01505 613340 or 07731 923970


Sporting Blog,


Sports Blog

by Lesley Handley

I don’t believe in cutting something out of your diet completely. If you have regularly eaten crisps, sweets and chocolate, to go cold turkey and never eat them again is realistically never going to happen. You start to resent not having them, and with each day that passes you crave them even more – you see them everywhere, smell them, taste them and stare at other people that are eating them! This continues till you cave in… but by this point you crave them so much that its’ not just 1 small bar of chocolate or 1 bag of crisps… it’s a 500g bag of Kettlechips, a 250g bar of Galaxy, and because you have eaten all that, you think ‘ah well’, I will just eat the giant bag of Haribo that’s in the cupboard too! Result – Sugar and calorie overload! Can you recover back to the healthy eating (until the next time you cave in)? Or do you now think it was all a waste of time and you go back to your old diet?

Here is the alternative…

Step 1 – when you crave something, have a glass of water and see if that curbs the craving…

Step 2 – Try an alternative that’s a healthier option – what about Greek yogurt with fruit, it might be sweet enough to take away the craving…

Step 3 – Eat it in moderation! If you have eaten 2 bags of crisps every day for the last 3 months, cut it down to 1 bag a day – that’s a big improvement! Then cut it down to a bag every second day… that’s even better!

It is all about making small progressive steps to a healthier and better diet that will improve your health and wellbeing. To go from one extreme to another requires a massive amount of willpower that a vast number of people don’t have.


For information or advice on Personal Training or nutrition contact me on 07512 355 877, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

We are heading into 2015 and no doubt every paper/magazine/TV advert you will see is all about promoting New Year Resolutions, fitness and health… It always happens… The start of a New Year prompts a surge of health kicks, diets, less alcohol, joining a gym, etc. I even done it; this time last year I wrote about SMART goals, saying ‘I will’ instead of ‘I’ll try’ and promoting the New Year. Did it help you? Maybe it did, but, I would hazard a guess that 80% of you that set a goal didn’t achieve it.

Ask yourself what you wanted to achieve in 2014, and then ask yourself how close you were to achieving it? Now make a list of why it didn’t happen. Was it lack of time? Lack of commitment? Lack of money? Change of circumstances?

Truth be told, I failed to achieve what I wanted in 2014. I wanted to regain the level of fitness I used to have 2 years ago before my son was born. Like a lot of people I had let my fitness slip, I had other things that needed to be done that got prioritised over exercise, I also found excuses for not going out for that run! (Maybe as a Personal Trainer this isn’t something I should be admitting to… but it’s the truth! It happens to us all!)

So, I am giving myself 3 months to kick myself into gear and achieve what I wanted in 2014. I’m going to start training again, start eating good ‘real’ food at least 80% of the time, and achieve the body/shape/fitness I want. Not because it is a New Year, but because that’s what I want to do! And I’m going to make sure I have the time, commitment and focus to do it.

And I want you to do it with me!

Give me 2 hours of your time for 12 weeks, as much commitment and passion for your goal that you can, and I assure you that you will be well on your way to your health/fitness goal!

It is said that you have to do something 21 times for it to become a habit… lets’ see if that’s true…

2 hours… 12 weeks… are you up for the challenge? It could change your life…



For more information contact me on 07512 355 877 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Already we are heading into February, and maybe, like me, you have made the decision to stop staring at a reflection in the mirror of someone you may not be 100% happy with (maybe you are happy and that’s great!).

So what have you done?

For me, I’m training 3 times a week, cut the rubbish out of my diet, invested in a ‘Nutribullet’ and entered the Kiltwalk (Sunday 12th April - www.thekiltwalk.co.uk).

For others, finding your feet in the health/fitness world is not always easy; it can be intimidating with a vast amount of information that can often be contradictory. I’m going to give some advice that might make you more successful with your venture.

Nothing Really Worth Having Comes Quickly & Easily

It is maybe a bit extreme, but true. Think about it… good career, children, money, dream house, expensive car! Everything often takes a lot of effort, commitment and most importantly TIME.

It’s Not Going To Be A Quick Fix

Quick fix diets and exercise programmes do not work!! A quick fix diet that offers you great weight loss will only help you lose water content and muscle mass… not fat mass that everyone wants to lose; even if you are skinny and want to get toned. You have to reduce the fat tissue to show the muscles. Don’t think of any change being a 2/4/6 week plan… you should be thinking months! Small changes and progression!

Keep A Record

Recently a client of mine was very surprised to hear I keep a record of their sessions, achievements, weights they have lifted, best times etc. I have notepads filled with notes that probably only I can understand; but how else can you track progression (unless you have an amazing memory)? Can you really remember what weight you lifted 5 months ago?

Don’t Be Intimidated

Gyms can be an intimidating place. Personal Trainers can seem intimidating. What you have to remember is that everyone in the gym was a ‘gym newbie’ at some point. Nobody is going to stare at you as nobody expects anything of you. Everyone else in there was ‘new’ at some point and just normal people that might have a few weeks/months/years ahead of you.

Let me know what you have done so far in 2015, regardless of how big or small it is… email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Plan to Break The Rules…

Nobody can be perfect with their diet 100% of the time, so you shouldn’t pressure yourself into being perfect.

Fact one. The best diet is the one you can stick too. Consistently. A way of eating that gives you the results you want but also makes you feel good and lets you live your life.

Fact two. It is all very well to go to a trainer and they give you a plan to follow that tells you to ‘eat this and this’ but not ‘this and this’ because it works for them. But if it is too complicated and you don’t like the food, you won’t stick to it and you won’t enjoy it. Also everyone is different and they get results from eating different things!

If you want consistency and results; its best to stick to something simple that can become an achievable and long term routine

Here is one way to do it:

80% of your food should be whole foods – natural, unprocessed, single ingredient foods.

10% is food that depends on your goals or requirements – you possibly need to eat more omega 3 or iron and therefore include foods that contain them, or extra carbohydrates if you are training hard for a race or event, or more protein if you are trying to lose weight.

10% is whatever you want. If you love to drink coffee or eat pizza – no issue! It’s all down to moderation. If you cut it from your diet completely you will crave it more, resent the diet and more often than not end up binging on it.

Using this method you will still see results but not end up hating the diet plan you are following.


For more information on Personal Training or anything related to nutrition contact me on 0773 627 4925, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sporting Blog

The Dark Side of Stress

by Lesley Handley

When it comes to changes in body composition, stress can be one of the most important, yet neglected, contributing factors. Stress is a very common issue these days and it can have a negative impact on the body in many ways, including being one of the factors that can hinder fat loss in many people.

When you get stressed your body’s mechanisms and functions essentially start to slow down and stop functioning correctly. Your digestive system gets affected preventing nutrients from getting to cells, the nervous system slows leaving you more susceptible to illness with fat refusing to shift whilst muscle refuses to grow.

The simple fact is that the human body was not designed to deal with massive amounts of stress, which is becoming more and more common in everyday life. In today’s fast paced world, a situation has been created that sees people being faced with constant ‘stressors’ that put you in to a continual “fight or flight” mode. This causes numerous hormone imbalances that alter your metabolism and lead to detrimental changes in health over time. It can lead to blood pressure remaining elevated, continued elevations of cortisol that increases inflammation, imbalances in immune function, disrupted metabolism, elevated blood sugar and cardiovascular stress.

In order to avoid the above issues and allow the body to function optimally it is important to try and keep stress levels low. Everyone will have their own way of relieving stress and certain things that will relax them. I am finding more and more people come to the gym to help relieve stress and get a break and time for themselves. Some love to lift weights, others run on a treadmill. A few of my clients love when they have a few rounds of boxing with gloves and pads. Whatever way it is that you want to relive stress, you will find it helps in more ways than you think in benefiting your health and sometimes essentially your waistline.


For more information on Personal Training, exercise or nutrition contact me on 0773 627 4925 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my new website at www.fitsmartfitness.co.uk for more personal training options.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Sugar has become one of the most demonised foods these days, with many health organisations blaming it for the rapid increase in obesity. While the current recommendations suggest we eat no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar a day, the World Health Organisation are looking to drive this down to no more than 6 teaspoons per day.

As a nation we are consuming approximately 1 million tonnes of sugar a year, this is roughly 15 teaspoons of sugar per day per person! 1 gram of sugar contains 4 calories, and a teaspoon is approximately 4 grams. Therefore on average we are consuming 240 calories per day from sugar alone. Sugar provides a lot of energy and if it is not burnt off by the body quickly, it is turned into fatty acids by the liver and stored as fat. So if you consume more than you should and don’t burn it off – it can make you fat fairly quickly. It is estimated that 6 teaspoons of sugar extra every day that is not burnt off, could potentially lead to as much as 4.5 kg of excess fat per year.

I decided to put it to the test to see how much sugar can influence body weight. Luckily for me a family member has volunteered. I will not mention names or which family member it is, but lets’ just say they consume a fair amount of extra sugar. I looked at how to easily reduce their sugar intake, and targeted one of the most common drinks that many people add sugar too. My volunteer adds 2tsps of sugar to every cup of tea and coffee they have per day. (I think they are actually just fed up with me nagging them that they said they would participate in this experiment!). On average they can have around 6 cups of tea or coffee a day, so this equates to approximately 200 calories a day coming from this extra sugar. 1400 calories a week! So my challenge to them was to cut it ALL out. I decided to not even let them half the intake, I have said have none! We have taken a starting bodyweight and we will reweigh in 2 weeks then 4 weeks to see the results! So far while writing this blog they have lasted 3 days and still going strong! I will keep you updated next month on the results so far!


For more information on Personal Training, exercise or nutrition contact me on 0773 627 4925 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my new website at www.fitsmartfitness.co.uk for more personal training options.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Step Back and Think

I was sitting at traffic lights driving to work the other day and a boy walked past me on his way to school; he looked 10/11, and was eating crisps and drinking a can of coke. It was 8am. Without being judgemental or wishing to offend, the boy was also overweight. Automatically we make assumptions about the rest of this child’s diet. Did the parent give the boy the crisps and coke? I don’t know, maybe they didn’t even know!

As a parent, it is our job to educate our children to make the right choices in life. My son is 2, and at the moment he can’t make his own choices about what he eats. There is a lot he doesn’t know about; he doesn’t know about any other drink other than milk and water, nor about high fat/sugary cereal bars or even McDonalds. This is the choices I have made for him, for me it is all about educating him and driving him towards a healthy lifestyle.

One fast food meal isn’t going to cause any lasting damage, but in today’s modern society of excess, where do we draw the line? Is junk food twice a week ok? Once a week? Once a month? As adults we influence our children’s lives and diet every day. It is estimated today that 1 in 5 children are overweight, where does this end? I look about today and it is becoming normality that as a nation we are eating worse and gaining weight. The impact on health is massive.

I’m not going to dictate what is right or wrong, everyone has the freedom and choice to make their own decisions. However a child’s interpretation of the world is very different to adults. They are learning the foundations to absolutely everything, which will have a result on who they become as adults, physically and psychologically. Whilst a child may appear to be active and healthy, if they are not consuming sufficient nutrients to meet their growing needs, it will affect them. Childhood is the time when eating the right foods nutritionally couldn’t be more important. 


For more information on Personal Training or nutrition contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my website www.fitsmartfitness.co.uk for more Personal Training options.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

The Trouble with Calorie Trackers...

There are more and more apps and programs being released all the time that are designed to help you either train harder, train better, lose weight, become leaner etc. One of the most common apps I see being used are calorie trackers. I see it all the time on Facebook in some of the fitness groups I am part of – so many people are counting calories and tracking what they eat every day. This is great, it is highlighting that people are aware of what and how much they should be eating. However this is only going to work if they are used correctly and calories are understood. It’s important to realise that as you lose weight you need to re-evaluate your nutrition and/or your calorie goals. A dip in metabolic burn is normal with weight loss, so to continue seeing the numbers trending down it is important to readjust your diet and calorie goals. Changes in your workout schedule need to be looked at; altering how many times a week you go to the gym is enough to affect your nutritional needs.

One of the most popular apps I see being used is MyFitnessPal; this is a good app and I have used it myself, however, the most common error with it is the accuracy of what you are entering. Food items in the app can be stored with descriptions such as, a ‘medium apple’ or a ‘large banana’; a medium apple can be a very different size to what you think. If you want to track accurately, it is important to enter proper portion sizes, and this may mean the measuring spoons and digital scales need to come out when you are cooking to give you a better idea of how much you are consuming. Even when comparing apples to apples, calories can vary greatly.

I am seeing more and more people turn their attention to counting calories, and this is absolutely fine if you track them well. However I believe it is more important to educate yourself on food groups and about macro-nutrients to maximise the most efficient way to fuel your body.


For more information on Personal Training or nutrition contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to www.fitsmartfitness.co.uk for more Personal Training options.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

“No diet will ever work unless we change the guilt ridden relationship with food”

A few weeks ago I travelled to Manchester to attend a seminar with one of the top men in my industry – Phil Learney.

He put up on the screen the above quote and I thought it was excellent and so true! I linked it back to my own clients; when on a Monday morning they come into their session and one of the first things they want to do is tell me if they have eaten badly over the weekend, had a takeaway or been out drinking. They feel guilty about it and want to tell me they had done it.

Should they feel guilty?

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Are you Drinking Enough Water?

Most of us aren’t drinking enough water on a day to day basis. We live in a world where there is a huge reliance on caffeinated drinks to keep us either focussed throughout the day or to be sociable. Most of my clients rely on cup of coffee in the morning to get themselves set up for the day! Here are three main signs you aren’t drinking enough water...

Sporting Blog

Is it time to stop weighing yourself on the scales?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to health and fitness is motivation, and there is no bigger motivational killer than the scales. The truth is, when it comes to hitting your goals, the scales are sometimes the worst measure of success you can use. No matter how hard you train, or how well you eat, the scales can’t measure some of the most important things when it comes to your body, health and wellbeing.

Scales can’t measure:

  • Fitness levels
  • Energy levels
  • Strength
  • Confidence
  • Sense of achievement
  • Happiness
  • Changes in body composition

I have had clients who have completely transformed their body shape over a period of time, and yet the scales have showed no real difference. In some cases your body can be burning fat while the scales are not changing or even showing an increase! This can be hard for some people to comprehend as we have become so accustomed to stepping on to scales to measure changes. However, if you are training and eating right, an increase in your weight on the scales or no change does not necessarily mean you are gaining fat or not burning it. You are probably actually gaining and building lean muscle. And with muscle weighing in heavier than fat it will inevitably affect the results on your weight.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Winter Is Here!

Unfortunately winter is here and it’s more important than ever to stay focused on your fitness goals and to keep fit and healthy. Often motivation drops off at this time of year; the cold, dark and usually wet mornings and nights put people off leaving their house or getting up early to head to the gym or train outdoors. So, I thought I would give a few tips to try and help you keep your routines going over the winter.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley


More than 50% of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first 6 months. The question is, “Why?” What is it about sticking to a fitness routine that causes so many people to abandon it?

The answer? Motivation. They don’t want health and fitness badly enough. It is a simple fact of human psychology that if we want something badly enough, we’ll do everything we can to get it.

Your challenge is to find out what motivates you to get serious about fitness and stick with it.

You do not have to be part of that percentage who quit. You can stay committed and finish strong; it is all about finding out what motivates you personally.

Sporting Blog


What Are You Aiming at?

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

The general flow of human life tends to be toward ease and comfort. One day flows into the next, and many of us never quite get around to turning our good intentions into reality.

Those ‘good intentions,’ while no doubt admirable, tend to remain unrealized, mainly because they are too vague - vague ideas are impossible to focus on and aim for.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Spring Cleaning . . . . .

It seems natural to clean out the old as Spring approaches; so it’s a great time to look at excuses for not getting fit/healthy. Excuses pile up just like the clutter we accumulate, but it’s time to come clean.
What’s your excuse?

I don’t have time: You work all day, school runs, cook, shopping, housework — there’s simply no time for exercise.

If you don’t exercise, you may experience an illness that comes from an inactive lifestyle. When you begin experiencing symptoms, you will make a Doctors’ appointment and wait for treatment/prescriptions.

Sporting Blog

Fight Muscle Loss: Lift Weights

When you think of a typical older person, there is something that communicates frailty and weakness. They probably walk slowly, move carefully and let others do things for them.

Often the cause is muscle loss, otherwise known as sarcopenia. And if you are 25 or older, it is happening already.

Sarcopenia refers to the process of losing skeletal muscle mass and strength; it describes a progressive weakening caused by a “change in body compensation in favor of fat and at the expense of muscle.”

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley


More and more I am seeing individuals with poor posture – whether this is in the gym when they are exercising or lifting weights or sometimes it is just generally how they hold themselves. One thing to note though is that there are a lot of benefits from having good posture in daily life. Not only does good posture boost your body image and make you look better in your clothes, but it also helps decrease your likelihood of injury. It minimizes the load on your skeletal muscles and enables your body to move more freely and efficiently. Poor posture can lead to anything from injuries, back pain, neck pain and even headaches and other common ailments. So, fixing your posture could fix a lot of problems.

Sporting Blog

Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat

  1. You lack consistency with caloric intake and training. When both of these become huge variables you will not linearly progress with fat loss. Consistency is key to progress steadily.
  2. You are impatient! Rapid fat loss is not sustainable and will inevitably fail at some point, whether it is a week down the line, a month or 6 months. You need to create a lifestyle and dietary plan that you can foresee yourself doing in 5 years’ time. Fat loss is not a quick thing; patience is key to its success.
  3. You consume too many calories respective to those you burn. You need to have a caloric deficit to lose fat and you have to burn enough calories respective to those you consume.
  4. You use all the tools and information too quickly and too soon. You train everyday, you use high intensity interval training, you use low intensity training, you drop your calorie intake, you increase protein intake, you stop eating carbohydrates etc. The first few weeks you simply have to regulate your diet and move/exercise more and gradually alter things bit by bit.
  5. You’ve managed to convince yourself that carbohydrates make you fat. Carbohydrates help you fuel workouts and allow them to gain momentum; cutting them out of your diet completely is a big mistake. Learning when to consume them to assist with weight loss relative to your training could be key to helping the weight come off.

Losing body fat is like running a marathon… start off too fast and even with all good intentions you will burn out and never reach the end; it requires a consistency and a steady pace along with patience and time to get to that finish line.



For more information on nutrition or Personal Training contact me on 0773 627 4925 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Do you have to count calories??

It’s common knowledge that if you eat more calories than your body needs you will generally gain weight. However counting calories is actually quite difficult and time consuming if doing it accurately. Making yourself ‘calorie aware’ and understanding roughly how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis as well as what foods are surprisingly high in calories can help to make it all a bit easier.

It’s important that you have an idea of how many calories your body needs based on your age, body size, sex and levels of physical activity. The NHS advises that trying to lose approx 1 - 2lb a week is a safe target for most people, and to do this you need to take in about 500 - 600kcal less than you require each day. On the flip side of this, eating 500 - 600kcal more than you need each day will make you gain weight at approximately the same rate. And believe it or not overeating by 500 - 600kcal is easier than you think. A big breakfast contains approximately 600kcal, a bar of chocolate can have as much as 600kcal, 100g of cheese can have nearly 400kcal or half a bag of gummy sweets can be nearly 400kcal.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley


A proper warm-up will prepare the body for activity by hitting all the muscles in a systemized way. This ensures that all the muscles are switched on and working together before you start.

The problem is that not everyone warms up in the right way which causes more harm than good. Also, not everyone has to warm up in the same way – it can be individualised so that certain problem areas are targeted first or more than others. There are two common mistakes often made when warming up.

Sporting Blog

Whey Protein

Weight is so easy to put on and a lot harder to get back off. No matter what diet you are following protein will be included somewhere. High protein diets are quite popular – where you fill up on steaks, chicken, beef, turkey etc. There is a reasonable amount of research to back up the benefits of this but essentially, protein fills you up more than carbohydrates which can help to stop the urges to snack between meals.

Some proteins are more effective than others as the body can absorb them more easily. One of these is whey protein – the body absorbs this quickly thus providing that fuller feeling.

Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids. If you have ever opened a yogurt to see liquid sitting on the top – this is actually a form of whey. Traditionally, whey protein was more commonly known to help body-builders increase muscle mass, however ongoing research has shown the benefits of taking a whey protein supplement in the general sense. It can aid weight loss, it can help lower cholesterol and it can promote increase muscle tone/mass along with other things.

Sporting Blog

Diabetes – “The Invisible Illness”

Diabetes is something we all recognise when mentioned; however how much do you actually know?

Diabetes is a condition that causes an individuals’ blood-sugar (glucose) level to increase. There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 – is when the production of insulin in the body is affected by the immune system attacking and destroying the cells that produce insulin.

Type 2 – is when the body’s cells don’t react to insulin or the body doesn’t produce enough, causing the blood-sugar level to increase.

(Insulin is a hormone produced in the body by the pancreas and is responsible for controlling the level of glucose in the blood.)

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Before much evidence and research happened, runners just ran... There was no real thought put into it and it was just a natural thing to do. Now, as time has moved on and a lot of research has taken place, runners need to do more than just run; they need to be strong and athletic. If not, even with good running technique injuries and poor performance are common. Some statistics put an injury rate greater than 60% for runners! Many runners now accept that they will perform and feel better if they do more than just run. Reducing the chance of injury and improving performance isn’t too hard to do – by adding some strength training to a regular routine makes all the difference. Whether the goal is to run faster, further or simply to run more efficiently with less aches and pains, strength sessions and exercises can help to correct muscle imbalances and weaknesses, improving performance.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Fitness is not a ‘one-size fits all’. Just like we all have different tastes in food, fashion, movies and a host of other things, fitness too is an individualised thing. We all want different things and different outcomes and it is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s social media fuelled industry to be happy and content with ourselves and our own progress. We see endless images of perfect abs, toned arms and strong bodies - but is this really the true meaning of fitness? Should we all be striving for the “social-media look”?


And here is why... It’s not sustainable for 90% of you. The majority of these social-media stars get paid and sponsored to look the way they look; in most cases to try to sell you a product and I can almost guarantee that they do not look like that for the majority of the year. Most of the images in papers, adverts and promotional material have been taken at precisely the right time to capture the best image in the right environment with the best lighting. So now that the New Year is here there will be images and headlines everywhere you look, with toned/fit men and women promoting things within the industry.

Sporting Blog

"Quitting when progress stalls is like slashing the other 3 tyres when 1 tyre gets a puncture"

New Year’s Resolutions were set; a lot of you (including me!!) probably woke up on the 1st January with new goals in mind and focused on a new mindset for 2017... you might have got up and made a healthier breakfast, you may have went out for a walk that you don’t normally do and you may have had extra vegetables on your plate at dinner time... are you still waking up with those goals in mind?

Everything generally goes great for the first few weeks and then towards the end of the month things start to slow down or even come to a halt. Hectic life may have resumed with work or kids and time restraints start affecting the earlier choices you were making, or you haven’t seen any results and get dis-heartened, or, as a lot of people do, the goals you set weren’t sustainable and you just couldn’t keep up with it.

So what do you do?

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Achieving Fat Loss…

For fat loss your body needs consistency, it needs to feel secure and it needs to be healthy. If you do not get these fundamental points right from the off , you are onto a losing battle. Unfortunately plenty of common  misconceptions are still out there.


“Diet starts Monday...” You start by swapping your breakfast to a piece of fruit. Then lunch time comes and you’ll have just half of your sandwich. Then you’ll start to crave a latte in the afternoon, you are so tired! You feel unable to resist this and give in... Then the guilt kicks in and you decide to just have cereal for tea. We have ALL experienced this one way or another and I still see it in food diaries!

There are so many things wrong with this. Your body cannot be expected to run on tiny amounts of food. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a calorie only has two options; to be either used for energy or stored as fat. That’s not true. Protein and fat have far more important things to do first; like producing hormones, repairing tissue, building new tissues, building your brain cells, insulating your brain cells and so much more.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

6 benefits of Weight Training for Women [sorry guys!] 

There are so many benefits of weight training for women (and men of course!), most of the recent training recommendations in the industry are for resistance training as opposed to endless cardio. So what are the benefits?

  • 1. It Burns More Fat!
    • Overall weight training burns more calories than steady state cardio. You will burn fewer calories whilst actually weight training than you would doing two hours continuous treadmill activity, however, after a weight session your metabolic rate is increased meaning you will burn more calories for longer.
  • 2. You can eat more!
    • Training with weights makes your muscles denser and bigger [toned]. To develop and maintain muscle you need to eat sufficiently to maintain them. Muscle burns calories by their very existence, so by having a little more muscle it allows your body to handle more calories without the weight gain that they would normally bring.
  • 3. Stronger bones!
    • The pressure weight training puts on your bones encourages your body to invest in making your bones stronger. This counteracts the propensity for women to lose bone density from their thirties onwards; a process which speeds up after the menopause. Encouraging bone density helps to protect from bone fractures.
  • 4. Stronger immune system
    • Literature today shows a link between healthy habits associated with people who tend to undertake weight training and stronger immune systems. It is considered better eating habits, higher quality sleep, improved circulation and lower stress levels all assist the body to protect itself more efficiently.
  • 5. You’ll age better!
    • The points above all add up to you remaining stronger and healthier for longer. Your improved circulation helps to keep skin, nails and hair in good condition. Being in good sharp enables you to wear the clothes you want and generally feel better plus……
  • 6. More confidence!
    • You will be physically stronger, have more energy and get less breathless when exercising [even when just walking]. You will also be less stressed and more likely to maintain a positive “can do” attitude towards tasks. When combined, this will make you feel and be perceived as being more confident within yourself.


For more information on nutrition or Personal Training contact me on 0773 627 4925 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Rest Days – We All Need to Take Them!

When people embark on new fitness program’s they often train as much as they can and don’t give their body time to recover. Rest days are just as important as training days, and everyone needs to take them.

1. Muscles need rest…

It’s not about the saying of ‘no pain no gain’, if your muscles are becoming permanently achy then it’s time to take a day or two rest. Sore muscles after a training session is actually the pain of muscle damage – muscle fibers tend to stretch and break during exercise and these fibers then need time to repair and grow allowing them to develop/strengthen and reduce further breakage over time.

2. Prevent injuries…

There is only so much that the body can take within training and often injuries can come about simply by over use of certain muscles or muscle groups. A great example of this is shin splints; this injury is common in new runners who go from doing very little to trying to run every day and shin splints are often the result – the cure for them… REST!

3. Stronger immune system…

Exercise is a great way to improve the immune system, which also plays a big role in recovery. However too much exercise and no time for the body to recover has the opposite effect on the immune system. Feeling run-down, or colds hanging around longer than usual often indicates that some rest is required to let the body catch back up on itself.

4. Improved Performance…

Yes… believe it or not a few days rest can help improve your performance. Some people don’t want to miss a couple of days in case it affects the progress they have already made, but for most people it generally takes 1 or 2 weeks of no activity before they notice a change in their performance.


Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Weight Training

Whilst training one of my clients the other day, a friend of his approached us and laughed saying he could never do what my client was doing as he was too old for it... My client was 63 and was lifting a 30kg bar doing a chest press on a bench...

Weight training in the gym has a lot of misguided beliefs surrounding it; women think it will make them bulky and elderly people think it will injure them. The issue is, these populations that think weight training is bad could be seeing massive benefits if implementing it in their training.

The fact is, building muscle is hard work, and it doesn’t come easy to a huge amount of people. Many men struggle for years to build solid muscular tissue and this struggle is compounded more so in females; as females’ have 10x less testosterone than men, (a key muscle building hormone). You also need a calorie surplus when looking to gain muscle, so you need to eat more than your body normally needs to stimulate new muscle growth. It is rare for a female to increase calories if they are health conscious and trying to improve their body composition.

Muscle creates shape and many women want more shape, firm legs, toned arms, and to create the ideal body. Weight training is actually an essential path to creating that ‘look’. Weights, often heavy weights, need to be lifted to condition the muscles under fat tissue, and then reduce the fat tissue enough to see it.

The elderly are another population put off by the apparent negatives of weight training. Often there’s a perception of a high injury risk with weight training in a gym, or perceived as being for the ‘young’. Strength in old age becomes important as the body naturally declines in overall function/condition, joint integrity, bone strength and muscle flexibility. Lifting weights just once a week can protect against these issues. Strong bones, muscles and joints will dramatically reduce the risk of injury and comes from being active and resisting your body against heavy objects, such as weight training or other activities.


For more information or advice on any aspect of Personal Training, or for a free consultation contact me on 0773 6274925 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Muscle Cramps in Long Distance Running

Lots of what we hear is that muscle cramps centre around hydration, electrolytes, salt etc. While these play a role in preventing and helping cramps when they kick in, there’s a lot more that we can do to try and control them in the first instance.

When you start running, you generally start with a nice upright posture and a steady foot strike… however you don’t always finish that way as fatigue kicks in. When good form falls apart, hamstrings, quads and calves tend to take the fall first!

Hamstrings cramp when:

  • The upper body rounds forward
  • The lower back arches
  • The hips sink back
  • You stop utilizing the glutes
  • Ultimately the hamstrings are left to drive the stride alone

Quads cramp when:

  • The foot strike becomes more like a shuffle
  • The hamstrings aren’t working to pick the feet up off the ground
  • The feet are spending more time on the ground than they are lifting off it
  • Essentially the quads are taking all the impact

Calves cramp when:

  • The hips are no longer pushing forward
  • The feet begin striking the ground in varying positions
  • The calves are left to absorb all the impact

As well as considering the above, 3 things you can do to help prevent cramps or help if they kick in are:

  • BREATHE – oxygen helps fuel the muscles. As we tire our breathing gets shallower. Focus on deeper breathing to help fuel those muscles.
  • RELAX THE UPPER BODY – don’t let the shoulders tense up towards your ears and don’t keep your arms rigidly bent to prevent little arm swing that helps drive the legs. Relax the upper body, give the arms a shake out and reset your arm swing, which in turn helps power the stride.
  • SHORTEN YOUR STRIDE – the further the foot reaches out the more the body must do to keep up. Focus on pulling the feet off the ground and a little higher and in turn this fires the hamstrings and glutes allowing the hips to drive forward.


For more information on nutrition or Personal Training contact me on 0773 627 4925 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sporting Blog

Metabolism Myths...

There is a lot of information out there about metabolism and how you can improve it or speed it up as well as things to avoid that slow it down. Unfortunately, a lot of what we read is untrue and will play no part in changing your metabolism – here are my top three;

1. Frequency of Meals

Eating smaller meals more often throughout the day does not speed up your metabolism. Research shows that your metabolism is not triggered by meal size, frequency or timing. If anything, the more often you eat, the more potential there is to consume more calories than intended throughout the day if you are not careful.

2. Having Breakfast

Making sure you have breakfast in the morning does not speed up your metabolism. By consuming food first thing in the morning does not mean that you suddenly switch on your metabolism at an increased rate. Missing breakfast won’t make any change to your metabolic rate; however, it can help curb cravings and frequent snacking throughout the day, which aids in calorie control and a healthier eating pattern. What negates fat loss or weight gain is your calorie intake over 24 hours, and more so over 7 days, rather than whether you do or don’t skip breakfast.

3. Food Type

There are no special foods that speed up your metabolism. Research hasn’t shown any positive benefits to eating a certain type of food that acts directly on your metabolism. The key thing is a varied diet full of nourishment and flexibility that you can sustain long term.


For more information on nutrition or Personal Training contact me on 0773 627 4925 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

We all have the possibility of living a fulfilling, healthy and happy life. We were gifted an amazing, functional body when we were born, with no aches, pains, injuries or ailments. It is the only body you will ever own – so why when we reach our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc, do we allow ourselves to slow down, get a bit lazier, gain excess weight and not treat our bodies the same way we used to?

Now, every year that goes by most of us put off the task of losing the excess weight, getting fitter and stronger and living the healthier, happier life that you really want. Then, with every year that you delay starting it becomes harder, and a seemingly impossible task. The reality is, pressures of life do take over and we all are guilty of living only in the present with all the stresses and strains that brings, with work, family, lack of time, etc. Not many think too far into the future as to how doing something now can change how it will be.

The hard truth is, things won’t be any different next Monday, next month or even next year unless you start to act now. If you don’t like the way you look and feel, think about how you felt this morning, how you look in your clothes, how confident you are in the outside world and the level of energy you have every day. However tough that might be, the truth is that it is essentially your health/training/nutrition that really determines how you will live in the future. The workouts you do today help in determining the quality of life you (and your family) will have 10 years from today.

It isn’t about getting in shape in 21 days for the summer, nor is it about a 4 week detox before Christmas; real fitness is about laying the foundation now for a quality life in the years to follow. Don’t keep putting it off, because every day that you wait makes your chance of finding your way back even harder.


For more information or advice on personal training or nutrition please contact me on 0773 627 4925 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Do Smartwatches influence health/fitness attitudes?

Within the health and fitness industry there’s an accelerating pace of technological development, and in recent years the most common wide-spread product is smartwatches. Regardless of makes and models, you see more and more people wearing them daily. As these become more common, cost-effective and fashionable, the question is, do they influence long-term behavioural change?

I wear one myself, but, in my opinion, it takes a certain type of person to allow it to influence your attitude towards fitness and exercise. Anyone that has been there knows that when it starts to beep/vibrate to say you have completed your 10,000 steps, or whatever your daily target is, you do feel a sense of achievement, it’s a natural human reaction.

I have many types of clients that work with me, and many of them wear a smartwatch. I decided to ask two of them their opinions and behaviour changes since getting them.

Client 1 has an active job and is in the gym 2/3 times a week. They said that the watch hasn’t actually increased their activity, but they do have a weekly competition with themselves to see if they have beat last week’s total step count. If they have that’s great, but if they haven’t they really aren’t too fussed about it. The watch itself is more of a fashionable statement and provides information that they find interesting.

Client 2, has an inactive job and also goes to the gym 2/3 times a week. They said that since getting the watch it has made them more aware of how little they move when they are sitting at a desk all day. Now they actively seek to move more often in an attempt to achieve their daily step count. In this situation, the watch itself is actively making the individual move more than they normally would have.

Looking at external research, there are a lot of conflicting answers. Some state a change in people’s habits and an increase in the amount of daily physical activity they do, predominately through walking. Alternative research shows that any change is short lived and abandoned within a month.

Does your smartwatch change your physical activity habits and behaviours?


For more information on personal training or nutrition contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my website at www.fitsmartfitness.co.uk

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

What your body type can say about your health.

According to Doctors, there are 3 main body types; apple, pear and hour glass (they can also be known as Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph). Which one you have can say a lot about your health, and can sometimes explain why losing weight can be a bit tougher.

“Apple” body types tend to carry excess weight around their waist. This is where a dangerous amount of fat often accumulates. The type of fat that accumulates here is known as visceral fat and it penetrates deep under the skin. It builds up around the organs and can harm them over time. The result of this is a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The ‘upside’ for ‘apple’ shape body types is that visceral fat is the easiest type to get rid of through diet and exercise, meaning this body type can often lose weight faster than other body shapes.

“Pear” body types tend to store most excess fat in the lower half of their body. This type of fat is often referred to as ‘passive fat’ and can be a bit harder to lose. While it is not deemed as dangerous as visceral fat it does place a lot of extra stress on the legs and can increase the risk of varicose veins or knee and leg joint issues. The ‘upside’ for ‘pears’ is that they are at a lower risk of the diseases that ‘apples’ can often face.

Finally, there are the ‘hourglass’ shapes or also referred to as ‘rectangle’ for men. These body shapes tend to carry excess weight all over. This includes visceral fat around the trunk area meaning they are also at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

So, which body shape are you?


For more information on personal training or to get a health check on the Tanita Scales at Birkmyre Park Fitness Gym contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my website at www.fitsmartfitness.co.uk

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Golf Fitness

Some people will argue that you don’t have to be massively fit to play golf, and you certainly don’t need to train either in or out of the gym. While this is true if you are happy with how you play, becoming fitter and stronger and targeting the key muscles required in golf always helps. Especially as you get older and general fitness and strength starts to deteriorate slightly.

I was once told that if you walk round a golf course you will generally find the fullest bin at the 9th or 10th tee, as it is a common trait that at the halfway point someone will eat their banana, or pull out the tub of sweets to keep their energy up. This is a clear sign that they are starting to lack a bit of energy and looking to get some extra fuel. Cardio fitness is the first important aspect for golf… you need to be fit enough to be able to walk round 18 holes and keep up the same level of consistency in your golf game. As soon as you start to tire your golf swing changes and isn’t as efficient.

In terms of muscular strength, the key muscle in the lower body is the gluteus maximus (your buttock). While the key upper body muscles were the pectoralis major (chest), latissimus dorsi (back), core and forearm muscles.
The gluteus maximus is responsible for hip external and internal rotation on the backswing and downswing as well as hip extension which is what gets you into a nice balanced posture during your finish. The pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi create strong shoulder adductors which allows you to bring your arms across your body and raise them up in the air. The core which I consider the glue that holds the swing together transmits force from the lower body into the upper body and helps you rotate your torso, whilst allowing you to maintain good posture and balance. Finally, the forearms transmit all the force created by the body into the club.

So, when it comes to golf, it isn’t always just about technique… fitness plays an important role too!


For more information on any aspect of health or fitness contact me on 0773 627 4925, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my website at www.fitsmartfitness.co.uk

Sporting Blog

by Lesley Handley

Heading into 2018…

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog for all my readers over the last number of years but this one is going to be a bit different… it isn’t going to be my words! I recently read something from someone else and couldn’t have put it better myself and thought I would share it with you, exactly as it was sent to me…

“We have lost what it means to chase what we want over time. We have replaced the power of the journey with need for immediate gratification. If we can’t have what we want now, we quit now, then pursue lesser goals that are easier to achieve. If it took you 20 years to get horrendously out of shape, no six-week makeover, fad diet, have-it-all-by-Monday idiocy can correct that lifestyle.

Every day; slowly and one step at a time. You may never be what you were, but you can be the best you can be, and your best days in life might be tomorrow instead of something lost in your past.

This chase for personal improvement should never end, you must never quit trying to be better than you were yesterday. The path of least resistance becomes an easy step, then a habit and finally a life. Sometimes, the best of all things come with the hardest journey.”

(Stella Bartram, 2017)

If you are reading this and you’re overweight or out of shape, and you really want to do something about your current lifestyle, don’t be that person that gives up when things don’t happen right away. Stop hoping that you will get magical results in a couple of weeks. Don’t quit because you find the journey tough. Don’t accept the now if the future could be happier and healthier. And stop letting the old habits become the easy, safe option. Make a commitment to yourself and enjoy the journey.

I want to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year, I hope 2018 is a great year for you all.

For more information or advice on personal training contact me on 0773 627 4925 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.