What is the best training schedule for me, and how do I programme a workout?

New year resolutions bring a lot of people to the gym and, if they aren’t careful, to the clinic! It’s the same every year. Many will burn out by March, those a little more determined may last long enough to get some way towards their holiday body but drop out after June or July. Whether your goal in the gym is as non-specific as ‘Health reasons’ or you have a holiday or wedding as a deadline, the first common mistake is not setting realistic, achievable goals. First things first, you need a realistic schedule.

Everybody wants to get the most out their new gym membership, but forcing yourself to go every day is not the answer. Not only do you need rest to recover from your hard work; you can’t build a beach body or change your heath significantly in a week!

On the other hand, less than 3 gym sessions a week doesn’t leave a lot of room to make exciting changes to your body, your lack of progress will be demotivating. Find the time to invest in yourself and your workouts.

Once you have decided on how much time you can dedicate to training, you can programme your workout according to your goals. Focus on activities or exercises you enjoy, don’t force yourself to do thing you hate, look for an alternative. If your goal is to improve your health or lose weight and change the shape of your body, lifting weights/resistance work will play a more important role than cardiovascular work. If you’re training to improve your fitness, practicing that specific skill will be more important than lifting weights. Your programming should fit your goals.

Specifics of programming will vary for the individual. That said, there are three rules of thumb that are important to follow. For example, do your hardest/most complex/demanding exercise first! If you find yourself on your quest for abs, doing sit ups as your first exercise; you aren’t getting the most out of your workout for several reasons. Body composition is mostly influenced by diet, and doing a compound movement like a deadlift/squat/benchpress will recruit more muscles and have a greater metabolic effect. Squatting once you have exhausted your core isn’t the best idea either, from an injury prevention standpoint. Similarly, if you are training for a specific skill, train that before you are too tired to execute it effectively, save the resistance work for after. Make the most important adaptations first.

Another common programming error is not graduating the volume of work or the percentage of resistance appropriately. Too much, too soon is a sin. If you are too sore after your workouts, it may leave you feeling satisfied with a job well done, but it’s actually not necessary, can impede your quality of movement and potentially lead to injury.

The last part of programming people often get wrong is Diet. Ultimately, you can follow any kind of programme but unless you eat the macronutrients you need to support it; you won’t achieve your goals. If you want big muscles or strength gains, you can lift all the weights in the world, but if you don’t get around 1-2g of protein per kilo of body weight per day you won’t have the fuel to build the muscle tissue you have created the stress for. Likewise, no amount of cardio can outdo a poor diet if your goal is weight loss.

Though we have set out a few guidelines here they may not apply to everybody. For most, failure to adhere to them may at best cause poor results but at worst, injury. If you want advice tailored to your specific needs on scheduling, programming, diet or exercise; contact Ashley or Luke at Kings Cross Osteopathy for a consultation.

Should You Hire A Personal Trainer?

What I’m about to say might surprise you.


See I have been working in gyms for close to 10 years now and I have observed these animals in their natural habitats doing their thing.

And to be brutally honest I am very disappointed.

They all do the same thing;

Smash their clients to make them believe they are getting the results

The technique is poor.

The trainer doesn’t know why they are doing that exercise with their client to beging with, they just saw it in this month’s magazine.

Quite often they are not even paying attention to their client.

They are just looking for their next sale elsewhere.

This is bad and very unprofessional.

Personal trainers are not all the same.

If you’re thinking of getting a trainer you need to choose them wisely because some are good and some are pants!

This is why I don’t even call myself a personal trainer.

Because I get put in the same bucket as the rest of them.

Personal trainers believe they can do everything and train everyone.

That just makes them very “vanilla”, a “jack-of-all-trades”.

I would decribe myself as an Injury and Weight Loss Specialist. Not a personal trainer.

I train 2 types of people here in Central London;

People with injuries

Women who want to lose weight.

That’s it!

So next time you’re looking for a trainer, watch them training and interacting with other people.

They need to be a good fit with you!

That’s all for now


Weight Gain Wasn’t Your Fault!

You know what pisses me off?

When people stand there and lecture overweight people about how it is easy to lose wieght.

“Just eat less and exercise more” they say.

Or “eat less calories and burn more”

That’s bullshit!

How many times have you tried that yourself?

If it was that simple everyone would be skinny!

Behind every fat person is a million different reasons why they may have gained weight in the first place.

People don’t just wake up and decide to stuff their faces every day until it’s too late.

Food is often a comfort for people.

There are emotional triggers; stress, anxiety, depression.

Hell I stuff my face with biscuits when I’m stressed!

I can’t help it!

Now, we all know there are millions of different diets out there.

This obesity epidemic is not because of a lack of diets.

I think it’s more than that.

We need to look deeper.

Sure emotions play a part, but what about those people who don’t eat too bad and yet still can’t shift the weight?

We need to look at other things like;

Hormones- is their INSULIN levels too high for too long?, do they have an UNDER ACTIVE THYROID?, are their CORTISOL levels chronically elevated? do they have TOO MUCH OESTROGEN or NOT ENOUGH TESTOSTERONE?

Toxins- has this person been gaining fat as a way of storing toxins to prevent the body becoming damaged? There are traces of more man made chemicals in our bodies than ever before, even at birth a baby’s blood can show hundreds of different man made chemicals.

Wrong type of food- we are advised to eat a certain way by the NHS and our doctors, and yet that is just not right for most people.

There are many many other reasons why people gain fat.

The key is often to start looking at WHEN this first started happening and try to establish WHY.

This is something I work on a lot with many of my Personal Training and Functional Medicine clients and it’s interesting to see the many different causes.

The good news is that they can all lose weight and so can you.

You just have to understand what to do.

I’ll cover some of the above topics in more detail soon,

Stay tuned!


Tell Me About Your Weight Loss Goals

Ever since I can remember I had never seen a six pack on me. I was never fat, just a bit chubby around the middle.

See, I love sweet foods; cakes, biscuits and desserts!

But in 2014 I decided enough was enough and I really applied what I knew and within 5 months I had some pretty good definition!

I wasn’t “ripped” or “shredded”, just had a decent six pack.

I don’t want to be too lean, it borders on obsessive and narcissistic. I do want to enjoy life and be able to eat the thnigs i enjoy.

But, while I was losing that excess weight I was pretty strict; I didn’t have the bad things that I enjoy all too often.

My goals were quite extreme by some people’s standards and so my diet had to be too.

But not everyone wants that, and maybe you don’t either.

Everyone is individual and has a story and goals.

I would love to hear yours and what has led you to this point now.

I read every email you send to me and I would love to get to know you and what your goals are and why you have those goals.

What are you struggling with right now?

What have you tried in the past that hasn’t worked?

How willing to change are you right now?

Tell me what ever you like in as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with.

I’ll be right here waiting,

Speak to you soon


Here’s How Sports Massage Can Make You Perform Better

by Steven Holinshead

“Everybody who trains for a sport either at amateur level or professional level should be having a regular sports massage!” Jake Mackenzie, BJJ world no 4.

Having spent well over a decade treating, training and rehabilitating injuries some serious, some not so serious, from an ACL reconstruction to serious spinal injuries, one thing is paramount in the pursuit of health and performance, a full holistic approach is beneficial to all participants of sport and exercise in general.

What do I mean by this?

Well, there are 7 key abilities to sports performance according to Tudor Bompa (PhD) in his book on periodisation. These are balance, endurance, speed, power, agility, flexibility, and strength and are all accomplished by dedication and hard work along with good genetics.

To achieve all the above, certain lifestyle factors have to be put in place these are: optimal recovery, good nutrition, the right strength and conditioning programme, good hydration and plenty of rest.

Sports massage when done right can assist in all of the above; it can improve your recovery by speeding up the metabolic effects in a given muscle. This is done through several techniques that remove the waste products that build up through your high intensity training in your conditioning programme.

This not only removes and improves the lymphatic system but can also relax the nervous system, allowing a reduction in cortisol/adrenaline (your stress hormones), this then allows you to switch from your fight and flight system into your relaxing parasympathetic system which improves digestion, elimination and detoxification pathways.

Another great reason for having a good sports massage is to work on your flexibility, by using techniques such as muscle energy technique which tricks your nervous system and results in elongation of the muscle fibres. This is achieved through re-setting of the muscle spindles (a muscle within a muscle) and leads to improved posture, and greater flexibility which can only improve performance.

Power is something that is needed in all sports some more than others, but requires a big eccentric component, (a lengthening of a muscle or muscles under tension), Dr Gary Gray a physical therapist from Michigan in the United States talks about priming the muscle before exploding into a given movement.

Let me give you an example, If there is a severe shortening of a single muscle, let’s use the peroneus longus and brevis (muscles found in your calf). Their main role is to roll the foot during deceleration, either in walking, running or in jumping. If these muscles are tight, there will not be enough inversion (supination) at the ankle joint to allow you to push off with your big toe as the ankle joint moves into eversion (pronation), this dysfunction has profound effects in the way we distribute our force as we land.

Sports massage can aid in improving these movement patterns by mobilising your joints to allow better mechanics to stop unwanted movement further up the body.

Finally sports massage can highlight all muscle/joint imbalances that might exist, this allows the therapist to construct a rehabilitation programme, which should work on posture, stability, and strength and power in that order allowing the patient and client to achieve their goals and most of all remain injury free.

If you want to remain injury free, whether you train or not, then book a sports massage with Steven today. Don’t wait until you’re in pain… trust us, prevention is better than cure!

Steven Hollinshead is a sports therapist, personal trainer, and kinsiologist working at Urban Kings Gym on a Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Rumble Rollers

Rumble Roller UkDisclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that we have experience with the product listed below, and we recommend it because it is useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you do decide to buy it. Please do not spend any money on this product unless you feel you need it or that it will help you achieve your goals.

In the last week or two, I have has several people asking about the “painful looking” rollers we have here in the gym and what they are so I decided to explain them and see if I could help answer a few questions.

Foam rolling is thankfully something that has increased in popularity in recent times and as a result we are seeing better quality rollers such as the Triggerpoint Therapy Grid roller and the Rumble Roller.

This post is purely about the Rumble Roller since there are so many other great articles out there about the other types of roller but not the Rumble Roller.

Admittedly the Rumble roller is a pretty savage looking piece of equipment, almost like something out of medievil times, with its scary looking nodules. But before you avoid it completely let me assure you they are not as bad as they look.

The theory behind foam rollers is to break down adhesions of a film-like tissue in the body called Fascia. Fascia runs all throughout the body and can become “sticky” and “knotty” and therefore affect how your body functions. Using foam rollers is almost like rolling dough with a rolling pin- the roller squashes the tissues back into their correct alignment.

The Rumble Roller on the other hand works more like a deep tissue massage, working into the muscles, rather than squashing the muscles. The nodules can be described as similar to the thumbs of a massage therapist.

There are 2 models of the Rumble Roller; Blue and Black, which have different densities. The blue rumble roller is the less firm of the two and the nodules are firm but not solid, meaning that they are compressible. I would recommend the blue version to most people.

The black version is almost the same except that the material is even denser than the blue and thus harder to roll on.

The first time I tried a Rumble Roller I expected it to be even more painful than a standard roller but once I had been on one for the first time I would actually say I prefer it as I find my muscles get worked in to rather than just squashed.

Rumble rollers, like most other foam rollers, come in 2 sizes; 12.5cm x 30cm or 15cm x 77.5cm. I personally prefer the longer roller as you can roll all your body easily. I would recommend the smaller one for working into smaller and less accessible areas such as the rotator cuff.

Prices are much the same wherever you shop, with any variations being due to postage costs. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £62 with free delivery- Rumble Roller Original Blue – Full Size 15cm x 77.5cm
(Blue/ Normal) or Rumble Roller Extra Firm Black – Full Size 15cm x 77.5cm (Black/ Extra Firm).

Hopefully that has helped you out but if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.


Is Running Bad For You?

runningI had always said I would never do a Triathlon only because you have to run. I have always hated running; it has never been easy, I found it boring but most of all it causes a lot of injuries. Back when I was at school I developed “shin splints” in both legs which became so bad that I literally could barely walk! Shin splints is when someone does too much exercise too soon and the calf muscles become tight and shortened. This causes the muscle to pull on the bone Continue reading “Is Running Bad For You?”