Do your priorities match up with your training goals?

Here is a scenarios for you:

A client comes in to see me for a free 30 minute consultation where i try and find out as much information about them as possible. I try throughout this period to gauge some sort of ‘gut’ feeling about their psychological state. This is one, to know whether i can work with them and secondly, to know the appropriate ways i should act around that person in order to get the best out of them.

They fill me in on how they are fed up with their belly fat and how they want nothing more than to lose it and see those ‘6 chunks’ of muscles gleaming at them in the mirror. I carry on listening and start to hear bits about their social life such as nights out, lack of sleep, a busy job, meeting with friends etc……

So at this point in the conversation we have a clear goal (Client wants to lose body fat%, specifically belly fat) and i can see maybe there are areas within their lifestyle that need addressing in order to manage stress, control hormone levels and put their body in to a more anabolic state.

I let them know nicely that if they want to get the six-pack they have always dreamt of these points below need to happen:

  • Cut down dramatically on nights out binge drinking
  • Increase your sleep to 8-10 hours quality sleep a night
  • Weight train 3 times per week
  • Metabolic training session once a week
  • High intensity interval training 1-2 times per week

I see them processing their diary in their heads thinking this is going to disrupt my social life (and this is without even touching on the nutrition!!!!).

Straight away i hear

“Well Wednesday night will be a struggle because there my Orange Wednesday nights at the Odeon. I also get in late so wont be able to get 8-10 hours sleep that night and Friday nights are a no because thats my night with the girls where sleep will definitely be deprived.” So this leaves me questioning whether this person really understands how much hard work it is to get lean. So my next question is:

“how much do you think is enough to reach your goal and how much of your lifestyle do you think you need to change?”

I already know what they are going to say its just trying to let the penny drop with them.

If you want to look awesome and be awesome you have train and live like a warrior and ultimately sacrifice/change your lifestyle. In other words you HAVE TO MAKE EXERCISE AND NUTRITION A TOP PRIORITY.

For example if your top goal is to lose 1 stone in weight and drop 7% in body fat over the next 8 weeks, will current lifestyle and exercise habits be the answer when the last year of your life you haven’t seen any long term consistent change to your body at all. The answer is no. You need to change bits of your lifestyle. You need to pump Exercise and nutrition up the priority list, above Wednesday nights at the Cinema and Saturday nights out drinking with mates. Simply saying to a trainer or anybody for that matter that you desperately want to have a six-pack however are unwilling to change your lifestyle for the better is very frustrating and it doesn’t go down too well.

I fully understand that family and work are the main priorities but why cant your health and performance be the third. Surely fitness and nutrition as a main priority will improve your productivity at work and the time you spend with your kids.

The majority of you reading this post will understand the importance of fitness and nutrition and understand how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to look lean and increase your health and performance.

Have a look at your lifestyle and i guarantee there will be one thing that you can change for the better. I changed one at the weekend which was improving the quality of my sleep i.e. no TV or other electrical items in the bedroom at night!!!!! I know this will go a long way to improving my productivity for the next day as well as manage my stress levels and recovery.

So try to change one aspect of your lifestyle for the next two weeks and let me know how it goes.

That’s all for now guys.


Mobility and why it should be in every body’s warm up: The Joint by Joint approach

Those of you that know me will know that I am not the greatest mover. My hip mobility isn’t great and don’t even go there with my thoracic mobility! However I understand the importance of mobility as part of my fitness routine and life.. Eeven though I don’t move the best, over the past few years since I have incorporated more mobility in to my workouts I have seen dramatic improvements. I also think it is no coincidence that I am injured less frequently and when injured it  is no where near as severe as it used to be.

No doubt the majority of you reading this post have at some point in your life experienced knee, lower back or shoulder pain/injury. What if I was to say to you that the pain you experienced actually had nothing to do with that particular joint and was in-fact a symptom of a dysfunction in the joints either directly above or below it.

Now before I go on to it I want to say that there are many other factors that go in to an injury (internal and external) which this blog will not go in to. The aim of this blog is to make you aware of how you can introduce mobility exercises into your routine and hopefully reduce the risk of injury by reducing the stresses through certain joints. It also gives you an insight into why myself and many other coaches view mobility and stability exercises as a vital part of anybodies workout routine. It is an area which needs much more attention. The amount of people I see that think either a 5 minute run, static stretching or no warm up at all will suffice before they lift heavy or sprint maximally on a treadmill is staggering. A classic example would be your young male who has just printed a workout off the Internet, he walks straight out the changing room puts 60kg on the bar and begins to bench press!


The joint-by-joint approach is something I came across when reading one of Gray Cook’s book (no relation) where he describes the body as just a stack of joints! Each joint or series of joints have a specific function which are unfortunately susceptible to common dysfunctions as people go about their daily lives. It is because of these common joint dysfunctions that my sessions are structured the way they are.

The joint by joint approach is as follows

Ankle: designed for mobility?Knee: designed for stability?Hip: designed for mobility?Lower back: designed for stability?Thoracic back: designed for mobility?Shoulder: designed for mobility and stability

So as you’ve probably guessed my mobility warm ups are generally geared around improving ankle, hip, thoracic and shoulder mobility. This is due to the fact that if you lose:?- ankle mobility you increase the likely hood of knee pain?- hip mobility you increase the likelihood of lower back pain?- thoracic mobility you increase the likelihood of shoulder or neck pain

At Frontier we have just recently videoed some warm up routines for our clients. Here are 3 routines below.

Thoracic mobility

(insert video)

Thoratic + Shoulder Mobility

(insert video)

Modified Ju-Jitsu and Hindu Press Up

(insert video)

What happens to these stable joints (knee, lower back and shoulder) when their mobile counterparts become immobile? The short answer is that they are forced to make up for the lack of movement. This increases the risk of injury.


If you want to lift heavy, you have to earn the right to lift heavy.

I myself am not the greatest mover but I don’t think it is any coincidence that since I have brought more mobility exercises in to mine and my clients workouts the injury rate and severeness of injury has declined. Also is the fact that combining mobility and stability exercises before I lift heavy improves my lifting performance in the long run.

  • If you want to decrease your risk of injury start using mobility exercises in your workouts
  • If you want to improve day to day function start using mobility exercises in your workouts
  • If you want to increase your longevity in life and in the gym start using mobility exercises in your workouts
  • If you want to improve your 1RM max start using mobility exercises in your workouts

This blog has focussed greatly on the mobility element of the warm up but the stability element is just as important. I will hope to cover stability in ?a later blog.

Are we being honest and realistic when it comes to fat loss?

May 20th, 2011 my Dad sadly past away. He had bravely battled cancer for 5 years. Dad was the rock of our family and he helped me out tremendously in my life and when starting my career as a PT. He was a succesful business man so I was always asking for his advice when it came to business. Why is this relevant to your body transformation. Well his death caused me to totally re-evaluate the way I lived my life.

  • Was I the best person I could be?
  • ?Was I being honest to myself and others?
  • What do I want to achieve in life?
  • Was I being the best Fitness coach I could be?
  • Was I a role model for my clients?

I’ve never been big on worrying about what has happened. I cant alter what has been and gone so why worry about it? I always look to the future and try to shape that. Would Dad want me to sit around feeling sorry for myself while I let my business and full time degree I was doing at the time of his death suffer? No of course not. He would want me to ‘crack on’ with my life and be successful. Dad’s death was the driving force behind me re-evaluating how I lived my life and out of this negative event if there was a positive that has come out of it, it is that Dad’s no BS approach to life has made me a better fitness coach and person (A lot of friends and clients may disagree!!!).

I believe every now and then we need a bit of a reality check (such as I got when Dad died) and a re-evaluation of the way we live our lives. Is it suited to achieve results? Are you being honest with your peers and your coach? Are you making fitness a priority in your life? I think sometimes it is easy to just keep plodding along in our comfort zone and magically expecting things to happen.

I personally think people try to convince themselves that everything is ok when in fact it is far from ok.

Throughout my 7 years as a fitness coach you meet different kinds of characters. Thats why I love my job because nobody is the same and every programme and session I write is different from the next. For the purpose of this blog I am going to categorise 4 of the most common clients I see.


This kind of person I find it increasingly frustrating to coach. They are open to try new things and are open to learning about their body however they struggle for one reason or another to commit to a training/nutritional plan and therefore lack the consistency that every long-term exercise plan needs to see results. This type of person tends to put others before them and doesn’t find time for themselves. They are honest and realistic about the fact they haven’t been doing enough and realise they need to change and find more time for themselves. They are often too nice for their own good and cant seem to break away from helping others before sorting themselves out.



They tell you what they want you to hear and convince themselves and try to convince me and others that they are doing enough to see results.They will tell you all the good things they have been doing but forget to tell you all the bad things they have been doing. This is a bit like a poker player. They tell you how much they have won but never tell you how much they have lost. These types of people are often quick to blame external influences rather than looking internally at themselves.



These people just crack on with what is asked of them and set in their programme. They love fitness and nutrition and find time for themselves, their work and their family and tend to be on the whole better organised. You sometimes have to hold this type of person back as they have beliefs that more is better etc….




These type of people are set up for a big fall. They most likely have tried every FAD diet going so metabolically their body is all over the place. This makes seeing results immediately even harder and their body must re-adjust and recover from all the stress that has been placed on it previously. When they don’t see results immediately they become de-motivated and tend to not stick to the plan or try extreme unhealthy measures which puts them back to where they have started. Its like a vicious circle.I recently had a client who lost 5Ibs in their first week but lost nothing in their 2nd week and as a result became de-motivated! However they had lost 5Ib in 14 days!!!!!

So which person do you think you are? Be honest and spend just 5-10 minutes listing 3 things that you want to start doing differently in your lifestyle. Start to put them in to action from this week and see how you go.

In conclusion I think sometimes its easy to hide behind ‘the curtain’ and pretend our lifestyle is ok when in fact if we put our hands up and admit that we need to make changes that will bring about better results. We occasionally need to ‘man up’ and I can say first hand that doing just that has made me a better person and coach. I don’t kid myself anymore or expect miracles when I miss a training session or have one too many cheat meals!

To finish on just ask yourself this question:

‘Am I doing everything required to look, feel and perform the way I want to in life?’

My checklist when busy

When busy and time is tight you can always go back to basics when training and nutrition is concerned. I am currently mega busy due to various projects and the extension of the gym going on over the next month, therefore I am not going to put too much pressure on myself with specifics. Instead I am going to hit this checklist below

  •  weight train 4 times per week
  •  perform 90 minutes Low intensity cardio per week
  •  training with intensity and purpose
  •  plan and preparing 4+ meals for the next day
  •  drinking 2+ litres of water per day
  •  eating vegetables, fat and protein with every meal

I have found in the past putting too much pressure on my self doesn’t work when training and nutrition is concerned and as a result consistency goes out the window.

However sticking to a basic checklist like this one helps me get through those busy times.

It may not work for everybody but it works for me.