I have recently gone , yes(!) 38(!) times around the sun…….and I’m far from done yet 😉

While this year has been really, really unusual (COVID, house move, MORE COVID) – I thought I would try and list 38 things that I have learned over the years!

  1. Do what movement you like. If you don’t like it, you won’t do it…..and most of us could do with moving more often. It doesn’t have to be “the gym.” Kicking a ball about is so much fun for me!
  2. If you are in the gym, try and use Progressive Overload.…….which means lifting a little more load or an extra rep or 2 than the last time you did it. Many forget this.
  3. As we get older, remembering to be relatively strong (strong for your weight) is going to be a good sign of health later on down the line. Simple things like ring rows, press ups , and squats and split squats are fairly simple to do, and will tell you if you are strong for your bodyweight – (or tell you that things will be easier with a lower bodyweight)

4. All exercises are not the same for everyone. Some people don’t feel their legs properly squatting and could do to split squat…..and vice versa. Some people prefer a machine . Some need to make a press up easier before doing a full one (even though they can “kind of do full ones.”

5. You influence your significant other and your family more than you realise. If you say “let’s have a drink / biscuit / takeaway…………it’s going to be hard for a loved one to say no. Ask yourself “do I really want that? Or am I just bored / tired / dehydrated? “👀

6. Running can be good for some – and not for others. So many clients took to running during covid in 2020……..some lost weight, but some came back with injuries. Like I said in number 4 – all exercises are not the same for everyone……

7. Not tracking workouts. This goes back to number 2 with Progressive Overload, but writing down a few lifts will be key to success. You don’t “have” to log every lift – like abs and bicep curls etc……..but definitely the bigger exercises like Squats, Presses, pulls (chin up / lat pull down etc) will keep you getting stronger, and logging times and distances for cardio will help you keep getting fitter.

8. Food is the real key to leanness. Back when I did my own little 8 week “mini cut” (which I could have been more strict) I instantly saw definition even though the scales were not down a lot, and I put this down to just cutting out the crap!

9. Want to be full and eat less calories? Try to get your protein to be higher ….. let me ask you – how much protein do you get in the first half of your day? I bet it’s minimal. Once I started upping this , I saw changes I wanted to see!

10. Be wary of oils and sauces. It’s easy to put sauce on stuff…..but what is that sauce made up of? When you get into the oils you realise that 9cal per g is easy to overconsume stuff – just be wary !

11. ENVIRONMENT IS MASSIVE! Covid had everyone jumping around their living room – us included (Here putting on some living room workouts!)

….but there is something to be said for getting a bunch of like-minded people in a room, lifting hard with loud music pumping and chatting afterwards. Make sure you are spending time with good people you want to be with!

12. Don’t believe everything you see online. So many filters, operations, drugs….. you name it, there’s so much stuff to be lured in by. Just be wary! Check out this post

13. Following on from 12….. Have a good BS Detector

If something sounds too much like hype…..question the info and come to your own conclusion.

14. Listen to your body. I got some new trainers and they had a slight heel lift – and hurt my knee when squatting. I knew they weren’t right , and should have altered the training. You know your body best!

15. Lifting too heavy. This is a “it depends” one. Yes, you want to lift heavier over time…..but technique is important too, and there’s a line between “heavy and form is starting to deteriorate ….and …..that form is plain crap.” Sometimes , just lifting the weight you did last week for the same reps , BUT BETTER………is a form of progress. Your back will thank you

16. “Feel the muscle working”. Sometimes people think “this is hard, so it must be working”….. but you really need to feel that area working properly before loading more weight on the bar/machine.

17. Cardio is great for health…….we just need to remember to do it, and not overthink it.

18. Which reminds me …….I used to think that High intensity intervals were absolutely crucial for fat loss….(quicker, better, whatever)…… Now I realise that food is more important, and that you can do intervals if you wish, but if you’re already stressed / tired / hungry…… steadier will be more beneficial. This is me after attempting bike sprints, after an early get up, fasted, low sleep…..

19. Some “no thinking steady cardio” workouts for myself are

  • 30min rower
  • Calories on Bike x 100/150/200
  • Prowler x 30m x 10

….And all of these can be done with a friend chatting and catching up !

20. Have fun!

Or you have fun like this

21. Bands can be so versatile!

During lockdown I used bands in my home workouts with the Your Next Level clients and found them to be so useful. Even though I have my own studio – I still keep some bands at home – just in case I need a 10min blast before popping out with the family or something.

22. Rest between exercises.

I know our classes tend to have shorter rest periods to try and get as much work done, but having 2-3mins rest for those big exercises can really help you recover and hit some personal records. That’s why we don’t put classes on every hour and why we have gym time. It’s important 😉

23. Try to exercise more days than not.

We recommend training 3x a week with resistance training……….but ideally having that 4th day to do some cardio or extra resistance training can really be a game changer. Lisa saw changes when she addressed some foods but also when she went from 1 class a week to 3-4 ..Coincidence? I think not!

24. Speaking of which, PLAN! Try to plan your week by looking ahead.

Our timetable works on having times for group classes, and times for individual training. Look ahead to which weeks you will be doing a bit of each …..because it can fly by quickly!

25. Don’t wait – because the time will fly by! I did a Personal training mentorship course in 2020 and wish I had done it sooner. Just like many of our clients – they often say “I JUST WISH I HAD COME SOONER!” They were often afraid we were like other places in the past, where they had been shouted at, or made to do an exercise they did not like etc.

26. Keep friends close – and people you don’t want to be around – far away from you. You can guarantee you will meet nasty people – but it’s often better to walk away and do your own thing!

27. Equipment is useful. Often we get people asking “what makes you different from the other classes? I can pay “X” and “place Y” and it’s cheaper.

  • Some people are too heavy for bodyweight exercises, and some are really good at bodyweight exercises and need to add load!
  • Some people really feel their joints and not muscles when not using equipment
  • While free weights can be useful – you really need cables and machines as well because so many people have bad backs and cannot be bending over with weights etc
  • Equipment makes things a lot more targeted – ideal for beginners who struggle to feel an area work

28. Grab the opportunity.

In everything that you turn down, there is a something you are missing out on. This goes for life events as much as joining a gym or signing up for training etc. (It’s just that so many people say “I wish I had come sooner…..but I thought I needed to get fit first.)”

29. LISTEN. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for that reason. You might learn something

30. Stop wasting time on social media.

I have purposely stopped spending too much time on FB and Instagram………..when you think about consuming more than you create – you’re not focusing on yourself.

31. Leave your phone away for hours at a time! Some of the best times recently have been when I have turned my phone off or left it at home. There’s just something about knowing you’re not going to be interrupted. (Which is also annoying!)

32. Be polite. It’s nice.

33. Don’t be most people. You are you. Be yourself – you’ll be happier for it!

34. Maybe why we are successful at Your Next Level is that our customer service is pretty good, we don’t exceed stuff at the expense of quality……. Have you ever been to a restaurant that has good food but the service was bad or the waiter/waitress rude and you never went back?

35. A funny text to a friend can change your mood for the rest of the day.

36. As can music. We need more music in our lives. I cannot wait to get back to a gig……it almost feels emotional watching clips of Glastonbury re-runs.

37. Whether its the music or the friends – maybe it’s the combination – Make time for both!

38. . In a world that has suddenly become insular and less social…….It’s great to have a great group of people who you can turn around and chat to – while feeling great exercising at the same time.