We all get excited when somebody loses weight and are quick to pat them on the back but what we don’t talk about or publicise is what they are like 3 months after the target has been achieved.

The important thing to note about fat loss goals is that they are outcome based and not focussed on what we are going to DO and the process involved in achieving them.

I’ll explain and give an example:

If we want fat loss as a goal, losing a stone is not the statement of what we are going to DO. Losing a stone is a result, a side effect, from what we have been through.

The weight loss industry is evil and full of false promises and false hopes. It tells us that when we have lost weight we will be happy. Their directive is to change nothing about our lives other than to eat and drink less. They want us to experience no discomfort along the way but achieving targets and goals will always involve some discomfort. Only by experiencing discomfort do we succeed.

The facts are that 95% of people who lose a significant amount of weight, regain that weight and more within 5 years!

Some of you may have a lot of experience with this?

Read that last line again – Some of you may have a lot of experience with this? You may be an expert in weight regain. A specialist that someone would seek out in order to receive advice on how to gain weight.

I guarantee that if your goal is to lose a stone, you will regain that stone quicker than you’ve lost it the second you’re happy the scales reveal the number you’ve been chasing! I see it all the time.

Here’s an alternative and is what is happening with me to illustrate what I mean.

I want to lose 5kg of weight in order to be a faster bike racer.

My goal is not “I’m going lose 5kg”. It is:

“For 6 weeks I commit to 3 x Team Training sessions per week. Without my phone I will walk 30mins first thing in the morning and I will walk for 45mins in the evening at my danger time where I know that if I sit in front of a tv I will consume the food and drink that I’m fully aware is holding me back. I will do that 5 times per week. I commit to this routine and by doing so I will develop long term good habits that will enable me to drop body fat and maintain the life I want. I will report to my Team to hold myself accountable.”

You get me?

Remember: once we lose any fat we want it to STAY OFF! Remembering that is what will set you aside from the countless failure regain stories that come from weight loss programmes.

Peace and love 

When you visit a gym, what do you honestly expect to achieve given the work you put in?

Here are two examples of what I mean and I will use a treadmill to illustrate.

Example 1:

You drive to the gym and you’re going to walk on a treadmill at an incline of 10 for 30 minutes and you’re going to hang on because when you don’t hang on it makes it harder but you want to walk uphill because you know the machine will tell you you’ve burnt more calories. You finish and drive home. You do that every single time you go to the gym because you heard somewhere that’s best for burning fat and expending calories.

Example 2:

The other example of a treadmill workout I’ll give is one that somebody might perform who wants to improve their race time over 5 kilometres. This person woke up feeling nervous because they knew this session had to be done today. Everything they ate and drank in the 5 hours preceding was geared towards completing the session successfully and the speeds, duration and rest time had been calculated three days before with the aim of this taking them to a PB in the race next week.

When this person got into the gym they went straight to the matts area to mobilise and prepare. The session was about running fast and so preparation had to be full to reduce the risk of injury. After 10 minutes mobilising they jump on the treadmill to run steady for 5 minutes and then for the next 5 minutes switch between faster runs and slow jogs alternating every 30 seconds. Walk for 3 minutes at the end of that and then the set begins properly. 5 x 1k at faster than race pace with a 2 minute slow walk between each.

The first one is completed and feels comfortable enough. At the end of the second one they know they are in a fight. The third is key because if that is completed then that’s the bulk of the work done. The third is completed but only just because the thoughts of quitting were strong in the last 400 metres. “Get through the 4th and you’ve every chance” says the positive thoughts on one shoulder. “You’re a bum and you’ll quit at 600m” says the demon. It’s a horrible set. It hurts like hell but it gets done. “One more. Just one more and I’m done” they say at the start of the 5th. With 500m to go our runner is flat out, lungs burning, heart pounding, legs shaking!

Boom! Job done! Completed with success. “Damn! I feel fantastic” they pant. “I’m confident for race day.”

Lets now return….

If we return to our first treadmill walker we can look at the risks and rewards for this session. The risks are driving to and from the gym. It is possible that a road accident could occur. Once inside the gym it’s possible there is a murderer in there who hates treadmill walkers. There’s also the risk of building collapse but apart from that I think that’s it. This session gets performed every time this person ventures inside the gym and because of that, the body is completely adapted to it. The body doesn’t worry. It knows exactly how intense it is and has primed the muscles and the cardio respiratory system accordingly. It knows exactly how many calories it burns, it has equipped our walker with the necessary food beforehand and will make them hungry enough to replenish afterwards. And because our walker has done this comfortable (and it is comfortable remember because they hang on to the bars and this limits the max speed of the participant) session so many times they do not experience a physical and mental high or sense of achievement. There is little reward apart from “going to the gym.” Ok I know I’m harsh, you know me by now. Just stick with it. I’ll leave you feeling good like I always do!

And again…..

Onto our interval runner. All the same driving and building risks apply to this person too but we now have the added risks of strained muscles and sprained ligaments through new stimuli and exertion. We have the risk of cuts, bruises and broken limbs if falling off the treadmill happens and in the most extreme of circumstances I suppose it is possible to explode the heart! But seriously, don’t get hung up on that one. It’s a non exerciser’s wet dream and it never happens! Those are our interval runner’s risks but what are his or her rewards?

Sense of achievement from reaching a personal best. Our runner has never ran this fast for this long ever in their life and they are now a better person because of it. What comes from that? Extra strength, endurance and stamina. Possibly fat loss which could happen to our walker too but less likely.

Kudos. It’s been noticed by others in the gym, especially that one who our runner has been eyeing up recently. It’s definitely noted that our man or woman is of prime physical stock and at least worth talking to!

The best reward in my opinion though is belief and self confidence because with belief and confidence, anything else is possible! What greater reward could you want?

The take home from this then is to dare a little.

Doesn’t have to be great, just to push ourselves out of our comfort zone ever so slightly to reap the benefits from doing so. Whatever your exercise choice is, have a go! Let me know how you get on too if you want.

Video personal training is new, it’s exciting and it’s here to stay. What’s best about this is that it’s a complete win for the consumer as they are going to have so much choice, literally being able to choose from any coach in the whole world and take them anywhere they desire.

If you are somebody that likes to workout from a public gym then the previous model was that you would join your chosen gym, think “I need a PT”, then ask the question who is available? You look at the profile board and you pick who you like the look of. Your decision might be based on a number of factors: qualifications, experience, their own lifestyle, the condition they are in, past achievements, whether you fancy them or not, many things.

The norm……

After an initial consultation (usually only with one trainer which I always found surprising as I have consultations with several people before buying service from them. Actually having said that, maybe one was all people needed with me! My infectious, wit, charm and charisma more often than not would win them over easily!) you would begin your journey usually after you’ve purchased a “block” of sessions where you had the sole attention of the trainer and paid them by the hour for it.

The world is full of a million trainers but by following this model you get the choice of up to perhaps 10. Possibly none of them are the right choice for you. I worked this way for 7 years when I was operating out of a big gym chain and although I did have a lot of success, there were times when I took somebody on and we didn’t click. Because there wasn’t a lot of choice, the client was left ultimately dissatisfied. That is what happens a lot.

It’s a whole lot different now with video training and as we come out of lockdown we are going to see an explosion in it.

With the previous model, the trainer has his or her time to sell and unless they own their own facility they are limited to training one person, two at the most, in the confines of a gym. It has to be this way because there are other people using the facility at the same time and it isn’t possible to “bagsy” all the kit and use it for a group of clients. Because it’s always been this way, personal training – once past the “learning phase” has become expensive.

I’ll explain further. When I take somebody on, it is my goal to teach this person to look after themselves. This, in my opinion, is the best way to train, these are the most beneficial exercises for you and this is the intensity and recovery you should take. The other areas of sleep, relaxation and nutrition are important too but for the purpose of this article we are covering fitness. Once a client becomes educated and formed new habits (it takes different times for different people) anything after should be maintenance – providing we are not working towards a specific goal in a specific time frame.

Maintenance through workouts that are anywhere north of £25 per hour. If you are someone that will only train out of a big gym then this has been your only option for a workout with personal attention. Now it might work for you and you might really enjoy working one on one with face to face contact with your coach. It’s good. I’m not knocking it. This is what I do!

Things have changed though.

When the first lockdown was forced upon us, I, like millions of others, sh1t myself! I couldn’t carry on the way I used to. I knew I had to try something and I knew I had to go online. I was terrified of it but I HAD to (3rd Force here. You’ll change when there is a 3rd force in place) go online. I thought it was going to be terrible. I thought everyone would leave me or I would have to reduce my prices because of this inferior service I was delivering. I tried my best though. I went to all my clients houses and delivered kit from my gym which I know every trainer doesn’t have but I do so I did and made sure they were all equipped for top class sessions.

I signed up to Zoom on the Friday night and come Monday morning I nervously logged on as did the others and within a few sessions I was flowing as so many of us now are with video communication, not just in Personal Training but in all industries. Over the last year, this has become normal, it’s the way it’s done now.

So what does this mean for the gym goer wanting to buy personal training and perhaps seeing it as an expensive outlay?

Well firstly, as I mentioned earlier, it means the client can choose from any coach in the world and take them anywhere with them on their phone. People are always on their phone these days so things would not be out of the ordinary to see somebody looking at a device in the gym and performing a workout. Back in the day, we PT,’s were fiercely protective of anyone coaching in our building who wasn’t paying rent but it’s not possible to enforce that now via video. You can’t walk up to somebody who’s squatting who has earphones in and say you can’t look at your phone while doing that. It’s impossible to police!

But here’s the even better bit for the consumer.

They can now join in a group session and reduce the price of their supervised workout! The basics of it are, you join a training group and perform the session the coach has planned live while they are working with you. Granted not everyone attending will have the same kit available but if you have a good coach then they can work with that. This system can’t work with a Joe Wicks workout with 5,000 attending but in can work in a group of up to say 12 at a time. With that number you get the personal attention still.

This is what I do now and it works a treat.

When the gyms were open in between lockdowns I coached several group sessions where some were at home and some were in a gym and everybody got great service. We can join in together, have a laugh, have a brilliant session and feel great afterwards though being a part of the team. It’s affordable, you can choose your coach and you can have outstanding service all much less than you would pay one to one which means you can train more and achieve more.

It’s a very exciting time for personal training once the gyms reopen and I can’t wait to be part of it!

If you can be anywhere near as fit and healthy as my client Richard as he heads towards 70, then you have a great chance of reaching 100 years of age and beyond.

I’m 48 at time of writing. I seem to always be stating my age don’t I? I state my age at the start of this to let you know I’m not a kid and to let you know I haven’t finished growing up yet. I’ve not ‘made it’ and nor have I finished pushing forward. Neither’s Richard and if you want to grow old with fitness and health then you’d do well to take a leaf out of his book!

Who’s Richard then? Richard is a 66 year old client of mine who I see for fitness appointments twice a week almost every week. The only weeks we don’t see each other is when he is either on holiday or visiting his children and grandchildren. Never do we miss a week because he is sick and never do we miss an appointment because he is tired or hungover. He realises how important his fitness, strength and health are and he makes sure he prioritises them. If we do miss our sessions because he is on holiday or visiting, he makes sure he takes his kettlebell with him or he seeks out another trainer in the town in which he finds himself. I love that. I really love it. I’m not precious about trying to keep him for myself and to only train with me, I encourage him to spend time with other coaches and we enjoy talking about the sessions he’s done with them.

Working out

So what does he do with his life?

He gets quality sleep every night, going to bed and rising at the same time.

He physically trains hard twice per week, sometimes three.

He moves every day.

He goes outside every day and in the summer exposes himself to sunlight.

He reads.

He stays within the recommended alcohol consumption guidelines.

He eats real food the vast majority of the time.

He always seems to have a project on the go.

He spends time with his family and people he feels enhance his life.

He competes in sport and regularly pushes his physical capabilities.

He doesn’t smoke. Not that I should mention that he doesn’t smoke but as I’ve just looked out of the window and seen someone who is around his age smoking and looking like they have zero zest for life I thought I’d make reference to it.

He lives without pain.

He lives without medication.

And here’s the big one…He’s happy!

Going to the gym

What are the normal symptoms of ageing?

I wrote in a previous blog about Normal Symptoms of Ageing What Do You Think Are Normal Symptoms of Ageing and how it is now considered normal to deteriorate physically and to go on medication. It is actually often a surprise to many when they meet someone in their senior years who is NOT on medication which I find bizarre! I intend never to be on pills, same for Richard.

What does Richard do with his days that makes him lead an energetic life full of quality? Well he wakes up naturally, feeling refreshed because he hasn’t overdosed on wheat, caffeine, sugar or alcohol the night before. This puts him in a place ready to get the most out of the day rather than spending the first couple of hours getting started. He tends to his gardens a few days a week or when he’s not gardening he’s usually painting or renovating something. He is always doing something active, the highlight of that being our twice weekly sessions.

Grow Old with Fitness and Health just like Richard (3)

What do we do in our sessions?

There is this myth that as we get older we should reduce the intensity of our workouts. How many times have you heard or even said yourself – “You need to slow down Dad. That’s too heavy for you. Just go for a walk or do a little gardening. You’ll have a heart attack if you carry on like that.”

We have come to believe that physical exertion for older folks should reduce greatly in intensity as they age, but why? Once again let’s strip it back to our ancestors and the lion chase. The lion won’t chase you slowly because you are old, you’ve still got to sprint away if you want to live!

Sets, duration and recovery might change but the intensity of the single effort never does and Richard and I hugely enjoy watching him reach personal bests with weights lifted and times achieved indoor rowing.

Personally I don’t have my life perfectly balanced. It may seem like I preach my life is the best but it’s not. I’m working on it all the time but something I’m trying to do this year for example is dial back on frequency of exercise in my life. There’s other stuff that needs doing before it’s too late and if I don’t get a move on then all I’ll have to show for my time on this earth is a 6 pack when I get my telegram off the King!

As I move forward, I’m viewing the whole health and fitness game less and less about six packs, great arms and calorie deficits. Far too much disappointment and pressure is attached to superficial goals like these and they don’t bring health and happiness. Richard doesn’t focus on those and you know what he’s got? A six pack and great arms!

Richard’s got it right in my book! Don’t be like me. Be like Richard! He rocks!

Northwich Life

Northwich life is a great life, and I should know because I have lived here for most of my life.  Moving to a new area can be really daunting so it’s great to have a bit of an overview to give to people who might not be sure where to fit in and how to make friends quickly when moving into a new town.

So, what are the things about Northwich Life that would make me suggest to someone thinking of moving here, that this is absolutely the best place to live?  Well, there are rather a lot of options, but I am going to talk about the things that I love the most.  The Northwich gym that I run and have put my heart and soul into over the last 2 years, the amazing walks that are all sat on my doorstep and the location and fantastic places to buy property.

My Northwich Gym – Team Training UK


Several years ago now I was brave enough to set up and run the Northwich gym known as MPA with my ex-business partner.  As is often the way with new businesses, the energy and enthusiasm wanes and unfortunately, we had different ideas of where we wanted to take the business. This crossroads ended up being a blessing for me and my new gym was born.  A venture that I decided to pursue on my own so that I could control the gym to be based around my passion for community, competition, friendships, mental health, and of course amazing exercise coaching!

I now run a gym providing personal training in Northwich in a private facility.

Why does this make Northwich Life great?

Well, it’s because I also run team training UK from there which is group personal training and the perfect place to make new friends if you are new to Northwich.  These classes always make sure everyone gets involved and trains at their level, but we also meet outside of the gym too which is the key.

Team Training have hikes and walks at the weekend and meet up socially in surrounding areas for drinks and pub quizzes too when we get the chance.   Hikes and walks can be in the wonderful Marbury Park, along the river Weaver, Anderton and further afield to Macclesfield Forest.  Drinks have been held in The Hartford Hall, The Kingfisher at Kingsmead Northwich and Gusto and The Lost and Found in Knutsford.

So, my gym is really a great place to come and make friendships while changing your lifestyle for the better too.

Weekend life and walking local to the Northwich area:

One of my favourite things about my life living in Northwich is that there are so many great walks really on my doorstep.  I have lived on Kingsmead for most of my time here and have loved being able to nip onto the wonderful River weaver walk within 2 minutes of leaving my house.  This walk can go all the way along to Winsford and beyond if you really want tot test your legs.

In the neighbouring Hartford Marshall’s Arm woods also brings you to the River Weaver but on the opposite side for a completely different walk.  If you take the tip road opposite Pure Gym in Northwich there is another wonderful walk that can take you around Anderton and Marbury taking in the beautiful canal routes.  Walking from Anderton can also take you all the way to The Leigh Arms for a well-earned pie and a pint too.

Property and location in Northwich

Northwich is a great location with property prices just that little bit cheaper that Hartford or Knutsford and great rail links to all over the county.  The Northwich rail line can take you to Chester and Hartford one way, and Manchester, Altrincham, and Knutsford the other. Northwich is also up and coming with many bars and restaurants opening over the last few years and a funky food court market like the one in Altrincham promised over the coming year.   We have a good cinema, a fantastic Waitrose, and some amazing schools in Hartford just down the road. 

Overall Northwich is a great place to live and if you are looking to get fit and make new friends this January then get yourself along to my gym too and I will welcome you in!

https://www.northwichguardian.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/northwichlife/

https://www.alltrails.com/england/cheshire/northwich/walking