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Deadlift collage

Exercises To Help Improve Your Dead Lifts

The author practicing what he preaches…

The dead lift is a compound exercise that utilizes a large number of lower and upper body muscles. In the sport of power lifting, the dead lift is one of the lifts that is contested in competition. The dead lift involves lifting a weight from the floor and standing up until your knees and hips are fully extended and is used by many athletes and sports people as a tool for increasing strength. There are a number of assistance exercises you can perform to improve your dead lift.

Stiff Legged Dead Lift
The stiff legged dead lift or SLDL is an exercise that will strengthen your hamstrings and lower back, both essential for successful dead lifting. To perform the SLDL, grasp a barbell in both hands and stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your knees slightly bent but rigid, push your hips back and bend forward as far as your flexibility will allow. Make sure you don’t round your lower back as this can lead to injury. Stand back upright in a single, smooth motion and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Rack Pulls
The rack pull will improve your ability to lock your hips out to perform a successful lift and is a dead lift with a reduced range of movement. Set the pins on a power rack so that the bar is just above your knee level. This reduced range of movement will increase the amount of weight you will be able to lift. Stand in front of the bar and bend forwards at the hips. Bend your knees slightly and grasp the barbell in both hands using either an overhand or a mixed grip. Using only your hips and back, lift the bar to waist height. Return the bar to the pins by bending forward at the hips and repeat. This exercise is best performed for low repetitions using a heavy weight.

Dead Lifts from a Deficit
This exercise will improve your ability to get the bar moving off of the floor. Place a 4 inch step next to a barbell and stand on it. You will now have to bend down further and deeper to be able to reach the barbell which will make initiating the pull from the floor more difficult. Perform your dead lifts as normal but be aware that your lower back is more prone to rounding using this technique. You should take extra care to avoid this. You can make this exercise even more demanding by using a wide snatch grip which will increase the range of movement further.

Kettlebell Swing
Using either a kettlebell or dumbbell, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the weight in both hands. Slightly bend your knees and push, hips back and lean forwards so that the weight is between your knees. Forcefully extend your hips and knees and simultaneously swing the weight up to eye level. Decelerate the weight as it falls back to the starting position and repeat. This is an explosive exercise which will improve your hip and hamstring power and should be performed at speed.


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Top Ten Fitness Tips

Exercising regularly and being fit can have a very positive effect on your health and well being from giving you more energy to developing a stronger immune system. Getting fit and staying fit isn’t always easy though as there is so much information available regarding exercise that sometimes you can get bogged down in all the details so follow these simple tips to get the most from your exercise routine…

1) Do your cardio
20 minutes of cardio three times a week will improve your fitness, can make you healthier and help you control your weight. Exercise at a moderate intensity of 60 to90% of your maximum heart rate for best results.

2) Lift weights
Weight training will strengthen not only your muscles your bones and ligaments. Regular strength training can improve your posture, improve your muscle tone and help with weight loss by elevating your metabolism.

3) Stretch
Regular stretching will stop your muscles from shortening as you age and may reduce the likelihood of suffering from back pain caused by spending too much time sitting down. 

4) Develop your core
A strong core (the muscles that make up your abdominals and lower back) will make everyday activities like lifting and doing chores much easier and can keep your back healthy and pain-free.

5) Do activities you enjoy
Choose activities that you really enjoy and look forward to doing. If you don’t like running then try walking, dancing or cycling. Not so keen on going to the gym to do weight training? Try working out at home using body weight exercises. You are more likely to stick with an exercise routine you enjoy.

6) Wear the right shoes for the right activity
Wearing the wrong shoes (e.g. hard soled shoes for running) may increase your chances of suffering an injury. The right shoes can make all the difference to your enjoyment of your chosen exercise by making sure you are comfortable. 

7) Drink plenty of water
When we get exercise we produce sweat to keep us cool. It’s very important to replace this lost moisture by drinking plenty of water. Aim for 6 to 8 tall glasses a day plus extra if you are exercising hard to avoid becoming dehydrated.

8 ) Eat plenty of unprocessed fruit and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and fibre, all of which are vital to your health. Cutting down on sugary processed foods and eating more fruit and vegetables will mean you are likely to get even more benefits from your exercise. 

9) Exercise with friends and family
Make fitness a family affair and make exercise sociable! Working out with other people can be a real joy and increase your motivation and exercise adherence.

10) Set fitness goals
Training without a defined purpose may cause you to lose motivation so try setting some goals to keep you focused.  Make your goals personal and time bound to help keep your efforts on track.

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Exercise Efficiency – The Cause of Stalled Fat Loss?

Do you use cardio for weight control? Are you one of the many people who run, cycle, swim or do classes to keep your weight under control? Did you find that at first your weight loss was quite noticeable but now it hit a plateau?  If the answer is yes to the above, it’s time to think about ways of kicking your cardio up a notch or two to make it productive again!


So, what’s gone wrong? Why is the training programme that you have been following, be it group exercise classes or running, stopped working? The answer is adaptation. Quite simply, you’ve gotten good at your choice of exercise. Firstly, pat yourself on the back for sticking with a programme long enough for this to happen but then also give yourself a slap for sticking with your programme for too long!

Your body is an amazingly adaptive organism. If a stress (and exercise is a form of stress) doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger and fitter. In addition, repeated bouts of the same stress (class, running speed/distance etc) results in your body becoming more energetically economical. For weight loss, energy economy is the last thing you want.

Consider this example. As a beginner runner, your running technique may not be very good. You might also be overweight. As a result, you use a lot of energy whenever you run and subsequently lose weight for the first few weeks or even months of your new running routine. Your body, smart machine that it is, looks for ways to make you a better runner. Your muscles develop greater endurance, your heart and lungs become more efficient and your body gets very good at making fat go a long way. The result is that, compared to when you were less fit, heavier and an energy inefficient runner, your training runs now actually burn less calories!

RunnerAnother example – you join one of many group exercise classes. For the first few weeks you find it really hard to follow the choreography, you are always having to catch up, your body is heavier and your fitness is lower. In essence, you are also energetically inefficient. Fast forward a few weeks or months and you have learnt the routine, your movements are smoother, you don’t have to try and catch up all the time and the result is you burn less energy during a class.

In both scenarios, the fitter you get, the less effective your workout becomes and, subsequently, your weight loss stalls.

So, what’s the answer? You have to learn to become energetically uneconomical again. You need to choose activities that you are not good at! Do classes that are unfamiliar so you have to work harder, try running on uneven terrain or more uphill than down, strap on ankle weights or a weighted vest, run on sand or soft grass instead of concrete…do whatever you need to do to make your efforts less economical and more energy expensive. Ironically, one of the most uneconomical fitness activities is also one of the most accessible – walking as fast as you can. Walking is by and large a very smooth and economical exercise but when you walk as fast as possible (just shy of breaking into a run) your gait becomes very uneconomical and you waste a lot of energy and remember, if you want to lose weight, you need to waste energy. Strap on a weighted vest or backpack and you have a highly effective fat burner simply because it is an uneconomical activity.

So, bottom line time. Stop doing the same old same old. If your workout isn’t working it’s because you have reached an energy equilibrium and all you are doing is treading water. Make your workouts less efficient and you’ll soon see your weight loss start again.

swimmingStill not convinced? Ask yourself this simple question – who do you think will burn more energy…the swimmer with the perfect technique who glides effortlessly through the water or the person who literally thrashes the water to foam? Inefficient exercise is your key to greater weight loss.

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The Seven Stages of Goal Setting

Goal setting is an important part of health and fitness and can help keep you motivated. Exercising without a goal is like going on a journey without a map–you don’t know where you are going or why. If you are trying to lose weight, get fitter, improve your health or build muscle, setting a goal will make your actions more focused and improve your exercise adherence. When setting goals, use the acronym SMARTER, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Recorded, Time bound, Enjoyable and Revisited, to make your goals more structured.

What exactly do you want to achieve? Rather than generic goals such as feeling fitter, having more energy, or losing weight, set goals which are specific. For example, if you want to lose weight what you would ideally like to weigh. A specific fitness goal could be a distance you want to be able to run or a weight you’d like to be able to lift. Specific goals will help you to focus you efforts.

Make your goals measureable. Fitness goals could be a distance you want to be able to run whereas a weight goal could be the number of pounds you’d like to lose. Health goals could include measures of blood pressure, cholesterol levels or blood glucose. Whatever your goal, try to apply a numerical value to it so you can measure your progress.  

A non-runner setting the goal of running a marathon in 6 weeks time, whilst being specific and measureable, is not very realistic. Make sure that your goals are challenging but not impossible. Set yourself up for success by making sure your goals achievable. Enhance the achievability of your goals by trying to predict potential obstacles and devise methods to overcome them. For example, if you can’t make it to the gym what exercise can you do instead? If you forget to take your lunch to work, what healthy food can you purchase as a replacement?

Write you goals down. You don’t have to share them but doing so can aid in motivation. Keep referring to your goals whenever your motivation starts to diminish to remind yourself what you are working towards. You may find it beneficial to stick your nutritional goals to your refrigerator or your exercise goals to your exercise bike. Taking before and after pictures can also be a motivational way to record your progress.

Time Bound
Set a date by which you would like to achieve your goal. By applying a deadline, you will be more focused. Working towards a goal without a definite deadline can reduce your commitment and motivation as there will be no urgency. However, make sure your timeframe is realistic and achievable. 

Some sacrifice will be necessary in pursuit of your goals but if you find the process wholly unpleasant, your chances of success will be significantly reduced. For example if your new diet consists of foods you don’t enjoy, it’s unlikely you’ll stick with it for long.  Make sure you can enjoy the process and well as the end result.

Periodically revisit your goals, especially if they are long term. You may find you need to revise them to account for external factors you failed to consider initially. Think of this as fine-tuning which will increase your chances of success. 

Next Step
Now you know what a SMARTER goal is, grab some paper and jot yours down. Then, look at your current training and eating and decide is your current routine taking you towards your goals or are you shooting arrows off target? Change your training and diet so they drive you towards your goals and not off in another direction. Start your new goal directed nutrition and exercise plan on Monday and enjoy the fact you are taking positive steps towards achieving the levels of fitness and health you have set for yourself!

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women curls

How can I spice up my weight training routine?

women curlsAssuming that you normally perform whole body workouts, one of the best ways to liven up your weight training is to adopt a split routine. Split routines are used by bodybuilders and other sports people and are a method for separating your body into different parts and training those parts on different days.

A split routine allows you to use a greater variety of exercises and also perform more volume than would normally possible if you were training your whole body in a single session. There are a huge variety of ways of splitting up your training week – all of which work well. When deciding which split routine to use it’s important to consider how often you can train and how much time you can dedicate to each session. If you can only hit the gym 3 times a week for example, a 4 way split workout is no good for you. To help get you started, here are a few common split routines for you to try…

Upper/Lower body split.
Simply divide your body in half and train your legs on Monday, your upper body on Wednesday and your legs again on Friday. The following week reverse your body parts so that over the 2 week period, every muscle group gets equal attention. This is a good method for those new to split routines.

3 Way Split.
On Monday, perform exercises for your chest and triceps, back and biceps get trained on Wednesdays and legs and shoulders are worked on Fridays. Rest over the weekend and start over on Monday by repeating the cycle.

4 Way Split.
This routine breaks down the body into even smaller groups which means workouts can be shorter or you can get a lot of work done in the same time. On Monday perform exercises for your chest, on Tuesday train your back, rest on Wednesday, train your legs on Thursday and on Friday focus on shoulder and arms.

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All About Fat Loss – Part 1

Fat loss is a question of energy balance...

Fat loss is a question of energy balance…

Losing fat is a relatively simple yet seemingly very complicated process. Why the contradiction? Because there is so much information available on the huge variety of fat loss options available it’s easy to get bogged down in the detail and lose sight of the one set-in-stone rule that everyone seems to  forget…to lose fat you MUST create a calorie deficit. You need to either eat less or exercise more or, for optimum success, combine them both. Any energy not supplied from your diet will have to come from your body fat stores and a single pound (0.45kg) of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories of food energy so to lose 1 pound a week you need to create a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories (7 x 500 calories = 1 lb).




To create a 500 calorie deficit you could just eat 500 calories less a day but the problem with that idea is that 500 calories is a significant amount to food to cut from your daily intake and you’re very likely to feel hungry. Hunger is nature’s way of motivating you to get out and hunt or gather food and it won’t be long before you are literally forced to feed and make up for the lost calories. Ironically, your body has no idea you are voluntarily eating a calories restricted diet – it’s programmed for survival and makes the assumption that you are merely a poor hunter who has failed to catch your dinner! Hunger is the signal your brain sends your stomach to make you get up, grab your spear and hunt for your next meal.

In addition to motivating you to feed, the body’s survival response to a major calorie reduction is to slow down its energy expenditure and make your fat stores last longer. This is called the “starvation response” and was a literal life saver when we were roaming the plains as hunters and gatherers but is now a redundant reaction as our body attempts to protect its self from the perceived threat that is dieting. The starvation response, linked to the appetite suppressing hormone leptin, is designed for one thing only – to make your very valuable fat stores last as long as possible to keep you alive during periods of famine. The best way to avoid triggering the starvation response is to make sure you don’t reduce your daily food intake too far below maintenance. A deficit of around 200-250 calories a day is about right and will stop you a) feeling hungry and b) triggering the starvation response.

When it comes to exercise, almost any activity can be used to burn calories and contribute to the calorie deficit however, some exercise methods are better than others…

LSD (Long Slow Distance) cardio describes long, easy workouts in your “fat burning” zone at around 60% of your maximum heart rate. This level of exercise is relatively comfortable as minimal amounts of lactic acid are produced. LSD paced cardio exercise primarily burns fat as its fuel source BUT although this sounds like the ideal form of exercise for anyone looking to lose weight, it must be stressed that although LSD cardio does burn primarily fat, it doesn’t burn a lot of it. Fat is very energy dense (9 calories for gram) and even the leanest person has over 35,000 calories of body fat available to burn aerobically. LSD cardio is great for your heart, will make you aerobically fitter, is easy and pleasant to do but it isn’t the best form of exercise for burning lots of energy.

Higher intensity aerobic exercise such as Fartlek (speed play) training, interval training and FCR (fast continuous running) is fuelled by carbohydrate more so than fat which on first assessment might make them appear less than ideal forms of exercise for anyone wanting to shed a few pounds however, there is more to these forms of exercise than meets the eye. Because of the intensity of these training methods, large amounts of lactic acid are produced which builds up in the blood. Lactic acid is the reason your muscles burn when you are training hard. The lactic acid has to be flushed from the system and this is done with the presence of oxygen. Basically, after a hard workout (which is primarily fuelled by carbohydrates) the aerobic system has to “flush” the lactic acid out of your blood using oxygen – LOTS of oxygen and most importantly, fat. This phenomenon is called EPOC (Excessive Post exercise Oxygen Consumption)   and is sometimes referred to as oxygen debt or after burn. In a nutshell it means that after a hard workout like running some sprints on the track, your body goes into overdrive at the end of the session as it flushes out the accumulated lactic acid in your system. This process uses energy in the form of fat so essentially you end up getting 2 workouts for the prince of one!

The final piece of the fat loss puzzle is weight training. Muscle is biologically active and has a significant demand for energy. The more muscle mass you have, the greater number of calories you need on a daily basis. If you were to put a larger engine in your car, say replace your 1.0 litre engine with a 1.6, you would burn more fuel whenever you used your car. Adding some muscle to your frame does the same thing to your body. Obviously the opposite is true as well…if you reduced the size of your engine, you would need less fuel. At the very least, it’s very important to maintain the amount of muscle you are carrying to avoid reducing your daily energy requirements which would necessitate more exercise or less food to keep you dropping fat.  Interestingly, LSD cardio and very low calorie diets actually encourage your body to shed muscle (and subsequently burn less calories) where as high intensity cardio and weight training does the opposite and as a result should make up the bulk of your training time.

In part two of this article, we’ll provide you with a workout template to get you fit and lean and stay that way! 


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Don’t Be a Dope! Guide to safe supplementation

Don’t be a Dope!

Safe Supplements & Drug Free Sport

By Karl Bickley

The contentious issue of drug free sport is always a controversial but highly discussed topic across the world, whether it be someone failing a drug test, refusing a drug test or an ‘inhumane’ feet of athletic performance that prompts questions of doping. The sporting world is filled with headlines of high-profile doping failures and accusations of doping that typifies the interest in, and the perception that utilisation of illegal compounds is now widely spread across all aspects of sport. Indeed competitors in a sport often become tarnished by the same brush if one high profile athlete from their chosen sport is found to have used a performance enhancer. Do we think that all elite sprinters are ‘clean” or Tour de France riders….probably not, given recent history.

So is there such a thing as a clean athlete?

The World Anti-doping Agency’s (WADA) code was created initially in January 2004 and was reviewed under consultation in 2006, with final amendments being made in November 2007 for implementation from the 1st January 2009. Its purpose was to provide a set of harmonized rules which could be adopted by sporting associations and disciplines across the globe, the main goal behind them is to “…seek to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about sport. This intrinsic value is often referred to as, “the spirit of sport”, it is the essence of Olympism; it is how we play true”

Each individual athlete is made aware by their governing body or sport of the testing procedure and the list of substances classified as ‘Banned for use by the code’. In the code of Conduct, WADA state that, “Athletes or other Persons shall be responsible for knowing what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation and the substances and methods which have been included on the Prohibited List”. This identifies that it is clearly is the responsibility of the athletes and their individual or collective support structure to ensure they remain free from any banned substance or performance enhancer. Most professional/elite clubs or governing bodies will make the athletes sign an agreement accepting these rules and the ramifications of any doping offense. In addition, regular updates and information on changes to procedures and additions to the banned substances are often communicated to athletes, coaches, officials and medical staff to ensure they are always aware of the latest developments and warning not just to prevent cheating but also for health implications.

The recent weeks have seen three very high profile doping failures in the world of athletics and continual questions regarding the use of illegal substances in the Tour De France. In regard to the later it can seem that not one day passed without the leading riders being asked about the use of drugs. This once again highlights the media and public interest in the subject of doping in sport. While some of the recent failures have seen athletes saying they had been let down by people they trusted or did not knowingly take a prohibited substance and however truthful or valid these statements are, the standpoint on this is clear. WADA states that, “It is each Athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body”. If you compete in a drug free, WADA regulated or drug tested sport then you sign up and are aware of the rules and regulations around using performance enhancing drugs and the substances that are not permitted. A simple google search will produce lists of compounds and sub-compounds that are banned for use and also a list of over the counter medication that should also be avoided (these can contain banned substances).

This is where the questions surrounding doping becomes complicated and so the importance of education and awareness should be at the forefront of every competitor’s mind, “Athletes or other Persons shall be responsible for knowing what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation and the substances and methods which have been included on the Prohibited List”, shows how the collective members of WADA feel about this. There are some or an element to failed tests that are not just based around chemicals designed to unfairly maximise performance but relate to individuals who fail on medicinal compounds found in cold, flu and hayfever treatments for example. This means that each athlete should refrain from the purchase of over the counter medications without researching the medicine and its compounds, or should rely on prescribed medications from a medical professional. This however does mean the athlete is required to put an element of trust in a doctor or medic and their understanding of the code and the need to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) should the required medication be on the banned substance list. If you are bound by the WADA code and in need of more information, you can refer to the UKAD website or the GLOBAL DRO ( database for information on banned substances that appear in medication that also includes a cross reference to check specifically to your sport and governing body.

Safe Supplements…..

The issue of doping and the continual speculation regarding performance enhancers also creates the need for additional security and protections from sports nutrition and hydration companies who work closely with professional athletes. The use of sports nutrition and supplements for enhanced legal gains in strength and power and for preparation, recovery and performance is a common practice at all levels of sport. The formulations of which are designed to help the athletes maximise their human performance. This means that companies such as USN work hard to ensure that products comply with WADA coding. Aside of the huge amounts of time and money invested in research and development and the utilisation the latest sports science and nutrition findings, we have to consider the compliance of the product not just for the now but also for the future based on any forthcoming rule changes.

There are two different programmes that provide extra assurances to the athlete and greater protection to the brand when it comes to ensuring products remain contaminant free and safe to use in conjunction with the WADA code. These both offer assurances that the products are contaminant free based on the list of banned substances quoted by WADA. It is essential to understand that these programmes offer a risk management solution. The first internationally recognised programme is ‘Informed Sport’ (IS) which is administered by HFL laboratories – the programme ensures all supplements and products that have passed the criteria for registration in the first instance and that manufacturing processes are clean and compliant. Following manufacture, products are released into consumer markets on positive release and each product and its batches are randomly selected and tested for known contaminants using a blind test system. This testing is left to the discretion of the IS programme with a minimum number of samples being tested each year. Products (including all flavour variants) listed by IS are required to carry the Informed Sport logo on the label. The logo will give a recognisable reference to a product which has been screened. All registered products and variants are also listed on the IS website.

The second testing programme is a custom testing process that is operated between the manufacturer and the testing facility. The tests are carried out at the same testing facility as the IS programme and offer slightly increased security to both the athlete and the sports nutrition brand. Custom testing covers testing from the comprehensive list of known contaminants that are banned by WADA. The main difference between the two testing procedures occurs during the screening process – the product will remain in quarantine and not distributed to teams, individuals or sold until the test results have come back and the certificate of analysis showing no contamination is issued. This product can then be given to the athlete or team along with a copy of the certificate (COA – certificate of authorisation). The majority of sports nutrition brands will not release this product into trade or to the massmarket and will instead sell or supply the product direct to the coach or individual thus creating a chain of custody that is traceable. At USN we have a separate agreement with the coach and individuals that covers our risk management processes and service level agreement, this is our commitment to ensure drug free sport and shows our dedication to the athlete and team to create a safe, secure and optimised supplementation strategy.

The cost implications of both programmes are extensive but it shows how supplement manufacturers take the issue of drug free sport seriously and provide heavy investment to guarantee clean products get to the performers who utilise their products. However, as the code states the athlete still remains ultimately responsible for any substance in their body. So, if you are an elite performer bound by WADA it is worth taking time to consider where you source your products and medicines from. Ask for the guarantees and assurances for the legitimacy or the screening of the product and contact your supplement company to investigate further what they do to screen for contamination. You should also register to use their websites for batch tested product purchases or check with your coach that the product you are taking has been screened for contaminants.

For more information – refer to the USN UK website and register to use the athlete login section of the website at the bottom of the page.

Karl Bickley – is Athlete Liaison and Nutrition consultant at USN UK



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What’s Your Type?


Continued from newsletter 6th June 2014

Getting Body Typed is an empowering experience, to say the least. It opens you up to a level of understanding about yourself that is profound, intimate Anchorand extremely important if you are to function at your best. And at the end of the day, it just makes sense.

However, this is not sustainable or conducive to an efficient metabolism. In order to really benefit from the Body Type System and sustain the results of your fat loss, you really need to work through your cravings that is, eat the foods that stimulate your other less active glands and you must do this long enough so that your dominant gland become less active and no longer craves those foods that are detrimental to your metabolism like it once did. Adrenal gland stimulators are fats and salt, the Pituitary gland stimulator is dairy, the Thyroid gland stimulators are starches, sweets and caffeine and the Gonadal gland stimulators are spices, fats and oils. The more of an understanding you have of how certain foods affect your metabolism, the more control you have over your weight and health.Like the wrong diet, the wrong exercise programme can induce strain, fatigue, cravings and imbalance. Depending on our Body Type, we also tend to lack certain characteristics by nature, and this is where the ‘right’ type of exercise programme plays an important part in how our bodies need to optimally look and feel. When it comes to programme design, we need to play upon our body type strengths and weaknesses in order to reach our potential.

For instance, Adrenal Types need to base their exercise programmes on cardiovascular conditioning focusing more on getting their hearts healthier.  This is done perfectly through higher rep training (as ‘A’ Types are naturally more muscular and strong) and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training protocols (thyroid hormone boosting exercise). The worst type of training for adrenal types to do is very low reps (3-5) as this puts massive strain on the adrenal glands and is not supportive in achieving that ideal athletic and lean adrenal look. The Thyroid Body Type exercise programme, however, needs to revolve around strength training (adrenal stimulating exercise.) Thyroid types, who are not as naturally muscular as their Adrenal counterparts, really need to encourage muscle growth, as this is what their bodies naturally lack. Low reps such as 6-8 work very well for Thyroid types, as they need their adrenal glands stimulated to create that streamline, tight and defined look.

So what about exercise and your Body Type?

The abilities your body has naturally come form the character of your dominant gland. To explain this more scientifically, at birth and during the developmental period, your dominant gland gave you your natural, inborn characteristics. For example, Pituitary Types who have an abundance of pituitary hormones have excellent cardiovascular systems as well as a natural quickness. If you are a Thyroid Type, you are also rewarded with a healthy heart paired with a flexible and naturally coordinated body.  If you are an Adrenal type, the abundance of adrenal hormones provides you with natural strength. And if you are a Gonadal woman, you have great endurance and a very strong connection to your body.

For instance, Adrenal Types need to base their exercise programmes on cardiovascular conditioning focusing more on getting their hearts healthier.  This is done perfectly through higher rep training (as ‘A’ Types are naturally more muscular and strong) and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training protocols (thyroid hormone boosting exercise). The worst type of training for adrenal types to do is very low reps (3-5) as this puts massive strain on the adrenal glands and is not supportive in achieving that ideal athletic and lean adrenal look. The Thyroid Body Type exercise programme, however, needs to revolve around strength training (adrenal stimulating exercise.) Thyroid types, who are not as naturally muscular as their Adrenal counterparts, really need to encourage muscle growth, as this is what their bodies naturally lack. Low reps such as 6-8 work very well for Thyroid types, as they need their adrenal glands stimulated to create that streamline, tight and defined look.


Francesca’s Body Type

When I was Body Typed as a Thyroid Type, my whole background of food and exercise choices just made sense. I understood why I was absolutely addicted to pasta and cereal and why, without fail, I would need something sweet to eat at about 3-4pm ever afternoon. It explained my dramatically fluctuating energy levels, my erratic moods and my flabby appearance. It also explained why I was naturally attracted to cardio machines in the gym instead of weights. I was a completely unbalanced Thyroid Type but before I was Body typed I really just didn’t understand WHY.

Getting Body Typed is an empowering experience, to say the least. It opens you up to a level of understanding about yourself that is profound, intimate Anchorand extremely important if you are to function at your best. And at the end of the day, it just makes sense.


For more information and to get Body Typed, please contact Francesca at


Body Typing Case Study – Chris Carr

“I had always carried extra weight through my life and could never control my eating habits and this caused my fluctuating weight levels. My eating habits, looking back on it now were poor with no breakfast or lunch eaten. I’d just eat large evening meals followed by beer or wine. (Little did I know back then that these food habits were to do with my Adrenal Body Type Metabolism). I would also pick throughout the evening period prior to going to bed.

This continued for years, until the doctor diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes in 2010. I then went on a calorie-reduced diet and lost 3 stone, as I was then, weighing in at around 24 stone. With the reduction in weight, I was able to reduce the diabetes medication down from three tablets a day to only one. However, over a couple of years, complacency set in and the weight came back on and it increased to just under 25 stone. At this point the doctor asked if I wanted surgery to drop the weight, as my blood sugars and pressure were going through the roof and my cholesterol was dangerously high as well.

It was at this low point in my life, I thought enough is enough, and before I left the Doctor’s surgery, I had made a commitment to myself to sort things out, before my body did that for me.

It was at this low point in my life, I thought enough is enough, and before I left the Doctor’s surgery, I had made a commitment to myself to sort things out, before my body did that for me. I considered a few gyms and liked the look of Gambaru Fitness so I sent an email to Jonathan to ask if he could help with the situation I was in. He responded very positively and said of course they could help and introduced me to Francesca and Body Typing UK.

I think I was at my lowest point prior to visiting the gym for the first time and felt really self-conscious about the way I looked and my obvious lack of fitness. When I met Francesca for the first time she was brilliant with me, as she has been ever since. She explained the principles of Body Typing and how being overweight was connected to hormonal imbalance and how my food choices and health issues had everything to do with my Adrenal Body Type and its metabolism and from that day forward, my perspective on food and how it affected my body completely changed. It was so enlightening finding out that my past food choices actually had an explanation and had everything to do with my Body Type and I could actually balance my metabolism with different food choices. So I continued to embark with my new healthy eating habits but now with more of a tailored focus to my Adrenal metabolism. At that point, I was really gaining an understanding of how certain foods were really detrimental to my Adrenal metabolism and which foods enhanced the efficiency of my metabolism and over a few weeks we started to see the weight coming off.

The weight loss carried on and after around 6 months I had lost approximately 6 stone and was able to start exercising at the gym, to build my fitness and self-esteem up. Francesca put me on a fitness programme that suited my strong Adrenal frame and I felt like I could do it – like I was capable and that was an amazing feeling. This has massively increased my confidence and self-belief and my awareness of my body is increasing continuously and in turn, my blood sugars, pressure and cholesterol all reduced to normal and I was taken off of all medication by the doctor.
I finally reached the target I set out to lose, mid-way through July last year, which was 10 stone. This, using Body typing, took me 9.5 months to achieve and has changed my life for good. I don’t view myself being on a diet, it’s now just what I eat and do. Going to the gym, or going riding with my son on our bikes, isn’t a chore, it’s a pleasure, and something I would never of had the strength, ability or desire to do a year ago.

Body Typing, is all about the balance in your system and you cannot gain this without a true understanding of how food affects the hormones in your body. Because I have worked through my Adrenal type cravings, I am able to have some adrenal stimulating foods every now and then such as beer, or some salted nuts, but maybe only once a month, rather than daily. Can I eat anything I like? Yes, but I don’t want to anymore and in any case I am not attracted to those foods in the way I was once in the past.

So that’s it really, I continue going to the gym 2-3 times a week, I have PT with Francesca and have also introduced my son (who is a Thyroid Body Type, by the way!) to Francesca to work on his diet and training plans, so all I can say honestly, is thanks Francesca.”

Posted in Fat burning, fitness model, Fitness models, Nutrition, Personal Trainer, Understanding Fitness, Women's Fitness, women's weight training0 Comments


Newsletter 23rd May (cont’d)

Continued from Fitzine 23rd May

PT is in the Blood

Reasoning: Doing the same workout over and over again is a sure fire way to go nowhere fast. While increasing the weights you lift or performing more repetitions per set is important, there is a finite ceiling for fitness improvements using this single approach. New levels of fitness require new types of stimulus. You may well like all the exercises in your current routine but that’s probably because you are good at them! Your PT should also give you exercises you aren’t so good at because these are the ones that will deliver fitness-improving results.
6) Do you know why you are performing the exercises in your programme?
Reasoning: Your PT should know exactly why you are doing the exercises in your workout; what muscles are being affected, what the benefits are of each exercise and what results you should expect. This comes down to their basic understanding of anatomy and physiology. If they can’t tell you why you are doing a particular exercise then there is a serious gap in their knowledge that might cause you problems in the not-too-distant future.
7) Has your PT asked you what you eat, how much you sleep and about your day-to-day stress levels?
Reasoning: The three or so hours a week you spend exercising won’t amount to much if your general lifestyle is a mess. Your PT might be doing a sterling job but if you are undermining his/her best efforts by not following a healthy lifestyle then he/she should know! It’s really up to them to ask you but it’s also important you answer them honestly. They should also explain that your results are as much about what you do out of the gym as they are the exercise you perform.
8) Does your PT correct, coach and encourage you while you exercise or is he/she just counting your reps and timing your rests?
Reasoning: Some PTs seem to do little else than stand over you and tell you how much more work you need to do – often in an unnecessarily loud voice! There is nothing wrong with some in-your-face encouragement so long as it is tempered with constructive performance feedback. A PT’s aim should be to encourage exercise independence and that means that they should TEACH you how to do exercises properly and help you understand what constitutes good exercise technique. If they aren’t coaching, correcting and encouraging you through your entire workout you aren’t getting your money’s worth!
9) Is your cool down specific to the workout you have just completed?
Reasoning: The cool down should be designed to facilitate a speedy recovery from exercise and match the demands of the workout you have just completed. If your PT’s idea of a cool down is a few minutes of cardio and a handful of stretches, each held for the same duration and using the same stretches each and every session, you may be missing out. If they perform hands-on assisted stretching with you, give them a bonus point!
10) Does your PT seek feedback at the end of each session?
Reasoning: Sometimes, a PT might think he/she has done a terrific job when, in fact, the client thinks quite the opposite. Maybe it was the choice of exercises or perhaps one particular movement caused discomfort. Whatever, you should get the opportunity to give some feedback at the end of the session so that any necessary changes can be noted and then implemented for next time.
While not exhaustive, this little audit should hopefully give you an idea if your PT is doing everything that they should to support you in your fitness endeavours. I’ve purposely stayed away from potentially contentious issues like ‘does your PT look like they practice what they preach as that’s a can of worms best left to another newsletter. The bottom line is that, as the client, you are the boss, your PT is your employee and you should get the best service possible for your money.

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Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer, Understanding Fitness0 Comments


Natalie Jowett’s Transformation story


Natalie Jowett

From sprinting to red carpet premieres, being Jessica Ennis’ body double and gaining a masters degree in sport psychology, Natalie Jowett is a model of fitness.

UF: Tell us a little bit about your background, fitness, sports and family?

NJ: Keeping active is something that’s always been a big part of my life and always will be. My background is in athletics, particularly the 100 metres. I think doing a sport really helps develop certain attributes that can help you in all aspects of life. I have always been really competitive so even if I didn’t get into athletics I’m sure I would have pursued another sport. My family have always been so supportive in whatever I have chosen to do. I can’t stress enough how important having the support of friends and family is when you want to try and reach a certain level in a sport or achieve a particular goal. I also think it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people if you want to be the best at what you do.

UF: Were you always into sports and fitness and what inspired you to get involved?

NJ: As indicated, I’ve always been into sports and keeping active. Even from a very young age I loved running. One of my earliest memories was going to Greece on a family holiday when I was 3 and running around the track at the original Olympic stadium. I remembered I loved the feeling of running fast (or what I thought was running fast at the age of 3!). I’m not sure exactly what inspired me to get involved but I started off doing gymnastics when I was around 8/9 but my real passion was always for running. So when I was 12, I asked my dad to let me join the local athletics club and it just went from there really.

UF: What type of training do you focus on at present and what’s a typical week look like?

NJ: I focus predominantly on weights and train a different body part each session. A lot of women have the misconception that lifting heavy weights makes you bulky but it’s a myth. I’ve been weight training for nearly 10 years now and I’ve roughly stayed the same weight and shape.  Everyone is different but if you want results, the most important thing is to train hard and push yourself. A typical week for me would be:

Mon: Back and Abs

Tues: Chest & Biceps

Weds: Rest

Thurs: Legs & Abs

Sat: Shoulders & triceps

My training has changed somewhat since I used to sprint but the intensity is still the same. My trainer Louise Beard-Ritsma is a bodybuilder and a real inspiration. She always pushes me to get the most out of myself and although I train hard, it’s always enjoyable which I think is the key.

UF: What is your favourite workout and why? 

NJ: I enjoy all my sessions but my favourite workout is probably my back and abs session on a Monday because I do deadlifts as part of my session, which is my favourite exercise. Last week I did partial deadlifts and managed to lift 140kg for 3 reps. I was really pleased with that as its over 2 ½ times my body weight, so that gave me a real buzz.

UF: What body parts do you find it easier/harder to work on?

NJ: I’d say my weakest body parts are definitely my biceps. My biceps are not particularly strong and it takes me quite a while before I can put the weights/reps up. However, it makes me more determined to improve, even if I’m only putting the weight up slightly, I know its more about the intensity of training and how hard your muscles are working, so I try not to get too caught up in worrying about the amount of weight I’m lifting.


My strongest body part is probably my back but my legs are pretty strong too from all the years of sprinting. I think its easy to build up strength fairly quickly especially with compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, due to the fact you are recruiting a number of muscle groups, as opposed to isolation exercises.

UF: Why did you get into fitness modelling and how difficult was it/is it to make headway?

NJ: I started by doing a couple of shoots for photographers when I was at university and then my coach put me forward to be involved in some filming for the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation) on Olympic lifting. I really enjoyed doing the shoots and being involved in the filming and decided it was something I wanted to pursue, so I joined a sports modelling agency. At first I was a bit impatient when I didn’t get any calls for jobs but getting my first job was really exciting. It’s quite difficult to make headway at first but even if you don’t get the job, it’s all good experience. It’s good to go to lots of castings but it’s more important to go to the right castings so it helps to have an idea of what the client is looking for.

UF: What tips have you got for anyone embarking on this route?

NJ: For anyone looking to get into sports and fitness modelling my best advice would be not to take rejections personally. Rejection is a big part of it so when it happens, I think it’s important to be able to deal with it so that you can learn from it and move on. It’s impossible to have the right look for every job so you have to accept that you can’t be right for everything but with enough persistence and determination, you will find something that you are right for.

My second tip would be practice posing/having your photo taken to find which angles work best for you. You might feel silly at first but the more comfortable you are with having your photo taken, the better it will come across on camera. There are plenty of people who look great, but it doesn’t seem to come across in photos. You have to find a way to connect with the camera and allow your personality to come across which takes practice!

My final tip would be don’t be too proud to do unpaid work when you are starting out. A lot of people think modelling is glamorous and extremely well paid, which it can be, but it is also an extremely competitive industry. A good way to start off is to do tfp (time for prints) which means that although you won’t be paid, you will get some modelling practice and also get some photos out of it which is a great way of building up your portfolio. As well as this, joining a reputable agency is a good way to get work, as they will also be able to let you know if you have the kind of look that is marketable.

UF: How did the role in the Film Fast Girls come about?

NJ: I had been signed with a sports modelling agency for a few months then I got a call about doing some body double/stand in work for Powerade before the Olympics. I absolutely loved it and once Powerade had worked with me, they requested me for various other adverts to body double. It was the break-through I had been waiting for, as it seemed that once I had done a few adverts, more work seemed to come in. Once I started to become established as a body double, I was offered a role in the British film ‘Fast Girls’, where I body doubled for the main actress (Lenora Critchlow) who plays a sprinter. Because the film is centred around two female sprinters trying to qualify for the British athletics team, there were numerous running scenes which had to look authentic, which is why they needed real athletes to run in some of the scenes. The filming days were very tiring repeatedly doing take after take of flat out running but it was an amazing experience, seeing it all come together and walking down the red carpet at the world premiere of the film in Leicester square.

UF: What type of diet do you follow and how are you learning about fitness modelling?

NJ: I have to confess as a sprinter my diet was appalling! I don’t have a big appetite so I could get away with eating pretty much what I wanted. I ate relatively healthily but I would often miss meals or forget to eat if I was busy. I have a bit of a sweet tooth too so I ate quite a lot of sweets which would boost my energy but then I would crash afterwards. Now I can safely say my diet is a lot better thanks to my trainer Louise. It’s made a big difference because I have a lot more energy than I used to have and I can train harder. I eat every 3 hours and try to eat as cleanly as possible. I follow a bodybuilder’s diet which involves eating a high protein diet so protein with every meal, which is either lean meat such as chicken/turkey or fish and also taking protein shakes.

UF: What did you think of the ultra-FIT/Fitnorama fitness model workshop we ran?

NJ: I really enjoyed the workshop and it was great meeting other people with the same interest. I learned lots of things I didn’t know before and it was great to meet John Shepherd, Andreas Michael (from Fitnorama) and Shaun Stafford (top fitness model). I would definitely recommend the workshop for anyone looking to get into the industry (

UF: What are you plans for the future?

NJ: I plan on continuing with modelling. I really enjoy doing body double work but would like to make a name for myself as a fitness model as well, so that I can be known for my face as well as my body!

UF: Anything else that you would like to add.

NJ: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and there is a lot to be said for networking when it comes to the fitness modelling industry so it helps to try and build up some contacts. It has to be said a certain amount of luck is involved when it comes to modelling but to an extent you can make your own luck by creating opportunities for yourself and making the most of them, which is exactly what I did.


Natalie Jowett Achievements

BSc Psychology (Loughborough university)

MSc with distinction Sport Psychology (Loughborough university)

Personal trainer

Set up my own sports massage business aged 19

Published academic

British junior 100m champion

Body double for Jessica Ennis

Body double Leonora Critchlow ‘Fast Girls’ film


Natalie trains at: The Atlas fitness gym in Milton Keynes

Posted in Misc, Resistance training, Understanding Fitness, women's weight training0 Comments

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