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The power of the mind in sport and exercise

I never got along too well with sports psychology at university because it made me analyse my own behaviour in sport, and that made me feel uncomfortable. There’s also too many theories that all blend in to one in my head and create a LOT of referencing! But that’s not the point of this blog..

Despite my dislike of writing essays on the subject, the effects that psychological interventions can have on performance in sport and exercise are undeniably impressive. I was reminded of this today while trying to talk myself into getting ready for my long run. My route was to be a slightly longer version of the one I had done the week before, in which the last mile had been a real struggle.

I realised I had been replaying that last mile over and over in my head each time I thought about my upcoming run. You don’t need to be a sport psychologist to realise that that is probably not helpful. I replaced this image with one of me completing that section effortlessly (which wasn’t hard to conjure up as it happens to be in the local park which I’ve run countless times). Out the door I went with my new-found confidence. Great!

While running I reflected on this negative imagery, and how detrimental it can be to performance or motivation. As a kid I was pretty good at rugby – I was useless at communication off the pitch as I was ridiculously shy, but on the pitch I had confidence. As I got a little older I lost a lot of this confidence for some reason, which affected my performance as I doubted myself a lot, which then further affected my confidence. A little cycle which I never really managed to break out of. I’m still pretty sour about it as I missed out on some big opportunities – note why sport psychology makes me so uncomfortable!

Looking back on this and applying my knowledge of imagery, I can see why things went so wrong. I vividly remember that each and every kick-off, I would visualise me dropping the ball and letting the team down. I stood as far to the side as I possibly could to reduce the chance of being nearest to the ball. Each time it went to a teammate, I breathed a sigh of relief. Until the next kick-off. Same with tackling – I saw myself missing the tackle, or them breaking through my arms. So, I backed out of them. I just couldn’t get myself to commit to them.

I wish I had the knowledge that I do now, then. I often wonder how far I would have got, had I not unknowingly been compromising my own performance. I can’t change my previous mistakes, but I CAN and DO utilise positive imagery now, just like this morning!

Have a think about a skill that you have been trying to master, such as a push up. Do you visualise yourself pushing yourself back up from the ground, or do you see yourself collapsing in a heap? Have you ever thought about it? You may be unintentionally preventing yourself from unlocking that skill! What do you see when you picture yourself squatting an extra 5kg? Can you create an image of you breezing through the reps with good technique? Have a play around with this technique and you may just surprise yourself with what you are capable of.

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Why are your muscles sore after training?

This soreness is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and normally appears 24-48 hours after strenuous or unaccustomed exercise. You might also notice a loss of range of motion in the joints of the affected limb(s). Even if you have been training for years, when we add new exercises in or change the structure of the session, this is unaccustomed to your muscles and so may lead to DOMS.

DOMS is not something to worry about and is perfectly safe. The good news is that when you do the same workout a second time you are not likely to experience the same level of soreness, so don’t let that first bout put you off!

Over the years many explanations have been given for DOMS, including a buildup of lactic acid, muscle spasms, inflammation, and micro tears of muscle and connective tissue. There is a lot of research for and against different explanations, and at the moment there isn’t a certain answer – it may well be a combination of a few factors. Eccentric contractions have been found to increase the risk of developing DOMS, so you may find you are more sore after doing eccentric pull ups (jumping up and lowering down) or push ups (lowering down to the floor).

Just like there are lots of explanations given for what DOMS is caused by, there are lots of myths about what can be done to treat or lessen it. Many think massages can help, but there is no concrete evidence behind this. Equally Epsom salts and stretching (before or after exercise) have little evidence proving that they relieve DOMS, and more evidence that they do nothing to help. There are a few things that show some promise, but again are no where near proven as a treatment. These include vitamin D, curcumin, and heat (which is why you may feel better after an Epsom salt bath). All this being said, if something makes you feel more comfortable then DO IT! It doesn’t matter if it’s not a scientifically proven treatment for DOMS, it may relieve other symptoms that are bothering you and that’s great too.

In summary, DOMS is something that is you are pretty much guaranteed to experience at some point in your training, and as annoying as it can be, it is just something you have to get on with! Just remember, the next time you train that session you shouldn’t have that same painful reaction, so don’t shy away from that session.

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fat loss, weight loss, fitness, strength, fitness journey


 After a period of not training I came in and threw myself back into it. After only a few weeks of not training consistently I was left sore and very stiff in my muscles. I wasn’t surprised but it got me thinking about how daunting it is to start exercising again after a long period off; or for some the challenge of starting for the first time.


The first steps to getting back into fitness whether it be to lose weight or just get fit and strong can seem like the hardest.

Thinking about exercise and ways to reach your goals is a great start but at some point, we have to action it and get going.


Don’t fear the first step and don’t put it off because you don’t feel fit enough or experienced enough.

This is the best time of year to break though the barriers that have held you back.

The start of a new year is a chance to start fresh.


You don’t have to have all the answers.

You don’t have to have it all together.

You just need to be willing to start and motivated to turn up.

You don’t have to overhaul everything to get results, you just need to make a few key changes that fit in and around your life and be consistent at those.


We provide you with a framework that fits your life.

We support you every step of the way and are always available to review your progress and chart a course that you can follow.


It all starts with Day 1


Just get going and start heading in a direction that will see you succeed.


To get started on our 30 day trial Contact Lisa

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fat loss, weight loss, fitness, small group pt, personal training


To get long term results from exercise you at first have to enjoy it.

It doesn’t matter how good your programme is, how amazing the equipment is, how much you lift etc

What matters is are you enjoying it enough to stick with it.

When you find a place, you feel welcomed.

Training takes on a new meaning.

It becomes part of your day to day life.

You start to make it a priority – you build a routine – that breeds consistency.

Then you start to see and feel the benefits of what you’re doing.

Then you start to see results.


Of course; in the long term it does matter that you have great coaches to guide you.

A facility that is equipped to see you progress.

A training programme that is built around your goals.

The luxury of not having to wait for equipment.

Set sessions so you know when you’re going to train.


This only makes it easier to stay and increases the results you will achieve as there is structure, a plan and a way forward.

You are supported from the start and have continual support when you need it.


Contact Lisa to Sign up for our 30 day trial



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personal training, Winchmore hill, lose weight, fat loss, exercises



Not every session is meant to kill you. We think that by punishing ourselves in the gym we will get quicker results. You can do too much interval training.
You can burn yourself out and over train which will stop you achieving your goals, increase your risk of injury and set you back.

It all depends on your goal, level of energy and what is going on in your life. You need to vary your training and build on different areas such as strength, mobility, coordination, strength endurance and general fitness.

We aim to offer a variety of training that provides a balance between high intensity, mobility work, weight training for strength and just fun movements and exercises.
To achieve the long-term goal, you need a program that considers what you need each session and in each season.
How often and hard you train all comes down to how well you recover.
You also have to be aware of your goals, current life situation and what you can handle physically.





You need to keep your training in line with your goals – if it’s an extreme transformation you want then yes you will have to train more and put in more effort than those who just want to lose a bit of weight and feel better in themselves.
You also have to ask yourself are you ready to do that – is your life in balance to allow for such a huge undertaking or will you end of burning yourself out in pursuit of a goal that your lifestyle at present can’t sustain.
You need to look at what is realistic for you and go from there. If you can only fit in 3 sessions a week then that’s all you can do. You just have to make every session count and adjust your goal to fit into what you can do (make it more realistic).



HIIT sessions are great fun but will take you longer to recover from. Instead of training 4 x a week HIIT; break up your training and do all body weights training 2 days a week and 2 days a week HIIT training.
You could also train every other day, which gives you a day’s rest in between in which you can recover.
You could also do an 8-12 week intensive programme then scale it back to allow the body and mind to recover. These are a great way to focus towards a short-term goal.



The older your training age the greater your work capacity and ability to recover from exercise. If your new to training, then you need to see how you feel after a session and see how long it takes you to recover before training again. As you get fitter, stronger and your training age increases you will be able to work at a higher rate and recover quicker.
Be sensitive to what your body is saying and be sensible when it comes to how often you train.



You need to factor in your nutrition, sleep, workload and day to day life
Sleep is so important not only for weight loss and muscle gain but also for optimal health. Sleep is what will get you the results from all your hard work.
Sleep is under rated and Is a low priority for many, but lack of sleep could be setting you back from seeing the results you’re after.

What you eat and how you fuel your body will also drive your training sessions and day to day life. If your diet is bad, then how can you expect your body to respond and give you it’s best when your food intake is substandard.

Work life balance – If work is busy and stressful then it can affect your energy for training. Try to be aware of any upcoming deadlines or an increase is work hours and scale back your training accordingly, so you can still get the most out of it without wearing yourself down.

Look out for signs and symptoms such as always tired after training and a plateau in results. These are red flags that you’re not recovering from your sessions and heading down the path of over training.
Take a week out and rest, it might be what you need to start seeing results again.



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personal trainer near me, Winchmore hill,

Training doesn’t have to be unenjoyable.

Most of the dislike we may have for exercise dates back to old gyms with rows of cardio machines, a weights room full of equipment that you don’t know how to use and a list of classes that require you to be able to move to a beat.

Exercise has changed a lot in the past 10 years – the options available to you have changed even if you haven’t been keeping up.

Our aim is to adapt the training we do to your goals and your starting point. To make it less daunting and more achievable.

The idea of exercise shouldn’t be one of fear or dread. Moving more gives you so many health benefits and will add quality of life. Movement is essential to life.

Exercise doesn’t always need to challenge you – it all depends what you want to get out of it.

More often than not our members are new to training and have never set foot in a gym.

They find a place to call home as we meet you where your at and start there.

We coach you every step of the way and are always there to help you in your journey.

If you want to lose weight then yes you have to challenge yourself; however It can still be hard but not hated!

To get started you need to find people that raise you up and trust me, it gets easier

We always say that it doesn’t matter what your goal is, what point you’re starting at or your level of experience.

The fact you have stepped out and started is a massive win and you can only get better and improve on yourself.

Contact us to come in for a chat about our 30 day trial

Prove to yourself that you can get started again and move forward.

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Never under estimate the power of the mind when it comes to getting the most out of your training. So often it’s our mindset that can make the difference and accelerate your results.


When you first start training just the fact that your moving more can lead to quick results, you feel fitter and stronger and you’re always improving.


As you progress and get better you have to learn how to maximise each session to get the most out of it so you can keep moving forward and stay motivated.


Here are 3 ways to ensure you stay focused and develop a training mindset to see you through the months and years ahead.


  1. Be dedicated, not obsessed

Know your goal and stay dedicated to staying the path towards achieving it. If you have reached your initial weight loss goal then set new goals that keep you excited and give you a reason to keep going.


Don’t become so obsessed with exercise that it takes over your life, balance is key and having a realistic outlook on what you can achieve in a set period of time.


Performance goals are the best type – such as doing 1 chin up, running 5km or simply training a set number of times a week.


Obsessing over your weight and training only to see the scales go down can be tiring and make exercise unenjoyable as your chasing numbers that are varied and fluctuate all the time.


Commit to being dedicated to the training process, seeing small changes over time in your fitness and strength will keep you going longer regardless of what the scales say.


  1. Don’t just go through the motions

It’s very easy to exercise without much thought or effort, after a while you can start just going the motions and stop trying and hope that you do just enough to improve.


You need to start turning up to training with a clear focus on what you want to achieve that day. Be ready and give it all your attention and energy.


Never leave feeling like you could have done more – seek to maximise your time but giving 100% of all you have that day.


Being focused for each session will help you to reach your full potential – leading to better results for years to come.


  1. Focus on the power of now

There is nothing better than seeing our members progress and reach their goals, it’s why we exist and what we are all about.


Celebrate the achievements but keep moving forward and focus on where you are now.


Come into the gym focused on what you are trying to achieve that day, in that session.

Make it count so that you can keep going and improve on what you have already achieved.


Aim to stay the course, make exercise part of your life, set performance goals and only focus on the now and where you want to go in the future.

Next blog – healthy cherry ripe popcorn recipe

Click here to sign up to our 30 day trial

Click here to learn more about us and how we can help you


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Starting out with a desire to get fitter and stronger can be daunting at any age, but even more so as you age. There is a need for all women to take up strength training; especially for women over 50. The health benefits are massive – increased bone strength to prevent osteoporosis, increased strength to preserve muscle mass, blood sugar regulation and increased energy expenditure


But where do you start? There are many obstacles standing in your way especially if you haven’t spent the past 10-20 years in the gym or with a personal trainer.


  1. Feeling out of place and self conscious

Problem – Most gyms are very intimidating to say the least and when you are over 50 it may seem like a strange place. The weights area is bombarded with men and on top of that you don’t know where to start.


Solution – Find a place where you feel comfortable, private personal training gyms may work best as there are less members and all sessions are with a coach.

You need to feel welcomed and at home, and also given the right training to suit your needs. Look for a gym where the culture and environment suit you.


  1. I don’t want to get hurt

Problem – this is a legitimate concern for anyone starting out. Your risk of injury will increase when you don’t know what your doing.


Solution – If you have health conditions speak to your doctor first to see if you are ready to start training. Sign up for some session with a personal trainer who can teach you how to move, how to train and how to get moving better. Technique is king when it comes to building strength, followed by consistency and progressing the program when you need to.


  1. Having trouble finding time

Problem – The kids may have grown and maybe you thought that once you get to 50 you would have more time but that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Years of inactivity or not having time to yourself is a very real problem and the years have taken their toll on your health. There is never a perfect time to start working on you and finding time can be hard, but not impossible.


Solution – Find a place to train that has a flexible schedule, start every week by putting in time to train in your diary. Schedule it like you would a dentist appointment and stay accountable to that commitment. Remember you will benefit from your training and you are only letting yourself down when you fail to start. Exercise makes you feel better about yourself, it will boost your energy and time invested in your health will only benefit you and make more enjoyable.


  1. Believing that all you need is cardio training

Problem – We have been led to believe that older people need more cardio and less strength training. As more research is done it is becoming clear that women over 50 need more weight training than cardio. While sitting on a bike for 40 minutes will help you get fitter; strength training will help improve all over well-being and set you up to be stronger, fitter and mentally sharper as you age.

Solution – Find a place that specialises in personal training or a coach at a gym that understands what you need. They should be able to lead and guide you in the right direction and set you up for great results that will help you get what you need from training.

Whatever the obstacle to training the pros far outweigh the cons especially when it comes to your health. You can’t ignore the fact that regular training will lead to greater health and over all wellbeing.

So get moving, see what is available to you locally and get started.

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All our members regardless of age train with weights, many of them are female as you can see and many of them are over 55.

It may come as a shock that Carol who is 60 can do assisted chin ups or Mylene who is a little younger is mastering push ups and ring rows.
These ladies prove every day that age is only a number and they work hard at getting stronger as they understand why it’s so important to be strong as you age.
I am so proud of the effort and energy they bring to every session, their positive attitude and who they are inspire all my clients that they can do more if they work hard

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strong women, female fitness,



Weight training has so many benefits especially for women. In my experience as a trainer for over 10 years, this is what I see happens when my new female clients start doing resistance training

  1. They become stronger and more confident
  2. They start to find muscles they never knew existed and tune into themselves a bit more
  3. Their Posture improves
  4. They lose weight
  5. Their shape starts to change and they become more toned
  6. They are constantly surprising themselves with what they can do in training – this applies to anything from doing push ups, pulling a sled and lifting barbells off the ground.
  7. Under the right supervision and correct training my clients are amazed at what their bodies can do. More often than not my female clients are stronger than they think!
  8. They are more flexible and have less aches and pains – A great 10-15 min movement and stretch preparation before training will help increase flexibility and reinforce good technique when training
  9. Improved quality of life, the ability to get through the day with energy left to enjoy other things in life


The common myth around why women avoid weight training is that they don’t want to get too big or look bulky, therefore they opt for cardio training instead as a way of trying to lose weight. There are a growing number of women who are now reaping the benefits of switching to resistance training.

Research suggests weight training can slow down the aging process, helps to build muscle mass, can help in blood sugar regulation, helps prevent osteoporosis and increases energy expenditure.

What stops women I train from starting a weight/circuit program is –

  1. Feelings of looking silly and out of place in the gym
  2. Not knowing where to start
  3. Not knowing what they need to do
  4. Not having someone there to show them
  5. Having to do it alone


At Fitness Hub 21 our clients don’t necessarily have a history of training, they simply want to be fit and healthy as they age, have a stronger core, and in some cases lose weight.

Our gym provides the ideal environment for anyone to keep fit – it’s boutique, private and welcoming. What’s more is that the training sessions are fun!

We support each other and share in our individual improvements.

To get started on our 30 day trial contact Lisa