What do I mean?

Everyone craves a routine in this day and age. Whenever I speak to people who are finding it difficult to exercise or prepare meals a lot of them say, “I work long hours and just cant get into a routine”

Lets put this into perspective, there are 168 hrs per week. Most of us sleep for 8hrs per day, that leaves us with 16 awake hours. Lets say the average person works  for 10 hours.

When all said is done we have 6 spare hours per day. More on weekends if you don’t work then. There for you are left cumulatively with (6 hours x 7 days) = 42 hours of free time.

So if you are really honest with yourself then you have the time to work out for 30 mins 5 days a week. Admittedly there are chores, children, travel time but everyone has the same amount of awake hours within reason.

If you live by a routine then you will inevitably lose out, some people like to workout in the morning but because of work and life it’s not always possible, therefore, once that window of opportunity is missed then it doesn’t happen.

We’ve all been there!

The key to success is keeping to a fitness regime but fitting it in when you have the time.

So, as mentioned above you will normally have 6 spare hours per day where you are not at work or travelling to and from. So if you need to work out on that day instead of trying to schedule it in for a specific time, just do it as soon as you have time.

The people who crave a routine a typical day may look like this!


A typical day!

The average person who intends to work out tomorrow at 6am for 45 mins.

0600hrs alarm goes off, not really feeling it, snooze for 10 mins. By the time you actually get up then its 6.15, that’s 15 mins into your workout time, so you decide to flag it.

0700 hrs children are up, crazy busy getting ready leave at 0800. Then its work.

1600 hrs finish work, pick up children, home, tea, home work, and shower time.

1900 hrs kids in bed.

Then you have 3 hours to yourself before bed at 2200 hrs

Admittedly it’s hard to do something then, but just because the workout didn’t fit into your original routine doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

So what do you do? Get your gym gear on and get it done right there and then before you have chance to sit down, then prepare your meals for the next day.

All it takes is 20-30 mins of higher intensity exercise utilising large muscle groups to get it done, and 30 mins to prepare your meals and snacks.

This way you will still have 2 hours to enjoy a well deserved rest before bed and do what you want.

Does it have to be perfect? No of course not, just fit it when you can. Once your done you will feel amazing and be a little bit proud of the fact you did it.

You see, routine is good in some respects but it can also be very counter productive….

future self

Life gets in the way no doubt but in the words of Kris Gethin (control your environment) The only things you can control is what you eat and if you exercise, the rest is just life.

Don’t fall into the trap of making excuses and blaming other people on why your are over weight and why you can’t get fit. The buck stops with you and only you.

These are obstacles that you need to overcome and with a little thought and a more flexible approach you will soon find there is more than one way to get something done!

Below are some solutions to common obstacles or excuses…….. I’ve heard it all, and probably used them myself.

Problem “My wife makes me too much food”

Solution – Don’t eat it all, learn to control portions, or cook for yourself.

Problem – “I don’t have time”

Solution – We’ve just solved that. I don’t feel like, or its late is not down to having time, its just…….not doing it.

Problem –  “I’ve tried everything, nothing works”

Solution – Try consistency, I bet its the only thing you haven’t tried. If you do something over and over again for a long period you will see results.

Problem – “I have pain in my….leg/knee/shoulder/wrist…..fill in the blank.”

Solution – Work around the injury, seek advice from a health professiona (ME). Eat healthy. Just because you have pain doesn’t mean you can’t eat well.

Problem – “I’m getting old”

Solution “ Age is a number, and you probably won’t be able to train with as much intensity as a younger person but that doesn’t mean you can’t challenge yourself. Do not accept this as a reason. I currently have a 62 old client with arthritis and she is now doing things she never thought possible through periodised training, hard work on her part and above all flexibility and consistency!

I could go on all day, but the bottom line is, find solutions to your problems. There will be solutions you just have to be flexible and open minded enough to adopt them work with them.


Change your mindset

We are all programmed to think and act a certain way, and there is nothing wrong with that. However that doesn’t mean there isn’t better ways of doing things. Try and get out of your own way and take on board a different point of view and adopt a new mindset. Once you can change your mindset you will find that things become easier..

Let’s face it you are busy but out of a 7 day week all you need to find is 4 hours out of the spare 42 free hours you have to exercise.

I would be very, very surprised if you can’t find the time. You just need to approach it differently and Start Afresh.


I took this from a work wellness letter and though it very appropriate for this blog. (author unknown)

“BEING BUSY DOES NOT MEAN BEING PRODUCTIVE. Busyness Isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect. Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time. We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.Being busy rarely equates to productivity these days. Just take a quick look around. Busy people outnumber productive people by a wide margin. Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time. They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc. They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep. Yet, emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their day planners are jammed to the brim with obligations. Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance. But it’s all an illusion. They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term. We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life”

If you need advice about getting fit and losing body fat please get in touch. I have been there and managed to come out the other side.

Remember there is always time to Start Afresh.



Happy new Year

The University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals…….That’s an incredible low number.

Why does this happen? It maybe the resolution was too big a project, it seemed unattainable, or you just didn’t really want it bad enough…..there are many reasons, and only each person knows the real reason.

I’m here to tell you that if you want something bad enough then anything is possible, so If you have a new years resolution follow my advice and not only to stick to it, but exceed what you ever though you could achieve.


1) Be SMART!

Goal setting is the most important thing you can do. You have to lay out your goals in measurable and attainable pieces and try to achieve each piece. When get there it will give you motivation to propel you forward to the next, until you reach your final goal.

It all comes down to having a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Once you have that get to work planning how your going to do it.

Back Planning

If you want to lose 20 kgs of body fat then don’t just try and lose 20 kgs and expect to do it in 8 weeks.

The safest and most sustainable to lose fat is at a rate of about 1kg a week. So be conservative and say it will be 0.5 kgs.

If you aim too high to start then you will be disappointed when you don’t hit that number.

So 20kgs divided by 0.5 = 40weeks.

S – Be specific (20kg body fat)

M – Make it measurable (0.5Kg per week)

A – Make it attainable (0.5 kg is very attainable)

R – Make it realistic (40 weeks is realistic)

T – Make it timely (and its timely)

So by breaking this down into manageable goals, plan it,  then you set to work on how you will do it.

Definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.


2) Research

To get anywhere you will have to put some effort in to researching your goal. Don’t just jump on a fad diet like no carbs until you understand why carb’s help you lose weight and the effect that can have on your body. Hire a nutritionist and learn about nutrition.

Same goes for training don’t just do the latest fad research what type of training will help you lose body-fat and maintain muscle mass. Hire a Personal Trainer and learn from them.

3) Find a support network

This can be a game changer, if you find like minded people with the same goals you can help stay accountable and encourage each other.

My Facebook page is a great place to start so please like it at the link below.


4) Change your mindset

Under stand that there is never a quick fix, anything worth having is hard work. Once you accept that then you will be on your way……….Vision yourself at the end of the year and look back. Have you done what you wanted? If not then reflect and think about what you could have achieved, then let that motivate you for the following year. This time when you look back you will have achieved something amazing.

“Is good acceptable when excellence is possible.”

5) Be accountable

Write everything down and tell as many people as possible. Be as public as possible. This will keep you accountable not just to yourself but to others. The fact that you don’t want to fail in front of your family and friends can keep you focused and driven.

6) Have fun with your resolution

Turn it into a positive. It’s something you want to do so do it. Experiment and enjoy the journey.


“Nana karobi ya oki” Fall down 7 get up 8

This is a Japanese proverb which means that even when you fall keep getting back up. This will be the key to your success. Success isn’t linear it’s anything but. However consistency will get you there.

Remember you can Start Afresh anytime!


PS I will be launching an e’book mid February 2015 which has a training plan guaranteed to kick start your fitness journey. I will give it away for free to the the first 5 people to email me @ startafreshpt@gmail.com.

PPS If you need help with your training then my online personal training service will be an asset to you. Email me for more details.



Rapid weight loss.

This blog will address the problem of “I want to lose 20 kgs in a month” scenario. Most people are very impatient, me included and generally if you want or desire something you want it NOW!

In the fast paced world we live in people don’t seem to have the ‘time’ to wait for anything and quite often with regard to weightloss, we get bored, despondent or frustrated with the slow results…..with that in mind we are always searching for the ‘Quick’ Solution”

With that in mind, According to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Americans spent an estimated $30 billion a year in 1992 on all types of diet programs and products, including diet foods and drinks

As you can see this is a huge amount of people wanting the quick fix with regard to weightloss and in my opinion its a waste of money.

Diet success.

(This is me)

Before CROPPED11DSCF1767

Nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years, according to Gary Foster, Ph.D., clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The statistics for dieters who lose weight rapidly, according to Wellsphere, a website sponsored by Stanford University, is worse. Only 5 percent of people who lose weight on a crash diet will keep the weight off. So over time weight loss and weight gain look like the diagram below.

With crash or rapid dieting you go on an aggressive diet and lose weight fast, and because you have done a crash diet or cut too many calories too quickly, as soon as you get to your desired weight you then go back to the old habits and before you know it you have regained your weight and some.

The problem with fad diets is that they do not teach you healthy eating guidlines, they teach you to cut out whole food groups like carbs or fat. We actually need fats and carbs for daily bodily and mental function.

If you are on of these people who have dieted this way, you may have experienced some or all of the following side effects below.

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle loss

I know that I lost a lot of muscle by rapid dieting and been irritable. Hence my desire to opt for a life style change not a diet. Once I got past this and changed my mind set I have managed to keep 20 kgs off for nearly four years. I am in total control of my weight and understand how my body works.

Weight Management is a term I have heard and I really like it. It suggests that you do not diet but simply manage it. If you are on a diet, at some point you are off a diet. But if you adopt a healthy lifestyle you can simply manage it with relative ease.

What is does rapid dieting do to your metabolism?

When you go on a diet your aim should be to lose body fat not over all weight. Your metabolism generally is governed by how much muscle you have on your body. The reason for this is muscle is an active tissue, it requires calories to maintain. Fat however does not. Fat is simply stored energy. If you go on a rapid weight loss diet you will lose both fat and muscle, this will then lower your metabolism which means you will require less calories to maintain your body weight.

In essence your metabolism is suppressed. This type of diet is not sustainable long term, so when you start eating the way you used to eat, it will only take a few extra calories per day for you to start putting weight on, so when you diet again you are already starting to fight a losing battle.

This is clearly not healthy and this is why exercise plays an important role in fatloss. I know that you don’t want to hear it, but if you don’t exercise, you will not maintain muscle while on a diet which will cause your metabolism to slow. Now I’m not saying you need to be a body builder, but weight training and interval training supported by a varied healthy diet will help you lose fat while preserving your metabolism and provide you weight sustainable weight management.

Slow and steady wins the race.


We’ve all heard this saying and it is absolutely true when losing fat. It didn’t take a month to put it on….and it will not take a month to take it off. The key to successful fat-loss it not to look for then next miracle diet, it’s to take a good look at your self and solve your own problem. Obviously you can, and should ask for help, but do not ask for the answer…….as no one can give you one. People can offer you advice and give you strategies but if you really want to lose body fat and keep it off then you will need to change your lifestyle and understand your own body.

You may think that you are missing out on all your take aways, the beers and treats, but they are possibly the things that put in this predicament in the first place. This type of food only satisfies you for as long as it takes to smell it, eat it and swallow it. After that what satisfaction is there.

If you really think about it, you know what you should be eating, and its healthy fats, complex carbs like veggies and fruits and proteins. Pizza and beer isn’t it.


Think of the satisfaction you would get from losing 20kgs, having more energy, being fit, and still enjoying the occasional treat. You can do it but you have to be disciplined enough. The more you do it the easier it gets.

So how is it done? If you read my blog “How to lose weight its easier than you think” i explain how to attack it there.

Stick to the 80/20 rule. 80% good and 20% not so good. So in perspective 8 days out of ten your meals will want to consist of healthy fats, complex carbs like veggies and fruits and whole grains and proteins. On the other days enjoy the treats but do so in moderation.

To sum up take it slowly, educate yourself on your own body and adopt a life style change.

And above all exercise. Our bodies are designed to move we were never intended to be so inactive.

The saying goes, its better to be fit and fat than fat and unfit and losing weight doesn’t have to be torture it can be very rewarding and satisfying if you invest the time and energy into it.

If you want a solid training plan part of my services is Online personal Training. Its a great tool for you and very affordable and can be done anwhere inn the world. Please feel free to contact me via my website or at Startafreshpt@gmail.com for more details.

If you liked this post i’d really appreciate a share, like and a follow.

Start Afresh




We’ve all been there, started a fitness regime, then things slowed down and before you know it, days away from the gym turn to weeks, turn to months and sometime even years before you decide to make a come back.

Then you decide to commit, you get that feeling of positivity, you are motivated you remember how fit and strong you used to be and you get to the gym……………you try and do as much as you did on your first day back and thenn you are met with a feeling of frustration.

You are no longer as fit as you were, nowhere near as strong and this can be a major set back and even cause you to quit before you have even started.

So what I’m here to tell you is that fitness is a journey not a destination.

Plan your goals.

I’ve talked about this is a previous BLOG but this is so important. Dont just get up and smash into it. Think about what you are trying to achieve and give yourself enough time to achieve it. ‘BSMART’

Be realistic as to your current fitness level.


I cannot emphasise the importance of this. If you’ve been away from exercise for a while, when you get into the gym or start any activity test yourself. Work up to a level that is comfortable and just keep that intensity and see how you feel. Who cares if it’s it not as it was. Remember just being there is awesome, and the intensity and strength will come in time, and if you keep at it you can surpass your old fitness level.

When I started back training about 4 years ago I threw myself into it because I knew things had to change, within three months I was the fittest, leanest and strongest I had ever been in my life.

It doesn’t take long but you do need to be patient with yourself and ease into it and before you know it your running rings around yourself.

What to focus on when making a comeback?

As a Personal Tainer I see so many people focus on T shirt muscles, I recently prescribed a workout plan via my Online Personal Training platform to someone who wanted to add size and strength. However over the last few months all he does is the back and bicep workouts! He skips legs, core and chest. Now don’t get me wrong its awesome he is exercising but you will not get the changes you desire if you dont train the whole package.

What I suggest you do is focus on mobility and core strength which should be built into a full body programme. The reason for this is that everything we do comes from our core. How many people do you know with sore backs? It comes down to poor posture caused by our current lifestyle of sitting hunched at a desk.

So when we decide to lift something or bend in a certain way it throws our backs out. strengthening our core and increasing our mobility will help avoid injury, which helps you stay motivated and keeps you in the gym getting the results that you are after.

Have you heard the saying “You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe”? Its the same with your body if your core is weak then you will be weak and prone to injury.

How to do it?

There are many ways in which to make a come back but following some simple rules will help you.

Focus on multi joint movements and order them appropriately. An example would be Legs, back, chest shoulders and arms (maybe). Do exercises standing as this helps you engage your core and in turn strengthen it.

Pick reps and sets appropriate to your ability. If you are new then do enough just to stimulate your body, do the minimum effective dose to get you into the swing of things. Dont head straight for the 5 sets of 40 reps!

An example of a beginners split would be;

Body weight squat – 3 sets of 15

Lat pull down – 3 sets of 15

Seated cable row  -3 sets of 15

Pressups (incline) – 3 sets of 15

Standing shoulder press – 2 sets of 15

Single leg push away – 3 sets of 10

You dont need to worry about biceps, triceps, calves or wrists these body parts are getting used during the other exercises.

As for cardio day pick an activity you enjoy and complete intervals at an intensity that is not too uncomfortable.

An example would be;

Stationary bike 30 – 40 mins 2 minutes medium intensity 30 seconds of a slightly higher intensity and repeat.


If you really want to make the most of your new regime then you need to eat well. (See my blog on how to lose weight for more details)

Remember to ‘Eat to train not train to eat’ in essence this means just because you have spent an hour in the gym doesnt give you the right to eat what you like just because you have exercised. By all means refuel but do not over eat.

Be realistic with your diet, don’t go cold turkey, make adjustments that you can stick to, it may be committing to a healthy breakfast, then luch and dinner and so on, but try not to just cut things out. If you do you will almost certainly fail. Small changes over time yield huge results.


I did a bodybuilding style training and nutrition regime eating nothing but broccoli, sweet potato and chicken/fish/steak 6 times a day for 84 days. I got super ripped but I was craving sweet foods like no ones business.

I remember on about day 70 someone brought a bad of Fejoa’s into work for people to help them selves and I remember eating about 15 of them. I had been craving sugar so badly i just couldnt stop myself….Lucky it wasnt chocolate 😉 It was not sustainable and not much fun being so restricted. Everything in moderation and you will find a balance.

Being accountable to someone or something, can be a huge benefit to staying on track have a read of my blog on motivation and this will help you understand how certain factors can keep you focussed.

In summary make sure that you be realistic in what you want to achieve and above all just keep going. The only person who can make a change is you.

If you like what you have read, please subscribe, like and share it. I hope I can inspire and motivate to achieve their fitness goals and in turn give people a quality of life they deserve.

Remember you can always Start Afresh

Gavyn 😉



Everywhere we turn there is a new and brilliant fatloss supplement, an awesome piece of equipment, or cutting edge diet aimed at people who are obese or overweight. Lots of us have tried the latest craze, succeeded short term or not at all.

As you are aware overweight and obesity is a huge problem for society today and it all seems too hard and confusing to battle the bulge.

What I hope to achieve, is to give you a simple and effective aproach to get a handle on your own body to lose the weight and keep it off for good.

What does it all mean….. overweight,obese?

Overweight means a persons bodyweight which is over the normal or standard bodyweight for a person based on height and frame size.

Obese means having a lot of bodyfat and which exceeds more than 25% of the person in men and 35% in women.

BMI is a standard to estimate obesity determined by dividing bodyweight in ‘Kgs’ by the square of height im ‘M’


What are the risks?

As i’m sure you are awre, being overweight and or obese has very serious health implications. You may get away with it for a while but sooner or later there is a good chance you will suffer from them.

The main problems are;

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension and cardiovascular disease
  • However there are other implications on joints etc.

The following stats are based on increased BMI and waist circumference and the diseases that you could be at risk of are above.

In addition if you are a normal weight and your waist circumference is above the normal you could be at an increased risk.

A normal BMI is 18.5-24.9 and you have little risk of disease

Overweight BMI is 25-29.9 and with a waist circumference less that 40″ in men 35″ in women you are at an increased risk of disease, if your waist circumference is over that you become high risk

Obese (Level 1) BMI is 30-34.9 and with a waist circumference less that 40″in  men 35″ in women you are at a high risk of disease, if your waist circumference is over that you become very high risk.

Obese (Level 2) BMI is 35-39.9 and with a waist circumference less that 40″ in men 35″ in women you are at avery high risk of disease, if your waist circumference is over that you become very high risk.

Obese (Level 3) BMI is >40 and with a waist circumference less that 40″in  men 35″ in women you are at a extremely high risk of disease, if your waist circumference is over that you become extremely high risk.

In summary the more body fat you are carrying the more you are at risk from serious health problems and the more your day to day quality of life can very inhibited.

You will be less motivated to do things as they are hard and this can be a vicious cycle.

If your not interested in Stats and want to get to the good stuff, scroll down to ‘Understanding Energy expenditure’

Current situation.

According to the Ministry of health in New Zealand in 2012/13 a survery found that;

Adult obesity statistics

  • almost 1 in 3 adults (aged 15 years and over) were obese (31%), a further 34% were overweight
  • 48% of Māori adults were obese
  • 68% of Pacific adults were obese
  • there has been an increase in obesity in males from 17% in 1997 to 30% in 2012/13
  • there has been an increase in obesity in females from 21% in 1997 to 32% in 2012/13.

Child obesity statistics

The 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey found that:

  • 1 in 9 children (aged 2–14 years) were obese (11%)
  • a further 1 in 5 children were overweight (22%)
  • 19% of Māori children were obese
  • 27% of Pacific children were obese
  • children living in the most deprived areas were 3 times as likely to be obese as children living in the least deprived areas. This finding is not explained by differences in the sex, age or ethnic composition of the child population across areas of high and low deprivation
  • the childhood obesity rate has increased from 8% in 2006/07 to 11% in 2012/13.

In england the Health and Social Care Information Centre states;

The adult Trend shows that in England the proportion of adults with a normal BMI decreased between 1993 and 2012, from 41.0% to 32.1% among men and from 49.5% to 40.6% among women. For both men and women, the proportions
that were overweight were stable over the same period (approximately 40% for men and 30% for women). There was however a marked increase in the proportion that were obese, a proportion that has gradually increased over the period from 13.2% in 1993 to 24.4% in 2012 for men and from 16.4% to 25.1% for women.

The proportions that were Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet. Overweight including obese increased from 57.6% to 66.6% in men and from 48.6% to 57.2% in women between 1993 and 2012.

As you can see this is a huge problem and seems to be no end in sight.

However the good news is you can take a handle of your own destiny with my simple strategy and approach to sustainable weight management.


Energy expenditure

First we need to understand how we use our energy. There are three ways this happens;

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy we use at rest doing nothing and is about 60-75% of our daily usage.

Thermic effect of a meal (TEM) is the energy used to digest your foodand use that food and is about 10% of our daily usage.

Thermic effect of activity (TEA) is the energy needed to move around and is about 15 – 30% of our daily usage

Therefore if you exercise you can really make an impact on how you expend energy. So how do I do it I hear you ask.

First of all forget about everything ‘fad’ based you know about. To lose your weight and keep it off you will need to put some effort in to making a change. However you can do this smartly. Forget about spot reducing, there is no amount of crunches you can do to lose your belly fat.

I am currently training a 62 year old female and to date has lost about 6kgs/13.2Lbs. She asked me today, half way through a full body workout;

“I dont know why exercising my arms is helping me lose fat” I smiled and explained that she wasnt just using her arms, (she was actually doing a military shoulder press) and explained she was doing a compound exercise which encompasses her triceps, shoulders, core and shoulder girdle).This isn’t just an arm exercise, she was using multiple muscles groups, which in turn help to burn more calories over all.

To which she replied “Thats why I need you”

I have spoken about in a previous blog, the more muscle you have the more fat you burn at rest. So my ‘arm exercise’ with a few others is clearly working and helping her to lose fat.

impressive_results-1 (1)

Guidelines to losing your weight and getting the results you deserve.

  1. Cardio Volume  – So if you are a complete beginner and over weight you will need a lot of ‘volume’ or work at a lower intensity. what I mean is doing lots of low intensity exercise. This can be walking everyday, using a stationary push bike or swimming.
  2. Resistance volume – You will need to include weight training focussing on major muscle groups like legs, back,chest. If you use the right exercises you will work your biceps, triceps and core at the same time. You will need to do about 3 sets of 15 – 20 reps per exercise.
  3. Frequency – You wil need to be moving about 5 times a week. 3 cardio and 2 weight sessions. Remember you are not going to be working super hard and getting hurt the idea is to do lots and get used to exercising. The intensity can increase the fitter and stronger you get.
  4. Time per session – You wil want to be doing a maximum of 20-30 mins per day excluding a warm up and cool down.
  5. Track everything – Make sure you keep a workout diary and write down, the weight you used, the time and distance you walked.  Then next week challenge yourself to walk a bit faster or further, or lift a bit heavier. Measure your waist,chest, thighs, arms neck and take photos to compare to. This will help you track your progress and keep you motivated.

For information on nutrition see my blog on how to eat for fatloss.


As I said earlier its simple……but its not easy. However if you want it bad enough then you can achieve it.

To thank you for taking the time to read this blog I want to offer you a FREE ‘Start Afresh’ workout plan for you.

All you have to do is subscribe to my blog, like my facebook page and email me at startafreshpt@gmail.com and I will email it to you.

Feel free to leave a comment or email me with any questions you may have.


Start Afresh


How to eat for fatloss…..Its easier than you think!.

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Welcome to my eating for fatloss blog, this topic is close to my heart as despite being overweight for a lot of my life, in small doses I could usually get my self motivated to hit the gym. The hardest part was eating well.


I just want to state that I am not a nutrionist, and I cannot prescribe diets but after years of “dieting” I have worked out what works for me and what doesn’t. This is solely my approach based on a lot of reading , trial and error and even a few faddy diets.

First things first, assess what you are doing. By this I mean start writing a log of what you eat, It doesn’t matter if it’s good, bad, “healthy” or “clean” just record it. Do this everyday for a week. Once you have done this I suggest you read over it and be critical of yourself.

You will then have a good idea of your eating habbits. You may eat a lot of big meals, or you may just graze and not even realise that what you are eating is mounting up.

The next thing evaluate your goals and give you’re self a realistic goal for losing the weight. I’ve talked about goal setting in my previous blog so go back and read that and use the SMART model to help you.

Track everything leave out nothing. Having written down what you have eaten its time to start tracking your calories. I hear you say I hate doing that, Its hard, its boring…….but guess what, if you want change, you need to step up and take responsibility for what you are doing. It will take a bit of work, but like anything new but the benefits that tracking can bring is invaluable.

The best way to do it is use an app called Myfitnesspal. It has a barcode scanner option which saves you manually tapping in cals, fat, carb etc. So you can just zap the bar code and the nutrition value of the food you are eating pops up.

I then recommend you work out you’re BMR (basic metabolic rate) this will give you a budget if you like as to how many calories you can eat in one day, based on your age, weight, sex, and current activity level.

Remeber this is just a guide, it may well be that you can eat more or it may mean you have to eat less. Either or its a start. You calculate your BMR on Myfitnesspal.) so make sure you dont tell little white lies 😉

whats next


So now you have done the hard bit, decided to lose weight, found out how much to eat and set a reasonable goal………Do not go cold turkey. Make small changes and refine over time.

So what do I mean by that? You have to learn about your body, and in a nutshell you have to use trial to get the best out of it. There is no quick solution for sustainable weight managememt. We are all capable of losing fat in the short term, but maintaining the loss is another kettle of fish.

Your aim is to diet on as many calories as you can, so you need to eat as much as you can and still lose weight. This will help you feel normal and not like you are being tortured in your diet.

Lets say you worked out your BMR as 2500 cals per day. I would strongly suggest that you eat that for the first week or two. Two weeks will give you a good indication as to how you respond to this amount of calories. If you lose weight then fantastic.

Then what I would do is add 100 cals per day, then monitor for another two weeks. If you lose weight again, add 100 cals, if you stay the same then its a good bet that that is your maintenance calories. Meaning you can eat that many calories and stay the same. This is great as you know you can have a decent amoutt of food and not go through hell.

If you put weight on over the first two weeks then you know that 2500 cals is too much for you. So drop 100 cals, monitor for two weeks. If you lose weight keep it the same until such a time you stop losing. Then decrease by 100 cals.

By taking this approach you are more likely to understand your own body and give you the ability to maintain your bodyweight. All you are doing is gathering data on yourself.

Once you have this nailed you are 90% of the way there to sustaining your weight loss forever. Its really is that easy. So to get the last 10% you will need to understand that a calorie is not just a calorie. This is where it gets a bit confusing


Fats – Without getting too technical all you need to know is that we need fat! Yes we need it….

  • They are is essential for growth and health,
  • Protection of vital organs,
  • Heat insulation,
  • Transports fat solublt vitamins D.E.K.A and fat soluble antioxidants.
  • It provides 9 cals/gram
  • Recommended intake is about 30-33% of your total food intake.

Examples are oils, nuts, fish. There are a lot more and a simple google search will give a comprehensive list.

Carbohydrates – We also need carbs, however there are popular diets that totally eliminate them. I have tried these diets and it is very hard to maintain. It is uselful for fatloss but hard to do for a long time.

  • They provide our bodies main source of energy for the nervous system.
  • Regulates fat and protein metabolism
  • Once ingested it is transported as glucose and taken up by the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen.
  • Glycogen is stored in the liver is then converted back to glucose and used as energy when needed.
  • They provide 4 cals per gram
  • Recommended is 50-55% of your total food intake

Examples are, bread, rice, potatoes, fruit, vegetables. Compex carbs are normally preferred as they digest slower due to the fibre. There are a lot more and a simple google search will give a comprehensive list.

Protein – Is a must when trying to lose weight.

  • It is made up of20 amino acids, and 8 cannot be produced by the body and are essential. therefore protein sources are a must.
  • Animal protiens contain all amino acids but vegetarian sources tend to lack one or two essential aminos.
  • Makes up cell structures.
  • Growth, repair, and tissue maintenance.
  • Produces haemoglobin, enzymes,antibodies, and many hormones.
  • can be used as an energy source.
  • Has a high thermic effect which means it costs a lot of calories to digest.
  • Provides 4 cals per gram.
  • Recommended 15-25% of your total food intake. I personally air on the higher side.

Examples are, beef, pork, poultry, dairy fish. There are a lot more and a simple google search will give a comprehensive list. Always try and trim the fat off and choose leaner cuts of meat.

Its a very important macro nutrient and lots of people fail to get enough. Its a lot more than just eating protein to build muscle.

Now you know your rough percentages of each macro, Myfitnesspal has a great feature of a pie chart showing your daily % of each protein, fats and carb. So adjust your food sources until you hit the desired %’s

So now you know how many calories you need and how to break that up for best results.

In the beginning I would just try hit your calories, then over time refine it more and more until you are getting everything balanced.

Think of it as a marathon not a sprint. You will get better over time. I promise.

My meal plan.

What I do, and I am in no way advokating this and it is by no means the only way, is break my meals up into 5 – 6 meals/snacks a day.

A snap shot of a day’s food is below.


  • 4 weetbix, 250ml skim milk, 1 egg and 150g egg whites scrambled

Morning snack/post workout

  • 30g whey protein, 250ml skim milk, banana and a handful of almonds.


  • Wholmeal wrap, 150-200g chicken or ham, 30g cheese, spinach and 150g greek yoghurt.

Afternooon snack

  • Museli bar or a peanut butter sandwich (30g PB 2 slices wholemeal bread)


  • 200g sweet potato grilled, 150-200g chicken or steak and a side of vege’s.

Nightime snack (occasionally)

  • Belvita breakfast biscuits.

It all works out to about 2600-2800 40% carb, 30%fat 30%protein.

This works for me and if I want to lose a few kilos to get a bit leaner, I just reduce portion sizes equal to 100 cals per day overall. By doing that and adjusting my workouts I can get the results I want without going through hell and starving myself.

Although the above meal plan may sound boring, I always include spices and herbs to make things taste great. An example is, if I wanted chinese style chicken I would mix up 20g Hoisin sauce, half a lime, a teaspoon of honey and then baste two chicken breasts and pop it in the oven. It tastes awesome and very low calories.

Above all variety is key, mix it up, prepare in advance and dont approach nutrition as something that is too hard or something that has to be a bind.

If you follow my simple approaches I guarantee you will lose weight and feel good about it.

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Posted: 28/09/2014 in Uncategorized


Motivation is defined simply as

“a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”

When most of us embark on a fitness journey whether it be to lose weight, gain muscle, get fitter for a test or event, the number one issue is motivation. We generally start off with a hiss and a roar but within a few weeks, we start to skip workouts, cheat on a diet, and before you know it, weeks have gone by and you’re no closer to the goal than when you started. It could be a multitude of reasons why you didn’t carry it through but things like, time, family, tiredness, and generally being ‘busy’ are the main reasons for not getting there.

So what sets apart the successful people from the unsuccessful ones. In my experience it’s a burning desire to change….and that desire keeps burning away keeping you on track, accountable to yourself and motivated.

Find a reason why you want change? Then decide how bad do you want it!

Lets use fatloss as an example…..when you say you want to lose a few lbs sit and think of the reasons why you want to lose them.Is it a medical / health reason? Aesthetic reason? Pressure from someone else? Being fed up with carrying extra weight? Whatever it is write it down. If you decide that you want to do it, then start trying to change your mindset.

When you embark on this kind of change it will be very hard, you will have to change certain behaviours. You will need to become active. You will need to eat healthy. These two things alone are very hard to start if you are not used to it.

Understand that there will be days that you will not want to exercise, there will be days when your will not have ‘time’ and there will be days when you want to cheat on your diet. However if you understand this at the beginning you are better equipped to deal with these obstacles.

comfort zone

The reason why you decide to change must be at the forefront of your mind every day and made your daily priority. Once you understand that you MUST replace

 I can’t with………….I can, I will try, I will find a way, I will accomplish!

As soon as you convince yourself you can’t then you won’t. If you change your mindset to then you will make it happen. Even if i means getting up at 4.30 am to exercise, or taking a packed lunch to avoid the temptation of eating out.

Motivational triggers.


There are two types of categories motivation fits into;

• Intrinsic factors

• Extrinsic factors.

Intrinsic reasons for motivation are things like, enjoyment, feeling of accomplishment and the feel good factor of doing what they are doing. This will keep you motivated for a long time.

Extrinsic reasons will be things like losing weight for a reward, trying to win a medal or competition. This reason will overide the feel good factor to focus on the end goal and is usually only sustained short term.

At the beginning of any weight loss journey you will most likely be driven by extrinsic factors but if you can enjoy the journey and take on board the feel good factor of getting through a day of eating well and exercising this will serve you well to staying motivated.


It is important to be accountable to yourself. It is so easy not to do something if there are no consequences of not doing it. Now I’m not saying punish yourself but think of ways to be accountable. Some  ways I used to do it was putting up a wall chart and then cross off each day I worked out. By the end of the month my goal was to have at least 20 days crossed off.

This was a visual tool which gave me an enormous sense of pride as the months went by and the marks mounted up. Make yourself accountable to other people. Tell people of your goals, if you tell people what you want to do you are more likely you are more likely to do it from fear of failing. You could join a fatloss group or even start one, that way everyone will be working toward a similar goal and able to share experiences while being accountable to each other.


Whatever you do be accountable!

Visualise where you want to be and think of the big picture. When you start out, try not to race to a future point, enjoy the journey and set goals for yourself. Understand that it did not take you 3 months to put your weight on and it will not take you 3 months to lose it.

It may well take a long time but provided that you set realistic goals, embrace the lifestyle change and hold on to the desire that made you want to change in the first place you will be successful.


Goal setting doesn’t need to be complicated but it needs to be realistic. A good acronym for goal setting is SMART.

• Specific

• Measureable

• Achievable/ Attainable

• Realistic/Relevant

• Timely/Timeline

For example. “I want to lose weight” is a wishy washy goal. This is just a statement. However, I want to lose 30kgs of fat is very specific. It lets you know a quantity and from there you can make a plan.

Is it measureable? 30Kgs is absolutely measurable by use of a scales and body fat calipers.

Is is achievable? Yes but it depends.

Is it realistic? Yes, providing on the timescale you set out.

Timeline/ Timely? If you wanted to lose 30kg’s in a month then it is not achievable. But if you said 12 months then you have a goal that you can achieve and you are more likely to be able to work toward it.

As you can see if you take the time to set specific and realistic goals you will find it easier to plan for it and stay on track.

Once you have the overall goal set out you can break it down. On average a safe and realistic amount of fat to lose in a week is about 0.5kgs. So now you have weekly goals to hit. This is a lot easier to achieve that the big goal of 30kgs…but you now know that you could realistically lose 30kgs in about 15 weeks.


Do Not fear failure!

If you keep working hard then there is no failure only set backs. Success in not a linear process.

Motivation for me is soley the fact I do not want to be over weight again. I was an over weight child, teenager, and adult. There were periods I would lose weight but ultimately always gained it back.

There came a time when I was sick of being a yo yo dieter and needed a change. I knew that I needed a different approach. After all the the definition of insanity is doing the same thing expecting a different result.

At the start my main source of motivation at that time was to get a six pack. I knew I needed to exercise daily and eat very strictly so I did. I became laser focussed and everyday I did what I could to get in a workout and prepare meals for the coming day. I even used to exercise at 10pm if I had been busy in the day or worked late.

I made it my priority. I knew that I always had one hour a day to exercise. It may not be the hour I wanted but i still had it none the less.

Think of it, If you have time for facebook, google, you tube, Ebay, or trademe, then you have time to exercise. I challenge you to add the minutes you spend on an evening watching TV or on the above sites. I guarantee it’s long enough to get a work out in. The only difference is you place those things above exercise and preparing meals.

It took me 9 months to do it and I finally got my abs. It was an amazing feeling.

I understood at the beginning that it would not be easy, so part of my goal setting was to complete 6 workouts a week. This was far more palatable than the prospect of doing 219 workouts.

4 years later my motivation is not so extrinsic, I love the feeling of feeling fit, being able to do more that I ever could and looking better is a by product but the initial reason of never wanting to be overweight is still present.

I’m not sure when the switch clicked but motivation for me is no longer an issue. I enjoy training and preparing meals and eating well is just something I do now. I always have lots of training goals and this helps me stay interested and working hard.

At the moment I’m recovering from a knee operation so I’m focussing on getting my leg strength back. I have planned it will take me a year to get back to squatting again and practicing Aikido. It seems a long way off now, but it willl fly by.

People say to me that “I don’t know where your motivation comes from” or “I can’t do what you do”

But the reality is you can. You just need a focus, a reason, a plan and solutions to your obstacles.

Remeber no matter what how many times you have tried or failed you can always!

Start Afresh



In this blog I will discuss the difference between HIIT and SSC and where they both fit into someones fitness regime

What is the difference?

The difference between the two forms is that High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) forces you to work harder for a shorter

amount of time such while Steady State cardio (SSC) requires you to exercise at a steady intensity for a period of time. Most people when they start on a weightloss journey dust off the trainers and go for a jog. Which is fine to get started. But this is rarely sustained and people fall off the wagon whether it be down to boredom, injuries, weather…..the list is endless.

The fitter you get the longer you have to run for to get any benefit. However In my opinion they both have a place in a solid training programme.

If your main goal is to lose body fat the HIIT is the way to go.


• This style of training can be done in half the time.

• It has been scientifically proven to be superior.

• The variety of exercises is infinite.

• There is an afterburn effect (EPOC – Exercise post oxygen consumption) – see below

• Increased Aerobic capacity – better oxygen uptake during exercise making you fitter.

• Increased lactate threshold – ability to handle the burn during workouts

• Helps maintain muscle mass

Which would you prefer to look like?

r.sprinter vs long distsnce


• Can be very difficult for detrained people

• Doesn’t translate well for endurance activities.

• Can get injured if not programmed correctly


• Can be done at a very low intensity if required

• Cardio vascular benefits.

• Event specific. Like training for a distance event like a 5-10km run,marathon etc.

• Simple.

The Cons of SSC

• Very easy to plateau and adapt to it.

• Can promote muscle loss.

• Due to the repetitive nature can cause injuries. Knees, ankles hips etc.

• Minimal afterburn effect

• Limited variety can lead to boredom

• Long workouts.

How SSC and HIIT fit together.

Too much of a good thing can be detrimental, and variety is key to keep motivated and break plateaus. Always challenge yourself and break up your training into blocks with gaols. If you want to partake in a 10km cross country fun run then you will know that there will be challenging parts of the course. To train for this include both styles of cardio. The reason is that you will have to train for distance. So getting out and going for a run is totally beneficial because you will have to work on your endurance to finish the run. However if you include HIIT then when you come to a large hill you will be better able to deal with the change in intensity and not flake out.

My experience

I have lost a total of 20kgs and this has soley been down to resistance training and HIIT. However for a change I decided to go for a run. I had gotten a lot fitter doing HIIT and just decided to do something different. Despite my new fatloss I really struggled with a 5km run. Looking back it was because all I had done for 9 months was HIIT and at that time I was shocked

that I struggled with it. Now I understand the differences and how they fit it makes perfect sense. My main goal had been fatloss so I didn’t need to run for an hour. I had done little or no endurance training as this wasn’t my focus, therefore I was never going to be good at it.

How HIIT works.

EPOC – (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption) is the rate in which your body oxidises fat after exercise. So due to the strenuous HIIT workout your body will utilise your fat stores to recover well after the workout has ended and up to 24 hours.

images (1)

In recovery, oxygen (EPOC) is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. These include: hormone balancing, replenishment of fuel stores, cellular repair, innervation and anabolism. Post-exercise oxygen consumption replenishes the phosphagen system. With SSC as soon as your workout is over there is little or no EPOC effect.

How to do it?

There are infinite ways to do it, you can use weights in a circuit fashion, sprint, cycle or swim. Or any form of exercise you feel like.

A typical running workout template would look something like this:

For 30 mins;

30 seconds high intensity 9/10 in difficulty

60 seconds low intensity 5/10 in difficulty


A typical circuit style would look like:

For 30 mins;

30 seconds jump squats

60 second jogging on the spot

30 seconds pressups

60 second jogging on the spot

30 seconds burpees

60 second jogging on the spot

30 seconds pull ups

60 second jogging on the spot

In summary if fatloss is your sole goal the stick with HIIT however be sure to mix things up occasionally to avoid plateaus, boredom and injuries.

If you are looking for a programme where I will incoorporate the best techniques for your fitness goal then you need to get in touch.

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The confusion between weight loss and fatloss addressed!


This blog is a kind of followup from my resistance training article, and was inspired by a facebook post I put onto my page at https://www.facebook.com/startafreshpt.

I posted about the difference between fatloss vs weightloss. More people liked it than most of my other posts and I even had some questions about it. So I felt I would discuss this topic in a bit more detail, and hopefully clear up the confusion and get people on the right track. What I hope to achieve by this blog is;

  1. For people not to obsess about weight loss and gain in the general term
  2. Not to weigh everyday
  3. Consider other ways to track fatloss progress
  4. Be sensible when it comes to losing weight. 

What is Bodyweight?

Lets get back to basics, bodyweight is simply how much you weigh, all of you…..right now. It can affected by time of day, or the degree of hydration. You would tend to weigh more at the end of the day as opposed to when you first wake up because of what you’ve eaten, drank, exercised or even been to the loo….. All these things can affect it.

So if you are trying to lose weight it can be pretty frustrating when you weigh everyday as your weight will fluctuate quite significantly.

What is the body comprised of?

body made of

On an average a 70kg male the body is comprised roughly of  5.3% Minerals, 15.1% Protein, 19.2% Fat, water 60.4%,(Nieman,D.C (2007) Pg 125)

As you can see we are mostly made up of water, so if you were 2-3% dehydrated you would weigh less than if you were fully hydrated. 

Eg ,The above male (lets call him Bob) who is trying to lose weight was a bit dehydrated going to bed last night. Lets say he was 2% dehydrated.

He weighs when he wakes up after going to the loo, and before he eats or drinks anything. 2% of 70Kgs would be 1.4kgs. Therefore he weighs 68.6kgs. Thats great if your losing weight, he looks at the scale and he’s lost 1.4kgs.

So at the end of the day he has eaten, drank, and decides to weigh again. This time he is fully hydrated which takes him back to 70kgs and has eaten. He could weigh as much as 3kgs more. Imagine how frustrating that would be.

Unfortunately this is a vicious cycle of which I’m sure most of us have experienced. The moral of this story is to weigh only once a week at most, if your main way of tracking weight is on the scales. However be sure to weigh in a consistent way. Same scales, same place, same amount of clothing, same time everyweek. This will hopefully limit the amount of discrepancy and keep you motivated to keep moving forward.

How to measure body composition?

When people say they want to lose weight they focus on the numbers on the scale not the actual tissue on what the want to lose. When you dig down into what weight people want to lose, 9/10 times they say fat. This is a great start. As a personal trainer I can now design a programme that will target fatloss, muscle preservation and even better muscle growth. 

So how do we measure progress? The first thing I do is weigh the subject, this is an good way to determine a start point. The next thing I do is take skin fold measurements (providing the client is comfortable with this)

Skinfold measurements are a far better way to determine body composition. They do not accurately determine body fat, but the sum of all folds will decrease if fat is lost. So between the two measurements I am able to track real progress and get a better idea what type of weight the client is losing.

So Bob weighs 70kgs and the sum of his skinfolds are 45mm

An example is if Bob, with 19%bodyfat wants to lose some bodyfat. He automatically assumes he will lose ‘weight’. This is not necessarilly the case……..Let me explain.

In the first month Bob has been training hard doing both a solid weight training programme, and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

He comes in and I weigh him. He is still at 70kgs. You can imagine how frustrated he is, busting a gut and a month later hasn’t lost a gram. Then I take skinfold measurements and the sum of all folds are now 35mm. He has now lost 10 mm worth of fat.

What does that mean? Well it means he has gained some muscle mass and lost body fat. Just because his weight hasn’t changed doesn’t mean he’s made no progress. Therefore Bob has lost bodyfat! Its exactly what he wanted. So as you see weight is just a piece of the overall puzzle.

Body composition is more important than weight!








 As you can see from the picture these males both weigh the same however the guy on the right’s body composition is more fat than muscle and the guy on the left is the opposite. More muscle of fat. That is why the scales are not a great indicator of progress used on their own. 

The next thing is Body mass Index (BMI). This is a floored way to measure weight and health. As you can see both males have the same BMI so used on its own the muscular guy is classed as Obese. This obviously isn’t the case.

In a nutshell when embarking on a weightloss journey make sure that you do not obsess over weight. Concentrate on your body composition, fat to lean muscle mass. Seek out a fitness professional that can help you measure responsibly and who can provide you with a solid training plan.

weightloss vs fatloss

If you havent already check out my website. http://www.startafreshpt.trainerize.com

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