Winter is the time to transform your body!!

summer-winter-bodiesWe all train and try to keep fit for a variety of different reasons: Health, weight loss, sport, to achieve a goal or simply for enjoyment. However one thing I think very few of us would deny is that we all like to look good, or as good as possible. That is especially the case as we move into summer. When the tree’s start to bloom, the sky brightens and the weather gets a bit warmer every lady I know swaps from winter wardrobe to summer wardrobe………often involving hours of deliberation and a great deal of standing in front of mirrors muttering to themselves.

It’s not just the ladies, us guys, or at least the vain ones like me, break out the t-shirts and shirts, and then stand side on to the mirror patting our guts and saying “I really must do something about this beer belly”.

Winter Training:

However what so many people fail to realise is that by then it is almost certainly too late, or is going to take an incredible amount of hard work and self discipline to really make the changes you want in time to hit the beaches in great bikini shape for July/August.

There are a few points I would make here. Firstly so many people see fitness, weight and shape control as exactly what I’ve just described……a summer sport if you like. Something not to be thought about too much when the days are cold and nights are dark. Then panic sets in as soon as spring comes. Well it’s pretty clear that that is the wrong way to approach things. Rather than crash diets and crash fitness plans it’s far better to take a much more year round, lifestyle and holistic approach. In previous articles here and here I talked about why continually going on seasonal or crash diets don’t work and how by being consistent over the long term you can achieve amazing effects AND still lead a fun and treat filled life.

Secondly, by leaving things late you will have to work much harder, physically punish yourself much more and also be much more rigid in your eating plan. If you have any significant weight or fat to lose or intend to build any real noticeable muscle, then trying to do that in 8-12 weeks is so much more difficult than doing it over a 6 month period. By going more slowly you can gradually shed the weight, still eat healthily but also still allow yourself the odd blowout. You can also work more effectively on your fitness regime as you will have more time to build in both cardio and metabolic training to help you shed the pounds or kilo’s, as well as time for muscle building and toning to give your body the shape you want.

winter-weight-trainingFinally, most people have more time in the winter. There are less BBQ’s to attend, holidays to go on, sunny evenings with friends and a bit less temptation to drive you off course. Even as a committed fitness fan I freely admit that when it is a sunny Sunday afternoon in the garden all I really want to do is crack open a couple of beers or get stuck into a nice chilled bottle of white wine, often washed down with some fattening snacks. In winter there is less cause to dress in your finery and go socialising and more chance to dig out the old tracksuits, set yourself some targets and warm yourself up by working hard. Then by Summer you can emerge like a Phoenix from the flames with a brand new set of feathers and looking magnificent (well that’s the plan at least).

So how should you go about this. Firstly you should spend five minutes giving some thought to and ideally writing down your goals. It could be as simple as “I want to fit in those skinny jeans that used to fit me”, or “I want to lose 20 lbs in weight”, or it could be something much more specific like I want to be able to run 5 miles and have built my shoulder, chest and arm muscles up significantly.

Then you simply break that down into workable and mouthful sized pieces. So if you want to lose 20lb in weight, that’s roughly 3.5 lb a month or just under 1lb a week. Believe me with some dietary changes and an increase in your exercise that is achievable for anyone over 6 months but would be far more difficult if not impossible in 8 weeks. Similarly if you hit the weights fairly hard in a structured programme, throw in some cardio and also make some changes in what you eat, then you can really transform your build and musculature over 6 months, much more so than you can do in 8-12 weeks.

The final and fun benefit of training hard in the winter is that it is hidden. Just think how you’ll feel Ladies on that first sunny weekend (about the end of June if you live in England) when you finally shed the heavy jumpers and wear a sleeveless blouse for the first time and all your friends gasp at how you have traded in your batwings for svelte and toned arms…….it can be done. So what you really need to do, as with almost everything I advise is change your mind set. It’s September now, the dark days are coming (if you’re in the northern hemisphere at least). Plan ahead. Picture how you want to look and feel by May/June next year and put your plan into practice now. Summer bodies are built in Winter so this Winter make it count!!


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Drink Beer & Get Fit – What do You Want?

Beer Fitness Image

Hi Again Everyone,

I’m in the process of writing a book, the title of which will be “Drink Beer and Get Fit”. I can sense fitness professionals around the world throwing their hands up in horror at that title and castigating me for setting a bad example. If you’ve followed my blog you will know that I am approaching Health and Fitness from the perspective of an ordinary person and the truth is that most ordinary people will not live the life of a fitness model or a monk and WILL sometimes indulge in a beer or three or bottle of wine. Below is an extract from the first chapter of the book. I hope you like it and it strikes a chord with you. If it does then please let me know in the comments section.

Chapter 1. The First Step-Knowing what you Want.

So I’m guessing that if you’ve bought, borrowed or possibly even stolen this book you must have a reason. Maybe you just love Beer, saw the word in the title and couldn’t resist. Maybe it made you curious “can I really drink Beer and get fit? How does that work?”

More likely however you are unhappy with some aspect of your health, weight, shape or fitness and want to do something about it? Right? It must be or why else would you be here.

It’s important though that you really think about what it actually is that you want to achieve. You can change your lifestyle and change or improve your health, fitness, size, shape and weight in many different ways. What you actually want to achieve is important because it will to some extent dictate what you need to do and how to go about it.

So let’s break down some of the most basic needs and desires that might be driving you.


Most people are slightly overweight to some degree but the changes you need to make to your lifestyle will be to a large extent dictated by just how much weight you want to lose. It is possible to become much fitter without actually losing much weight. You will still be healthier, stronger, fitter, but may still be carrying some extra blub around your middle, chest, arms and backside. You may be happy with that. Losing weight may not be that necessary, either because you are already close to where you want to be, or because you are comfortable the way you are. That’s fine, be true to yourself and certainly don’t be led by the images you see in magazines and the media.

However there are a few points to bear in mind. Carrying an extra stone around won’t do you too much long term harm but two, three stones or more, anything bordering on or straying into the territory of obesity will definitely have long term health effects as you get older. Diabetes, Heart problems, knee and joint issues and just general length of life are all directly linked to being heavily overweight and without wishing to lecture you, you really should think about doing something about it.

If weight loss is your key aim then the food and dietary parts of this book are the bits you should pay attention to and actively try to incorporate into your lifestyle. That is not to say that you should ignore the fitness chapters completely, in fact they go hand in hand. Following the tips and tricks around food and diet will 100% help you lose weight, however if you incorporate that alongside the fitness advice in other chapters two things will happen.

Firstly it will be easier to lose the weight and you will lose it faster. Not only that but it will be easier to keep it off. Why is that? It’s very simple really. Exercising burns calories, the more calories you burn the more weight you’ll lose. It really isn’t a Stephen Hawkingesque concept. Not only that, but the exercise will help to fire up your metabolism. Certain types of exercise which I’ll explain later not only burn up calories whilst you exercise but light a forest fire under your metabolism which mean that your body will continue to burn calories at an increased rate for many hours after you stop exercising. How cool is that? You can be sitting on the sofa watching Masterchef and lusting after all the food you can’t eat (only kidding) and still have a firing metabolism that is eating calories and weight hours after you left the Gym or got off the bike.

Secondly and more importantly the exercise itself will start to repair, improve and counteract the adverse health effects that we already discussed. Your heart and lungs will become healthier and work more efficiently, your joints and muscles will become stronger thus improving your mobility and the likelihood of Diabetes and other similar diseases will decrease.


Again this is an area where you really need to give some thought to what it is that you are seeking to achieve. Are you trying to get fit for a specific reason or event such as doing a 5/10k charity run, playing for a 5-a-side football team or climbing Everest? Or are you, as most people are, just seeking to be a fitter, stronger, leaner version of your current self. It’s also very important to be honest with yourself. We may all have grand dreams (I still cling to the hope of becoming world Middleweight boxing champion) but the reality is that was never ever a possibility let alone now that I’m 47.

That is not to say you should set your sights too low or not too dream, but do be aware of your initial limitations and set yourself some goals that for an initial period at least are achievable. What do I mean by that? Well you know yourself far better than I possibly can. If you currently get out of breath walking to the bus stop a little too fast then quite clearly your initial aims need to focus around improving your general fitness and aerobic capacity so that you can walk and do some decent exercise without getting out of breath or collapsing at the bus stop. In fact if you are very unfit, have had health problems or are very overweight it’s always sensible to have a quick chat to your doctor before starting any exercise regime.

Alternatively if you are already reasonably capable and can run, or possibly already play some sport then absolutely set your eyes on the horizon and have some ambitious goals. I have a friend who is a fantastic Personal Trainer and he has achieved some amazing things with some of his clients. Taking them from injuries and disabilities or extreme obesity, to running marathons, losing half their body weight, transforming their body shape. It can be done, anything is possible, but you need to have a plan and be realistic at the outset. In a later chapter I will cover the subject of your mindset, mentality and how one of the most critical things you can do is alter how you think about challenges and your attitude to your life, your health, your diet etc…..but that’s for later. All good things come to those (that read the chapters in order).


If you eat better over a period of time and also exercise then inevitably your shape will change, and for the better. So why am I giving this a separate category? Well because when I refer to shape and people who want to change their shape I guess I am talking more about the people who have some sort of a goal in mind. We may not be talking Arnold Schwarzenegger type ambitions but certainly you’d like to add some muscle, possible reveal some abdominal muscles, even achieve that wide shoulder , v tapered look that athletes and superhero’s have.

So can that be done? You bet. Of course it depends to a degree on your starting point but you CAN get there. To lose weight and become fitter as outlined in the two sections above you need to work hard and be reasonably dedicated. To dramatically change your shape and become muscular and/or lean and sleek you need to do exactly the same thing but just work a bit harder and change how you exercise slightly.

Again a degree of realism is the key here. If you are 55 years old and carrying an extra four or five stone around with you then sculpting a six pack and arms that Hercules would be proud of is a big ambition that is going to take a great deal of work and some serious dedication. However I am not here to put you off, in fact I’d positively encourage you to think positively, set goals and work your butt off to achieve them.

That’s it, that’s part of the first chapter. I hope you enjoyed it. There is much more to come and I hope to have the book done and published by the end of the year. As i said earlier I’d welcome your comments. If you like the sound of it then please subscribe to my emailing list on the website. That way you won’t miss any more posts and all subscribers will get the first notification of availability as well as fantastic chances to get freebies of the book and other offers to follow. Once again, thanks for reading.

Take Care,


20 Minute Home workout that BLASTS Calories and Tones Muscles!

20-minute-full-body-workoutYour life is busy, you have become the taxi service of Mum & Dad, you are unfit, over weight and don’t want to be seen at a Gym……(Yet!)

Do any of those descriptions fit you? Do you think that unless you hit the Gym 4 times a week and pound away for at least an hour that you can’t make any difference to your life? Well I’m here to tell you that just isn’t true. Here is a 20 minute work out that you can do at home, in your garden or even your front room with very little equipment at all.

Do this every day for the next 4 weeks and I PROMISE you that there will be noticeable changes. You will be fitter, should lose weight and will also be stronger. This is not a routine aimed at people who are already pretty fit, it is aimed more at the beginners who want to kick start their new fitness regime but it will also be effective as a maintenance routine for those who just need to do something, anything other than sit on the sofa.

So here goes. Do all of these exercises for the stated number of repetitions (or time) without any rest between the exercises. Then when you have finished the cycle stop and rest for 1 minute or a maximum of 90 seconds. Keep going for the full 20 minutes and see how many cycles of the routine you can do. Keep a record and try to beat it each day.

10 x Goblet Squats. Ideally use a dumbbell with a weight you are comfortable with (5kg, 10kg) or if you don’t have access to a dumbbell find something you can use at home (4kg bag of rice, large bag of potatoes etc). Keep your form nice and steady, squat as low as you can and concentrate on contracting and squeezing your thigh and butt muscles as you move up and down.

10 x Press ups. Keep your arm just wider than shoulder width. Lower yourself until your nose almost touches the floor and then push back up. Concentrate on trying to squeeze your upper arm and chest muscles together as you push back up and extend at the top. If you are either very heavy or are a lady and can’t manage full press ups yet, then lady press ups where you rest on your knees are fine until you become stronger.

Jump back to your feet and do 10 x forward lunges, 5 on each side. Concentrate on stepping forward in a controller fashion, bend your trailing leg until the knee touches or almost touches the floor, then push up firmly with your front leg. Again, squeeze your thigh and butt muscles on the way up and down.

10 x Reverse Tricep Dips. Use a stable chair or low ish table top. Place your hands on the edge of the chair at shoulder width apart behind you and your feet comfortably just in front of you as you lean back very slightly. Bend your arms to roughly 90 degree’s and lower yourself down. Push yourself back up by straightening your arms. Concentrate on squeezing your tricep (back of your arm) as you straighten back up.

20 x Jumping Jacks. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hands by side. Do a slight jump and push your feet out to the side to wider than shoulder width apart. As you do this fling your arms out to the side and bring them up into a clapping motion above your head. Do 20 reps.

Finally get down into a Plank position. Rest your wait on your forearms. Have your feet at shoulder width and your body should be held in as straight a position as possible (no sagging in the middle). Once you are aligned squeeze your stomach, thighs and butt and hold the position for a count of 30.

That’s it. As described, take a rest for a minute or 90 seconds if you must. Then repeat as many time as you can in the 20 minutes.

As you get fitter and stronger simply decrease the rest time between sets.

TOP TIP: click on the red highlighted words to be taken to demonstration videos of these excercises. The videos are not mine but give you an idea of how to perform them correctly.

This routine will work for both guys and girls and if you combine with healthy eating (see future posts) it will help you to shed weight, improve your fitness and strength AND improve heart and lung function.

In a few weeks I’ll post some more 20 to 30 minute exercise routines that you can do at home.

Ladies That Lift………or Not!


Why is it that so many ladies that want to get fit or lose weight run a mile when you suggest that they incorporate some weight training into their routine? You hear all sorts of excuses but the main one seems to be “i don’t do weights cos i don’t want to get too big or look manly”. At this point I haver to stifle a laugh. I lift weights at least three times a week and am continuously disappointed at my lack of progress in terms of building muscle so believe me girlies you just aint gonna get big and bulky just by throwing a few dumbbells around a couple of times a week.

It’s most likely that the few pictures you have seen of very muscular or bulky women are training their arses off 6 days a week, shifting poundages that a small elephant would be proud of and eating mountains of protein heavy food that would make the Man V Food guy turn white. Not only that but the really biggest ones are almost certainly on steroids or Human Growth Hormone.

I can’t say this with enough stress. Lifting some weights WILL NOT make you big and bulky.

So why I am I advocating that you SHOULD add some weights and resistance training into your programme. Well a few reasons really. Firstly Cardio does have its place and will help you a)get fitter and b) lose some weight. Cardio does burn calories and as part of an overall programme is great for your heart and overall fitness. However your body quickly adjusts to it and when it does adjust it starts to become less effective very quickly. Not only that but after a while it can start to burn not only calories but also muscle tissue (How many long distance runners have you seen with great figures?).

By contrast doing some resistance based weight training (It doesn’t have to be too heavy, don’t panic) will have a number of very positive effects. It will also burn calories just like cardio but if done in the right way and with some intensity and speed it will also light a fire under your bodies metabolism. What does that mean? Well with normal cardio you burn calories whilst you exercise but once you stop you almost immediately stop burning calories. With weight or resistance based intensity training you burn just as many calories but because of the muscular effort involved your metabolism lights up and your body actually continues to burn calories at a much higher rate for many hours afterwards. So when you are back on the sofa watching TV later that evening your body is still working hard shedding weight as a result of your earlier efforts, how cool is that. Metabolic training can be done in loads of ways and the variety is also fun and makes your training very enjoyable.

Another great effect of using weights is that it tones and shapes while you train. You won’t get hugely muscular arms but you WILL tone up your bat wings, get a more shapely butt, tone up your thighs, iron our some cellulite etc etc. ALL things that cardio alone just can’t do.

Finally shifting some weights now and then improves your over all strength. It makes your muscles, bones and joints stronger and more resilient. As we all get older that is key in preserving your mobility and physical health.

So ladies. Please don’t be afraid of or turn your nose up at picking up some heavy stuff now and then. It will do you the world of good, make your butt tighten up AND be far more effective at helping you lose weight than a boring hour on a cross trainer will.

If you have any questions please email and future posts will include more info on Matabolic training and weights for women.

Take Care,