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Very First Blog/Newsletter!!!

Woohoo!!! Welcome to the 1st Blog/Newsletter for PLAY Health & Fitness!! The past 2 months have been sooo much fun for me to be back doing what I LOVE - thank you for being a part of it :)

Thank you to every one that entered the competition to win a 10 Week "Results" Program. I'm very excited to announce that Nicole Finnegan was the winner. Nicole has won 2 small group training sessions per week, plus 1 personal Training Session a week; including food guidelines, food diary reviews, goal setting, measurements and lots of education and support along the way. I look forward to working with Nicole towards her goals.


Here's why you should think about a RESULTS Program

Typically, when people start exercising, they start with the best of intentions = I'm going to eat healthy, lose weight, train x times a week....and this happens, for about 3-4 weeks. Then, excuses are made, a session is missed, a week off, then suddenly, all that drive and those goals are forgotten.

This happens for several reasons;

People go on restrictive, and non maintainable "Diets".

Setting unrealistic goals.

Upping the exercise, but not changing what they eat = you can't out train a bad diet.

Thinking that just by going to the gym, they will lose weight. I can't tell you how many times I have seen people reading a magazine while sitting on a bike or lifting weights lighter than their grocery bags = You are just not working hard enough!!

It's very easy to become complacent if you don't have someone to be accountable to.

Then there are those that start well, then let their health become less and less of a priority, putting other things in front of their own wellbeing.

When you sign up to a Results Program, I will make sure that you keep on track and your goals are not forgotten.

I know that there are some people that just don't like commitment! So, I will continue to offer pay as you go sessions. But if you have had enough of hanging on to excess kilos, or not having enough energy to get through the day with out the help of a caffeine or sugar hit. Or, if you are feeling weak and just want to feel strong, then start on one of the NO MORE EXCUSES programs.

There is a start and a finish date = all you need to do is commit.

Why am I so passionate about this? Because I will show you that you don't have to starve yourself or only eat broccoli and steamed chicken! Education is KEY here, unfortunately, due to huge marketing campaigns, we are being told lies about what is good for us - when really, if it comes in a packet, it is more than likely to be a chemical shit storm. I am going to teach you how to see through the marketing propaganda and eat nutritious, delicious, "real" food.

We will work out your goals and break them down in measurable and achievable mini goals.

With each Small group session, you have no choice but to exercise efficiently and effectively improve your metabolism, strength, and mobility.

Every Personal Training session will be designed for YOUR body; to strengthen your weak areas and to stretch out your tight spots. The personal Training sessions are integral, because here we chat about how things are going - any obstacles you may come up against and we work out alternatives and solutions. During Group session, there is not always a chance to chat, so the personal sessions give us the opportunity to really make sure you are staying on track with your goals.


New Timetable starting Saturday 29th April....

BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL. Cancellation fees may apply if less than 8 hours notice is given.


Why you won't see Planks or Crunches in my Sessions...

Over the past 12 years, I have been fortunate to work alongside and under the guidance of an AMAZING Personal Trainer, Nick Jack. The owner of No Regrets Personal Training, a CHEK Practitioner, Rehabilitation Specialist, a researching machine, and all round great guy. Here is part of an article he wrote about The 5 Worst and Best Exercises You Can Do...

Sit Ups and Crunches

Everyone wants to have the elusive six pack muscles so I can see why this exercise is so popular, and why to this day you can still see stacks of ridiculous ab machines being sold on TV claiming to make you look ripped.

Firstly any one with even the slightest bit of knowledge in about health and fitness training will tell you cannot SPOT REDUCE. This means you cannot target an area with a particular exercise to make that particular area more toned or muscular. This applies to every body part not just the abs. This type of mentality has evolved from the Body Building world and has corrupted people's minds with exercise choices.

Secondly we all have a six pack, the only reason you cannot see it is because it is covered in layers of fat created mainly from poor nutrition, too much stress, lack of overall movement (sitting too much) and activity, and a lack of muscle mass. If you want to see your abs you must clean up your food, reduce your stress and start exercising more with functional strength training and interval training. Doing 100 sit ups a day will achieve nothing except the development of poor posture and the chance of a severe back injury!

This exercise has been created with the mindset of isolating an area to look good. Disregarding the use of the movement for your body and how we are designed to move, but worse what the end effect is if you do too many of these. Amazing as this might sound to some people tight abdominal muscles are not a good thing. I should know I myself have torn my abs a few times and it is extremely painful. I have also had groin and hamstring trouble as result of tight abdominal muscles forcing me into a flat back posture. I am lucky that I did not end up with a herniated disc before I changed my ways and got smarter.

The picture above known as Upper Cross Syndrome shows the effects of imbalance between the trunk flexors (your abs) and trunk extensors (your back muscles) from sitting too much or doing too many sit ups. As the abdominal musculature become progressively stronger than the back muscles, the following postural aberrations may be seen:

  • Short and tight upper abdominal musculature

  • Depressed sternum

  • Forward head posture increasing chance of neck and shoulder injury not to mention poor breathing

  • Increased thoracic kyphosis, (a hump on the upper back)

This type of posture is very common, and usually associated with lower back pain and disc bulges! Doing too many crunches and sit ups is the fastest way to evolve into this posture and end up in a world of pain. Does this mean you should not train your abdominal muscles at all? No, you absolutely will need to do some work with your abdominal muscles, especially if you have back pain. I have found that no body fails the upper abdominal strength test (sit up), but 9 out of 10 people fail the Lower Abdominal strength test! With back pain clients they often need to learn how to activate the TVA and coordinate breathing correctly.


The Plank is regarded by many as the best of the best for "core" stability and strength. I will ask you this, "when would you ever need to stiffen your body up like this in real life, or name a sport where you need to do this for minutes at a time?" I cannot think of needing to do this other than when I do this exercise. Now think of all the people you would regard as having a strong core. Are they stiff and tight like a robot or do they seem to move effortlessly and appear very relaxed and smooth with their movement?

I will also ask you this - what is the purpose of you using this exercise? If your answer is to improve core stability then you really misunderstand what core stability really means. True stability is about effortless timing and the ability to go from relaxed to stiff within the blink of an eye. Staying stiff as a board is not stability at all. It is confusing strength with stability. To train stabilizers correctly you need to train them in the way they are used. They need quick reflex movements and reactions to force them to adjust quickly to restore posture and balance to the body in order to move efficiently. The plank has zero need to adjust or move with reflex skills and reactions. It is not even close to being a stability exercise. As with the previous "bad" exercise the stabilizer muscles work in synergy with the moving muscles. They are bound together. When you try to train one too much without the other you create massive problems in terms of movement. You are now creating faulty software, a virus so to speak.

All the people I see with back pain. ALL of them have stiffened themselves up in order to protect their back. This stiffening actually makes them more prone for more injury and severely compromises how they move. Have you seen how someone tries to pick something up when they have a sore back? Planks are trying to stiffen you, and not just your abs, but also your hips which is bad news! If you do not teach your body how to move with a focus on the the hips performing all the movement with freedom to move, your spine will have no choice but to bend. If you want to do plank type movements do Push ups or use the Prone Jack knife exercise which still uses a plank position but teaches the hips to move instead of going into lock down.

If I was to use any type of plank movement I would use the side plank and from a kneeling position and only holding for a maximum of 10 seconds. This teaches great hip mobility and prevents fatigue from setting in with the stabilizer muscles by allowing them to rest after 10 seconds. Leading back pain researcher Stuart McGill in his book "Back Mechanic" found the stabilizers shut down after 10 seconds and the prime mover muscles begin to take over the exercises the longer it lasts. Which defeats the point of the exercise. He also lists the side plank as one of his top 3 exercises for back pain patients and I completely agree with him.

To read more of Nick's article, you can check it out here...

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