Goal setting

Whether you’re training for health reasons, sports performance or to feel/look good, everyone has a goal in mind that they would aspire to achieve. In a perfect world, it would be a straightforward path to this goal, however, there will be ups and downs and setbacks along the way. Having an effective method of goal setting can help you stay focused and keep you on track. Using our modified SMART target system, you can measure your success in order to achieve your results.









Your goal must be clearly defined in order for you to progress. As coaches, you hear a lot of people say they want to burn fat, build muscle, improve their fitness, fix an injury, get ready for an event….the list goes on, but these people are the very same people that are stagnant in their journey. You must have a specific goal you want to achieve, I.E. I want to reduce my body fat percentage by 5%.



Your goal must have a value that can be measured. You’re essentially conducting a science experiment with multiple variables involved. Your outcome must be measurable against your input. There’s no point just simply saying ‘I want to reduce my body fat percentage’ if you have no means to record the data needed to quantify your results. QUICK TIP: Don’t try to change too many variables at once (we’ll come onto this later)



Don’t set goals which are so extreme that you set yourself up for failure. For example, losing 5% body fat is more than achievable in say, a 3-month program designed specifically to do so. Saying you want to drop 5% in 3 weeks, however, is a bit extreme and you will fail.



This is where our modification fits in. Repeatability in fitness ultimately boils down to controlling your variables effectively. You need to know what change resulted in an adaptation. I.E. If you did, in fact, drop 5% body fat how would you tell what worked best if you changed 8 things at once? How would you isolate that dominant force in your change so that you can become more and more effective at achieving your goals? You need to gradually implement change so that you can assess what works, what doesn’t work and what you need to include more/less of in the future. For example, if you are just starting to work out, do 3 total body training sessions/week and don’t change anything else. When you are comfortable with that, begin to introduce some healthier options in your nutrition and see what effect that has, etc etc. Gradually layer your changes on so that it becomes a habit rather than a chore.



Placing a timescale on any goal is really important in achieving it. Without that timescale, you can make excuses for yourself that it won’t affect your goals that much, but that’s how you end up stuck and not achieving anything. Setting a goal of losing 5% body fat in 3 months will help keep your focus, especially when you break that down into smaller ‘sub-goals’ which will break down into months/weeks. It’s a lot easier to say no to that pizza when you know you’ve only got 4 weeks left to achieve your goal.


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10 Reasons to Exercise

10 Reasons to Exercise


Gain confidence and build self esteem


Increase energy and productivity

Look and feel better with or without clothes on

Combat age related declines in health

Build functional strength, athleticism, and stamina


Live a longer and better life

Decrease the likelihood of getting injured

You’ll have better sex

Improve concentration and cognitive abilities

Experience more job and relationship opportunities

Make friends with healthy, like-minded people

Improve your posture

You’ll de-stress

It will help you sleep better


Overall it will improve your mood and you’ll be a happier person!

Happy Training

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​Protein Myths

Protein Myths

 Protein plays a big role for any individual and, especially that of an athlete’s diet. But there are many obscure myths about what kind of proteins to consume and when to consume them, which might be making your life a lot harder.


MYTH 1 More protein = more muscle:

 It’s a proven fact that your body can’t repair or develop muscle without the full suite of essential amino acids found in multiple foods sources. But protein alone isn’t enough to build or maintain strength and muscle mass, you need physical exercise to do that.

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MYTH 2 You can only absorb a limited amount of protein in one sitting:

It is commonly thought that the body can only digest 30g of protein per meal. This isn’t accurate. The bigger you are, the intensity of your training and the more regularly you eat protein, will all vary the amount of protein your body needs and can digest, and therefore the better your body will be able to digest it.

MYTH 3 Fast Absorption = Muscle Growth:

It is frequently thought that the faster protein is absorbed the more beneficial for muscle growth. Wrong! Protein intake, whether processed rapidly or slowly, will always benefit athletes considerably and in the same way, the body is an intricate and impressive being and will use what it needs how it needs to.

MYTH 4 you don’t need protein powder & food – there’s no need for both:

Ideally, your diet should include a wide variety of protein sourced foods and powders, as there are different combinations of amino acids in each that have their individual benefits for muscle growth and maintenance. Protein powders can be easier to absorb, however, natural protein has a richer variety of amino acids.


MYTH 5 You should only have 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight:

1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is the typically recommended guideline. But this needs to be taken as a guide, because if you are training more intensely and are bigger you may need more to recover from your training sessions. Also, be careful if you are less active as you don’t want to be over processing protein as you will store it.


Although animal sources of protein such as eggs, dairy and meat are excellent sources, protein can also be found in grains, legumes, nuts and even vegetables. Although meat usually offers a higher proportion of protein per 100 g compared to plant-based sources. Protein sourced from meat is also known as a complete protein, meaning that it has the full spectrum of amino acids. Protein sources from vegetables are incomplete, so pairing these sources up is necessary for a complete spectrum of amino acids (important for vegetarians).

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Coaching Couch – Bang for Your Buck

In a world where complicated training systems and ‘new’ exercises are popping up every day, how do you know that your training is effective enough to guarantee results? In this week’s blog, we discuss the concept of ‘bang for your buck’ so that you can get the best out of your own, or a clients training program.


What Does Bang For Your Buck Mean?

Bang for your buck simply means to get the most output for a minimum input.  In short, it’s a process where you optimise the expenditure of your resources to attain the highest possible yield. In regards to exercise, this basically boils down to spending more time/energy on the exercises/movements or training systems which give you the best progress for your specific goals. Exercises that work multiple large muscles (compound movements) are a great place to start as a general rule.

Squats & deadlifts are classic exercises which can be used for a wide variety of training goals and many pressing/rowing movements can be used effectively in the right programs. Whilst programming and periodization is a complex subject, ensuring you have the ‘best’ exercises included is a solid foundation to work from.

The easiest way to visualise this is if you have an empty jar. This is your total capacity for a single training session. You have 3 different sized balls which you can put in the jar; large, medium and small. The large balls represent your compound lifts, the medium balls represent your accessory exercises and the small balls represent everything else you could include in a training session. So the idea is that you fit as many large balls in the jar as possible, then as many medium balls and then as many small balls in the leftover space. What you are left with is a training session with the key components as the main focus (squats etc), your accessory exercises next (RDL’s) and finally, everything else (bicep curls, calf raises etc).

Use this thought process when you’re planning your own or a clients training programs and you’ll be well on the way to producing an effective training program.


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Coaching Couch – Training Movements Over Exercise

As a coach, it’s important to remember that all exercise and training essentially boils down to selecting specific movements and loading them appropriately to achieve the desired outcome. Whether that’s hitting a new 1RM on your back squat or jumping as high as you can, they can be broken down into a finite number of open or closed chain movement patterns. These movement patterns can be assessed, analyzed and from there you can select the appropriate exercises and loading schemes. Without that initial analysis, you will be limiting your progress as one exercise isn’t always going to be appropriate for everyone to include in their programs. A classic example is a high bar vs low bar squat; picking an exercise based on your own anatomical efficiency is very much advised and while (in theory) everyone should be able to do both, it doesn’t mean everyone should do both. Don’t try to knock a square peg into a round hole.


So, now we’ve established it’s important to remember that exercises correlate to a specific movement pattern, how do you then decide which exercise is correct for your training goal? This will come down to your needs analysis. When you’re selecting exercises, whether you know it or not you’re analyzing your needs and selecting exercises which you deem appropriate to achieve your desired outcome. For example, we’ll take a winger in rugby and analyze their needs for performance. These will be entirely focused on the physical attributes of the athlete and will be far from an extensive list.

A needs analysis can be done in a number of ways, but a spider graph is often the easiest way to do this. These can be done by both the coach and athlete so you can discuss the training rationale and get that all important buy-in. Using our example of the winger in rugby, I’ve listed 3 physical attributes, which are:

1) Speed
2) Agility
3) Core strength


So now we’ve got our training goals, we can start to look at the movements associated with these attributes. I’m going to focus in on one movement per example to keep the post relatively short.

1) Speed – When running at near maximal speed we have large amounts of hip and knee flexion/extension.
2) Agility – When changing direction in relation to an external stimulus you can recruit a ‘side-step’ movement to avoid a defender.
3) Core Strength – When sprinting the athlete will need to maintain a strong pillar so that their force transfer effectively throughout their body (not so much movement, but stopping movement).

So, now we’ve identified movements associated with our physical attributes we can begin to look at exercises which fit the bill. Again, I will provide one exercise per example, however, there is an extensive list of exercises that could be used.

1) Hip & Knee Flexion/Extension – Dumbbell Step Up: This exercise not only utilizes the desired hip & knee movements, it also provides us with a unilateral exercise. This means that it is a single limb exercise, which is perfect for running as you will never have 2 feet on the ground whilst when sprinting.
2) Side Step – Lateral Lunge: When the athlete is avoiding a defender by side-stepping, one of their legs will move laterally so that it moves away from the centre of the body. The lateral lunge trains the same movement in a controlled environment and will help strengthen the quads, hamstrings, glutes and hip abductors/adductors. This will help avoid injuries in these muscle groups.
3) Stability whilst sprinting – Resistance Band Anti-Rotations/Palof Press: This exercise will provide a resistance which will try to pull the athlete out of a centred position and will, therefore, train their core stability.

So now we’ve established the exercises we’re going to utilize to achieve the training goals we’ve just got to decide on an appropriate load and volume for the athlete based on their current condition. This is probably another topic for another day so keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a follow-up blog on the coaching coach.


5 Tips for helping you stay on track with your diet.

Pre-plan your meals

Plan your meals in advance to give you a weekly structure to follow. You could also consider weekly menus. For those who think eating healthy is way too expensive, think again; this will also help you save money. Meal planning can save you money when done effectively, because you can buy items in bulk and take advantage of your freezer. When you set aside time to prep your food, think big in terms of volume.


Meal Prep

Prep full meals or individual sources for easy meal planning. Pre-made protein sources help ensure you eat adequate protein & meal prepping is great for busy individuals. Once you get the gist of it, meal prepping becomes such an essential part of your weeks structure. Rather than cooking dinner and cleaning up, and then having to get everything out again to make something for lunch you have already pre-made the lunch meals. This helps you cut so much time in the kitchen and you will have the great feeling of being much more organised.


Don’t buy tempting foods

Keep foods that temp you out of the house. If you are unable to avoid having these foods, put them out of sight to avoid easy snacking. Having a list of weekly meals and mass bulk buys will help you to avoid buying those tempting foods.


Pump up the nutrients

Increase the volume of nutritious and low-calorie foods such as vegetables to help increase the feeling of being full, without having to add a lot of calories into your meals. This will also help you gain a better understanding of portion control and it will allow you to spread your eating throughout the day better, rather than having 1 or 2 big meals a day.


Don’t worry if you slip up, just get back on track

No one is perfect! Not even those Instagram famous fitness fanatics. Don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally go off your dieting plan. Remember, you don’t have to wait until the next day to get back on track, you can get back on track with your next meal. It’s good to relax every now and gain to have a treat to keep you interested in your diet.


If you want to find out more about how to put a tailored meal plan together for your own individual gaols, (click the picture below) to head over to our website and send us an email. Our nutrition guide has everything you need to get started!

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Why group training is the key to health in under 500 words.

Group training is becoming an increasingly popular way to workout. Classes included in your gym membership, a bootcamp or semi-private PT session all provide people with the opportunity to follow a coach led session at a fraction of the cost of a 1-on-1 session. Here’s a quick post on the main benefits of group training and why you should start today.


Blueprint for success

Everything about group training is designed for your success; the fun, social environment created by working out as a group is a major component of this. Everyone attending the session has the same goal in mind so you can all push each other to succeed and, make a few new friends whilst you’re at it.


Not only do you have your amazing coach, you’ve also got a group of like-minded people who want you to achieve incredible results. You’ve learnt new workouts, pushed and supported each other so everyone gets it done. Group training offers comradery and a support network so you can count on your peers to keep you accountable.


Group sessions are normally 30-45 minute classes which have a specific outcome such as fat loss, conditioning, and core strength. The shorter, more intense classes are a lot easier to fit around a busy lifestyle and can help you stay on track with your fitness goals. More and more people are sticking to group fitness classes and are reaping the rewards for doing so.


Beginners welcome

Group exercise is great for people who want to start but aren’t quite sure where to begin. We can’t all be ‘fitness fanatics’ and finding a good coach will really empower you to better yourself. A good coach will understand your goals, take the time to teach you new exercises and make you feel comfortable exercising so you can get the best out of their expertise.

Yeah! Science b****

Any good exercise program is based on key scientific principles, without that, we’re just getting out of breath and not really doing anything useful. The science doesn’t just stop there; it’s the music, the warm-up/cool down, the exercise selection and more. Exercise science is an innovating subject and any coach worth their salt will have a solid grasp of what’s current.



And the one everyone loves the most…

Group training is incredibly cost effective so you can exercise more for less. Where else can you get coach led structured exercise designed for your success for a fraction of the price of a 1-on-1 PT session. As long as your coach prioritizes safe and effective practice within their sessions then you are onto a winner!



To try group training for FREE today, click the picture above and just send us an email! Alternatively, just drop us a message on our Facebook page and we’ll get you booked in today!


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Why consistency isn’t the key when it comes to fitness training.


The Problem(s)

   If you’ve been following fitness blogs for a while, you’ve probably heard the saying “consistency is key”. When it comes to setting goals and smashing them, its pretty good advice for the most part, however, it’s not strictly true. Now this isn’t to say you can kick back and take it easy and still achieve some incredible results, far from it, but you just have to be a bit smart about it.

   The problem with consistency is that people try to obliterate themselves day in day out, for weeks, and months on end with high intensity training sessions. This coupled with little to no recovery strategies will inevitably lead people down 2 paths; path number 1 is injury and path number 2 is overtraining & burnout (potentially leading to injury).


   Injuries aren’t uncommon when it comes to physical exercise and there’s always a risk that you could pick up an injury at any given time. This can be a freak accident, or something that could be avoided. Where there are risks, there are risk factors and the job of a coach is to minimize these so that you can train in the safest environment possible; another great reason to hire a coach for your training sessions.

   When it comes to training, a major risk factor is that the body hasn’t fully recovered from the last session or even a block/period of training you’ve completed. This means that the body isn’t ready to exercise and as a result you could be exposing yourself to a higher risk of injury. Now most of the time this is something minor like a slight muscle pull, however injuries like muscle tears or snapped ligaments aren’t uncommon and can cause some long-term problems for your exercise goals.


Overtraining & Burnout

Overtraining & burnout can actually be a hell of a lot harder to overcome than an injury. When you’re injured you can at least focus on your recovery to get back into it, however, when you’re over-trained you probably couldn’t think of anything worse. Battling your mind is a lot harder than just simply saying “I’m going to get motivated now”, it’s a condition which has built up over a long period of time as a result of training too hard for the recovery strategies you employ.

When you’re over-trained you feel tired, lethargic and often dread going to the gym. This is your body’s way of telling you to take it easy and not listening can lead to burnout or injuries. Now, overtraining isn’t what you experienced when you simply “can’t be bothered” this is a chronic state in which you really struggle to motivate yourself when normally you’re fine and enjoy exercising.

The trick is knowing when to take a step back and let your body have a bit of a rest and not beat yourself up about it. If you imagine your body as a car engine, if you drive constantly at 100 mph it is going to break down eventually and cause more problems than if you just ease off the throttle for a little bit.

The solution

So, you may ask, if not consistency, what should I be aiming for in my training? Well, that is what I would call sustainability. If your goal is to run a marathon, you don’t want to burn out half way through because you sprinted at the start and progressively got slower as the race goes on. No, you’ll want to keep a good average speed, potentially with periods of higher intensity and lower intensity running.

Taking the example of a marathon, this is what we look for with fitness training. Overall we want to maintain a certain level of intensity, however this doesn’t mean it always has to be high. Sustaining an effort is as much about managing your energy and time as it is about putting yourself through grueling workouts. Allow your body a bit of time off and it will reward you with the results you desire.

A great way to visualize this is your bank account. If you spend more than you have coming in, then eventually you will end up with no money. To have a positive bank balance you will need to regulate your income/outcome balance over the course of the year. This may mean that you have periods of higher expenditure, but then you will compensate this by having periods of lower spending.


In Practice

It should go without saying that not being able to train due to injury or not wanting to train due to burnout are probably the two things you definitely don’t want to be doing, so how do we avoid them? The answer lies in a well structured, periodized program including proper recovery and nutrition strategies.

This is when we take your goals, and make a systematic plan of how we will hit them in the next year, 6 months, month week and even individual sessions. With a periodized program, a coach can effectively monitor and track your workouts, prescribe adequate loads and intensities, whilst also being able to plan appropriate ‘de-load’ periods. Monitoring can range from just assessing your mood/ability to train intensely to the super advanced tracking systems used in elite sport like GPS trackers, sleep tracking and psychological assessments.

So in short, if you’re feeling run down and dread training but fear not going, give yourself a week off, or a week of planned lower intensity sessions. Your body will thank you so much and will be ready to smash it when you back to it. Sustainability is the key.


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Coach Dans’ Top 5 Chest Building Exercises

Chest, pecs, chestacles – whatever you call them and whatever you train for, the likely hood is you train this muscle group. Made up of the pec major and pec minor, they make up a large proportion of the musculature on the upper body and serve to flex, adduct and medially rotate the upper arm. Here’s a list of 5 exercises I love using in my programming to build a well developed chest (as an extra bonus, if you click on the exercise name it will take you on a direct link to our exercise database which will have videos, pictures and coaching cues for all the exercises).


1 –  Barbell Bench Press

A long time staple of any chest day. The barbell bench is where you lay on your back and slowly lower a barbell down to your chest and then press it up again. Mainly recruiting the pec major muscle, this exercise adducts around the shoulder joint. It’s my favourite exercise as you can really load it up and use it for a large variety of exercise goals.

2 – Supine Flys 

This may be a little abstract for some people, but this exercise can really target your chest in a way you may struggle to with traditional press/fly movements. The difference is that when you’re led on your back, you turn your palms upward to face the ceiling. This is supination (Remember: Supination is like you’re holding a bowl on soup in your hand) and mainly targets the pecs where they attach along the clavicle giving you a much larger ‘upper chest’ appearance.


3 – Landmine or Grappler Press

A landmine is basically a socket that you can slot a bar into, and it can rotate 360 degrees   and move vertically at the same time. This means that you need a hell of a lot of stability to control this movement and can really help build a well defined chest, but also strong shoulder joints. I like single arm variations of this exercise as it’s an easier movement pattern for clients to master and we can utilise unilateral work without too much of a learning curve.

4 – Chest Flys 

Some may argue that chest flys are a useless exercise and they have no place in a training program. I tend to disagree with this view, especially when it comes to dumbbell chest flys – it all comes down to what you use them for and how they’re executed. The main reason I like them is that the forces to get a light weight up are actually relatively high, due to the distance between the fulcrum point (shoulder joint) and the weight in your hand. This makes the weight more challenging to lift and can actually be beneficial for clients in rehab as they can ‘load’ their bodies without using a weight thats really heavy.

5 – Press Ups

No chest exercise list would be complete without press ups. They basically follow the same motor pattern as a bench press, but using your own bodyweight as a resistance. Lifting your own bodyweight is hugely important, especially if you compete in a sporting event. There are so many variations to press ups, we could write a whole new blog on that, but standard press ups are a good foundation for everyone to be working off.

So thats my list, I hope you saw something new on here today that you want to include in your next chest day. If you liked what you saw feel free to share and to check out our free exercise database for over 250 exercises, all with access to videos, pictures and coaching cues.

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Your metabolism is the rate at which your body expends energy. Your metabolic rate varies due to a number of factors, including age; daily exercise duration/intensity, nutrition and genetics. When anyone is looking to looking to lose weight, a key factor is increasing your metabolic rate. There are a number of ways to help increase your metabolism and get the results you want.

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High intensity interval training

Up the intensity of your training with high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. HIIT is a form of training that not only expends lots of calories whilst you are performing it, but it can also speed up your metabolism for up to 72 hours post-training. The training itself usually lasts up to anything from 10 minutes to an hour and involves vigorous exercise bouts, between rest/reduced intensity bouts. For example, if you are running you can do a minute steady, with 30 second sprint periods. This increases the number of mitochondria and how efficiently they burn throughout the day, which in return allows you to exercise for less time than it takes to plod along at the same pace and still get great results.


Get your omega-3’s

Eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, herring and tuna can also help in speeding up your metabolism. It is suggested that omega-3s balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation, helping to regulate metabolism. They may also reduce resistance to the hormone leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned.

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Don’t skip meals/or slash calories

The common thought of many when it comes to weight loss, is often based on starvation tactics –this is not the case. If you deprive your body of food/calories, the body conserves calories by reducing your natural metabolic rate to reserve energy, which ultimately leads to a weight loss plateau, along with lean muscle waste. Instead aim to eat enough to match your resting metabolic rate, spread eating throughout the day with smaller, healthier meals to keep the metabolism engaged throughout the day.

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Cut down on sugars

Consuming high glycaemic sugars in excessive doses is the worst way to quickly increase unwanted body fat. This is because it spikes the hormone insulin, which prevents the body breaking down fats and instead puts the body into calorie storage mode. To reach the results you want try and aim to get your carbohydrates from low glycaemic foods such as sweet potato, brown rice etc.

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It has been found that the lack of sleep can cause an increased caloric intake of around 300 calories per day. This is because the lack of sleep can disrupt the metabolic hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is responsible for increasing appetite, this can therefore lead to a greater amount of calories consumed within the day. Optimum sleep is 8 hours, so try to ensure you are getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night as a minimum, although the amount of sleep necessary is different for individuals. Always keep an eye out for these keep an eye out for sings such as mood, food cravings and feeling lethargic.


Drink plain coffee or tea

The natural levels of caffeine present in both tea and coffee increase adrenaline and increase the regulation of the body’s central nervous system (CNS) and the body’s metabolism. Caffeine is also very effective at reducing your appetite and therefore can be great for reducing those daily cravings.

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Turn to (green) tea

New evidence shows the active ingredients of green tea to help increase your metabolism. Studies in dieters found that those who were drinking green tea lost more weight than those who didn’t, suggesting that it may improve fat oxidation and thermogenesis, your body’s production of energy, or heat, from digestion.

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Make sure you have breakfast

Make sure you eat breakfast. Eating a nutrient-rich morning meal shortly after getting out of bed literally wakes up your metabolism. Eating breakfast gets the engine going and keeps it going throughout the day.

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