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!!

18 August 2018

Is the wait worth the weight?

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting, what is it?

There are a number of ways of achieving the same goal here but simply put this is a period of fast in your eating. Common ways of introducing a break in eating are introducing a 14-16 hour fast into a 24 hour period, whilst this may sound like a long time one way people find relatively easy to achieve this stretch is by including the 8 hours of sleep at night time into this and skipping breakfast in the morning. Other ways you may have read about are the 5:2 diet, the 24 hour fast, alternate day fasting, the warrior diet, spontaneous meal skipping and many more!…

The 5:2 diet has previously been discussed here , the 24 hour fast is tricky for a lot of people as the fast window is so big, on the alternate day fasting it is recommended to eat 500kcals on your fast day, the warrior diet proposes a period of fast during the day and feast at night, and so on…

Q: What do the marketeers promise from the results of intermittent fasting? and what do some in the fitness industry (marketeers?) promise from the results of intermittent fasting?

A: Weight loss and improved athletic performance respectively


Firstly throw away anything you read that promises you anything, you want to read only information backed by peer reviewed scientific study; this will ensure you receive objective, unbiased information not motivated by your cash. You will be offered statistics to prove or disprove a hypothesis made in the publication followed by a conclusion based on the stats, i.e. simply offered the scientific results.

We often hear from people that there is too much confusing and conflicting information out there, this is because you are reading information from the wrong source! The majority of people writing online are doing so because they are making a living doing so and therefore need to influence you!.A good place to start if you do not have access to scientific papers through a university is Google scholar. Fortunately I do have access to a University library (I am completing my doctorate as we speak!) and have filtered out some relevant papers on this subject to clarify the debate:

The subject of weight loss as a result of intermittent fasting (IF) is inconclusive. Testing hundreds of fasting protocols across many species in many research groups has not led to the guaranteed weight loss solution that is punted by get rich quick marketeers. The weight loss results from IF are no better than the results from calorie restriction and have actually been shown to increase sleep disturbance and reduce concentration/accuracy result when tested with patients in a Ramadan fasting study (similar to the warrior diet). What this means is that whilst you may lose weight as a result of IF it may not be directly due to the metabolic and hormonal changes that IF induces, instead probably being the results of a reduction in overall calorie intake.

Reducing your overall calorie intake has been proven scientifically to reduce weight, however this is only maintained long term under certain conditions for example; reducing calorie intake (generating a calorie deficit) by a small amount (a percentage of your daily BMI is usually the way we calculate this) over the medium term, ensuring you still hit your daily macro nutrient split (although varying these is reputed to have effects on satiety, which we will discuss in another post) and then gradually increasing your calories after the period of deficit. These results will be maximised with a balanced exercise program, but significantly the weight loss gains you make have been proven to be best in those who engage in regular exercise after the period of calorie deficit as well as during.

What the studies do agree on with IF, however, is that of gut health improvements leading to lifespan extension, it ameliorates the clinical course and pathology of Multiple sclerosis (MS) and can counteract other disease processes, has profound beneficial effects on many different indices of health, can improve functional outcome in a wide range of age-related disorders including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease and stroke. All due to a cascade of reactions related to the gut flora changes.

So that’s the science. Now you make up your own mind

31 July 2018

Macro’s 101

online macronutrients

You’ll hear this term a lot if you read anything to do with food and balance; in the fitness industry we use it in the same way as they do in the nutritional industry. Which is to say that a diet is made up of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients, or macro’s are your carbohydrates, fats and proteins whereas micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals.

In biochemistry a macronutrient is any substance such as carbon, hydrogen or oxygen that is required by the body in relatively large amounts and it is the same in botany (plants) for nitrogen, hydrogen or phosphorus.

Macro, from the Greek makros, means large and so we use it to describe fuels that are required in large amounts by the body.

Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are made up from molecules and these in turn are made up from atoms of carbon, hydrogen or oxygen in different combinations. It is how these atoms are put together and with what bonds between them that determines their function in the body. Essentially, the break down of molecules releases energy and this energy is used by the body to function.

The body operates a priority system whereby the first source of energy is derives is from the glucose circulating in the blood. This is a small molecule that is easily accessible and easily broken down to be used for energy, however there is only a certain amount of circulating glucose one can store in ones blood and so the body then must turn to its second choice. This usually happens after about 20mins of aerobic exercise and is one of the key factors we consider when, as online personal trainers or Brighton personal trainers, we are creating weight loss plans for clients. Because what happens next is crucial; the body looks for its next favourite energy source and as a result of prior planning it is able to accesses the molecules of fat it has stored for just these occasions.

These are converted to glucose to be used for energy, in fact the number one goal of the body is to serve the brain with energy so this is the first place the body will check if it needs fuelling. In an exercise session the energy will quickly then be directed to the working muscles via the pumping blood flow to ensure they can keep operating at the level needed.

So that’s it in a nutshell! If you have any questions about any of this or anything else just drop us a line as usual…

30 May 2018

Food and Exercise made simple

food and exercise

What if you could combine the services of an expert in nutrition and dietetics; someone who could take account of your personal food likes and dislikes, who understood your work routine and time restrictions and could plan all 3 meals a day for you – down to the gram!

….Along with an expert in health and fitness; someone who could plan an exercise regime for you whilst noting your biomechanics and fitness levels, who considered your injuries and body type along with your exercise loves and hates.

Not just people who have gone off and done weekend courses or online training but genuine experts who have spent years studying and working with people like you. Who understand how you tick, when yes means no and when to push and when to give you space. People who actually like people, people who have learned as much in their academic pursuit as they have in clinics and studios around the world. Experts in their fields who give talks, seminars, teach and train others and who are quite rightly highly respected.

What if these people talked to each other, altered their prescription for you based on your feedback and response. What if they incrementally pushed you along a clear and planned path whilst continually communicating with you and listening to your wants each step of the way?

Would you fall of the wagon then? Would ya? Well would ya?


But what if those same people picked you up, helped you dust yourself off and provided a push up back onto the wagon, without pressure, without patronising you but instead with a very fair, kind and firm hand until you were well seated and gently started nudging you along again.

Would that work for you? Would it give you the boost to get your own drive back? Could it buy you the precious… oh so precious time you need to sleep/think/plan/catch up/take control/ and eventually walk, head tall away from them in control, with all the confidence in the world?


Well what’s stopping you?

Here you go: https://brightonfit.co.uk/weight-loss/



28 January 2016

Getting the best results

jamie food blog

Most of us know we should eat more healthily and we are big advocates of healthy eating, however we also know the pain it can be to keep on the straight and narrow when it comes to diet.

The best advice I can give anyone is – Preparation. Sometimes easier said than done, but with repetition comes good habits. To help get you started I’ve made this (very familiar to many) recipe of Sweet Potato Cottage Pie.  

The idea is simple but there are some changes to be aware of so you can replicate the principles in other meals. The most important ingredient in this recipe is Sweet Potato; a sweet potato is important because it has a lower GI (Glycemic Index) meaning is a less ‘starchy’ carbohydrate, and therefore your body will be able to digest it more rapidly – which all leads to a better digestive system, and more widely, a healthier body.

Learn to replace the more carb dense potato, pasta and even bread with sweet potato, and you’ll be onto a winner. So onto the cooking: This is all about preparation, so it’s essential to make enough meals to be useful.


  • Onion x2
  • Garlic X1 head
  • Carrots x250g
  • Mushrooms x250g
  • Beef mince x1kg
  • Sweet potato x 2


  1. Cut up onion
  2. Crush up garlic
  3. Put in mince meat
  4.  Add chopped up carrots
  5.  Add chopped up mushrooms
  6.  Add tomato (sieved/sliced/chopped)
  7.  Stir on low heat and allow to simmer (longer the better)
  8.  Microwave 2 or 3 sweet potatoes for 10minutes
  9.  Cut open and scoop out

Final product:

Very simple yet 100% healthy. You’ve put so much effort into finding time to train and working hard during your sessions, this is an idea to make sure you get the best results from your hard work.

16 July 2013

How weight watchers and slimming world changed my view on dieting.


I’ve lost track of the number of clients who walk through my doors telling or asking me about the latest fad diet. Or the ones who think food is the enemy, and the ones who think that once they’ve eaten badly once in the day that’s it! They get frustrated at falling off the wagon so continue to eat badly for the rest of the day because they have messed up and feel there is no point in sticking to the plan as they’ve screwed up already and tomorrow they will start again and be “good”

What weight watchers and slimming world do is fantastic as they focus on our psychology and incorporate them into their plans rather than just telling you what you can and can’t eat. The first thing they do is accommodate for the aforementioned my providing allowances (syns or points) for these occasions. This means that you can fall off the wagon but that it is OK. This encourages people to not beat themselves up and to not spiral into a self destruct mode wrt food. You simply tot up your mistakes and make sure you don’t go over a certain amount. The focus is very much on being a realistic nutritional plan that includes margin for error.

The second is to eat healthy foods plentifully. There are plenty of “free” foods in these approaches and this often comes as a surprise to people when they feel that food is the enemy. In fact re-educating people that food is necessary for healthy bodily function and development is incorporated in these approaches. It helps demonstrate that losing weight doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable, calorie restricting starvation process and that actually longer lasting easier to achieve results can be gained by eating lots of healthy fresh and varied foods.

And finally they tap into the social nature of human beings – group psychology can motivate people and generate a sense of camaraderie and “team”. Going to weekly weigh-ins and listening to other people’s success and disappointments each week can boost people enormously. Often it can make the difference between making a success of the plans or not. Having someone next to you bearing their soul and sharing how and why they saw a weight change can make you think “well if they can do it so can I”

So although the plans themselves are simply good eating guidelines based on minimising fat especially ones of a saturated nature and making sure you get a good balance of complex low GI carbs and clean proteins, where they stand head and shoulders above the rest is their inclusion of how our brains work. I really like the no nonsense clear and healthy approach message they give to eating and how they suggest you are in it for the long term gain not a short fix. I know lots and lots of people who have tried these “diets” and had huge results that last.