Maximum Fitness Articles & Advice

Does a walk beat the gym?

Certainly a brisk walk on a regular basis is a simple sure fire way of gently increasing calorie output and improving base level fitness.

In addition a recent report listed a worrying rise of obesity in schools to the extent of a third of pupils veering towards poor on the obesity scale. But there was one school where the headmistress managed to reduce this to zero over the course of a year….. How did she do it? Every teacher in charge of each class was instructed to give the pupils a 20 brisk walk in the playground every day as part of the curriculum without fail – regardless of weather ( the kids just wrapped up accordingly).

With the current obesity epidemic any simple and easy to apply method of encouraging the population to improve their health is highly recommended.

But does this beat the gym? I am not so sure. Certainly it beats slow sets and long rest periods which may be the norm in many gyms around the country which do not have the training methods or ethos of maximum fitness.

Short rest periods / combining exercises with super sets and working out 3 or 4 times weekly for an hour or so ( no longer!) Is THE best way to knock yourself into proper shape, improve muscle tone and efficiency and reduce fat…, but certainly nipping out a few times during the week for a 20 min stroll has got to be a cherry on the top of your fitness regime.

Sun Article

Cosmetic Surgery or Cosmetic Training?

We have to be realistic with chronic obesity where there is a life/death scenario surgery may be the last option – but in many other instances, Liposuction, weight reduction therapy, implants to enhance muscle shape may not be the best long term choice.
Over the recent decade there has been a huge increase in the availability and take up of body enhancing surgery. Clinic and beauty parlours are opening (and closing!) at an increasing rate and there are options for the weak willed to make substantial bodily changes with the swipe of a credit card. So with tempting advertising even with costs running into £1000s individuals think it somehow makes sense to go for surgical options.
There are downsides of course if you are going to spend a few thousand £’s on targeted liposuction, tightening of specific areas and consultations / follow-ups – this is a big procedure and there is a substantial period of recovery. As well as the possibility that there may be unforeseen complications.

However with the right regularity – guidance from personal coaching at Maximum Fitness each session, adhering to a tailored dietary regime, phenomenal changes can be made in the gym… if you have the patience.
Sure there is a cost but if someone has decided to spend a significant sum already why no put this to good use and take out a training contract long enough to produce what you need. The health benefits of this choice are substantial Of course there is also the incentive having paid for a 6/12 or 18 month period of cosmetic training – you are more likely to keep up the frequency to produce the desired result.
Dependant of an individual’s initial condition and goals training should be divided into 3 weight conditioning training sessions weekly with separate sessions for cardio possibly 3 x weekly.
The starting point for choosing exercises will depend on an individual’s capacity, motor control and any exercise vocabulary already in existence so that a programme is developed where movements can be performed well enough to produce change. This requires experienced assessment.
The right exercise done the right way for the right reasons with the right effort input is important to produce results with rhythm and continuity of exercise flow and effort during a session. With careful combination of movement choices to produce what we call synergistic results. That is not just from a particular movement but also the combination of movements that exercise sits it. So they all work with additional benefit.
There are minor cosmetic surgical improvements that can be add – ons to gym based cosmetic training. Collagen, Botox etc. which are popular as well as others
Maximum Fitness do receive referrals for specific exercise from some clinics, in particular Dermodoc ( where patients have had been given advice to commence a targeted exercise programme under guidance. If some minor surgery is something you are considering they are a good starting point for qualified,relialistic and experienced perspectives.

Alcohol and training?!

News ArticleA recent study at Oregon state university concluded that red wine could be useful as a health aid.

There has been conflicting reports with multiple evidence presented both for and against including alcohol in a dietary regime.

The for and against has been a pendulum over the decades. Certainly for the first half of the 20th century medical advice was towards moderate alcohol in the diet, indeed doctors would prescribe daily ‘tot’ of whisky to patients for  number of conditions including high blood pressure and heart problems.

More recently medical opinion has moved in the opposite direction to omit alcohol from the diet completely.

Who is right? Well there is a great book recently produced ‘The Good News about Booze’. The author rightly compiles substantial evidence from all sides and concludes that a moderate amount of alcohol daily – especially red wine is pretty much essential for good health.

Our take?

Many people think alcohol contributes to fat gains and poor health. However in a great many cases, individuals who drink regularly, may also smoke or/and eat takeaways or just simply a poor diet – it is this that seems to contribute to weight gains and poor health, not the alcohol.

In tests of course many individuals who do not drink, may neither smoke nor eat junk food so in a lot of these studies the non-drinkers are shown to be healthier, but in careful analysis of data this is not the case. Especially when wine is included in the diet of individuals who exercise regularly, do not smoke and follow a healthy diet.

So we would heartily recommend a glass of red daily within a healthy diet – so sip up and enjoy!

Sometimes people deserve a big pat on the back.

This is Philippa Huckle. A very busy lady running a renowned international business in wealth management.

After trying different gyms a couple of years ago to start a serious course of strength and conditioning training she has settled on maximum fitness as the best of all.

Whilst commuting to the Far East on a regular basis she manages to juggle international affairs (which start at 6am most days) with pretty intense training with Clive 4 times weekly.

The sessions are short and focused; she says it gives her more energy to deal with the hectic day to day affairs than ever besides being in the best shape of her life! A perfect student intent on doing things the right way! She can now chin and dip easily with her own bodyweight as well as bench pressing 50 kilos and impressive reps of 35 kilos clean and press! As you can see.

Keep it up Philippa.

Alan Hayling Film and TV producer..

What a great patient and client. Totally compliant and willing. This helps us do very good.

Alan joined maximum fitness for personal training with Clive nearly a year ago with severe systemic arthritis affecting most joints.

This is Alan having therapy on his worst joint – right knee. This is the easy part of rehab in the treatment room! He is very happy to report not only is he able to move around better than many years ago but so much fitter and stronger than ever.

He has also lost over a stone, coming in for 1-1 sessions 2 x weekly and therapy once weekly.

Keep it up Alan.

Why Women Should Do Weights

Are Weights as Good For Women?

We at Maximum Fitness all know women not only have just as much a right to be in the free weights section and squat rack as guys do, but benefit just as much too.

The problem…

Despite clear evidence to the contrary, however, over half the population are convinced the best way for them to achieve the body of their dreams is to perform cardiovascular exercise at a manageable pace for as long as possible, or ‘tighten those problem areas’ by ‘toning muscles’ with light weights and ineffective newfangled equipment or movement. In the meantime this interpretation of exercise is coupled with dangerous and confusing advice on eating with hoards of dieters eating less than their recommended energy requirements for balanced nutrition.

The question…

This is a sure-fire way to feel tired, hungry and miserable, leading to binge-eating and health problems in later life, and often weight gain in the short-term and long-term. Certainly, diet is a valid discussion that regularly dominates conversation amongst our members and trainers in the corridors of Maximum Fitness Gym and certainly will impact on an individual’s energy levels for training, their weight and appearance. But if, for the purpose of this article, we assume that our case study women who regularly weight train consume an adequate number of calories for the exercise they perform, would they become bulky if they increase the amount of weight they lift in the same way that men do?

Some answers…

1)Its my hormones…

The answer is that women and men both have the capacity to become stronger but our capacity to build muscle is different. Clinical evidence and our own experience suggests lifting heavy weights will not cause women to get big and bulky like men because women produce a lower amount of testosterone than men do. If we look at the median or mid-range testosterone levels in men and women, on an average, men have 16 times more testosterone than women, unless she is using exogenous testosterone injections and/or other anabolic steroids in which case women will also show signs of hair growth on the face and chest, deepening of the voice, and other effects (not advised! and not necessary!).

2)We are all individuals but the same rules apply…

Ultimately your genetic makeup will dictate where your body chooses to store fat so that when you start to lose weight (if that is your goal) your body will lose the fat in a certain order as well – it might come off your arms first, then your legs, then your belly, then your chest, and THEN your bum. Or in a different order. The key is that it is the intensity rather than the duration which determines how effective your training will be, and that is true whether your goal is weight loss or muscle gain.

3)This is how we do it…

Strength training not with targeted exercises, but with big compound movements that recruit lots of muscles is the best way to make your body an efficient fat-burner. Likewise rather than running in your comfort zone for one hour, one would need to perform high-intensity cardio for a long duration of time to maximize fat burning. The only problem is one cannot maintain high-intensity cardio for a long duration which is why the system known as HITT -High Intensity Interval Training- advises exercisers to alternate between intervals of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise. An example would be sprinting all-out for 100 meters then walking for 100 meters then repeating. This, like weight training, uses the anaerobic energy systems, specifically the Phosphocreatine system, which power short-term activity, followed by the aerobic system while you recover. After going all out, one must rest and give the Phosphocreatine system time to “recharge”. In strength training, it is this recruitment of the anaerobic energy system that burns body fat more exclusively, while cardio alone can cause both fat and muscle loss. Hence lifters lose chub, while aerobicizers’ are more likely to lose valuable muscle. Furthermore researchers have also found that lifting weights is better than cardio at whittling intra-abdominal fat—the kind that’s associated with diseases from diabetes to cancer. So our Maximum Fitness advice to women is to wean yourself off low weights and start doing higher weights for less repetitions.

4)Here’s the science bit…

A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, supports this claim. Women who lifted 85 percent of their max load for sets of eight reps whilst working out burned nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after their workout than when they did more reps (15) at a lower weight (45 percent of their max). This is because when you strength train, your muscles are broken down, and then rebuilt over the next 24-48 hours so while your body is rebuilding those muscles it’s recruiting more calories and energy to make the process happen (generally referred to as the ‘afterburn’ effect).  What this means is that your metabolism operates at a faster level because muscle, unlike fat, is metabolically active. Your body responds to this stimulus by becoming more regenerative. As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism – so you burn more calories even when you are not working out!

5) Still need convincing?

Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. . If your maximum strength is increased, and your body awareness and understanding of how to maintain strict form on all movements (For example, when doing a standing barbell curl, tighten your abs to stabilize your body and prevent lower back from injury through using momentum) then daily tasks will be far less likely to cause injury. According to Dr. Barry A. Franklin, of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, weight training closer to your maximum capacity can also improve health, including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. Cardiologists are even starting to recommend strength training for people who have suffered a heart attack as little as three weeks after the attack. Studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. We regularly train a 92-year old lady who has built up significant strength through strength training at Maximum Fitness, proving that age is only a number!!  It’s not the case we get old and have to stop strength training, rather we get old WHEN we stop training!

This leads us to another very important reason that weights are good for women. Women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, particularly women on the thin side and dieters as the body is forced to leech calcium from the bones. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a women’s best defence against osteoporosis.

6) Finally, strength training makes you feel like the boss!

Lifting heavier weights comes with a big self-esteem boost. How awesome does pressing a heavy weight over your head for the first time make you feel? Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, increasing the ease at which they deal with general activities of daily living (ADL) as well as work, all important factors in fighting depression. Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living and make you feel like the strong, independent woman we already know you are.

So in conclusion women who slowly and modestly gain more muscle will have more lean body mass and less fat, less injuries, stronger bones and a happier disposition. Finding a good fitness centre should be a priority. Maximum Fitness is a well organised and planned training set up, so there’s no need to wait for your weights. All this with a experienced staff on hand to ensure you adhere to an effective exercise program designed specifically for you.

So what are you waiting for? It’s easy to start – if you haven’t, or upgrade your training if you have. Call Nick at Reception and book a couple of 1-1 sessions NOW on…….or email or check out the website for more info

Rehabilitation Training at Maximum Fitness

Injuries in sports and often in everyday life are common. There are also many other more long-standing conditions such as certain types of arthritis, which create disability and pain, together with disfunction.

Many individuals may prefer to turn a blind eye to recurrent pain or long-standing problems, hoping that the pain may go away, or continue medication, which may not always be the best alternative or offer long-term improvement. Rehabilitative training at Maximum Fitness can more often help improvement of function and pain relief and the speed of a recovery process.

Rehabilitative training is also very useful for back pain sufferers who may have an immediate problem or have suffered long-standing recurrent discomfort.

Rehabilitation Training at Maximum Fitness will consist of the assessment of the injury and painful sites as well as other areas, which may add a factor to the particular problem. And a detailed history take of what has happened and any other treatment, training or activity that you may have done which may be helpful or make it worse.

Simple tests will be carried out to assess general mobility and ranges of motion that you are able to participate in, and need to improve.

Depending on your particular problem, treatment may consist of:

  1. A combination of specific mobilisation.
  2. Sports therapy / massage.
  3. Subsequent strengthening training in specific ranges of motion.
  4. Ongoing rehabilitation plan – which can consist of training at the gym, and some home-based movements.
  5. The discussion of containment of contra-indications (situations at work, home or in exercise) that may make the condition worse and ways to avoid this.

Training for the Disabled at Maximum Fitness

Depending on your disability, even if you use crutches or are wheelchair-bound, it is possible to instigate some type of fitness plan at Maximum Fitness.

We have an enthusiastic and experienced team who will be helpful in encouraging you to do at least what can be done which is often a lot better than doing nothing.

There is easy access for wheelchairs and a team member would be available to help when necessary to move you comfortably to different areas of equipment. So if you are disabled, do not be put off starting.

A team member will carry out basic assessment of mobility and strength in as many areas of movement that is possible to cover, as well as general health and heart / lung tests.

Consideration must be given not only to your particular disability but also to your attitude and motivation, which should be taken into account when determining what would be appropriate for you to do.

Additional help for the disabled may be with hands-on sports therapy massage / mobilisation which can be a useful addition to improving function in weak or painful areas. This is available at Maximum Fitness.

A training programme can take two forms:

  • After assessment, a manageable routine will be set for you, covering as many aspects of mobility, aerobic and strengthening work that is possible within your limitations – particularly working on areas of need, using machines and free weights where possible.or
  • For the more severely limited, a more hands-on resisted movements and mobilisation programme will be set, which would particularly suit amputees, but can also be very helpful to many individuals who may have difficulty holding, pulling or lifting, or some individuals suffering with extreme mobility or usage in certain areas, such as in chronic arthritic conditions. An experienced team member will help move or resist body / limb movement as well as stretching and mobilising. In this respect it would be necessary to have individual one-to-one sessions or take out a personal training contract which can be done weekly from as little as £99 per month.

Losing Weight Advice

Losing Weight at Maximum Fitness!

There is no doubt about the fact that the UK population is getting fatter and more unhealthy. Why do so many people make such a mess out of their attempts to lose weight and why are there so many conflicting ideas as to what is best? A combination of the following 5 simple components is a key we use to unlock the route to not only succeed in losing weight but also feeling better and more active.

Understanding the goal is to lose excess fat – not just body weight – will help to understand the importance of a healthy diet, and the need to improve body functions.

Maximum Fitness is committed to advising and helping you to achieve your goal and to provide you with the necessary advice to have a balanced approach of all components to help your body work better, have more energy and learn how to lose and store less fat… and keep it off.

A team member will be pleased to check your body fat at regular intervals – as part of our service and commitment to your health.

5 Simple componets for a better lifestyle…

  1. Maintain a regular muscle toning and strengthening programme.
    Bone density and joint strength and function depend on efforts made by muscles during movement. A regular toning programme provides stimulus to help your bones and joints as well as muscles to become stronger and you to look better – all of which create an ongoing regenerative and calorie-burning effect between sessions.
  2. Increase regular aerobic activity.
    Besides improving cardiovascular fitness, this can provide a regular fat-burning environment for your body.
  3. Follow a nutritious diet that fits in with your lifestyle.
    Eating fresh and nutritious food regularly has never been easier and there is an abundance of economical produce everywhere. Eating small meals regularly helps to teach your body to process foods more efficiently through your body and to use the nutrients rather than storing them. (Missing meals has an adverse effect!)
  4. Improve consumption of plain water regularly throughout the day.
    Our body is made up of some 70% water and needs regular amounts throughout a day to promote good digestion and efficient metabolism of nutrients.
  5. Reduce fast food snacks.
    And replace with fruit, nuts and raw vegetables. They are marvellous and economical pick-me-ups.

It works – It can work for you!

Foundation Training Techniques

With the surge in new debutantes in both training and teaching there is a modern trend to popularise innovative new techniques, specific isolation exercises or ‘core strength’ training as the nirvana for focus of gym work with as many weird and wonderful promises to change your body in as many days – both for those needing to shed weight as well as those desperate to gain. People can be so gullible as we know and it’s a shame as after a short flurry of activity, efforts and motivation dry up.

Remember some of the ads that appear now and again inviting you to learn a new language in 10 days – well, like many of the claims and assertions in the exercise world, it just doesn’t add up. Of course desperate people drawn to desperate measures latch on to these claims, with little gains other than bigger holes in their pocket and diary. But if you are serious about a new language you don’t have to be Einstein – just be patient, consistent and hardworking. Anyone can do it if that’s really what they want. – starting out with a good teacher, forming the basic verb foundations, evolving into past and future tenses and forming the very sound structure that establishes the basis for a new way of communicating.

It’s the same with good training practice in the gym. If you haven’t done your basics and formed a solid foundation you will always be searching elusively for ways to make progress instead of them coming to you.

The job in identifying your task is not looking for short cuts, cheap deals or easy ways out. Like many things in life, the journey on a slow positive curve brings the fullest satisfaction and the ongoing sense of achievement, being self motivational.

Most desperate individuals who need to make inroads into better fitness have fallen into the ‘lazy trap’ of poor habits both in their diet and training as well as poor lifestyle habits. Lifestyle habits are not under scrutiny in this newsletter, on this occasion! – you can look into that yourself, but we can discuss how best to spend your energies if you want to really make some significant inroads into grasping some real training techniques.

These techniques can aid the overweight to develop fantastic rhythm and momentum when training, reducing the need for excessive, separate or more aerobic work and help to increase metabolic rate… and calories usage – WHEN AWAY FROM THE GYM! Now that’s a recipe for success.

For those who need to increase their power to weight, add power to their punch, more strength to their ‘core’ or more core to their strength!, these techniques blast stimulus into the system and, provided you are eating appropriately, add might and body to the muscle and muscle to the body.

Change in whichever positive direction you are seeking is straightforward – just a little bit of hard work, regularity and patience…. and good guidance in formulating the right balance of movement/sets/reps and effort ratio to suit you.

Use the Maximum Fitness Team – that’s what we are here for!

The body thrives on effort through balance and coordination stimuli, and pushing through multijoint exercises provides key inputs to improve these functions.

It is really quite simple. All joints have a ROM (range of motion) potential. They also have a MWP (maximal workload potential). Both these areas rely on good muscle length and strength. Working towards the limits of both these areas with natural coordinated resisted movements produces very positive and worthwhile regenerative changes.

But all this is not new.
In my earlier days in the 1970’s on some of my travels through India I searched out an old gym in the depths of Calcutta. It was established at the turn of the century by an Indian fakir (still alive at the time) who taught body strengthening and even at the time had a good complement of local students and enthusiasts. Amongst them was the current Mr. India who I had the pleasure to train with. The benches and machines were solid wood and smoothly worn over the decades (much like the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral) and wonderful to use. The weights were the solid dumbbell and big round barbell, styles typical of early 20th century equipment. That was interesting but guess what – many of these techniques and exercises were being used then and handed down over the decades. So no secrets there, just balanced hard work. In the late 70’s I was lucky enough to have several spells working in Lagos with the Romanian coaches with the Nigerian Olympic weightlifting team (who went on to do very well at that time) – they were using these principals. Being fortunate enough to contribute to conditioning coaching to some of our past Olympic teams as well as working with 1000’s of people over the years has given me a deep insight into the time (and results) wasting that can happen if you train without your foundation.

Looking at an overview of the musculo-skeletal system and the way in which the joints move – the goal is to harness the way in which these actions take place over the fullest plane of motion with maximal safe resistance. Incorporating all major muscles and joints and therefore all the smaller accessory muscles and joints.

This is called the big picture. There are some 600 muscles in the body and 200 or so bones, the biggest being the thigh bone and the smallest tucked away inside your inner ear. Not all muscles are involved in movement as such but most are. The biggest of these – the gluteals are very much involved in hip extension and lower back stability. The smaller muscles are some of those interconnecting in joints around the fingers and toes. The muscles are divided into prime movers – muscles that extend or contract, and accessory muscles that help to stabilise actions of these prime movers. By looking at the ‘BIG PICTURE’ we can incorporate movements to maximise all of these muscle structures to maximise rewards when training. This ‘feels good’ to do as it is using the body with full motion that requires coordination. It’s just a little hard work. This incorporates the knees and hips fully bending and straightening, the shoulders fully extending overhead and forwards, the spine and upper body bending forward towards the hips and also lifting up from the hips, and the hips bending towards the upper body. The arms pushing away from you, lifting up from below waist height and pushing and extending down to waist level.


The foot and ankle extend Best Exercise


FULL SQUATS (Either back or front)

The lower limbs: The hip flexes – The knees bend – Best Exercise

Front Squats


Back Squats



– Shoulder girdle and joint – Best Exercise

(Or chins)

Upper back and inner back Best Exercise

Pulldown Behind Neck





– Lower back and posterior thigh – Best Exercise

Without Box


With Box



– Thoracic region (chest and rib cage) – Best Exercise


Best Exercise


(Free or machine/bench)

Best Exercise



Abdominal cavity
Upper sections


(Hanging or incline)

Best Exercise
Lower section
Best Exercise



When doing dips – for the ladies and debutantes, these are best carried out with hands behind on a bench. For the guys and harder trainers, use the dipping station, and to keep the effort up and tie in the right reps, add weight accordingly.

N.B. When we look at abdominal work it is important to understand how much we rely on the Hip Flexor muscles, as most of the action in completing a sit up is done by this group of muscles – the abdominal group of muscles curling and holding the spine isometrically whilst the upper body curls forward. These are a controlling group again in carrying out leg raises whilst the abdominal muscles contract to stabilise the pelvis whilst the legs are lifted. Weak hip flexors as well as weak abdominals are known to be a major contributor to back pain as well as stability of hip and knee.

Completing this range of movements at whatever level is appropriate for you to do REGULALY; with good effort 2 or 3 x weekly is a great way to establish a firm and effective foundation for your efforts.

  1. For those looking to maximise strength and conditioning it is best to break the routine into super sets with reps in 8-10 region at 75% of 1RM (your 1 rep max) completing 3 sets of all exercises.
  2. For maximal effect on power and strength gains, use 4 x single sets with one warm-up at 70% of 1RM and 3 sets of 6 reps at 85+% of 1RM.
  3. For maximal fitness, aerobic and toning effects, 3 sets x 12 of each exercise at 60% of 1RM, broken into groups of tri-sets, but start with Calf Raises on their own, using Free Squats/Lunges and stretching in between sets here as warm up.

f you have special requirements, you needn’t keep every exercise the same.. it is poss to mix and match e.g. If you lack power and size in your legs you may want to stick to heavy single sets, Supersetting the upper body movements for maximum stregnth/conditioning, or use any other body part combinations. ( If in doubt about best way to harmonise the combination routine – book a session with one of the Maximum Fitness team)
Standing Calf Raise
Clean and Press
Pulldown to Neck.
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Pullover Press
Barbell Curls
Tricep Dips
Sit Ups
Leg Raises

Of course this is all hard work and if your fitness doesn’t stretch to the ‘ideals’ listed above, simply go through the routine with 2 single sets of each movement with a weight that can give you a comfortable 10 reps and a hard 15!

Carry this out 3 x week for a month then lift the weight up and reduce reps to 10-12, and start superseding the following after 1st month (But start with Calf Raises as explained above)

Standing Calf Raise
Full Squats
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Clean and Press
Pulldown to Neck
Pullover Press
Barbell Curl
Tricep Dips
Sit ups
Tricep Dips
Leg Raises

This will form a sound foundation and give a little spring lift to your body if you keep it up. Any doubts about how to calculate the best weight to use or your 1RM (1 Rep Max) can be resolved by speaking with any of the Maximum Fitness Team or better still, booking a couple of 1-1 sessions to establish your tailored programme.