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Hong Kong Island from Tsing Yi

I did my first run since Christmas today. I fell in love again with my shoes. I think I pushed myself after my son was born. I really felt a sense of achievement completing 10K when he was 18 weeks old but then my time also got restricted and it dropped down my list of priorities. Then I realised how much I walk everyday. Just running errands and the school drop-off/pickup. Today is the most beautiful sunshine- so I went for a run. I loved it- I relaxed into it and explored my surroundings. I found things I had no idea were there- like an amazing bike track and bmx skateboard park perfect to take Eva too with her bike. Just down the road! The view near me is stunning- the water, boats, bridge (Ting Kao in one direction and Stonecutters in the other) and the mountains (Tai Mo Shan) behind Tsuen Wan and on Hong Kong Island are inspiring.

I recently started the Facebook group runclubhk and it has all levels of runners on there and I have been inspired and motivated to get out there. But today is not just about running.

Walk- in the sunshine! Discover new places in your neighbourhood- be inspired to move and take in the present moment and find beauty in your surroundings! Download a pedometer app and see how much you do already.

Most of all take some time to walk, breathe and be!

The pool

I am off for a long weekend to Macau. So my activity tip for the week is swimming.

I know we all know swimming is good for you but there are benefits beyond the cardiovascular and muscle strengthening you get lapping a pool. There is 12-14% extra resistance (source) in walking so even walking up and down the pool is going to be 12-14% harder than normal walking, plus the added benefit of supported joints and the relaxing benefits of the hydro-electricity against the skin that is created. Simply floating is more relaxing than lying down on a lounger (think float tanks for stressed bankers!). Being in water for me is energising and revitalising. I love being in and around water (I am a water sign after all for all that means!) So if there is water near you (pool, lake, river or sea) go for a dip this week even if you dont get your hair wet you are doing your body good!

Someone I respect as both a person and as a Personal Trainer posted this recently;

“Never ever listen to an overweight person trying to give you nutritional advice…”

It made me so mad for many reasons.

1. What is overweight anyway? By labelling someone as overweight you are saying they are not ideal weight. But who’s ideal? We all know that BMI is a complete waste of time, muscle weighs more than fat. In this instance I assume the person in question would be deemed by some as ‘overweight’. There is so much to take into account, water weight, what time of day is it, have the scales been calibrated and what are they wearing when they are being weighed. All of these factors have absolutely nothing to do with health. I know amazingly healthy people who are ‘so-called’ overweight. However I know more so called ‘ideal’ (read skinny) people who are frightingly unhealthy.

Just google image the word overweight-

overweight 4overweight 6overwight 5overweight 2

Which of these images is overweight to you? I chose these, amongst the somewhat obvious images that came up- these slightly alarmed me that they had been flagged with that tag. Are we so bland that we want everything and everyone to look the same- shouldn’t we as fitness professionals be supporting anyone’s attempt at making the world a healthier happier place? Should we be really be judging a book by its cover?

2. Which leads me onto why should that matter about what they are saying? Do you only ever listen to people who look amazing (whatever you deem to be amazing that is). How many doctors look the picture of health? Maybe on the TV, but we all know how real that is! How many so called fitness experts are just obsessed egocentrics that spend most of the time looking in the mirror at themselves rather than their client who is not doing an exercise appropriate to them or even correctly. I see that ALL the time. One persons attractive is another’s road kill. Most of all why should that matter what they look like if what they are saying is sound information that is well research and makes complete sense.

3. Surely someone professing to be a believer in Holistic health should know better than that. Does this person only train people to look like themselves- what does that say about that person if they do? Does that mean that anyone who trains with that person only want to look exactly like them- if so is that person training people of the opposite sex? What does it say about the person making the statement and their own body image and fears?

and finally, I keep asking myself this over and over- why does it bother ME so much! I am content with who I am, what I am saying and what I look like- or do I still have a little work to do?!

Bottom line- things will come back to bite you in the ass so better make sure what you are saying is kind, supportive, constructive and positive- and good golly that’s what you will receive right back at you! So say I say advise away overweight nutritional therapist- I salute your energy, your passion and your dedication x

What do you think?


Before I start I am a fully trained Personal trainer and have been doing circuits for over a decade. If you are not used to exercise or unsure, always consult a professional first or join a class

Circuits are one of the keys to training. Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain weight, sculpt, balance muscle groups, exercise pre-natal, post natal, sport specific or looking to rehabilitate from injury a circuit can fit into your training programme. They are fun to do, are hard work and can fit around any lifestyle or time constraint. It’s what most popular programmes are based on right now (see Crossfit, Body Rock tv etc- (short high intensity workouts to speed up results) and they work. Why- because they fatigue the muscles, they work across all 3 planes of motions and switch up cardio and strength to keep our body guessing.

Functional fitness is another buzz word- basically meaning fitness for specific function. So a squat though useful and done on a regular basis through normal daily movements- doing a squat with rotation is far more functional as it replicates most normal movements. For example a forward lunge is great to build quads however when running you need forward movement whilst rotating and also moving side to side- so a wide lunge with rotation is more of a functional movement, team that with making it a walking lunge and a foot roll and it basically replicates a runners perfect gait.

To design a circuit the world is your oyster- it totally depends;

  1. On what your goal is
  2. The exercises you chose
  3. The order you do them in ( one area of the body at a time or switching areas with each exercise)
  4. Which areas of the body you are targeting (upper body, lower body, back, core, cardio etc)
  5. Switching up cardio and strength
  6. How long you do each exercise
  7. How long you rest between each exercise or set of exercises (if you rest at all!)
  8. How many times you do each exercise or set of exercises (in one go or over the day)
  9. How intensely you do each (body weight or added weights/bands/kettle bells/ machines/ cables etc)
  10. On one plane of motion or alternating between all. (front to back, side to side and rotation)
  11. Using all push movements, or pull movements or alternating both
  12. Doing the exercises normal speed, holding poses, slow motion or quickly.

There’s no right or wrong way and there are so many options!

Here’s an example:
Standard circuit (lower body, upper body, core, cardio exercise)
Squat, push up, plank, burpee

Can be changed like this (there are so many multiples of this I will only give 4 ways of changing it)
1st option doing each exercise for a minute with no rest in between each exercise and repeating that 3-5 times

2nd option holding each exercise for a minute with a minute of burpees inbetween each one. Repeating that with a min rest between each set- to fatigue

3rd way do 3 sets of each exercise for one min with a 30 second rest in between each exercise (so do 1 min of squats with a 30 sec rest in between 3 times before moving onto 1 min of push ups with 30 sec rest 3 times and so on)

4th way- taking each exercise in all planes if motion- (so sumo squat, rotating squat and standard squat over the minute alternating plane with each squat) with 30 secs between each body area.

Even with 4 basic exercises and 4 different ways of doing them in a circuit you will have 4 very different body responses and results!

Try it with our favourite exercises write down your circuit and share it with us….

Most of all enjoy and have fun with it.

Examples of Exercises to use (by no means a conclusive list- any movement is an exercise) If in doubt always consult a professional before doing any exercise.

Upper Body:

Press up- wide hands, narrow hands, one hand in front of the other, with rotation, tricep push ups, clapping push ups, one arm push ups, in box position, on knees, on toes, on one toe, on a ball, on a bench, against the wall, hands higher than feet, feet higher than hands, on a wobble board, held, staggered- ie halfway, down, half way up, slowly down- quick up and the reverse

Pull up- On a overhead bar, handles, horizontal pulling to the bar on the squat rack

Lat Pull down- with cable, band, dumbells

Over head press- with bar bell, band, dumbbells

Chest press-band, bar bell, dumbbell, uni laterally, bi laterlly, incline, decline, on a ball, on a bench, with rotation

Lower body:

Squat- Sumo (stepping out to the side), narrow, wide, with rotation, with one foot in fron of the other, half squat, quick drop squat, toes in toes out, holding a ball, weights, with a band, with kettle bells (squat swing)

Lunge- round the clack, side lunge, forwards, backwards, one foot higer, toe pinting in, toe pointing out, walking, lunge into leg balance, wide, narrow, with arms up, reaching forward, holding a ball. with a swing, slow up, slow down, jumping alternate leg.

Clean- with dumbbells, barbell

Deadlifts- wide, narrow, with rotation, half way, full, alternate arm, straight leg, with dummbells, with bar, with band.

Bridges- Heels on a ball, back on a ball, single leg, Heels on a bench, on a wobble board, against the wall


Plank- on knees, on toes, on ones toe, long arm, with rotation, on side, single arm, with knee rotation, reverse plank, with leg to the side, one arm one leg, bringing elbow to knee.

Vsit- explosive, with feet on floor with arms up, with legs straight, with rotation,moving, held,

leg cycles- armpit to knee, slow motion, quick quick fast, held to one side, with a ball, toes pointed, heels flexed, arms wide



Hops- on one leg, side to side, with foot rotation, in a circle, compass points, onto a step, forward and backwards, in a line, between cones

Shuttle runs forwards, backwards, sideways

High knees

High heels

Mountain climbers

Skipping rope

Squat jumps



Today I ran further and I ran harder. I had been giving myself a lot of excuses lately about not reaching my goals- the result was a dejected, unsatisfied sluggish me. So I pushed myself- I basically put my running shoes on with my pj’s (not quite but let’s face it in Hk no-one would notice!) and off I went.

It was such a gorgeous morning I kept going- on the way back on up hill 1 (of 3) my right hip and glute started grumbling- good chance to slow down (no real choice there-it was getting tough) and work on my drills- leading with the left leg, arm driving, forward knees and high heels! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other to the goal- home!

It struck me that all it takes is a little concentration on one foot in front of the other. Keeping your mind on your goal, the bigger picture. Looking back a month ago not much has changed, but look back 6 months to a year and its astounding what you can achieve. Little steps make a big difference. Whatever it is you are wanting to change- what can you do today, right now that will get you there. Whether its changing an attitude, a relationship, an exercise or food habit take a step in the right direction.

If not- find a really good song and dance your way through to the end!!

Saw this on pinterest and loved it. Whilst doing my running and trying to get a swim in which is harder now our pool downstairs is closed. I am trying to at least get one exercise in a day- this can be done in any clothes too so no more excuses. Also this week my goal is to find a Yoga class to go to that I can take my baby to also. Anyone know one at 1pm on a weekday?

Lie on back with bum up against the wall, arms at sides, knees bent, and feet planted 3 to 4 feet up wall. Exhale, draw belly button in and peel lower and mid back off floor, keeping shoulder blades down, so body forms a nearly straight line from chest to knees. Hold for a deep inhale, then exhale and slowly roll back down. Ensure complete control in this experiment where on the wall your feet need to be for complete control.

Cross right ankle over left knee so only left foot is on wall, then roll up, pause, and lower. Do the full number of reps, then switch feet.

Don’t use the wall. Keep feet flat on floor as you lift into a bridge; pause and slowly lower.


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In everyone’s life there are moments that feel suspended in time. Where you feel time runs away with you and that its going to take so much time to get where you want to be.

I find myself getting lost- chasing so many tails I don’t remember which one is the most important, and which one needs to be finished. I’m great at starting something and getting it going- but then before finishing to satisfaction I tend to the find myself swept away by something else. My body image is something I never quite get to the end of.

Like most girls at teenage I was confident, happy and doing so much I could basically eat what I wanted (which wasn’t much). Going to uni massively changed things. I struggled with homesickness much more than I expected or even realised at the time. I lost a lot of confidence over the next few years, lost all exercise and drank and ate too much crap. I put on a lot of weight, stopped and worked on getting it back together- I have lost and gained over the years and now know that it’s how you feel about yourself that gets you to the end.

If you love and respect yourself- you will eat/drink/exercise the right ways to optimum health without thinking about it. As soon as the voice in my head gets a little dismayed, tired, confused- I always finding myself self destructing.

I am getting better at turning it around and know how to do it but it is still very much a hard turn around. I still find it very hard to be nice to myself. The secret is to keep trying. The person who cares most about what you think IS YOU.

Try this exercise. Get a small notebook to carry around with you. Everytime you say something to yourself- write it down. See what you write- mine is all negative at the moment-

I’m failing at keeping patient with my daughter, I’m eating too much chocolate, I’m eating too much period, I’m not reaching my goals, I’m covered in stretch marks/pigmentation marks, I don’t look like me in the mirror/photos- yuck.

Hardly inspiring motivational words to get me where I want to be. I’m great at saying them to others- why not to myself? I selected some Bach Flower remedies. Wrote down in my notebook to carry round with me my positive affirmations and told myself some great things about me. I have to keep doing that till I believe it- now! I can’t be relying in help from my friends- who are all amazing and supportive as are my family esp my husband and Eva and Nate are my biggest fans! I need to get in touch with my best friend, the only one who can change how I feel- Me


So this week I did one of my runs as sprint training. Partly because this time I was on the treadmill and I get bored easily and partly because I was running low on motivation and I find sprints get my competitive juices going. There are loads of ways to inject sprints into your workshop and they have amazing benefits. Doing sprints will not only spice up your workout they will help increase strength and endurance.

I used to teach spin (I miss it so much) and my favourite track was always the sprint after a really heavy climb. When you sprint your legs just go, your body goes into automatic and it’s where I normally see people’s perfect running form. It’s a reaction so it has to have purpose. Whether that purpose is time (1 min-2mins) or distance (to the 5th lamppost) or away from something- sprinting can only happen when you direct your mind onto something specific.

Sprint as a workout doesn’t have to be a mad dash- it can be jog/sprint, walk/run or walk/walk faster. As long as the effort increases its a ‘sprint’

Here are some fun ways to inject a sprint into your regular run or as a workout in itself;

1 min on: 1 min off -classic sprint (obviously the times can vary 1:2, 1:5, 5:10 depending on your level and goal) this can the be repeated for desired time, till exhaustion, for a desired distance and so on)

1 min on: 1 min off -increasing the speed of the sprint (easiest to monitor on a treadmill such as sprint at 8 run back at 7 then sprint at 9 run back to 7 and so on) for outdoor running just exchange numbers for effort felt.

Pyramid sprints- (either intersected with rest times or not) so over the time sections getting harder to hardest and coming back down again. Like a pyramid shape

Fartlek- random speeds for random times- the most fun of them all!

Hill sprints- sprint/run up a hill and jog/walk back down and repeat either number of times or till exhaustion. Can also flip that- walk/run uphill and sprint/jog downhill. Especially good if you have a hill in your regular run to break it up. You could also use stairs.

Static sprints- sprint the distance between two lamp posts and walk/run back

Shuttle runs- going a different distance each time.

Box sprints- if using a field to run round sprint the length or the widths and jog/ walk the others. Every lap you can then vary and do sprinting two lengths, then doing 3 then sprinting the whole thing to finish off.

Bleep test- not for the faint hearted! This you may have to download the bleep test and measure the distance to run between. The distance stays the same but the bleeps you have to run that distance in get shorter. Good for if you have little space/time but want to get a really good workout in. If you are training with someone it’s great to have someone to compete against.

There are other ways I’m sure- its there to play with and to keep your body guessing and working. I find it really fun- and I love doing it better, faster, for longer each time. It certainly makes the time go quicker!


Rax that was for you!

I have always loved watching people run. Nowadays as a Personal Trainer I just love watching peoples Gait and going through my mind how I would help make them more efficient, run faster and so often how they can prevent injuries I can see coming. As a kid and teenager I always loved the idea of being a runner, how easy people made it look and how cool they were. I however have always found running hard.

At school I enjoyed the 200 metres. I could never get the speed quick enough for the 100 metres and liked the 400, but the 200 metres was where I was happy. I really liked running the bend and would always pick that stretch when part of the 4x100m relays. I was also cross country house captain- only because no one else would do it and I was a sucker for a badge and responsibility! I really tried to coach myself through the cross country but it was not for me. I played hockey and netball at school- team sports I loved. Then I went to Uni and did nothing for a year (one game of hockey in the snow finished it for me!!)

I missed exercise and when acting was proving not to be my vocation I knew the thing that made me happy was exercise- so I decided to make it my job. I signed up for 5ks and loved them, tried 10k and loved the extra challenge. Then I decided to make triathlons my thing- and got pregnant. I have since really enjoyed a run 20mins to an hour being my max. I really sort my head out and run though what I want from life when I am swimming, but when I am running I am constantly coaching myself.

I need motivation when I am running, music is my main motivation and I love running with a mate and putting the world to rights- recently that person was Gisella, but she’s in London and now I’m in HK. I miss our tues morning runs- come rain or shine. I have run through 2 pregnancies and have felt great in both and have just come back to it since giving birth to my son (I had to stop when we moved at 28 weeks because it was summer in the tropics and way too hot!)

My point is it has never come naturally to me, but I have always kept trying, I have an image of a lithe, elegant effortless runner in my head when I run. I know I’m not the fastest, will never be the best, but I’m always gonna keep trying. I feel great after, always end with a sprint to keep my competitive spirit up and it continually signing up for races gets me up and out. My route right now is along the water with the Ting Kao bridge in sight and with the sun shining and the right beats and a sing-along I am happy. Especially when there is some dance running to be had!

So my point- find out what motivates you, what makes you happy- and keep trying it! If all else fails- buy some really pretty shoes (that are also awesome on your feet) like I have and all I want to do at the moment is put them on and run!!

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So this week I wanted a circuit I could either do I. It’s entirety or one I could do bits of to fit around the day. With a baby and toddler you never know how much time you are gonna get and righ now I would rather succeed in my goals than fail and give up.

So far my goals this week are 1 x20 mins swim, a 20 run outside and one on the treadmill and then a part of this circuit everyday- whether it’s the whole 15 mins or just the 1 min plank. I did my swim this morning in the glorious sunshine and it motivated me to do an extra 10 mins. So 30 mins freestyle swim is ticked off this week.

Make your goals really specific, what day you will do it, what time, for how long and make sure you make your goals achievable. If you say you will run every day and you haven’t run for years, it will seem daunting. If you say I will go out for a run/walk once this week- on Wednesday morning, for 10 mins, it is more likely you will do it. Achieving a goal makes you motivated to set more goals, you might even do it for longer, or again in the week- there’s no better feeling than smashing a target! Above all else make sure it’s something you enjoy- if your goal is to go for a walk, put on music you want to sing along to- one of the great things I love about outdoor running is you can sing along or do what I like to call dance running- if anyone sees you it doesn’t matter you’ve gone past them already anyway!!!!

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