Veganuary; It's a Lifestyle Not a Diet

Before you forego the whole hog consider the reasons why you’re making the choice. There’s a firm ethos underlying Veganuary, being vegan isn’t simply a dietary choice, it’s not just your plate it’ll impact but your lifestyle too.

The first thing to really consider is why you’re doing it? If you think a vegan diet may help you drop a couple kilos this can be achieved through simply putting yourself in a calorie deficit. Either by moving more, eating a little bit less or a sensible combination of both.  Cutting out any food group will result in you removing a portion of calories from your diet, therefore inducing weight loss. That is, provided you don’t replace those calories with something else.

While Veganuary is a fantastic opportunity to explore new flavours, broaden your recipe repertoire and perhaps try foods you wouldn’t have thought of it may pose be a challenge. Some planning on your part before doing the weekly shop would be wise so that you don’t end up with a trolley full of stuff you can’t eat. Or alternatively lose your marbles after your 20th veggie stir-fry of the week.

For those of you serious about training and animal welfare let’s just establish that you CAN get enough protein on a vegan diet. Despite what the meatheads might tell you your muscles won’t waste away because you stop eating chicken breasts.  However, the quality of plant protein is lower of that than animal varieties because it contains less of the essential (particularly branch chain) amino acids needed to support muscle growth/maintenance – fat loss essentials.

Combinations of rice and beans are a good way to guarantee you’re getting all these essential proteins and there are some great vegan protein powders on the market too.  In cutting out meat, initially, it’s likely you’ll fall short on hitting your micronutrient targets. Vitamin B12 is the one to be most aware of in addition to Calcium, Iron and Zinc.  Look for almond milks fortified with B12 and calcium.

One final consideration, that’s probably the most important is the affect it might have on your personal life and relationships. Having to bring Tupperware to dinner parties or obsessively check menus before you go out to eat can be pretty stressful. Restrictive eating habits can cause you to feel quite isolated and alone, sometimes resulting in a pattern of binge eating.

Fun fact: Oreos are vegan. This fact might not be so fun when you’re hungry, tired and confused about what to eat and reaching for a packet just to fill a gap.



If you’re keen to make a change, start sustainably by testing the water. Rather than going the whole hog (pun intended) in January why don’t you start by swapping meat for one vegan meal per day. Or by eliminating red meat this month, then chicken, fish, eggs and then trickier things like cheese.

Nobody’s dietary choices are inherently right or wrong. You should be able to fuel yourself in a way you enjoy and that serves a purpose for the life you like to lead.  Just be aware that big changes in diet often mean making big changes to your lifestyle and if your underlying motivations aren’t for the right reasons it’s not likely to last.

By Ailish Flemming
SIX3NINE Trainer


6 Fitness Fads we want to die in 2018

Well friends, we're a few weeks into the start of year.

Are you closer to any of the health and fitness goals that you set yourself at the start of the year? Hopefully you have made great progress towards your goals already (and perhaps just haven't been sucked in by the classic health and fitness fads.)

Either way, that's an achievement.

But if you did fall for the slick marketing, that's ok because at some stage, we all have all believed the promises that seemed to good to be true. So we'd just like to give this to you as a little reminder to know what to look out for (and avoid like the plague) over the next few months.


1. Diet Teas

In short, drinking tea will not make you lose weight. I love a good cup of tea as much as the next person but ones that contain diuretics - and maybe laxatives - not so much. Any weight you will lose will be water weight or 'digested food'... stick to a normal cuppa.


2. Vibrating ab belts

Although Ronaldo's rippling 6-pack is convincing - let me be clear from the start; an 'ab belt' is NOT going to give you abs. Giving you electric shocks as you sit on the commute to work (or on the lavatory after your diet tea) is not going to give you the solid abdominal you're looking for.


3. InstaFit Celebrities

There are literally hundreds of Instagram Celebrities, a small number of which post good content, a big number of which don't. They will generally be ‘genetically gifted’, performing exercises that focus on their booty (even when they are training arms), posting physique updates - all whilst promoting body positivity and remaining 'humble.'

You’ll not see posts about the great results they get with clients or the courses they have been on to further their education. So try to follow coaches that actually train people and put out useful, relevant content.


4. Merging Principles

The hybrid class has been on the rise this year. I’m all for people trying something new and trying interesting new classes but on this occasion, I feel that it dilutes your long term development rather than add to it. If you want to get better at Yoga, go to a yoga class and if you want to get better at boxing to a boxing class. Combining both might initially be fun but for long term develop stick the individual classes.

(And 'Boxoga' isn't that catchy.)


5. Detox Cleanses

There is no scientific evidence that any so-called cleanses really benefit a person's health. Our livers and kidneys, if fully functionally, do a great job of cleansing our bodies. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake and drinking more water over sweetened drinks would do a lot more to improve your long term health and its far cheaper. Win win.


6. Interval training

Interval Training has been a massive success story of the past few years, encouraging a lots of people to get active. However if you've not been in the gym for the past 5 years, starting to do three HIIT classes a week is not the best choice as you’ll probably break yourself.

Exercising at max effort is very risky in terms of picking up an injury and it would be more beneficial to include more daily movement and learning how to perform basic movements properly before increasing the intensity.

I know it's not sexy, but learning to walk before you run is always a good idea.


Anyway - that's all from me for now. Here's to a cracking 2018 for you, smashing goals and dodging detoxes.

(Don't forget we're always happy to chat with you if you're ever feeling overwhelmed by information. You can catch us on Instagram at @639pt - drop us a DM!)


Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

“Why would you want to do that?” I’m frequently asked when people hear I’m practising a handstand. “Well, why not?” is my flippant response. But there’s more to it than that.

I’ve spent years believing I couldn’t do physical activities; doing a handstand wouldn’t have entered my head. I don’t even remember doing them as a child. I certainly didn’t attend gymnastics club; it wasn’t for me - or so I understood.


As an adult I’d (eventually) joined a gym and worked with various personal trainers, with limited success. Then, a couple of years ago, I met the right coach. And what a revelation that was. I improved my fitness and, importantly, started to believe I could achieve anything if I worked for it. I may not be “naturally athletic” but I realised anything’s possible with practise.

With an improved mindset, I set about learning new physical skills. For the first time, fitness became fun. When I saw a workshop for beginners’ calisthenics advertised, I decided to give it a go. My enthusiasm was at a high.

Then, as the workshop approached…. bam, I was filled with self-doubt. I hit my first hurdle before I even started. Consumed by feelings of inadequacy, all my fears returned - I wouldn’t be able to do anything; I’d make a fool of myself; people would laugh at me …… the list of reasons I shouldn’t go went on.


But, bolstered by words of encouragement from my ever-supportive coach, I determined to honour my commitment and headed to the workshop. It still took me three passes of the door to pluck up the courage to enter! But enter I did. And so my handstand adventure began. I didn’t find it easy but I did have immense fun. I may have had limited success on the day but I did, with help, get upside down. And I was delighted.

Determined not to forget what I’d been shown, I set about practising some of the drills. I didn’t have the nerve to try an actual handstand but there was plenty I could work on. My ultimate goal of a handstand may have been a way off but I’d fallen in love with the process of getting there.

My next step became finding the confidence to handstand alone. If I couldn’t do this, I knew my opportunities for further development were limited. So, I went along to a second workshop. I left having again had a ton of fun, armed with more knowledge and, significantly, with more self-belief. And now I’m regularly found practising handstands in a commercial gym.


I still need a wall but I’ve worked up to being able (sometimes) to hold away from the wall for around five seconds. It doesn’t sound much but it’s a long way from where I started - and my handstand has better shape too.

In addition to learning the value of fitness being fun, I’m benefitting from the increased confidence I’ve gained. It’s very empowering being able to hold upside down  - and the added bonus is this extends to my life outside the gym.

I’ve still a long way to go to reach the vision I have in my head - but I’m fine with that because I’m having a ball trying.

Sunday 4th February 13:30 - 15:00

Learn how to transition from complete beginner to an up-side-down pro with our series of regressions to improve your balance and build your strength.

Training Around Christmas

In recent years there’s been an increasing trend for some gyms to open on Christmas Day for those people who just don’t want to miss a training session. 

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to miss a training session but what a lot of people forget is that resting and recovery is just as important as training. If we were to focus as must on that as we do training we’ll probably improve in all areas of training and life. 

Now that’s doesn’t necessarily mean grinding to a halt and melting into the sofa after the 3rd day of turkey dinners whilst watching Only Fools and Horses repeats on the tv. It's about incorporating some light activity and mindful eating into a week or so of calorie-dense food.

Think beyond the gym; going for a long walk with the dog or (snow-dependent) sledging with your family are excellent ways to do this.

If you usually track your food intake on My fitness pal, it might be a good opportunity to put the app away for a few days to give yourself a psychologically break. 

The festive break is a great time to reflect on the year and plan what you'd like to achieve going forward. And most importantly - enjoy some time with your family.

Calories and Christmas Coffees

Ahhh Christmas, the time for festive joy, work parties, pigs in blankets and of course the marketing barrage of special xmas drinks. For the many of you who are reading this blog post, being conscious of your health around this time of the year can be very tricky.

Lets take the afternoon coffee run for example (a staple of any sensibly run business). Gingerbread Lattes, Salted Caramel Cappuccinos, Billionaires Hot Chocolate are hard to resist when the whole office is holding red cups.

What once started as a drink at the start of the process generally ends up closer to a dessert by the end. As active and healthy people, how can we successfully navigate ourselves around this time whilst being able to get involved in the festivities?


Decadent Beverages - What you need to know.

We may not always be directly counting them but calories will always count. Understanding that the amount you consume vs the amount you use for energy will dictate how our body composition changes, is a powerful tool that can allow you to make better informed decisions.

Let’s take a look at some examples and what impact they may have on a typical 2,000 calorie day:

SIX3NINE Christmas Coffee Cafe Nero

1. Small Starbucks Egg Nog Latte - 169 kcals
2. Large Costa Coffee Gingerbread Latte - 339 kcals
3. Large Cafe Nero Toffe Nut Latte - 623 kcals

As you can see from the above, each of these drinks can be included within the example diet, however they will all take up different percentages of your daily targets. Each of these can impact the rest of the days consumption in many different ways. Opting for a small, lower calorie order might not make much of a difference, such as the Egg Nog Latte at Starbucks which is only 8% of the calorie target. However going for a large, creamy Latte is 24% and dramatically impacts the available calories over the rest of the day.

Looking at the nutritional information provided for consumers on the websites/menus can allow you to make good decisions and pick a drink and size relative to you. Because it is important to indulge at times over Christmas


Managing Expectations & Being Realistic

I can remember the nerves and anxiety I would feel around the festive period; I was convinced that joining in on the food festivities with my colleagues could in fact undo all of the progress that I had made this year. Was I really no longer “a healthy person” by having one of these drinks?

Several years further down the line and far better educated, I now know that actually moderating rather than restricting my nutrition choices is probably the “healthiest” decision that I ever made. It dawned on me how important mindset and managing expectations throughout the year are, especially around Christmas. It’s very possible that we’re already setting ourselves up for failure from the outset by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves.


Context is always key of course. We’re most likely striving to be a healthy mum, dad or partner rather than bodybuilder, professional athlete or olympian.

A more positive strategy for most of us around this period would generally be one of maintenance and moderation rather than over restriction and guilt.

Is it time we all thought about the bigger picture more and learnt to adjust our expectations according to where we are right now?

How to do a muscle-up

Despite considering myself fairly ‘fit’, I’ve always held this exercise on a pedestal. A very high one at that.

Although muscle ups now form part of my training regime, two years ago I saw it as a skill that is only reserved for Olympic gymnasts or people that possess Herculean strength. (I do not claim to possess either..!)


I decided to make it my goal to master the muscle up, the first road block was: where do I start?


I tried many times, arms flailing wildly, scrambling to try and push and pull my way up the rings without success and only very sore trapezius, triceps and biceps as a result. It was the transitional section of the move that perplexed me!

So in order to save you some time (and energy), here are the three pivotal things that helped me execute the muscle-up.


1. Maintaining tension through the core using the dish shape

it is very important to make sure that you are solid and stable by maintaining tension throughout the move utilising the dish shape. This enables you to transfer strength without any energy leaking from the body.


2. Keeping the rings close to the body

Because the rings are not fixed in position they will want to start drifting away from you when you start applying any downwards force. As soon as the rings start to move away from the body the more challenging it will become to execute the move.


3. Ensuring shoulder blades were down and back as I initiated the pull up

This made sure that the correct muscle were engaged throughout the movement and that other muscles were not having to compensate or do extra unnecessary work which lead lead to tweaks and sore necks for example   


I also found that making sure the fundamental movement patterns were refined along with drills focusing on the transitional section of the move. This was important for me to be able to progress through the plateaus I was experiencing. The cherry on top was having a knowledgeable eye to guide me through the process and spot the areas that required more work.


If you are experiencing issues with any of the above or would like to start training for muscle ups, I am hosting a Muscle-up workshop on 11th February. This workshop will be helpful for those who:

  • Have hit a plateau with their muscle-up training

  • Can’t seem to transition into the top of the movement

  • Have spent too long flailing wildly on the rings

In 90-minutes I am going to coach you through every single stage of the movement from start to finish so you can master it yourselves.

Sunday 11th February

Calories in High-street Christmas Sandwiches

Deep filled mince pies and 'pigs in blankets' have already made an reappearance on the supermarket shelves; yes, Christmas time is almost upon us.

Whilst festive food can often be highly indulgent and calorific it doesn’t mean that you should avoid them all together, it's about having a basic awareness of whats in the food you're eating so you can manage your expectations. (It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario.)

So here's two strategies on how to enjoy Christmas food whilst still working towards your goals.

1. Make informed decisions.

We know food choices will be on the higher end of the calorie spectrum than the rest of the year. Being mindful of the choices that are presented to you and ascertain if they take you towards your goal or away from it. No decision is 'good' or 'bad', it just means you're in tune with where you're at.

For example, if you are popping out for lunch to grab a sandwich you can still enjoy the Christmas themed meals if you are being mindful of your weight. There is often a large variance in calories from shop to shop - It's just a case of working out which one suits your target most.


1. Pret a Manger Christmas Lunch Sandwich
482 kcals

2. Boots Turkey, Stuffing and Redcurrant Sandwich
328 kcals

3. Marks & Spencer Turkey Feast

4. Waitrose Turkey Roast Vegetable Sandwich

Again, it's not about one being 'better' than the other, it's just about awareness. The lower calorie options shown here are just as delicious however the higher calorie options donate a percent of sales to Charity which is a wonderful gesture. Do what works for you.

2. Take your time.

It takes around 15-20 mins for your digestive system to signal to your brain that you are satiated. So with that in mind, slowing things down is a good strategy to avoid that uncomfortable post-Christmas dinner bloat.

Take it easy, enjoy yourself and be fully present at meals rather than viewing them as an opportunity to consume to excess, or feeling guilty and going without the trimmings. The festive period is a great time to be able to relax and unwind from the stresses of work and enjoy yourself with friends and family - so don't spend it stuck in the all or nothing cycle of guilt.

There's a lot of talk about 'surviving' Christmas when it comes to fitness. Let's embrace this season and thrive instead.

4 things that happen when you reach a low body fat percentage

How having a better understanding of human biology and evolution can help you make sense of what’s going on with your body whilst dieting to low body fat levels.

You are a survival machine. Every process in your body is governed by your genes. Genes control what you do, you don’t control your genes. Your genes want to survive and be replicated in your offspring. If you die before reproducing, they can’t do this.

In a way then your genes could be described as having selfish but not sentient character traits which are all geared towards their own survival. It is because of this that the genes contained inside of you have survived this far, and given the right set of conditions can continue to replicate and exist for generations long after you are dead.


Ok so how does this relate to dieting?

Dieting to low body fat levels is difficult. But if you understand that the difficulty is down to your genes wanting you to live, survive and replicate then we can be better placed to understand the process and try and find a solution to the problem in order to keep fat loss progress going.

Let us examine some common problems that occur when dieting to low body fat levels.


1.  My body is holding on to fat / weight loss has stalled.

Weight loss has plateaued so you must reduce calories right? Maybe.

Being in a calorie deficit is essentially starving to death, albeit slowly. Now you may know that you are not going to actually starve to death but your genes don’t. So they will try their best to limit energy expenditure if they feel that energy intake is inadequate. This will translate into feeling tired and lethargic, an unconscious reduction in NEAT and a slowing of the metabolism as well as a lack of motivation to train etc.  This is bad for fat loss but good for your gene survival because it means you maintain your weight and halt the “starvation process”. You can counteract this process by setting a smaller deficit and dieting for longer rather than a severe deficit, not killing yourself with your training, experiment with refeeds or calorie cycling, ensuring sleep is adequate and keeping external stress to a minimum. This will hopefully convince your genes that you are in a safe enough situation to continue losing fat.


2.  I’ve lost my libido.

Hang on a second, genes want to replicate, that’s not going to happen if you don’t want sex right? Good thought process but let’s examine this a little more closely. Your genes want you to survive and replicate but they also want your offspring to survive. If food is scarce (dieting) then the last thing your genes want to happen is for you to have a baby and reproduce, this leaves another mouth to feed and could ultimately compromise the survival of both you and your offspring. I know what you’re thinking, “but there’s loads of food about and my baby won’t be dieting, and I’m using contraceptives so there won’t be a baby anyway”. Your genes again don’t know this, through most of human evolution food has been scarce, contraception hasn’t existed and it has been a useful tool for our survival for you to lose your libido in times of food scarcity.

OK, so how can we counteract lack of libido; this is a tough one, sex is great and we should all have more of it. If you are in a relationship talk about it with your partner so that it doesn’t become something that drives you apart. Ensure your calorie deficit is not too low and that sleep and vitamin/mineral levels are adequate. Ensure fat consumption is enough to maintain healthy hormonal processes and experiment with diet breaks. Don’t overthink it but understand the reasons behind your lack of libido are entirely normal rather than problematic.


3.  I store fat easily and lose fat slowly.

Surely if I get fat easily then I’m more likely to die?

Congratulations. You’ve just identified a trait that has allowed our species to survive through droughts and famines and times of severe cold weather but you’re disappointed that you possess these genes too? Genes that encouraged rapid fat loss and slow fat storage would have died out long ago as the people who possessed them would not have survived without food for as long as people who had the fat storage genes. How can we use this information to our advantage? Accept that fat loss is going to be a slow process and be aware that if you do overfeed then your body will store fat very quickly. It’s not unlucky, it’s advantageous, or at least was before super markets and central heating and not having to catch your own dinner.


4.  Why do I feel more stressed/Not getting enough sleep?

These are bad things to be happening so my genes can’t be working in my best interests by allowing this to happen can they? Yes.

By hard dieting you have created an environment in your body where it is in an unfed state and your body is unconsciously worrying about when your next meal is coming from. This will make cortisol (the stress hormone) levels rise which can lead to sugar cravings if left unchecked. By limiting sleep, your body spends more time awake which from an evolutionary standpoint allows more time for you to hunt for food. Having no food would have been a primary point of stress for early man. Although we now have various lifestyle and environmental factors that can cause us stress, your genes don’t know the difference between each individual stimulus so will respond similarly in any stressful scenario. These genes have been useful for our survival for generations and will likely continue to be.

So how can we use this information to help with the dieting process? Make sure you are not in too large a deficit, try and do things that are relaxing and that allow the body to rest and recover, ensure your diet is sufficient in carbohydrates and maybe experiment with eating carbs towards the end of the day.


Hopefully now you have a better understanding of why dieting is an uncomfortable process for your body to go through. You are trying to fight an instinctual process that has been successful in keeping humans alive since the dawn of our species. By appreciating this perhaps you can make the journey a little smoother and more collaborative with your physiology rather than against it.


If you fancy some extra reading;

The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins.
A Guide to Flexible Dieting – Lyle McDonald.

How to exercise more efficiently

It is possible to train intelligently, by definition there must also be un-intelligent training. As in any arena, an un-intelligent approach is characterised by rushed or impetuous decisions, an absence of enquiry or understanding about the current knowledge on the topic and this approach may manifest as a lack of ability to execute actions in line with a true representation of reality, leading to potential misjudgements, misfortune and a reliance on luck rather than judgement. 

An educated and therefore arguably more intelligent method of training will more reliably prevail over a mis-informed or uninformed training approach because of our ability to predict the impact a chosen training approach will have on not just our bodies but every aspect of our lives. This gives us control over our body and training programme, leading to greater understanding and enjoyment in the nuances of training.


Why intelligent training?

Basing an educated approach to training on the philosophy that you have one body for the rest of your life, that mind and body are intrinsically connected and therefore any pain or ill fortune that our bodies suffer our minds must also suffer. It is prudent then to train with a level of self care that is more likely to result in long term health and wellbeing. 

Paradoxically our bodies are both fragile and strong, an unintelligent approach utilising little preparation before engaging in a training programme or involving little theoretical or experiential knowledge about the fundamentals of how the human body functions and adapts will put us at greater risk of finding out how bodies can be fragile. The opposite however, combining a deep understanding of how the body functions and using a measured approach, is much more likely to allow us to enjoy the benefits of sustainable training whilst navigating around niggles and injuries. 

Some will see an intelligent approach as a soft approach, however mistaking self care for the relinquishing of results, is in itself a mistake. Using the scientific method and research to guide decisions around training styles will help us avoid unnecessary trial and error and lead us towards applying the minimal effective dose. This approach actually increases the speed at which we can bring about a desired outcome more quickly than the ‘shoot in the dark’ estimates of unintelligent training. 


Based on this philosophy, there are four pillars of intelligent training:


1. A critical eye.

A critical eye is best developed by filming and watching your movement in the mirror. The advantage of this method is that you are able to match up how a movement looks with how it feels. Filming is best done from the front and from the side, this way you can see if anything is out of position or if there are asymmetries that could potentially cause discomfort should they reappear constantly through your training. Videos allow you to monitor changes to the way you move over time as a reference tool to look back at the way you used to move. 


2. Joint preparation.

Joint preparations is a combination of mobility exercises and activation drills. Mobility allows us to control a greater range of movement and is best developed through the use of stretching and complex movement skills. Done well it helps balance tension throughout the body to avoid excessive tightness and promotes efficient movement patterns. A mobile body will be less likely to suffer discomfort from musculoskeletal dysfunction. 

Activation drills are comprised of isometric and movement drills designed to increase the feedback the brain receives from muscles in order to develop the connection between brain and body. When done well, muscles will ‘feel’ active and we will be more able to tense individual muscles or muscle groups, putting us in control of how our bodies produce certain movements.  


3. Variation.

Variation is a key component of any well designed exercise programme, it helps prevent overuse injuries by varying movement patterns and spreading fatigue and training load across the body and across the programme. Another advantage to variation is that it keeps the programme mentally stimulating and avoids tedium. If good body awareness and joint preparation are combined properly then the range of exercises available to us will be larger, a larger exercise repertoire will broaden the range of skills we can develop and lead to a more capable and robust body, more resistant to injury and pain. Variation can be variation of exercises and/or variation within exercises, this is true to of load and rest etc. A good programme therefore will have different exercises and also different variations of those exercises.


4. Specificity.

Specificity is the fourth pillar and focuses our training by manipulating variables such as load, rest, volume, intensity etc to bring about different outcomes. We may want to get stronger, we may like to get bigger and build muscle, despite some overlap there are different training styles that are more likely to bring about each goal. So although movement patterns can be ubiquitous the style of those patterns needs to be specific to a training outcome, for instance if you want to get stronger then it is beneficial to lift heavy weights, for aerobic capacity however (the ability to maintain a high heart rate for prolonged periods) it is not vital to lift heavy. 

Why you should strength train

Strength training can often be a misunderstood training modality, and for this reason many people will often avoid it all together. In truth, strength training should be an integral part of any long term training programme for a multitude of reasons. Here’s why.


1. It is the mother of all attributes

It can be argued that strength training is the mother of all attributes. The quality of strength underpins many athletic biomotors. Studies have shown that if you want to increase speed, power, agility to name a few you are best served getting strong first.

Think of filling a bucket full of water. If you wish to fill the bucket with more water you need a bigger bucket. Strength training makes your bucket bigger. It will lay the foundation in order to train other biomotors more effectively.



Footage from our Strength Training Class online tutorials

2. It’s a skill

Strength training is not just about throwing around the biggest weights possible. In order to train strength effectively you need to be able to figure out how to apply force in terms of the movement and the muscle action. This could be concentric vs eccentric muscle actions, fast vs slow movements, range of motion of the movement, stability and load types.

On that point load doesn't have to be exclusive to barbells. Your own bodyweight is a load type. The skills and strength required to squat heavy and handstand will be vastly different. Just because handstands don’t require heavy loads does not mean they don’t require strength.


3. It exposes “weak” spots

When performing lifts with heavy loads things change, issues that may have never been found can be unearthed. You can only be as strong in a full range of motion as you are at the weakest point of your lift. In order to progress it forces you to address any issues.

This could be improving mobility to hit greater ranges of motion, increasing stability through the core and peripheral bracing methods or developing under developed muscles in order to increase strength potential.



Footage from our Strength Training Class online tutorials

4. Body composition

When you stall with your body composition goals, a course of strength training could be the answer. Increasing your top end strength will have a knock on effect down the chain. It will allow you to lift greater load at higher reps. This will allow you to increase the volume of your workouts which is proven to increase muscle gain over time.    

Whether you are a beginner in strength training or consider yourself more experienced, the benefits of getting stronger are applicable to everyone.

Why we are always on a diet

“Up to 50% of women are on a diet at any given time.”(1)

Actually, 100% of us are on a diet all the time. Our diet is made up of the food and drink we consume on a daily basis. What we eat is extremely important to our health, performance, physiology and psychology. Our diets can shape our strengths, weaknesses, appearance and emotions. We really are what we eat. 

The language of our society likes to separate conscious eating from unconscious eating. There is this strange notion that if you are thinking about your food choice; you are doing something out of the ordinary, called dieting. 

Dieting is also often used synonymously with ‘trying to lose weight’ (as is most likely the case in the livestrong quote at the start of this piece). Again, this language is very unhelpful.

Viewing ‘a diet’ as a temporary means for weight loss is the primary cause of the ‘yo-yo’ phenomena. Taking on an entirely different and often ridiculous diet for a predetermined period of time may lead to weight loss. However, it is unlikely you will continue to only eat juice, no carbs, or ‘clean foods’ forever. So what happens when you return to a different diet - like the one you had before, when you were heavier?

How about a different perspective. We’re all dieting all the time - so what is your current diet doing for you? Is it helping you to gain weight or lose weight? Is it helping you feel energised and strong or fatigued and sluggish? Are you happy and enjoying your food, or are you tearing you hair out calorie counting?

Assess how you feel about your current situation, your health, lifestyle and general happiness. Is there an area you want to improve or alter? For example: body composition, improving sporting performance, reducing alcohol consumption, or just better overall health. Rather than ‘going on a diet’ think about making small changes to your current diet that can steer you in the direction of your goal.


So if the goal was weight loss, what might a small change look like?

Depending on your current eating habits, some of the suggestions below may present a bigger window of opportunity for change than others. For example, if you are currently having after work drinks 3 times a week, limiting alcohol intake to once per week may be a great place to start. 

- Adding protein and fruit/veg to each main meal

- Swapping sweet snacks for a fourth light meal, or a high protein afternoon snack

- Swapping fancy coffee calories (such as frappes and lattes) for lower calorie options

- Reducing alcohol intake to once per week

- Reducing restaurant indulgence to once per week

- Getting 10,000 steps a day

- Trying to get an hours walk/cardio/training in 2-3 times per week


A significant calorie deficit for weight-loss is around 500kcal below maintenance. If your current weight is stable and not budging, even just implementing one or two of these strategies may be enough to bring you into that deficit. This is not extreme, this is not ‘weight loss dieting’. This is making small adjustments to the diet that is keeping you where you are now, and brings it more in line to the diet required to maintain you at your target weight, your target performance level or your target health.


We’re all dieting whether we like it or not, so why not make it the best diet for you. 


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