Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Eating meat will kill you within 5 seconds.

Now the dust has settled down, I will comment about the latest WHO findings on red meat and the increased risk of colon cancer. What often surprises me is the reaction and interpretation from the public which can often differ from what has actually been said.

The study looked specifically at colon cancer rates and concluded there was enough evidence that red and processed meat consumption increased your risk of getting colon cancer. This is what people interpreted from the findings.


It's easy to see why, but it's not so black and white. Firstly, this information has been around for while. A study on rats who had chemically induced colon cancer, showed that dietary haemoglobin had a catalytic effect on the formation of cancerous lesion. This is the formation of the theory that heam in meat 'might' contribute to cancer. This might not sound great news for those who are espousing the virtues of organic or free range meat. Heam is heam, regardless whether it is organic or not.

Secondly, this current study looked at processed meats. They are defined as anything that has been:

  • Smoked.
  • Cured.
  • Salt, additives or preservatives.

The additives and preservatives list is quite extensive. Here are a few but not all are used exclusively in meat.

  • Benzoic acid - preservative.
  • High fructose corn syrup - makes things sweeter.
  • Sodium nitrate - preservative.
This study then claimed processed meat (which was shortened to 'all meats' by militant vegans on twitter) should be put in the same category as smoking, alcohol and asbestos for know carcinogens. You've got to be a pretty hardy meat eater not to re-read that bit. So that's it. Meat will kill you. 

What concerns me about these articles, is people jump to extremes and these are the only voices you hear. Meat eaters were claiming that this is all a rubbish and to carry on eating as much meat as possible. This isn't the best tip if you have gout. Vegans were claiming that they have known this all along, despite cancer rates being similar in meat and non-meat eaters in the western world ( which in some way is more concerning than this study). I prefer to operate in the middle and let people make up their own minds, once the facts have been presented. 

A study in 2010 found 3 extra cases of bowel cancer per 100,000 attributed to meat consumption. If the next year this rate went up to 4, the papers would report it as an increased risk or that you are 33% more likely to get cancer. When in reality, we are talking about 1 extra person. It probably would be a a less sensational a headline if it read, "Bowel cancer rates are up 0.001%........."

"For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed"
- Dr Kurt Straif, IARC

Here are some statistics on bowel cancer rates from Cancer Research.

8,000 cases of cancer can be linked processed meats.
64,000 cases of cancer can be linked to smoking.
12,000 cases of cancer are caused by alcohol - There is no safe limit.

We are winning the war on cigarettes, but unless you are going to address how much you drink or smoke, you are trying to put out a blazing inferno with a water pistol. What the report doesn't mention is that you can decrease your chances of getting colon cancer by simply not eating processed meats. To do this, I suggest you find a good butcher. A good butcher doesn't need to preserve the meat because everything is locally sourced and is bought or consumed within a few days.

I wish the papers had gone into who this is really about. It isn't an attack on meat. It's about manufacturers and supermarkets doing things to our meat which increases our cancer rates. They are the ones who need food to last longer as it spends longer in transit. They want meat to last longer on the shelves. They create the ready meals which are full of salt and additives to disguise the poor quality ingredients. It appears clear to me that what we do to food, is more important than what we eat.

Cancer is a complex matter. We tend not to know much about it unless it affects us or someone close to us. This then makes us terrified when he read an article which has the word 'cancer' in it. Cancer happens when DNA is damaged and this damage then spreads throughout the body. The damaged part of the DNA is then replicated as a mutation. As DNA tells the cells what to do and how to grow, once there is a mutation, the body replicates this and the body starts to tell certain cells to grow. This is how tumours start. DNA gets damaged all the time and normally by a process of methylation, we can repair our own DNA. DNA damage occurs by known carcinogens, diet, lifestyle and genetics. We've known for a long time that processed meat or burnt food can overburden our bodies ability to naturally detoxify. So again the news about meat isn't really that surprising.  

Here are some of the known carcinogens if you really want to avoid them. Good luck!

  1. Tobacco smoke
  2. Sunbeds and sunlamps
  3. Aluminum products
  4. Boot and show manufacturer repair
  5. Chimney sweeping
  6. Isopropanol manufacture - found in cleaning and disinfectant agents
  7. Rubber
  8. Alcohol 
  9. Diesel
  10. wood dust

If you want the full list of 116 known carcinogens, click on the link below.

So if you are serious about cancer and reducing your risk, I would look at meat eating as a general strategy. Cut down or cut it out but don't think you have reduced your cancer risk if you smoke, drink, eat processed foods or don't take regular exercise. 

If you are in need of meat free recipes, click here.

Hopefully this blog has left you less confused and probably a little hungry. If you are still thinking about going 'red meat free' we've created a cookbook to add some extra variety to your diet. It will be released on 1st  November. We will release it via our Website and our Facebook page so look out!

Stay fit.


Learn more about Fit School.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

J K Rowling/ S Williams vs Twitter troll

Another year of Wimbledon has passed by and I tried to watch as much as I could. Unfortunately, my children didn't appreciate Daddy monopolising the T.V. to watch people hit a ball backwards and forwards to each other for hours on end. So I only caught glimpses. 

Serena Williams won her 6th Wimbledon title and her second Serena slam at the age of 33. Kudos to her and let her enjoy the praise and glory. However, when the picture below was published, some people decided to comment on how masculine she looked. This brought about a rather witty response from J K Rowling. 

As sad and as dumb as some people are, I thought this would be an opportunity to explain why this guy is a moron and to shut this discussion down once and for all. I'll also show how these kinds of morons are unwittingly attracted to men, despite being heterosexual. 

  • Men and women are very similar. It's only a small genetic varation which brings about such a difference in how we look. Young boys and girls are very similar in their performances until puberty strikes. Then the gap widens. Your genes don't change the older you get, but some genes are expressed differently. 

  • Successful female athletes tend to be those who display more male characteristics. Narrow hips, long arms and low body fat. There  There is also a syndrome known as androgen insensitivity which means that genetically you are male, but your genitals don't develop and you look female. So being classed as 'female' may not be as straight forward as people think. 

  • The most overlooked point of this topic is Serena has curves, which  is a distinctly female characteristic. Hips, thighs and breasts. You can't get more feminine!  Men on the other hand don't have curves. If you saw a man with her curves, you would say she looked like a woman. 

  • Testosterone differentiates men from women. Men have higher levels, but not all women have the same levels. Many athletes have higher levels of testosterone which enable them to build muscle more than women with less testosterone. The debate continues about whether black athletes have a genetic advantage as a high proportion of athletes are black. Those that do will look more muscular (if they train) than those who don't. 

  • Most female track athletes have male qualities. Narrow hips are more efficient for speed than wider hips (like Serena). However, many men seem to make an exception when the athlete has an attractive face. They are prepared to overlook the male qualities. 

  • Models display more male characteristics than you would think. Narrow hips, long limbs and above average height. What makes them unique is the have a feminine looking face on a male frame. Again men overlook the male qualities. 

Back to Serena. The only reason people may think she looks masculine is mainly cultural. We don't see women with muscle. It's the same when we see a person over 40 who is muscular or lean. We think there is something wrong with this picture. Personally, this is a regression in us as a species and we shouldn't we lauding this as the new 'norm.' However, when I look at Serena, her body fat levels are at a guess in the normal ranges for women (10-30%). She looks like she can build muscle better than other women (which is true for a lot of athletes). Even you would build some muscle if you played sport for 8 hours a day.

If you showed this to black males, or those who live in Africa or the Caribbean, they would think she was slim. What I find funny is if Serena didn't exercise, she would be slightly softer and would carry more bodyfat. She might even be classed as overweight. So people need to stop comparing her to Maria Sharapova (who has male characteristics despite many men finding her attractive) and they should compare her to a bigger version of herself. However, I doubt they would be wearing a dress like she is and this conversation wouldn't be happening.

Find out more about Chris and Fit School.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Save yourself a trip to A & E.

My son absolutely loves his scooter. He actually prefers to scoot instead of using his bike. He is now more coordinated and strong enough to get up to a good speed. From day 1, we have always been keen to extol the virtues of head safety. Someone we know was knocked off his bicycle and luckily survived due to wearing a helmet. His neck was pinned for many months and he can now walk again. You don't have to look very hard to find similar stories like this. I would like to make clear my position from the start of this blog. I completely refute any notion or statistic that people who wear helmets get injured just as much as those who don't. So should you.

It always interested me how we get used to not wearing something which will protect a vital organ such as the brain. Not wearing a helmet starts with the HABIT of not wearing one. One day, you think it will take too much time to put one on. Or your friends will laugh at you because you have one and they don't. Then you convince yourself you will be careful or you're only going down the road. This also happens with your parent telling you, "it will be ok," on the day you are about to walk out the door and they can't be bothered to go back to put it on. Then as you develop more skill as a rider (or false confidence) and get older, you really believe that the likelihood of crashing is down to your own individual skill. It's people or cars crashing into you which you need to worry about. Being careful makes no difference at all to the likelihood of an extrinsic blow to the body.

We've seen the same attitude with wearing a seat belt, and more recently, wearing helmets while skiing. Liam Neeson's wife died after an innocuous fall on a nursury slope. She wasn't wearing a helmet. Michael Schumacher will most likely have died had he not been wearing his helmet. People are now rushing to wear helmets on the ski slopes as this attitude is changing. Yet I see many cyclists still not wearing helmets.

We recently bought our son a new helmet. We let him pick it out which he was excited about. The shop fitted the helmet and we were discussing how we see many kids not wearing helmets properly. Also, helmets have a lifespan. The materials and foam degrade and wear down. The recommendation for the life of a helmet is around 5 years. People think this is a marketing ploy to buy more helmets. It could partly be, but you only need to think about this. Fresh polystyrene has some give to it. Old polystyrene crumbles and snaps very easily. Which would you rather have supporting your brain?

Getting back to the topic. Isaac fell off his scooter a few days ago. He was scooting down a hill and lost control. When my wife got to him. His helmet had turned to the side and it was clear he had hit his head on the peak of the helmet (the sticky out bit). He was obviously shocked, but then he jumped up and carried on scooting. Had he not been wearing a helmet, it would have been a trip to A & E for sure. We were very lucky that he got a new helmet a few weeks prior to his fall, and was fitted properly. So here's a quick guide of how to, and how not to fit a child's helmet.

The helmet should be covering the eyebrows and sits as the brain is positioned on your spine.

If you follow the line of the edge of helmet (sticky out bit) straight down, it protects the forehead and nose if your child falls face first. 

It shouldn't be worn like a hat or to hold hair in place. 

The forehead and nose are completely exposed if the child falls face first. Also, the protection is too low at the back. this section of the head will never come in to contact with the ground. 

Hopefully this helps. Let's get kids active but let's try to build a good/life saving habit too.

Learn more about what we do at Fit School.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Ha ha ha you're fat. Part 2.

Carrying on from part 1. If you didn't read it, here is the link.

There are some great personal trainers out there doing great work in helping to change people’s habits and lifestyle. However, this doesn't make trainers obesity experts. Sometimes on Facebook, some of my fellow trainers take to their keyboards to vent their frustration in obesity being classed as anything other than ‘lazy-ass syndrome.” This if often off the back of an obesity related article in the media. One guy said obese people should be forced into having a medical procedure or they should have their benefits stopped. Or comments such as, “they got themselves into this mess. If they can’t be bothered to help themselves, why should we?” In a freakish coincidence, I heard a similar comment made by someone who was upset at the proposal of a new HIV drug to stop the spread of the disease amongst promiscuous males.

“If they’re stupid enough not to protect themselves, why should we help them?”

At least stupidity pops out in all walks of life.

People dislike those who are classed as obese because of what they feel they represent. What I am uncomfortable with is stereotyping used by professionals who are choosing to ignore evidence which they have access too. Or having any balance to their arguments, when they are perfectly placed to do so. At least the public can use ignorance as their excuse.

I believe those who work in fitness hold these views regardless of working in fitness. So I'm not criticising the industry as such. I feel they use their knowledge of health and fitness to fuel their dislike for people who are obese. It’s a bit like a gynaecologist deciding to wage a war on the lady garden and using intimate knowledge about said region to back their case. We would find that pretty low and disrespectful. Maybe that’s the word I am looking for. I would like people to be more respectful. 

The delusion that trainers become experts on obesity, follows this logic. 

Ø  I help people lose fat
Ø  I am not fat
Ø  I make people work beyond the point they want to stop
Ø  I am an expert in motivating people
Ø  Not being obese is about losing fat and not being lazy
Ø  I am an obesity expert

Now compare this to people who are researchers in obesity. This is taken from the abstract of a research paper.

Obesity is a genetically complex disorder that produces a myriad of health problems. Most of the recognized complications of obesity are not only strongly influenced by lifestyle factors, but also present with independent genetic predispositions that are notoriously difficult to disentangle in humans. Most studies on the causes and consequences of acquired obesity are encumbered by the incomplete ability to control for genetic influences…….

Causes and consequences of obesity: the contribution of recent twin studies. Naukkarinen J1, Rissanen A, Kaprio J, Pietiläinen KH. Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Aug;36(8):1017-24. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.192. Epub 2011 Oct 11.

What trainers don’t realise is to people who actually know a bit about obesity, they sound pretty dumb. Which is interesting as many trainers are fighting for the right to be taken seriously. Here’s a thought. Treat others as you expect to be treated and you might push your cause a little.

We accept we can help someone lose weight, but we can't all help someone looking to get down to 6% body fat. We accept we can help someone put on some muscle mass, but not all of us can get someone 'hench' or 'henched (I believe these terms mean something to some people.). So why do trainers and society think eating less and moving more is a simple solution? I experimented with doing the recommended daily steps as advised but the gov. It worked out as walking a round of golf, every day. Even I would find this seriously challenging, yet trainers think that people should just 'find' this motivation from somewhere and keep doing it until they are slim. Most trainers will agree that our clients aren't motivated all year round, so how should those who don't have trainers stay motivated? 

The word obesity is interesting as it’s merely a categorisation for health risk. The figure is only one aspect of health as someone with low body fat can be classed as obese. What we are talking about is fat people. In my opinion, a lot of the venom is a different version of, “ha, ha ha, you’re fat,” you used to hear in the playground.”  I know people who have worse diets than some who are obese, but their weight gain isn't obvious because of their build and genetics. I've tested people who look slim, but they are known as ‘skinny fat,’ or TOFI (5). Add these to your list of the lazy when you wake up looking for an argument.   

There is also a slight sense of a superior judgement which comes across from some sections of the training community. Today it will be obese people. Tomorrow it will be something else. I put this in the list of, 'things that the public do which trainers find funny.'

List of topics trainers like to mock.

  • Cardio
  • Weight Watchers
  • Counting calories
  • Not using weights
  • Not exercising
  • Eating cereal
  • Not eating chicken
  • Having a life outside of fitness
  • Not knowing what Cross Fit is. 

This blog will probably play in the hands of those who think this is namby-pamby left wing nonsense. It is nothing of the sort. In fact, I agree with Jill Tipping from HoopUK (6) who said, “this isn’t accepting fat either.”  We should do everything in our power to make people aware that action needs to be taken. But if you are only prepared to offer criticism, then you are most likely fuelling the obesity fire. Watching Panorama also doesn't make you an expert on obesity. Facebook posts from trainers go crazy immediately after a programme about obesity. 

Finally, obesity is a fairly ‘new’ phenomena. We used to see larger people or the pot belly as a sign of wealth. Sugar used to be very expensive and was classed as ‘White Gold by British Colonists during the slave trade. Therefore it was eaten very sparingly or only by those who could afford it. As the price dropped, sugar was used more in foods and is a cheap way of making food taste better. So Sugar is the enemy? It is one part of the problem. People in the UK sit down for on average 9 hours a day which contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There are campaigns trying to address this (7). So obesity is affecting all people from different social backgrounds, economic backgrounds, races, sex etc. But whenever people fat shame, they have a picture of someone watching Jeremy Kyle, living off benefits. Obesity is everywhere. Even though it does come down to energy expenditure, it is much more complex than telling people to eat less. If you really want to look into the causes, this diagram explains it pretty well. It looks at every aspect of obesity and does look at taking responsibility.

To be honest, chances are, most people have made their mind up and this blog has done very little to change it. All I have tried to do is to divide people into 2 groups. Those who are committed to helping people tackle weight and inactivity related disease. The other group is those who like to laugh at 'fat' people. I think you know which camp I sit in.

For more info about Chris and his Essex based business, check out


  1. .
  3.   Daniel Kahneman, 2011. Thinking Fast and Slow.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ha ha ha you're fat.

I've been a personal trainer for 13 years. Over the last few years, I've noticed a worrying trend occurring amongst my fellow professionals. Fat shaming. It appears that we as health and fitness professionals feel adequately placed to say derogatory comments about anyone who gets in our way. It appears that overweight people are now feeling our wrath.

The thing is, I would fight for the right for people to say what they want (to a point). In this case, it is completely different. This is professionals using their status or anecdotal evidence to justify attacking people who are very overweight or obese. This is also without actually working with obese people. Some very overweight people seek out Personal Trainers, but, but what they need to ensure success is a team of people including a dietician and psychological support. This is well beyond the scope of a PT.

Fat shaming is something we do as a society, so first let’s look at some of the views society seem to have of obese people.

  • ·         They lack self-control.
  • ·         They lack discipline.
  • ·         They are sponging of the state.
  • ·         They are talking the piss out of everyone.
  • ·         They want to be fat.
  • ·         They don’t care about their health.
  • ·         I hate fat people because of their attitude.

This is the tame version. People say and think much worse about this topic. This was evident when obesity was deemed a disability in certain cases in employment law. Social media was rife with some of the most hateful and vile comments that I had seen in a long time. The same is evident when the words ‘obesity’ and ‘disease’ are mentioned in the same sentence. The reason being people feel diseases are things outside of your control and obesity is something well within your control. This becomes semantics when you consider most cancers are considered to be influenced by lifestyle rather than genetics (1).Something tells me people don’t have the same appetite to attack people who suffer from cancer compared to those who are obese.

Obesity is also an easy target. You can see someone putting on weight so it is easy to pass judgement. You can’t see someone slowly getting cancer. I can hear people now.

“Is he seriously comparing a serious, life-threatening disease such as cancer to obesity? He must be a liberal, lily-livered lefty.”  

Not really, and I am merel comparing 2 biological states of the body. I just like to question the conclusions I'm asked to reach, especially when they include stereotyping of whole groups of society. This piece also isn't about excusing obesity, as I’ll go into later.

We justify our venom because we think obese people will eventually lose weight or they need to be treated harshly to ‘wake up.’ How is that working out for you? Have you managed shame someone slim? People are so unwilling to question their logic that even when presented with the reality that kids will die before their parents due to weight related disease, some say, “they got themselves into this mess, so they can get themselves out of it.”  It’s almost as if they have cemented their ill-informed opinion to the extent that there is no way any other point of view can get through. Not even empathy. According to cancer research, survival rates are at 78% for breast cancer (2). IMO, this is what happens when you dedicate funds and resources to tackling diseases irrespective of how they start. This is a threat to our survival, shouldn't we look more at like that instead of the blame game?

Then you have the logic of those who say, “you’d hate it if your child was sick and they didn't get the care they should because funds were diverted to obese people.” No, this isn't a party political broadcast for UKIP. I find it interesting how it is mainly cancer that is used to strengthen the argument. Why? To create an emotional argument. Obese people get cancer too. Are we going to say that they shouldn't get treatment because they are obese? Or hold the view that they have got themselves into this situation, but the slim person hasn't?  This is the argument of the truly lazy who have a simplistic view on how healthcare works. It’s also fuelled by the vision of obese people sitting eating a Macdonalds (stereotype #466)  all day. As soon as the media report that some are on benefits, this is all the ammunition people need. I used to work in Macdonald’s and I would say the majority of people who came in weren't obese. That’s not actual research, but I did work there for 9 hours a day.

Lastly, I heard man on a popular radio phone-in say, “you know the people I mean. Those who sit around all day, eating Macdonald’s, living off benefits.” Oh, so you mean you watched the programme ‘Benefits street,’ and you now have enough information to make a well informed opinion? Seems logical to me. What you have here is what is known as the availability cascade (3). If we talk about something enough, it becomes the centre of our concern and we want leaders and governments to do something about it. Are you still as worried about Ebola compared to when it was mentioned 2-3 times a day? In fact, governments are often looked down upon by not acting on these concerns, despite their logic/importance being questionable. I am troubled by the obesity epidemic. However, I'm more concerned about inactivity related disease and illness as it is twice as deadly as obesity (4). I’ll accept that it’s difficult to disentangle the two, but unless you are prepared to look into these figures, don’t attempt to judge people.

So that’s society done. Let’s look at trainers. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Karen's DNA profile.

A few weeks ago, my wife, Karen was interested in having her DNA profile analysed as she starts to rebuild her body after having kids. So we got her tested and the results are in. I thought I would share them here so you have an understanding about where we are with advancements in health and fitness testing.

Before you get your results, it is advisable to have a think about what you think the results might show. They rarely show up something that you genuinely never knew or felt. Unless you are living a really unhealthy lifestyle. Here are what the we are testing for. 

  • Carbohydrate sensitivity - also know as the fat gene
  • Fat sensitivity
  • Detox ability
  • Caffeine sensitivity
  • Salt sensitivity
  • Lactose tolerance
  • Coeliac risk
There are a few others such as antioxidant needs, vitamin D and calcium, but I'll stick to topics above. 

Here is what Karen felt prior to her results. 

  • Used to live off carbs in her management consultancy days, but was fatter and unhealthy (her words not mine)
  • Tried low fat diets but left her feeling hungry and craving sweets
  • Craves dark green veggies
  • Gets the shakes if she has too much coffee
  • Her dad has high blood presssure which would put her at risk of hypertension from excess sodium
  • If she has too much dairy, it upsets her stomach
  • Whole wheat doest't agree with her. 
So here are Karen's test results. 

Karen has a low sensitivity to carbs, which means she can cope with them pretty well. You'll still put on weight if you are into a calorie surplus, regardless of how well you can cope with carbs, but carbs definitely aren't her enemy. 

Karen also has a low saturated fat sensitivity. Her body uses saturated fats for energy better than the average person or someone who has a high fat sensitivity. So a low calorie and low fat diet will not suit her and it is no surprise that she was hungry when she tried it. nearly 40% of her diet can made up of fats. 10% of these can come from saturated fats. So it is advisable that she adds some to her diet as saturated fats help absorb fat soluble vitamins and hormones. 

Karen has the deleted version of a gene responsible for detoxification. So it is advisable that she increase her dark green veggie intake to compensate. This would explain her craving for dark veggies. 

Karen's salt sensitivity is raised which puts her at risk of hypertension with a high sodium intake. As mentioned earlier, hypertension is in her family. We know this to be genetic so it's no surprise. However, risk doesn't mean the gene will be expressed. If you try to stay fit and healthy, you may not even get hypertension. 

Karen is one of the lucky people who actually gets a positive health benefit (lower cholesterol) from moderate intake of alcohol. Her body breaks down alcohol more slowly than me which means her body can cope better with the toxic element of alcohol. 

Karen has an intermediate ability to detoxify toxins such as carcinogens from food and smoke. It also helps with caffeine removal. So her body might struggle with more than 1 coffee per day. 

Karen has what is known as lactose persistence. She can cope well with dairy, but she might not cope as well in later years. Again, this is listening to your body. 

Lastly, she has a potential risk of coeliac disease. It still is only risk, but she does get digestive discomfort with whole wheat and spelt. At the moment she just avoids them, but at some point may want to get an antibody test to see if there is anything going on. 

There were a few vitamin and mineral recommendations which are more than she currently takes, but there was nothing that she didn't expect. So you might be asking what is the point of being told things you currently know?

Having the things you have always thought, written down in a report is incredibly powerful. Especially for compliance. I never advise Karen on anything to do with health and fitness and vice versa. Couples giving advice to one another on the whole doesn't work as your relationship gets in the way of any objectivity. However, as the test is objective, we were able to have a non judgemental discussion. She has since been making the tweaks to her diet. It helps that she is happy to. I don't need to mention lowering risk of heart attack or better protection from cancer etc. This is a report that stays with you for life and is what your body needs to function optimally. So I'm hopeful that people who often struggle to stick to a healthy diet, will be able to connect with how their body works. You'll not need to worry about inflammatory newspaper headlines because they might not apply to you. Also, you can redefine what the word 'healthy' means for you. Low fat might be healthy for you, but unhealthy for someone else. Quite often it's how the information is relayed to us, that makes us stand up and take notice. 

Later in the year, I'll post about Karen's exercise DNA test too. 

If you are interested in getting a better understanding of your body, please contact 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Are you set up to fail?

Have you ever had a conversation with people about getting into to shape, or getting fit? Of course you have. If you work in an office, I imagine these occur on a daily basis. Have you ever replied like this?

"I really want to get into shape so I need to get down to the gym."

The gym is a good place to get into shape and you can indeed get very fit. But I think we set up our health and fitness endeavours with the wrong mindset and going to the gym is a prime example. 

In reality, you may go to the gym 3-4 times per week during your motivated stage. However, the average gym attendance when I was working in the gym was 1.5 visits per month. For most people, motivation often wears off and they find themselves closer to the lower average gym attendance. Note that this is only gym attendance. It doesn't look at what people are doing in the gym. You could be doing a 10 minute workout followed by a croissant and a latte. So at best we are pinning 3-4 sessions per week, to undo the years of not being active. It might work for a short while, but you might find that it simply isn't enough to touch the sides. 

So there's no point joining the gym? No, that's not what I'm saying. Expecting it to make the big changes you want is what I am getting at. Also, I feel there are other areas of your life to consider which will dictate whether you are successful in your health and fitness goals. So I have written a list of questions you should maybe ask yourself, which will be a better predictor of whether you will succeed with your health and fitness goals. 

  • How likely are you to enter a fitness event or fun run?
  • How likely are you to get involved in a sport or competition?
  • How likely would you exercise with your kids for fun, rather than perceive it as a chore?
  • How likely would you book an activity holiday?
  • How likely is it that you would suggest exercising with your partner (keep it clean) for fun? 
  • How likely is it you would get back earlier from work to look after the kids so your partner can exercise? 
  • How likely would you call you friends up and arrange something active for you all to do?
  • How often do you go for a walk because you think it is a nice thing to do?
  • How likely would you pick a school for your kids because you like the amount of sports and activities on offer?
  • How likely would you try cooking something new, with fresh ingredients and find it fun, rather than a pain and a waste of time?
I would even suggest that doctors ask these questions instead of telling people to go the gym. 

The gym is about will power and discipline. It only lasts for a short period of time. That's why getting a trainer or getting involved in gym challenges or the social side will keep you hooked into the gym. However, what will make the big difference is how you value some of the questions I have posed above. If you aren't interested in your kids being active, there is a strong likelihood that you will not think it is important for you. Losing fat and getting fit are sold as something which are only for those who 'want it the most.' Progress is more like a leaky tap. Slow and stead always wins the race. Over time you see fantastic results. But to get them, you are going to need more things working in your life than 3 gym sessions per week. 

If you're up for playing along, pick a few from the list and see if you can make a start. Just see how comfortable you are with them. When you are comfortable with some of them, I guarantee your mind will be much better set up to succeed with your health and fitness goals.