February 25, 2018

Exercise v Training – Whats the difference?

If you REALLY want to hit your fitness and body shape goals in 2018 then you need to stop exercising and start training!

Stats suggest that more people than ever have gym memberships yet stats also suggest that more people than ever are overweight or obese. Then there are also people that try as they might just
aren’t achieving what they want. Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 17.44.06

So whats my beef with EXERCISE? Im a Personal Trainer surely Im supposed to be promoting this?

Well here it is ….. Exercise tends to be activity just for the sake of it!

It’s usually undertaken by someone that has no specific goals or certainly not very clear ones.

Exercise is interchangeable so it doesn’t really matter if you go to Spin Class, Body Combat, a jog or Zumba you’ve exercised and do you know what, thats a million times better than sitting on the couch doing nothing.

However there was a phrase I heard years ago on a business course that said “If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there”.

If you want to get better at Sport, at a specific activity or achieve a specific outcome you need more than just exercise you need a training program. This is the primary reason I don’t do pay as you go classes, its virtually impossible to get someone to a goal if you don’t know when they are showing up or you can’t progress the group because for half of them it could be their first session.

It’s also the reason I get really frustrated with goals like “tone up a bit” or “lose a bit of weight”.

Action Point 1.  Set a specific target and find a training program that will take you closer to that target

To the casual gym goer Exercise and Training may look the same but they are not. A training program will take that Target you set in action point 1 and break it down in to smaller goals. For example if you came to me and wanted to squat 100kg we wouldn’t put you straight in the rack with weight on the bar. We would teach you how to squat, look at how you moved and then build you up gradually to that goal.

If you’ve been doing the same thing week in week out with no increase in volume (number of reps), or change to routine , increase in speed or distance or time and theres no specific smaller goals working towards a bigger goal then what you are doing is exercise not training.

You may see some progress from this but it won’t be as quick as you would like it to be and it will be by luck rather than plan.

One thing that I see a lot in the industry at the moment (and that I hate)  is PTs and Instructors “smashing” clients with tough workouts. Im all for dishing out tough workouts but there has to be a purpose to it. If not its just random exercise!

Action Point 2. Identify smaller goals that will take you towards you Specific target set in Action point 1

Coming from a sports background one thing that I have always been told by coaches is “become excellent at the basics” get the fundamentals right before trying advanced strategies.

Have you noticed that all professional athletes have coaches. Can Mo Farahs coach beat him in a Marathon? No ! So why have a coach?

A. The coach has knowledge, experience on how to hit specific targets
B. The coach can get an athlete to do things he or she wouldn’t do working on their own.

Coaches will also get you to work on your weaknesses, lets be honest we all have our favourite exercises that we would do every session if we were left to our own devices. mt2

Action Point 3. Find a coach that has a track record of achieving results like the kind you want

Most people I work with are busy. They may have stressful jobs kids to deal with so we need to have a plan to make the most efficient use of their time. If Mrs Jones who sits in an office most of the day and a car the rest wants to “tone up and lose weight” sitting her on a spin bike (tightening her hips up and only really working her lower body) is a really poor use of her time.

While Im on the subject of pointless things , whats with Boot Camps sending people off to “run a lap” as warm up?? How does that prepare you for doing press ups, Im getting side tracked.

Action Point 4. Decide how much time you have to devote to your goal and make sure you use it efficiently.

When you “exercise” success is often gauged on how sweaty, sore, tired you are after a workout. We’ve all seen the cringey facebook statuses haven’t we!?

When you are training success is gauged by actual stats, how many reps, rounds, kms, Kgs you worked with.

Action Point 5. Keep stats, track and monitor progress even if its only for your own use



Why you should ditch the scales in 2018

From an early age, we’ve been trained to obsess with the scales as a measure of health and fitness progress.

I’m sure you relate to some of the following?new year

Being told, “You’ve gained weight…”
The growing trend in fat loss groups whose sole focus is weight loss on the scales.
Magazine and newspaper headlines stating how much a certain celebrity has lost.
Endless diet programs and books promoting weight loss.
TV shows revolving around the biggest weight lost.
Testimonials about a certain product helping someone lose ‘X’ lbs.

Think about it.

Everything is focused on bodyweight – no wonder so many of us worship the scales.

Are they really that important?

Scales and body weight are a monitoring tool, they tell you how much you weigh. They don’t tell you how much bodyfat you have gained or lost. They are not indicators of your success or failure.

For those STILL obsessed purely with the scales consider this:-

Water makes up about 60% of total body mass. Normal fluctuations in the body’s water content can send scale-watchers into meltdown if they don’t understand what’s happening. Two factors influencing water retention are water consumption and salt intake. Strange as it sounds, the less water you drink, the more of it your body retains. If you are even slightly dehydrated your body will hang onto it’s water supplies with a vengeance, possibly causing the number on the scale to notch upward. The solution is to drink plenty of water.

Excess salt (sodium) can also play a big role in water retention.

Women may also retain several pounds of water prior to menstruation. This is very common and the weight will likely disappear as quickly as it arrives. Pre-menstrual water-weight gain can be minimized by drinking plenty of water, maintaining an exercise program, and keeping high-sodium processed foods to a minimum.

Another factor that can influence the scale is glycogen. Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and it’s packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it’s stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small imperceptible increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with it’s associated water. It’s normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if you’re prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.

Otherwise rational people also tend to forget about the actual weight of the food they eat. For this reason, if you must weigh yourself it’s wise to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink. Eating a big meal before you step on the scales is no different than putting a bunch of rocks in your pocket. The 5 pounds that you gain right after a huge dinner is not fat. It’s the actual weight of everything you’ve had to eat and drink. The added weight of the meal will be gone several hours later when you’ve finished digesting it.


What is “core” training?

In a recent feedback survey for our Boot Campers the number one thing that people wanted to do more of was “core work”. It was my fault as I listed it as one of the options without really ever explaining what “core” was. DH before and after website

So in the wider world Core gets used to describe the abdominal area , people think of sit ups , six packs and flat stomachs.

This is where things get confusing…… to start with you could do sit ups all day long every day but unless you have a low enough body fat % you wont see the toned abdominals below. In fact we NEVER do sit ups in Boot Camp. Why? With me being a sports therapist as well as a PT I have studied Stuart McGills work and he has proven to me beyond reasonable doubt that Sit ups , crunches…. whatever you want to call them put you at an extremely high risk of injury. The pressure that goes through the disc when doing them can often exceed 2000 psi , that coupled with the fact that people seem obsessed with doing 100s at a time means that you are creating repeated stress in your lower back in a classic injury movement.

Does everyone that includes sit ups get injured? No, of course not but I work on a risk and reward basis and there is no benefit to your average person training for health doing sit ups yet their is a significant increase in risk. Sure if I was training a thai boxer or athlete that required abdominal flexion for their sport we would probably chuck some in but not for your average recreational exerciser.

So what is core training and what do I program in Boot Camp?

1. Stability

As it would suggest you hold a static position for a challenging amount of time, Plank, Hip Bridges and Bird Dog are the ones that immediately spring to mind.

2. Dynamic Stability

In these exercises you will hold a stable position whilst moving your arms or legs . Examples are mountain climbers, renegade row, leg walk outs, elbow to knees, spidermans, dead bugs.

3. Strength

It always annoys me if I train in a big gym and I hear a PT tell a client that they are about to do core stability work and then bust out the ab cradle for some sit ups. (never EVER use an ab cradle) Sit ups are core strength not stability.  Strength exercise would be things like the McGill curl up, Turkish get ups.

Of course I have only looked here at what would be considered core specific exercises, look at a squat your core muscles work hard to maintain a straight posture, add a weight to that same squat and the core muscles work double time. Y Lunges would be the same and of course the clean and press.

To summarise, training your core muscles is important, not for a flat stomach but for injury prevention and because its an important link in the chain of how your body works.


If its a flat stomach you desire then a focus on good nutrition and big muscle group exercises for maximum calorie expenditure is much more important.

Hope this helps.


P.S. Check out Daves 8 week PT before and after pictures and have a guess how much and what core work we did in that 8 weeks of 2 x 45 minute sessions per week!

What is a Boot Camp?

When starting Body Fix Boot Camp back in 2007 I agonised over what to call it.

I knew that I wanted to create a group program that could rival the results and support that Personal Training offers, I wanted it to be more than a faceless fitness class where people turn up with the instructor not knowing their names or what their goals were.testimonial web page 3

Boot Camp seemed to be a buzz word at the time and despite my concerns about people expecting some sort of army fatigue wearing drill sergeant thats what we went with.

So what exactly does it involve?

If you look up the definition of Boot Camp you will probably see something along the lines of:

a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training.

What we actually deliver is:-

A structured 4 Week program, with each session built on core skills, techniques and exercises from the previous one.

A supportive network around you

Simple Nutritional programming with sample meal plans, recipe books and strategies for emotional eating.

I genuinely believe after 8 years of running the program that our results exceed those of most 1 to 1 Personal trainers.

When you put that in to context – if you had 3 Personal Training sessions per week with a good PT you would be paying upwards of £360 for a 4 week block.

With us collecting together a group of people with similar goals we can deliver a program with individual tweaks for each person at a price thats nearly £300 cheaper per 4 weeks AND gets results that are just as good if not better. In fact our per session price is actually cheaper than most “turn up if you feel like it” fitness classes!


Some people work harder and get BETTER results in the group setting, its social and you meet new friends that can support you with your goals.

So in summary…….

Don’t be put off by the title “bootcamp” you won’t get screamed at, you won’t be asked to do anything you are not able to.

You will be pushed to achieve the best that you can, you will be encouraged to work at your own pace and improve week on week, you will be expected to enjoy it ,have fun, join in the group banter and look forward to attending.

We hope to see you at a session soon and you can view our start dates at www.bodyfixbootcamp.com  

The BEST way to Exercise for Fat Loss


Want to work with us? Find your nearest venue HERE

Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge

On the 17th May several of our Clifton Moor and Riccall Boot Campers took on the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge.

For any of you not familiar with it involves a 24.5 mile hike around Yorkshires highest Peaks, Pen Y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

The changeable Yorkshire Dales weather was kind and despite high winds it stayed dry for most of the groups with the last couple copping for a bit of a soaking.

All our Campers made it back within the 12 hour time limit with the first back in an impressive 8 hours 22 minutes!