Your health, strength and fitness questions answered.

(77 Posts)
leonferao Tue 13-Aug-13 12:11:54

Hi Guys

I recently became a new parent (23rd of July) and have been reading through the site for the last 10 months or so, which I must say has been very informative and helpful. I have found myself “ghosting” around the site in a bit of a panic attempting to absorb as much information as possible, so that I was as prepared as I could be for the baby coming.

One thing that I found while looking/reading through the forum was that there was a lack of advice and support for health, fitness (strength included) and wellbeing and given that fact, I would like to help out if possible.

At 31 years of age I have been in the health and fitness industry as a personal trainer, kettlebell coach, strength and conditioning coach, as well as running my own gym and Crossfit facility in Newcastle for the last 6 years now. I have been active in the fitness industry for almost the last 14 years now, so if you have any questions you would like to ask, I am happy to help. Whether it be diet, fitness, weight/fat loss, or anything even remotely related, just pop a question up and I will respond appropriately.

Between running my gym, working a day job as a marketing advisor, looking after a new born and fitting in my own training my time is sparse, so it could take a day or two before I manage to reply, but be patient and I will come back to with an answer.

My name is Leon and I hope I can offer you some additional value here on the forum.


Hi Leon. i had a C-section 4.5 months ago. Could you recommend some exercises that are gentle but effective for the old tummy muscles (or lack of!) I have lost 1.5 stone, but need to shift the same again & work on making everything less wobbly, but am anxious not to do any damage to the newly repaired muscles!

Thanks in advance xx

JohnSnowsTie Tue 13-Aug-13 17:51:48

Hi Leon, as per various YouTube vids I'm doing squats. Feeling them massively in my thighs, but not so much in my backside - am I doing them wrong? I'm going as low as I can, leaning in, back straight, feet shoulder width apart...

Purple2012 Tue 13-Aug-13 17:57:33

Hi Leon.

How lovely of you to offer to help.

I am in the process of losing weight and getting fit. I've gone from struggling to run for a minute to being able to run for over half an hour. I have no problems with cardio. I am also doing weights for strength for a specific fitness test and happy I know what I am doing with that.

The problem I have is toning, specifically stomach thighs and hips. Will I realistically ever be able to have a flat stomach? And will doing sit ups be enough or will I have to do other things to get the elusive flat stomach?

elliemummaroos Tue 13-Aug-13 23:25:02

Hi Leon,

I have just started the couch to 5k running programme (finished week 2) but I'm feeling like my foot rolls when I run?! Now I've been running slightly longer I'm really aware of it and could feel the muscles around my foot/ankle tightening because of the way my foot rolled (if that makes any sense?!). I'm planning to go to a running shop to get new trainers but that won't be for a couple of weeks and I'm scared I'm going to injure myself before then! Would trainers really make that much difference or is it a technique problem? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Ellie xXx

Hi! Yay crossfit! (Doing my Level 1 next month)

Paleo or not? I did it for a few months and it made a noticeable difference in my training, but I was struggling to get the calories in when training 3-4 times per week. I have now lapsed but can't tell if it has made a difference, I have changed boxes, different programming. Some people swear by it, friends in Scandinavia ignore it and eat dairy and sensible grain and still hit PR after PR..

leonferao Wed 14-Aug-13 09:36:23


Great questions already, I will get back to you all in a short while.

First up, IBlameThePenguins

My sister had a C-section 6 month's ago. There were some complications but fortunately mother and baby are both fit and well and were at the time too. With that said, we started doing gentle abdominal work with her about 6 weeks back and she also started swinging light kettlebells (6 & 8kg) with a focus on intra-abdominal activation (bracing the full trunk).

You have 3 goals here really, one is to lose weight/fat, one is to tone up and the other is to strengthen the abdominal wall after the C-section.

For the first goal I would recommend a paleo style diet, which you can read plenty about online, but if you have any questions about what to eat and when, of course I am happy to help you with that. What does you current diet look like on a day to day basis?

The second goal is to tone up... The toning effect is achieved by muscular growth/increased density or hypertrophy of the muscles under the skin. In order to achieve that toned look you need to couple a good diet with a sound basic strength program. Compound lifts instead of body parts work best and it is also best to progressively increase the weight as your body adapts, however, form should always come first, so finding a good coach who can help you is always best. Alternatively, you can start out with basic kettlebell drills from home. A great KB DVD for women is Maureen Martone's kettlebells for women.

The third and most important goal is the strengthening of the abdominal wall. The best tool that you can use from home for this is the abmat, which you can see here with the exercise section here Remember to take it light to start out as you will feel your midsection with as little as only 30 reps, but starting out with low volume and working up to 100 reps over the course of 6 weeks or so (daily baby steps). Once you have developed strength and are able to hit those numbers without issue, I would progress into plank variations, which are also fantastic for core development and can be done anywhere at any time.

I hope this helps.


(Always remember to consult a doctor before embarking on any fitness regime)

leonferao Wed 14-Aug-13 09:47:53

Hi JohnSnowsTie

It sounds to me like you're doing the high bar style squat. We use this style of squat to carry over into Olympic weightlifting and athletic movement, though due to the back angle, it becomes a more quad dominant exercise.

If you want a squat that targets the glutes more then you should go with the bodyweight box like this one here in addition to the box squat you can add in some walking lunges (big stride) and some Romanian deadlifts which are GRRRREAT for the glutes. Here is a great article on the RDL by Justin Lascek over at 70's big (ignore the name, the movements do not make women big)


(Always remember to consult a doctor before embarking on any fitness regime)

leonferao Wed 14-Aug-13 09:57:39

Hi Purple2012

Sounds like you've made some vast improvements in cardio since the birth!

In short, unfortunately not no. Sit-ups will not be enough though they will help in the very early stages, you really need to start doing compound movements with a barbell, which may sound scary, but it is precisely what you need in order to reduce fat all over, increase muscular tone and flatten that stomach area. If I had to recommend one book/dvd that could help you with home training specifically for this, it would have to be Pavel Tsatsouline's "Power to the People". It will teach you how to deadlift properly and will also give you several program templates. Again, if possible it would be best for you to attend a gym with a coach who can help in this area.

Diet is a major part of this process too, in fact, about 70% + of your efforts should be in the kitchen. Can you let me know what a typical day's diet is?

(Always remember to consult a doctor before embarking on any fitness regime)

leonferao Wed 14-Aug-13 10:00:04

Hi Ellie

That makes perfect sense and trainers, if in bad nick, or if they do not have the correct insole for your feet will make a big difference. Sounds like you over-pronate considerably which is tightening your calves, Achilles tendons and ligaments.

Ankle mobility drills are your best friend right now. Do you have a foam roller?


leonferao Wed 14-Aug-13 10:05:54

Hi drowninginlaundry

I do Brazilian jiujitsu and I am also considered a top tier lifter. At a body weight of 93kg I back squat 248, deadlift 265 snatch 115 and clean 150.

For me, strict paleo doesn't provide me with nearly enough calories, so I eat mostly paleo. My meals are all based around protein, then veggies, fat and some starch. Where most people can get away with strict paleo, I also need to take on board some dairy too, like eggs, though I do tend to stay away from milk.

Ultimately, for you, performance should dictate your nutrition. If your weights aren't going up, you're feeling fatigued and are struggling to recover between training sessions then you need to add in more protein and fat.

Where do you train out of, what is the programming like and what are your benchmark numbers for strength? Also, to put those numbers into perspective, can you let me know what your bodyweight is?

Good luck with the L1, where is it going to be held?


JohnSnowsTie Wed 14-Aug-13 17:07:25

Thanks Leon, will amend my technique!

The other thing I'm doing is tricep dips, increasing the amount every day.

Will they be less effective if I split them into sets throughout the day, as opposed to doing them all at once? I find them really hard!

Purple2012 Wed 14-Aug-13 17:59:12

Thanks for your reply Leon.

I am calorie counting at the moment, more so I get enough calories in rather than too much.

A typical day is

Breakfast - porridge made with water and no sugar.
Lunch - sandwich, usually low fat cheese, a pack of low fat crisps
Tea - pasta, rice or quorn with veg
Snacks - rice cakes and carrat and cucumber sticks
If I need to eat more I will have a cereal bar.

I am vegetarian so my choices are a bit limited. I am going to try to start eating meat so I can have more choice. I have just over a stone to lose before I get to the top of my healthy weight. At the moment I don't feel ready to change my diet. It would be too much in one go. I need to calorie count until I get in the healthy weight range, then I feel I can risk changing my diet as at the moment this is working for me.

Also today I Increased my running time by 13 minutes and did 45 minutes continuous running on a 1.5% incline.

greeneyed Thu 15-Aug-13 07:32:41

Hi leon great contributions thanks! Wonder if you can help me with this.

Been seeing PT for 5 weeks, never trained before, doing two sessions a week. He has me doing piston squats which I find incredible difficult, use TRX rolls for assistance, still really struggle to get up. I think this is too much for me and worry about injury ( very sore knee this morning) But I don't want to tell him how to do his job or wimp out. What's your thoughts on Piston Squats for novice. Can do normal squats and dead lift with 25 kilos ( weakling)

Thank you in advance for any thoughts smile

leonferao Thu 15-Aug-13 15:25:02

Hi Purple2012

diet is the hardest thing for people to change. One of my early mentors used to say "getting people to change their diet is as difficult as getting somebody to change their religion"

Unfortunately, due to heavy marketing and a misunderstanding of healthy diets, fat has been given the bad wrap, when it is actually sugar that is the problem. When losing weight the last thing people would eat is chocolate and sweets, because we know that sugar is bad for you. However, worldwide there is now the common misconception that fat makes you fat. If you look closely into the ingredients that make up "low fat" or "fat free" products you will see that they're high in sugar and are counterproductive to your goals.

In addition, starches like porridge, bread, cereal & crisps etc are broken down by your digestive system and converted into glycogen, which is basically sugar, and this leans to stubborn fat cells. It is the main reason why when counting calories and using these foods in a staple diet that you will lose a few pounds and then struggle to lose more and reach your ideal weight.

With that said, I do completely agree that changing a diet in one fell swoop is a bit much to ask. So I would say just start adding a little meat into you diet and see how you feel with that new addition.

MASSIVE Well done on your improved running, keep that up and you will soon be doing a half marathon!

Here's a little video I like to show my new guys when working with them on nutrition... it's fun yet very informative.

And here are a couple of articles about starch and sugar

leonferao Thu 15-Aug-13 15:28:45

Hi Greeneyed

Do you mean pistol squats aka one-legged squats?

If so, then I/we at our gym NEVER have our beginners do them. You need to gain consistency, proficiency and strength in the basic full range of motion squat first (crease of hips below the top of the knee at the very least but more is better)

The pistol squat is a more advanced movement. If he thinks that you have a weakness on one side, there are far safer methods to address that issue.

Can you take a video of what he has you doing ? the sore knee will be down to mechanics...


iloveweetos Thu 15-Aug-13 15:33:13

Hi Leon,

Great advice so far

Im 6 weeks pregnant and want to start exercising and im worried about breathing during childbirth?

What can i do fitness wise to bring it up a little? What should i avoid?

Thank you

Greeneyed Thu 15-Aug-13 15:41:28

leon thank you yes that's it and I Do have one leg much stronger than the other, bizarrely though it's the knee in the stronger leg that's hurting. I don't go all the way down in the standard squat yet. We do step ups as well which are also hard but more doable. I'll tell him next week I'm concerned about it. Thanks again

Wow! Thanks so much for your detailed reply. I like breaking it down into 3 separate goals... it seems less daunting if that makes sense!?

I am eating a low care diet at the moment. I have read that low care diet& paleo are very similar. Is this true? A typical day for me at the moment would be;

Breakfast: a bowl of Greek yogurt with half a teaspoon of honey & a huge glass of water

Lunch: leafy salad with chicken/tuna

Dinner: chicken & veggies stir fried or bolognaise sauce with cabbage or lettuce.

I try to drink at least 3 litres of water a day and have limited my -previously very excessive- tea drinking to 2 cups a day. I try not to snack & if I feel the need for a treat i have some very dark choc.

I have been eating this way for about 3 months (with a few blips !) and am definitely seeing results. Does it sound ok? or should I add some tweaks?

Thanks so much for the exercise advice. I will definitely check out that DVD. Do you have any advice for picking a good coach?

Thanks again. I really appreciate your time! grin

*carb, not care!!... bloody phone!!!

daisychicken Thu 15-Aug-13 16:02:47

Hi Leon, thanks for offering advice - I'd appreciate some!

I have Fibromyalgia (also hypermobile and have problems with SPD since pregnancies (last one 9yrs ago)). Up until 2 years ago I kept fit gardening - I had 2 allotments and my garden and was there every day - plus walking the dog. Unfortunately 2 1/2 years ago, my Fibro went into overdrive and I've had to stop completely.

I low carb to keep my weight down but I'm very aware that I am totally unfit and that bothers me. I try and walk the dog once a day - just a 5 minute walk and have planned with my GP that over the next few months, that I will try and increase that to two 5 minute walks a day.

I'd like to try and tone up my tummy muscles as well as slowly build my stamina up but I'm totally unsure how to do this in regards to not overworking myself (eg just a few minutes light weeding in the garden puts me in bed for a few days & some days I struggle to walk).

Do you have any suggestions for light exercises that I can do at home - starting off with just a couple a day and then building up?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Purple2012 Thu 15-Aug-13 18:27:41

Hi Leon

Thanks for the links. I lost weight years ago calorie counting and exercising but then had a bad fall and couldn't exercise. I lost my way then and the weight slowly went back on.

For the moment I am afraid to not calorie count as I know it works for me. I am slowly going to reduce the
processed food and bread etc and start increasing real food. If I did it all in one go it would be overwhelming. Im confident that with the calorie counting and exerciseI can gget to my healthy weight range. Hopefully then I will be more confident changing my diet a bit more.

Cheers Leon,
I am 67 kg, deadlift 105, snatch 40kg, clean 65. My recovery was an issue, and I was training at a gym that was not an affiliate and frankly coaching was random at best, irresponsible at worst. We did a lot of volume, never ending chippers and heroes with a lot of pressure to do these Rx'd. I have now moved to an affiliate and it's been life changing, I am making progress again. I am in Devon, the L1 is in Belfast.

leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 10:20:04

Hi I love Weetos

At our gym when we work with pregnant ladies we have them do strength training. Usually sets of 5 with perfect form and typically only a few movements. Most recently we have used the deadlift, Press/Push Press, Romanian Deadlift, bodyweight squats, ring rows, side planks, banded work, 20inch step ups and some bear crawls as well.

For the conditioning, we have kept the intensity low, have focussed massively on form and the ability to move smoothly for between 10-12 mins tops. Workouts have often been a blend of one or two movements from above, coupled with a row, or a weighted walk... in the early days we have had the girls carry medicine balls, which we have been told have worked quite well.

With all of this being said, the girls who I have coached while pregnant, were all members of our gym prior, so we were well aware of their abilities and their limits beforehand, which made it easy for us to scale everything right back.

have you been training prior to the pregnancy and if so, what were you doing exactly ?

leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 10:25:03

Hi Greeneyed

He shouldn't be having you do partial reps. The joints are designed to go through a full range of motion and without that, we begin to suffer mobility issues which end up being a cause for the loss of independence later in life.

Look at a baby when they squat down, that is the joint mobility we are intended to have, then if you compare that mobility with the tribes men and women of today, you will see that us western folk have gotten lazy.

Provided there are no mobility issues a full squat should be employed. If there are mobility issues they should be addressed and the squat should be avoided until then.

If you were up in Newcastle, I could teach you how to do it properly... If I can find the time at some point I might set up a video page for you guys so you can train safely at home.

leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 10:41:50

Hi IBlameThePenguins

I think you are on the right track here already, the only thing that you should add to that would be some good fat. You could add in some olive oil, avocado, or seeds to the salad and main meal which will allow you to see continued progress.

Picking a good coach. A good coach will listen to your goals, concerns and any fears and will help to put them at bay. They will devise a progressive plan based around your needs and will review that plan from week to week and adapt as and when they need. They will prioritise movement and mobility and they will base their programming around compound strength movements, while seasoning the regime with conditioning. They will have all of your best interests at heart, yet they will push your boundaries, challenging you both physically and mentally, which in turn will allow you to grow strength in your emotions, as you become more and more confident. The coach and client relationship will be professional, yet fun, and there should be the understanding between both parties that it is a two way street. By that I mean that you will get out of you training what you put in and the coach will see the results that you both desire by planning safely, intelligently and with your goals in mind to form the bulk of your training.

Where do you live? I can take a look online at some of the places locally and recommend some places that I would be happy to visit.


leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 10:55:42

Hi Daisy Chicken

I’m not a doctor or anything of the likes, but I work with a lady who also has fibromyalgia and also mild depression. Sorry to hear about the SPD, I’ve heard that the pain from that is awful!

How old are you ?

Firstly, you need to take a look at your diet and I would recommend looking at these two links and then doing a bit more research of the diet in relation to your condition.

Once you have consistency in your diet and you are eating a generous portion of each of the macronutrients with each meal, I would then look to start a strength program with a good coach. Personally, I would avoid any high intensity conditioning and would look to see improvements in body composition through gains in strength. In order to do that safely though, you need somebody to teach you the compound lifts and work with you on technique. In the beginning, you will see improvements with little to no weight on the bar…. And as soon as your diet is in check and consistent, you should see vast improvements in energy levels and mood.

Good luck getting back on track, keep me posted!

iloveweetos Fri 16-Aug-13 10:58:33

Hi Leon,

I probably go for a jog once a week and do alot of walking. But since falling pregnant have found the jog alot tougher to do. Feeling alot more breathless and tired. I was going to start couch to 25k but can it be done whilst pregnant?

Thanks for the advice (wish i kept more fit before!)

leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 12:50:47

Hi Purple2012

I understand your concerns and fears. Make small changes over time and look to get out of the habit of counting calories. When ready, make the switch to eating the healthy foods were are intended to eat and get that body full of the nutrients that it needs. As a general rule of thumb, stick to the outside of the supermarket and away from the isles. A fist sized portion of meat, a plate full of veggies and some oils or seeds to go with it and you're done.

The benefits of doing this are profound. Not only will you achieve you dream weight, but you will also have beautiful skin complexion, super-high energy levels so that you can enjoy life with your kids and partner, as well as much improved sleep, which we can all do with :-)

When you reach your weight and are ready to make changes, let me know, and if you need any help or recipe ideas I can help you with that.


leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 12:56:05

Hey DrowningInLaundry

Your numbers are really good. With practice, consistency and good coaching, you should squat (high bar and deep) around 110-120, deadlift about 140, snatch 55 and clean 80... No big deal ;) COME TO NEWCASTLE haha

Never ending chippers are extremely counterproductive, yet a lot of people still program them, as it is easy money for the "coach". They just get to sit back, drink coffee, and collect money while everybody else sweats. Which gym do you train at now and where were you before?

Good luck with the L1. You will enjoy the weekend!


leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 13:03:32

Hi Iloveweetos

"couch to 25k" I would avoid that like the plague.

Walking is great while pregnant. Walking up hill is even better. Walking up hill with a backpack is better yet, but follow a progression and don't go flogging yourself.

Something that you can start out with would be to walk for say 15mins away from your home and then walk back. Do this a few times per week noting the improvement in distance. When you feel you are able to, find a hill to walk up and down and see how many efforts you can manage in 10-15 minutes. walk to the bottom of the hill and rest until your breathing is back in order before you try again.

Right now, training isn't about pushing your body to limits, it is simply about moving so that you and the baby remain healthy, which will help you both, and you especially with regards the actual birth and your recovery.


Greeneyed Fri 16-Aug-13 14:01:14

Hi leon thank you that is interesting. Sadly I am miles from Newcastle! Love your advice on this thread and will keep watching! I am following a paleo diet and would recommend to fellow posters though must admit as a carb addict I felt truly awful for the first couple of weeks. Now I have no cravings though which makes it SO much easier than any low cal diet.

Purple2012 Fri 16-Aug-13 14:48:15

Thanks Leon. I am hoping to get to the top of my healthy weight by the beginning of November at the latest. I will definitely be back to ask for tips then.

leonferao Fri 16-Aug-13 16:42:24

Hi Iloveweetos

Just looking around on the site and I can only see the C25K, I am guessing that you meant a 5k and not a 25k, my bad, sorry!

Yes, 5k could be doable, but to be fair I would personally just base my training off how you feel mostly and look to progress with "baby steps" from day to day.


Hey Leon,
I am working on it... I am 42 so technically in the masters. I train in South Devon, there's only one affiliate.

loving your generosity of spirit and time, for sharing your knowledge. Good karma. Ladies, listen. Learn. smile

leonferao Fri 23-Aug-13 09:08:34

Thank you Drowninginlaundry

It isn't a problem at all, I like helping out where I can so feel free to ask whenever you guys need to. Also, if there are any other questions people have relating to health and fitness then I will do my best to answer them.

Thanks again.

martha2013 Fri 23-Aug-13 21:28:48

Hi Leon,

How kind of you to offer your experience and expertise here. I wonder if you can offer me any advice?

I gave birth three months ago and after a very active pregnancy got straight back to running. At my fittest, my 5k pb is around 20 mins but I have very little race experience. I have been offered a place to run the GNR, which is in three weeks. I have done ten miles in 1hr36 this week so think I will get round. My question to you, as I have not done a half marathon before and not had proper preparation time what should I be doing training wise between now and race day? Am I ok to trust my body this soon after giving birth or could it be harmful?

Thank you

wooly31 Sun 25-Aug-13 13:17:22

Hi Leon,
It's really great on you to come on here. Can you help with this?

I'm pretty fit 33 yr old. eg run 7 miles couple of times week, combat classes couple of times a week and strength training or kettle bells couple of times a week. I've bulked up half a stone and really want to lose it for a sleeker, leaner body - like my old running physique. In particular I have thunder thighs- which won't fit into my regular trousers blush ! What's the best combination of diet and exercise to achieve some fat loss and leaner muscles.....

Thanks Leon!

gaggiagirl Tue 27-Aug-13 18:23:04

Hi Leon,

We have kept you busy but we so appreciate this.

Buttocks! I'm toned almost everywhere except the bottom of my bum is wobbly,the top of my bum and lower back area is firm.
Can you recommend any exercises that will get me a less wobbly bot?

Thank you so much for your help.

I'm near Newcastle are you allowed to say the name of your gym on here?

Thanks again.

gaggiagirl Tue 27-Aug-13 21:50:19

Er...the reason my lower back and upper butt is because its bone! I've just been shown a picture of a skeleton. Well I feel like a prize twat blush

Anyhoo I'm still keen to tone up my flat and bony bum.

Thanks again Leon.

HotDogWater Tue 27-Aug-13 22:03:35

Wow Leon this thread is great.

I have a weird question. After 6 years after the children I have finally got the body I had at 21, or thereabouts! The only thing is due to all the exercise I do now my legs have become rather more muscular than I like, esp the calf area. I know this is hereditary to an extent but is there anyway I can get a more lean look to my legs, any specific thing you recommend. Would changing my diet help me build less muscle? I am 5,11 size 10 with an athletic muscular build.

leonferao Wed 11-Sep-13 09:01:04

Hi Guys

I've just returned from a couple of weeks away with work, so I am back on hand to answer your questions :-) I will get back to you all today, just as soon as I get my feet back under the table.


leonferao Wed 11-Sep-13 09:27:30

Hi Martha2013

Firstly, WOW! That is a great 5k time and the 10 miler is solid too. As this reply is late and the race is this weekend I can only apologise that I was unable to help sooner.

In 3 weeks there is little that you can do in order to improve your time on a half marathon, but the work that you could do would be to better prepare your ankles, knees and hips for the rigours of the course. This would be simply getting out and doing 3-4 road runs per week, one long slow distance, one pacing session where you would practice running at just above your race pace for about 40 mins, an interval session (3x2 mile with full recovery) and a recovery session where you would just get out and enjoy a light run with friends.

With those types of times I know that your head is strong, as it takes not only physical capacity, but also a strong mind to be able to push at that kind of intensity. Can you get around 12 weeks after birth? Yes, absolutely! Will it be your best effort? No not at all, but clearly you have the strength of mind to get around this extremely challenging course a whole lot faster than most, despite only giving birth 12 weeks ago.

My thoughts? You get around it nice and easy this weekend, take notes afterwards of how it felt, which parts of the course you struggled with etc, and then train to repeat the GNR next year. Compare the two efforts and take pictures of yourself before this weekend and after this weekend and then get your after photos in 12 months’ time. Pretty sure that you will be an inspiration to many of the other mothers here 

How to best train and prepare for the GNR in 12 months is another question, but we can discuss that and I can certainly help with the planning of it.

PLEASE report back with full details of your experience.

Leon Robotham
PS. This is inspiring.

leonferao Wed 11-Sep-13 13:47:44

Hi Wooly31

In my opinion, the best diet/training combination for that would be zone/paleo (meaning that you use Dr. Barry Sears Zone prescriptions with Dr Lauren Cordain’s paleo recommendations), while doing Crossfit 3x per week with 1 crossfit endurance session per week.

Do you have any Crossfit affiliates nearby?


leonferao Wed 11-Sep-13 13:56:30

Hi GaggiaGirl

The two best exercises for the “bot” :0) are the barbell squat and the Romanian deadlift. If you don’t have access to that equipment you can do box squats at home, which I posted about earlier in this thread and you can combine it with lunges/reverse lunges and mule kicks.

I’m not sure whether I am allowed to say on here? But if you email me on I can provide you with my information.

Re providing the advice, it really isn’t a problem as this site is so informative and helpful so giving back is actually a pleasure.


p.s. don't feel like a twat haha.

leonferao Wed 11-Sep-13 14:34:12


5'11, size 10 with an athletic build....

Seriously, what on earth is there to change about that?

(you could do more long distance style training 1-2 x per week, but that would drop weight overall and you often end up with that skinny-fat type look that long distance runners get. You would need to keep an eye on it and combine distance with compound weight training and crossfit-style workouts)


Havea0 Wed 11-Sep-13 15:14:45

A paleo diet cuts out salt. Do you agree with this?
In the bible, some salt is good.

leonferao Wed 11-Sep-13 15:39:54
Havea0 Wed 11-Sep-13 15:58:57

So he is saying you will get some, and it is enough?

gaggiagirl Wed 11-Sep-13 16:02:38

Leon thank you! Mule kicks I can do I'll try all the other exercises this week.
Thanks again hope you had a nice holiday.

leonferao Wed 11-Sep-13 16:07:04

My opinion is that everybody is different and it will depend on your activity levels and lifestyle.

I occasionally use salt (when cooking) but not very often.

My activity levels are as follows

I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu between 5-7 hours per week.

I Olympic weightlift (including all accessory movements like squats, presses and deadlifts) 5 days per week for about 7 hours in total unless it is a deload week.

I do high intensity Crossfit metabolic conditioning 5 days per week and it usually amounts to between 60-90 mins per week.

I do 1-2 longer aerobic sessions consisting of about 1+ hours work.

I commute on a road bike.

I am 6'1 95kg and have been an athlete for most of my life, competing in 100m, 200m, 4x100m, shot put, discuss, football, rugby, muay thai, boxing and jiu jitsu.

So far, I have experienced no negative effects.

Seems to be more than enough for me, as I continue to get fitter and stronger each week.

What are your activity levels and are you afraid that if you cut salt out that you will suffer with things like cramps etc?

Naturally, if you are a long slow distance type of person, salt would be a good idea, especially if you're drinking plenty of water without electrolytes.

wecantallbeperfect Wed 11-Sep-13 16:12:46

Hi Leon

I'm 45 and had a hysterectomy 5 years ago. My tummy has never recoveredconfused
I am currently eating a high protein diet and have started a kettlercise DVD at home.
Is it true that using these kettleball's can really strengthen and tone your body like they say?
What would be the best one for my abs?


ihatethecold Wed 11-Sep-13 16:33:59

Hi Leon.

I really got into Gillian Michaels DVDs last summer and did them nearly everyday for about 4 weeks. I already had a good level of fitness.

I hurt my lower back and had to stop.
I see a chiropractor sometimes and have very good sports massages once a month. The relief is temporary.

I now cannot do things like weeding the garden anymore which I enjoy.

I do get exercise by walking the dog 3 times a day. But I feel like an old lady at 39.

Any advice, thanks

Havea0 Wed 11-Sep-13 20:10:28

My activity levels are minimal!

Am more concerned that. well bread and salt are all biblical stuff.

And I can never forget Gillian McKeith.

ihatethecold Sat 14-Sep-13 21:56:31

Wonder what's happened to Leon then ?

Lazysuzanne Sun 15-Sep-13 00:28:49

Probably knackered from all his athletic endeavors!

leonferao Tue 17-Sep-13 11:01:14

Hi wecantallbeperfect

It is very true indeed.

A combination of swings and Turkish get-ups are the way forward :-)

leonferao Tue 17-Sep-13 11:09:15

Hi Ihatethecold and lazysuzanne

Just to put you guys into the picture here it is.

I am a new father. My daughter is 8 weeks old (gets her first injections today) so as you can imagine, as much as she is a beauty, sleepless nights are taking their toll.

I run my gym 6 days per week
I work as a marketing consultant for this firm

and, I train regularly.

So, I don't have all that much time in the world, but like I have said, if you leave the questions with me I will get back to you all as I like to give back.

Any trolls I will just ignore as I literally do not have the time.

But yes, I am quite tired from all of my athletic endeavours and everything else that goes with it, but if Teresa can deal with a few hours sleep per night, then so can I.... I hope haha.

leonferao Tue 17-Sep-13 11:16:37

Hi Ihatethecold

When you see your sports massage therapist is he/she working purely on your back?

When you have issues like that the cause can often be from tight or weak glutes and/or tight quads.

If your glutes are weak and aren't firing then your low back bears the brunt of the load, which leads to overuse/wear and tear and ultimately injury.

A great resource for this type of thing is Kelly Starrett's Mobility Wod. If you google that and search quads, hamstrings, hips & glutes. Then pick out two of those daily, running through the whole test/retest protocol then you should make some great progress.

9 times out of 10, the really tight and hard mobwods to do are the ones you need most.

So, get soft tissue work on glutes and quads, mobilise your hips, glutes, hamstrings and quads then you can start strengthening the glutes with things like Romanian Deadlifts (posted earlier in this thread).

I hope this helps.


leonferao Tue 17-Sep-13 11:21:39


the reason for the lack of posts this week is because DD is suffering from acute wind/mild colic. So last week with regards sleep was hell! We have tried lots of things from Dr Browns bottles (she is breastfed) which didn't help much, light massage and cycling with her legs (helps the wind), fennel seed water (has helped a bit with wind), infacol before feeds (so-so), Gripe water (not that much difference). Then we took her to the osteo on Friday who advised that we put two books at either end of the moses basket underneath the mattress so that it holds her spine in the natural c-shape so as not to irritate her bowels. She got 7 hours sleep after that visit which was a godsend but she also seems to be needing a lot of comforting too. I've been told that you shouldn't spoil her by picking her up etc, but when she is in pain and clearly frustrated/uncomfortable I cannot bear to see/hear, so have to pick her up and sooth her.

Sweetsweep Tue 17-Sep-13 11:25:25

Who are you calling a troll? hmm

leonferao Tue 17-Sep-13 11:58:12

Hey Sweetsweep

Nobody at all and that is why I have answered all of the posts.

Just saying that I don't reply to them is all.

leonferao Tue 17-Sep-13 12:03:12

Oh.... Sweetsweep, was that a joke that I have just missed? if so, good one :-)

Man, I am definitely tired!

Sweetsweep Tue 17-Sep-13 12:18:30

No it wasnt a joke. I thought you were calling someone a troll on this thread[which is not allowed, troll hunting is not allowed, they have to be reported], and I couldnt see who you meant.
Never mind, I misunderstood you.
I hope you get some sleep soon!

leonferao Tue 17-Sep-13 16:20:37

Thanks Sweetsweep.

ihatethecold Tue 17-Sep-13 19:02:17

Thanks for your reply Leon,
Hope you get some sleep soon and congrats on your baby. smile

I will look into your suggestions.

ihatethecold Tue 17-Sep-13 19:13:51

Hi Leon, I found the website but it brings up no results when I enter your suggestion.

I tried to enter the suggestions separately but it didn't help.

martha2013 Tue 17-Sep-13 21:22:37

Hi Leon.

Thank you so much for your lovely reply. Sadly I have just picked it up after the race but still it was nice to read. GNR was excellent fun although I ambled round with my sister very steadily in 2.10. Even though I havent had the time to train properly I thought I might be in 2 hour shape so a little disappointed. I play a team sport fairly seriously and our season is about to start so any endurance training will have to wait till April. Love your idea about doing it next year.
Im amazed by your training schedule....with all your other commitments I assume sleeping takes a back seat!!? Sorry to hear your daughter is suffering. My little girl was very similar, she is breastfed and would twist and squirm with wind after every feed. She seems much better now, a few weeks down the line so I assure you that it does pass!

Many thanks again for your reply.

wecantallbeperfect Wed 18-Sep-13 19:47:46

Thanks Leongrin much appreciated, thank you!

leonferao Tue 24-Sep-13 09:15:12

Hi Ihatethecold

here are a few for you to watch and you will need a partner for a couple of them. Let me know how you get on.


leonferao Tue 24-Sep-13 09:28:56

Hi Martha2013

You can't be disappointed in a 2:10 time, especially not when you put it into perspective. If you do it next year you will obliterate that time and to be fair, you won't need that much endurance training with you playing team sports already. What do you play?

You're right, sleep does take a back seat at the moment. I am finding that I can still cope with the volume of training but I'm unable to achieve max intensity when it comes to squatting. Everything else seems to be fine though, it's just occasionally a struggle to leave the house early in order to train. Needs must and all that jive though!

Ah, that is music to my ears, I really do hope that it passes soon as it does seem like there is nothing we can do at times.

Speak soon

leonferao Tue 01-Oct-13 09:45:52

Any questions ladies smile

TooWetToWoo Wed 02-Oct-13 17:16:19

I'm luckily quite slim but I have a bit of a pot-belly from having three kids. I'm currently doing Insanity (finish in 2.5 weeks) then I will be doing gym classes.

My schedule will be:

Mon: Body Pump and Boxercise
Tue: Metafit
Wed: Bootcamp
Thurs: Body Pump and Metafit
Fri: Body Pump and Body Combat
Sat: possibly an Insanity workout

I don't diet at all, I don't deny myself anything. Truthfully, I probably have a bit of a sweet toothblush

Sorry for the essay, I promise I'm getting to my point!! I've found that I'm getting quite toned especially my shoulders/arms. But I would love to have a flat stomach. I can see abs forming, I just need to get rid of the lower belly fat. How can I do this? Do I need to diet? TIA.

juneau Thu 03-Oct-13 12:49:37

I'd like to train to be a fitness instructor and was wondering where to start? I'm a soon-to-be 40-year-old SAHM with no background in fitness, but I have the chance to retrain and do something different starting next Sept and I'd really love to do this. I'm based in W. Herts. Any pointers on which qualifications I will need would be really helpful. Thanks!

leonferao Tue 15-Oct-13 09:42:38

Hi TooWetToWoo

Unfortunately (I have a real sweet tooth too), the only way to rid yourself of the last remaining stubborn belly fat, is to diet and cut out all sugars, refined foods and starches. Once you get there you can just maintain your training, keep a good diet, and allow yourself some freedom of choice by working hard in the gym. If you have a Crossfit gym that has a strength-biased program locally, I would recommend you go and check it out.


leonferao Tue 15-Oct-13 14:10:03

Hi Juneau

I think the first step for you would be your gym instructor level 2. baby steps :-)

SophiePickle Thu 07-Nov-13 22:07:41

Hi Leon. I'm 9 weeks pregnant and have been strength training since August. I've been using the 5x5 program.
Since finding out I'm pregnant I've lowered my weights and I'm currently maintaining instead of gaining.
Do you have any tips/exercises to do/exercises to avoid so that I can get the most out of my training during pregnancy and stay safe?



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