This is the first time I’ve stuck with any kind of fitness training and I can already see the benefits.
This is the first time I’ve stuck with any kind of fitness training and I can already see the benefits. I’m definitely stronger than when I first joined and Darren is great at motivating me to push myself that little bit more. The atmosphere is comfortable and Darren always varies the workouts so it’s not tedious. Nice bloke, great results.
Review submitted via Facebook
It’s great working out with Darren, he keeps you motivated, changes up the routine every week, and it’s nice to be able to share the session with my sister. We have a laugh and feel totally relaxed, who’d have thought that about going to the gym! I’m getting stronger every week! And the real proof is in the fact I look forward to going every week.
I would highly recommend it.
Review submitted via Facebook
"He makes you feel good about your strengths and helps you work on your weaknesses." - Liz, Woodford Green
When I started training with Darren in April 2017, I was recovering from a knee injury.
I'd had to give up running and bootcamp at the suggestion of the consultant, so I'd taken up Pilates and started doing a lot more walking.
I'd been thinking about weight training for a while but I didn't really want to join a gym.
When my friend suggested we share training sessions with Darren, I jumped at the chance.
It's great as we can share the cost of the session but we can also motivate each other (and have a few laughs).
And as we train from Darren's home gym, our sessions are 100% private.
Darren also gives us dietary advice and has talked to us about basal metabolic rate and calorie counting.
This has completely changed the way I think about food and as a result, I have a much healthier relationship with it. (As a serial dieter, it's very liberating to realise that no foods are off-limits).
Darren is a motivational trainer and a top bloke. He makes you feel good about your strengths and helps you work on your weaknesses. Workouts are varied and fun, and he even lets you choose the music!
My knee is the strongest it has felt in a long time (but I still hate lunges)!
Review submitted via Facebook
Ever wonder what it would like to have a personal trainer?
Want to get stronger, leaner, fitter and gain confidence?
I'm pleased to announce a competition to win 4 personal training sessions for you and a friend! As part of my "Power of 2" package. Built for parents who want to train during school hours and have fun.
The whole package would normally cost £120! The lucky winners will be training together at my own home gym in Highams Park. 2 runners up will receive exclusive Phoenix Fitness T shirts
Here's the deal
1) Like the page Phoenix Fitness facebook page (if you haven't already)
2) Share the page
(If you get your training partner to like and share you will double the chance of
Terms and conditions: No cash alternative. Dates for sessions to be agreed by both trainer and winner.
Competition closes on 22nd September 2017...winner announced on Phoenix Fitness Facebook Page.
Consistency is golden!
A couple of years ago, while trolling through the abundance of YouTube videos. I was trying to find a fitness programs. (This was before I became a Personal Trainer). I just wanted to find a program I could do at home with the equipment I had at that time. I could have spent less time watching the whole series of Game of Thrones! It was, a challenging task. My mind felt like it was trying to swim through treacle. Everyone trying to sell you a program, saying their program is the best thing since Noah got his hammer out and visited the timber merchant because he heard the weather forecast for the next 40 days.
Anyway, I found a video of these two guys driving and having a conversation about working out and how important consistency is when exercising and training. This really hit me. It makes complete sense, but I never really gave it a second thought. The message was, whatever training program you follow, if you’re not consistent, you will not see the positive changes. It’s that simple, but I feel many people never take this into account. Credit to the Buff Dudes https://www.buffdudes.us/
People expect to see endless amounts of fat falling off their bodies or muscle being built within a few sessions lifting weights. If they don’t, they give up!
That’s right, 60% of gym membership goes unused. People spend their hard-earned cash every month without using the gym. This seems crazy! I know of a person who has two memberships and does not use both with any consistency. Money down the drain? Definitely.
Let’s face facts, when we go to gym, we have all good intentions. We go in all enthusiastic, buzzing around, soaking up the atmosphere that the gym vibe can give you. After a few weeks, you may start to miss days. Something comes up that stops us attending the gym which may be out of your control. You get ill and miss a few more session. Sounds familiar? It does to me. It’s not long before the gym membership card is gathering dust.
Everyone is different
We all are unique. That’s a wonderful thing! We must not expect to start lifting the same weights as the guy who has been lifting for five years. We also spend time online and trying to mimic the person who has a six pack and promises you that you can get you a solid set of abs if you leave your email and buy into their program. We expect results in a brief period with as less work as possible. Life doesn’t work that way.
Just be consistent
Because we are all uniquely different, some people will see results quicker than others. Never compare yourself to the girl or guy next to you. Their body might be genetically built to put on muscle quickly. They may have been training for many years! This does not mean it won’t happen to you, it just might take longer, results will happen by being consistent. Gradually increasing reps, weights and even sets over a period of months will get you stronger and fitter. (Progressive overload). There are no ifs or buts, it will happen. Every now and then you will look in the mirror or try on an old pair of jeans and you will gradually see your body composition changing over the weeks, months, years. Be consistent, trust the process it WILL happen.
Walking in a gym, approaching the free weights and resistance machine, I always thought something was missing. Was it the barbell bar clips? Sometimes. Paper towel dispenser empty? Occasionally.
No, I’m talking about a notebook.
How many times have we seen the public wading through the gym floor, scratching their heads, looking at what machine to have a go at. Not thinking about what part of their body they need to work on next, rep range? I can’t remember.
Ok, it might not seem “cool” to be seen using a notebook on the gym floor. Let’s face it, we must carry our water bottle, phone, towel, protein shake, locker key etc. I’ll be doing a workout before I even hit the squat rack!
Hear me out
I’ve got a brain like a teabag. I forget things. It could be my age or I’m just a lazy sod and can’t be bothered to remember things. Ask my wife. But the one thing I am hot on, is my programming. I need to know what reps and sets I am training. Should I increase the reps? Hit another set? Is it too hard? too easy?
Take it or leave it
The idea of taking notes will not work for everyone. Some people are not inclined to go to the gym and write stuff down. They know what they should work on and just get on with the task. This is fine, go forth and be happy. That’s not me.
Benefits of taking notes
You will see (hopefully). Personal trainers taking note about their clients, even sometimes mentally. They need to know how to progress their clients towards their goals. I’m lucky enough to have my fabulous whiteboard, in which they can see their training programme for that day. I even write my own up before I train. [insert photo]
These days you don’t even need a pen and pad to take notes. With the use of smart phones, we have a notebook at the ready. Just tap in the information like, exercise, set, reps, notes and you have got a record to keep for when you next hit the gym. So, instead of taking a selfie, in front of the mirror for your next Instagram update. Tap in your results and you won’t have a brain fart when you do the exercise next time!
Oh, you can take it further!!
Why not create a spreadsheet and take it to the next level? If you have Microsoft office account then you can easily set up a record of your exercises. Failing that, set up “sheets.” A free and great spreadsheet from google I use this myself.
Use a ready-made app that you can record your results on. Check the App Store and look around. This can be a little hit and miss. So, check the reviews on the App Store and google to make sure it does what you want it to, then make your choice. Some people even do a review on YouTube, so it’s worth checking the website out.
There is a lot of benefits to keeping track or your programming. Give it a go and see how you get on.
I love training with Darren. He trains my friend and I together which is brilliant for motivation. I have always hated the gym but now I look forward to our sessions & have seen the difference in a few weeks. I also feel better mentally & as a runner notice the improvement in my core strength. I would recommend Darren to anyone & nothing is ever too much trouble for him which makes such a difference.
Review submitted via Facebook
We all have them, either gathering dust in the corner or being overused and worn out by the constant use of them. No, I’m talking about the exercise bike that is doubling up as a clothes hanger! I’m referring to that small square object that rules our lives, and can control the way we feel. Making us happy, sometimes, but mostly leaves us despondent. A bit like having a kebab and then regretting it after.
It’s the weighing scales!
Please deliver us from this evil! So many diets and exercise regimes have failed because this contraption tells us “you are still fat”, “you really messed up this week.” How many times have we fallen into the same old trap and letting the scales rule our lives! How many times have we been to a slimming club and one of the first things you see are scales sitting there, mocking us. People will deliberately not eat that day because they want to lose some weight before the big weigh in. It’s probably why many people don’t consistently turn up week on week. Knowing they have not done as well as they have liked.
Don’t get me wrong
These clubs serve a purpose of getting people together and offering support to helping to try to lose that weight, but using a pair of scales to record your success and failure isn’t the best way of keeping you motivated and consistent with your diet and exercise.
Fact: The scales will tell you accurately your body WEIGHT! But not your body fat!
Females, don’t beat yourselves up! You have it hard!
As a female, your weight can go up and done more times during the month than a basketball on crack. Because of the menstrual cycle your weight can fluctuate by up to 10 pounds or around 5kg within that month. How many women get on the weighing scales everyday and see the weight go up and down making your head spin. This will lead to feeling low and confused especially if the numbers don’t go the way you want them to.
Weight fluctuations are normal
Everyone will have weight fluctuations during day to day living. This could be down to many reasons including water retention, bloating after eating certain foods i.e. carbs can temporarily store water. You notice a pattern? Water! If your weight is going up and down over the day then it’s probably water not fat!
Water does not equal having body fat
Let’s put this into perspective. I just weighed myself, and I’m now at 12 stone, around 76kg. I then drink a large glass of water which weighs and then another. Weigh myself again, OMG. I’ve just gained another 4 pounds in weight! Ok, shall I?
P.S. I have done number 2 on more than one occasion. Don’t judge me! I love a bourbon! Anyway, the point is, within a 2-minute period, I put on around 4 pounds in weight not fat. Let’s face it, we normally go on the scales and presume that we have gained fat weight, not water.
Ok, what do I do then?
Don’t throw away the scales, just use them as a tool, but not the only tool. What we need to know how much body fat you have. The bad news is, it’s quite difficult to measure. There are tools and instruments you can purchase that are “suppose” to measure body fat. Quite frankly though, these can be very inaccurate and can give you a false reading.
Calipers: Pinch the skin in certain places on your body and get a measurement – very hard to use to get an accurate reading.
Body fat monitor scales: Measures through a small electrical current passing through the body which measure how fast the current travels through water, bone, muscle – never found these great as your hydration levels can fluctuate and can give you a false reading.
DEXA body fat scan: A machine goes over you body like an X-ray and give you a body composition scan - Quite accurate but also can be expensive, not even certain you get a Bourbon biscuit while waiting.
Water displacement: Under water weighing in a water tank. Which measures water displacement and calculates tissue density etc – Sounds expensive, sounds stupid, I have a life. Besides I’ve seen the film Jaws and I don’t fancy the flashbacks.
Looks like I’m screwed then!
Go by how your clothes fit: Get on some trousers (non-elastic) etc. See how they fit? Are they getting looser around the waste? Then you are heading in the right direction. Are they getting tighter? Go back and check your calorie intake.
Mirror: Look in the mirror. You are the best measuring device to know how you’re doing.
Measuring tape: Measure around the hip and waste and write down the results once every couple of weeks or even better once a month. If the measurement is getting lower, you’re on point. If it’s going up, go back and check your calorie intake.
Scales: If you must use the scales, then remember to change your mindset about what the scales tell you. It’s body weight not body fat. Only weigh yourself once every couple of weeks or even once a month. Just make sure the scales are on the same flat surface used the week before. Weigh yourself the same time of day, preferably when you get up in the morning.
Keep it simple
Don’t over complicate things. Eat mostly whole good foods, exercise a few times a week, sleep well, stay hydrated. Be patient, it will happen!
Woman Should Lift!
We see it in every gym. Men hogging the free weights grunting and groaning like their lives depending on them making caveman noises. While the women…not all, can be seen hitting the cross rower or treadmill. If you’re lucky you may see some women hitting the resistance machines and maybe picking up some dumbbells. I know this is just a generalisation but it’s a sad fact too many females are missing out on a wonderful way to get strong and fitter with the use of free weights.
Why is this the case?
Many women are intimidated by the resistance/free weight area. They avoid it and rather go to the cardio section or join a pump class. It’s the fear of the unknown and feeling they are doing something wrong, could be one of the reasons. You may not be sure you are doing things correctly. Another reason could be that the guys tend to hog the weights section and tend to take over, claiming the area like a dog cocking it’s leg up the neighbour tree.
Resistance to lose weight?
The fact is, training with weights is the best way to lose weight. Period. By creating lean muscle, you speed up your metabolism as lean body mass need the calories you to feed them! So instead of storing excess calories, you are making your body use them to repair the muscles after a workout.
It needs to change
Things may be changing in our gyms, but not fast enough. Staff at these gyms should be encouraging their female members to use these machines and free weights and educating them on where to start and how to lift in a safe way. Give them the tools to go away and be confident within the resistance areas.
Don’t be afraid of asking the staff to guide you to helping you achieve a safe, effective use of resistance machines and free weights. You can also look around the gym floor and observe how other people are using the equipment. Book some personal training sessions at the gym, make use of their experience and knowledge to help you to reach your goals. Don’t forget the power of YouTube! There are plenty of people offering tips on how the lift, push and pull. My personal favourite is ScottHermanfitness who has a wealth of videos on training every part of your body.
Not sure still? Hit the machine weights.
Most stationary machines usually have instructions on how to use them and are safer to use than free weights. This is because they are set up to perform a specific movement. If you have read the blurb attached to it. Just remember to make sure the weight pin is set to a light weight and give it a go. Think about what joints you are using and what muscles are being worked. Do three sets of ten reps and next week increase the reps to eleven or twelve and so on. When you’re hitting up to fifteen reps, think about taking the weight up a little.
Remember that every part of the gym should be open to everyone! Don’t let part of the building become a no-go area. You could be that female that gets other to try a large part of the gym that a cross trainer cannot compete with.
Breaking Bad Habits
During our lives, we all pick up habits whether good or bad, we all have them. When working as a Personal Trainer we try to look at the lifestyle of the clients we are working with and much of our jobs is to help them change certain aspects of their lives that may be hindering the goals they try to achieve. This could be smoking cigarettes, eating too much processed food, drinking lots of alcohol during the weekends.
Ok how do I stop these unhealthy habits?
Certain habits may not need to be stopped exactly but just reduced, such as drinking. We all know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for you. It can make you put on weight, give you bad hangovers (which can stop you training) and make you dance in a rather embarrassing way.
But seriously, if you like a drink, that's fine
Just look at ways to reduce the amount you consume. This should be done in a slow controlled manner. You could also check the calories in the alcohol your drinking and you might find an alternative tipple that is lower in calories. I used to drink lager which is high in “empty calories” so I decided to switch to shorts or white wine. Many people like having a bottle of wine at home when they finish work and want to unwind. If you did this all week the calories will soon add up and so will the weight.
To cut down it would be hard to stop altogether in one day, it would be better if you gradually cut down.
Let's say you like four glasses of wine every day after work. You could make a small goal of drinking three glasses a night for two weeks…change the habit. If this is too much in one go, try three and a half glasses for a couple of weeks. Gradually cut down. You can try this method with many different habits such as eating chocolate, drinking sugar loaded fizzy drinks etc.
There is more good news.
Good habits are just as hard to break as unhealthy habits! We can use the same method to commit to good habits to our lifestyles in a positive way. An example could be going out for walk for five minutes a day for a couple of weeks and then increase it to ten minutes until you are going for a period that you will get a decent workout. Maybe you really enjoy walking and want to take it to the next level and you could take up running, join a running club, make new friends!
How long does it take to make new habits?
A school of thought tells us that it takes around 21 days to form new habits but it could be as long as 60 days. Look at it this way; what's a couple of months compared to a lifetime of change? Sometimes we must suck it up and start.
So, what I tell my clients
If there is something you are doing that is stopping you achieving your goals, then target the area and gradually reduce it over the days, weeks, months.