Gym memberships, the truth

A number of years ago, i was talking to one of the manager’s of the biggest gym in the area, and he proudly boasted that they had 6000 members. I looked around at the training area and asked him, “what if they all show up”?, he replied “oh there’s no chance of that”, i then told him that at best you couldn’t fit more than 60 people (at a push) in the gym area, so asked him again, what if even 10% show up, he told me again “there’s no chance of that”! That would still be 600 people (10%)!!

I told him its a sad situation when if you get 60 people, you’re at your maximum, and that’s only 1% of your membership!!! He replied that they rarely had that and most people never showed up after their initial couple of weeks. He went on and told me that the gym machines were all rented and they needed at least a couple of thousand members to pay the overheads and staff.

They would employ sales staff to attract people in supermarkets, getting them to sign direct debits, and this was a process that happened 4-5 times per year, constantly looking for new people because a large percentage would cancel their membership once they realised they never went!

I found out over the years that this practice was common throughout most big scale gyms, and was saddened to see so many people signing up for the new gyms, only to share their dissatisfaction with me when they found out they didn’t use their membership, like i warned them before they signed.

If you’re part of my programme, or using this site to further develop your physical and mental potential, you know you’re not going to get short-changed, given “fancy” advice, or diets that are in fashion for a few weeks. YOU KNOW that you will get tried and tested advice, common sense and a programme that will last you for life!

You may have been a victim of gym mis-selling, been members of countless weight loss clubs, or just not had enough confidence to get into great shape once and for all? Whatever your situation, you can be sure this is the forum where you can get the answer to any question you have, as well as being able to write your own story/experience to inspire others!

Keep your thoughts coming in,


The one set theory

There are many theories on the best way to train out there, in fact, if you go into a supermarket or newsagent, you could probably get 100 different ways to train from all the different magazines out there. Many are flawed and most don’t take into account the talents of the individual, but here’s one theory that’s been around for many years that can really work for beginners, as well as time-crunched individuals.

I always start everyone off on one circuit. The number one reason is that starting an excercise programme is not only daunting and confusing, but you can possibly injure or at least get very stiff if you don’t do things properly.

Another reason is that one set of everything is great because it’s easy to follow and you can work every body part in one go. People often want some over technical programme, but that’s only for more advanced athletes who have mastered the basics.

So if you started off an inside workout like this with a small number of exercises;

Press ups-5

arm dips-5


sit ups-5

This would be very simple but often suitable for someone just starting off in the first week. The next week you would typically increase this to two circuits/sets, and the third week you would increase this to 3 ciruits/sets. This is also necessary to get your body used to training and by the time you have got used to three sets, you will appreciate why you took three weeks to get up to your working levels. After a couple of weeks at this level and if you become accomplished on performing at these levels, i would like to add some exercise to not only increase effectiveness, but boredom too. Changing your programme is not only to keep you fresh, but to confuse the body. Your body will get used to any workout routine, and by changing it regularly, you will get maximum results, and that’s what we all really after at the end of the day.

More advanced one set theory

Another occasion when the one set theory comes into play is when the individual is time-crunched and wants to get through the workout in a very short period of time, while still trying to get a good result. The difference this time is that the intensity of the workout must be go a lot. Like i talked about in previous postings, you should judge your workouts in terms of effort from 1 to 10. You should aim for at least a 7 and maybe a 8 to get best results.

However, if you are pressed for time AND you have a lot of experience training, you can work the one set theory. For example, if you normally do 3 sets of press ups for 10 reps each and it takes a 8 out of 10 effort to do that, try one set only and put absolutely everything into that set. You will find that you probably get 10 out of 10 for that one set increasing your reps up to around 15-16 for that set, your muscles will be working more and you will be out of breath. Then you will go onto the next exercise with the same theory and execute the same effort. Then you go on to the next exercise and so on until you reach the end of your circuit of exercises.

No doubt you will feel spent, you will finished in record time but you will definitely know you have been in a workout! This workout i say again is only suitable for advanced exercises, but can be a great alternative to going through the grind of 3 sets, and is guaranteed to still give you some decent results. I would also suggest a thorough warm-up befor any such routine, to get your heart rate up, and muscles warm to avoid any unnecessary injuries, and this would apply to any workout of course.

The advantages to three circuits are there because it is a tried and tested way to get into great shape, will keep you injury free, will not demand these huge efforts each time you train, and see you progress at a safe and gradual pace, which is highly recommended. I personally like 3 sets, but giving you more options can only increase your training variety and keep you fresh physically and mentally.

Consult a doctor before beginning any exercise programme.

Have a great workout,


Using the coastal paths

Burry Port and Llanelli was usually known as an industrial town until quite recently in historical terms. £32 million pounds later and it’s one of the most beautiful areas you could ever run in to, or run on if you pardon the pun. Excellent running areas are the obvious straight lines from loughor to pembrey, these are excellent for beginners and walkers alike, as well as distance runners who want to get some serious mileage in.

After an individual i train has worked up their conditioning quite a bit, i begin to attack some hills and a great starting point would be the hills up to the monument in sandy water park. These are a true barometer of your fitness standards and will remind you how fit you are if you’ve let your fitness slip a bit.

Simply circling sandy water park in one go on a run is a great goal to start with, walking for 20 yards, running for 10 yards, walking for 20 yards, running for 10 etc etc, until you get to walking for 20 yards, running for 20 and so on, after a few short weeks you will be up to the standard of running round the lake in one go, as long as your diet is up to scratch, and you are following the advice in the diet section.

Moving on to burry port and you have some excellent runs around the harbour, and there point to point runs you can practice. For instance, from the lifeboat end to the yacht club and back will be a big accomplishment to many to start with.

Once you have some steady running under your belt, you may want to wander over to the sand dunes. There are some really steep ones and start off by running up 10 yards at a time, walk back down, then back up, take as much rest in between as you like, when you get your breath back, just give it a go again until you reach 5. You WILL  feel your legs in a big way the next day, but this workout is for runners of a much more advanced stage.

Cycling is a very popular option these days on the coastal path, and can be seen by the sheer numbers on a sunny day. The cycle path offers great views and a nice safe track to keep things nice and easy. It would be recommended if you start off gently with your cycling programme, and take into account that you can obviously cover much bigger distances on the bike. For example, a run of 3 miles can be beyond a lot of people, a cycle though can be relatively comfortable over the same distance. Just make sure you wear a helmet, wear some reflective jacket if you’re cycling in the winter like right now, and you set your targets achieveable, but still working up progressively over the weeks. Everyone can improve, as long as they eat well and put some effort in.

Please consult a doctor before beginning any exercise programme.