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Wearing a mask... myths and facts






PT Monthly/December2020 1

Editor’s Intro


Welcome to PT Monthly Magazine! Barbells ring are you listening?

Welcome to the December issue of PT Monthly Magazine. This month has seen the reopening of gyms after suffering a second lockdown and more PTs and fitness classes online than ever before, will this be the way forward for 2021? Most of us will be glad to see this year draw to a close, but what will next year have in store? We cannot predict the future, but we can tell you this issue is a Christmas cracker! We have an exclusive interview with fitness warrior and cover star Sarah Dennis on page 6. We take a look at anabolic steroids on page 19. We step outside to train with Jodi Barrett on page 30 and Liam Holder gives us 4 ways to put yourself ahead of your fellow PTs on page 40. As the temperature outside drops we are hotting up with winter workout gear on page 54. Still struggling for ideas for presents? Check out the latest in fit tech gifts on page 61. We round the issue off with training supplements on page 70 and EMDUK tell us why it’s all about the instructors on page 81. If you’re impressed with all this you’ll be pleased to know that you can subscribe to the magazine for free at www.ptmonthlymagazine.co.uk it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Merry Christmas from the PTMM Team!




Jane Grandena

Janine Edwards

Paul Wood


pw@ptmonthlymagazine.co.uk Tel: 07858 487 357


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COVER PHOTO CREDIT: JODY WRIGHT © PT Monthly Magazine 2019-2020 PT Monthly Magazine is published by PW Media. PT Monthly Magazine is protected by copyright and nothing may be produced wholly or in part without prior permission. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. The opinions expressed in editorial material do not necessarily represent the views of PT Monthly Magazine. Unless specifically stated, good or services mentioned in editorial or advertisements are not formally endorsed by PT Monthly Magazine, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. We cannot accept responsibility for any mistakes or misprints. Unsolicited material cannot be returned. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Please note that we reserve the right to use all supplied photographs/images elsewhere in the publication or on our social media channels.

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4 PT Monthly/December2020

32 Equipment you need in 2020 /2021 for a HOME GYM

LIFE OF A PT Are you a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none? By Adam Powell






PERSONAL TRAINING: Fundamental to the future of Health and Fitness By Guy Griffiths

WEARING A MASK, myths and facts




PT PROFILES Meet Jane and Sunny



EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW this month we chat with fitness warrior Sarah Dennis






4 WAYS To Put Yourself Ahead Of The Other PTs At Your Gym by Liam Holder

insurance PAGE







INSURANCE - get the basics...

BEST WINTER RUNNING SHOES OF 2020 - To Power Through Any Type Of Weather



technology PAGE


BEST WATERPROOF JACKET 2020-2021: Stay dry, whatever the weather


51 54 PAGE


ARE YOU SICK OF THE BIG SOCIAL PLATFORMS? “Do they cost you money or earn you money” We introduce to you the newly launched Fitness Network GymBuddy!






WOMEN’S WINTER RUNNING LEGGINGS to Keep You Warm during those cold and chilly days


Supplements & Nutrition PAGE










TAKING TRAINING SUPPLEMENTS? You’re not as informed as you think you are!





GROUP EXERCISE Now instructors have the world at their feet


A HEALTHY TWIST on your favourite festive treats!

PT Monthly/December2020 5


6 PT Monthly/December2020


i, I’m Sarah, personal trainer and small private gym owner. I could say most people who know me would say I live, breathe, dream and eat health and fitness. From a young age, I was that crazy over-hyper kid, the one that got bullied in school for loving PE classes and playing football with the boys at break time rather than gossiping and putting on makeup in the school toilets.

Competing in several team sports and athletics in my school days I knew that when I left school I was going to be in the fitness industry for sure. My lack of interest in anything else slacked and alongside getting bullied, I still to this day have no reason why, I started to bunk off subjects I didn’t like and avoided anything that involved me having to speak out loud, write or number related work. PT Monthly/December2020 7

At the age of thirteen, I was training for the school athletics team in high jump and one hundred metre sprint where I took a pounding on the high jump pole several times on landing but my competitive streak kept me going, and as a teenager growing and changing I wasn’t as body aware of my strength and weaknesses as you are an adult and the adrenaline I guess kept me from realising the severity of the damage I had done. The next day I was paralysed waist down, just like that. I won’t go into too much detail, but after having scans I found out I had 3 ruptured herniated discs. The back specialist told me I had the vertebrae of a sixty-plus year old and I felt as if my life had been taken away from me.

“I admired the trainers I worked with and was known for always asking questions and getting involved in everything.” 8 PT Monthly/December2020

For nearly a good year or so I was back and forth at different hospitals with my mum, which I’m so grateful for her putting up with my teenage moods throughout this. Having maximum root nerve injections in my spine and every other treatment offered, except the option of surgery as I was too young. With nothing working or easing the pain and being told the discs would just eventually go back into place, I was losing the strength to beat this and felt I had hit a dead end. Through this time, I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food, with not being able to do any activity I felt trapped. I still remember very clearly the day I decided to restrict my food causing my

mum great upset, but the more she tried to help, the worse I seemed to become and over the next 3 plus years my anorexia became worse with my weight plummeting to around thirty five kilograms. Fast-forwarding to the age of 16 when you can apply for a job, I landed a full-time job as a receptionist at Virgin Active gyms and by this time I was able to walk but found it very hard to sit down or just standstill. Still recovering from my eating disorder, I was determined to get myself in the gym and start learning about anatomy and nutrition. With some highly experienced trainers there at the time, I felt very privileged that one trainer in particular really took care of me and got me into the gym using equipment and helping me to understand the spine. And to this day I don’t think I would have been able to do it without the support from other personal trainers, which brings me to my last article about being an inspiration. With time, patience, a bit of pain and some tears it wasn’t long before I qualified as a level 2 gym instructor. The gym manager was quick to notice my passion for this industry and helping others and was quick to give me part-time hours on the gym floor as a level 2 coach. From there I knew personal training was what I wanted to do. I admired the trainers I worked with and was known for always asking questions and getting involved in everything. PT Monthly/December2020 9

“The back specialist told me I had the vertebrae of a sixty-plus year old and I felt as if my life had been taken away from me.�

Six plus years later working in the same gym I progressed to an elite personal trainer, with my diary fully booked and a waiting list. Being known for my highly functional fun workouts, I was working with a wide variety of clients both male and female from very young to at least late seventies with my first client a lady in her mid-forties who had broken her spine. At this point in my career my back was still a major issue for me but I had a completely different attitude towards it, it’s now part of me and because of my condition I gained respect and a lot of knowledge and that is why I am the trainer I am today and it is the reason still to this day that the majority of those clients who saw me from my first steps in the gym have stuck by me. It got to a part in my life where I needed to take a risk in order to progress in my career and I made the decision to leave the gym and become a mobile trainer whilst also paying rent to a very quiet little gym nearby for those clients who loved using gym equipment and gym environment. It was through the year of me working as a mobile trainer that I managed to find the time 10 PT Monthly/December2020

studies qualifying in advanced Pilates, and concentrating on building my business and getting my health back to where it was after two and a bit years of deficit food plans and hours of training. Choosing Pilates was by far the best choice I made for clients and myself and has saved me a lot when it comes to clients wanting to cancel due to maybe not feeling one hundred per cent, instead they come in to do a chilled Pilates class. Pilates was my final stage to my back rehab, to this day I still live each day in pain, but it is part of me and I can work with it. Over the eighteen years, the lower region of my spine has become fused, restricting me a fair bit but it will never stop me. What I’ve learnt is that when someone tells you something you don’t want to hear i.e I got told I would possibly be in a wheelchair by the time I was thirty, don’t react emotionally and lose control, it may open up a surprising new world to you and missed opportunities.

to get ready my own private gym for clients only which I started working in late 2014. Through this year I had no time for my own training and nutrition, working 5am starts and 10.30pm finishes. I was starting to feel very low about myself, so I made a gutsy decision to join a CrossFit box in 2013.

year that made me realise that this sport was bringing back a lot of bad memories of unhealthy habits I had with food and I decided that the coach I had was not right for me at all mentally. Clients and friends started to comment about my 6 stone weight loss which happened in under a year.

From there on the next step in my own personal fitness journey started, my body had changed from all the training I had done over the years of consistent rehab work on my spine and postural correction, and I started to gain confidence within my aesthetic appearance. It was from there I decided I needed a challenge, something that scared me, something that was extreme.

The bodybuilding lifestyle quickly became addictive after winning and placing in 8 shows with invites to finals and international competitions. I was highly recommended to another coach, Mark Palfrey, via the lady who made my bikinis for competitions after she became seriously worried about my drastic weight loss for preparation for competition. Mark, who specialised in female bodybuilding is to this day a very close friend and I cannot thank him enough to where he got me in natural bodybuilding, placing 4th in Britain in a highly competitive figure category natural bodybuilding competition and 4th internationally in the bikini category.

In 2016 I decided to compete in a bodybuilding show knowing that I could never compete in CrossFit due to my spinal injury. I did loads of online research and being so naive to the bodybuilding world I met up with a bodybuilding coach, who at the time I felt completely intimidated by, and went ahead with everything he told me to do and in no time was on stage competing in the bikini novice class within a year. Cut a long story short a lot happened in that

This way of life was not possible for me to keep up, with having the goal in mind to do one little show to winning and placing in eighth, I stopped to focus on my PT Monthly/December2020 11

FOR ADVERTISING Paul Wood ENQUIRIES,  pw@ptmonthlymagazine.co.uk CONTACT  07858 487357 / +34 642572963

12 PT Monthly/December2020


PT Monthly/December 2020 13

jane cox Survival of the Fittest How a PT survived through 2020

Bournemouth based personal trainer Jane Cox was fairly new to 1-1 training after being thrust into a new career when her marriage broke down in 2018. Left to provide for her 2 children aged 12 and 16 she used her home gym and years of rehabilitating herself through countless injuries and physical problems through fitness. As she celebrates her 50th Birthday this month, she realised her passion for helping others and discovered a talent and a popular empathetic approach for women’s

training in their 40’s. Having worked hard to build a good local reputation with almost 100 strong client base pre-lockdown, face to face training had been a typical working day. Jane says ‘I had thought about taking my business online but it all seemed a bit of a challenge I wasn’t ready to face.’ Lockdown hit hard in March and it seemed the whole world turned upside down overnight. No sessions - no income, Jane became shell shocked like the rest of us. Instead of admitting defeat, Jane used her free time wisely and done her research. Online sessions were popping up everywhere and it became hard to ignore the shift that was happening in front of her eyes, it was time for a re-brand. Having a previous career in website and graphic design, Jane literally turned things around with a new logo, new message and a new website in a matter of days - it was time to face becoming an online fitness provider. After 3 weeks, she started to contact every client and popped the question, how about carrying on online? Most jumped at the chance and she loaned out some equipment from her home gym stash to get her loyal clients started from their living rooms. Some, she discovered had fared better than others mentally and physically. Some had literally drunk themselves into hospital through stress, some kept going watching Joe Wicks and some literally had given up. As a personal trainer, Jane thought it was part of the job to motivate them back into exercise and there and then her online business was born. One by one they came back, then the rule of six brought in so outdoor group boot camps took place in her garden and by also using the stretches of beautiful Bournemouth beach outside her privately owned beach hut followed suit. “I know more than anyone what exercise means to improve mental health having suffered from anxiety and depression for most of my life. Clients helped me as much as I helped them get some happiness back

14 PT Monthly/December2020

“I know more than anyone what exercise means to improve mental health having suffered from anxiety and depression for most of my life” in their lives which makes a relationship so important between client and PT”.   Restrictions eased and one to ones returned, and with lockdown 2 looming in the background future plans for online training had only just begun for her. As a true survivor and entrepreneur, Jane developed a start-up business specialising in group fitness online. This new fitness initiative has really struck a note with large/medium businesses and using this gap in the market brings business and personal trainers together with online meetings using ZOOM or alike software. Short burst live HiiT coaching to promote energy and positive mental health in the workplace for remote workers who are still working from home.  If you would like to find out more how you can sign up to become an accredited Team Live Fitness™ online trainer visit www.teamlivefitness.co.uk to find out more or contact Jane direct WhatsAPP: 07930219022. Photo credit: @ bluejuicephotography01

PT Monthly/December2020 15

sunny sorby I

have not always had a healthy lifestyle and been into fitness. Growing up, I was always very thin. In my 20’s my weight fluctuated during postpartum pregnancy. In my late 20’s, I had a back injury that led me to being prescribed pain killers. I became addicted to the pain killers, as well as sleeping pills, and I was a functioning alcoholic on top of that. I was also battling my ex-husband in court, through a five year divorce. Finally, I hit a point in my 30’s when I knew if I didn’t change my way of life, I would die, or even worse, hurt someone else unintentionally. I sought help in rehab, attended AA, I even had a sponsor. But I still ended up falling back into the same addictions. Finally after getting my first, (and only) DUI, I had truly hit rock bottom, and I decided enough was enough! I had met someone that loved me unconditionally, and I knew I couldn’t have a healthy relationship without becoming healthy myself. I quit everything right then and there, and never looked back. I wanted to be mentally, emotionally AND physically healthy again, and I knew the only way to achieve that was to do it on my own, for myself and no one else. I am proud to say I am 8 and 1/2 years clean and sober today. I have since married that special man, and wouldn’t be where I am today without his love and support. My road to fitness happened by accident. I was 39, 3 years clean and sober at the time, and had a healthy daily workout routine. But it was getting very stale and I wasn’t progressing anymore. I had hit a plateau. I also learned that with sobriety came an increased appetite. And now that I was in my 30’s, I had to work a lot harder at staying in shape than I did before.  One day at the gym, someone asked me if I thought about competing in fitness and bodybuilding competitions. I had never even considered it! Bodybuilding was for extremely dedicated individuals that

16 PT Monthly/December2020

lived in the gym and would eat, breath and sleep fitness! Right? Well, that wasn’t me. And I had a full-time career as a wife and mom. I didn’t have time to spend my life in the gym. There’s no way I could even be disciplined enough to come close to placing in a competition, even if I tried! And I am the kind of person that doesn’t even want to try something unless I plan

on winning! After doing a bit of research and soul searching, I decided I would make it a goal to compete by the time I turned 40. After all, what did I have to lose? I had an 11 year old daughter and 10 year old son that looked up to me, and I decided it would be fun to at least try. I knew if I was strong enough to fight my demons, conquer addiction and get sober, after making a

hunger for success. Last November, I was hospitalized after suffering debilitating pain along with haemorrhaging from a golf-ball sized cyst on my ovary and was diagnosed with pre-menopause. At 43 years old, I had a hysterectomy removing my entire uterus, including the cervix, and both ovaries. After my surgery, I was not able to return to the gym for months. Once I did, I couldn’t work out like I was used to. This was very depressing for me, but I didn’t want to give up, as I knew the importance of staying active. I got very sick this past February. They weren’t testing for COVID yet, but I have an unofficial diagnosis it was the virus. I am still not able to work out as hard as I would like to, but that doesn’t stop me from working out 5 days a week, even if it’s just 15 minutes of cardio or a quick home workout.  lifetime career of drinking and abusing pills, I could do anything!   I didn’t want my home life to suffer, so I decided I had to fit my “hobby” in on my time. I hired a coach and nutritionist and started training. I worked out 6 days a week at a minimum of 2 hours a day, at 4:30 am. I ate things I had never even heard of and pushed myself harder than I’ve ever pushed myself, both mentally and physically. I learned how strong I truly was, inside and out. I was shocked at how much I achieved in 3 months! I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose, just muscle to gain. I got down to my body-fat and weight goals. It was VERY hard work to reach my goals, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Getting the posing down was half the battle! Being on stage was both terrifying, and exhilarating! I love being glamorous and dressing up, so that part was easy and fun. But I was nervous about being on stage, half-naked and literally being judged on my physical appearance. Once I was up there, I felt an amazing sense of pride in all my hard work and nothing else mattered, “win or lose”. I entered in two classes and placed 2nd out of 26 competitors in Novice Bikini and 6th place out of 19 competitors in Masters 35-40. I was more than ecstatic to walk away with anything! And for me, 2nd place for my first competition was not too shabby.  

plan. So I decided to make it a business. I love helping people that struggle to be comfortable in their own skin because I know exactly what that feels like! All people are beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. And when someone decides to take that step to a healthier lifestyle, and get help in the process, I’ll move mountains to help them achieve that! There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone beat their own PR’s or start something they think they’ll never accomplish, and having them surpass those accomplishments. I started doing some modelling for competition bikini designers and various other agencies for fun. I also started presenting trophies at the bodybuilding competition shows. Which, in my opinion, is just as much fun as competing. I enjoy being behind the scenes and presenting the competitors with their trophies and witnessing the dedication and

With COVID and the chaos of this year, I have decided to take a step back from training people and just focus on my own health and “home-schooling” the kids. I still do modelling on the side now and then, and present trophies at the bodybuilding shows. My therapy is riding my motorcycle and getting a high naturally. I am truly blessed that everything I have been through in my life has led me to this exact place in my journey. I am living my dream life in my own version of perfection. I am very optimistic for the new year ahead in 2021! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.  Feel free to check out my YouTube Channel @Sunny Sorby or Barbie Qd, or reach out to me on: IG @babydollsun Facebook @Sunny Sorby  Parler @BarbieQd

I have decided to hang up my bikini for now and focus on maintaining my new addiction: staying in shape and eating healthy! I embraced my new healthy lifestyle and became obsessed with fitness and nutrition. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could about both, so I decided to research and study, which led to my interest in being a personal trainer. I had people asking me weekly about my workout routine and meal PT Monthly/December2020 17


18 Monthly/December PT PT Monthly/December2020 2020 18

Health Wellness

Anabolic steroids How are they used? Anabolic steroids can be injected or taken as a tablet. Other names • Roids, gear or juice. • Who uses anabolic steroids and why? The majority of people who use anabolic steroids for non-medical purposes identify as male, typically in their mid to late 30’s. A study completed by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre found the following people typically use anabolic steroids:

What are anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids are drugs that help the growth and repair of muscle tissue. They are synthetic hormones that imitate male sex hormones, specifically testosterone. Anabolic steroids have some legitimate medical uses, including for treating hormonal issues in puberty, and to treat muscle loss caused by other diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Some people use anabolic steroids for non-medical purposes, including to increase lean muscle mass and build strength and endurance, but only if used in conjunction with certain exercise and diet regimes. They

can also help people reduce fat and recover quicker from injury. Anabolic steroids are classed as performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs). These substances are taken by people with the intention of improving their physical appearance or enhancing their sporting performance. Corticosteroids are a class of drug used to treat inflammatory arthritis and other inflammatory conditions such as asthma. They are commonly referred to as ‘steroids’, and people often believe them to be the same thing as anabolic steroids. It should be noted that these are different substances that act on different parts of the body.

• Competitive athletes – who are motivated by their desire to succeed. • People concerned about their body image – recreational weight trainers and body builders and people working in the fashion and entertainment industries. • Body building professionals – people involved in body building as a competitive sport. • People who need muscle strength to do their job – bodyguards, security personal, construction workers, police and members of the armed services. • Young men – who want to increase their athletic performance or who are striving to reach the same physical appearance that is often portrayed in the media.

How do they work? Anabolic steroids work by imitating the properties of naturally occurring hormones. They have a similar chemical composition to testosterone and are therefore able to PT Monthly/December2020 19

activate testosterone receptors. Once the receptors are stimulated, a domino effect of metabolic reactions takes place as the drug instructs the body to increase muscle tissue production. There are different ways for people to use anabolic steroids non-medically. This can include three different methods, including: • Cycling – periods of use followed by equivalent periods of abstinence. • Pyramiding – periods of use where the amount is gradually increased to a peak, and then tapered down. Stacking – where different steroids are used at the same time, also following a use/ abstinence approach.

Side effects There is no safe level of drug use The overall evidence to demonstrate the benefits of anabolic steroids to significantly improve athletic performance is limited. Generally speaking however, some research has investigated peoples experiences after using anabolic steroids or other performance and image enhancing drugs. This research shows that people who use anabolic steroids experience an increase in muscle strength. People may use anabolic steroids in what they believe to be a healthy lifestyle context. They may not see themselves as injecting drug users. However, there are risks associated with using steroids without a prescription or medical supervision, even as part of a fitness training program. In the worst case, long-term heavy steroid use can lead to heart attack, stroke and death especially among men aged in their early 30s who combine steroids with stimulant drugs, such as speed and ecstasy. Anabolic steroids affect everyone 20 PT Monthly/December2020

differently. The following may be experienced: • water retention – leading to facial bloating • acne – leading to permanent scarring • irritability and mood swings • more frequent colds • aggression and violence • increased sex drive • sleeping difficulties. Longer-term effects may include: • liver damage • kidney or prostate cancer • high blood pressure • depression • cardiovascular complications • tendon/ ligament damage. Men Effects include: • reduced sperm count and fertility • shrunken testicles • baldness

• gynaecomastia (developing breasts) • involuntarily and long-lasting erection. Women Effects include: • facial hair growth • irregular periods • deepened voice • smaller breasts • enlarged clitoris. Pregnant women who use steroids risk passing on male traits to unborn daughters due to the increased male hormones in their bloodstream. The only way to avoid the risk of foetal damage is to stop using steroids at least 4 months before falling pregnant, as well as during pregnancy.

Young people Young men are more likely than young women to use steroids to gain weight and muscle mass. The risks of the following side effects are

Health and safety Steroids should only be injected with a prescription for a specific medical reason or under medical supervision. Injecting more than the recommended dose does not create larger muscles – the muscle simply becomes saturated. Higher doses only raise the risks of more adverse side effects without providing any additional benefits. It is not necessary to inject directly into specific muscles as the steroids are transported to all muscle groups via the bloodstream. There are many steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of harm caused by longterm steroid use. These include:

higher if steroids are injected by young men in their late teens/ early 20s, before they have stopped growing: • stunted growth • premature balding • acne scarring • stretch marks on chest and arms • prematurely-aged, ‘leathery’ skin • injuries from excessively intense gym workouts.

Injecting risks Injecting steroids can cause permanent nerve damage, which can lead to sciatica. Injecting in unhygienic environments or sharing equipment with others also increases the risk of contracting bloodborne viruses such as HIV/AIDS, tetanus or Hepatitis C or B.

Withdrawal Anabolic steroids do not cause physical dependence but people can find themselves relying on them to build confidence and self-esteem. This reliance can make it difficult to stop using them in the longer term. Fear of losing muscle size or definition can lead to depression and the pressure to continue use. The following symptoms may be experienced after completing an anabolic steroid cycle: • extreme tiredness • weight loss due to decreased appetite • decreased strength • depression. It can take up to four months to restore the body’s natural testosterone levels (if taking high doses for an extended period of time).

• using lower doses to reduce the risk of side effects • never injecting anabolic steroids directly into biceps, calf muscles or pectorals, to avoid causing permanent nerve damage • avoiding repeatedly injecting steroids into the same area of the body • limiting cycles to 8 to 10 weeks to rest the kidneys, liver and endocrine system • avoiding sharing injecting equipment with others to reduce the risk of contracting a blood-borne virus such as HIV or Hepatitis C • using a needle from an unopened package with every injection • avoiding combining steroids with diuretics such as caffeine, alcohol and other drugs like amphetamines (such asice and speed) • injecting anabolic steroids in a sterile location • discussing anabolic steroid use with a doctor, even if it is without a prescription • discussing the perceived need to take anabolic steroids with a counsellor.

“Injecting more than the recommended dose does not create larger muscles – the muscle simply becomes saturated. Higher doses only raise the risks of more adverse side effects” PT Monthly/December2020 21

What Is

Bigorexia? When left untreated, bigorexia can escalate and lead to: • steroid misuse • depression • thoughts of suicide Other mental health conditions, such as disordered eating and obsessivecompulsive disorder, may also play a role in this condition. There is still some debate in the medical community on whether bigorexia should be classified simply as a body dysmorphic disorder, or if it has more in common with eating disorders or addiction.


igorexia, also known as muscle dysmorphia, is a health condition that can cause you to think constantly about building muscle on your body.

Bigorexia shares some of the same symptoms as other disorders like anorexia nervosa and is a type of body dysmorphic disorder. Bigorexia appears to be on the rise, especially among young adults. Let’s take a look at the symptoms, risk factors, coping strategies, and treatments available for muscle dysmorphia.

What is bigorexia? Bigorexia is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) as a body dysmorphic disorder that triggers a 22 PT Monthly/December2020

preoccupation with the idea that your body is too small or not muscular enough. When you have bigorexia, you are fixated on the thought that there is something wrong with the way that your body looks. That can influence your behaviour. Muscle dysmorphia can look like many things, including: • spending hours at the gym, pushing your body far beyond its limits, then feeling compelled to return and do it again the very next day • following diets on a path to cutting weight and adding muscle that never seems to end • hating the body you live in and feeling like these perceived shortcomings of your body are equally clear to anyone who sees you

What are the symptoms of bigorexia? Bigorexia is primarily a psychological condition, though it can appear in physical ways. Someone with bigorexia might experience some of the following symptoms: • obsession with appearance sometimes called mirror checking • a fixation on your diet and dietary supplements • medication and steroid use related to physical fitness • dissatisfaction with your appearance that leads to depressed moods or anger Many symptoms of bigorexia may feel relatively normal. But when you are pushing your body to achieve fitness goals that

always seem out of reach, there may be more going on than simply wanting to be in good shape.

Are there risk factors for developing bigorexia? It’s not always clear who will experience bigorexia. As professionals may point out, certain life experiences and underlying psychological factors may make you more likely to have body dysmorphia. Both women and men can have muscle dysmorphia. Negative experiences during childhood, such as bullying or teasing about your size, may play a role in having this condition. A 2019 study of over 14,000 young people found that 22 percent of males and 5 percent of females reported having disordered eating patterns linked to working out and getting more muscular. The same study also found that having other mental health conditions can put you at higher risk for bigorexia. People into bodybuilding, certain sports, or wrestling communities are also more likely to have this condition.

Are there treatments for bigorexia? If you have bigorexia, you may be looking for ways to control your symptoms. While there are some things that you can do at home, you may need to seek a professional mental health provider to treat your condition.

Self-care measures You can start treating muscle dysmorphia

today by making changes, including: • limiting your exercise and weightlifting activities to 30 minutes to an hour per day • stopping your use of steroids, protein shakes, and fitness supplements • deleting calorie trackers and fitness apps from your devices • identifying and addressing other behaviours that may play into your condition, including purging, binge eating, smoking, and heavy alcohol use You may also want to start your treatment by calling or starting an online chat with the National Centre for Eating Disorders, support line (UK) 0845 838 2040

Medical treatments Also you may also want to speak to a mental health professional about your symptoms, especially if muscle dysmorphia is impacting your relationships and causing you to consider self-harm. These treatments may include: • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to id entify thought patterns and change your brain’s way of responding • exposure therapy/ritual prevention (E/RT) to help you find alternative ways to cope with negative preoccupations • perceptual retraining to change the way you see your body If you have muscle dysmorphia along with other mental health conditions, your provider may recommend a medication like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to help stabilise your moods during treatment.

How do I cope with bigorexia? Living with bigorexia means finding coping strategies that work. These strategies can help you with your symptoms and give you a sense of control:

• Participate in recovery and support groups for people with body dysmorphia. • Practice meditation and deep-breathing exercises. • Spend your active time outdoors instead of in the gym. • Keep a journal where you write down your symptoms and the way you are feeling. • Identify triggers and avoid them whenever you can. A trigger can be anything from a movie where people look the way you think you should to a person who criticises your body. You’re far from alone in living with bigorexia, whether you or someone you know experiences these symptoms. It’s now estimated that 1 in 30 people have some type of body dysmorphia. A documentary called “Bigorexia” has shed light on the way that muscle dysmorphia impacts the professional bodybuilding community. Talking to a friend, family member, or someone else you trust about your experiences with bigorexia can be a helpful first step in taking control back of your life from an obsession with looking a certain way. Muscle dysmorphia is a real health condition, and symptoms can be difficult to manage. More people are becoming aware of body dysmorphia and related problems since public figures, including Jane Fonda, Elton John, Princess Diana, Lady Gaga, Zayn Malik, and Taylor Swift, have grown honest about having body image concerns. As more people speak out about living with this condition, the stigma and myths around it can dissipate. There is help and support for you if you are living with muscle dysmorphia. A mental health provider can get you started on a treatment plan, and self-care changes can get your symptoms under control. PT Monthly/December2020 23




here will be parties, celebrations, food and alcohol. That delicious new year buffet and the traditional countdown champagne are so tempting. We all tend to overindulge throughout the holidays, eating things we do not normally consume, eating too much, failing to meal prep due to the holiday hustle, and succumbing to quick unhealthier options when we are on the go!  Temperatures drop so our outdoor activities tend to wane and comfort food and activities take their place. So, what is the price you pay for your holiday indulgences? Well, normally after the holiday period you step onto the bathroom scale and horror of horrors, you have gained a few pounds!! The dreaded Holiday Weight Gain Syndrome got us again!!!  This year let’s commit to ensuring that does not happen.   Holiday Weight Gain Syndrome usually starts its attack around Halloween and works its black magic all the way through the New Year.  Before you know it, you’ve lost some muscle, added five or ten pounds of fat and don’t feel so great starting off the New Year.  But there is good news. Holiday Weight Gain Syndrome is preventable. You don’t need to succumb to its temptations. You can 24 PT Monthly/December2020

even improve your body over the holidays and start the new year with a newfound confidence that you have complete control. You just have to follow the right holiday program involving weight training, cardio, nutrition and proper supplementation. That sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it?  Well, it doesn’t have to take up a ton of time or cost a lot of money.  Having daily awareness and a

strategy in place is half the battle and you are already ahead of 90% of all other humans!! Are you ready? Let’s dive into some holiday eating guidelines that should be set in stone and adhered to. By following these simple guidelines you will discover the sweet spot of holiday enjoyment and maintaining your physique without a ton of sacrifice.

drink mixed drinks with caloric mixers or juices.  I stick with dry red wine or a quality vodka and mineral water in moderation. 4) Drink Plenty of Water  Juices, soft drinks. Tea and coffee don’t count! Just good old plain water. Water flushes out toxins in the body, helps the body recover from dehydration caused by alcohol consumption. You will also feel full so that you will not overeat resulting in gaining weight.  5) Skip Dessert to Stop Consuming Empty Calories  Do you need those sweet and calorie-laden thingies? Especially after the feast which we normally have just consumed. I bet squeezing in that piece of cake or slice of pie to an already satisfied stomach is not going to help us maintain our physique. If you must have them, choose those that are not that sweet or even better, just have some fibrous fruits and nuts. Do this to keep your weight in check but also enjoy some variety. Cannot pass up the decadent pecan pie granma makes each year?  Then skip the mashed potatoes and heavy casserole at dinner and split a piece of pie with someone after dinner with some coffee!

10 Guidelines for a Holiday Season with ZERO Weight Gain In this first section of the guide, I would like to share with you a few guidelines that have helped me in the past to stay on track and not put on any excess weight between Halloween and the end of the year.  1) The Holiday Season Is Just A Few Days.  Keep everything in perspective. Although it is a time of festivities, it is only for a very short period of time. Don’t let a holiday indulgence turn into a week of unstructured unabashed over-consumption by taking home all the leftovers or storing more sweets and pastries than you need for that particular holiday. It is usually what people find in the fridge and on the kitchen shelf after the holiday that they continue to binge on. Empty the fridge and the shelves. This will definitely help you not to put on any weight during the holiday period. Enjoy your social events and then get back to clean eating. 2) Turn Your TV Set-Off.  Instead of watching all those holiday specials and spending days on Netflix, get moving! I like to sign up for races (yes, I

know there may be fewer this year if any so you may need to create your own family or neighbourhood event), try out a new healthy recipe (dust that crockpot off and find a stew, chilli, or stir fry with protein and veggies that looks delicious and will set you up for success for the week), take a dance class, read (this may not be active but your hands are not in the cookie jar), or pick up a new hobby. The season is all about spending time with family and friends and giving back; so what community events can you get involved in?  Just take the focus off food when possible. Yes, there will be endless parties and we will discuss how to manage these later but the rest of the time, keep moving!

6) Make Sure You Eat Before You Go to Any Holiday Gathering. You know you will be tempted by all sorts of unhealthy but delicious foods. Make sure you don’t go overboard by eating something that is good for you before you go. Try to make sure you are not hungry when you arrive, or you will be much more tempted to overeat as well. 

3) Steer Clear of Excess Alcohol to Avoid Weight Gain One gram of alcohol packs a massive 7 calories. In contrast, carbs and protein have only 4 calories per gram. Calories from alcohol are just, well, calories with zero nutritional value.  They will rapidly convert into fat fast when you do not burn them off quickly. Avoid high-calorie mixed drinks like cocktails that are full of sugar or beer which are high in carbohydrates which translate into even more calories. I ALMOST never PT Monthly/December2020 25

go for a drive through a nicely decorated neighbourhood this year. Have fun during this special time of the year.

Conclusion By putting all these things into play, you can not only avoid the Dreaded Holiday Weight Gain Syndrome, but you can also make improvements in your body over the holidays, leaving you pumped up and motivated for the new year instead of disappointed and discouraged because you let yourself backslide over the holidays.  Do a couple of HIIT workouts each week to save time and increase intensity!  Use that crockpot or Instapot for some great protein and veggie recipes!  Stock up on spices and herbal teas!  You are not dieting; you are living your healthiest life!! Good luck in the healthy holiday journey and begin today! The key is to enjoy small portions or bites of your favourite foods. I love pie so usually, I will share a piece with someone and ensure that I don’t load up on simple carbs with my dinner like the potatoes, bread, and stuffing.  

7) Drink some water before you go and always have a glass of water with each alcoholic drink while you are at the holiday party. Drinks can have a lot of hidden calories in them, so watch out.  8) Fill Your Plate with Some “Good” Foods First.  Pick some raw vegetables, but go easy on the dip. Turkey breast and lean ham or pork roast are other good choices. Don’t forget a nice plate of salad with a low-fat dressing and some fresh fruit for dessert. I like to take a healthy recipe and include copies of the recipe for everyone rolled up and tied with ribbon.  This way you know that you have a healthy option and are bringing a gift for everyone. 9) Don’t Cut Your Favourite Holiday Treats Completely Out.  If you don’t allow yourself the occasional small indulgence, you will be much more likely to break down and binge on all those cookies and treats.  26 PT Monthly/December2020

Eat several small meals a day. This old tip holds especially true during the holiday season. We tend to skip meals and indulge in one large holiday dinner with the entire family. Don’t starve yourself all day. Get some snacks in and most importantly start your day with a good, healthy breakfast. You will be able to enjoy your holiday more by stabilizing your blood sugar. You don’t want to spend the day being grumpy from not eating for hours, or be the first ready for a nap after overeating. 10) Take Some Time to Relax.  The holidays can be a very stressful season if we let them.  Many of us tend to overeat or medicate ourselves with food when we are stressed. Work in some extra time just for you. Sit in front of the fire with a good book or your favourite magazine, go get your nails done, take a bath or go for a walk. Do whatever works for you to calm you down and help you de-stress.  Above all, enjoy the holidays and remember they are not only about food but more importantly about friends and family spending quality time together. Treat yourself to some new holiday candles, listen to your favourite Christmas tunes, or

TRAINING PT Monthly/December 2020 27


s t c a F d n a Myths I

t's no myth: It not only matters if you wear a mask but also how you wear it.

Wearing a mask to protect against coronavirus has become part of daily life for many if not all around the world. Though wearing a mask is one of the most important things you can do to prevent coronavirus infection, there are still many misunderstandings about: • How safe and effective masks are • How to use them properly • When and where masks are needed

DISCOVER THE FACTS BEHIND THE MYTHS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS MASKS Mask Safety and Effectiveness Myth: Cloth masks don't protect you. Fact: Cloth face masks are effective. They create a barrier between your mouth and nose and those around you. This makes it more difficult for the droplets that spread coronavirus through coughs, sneezes and talking to reach other people. Cloth masks mainly keep you from unknowingly spreading the disease to

others, but some studies indicate that they may help protect you from large droplets and serve as an indirect reminder to avoid touching your face. This is why wearing a cloth mask inside all retail stores and public transportation has been mandatory since April 2020. And as more services such as getting a haircut or eating in a restaurant are being allowed, it is as important as ever to continue wearing a mask. We're all in this together. Myth: Other masks are more effective than cloth masks. Fact: Different types of masks serve different purposes, but cloth masks are highly effective for the general public. The average person who is not working in a medical environment with COVID-19 patients should wear a cloth mask to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers. 28 PT Monthly/December2020

Myth: Masks can cause carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up. Fact: Some people have suggested that carbon dioxide from exhaling gets trapped under the cloth and can make you sick. This isn't true. Properly fitted masks offer adequate airflow while still covering your nose and mouth. This makes the accumulation of carbon dioxide impossible. However, people with breathing problems, children under age 2, and those who can't remove the mask without assistance should not wear one.

How to Wear Masks Myth: The way you wear a mask is not important. Fact: Wearing a mask correctly is the key to making it effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, a cloth face mask needs to have the following to be effective: • Cover both your nose and mouth • Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face • Be secured with ties or ear loops • Have multiple layers of fabric • Allow for unrestricted breathing • Able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or shape changes

Where and When to Wear a Mask Myth: You only need to wear a mask if you feel sick. Fact: According to the CDC, studies suggest that many people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic, meaning they show

no symptoms. You may have the disease and unknowingly spread it to others, including those with underlying conditions who have a higher coronavirus risk and are more vulnerable to severe illness. Asymptomatic carriers can increase the disease's spread if they aren't taking proper precautions, including wearing a mask, washing their hands frequently and social distancing. Myth: If you're home, you don't need to wear a mask. Fact: In most cases, this is true. However, if you do feel sick, have mild symptoms, and live with others, it's important to wear a mask to protect them. Do not leave your home. Try to isolate yourself from healthy people you live with. Be sure to wear a mask if you leave your quarantine room or if they enter the room you're quarantining in. Myth: If you've had coronavirus, you don't need a mask. Fact: If you've had a coronavirus before or had an antibody test come up positive, you may believe that you don't need to wear a mask. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no way to know whether having coronavirus once provides immunity from the virus again or how long that your immunity might last. This means that you could potentially catch the disease again and spread it to others. Everyone should wear a cloth mask when in public unless they have breathing problems,

are under age two, or can't remove the mask without assistance. Myth: You don't need to wear a mask outside. Fact: At this time, being outside is generally considered safer than being inside. When taking a stroll or participating in other outdoor activities by yourself or with people you live with, a mask isn't required. However, when you find it difficult to maintain at least six feet of distance from people you don't live with – such as exercising on a sidewalk or eating out at a restaurant – it's important to have your mask on. You should always have your mask on hand when you leave your home. Myth: If I'm wearing a mask, I don't need to stay home. Fact:As we each make decisions about going out safely, masks are just one strategy in a toolbox of different prevention measures. Wearing a mask is highly effective and can make your daily life safer for those around you, but it's not a permission slip to "return to normal." It's important to stay home when you can and continue practising other coronavirus prevention measures like social distancing to help reduce the spread. PT Monthly/December2020 29

Embrace t h e G r e at Outdoors with Your Training BY JODI BARRETT


s our Kettlebell Kickboxing crew left lockdown after 3.5 months of indoor home training, for our first month of training we ventured outdoors. I have trained outdoors before and have always enjoyed it, but this time it seemed different. After months of being separated from everyone it was like everyone was more aware of their surroundings. In this article I will take you through our experience post Covid-19 March 2020 lockdown and then share with you the benefits of training outdoors.

When we reopened, it was summer so the air was warm and the outdoors held a brilliant, lush green. When we train indoors, we always train barefoot so when entered our new training space, the great outdoors, some of us chose to really connect and embrace the outdoors and trained barefoot. With the warm grass beneath our feet, we not only felt connected with each other again, but connected with the earth. The sky seemed bluer and the green in the trees and on the grass was incredible. I remember talking about the colors, it had 30 PT Monthly/December2020

felt like you were seeing the colors for the first time. Our training experience seemed heightened because of the lack of previous connection in the months prior. I think the benefits you receive when you train outdoors was increased for our crew. The weather was sometimes unpredictable, with threatening rain, but without fail 5 to 10 minutes before class the perfect day emerged. We had sixty minutes of incredible connection with the outdoors as we sweated our way through a kettlebell

kickboxing workout. Still practicing proper physical distancing, we felt the social barriers of the last few months slip away. I got to watch the faces of my clients as they reconnected with each other and with nature, all while training to keep their bodies strong. Some of the vast benefits from training beyond physical are becoming more efficient, less stressed, being more creative, increased self-esteem and these are just some. You become a better version of

yourself when you follow a healthy lifestyle. Now let us take all the benefits that training already has to offer and add in the benefits of training outdoors! 1. Increased sunshine means increases in Vitamin D levels which help optimize your health 2. Sensory stimulation 3. Connecting with the earth can bring serenity, therefore reducing stress 4. Improves feelings of your well-being and can lower depression 5. Fresh clean air 6. Changes up your routine 7. Outdoor training can be low of cost or free If you ever get the opportunity to take your training outdoors, I highly recommend it, because when you work your cardiovascular system and take in the fresh air your body will feel incredible. As much of this article was based on our most recent experience

with training after lockdown, I reached out to some of my clients and asked them to share their outdoor experience. “I loved it! It was mentally and physically exactly what I needed. Grounding, the sun, a good sweat, great people. It was the first and only thing I felt safe going back to.” Ashley H “After being locked in the basement, working outside gave a sense of freedom, freshness. Warmth of the sun, fresh air, listening to the birds chirping, hugging the trees, workout with the high vibe tribe, laughter, seeing people’s faces made me appreciate human connection and the beauty of nature.” Amrutha “Being outside barefoot, breathing in the fresh air helped ground me and made me feel closer to nature while getting in a great workout. Excellent for aligning everything in your body. Getting to see the rest of the KBKB family made it even better. It was

good for mind, body and spirit, especially in such troubling times.” Cara W I believe there is much to be said about training outdoors and I think that training barefoot like we do also allows a connection to the earth you do not get when wearing shoes. I often relate it to feeling sand between your toes or how you feel when the ocean tickles your toes. Our bodies are created to move, and I think our bodies experience a certain euphoria when our senses are awakened. For these reasons alone I believe our outdoor training was such a positive experience we will most definitely be scheduling outdoor training when the snow melts and when the sun warms the grass! Join us Online www.kettlebellkickboxingcanada.com Follow us on Instagram @kettlebellkickboxingcanada

PT Monthly/December2020 31

EQUIPMENT YOU NEED IN 2020 /2021 FOR A HOME GYM D ue to a second serge thus a second lockdown of gym closing, there seems to be more and more PTs setting up their very own garage gyms.

Gone are those days when a healthy lifestyle and a perfect figure could be achieved only by starving oneself. In these modern times, we have a more proactive and a healthier alternative to the “dying and dieting” perspective. Today, it’s better to start investing in the best gym equipment for your home. Initially, working out and physical training was an activity limited only to the four walls of a gym. However, now the concept of “home gym” is being adopted by a lot of people. At-home exercise equipment provides us with a more convenient and personalised space for working out in the company of various home gym machines. The following article will guide you on how to design your very own perfect, compact home gym by highlighting some of the very best gym equipment in 2021 to invest in.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING EQUIPMENT There are a lot of factors to consider before you jump into buying everything you need for your home gym. Below, you’ll find some of the things you need to think about.

Space Deciding on the best gym equipment is not an easy task. According to several home 32 PT Monthly/December2020

gym reviews, the most crucial step in designing an at-home gym is choosing an appropriate space and that will allow you to practice your daily regime with ease. Having a clear idea about the space will help you choose the type of home workout equipment you can have. Home exercise equipment like free weights requires a maximum of 50 square feet of space, 30 square feet space is needed for treadmills, and the famous multi-gym station musthave 50-200 square feet.


Having clarity about what you want and need to achieve through your home gym

equipment is essential. Some people are looking for a regimen that focuses more on weightlifting, while others prefer to practice more cardio exercises in the convenience of their home. Identifying your needs and following up on that will keep you motivated and allow you to make the most of your equipment.

Features Now that you have a few home gym ideas, you can easily decide which features will make any at-home gym equipment the best and most suitable for your space. The wide range of exercise machines available can be categorised into three types:

“At-home exercise equipment provides us with a more convenient and personalised space for working out” BODYWEIGHT RESISTANT REGIMEN AND EQUIPMENT


Bodyweight resistance is the most simple and effective exercise regimen. These exercises are designed to make use of our own weight as resistance, and it leads to producing more muscle strength.

Weight training is known to enhance the shape of your body by giving it a more sculpted look as it helps in developing leaner muscles. Stack and plate-loaded machines are ideal for weight training as they are safe and easy to use. Additionally, cable and pulley machines are considered to be most effective for weight training and are famous for their versatility.

Ankle weights, resistance bands, and tubing are some of the famous bodyweight resistant equipment for home gyms. They are characterised as compact and affordable.


CARDIO REGIMEN AND EQUIPMENT Cardio exercises are extremely beneficial to our overall health and improve the functioning of our lungs, heart, and circulatory system. Treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, and elliptical trainers are some of the must-have home gym equipment that is perfect if you want to have intensive cardio workout sessions at home.


Cardio and Weight training equipment are pricey and expensive as they are designed to be multipurpose and include a wide range of features. Body resistance equipment, like dumbbells, kettlebells, a jump rope, or a stability ball, is budget-friendly if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money.


Adding kettlebells, dumbbells, resistant bands, and weight vests that have proven themselves to be modern, multipurpose, and versatile home gym essentials to your home gym is a good idea. Combined with the best gym equipment, these tools will slowly work miracles on your body.

Any of the equipment below would be a great addition to a home gym. Identify your workout goals, the space available to you, and how much you’re willing to spend. Then, take a look at the choices below to identify what will work best for you.



The quest for the best gym equipment is not an easy one, but luckily we have an answer for you. The Bowflex Home Gym Series is the most reliable equipment to have in order to practice extensive weight training.

The famous Marcy Smith exercise equipment for a home gym will satisfy you with instant results through its ultra-modern features. The multifunctional arm press feature lets you do exercises that will enhance the strength of your biceps and triceps.

It has a power rod of 210 lb. resistance and can be increased to 310-410 lbs. This compact home gym equipment allows you to perform 60 exercises to energise your entire body. For your safety, the handgrips are designed to be strong and give you more control during extraneous workouts.

For long-lasting use and improved performance, the aircraft cable of this device has a strength of 2000 lbs. The heavy-duty steel frame comes with 6 weight plate pegs that allow you to store the weights on the machine and give you easy access. This single, all in one device will cater to all of your workout needs.

Pros: Compact and space-saving Power resistance can be increased up to 410 pounds Cons: The rowing function has no support

Pros: Can be used to perform a wide range of exercises Strengthens different muscle groups Cons: Assembling the cable system is a bit complex Best Value of All

PT Monthly/December2020 33



For those who are looking for a budget-friendly home gym equipment, Weider Ultimate Body Works is famous for its ability to enhance your body strength and shape within a short period of time without breaking the bank.

If you want to start a body resistant regimen and are looking for the perfect small home gym equipment, then the TRX All In One Home Gym Bundle can solve your problem. As the name indicates, it includes all the necessary items needed for a smooth body resistant regimen.

You can work on building strength in your chest and shoulder area by easily doing bench pressing through its high pulley system. Additionally, you can focus on developing your core area and abs by performing v-crunches. The high pulley system of this cheap home gym will also work well in toning your back. Pros: Compact, affordable, and space-saving Comes with a 90-day parts and labour warranty Cons: The seat doesn’t slide up and down

You will get a suspension trainer, indoor/outdoor anchor, 4 various exercise bands, and more, all in one package. For those who don’t have much space but still want a great workout, this is the equipment for you. Pros: Portable gym you can take anywhere Multipurpose and ideal for limited spaces Cons: Pricy

5. BODYBOSS HOME GYM WORKOUT EQUIPMENT The BodyBoss Home Gym Workout Equipment is designed to be extremely convenient. This portable and highly compact home gym equipment has all the features that you would find in a high-class gym. You can practice exercises that will improve and further develop both your lower body and upper body. Moreover, it can also be used to perform cardio exercises for a fast fat burn. Pros: Lightweight and compact Can be used to perform 300+ exercises Cons: No instructions are included on how to do the exercises

6. FITNESS REALITY 810XLT SUPER MAX POWER Another essential home gym equipment, the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power has a high and low row pulley system which helps in forming stronger muscles in the upper and lower back. The strong leg hold-down is adjustable and can be managed easily according to one’s needs. The lower rear crossbar has extra space, which can be used for placing benches and footrest. It can support 265 weight plate capacity and includes one 39” lat bar. Pros: It has a strong frame The pulley system is effective for upper and lower back Cons: Assembly takes time and patients

34 PT Monthly/December2020

7. ICON FITNESS GOLD’S GYM XRS Space-saving, easy to use, and dependable are the qualities that make ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS stand out. The high pulley is designed to enhance lats while the low pulley will tone your leg muscles. The multi-grip bar will give you more control and stability while exercising. Additionally, you will get a free exercise chart designed by a professional trainer. Pros: Easy to assemble with detailed instructions Helpful workout chart Cons: It doesn’t come with weights

9. OYO PERSONAL GYM – FULL BODY PORTABLE GYM EQUIPMENT This total home gym is constructed in such a way that it will give you instant positive results. The SpiraFlex will allow you to do intensive workouts for fat loss. Moreover, like any weight training device that builds up muscles and increases core strength, OYO Personal Gym will give you these same benefits. Pros: Perfect for both men and women Ideal for people who are recovering from an injury

8. TOTAL GYM 1400 DELUXE HOME FITNESS EXERCISE The Total Gym 1400 Deluxe Home Fitness Exercise equipment will cater to your workout needs in a matter of 10-20 minutes by strengthening and toning all your major muscle groups simultaneously. You can perform 60 and more exercises according to the cardio and weight training regimen using this equipment. Pros: Attachments included give you options to exercise at home Rocks steady and glides smoothly Cons: Top-mounted flip chart is hard to read

10. FUSION MOTION PORTABLE GYM The Fusion Motion Portable Gym is perfect for an effective body resistance regimen. Manufactured with steel bars, it can handle heavy weights and extensive workouts for long durations. The detailed instruction booklet will assist you in performing more than 200 exercises to get the most out of it. Pros: The ab roller and door anchor are good additions Comes with a guide of exercises and set workouts Cons: The rollers have a little friction When creating their home gyms, many people run into

Cons: Resistance cannot be increased

SOME COMMON QUESTIONS questions. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions to help you overcome challenges in the early days of working with your home gym.

Where Should I Set up a Home Gym? Setting up an effective at-home gym is generally an easy process. First, choose a room that you feel is spacious enough. Basements are ideal as they are usually soundproof. Then, add a couple of touches to your selected room through good lighting and a ventilation system.

What Are the Benefits of a Home Gym? To begin with, a home gym is comfortable to use as it is in a safe, comfortable space, and you can access it any time. Additionally, it is a one -time investment and saves you from the monthly cost of gyms.

in mind the standards that will ensure your safety. However, it is recommended to read and learn about the equipment before use so that you can proceed with caution and care. It is also important to read instructions carefully before setting everything up.

How Often Should I Work out?

Final Thoughts

For beginners, working out two or three times per week is a good start. For people who are used to extensive workouts, going to four to five times per week is ideal.

Is Gym Equipment Safe? Home gym equipment is designed keeping

Creating a safe workout space at home is a great idea, but when training clients, that environment must be safe for them too. Do make sure that you have the correct permission and insurance cover to provide a good workout space for you and your clients. PT Monthly/December2020 35

BUSINESS 36 PT Monthly/December 2020

Life of a PT BY ADAM POWELL Are you a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none? You know the type and we have all been there at some stage in our careers. A PT, who has around 10 sessions per week in a gym, then becomes a sports massage therapist in the evenings along with teaching group exercise classes 5 times a week. Now if this is your idea of a great week of work then I am happy for you. The reality is you have 3 part-time jobs and will spend several hours a week dashing from one to the other whilst not earning a lot of money. Trying to appeal to several different market groups is appealing and initially a good idea when starting your career. You need to get clients in and start to gain experience. Soon though I suggest you start to think about long term which type of cliental you want to be working with. Athletes, pre/postnatal ladies, weight loss using a certain type of diet e.g. Keto, 40+ age group. The list is long and each has potentially a very large client base you can tap into. Malcolm Gladwell is famous for inventing the 10,000 hours rule to become an expert in any subject or field. So if you’re working 20 hours per week, it is going to take you just over 10 years to become an expert and that is without taking a holiday! Going back to the Jack-of-all-trades PT, if you are diluting this with three jobs each week you can see you will never truly master one role.

So what is the answer? Networking and marketing.

Networking is often overlooked in the fitness industry. Many years ago I was averaging around 40 hours per week of PT. How did I get to these numbers? I decided rather than teaching classes and learning massage I would network with therapists, physios, group ex instructors such as Pilates and Yoga. Think about it. You have approximately 20 – 30 clients on your books. A massage therapist, physio etc. will

easily have over 100 clients on their books, Yoga and Pilates instructor probably the same because of the volume of clients and people they see is always going to be higher than a PT. So by offering to network and work with others, you are opening up your services to hundreds of potential clients who will work with you why? Because someone has recommended you they trust. In a way, it’s free marketing. It just takes time to build those network relationships. The added bonus to this is you can add value to your clients by offering a network of services. Try to arrange a discount both ways. If your clients go for a treatment they get 10-20% discount. You could offer the physio clients a similar discount on their first block of sessions. Marketing and sales for some reason are not considered by PTs as an essential part of their business. This is one of the reasons they do not actually have a business. It is very easy to think that posting on social media is your marketing and that is all you need to do. For sure that is important but not the whole area you should be concentrating on. And how can you create a marketing strategy/plan if you are doing three different roles? Are you going to focus on building your massage business, your PT client numbers or your group ex classes? As one becomes more successful due to the successful marketing you will have to reduce your time spent on the other services you are offering. One option you do have is to recruit other trainers, masseuses and instructors to cover for you when you are working. Now, this is good because you are starting to finally build a business!

working from home during a lockdown. Study and learn as much as you can about your chosen field of expertise. What interests them and decide whom you are going to be working with for the next 20+ years of your career. Finally, do not undersell yourself. During the first lockdown, I saw so many people giving away free content through social media, advertising cheap online classes etc. Good luck with that moving forwards into lockdown 2.0 and beyond. In the area, I live the going rate for a 1 hour PT session is £50.00 per hour. We are a service industry, you can only work so many hours per day and week and thus limited to what you can earn. If you continue to give away free content without it leading to future sales your business will suffer. Each issue I will be covering a certain aspect of running a PT business and explaining how to make yours a success. Everything from basic business skills, communication, podcasts and education, marketing and sales, social media, networking, how to structure your sessions, online coaching/PT and more. If you have any questions or there is something you would like to see in this article you can contact me via email adam@cotswoldpt.com

Now more than ever you should look to become an expert in your field. Promote yourself consistently on social media, write articles and blogs, tie these in with a marketing campaign, network with others, look at your client list and see if there are any companies they own or work for that would be interested in you doing a talk to their employees via Zoom or Microsoft Teams on how to keep fit and healthy whilst PT Monthly/December2020 37

Personal Training:



he fitness industry is going through a revolution. Technological advances in fitness streaming, apps, and member support have developed at a rapid pace. Clubs have been shut down, re-opened, locked down again, and some businesses have already gone for good.

Yet more people are interested in health and fitness than ever before. Existing fitness fans quickly adopted apps and livestreaming to tide them over or replace their club experience. However, inexperienced people need more support. While some will look to apps alone, many people will need proper

encouragement and motivation if they are to make significant lifestyle changes. Let’s get back to basics. For training to be personal, there needs to be a person involved. The club where you do the training is a less important factor. Likewise, the app you use plays a part, but it is not the key. As a PT based in a club, you can win clients by doing inductions, walking the floor, being helpful, friendly, approachable, and offering free advice. But when the club is closed, your pipeline is stagnant. Depending on local restrictions, you can still meet with clients outdoors, but this is maintaining rather than developing your business.

How are you moving online? Shifting your offering online not only helps with keeping your clients engaged, but also allows you to grow. Your existing customers will help you to define how you go online and what you offer. You could focus on zoom sessions or designing “at home” programmes, nutrition advice or recipes, sending messages of encouragement or making high-five calls. As well as your existing customers, it is also worth talking to or surveying your exclients, prospects, and any other leads you might have. Find out where you can help them with their health and fitness. Making suggestions can help to frame your research, but be curious and ask open questions. They might request something you do not want to provide. In this case, you could still help them, with a referral to a fellow fitness professional. 38 PT Monthly/December2020

yourself. Build a bridge for people who want to progress and need your personal training. You could be the coach who takes people beyond the Couch to 5k, or the extra motivation and step up from online workouts like Joe Wicks. Thousands of people have invested in fitness equipment from kettlebells to exercise bikes in 2020. Make it your mission to ensure they put them to good use and don’t become a doorstop or clothes hanger.

Social Prescribing

Your specific talents, both in the fitness/ health/nutrition space, and in the technology sense, will be critical. You might want to spend some time developing your skills in one or more areas. As well as building a business that your customers and prospects want, you need to follow your calling too, if you are going to make it a success. Online sessions can feel less personal sometimes. However, you can still develop a personal relationship, or use online (calls, sending programmes by email, nudges by SMS, etc.) to maintain contact in-between face-to-face sessions.

The level of communication and interaction is the same. Club members may get an extra hello and quick chat when they visit, but non-club members get an extra email or push message through the app. Interestingly, both are just as likely to purchase additional time or programmes on top of the standard remote coaching, a one-to-one PT session for example. Recommending a specific app or platform for your clients is a good idea. You should also be open to their suggestions, or look at the apps they use, as long as you can maintain your service and standards.

Remote Coaching

Carve a niche and build a bridge

Several businesses I work with have developed remote coaching for exercise and nutrition, which have sold equally well to members in the club as members outside.

Although more people are showing an interest in health and fitness, and there are likely to be fewer clubs in the near future, it’s still important to make a niche for

Another big opportunity on the horizon is social prescribing. If you are genuinely interested in helping people with their health, both physical and mental, then it is worth building relationships with primary care networks and link workers. People being referred (or self-referring) are unlikely to want to build muscle or get a beach body, but many of them will be looking for support and motivation from a personal trainer. As you develop your products, you should look at your processes and systems too. Think about how your clients will upgrade or downgrade from different ‘memberships’, or where there is crossover in content and communication strategies. While you want to make it as personal as possible, standardisation allows you to scale your offering more easily. Check out the article in PTM June 2020 on subscriptions, and the last issue on how testimonials, referrals and case studies are great stories that can help boost your value and help support

A more personal touch is needed Personal training is at the core of the future of health and fitness. Sure, technology will play a role, and will be presented as the new solution. But as we come out of lockdown, many people will need a more personal touch to support their health and fitness. Be there for them, and you will be a part of that future. Guy Griffiths is a coach to independent gym owners and personal trainers, and a member retention specialist. His mission is to help your members to get fit and stay healthy by working on member engagement processes, systems, and strategies. Guy’s book Stick Around (strategies to keep your gym members motivated) has 4.9 stars on Amazon, and he is a regular speaker at industry events. Find out more at ggfit.com/gom

PT Monthly/December2020 39





utting yourself ahead of the rest of the PTs in your gym can be a tough thing to do especially if you are new to the industry or like most commercial gyms now, there are about 20 personal trainers working in there trying to grab at clients all the time. Now after 9 years on the gym floor at both commercial and private gyms plus having some fantastic business mentors who have helped me to craft my business, you really do pick up a few things that help you stand out amongst the rest. There are obviously a lot more than the 4 ways I’m going to talk you through as I personally am not a pushy sales type who will run around the gym floor trying to fill their diaries with consultations playing a huge numbers game. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen it work with other PTs but I personally prefer to show prospects why they should be approaching me for the results they want and how I can help them reach these goals.

Have A Clear Client Process & Journey in Place: One huge reason that I see a lot of people lose clients is the lack of leadership through their journey and towards their goals. If you want to retain a client or attract a client, you need to be able to show them a clear path and journey towards their goals. We have an entire journey planned out from the client enquiry phase that they will go through unknowingly which is more for us to know all clients are going through the 40 PT Monthly/December2020

same process basically ensuring the same great client experience. This is what the start of that process looks like: Client enquiry - Calendly invite sent out for their zoom/face to face consultation - Once they have booked we will send out a pre-consultation form for them to fill in - We then have the consultation. There are multiple other phases we will go through after this but as I said it’s more of a checklist for them. What will provide them with reassurance and a clear sight of a result will be seeing you gathering information about them and their needs/ wants (pre-consultation phase), showing clear interest and enthusiasm in where they want to go (consultation phase), goal setting and the detail that goes into working to those goals. Everyone will have a different way of setting this up but it helps both you and the client to have these clear processes in place.

Showing Your Results & Knowledge This sounds like an easy one to do, which it is but it’s not something that we always do. Firstly, if you are new to the industry then a great recommendation that a mentor of mine spoke about in a recent talk for people who have just passed is to provide free training for friends or family. This can work well and is something that I have done previously. I used a few family members mainly because they knew it was for work and that I wanted to build my business, they worked extremely hard without question to help me, which is always a bonus. I would recommend deciding before you start what you want to get out of the training. Is it progress photos? Is it a testimonial? Is it other forms of social proof?

When you are actually on the gym floor the easy way to show your results is actually when you are with clients (people watching them transform of X amount of months) or through marketing i.e leaflets, ads or banners on the gym floor. Knowledge, on the other hand, you can take absolutely every opportunity to show people how you can use yours to help people. Whether it’s classes, inductions or generally just helping people on the gym floor, take advantage of these opportunities to show what you know and how you can help the potential client to reach their goals. If they have problems or issues ensure you can provide them with a solution.

Build A Community This is probably my favourite way of both building your clientele and retaining it also. We are in 2020 and in no better time to build a community as you can literally do every bit of it on your phone thanks to amazing tools such as Facebook, IG, Notion, Vimeo, TrueCoach etc. The possibilities are literally endless when it comes to doing this! Building a community has many benefits for you and for your clients! For you: • It helps to have an entire group accountable to you and accountable for each other. If you can keep them accountable to each other it’s amazing for your business and client retention. • You can absolutely maximise your revenue for minimal work output. If you have an automated system of on-boarding clients you then simply just have to look after them or help to ensure they progress. • You can create your own following and movement which can really help you to grow as a business. • Can be a more cost-effective for attracting and picking up clients as it’s more of a volume model. • Less work on programming.

Show A Clear Understanding Of Their Pains, Their Goals & What Solution You Can Provide Them With I think we’ve all been there when we are on the phone to Sky, O2 or Amazon and something with the item/product you have purchased just isn’t working. You are on the phone to a person 8 hours into a 10 hour shift who isn’t listening to your problem properly, they aren’t listening to what your pains actually are and they are reading from some script they have in front of them. All you want at the time is someone who understands what you’re saying, is willing to help as much as they can and even if they can’t directly help you they will try to help sort some sort of solution at least.

who can provide a client or a prospect with the solution to their pain and the road to their dreams. That’s what a client ultimately wants to hear, that you have a solution but don’t sell them WHAT YOU CAN’T DO! This isn’t going to lead them down a great road where they will recommend you to family and friends. Do regular goal settings, regular check-ins every week or two and generally just drop them a text to see how they are. The more communication that you can have with them, the better. This one is similar to the first point but it brings in the more emotional point of actually understanding your client’s pains as an individual. These are 4 process-driven ways that are guaranteed to help you bring in some new clients and retain the awesome ones that you have.

BE THAT PERSON This one is similar to the first point but it brings in the more emotional point of actually understanding your client’s pains as an individual. Be the person

For your clients/prospects: • A lot more cost-effective for a brilliant product. • Support and guidance from a brilliant coach at a better price. • Support from people who are in the same situation and possibly the same goals as you. • A great social aspect of meeting and making new friends. We could list lots of different benefits for both sides but the main thing that I can say is to get working on your community soon! It is definitely worth putting some time into this area.

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INSU R ANC E A R E YO U C O V E R E D ? 42 PT Monthly/December2020


orking out in a gym comes with risks. Risks impact customers, owners, and workers in the gym. Even though gym members usually sign standard waivers, gym owners wisely carry general and other types of liability insurance. Members can get hurt and, when injured, may file a lawsuit against the gym and/or their personal trainer. Personal trainers probably won’t be covered in a commercial general liability contract. If the trainers are self-employed and rent space from the gym, the gym’s insurance policy doubtfully covers claims against them. New and even experienced personal trainers may not think about matters related to liability insurance. Such an oversight can prove disastrous if ever found at fault for a client’s injury. Liability insurance protects professionals whose assets could be at risk after a mishap.

m Personal trainers may or may not be required to carry insurance when training people at gyms or other locations. m Purchasing insurance policies to cover personal training business-related losses is generally advisable. m Low-cost insurance could prevent financial losses due to negligence.

Explaining “Have to Have” Does a personal trainer have to have insurance to train people? Those who wish to rent time or barter with a gym may be required to purchase insurance before being allowed to accept clients, which could be a requirement with both major gyms and small ones. Or, the gym may not require the trainer to purchase insurance. Different gyms are sure to have different policies. Other locations may require personal trainers to carry insurance. To train people at a community centre, for example, could come with such a requirement. A personal trainer could teach in a public place or at his/her home and do so without insurance. Certain clients could refuse to work with a trainer who doesn’t carry insurance, but such instances are rare. So, the trainer may or may not need insurance depending on the circumstances. Trainers should also check local state laws to determine if businessrelated insurance is mandatory. Mandatory or not, there is no good argument for not carrying insurance. Most experienced fitness professionals believe it wise to purchase professional liability insurance for personal training. Standard general liability insurance might be fine for certain businesses, but the physical nature of personal training comes with more risks than other business ventures. Insurance specifically intended for personal trainers may be far more beneficial. Imagine if a client tore a hamstring due to a personal trainer’s mistake. The trainer could be required to pay medical bills, pay for the client’s pain and suffering, and more. Had a policy been in place, insurance could cover the losses associated with negligence.

Whether a personal trainer is mandated to purchase insurance really is moot. Purchasing insurance is advisable when requiring clients to perform physical activities and exercises.

The Question of Negligence Negligence means the trainer did something or failed to do something, which led to a client’s injury. Simply because the client suffers an injury would probably not be enough to lay the blame on the trainer. The trainer would have to be negligent. Negligence can take many forms. Not having a client fill out a basic health questionnaire and unknowingly training someone with a heart condition could be disastrous. Providing a client with poorlymaintained equipment or adding too much weight to a barbell, causing injury, likely places fault with a trainer. PT Monthly/December2020 43

Basic Personal Trainer Insurance Coverage Examining and reviewing insurance options won’t be complicated. Three very basic coverage options exist: • Personal Injury Liability • Product Liability • Sexual Harassment or Abuse Each of these policies covers very different perils. Not every trainer may decide to purchase all three policies, but doing so delivers significant protection.

incident , to an established limit , presents protections in the event of a disaster.

would not be covered. Sadly, some discover their oversight and exclusions too late.

Shopping around and performing comparison shopping increases the ability to buy the right policy.

Personal Injury Liability

Be thorough when examining policies, and review all insurance company’s ratings. Buy from an insurance provider with solid financial strength.

Personal training means one-on-one instruction. What happens if you train two or more people at the same time? That could be considered a group fitness class, and this type of session may require a different insurance plan.

Personal injury liability protection for trainers is similar to liability coverage found on a homeowner’s or auto policy. The coverage protects against bodily injury suffered by a client due to negligence. If someone suffers a broken limb, a claim against the policy could be made. The policy might cover all legal expenses related to any lawsuits and even potentially cover other perils such as libel and slander. Reviewing several policies becomes necessary to locate the best personal injury liability policy and protect the interests of a personal trainer.

Product Liability Personal trainers frequently make extra money selling equipment, supplements etc... What if a defective product harms someone? A snapped bungee cord during arm curls could inflict injury, and the client may take the trainer to court. With the right insurance in place, the policy could very well cover the expenses associated with a poor product.

Sexual Harassment and Abuse Trainers shouldn’t dismiss this coverage since even miscommunication, as opposed to overt, deliberate action, could lead to a sexual harassment suit. Defending false charges can be expensive. The professionally and financially prudent may find this policy helpful.

Train Anyone, Anywhere in the World. Costs and Coverages

The costs associated with personal trainer insurance are very reasonable. Finding affordable insurance from a solid company is possible and reflects a smart business investment. For a nominal annual fee, acquiring £1 million or more in coverage per 44 PT Monthly/December2020

Additional Coverage Options Is there such a thing as purchasing too much insurance? No one facing a lawsuit probably wishes he/she had little or no insurance. Sometimes, purchasing added coverage is worth it. People who train clients out of their homes cannot rely on their homeowner’s insurance policy since professional activities are generally excluded. Acquiring premises liability, general liability, or additional coverage could be worth spending the money. Again, the insurance could pay for itself many times over in the event of a loss. Training out of a home is one example. Some might train at the beach or even an empty parking lot. Maybe it would be best to tell the policy underwriter about the location and specific circumstances associated with the training sessions.

Make No Assumptions about the Policy Personal trainers like to craft their own workouts. Doing so makes sense since clients enjoy original, innovative programs. A combination of, say, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, and cardio kickboxing could appeal to many. Personal trainers, however, might assume all three of these activities are covered under a personal trainer’s liability policy. A big question mark may exist. For example, is cardio kickboxing an activity that can only be covered under a martial arts instructor’s insurance policy? If someone is injured performing cardio kickboxing and the insurance company excludes this activity, then the instructor

Never make the mistake of automatically assuming what a personal trainer’s insurance policy includes. Understand all the covered items and exclusions. To do otherwise would be to take a huge risk.

Take Loss Prevention Seriously No matter how much insurance is purchased, always practice loss and prevention. In other words, cut down on the chances of injury by embodying smart and safe training techniques. Learn from near misses, and never cut any corners when it comes to safety. Are there hazards or risks in the gym or another environment in which you teach? Maybe it would be best to move elsewhere. Insurance helps, but personal trainers need to do their part in order to keep from requesting that help.

Frequently Asked Questions Should I have insurance prior to beginning my training career?

If you are planning on training clients in any capacity, it is a good idea to be insured to protect yourself from any legal troubles that may arise.

Do I need insurance if I am employed by a gym? It depends. Some gyms will provide insurance to all of their employees; however, be sure to check with your gym to find out the capacity of their insurance plan. For example, some may cover product liability but not personal injury liability.

Where can I get insurance?

Your overall needs will determine what kind of insurance you should get and from whom. There’s plenty to choose from, do your research / know what cover you’re going to need. And always read the small print.


for men and women 45 PT Monthly/December2020 PT Monthly/December 2020 45

W Gym

Best Trainers 2020


hen starting out on a running kick your first purchase, quite naturally, is likely to be a pair of running shoes Similarly, if you get into football, rugby, cricket or almost any other sport, you’re likely to pick up some specialist footwear. But when it comes to the gym, many people are happy to rock up in any old pair of trainers, assuming it won’t make much difference. Those people are wrong. The right shoe can make a world of difference to your gym training. Additional heel support and a stable base set you up for success when lifting weights, especially when it comes to squats, while extra grip on the edges of the sole can help with the quick lateral movements if you’re tackling speed and agility. Unless you’re going to spend all your time in the gym on the treadmill, running shoes are not a great bet for your training, because the extra cushioning that helps when pounding the pavements makes for an unstable base when lifting weights.

Best All-Rounder: Nike Metcon 6 The Metcon line has long been popular with gym-goers looking for a shoe that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. When lifting free weights, the flat, wide heel gives you the stability you need, while a removable insert can raise your heel for exercises like barbell squats. If you prefer high-intensity training sessions, the softer feel in the forefoot will help to cushion your landings when performing plyometric moves. In the latest version of the shoe, Nike has focused on making the Metcon 6 more breathable so your feet don’t overheat during sweaty training sessions. Buy men’s and women’s from Nike | £114.95

Best for High-Impact Workouts: Under Armour HOVR Rise The HOVR foam used in these shoes is the same stuff that Under Armour packs into the midsole of its running shoes to provide energy return and cushioning when you’re pounding the pavement. As a result, the Rise shoes are especially good for high-impact gym activities like plyometric exercises that have you jumping around all over the place, and they also provide stability through the overlapping sections on the upper and heel counter. Buy men’s and women’s from Under Armour | £85

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Best for HIIT: Nike SuperRep Nike has aspirations to create a specific shoe for every kind of training session – a version of the SuperRep for home workouts is coming soon – but this launch model is designed specifically for the varied demands of HIIT workouts, although in practice it’s great for all manner of workouts. The combination of a wide base and plump cushioning provides stability and protection from the impact of HIIT sessions, which tend to involve a lot of plyometric exercises to raise the heart rate. It also has a groove on the front called the burpee break, which helps you hold positions like press-ups, planks and burpees. Buy men’s and women’s from Nike | £104.95

Best for CrossFit: Reebok Nano X The demands of CrossFit are many and varied. You have to lift heavy weights, be comfortable on a cardio machine, and be ready to blast your way through HIIT and agility workouts. That calls for an adaptable shoe, which is exactly what the Nano X is. Reebok has been the title sponsor of CrossFit since 2010 and gathered the opinions of CrossFitters to help design the 10th anniversary edition of the shoe. The result is a shoe that features enough cushioning to handle short runs, along with a redesigned heel that’s cushioned for comfort but also helps to lock the foot down and provide stability during heavy lifts. The outsole of the shoe has a multidirectional grip so you can be sure of your footing during agility. Buy men’s and women’s from Reebok | £99.95-£109.95

Best Weightlifting Shoe: Inov-8 Fastlift 335 While we’d recommend other shoes for specialists in deadlifting, Olympic or powerlifting, this trainer charts a course that can navigate all disciplines smoothly. That’s thanks to the stable heel and secure Velcro strap, plus a little more flexibility and grip on the sole, which make the 335 more than capable of stepping away from the bar for a bit. Buy men’s and women’s from Inov-8 | £140

Best for Runners: On Cloud X Runners are repeatedly told to spend time in the gym to improve their strength and avoid injury, but really they’d rather be out running, so the requirements of a gym trainer for runners are often limited to only the exercises required to help them run – namely leg and core exercises. The Cloud X delivers with ease on these fronts. The firm heel provides the kind of support during squatting and lunging that running shoes fail to, with their squashy, cushioned soles. The upper on the toe box is all mesh so it’s eminently breathable, and the sole is firm enough to transfer power while cushioned enough to attack box jumps in HIIT classes without jarring your knees. The best news of all for runners? The Cloud X has also developed a reputation as a great race shoe thanks to that mix of firmness and cushioning. No gym shoe is the same. Buy men’s and women’s from On Running | £130

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B e s t w at e r p r o o f jacket 2020-2021 Stay dry, whatever the weather


ick your perfect waterproof jacket from our list of favourites and you’ll be protected come rain or shine

If you only invest in one piece of outdoor clothing, make it a waterproof jacket. Waterproof outer layers are a lifesaver in the great outdoors, regardless of whether you’re hitting a remote trail or just taking

the dog for a walk in the park. They’ll keep you warm, dry and allow you to stay out in the elements when everyone else is running for cover.

days in the mountains, some cheap and cheerful options that’ll still keep the rain out and smarter jackets that are ideal for everyday use.

Here you’ll find our favourite waterproof jackets for men and women, and they’re all comfortable, great quality and reliably waterproof. We’ve included some technically tough jackets designed for long

Not sure which kind of jacket is best for you, or which type of waterproof fabric best suits the kind of activities you’ll be doing? Skip past the reviews and you’ll find our handy buying guide at the bottom of the page.

Rab Kangri GTX jacket: A brilliant all-round hardshell waterproof

Outdoor Research Helium II: The best ultra-lightweight option

Price: men’s £230-£326 / women’s £280

Price: £70 - £95

The Kangri GTX may not be cheap, but you really do get what you pay for - this is a great choice for everything from multi-day hikes to a quick jaunt through the worst that UK weather can throw at you. There are men’s and women’s specific versions, so no-one gets left out in the wet and cold, and it’s shot through with a litany of clever little design touches. 

The ultra-flexible material and a lightweight technical construction mean we think that this jacket deserves a place on this list. At only a shade over 180g, you’ll hardly notice wearing it, and it packs down to the size of your fist so taking it on short and long journey s is a breeze. The selfcontained stuff bag in the inside pocket is a major plus, and there’s also one tightly sealed zipped chest pocket. All-round, a great coat for the space-conscious backpackers among us.

Water-resistant YKK zips shield the two huge external pockets from water ingress, and the main zip has a storm flap to all but banish water from making its way inside. There’s plenty of storage, too. The internal pocket is big enough to house even the most over-sized of smartphones, and external pockets provide enough room for a clutch of full-sized maps. Worried that you might get a bit too hot? Big under-arm zips allow you to get some air moving without having to strip off your rucksacks, and minimalist adjusters allow you to cinch the hood and hemline when the weather turns nasty. Key specs: Waterproofing: 3-layer Gore-Tex Classic Main material: 70D Nylon Hood: Attached, fully-adjustable with overlay tape, not helmet-compatible Weight: 572g (XL)

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Key specs: Waterproofing: Pertex Shield (15,000mm) Main material: Pertex Shield, nylon Hood: Yes Weight: 180g (medium)

Patagonia Torrentshell Hardshell: The best for active travellers Price: £120

Target Dry Lighthouse Islander Jacket: The best for country walks and commuting Price: £60 (men’s only) The Islander manages to look as smart as country jackets twice the price. It combines great waterproofing with luxurious looking brass and leather design features and comes in navy, oxblood or khaki – it’s smart enough to wear to the office but reliable out on country rambles too. The soft cotton inner lining is cosy and comfortable and the outer is fully waterproof, with taped seams. A great jacket for everyday use.

Lightweight and packable – the whole thing stuffs into its own pocket and can fit into the bottle pocket of a backpack – the Torrent is our best bet for globetrotters. We liked the generous pit-zips and the outer material, which feels really durable. The Torrent is flattering, too, and available in attractive colours. Plus, Patagonia’s ethical credentials are some of the best in the business and its manufacturing process has a minimal environmental impact. Our only negative was the hood, which feels a bit too boxy and roomy. Key specs: Waterproofing: 2.5-layer H2No Performance Standard (20,000mm) Main material: Nylon ripstop Hood: Two-way adjustable Weight: 343g (medium)

Key specs: Waterproofing: Cotton-blend with Teflon coating (5,000mm) Main material: Cotton, chambray lining Weight: N/A

Rab Kinetic Plus: Light, stretchy and super breathable Price: £180 Rab’s Proflex fabric is the star of the show: it’s light, stretchy, and feels soft against the skin –meaning it’s easy to forget you’re wearing a jacket at all. The Kinetic Plus is supremely comfy for anything from gentle walks to more high-tempo activities, and while the Proflex fabric isn’t as waterproof as the more heavyweight jackets here, it’s both windproof and breathable. The elasticated hood isn’t designed to accommodate a helmet like some of the more mountaineering-focused garments on our list, but the snug fit and pliable peak mean that you can always pop one over the top for more high-octane pursuits. And that hood does a fantastic job of keeping you snug and dry, with the close fit ensuring it stays put even in the stormiest of gusts.  With both women and men’s versions, the Kinetic Plus is a great choice for anyone looking for a light, versatile outdoors jacket. Key specs: Waterproofing: 3-layer Proflex Hood: Close-fitting, stretch-on hood with integrated peak Weight: 320g

The North Face Apex Flex GTX 2.0: Best technical waterproof for serious outdoor use Prices: £240-£270 The Apex Flex GTX 2.0 is a serious update to North Face’s first incarnation of this super-soft, three-layer Gore-Tex waterproof jacket. It is now lighter, 12% more breathable and includes a stretch-knit backer and soft-knit face to provide added comfort and softness when on the move. The technical specs are all there: super waterproof, great wind-proofing abilities and strong enough to keep you dry on the move. It’s made for those wanting to tackle any terrain, so serious hikers and mountaineers won’t be disappointed. It also looks sharp, we particularly like the “bottle green” and “Turkish sea” colours, which add a slice of colour to your outdoor look. As one of the most expensive jackets on the list, this waterproof jacket may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a look if you’re looking for durability and to say dry. Key specs: Waterproofing: 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Main material: Nylon, knit ripstop Hood: Attached, fully-adjustable with overlay tape, helmet-compatible Weight: 765g (large) PT Monthly/December2020 49

Berghaus Men’s Hillwalker Interactive Jacket: Best for rugged outdoor activities

Jack Wolfskin Colorado Flex jacket: A versatile option from snow to summer

Price: £165 | Buy now from Amazon Berghaus has a clever interactive zip element to this coat, which means you can zip in any of their compatible mid-layers to add not just excellent waterproof abilities but layers of warmth to this jacket. The Hillwalker has been constructed with challenging scrambles in mind – if you’re thinking of wading through gorse or brambles on your weekend walk, this is the jacket for you. Its outer construction is made from a non-tear material, and it features two layers of Gore-Tex and a ripstop face fabric. It’s slightly heavier duty, being able to comfortably withstand heavy levels of abrasion while keeping you warm and dry.

Price: £112 (women’s only) A great choice for sport and active travel, Jack Wolfskin’s Colorado Flex feels extremely comfortable and flexible to wear. We like the well-designed, detachable hood, roomy pockets, underarm ventilation zips and the flattering cut. You won’t overheat on summer hikes, but you can zip in Jack Wolfskin’s fleeces and mid-layers to create a warm winter jacket that will double up as a snow-sports jacket. The most versatile and waterproof jacket for women on our list, and worth the spend.

Key specs: Waterproofing: 2-layer Gore-Tex Performance Shell Main material: Gore-Tex Hood: Roll Weight: 466g (large)

Key specs: Waterproofing: 2-layer Texapore (10,000mm) Main material: Polyamide Hood: Detachable Weight: 650g (medium)

How to choose the best waterproof jacket for you How do I get the right fit? Think about how and where you’ll be wearing your new jacket. If you want to wrap up for casual use in the winter months, pick a roomier design that allows lots of layers beneath it – at the very least you’ll want to be able to wear a mid-layer and a base layer without it feeling too snug. For fast-paced hiking or cycling, a lightweight, form-fitting jacket will serve you best. Try on jackets in person and check that they feel comfortable and flexible and that they don’t ride up when you move your arms. The sleeves, waist and neck should sit snugly, so they won’t let in cold air or water. Make sure the hood fits well around your head and can be drawn in tight if needed. If you’re picking a jacket for mountaineering or cycling, make sure it’s helmet-compatible. Waterproof jackets are usually designed for a male or female fit, but women who don’t mind a boxier fit will often find men’s jackets a good choice as well. What key features should I look out for? The two key features of a good hardshell are waterproofing and breathability. Like hiking boots, jackets use a waterproofing agent to repel liquids, either own-brand technology or a recognisable name such as Gore-Tex (when in doubt, a jacket with Gore-Tex

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is always a reliable choice). You may see the level of waterproofing of a jacket (the technical term for which is “hydrostatic head”) labelled in millimetres – as a guide, up to 1,500mm is only water-resistant (so don’t bother); 1,500mm-5,000mm is waterproof and good for most wet conditions; 10,000mm and above is highly waterproof and best for mountain conditions (these also work well for snow sports). For tackling heavy rain, you’ll need a jacket with taped seams – this prevents water from seeping through the stitching. Next up, breathability. The cheapest waterproof jackets and packable macs on the market are best avoided for anything more strenuous than a festival or a gentle walk as they don’t usually offer any level of breathability – this means that even if they do stop the rain from getting in, you’ll be damp with sweat from the inside. If you’ll be working up a sweat, it’s best to choose a highly breathable soft-shell or hard-shell so you don’t overheat. Underarm ventilation zips (or pit zips) are really useful for regulating your body temperature too. Other features are largely up to personal preference, but a stiff peak to the hood is good for wet-weather walking. Pockets are useful, too, but check their zips are sealed

or protected, or you’ll find that the contents will get wet. How do I care for my waterproof jacket? Once you own your perfect jacket, you’ll need to make sure you look after it. If it begins to lose its ability to repel water, your best bet is to clean it with a specialised cleaning product such as Nikwax’s Tech Wash. The telltale warning sign is that water will no longer bead on the surface and instead, the outer fabric will become saturated, an effect known as wetting out. Be cautious of using standard detergents, however, as they can impede the performance of some waterproof fabrics. Some waterproof jackets, such as those which use Gore-Tex’s range of waterproof fabrics, can be restored to their former glory by popping them in the tumble dryer on low heat for 20-30 minutes. This process can potentially reactivate the durable water repellent (DWR) outer coating, but this won’t work forever – after a while, you’ll need to use a spray-on or wash-in waterproofing treatment such as Nikwax’s TX-Direct to get it back to its former waterproof self. Whatever you do, always check the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning and reproofing advice before proceeding.



Best waterproof trail running shoes for men in 2020

aterproof trail running shoes are exactly what they say on the tin (well, box), they’re trail shoes that are waterproof.

Yep, that’s right, not all trail shoes are created equally and if you’re looking to be running where water lives, you’re not going to need a normal pair of trail shoes, but rather a pair that won’t let the wet stuff in. Believe it or not, waterproof trail running shoes are especially popular for those running off-road. Nobody wants to run with wet feet, with water sloshing around the shoe, so it’s time to do something about it. We’ve got five of the very best waterproof trail running shoes for men in 2020, alongside some neat information as to how you can pick the shoe that’s right for you.

New Balance waterproof trail running shoes New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V5 Goretex Trail Running Shoes – Aw20

Best waterproof trail running shoes for wide Feet Inov8 X-talon Ultra 260 Trail Running Shoes – Ss20

Not only is the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro a great looking shoe, but it functions perfectly too.

It’s often difficult to find a pair of trail running shoes for wide feet, but Inov8 have managed to build a great waterproof solution for those with the wider foot.

A GORE-TEX upper combined with all the protection and grip that you’d expect from a great trail shoe makes this runner a real contender.

There’s sticky rubber, DWR and of course the Meta Flex Groove, keeping your wide feet planted firmly on the trail. You couldn’t ask for more.

Key features: GORE-TEX Upper – Lets the shoe have both durable waterproof protection and incredible breathability. Toe Protect – Protects the foot against all those pesky general trail hazards. Fresh Foam Midsole – The signature springy and stable cushioning from NB. Multi-Directional Outsole – Lets the shoe have maximum surface contact to avoid slip. Drop of 8mm – The sweet spot for those looking for a great place to start experimenting.

Key features: DWR – Ensures the shoe is both water resistance and breathable. PowerFlow – A great resilient cushion with incredible memory retention. DFB Shank – Perfect for that extra kick of energy from every strike. Sticky Rubber – Keeping you glued to the ground in wet conditions. Meta Flex Groove – Encouraging natural forefoot flex during toe-off.

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Best budget waterproof trail running shoes – Inov8 Terraultra 260 Trail Running Shoes The best shoes on a budget also come from Inov8, thanks to a great solution in the Terraultra 260 shoe. We love waterproof trail running shoes almost as much as we love good deals, the Terraultra contains everything you need to get up and running (literally) and for a fraction of the cost of a top shoe, yet with one of the leading brands in the fell and trail running scene.  Key features: Mesh Upper – Lets the shoe have unparalleled breathability. Exteroflow – Ensures there’s plenty of cushioning. DFB Shank –  Perfect for that extra kick of energy from every strike. Grooves – Great for grip and prevent aquaplaning too. Zero Drop – Natural movement of the foot in the shoe, minimal protection.

Salamon Spikecross 5 Gore-tex Trail Running Shoes – AW20 GORE-TEX has been the next big thing for some time now and for good reason too! It likely comes as no surprise then that Salomon has developed a fantastic trail running shoe in the Spikecross 5 to take advantage of the technology. They’re super durable, waterproof and boast incredible breathability – and they come in red! Key features: GORE-TEX Upper – Lets the shoe have both durable waterproof protection and incredible breathability. Sensifit Technology – Ensures the shoe boasts a precise and secure fit. EnergyCell+ Midsole – An energy return that you can’t live without. OrthoLite Insole – An insole that offers superior cushioning, comfort, breathability and durability. 12 Tungsten Spikes – Tough spikes making light work of snow, ice and anything in-between.

Best trail running shoes for overpronation – Adidas Supernova Trail Running Shoes Last on the list, it’s one for those who overpronate and we’re opting for the Adidas Supernova Trail. The iconic silhouette from the brand with 3-stripes is perfect for those battling with overpronation when they’re running. There’s the fantastic boost midsole in this seam-free shoe, giving the Supernova all the bite to back up the bark.  Key features: Mesh Upper – Provides both a breathable and flexible fit. Seam Free – Minimal chances of chafing and foot discomfort.  Lace Closure System – Provides the shoe with both a snug and secure fit. EVA Sockliner – Keeps the foot as comfortable as possible. Boost Midsole – The famous boost midsole, ensuring a lightweight and responsive cushioning.

What to look for in a pair of waterproof trail running shoes?


So, let’s take a look at each of the criterion in a little more detail, opening the floor up to discussion as to what features you should look out for when choosing a brand new pair of waterproof trail running shoes.

There are four main items in the criteria that all runners should try to meet when picking up a new shoe in cushioning, waterproof features, tread & traction and the heel-totoe drop. The correct solution for each of these will be different for each runner, and although a good “one-shoe-fits-all” approach can be prescribed, finding the perfect shoe will be as much about personal preference as it is the science behind the sneaker.

There’s no real right answer for the amount of cushion that you should be opting for, and personal preference plays the largest part. In general, there are four main cushioning levels that runners can opt for:

nowing what to look for in a pair of waterproof trail running shoes is more important than simply picking up a shoe with a great reputation.

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Cushioning The level of cushioning in a running shoe is another area that’s often up for debate with some runners preferring to “float” whereas others like to “feel”.

Barefoot As the name suggests, these are running

shoes with no padding allowing the wearer to feel the trail and let your body do the rest. Minimal If you’re not fully committed to the barefoot shoe, a minimal cushion might be for you. There’s much of the same benefit, but with a thin layer of the good stuff to reduce discomfort.  Moderate Moderate padding is the most common for trail running shoes and allows for enough padding to ensure comfort over a rocky trail.  Maximum cushioning A shoe with maximum padding is what you’re be looking at if you’re trying to minimise the stress on the joints and keep things easy on longer runs. These are often given negative feedback due to the inefficient “mushy” feel.  Top tip: we recommend choosing a waterproof trail running shoe with at least minimal cushioning, but ideally moderate to maximum. This reduces your risk of injury when hitting the trails, jumping puddles, and dodging the odd fallen tree. Waterproof features If you’re looking for a pair of waterproof trail running shoes, there’s at least one feature that you’re guaranteed to want to look for – I’ll give you a clue, it’s in the name.  Yes, of course, that feature is the waterproof capabilities of the shoe and if you’re going to be stomping your way through puddles, streams and rivers (if you’re particularly adventurous), you’re going to want a shoe that keeps your feet nice and dry.  There are countless benefits to keeping your feet dry, both in general and when hitting the trails, but I think we can all agree that it’s never nice to have wet feet. For me, that’s a good enough reason to opt for a waterproof solution, when running through wet trails, that is. 

tread to others. The decider of what you should be looking for comes in the answer to the question of “where are you going to be running”. If your go-to trail is nothing more than a dirt pavement, you’re not going to need the pinnacle of traction. However, if you’re planning on scaling mountains, running the hills and turning the adventure up to 11 – you might want to consider focusing on that extra traction and tractor-tyre like grip.   Heel-to-toe drop It may sound like a wrestling move or some kind of local barn dance, but the heel-totoe drop, for the unaware, is simply the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot in a shoe.  The heel-to-toe drop is usually given in millimetres and can range from 0mm, well anything you can dream up really. Typically, minimal shoes will have a heel-to-drop of 0mm; minimalist shoes will have a drop

of around 0mm to 4mm and the rest of the pack follow suit between 4mm and around 12mm. If you’ve not heard of the heel-to-toe drop before, there’s nothing to worry about, although you should keep it in mind when shoe shopping for your new trail running kicks. If you’re not sure where to begin, a great start point is by looking at your other running or athletic shoes. You don’t want to go meddling with your body’s biomechanics, so keeping these constant is always a good idea. Ideally, running in a low heel drop shoe is the best as it encourages a midfoot or forefoot strike, ensuring a strong landing platform with the best balance and muscle engagement, but it’s not for everyone.  To cut a long story short, it’s different strokes for different folks – try out a pair towards the middle of the scale and go from there!

Tread & traction Next up on the list, it’s the tread and the traction that is offered by a waterproof trail running shoe that’s vital to take note of when picking up a new pair of runners. It’ll come as no surprise that the underside of your shoe is one of the most important considerations when choosing trail running shoes. When you’re moving over tricky terrain with plenty of nooks and crannies, that last thing you want on your feet is a pair of Adidas Sambas. Instead, you’re going to want the equivalent of a pair of tractor tyres to grip the ground, ensuring that you’ve got the utmost trust in your foot placement. Again, the amount of tread and traction is a little up for debate in the world of trail running, with some preferring a chunkier

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Men’s Winter Workout Gear A Must Have For 2021 POC Essential Road Softshell Gloves

Swiftwick Pursuit Four Ultralight Socks

Built for cold-weather biking, the Essential features a windproof soft-shell back and a lightly padded palm. Lightweight fleece lining make this glove ideal not just for crisp rides but uphill skis and cold runs too.

Thin but warm, these merino-nylon socks are perfect for hard efforts on cold days or for folks whose feet run hot. They’re durable despite being fine and not even the slightest bit itchy.

Outdoor Research Baritone Hoodie Jacket Testers didn’t want to shed this jacket when they were done with workouts—so they didn’t. The polyester-spandex blend is smooth on the skin and more than stretchy enough for overhead reaches. The new full zip is a welcome addition to the bestselling Baritone line.

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Appalachian Gear Company All-Paca Fleece Beanie

Salomon Speedcross 5 Shoes

The All-Paca is surprisingly warm for how lightweight and packable it is. It’s thin enough to wear under a helmet and breathes well as you warm up. Plus, alpaca wool doesn’t hold onto odours, so you can wear it several days in a row.

When the going gets sloppy, this shoe shines. The latest in the beloved Speedcross line, the 5 features a new stitch-free upper but retains key features like deep lugs and Salomon’s one-pull speed-lace system. Available in Gore-Tex as well.

Black Diamond StoneHauler 30L Pro Duffel Load the StoneHauler for any workout. The padded duffel has a separate cinchable wetclothes zone within the main compartment, plus backpack straps and a stout side handle. It’s also made of 100 percent recycled polyester coated in polyurethane for supreme durability.

Patagonia Wind Shield Pants These pants are built for long, cold days of moving fast in the mountains. That includes a wind-resistant DWR-treated soft-shell front and breathable polyester-spandex jersey behind the knees, in the crotch, and down the legs.

POC Light Merino Jersey This wool-Tencel shirt works as a base layer on cold days or a sun guard on warm ones. The thumb loops and long cut are icing on the cake.

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to Keep You Warm during those cold and chilly days Sweaty Betty thermodynamic running leggings

Lululemon Speed Up MR Tight 28”


Lululemon’s go-to running leggings happen to be pretty warm as well. Made from their signature full-on Luxtreme material, you’ll be able to run free and stay at optimal temperature.   


Rack up the miles in these insulated leggings, designed to keep you streamlined and warm as the temperature dips. Stretchy and breathable with a sweat-wicking finish, stay dry and toasty no matter how difficult the run.  

Pros: Sweat-wicking Lightweight Reflective detailing Side pockets for extra storage

Pros: Temperature regulating thermal fabric Brushed fleece lining for extra warmth Back zip pocket for essential items Cons: No reflective details for low light activity

Nike Fast Flash Women’s Running Leggings £47.95 What don’t these leggings do: With reflective detailing to keep you extra-visible on dark, chilly runs, as well as a gusset for an extra smooth gait, you can also store essentials in the back, side or waistband pocket.  Pros: Zipped back, side and waistband pockets for extra storage Reflective below-knee detailing to keep you seen Tight fit with gusset for a smooth, held-in feel Cons: No extra insulation for warmth: Good if you run hot

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Cons: 28” is long for petite women, although Lululemon offer free tailoring

Adidas TruePace COLD.RDY Leggings

Under Armour HeatGear Training Leggings

Asics Lite-Show Winter Tight




Adidas’ COLD.RDY material was made to withstand chilly temperatures. Designed to insulate your body and keep you warm, their latest collab with Stella McCartney is as technical as it is trendy.

These affordable leggings are a great training mate for when you want to stay warm without weighing yourself down. Made from ultra-tight HeatGear material, you’ll be warm and feel secure.

Pros: Adjustable tie cord for a bespoke fit Zipped pocket for secure storage Made from recycled polyester Reflective details

Pros: Budget-friendly Compressed feel for extra security HeatGear material keeps you warm Sweat-wicking material with 4-week stretch Anti-odour technology

If you thought Asics only made running shoes be prepared to think again. These winter-ready leggings are constructed in a form-fitting design with an adjustable waist for a bespoke fit. Pros: Adjustable drawcord Reflective details for lowlight visibility

Cons: Lightweight material

Adidas Alphaskin COLD.RDY H&M Seamless Tights High Prime Long Leggings Waist

Ronhill Life Nightrunner Running Tights



£19.99 Tights designed to keep you insulated and warm, Adidas’ Alphaskin leggings are great for cold weather running. Long and breathable layer with high socks for no-chilly ankles.

So, these tights aren’t warm, specifically. But what they are is a) affordable and b) seamless which, if you run hot, makes them the perfect training buddies for a smooth, chafe-free ride. 

Pros: Compressed fit for extra security Breathable material Back pocket for storage Made from insulating, moisture-managed COLD. RDY material

Pros: Seamless Fast-drying functional fabric Cons: No extra insulation

Cons: Long leggings might be too long for petite runners

Breathable, sweat-wicking fabric draws moisture away from your skin, stopping the miserable ‘frozen sweat’ feel as you work hard in cold temps. Reflective trim keeps you seen in low-light conditions, which is a major concern as the days draw in. Something we love? The internal brushed finish for extra thermal protection. Pros: Affordable Multiple reflective details Long length for added warmth Brushed internal finish for thermal protection Zipped back pocket for small essentials

Fabletics High-Waisted Cold Weather Leggings £44.00 G’wan Fabletics – the brand so beloved for its ingenious VIP subscription model has some warm AF leggings that are ready for your chilly runs. Brushed fleece for extra warmth? We love to see it. Pros: 2 for £24 when you sign up to Fabletics subscription Brushed fleece material for extra warmth Chafe-resistant and moisture-wicking material UPF protection No reflective detailing PT Monthly/December2020 57

Best Winter Running Shoes of 2020 To Power Through Any Type Of Weather Nike Wildhorse 6 For snowy road running is the Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse. It’s designed with a lugged rubber outsole that provides traction in both wet and dry conditions. They’re also made with Nike’s Responsive React cushioning to provide you with comfort and energy no matter how long your runs are. 

Brooks Ghost 11 Brooks’ Ghost sneaker is one of the brand’s most popular running shoes; this version has a waterproof, Gore-Tex upper that keeps your feet dry and warm on road runs, and subtle traction on the sole to keep your stride steady. 

Merrell Glove 4 Trail Runner When it comes to lightweight and flexible shoes that keep you moving fast on the road, look no further than this minimalist sneaker. Thanks to its low-to-the-ground profile, the Trail Glove mimics the feeling of running barefoot or at least close to it—plus, as the name implies, it indeed fits like a glove (or maybe a sock in this case?) So that means transitioning from snow to pavement will feel like a breeze.   

Salomon XA Elevate W Sneaker With a full Gore-Tex bootie and a premium wet-traction rubber sole, this winter running shoe was literally made for sloshing through puddles of frigid, melting snow. Bonus: It doesn’t have super-aggressive lugs, which means it’s great for road runs and grippy enough for powdery paths, too. 

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Nike Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Shield Women’s Running Shoes Granted you aren’t running in a snow storm, these running shoes feature a water-repellent upper that will keep your feet dry and an outsole designed to give you optimal grip on wet surfaces. These are good when conditions are generally snowy, but well-trafficked enough not to need aggressive lugs.  If you’re heading for the hills, forests, or mountains, we suggest opting for a winter running shoe with a higher ankle height to ensure they’re suitable for deep snow too. “A high-top, or even more protective fit of a gaiter, booty style shoe that fits snug around the ankles to keep out snow, is going to be a priority for runners navigating trail conditions.” We also recommend a long and wide-spaced lug to keep snow from accumulating on the outsole, a waterproof upper, and rock plate to protect the foot - spikes are also features to strongly consider.

Adidas Ultraboost X All Terrain Shoe Adidas’ unique UltraBoost X was designed specifically for women’s feet, it’s got the allweather treatment with a water-repellent knit upper to keep feet dry and a high collar for added protection against the elements, snow included. This shoe is comfortable, cushioned, and ideal for winter runs on any terrain.

Topo Athletic Ultraventure Trail Running Shoe There’s no way snow or rain is getting into the Topo Ultraventure, the shoe’s tongue is attached to the upper. Plus it’s made with an abrasion-resistant material, which will prevent holes caused by wear and tear. In fact, the only place water will go is, out, the upper features draining “gills” so sweaty feet dry fast.

Brooks Cascadia 14 GTX Trail Running Shoes Don’t stress about sprinting through slush and puddles; the latest iteration of the Brooks Cascadia comes with a waterproof Gore-Tex upper and BioMoGo DNA midsole that provides a new level of cushioning that actually adapts to your stride. The shoe also boasts an impressive stability system that does such a serious job at keeping your foot level that the brand actually likens it to an SUV. 

Altra Lone Peak 4 RSM Made for any and all types of weather conditions, rain, snow, mud (RSM), this waterproof shoe is always ready to take on the elements. It has an eVent upper that shields from leaks and abrasions, while still offering premium comfort. What more could you want in a winter running shoe? Oh, right: the brand’s balance-cushioning, which places your heel and forefront the same distance from the ground so that you can maintain ideal, low-impact form wherever your route takes you. 

Under Armour UA Charged Reactor No cold toes here: UA’s proprietary insulation warms your feet up when they’re cold and cools them down when the blood starts pumping. Oh, and those thick rubber lugs (those indentations on the sole) will give you extra traction on snow and ice. If style is something you’re really looking for, then this shoe’s got you covered. Thanks to an extended upper, the Charged Reactor is reminiscent of a high-top sneaker.

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TECHNOLOGY 60 PT Monthly/December 2020


to keep healthy in 2021


hese gifts are sure to please your fitnessminded friends and family.

If all of your (and your loved one’s) health and fitness goals went out the window this year, I don’t blame you. 2020 has turned our world upside down and changed everyone’s priorities.  But this year has also brought us plenty of great products to help manage stress, stay active and even keep tabs on our heart health. No matter what health and fitness goals the person you’re shopping for has, there’s a fitness gift out there to support them. You can help your friends and family get on track again with the fitness gift ideas below, whether you’re shopping for your super-sporty sister or your friend who’d usually rather stay on the couch.



The only water bottle you’ll need

Fitness trackers are great tools to encourage you to move your body and keep track of basic health stats like heart rate. But if you don’t have the budget for an Apple Watch or Fitbit, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good tracker.

A budget fitness tracker worth buying

The Hydro Flask scored the top spot in our list of best water bottles, and for good reason. They’re durable, colourful and the insulated design keeps hot liquids hot and cool liquids cool for hours. These water bottles come in many sizes and colours to suit anyone’s style and needs. The insulation in the bottle and flat cap really work. We tested putting ice water in the Hydro Flask and then left it in a car in 105degree for four hours. After this time it was just as cold, ice cubes and all.  Each bottle comes with an insulated flat screw-off cap, but depending on what model you buy, you can also opt for a sport cap, flip cap or straw lid.

FIVE S KNEADING NECK AND SHOULDER MASSAGER Almost as good as a real massage It has two massage heads, spaced out perfectly to knead out sore muscles or any tension in your neck, shoulders and even between your shoulder blades. From experience, it’s worth every penny.

At just around $38, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is a great low-cost alternative to the Fitbits and Garmin Vivofits out there. It tracks your steps, your sleep, heart rate, with up to 11 different workout types and more to help you reach your fitness goals. The design is sleek, the screen is bright and easy to read and there are different fitness watch faces to choose from. The battery life on this Xiaomi Mi band can last up to 14 days on a single charge; the Apple Watch can’t even come close to that.

Premium PU leather and soft mesh material. Durable and high quality. Easy to clean. An AC adapter (110-220v AC) and a car adapter are included, so you can conveniently take the massager anywhere with you, at home, in the office, or in the car. 3 year warranty.

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A premium yoga mat

Unless you’re a pro athlete, the Theragun is something you’d probably never buy yourself. This percussive massage gun uses a rapid thumping movement to reduce inflammation. Basically, it gives you the experience of getting a deep tissue massage, but whenever and wherever you want. Perfect for the weight lifter or workout and fitness enthusiast in your life.

A powerful massage, no spa required

The 4mm B Mat Everyday by B Yoga is our best overall yoga mat and a great gift for anyone who loves yoga. At 4mm thick, it offers adequate cushion and support. The all-natural rubber surface is slightly textured and grippy.  Beyond yoga, you can use this mat for pilates, stretching and any other kind of floor workout, such as sit-ups and push-ups.

Theragun released new models for 2020, and they start at $199 and go up to $600. Despite its small size, the $200 Theragun Mini delivers a powerful massage that anyone would enjoy. If you don’t want something as powerful, check out the other percussive massager picks.

LULULEMON WUNDER UNDER LEGGINGS The best leggings you can buy These Wunder Under leggings are a favourite workout clothes pick among the CNET Health and Wellness team because they are durable and versatile. You can wear them for any kind of workout without feeling too restricted or hot.

SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH 3 Sophisticated fitness-tracking smartwatch If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that’s full of features and isn’t the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is your best bet. This fitness watch is packed with health and wellness features, including blood oxygen and EKG sensors and a running coach. It also has advanced sleep-tracking, something the Apple Watch still doesn’t quite have. This is a good buy for someone who uses an Android phone since they aren’t able to use the Apple Watch.  

Even better, they come in a huge array of colours, sizes and lengths, like this trendy tie-dye pair.

APPLE WATCH SERIES 6 The do-it-all smartwatch If you’re shopping for someone who likes the best of the best, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the way to go. It can measure your activity levels, heart rate, heart rhythm, blood oxygen levels and even the ambient sound levels around you. You can use the watch untethered from a phone with built-in GPS and an LTE data support (you’ll need a separate SIM card for the watch though). That means you can leave your phone at home when you go out on a run. Pair it with wireless earbuds for the perfect running, gym or exercise experience.  It also has fall detection, so that if you take a spill while out running (or just around the house), it can call emergency services for you. That makes it a good buy for anyone with mobility issues. Looking for a lot of the same features for much less? The Apple Watch SE is $279 and comes with almost all of the same features as the Series 6. You only miss out on the ECG and blood oxygen sensors. 

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e introduce to you the newly launched Fitness Network; Gymbuddy!

Gymbuddy is a FREE social media app created using the power of technology to unite the fitness industry to make a positive impact on people's lives. Exercise and friends are a powerful combination, which is why we have combined the two to create a platform that brings communities of individuals together to support one another's growth whilst aiming to impact each other's lives both physically and mentally through fitness. Therefore, our app is seen as a 'safe space' for people to come together through their love of fitness. We want to use our platform to repair the damage that social media has created to generations by bringing back the realness in people, by providing them a platform that allows them to connect with people because they can become the best version of themselves without the filters.

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You are now probably wondering at this point how the app functions to achieve this? --------

FOR THE GYM OWNER Gymbuddy wants to stimulate people's experiences with gyms by providing them an effortless experience that allows them to book gyms of their choice all through ONE app, whilst also increasing the gym's footfall by selling unoccupied gym and class space all FREE of charge. We do not understand why gyms spend a huge marketing budget on Facebook & Instagram ads when they can market themselves on a fitness-specific network that allows them to cut through other industries' noise! Not only that, Facebook and Instagram operate by caring about ad revenue rather than the gym itself. Whereas, Gymbuddy wants to support gyms and develop a partnership by uniting together to help people live a happy and healthier lifestyle whilst both making money. From this, we can disrupt that aggregator model that has

been frowned upon for so long! It's time for a change... Are you with us? Partnerships help grow stronger businesses! By partnering with us, you do not have to worry about competition. We have developed a system that allows paying members to train at each other locations without losing members, which encourages additional footfall and revenue for ALL gyms! Without you, there is no GymBuddy, so we've designed the whole process around you and your business. You control the price and the amount of space you want to sell. It's as simple as that.

FOR THE PT We believe that Instagram and Facebook are overcrowded with so many other industries that it can be tough to gain additional exposure within the PT industry. Instagram and Facebook operate via algorithms, resulting in it being extremely hard to push your clients' results to additional people that may benefit from the service you offer, which can be extremely disappointing. But

understand that it can be easy to get bogged down in the daily grind and miss the benefits of how fitness can help people become stronger both physically and mentally. We are here to make a difference in people’s lives and need your help to do so. Sometimes, no matter how important goals are, we understand that it can be a struggle to bring out the best in people and work up the motivation to make it happen. Whether that’s trying to lose weight, training for a race, keeping stress levels in check, or any of the other worthwhile reasons to make fitness a part of people’s lives. Being active is the key to living a happy and healthy life. There is a whole Gymbuddy Community out there that needs your support. Why not become a partner with us today? And become part of this positive and influential movement with us all? What’s stopping you?

not to worry, Gymbuddy has this covered, and this is how... We understand that influencers with a platform can advertise themselves as a fitness professional to gain additional revenue without being fully qualified. This is not fair in the eyes of Gymbuddy. We understand that a PT can spend years qualifying as a fitness professional and not have the exposure they deserve via socials. Therefore, we advertise you as a professional on our app, allowing you to upload your certificates and achievements, which helps you form a competitive advantage instead of being judged for the number of followers you may have. The psychology of likes, followers, and comments is affecting the way society views the world. To break this addiction, we must understand that there’s more to life than this, especially your personal development as a PT. We must break through this barrier for the future of our health. With the strategies we put in place, the number of followers,

likes, and comments you have will be less relevant. Instead, your achievements, results, and professional development within the industry will become more relevant. We need YOU and your talent as a PT! How refreshing does that sound? The functionality of the app doesn’t stop there. We operate as a social network allowing people to come together to support each other. We have also integrated a tracking feature that allows users to track their activity daily with the option to share your activity with the Gymbuddy Community to gain additional support! Let’s not forget our advanced booking system that allows users to book gyms and PT’s online! We are the one-stop place for ALL fitness enthusiasts! At Gymbuddy, we believe that people yearn to make a difference and to leave their mark. We thrive off making the world a better place through spreading positivity, making us happier, more balanced, and instilling a greater sense of purpose in the everyday. We

If this is something, you would be interested in becoming a part of, contact us today at social@gymbuddy.co.uk​.  https://gymbuddy.co.uk  @gymbuddy  @gymbuddy  @gymbuddy17

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Eating healthy at Christmas doesn’t always feel possible, but with a few clever tweaks you can put a healthy twist on your favourite festive treats These guilt-free treats are high in protein and low in carbs and added sugar so just enjoy... Gluten and dairy-free Christmas spiced protein cookies

Christmas protein truffles Ingredients: 3 cups of wholegrain oats 3 tbsp raw cacao 1½ cups of natural nut butter ½ cup of vanilla or chocolate protein powder ½ a cup of shredded coconut 3 tbsp of sunflower seeds 2 tps of Natvia 5-6 tbsp of water Instructions: Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Roll into balls and roll in desiccated or shredded coconut. Set in the fridge until firm.

Ingredients: 60 g pea protein powder 96 g three-nut butter 60 g ground almonds 50 g coconut sugar 50 g coconut oil 120 ml almond milk, unsweetened 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 45 g dried cranberries Instructions: Preheat the oven to 180’C Add the protein powder, ground almonds, nut butter, almond milk, coconut sugar and spices to a large mixing bowl. Gently melt the coconut oil in a pan, add to the mixture and combine well. Add the cranberries to the mix and make sure they are evenly distributed. Roll your dough into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Flatten and use a Christmas stamp if you have one. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before gently transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely – be careful with them!

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Coriander-Maple Glazed Carrots Rainbow carrots and a squeeze of fresh lime juice make this sweet and spicy side extra bright! Ingredients: 1/2 lb rainbow carrots, halved crosswise and thick ends quartered 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed Kosher salt and pepper 1 tbsp pure maple syrup 1 tsp grated lime zest, plus 1 tbsp lime juice Instructions: Place large rimmed baking sheet in oven; heat oven to 425°F. Toss carrots on the hot sheet with 1 tablespoon oil, then add coriander and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast, tossing after 15 minutes, until golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Immediately toss with maple syrup, lime zest, juice and remaining ½ tablespoon oil.

Brussels Sprouts with Pepitas and Figs Figs bring a natural sweetness this sprout side. Ingredients: 2 lb Brussels sprouts, halved 5 tbsp olive oil   Kosher salt  Pepper 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 c pepitas 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground coriander 1 lemon 1 c dried mission figs, quartered Instructions: Heat oven to 425°F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the brussel sprouts with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Arrange cut sides down and roast until golden brown and just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt butter and 1 tablespoon of oil on medium. Add pepitas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepitas are golden brown and begin to make a popping sound, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and toss with chile powder, cinnamon, coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Finely grate 2 teaspoons of lemon zest into a large bowl, then squeeze in 2 tablespoons of juice and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add brussel sprouts, figs, and pepitas and then toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Sorghum-Glazed Sweet Potatoes Store-bought candied or spiced pecans add crunch to this comfort food dish. To make ahead, cover and chill cooked potatoes in the glaze in the baking dishes the day before. Let stand at room temperature, then reheat covered at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Ingredients: 6 medium sweet potatoes 1 1/4 c fresh apple cider 1/2 c sorghum 3 tbsp butter 2 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 1/2 tsp Kosher salt 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 3/4 c candied or spiced pecans Instructions: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch-thick slices; arrange in a single layer in 2 lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dishes. Stir together cider and the next 6 ingredients; pour evenly over potatoes. Cover tightly with aluminium foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until fork-tender. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes or until glaze becomes syrupy. Arrange potatoes in a shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle with sorghum glaze. 68 PT Monthly/December2020

Rustic Smoky Glazed Chicken & Veggie Bake Roast spice-rubbed chicken and veggies for an easy and hearty meal.

Acorn Squash with Brown Rice and Turkey Sausage Rich in vitamin A, acorn squash is loaded with flavour and provides its own elegant serving vessel. Pair this sausage-stuffed squash with a simple green salad for a delicious, satisfying meal. Ingredients: 2 acorn squash (about 2 1/2 pounds) 1 tbsp olive oil 1/2 lb sweet or hot Italian turkey or chicken sausage 1 small onion 1medium red pepper Salt and ground black pepper 1 package precooked whole-grain brown rice (scant 2 cups) 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves Directions: Lightly grease microwave-safe large plate; place squash halves, cut sides down, on a plate (it’s OK if halves overlap slightly). Cook squash in microwave oven on high 8 to 9 minutes or until fork-tender; set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 15 1/2” by 10 1/2” jelly-roll pan with foil. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking up sausage with side of spoon. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a large bowl. To the same skillet, add onion, red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and tender, stirring occasionally; add to sausage in a bowl. With a spoon, scoop out squash, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Add scooped-out squash to bowl with sausage; stir in rice (it is not necessary to heat rice as label directs) and parsley until combined. Spoon sausage mixture into squash shells; place in prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

Ingredients: 2 tsp. smoked paprika 2 tsp. ground cumin 1/2 tsp. pepper extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt 1 lb. potatoes 1/2 lb. carrots 1/4 lb. Brussels sprouts 1/4 lb. onion 1/4 lb. halved mushrooms 1/4 lb. asparagus, cut up 1/4 lb. whole green beans 1 1/2 lb. chicken pieces Chopped parsley, for serving Lemon wedges, for serving Instructions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Make rub: Combine paprika, cumin, and pepper. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one-third of rub, and 1/2 teaspoon salt with potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, and onion. Roast 10 minutes. On another baking sheet, toss 2 teaspoons of olive oil and one-third of rub with mushrooms, asparagus, and green beans. Push to one side of the pan. On the other side, arrange chicken pieces. Sprinkle with remaining rub. Season the veggies and protein with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast both pans 20 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and all veggies are softened (transfer chicken from pan to platter if cooked before veggies are tender). To serve, garnish with parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Roast Pork and Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Cabbage This impressive pork tenderloin dinner is surprisingly simple to make. Ingredients: 2 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided 1 pork tenderloin (1 1/4 lbs.) 1/4 c. barbecue sauce 1/2 medium head red cabbage, thinly sliced 4 green onions, thinly sliced 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced 1/4 c. cider vinegar Instructions: On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; roast in a 450 degrees F oven 30 minutes. In deep 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high. Season pork tenderloin with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Brown pork on all sides; transfer to baking sheet with potatoes. Brush pork with barbecue sauce; roast 16 minutes or until cooked through (145°F). To the same skillet on medium, add red cabbage, green onions, jalapeno and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 12 minutes or until cabbage is tender, stirring. Stir in cider vinegar. Serve pork with potatoes and cabbage.

Butter-Glazed Rainbow Carrots This bright carrot side requires just four ingredients — and one of them is optional. Ingredients: 1 bunch (about 1 1/2 lb.) slender rainbow carrots, trimmed, scrubbed and cut into 1” pieces 4 tbsp. butter, melted 2 tbsp. lemon juice Snipped chives, for garnish Instructions: Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss carrots with the butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and browned. Drizzle carrots with lemon juice. To serve, garnish with chives. PT Monthly/December2020 69

Taking training supplements? You’re not as informed as you think you are


e are bombarded with information about training supplements these days, from trainers, gyms, and advertising.

And supplements are easily accessible. Trainers sell them as a side business. Gyms sell them behind the counter, or in vending machines. There is a supplement store on every corner. Your supermarket even sells protein powders. But supplement users are often misinformed about what they are taking! Today we discuss some common misconceptions, and why our sources of information are letting us down. You’d be forgiven for thinking these were a compulsory part of a training program, judging by the popularity of supplement use.

How uninformed are supplement takers? It’s not just the gym-going public. People are misinformed about supplements of all kinds. It’s just that the misconceptions vary. A daily supplement for many is a multivitamin. Some of the misconceptions around these involve vague ideas of “wellness”. Others that they are a source of energy and alertness. This “energy” myth persists because people 1) don’t understand the role of macro- and micronutrients in the body, and 2) don’t understand what energy means. This energy misconception is especially persistent. It has been studied for over 35 years and is seen today even in degree qualified exercise professionals.  Other people take vitamins to prevent future disease and illness or use them to counter a perceived an inadequate diet. But most of us meet our micronutrient needs through our usual diet. This suggests either a lack of information about the quality of our diets or overestimating the benefits of a supplement.

What’s the harm? So what? Why be concerned about a harmless vitamin? Good question. Even a vitamin supplement is not totally without the potential to harm. For example, taking antioxidants (like vitamins A & E) is associated with earlier death, though the reasons why are not clear. When deciding on a treatment, medication, or supplement, we need to weigh up the risk against the benefit. Doctors make these 70 PT Monthly/December2020

decisions all the time. Some benefits, with minimal risk of harm, and we would be happy to go ahead. But no clear benefit, and the same potential for harm, is clearly different. So for many, a vitamin supplement firstly doesn’t do what we think it does. Secondly, we probably don’t need to take one anyway. And thirdly, it might even cause harm. But we still take them.

Other misconceptions about training supplements When we look at the athletic and gym-going population, the misconceptions change. Most common is holding unrealistic expectations of protein supplements. That may explain why they are wildly popular, despite whole foods being the preferred source of natural protein among experts for safety, nutrient content, and lower cost. And it’s mostly the less-informed public. In elite sport protein supplements are often only used when whole food is impractical to prepare or transport. In other words, they are “supplemental” to a normal diet, not integral to one. Some gym users and personal trainers get really excited about protein supplements… There are a range of other supplements claiming to increase training performance and recovery. Some of these have even been shown to have a benefit, but the evidence for much of what lines the walls of a supplement store is lacking.

were surveyed at different times of day, and on different days of the week. The goal was to get a representative range of responses. In total, 1245 gym-users took part. Those that revealed their gender were evenly split between men and women. About half were under 30 years old, and about half-trained 3-4 times per week.

How common was supplement use in this study? A whopping 82% reported using at least one supplement, at least once a week. This is far more than the broader Swiss population (about 26%). This is also more than previous research found, and we aren’t sure why. It could be because Switzerland is a relatively wealthy country, with high disposable incomes. If someone wants to use a supplement, they can more likely afford it.

Sometimes your supplement is not what you think it is You should also be aware of the quality of what you are taking. Up to one in five offthe-shelf supplements include ingredients that are not listed on the label but are banned in sport. If you are subject to drug testing through your sport, that’s a problem. And it could be a problem for the public too! If you have a heart condition and are taking a stimulant you aren’t aware of, or at a dose, you aren’t aware of, that’s really dangerous. Athletes test positive due to tainted supplements all the time. At a higher level, when testing is more frequent, the advice is usually: don’t take anything. In the past within the fitness industry neither strength and conditioning coaches, or dietitians, prescribed any supplements. Approval had to come from the team doctor, regardless of the legal status of the supplement.

It is an extremely rare a bodybuilder that doesn’t take some sort of training or recovery supplement. A Swiss research recently aimed to confirm previous findings on supplement popularity. It also looked at the motivations for supplement use, and the sources of training supplement information people used to make their choices.

Who were the participants of this study? Members of some 25 Swiss gyms were surveyed. These gyms represented a range of companies and price ranges. Participants

What training supplements were people taking? The most popular supplement was protein (43%). This was more common among men (62%) than women (35%), and the average user had 17 serves a week. Other popular supplements were magnesium (34%) multivitamins (31%), vitamin D (24%), and vitamin C (20%). Those who trained more frequently generally took more supplements, but this association was quite weak. One notable idiot reported taking over 100 serves of various training supplements in a

So why is your personal trainer?

How popular is training supplement use? Very popular! It varies between countries, but about half of gym users take some form of training supplement. In the US, about 65% of the adult population take some sort of dietary supplement. And among bodybuilders, supplement use is universal. PT Monthly/December2020 71

week… but only trained once a week! No matter how good your supplement game is, without the right training stimulus, you won’t get the results you want. All the supplements in the world won’t fix a bad training program.

Why were these people taking so many supplements? Some were prescribed by a physician, which is appropriate. These are either being used preventatively in a targeted way or response to a need. But most were self-prescribed or recommended by others. Many took their supplements to “support health”, a vague, catch-all response that people use without really knowing why they are taking something. However, the most common reason cited was for muscle building – explaining the popularity of protein. The reasons people gave for using their supplements, reported by Mettler et al., (2020).

What sources of training supplement information did people look to? We already know that many fitness professionals use unreliable sources of information. So we shouldn’t be surprised to learn the exercising public is also relying on poor sources. The most cited sources of training supplement information were a trainer (28%), supplement retailer (26%), or training peers (24%). Some reported that their formal education was their source of information. But only two respondents were a dietitian or physician. The rest were graduates of either sports science qualifications, fitness courses, or took other unspecified courses. Is this enough? no. While a sports science degree is a good start to your education in this area, it is by no means complete. You end up with a superficial understanding of a few basic supplements. A fitness qualification is even more superficial. Other popular sources were friends and family, or video-sharing platforms. Why did they choose these sources? Some admitted to getting information from people because they were easy to access. Others 72 PT Monthly/December2020

because of the look or attractiveness of the person providing the information. But most people chose sources because they wanted scientific, evidence-based information. People asking trainers for supplement advice say they value qualifications and evidencebased information…

So why aren’t we using dietitians for training supplement information? If we are going to ask anyone for training supplement information, the most qualified person to ask is a Sports - Dietitian. But even though we want scientific, evidencebased advice, we don’t do it! Because of the poor sources we use, we are probably not well informed about the risk, or effectiveness, of what we are taking. Which products could have unlisted ingredients? What is effective, and what isn’t? Does your medical history change things? What interactions does the supplement have with other supplements or medications?

A personal training qualification does not cover this. If they do try to give you advice, they are wildly exceeding their scope of practice and exposing themselves to legal liability if something goes wrong.

Why do we use such poor sources of training supplement information? The authors of this study propose two reasons. First, that people know they are not making the best choices (despite their claim to value quality sources). Instead, they choose based on convenience. Trainers and gym buddies are right there, after all. They are more accessible than dieticians and cost less. The second possibility is that people are not capable of telling the difference. People don’t always know what good evidence looks like. There’s a need for a better understanding of good evidence among the exercising public, and fitness professionals, alike.

all relate to… exam performance dropping as alcohol consumed increases! But they don’t report this test. They identified high levels of supplement use in a gymgoing population. This same population used low-quality sources. But this doesn’t show a correlation between these variables. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a correlation, but as the paper didn’t report it, we can’t claim it. But this is a great example of a mistake you could make trying to interpret research without the expertise to do so. This subtlety would probably be missed.

So what do we think about these results? The popularity of training supplements was confirmed – this was never in doubt. And the use of poor-quality sources of training supplement information was never in doubt. The real surprise in this study was that people thought they were using high-quality sources. Fitness professionals need to be more aware of what sources they rely on. And they need to be referring to dietitians more.

If someone doesn’t know what high-quality evidence looks like, they won’t be able to judge the quality of the evidence they are relying on. So, they make poor decisions. And if you’ve never met an exercise professional with postgraduate university qualifications, and long experience, you might think a personal trainer is a fitness “expert”. They’re not.

A little education can be a dangerous thing Those that identified they were educated in supplement use were overwhelmingly not. At least, not to a meaningful level in formal education. Personal trainers have nutrition training that can be counted in hours, not years. And their scope of practice only covers basic healthy eating advice. And a trainer “doing my own research” doesn’t count – who knows what garbage they are reading?! But in this case, participants rated their education as enough to make informed decisions about supplement use. This is consistent with the Dunning - Kruger effect. This is a cognitive bias that means when we are poorly informed about a topic, we tend to overestimate our knowledge.

And those who are highly knowledgeable in a topic tend to underestimate their performance. A classic example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, comparing logical reasoning ability to perceived ability. Those with lower scores significantly overestimated their performance! (Kruger & Dunning, 1999)

Dieticians are widely accessible, but not used enough. For the price of one personal training session, a client could be getting great advice, from the most qualified professional available. Not half-remembered nonsense from a celebrity trainer on Instagram.

The more you learn about a topic, the more you are aware of the complexity within it. There are more shades of grey and fewer clear answers. You will notice this when you read or listen to academics – they express this uncertainty by choosing the right qualifier for their statement. But the personal trainer selling supplements? He probably isn’t expressing a lot of doubt! And he’s probably quite willing to explain exactly how much he knows. But he isn’t aware of the gaps in his knowledge. In the abstract, the authors state “A high prevalence of supplement intake among Swiss fitness centre users was associated with a low level of information quality and a low prevalence of risk information.” This term, in academic literature, suggests a specific test – a correlation. As supplement use increased, we would need to see a corresponding decrease in the number of high-quality sources used. An example of a negative correlation we can PT Monthly/December2020 73

Serve up a festive, plant-based feast with our vegan Christmas starters, mains, sides and desserts Cranberry & lentil bake Ingredients: 25g dried cranberries 1 tbsp red wine 125g cooked puy lentils 2 tsp olive oil ½ onion, finely chopped ½ garlic clove, crushed or finely grated 1 tbsp chopped sage ½ tbsp chopped parsley ¼ tsp smoked paprika pinch ground cloves 1 tsp tomato purée 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp cornflour Instructions: Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Oil and line the base of a 200ml ovenproof ramekin with a circle of baking parchment. Put the cranberries in a small pan with the wine and cook for a couple of mins over a medium heat until the cranberries are plump and the wine syrupy. Pour into the base of the ramekin and set aside. Put the lentils in a bowl and roughly mash about half of them with a fork. Heat the oil in a small pan and cook the onion for 6-8 mins over a medium heat until softened. Stir in the garlic, herbs, paprika and cloves and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and add the lentils, tomato purée, soy and cornflour, stir everything together well, then spoon into the ramekin, pressing down gently with the back of a spoon. Can be chilled for two days, or freeze for up to two months, with the ramekin covered. Defrost in the fridge before cooking. Put the ramekin on a baking tray and bake for 15 mins. Leave to cool for 1 min, then turn out onto a plate.

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Vegan nut roast Ingredients: 150g pearl barley 1 vegan vegetable stock cube (check the packet) 330g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks 2 tbsp ground linseeds (or flaxseed) 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing 1 onion, halved and sliced 3 garlic cloves, crushed 400g mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1 rosemary sprig, leaves stripped, plus extra to decorate if you like 3 sage leaves, shredded 100g blanched hazelnuts, toasted until golden 50g vegan Italian-style hard cheese,grated (optional) small pack flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped a good grating of nutmeg 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds handful parsnip crisps with sea salt & black pepper (optional) Instructions: Cook the pearl barley with the stock cube according to pack instructions. Reserve 4 tbsp of the cooking stock, then drain the grains well. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the parsnips, and cook until really soft. Drain well, tip back into the pan to steam dry for a few minutes, then roughly mash. Mix the ground linseeds with the reserved stock water, and leave to go gluey. Put 2 tbsp of the oil in your largest frying pan with the onions and garlic. Fry gently until soft and golden, then stir in the mushrooms, rosemary and sage. Fry the mushrooms until they’re golden too, and any liquid that comes out has evaporated. Scrape into a big mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Grease a 22-24cm savarin or ring tin generously with oil. If it’s not a non-stick tin, line it with thin strips of overlapping baking parchment. Add the mashed parsnip, cooked pearl barley, gluey seed mix, grated vegan hard cheese (if using), chopped parsley and whole hazelnuts to the fried mushroom mixture. Season generously with salt and nutmeg, then mix everything together really well. Spoon the filling into the tin, and press down firmly to fill the tin and flatten the top. Keep in the fridge for up to 24 hrs before baking. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and cover the tin with foil. Bake for 45 mins, until a skewer poked into the centre of the mixture comes out piping hot. Use a small palette knife or cutlery knife to release the filling all the way around, then sit a serving plate on top and flip over. Carefully lift off the tin, and top the wreath with some parsnip crisps if using and whole pumpkin seeds to serve – plus some extra rosemary sprigs if you like. Slice into wedges and enjoy.

Mini nut roasts with candied carrots Ingredients: 250g bunch thin baby carrots 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin 5 tbsp maple syrup 2 tbsp milled flaxseed 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 celery stick, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 350g mixed mushrooms, finely chopped 3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped 1 tsp tomato purée 2 tsp tamari or dark soy sauce 1 tbsp smoked paprika 100g pecans 50g hazelnuts 400g can green lentils, drained 400g can chickpeas, drained 40g ground almonds handful of sage and thyme leaves 6 mini loaf tins (silicone ones work well) Instructions: Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Scrub and trim the carrots, and cut them in half lengthways or into quarters if large. Toss the carrots with 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp maple syrup in a bowl. Season well, and tip onto a

baking tray. Roast for 20-25 mins until tender and starting to caramelise. Meanwhile, mix the flaxseed with 4 tbsp water and leave to thicken. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, and fry the onion and celery until soft and translucent, about 10 mins. Add a splash of water if you need to, to stop them from catching. Stir in the garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, tomato purée, tamari and paprika, and fry for another 10 mins until the mushrooms are tender. Remove from the heat and leave in a bowl to cool slightly. Put the pecans and hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped. Add the lentils and chickpeas and blend again until you get a thick, dry paste. Combine the nuts and pulses, mushroom

mixture, ground almonds, 2 tbsp maple syrup and soaked flaxseed in a bowl with a good amount of seasoning. Mix everything well using your hands. Oil six holes of a mini loaf tin and line each with a strip of baking parchment. Trim and cut the carrots to fit in the base in a snug single layer, cut-side down. Roughly chop any remaining carrots and mix them through the nut roast mixture. Pack it firmly into the tins and smooth over. Bake, uncovered, for 20 mins. Leave to rest for 10 mins before inverting onto a serving plate, or plates. Fry the sage and thyme in the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil until crisp, then stir through the remaining 1 tbsp maple syrup. Spoon over the nut roasts to serve. PT Monthly/December2020 75

Sizzled sprouts with pistachios & pomegranate Ingredients: 3 tbsp olive oil 500g Brussels sprouts, halved 50g pistachios, roughly chopped 100g pomegranate seeds pomegranate molasses, to drizzle (optional) Instructions: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Put the sprouts in the pan, cut-side down, and leave them to fry for 1015 mins, tossing occasionally. If they’re just lightly brown, carry on cooking for a further 5 mins until blistered. Scatter over the pistachios and stir-fry until toasted. Remove from the heat and stir through the pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and tip into a serving dish. Drizzle with a little pomegranate molasses, if you like.

Sweet potato parcel Ingredients: 4 sweet potatoes (about 750g), peeled and cut into 2-3cm chunks 5 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil 1 onion, thinly sliced 2 large garlic cloves, crushed ½ tsp chilli flakes 1 small bunch sage, leaves sliced 180g pack chestnuts, roughly chopped 3 tbsp cranberry sauce 5 sheets filo pastry (we used Jus-Rol)

Instructions: Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the potatoes on a baking tray, toss with 1 tbsp of the oil, season and roast for 25 mins. While the potatoes roast, heat another 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and cook the onion over a medium heat for about 7-10 mins to soften. Stir in the garlic, chilli flakes and sage and cook for another minute or 2. Remove from the heat and add the chestnuts, cranberry sauce and the sweet potato cubes. Season a little. Line a 20cm square tin with a rectangle of baking parchment that comes up two sides of the tin (this is to help you remove it later). Put 1 sheet of filo in the tin, brushing the bottom and sides with a little of the remaining oil, then add another piece of filo going in the other direction (like a cross). Brush with more oil on the bottom and sides, and repeat with another 2 sheets of filo. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the tin and fold over the filo to cover, brushing with a little more of the oil. Brush the last piece of filo with the remaining oil, then scrunch on top of the parcel. Put in the oven and bake for 30 mins. To serve, use the baking parchment to lift the parcel out of the tin and cut into four.

Vegan Christmas wreath Ingredients: 250g spinach 250g silken tofu 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing 50g pine nuts, toasted generous grating nutmeg 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed 2 lemons, zested 1 small pack dill, ¾ leaves chopped, ¼ fronds reserved for decorating 1 tbsp sour cherries ½ tbsp dried cranberries, plus a few extra flour, for rolling 500g block shortcrust pastry (we used vegan Jus-Rol) almond milk, for brushing Instructions: Put the spinach in a colander, then pour over a kettle of boiling water and leave to wilt. Once cool, wring out the excess moisture using a clean tea towel, then chop the spinach and put in a large bowl. Stir in the tofu, oil, pine nuts, nutmeg, garlic, lemon zest, chopped dill and fruit until well combined, season generously and set aside. On a well-floured surface, roll the pastry out into a 60 x 20cm rectangle. Leaving a 1cm border, spoon the spinach mixture along the length of the pastry, leaving a 2cm gap at both short ends. Fold in the two short ends to stop any of the filling coming out, then roll the pastry away from you to enclose the filling and create a long sausage shape. Join the two ends 76 PT Monthly/December2020

together to create a wreath shape and stick together with a little almond milk. Transfer the wreath to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and chill for 20 mins. Can be made up to this point a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Using a sharp knife, cut slashes across the top of the wreath. Mix a little almond milk with some olive oil (this will help the pastry colour) and brush all over the wreath. Bake for 40-45 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then transfer to a board and decorate with the reserved dill fronds and some dried cranberries.

Herb-infused roast potatoes Ingredients: 2 ½kg Maris Piper potatoes , peeled and halved or quartered (depending on size) large handful of mixed woody herbs (bay, thyme, rosemary) and parsley stalks 100ml sunflower oil Instructions: Place the potatoes in a large pan of cold, salted water with the herbs. Bring the water to the boil and simmer gently for 8-10 mins until the potatoes are cooked through but not about to collapse. Gently drain the potatoes in a colander, but don’t shake or ruffle up. Leave to drain and cool. If making ahead, place on a tray in a single layer and leave in the fridge, uncovered, until ready to roast. Can be made up to two days ahead.  Heat oven to 200C/180C/gas 6. Pour the oil into a deep roasting tin (the oil should be about 0.5cm deep) and put in the oven for 5 mins. Remove from the oven and gently tip the potatoes and herbs into the oil. Use a spoon or spatulato turn the potatoes until they’re completely coated in oil, then return the tin to the oven and roast for 40 mins. Remove from the oven and turn the potatoes in the oil again. Return to the oven for 20 mins, then turn the potatoes in the oil once more. Turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for a final 20 mins, or until golden and crunchy. Sprinkle with a little sea salt to serve.

Vegan Christmas pudding Ingredients: 125g dairy-free margarine, plus extra for greasing the bowl and paper 375g dried figs 75ml rum 350g mixed sultanas and raisins 1 large eating apple, peeled, cored and grated 85g light brown soft sugar 85g dark brown soft sugar 100g breadcrumbs 100g self-raising flour ½ tbsp allspice Instructions: Grease a 2-litre pudding bowl with dairy-free margarine, then line the base with a circle of baking parchment. Grease a large sheet of baking parchment, then lay it on top of a large sheet of foil, margarine side up. Fold a pleat in the middle of each sheet. Roughly chop 125g of the figs and set aside. Put the remaining figs, the dairy-free margarine and the rum into a large food processor and whizz until smooth-ish, then scrape into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the chopped figs, sultanas, raisins, grated apple, sugars, breadcrumbs, flour and allspice. Stir everything together, then spoon into your pudding basin. Cover with the buttered paper-foil sheet, tie with string and trim. Lower into a large saucepan, with upturned saucers or scrunched-up bits of foil in the bottom (so the pud doesn’t touch the bottom), then fill the pan with enough boiling water from the kettle to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hrs, topping up the water as needed. Remove and leave to cool. Will keep in a cool, dry cupboard for up to a year.

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Vegan mince pies Ingredients: 1 large apple (around 200g), peeled and grated 200g mixed dried fruit 390g jar black cherries in kirsch 100g skinless hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped 1 orange, zested and juiced 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp allspice 150g dark brown sugar For the pastry: 400g flour 200g coconut oil, straight from the fridge (as solid as possible) 20g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting 50ml ice-cold vodka (see tip below) 50ml non-dairy milk, for brushing

Instructions: Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip all the mincemeat ingredients into a casserole dish or roasting tray – be sure to include half the kirsch from the jar of cherries. Mix everything together, then cover with a lid or a sheet of foil. Bake for 35-40 mins until all the sugar has melted, the mixture is bubbling slightly at the edges and the liquid has reduced (the mixture firms a bit as it cools, so be careful not to over-reduce). Set aside to cool completely. Can be made up to three days in advance and chilled in the fridge. To make the pastry: tip the flour and coconut oil to a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and pulse to just combine, then pour in the vodka and 2 tbsp ice-cold water and pulse until the pastry is just coming together. Add another 2 tbsp water if a little dry, then tip the dough onto a clean surface and pat into a disc with your hands. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins. Take the pastry out of the fridge. Cut off onethird of the pastry and keep covered under a

tea towel. Cut the rest into five chunks and, one chunk at a time, squeeze with your hands until malleable, then roll out on a wellfloured surface to a thickness of 0.5cm. Cut out circles using a 9cm cookie cutter and line 18 holes of two 12-hole cupcake tins. Repeat with the rest of the pastry chunks, re-rolling off-cuts where necessary. Put a heaped spoonful of mincemeat in the middle of each circle, then put the pies in the fridge. Take the remaining pastry from under the tea towel and roll out to 0.5cm thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Chill for 15 mins to firm up. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Remove the pastry sheet from the fridge and use an 8cm cookie cutter to cut out nine circles, then use a star cutter to cut out the middles. Bring the mince pies out of the fridge and top half of them with the stars and the other half with the stamped-out circles. Use your fingers to seal the tops and bases, then brush the tops with milk. Bake for 30 mins until the pastry is crisp and the tops are golden. Cool a little, then dust with a little icing sugar to serve.

Vegan Christmas cake

mix, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins until the sugar has dissolved. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside, tying it with string to secure. Mix the chia seeds with 150ml water. Leave to sit for 5 mins until gel-like and thick. Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture, along with the chia seed mix, and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spoon and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs. Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of rum. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin. To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing

Ingredients: 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs) zest and juice of 1 orange zest and juice of 1 lemon 150ml rum, plus extra for feeding 250g coconut oil 200g light soft brown sugar 4 tbsp chia seeds 175g plain flour 100g ground almonds ½ tsp baking powder 2 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground cloves 100g flaked almonds 1 tsp vanilla extract Instructions: Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, rum, coconut oil and sugar into a large pan set over a medium heat. Give it a good 78 PT Monthly/December2020

Vegan gingerbread people Ingredients: 1 tbsp chia seeds 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 200g coconut oil 2 tbsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon 200g dark muscovado sugar 50g maple syrup 100ml aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas) 500g icing sugar ½ tsp lemon juice Instructions: Put the chia seeds in a small bowl and stir in 3 tbsp water. Leave to soak for 5-10 mins until gloopy. Meanwhile put the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the coconut oil until it’s almost disappeared into the flour. Stir in the spices. In another bowl mix together the sugar, maple syrup, chia mixture and 2 tbsp water until smooth then pour over the flour. Stir until well combined then knead together to make a soft dough. Wrap in cling film until ready to use. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface then cut into gingerbread people (or whatever shape you like) and bake for 10-12 mins on baking sheets lined with baking parchment until just starting to darken at the edges. Let them cool for a couple of minutes on the tray then transfer to a wire rack to cool. While the gingerbread cools whip the aquafaba in a bowl using electric beaters until really foamy. Add 3/4 of the icing sugar and whisk until smooth and thick, then whisk in the rest of the icing sugar and the lemon juice. Whisk again until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag until ready to use. Snip a little off the end of the piping bag and use to create designs and faces on your gingerbread.

Ultimate vegan gravy Ingredients: 6 large portobello mushrooms 3 onions, unpeeled, quartered 4 carrots, unpeeled, roughly chopped 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped 1 garlic bulb, halved 2 tbsp sunflower oil 2 tbsp agave syrup 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 2 tbsp tomato purée 2 tbsp soy sauce 100g plain flour 25g dried mushrooms 150ml ruby port 2 litres vegetable stock 3 bay leaves small bunch of thyme Instructions: Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Tip the portobello mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery and garlic into a roasting tin, toss in the sunflower oil, then spread out into a single layer. Roast for 40 mins, undisturbed –

the veg should be very slightly charred. Drizzle over the agave, vinegar, tomato purée, soy and 2 tbsp water. Toss together until completely coated, then return to the oven for 5 mins until sticky and caramelised. Stir in the flour and dried mushrooms, and return to the oven for a final 10 mins. If the tin is flameproof, put on the hob over a low heat, stir in the port and cook until you have a thick paste mixed in with all the ingredients. Pour over two-thirds of the stock, add the herbs, bring to a boil and cook for 10 mins. If the tin isn’t flameproof, drizzle over the port, stir to loosen all the burnt bits, then tip everything into a pan and continue with the stock and herbs. Turn off the heat and mash everything with a potato masher to extract as much flavour as possible. Carefully pass the contents through a sieve set over another saucepan, pushing down to release all the liquid. Add the rest of the stock and simmer until the gravy is thickened and rich. Leave to cool. To serve, simply reheat. Will keep, chilled and covered for up to three days or frozen for up to two months.

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n 2019, EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise, released their first white paper; Sweating Your Assets: The value of group exercise. From research and own experience, EMD UK found that instructor pay had remained widely the same across the industry for at least 20 years. Additionally, research found that despite its obvious merits and business building prowess, the activity was being widely undervalued by operators. When looking at group exercise in relation to gyms and health clubs, there are some things to note: • Group exercisers who visit your club just once per week are 20% more likely to be loyal members than those who visit 3 times per week and only use the gym (TRP Customer Engagement Academy (CEA) 2017) • According to the International Health, Racquet and Sports club Association (IHRSA) Fitness Training User Report, 12.6% of health club consumers used a personal trainer in 2016, while 26.6% of club-goers engaged in small group training. Most importantly, the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report shows that nearly half of club members (47.5%) participate in group exercise.

WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SAY? 2018 research from EMD UK shows that nearly five million people were taking part in group exercise in England every week. Further to that, Sport England’s Active Lives survey puts group exercise at the third most popular physical activity for adults to take part in (first and second spots were taken by walking for leisure and walking for transport).

WHY IS GROUP EXERCISE UNDERVALUED? Of course, it would be crass to imply that all clubs and operators undervalue the activity. But there is widespread, often unconscious bias against group exercise. Marketing language plays a key role in how group exercise has been viewed. Some larger operators have opted for ‘free group exercise classes included in your

On the face of it, group exercise seems like a smart activity to invest in. With member retention improving through group exercise and engaging more club users than personal training sessions, it would make good sense to value that workforce and invest in their future. PT Monthly/December2020 81

THEN, THERE WAS 2020… From closures to furloughs to redundancies, we’re all acutely aware of how this year has affected our industry. As much as this was a terrifying position to be in, group exercise instructors were faced with a fresh opportunity to engage their current clients and recruit new ones via online classes. With the geographical barriers of distance and times removed, many instructors set up libraries of monetised content that people could fit around their schedules. A quick bit of promo and listing on websites like classfinder and instructors had created a smart income stream.

membership’. The truth is, there is no value in free. If Amy has a membership that includes free classes, it won’t matter to her whether she attends those or not as her perception is she hasn’t paid for that service. It will matter to the instructors though, their numbers, and their commission. Activity only memberships are also creating a tricky situation. Many clubs opt for gym only memberships with wet-side clubs adding in swim only membership. But rarely do you find a group ex only membership. When you consider that up to half of club users are coming for group exercise classes, this seems like an oversight. Turning those pay as you go individuals into loyal members give you the opportunity to upsell other club highlights and puts them on the path to full membership. Without the group ex only membership, they may never walk that path at all. It’s also pretty tough to give a studio a ‘wow’ factor, especially when classes aren’t taking place. A gym can look impressive when the equipment and space are clean and well cared for. Despite the downtime challenges, studios are hugely profitable spaces. Bigger studios are more profitable per square metre according to research by Les Mills. This same study also showed that group exercise was more profitable per square metre than the cardio or weights areas in the gym. (Les Mills ‘Group fit: Raise revenue, reward instructors 2019’). Knocking down the walls of gyms may 82 PT Monthly/December2020

not be high on the list of club priorities right now but filming classes and creating a promo video that can be used to show prospective members is a smart, low-cost move that could pay off.

Some group exercise brands quickly saw the opportunity, streaming their classes on Facebook Live and increasing their social media following almost overnight. Instructors were quick to take up online too; EMD UK research identified that 85% of instructors were delivering their classes virtually through lockdown. Some instructors opted for live classes and social events on Zoom, engaging their members not just through classes but through

activity and one where the largest increase in participation is from the over-45s, huge swathes of the population are missing out on the many physical, mental, and social aspects group exercise brings. Yes, of course there are other activities that people can attend (including the pub…), but not everyone likes the gym, not everyone likes football, and not everyone likes walking.

quizzes, virtual social evenings, and party nights. Despite some Zoom fatigue, this work ultimately paid off; 53% of instructors reported no loss in client numbers, and 16% had an increase.

THE PROBLEM WITH TIER 3 Group exercise instructors are keen to do the right thing. They want to keep communities active, keep the nation going, despite the challenges that face them. When the opening of the sector was announced in later July, EMD UK wrote clear guidelines for group exercise instructors on how to run COVID-19 secure classes. The Return to Play guidance, signed off by with Sport England and the Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has been utilised by over 9,000 instructors across the UK. An update earlier

this month to include the tiers in England has seen another rush of downloads. Prior to the second lockdown group exercise was allowed to continue despite a few pushbacks in all tiers, however post lockdown the government has decided that all group exercise is not allowed to take place indoors in tier 3 areas. This is frustrating, that despite the measures they have put in place with increased social distancing, reduced class numbers, lower music volumes and the mask wearing upon entry and exit, the activity in the Government’s eyes is not deemed secure to take place.

Group exercise is just that; a group, a community. In these lonely times, it is needed more than ever. Figures published in April from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that more than 5% of adults in England felt lonely “often” or “always” between 2016 and 2017 (that’s one in every 20 adults), with 16% enduring feelings of loneliness sometimes, and 24% occasionally. Group exercise classes are more than just loud music, fast movements, and shouts of encouragement from an instructor at the front of a class. They also offer fantastic social inclusion opportunities, health benefits, and psychological support – all of which are imperative for combatting the feelings and consequences of loneliness. The group setting really helps people develop a sense of community. Participants truly feel like they are a part of something by being surrounded by like-minded, encouraging people, many of whom will have similar ambitions and reasons for joining as their own.

At a time when the Government are asking the population to get fitter and be healthy, the third most popular activity is not available in tier 3, where over 40% of the English population live. With group exercise being a predominantly female attended

WHAT’S NEXT FOR GROUP EXERCISE? Group Exercise Instructors have a wealth of experience that we need to utilise to maintain our nation’s fitness along with satisfying our members. They have been the unsung heroes of this pandemic that have allowed operators to keep their members active and provide an outlet for mental health issues. We need to recognise the value this workforce brings and utilise it to enhance our offerings across the sector. PT Monthly/December2020 83

TIME TO LOOK AT THINGS DIFFERENTLY? ADVERTISE IN PT MONTHLY MAGAZINE Contact Paul Wood today to discuss a range of flexible options:  pw@ptmonthlymagazine.co.uk  07858 487357 / +34 642572963

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The PTMM Team would like to take this opportunity to thank all that have supported the magazine throughout what has been an exceptionally turbulent year. We’d like to thank our readers and contributors for making the magazine what it is today, we couldn’t do it without you! This year has shown us the importance of giving love and kindness unconditionally, may we continue this into 2021. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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PT Monthly Magazine December Issue  

The UK's No.1 Digital Magazine for PT's & Fitness Professionals

PT Monthly Magazine December Issue  

The UK's No.1 Digital Magazine for PT's & Fitness Professionals