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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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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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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.”

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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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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!



Posted in Fat burning, Get Outside, Misc, Personal Trainer, Sports Training, Triathlon, Women's Fitness, Workouts0 Comments


Free COVER model workout plan – get it now!

Our March cover model has put together a free 136 page plan to get you cover model readyand you can download it for free here!









Natalia will show you how to torch fat, shape up and get cover sexy!



Posted in Fat burning, Fitness, fitness model, Fitness models, Misc, Personal Trainer, Resistance training, Women's Fitness, women's weight training, Workouts0 Comments

Felicia_R_low Res

Felicia Romero



Felicia Romero is one of the top fitness models in the US. Here she shares her workouts and her tips for getting and staying in great shape with ultra-FIT.

 UF: How did you get involved in fitness?

FR: I have always been active, playing collegiate softball. I started competing (fitness modelling) when I was done playing softball. I like having something to work toward. A friend at the gym suggested I should compete because I had the structure for it – so I decided to do my first show not knowing anything about dieting and training. However, I did very well and I continued competing and achieving at the pro-level. I earned 6 fitness magazines covers subsequently.


UF: What have been your career highlights to date?

FR: My career highlights include three top 5 placings at the Figure International. I competed in the Olympia for seven consecutive years and my best finish was top 5 in the world.

I’m also very honoured to have been featured on the cover of Flex Magazine Swimsuit issue, two years in-a-row and Muscle and Fitness Hers and Oxygen magazine covers in 2012.

UF: What’s a typical week’s training consist of? 

FR: I usually lift four days a week with two upper body days and two lower body days.




Sample our Jan 2014 issue here

Leg days:

Leg extensions – 3 x 20

Walking lunges holding dumbbells – 20 each leg x 3 sets

Leg press – 5 x 30

Step ups – 3 x 15 each leg

Plie squats – 3 x 20

Leg curl – 5 x 15

Glute kickback – 3 x 20

Upper body days:

Shoulder press (dumbbell) – 5 x 15

Side laterals and front raises (back-to-back sets) – 3 x 15 reps

Lat pulldown – 3 x 15 reps

Rear delts – 3 x 20

Seated row – 3 sets of 15

Triceps press down- 5 x 20 reps

Triceps extension – 3 x 15


UF: Do you train by yourself or with others?

FR: I usually train by myself. My schedule is complicated so it’s nice to go whenever I can get it in. It would be very hard to schedule with someone else. And I don’t like to talk during my workouts either – time is a huge issue for me so I must maximise my time, best I can.

UF: How did you learn what works for you and what doesn’t and have you had a trainer?

FR: You really must pay attention to your body and always have your goals written down. No one knows your body best except for you, so you really must pay attention to your body and how you feel with certain food and exercises. I have had a trainer before. I have learned a great deal from others and it’s nice to get different points of views on training – the more knowledge the better.

UF: What body parts do you find toughest to work on?

FR: The body part that is the toughest for me is my lower half – it’s the hardest to tone and shape. I carry most of my fat in my lower body so I always work to target that area.

UF: What type of diet do you follow?

FR: I wouldn’t really call it a diet, but I do eat clean and health – this is a lifestyle choice and not a quick fix. My problem in the past has been the time crunch and pressure to get in shape in a certain amount of time. That lead to many problems of bingeing and feelings of guilt. So now I make good choices and stay active. I love eggs, fish, veggies, avocado, quinoa and I try to incorporate all of those foods in my diet daily. Just eat clean be conscious of what you put in your mouth and the health will come.

UF: Are supplements necessary?

FR: I don’t think supplements are mandatory for a healthy way of life but they definitely can help. Just as the word means they are ‘supplemental’ to your diet. I have found that many have helped me throughout the years – whether it was for something I was lacking in my body or for energy. There is a product called YouthH2O that has helped me tremendously with my thyroid and hormones. The maca and other amazing antioxidants in it have aided in regulating my thyroid function. If you are going to add supplements to your diet then make sure you do your research and you take products that your body needs.

UF: How do you motivate yourself to train and eat clean?

FR: Motivation must come from within and has to be so much more then wanting to look good. I enjoy working out and that’s what keeps me going. We only get our body once and we must treat it with the upmost respect. Being healthy is a way of life for me. If you force yourself to eat clean and train then it won’t last, but if you treat it like a lifestyle, remain positive then the motivation will be there.

UF: What’s the most unusual workout you have done?

FR: I haven’t really done anything unusual but there have been many times where I have been extremely uncomfortable! I’m not great at cardio so anything with jumping or sprinting always kills me!

UF: What tips have you got for women wanting to get into the best shape they can?


1. Have a plan

2. Take baby steps

3. Stay positive and keep yourself accountable at all times including when you are not in the gym.

4. Mind over matter – you must have the will power. If it’s not there then you won’t reach your goals.

UF: If you had to choose three exercises that you could only do what would they be and why?


1. Lunges: the staple exercise for the lower body that you can do anywhere. No gym needed.

2. Glute kickback: I love training my glutes and this is an exercise I love doing.

3. Squat with a shoulder press: I love doing combination exercises so combining a lower body move with my favourite upper body exercise is perfect for me.

UF: What are your future plans?

FR: There is so much I want to do! I have aspirations for a book, which I have began writing. I want to do fitness workout DVD’s, continue training and helping people reach their fitness goals. I also have been doing more and more motivational speaking and travelling a bit for that. I love it and enjoy talking about fitness, health and nutrition. I want to become an icon in fitness and I will continue working in order to make that happen.

UF: Anything else you would like to add?

FR: I just want to thank my family and close friends (you know who you are). This life can be tough with many ups and many downs but it’s how you handle those times that makes you the person you are. If you have a voice, speak your mind even if your voice shakes – do not give up for what you want. Being happy is the ultimate goal – if you are not happy then what is the point?


Felicia Romero

Twitter @feliciaromero

Instagram @feliciaromero



James Patrick

Twitter @jpphotography

Instagram @jpatrickphoto

Posted in Fitness, Fitness models, Misc, Personal Trainer, Profiles0 Comments


Brooke Stacey Interview Dec 2013 Cover Model

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Body & Life Transformation

Brooke Stacey our ultra-FIT cover model is a prime exemplar of a strong woman. She transformed herself with a training regime that involved free-weights and good old hard work. Now as she says ‘transforming her body has transcended every area of her life in a positive way’. Here’s her story.

UF: Tell us a little about your background (family, location, job, etc)

BS: I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, as a middle child with two siblings in a supportive and loving home with my Mom and Dad.  I was always active in sports and outdoor activities growing up.  My family has been a huge support to me from cheering me on in the sports I played growing up to celebrating my successes as a fitness model as an adult.

About four years ago, I transformed my body and re-assessed my health and fitness goals.  After I graduated college and began working full time in sales I found myself wanting to loose weight – and specifically what I call the infamous “10 pounds” that I couldn’t seem to get off. I hired a personal trainer, Ahmad Watson and went to work adding resistance training, cardio and changing my eating habits. I never anticipated what the end result would be, but after 6 months of training I ended up with a transformed body that I had not even thought possible.  I decided to try my hand at fitness modelling and landed a job with Oxygen Magazine in Canada.  I also decided to get my personal trainer certification so that I could better educate myself and others on my new found passion for health and fitness. Transforming my body has transcended every area of my life in a positive way.  Inspiring others to live healthier, happier lives has been one of the most rewarding things I have been able to do.

Click on image to see Brooke in action on our youtube channel!

I have a full time job in sales that I have done for the past eight years, but in that time I have enjoyed working out, inspiring others and shooting with some of the top photographers in the fitness industry for the last four years as a fitness model.  It is not always easy balancing a full-time job, with being a fitness model and personal trainer, but when you find your life’s passion like I have with health and fitness it makes every moment you do it enjoyable.  I have been blessed with good health and want to maximise that every day by being grateful and by helping others reach their full health and happiness potential.

UF: How did you get started in fitness?

BS: After transforming my body, I decided to try to get into fitness modelling as I mentioned.  I took some starter pictures with a photographer friend at Fall Creek Studios ( and we emulated the pictures in Oxygen Magazine to submit to Oxygen.  After some help from famed, Oxygen staff photographer Paul Buceta ( I was booked for my first modelling job with Oxygen!  It was a dream come true and still is every time I get to shoot with them.  I have since had the pleasure of getting to travel the world from Canada to the Dominican Republic to shoot for fitness. It’s so rewarding and enjoyable.

UF: What has been the proudest moment on your fitness journey?

BS: The proudest moment has been reaching my full personal potential and living a life-dream of being an example of health and fitness to others.  I, like many people, didn’t think it was possible and doubted my own ability to change my life and myself.  Thankfully with God, supportive loved ones and friends, I been able to get through rough times and have reached a happiness from within that I didn’t know was possible.  The fact that my personal journey of self-realisation could inspire anyone else to do the same is amazing and re-inspires me daily.

UF: What are your aspirations?

BS: I aspire to continue to be a positive example of health and fitness for the rest of my life no matter what age or place in my life I am at.  I hope to one day have a family and children and to lead through example and guide my family to a healthy and happy life.

UF: Do you have a trainer or do you set your own programmes?

BS: As I mentioned I have had a trainer from the beginning of my journey that has helped me transform my body and now helps me stay on track to keep my body in top shape. Ahmad helps set my programmes and will train with me to help ensure my form is correct and that I am pushing myself.

UF: What’s a typical week’s training involve?

BS: My training from week-to-week can vary depending on the programme my trainer has me on and the goals we are trying to achieve such as building more muscle or leaning up, whilst always maintaining the muscle I currently have.

We try to switch up my training routine every month to ensure my body continues to be challenged and is changing toward reaching my current goal.  My workouts are set around my current lifestyle obstacles, including my work schedule, so the workout I have provided is set around three days a week in the gym lifting (see below).  For this reason, intensity in my workouts is crucial to the success of my body responding.  We can’t always get into the gym five days a week.  This is also the beauty of a great workout programme, it can have some variability and still be successful. Consistency in clean eating helps me stay on track with achieving my goals in the gym no matter if I’m lifting three or five days a week.

This particular workout routine consists of three days resistance training and two days cardio training.

My cardio days consist of outdoor trail running, stair-stepper or sprint intervals depending on the weather for 30-45 min.


I’ve provided what’s more of a strength and endurance workout – it uses 4 sets with reps ranging from 8-12




Foam Roll
Static Stretch



  1. Dumbbell Squats
  2. Stationary Lung





  1.  Seated Cable Pull Down
  2.  Dumbbell Bent-over Row





  1. Dumbbell Chest Press
  2. Stability Ball Press-ups (hands on ball)





  1. Standing Barbell Biceps Curls (EZ Bar)
  2. Single Leg Standing Hammer Curls





  1. Scull Crushers
  2.  Bench Triceps Dips

(Body weight)





  1. Standing Dumbbell Front Raises
  2. Single Leg Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raises






UF: What areas of your body do you need to work on the most?

BS: My legs are definitely the area I have to work the most.  My definition of most is defined by hitting them from all angles with resistance training, plyometrics and consistent cardio to keep them lean and toned.  My body tends to hold onto fat in my legs

UF: What are your favourite and least favourite exercises and why?

BS: My favourite exercises are always with free weights.  I enjoy lifting heavy and engaging my entire body during my lifting … so for me it’s standing shoulder press and dumbbell chest press because I am strongest in my shoulders and chest and love the adrenaline rush I get from lifting heavy!

My least favorite exercises are biceps curls and sit-ups.  My biceps are my weakest muscle and are most challenging.  I just like to train my abs by engaging during all training activities, so I don’t have to do sit-ups.  I get bored just doing sit-ups.

UF: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into the best shape that they can?

BS: My advice is to get started, keep going and never limit yourself to what is possible.  The body is an incredible thing and can achieve beyond what our mind would otherwise limit us to.  If you consistently train and eat healthily the end results are limitless.  Transformations are possible and happen every day.  It’s a matter of how important it is to you and what work you are willing to do to see the results.

UF: What type of diet do you follow and how strict are you at following it?

BS: I truly don’t follow a diet.  I focus on eating clean all of the time.  When I transformed my body I slowly began to make changes to my eating habits like cutting back on fast food, limiting fried foods, incorporating more vegetables and taking out processed snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies.  I avoid processed foods and try to eat natural, organic foods as much as possible.  I have never been on a diet for a show or shoot.  I eat the same all-year round and adjust my workouts and clean up my eating when I get closer to a shoot date.  By applying a holistic approach to eating I find it is easy to follow and maintain my clean eating and I don’t feel like a have to deprive myself.

UF: What tips do you have for women (and men) who struggle with their diets? How do you avoid cravings?

BS: My tip for anyone trying to eat better and avoid cravings is look at the whole picture when preparing a meal or eating out.  Try to make every meal as healthy as you can, like baking instead of frying, lean meats and veggies instead of white starches, utilising healthy fats to cook like olive oil and coconut oil, instead of lard or butter.  This approach has worked for me from the beginning and makes it a lifestyle I can maintain long-term versus a diet that comes and goes.  When you don’t deprive yourself or go on strict diets you will be less likely to crave and binge-eat foods that will sabotage your health and fitness goals. Drink a ‘skinny’ cocktail instead of the high calorie one and say, “Cheers” to a happy and healthy life!”

UF: What are your future goals and plans?

BS: I hope to continue to spread my message about health and fitness and to reach and inspire as many people as possible.  Every day creates a new opportunity for me with magazines and I hope that could lead to some TV personality opportunity so that I can reach even more people and brand ‘Brooke Stacey Fit’ as a happy and healthy lifestyle that is possible for everyone to achieve and live,.

To find out more about Brooke go to:

Images by James Patrick



Posted in Fat burning, Fitness, Fitness models, Misc, Nutrition, Personal Trainer, Sports Training0 Comments

ultra-FIT TV – YouTube Kick in Spain!

ultra-FIT TV – YouTube.

Posted in Fitness, Get Outside, Misc, Personal Trainer, Sports, Sports Training, ultra-FIT TV, Workouts0 Comments

▶ultra-FIT TV Paul Mumford gets a kick in Spain

▶ Ultra-FIT TV – Kick Fitness holiday – YouTube.

Posted in Events, Fitness, Misc, Nutrition, Personal Trainer, Videos0 Comments

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