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Jessie Pavelka

Jessie Pavelka

When I announced on social media that I was about to meet Jessie Pavelka I suddenly found myself inundated with offers from female volunteers only too eager come along! OK, I get it, there’s no denying that Jessie is a very good-looking guy with an army of female admirers. However, there’s much more to this 30 year old Texan born fitness expert than meets the eye.

By Paul Mumford

Jessie is the host of Sky TV’s Fat: The Fight of My Life. He has spent the last 10 years or so working with obese people and has changed many lives in his native USA. Now he’s becoming a big hit in the UK with his successful approach and is helping us with our own growing obesity crisis. I met up with Jessie during one of his regular trips to the UK as he hosted an event for HOOP (Helping Overcome Obesity Problems), the charity that has been set up to help obese people, of which he’s the patron.

PM: Where did it all start for you? Am I right that you used to be into body building?

JP: That’s right. Initially everything was sports driven for me. Firstly my parents divorced, it happens all the time…… kids become angry and I became angry….. so I used the gym as my outlet. In fourth grade I had my own pair of dumbbells and I was doing curls, push-ups and sit-ups. It was the only thing that kept me sane (and still is!). Then I got into American football and played that through college but I broke my scapula and felt it every time I was hitting (tackling) someone. So I moved toward bodybuilding.

PM: Did you compete?

JP: I did….. off and on for around four years I’d say. I did my first body building competition when I was 20. I got third place. Then the owner of Gold’s Gym, Ed Connors called me up and invited me to fly to Vegas as he thought I had a career in bodybuilding. He believed in me. It was pretty amazing. So I continued training, did some magazine work and prepared my physique on the exterior. Gradually though I realised how unhealthy I was becoming on the inside. I was constantly dropping fluids and yo-yoing in weight. Then there was all the nightlife. So I just snapped out of it one day and thought this is not for me. At around the same time as the bodybuilding I started a business working with bariatric (obese) patients in Palm Desert and that’s what got me into training the obese. We would sit in on focus groups and listen to these people talk about their issues with food.  Then we would invite them to come and train with us. We were kind of in at the beginning of the obesity boom.

PM: So what made you realise that you needed to focus more on obese people?

JP: I did a little stunt work on a show called Friday Night Lights while I was living in L.A. but when I moved back to Texas  I got this call from my agent for a fitness show called Diet Tribe. It was at the end of the day, I was tired but I went along, told them what I could do and I got the job. It was one of those moments when I thought God is on my side right now.

PM: So now that you’re more settled in your role as a trainer, is there an ideal client for you?

JP: I like training people that are really trying to overcome something. I think I can identify with that. It doesn’t have to be a super-morbidly obese person either. It can just as easily be someone that’s dealing with other issues, like losing a job or someone who has really let themselves go in a way. That inspires me. It feels good to help someone overcome these battles.

 PM: On your show – Fat: The Fight of My Life, you focus very much on mindset with your clients. How important is that when it comes to extreme weight loss?

JP: You have to remember these guys are constantly beating themselves up, thinking they’re not good enough and don’t deserve this.  On the show we have to be that voice that says, ‘You can. You do deserve this’. I think it’s easy when you’re getting the physical changes to say OK, cool, things are happening. The stuff that’s going on in their head is the most challenging thing. The inner work is a whole different type of exercise.  Some trainers will think all that stuff is pointless. Just get them out there, getting them moving and getting them eating right. But there’s this whole other side of things. It’s about re-programming the mind, every day if they have to. I get a dry erase marker and I put goals down on my mirror and it programmes the brain. That’s what you have to do.

 PM: So how is the show put together? Do you oversee the client’s training from start to finish?

JP: We start by finding the client and then we find a local trainer that’s right for them. Once we’re started I get feedback every week that shows their progress and I communicate with them weekly too. We work with 10 clients at once ……. so to get to know them in the way I get to know one individual client on a day-to-day basis is challenging. It’s a very intimate relationship. But we’ve had some really amazing results.

PM: I’ve noticed there’s a pattern with people on the show. After a few months with things going really well, people seem to hit a wall and put on some weight. How do you overcome that?

JP: Anytime you start something new it’s exciting. You’re stimulated by it and you want to do it. When someone weighs say 25 stones, they will lose tonnes of water weight initially and it’s exciting. Then things start to slow down and it becomes less stimulating. So the best thing I can do is have them fall in love with the feeling of exercise. They have to trust that everything they’re doing is working. It’s a challenge because I’m dealing with people who have never done this before. They have no trust in their bodies. It’s about staying consistent with the messages. Writing things down, looking within yourself. It’s all those little things that add up.

 PM: Is there a pattern with the clients you look after? Are they making the same mistakes?

JP: Some people don’t eat enough through the day and then at night they binge which messes their metabolism up completely. Your body is ready to shut down at night. But then there are some clients who just eat a lot throughout the day and not just at night. Stress is such a big factor too but every client is different.

PM: How does the obesity problem here compare to what’s happening in the US?

JP: When you look at Texas for instance, where I come from. My home town, Corpus Christi is the most obese city in the world. You just have to look at some of the underprivileged areas in the UK and they are following the same trends. Corpus Christi has fast food on every corner, right by every school. There’s no other option. You can get a burger for almost the same price as an apple. So yes, I would say Texas in particular and the UK are similar in a lot of ways. But in some other parts of the US, like Los Angeles, things are changing. You can find these small businesses that provide more healthy foods.

PM: So tell us about HOOP, the charity you’re here with today?

JP: HOOP is a charity designed to be a voice for the obese in the UK. There’s a lot of money going into the prevention of obesity but not much on the treatment. These people are suffering because there’s nothing out there for them. Well, there is but it’s not as successful as it should be. So what HOOP is trying to do is give people a place to go for solutions and to talk about their issues. But it’s hard because society looks at an obese person and thinks they’re lazy. We need to eliminate the visual aspect of things and look at the person. That’s where the solutions are.

It was quite clear from meeting Jessie and chatting with him over coffee that he is much more than just a good looking trainer. He is filled with compassion, empathy and truly cares about the obese people he helps to change. Not only does Jessie visit the UK regularly for the Sky TV show and his charity work, but he’s also busy launching the Pavelka Health Revolution and a series of days where people can benefit from Jessie’s experience firsthand. Jessie describes the Pavelka days as, “A sacred time where you can come and be in a safe, comfortable environment, where you can run all the red lights, be vulnerable, get to know yourself better and ignite the fire within.” I’m looking forward to finding out more about his health revolution, as I will be catching up with Jessie again later in the year.

Paul Mumford is an elite trainer, writer and broadcaster. He owns the Mumford Phys Ed Training company in Essex.

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Posted in Fat burning, Fitness, Get Outside, Personal Trainer, Women's Fitness, Workouts0 Comments


Guide to running for beginners

Guide to running for beginners

Running is probably one of the simplest of sports to take up as all that it requires is you and your motivation, your trainers and the great outdoors!  Whether you are running for fitness, weight loss, enjoyment, or to overcome chronic illness, it is a sport that you can do in all weathers, in any environment and you can cover the key aspects of fitness: from strength & speed, to stamina and coordination, you can address it all without the necessity of a gym membership. It really is that simple so if you are ready to get started, here are a few tips for beginners:

Starting tips


  • The main reason that beginner runners do not persevere is that they start too quick and do too much too soon which can make for a very uncomfortable experience. To avoid injury and enjoy the experience, it is essential to ease yourself into it slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several runs. If you do not already have a good base level of fitness, start by walking for up to 20-30mins and if this is comfortable, start to include some short intervals of jogging for 1-2mins.  Gradually increase the intervals until eventually you are able to run for the duration.
  • When you do run, do not start running too fast – have a slow progressive warm up of 5-10mins to allow the body to prepare and utilise the most efficient energy system.  In the initial stages of a beginner’s running practice, it is important to exercise at an intensity whereby you are able to hold a conversation comfortably in short sentences as this shows that you are working aerobically. Also ensure a gradual cool down and a good stretch routine post run.
  • With regards to distance, the 10% rule is good to abide by for progression and to avoid injury.  Basically this means that you do not increase your running mileage by more than 10% for your single longest run from week to week, or for your overall weekly mileage.
  • Think about your posture and form when running.  Aim to maintain an upright running posture with relaxed arms and shoulders and a smooth efficient running stride.  A good goal cadence to aim for is 180 foot strikes per minute so you may want to count the number of one leg foot strikes over 15secs at various intervals of your run and if it is 22-23 then you know you are achieving this.
  • There is currently a lot of varied opinions on choice of trainer with debates on cushioned versus minimalist trainers.  It is important to do your own research and follow the path that feels natural to you.  You may want to have a thorough running gait analysis to give you an insight into your personal running style and areas that you may need to work on.  Running is a very pure experience and so therefore don’t be drawn into fashions and gimmicks that some manufacturers may use to persuade you to buy their product.
  • Once you start a running routine, try to be consistent – it is better to run 2X per week and progress from there rather than run every day and then not run for a week.  You may also consider some cross-training, such as cycling, which will also benefit your general fitness without the impact of running only.
  • You may prefer to run with company for motivational or safety reasons so you could arrange to run with a friend of similar ability.  Alternatively, consider joining a local running club as most clubs now have enough members to split into ability groups enabling the runners to run with others of the same pace.
  • Goal-setting is good practise and it will keep you focussed so once you have developed your base running fitness, think about entering a short charity run or a 5k race/ Park run as a personal challenge. Also keeping a training diary can be encouraging as you look back and enjoy seeing how you have progressed and what you have managed to achieve.


  • As you develop and progress, you may choose to take a more scientific approach to your training.  This could include working in various heart rate zones using different energy systems or running to individually calculated run paces based on run tests.  In this regard, training tools such as a heart rate monitor and/or GPS style device may become a valuable piece of equipment.
  • There are numerous running races in the UK and worldwide of all distances and all terrains whether you enjoy racing for the experience or for the competitive nature, there is an event out there for all.
  • As running becomes part of your weekly routine and you become more serious or competitive, you will need to consider the use of supplementation to meet the additional demands being placed on your body as diet alone is not always enough.



  • You will perform better in your run training if you eat good energising foods and it is up to you as an individual to find which foods you perform well on and which foods to avoid.  Most people suffer if they eat solid foods within a couple of hours of running as your body will divert the blood to the working muscles and therefore the digestion of food will not be a priority and it will sit heavy in your stomach.  One way to fuel your running is to supplement with liquids or gels which are easily absorbed into the bloodstream: a carbohydrate drink with electrolytes (lost through sweating) such as USN Cytopower, or a Vooma gel, provides a good training or racing fuelling strategy. If you tend to sweat a lot, an electrolyte tablet such as Acti-Fizz dropped in 500ml of water will help with re-hydration and replenishing of important electrolytes.
  • Equally important to consider is your recovery after a hard training session and a drink such as R3 Xcell which contains carbohydrates, electrolyte and protein will help to replenish after a long or hard run so that you are ready to go again next time!
  • Ensuring a good source of protein on your rest days will further assist the body to repair and develop as the training effect takes place– Protein GF-1 is a useful addition to anybody’s diet.


Happy running!



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The Fittest Man in the World – CrossFit’s Rich Froning???


The Fittest Man on Earth

Rich Froning Jr

Imagining being able to Google, ‘the fittest man on earth’ and finding your name returned as the first entry. Rich Froning Jr. Doesn’t have to imagine it – he is the guy who wears the T-shirt. Paul Mumford caught up with the multiple Crossfit® Games winner.

Before meeting up with him on a recent trip to the UK I Googled Fronning (26) as I wanted to get an idea of what I was letting myself in for. I got a pleasant surprise when I discovered a character far removed from the formidably proportioned, tattooed, yet well-groomed and handsome American guy that he appears to be on the surface.

PM: Tell me about your background Rich. Did you grow up a sporty kid?

RF: I played a lot of stuff growing up but baseball was my main love. I actually got an offer to play in college following high school but decided not to do it and retired from the sport. I then went on to work as a fire fighter in Cookeville (Tennessee), which paid for my tuition through university.


PM: How did you come across Cross Fit?

RF: I was studying exercise science as my undergraduate degree and one of my professors was the head strength and conditioning coach. He showed us some videos one day on the Crossfit web site and the rest is history. I already really enjoyed working out and doing that kinda stuff so I fell in love with Crossfit from the moment I got started.

PM: What specifically was it about Crossfit that appealed to you so much?

RF: Everything was different every day. Crossfit isn’t really concerned with who is the strongest or who is the best. It makes you good at everything rather than a specialist at just one thing.

PM: So how did your interest develop? What led you to start competing?

RF: My cousin and me trained together from when I started out with Crossfit in 2009. We watched some videos of the Crossfit Games and when we tried some of the workouts we thought our times weren’t too bad. They were pretty comparable. So when they opened up registration for the games in 2010, me being a naturally competitive person, I decided to sign up and see how I got on. The first year my whole plan was just to make it to the regionals which I won. Then my goal was not to finish last and I finished second. I was actually in first place right until the last event and just kinda tanked a little bit.

PM: So what do you have to go through each year?

RF: You have to be prepared for anything physically. For instance this year we rowed on a rowing machine for a half marathon but then we also had to do a one rep max clean and jerk ladder in increments of 10lbs. We would go up every minute and have to do a new bar. But then there’s also workouts that involve gymnastics, some handstand push-ups and muscle ups. You really have to be a well-rounded athlete. You can’t just be strong or be in incredible aerobic shape, you have to be a mix of everything. 

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PM: So when you get through to International level, over how many days is the final contest?

RF: For the last two years it’s been four days. It kinda started out as two days and now it’s usually Wednesday, an off-day on Thursday then Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

PM: As you’ve won the CrossFit Games in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – do you have a concrete plan in place and know what you need to do to prepare for the next one?

 RF: I try to surround myself with hard working people who are going to push me in certain areas. I have a good crew of guys that I work out with back home. A lot of people have a set plan but I really don’t. I just base each day on how I feel from the day before and we kinda change things as we go. In the morning I usually work out for around an hour and a half, Crossfit style stuff, metabolic conditioning. Then after about an hour or two I usually do some type of strength work and then at night I’ll do some kind of Crossfit thing again for about an hour or so. Every day is different. You just have to be ready for anything.

PM: Do you know ahead of time what you’re going to be expected to do at the Games?

RF: No, CrossFit always talks about preparing people for the unknown. We train all year to not know what we’re training for.

PM: What about when you’re not training for a competition? You must get a little bored being a competitive person. Do you still set yourself little challenges?

RF: Yes and no. That’s the good thing about Crossfit, every day is a competition really. You’re pushing yourself against other people. You’re pushing yourself against yourself. That makes it more interesting.

PM: So what about diet then Rich? Do you follow the whole Paleo principle that many Crossfitters do?

RF: No. I like food way too much to be Paleo. I’ve tried it before and felt like it hindered me a little bit. I didn’t feel it was good for me. To be honest throughout the day I don’t eat that much. I snack, take some supplements and stuff like that. I train usually in the morning fasted with some Amino X that BSN (His supplement company) makes and then at night I’ll eat whatever I want. If I get a lot of food in my stomach I don’t feel like working out. I try to stay away from breads and pastas though just because I don’t feel good eating them.

PM: So what have you noticed about Crossfit while you’ve been visiting some of the gyms in the UK? Am I right in thinking that it’s more mainstream in the US and still a little underground in the UK?

RF: To be honest I guess it’s similar in the UK to how it started in the US but from what I can tell it’s growing very rapidly here too and all over the world. I’ve been to London, Denmark, Korea… literally all over the World now for Cross Fit. I’m going to Berlin in a few weeks for a competition: Team USA versus Team World. It’s pretty cool to see that at first it was a US thing but the rest of the World is catching up pretty fast.


PM: I know Crossfit gets a lot of bad press here in the UK because people don’t think it’s safe and there are lots of stories of people becoming injured.

RF: There’s a lot of bad press everywhere. Some people don’t like to work hard and like to make excuses. There’s also techniques you need to master if you want to be proficient and able to go at it with incredible intensity but we preach technique. I think if you’re doing something the right way you’re not going to get injured. I do this stuff 3 or 4 times a day and injuries are minimal. I’m sore every day but that just comes with what I do.

PM: Am I right that you’re the only person to win the Crossfit Games more than once?

RF: Yes, Sir.

PM: Does that put extra pressure on you to go for number four?

RF: We’ll see. As of right now I’m going to enter. Number two was pressure, number three was pressure. With number four, sure there’s pressure but … there’s always pressure competing. I always expect more out of myself.

PM: What about beyond number four or have you not thought that far ahead yet?

RF: No, there’s no real plan. I’m pretty strong in my faith and I know that God will point me in the directions He wants me to go and do the things He wants me to do. So I try to be obedient and do whatever it is He’s leading me to do.

PM: I was going to ask about your faith if that’s OK because I’ve noticed you have a reference to the Bible on a tattoo running down the side of your body.

RF: Yes, it’s from the New Testament. Galations 6:14 and it’s ‘May I never boast in anything except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, which the world has crucified to me and I to the world’. It keeps me humble, it keeps me thinking about why I do what I do. My whole role is to glorify him with the things that he’s given me.

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Posted in Fat burning, Fitness, Get Outside, Misc, Sports, Sports Training, Workouts0 Comments


WOW – Thursdays Workout 09/01/2014

Today’s workout is courtesy of London based Personal Trainer Andreas Michael.

Park workout

I really enjoy training in my local park whenever I can so that’s the scene for today’s workout, putting your fitness to the test over a 3 round circuit with very little or no rest at all. As with every workout it has some elements that start out easy but will soon begin to bite as each round passes.

The colder weather is due to set in so allowing a little extra time to warm-up and dynamic stretch before you begin is a good idea.

The workout:

 Complete 3 rounds of the following for time.

  1. 1 Lap (my local park is just over 500meters per lap)
  2. 20 x bench press ups
  3. 20 x bodyweight squats
  4. 20 x Static lunges (each leg)
  5. 20 x bike rail rows (if you have access)
  6. 20 x Burpees






I hope you enjoy this workout, post your time below.

Andreas Michael



Posted in Fat burning, Fitness, Get Outside, Resistance training, Workout of the Week (WOW)0 Comments

running legs 2

A beginner’s guide to running part 3

running legs 2Progression
Now the first workout is completed, we have a bench mark to compare all subsequent sessions to. The aim of the next few weeks or months is to walk less and run more, until we are able to run for 20 minutes without having to take any walking breaks. YOU are in charge of how you progress your workout. You can use a stop watch and time your run/walk intervals and add a few seconds of running while walking a few seconds less, or you can use lamp posts as indicators of distance travelled…it’s really up to you. However you decide to monitor your progress, it is essential that your regularly increase the time spent running and minimize the time spent walking, working towards our initial goal of running for 20 minutes straight. Once you are able to complete 20 minutes of running without having to take a walking break, stay at this level of activity for 1-2 weeks and really get used to performing that amount of exercise.


Once we have consolidated our progress and have regularly run for 20 minutes, 3 times a week for 1-2 weeks, you should be ready to push on to new levels of fitness. There are a number of options that can utilized to make your workouts more demanding and you can use one or more of these as you see fit.

Option 1 – run more often. (e.g. 4 times a week)

Option 2 – run further (e.g. for 25 minutes)

Option 3 – run faster (e.g. run the same route but aim to do it quicker)

As a general rule, it is suggested that we never increase the duration of any single run, or our weekly mileage total by more than 10% at a time. This means if you are running for 20 minutes; don’t suddenly increase the duration of your next run to 30 minutes, but to 22 minutes and so on. Increasing mileage/duration in jumps greater than 10% can lead to overuse injuries. Also it’s a good idea to restrict running to no more than 4-5 times a week and make sure you have 1-2 days free from physical activity. The body is a wondrous thing, but does need time to repair itself from the rigours of regular exercise.

The finish line
It might well take weeks or even months to go from the initial walk/run/walk programme to running for 20 minutes plus without stopping…but once you manage it you’ll feel an amazing sense of achievement and satisfaction.

And, once you have a basic level of running fitness, why not consider joining a friendly running club or entering a fun run? You might have lofty aspirations of running a marathon one day, or merely running to stay fit, slim and healthy. No matter what you choose to achieve with your running, continue to enjoy your running for a very long time to come.

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Running legs

A beginner’s guide to running part 2

Running legsPhase two – Setting a schedule.

The UK’s Health and Exercise Advisory board (HEA) recommends performing aerobic exercise 3 times a week for a duration of not less than 20 minutes to make improvements in aerobic fitness. It’s suggested, where possible, that these workouts are performed on non-sequential days e.g. Monday, Wednesday & Friday.


Before we even take our first running step, it’s a good idea to plan when we are going to run. Certainly we need to meet the minimal requirements set down by the HEA if we are expecting to gain benefits from exercise. Look at your schedule and make 3 “running appointments” per week so you know when you are due to workout. Treat these like any other appointment – just like a meeting with a work colleague. Do your very best not to break them, and soon you’ll be on the way to making exercise a life long habit.

Avoid over committing your self in the early stages of your new running endeavour – stick with the 3 sessions of 20 minutes a week initially. This way, you are less likely to miss a session, whereas, even with the best will in the world, those 6 sessions of 45 minutes you planned out will fall by the wayside and your dreams of becoming a runner will be over before they have begun. Once we have established out schedule and feel comfortable with it, we can then add to it.

Phase three – Let’s get started!

Running for 20 minutes can be a daunting prospect for a novice runner, whose last experience of running was doing laps of a football field in the rain while at school! Because of this, we are going to break down our 20 minute minimum session time into running and walking. Our aim, over the next few weeks is to run more and walk less until we reach a 20 minute total of running time with no walking. Once we can run for 20 minutes in a single session, we’ll start to increase the length of our runs, run faster or more often. We’ll cover running progressions a moment…

Warming up
Before we head out the door and start hitting the pavement, we are going to spend a few minutes getting our bodies ready for the exercise to follow. Chances are, your body is about to go from a dead stop (having been sat in a car or at a desk, or even laid in bed for an extended period) to exercising so we need  make the transition from non exercising to exercising gradual. This will enhance your running experience by making the first few minutes of your run less stressful, may prevent injuries and helps get your mind ready for exercise as well as your body.

Because running is essentially a whole body exercise, it’s well worth spending a few minutes warming up all the major joints…the ankles, knees and hips. One of the best ways to do this is by performing some step ups at the foot of your stairs. After a couple of minutes of step ups, you should feel a little warmer and your breathing and heart rate should be elevated. Next we need to gently stretch out the muscles of the lower body, especially he hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles. If you are unsure of what stretches to perform, do a search on the internet or seek advice from a fitness professional. Spend a 10-20 seconds on each muscle group in the lower body before heading out the door. We’re now ready to head out the door…!


Our first few sessions are going to begin with walking rather than running. Walking will contribute to the warm up and overall workout but will also act as a recovery when we get tired from running. When walking make sure you stride out purposely with your head held high, shoulders held down and back and arms relaxed, swinging freely. Drive your heels into the floor and push off your toes, walking briskly. You should feel slightly out of breath, having to breathe through your mouth rather than your nose and you may even begin to sweat lightly. For many exercisers, this “power walking” will provide workout enough in the early stages of our new fitness regime. If this is the case for you, keep with the walking 3 times a week for 20 minutes per session until you feel ready to attempt running. I suggest heading away from your start point for 10 minutes, then returning along the same route for your first few sessions until you have an idea of how much distance you can cover in the allotted 20 minutes.

If, after a few minutes of walking, you feel comfortable I want you to break into a run. When running, concentrate on a heel/toe action, light foot falls and keeping the upper body relaxed as well as a regular breathing rhythm. Don’t set off at a sprint, but a comfortable run which you can maintain for at least 1-2 minutes. After you have run for 1-2 minutes (more or less depending on your individual fitness level) slow back down into your power walk. You should aim to stride out as you did before and do your best to maintain the good walking technique we used a few moments earlier.

Repeat this walk/run/walk sequence until you have been exercising for 20 minutes. The intervals of running and walking are completely intuitive – run or walk for as long as feels comfortable. If you are feeling tired walk more, and if you are feeling okay run more. Remember we are only just starting out and we have plenty of time to increase your speed and/or duration.

Once you have completed your 20 minute session (well done by the way!) have a gentle stretch to try and minimise any post exercise muscle soreness. Mildly sore muscles are to be expected after performing a new exercise routine – at least in the early stages. Don’t worry if your muscles feel a little bit sore for a day or two after your workouts…you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s merely your body saying it has done a bit more work than usual.

In part 3 of this series, we’ll look at how to progress you workouts…

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running shoes

A beginner’s guide to running part 1

running shoesRunning is one of the most natural, beneficial and convenient forms of exercise available. It’s relatively cheap, requires very little specialist equipment and can be done virtually anywhere at any time. Running burns calories, strengthens the heart and improve lung capacity whilst reducing the likelihood of suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease.

Running has many benefits to offer, but making the successful transition from inactivity to regular pavement pounder can be difficult. This article will show you how to go from complete novice to regular runner in an easy, structured and progressive way.




Phase one – Preparation.

“Prior planning prevents a pretty poor performance” as we used to say in the Royal Marines! All this means is that before we go off half cocked, we need to make sure we are ready to begin our new routine and that any possible obstacles are removed. To make the early stages of running training as easy as possible, let’s address these essential points:

Running shoes
The correct footwear is essential for safe and comfortable running. The wrong shoes can make running a nightmare! This doesn’t mean you need to rush out and buy the most expensive shoes you can afford. Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean best. Sure, you can spend £100+ ($200) on a pair of top of the range shoes, but will they really make you a better runner? Probably not! As a novice runner, we don’t need ultra light racing flats, or shoes built for speed, we merely need shoes that offer good cushioning and support. When buying a pair of running shoes, try them on wearing the socks you expect to be running in, jog around the shoe shop to make sure they feel okay, wear them in your home for a day or two to make sure they don’t cause you any discomfort and don’t be afraid to take your unused shoes back to the retailer if they aren’t right for you. It’s also worth noting that running shoes have an expected lifespan of 4-6 months. After this period the cushioning starts to degrade and the support may diminish. Replace your running shoes often to avoid lower limb injuries. When buying running shoes, make sure you get the advice of a professional sales person but be aware they might well be on commission and their recommendations could well be influenced by that fact.

Running clothes
Whatever you are comfortable in will be fine for running, so long as you can vent when you get hot or add layers when you feel cold. For cold weather running, long sleeves and leggings might be useful, as might a hat and gloves. In the heat, a sun hat is vital, and shorts and a t shirt might be more appropriate. If you run at night, it’s worth investing in a high visibility top to avoid becoming a traffic accident statistic and a light rain jacket might be useful for those damp days. Finally make sure your running socks are snug fitting and won’t rub to give you blisters.

Running routes
It’s worth having an idea of where you are going to run before you head out the door on your first workout. Running on the roads is okay, but would you enjoy running in the countryside more? Is your “home patch” very hilly, and consequently, going to make your early days as a runner harder than necessary? Is your running route relatively free of traffic, well lit at night, avoids passing through any unsafe areas? We want to make your initial foray into running as easy as possible so by eliminating as many potential hazards as possible. Seek out places that will be a pleasure to run in, not ones that make you dread starting!

Added extras
If you are the sort of person who really likes to buy other odds and ends to enhance your exercise experience, the following might be useful, but are by no means essential: A heart rate monitor to measure how hard you are working, a watch with a timer to measure the duration of your workouts (and ordinary watch will suffice) a GPS to measure how far you have run, an MP3 player to entertain you while you exercise, and a Camel Bag – a drinking system worn on your back ideally suited for people who want to keep their hands free while exercising. There are plenty of other running related products on the market, many of which are touted as essential but remember, some of the world’s best runners come from the most impoverished of countries and often run bare foot so don’t feel you have to buy ever running product available to be a good runner!

In part 2 of this series we’ll look at setting a schedule and getting started!

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ultra-FIT TV – YouTube Kick in Spain!

ultra-FIT TV – YouTube.

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Healthy living

Try something new today!

Healthy livingAs I write this, I’m mid way through a 4 week long visit to the UK to see my family and friends…it’s a bit of a working holiday really; I’m writing lots of (hopefully!) good articles, planning my lessons for the rest of the year and catching up with people I’ve not seen much of over the last 12 months. Even though I’m on vacation and away from my usual training facilities, I was determined to continue with as close to my normal exercise routine as possible. Right from the get-go this proved to be a bit of a problem!


I didn’t have the same amount of time as I normally do, my usual choice of equipment wasn’t available, there was no local gym for me to use, my day was less structured, and even the weather was against me more often than not! It was all a bit frustrating…I began to resign my self to doing very little activity over the coming weeks.

 However, rather than let all this stuff get in the way of my pursuit of the healthy lifestyle, I decided to use this as an opportunity to try some different activities and not be ruled by my normal schedule. Instead of throwing my hands up in defeat and becoming a coach potato for a month, I looked for new and interesting physical activities that I wouldn’t normally do. I basically decided to “play” instead of train and I have to say it was very refreshing both mentally and physically. So, I hit the internet and local newspapers to see what activities and facilities were available to me during my visit. I’ve found plenty to keep me amused…

So far, I have had a few 1-to-1 kick boxing lessons, been to numerous group exercise classes, visited a near by indoor climbing wall, been to an adult gymnastics class a couple of times, ran around a near by park, been horse riding, completed lots of bodyweight exercise circuits, and, because I am without a car during my visit, I have walked to my nearest wi-fi hot spot most days – walking being one of the most readily available and healthy activities you can do.

So, what’s the point of this article? Many of the exercisers I know are very precious about their exercise routines. Runners run, cyclists ride bikes, weightlifters lift, bodybuilders build, and swimmers swim and so on. However, when they don’t have access to their normal training environment, they tend not to exercise at all. I see this as a huge missed opportunity to experience other ways of exercising, learn a new skill set and having some fun in a different but still healthy environment. The old saying “a change is as good as a rest” couldn’t be truer for the average regular exerciser.

Okay, so doing something different may take you out of your comfort zone, it might mean you try something you find you don’t like, maybe means you’ll be doing something that you’re not that good at or doesn’t directly aid your current goals but think of the benefits. At the end of the day, we were designed to be active and activity comes in many forms, most of which will have at least a minor benefit to our bodies and our health. AND you never know you just might find a new activity which fires your passion and gives your regular exercise routine a much needed shot in the arm. When I was in the armed forces, I was often told “routine is the enemy” and it’s only over the last couple of weeks I have finally understood the wisdom in those words. For well rounded heath and fitness remember “variety is the spice of life”.

“Trying something new” is also great advice for anyone new to exercise. Don’t restrict your choice of activities to the normal gym, cycling, jogging, classes or swimming. As good as those activities are, if they don’t inspire you, then look for something else that will. What sports have you done in the past? Watched on TV and though “that looks fun”? With a bit of net-surfing on your part, I’m sure you’ll find a club, group or society of people who share this interest and will provide you with the support you need to have a go at something new. There are groups out there for all ages and all levels of experience whose soul reason for existence is the promotion and development of their chosen pass-time and beginners will be welcomed with open arms. An additional benefit of joining a group is the social support and opportunity to meet people and make new friends which can contribute to your overall enjoyment.

Remember – exercise shouldn’t be a chore! It should be life enhancing, enjoyable and something to look forward to. If you find your self dreading your next workout, training session or team practice, maybe you should be looking for a new challenge – one which excites, energises, stimulates and entertains you. After all, as I’ve said before, “it needn’t be hell to be healthy!”

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Summer Shape Up workout – YouTube


ultra-FIT’s Paul Mumford show you how to Shape up for the summer (if we get one) with this high-powered workout. At least the workout will get you hot!

GREAT £ SAVING SUMMER SUBS OFFER Subscribe for just £24 and save £22.75 on the shop price!

Posted in Fat burning, Fitness, Get Outside, Misc, Personal Trainer, Resistance training, Sports, ultra-FIT TV, Videos, Workouts0 Comments

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