How to Get Fit Fast- ready for the Summer!

Hi Everyone!

With summer around the corner attentions are turning to exercise to lose some unwanted belly fat and get fit.

Last night I tuned in to ”How to Get Fit fast,” a series on Channel 4 which offers viewers top tips on how to get fit and lose weight, particularly in time for summer. This week’s episode focused on body-weight exercises as well as the right foods to add to your diet to aid workouts and help get rid of belly fat.  See a full review of the programme HERE which focused more on the nutritional advice given on the show.

I’d like to focus on the exercise regimes they discussed- which were designed to be done during a lunch break according to the time different workers set aside for lunch.  Apparently the average British worker takes 34-minutes off for Lunch.  In this show they designed a workout for someone who takes 30 minutes, 20 minutes and 5 minutes for lunch!!

All the workouts are based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) to gauge intensity.  I have previously used the First beat system when measuring heart rate zones.

The First Beat System uses the following Training zones:

  • Max => 90% +
  • Very Hard => 80-90% MHR
  • Hard => 70-80% MHR
  • Moderate => 60-70% MHR
  • Easy => 50-60%

Different Types of Workout:

Option 1: 30-minute workout

Mode: Steady running on a treadmill for 30-minutes

% MHR: 65

Calories burned during exercise: 260

Calories burned after exercise: 0

Total calories burned: 260

Option 2: 20-minute workout

Mode: High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) for 20-minutes.  60-sec work: 30-sec rest bodyweight calisthenics (stair runs, wall sits, mountain climbers, jump squats)

% MHR: 85

Calories burned during exercise: 180

Calories burned after exercise: 100

Total calories burned: 280

Option 3: 10-minute workout

Mode: Sprint Interval training (SIT) for 10-minutes.  20-sec maximum work: 120-sec rest bike sprints x 4 sets

% MHR: 95+

Calories burned during exercise: 30

Calories burned after exercise: 220

Total calories burned: 250


What does this mean?

The conclusion is that any of the above workouts can work for you to burn around 250 calories.  But depending on how much time you have you can choose from the steady run, HIIT or SIT.  However, you will require to have a higher level of fitness to cope with the demands on the body of the HIIT and SIT workouts, so always consult a doctor before starting any of these workouts.

The benefit of the HIIT and SIT workouts is that they are more efficient.  They burn less calories than steady running during exercise but your body continues to burn calories after exercise, known as the ‘After Burn.’  When you exercise at high intensity you won’t be able to use oxygen to supply the energy so you have to use energy from elsewhere in the body, which raises your metabolism.  Your metabolism will continue to stay elevated in the 24 hours after your exercise, which explains why you continue to burn calories.

How does this calorie burn compare to Tennis?

Clearly you can expect to burn around 500 calories during a 60-minute tennis match, which is similar to an hour of boxing or a 10km run. But if you want to try an alternative way to get fit for Tennis there are a couple of other options:


Tennis Workout:

Option 1: 10-minutes HIIT Footwork

Use some of the drills I have shown in a previous BLOG on Tennis specific endurance tests.


Option 2: 20-minutes Hitting Balls

Benedikt Linder uses actual hitting until they get to about 95% MHR- which might take around 20-30-sec followed by rest until it drops to 80% MHR- which might take 30-40-sec. Do this 6-8 times per set, 3-min rest between sets and do 2-3 sets.  Usually it will take around 10-15 balls fed side to side to get the heart rate into this high zone.  As soon as it does you can let them rest.

In my previous blog Heart rate monitors in Tennis you can find out more about how Benedikt Linder performs high intensity intervals ON COURT with the aim of getting your Heart rate above 80% of your Maximum.


Where I am next presenting?

Speed, Agility & Quickness Training for Sports Workshop

Dates: 3rd June 2018  09:00AM-15:00PM Location: Gosling Sports Park, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

Book your ticket HERE


Hope you have found this article useful.  Remember,

  • If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to get free email updates, so we can stay in touch.
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  • Leave a comment, telling me where you’re struggling and how I can help







Resistance Training Guidelines for Youths

Hey Everyone,

I recently recorded an episode of Daz Dee TV which you can see below.  In this episode we look at Resistance Training Guidelines for Youths.

Please check out the International Consensus statement which I refer to throughout the video


You can also read another blog I wrote ”Why 12-year olds should lift weights” for further insights.

Resistance training is always a fascinating topic to discuss and I hope this helped you to understand my view on the matter.  Technical competency has to be a priority with anyone who is a developmental athlete or has a low training age.

At APA we determine readiness for external load by performing a bodyweight Physical Competency Assessment (PCA).  Once we are satisfied they are competent in the techniques of the main bodyweight movements such as squatting, lunging, pressing and pulling we will add external load.  The amount of load lifted will be determined on an individual basis.  Usually for the primary strength exercises (Squat, Deadlift, Bench) the typical progression is 5-10kg each week provided technique and bar speed are maintained at the required level of speed and control.   For Overhead press, and most single leg exercises the progression might be 2.5-5kg per week.  Progression will vary based on training age, lifting competency and frequency of training amongst other things.

Learn more about the PCA HERE and HERE


Where I am next presenting?

Speed, Agility & Quickness Training for Sports Workshop

Dates: 3rd June 2018  09:00AM-15:00PM LocationGosling Sports Park, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

Book your ticket HERE


Hope you have found this article useful.  Remember,

  • If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to get free email updates, so we can stay in touch.
  • Share this post using the buttons on the top and bottom of the post. As one of this blog’s first readers, I’m not just hoping you’ll tell your friends about it. I’m counting on it.
  • Leave a comment, telling me where you’re struggling and how I can help

Do Extroverts make the Best Coaches?

For the last several months I have been busy recruiting new S&C coaches and training them up. I have said many times before that I interview for character first and credentials second.  I’m more interested in what kind of person you are than what you know.  Let me be clear I am not saying knowledge of S&C training theory and practice isn’t essential, because it is.  But let’s face it, how many applicants for part-time and full-time S&C coaching roles aren’t coming with at least a degree in a sports related subject these days.

So it then comes down to how a person differentiates themselves from the competition, and that opportunity comes when I get them to do the practical part of the interview.  It’s about how they create an environment that inspires the athletes to listen, learn and have fun!

It also comes down to the values of the coach- what is important to them in a role and how do they fit with my company and my vision.

During my recent holiday in April I read several books and one that recently captured my interest was ‘QUIET’ by Susan Cain.

Do Extroverts make the Best Coaches?

I never really enjoyed learning about psychology and sports psychology at University.  Perhaps it was the lecturer I didn’t like.  In recent years it has become one of my favourite topics to study. I first got into psychology through a former colleague of mine Helen Emms, who continues to be a mentor to the present day.  We used to work together at Gosling Tennis Academy.  I also found the ‘’Chimp Paradox’’ work of Dr Steve Peters interesting.  However, I’ve always found the personality research a bit abstract and I never really engaged in it any more than astrology- that is supposed to tell me something about my traits based on my birth date!

Below is a summary of some of the key take home messages from reading the book:


Extroverts and Introverts

This book was interesting because it wasn’t written by a psychologist- it was written by a lawyer who was interested to learn about how researchers define introversion and extroversion.  Early 20th century researchers thought they were central building blocks of personality.  Contemporary researchers still can’t agree on an all-purpose definition.

Introverts are Thinkers- quiet and cerebral

  • Introverts- internal world of thoughts and feelings
  • Extroverts- external life of people and activities

They differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well.

Introverts feel just right with less stimulation => sip wine with a close friend or read a book.  They often work more slowly and deliberately.  They like to focus on one activity at a time and can have mighty powers of concentration.  They are relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame.

But they do have a sensitivity to novelty not just people!  More on this later.

Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes and cranking up the stereo.  They tend to tackle assignments quickly.  They make fast (sometimes rash) decisions, and are comfortable multi-tasking and risk taking.  They enjoy the thrill of the chase for rewards like money and status.

‘’Introverts may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while they wish they were home in their pyjamas.’’

Introversion is not the same as shyness.  The shy person is afraid to speak up, while the introvert is simply overstimulated.

Introverts=>Leadership executed with quiet competence.  Inventing, researching, caring- they are not alpha roles but the people who play them are role models all the same.

Rise of the alpha status

The increasingly competitive society of 1920s America went as far as labelling social anxieties as an inferiority complex (Alfred Alder).  In the western world (North America and Europe) we seem to celebrate extroverts as the kinds of personalities that will get on in life and do well in the world.  Shy or retiring types could be left behind it seems.

Quiet is seen as wise in Asian cultures but western cultures value charisma!!  You need style as well as substance.


The Myth of Charismatic Leadership

Salesmanship as a Virtue:

Unleashed power comes from ‘’high energy’’ according to Tony Robbins

Salesmanship: Act like an extrovert vs believe in what you are pitching

Zero correlation between extroversion levels and cold calling process. Persistence vs buzz.  Great salesman can be successful without a buzz if they are passionate about what they are selling and can articulate that through communication.

Power of persistence- don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race.

Vocal Leadership:

Quick and assertive answers (Harvard Business School) vs. quiet slow decision making.

We perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types.  We see talkers as leaders.

Getting your way vs. going the right way- just because you got your way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way!

Good talker vs good ideas- If the idea is good people shift.  Not every person who is a great talker has great ideas!

Giant egos vs. Giant ideas

Question: Is it best to make decisions in the face of incomplete information. Or wait to get as much info as possible?  By hesitating do you risk losing other’s trust and momentum?

If assertive people tend to get their way, then it’s a useful skill for leaders whose work depends on influencing others.  Decisiveness inspires confidence, while wavering can threaten morale.

(However,) ‘’We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies.  We need leaders who build not their egos but the institutions they run.’’ (Jim Collins)

Quiet Persistence

Leadership roles in public domain (suit extroverts)  vs theoretical and aesthetic fields (suit introverts)

In the opening chapters she describes a woman who is mild-mannered, tends to ask questions, never raises her voice, is constructive and makes simple queries by asking questions.

Introverts do better on intellectual tasks- disinclination to charge ahead.

Social Connectors

‘’Connecting people to fix the world over time is the deepest spiritual value you can have’’- Craig Newmark (Founder Craigslist) – modest, cerebral systems engineer at IBM for 17 years.

SOCIAL connectors- chatty, outgoing, spellbinding vs. SOCIAL MEDIA leadership (digital communication- establish a presence online and THEN extend these relationships into the real world)

Role to play as a coach? To be sociable- to be more extroverted as a social connector?

Is Temperament Destiny?

Temperament is hard wired genetic behaviour and emotional patterns that are inborn.  Personality emerges after cultural influence and personal experience

Temperament is the foundation and personality is the building.

Introverts have Reactive nervous system– more sensitive to their environments in concert with environmental factors from personal experience and inborn temperament.  Anxious side of the limbic brain- old brain.  It also has a greedy side associated with reward-seeking cravings associated with extroverts.

They tend to be philosophical or spiritual, rather than materialistic or hedonistic.  They dislike small talk- at least at the start of a conversation.  They love music, nature, art, physical beauty.

Rubber band theory of personality- we can stretch our personality.

Change your environment and act on your own free will.  We can stretch our personalities but only up to a point. We have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.  It can take us far but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits.

Free Trait theory

We have fixed traits but we also have free traits where we can and do act out of character in the service of core personal projects.  In other words introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important.

Especially relevant for introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal

I coach with passion because it nourishes my core personal project/mission to maximise my athletes’ potential by raising standards in coaching excellence.  Many people especially those in leadership roles engage in a certain level of pretend-extroversion.  It can be effective if used judiciously but disastrous if overdone.  You don’t want to act out of character too much- and create as many restorative niches as possible in your life.


Like the nature or nurture debate related to physical attributes we can summarise that we can stretch our personalities but only up to a point. We have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.  It can take us far but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits.

Leadership roles vary.  Some roles are more suited to extroverts and others to introverts.

I personally think that the role of an S&C coach can vary according to the environment we are working in.  For example, one-to-one versus groups, adults versus children, males versus females, Westerners versus Asian etc.  For many of the roles that I recruit for that involve working with children I do tend to look out for the extrovert characteristics.  These are the coaches that seem to thrive in social situations and make everyone feel at ease.  They have charisma, and put a smile on everyone’s face.

But this book has confirmed for me that everyone is capable of stretching their personalities and if you’re an introvert you might need to show some pretend-extroversion.   I now understand why I get so exhausted by my role.  I’m an introvert at heart but when I’m coaching I fall into the role of the performer who is passionate about helping my athletes and coaches improve and I do tend to use a ‘high energy’ approach to grab attention!!


Where I am next presenting?

Speed, Agility & Quickness Training for Sports Workshop

Dates: 3rd June 2018  09:00AM-15:00PM Location: Gosling Tennis Academy, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

Book your ticket HERE


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