2 July 2018

Have fun in the sun workout

summer workout

Do you remember when you were a kid and you played outside for the whole summer holiday? The sun and the summer went on forever and ever, well why does it have to be any different because you’re all grown up? This weekend we spent on Dorset’s Jurassic coast, on a Famous Five themed birthday weekend. No one thought consciously about getting exercise in or burning calories but we all spent the day outside charging around in the sunshine. We biked up and down hills and kayaked in the sea, the sun shone and we all had a jolly spiffing time.

What does it take to get 15 like-minded adults away from the grind of family, work and city lives to enjoy these simple pleasures? A few months of planning a big birthday and a lot of logistical juggling to get the kids sorted….and how often to we get the opportunity to do this? And should it be this hard?

Really we should join up these precious moments in the wonderful tapestry of our rich an diverse modern lives instead of them being peppered with days like these every 10 years! We need to remember what is important and include more of this in our day to day. How can we get together more often with those friends who make our cockles warm and get outside and run and laugh in the sunshine? Why do we have to be serious and mundane and how did that become what we are most of the time.

The train grinds to a halt as you get off into the rain on the platform and fight with the swell of commuters for a bus or cab to your grey concrete office building where you sit in front of a fluorescent screen all day. Punctuated with a rubbery lunchtime sandwich in plastic wrapping and a weak coffee from the machine in the hallway your cortisol levels steadily rise throughout the week until you hit Friday and decide to ‘treat’ yourself with sweet alcholic beverages and saturated fats until Monday arrives….OK so this is a bleak version of most people’s weekly reality but why are we mainly revolving around this format, why cant it be more like:

The week starts with an early morning jog along the seafront with dogs breathing in the fresh air and an effort at lunchtime to at least walk around town before heading home after work and making an effort to engage with people who you are stimulated by so that we don’t fall out at the end of the week feeling lucky and grateful to have got there but instead comfortably arrive at Friday with a full sense of wellness and all around health…..We all make choices, is it time to re-frame yours?

22 August 2017

Stuck in a rut

gym training rut

The first thing to remember is DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP!!

You’re here now and for whatever reason your routine, motivation or satisfaction has taken a knock and you’re not training at all or far less than you want to. Maybe you have now run the marathon you’ve been training for all year, maybe the seasonal changes have affected you, maybe you got a new job, maybe maybe maybe….it could be a zillion things but you are better spending your time looking forwards than back.

I speak from personal and professional experience. You may hear people say ‘if you can identify the cause you can prevent it from happening again’ but that will not help you out of this rut. That may help you manage your life but to be honest if you identified the cause this time I betchya there would be a different cause the next time, and the next and the next….you are best to roll with the punches. Understand that life will toss you around a bit and that your training regime will take a knock and just get on with working out how to get stuck back in again.

All that said, how do you do it?

OK so lets assume you are mainlining Hagen das cookies and cream on the sofa binge watching Netflix; watching your recently gained weight loss/muscle definition/new trousers/delete as appropriate go to pot. You’re thinking ‘Ah well, I know I can do it because I’ve been achieving these gains over the past 6 months so I’m just going to enjoy myself whilst I can and then when the motivation hits me again ill get back on the wagon’

In this moment I want you to truthfully answer me this: Are you actually happy sitting there? How many of you can say that your stomach doesn’t feel bruised from all the fat and sugar you’ve been throwing down there, or that you don’t miss the DOMs and the post workout euphoria. Can you actually admit to feeling better slobbing out there than the agile, light, strong, lean person you feel (or are getting towards feeling) like when you are working out. Can you say that you are in control, that you have made the choice to sit on your behind shovelling one handful of food after another into your gob? Wouldn’t you prefer to feel on top of your game? Doesn’t it make you feel more virtuous, more in control, better at work, more productive, happier, more positive and upbeat?

Right so we’ve got an admission, and that is that your subconscious mind is playing a trick on you and actually you are much happier when you are working out. Stop immediately what you are doing and stand up. Go pack your gym bag and put it by the front door then place a healthy food order to be delivered to your house/work the next day; set your alarm for an hour earlier, fill your glass up with lots of water and go have a soak in the bath. Physically cleaning yourself may only be a psychological aid but it’s a cute trick to shut your subconscious devil up!

Go to bed early, feel excited, give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve broken through and tomorrow you’re going to reap the rewards. Don’t think when your alarm goes off, grab your bags and get to the gym/out on the road/your bike/your class…..its much better to get the first few sessions done first thing in the morning than after a day at work, it is less likely you will find an excuse to miss the session. Once you are back in the swing of it you can flip your times to suit you but I would suggest for at least the first week to aim for early morning sessions every time. That evening cook some healthy food, maybe even a couple of dishes to split out into Tupperware so you have some for the next few days and there is no excuse to slip. Start planning throughout the first week how you are going to attack your training and food this time, write things down, read about different training regimes. You may even want to start having a look now at what went wrong last time and put some measures in place. But don’t whatever you do BEAT YOURSELF UP!!

31 October 2016

It’s all in your head ‘love’


Recently I was approached by a desperate friend whose daughter is overweight and about to leave home to go to University. Worried the daughter would go off the rails having left the supportive environment of her family home, we discussed her options.

Weight gain is a really tough one; both for the individual and for their loved ones. No one likes to see someone they care about becoming unhealthier, missing out on activities because they are too overweight, feeling terrible about themselves and loosing self-esteem or possibly having work issues. Added to this list and more, people stigmatise the overweight; society is conditioned to align beauty and success with slim people.

The solution, however as I explained to my friend, is not in a healthy education although this helps with the ‘rehabilitation’ part but in resolving the root of the overeating. And this is almost exclusively a head issue, which needs careful and professional (often) dissection, exposure and resolve before it can be eradicated in a way that means it won’t bounce back next time that person feels down, unloved, vulnerable or alone. Because there is a better therapy than food and that is self-love….

2 January 2015

2015 Won’t change anything unless you do

…..Fairly obviously

But how do you do this and make it last? The answer is in such small changes that on a daily basis you almost don’t realise you are making change. That way you will get to your goals and although it may take a little longer they will at least stick and you can make new ones for 2016 instead of re-hashing these ones again.

Continue Reading

7 June 2012

Make the change work part II: Understanding the seven stages of change


You are still unconvinced of the need to change

  • Read about the health consequences of inactivity and obesity
  • Read inspirational stories of those who have successfully changed their lives
  • Speak to others who have changed successfully
  • Talk to your docotor about the health consequences of inactivity and the benefits of exercise

2. Belief but uncommitted:

You believe you should be more active but cannot get started

  • Visualise yourself as a new person: what you will look like, what you will weigh, what clothes you will fit into, how energetic you feel, how much younger you look. Contrast this with the old you.
  • Tally the health benefits: how exercise will reduce your chances of heart disease, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, etc…
  • Visualise new social possibilities
  • Be realistic about the alternatives: TV watching, more work, watching life pass you by as opposed to active engagement and meeting new challenges

3. Active planning:

You are actively planning the new you

  • Set a start date
  • Set small, achievable goals even minutes a day, 3 to 4 days per week.
  • Make a detailed plan including scheduling your exercise time into your daily planner for at least the next 3 months.
  • Be specific; when, how long, and where you will exercise, what back up plan you have for bad weather or unforeseen events including heavier work loads, illness and holidays.
  • Enlist support; let others know that you will be exercising, see if friends want to join you.
  • Set goals. Think about training for short races or even a half marathon if your a runner.
  • Believe in your self and let nothing stand in your way. Its your life!

4. Active engagement:

You are currently engaged in a training routine

  • Keep a training journal
  • Reward yourself every week, it could be a good movie, concert or another activity you really like
  • Maintain a positive attitude towards your progress
  • Be consistent
  • Dont worry if you miss a session, make it up the next day

5. Image creation:

You are not only training, you are creating a new image for yourself. You see yourself as a “walker” or a “swimmer”

  • Visualise this paradigm shift. You should be trying to define yourself by your actions-you are a “tai chi practitioner”, you are a “marathoner”.
  • Subscribe to magazines or journals that reinforce your new image.
  • Seek out others who are involved in similar activities

6.Image maintenance:

You have a new self image and only severe setbacks such as illness or injury will deter you from keeping up your training.

  • Make a backup plan for setbacks
  • Continue to refine your goals.Are you training for fitness only? Would you like to set a weight loss goal? Would you like to enter a competition?

7. The new you:

You are a new person

  • Expand your horizons by seeking more knowledge about your fitness pursuits.
  • Help others to become whole by introducing them to your techniques.
  • Consider writing about your experiences.
  • Maintain your training diary


14 May 2012

How to make the change work

So you’ve been chugging along for the last 10 years working your way up the corporate ladder in the job of your dreams, your boss is great and your colleagues really supportive.

As time has passed you have become more and more absorbed in the process; You wake you rush to the train station you sit or stand like a sardine for a couple of hours with other people rushing to get to your office/cubicle where you sit and perform the work tasks then you go back to the train station and sit or stand like a sardine for a couple more hours to get to your home where you sit down to eat followed by some more sitting to do more work tasks or watch the television.

But your doing great at work, continually promoted with a bigger and bigger financial reward. The daily grind seems worth it when you look at your bank balance and your ever growing family, you love your family and would do anything for little Isa, she’s 2 next month and just toddling.

Somehow eating an M&S pre-packed dinner in front of the lap top seems the quickest way to stop your stomach churning, after all you simply don’t have time to cook tonight and bath Isa and get the final tweaks done for your big presentation to the board tomorrow. You tell yourself it wont always be like this and in a couple of years time once you are a director you will work from home and be able to pick Isa up from school.


Your fat, 45, you have high blood pressure, your stressed, tired, worn out, have a bad back, a dodgy knee, and don’t get much bedroom action!

You wake up one day and realise its all gone so quickly….Isa is doing her A-levels, her brother his GCSE’s….neither of them wants anything to do with their very un-hip father. Ever since that  parents race at the school sports day when you twisted your knee in the 100 metres Dad’s race and ended up rolling around on the floor shouting “man down, man down” You have never really earned back Isa’s respect. And now your baby is nearly all grown up, so one day you decide to make a change, a change that will earn back Isa’s respect, get your wife to look at you amorously again and most importantly make you feel alive, in love, fresh, fit and fabulous….where the bloody hell do you start?


  • Life changing changes usually work best when you are prepared to do anything to make them stick. Without exception.
  • The goal to making the changes stick is preparation.
  • Remove all temptations from the areas you spend time in; chocolate, booze, fags, crisps etc…
  • Build up a stock of healthy snacks in your cupboards that are tried and tested so you know you will be OK to plump for them when you get a craving rather than run out to the chocolate shop!
  • Plan and write out a daily structure so that you can see you do indeed have 45mins spare to fit in an exercise session.
  • Decide when you are going to start the regime and make sure it is realistic.
  • Do not go on a bender the night before. Instead as the date approaches slowly start replacing some of the things you have decided to remove from your life with some of the healthier options so that you go into your regime running not flat on your arse!
  • Stick to it like glue, do not ever, ever give yourself an excuse to not train or eat crap. If you fall off the wagon do not beat yourself up or further indulge just pull yourself together and keep going.