Thursday, 19 May 2016

Quick Summer Workout

Ok so no one wants to spend ages getting fit and summer is practically here. So what do you do if you want a quick fix?

You need quick a interval training workout. The only workout style that will work quickly and effectively to get you fast results. So without further ado here's what you need to start ASAP!

Before you start

1. Download an interval trainer App on yout smart phone - I use Deltaworks Interval Timer for HIIT
2. Find a good spot outside in the park, garden or well-ventilated room
3. Have a bench or sturdy chair nearby
4. You'll need a mat
5. Bottle of water
6. Towel
7. Sunscreen if you're outside

Set your timer to 4 rounds of 20 second intevrals with a 10 second break and a 10 second (or longer) round break.

Start Exercise 1 then go through each exercise until you're finished.


(Pictures Below)


1. Jumping Jacks
2. Jumping Squats
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Walking Lunges
5. Side Squats
6. Running on the spot
7. Burpees
8. Static Lunges
9. Push-Ups
10. Tricep Dips on bench
11. Crunches
12. Plank

Have fun!

Leave comments or questions below.

Sally x

1. Jumping Jacks

2. Jumping Squats

3. Puntain Climbers
4. Walking Lunges
5. Side Squats (Alternate on both sides)
6. Running on the Spot
7. Burpees
8. Static Lunges
9. Push Ups (Full)

9. Push Ups (Half)

10. Tricep dips on bench

11. Crunches

12. Plank

Latest News

Hi peeps,

Long time no speak. You’ve probably been wondering where on earth I’ve been!

I’ve been wondering too. No just kidding I’ve been around but unfortunately some things have set me back recently especially in the way of training.

Do you remember how motivated I was at the beginning of the year, when I asked you all to keep me accountable etc, etc. and I was sending you videos of my workouts in the gym to prove I was going? Well that started out really well and then something really bizarre happened

I had what seemed to be something like an asthma attack. This is strange because I’ve never had asthma in my life. Never. One day I ran up quite a few flights of stairs very fast and I became really short of breath and unable to catch my breath no matter how hard I breathed. My chest hurt and then my legs just became numb. It was horrible. The worst part of it was that I couldn’t recover. I felt helpless. What proceeded next was coughing and then mucous (yuk!) in my throat. It was such a shock. That afternoon I felt really tired and my chest was heavy.

I got to searching the internet (as you do), and I found out that there is such a thing as exercise-induced asthma. This comes about mainly during aerobic exercise. I had no idea that there was such a thing but it made sense however, rather than diagnose myself I went along to the doctor and had a spirometry test, where they check your breathing output on a machine. It was a really difficult test because you are blowing out air repeatedly and it takes it out of you. I had to have the test done twice as the first one was inconclusive. After checking the results, even the doctor was surprised to find what looked like an obstruction on the readings. Her suggestion? Start taking a Ventilin inhaler to see if it improves and then go back after a few weeks. If the inhaler caused the breathing to improve it would be more likely to be asthma.

Well what can I say? I was just as shocked as you are. Now this is not definite and still very much in the investigation stages but it was a shock and unfortunately it left me very cautious about doing any form of vigorous exercise where exertion may bring on breathlessness. In the days and weeks that proceeded I saw a decline in my activity levels, probably due to feeling quite wary about doing anything too exertive. 

Without going into too many details, I took the inhaler whenever I felt I needed it and it did provide some relief. However, I was not quite convinced that it could be asthma so I started to take the inhaler less and less and begun to consider other reasons I could be getting out of breath. I spoke to the doctor about my cardio vascular fitness levels and she wasn’t convinced that it would be that. However, I know too well that I am not a fan of cardio exercise and you will always find me in the weights section of the gym at any given time. Could it be that my aerobic fitness levels are not as they should be? Could this be causing breathlessness? It’s a theory that I want to further investigate.

When your cardio fitness isn’t good, it means that you get short of breath very quickly. It means that the transportation system of oxygen to your working muscles isn’t’ good and that you cannot get sufficient oxygen into your muscles quickly enough which leaves you gasping for air to compensate for the oxygen you need for the energy you expended.

To explain this better check out this short video (highly recommended) on what happens to the body during exercise and you’ll see what I mean.

 Chronic Effects of Exercise on the Heart

I haven’t given up. I am motivated again to take my health into my own hands. Your body will often trick you into thinking it can’t do something but any rehabilitation expert will tell you, you have to push through those hurdles and no one can do that for you. You really cannot go by how you feel and you really shouldn't accept things as they are expsecially when it's in your hands to do something about it. Our bodies are brillinat machines that give us warning signs when something is not as it should be. It's up to us to take heed to the warnings.

I know I have two options. Either lay down and accept things as they are or fight back by doing whatever it takes to get my body back where it needs to be.

I know which one I’m choosing. :)

Will keep you posted!

Thanks for reading.


Monday, 1 February 2016

Why dieting and exercise doesn't work

Why dieting and exercise doesn't work

I thought I’d catch your attention with this heading. Am trying to be controversial? Just a bit. You see we have all heard, over and over, that all you need to do to lose weight and get in shape is to diet and exercise but is that true?

Well, yes but no. It doesn’t actually work that way. In fact dieting and exercising do not work very well together. Let me explain.

When you exercise, I mean really exercise; you expend energy that you wouldn’t normally expend. Depending on the intensity, you use up physical resources and energy stores that are otherwise untouched by your ordinary daily activities. You also micro-tear a few muscles, which can leave you sore for a few days. Whenever muscles tear, they need to repair and for this you need protein, nutrients and energy. When you eat a limited amount of calories, you are sabotaging this process as there isn’t enough energy and nutrients for adequate recovery. Slow, incomplete recovery means you’ll be sore for longer and generally fatigued and therefore unable to train at the same level or at all, which means that you will lose any gains you achieved before. Even more importantly, when you do train, you just won’t have the energy to go full out and you may feel weak and unable to do as much as you do normally.

This thought came to me a while back during a class. This class was hardcore. It was 30-45 seconds of high intensity intervals with 10-15 seconds rest. During breaks people could hardly stand up let alone be ready for the next round. In addition I was weight training. Most of you know I love weight training. However, when I was limiting my calories I found I was weak and could hardly lift a weight and was challenged during exercise classes as energy levels got depleted. I realised I hadn’t been feeding my body right and that by restricting calories and not having food that would ‘feed’ my body, I was unable to face the demands I was putting on my body. By dieting you are restricting calories. This leaves you low on energy and depleted nutrients and protein. Your body cannot function well without those. The result? Too fatigued to do anything and too fatigued to recover which may in turn lead you to you give up.

So what’s the advice? Eat some good food and eat lots of it! Quantity isn’t a problem if you have quality. Eat sufficiently to nourish an active body. You will still lose weight, in fact you may lose it quicker but you will not have to miss out on your workouts due to tiredness and fatigue or prolonged soreness.

Here are some tips to keep yourself topped up for optimal energy:
  • Don't skip breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day
  • Eat a cooked breakfast including protein and vegetables
  • Incorporate protein into every meal
  • Cut starchy carbs to a minimum
  • Eliminate wheat from your diet
  • Keep sugar low
  • Eat lots of veg
  • Eat fruit for sweet cravings
  • Average 4-5 meals a day

Your diet will depend on how hard you train. The more the intensity the better you need to eat (notice I didn’t say more). You may need more calories but as with anything, quality is more important than quantity. But you must eat! Don’t cut down so much that your workouts are affected!

There you have it. Dieting and exercise do not work. Cut back on food and you cut back on energy and recovery ability. Eat enough good quality food to nourish your body and you increase your chances of staying power achieving your goals.

Hope this helps!

Happy Monday x

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

How to form a habit - Wommen's Running Magazine


How to form a Habit - Women's Running Magazine October 2015

Have you ever thought about how we form a habit? For most of us it is an unconcious act that we do without realising, especially the bad ones! However there is a process to forming habits and once we understand that process we can apply it to form habits that will support our goals.

Recently, I contributed to an article in Women's Running Magazine (this month's issue) about how we form habits and how I work with clients to help them form habits related to exercise. This article has lots of good points by its contributors. I have my full contribution here. Or see below for magazine article pages. Enjoy!


How to form a habit

Habits start with a psychological loop that scientists call the “habit loop”. This consists of three stages. First is the cue (or reminder), that initiates the behavior, then is the routine, which is the behaviour itself and then there is the reward, which is the outcome of the behaviour. Usually it is the outcome that drives the habit but the cues play a big role. For example you may like to eat biscuits but you may not eat them until someone at work puts the kettle on and that triggers the brain that it’s time for a coffee break. Often, it’s not always clear what the rewards are. For example you may like the coffee and biscuit break because of the sugar rush or you may like it because in fact you want a break or a little distraction from work. Determining the perceived reward is the first step to changing a habit.


How I encourage clients to make running a regular habit

1. Goal setting

To create a new habit I ask my clients to establish a clear goal of what they want to achieve and why? A distinct goal helps them to focus on where they’re going and helps them to determine how to get there. For example training for a marathon will be very different to training for a 5K run or training for weight-loss.

2. Creating the right cues

Since habits consist of three phases, the cue, the routine and the reward, I would get my client to identify a reward associated with running. With the reward in mind they would use current cues to recreate a new habit. For example, a daily activity such as brushing their teeth could be used as a cue to getting their kit on to go out for a run in the morning. The reward could be the nice long shower they get when they return.

Three short tips

1. Make a plan

Write a plan of the week or weeks ahead. Include what days you will run and how long for, what you will do if it rains, what route/s you will take each day, when you will put out your clothes, what and when will you eat (including shopping for food), how you will track your runs, what to play on your playlist. The more you can plan the better.

2. Rewards

Reward yourself after each run. It could be a refreshing cold drink, a smoothie, or a tiny sweet snack. This will cause your brain to associate your run with something good, creating a new neurological pathway for your new habit. Every so often reward yourself with something big like new kit or a new pair of trainers.

3. Start small

If your goal is to run every morning for an hour before work start by running on two or three mornings and build it up. Work on creating a small habit that you can do regularly until it’s automatic and then add to it.

Of course there is much more to habit forming and let's not forget the old adage that it takes 30 days to form a habit. Actually it takes anywhere between 18 and 254 days with most people averaging at around 66 days (according to study done by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London). It's also not true that if you miss a day that it all falls apart. You can still form a habit if you have been inconsistent on some days.

This shows that habit-forming is a process not an event. So take heart! And don't give up. Start forming some good habits and watch your lifestyle soar!

Women's Running Magazine October 2015

Monday, 31 August 2015

Beat the holiday bulge!


Beat the holiday bulge!

Have you been on holiday recently (or had time off) and slipped from your routine? It's so easy when you're away to put on some extra pounds. I mean c'mon you're on holiday! Who wants to be slogging away at the gym all day or watching what they eat? 

That's all well and good but now you've come back you've noticed that you've brought something a little extra with you in addition to your holiday tan! An extra bit of loose bulge around your middle!

I'm all for balance and think that life should be enjoyed. It's ok to fall off the wagon now and again and not watch every morsel of food entering your mouth but now you're back it's time to get a hold of the reins and get back on track!

To get you motivated here are some pointers to shift your thinking and get you going again. I know what it's like to lose momentum completely and woudn't want that for you! Take my tips and if you have any questions pop them in the coments section below. And oh... Welcome back ;)


Are you ready? Let's do it!

1. Get your head in gear


Your holiday was good. You still want to be there. The last thing that you want to think about is getting back into a routine! But the truth is you have to and the quicker you do the better it will be for you in the longrun! There is no point in moping about being back. I know it's tempting to get the September blues but CHANGE your thinking! It doesn't have to be doom and gloom. You can get motivated again and you can achieve great results and feel good about yourself. That alone will cheer you up. So start thinking differently. Think about all the benefits of feeling healthy and looking good, even in autumn. Set some new goals. Do you have any events coming up? If there's nothing that's imminent then aim for Christmas. It's closer than you think (Four months away - enough time to get your body ready to fit into your favourite dress). Have a goal to reach for so that you can start looking forward and so that you don't get caught out when Christmas does finally arrive. See next point below on how to set a goal.

2. Set a goal


Goals are a powerful way of getting you to focus. Without goals we tend to wander aimlessly through life and stumble on our destiny rather than shaping it ourselves. We use the excuse of not having enough time or other resources but usually our problem is not that we don't have enough resources but that we are not resourceful enough. Think about it. If there was something that you really, really wanted, you'd find a way to do it. There are times in our lives when we are lazer sharp because it's important to us. So set a clear goal. Describe to yourself why it's important to you, then write down an action plan of how you will achieve it. Take Christmas for example. What will you do to reach your goal, whether health related or otherwise? You have plenty of time to plan and prepare how you want to look, feel and be when the time comes. Don't wait till the last minute to get prepared! The good thing about goals is that they get you to forward think. What's the next thing you can look forward to? What is the next thing you can prepare for? Forward thinking means you'll be ready when the time comes. Which brings me onto my next point...

3. Make a plan


I can't say enouh about planning. If fail to plan then you plan to fail. Without a plan you have no structure to go by. It might happen or, it might not. You may get things done but then again you may not, and you have nothing to measure it by! Planning everything from your weekly shop, to your gym routine, is fundemental to getting the job done much quicker and much more efficiently. When it comes to exercise and healthy eating, planning is crucial so that you have no excuse to not do it. Anything from putting your gym clothes out the night before to planning your workouts or booking your classes at the gym in advance. Planning sets it in your mind and puts it in your mental diary so that you are more likely to do it.

4. Prepare


It's great to have a plan but no use if that nicely written plan or to do list sits on the kitchen table. You must prepare. Preparation comes in many forms. You can prepare yourself mentally, pysically and emotionally. You can also prepare practically and socially. Don't underestimate preparation time. It could be the difference between sucess and failure.

Here are some ways that you can plan for a healthier daily routine:

1. Weekly grocery shop - Don't leave it till you run out of everything. Get stocked up with all you'll need so you won't grab unhealthy options
2. Prepare meals in advance - so you're not caught out when you're tired or time-short
4. Get your gym clothes ready from the night before - Makes life easier and tells your brain you're ready to go!
5. Put it in your diary - Make an appointment with yourself and don't cancel!
6. Plan your run or workout - Decide in advance what route you'll take, which class you'll choose which muscles you'll work, rather than just pitch up and faf around undecided
7. Tell your family what you're doing - Making friends and family members aware will mean that they won't disrupt you and can they can encurage you and keep you accountable

Can you think of other ways to prepare? Mention them in the comments section below.

5. Make it a habit

Whatever you do that is good you want to make it a habit. It's easy to form bad habits but we are able to form good ones too. Habit forming is a psychological process that consists of three stages, the cue, the behaviour and the outcome. It's usually the outcome that we are after and the cues trigger the behaviour that produce the outcome. So think about the outcome that you want and create cues to trigger the right behaviour. If want to go to the gym regularly you can create a reward type outcome like treating yourself to a healthy smoothie or a skinny latte after you go to the gym. Going to the gym then becomes part of the reward process of your habit. 

I was recently asked to be quoted in the October's issue of the Women's Running magazine on how we form habits. Take a look below. My comments are in Section 2 - Set Clear Goals and Section 7 - Create the Right Cues and bullet points 2 and 8 on the right hand panel of page 2.

I recently wrote in Women's Running Magazine - October Issue

(Section 2 - Set Clear Goals. Section 7 - Create the Right Cues. 
Bullet Points 2 and 8 on the right hand panel of page 2.)

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About Sally

Sally is a Food, Fitness and Lifestyle Coach who has been helping women for over 16 years to achieve optimal physical and emotional health and fitness from the inside out. She combines Lifestyle Coaching with Fitness and Nutrition to give the mind, body and soul an overhaul. 

Especially suited to women over 40, those who have just had a baby, busy business women and older women still in their prime. 

Sally consults from her office in London and Online. 

Get in touch with Sally via email or via

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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Why you might have a bad back and what to do about it

Why you might have a bad back and what to do about it - (Or what I did about it!)

If you’ve ever suffered from a bad back you’ll know how debilitating it is. I never thought I’d find myself in the category of back sufferers. I knew enough about back care, as a personal trainer, that I was confident that it wouldn’t happen to me. Oops. How wrong I was! Perhaps my over-confidence helped in making me less cautious? Nevertheless, about two years ago I developed an unexpected pain in my back. I ignored it. As you do. Then it got worse. In fact the pain was mainly in my hip and only slightly in my back, so I thought I had a hip problem! I finally went to the doctor. He referred me to get an x-ray. The x-ray showed that my hip was fine. Of course it was, because it wasn’t my hip it was my back. I then got referred to a physio. Poor girl, (the physio) she didn’t know what she was doing and after a few sessions of ‘trying to replicate the pain’ she said that there was nothing wrong with me and to go off and do the exercises she gave me and I’d be fine. But I wasn’t.

As time passed it got progressively worse. I just got better at tolerating the pain. It seemed to always be there in varying degrees so I learnt to live with it. At times it was so bad I found it hard to get up off the sofa and had to limp my first few steps. This didn’t make me feel better as I was approaching 40 and had to fight off the little voice in my head saying: “it’s your age; you’re getting on you know; these are the signs”. I had to tell myself to shut up when those thoughts came! Here I was telling my clients approaching their sixties that ‘age is just a number’ and forbidding them from EVER saying they’re old or complaining about ‘old symptoms’ and here I was holding my back and hunching over like a granny, grunting as I go. If only my clients could see me now I thought!

Read on this has a happy ending… :)

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what on earth I did about it. Well, I did nothing for about two years (I’m guessing but it was a long time). Then finally I decided to pay a different doctor a visit. After my own bit of Internet research (the worst thing you can do by the way), I decided that it might be sciatica.

The doctor who saw me quickly put my mind at rest. It wasn’t sciatica. I was pleased but also surprised. If it wash’t sciatica what on earth was causing me so much pain? He did the checks and said “I know exactly what’s wrong with you. I had it myself and I now have to religiously follow an exercise regime. You have WEAK CORE muscles.” WEAK CORE MUSCLES??? My mind screamed. Do you know who I am? What I am? I am a personal trainer! I know all about weak core muscles! 

My expression when the Doc said I have weak 

Oh yes I knew all about them all right but knowing about something DOESN’T actually DO anything does it? No you need to APPLY what you know. Hmm there’s a novel idea. Anyway, I jest but the truth is that I was not happy to hear that. It meant ‘Hello? Reality check here. I have to do something about this!’ So I did.

Firstly, I was referred to physio and thankfully this time the physio was brilliant. A New Zealand girl who knew her stuff! She actually diagnosed something completely different but she was spot on. She said I had stiffness in my lower-right-side lumber spine. Everything she described was what I was feeling. At last someone who understood what I was going through! So I embarked on some stretching exercises to begin with. I needed to get my back supple again. This lasted for a few weeks then something else happened. I was sleeping on a not-so-good mattress at the time and one morning I sat up in bed as you do, to read my emails, as you do, and ping! My back just went into spasm! I couldn’t move the pain was so bad. It was actually really scary as I couldn’t get up, roll on my side or anything. I managed to get up on my knees but there I stayed as I couldn’t move. I eventually got up but the pain was unbearable. Once I got up I realised that I couldn’t bend forward. So I had to walk, sit and do everything with a completely straight back. Ironic really. That’s the position we should be adopting anyway. 

Cut a long story short when I went to the physio that week she said that it was a bulging disc caused by sleeping on a concave mattress. I immediately changed my bed and felt better straight away although it took about a week to fully recover. I got some new exercises to do while I was recovering and had my back taped. This meant that I couldn’t bend forward even if I tried, the tape prevented me from easily rounding the back and causing more pain. It really helped to keep me upright.

Now I said ALL of THAT to say THIS: Both problems required me to strengthen my CORE abdominal muscles. Not your usual abdominals that you use to do crunches but the deeper innermost layers of muscles that help to support your spine and organs. The muscles that wrap around your waist and keep everything in. The muscles responsible for giving you the appearance of a flat tummy. I had to strengthen these and not with your usual crunch type exercises either. The physio told me that I have quite strong superficial abdominals (of course, I had to have something going for me!) but the core muscles were weak. The truth is that the most common reason for a bad back is having WEAK CORE MUSCLES and if you neglect this area at some point you may suffer too.

So what’s the moral of the story? The moral of the story is strengthen your CORE! No matter who you are no matter how fit you are make sure that you work those muscles! 

I can happily report that my back is on it’s way to a full recovery and the more I look after it the better it responds. Please don’t be caught out! I didn’t think it would happen to me. You never do until it happens and you never really realise just how important your back is until it gets injured. Your back does a lot of work to support you so give it some love back!

Below are some brilliant core-working exercises. Ditch the sit-ups (sits-ups are bad for your back anyway - crunches are better) and strengthen your core! See below.

DISCLAIMER: Ask your doctor/physiotherapist before you do any of these exercises. They may not be suitable for your back problem.

The Pelvic Tilt

Laying on your back with your feet on the floor, draw in the small of your back into the floor by pulling in your tummy muscles from the waist down (don’t hold your breath). To check you are engaging the correct muscles press your fingers deeply 2cm in from the bony prominence at the front of your pelvis. Hold for as long as you can and let go when you start to lose the tension. Rest and repeat 10 times.

Pelvic Tilt and Leg Slides

As above, draw in the tummy and flatten the back and while keeping this contraction going try to slide one leg at a time off the floor and away from you so that it’s parallel to the floor and just off the floor. Bring the leg back in while holding the contraction in your lower abdomen. Repeat 10 times on each side.


These are great for strengthening the abs and lower back muscles as well as the gluteus (butt). Laying on the floor draw in your lower abs (don’t hold your breath), feet hip width apart and push your pelvis up using your hamstring muscles (back of the leg) and your gluteal muscle. Bring back down slowly. Repeat for 10 times.

Have a great day! And look after that back of yours!

Sally x

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Should you exercise when you’re ill?

Should you exercise when you’re ill?

It’s a funny to write about this now as we’re approaching summer but I, who never get sick, was hit with a ghastly cold in May and thought I’d answer the question for anyone else who’s ever asked it.

It’s so annoying isn’t it? You’re on a roll with your exercise regime then you get hit with a cold or the flu and although you hate to miss a workout you’re not sure if it will do you any good.

So it is ok to workout when you’re sick? The truth is it depends. It depends on what the sickness is and depends how serious it is, e.g. the flu vs. a minor cold. Many people insist on not missing their workout and think that it is a good idea to ‘sweat it out’ but I’m not so sure.

Where you’re sick it means your immune system is down. It means that your body is working really hard to repair itself and recover. You may have even come down with something due to being run down in the first place. Sometimes getting a cold is the body’s way of telling you you need to slow down. And we know that often, we women, don’t slow down unless we’re forced to!

So what should you do? Well first weigh up how serious it is and how severe the symptoms are. For example I was so sick I couldn’t go for longer than two minutes without coughing. While my body felt ok I decided that I needed to use all my energy to shift this cold and sweating it out at the gym wasn’t going to help. Plus I was so tired from sleepless nights, that adding more stress to my body I felt would have made it worse. However, it isn’t always the case that you have to miss out. If your symptoms are mild you may benefit from a little light exercise. I know if I wasn’t as bad I would do something, even if it’s something light, just to keep me mobile and moving. There’s nothing worse than sitting about all week surrounded by tissues and cough sweets with your only exercise being going to and from the kettle for hot teas!

So if you feel ok-ish you can do things like:

Gentle walking
An easy bike ride
Light conditioning or Pilates
Light home exercises

If you have severe symptoms such as:

High fever
Achy muscles
Upset stomach

Don’t do it!

If you have any of the above symptoms it’s not a good idea to so anything but rest. Listen to what your body is telling you. It’s not a sign of weakness if you rest but a sign of wisdom. Rest up, stay hydrated, eat clean fresh food (although you’ll probably want comfort food) and ride it out. By doing this you will halve the recovery time and recover quicker.

No one has time to be sick and we all hate it but how we handle it when it comes makes all the difference.

For more help and advice contact me on

See you soon! And stay healthy!

Sally x