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Create Your Own Recipe For Health

I’m sure you read, hear from friends, see on the TV lots of different ways that claim to be the the best way to eat and stay fit. So you try them and you might find they work great for you or you try something else that worked great for your friend but for you…..not so much.


Now there are lots of different reasons why certain things work for one person and not another. It could be genetics but it could also be there own personal habits and preferences that make something stick for one person but not another.


Our bodies are all built differently. I get this a lot in particular with back pain clients, 1 person says Yoga is the best cure, another Pilates and then someone else says weightlifting saved them. Then people will say they tried Pilates, Yoga etc and it didn’t work for them so it mustn’t work at all…..


The thing is what worked for that person is right for that person. It’s only the wrong choice is having honestly given it a 100% effort it still didn’t make you feel better. But that still doesn’t make it the wrong choice for someone else.


The same goes for your diet. Perhaps your friend had great success with Intermittent Fasting but you tried it and felt tired and lethargic, or your sister swears by a green juice every morning but the very idea makes you feel a bit sick, does that mean you should stick with it and feel awful? No it doesn’t!


So what do you do?


Create your own recipe for health and fitness!


Take all of the health and fitness advice that you like and that works for you and make that your own recipe for success.


If you find Yoga and Tennis with 3 square meals keeps you at a happy weight and you feel great then that’s your recipe. Whatever it is, so long as you are genuinely feeling awesome doing it and getting the results you want then that’s the perfect recipe for you.


Then like a chef adapting a recipe to make it their own, if you find something lacking in your routine take something from another recipe and see if it works with yours. If it does keep it, if it doesn’t try something else. Sometimes you add salt sometimes you add chill-sometimes you add a bike ride sometimes you add protein, the formula is personal to you.


Have you found your perfect recipe yet? What is it or what needs tweaking? If it helps I’m not sure I’ve completely found mine yet but it’s fairly close, it might just need some extra nuts…..


Staying Fit to Work



Ok this sounds a bit confused after last weeks getting fit staying still but to stay healthy you need to move. To clarify we looked at static muscle contractions last week as a way of getting stronger.


However this week I want you to look at firstly the way you move generally and then the amount you move. Unfortunately many of us spend 8+ hours sat at desks. Generally for our movement this can be undone with some stretches and just taking joints back through their range of movement to help it feel less stiff-common in the hips and chest.


However if you think you’re nailing this movement for health lark because you go to the gym a couple of times per week then I’m sorry but the science does not support you.


It is not necessarily the daily exercise total that matters per se it is more the time spent sedentary. So, that hour in the gym won’t undo the health impact of the 10 hours you spent being still. That’s being still not necessarily sitting, which means even standing still for long periods has the same affect.


This is in short due to the decrease in circulation through the body I.e less oxygen and nutrient transportation for regeneration of cells, organs etc. It also of course uses less energy meaning there is a bigger potential for blood sugar levels to remain high as the conversion to energy is not required and of course any posture whether good or bad will over time cause repetitive patterns that will cause certain muscles to work harder and others to become weaker. So all of that adds up to a high risk of musculoskeletal issues such as back, hip knee pain, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. I know I’m sounding like a right misery!


Thankfully the solution doesn’t involve quitting your job and dedicating your days to new and inventive movements. All you actually need to do is move a little more often throughout the day. Just getting up to walk for a minute every hour, rolling shoulders, generally having a fidget and a wriggle frequently throughout the day will actually have go a long way to lowering your risk of these diseases.


And if your boss asks what your up to, tell the, you’re keeping yourself fit to work…..


Get fit without moving

Last week I was talking to a client who has recently started Planking every day, and how this has made him feel fitter and eased his back pain. He’s only doing a minute so it’s not like it’s a huge overhaul of his routine but it is having an impact on his well being. This got me to thinking about other easy to do, short exercises you would have an impact on your general strength and possibly ease some aches and pains.


How about a wall sit?

You just need yourself and a wall! Leaning on the wall, with your thighs parallel for up to a minute.


Or a Static Lunge?

Done every day either of these would increase your glute and leg strength. This will of course help them look more “shapely” but will also help them to support any dodgy backs and knees.


Side Plank.


If you feel like regular plank is old news why not try Side Plank. You will hit your Obliques (waist) and your Shoulders a little more with this variation too. Ok so if you go for a minute you have to do both sides so that’s two minutes but you can do it front of the TV so it’s not even an ad break length!

Low Plank


If you want some serious back and arm strength, whilst still hitting the rest of your body, try this low plank. It’s basically a static tricep press up, elbows tucked right into your sides hold them bent aiming to have the back of your arm straight from the back of your shoulder. I reckon even getting to 10 seconds will be challenging to most people but you’ve gotta start somewhere! If you can work up to a minute you are a legend! In fact I’m tempted to try this one myself……

  1. I’m sure Simon is so thrilled he has inspired an entire blog post he’ll barely mention it later……


Master Your Bodyweight

Bodyweight training is often seen as “beginner level” exercise.


Of course initially to anyone starting out they may well just work with their own bodyweight and that would be a challenge, however even for the more advanced gym goer truly mastering your own bodyweight can be hugely challenging.


I know my clients always look worried if at the start of a session I have zero equipment out! Apparently that means it going to be extra hard (as opposed to if I had say 2 20kg kettlebells…..)


Bodyweight Training or Calisthenics is a great form of training that has a huge range of benefits. It encourages your body to work as a complete machine rather than in isolation. Our bodies are designed to work as a unit combining strength and stability throughout each movement we perform in a day. This could be as basic as getting up off a chair right up to a handstand press up, both movements require the body to work as one.


If you struggle to get up off a chair without shuffles, using your hands, grunting etc. then that is a sign that your body does not work as a unit.


This isn’t just important for athletic performance. I talk about this all the time, being fully functional and mobile ensures you will stay that way well into old age, and prevent you having falls etc. that are a major contributor to immobility in the older generation.


Training with your bodyweight and experimenting with new and ever challenging movements not only increases muscle strength, power and endurance it also trains your central nervous system as it continues to build new pathways to learn these new movements. Again not only does this make you a good athlete now but it also keeps you firing on all cylinders as you age.


If you train heavily for other sports such as Running, Cycling etc. bodyweight training can be added to keep you mobile and prevent repetitive strain injuries without overloading your system and making you too stiff and sore to train at your preferred sport.


Where to start though?


A great full body exercise that can be done unweighted is the Turkish Get Up. This challenges your entire kinetic chain, your co-ordination, strength and stability.


If you are struggling with your mobility in any way don’t write this exercise off, just break it down and start with the first part, (just sitting up from the lying position as unaided as possible) master that and then add on a bit more. I promise you just doing 2 or 3 per side each day will make a huge long term improvement to your mobility and strength.


If you are more advanced, you can do more reps per side, maybe do them faster, or add a weight.



Know Your Why

I think I’ve covered this topic before but I feel like it’s the sort of thing people need reminding of particularly as those new year goals start to feel a bit like hard work.


Knowing your why is the most important thing when it comes to goal setting.


Whether that is for weight loss,fitness or even career and personal goals, you have to know why it is important to you to achieve it.


This comes into effect when people talk about will power when dieting. They will say “I was doing great but then I couldn’t resist the cake/biscuits….” Now there are other factors in terms of dieting that can affect your ability to eat less food, but a really big one is knowing why it is more important to you long term to be lighter and healthier than it is to eat whatever it is you are currently lusting after.


This also applies to fitness goals and I use it a lot with those I am working with to overcome injury problems and pain conditions. You have got to figure out why putting yourself through the initial uncomfortableness of exercise is better long term than staying where are now.


Often this comes down to the possibility of being able to ride their horse, play with their kids etc. And it can be quite emotional for people to admit that to themselves but that is exactly the point!


If it causes you emotional pain to think about what to you are missing out on because of your current situation use that to break through the emotional and/or physical pain barrier to do what you need to do to change it.


No one said change would be easy or pain free but they also say nothing worth having ever comes easy.


If you want some help to deal with your injury and/or pain barriers I have just a couple of spots available for 1 2 1 training.

Challenge Yourself

I know we’re in that period where everyone is going exercise crazy, claiming this year it’s a “new me”. You’re apparently going to train 7 days a week full pelt and become a svelte gazelle. Did you also tell yourself that last year??


The thing is, when we use exercise purely for weight loss it becomes a punishment or trade off for food and that is an unhealthy relationship.


There are way more benefits to exercise than weight loss.


Building strong muscles prevents injury and helps to manage chronic pain conditions, back pain etc.and helps to keep you mobile well into old age. Exercise also improves bone health which again you will thank you younger self for when 80 year old you hasn’t succumbed to Osteoporosis.


Exercise is also good for mental health too. It has been proven many times to be effective at helping to manage depression and anxiety, and day to day can help to manage stress levels.


Exercise is a great way to challenge your boundaries, give you something to focus on and improve your confidence.


So instead of falling straight into the pit of all or nothing exercise for weight loss, this year why not train for a an event or challenge and make your exercise routine a training programme for whatever that challenge is.


This takes the focus from how your body looks to how it performs. Putting the hard work into training will make you stronger and fitter, you will achieve things and more than likely feel more confident because of it.


Now you may be the sort that goes full throttle and is now thinking “great I’ll sign up to a marathon “ which is great but if that’s not your bag you can scale the challenge to whatever level you are at.


Maybe you could challenge yourself to walk 7 miles per week every for a year-which could be a mile a day or a long walk at the weekend. Maybe you could aim to climb snowdon, walk some or all of Hadrian’s wall etc. Whatever interests you.


I’m back at Dog Agility which means I’ll probably start thinking about sprint training to help me keep up! I’d never normally entertain that sort of training but as it’s focused on an outcome I want to achieve it means I can see the benefit this sort of training will give me.


So, what are you going to challenge yourself to this year?.


Goal Preparation

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year and had at least a small break to just switch your brain off and spend some time doing what you love.

How did 2018 go for you?

Do you remember those goals you set right back last January? How did you get on with those?

Did you smash them? Did you maybe make some progress but you aren’t there yet? Or did you write them off mid-year and tell yourself next year?

Perhaps your goals have changed? Life throws us curve balls and sometimes your goals can change.

I also think its fine if you don’t have grand aspirations for 2019. I have a mix of clients that have varying goals from completing Endurance events to just wanting to feel healthier and fitter throughout 2019. I also have clients that want to learn how to manage stress better in 2019.

These are all important goals to these people as of course the sense of personal achievement for those competing in events will be massive, however this does not diminish the goals of those wanting to be less stressed and feel healthier. The direct impact this goal will have on their daily lives will actually also be life changing. Imagining not feeling drained, tired and overwhelmed every day?

As I work with both these kinds of clients I actually find the basic system is very much the same.

First sit down with a pen and paper and write down your goals.

Then ask yourself what you need to do to achieve them.

If it is an event you are aiming for, then work backwards from that date and plan your training, as well as including wiggle room for injury, illness and work/family getting in the way. Then look at all the factors that will contribute; of course the training plan is first and foremost but there is also nutrition and recovery to consider. Do you need help with these things? Let me know if you do I can help!

Add all of these things into your plan and then work out how they are going to fit into your normal weekly schedule.

The same system applies if you are just looking to stay mobile, free of aches and pains or less stressed.

What do you need to do to help you achieve these things?

Do you need to take up some exercise? Do you need to improve your nutrition? Perhaps you need to become more organised and set a routine to make sure everything gets done.

Look at all of these elements and plan how you will tackle them and how they will fit into your existing normal schedule. Do you need help with any of these elements? If you do again hit reply and book your consultation.

Goal setting and achieving doesn’t have to be stressful or take over your entire life if you take the time to plan it properly and work out how to fit it around your existing commitments.

Do you know that saying “Proper Preparation Prevents P!*s Poor Performance” well it applies to all areas of your life-even if it’s just time management.

Reflect on 2018

I hope you had a nice Christmas, and aren’t quite pudding shaped yet.

I usually take this time to reflect on my year and most importantly to look back on all the positive things that have happened.

I know it can be too easy to focus on what didn’t go well particularly if some significantly awful things have happened. However I find no matter what downs the year had celebrating the ups no matter how small can reframe you’re feeling about the year gone by.

I feel incredibly fortunate that 2018 has been an amazing year for me both professionally and personally.

I’ve had the best time with my 121 clients this year, seriously we have had way too much fun that I can’t believe it’s actually my job! It’s not all been messing about though we actually got results too and I’m really proud of the part I have played in everyone’s success this year and as I tell new folks “no deaths yet!” I’ve really enjoyed working with you and I’m really looking forward to helping you keep smashing those goals in 2019.

For 2019 I am definitely going all out on the movement, strength, prehab and rehab front so expect more of that from me next year-I’ll try and convince Mr A to write some nutrition stuff for you along the way but he’s not a keen writer……

So firstly I want you to have a think about all the positive things that have happened to you this year no matter how small-maybe you lost some weight, are still doing that exercise class you signed up to months ago or maybe you’ve overcome an injury.

Secondly, how can I help you in 2019? What do you need help with? What would you like me to offer to help you?


Let me know and I will do my best to deliver; now I’m off to scoot on my Pony Carriage!

Christmas Balance

Ok, firstly if you haven’t done your xmas shopping stop reading this and go and do it NOW!

If you have so you’re still reading let’s go on to not coming out of Boxing Day feeling more stuffed than the turkey.

I’m not going to turn into a diet obsessed bore as I honestly don’t think you’d listen anyway! Secondly I certainly won’t be “dieting” on Christmas day, or Boxing Day for that matter.

The thing is Christmas is only one day, but I know as happens for me there are social events Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and maybe even days around that.

The thing is of course this can then turn into a fortnight long of eating and drinking.

All you can do is try and create some balance. That is firstly try as much as you can to keep up a regular exercise routine, even if those workouts are shorter or maybe it’s just a walk at lunchtime  just try to do some movement every day.

With regards to your diet and negotiating the constant stream of food that Christmas brings again, just try and keep some order but also tip the scales a little in your favour by considering the overall volume of eating you will do across the day. For example if you know you are going to a social event in the evening either eat very lightly across the whole day or skip either breakfast or lunch-I know I just suggested skipping meals! Then of course be mindful of what you are eating, if you want the mince pie etc. have the mince pie, but don’t fall into the trap of eating food just because it’s there.

Oh and eat all the vegetables, Sprouts are good for you!

So, of course enjoy yourself and have a lovely Christmas, it’s only a couple of days of loosening the buttons and so long as you’re back on track come new year I promise it will be fine-just don’t go nuts.

Above all I hope you have a lovely Christmas





Let’s call it damage limitation

Let’s be honest at some point over the festive period it’s highly likely you’re going to have too much to drink and have a teensy hang over the next day. Of course yes I’ve been there and I know you start to reach for all the carbs, maybe some serious grease and sugar.


Let’s breakdown the symptoms and see how we can deal with them in a more healthy way.


Firstly the headache is a sign of dehydration so you need to get some electrolytes in you to sort this out pronto. You could use something like Dioralyte or a Zero Sugar Sports drink (I’m thinking of your calorie content , don’t waste it on drinks!).There will be caffeine in it to perk you up too.


Next is the nausea or generally upset stomach feeling which can be a tricky one as obviously you eat what your stomach will allow. However a full fry up is really not the answer,but some toast with eggs and a couple of rashers of grilled bacon is a decent option.


A bowl of porridge with a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter is a great option of you feel the need for something warm and substantial (stop it!)


If you can’t face food but are going to need some energy to get you through the day make yourself a smoothie and just sip it throughout the morning. You could use whichever milk you like and add Protein powder, banana, peanut butter or use a mix of berries, or cocoa powder and hazelnuts, whatever you like!


The tiredness, well just trust me that continually setting yourself up with sugar will only have you crashing back down again throughout the day, so along with the above the only other thing is sleep but obviously that’s not always possible so you’re just going to have to ride it out and try and get an early night.


If you can try and get a gentle workout in such as a walk outside as that will help to get your blood pumping and speed up the metabolism of the alcohol, and will also make you feel more awake as the endorphins kick in.


I know it won’t stop you getting a hangover but if I can at least stop you inhaling all,the carbs and feeling a lot the worse the day after then my work here is done.