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Archive for August, 2010

Interview with Matt Brennan (MB Fitness)

Monday, August 30th, 2010
TG: Hi Matt, thanks for being interviewed.  Could you start off by telling us a little about your background in the wellbeing industry?

MB: Hi Tom, it all started in 2002, I had picked up so many injuries from football, two which lead to unnecessary operations, so I wanted to learn more about my body, and how I could rehab these injuries without surgery. Whilst doing my reserach, I came across Premier training, and decided to re-train and enroll on the Premier diploma course. From there I set up MB Fitness, where I went to people’s houses for PT and massage. After two years I set up my first personal training studio. In 2007, I accepted the a role at  Ipswich Town FC as their first team masseur,  In 2008, I set up Grange Fitness on the outskirts of Ipswich, then just this month, I moved MB Fitness into a new functional training gym.
TG: Can you tell us a little about your gym and how it is different to the mainstream chain gyms?
MB: Well, as a trainer there is nothing more boring then standing next to a client on the treadmill pressing buttons, so I wanted to give the people of Ipswich something different, and after a lot of different training courses, hours brainstorming, and a few trips to some of the best gyms in the country (the one that was closest to my ideas was the underground training station in the north west) I came up with a gym that offers so much. Yes we have treadmills, bikes, rowers etc, people expect this, we also run regular fitness classes, but where our  uniqueness in Suffolk comes into play, is the metabolic resistance training classes, where we swing on monkey bars, flip tyres, pull sledges and basically functionally train! this type of training burns calories at a great rate, plus also increases strength and power at a much faster rate too, all this whilst having fun!
TG: What are your top 5 weight loss tips?
MB:              1. Set realistic and achievable goals.
2. Train regularly, intensely, and keep it varied.
3. Try to eat as many natural foods as possible – stay away from processed foods!
4. Have someone you can talk to about your fat loss problems, like a mentor or trainer
5. Stay away from the scales otherwise you will become obsessed      with what the scales show
TG: What part does nutrition have to play in weight loss?

MB: From my previous clients results, it plays a massive part of weight loss. Unless you combine training and good nutrition you will not maximise your weight loss chances. So many of my clients think they are eating healthily, however a food diary normally puts that claim to shame, once they put a little effort into planning and preparing their meals, the weight loss speeds up!
TG: How important is effective communication between personal trainer and client and how do you build this?

MB: I think it is a fundamental part of a good business for the trainer and for the client in achieving their goals. The way I build this is by being honest and upfront from the start. By setting realistic goals, and if a client isn’t doing their part, telling them, I think the client appreciates this and instantly increases their trust in me. If a member of my gym doesn’t come in for a while, I send a polite email reminding them of their goals and in most cases this is the kick up the backside my members are waiting for!
TG: How do you go about setting effective goals with your clients?

MB: I assess my clients every two months. We then set goals and agree how many sessions it will take to reach them. Two months later, If my client reaches their goals I reward them with extra PT sessions. If they do as I say but dont reach their goals for some reason, I still reward them with PT sessions for the effort the put in.
TG: How do you monitor their progress towards these goals?

MB: We have regular updates to check that the client is happy with the exercises and type of training they are following. If they are unhappy for any reason (exercise too hard, not enjoyable) we address this straight away and try a different approach to reaching the goals.
TG: What do you feel are the most important traits of a good personal trainer?

MB: Knowledge is essential, an understanding of your clients lives and how different people are is an advantage but as mentioned above, a good communicator is a must.
TG: Tell us a bit about what the future holds for you?
MB: Well, my immediate future lies with keeping my current members happy whilst trying to build up MB Fitness into the best training zone in the county! This year I would like to expand my knowledge so I can continue changing my clients lives! Going forward, I may look at taking the “MB Fitness empire” further afield, however after this last venture which took a lot of time and energy, a little more family time is needed.
TG: Thanks for your time Matt, and we wish you all the best for the future!

Summer workout with the TRX!

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Hi All,

Here is the final video in Sean Croxtons summer workout series!  Well worth a watch, man you have been working hard over the summer Sean!

The video is packed full of great ideas for your next workout, and using the TRX!  Look out for a TRX review in the nest few weeks.


European Code Against Cancer

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Hi All,

I thought I would post this interesting pointer of the main factors that are all under your contarol that can be considered and put into your daily life to reduce your cancer risk.

It is all about minimising teh risks that you can control, everytime you reduce a risk you reduce your cancer risk too!

My advice is learn and live by this code, it is nothing unusal or even hard!  Just well worth while.

1. Do not Smoke

2. Avoid Obesity

3. Do 30 mins of moderate intensity physical activity a day

4. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

5. Drink a maximum of 2 alcoholic drinks per day

6. Aviod excessive sun exposure

7. Avoid contact with known cancer causing substances

8. Participate in screening initutives

Over the next few weeks i will be picking out a few of these points to talk about in more detail, so keep your eyes peeled on the blog for more info!

Any questions just ask.


The Truth about Artificial Sweetners

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Hi All,

Here is a short video from Ben Pratt of Natural Food Finder, he is talking about artificial sweetners, and the use of safe seetners.  If you have a sweet tooth and are interested in health and wellbeing this video is a must!


Underground Welness Radio Review

Thursday, August 19th, 2010


Just when I thought that Sean Croxton and his range of information services could not get any better, he just did it! Recently Sean has added a radio station to his wide range of free on-line information services, this has made Underground Wellness the one stop shop for all things wellbeing, and especially nutrition related.

For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past few years Sean is a Personal Trainer, lifestyle and nutritional coach based in San Diego, USA. Having an academic background in Kinesiology and studying at California State University, and having worked as a certified personal trainer for a number of years (NSCA, ACE and NASM). He has worked with a wide range of clients helping them to improve their levels of health and wellbeing. For a number of years he has also been educating the masses via his channel, which mainly focuses on alternative nutrition.
The radio station has had some great program so far featuring leaders of the wellbeing industry such as

The programs have has a wide diversity of topics covering general wellbeing, personal training, nutrition. Lifestyle and health. Previous shows have feature such greats as Bill Wolcott, Todd Durkin, Marti Oakley, Antonio Valladares, and many more.

One of my personal favourite shows was with the great Bill Wolcott, of metabolic typing fame. This interview is a true master piece from Bill and Sean. The show gives the listener a load of information on what is metabolic typing, the theory and practice of this very effective and common sense diet.

The channel itself allows you to listen to the shows live (sign up to the Underground Wellness newsletter for schedule) the great thing about this is you not only get the information is always hot off the press but you can call in using a land line or Skype and ask any questions you may have, or for clarification of any points. The shows are really well scheduled and put together by Sean, giving them a fun but informative feel.

If you miss the show you can always download it and listen to it at your leisure, makes great gym or in car listening! So you have no excuses for missing the opportunity to listen to the highly entertaining and informative Sean and gain a rare insight into what some very inspirational and educational guests may have to say!

Why not tune into the next show and see what you think for yourself, or go back over the fast expanding archive of old shows! Believe me you will not regret using your time in this way. From beginner to wellbeing to pro athlete to personal trainer, everyone will learn from every show!

Water Filters

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Hi All,

Water filters are a great bit of kit that helps to reduce chemical’s that are commonly found in tap water. There are a wide variety of water filtration products that you can find on the net, some of the best have been featured in this video:-


Interview with Wendy Cole (Function First)

Monday, August 16th, 2010

TG: Hi Wendy, thanks for being interviewed.  Could you start off by telling us a little about your background in the wellbeing industry?

WC: Thanks for inviting me, it is a pleasure to be able to discuss our ever evolving business I am  a late arrival to the actual wellness industry. I have always had an interest in the human body and all of the spectacular things that it can achieve, on many levels. When I was in high school I was very active in sports (1500 m in track and gymnastics) but my first love was  the human mind, and how it communicates with the body. I followed the psychology trail in my advanced education. Although I never completed my formal education, movement and the mind had always facinated me. Perhaps that explains how I wound up at Function First. Realizing the huge impact that motor control has over our every day functions, and how that influences wellness, and of course, pain.

TG: You have worked helping clients overcome injuries, what do you find are the most common problems that people come to you with?

WC: I have in my brief career had the opportunity to work with a variety of challenges. Being that I did study and sit for the ACE Clinical Exercise Test and certification, it opened a whole world of different diseases and dysfunctions within my scope of practice. It has been a real journey of discovery. I have had the ability to help individuals with back pain, knee problems, as well as many shoulder issues. The largest volume of challenged clients seemed to have back issues. As we well know, statistically  a staggering 85% of people will experience low back pain at some point or another.

TG: Low back pain is a commonly occurring problem, what steps to you take to help people overcome back pain?

WC: When it comes to low back pain issues, or ant issues for that matter, I am in full agreement with what we would refer to as Hypothesis Testing. This is where an individual would come in for an appointment and we would discuss various postures that seem to either help, or hinder their situation. We would discuss their activities of daily living, and I would observe the client in a variety of different situations. ( an example would be their seated posture, or maybe even walking.) Am impression is formed form this interview. A health history from is also part of the pool of information that goes toward the consideration of the program to follow. This can also lead to a recommendation to see a more qualified professional. Next, based upon this information. other assessments are used to produce a program specifically for this individual and their very specific needs.

TG: What do you feel are the most common causes of Low Back pain?

WC: The statistics indicate that 85% of back problems are of an “unknown etiology” (McGill) I am of the impression that back pain is more of a “cascade effect”, there is no one thing that  creates tissue breakdown, unless it is a traumatic injury such as in a fall, or something of that nature. Some of the contributing factors that contribute to this “cascade” would be anything ranging from repetitive stresses, to cigarette smoke, to improper diet/hydration, to additional undue stress of any nature, to those extra few pounds around the middle, to overexercising, exercising one side of the body more than the other creating asymmetry, to motor control problem to a completely sedentary lifestyle. These are only a few elements that can contribute to painful conditions of the back. Some of these things are under our conscious control and others are not- none the less the tissue eventually yields and compression is created. I think there is a much bigger picture than a single episode that create pain in the body, it is the result of a much bigger picture.

TG: You have worked with clients with a range of disabilities, how important do you feel it is that we as fitness professionals provide services for special populations?

WC:When I became certified I had sort of an ah-ha moment when I stopped to read the actual certificate. It stated that I was certified to work with “apparently healthy” individuals. Upon completion of the health history form(s) that I have my clients fill out, I promptly discovered I was not really qualified to work with very many people.

We seem to live in a world of relatively unhealthy people. Hypertension, diabetes, back pain, cancers, the list is really endless. Very sad. I felt a huge need   to increase my knowledge, and scope of practice,to serve my clients better. What I don’t know in many aspects could very much hurt someone. My goal is to help people, not hurt them. I don’t think you can know too much when it comes to the human body and function. As a service industry, we need to stay on top of the educational ball, especially with so many challenged clients and potential clients out there.

TG: What would you say are the three most important exercises people should do to improve their ability to live in the modern world?

WC: Everyone is different and has different needs when it comes to programming.  I follow the “for who” and “for what” train of thought when it comes to exercise- inspired by my mentor, Anthony Carey. I rarely ever suggest  an exercise without any form of assessment. However, there are some “basics” that we could improve upon to improve our quality of life. Simple things, like learning proper breathing techniques, that can impact our lives in big ways.

Most of us hyperventilate. One of my clients actually phrased it the best, “we are afraid to breathe.” We are chest breathers, this keeps our sympathetic nervous system engaged. We need to learn to slow our lives down,and our breathing down. Huge benefit can be gained from engaging our parasympathetic nervous system by breathing more slowly and deeply.  This has a global effect on everything from back pain to digestion to sleep disorders, to energy production to an overall feeling of well being. Cortisol, which is related to stress, has been linked to the inability to loose those extra pounds, also.  Proper breathing has more implications than I can even begin to cover here!

Another element of “wellbeing” that I feel is highly overlooked is our ability as humans to get up and move.We do not need permission, or an excuse. Exercise does not only happen in the gym! I like to remind my clients that I am only a small part of their actual world. They need to move more than few hours a week that they see me. If they have a desk job, I like to encourage them to get up and move through out the day. I remind them that I am a small piece of the puzzle. I try to challenge them into other FUN activities that they can do with their family, or dog. ANYTHING! We need to set the bar a little higher for our clients. I like to give “homework, ” depending on the goal/s we are focused upon.

My last suggestion continues with this  more holistic approach. We cannot separate ourselves from our diet. Even though we “workout,” we need to be more aware of the foods we eat, and the quality of the food we use to fuel our bodies, minds and spirits. We need to take the time to pay attention to our needs versus the many “tasty” temptations that are out there. We need to think about the results of the coffee’s , the deserts, the processed foods, the stop for “happy hour” drinks. These ALL impact our quality of being. They too are accumulative. I have worked with diabetics that have lost limbs, and still would not step away from their diet issues. We all have choices,but we have to remember there is always cause, and effect. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts/healthy fats and other whole foods are part of the key to good health, longevity, healing and long life. Genetics also have a huge part of this, of course. But, naturally, it is up to each and every one of us come to a place where we can own our own path to health.

TG: How do you suggest people who are mainly desk based in their working environment train to counter act the impact this has on their overall posture?

WC: I see that a majority of our modern world is desk based. The ideas presented above would be a great base for feeling better. Naturally, a personalized workout/fun program with a qualified personal trainer is the missing key from the above mentioned. I would advise anyone that has isn’t moving and loving it- to find a qualified professional to get them on the road to living a fuller, healthier, more invigorating life. It is important to realize that life is more than just work and home and sitting. We have to get up and participate in our lives,and in our health. We can’t sit on the side lines and wonder why we don’t feel good. We need to seek those who are qualified that want to help bring us to the life we visualize.

TG: What do you feel are the most important traits of a good personal trainer?

WC: To me, one the most important traits of a personal trainer are the ability to focus- really focus. We need to be able to set ourselves aside when we enter into a session. Only the now, and that client exist. We need to focus on that person, and that person alone. We need to use all of our senses to help the person learn things correctly for the right adaptation. We need to focus on hearing what the client has to say and how they “feel” things. To often we walk into a session with a preconceived  notion about we WE expect from the session. We need to hear and see our clients and realize their needs and abilities in order to serve them better, and reach their goals.  We need to turn off our cel phones, cut the chatter and stay in the moment!

TG: Tell us a bit about what the future holds for you?

WC: I feel extremely blessed to be here in San Diego, at Function First with Anthony Carey. I  plan to be here for the next couple of years learning more about human function and corrective exercise. An amazing opportunity. As I mentioned earlier Anthony has been a huge influence in my career to date. I was fortunate enough to have attended his workshops and seminars early in my career.

While I am here, we are hoping to expand the personal training aspect of the facility. We are launching a new program based upon the NEWSTART principals that I focused upon at my facility in Avalon.(More on these principals can be found on my blog This program is going to start on August 2, 2010. it will be an exciting, inovative 6-week program. It will target individuals that are focused on losing 10-15lbs, already existing exercisers who are bored with their “routines,” and individuals who are experiencing challenges in their ‘diet.” Naturally we will be incorporating full body exercises using the TRX and the Core-Tex, as well as  other modalities. We are calling this series the Workoutwithwendy X-treme, X-Factor Six Week X-erFun Camp! Hopefully some you might come out and join us!!

Next summer we are also hoping to add in some summer fun camps for the youth population.

Thank you so much for including me! All the best to you ,Tom!

TG: Thanks for your time Wendy, and we wish you all the best for the future!

Fitness Forums

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I have been a user of forums for a number of years, I think they can be great places for the free exchange of ideas between like minded people within the health and fitness community.


JP Fitness Forum – is one of the best all round fitness and related forums I have found on the internet. The forum is used by a lot of people with a very high standard of knowledge in the field of Health, Fitness, and Wellbeing. Well worth a look if you ever have any questions or are looking to increase your personal wellbeing knowledge. The forum covers many areas of strength and conditioning, nutrition and injury management. It is well established so if you want to know the answer to something you can bet it has been discussed at one time or another, and the searchable history makes it easy to find the answer.


Fitness Venues – is an off shoot of a UK based Fitness Services Listing and Article based site. The forum has not been going too long but already has a good group of contributors. It covers a very wide range of wellbeing related subjects, including fitness and exercise, diet and weight loss, health and beauty, nutrition and supplements, and leisure jobs. This site has a great deal of potential and will, I am sure come into it’s own over the next year!


Martial Arts Planet – started off as a Martial Arts based discussion group, but has for the past few years had a thriving fitness section. Again this forum has a great deal of knowledgeable contributors, who have varied backgrounds mainly with a martial arts slant. The sections on this site cover areas such as weight training, body weight training, flexibility, nutrition, injury prevention and management, and CV training. A must for anyone who is into martial arts and fitness.

T MagnumThis is the forum section of the well know Testosterone Nation website. A mainly US based web site covering all aspects of wellbeing generally from a strength and conditioning stand point. The site and forum are well established and have a number of the greats from the world of strength and conditioning as regular contributors.

These are just four forums of the many the net has to offer, they are the ones that I regularly use and can be seen on (screen name Tom@foresight). I do suggest that if you are looking to improve your knowledge on the subject of health and wellbeing have a look at one or two of these sites. They really are fun, no attitude, but knowledgeable places.

Until Next Time,


Like Steak?

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Hi All,

Just watched this video by Sean Croxton, like steak? I love it! It will make your mouth water just watching!

Like cooking need healthy ideas? Have a look at Underground Wellness TV!


Bridal Fitness

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Hi All,

We are having a bit of a push on one of our newer packages, the Bridal Fitness package. As the name suggests this package is aimed a brides to be, and their grooms. We have also had bridesmaids, best men, and mothers of the bride!

If you want to get your whole bridal party fit then come see us!

So if you know any brides to be, who want to get in the best shape of their lives for their big day, let us know!

Or if you are a bride and would like more info, just fill out the form below!