Friday, 26 May 2017

Top 10 Tips for losing weight:

Losing weight is never easy, keeping the weight off is even harder. I lost over 8.5 stone over a two year period, that was over 10 years ago and have maintained a healthy weight and lifestyle ever since.
I have a real understanding of the challenges individuals face and my top 10 tips for losing weight are based on my own experiences as well as the experiences of my truly exceptional clients.

1) Hydrate: (water means life!):
It’s basic but vital, it’s all around us, it’s FREE and it contains no calories….

Your body is using water from conception until the end of your life. Water hydrates the brain, lubricates skin and tissues, eliminates toxins helps digestion, regulates body temperature, generates energy and reduces water retention. Our requirement for water varies, somewhere between 2 and 3 litres (total hydration) per day is ideal. Water is the simplest, best way to hydrate.

The human brain is exceptional BUT it confuses thirst with hunger, so when you feel hungry hydrate first, then reconsider.

In one study, middle-aged overweight and obese participants who drank water before each meal lost 44% more weight than a group who did not.

Another study also showed that drinking water before breakfast reduced the amount of calories consumed during that meal by 13%.

More information can be found here:


2) Find a way to move more: (with resistance):
Bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, kettle bells, the method is unimportant, move your body and include a resistance. This will help you to increase muscle mass, speed up your metabolism and BAM! You can eat more!!!!!
Increasing muscle mass means your body is burning energy quickly and efficiently, it also means activities of daily life (ADL’s) become easier (think household chores, playing with the kids, even getting in and out of you car!).

According to , every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories a day.

More info here:


3) Fruit and vegetables: (Yep old school, but it works!):
I like to call these little beauties “natures jewels” They pack such extraordinary qualities, water, fibre, colour (anti oxidants), vitamins and minerals.“Natures jewels” will fill you up without wasting valuable calories.
-       Fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates are 4 kcals per g,
-       Proteins are 4 kcals per g
-       Fat is 9 kcals per g.

“I don’t like fruit and vegetables” I hear you scream!  So try something new – sweet potato, doughnut (or Saturn) peaches, grilled pineapple are all delicious.  On a budget? Try a wonky vegetable box from your local supermarket, just as nourishing and there’s an element of fun in seeing a tomato with a nose, which looks like a face J

Tip: Keep fruit and vegetables whole or make home made smoothie (not juices- as you will be throwing away much of the goodness).


4) ) Forget starvation:
Drop your calories too low and your body senses a threat to life. In response it down regulates many functions to preserve life. A body lacking energy will behave as such: slow, lethargic, threatened, your hormones will be all over the shop and your metabolism will slow in order to cope. Understanding your energy requirement is critical to optimising life, use the link below to calculate how much energy you need:


5) Sleep (Yes rest can help you lose weight):
You eat well, you move lots, you hydrate but you’re still not losing weight? How much do you rest? Most adults require between 7.5 and 9 hours sleep per night. Sleep is really important, it’s an opportunity for you to process thoughts, rest and repair, balance hormones (particularly leptin and ghrelin AKA hunger hormones), which aid weight loss.
Sleep is the way your body preserves itself. You need it!

Read more here:


6) Celebrate small successes:
The mountain that separates where you are today and where you want to be, is huge right? So celebrate when you reach base camp. Having made the journey from obese to where I am today I know that If I had focused on the long term goal (over 8 stones/ 100lbs) in weight loss I would have become pretty disheartened every time I made a mistake. To succeed we must learn to enjoy small successes: walking for 5 minutes extra per day, preparing dinner using single ingredients, drinking more water.

Find a way to celebrate these successes in a healthy manner, try to avoid rewarding with food. Celebrate with a new album from I-tunes, a pair of shoes, or a new dress. If these things are out of reach financially then keep it simple, a five minute break after you have got home from work doing absolutely nothing but drinking that hot cup of tea, a relaxing bath, a walk around your garden… basically you choose something that makes you feel good!


7) ) Build a lifestyle (not a DIEt)
I hate the word DIEt… it contains the word DIE, that can’t be good! Over the years I have seen clients, family and friends setting themselves up to fail, trying the latest fad DIEt. How long do you think you can live on cabbage soup? Seriously?

Build a lifestyle, which you are happy with, one, which supports your goal, one that you can stick with! Yoyo dieting (diet, give up because its too hard, diet again) does more to damage health than to sustain it, put simply your body (particularly hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin) become out of balance and cortisol / adrenaline (stress hormones) are elevated.


8)    Eat slowly (slooowwwwllllyyyyyy):
Walk the dog, do some exercise, make dinner, pick the kids up from school, do some work from home, check social media, take an obligatory selfie, be a Wife, Mum, Sister,  Daughter Friend. Our whole lives seem to be geared around rushing…Rush, rush, quick, quick!

When was the last time you compared the time taken to prepare a meal with the time taken to eat it? SLOOOOWWWWWW down, according to http: // eating slowly and mindfully can help you eat less but more importantly it enhances the pleasure of the dining.


9) Snack wisely (include protein to boost satisfaction and reduce cravings):
When time is at a premium, snacks offer consistent energy throughout the day, for many people fruit is the snack of choice, a great choice at that, but even better if we can add a bit of protein! Studies have found that increasing protein can reduce cravings by up to 60% Great snack choices include: cottage cheese, peanut butter, nuts and hummus, all of these can be added to a fruit or vegetable to make the Perfect Snack. – Watch point: getting the volume of a single snack right is really important (for many a snack of 150-200 kcal is a good place to start)


10) Be patient (learn to fail!):
It’s 10 years since you were in shape, it’s going to take more than 10 minutes to get back there. The road to health is a long one, with many twists, turns and opportunities to screw up: Birthdays, Weddings, Funerals, Graduations, Easter, Halloween, New Year, Christmas, WEEKENDS. Learn that any form of self-improvement requires mistakes. Learn from your mistakes, embrace them as experiences, move on and stay consistent.

More about failure here:


If you would like to talk to me about how you can loose weight and keep it off for the long term – then why not get in touch call me on 01273 258212


Andy Payne is a personal trainer, based near Brighton in East Sussex, and founder of Three Pillars of Fitness. You can follow him on facebook and twitter  

Friday, 17 March 2017

What is Trigger Point Pilate's?

Trigger Point Pilate's is most often taught in a group environment, it combines traditional Pilate's core movements and Self Myofascial release principles.

These principles are most beneficial for those seeking relief of chronic pain, those aware of muscular tightness (hyperactive muscles) and those wishing to restructure the body or improve posture.

What is Myofascia?
Myo means Muscle and Fascia means band. Fascia is a system of connective tissue fibres which lay just under the surface of our skin. Magnified fascia looks like a net of tubes which hold water. The role of fascia is to stabilise, enclose and separate muscles and internal organs. It's a highly active tissue full of nerves. Fascia recoils with every bump, bruise and injury, it also reacts to repetitive and functional movement.

Fascia is often referred to as a "net" or "web" (similar to a cobweb)  which surrounds, intertwines, protects and supports every part of the body, from bones, muscles fibres, organs, arteries, veins and nerves. Think of this net as a single net stretching from the finger tips, across the chest and from the brow to the tips of our toes. Fascia creates our form, it shapes and supports us, it also affects our breathing, posture and emotions.

What are Trigger Points?
The researcher Dr Janet Travell, defined a Trigger Point as "A hyper irritable locus within a taut band of skeletal tissue, located in the muscular tissue."

Most people refer to a Trigger Point as a knot, although no physical knot exists. These "knots" are painful spots which form in the muscle fibre or fascia. They occur when the portion of muscle fibre which contracts (Sarcomere) becomes overworked and "locked" in a shortened state, that restricts blood flow. Trigger Points form in areas of the body which are susceptible to strain due to postural or physical activities.  Certain sleeping and sitting patterns where a muscle is shortened for  long periods of time can also cause Trigger Point activation. These, locked shortened, knotted sarcomere need to be released!

Trigger Points will often cause stiffness and weakness of the affected muscle and restrict it's range of movement, they will also be tender to palpitation. Tenderness in response to palpitation will disappear once the Trigger Point has reduced in size. Pain as a result of a Trigger Point will be deep and dull, rarely burning or tingling.  Trigger Points can develop in any muscle in the body.

How can we tackle Trigger Points?
Trigger Point Pilate's movements and compression can be an affective solution. During our TPP class a number of tools are provided:


Massaging your muscles with foam rollers and prickle balls softens your myofascia, so that the structures within-contracted muscle fibres- can receive oxygenated blood. This technique is called Self Myofascial Release (SMR). Massaging our tissues can return them to a a lengthened flexible state and can reduce adhesion's often caused by trauma and hyperactive tissues. Practising SMR on a regular basis can result in increased circulation, reduction in pain and and improvement in range of movement. Pilate's ball (Bender Balls)  and Resistance bands are also used to facilitate a supported stretch to lengthen muscles. 

Who will benefit from the class?
- Drivers
- Desk workers
-Those suffering pain
-Individuals of all ages regardless of fitness 
- People who suffer with postural imbalance
- Anyone with muscular restriction or lack of flexibility
- Stressed individuals needing to relax and breathe more easily and counter busy lifestyles

If you would like to learn more about Trigger Point Pilate's or attend our classes, held twice weekly, get in contact for a FREE 7 DAY CLASS PASS worth £28

Thursday, 15 December 2016

'Tis the season for waist expansion

It's the second week in December and all around we are bombarded with stimulus: Wonderful smells, of spices and clementines, the pressure to look good, whilst entertaining family and friends, shopping for England and attending Christmas Parties. This all means STRESS!!!!! 

Perhaps you've spent time this year, working on a healthier lifestyle, supporting your body through nourishment and movement.....Perhaps you haven't..... YOU, may intend to start your health journey in January, in which case damage limitation may be the right thing for you to do at this time of the year. The intention of this post is to encourage some festive self preservation and investments, this means INVESTING IN YOU AND YOUR SANITY. Everybody know's how to be healthier, but here I will set about offering some practical hints and tips, which should help to lessen expansion of the waist:

1) Sleep more:

At this time of the year many of us are sleep deprived, as we set about achieving the impossible. It's important to remember that sleep is the bodies natural way to reset, to heal, and to grow. It's sleep that allows us to start each day refreshed. How will you find the energy for all of your commitments without sufficient rest? 

Failure to sleep causes confusion in our hormones, Ghrelin (our hunger marker) and Leptin (our satiety signal) become unbalanced. This means you are likely to eat more than you need.
It's also the case, if you are un rested you will lack energy and seek "instant hits" from sugar, from here you are likely to hit the sugar cycle:

Crave sugar > consume sugar > cell walls open > blood sugar elevates > sugar level drops and you return to craving!

"Sleep has so many benefits with so little effort, sleep directly affects the quality of our waking life" -Unknown

Practical Sleeping tips:
A. Sleep in a dark room, with a blackout blind if necessary or buy an eye mask, which signals to the brain that it's time to sleep.
B. Try to go to bed at the same time, creating a healthy sleep habit.
C. Keep T.V's and gadgets outside of the bedroom, the stark blue light often omitted from devices signals to the brain that it's day time.
D. Try counting sheep, Yes! it helps, this may seem like an old wives tail but is a form of meditation/ relaxation which helps you to nod off.
E. Reduce caffeine from mid afternoon, as this stimulates brain activity, replace that espresso with a herb/ fruit tea which is caffeine free. Camomile is said to be very good for relaxation.

2) Move more:

We were built to move and to work, moving is one of the best ways to create calorie deficit, which means you will lose weight. It's medically proven that people who move more are:

>Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
>Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
>Up to a 30% lower risk of depression
( Source

Other reasons to move include:

-Improved bone strength (reduced risk of Osteoporosis)
-Increased lean muscle mass (which elevates our metabolism0
-Raised self esteem/ reduced stress
It's really important if exercise is new to you that you seek medical approval before embarking on exercise, also please move within the realms of your ability. Walking is a great way to start.

Practical Movement Tips
A. Struggling to fit exercise your day around Christmas? Why not download a pedometer app?
B. If you are struggling to find the perfect gift for the loved one that has anything why not turn to the traditional welly and get some cold crisp walks in between Christmas and New Year?
C. Avoid the "Carbohydrate Coma" which strikes so many by playing active games like charades or Twister. (other games are available!)

3) Hydrate:

I know, it's old news right?  So what does water do for us?
-Hydrates brain cells
-Lubricates skin and tissues
-Increases oxygen in the blood and lungs
-Regulates body temperature
-Prevents loss of calcium
-Provides elasticity to muscles and joints 

Still not convinced? 

Brain = 75% water
Blood = 83% water
Muscles = 75% water
The cost of being dehydrated is massive: At 1% dehydration you will struggle to concentrate. At 5% dehydration you will feel hot and tired and experience a drop in performance.

Practical Hydration Tips:
A. Reduce costs and intoxification by having a non- alcoholic drink in between your favourite tipple.
B. Swap cafeinated drinks with decaf options
C. Buy yourself a posh water bottle, sounds silly right? but it makes drinking water much more fun. Try adding flavour with: Cucumber, berries, ginger or mint.
D. Try fruit and herbal teas
E. Increase consumption of vegetables and fruit, Broccoli for instance is 89% water.

4) Reduce stress:

If you are constantly feeling stressed, your are likely to be tired and irritable. This irritability causes yet more hormone in balances as discussed under the sleep section......

The smart phone generation is in a constant "information overload" state, next time you are in a public area, stop for just 5 minutes and count how many people you see who are attached to phones: texting, snap chatting, calling, checking e-mails, taking photos, posting to Instagram or for that matter any other platform which allows you socialise at the click of a button.

Practical stress reduction tips:
A. Banishing your phone is not an option? OKAY! but just try to reduce the amount of time you spend on it, nourish real relationships and make an effort to laugh.
B. Meditate:This doesn't mean that you have to grow your hair, live in a camper and smoke weed. It means, step back, relax your brain from the constant demands on your time and relax. It's not a self indulgent act, it's about giving yourself a breather, some space to just chill. Try these ideas:
- Listen to a piece of music, nothing else, just listen.
-Find a comfortable space and focus on 360 degree breathing (in through your nose, out through your mouth.
-Focus on an inanimate object for 5 minutes

5) Plan, plan and plan more (especially to nourish):

The best tool to take your thoughts a step closer to actions is to plan. 

Practical planning Tips:
A. Commit your ideas paper using the humble Biro! Take a look at what's above and decide which is your personal priority. I've listed some useful tips here, why not plan to implement one tip per week? 
B.If you currently drink a litre of water per day, commit to drinking 2 ltrs. Write yourself 5 or 6 post it notes and leave them in significant places. These might include: The car, the office, the fridge door, the dining table etc.

"You will never find time, you must make time for everything" -uknown  

6) Eat Seasonally:
Christmas is, for many a time of indulgence, why not indulge in quality produce and ingredients whilst they are in Season. Buying produce during it's "Season" means you are getting the very best flavours and therefore less quantity is need. 

"Buy the best quality that you are able, and reduce quantity" The following items are in Season over the festive period, and each and every one has wonderful nourishing qualities..... ENJOY!

Whiting (fish)


Brussel Sprouts
Jerusalem Artichoke
Pak Choi
Sweet potato

I hope that you have found this blog useful, all that remains is to wish you a healthy, fun Christmas and all good things for 2017.

Here at Three Pillars of Fitness we have lots of exciting things planned for the New Year, if you'd like to know more please visit

Andy x

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Post natal movement and nourishment.....

In this Blog, I'm going to delve into some of the affects that pregnancy has on the body and what is suitable in terms of nutrition and movement, to heal the body post baby.

If you are reading this and have recently given birth then it's a massive high five from me and a huge amount of respect to you. I hope you and your "bundle" of joy are well and enjoying the world, others reading this blog may be Post Natal (in many cases it's been years since the baby arrived). This is still appropriate so keep reading as you may well feel that you have never fully recovered.

It's important for me to acknowledge that, I am Male. In truth, I will never say "I understand" when it comes to matters of pregnancy and birthing. I have, though seen members of my own family and certainly clients who have been through this "Life changing, life giving experience" and suffered various ailments as a result. 

I often hear Mum's in my class, voicing issues, like this.......

"I was picking "baby" up from the Mose's basket the other day and felt my back go!"
Yes, Mum's do this, they move lots: Lifting, twisting,  pushing, pulling. So it's important to incorporate this into exercise sessions by recreating your daily movement patterns, building strength in the muscles used and minimising the risk of injury.

"I went to see my GP for the six week check and it was over in 3 minutes"
Often the case in many parts of the world these "check ups" are being discontinued. In this country they seem to be inconsistent at best. This is a major oversight, many Mum's I have spoken with say the questions are geared towards the babies health, but what about Mum's? There are some 20 conditions which need to be discussed before a suitable programme of exercise is devised, so why aren't the G.P's doing this? These include: Joint pain, prolapse, scar healing, diastasis and gestational diabetes to name just a few.

"I gained weight as a result of pregnancy and now I'm on a diet" 
As a Mum I'm sure you'd agree, that pregnancy, birthing and child care take a massive toll, on you. Both your physical and mental health are challenged: Your hormones are all over the place, you may be lacking sleep, and the key focus is the well being of the new baby and the rest of your family. The last thing you need is the additional stress of dieting. The focus should be around what you CAN have not what you CAN'T, nourishing your body to aid repair needs to be the focus. General guidelines include:
-Colour: Fruits and vegetables (natures jewels!): Vitamins minerals and fibre
-Proteins: To promote healing and building, increasing levels of collagen
-Whole grains: Fore energy, satiety, and more consistent blood sugar levels
-Healthy Fats: Essential fats, polyunsaturated and mono unsaturated fats  

"I have no core/ no abdominal strength, I have tried the abdominal crunch challenge to improve it, but nothing happened!"
This is likely to be a Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal wall). As you are carrying a growing baby, the abdominal muscles separation. Causing weakness in your core. The core is made up of  the Transverse Abdominus, Rectus Abdominus, Internal and external obliques and that's without including back muscles which are critical. 
A significant separation here means that the very foundation of your body is compromised. 
The solution, is not spinal flexion (loading the abs, will cause further separation). The best thing to do here is target the midsection, in a standing position with a focus on 360 degree breathing to heal. 

"According to WebMD two thirds o
new Mum's have a diastasis."

"I have pain in my lower back, butt, neck, hands, etc"
Many of the pains suffered by Mum's are as a result of:
-The increasing mass of the baby, and breasts means more weight held at the front of the body. This undoubtedly causes pain (often lower back, gluteal pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and/or pudendal nerve pain).
-Structural, hormonal and postural changes, as the body prepares for birthing.

"Will my body ever feel the same again after children?"
The truth is maybe not, but there's always hope. Giving birth to your bundle of joy is a miracle, nothing can distract from that. However, the process is very traumatic for your body. If your body feels different, even 10 years after child birth then you are still post natal. 

It should be acknowledged that the body has an incredible set of coping mechanisms, the body is truly wonderful and must be nourished and nurtured to support your daily activities. 

Here at Three Pillars of Fitness, we specialise in Functional fitness for Pre and Post natal women, as we know conceiving, carrying, birthing and caring for your child, and your family is a job for life. We like to offer Mum's a service which is focused on healing, repair and strengthening your body as well as offering some much needed "you time!"

FREE TASTER: If you would like to attend a free class on Friday 16th September at 09.15am (in Woodingdean, Brighton, UK). We'd love to hear from you. The class is designed specifically for Mum's, regardless of whether your child is 1 or 31 CLICK HERE TO CONTACT ME for more information.