient rest to recover, these tears will not repair right and an injury is on the cards. Scar tissue build up is very common from overworking without enough recovery and this can lead to a bigger muscle injury preventing you from exercising all together for weeks on end. Again, listen to your body and it’s aches and pains and if you feel like you need a day of rest and recovery, you probably do BUT this shouldn’t be used as an excuse to get out of exercising. Be honest with yourself because consistency is key.
  • Keeping your body hydrated is a must! Many people neglect the correct fluid intake which can be a bad mistake. The fluids lost from sweating whilst exercising means they are in constant need to be replaced. A dehydrated body will lead to fatigue and the muscles don’t perform as they should causing muscle pulls. It is important to prevent dehydration by continuously topping up your fluid intake before, during and after exercise to replace the lost fluids and body salts. A hydrated body will perform better and is less likely to have muscle injuries, which means regular exercise can continue consistently.
  • Lastly, many people struggle with knowing how many times a week and for how long they should exercise. There is no right or wrong(within reason!) but there are some good guidelines to follow. When starting up, try building up the time of the session gradually starting at 15-20 minutes and over time increasing it to roughly an hour maximum. Also, start with one or two sessions a week and add more as and when the body starts to recover quicker and you feel ready to exercise again. Three sessions a week is more than adequate to maintain a good fitness base but if you want to exercise more, there is no reason why you shouldn’t as long as you give yourself a day or two to rest every so often. Exercising five to six times a week is the maximum I would advise purely so there is a day or two to break the week up for a recovery period.

I hope this blog has given you an insight into a few basic pointers, to help get you on track for starting on the first rung of the ‘fitness ladder’. Remember, you know your body better than anyone else, so make sure you treat it with respect, listen to it and learn from it, and it will take care of you and reward you with the success of achieving your goals.