23 December 2021

Fit in your 40s with an office job?

brightonfit bike commute

I write this post from many tried and tested methods to integrate a full time desk job with a desire to retain a fully fit and functionally strong body. Having spent 20 years on my feet all day every day at work, I found the transition to a desk job extremely challenging. At the start I could not even sit for more than 1 hour without an aching pain in my buttocks! After some time (about a year) this discomfort eased and I was able to sit for a day, around the same time I began experiencing lower back pain. Flashbacks of my clients complaining about lower back pain over the previous 2 decades popped into my mind and I realised I had gone from someone whose body was not subjected to the physical restrictions that modern life and work choices brings to someone that very definitely was….and in an amazingly short period of time.

I then tried all sorts of training schedules and styles in order to regain what I had lost which was predominantly functional strength and a decent fitness level. What ended up becoming a sustainable pattern for me combines an active living approach with sessions I dedicate to exercising. I ride my push bike (pictured) into work every single day (5 miles) come rain or shine (having invested in some Gortex waterproofs!); I aim for speed without stopping. I go straight to the gym and workout for an hour predominantly weight lifting except for one weekly HIIT session I put in on a day that I feel energetic! After work I ride home for food and maybe to tie up some work hanging over from the day. I try and get out every evening after this; I will take my mountain bike out alone or with friends or go to my local indoor climbing centre for a couple of hours. These types of fun, social sessions are best for me at this time of the day since I’m tired and it’s often dark and wet/cold so it takes something like this to get me out of the house. Of course once I’m riding around in the woods feeling alive and connected to the earth doing what I love, the thought of sitting on the sofa seems like a crazy alternative.

Weekends are a mixture of active and relaxing activity but intentionally without the routine of the week. The result has been that I have returned to pre desk job fitness and strength levels and I feel that both my brain and body are fuelled in an equal way. Of course I realise that having kids would make this much harder but not impossible if motivated enough….the key message here is that I encourage you to find something that works for you. If it means getting up earlier, preparing bags/food the day before, getting bike tyres pumped or climbing wall sessions booked it will all be worth it once you are in the groove – you really can have it all!!

2 August 2019

15 reasons why you may have or know someone with problematic eating


There’s no one way of telling if you or someone you know has an unhealthy attitude to food. There are some indicators that might in isolation or combination point towards a less than healthy attitude (see below). But this is not an exhaustive list and some people with an unhealthy relationship with food may never identify with any of these. But they would be outliers as most of the rest of us who view food as pleasurable, exciting and imperative will not experience anything on this list ever.

Reasons for developing the poor attitude to food are always the place to start, these can sometimes go back years and be ingrained in the fibre that makes up our persona so often require a specialist to help work through. Often the result of weight loss is a control mechanism when so much else seems uncontrollable and often the individual wont see their physical self in the same way that the rest of us do (body dysmorphia).

So here is the list, and remember these people need our support and understanding not chastising and patronising, there are demons at work here…

  1. Skipping meals
  2. Complaining of constipation or stomach pain
  3. Food obsessed but not eating
  4. Weight fluctuations
  5. Rigid meal plans and food rituals
  6. Bizarre food combinations
  7. Fixation on clean eating
  8. Lack of menstruation
  9. Going to the bathroom after meals
  10. Excessive exercise
  11. Not eating in front of others
  12. Use of laxatives, diuretics or diet pills
  13. Disappearance of a large amount of food in a short period of time
  14. Hiding food or food wrappers in strange places
  15. Wearing baggy clothes

30 June 2019

How HIIT training can combat ageing

personal trainer brighton

The physiological age of our body may be quite different from our numerical age; you’ve seen it in your friends everyone is a similar age and yet some look like they are 10 years older or younger than others. Some of this comes down to genetics but a lot of it can be attributed to the way we lead our lives.

What we put in our bodies and what we put our bodies through, makes a difference to what is called our cellular age. This is the age that your cells operate as despite your actual age and the regulation of calcium influences it. During a HIIT session chemical channels in muscle cells alter their calcium regulation making them more efficient; similar to how they did when the cells (and you) were younger. This is seen even in the 65-80 year old age group.

A HIIT session is purported to be more beneficial to cellular ageing than resistance training alone even though many HIIT sessions involved weights it is not necessarily that which promotes this benefit.

Preventing cellular ageing can make them more resistant to stress and inflammation and increase longevity. Psychological factors may be at hand here too as part of adapting a more active lifestyle will mean that you tend to choose better foods, sleep better and drink less alcohol so the gains can be across the board.

To perform a HIIT session you simply need to incorporate a blast of high intensity working out with a period of less intense exercise and cycle the exercise types for the duration of the session. Often the workouts will fatigue you quickly and may only be 30 minutes long. When you start this kind of training it may be that you can only manage 5-10mins to start with and that is fine! Just weave this type of session in gradually and build up to it over time….after all your going to be around for longer!

10 May 2019

Weight lifting or cardio training first?

weights or cardio first

We get asked this all the time and our answer is the same: it depends on your goals, and here’s why:

If you are a regular gym goer with the aim of general keep fit, staying strong and beating the bulge then it is probable like 99% of other gym goers you will want to incorporate both lifting and cardio training into your workouts.

If you do a cardio session whether it’s a steady state or interval type session you will tire; you will have used up some energy stores. If in the same session you then want to perform some lifts, you may find your strength is depleted and/or your form is poor.

Alternatively, if you started your workout with a weight lifting session your muscles will be exhausted, having been trained to or close to failure and the chances of you pushing out any good cardio training next is unlikely.

So, the overriding answer to the conundrum depends on what you value as important in your own training and you may find it most beneficial to alternate sessions with one starting with cardio and the other weight lifting. In terms of science, recent studies have shown that the most cardio gain is to be had if placed before the strength training component of a mixed workout.

The same does not apply for those with less general goals: If you want to bulk then definitely put the strength before the cardio and perhaps consider interval/HIIT training over steady state cardio when it comes to it (but don’t forget it!). For long distance runners the cardio sessions need to take precedence however it is a good idea to have a couple of dedicated strength sessions pw to add to your long distance running as it is likely you will have run out of time or energy to add anything useful after a session.

17 April 2019

What you should know about sugar

How dietary sugar effects fitness

Sugar is the umbrella term used for natural sugar, added sugar or sugar substitute. As with any food type, eaten in excess or as part of a diet that contributes to excess will lead to weight gain. As sugar is a calorie dense food with very little in it that makes you feel full, it is easy to over consume it. Furthermore, sugars are often added to our foods without us realising. Obesity and being overweight can be a precursor to several conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

So what are these sugars?

Let’s start with natural sugar: This is a form of sugar that is found in foods such as fruit which contains fructose, wheat which contains maltose, or beans which contain raffinose amongst many more. The sugar can take the form of simple or complex molecules and is often bound with proteins and fats.

Added sugars: Sugars that get added to food in manufacture in addition to ones naturally occurring. As a rule of thumb, they tend to be the type that are energy dense and nutrient poor i.e. ones that are made of small molecules and not bound to other types of nutrients. Examples include glucose, lactose, maltose, fructose, sucrose and other ingredients ending in ‘ose’

Sugar substitutes: This group of sugars include stevia, aspartame and sucralose and don’t have any calorific value. Studies have shown they can have an effect on gut bacteria and disturb metabolism.

Other substitutes like xylitol, erythritol and sorbitol are not as sweet and do have some calorific value but have been shown to have a negative effect on people who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome.

Moderating sugar intake in particular added sugars and sweeteners that come with very little additional calorific gain would be a sensible first step. Tips to reduce sugar consumption:

  • Try and save sports drinks for workouts of over 60mins only
  • Swap out flavoured yogurts for plain ones (add fresh fruit instead)
  • Swap sweetened canned fruit for natural syrup
  • Save desserts for special occasions
  • Sweeten food with mashed banana or apple sauce instead of sugar or syrup

9 April 2019

To eat workout calories back or not?

workout caloriesSo you’ve put some effort in calculating your macro nutrient requirement (macros) and you know how much you are burning in your workouts. Chances are you are looking to generate a small daily deficit in order to shift a few pounds, or you are aiming to avoid over eating. If you want help or more advice with this step please call any of our Brighton and Hove personal trainers

Your workouts will give you a few hundred calories per day to hypothetically consume (assuming they were not part of the initial calories in/out calculation). This would hold your calorie deficit at the same level that you calculated…. meaning that you could eat these calories back and still reach your goals in the same period of time.

Reasons that you should eat these calories back:

  • If your calculated macro deficit is close to 500kcals/day. Adding this deficit to the ones lost during your workout multiple times per week could put you at risk of reducing your metabolic rate (when the body senses it does not have sufficient fuel it makes changes to conserve energy such as a reduction in metabolic rate)
  • If you are hungry. All hunger is not the same! But all hunger is generated because your body is warning you its low on fuel. Hunger can be a useful tool to manipulate hormone levels that perceive levels of satiety (a key tool used in intermittent fasting), however assuming you are not fasting you should respond to your hunger signals and eat something.

On the other hand…..you may want to reconsider not eating workout calories back because studies have shown that it is common to overestimate calorie burn and underestimate calorie consumption so your calculated deficit may not be accurate.

It really comes down to what your goal is, how hard and long you are exercising for and how good your macro calculation is.

16 March 2019

A Brighton personal trainers advice on CHANGE

Image result for make small changes

Change is hard, especially if they are habits and behaviours that are your default, that make you feel good, that you have been resorting to for a long time.

But it is possible to change and it is possible to do it without the feeling of sacrifice and it is possible to make change last and become your new normal.

The most common trait that we see in clients is the desire to want to shake everything up simultaneously to quite an extreme degree. Clients decide the time for change is now and they want to go hell bent at it, crash dieting and unsustainable exercise regimes are what they are looking for.

What’s the problem with this approach?

The problem is that it can’t last, and even if they reach their dream weight loss or fitness they are unable to sustain it. Why? Because no one, can train alone or with a Brighton personal trainer maximally every day, be on a hugely restrictive calorie intake, hold down a fulltime job and be a functioning member of society. So what happens? They fall off the wagon, they have not spent time building up a strategy to pick themselves up when this happens and they simply drift back into their old habits. What happens then? We usually see them walk back into the Brighton fitness studio a year or two later, looking more unfit than they had the first time and much more unhappy.

How to not be this client?

Understand that you are human, that you will fall off the wagon and that you need to spend time building your recovery strategies into the working out and weight loss program. Once that is clear in your mind you have bought yourself some leeway, you need to decide how you are going to treat yourself when things go wrong and you miss a personal training session or eat a cake. A good way to do this is to say “OK I recognise that wasn’t part of my plan, I am going to drink a pint of water/ brush my teeth and go do something positive now like cook a healthy meal/take the dog out for a long walk” Call it a mental re-set, and this will give you a sense of control rather than a sense of urgency before you loose the motivation to attack this wellness goal and you slip back into your old ways.

How should you attack the training/eating plan from here?

Easy; bit by bit. Just choose one thing to focus on food wise and one thing to focus on training wise. For example let’s say you are eating really late and drinking while waiting for dinner and with dinner and its building into a nightly routine that you feel is your down fall. Try making your food goal to be making sure you eat before 7pm every night and not drinking on weekday evenings. Let’s say you feel you don’t exercise enough, your one training goal could be to exercise once on the weekend and once in the week alone, with a Brighton personal trainer or as part of a group exercise class. After you have fully mastered these changes then, and only then move onto the next two changes. Your food change next could be to ensure you eat the right macronutrients and your next exercise change could be to add another weekly workout to your program. After that becomes habit you could add your next two changes, and so on and so on….until there are no more changes left to make! And continually with the knowledge that you have a fall back plan everytime you fall off the wagon.

1 February 2019

What is behavioural therapy, why should you consider it and how does it relate to weight loss?

Image result for intelligent weight loss

Weight loss is a complicated, but you know that… Here’s what we know:

Behavioural therapy, which is made up of dietary and physical activity recommendations along with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), is a powerful and successful method of weight loss.

The problem most people have is keeping the weight off; this has been heavily researched, and it is now known that the average length of time from the start of weight loss to weight regain is 5-6 months.

Exercise plays a positive role in bucking this trend and maintaining weight loss, and also has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity which is good news in the prevention of type II diabetes (a high risk associated with obesity). In fact, in recent studies, the best weight loss and maintenance (in the 2 years after the start of the weight loss program) results were seen in those who incorporated exercise from start of the program. The success was attributed to the intensive style that was adopted where the weight loss participants met with their dietitian and physical trainer face to face for regular sessions.

What we knew prior to these studies was that the timing of the introduction of exercise to a weight loss program was key to obese individuals’ success. Research had shown that exercise was vital to keep weight off but that participants grew weary and eventually ceased exercising after 3-6 months (50% drop off rate). What was novel about the recent study was that if an intensive approach from the start was adopted then this was not the case and that participants saw a significantly better rate of success.

So the message from this research is to make sure you plan your weight loss journey:

Do consider how you are going to include the physical AND mental sides of weight loss in your approach and do consider how you are going to ensure the weight stays off once you have successfully lost it.

If you would like to try an intensive approach, we have developed a package that combines work with our Dietitian, Alice, with the physical training our personal trainers offer, just get in touch to discuss your requirements.

4 November 2018

‘Walking’ the Lycian way


When we booked the 4 day walk I was thinking how lovely it would be to walk the “Turquoise coast” in the autumn sunshine as a sort of chilled out break away from the impending UK frosty winter. I certainly didn’t think it would be physically challenging, but I was very wrong!!

We were given a route map by a local company who arranged for our bags to be transferred by taxi to the B and B we would walk to each day. On the face of it the walks, although reasonably long (15-20km) didn’t look too challenging, but if you add bouldering, vertical climbs, picking your way through rock gardens, sharp shards of loose shingle underfoot and about 28 degree heat to the mix it suddenly takes a whole different look!

By the end of day one (after a 7.5hour ‘walk’, a twisted ankle, lots of blisters and a few crossed words) we felt toasted and fell into bed soon after we arrived. By the morning however, and after a very plentiful fill at breakfast, the pain of the previous day wore off and we felt able to tackle day 2. This was a walk up one side of a mountain and down again the other side; total ascent = 1000metres (again!!). We missed the entrance onto the path from the village so started the day with a climb up the rock face to hack into it 2 km down the path. It was exhilarating as it was stupid really, but anyway I am not sure we were in the mood for back tracking to cover extra mileage to start the ascent in the prescribed manner! We climbed all day until about 3pm and spent a couple of hours in the afternoon coming down again, the climb although difficult was actually less painful than the treacherous descent as the gradient was so steep and the ground so poor that the knees took an absolute hammering. Queue day 3; an undulating route taking us up and down 3 peaks of 200, 500 and 300 metres respectively – another 7+ hour day which was hotter than the previous 2 but somehow as we were over half way through and acclimatised both in the temperature and psychologically not as bad as it sounded. At points we chose to swim along the coast as oppose to walk where it was feasible on this portion but on the whole the day was good, possibly the best of the lot albeit a tough one. Day 4 was relatively easy, only covering 8km in total and most of the gradient was down hill, really an amble in comparison so we took advantage with as much swimming, and photographs as possible….

The 4 days were extremely tough, our legs took a battering and the blisters are still evident; our muscles took a couple of days to recover and walking has taken on a whole new meaning to me! Before we go again (which we have already vowed to) we will definitely do some physical preparation. For these kind of walks I am planning on a couple of months of long distance hiking once or twice a week in combination with: squats, deadlifts, lunges, Bulgarian lunges, side lunges, weighted step ups, single legged squats and a few plyo exercises in like wall balls, split jumps and some mountain climbers only because they are so aptly named!

10 September 2018

Advantages and disadvantages of Online personal training

bfit online personal trainers

Like it or loathe it, online personal training is here and will continue a healthy surge in popularity in the future.

So much of our lives are digitised now and with technology racing ahead it was a logical step to the fitness industry? You can train with a personal trainer who you may not find at your local Brighton gym, possibly one who occupies a specialist niche or speaks the same language as you! Huge possibilities have been opened up for consumers with the explosion in the market but online personal training is not for everyone. Here we run through some of the advantages and disadvantages of online personal training:


  • Access to expert advice and somebody who fits your style

Spending time shopping around various personal trainers and companies to find the one that you like the look of is one of the major advantages of online personal training.

  • More affordable

Trainers no longer need to charge to cover their online clients time in quite the same way as their face to face clients due to a host of factors including gym rent, the number of clients they can fit into a day etc…. You may find in some cases you can get a month’s worth of training from an online trainer for the same price as a few face-to-face sessions

  • Location/Time

Being able to train at any time and anywhere is much more efficient for both you and the online trainer. You are no longer bound by business hours, gym opening times, daylight hours or the number of clients your trainer can realistically see in a day.



There are not many disadvantages to online personal training but it may not suit everyone, for example:

  • If you need motivation and accountability from someone you can look eye to eye with and make a deep personal connection with then you may struggle with most online personal trainers. There will be some high-end plans you can subscribe to with regular live video link ups (such as Skype, face time etc..) in order to re-create this part of real life training. However be prepared to pay a premium price as the trainer is now exchanging their time for money in the same way as face to face training.
  • Nobody spotting for technique or heavy lifts

Relevant to complete beginners, or those who lift very heavy weights. Both types of clients would benefit from face to face training to minimise the chance injuries.