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.


The 4 Things you need for Weight Loss Success

As we have just passed the 10th Birthday of Body Fix Boot Camp  I often get asked how we have “survived’ so long. When I first started up I was the only Boot Camp around. Since then several have popped up and disappeared whilst we not only survive but thrive.Weight Loss inch loss

I put the success down to our clients, after all we only supply the tools they do the hard work.

When it comes to getting results I believe that there are 4 key reasons for our success with weight loss clients.

1. Correct Nutrition
I get really frustrated as I scroll through my facebook news feed at the number of crazy fad diets, so many pyramid sales diet shakes on the market now and other extreme diets. I don’t believe in fad diets and have met so many people that have suffered the yo-yo effect after doing them. They have lost a decent amount of weight, mainly water and glycogen weight and gained it back plus more because of the damage the fad diet has caused to their metabolism – soul destroying.
Our 4 week Transformation plan isn’t based on fads. Clients can lose significant numbers of inches with sustainable healthy eating and eating plenty of food, no starving the body with us!

2. Effective Workouts
Another popular facebook badge of honour seems to be that of the cardio queen who has just completed back to back classes for 3 hours at the local gym.

The key to workouts for fat loss is to work smart and not long. Overwork and over exercise leads to burnout and injury. You must do the right workout that’s suited to you and your goals, but also not some of the crazy over the top high intensity stuff that whilst it gets you sweaty and feeling like you’ve worked out actually places strain or stress your body so it “shuts down” and does not help you gain the results you want.
Body Fix workouts are designed to burn fat without sending your body’s systems into panic mode, the aim is to get the most “bang for your buck” in other words the best results in the shortest time.

3. The best support network
The biggest factor for creating positive change is surrounding yourself with the right people. This is the step most often overlooked. Without the proper motivation and accountability it’s easy to slip.
When you work in a group setting with like-minded, supportive people like in our 4 week challenge you feel motivated to not only let yourself down but also not let your fellow challengers down.

4. Lifestyle change = Maintain results
You are not changing just for the short term. The goal is to change your life to make a positive transformation and change your attitude and approach to food and exercise. In our 4 week Transformation Challenge we help our clients lose the weight and inches they want and then in our continuation program help them continue to make progress and maintain their results for life.

Find out more at www.BodyFixBootcxamp.co.uk 

Im injured…. what can I do?

Fairly regularly in sessions I hear “I’ve hurt my [insert body part here], What can I do?” At Body Fix we are lucky that our trainers are all Sports massage or Sports Therapists so have a much better handle on adapting your sessions to accommodate injury or niggles. 374029_10151484000689778_729989630_n


In this post I want to outline how we need to handle niggles and injury to keep you training – or advise you to rest depending on the situation.


Get Specific


I have a couple questions I immediately ask when presented with an injury. First, “What were you doing when you hurt it?” and second, “Can you show me specifically which movements cause pain?” You can ask yourself these questions, too. As a Trainer we cannot make an educated decision on what to do, if you do not know where you currently are.


Be Honest


With injury you need to be honest with yourself. If you tell me your shoulder hurts so badly you cannot lift it and you just hurt it yesterday then theres a fair chance we will tell you to rest. We understand you are keen and ready to go, but we need to think beyond today. We are not professional athletes and tomorrow is not the Olympics. When you are injured, your priority is dealing with your injury, or at the very least, not worsening it. If you are questioning whether or not you should be at Boot Camp then we need to discuss it – if you can’t gain don’t train.




Recovery does not mean sitting still. It could mean using a foam roller and a trigger point ball to work out muscle spasms or adhesions. It could mean visiting us for a full assessment and some treatment or some stretching advice. It could mean visiting your doctor and having diagnostic tests run. It does mean, without a doubt, listening to your body but doing NOTHING and just complaining about it won’t speed things up. Without an assessment we are just guessing at what the problem is.


Be Sensible


In many cases you can still come to Boot Camp and work around your injury, make sure your trainer is aware of the situation. We see a lot of people and we don’t know how you are feeling on that particular day. Do not do things that only “hurt a little.” If it hurts, stop doing it unless you’ve had a diagnosis. If you are hurting it, you are not healing it. Yes, it might feel better once you get going into the workout, but that has more to do with endorphins and adrenalin than it does with whether or not you are causing damage and preventing healing. This does not mean you cannot move around at all, but do not do things that cause significant pain.



No Quick Fixes


As with most things in life these days, we are in a hurry to get to the next step and injury recovery is no different. Beware of painkillers in general. If you want to take something, double or triple your fish oil and deal with the inflammation aspect of your injury. Pain is not a voice we should ignore.


If It Hurts, Stop


Your mission in the Bootcamp is long term to get stronger, fitter, more mobile and healthier. Training through significant pain and not resting and recovering will not get you to that place. You can do it in the short-term, but it will come back to haunt you in the form of continued injuries, chronic pain and more, I’m a walking talking example of this after years of Rugby.


I’ve played more games than I care to remember injured and the photos shows my retirement game where I played 60 minutes with a fractured eye socket!


So in summary:-


Many injuries won’t stop you doing Boot camp

Modifications are available for most niggles

If we are not assessing we are just guessing

Doing nothing about an injury is the worst thing you can do, they rarely just go away.


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

Cardio or Resistance – What works best for Fat Loss?

When it comes to fat loss, most people plan to start on a program of cardio and dieting. Resistance training is just an afterthought – often mentioned as a way to “tone”after the fat is lost. Resistance training, however, can burn just as much, if not more, fat than cardio.

Don’t get me wrong Cardio can shrink you down size wise but it does just that: it reduces both your fat and muscle. You end up smaller but soft. Most people however, want to increase muscle tone while burning off fat.

While cardio burns calories and fat when you’re performing it, high rep resistance training has what is known as high EPOC or “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.” This is another way of saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise has finished.

Studies show that a well-designed resistance program can elevate your EPOC/ metabolism for up to 38 hours after the workout. In other words, you continue to burn calories long after training stops. Whereas once you stop cardio, the calorie burning stops virtually immediately.

Resistance training coupled with diet and cardio burns fat far more than cardio and diet alone. And guess what its those exact principles that we design our Boot Camp programs on.

Our next Camp starts on 1st June for Mornings and 2nd June for evenings and you can see all the info on session times here http://bodyfixbootcamp.com/find-your-nearest-camp/riccall-boot-camp/

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!