Beki Amanda Personal trainer of the Year Nominee National Fitness Awards REPS Registered Execise Professional - reg no R0092906

Fat to Thin “My 5 Year Journey” by Diane PT

I introduce my wonderful Mum – Diane, Who started as a client of mine, and did so well she trained up and joined my team!!  Check out her story.

Fat to Thin – my 5 year Journey

So how did I become so fat? That I can’t answer, I remember it being a steady progression, the older I got, the bigger clothes I needed.  I was unfit, unhealthy and unhappy with my weight, I couldn’t face dieting and had reluctantly accepted that it was an age thing and just the way it was.  I have never been interested in being a sporty person and the circumstances for an active life never presented themselves, I was too busy being a wife and a mother for that!


I fell into my journey quite by accident.  Why, because my daughter (Beki) started a new Boot Camp locally and I decided to go along and support her.  By support I mean I was going to stand and take the money while everyone else pranced around, but it looked like so much fun, so I thought why not join in.  Well that first night nearly killed me.  At a size 20 and nearing 13 stone I struggled to get down to the ground for the floor exercises, and getting up again was a whole different story! It was quite an eye opener to realise just how unfit I was, and I will be honest, against the younger fitter Bootcampers I felt like a veritable beached whale, out of my comfort zone and yes I felt like everyone was looking at me. Like most things in life I took it in my stride and made a joke of my wobbly bits, I had enjoyed my evening so I thought why not come back the following week.

That folks, was the start of my journey, slowly week on week I found that I could do more, that I left feeling tired but exhilarated and wanting more.  I thought long and hard about where I wanted this journey to go and decided that I didn’t want to stop – I didn’t know if it was possible to lose much weight but I liked that I felt better and could do more.  I had the bug, I wanted to do more and to lose weight, so I had a discussion with Beki about Personal Training sessions and what they entailed.  I have always wanted to join a gym but never had the confidence to do so, but with Beki by my side it was less daunting and was a natural progression from the Bootcamp.

I started initially with one gym session a week, when I felt stronger and more confident I moved up to two sessions a week, Monday morning up at 6 am and at the gym by 7 for a 60 minute workout, and Friday morning up at 6:30 and at the gym by 8 for my PT session with Beki.  She worked me hard, and gave me the confidence to work on my own, made sure I knew all the equipment, what to do and what not to do.  The most important lesson she taught me was to ditch the scales, to use the tape measure, the mirror and my clothes as a guide, from that point I never looked back.  The scales are so demotivating.

I started my journey at a size 20, and I scoffed when Beki told me she would get me into a size 12……. But as my body started to shrink inside my clothes I started to believe she might be onto something.  It wasn’t all about exercise though, I started to become much more aware of my eating habits.  The killer for me was chocolate, I would eat the whole bar at one sitting – I eventually had to ban my husband from bringing it into the house! I missed it at first, but now it doesn’t bother me at all – I can easily walk down the chocolate aisle without buying anything – that would never have happened before.  The next thing to go was alcohol, no not all of it, (don’t be silly), but I used to drink wine or lager every night, so I made a conscious decision not to drink during the week. Since that time I have restricted myself to water in the evenings, treating myself to a couple of glasses of wine on a Friday and Saturday night – and finding I actually now enjoy it much more.

Around a year after I had started the opportunity came up to join a team for the Major series.  I was worried that I would be too slow, and too unfit to conquer the 10km of cold water, mud and obstacles, but it was a large team and we were told that no-one would be left behind, we would go as slow as the slowest person.  I was excited about the challenge, but extremely nervous that I would be that slowest person.  I am pleased to say that I wasn’t.  We had a wonderful day, it was hard, it was cold and it was so so muddy, but what a laugh, and what a sense of achievement when I crossed the finish line hand in hand with my daughter Beki.  If you had told me a year previously what we would be doing I would have laughed.

Having done the 5k Race for Life, followed by the Major Series we decided it was time to up my game.  I had only lost around ½ a stone, but I had dropped from a size 20 to a size 16 – Beki’s promise of a size 12 was game on, and with that in mind I signed up for the Hull 10k the following summer.  This would give me plenty of time to prepare.  Race day came and I really didn’t know if I had the strength to run the distance but I did, clocking in at 1 hour 21 minutes – another challenge faced, and conquered.

progression picture

I had hit the promised size 12 a couple of months before the race and now it was all about maintenance.  I felt better than I had ever felt in my life, was happy in my clothes for the first time in many many years and had a zest to keep going.  I would like to add here that at this point I had still only lost just over 1 stone – yet had dropped from a size 20 to a size 12 – exploding the weight myth.  When people asked me how much weight I had lost I felt guilty because the loss didn’t seem that great, and I felt that people didn’t believe me.  I now understand that it’s to do with fat loss and muscle gain and definition, it’s not about how much you weigh, it’s about the tape measure, it’s about your clothes, it’s about feeling good in yourself.

rome picture

Since this time I have worked on maintaining my new body.  I have settled into a size 12/14 (depending on make).  I am so happy with my new wardrobe and the feeling I can now do anything I want.  Hubby and I have just spent a fantastic week in Rome where we walked for miles, climbed so many steps I lost count, none of which I would have been able to do a few short years ago.

In summary, it has taken me 5 years to get my body to where I want it, and to move into maintenance phase, which basically means I have changed my food intake.  I never ‘went on a diet’ at any stage of my journey, I just changed my eating habits for the better – but I still eat chocolate on occasion, I still have treats and I have a takeaway every Saturday night without fail, I can do that because the rest of the time I eat fresh unprocessed, home cooked and healthy food.

As for exercise…. Well I am now a Personal Trainer in my own right, so I get plenty of exercise with my clients and am enjoying helping others embark on their journeys to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

I am happy with my life – where once I saw a steady decline into ill health ahead of me, I am now planning a healthy and busy retirement doing all those things I once thought I couldn’t do.

Losing My Mudder Cherry – Tough Mudder 2014

Tough Mudder 2014

Lost my mudder cherry under 4 hours

I won’t lie – I’ve been nervous this week (Lead up to TM) and every email that has arrived has freaked me out!!

It’s 16:25 Saturday 2nd August.

Less than 24 hours until we cross the start line at Tough Mudder – Yorkshire.

I’ve distracted myself today with my boot camp this morning, 2 clients and then paperwork this afternoon.  I followed this by a bath and chilling out doing puzzles – but each time I do something the same thing happens, I distract myself for a few minutes and then the butterflies come back and I start to feel sick again.  So it has been suggested I start to write a blog.

I know we have trained hard for the event, and that we are stronger and fitter than ever, but the task ahead is daunting. I do not have doubt in my ability, in our ability to run the course.  I am not expecting to walk around any obstacles – no matter how much they freak me out, I intend to tackle every one.

So why do I feel like this?  I have felt nervous since around Tuesday and felt sick since about 10am yesterday morning.

Fear of the unknown….

19:51 pm Saturday 2nd August. 12 Hours until we set off, 15 hours to warm up!

Clothes laid out, spare clothes, towel and baby wipes packed.  Sat Nav ready – Video camera charged and spare memory cards safe.  I managed to distract myself with cooking tea and watching a little telly, I’ve also got stuff ready for work on Monday, but now I’m getting the last bits ready and getting ready for bed, the nerves have come back.

Hey ho – This time tomorrow it will all be over!

07:54am Sunday 3rd August – Tough Mudder day!

In the car Feeling better this morning, I’ve been distracted by getting ready, making sure I have everything.  Breakfast was a challenge, for something that would give me energy – I’m intolerant to wheat, gluten, egg and milk protein (mainly) so I settled for a big portion of ratatouille and corn beef, with a hemp protein shake to follow.  Topped up on pasta and veg stir-fry last night.   I have a snack in the car of a banana and gluten free oat biccies for an energy boost in a few hours before we set off.

Stomach is not very settled – but – I’m starting to feel EXCITED!!

My next update will be after the mud!

17:22 Post Mud – being driven home.

OMG We did it!  We crossed the finish line at 14:55 making our time just under 4 hours.  Still in shock that we just did that and we really worked hard.

Achy, tired, head ache starting.. but over all I’m proud!!  Proud of both me and Neil.  I was virtually pushed to my limits today, psychologically and physically, but I didn’t let that stop me.

The electric shocks were painful and after the 4th one I didn’t want to carry on.. but I did.  The 10 foot wall was difficult because it was slippery at the top – which freaked me out, I thought I was going to fall, but on third attempt the guys got me over and I’m pleased to say I did it! Jumping off the plank (15 into water 4m deep) I was amazed and proud that I kept so calm – mainly by not looking and just running when he gave me the nod! But I did it!

There is no point me going through the obstacles as such because as we ran the course, we went past fit men who were struggling more than me, people freaking out over obstacles that I thought were a breeze and other people flying over obstacles that I struggled with.

My advice to you, if obstacle courses are your goal is to train in every different way you can.  Strength, distance running, hill sprints, outdoor terrain running, climbing fences/walls/gates, monkey bars (kids parks are full of hidden gems for training) dangle from things, core strength, functional movements, full body exercises, TRICEPS! Swimming, squat jumps, power training.  Don’t under estimate anything.

Aim to be able to run half the distance of the course, then concentrate on sprints, hill sprints especially.  Hill sprints are THE best training we did for both Yorkshire Warrior and Tough Mudder.   Those muddy hills are so much easier to get up if you can run them!

Leg strength – Leg press, squats, lunges, squat jumps, anything to challenge your quads to help you get through the mud and climb the hills and muddy ditches.

Upper body strength – Pull ups, Triceps dips and press-ups.  Your triceps are working harder than your biceps – make sure they are strong.  Every time you lift yourself over an obstacle it’s your triceps that are pushing you up.  You don’t have to be able to do full pull ups, but the more you can pull yourself up rather than relying on others to get you over, the easier it will be and the more in control you will be.

Endurance – even the shorter events will take time to get round.  For 10 – 12 mile events you are looking at around 4 hours to complete, (unless you are fitter) so you need to be able to keep going for this length of time (even if it’s walking!)

And Finally – Team Work.  Be prepared to need the help of others, and likewise, be prepared to help others.  There was only me and Neil today in our team, but we needed the help of others on certain obstacles, and likewise, we helped others.

11:04 Monday 4th August – Feeling tired, but surprisingly well.  (Not looking forward to tomorrows aches)

Please with my distance, as I have a problem with my IT band (Knee to my hip).  My knee didn’t start hurting until 7 miles in, (New record for me!)  So far today I haven’t needed my knee strap – so my leg is definitely getting stronger.  Still in shock a little, still freaked out about a few of the things we did (especially from watching back the video footage) but no doubt once I settle we will be signing up for it again next year!

My final advice?  If you want it – go for it, but prepare to work for it!  I’ve proved something to myself this weekend – and I’m proud!



Food obsession

For most people (family and work aside) their lives revolve around food.

Is it lunch time yet?  Did I bring any snacks? I’ve run out of snacks? Have I got enough for a choccy bar? Wonder what we should have for tea? Is that enough for tea or should I make more?  I’m still hungry.. I should have made more.  Is it too late for supper?

Not many people are fully in control of their eating habits, just some of us are better at it than others.

I have seen some crazy eating habits, and some long term extreme eating that leave people so disillusioned with food.  Disillusioned with the effects of food and leaves them baffled as to why they are so unhappy and not losing weight.

In my opinion, most people have an eating disorder to a degree

 Think I’m wrong?   I may well be – but I’m not talking about the obvious,  Bulimia and anorexia, yes a lot of people suffer with these extreme problems, but there really is more to it than that.

How well do you understand healthy eating?

Do you know HOW to eat healthy?

 The country, the media, the internet, the global ‘health’ market have bred misleading and false knowledge into all of us.

The government say you should eat a low fat diet to lose weight…. So the food industry produces new ‘Low fat’ food products.  True to their word, it may well be low in fat… but what about the sugar content?  Most will pump it with sugar to make up the taste.

Here is a bomb shell for you – you NEED fat in your diet, not a massive amount, but it is important to a healthy body.   What you don’t need, and what is most likely the cause of you not losing weight… is sugar!

Is what I know really wrong?

 What we have are magazines shouting about celebrity diets, social websites with adverts popping up for quick fixes, ‘health’ ‘professionals’ spouting nonsense, supplement companies trying to sell  a ‘healthy’ detox – but all these things come at a cost, and sometimes a very big cost.

The reason all these people make money is because we all want the quick fix… we all want the easy answer, something that will undo all the bad we have done to ourselves…. but life isn’t like that.

I’m not saying these things don’t work for anyone… but they don’t work for many, and it can be a very costly process to find out!

And the worst pat about a quick fix? It’s easy to break again.  Take tablets for a few weeks to lose weight, then go back to your normal eating pattern and see how long it lasts!


 Where am I going with all this?

 There is so much information out there and a lot is ‘sales driven’ to make you buy things, such as ‘low fat’ ‘reduced fat’ ‘low carb’ ‘skimmed milk’.

So with all this information… eat Whole meal, don’t eat wheat, Low fat diet, Low carb diet, avoid dairy, 5 a day, eat frozen veg, eat fresh veg, buy organic, don’t buy organic….  It’s hardly surprising people get confused.


So why do I think you may have an eating disorder?

See if any of these statements sound familiar.

a)      I’m going out tonight so I will go to the gym for an hour so I don’t feel guilty.

b)      I caved in and had that chocolate bar; I better go for a run.

c)       I had a really bad weekend so I need to work hard at the gym this week.

d)      I’m really mad at myself for having chips for lunch.

e)      Well I’ve started eating the pizza now; I might as well carry on eating bad tonight.

f)       I’ve eaten 300 calories too much, so need to burn off 300 calories.

g)      If I work off enough at the gym, I can eat more tonight!

h)      I’ve already eaten my calorie quota today so I’ll have to go hungry.

Were all guilty of saying one of those at some point – Do those thoughts sound healthy?

We as a country have eating problems, because it is bred into us to talk like this!

Where did we all go wrong?

 Calorie deficit…. That’s a good one.   Eat fewer calories than you’re burning…

(Most of the above fall into this)

In Theory its true, that will help you lose weight, but it really depends what sort of calorie you are taking in.  I don’t have time in this blog to go into that, but to me, this statement alone is the main reason most people have an eating problem, why most people are not losing weight and are struggling to eat good healthy food!

This in essence is why a massive amount of people struggle with food – we feel guilty, calories calories calories…. bad bad bad….. well… actually, no – we need them to survive!

I have seen this in so many people, not only bulimic clients, but also in mentally stable adults  – we have had it drummed into us so much that we need to reduce our calories that many people don’t eat enough.  So the reverse happens, we stop losing weight!

Okay okay I know that sounds backwards, but if you have read my previous blogs, we have touched on this before.

If you are not eating enough, your body will not get enough of the nutrition it needs, and so will store your food away in case you continue to under feed it.  It will then ration the nutrients to your body as and when it needs them.  Because of this – you will not lose weight.  This is often referred to as ‘Starvation mode’, your body thinks there is a problem with getting food.

So now you understand why I think you may have an eating disorder?

 Right – So now tell me that you eat perfect, never feel guilty about having a treat.  If you do then your weight shouldn’t be a problem and your one of a healthy few these days in control of your diet and living a happy life. Well done, be proud of yourself!!

If you do struggle with food, how do you solve this problem?


a) Stop feeling guilty about food!

b) Stop counting calories!

c) If it’s not fish, meat, veg, fruit, nuts or seeds… don’t eat it.

b) Add natural yogurt and cheese if you like, but in moderation.

e) Drink plenty of water

f) Eat home prepared foods, so you know it’s not full of chemicals and sugar etc.

g) Eat as much veg as you like!  If you’re hungry, snack on veg!  Still hungry?  Eat some more!

This way of eating will take some getting used to.

It is not a ‘fat losing Diet’ it is a Healthy Way of Living!  Eating foods your body wants, needs and can utilise. Will give you energy, improve your health, and make you feel good.  By eating the right foods, your weight will correct itself!

It really is that simple and this really is a solution for life.  Just don’t deny yourself treats, as long as they are just that… a treat.

Don’t let eating rule your life, don’t let it torment you, don’t let it cause you upset.

If after reading this you feel you are not in control as you thought you were, maybe you need to re-assess how you think about food.

For more help or advice on this subject, feel free to get in contact.

Contact: 07952 027165

Or e-mail

If you think you have a more serious eating disorder, please get in touch with your local GP for more expert help.


We all have expectations, about everyone, everything, everywhere and worst of all – Ourselves.  We are our own biggest enemy when it comes to expectations.

Let’s put this into a gym context

How we wrongly look at people and stereotype them because of our expectations.

 You walk into the gym, and you see …

 A)   A young slim, good looking girl, wearing a sports bra – Well obviously she doesn’t need to be here, she is here to show off and look for guys.

You expect her to be an unfit child that can eat what she wants!

 B)   A big guy, well built, loads of muscle – He hasn’t got a life, spends it all here, what a meat head, I wouldn’t cross him though he’s mean.

Because someone looks ‘scary’ and ‘intimidating’, we assume they are.

 C)   A tall good looking woman with a body to die for – It must come naturally, either that or she is taking something, it’s not natural.

Because it’s hard to achieve we assume they cheated to get there.

 D)   A girl in her 20’s, hardly any muscle on her – she doesn’t look very strong, how did she pick that up? Look at those arms!

If people don’t have much muscle we assume they are weak.

 These are generalised, but they make my point, how do you know the young girl wasn’t big and has worked hard for the body she is showing off? Why can’t the big guy be really nice and gentle, with a great social life? Why can’t the woman with the great body work for it and live a healthy life rather than take drugs? And why do you need to be massive to lift a lot of weight?

Okay  – So let’s now turn this back to you… Why do we think this way about people?

 We have a common thought process in this country which is unhealthy.  Jealousy and hate for what other people have.  We want too much and do too little to achieve it.

Going back to these examples –

A – Oh to be young and beautiful with a body like that – Jealousy

I never had a body like that – Hate

 B – I would love to look like that – Jealousy

Why can’t I get that big! – Hate

 C – All I want is to look like that – Jealousy

I will never look like that, I like cake too much – Hate

D – My arms look strong but I can’t lift that much – Jealousy

My grip is pant’s, I’ll never lift that much – Hate

 We spend far too much time looking at other people and wishing we had it, instead of looking at what we are and what we can achieve.

Everyone is different – body type, body shape, skeletal make up, joint positions, genes, muscle make up, metabolism, likes, dislikes, motivation, obstacles, determination, will power!

 Chances are these are all totally different in you to that tall good looking woman – in which case you can never look like her.   So stop looking at her and start looking in the mirror.

Something I see almost daily is people comparing themselves to others.

I’ve seen girls (On more than one occasion)  compare themselves and each say they are fatter then than the other, and that they would love to be that slim… in reality, they were the same size!

 We look at ourselves and see all the negatives, every tiny little bump, every molecule of fat.  Then we look at someone else and see all the good points…. but guess what, they look at themselves and see all the bad points!

 So how does this all link in?

We spend so much time looking at other people and what they have achieved that our expectations of ourselves get too high – we expect things of ourselves that we CANNOT achieve!

We set goals, start diets, go to the gym with such high expectations that when that scale doesn’t move we lose all motivation because it’s just too hard.

So how can you help yourself?

Firstly, stop looking at everyone else, YOU are YOU and can only be YOU!

Then look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what would really make you happy,


Bigger muscles?  Less belly? Or just to feel good in those size 12 jeans?

Right, now you have realistic goals, chop them into bits. 

What do I need to do first?  Diet?

Nooooooooo – Stay away from diets.  Healthy eating is the way to go.   If you eat Healthy, natural foods that haven’t been messed with, cut down on sugars and refined carbs, your body will start to correct its shape on its own…….

Don’t look at me like that, it’s true!

Suddenly your eating wholesome NICE food made from meat, fish, veg, fruit and getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.  You’re not eating excess sugar and crap that ready meals and processed foods contain.  Your body suddenly breathes a sigh of relief!

BUT – Don’t expect results in a week!  Correcting your body will take time.

But it’s all relevant, with healthy eating, not only will you start to get the body you want, but you will also get more energy, meaning you can do more at the gym – Which in turn will help you with all your health and fitness goals J

If you want more help with this, advice wise, or direction, please get in touch.

Changing the way you think is hard and can’t be done over night, neither can habit changes.


Improving your life is a hard but worthwhile road, the sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the benefits of good health.  Without good health, how can you enjoy life?




Stop Expecting so much of yourself!



To contact me for support in any of these issues: -

Phone 07952 027165


Stress is making us fat!

Stress = Cortisol + bad eating habits = Weight Gain

Exercise = Stress relief = diet control = weight loss

There is no doubt that we live in a stressful society, if nothing more than that money is tight.  Most people find themselves rushing to get everything done, even when we have plenty of time.  Rushing around has become the new norm!  We really need to learn to chill out….

But what is all this stress doing to us?   You might not even feel stressed out, but do you have much relaxation time?

When we are under pressure all the time the body releases a steady stream of Cortisol.

But What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is release from the adrenal gland; it is an important hormone in our body which amongst other things is used to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar and metabolism.   In a normal healthy lifestyle it is released as and when the body needs it, usually highest in the morning.  When you start feeling hungry, ultimately it is the end result of cortisol release.

So why does that make us fat?

As a personal Trainer, the number 1 thing people ask me is to help them lose belly fat.  Guess what a major cause of it is!

Yes your diet is great, your exercises routine is spot on, you have lost loads of weight, but you still have this belly that just won’t budge… no one has the answer other then diet and exercise.  But no matter how hard you try, it just won’t go!

The secret is simple.. yet complicated…. it lies deep within you.

When you get ‘stressed out’ about something, your body thinks it’s under attack (Fight or Flight Mode)

Step 1 – Cortisol Release- were under attack!

Step 2 – Glucose Release to send energy to the muscles in preparation

Step 3 – Because of increased glucose levels, Insulin is released to steady blood sugar levels

Step 1 – Cortisol Release- were under attack!

Step 2 – Glucose Release to send energy to the muscles in preparation

Step 3 – Because of increased glucose levels, Insulin is released to steady blood sugar levels

And so on….

In Fight or flight mode, once the danger is gone, either the muscles have used up the excess glucose or it eventually disperses in the body, but when you are constantly under stress, the body constantly feels under attack, so never recovers from this cycle.

Mean while – your body makes a backup plan – were doing all this fighting and flighting, we need back up reserves, so sends signals to store fat and where better the store it then the easy to each place of your stomach, wrapped around your organs?


How do we resolve it?

It’s not all about the hormone release.  As I mentioned earlier, cortisol affects metabolism and feeling hungry.  When you feel angry, upset, let down…. is one of your first thoughts food?  Chocolate? Biscuits?    A quick sugar fix – exactly what your body is looking for to fuel your muscles!

So the quickest thing we can change… don’t give in to bad food!  Diet is the first thing to go out the window when we are stressed out, which will in turn make up put on weight!

Eliminating stress…… Is easier said than done… 

Running around after the kids, doing a full time job, cleaning the house, visiting the in laws, shopping to do… take the pet to the vets…. etc.. etc.. etc..

But what you can do is start to look at your life.  Make little changes. 

Organise yourself the night before school, by making packed lunches

Take time out whenever you can – Have a cuppa in a coffee shop away from housework and read a book

Have a bath instead of a shower.

Some of the most simple things can make a big difference

If you get angry, stop, take a deep breath, count to 10 and then continue.

When you get up in the morning, take a few minutes out in the garden to breath the fresh air to fully wake up and relax before the madness begins.

Meditate… or just sit quite, close your eyes and breathe deeply, this will relax the body and mind.


And not to be missed is Exercise… Yes Exercise really does make you feel better. 

Not only are you benefiting your body with exercise, but the body’s reaction to exercise is to fight the stress that you are causing your body.  One way being to release endorphins, which minimise discomfort, block the feeling of pain and can lead to feelings of euphoria.

Research has shown that 20 minutes exercise everyday can give you a real boost in your mood, making stress and pressure easier to deal with.

Exercise = Stress relief = diet control = weight loss

The more you can control the stress in your life, and with daily exercise, other things such as healthy eating are easier to control.  So all in all, you will lose weight.

By reducing overall stress levels in your life you will not only enjoy life more, but improve the quality of your life.

If you have been under stress for a long time, I would suggest you seek advice from a nutritionist regarding supplements.  When your adrenal glands have been constantly pumping out cortisol, you can end up with something called ‘Adrenal dysfunction’

Basically – it’s tired out!  So don’t worry if it takes you a little while to get back on track.  Realising what is happening to your body is a massive first step.

Thank you for reading – and please don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Powerhooping Trophy Bruise!

Thinking back to when we were kids, there was always those horrid moments that set you off screaming ‘muuummmmmmiiiieeeee’ and nothing but a kiss on your booboo would make you better!  Yet a few days later the upset is forgotten and you are comparing your ‘War wounds’ with your friends!   ‘Is that all?  Well look at mine!’

In reality we never grow out of that – most of us love a Trophy to prove we have done something, whether it’s a medal in a race, the struggle to climb the stairs after the gym, or that all faithful bruise from Boot camps, rugby or Powerhooping etc .

Powerhoop Guidelines for Beginners

Use your hoop for no more than 3 minutes on the first day, and increase gradually as your muscles get stronger. Overuse can result in soreness, and even bruising.

Now here is my problem……

I tell people at the beginning of the class to take it steady and to stop if they feel warm or sore… for most people this is the first time they have got their hands on a Powerhoop and they have just paid for the privilege….. So are they gonna stop after 3 minutes?  No… No they are not!

I stop throughout the class, ask if people feel okay and to do other things to force people to take a break from hooping…. but they will still persist.  As soon as I turn my back they are hooping again!

At the end of the class I reiterate about the chance of bruising so they have no surprises the next day.

Then Guess what……

Next week – They are comparing Bruises!

Okay – So What IS a bruise?

From the Oxford English Dictionary


  • an injury appearing as an area of discoloured skin on the body, caused by a blow or impact rupturing underlying blood vessels: his body was a mass of bruises after he had been attacked
    • a mark indicating damage on a fruit, vegetable, or plant.

In laymen’s terms – Bleeding under the skin.  Blood is transported all over the body through Arteries/veins, smaller offshoots of these are tiny blood vessels called capillaries which cover your body just under the skin.  When capillaries rupture (break, split, leak, burst) they leak a small amount of blood under the skin, which is what you know and see as a bruise.

                                                This also explains why it hurts when you poke it….. so Stop poking it!!  

In Early stages it looks red/purple because the blood is fresh, over time as the blood cells die and are carried away by the body.  They sometimes change colour and fade away through colours of brown, green and yellow.

Bruising is generally not dangerous and will heal naturally within a few weeks.    Deeper bruising can indicate deeper damage – but rest assured, Powerhooping will not damage your organs! (Powerhoop safety factsheet linked further down)

Some people may bruise more easily due to thinner skin or more fragile tissue underneath.


Heal me Quick! I’m not done Hooping!

Okay, so your friends told you about their bruise’s… you came to the class, you were warned about bruises, but you loved it so much you couldn’t put the hoop down…. now you’re bruised and bragging about it to your friends.   But hang on a minute…  this is quite sore and I wanna keep hooping – Make me better quick!

1 – The first and best thing you can do is get a cold compress on your hips as soon as possible.  Wrap a bag of frozen veg or an ice pack in a towel (Do not apply ice straight to the skin) and hold it to your skin for 10 minutes. This will constrict (tighten) the capillaries reducing the amount of blood that can get out, and the amount of bruising you will be left with.

2 – Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory; this will reduce any inflammation in the area and help with the pain.

3 – Elevation….. It’s pretty hard to elevate your hips, so never mind!

4 – Massage helps the body to clear the bruise…. just try not to poke it…

5 – Bromelain, a digestive enzyme found in pineapple, breaks down proteins that trap fluids in the tissues after an injury.  And it’s one of your 5 a day – Cracking Gromit!!

6 – Discover Arnica, you can buy Arnica Gel from Holland and Barrett.  It is a plant of the daisy family which bears yellow, daisy-like flowers, found in cooler regions of the northern hemisphere. It contains a compound that reduces inflammation and swelling.

Phew…. Be hooping again in no time!

Bruises have now gone… but will I bruise next time I hoop?

The more you hoop, the stronger your muscles and other soft tissue strengthen.  Instead of taking a pummelling every time you hoop, your muscles will learn to respond by contracting and holding against the force.

The fat around your middle will start to disperse as the hoop acts like a massage, helping to break down the fat molecules, which can then be easily used by the body for fuel.

This will in turn give you a slimmer middle, stronger core muscles and make you a happy hooper!

So that… as they say… is that!
Bruising isn’t bad, but it can be avoided.  If you do bruise, treat it.

But most importantly – Don’t let it put you off!

Before I go I will leave you with an extract from the Powerhoop Website and a link for further information on Hoop Safety.

Happy Hooping everyone!

“Those who follow Powerhoop’s user recommendations rarely experience much discomfort, but beginners who “overdo” are certain to notice some stiffness and soreness, and even bruising around the waist. The purpose of a wavy, weighted hoop is to challenge the body and cause it to build a protective shield of core muscle, and the fact that soreness goes away so quickly is a testament to the hoop’s effectiveness. Still, bruises can be alarming and painful, they can create negative attitudes, and they are completely unnecessary for getting fast results.

We at Innertrak have been selling Powerhoops for six years, have sold over 200,000 Powerhoops in Scandinavia and are avid hoopers ourselves. We pay close attention to the medical literature, and to our knowledge there have never been reports of internal injuries or any illness associated with hooping, aside from bruising in new users who overdo. We know a number of physical therapists who use Powerhoops in their practice because they stabilize the spine and build protective core muscle, and our hoops have also been tested and studied in a university laboratory with only positive results. Innertrak’s motto is that we are committed to keeping people healthy and fit, and we’re proud to promote a product with such a strong record of safety.”

Extract from safety guidelines.

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What benefits does powerhoop have against ‘real’ classes?

Wow – Well if that isn’t a question to make my blood boil, I don’t know what is!

Many people look across to us in the gym, Powerhooping, having a great time and think we are just hula hooping… that it’s for kids…. it’s a fad…. it’s not doing anything…. While they are lifting weights, pumping iron, doing a ‘real’ work out.

What they don’t realise is that it is one of the best, if not THE best tool for strengthening your core muscles.  Now anyone lifting weights that really know what they are doing know the importance of core strength.

If you don’t know the importance, here it is in a nutshell.    

                You use your core for everything you do, from getting out of bed in a morning, standing upright, bending down to pick up the kid’s toys or even sit in a chair! The reason why a massive number of people have bad backs can be put down to having weak core muscles.  Yet that’s often not the treatment given!  


So what makes it different?   Powerhoop works the entire core all at the same time.

  ‘The entire core? Won’t sit ups do that?’

Sit ups work the Rectus Abdominis as shown below (your Abs, or tummy).  People get side tracked on thinking they want a six pack and think crunches/sit ups covers your core work.

The core is made up of much more (Jargon alert!!)

                Multifidus, Diaphragm, external and internal obliques, Transverse Abdominis, Rectus Abdominus, Quadratus Lumborum, Psoas, Pelvic Floor, Thoraco-Limbar Fascia, Intercostal muscles, Spinal erectors.

In other words – A lot more!  Let’s face it; most of you probably skipped that last paragraph! But the diagram below gives you a much better idea of what I’m saying.


Doing exercises that work your back and sides, as well as your diaphragm and pelvic floor are important.  Just doing sit up’s will lead to weakening your back muscles, making you more prone to back pain, and prolonged exercise in this way can lead to excessive spine curvature, exacerbating any back problems you may already have.

So where am I going with all this?  Powerhooping uses all of these muscles at the same time.  To keep the hoop up and moving, your using your back, sides and abs.  By tensing you are using all of those other crazy muscles I mentioned earlier, and because you are working so hard to maintain the position you are also working your Gluteus maxiums/medius/minimus, Hamstrings and Quadriceps (to name the main ones)

Or in laymen’s terms…. it tones your bum and legs as well as your middle!

There is no other exercise out there that will work all these muscles evenly and all at the same time.

And that’s where I will leave my blog for today, as I can talk for pages on powerhoop, but check back for my next fact filled Powerhoop Blog!

Happy Hooping!!

90% of PT’s fail within the first 3 months…. But Why?

This has been an interesting journey for me. Were now into June and this year is just flying by! Before I left my job last year, I was left with a mixture of feelings, advice, and many many thoughts, fears, emotions and apprehensions.

I wasn’t surrounded by a large number of friends where I worked and I have no doubt that there were many people that didn’t think I would leave, didn’t think I could do it.. and one or two that would probably like to see me fail.

One person – a long time PT in a secure job with secure income gave me the advice of ‘don’t quit your job, please don’t quit your job, the PT world is a nasty business, they all stab each other in the back, please try it out first, get up and running before you leave. Beki I’m telling you – don’t quit.’

This perspective partly annoyed me as I felt he was telling me, not advising me.  This made me want to prove everyone wrong all the more.  It did however stay in the back of my mind that I would need to work very hard and make sure I was secure – every woman for herself!

In my work experience at Fitness First I took every opportunity to talk to other Personal Trainers on their perspective, ask questions, see how hard it was for them, and learn as much as I could from them.   What I didn’t expect was that before Christmas 2012 arrived, I would have to make a very big decision!!

Fitness First was up for sale and there was a new ‘cheaper’ gym opening virtually next door.  Customers were leaving in droves, staff were looking for new jobs, the Club manager left… even if it did get bought out by another gym, moral wasn’t great… would anyone really pay for a personal trainer in these conditions?

What made this decision easier?  The newly promoted manager called me one day from home, to tell me he had a new job at the new gym, asking would I like to go with him.   We had a long talk and I went away to think about it, but it wasn’t hard when I looked at it as a whole.  I was moving to Xercise4Less before I had even started work!

Starting at the new gym as the doors opened gave me a fantastic start, talking to hundreds of people as I showed them around the brand new equipment and talking to them about what we offer, soon set me up with my first few clients to get me off the ground.  After that – the real work kicked in.

Several people told me that I need to look for work, that it will not come to me and that I need to work hard.  Taking this on board, I have hardly had a rest since the beginning of the year, doing courses, talking to people, promoting myself, starting up new classes.  Anything I could think off that would draw in more business.

I quickly got myself noticed and started to build a name for myself, my reputation was growing.  I am now at a point where everyone seems to know me and what I do, even if I have never met them before, the gym knows me… so my hard work is starting to pay off.

Because Xercise4Less is such a big gym, with currently more than 7000 members, there is plenty of room for Personal Trainers, so at the start there were 14 of us.  Yet walking around talking to people, I got the impression that I was the only trainer to check on people.  So again.. my reputation grows.

At the 3 month mark of my new life, I was hitting all of my personal targets, I once again was bringing in enough money to cover my bills, I was tired…. but I was happy!

After a battle and a half – I had made it into the 10% of Personal Trainers who succeed!

Since then my business has continued to grow, to the point I can now start to make long term plans.

One thing I have to say – although I was told that PT’s will stab me in the back, the more experienced PT’s have actually been very helpful.  They were all willing to answer my questions, give me advice and support me in my new journey.

Unfortunately we have seen a turnaround in Personal Trainers from the early stages of opening the gym, but I for one am hanging on!

So the answer to the question ‘90% of PT’s fail within the first 3 months…. But Why?’ it’s simply hard work, dedication, and giving it everything you have.  If you don’t have it in you to push through your personal barriers and run screaming out of your comfort zone, then you never will succeed.

A year to change a life!

This last year has been quite a year!! Having spent the last 10 years sat behind a desk fighting to get out into the fresh air, it was quite daunting to take the leap to become a personal trainer.

So here is my story: –

Back when I was 15 I tried to get into the army, but at the time was not successful (Which was good because I really wasn’t ready!)

So I joined the army cadets and thoroughly enjoyed my time there, leaving at the age of 18 and returning as an adult instructor.

We spent lots of time playing in the mud, running around in the trees playing soldiers, out walking and finding our own way with a map and compass, assault courses and loads of other team activities. Loads of fun!

For the last 10 years I have worked as a civil servant sat behind a desk pushing paper around.  From very early on I wasn’t happy and knew I didn’t want to stay there.  I trained to NVQ level 4 to become a qualified Accounting Technician for my job, but still it didn’t get me where I wanted to be.

About 4 years ago I tried again to join the Army, as an engineer; I passed my tests and was told I could go into any job I wanted at that level. At this point I was training at the gym 5 days a week and loving it. My fitness level was well above the required level for entry. I had planned everything, including what I would do with my house and belongings.   I even took all my piercing’s out! (I actually regret that now!)

Unfortunately I was turned down on my medical back ground. This was devastating news for me, and my motivation for working out dropped to zero.   Suddenly I was back to square 1.

Over the last few years, I have been treading water and further becoming unhappy in my current job.

I started looking back to how much I enjoyed my time in the gym when I had a focus; I needed to find a way that I could use that. When I first looked at becoming a PT last year (2011), I couldn’t find a way to fit in the training as well as doing a full time job, let alone funding it.  Then there is the scary part – a huge change of career direction!

Early this year in February I looked again, getting really frustrated with my current job. I came across the information page for Fitness First, with a training opportunity that enabled me to train on a weekend with ‘The Training Rooms’, and work in the gym on work experience until I completed my qualification.   Then I could start work at Fitness First for real!

So the rest is history really, for the last 10 months I have been working every hour of every day, doing my job, studying, setting up my business, working out and doing work experience!  It’s been a busy year – but an enjoyable year!  2 months ago I completed all my training and in 4 weeks time I will be starting work partly at fitness first partly freelance to build up my business.

You may have already seen me pottering about and taking some induction sessions.
If you see me – Come and say hello!

I have 3 weeks left in my current desk job – And it’s such a beautiful light at the end of a very long tunnel!!