The 7 Must Know Questions to Ask Any Fitness Company That Will Be the Difference Between Success and Failure in Your Quest For Fitness and Fat Loss.

Before you sign up for any course of outdoor fitness or Bootcamp sessions you need to ask these vital 7 questions.

This is an educational report produced by Peak XV Fitness.
Outdoor fitness or Bootcamp is exploding in parks and open spaces all across the UK. But how do you know what you’re getting yourself in to and who can you trust to deliver on their promises. My name is Chris Hines and I’m the Director of Peak XV Fitness.

I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 20 years and have seen many things come and go. I think Bootcamps and group exercise in general are a great thing when all the correct criteria are applied. I have written this short report in an attempt to educate anyone thinking of starting one of these programmes and to get answers to these seven vital questions.

As usual fitness and weight loss claims are shrouded by false advertising, misleading claims and confusing information, so my aim is to set the record straight with this report. The first question you need to ask is:

1) Are the instructors qualified and insured.
Instructors come in various forms and while I don’t believe you need industry experts taking the classes there’s a world of difference between someone who’s spent their career readying soldiers for battle and someone who needs to motivate and encourage an overweight, post menopausal lady who is very out of shape.

Along with being able to clearly demonstrate each exercise the instructor must be able to safely progress and regress the exercises depending on the ability of the group members. This is virtually impossible for even the best instructors when they have a group of 30 different people, with different fitness levels and different injury histories. This leads perfectly on to the next question.

2) How many people are there in the group and what is the ratio of instructors to participants?

This is vitally important to know, not only for safety but also for the quality of the workout. It is very difficult to give feedback about exercise techniques to a large group of people and it’s virtually impossible to motivate each and every one of them. The smaller the group, the more individualised attention you get – there is no escaping this fact. I would suggest that if you’re in a group of more than 15 people then you’re just a face in the crowd and unless you have perfect exercise technique and huge levels of self motivation you’re not getting the most from your sessions. Having met around 500 Bootcampers I can tell you that these types of people are very rare.

I hear you ask, how do you find this all out, before you’ve signed up to an outdoor bootcamp and handed over your cash?

This brings me to my next important question….

Stayed tuned for part 2

Share Button

Fat melting 100 rep workout


Check out this 100 rep fat melting workout. This is a great workout if you want to fit an intense amount of work into a short period of time, or if you are away from the gym and have no equipment. These kind of circuits are central to our London outdoor boot camps.

Share Button

London outdoor fitness

London outdoor fitness classes this month:

  • Richmond – Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday Old Deer Park
  • Balham – Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday Chestnut Grove School
  • Shepherd’s Bush – Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday Wormwwod Scrubs
  • Fulham – Sunday , Tuesday and Thursday South Park
  • Hammersmith – Saturday, Monday and Wednesday Ravenscourt Park
  • Finsbury Park – Sunday, Monday and Wednesday Finsbury Park

The campers already enrolled at these London out door fitness centres are doing great, the weather has been great so far the summer and this pounds are beginning to fall off. One camper has already lost 2kg in a week! Come along for your free week to try our outdoor fitness class.

Share Button

The importance of magnesium

Magnesium is the forth most abudant mineral in the body and is involved in over 300 chemical reactions from energy production to protein synthesis to the prouction of cortisol or serotoin. Magnesium is considered a relaxing mineral, it helps relax and widen the arteries to lower blood pressure, it helps to relax the bowel and aid constipation, it calms the mind and aids sleep. Magnesium is also very important for cardiac muscle function helping to regulate the heart beat.

From doing metabolic tests on athletes and the general population alike magnesium is the most commonly deficient mineral I see. This is supported by scientific research. Volume 5 of The National Diet and Nutrition Survey conducted by the Department of Health in 2004 reported the average daily intake of vitamins and minerals for adults in the UK. Over the years these reports have demonstrated the proportion of men and women with low intakes of vitamins and minerals from food sources. Dietary analysis demonstrated there were low intakes of many vitamins and minerals including magnesium. The reasons for this are twofold, 1) not many people eat an abundance of food containing magnesium such as green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and 2) the foods we do eat are deficient in magnesium as there is less magnesium in the soil.

In 2005, the independent Food Commission’s Food Magazine reported that fruits and vegetables were 20% lower in mineral content in 1980 compared to 1930. More specifically it suggested vegetables contained 24% less magnesium. In 2006 the Food Commission reported 10% less magnesium when comparing mineral content of meat from the 1930s to food tables published by the Government in 2002. There was also 25% less magnesium in dairy products.

It’s always a good idea to establish you magnesium levels before you embark on a high dose magnesium supplementation programme to boost your body stores. Most doctors will order a serum magnesium test, however this tells you nothing as serum levels of magnesium are tightly controlled and a deviance outside of this level would cause death. It’s much more pertinent to look at red cell magnesium as red cell levels can be low even if serum levels are normal – which would reflect a magnesium deficiency.

To restore magnesium Charles Poliquin recommends that women need to take 1200mg of magnesium and men need to take 2000mg per day, 60% of it should be oral and 40% of it should be topical.

Here is how to do that:

• Take 2-4 capsules of magnesium with dinner
• Take 2-4 capsules of magnesium before bed
• Put 2 squirts of Topical Mag behind each knee just before you sleep

I have used this protocol in clinical practice to help people lose weight and can report the patients report much better and deeper sleep once ramping up their magnesium levels.

Share Button

The high protein breakfast

This high protein “meat and nuts” breakfast is a recommendation from Charles Poliquin’s Biosignature system. I have found it to be one of the best ways to increase satiety and energy levels throughout the day in many of my clients and athletes. In fact, over the last few months I have been eating, and I have been recommending people just eat a meal for breakfast – meat, vegetables and nuts.

At first there is shock and a little resistance to this suggestion, but before Kellogg’s this kind of breakfast would have been the staple to many people’s first meal of the day. (See Breakfast cereal = Junk Food). And once people have been doing this for a few weeks and they report better mood, better energy, and not feeling hungry so often they can see the benefit.

Some people absolutely love it and can’t wait to eat steak or chicken for breakfast. More importantly it is a great way to lose body fat, so if you are looking to lose weight – try it out. By eating meat, vegetables and nuts you will control your blood sugar much better and have sustained and lasting energy through the morning that will prevent you nibbling on mid morning chocolate or biscuits. 

Start off by eating the amount of protein you need for that meal. (See the Low carb “Boot camp” for rapid weight loss article to workout your protein intake).

Low carb “Boot camp” for rapid weight loss

Use your kitchen scales to weigh the meat after it has been cooked (remember meat refers to meat, fish, seafood and poultry). Serve it with a side of vegetables and 6-10 raw unsalted nuts. You can also eat eggs such as scrambled eggs made with butter or olive oil; an omelette or poached eggs however DON’T HAVE EGGS EVERYDAY.

Example plans are outlined below or simply create your own 4 to 5-day rotation of meat and nuts.


Butterfly roast sliced chicken breast with stir fired cabbage and bok choy and 6-10 cashews.



Scrambled eggs with sliced smoked salmon and grilled tomato or an omelette with spinach and mushroom and tomato.


Beef or turkey patties with stir fried onions, peppers and courgette and 6-10 Brazil nuts.


Salmon filet with 6-10 pistachio nuts.

Allowable protein

All meat, seafood, poultry and fish (except tuna, and swordfish). Chicken, turkey, seafood and white fish are generally lower in calories and fat, however you should still eat oily fish a couple times a week and can occasionally have dark meats such as lamb or beef.

Allowable nuts

Raw unsalted organic almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachio, cashews, Brazil nuts, pine nuts and macadamia nuts. No peanuts.

Go nuts for nuts!

If you have a problem with nuts (some people test positive for nuts on a food intolerance panel) just stick with meat and vegetables, or you a can eat a portion of the following organic low glycemic load fruits with your breakfast instead:

  • Avocado  
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Plum
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries


You can drink any tea (black or green) but without milk (milk is a common food intolerance), black coffee, herbal teas and water are fine, however milk and juice are not allowed.

Inflammation and food intolerance

Are milk and calcium so important for the bones?

Share Button

Low carb “Boot camp” for rapid weight loss

This low carb boot camp diet is a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet. Research tends to show us again and again that low carb diets are better for weight loss compared to low calorie or low fat diets. Research from Harvard School of Public Health investigated what would happen to people who ate a 1500-calorie low fat diet (1800 calories for men) compared to an 1800-calorie low carb diet (2100 calorie for men). The findings were that the higher calorie low carb dieters lost more weight than the lower calorie low fat dieters. A third group was studied who consumed a 1500-calorie (1800 calories for men) low carb diet and these people lost the most weight.

Beyond eating abtter diet read how gut bacteria, vitamin D and B vitamin deficiency and toxicity can make you fat:

A modern approach to weight loss

Another study looked at people on a calorie matched low carbohydrate or low fat diet, the food ratios were as follows:

• Low-fat diet: 60% carbohydrate, 20% fat and 20% protein.
• Lower-carb diet: 45% carbohydrate, 35% fat and 20% protein.

Women eating the low carb diet lost an average of 3.4 lbs (1.5 kg) more than the women eating the low fat diet (an average of 19.6 lbs v 16.2 lbs). Even the low carb diet was still fairly high in carbohydrates and could have been reduced further to maximise weight loss results. Again clearly demonstrating that calories are not the only important thing to consider when eating to lose weight, but also the type of food you eat.

Reducing carbohydrate usually means an increase in protein and fat. But most people fear eating too much fat because they think it will make them fat (remember 1g of fat contains 9 calories) and get advised against eating too much protein as it damages the kidneys and affects bone health. Both of these points are contentious issues and a thorough discussion of this topic is not warranted here, but suffice to say that a higher protein diet (43% carbohydrate, 33% protein and 22% fat) was more favourable in terms of weight loss when combined with resistance exercise to a conventional diet (53% carbohydrate, 19% protein and 26% fat) and exercise. Furthermore the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a low glycemic load (GL) diet helps to reduce insulin, triglycerides and aids weight loss in overweight and obese people.

This two week phase is certainly not the “Atkins Diet”, there is no restriction on the amount of carbs you can eat, just the type of carbs and it will form the foundation of how you should eat to not only lose weight initially but then – with certain foods added back in for a fuller varied diet – help you maintain a healthy weight.

This type of “low carb” boot camp phase for weight loss is the staple of many successful weight loss programmes including, but not exclusively:

• Anne Louise Gittleman – Fat Flush plan
• Charles Poliquin – BioSignature
• Patrick Holford – The low GL diet

I have taken different things from the above named programmes as well as from the likes of Jonny Bowden and Mauro Di Pasquale to create the following 2-week bootcamp.

After the initial two weeks are over other foods are gradually added back to the diet to make it a more balanced diet to meet all your nutritional needs. This is a core component of my nutritionist for weight loss programme.

So here it is…

Principle number 1

Protein in Greek means “of first importance” so make sure your first choice in a meal is a good quality portion of protein. Once you have worked out your daily protein requirement simply divided this by 3 or 5 (depending on whether you eat 3 or 5 meals a day) and eat that amount of protein at each meal.

To work out roughly your protein requirement take your body weight in kilos and times by 1.2 if you are female or 1.5 if you are male:

• 58kg female needs to eat 70g of protein a day
• 75kg male needs to eat 112g of protein a day

Remember that all meat, fish seafood and poultry is roughly 22% protein and you can work out how much you actually need to eat.

• 70g of protein x 5 = 350g of animal flesh
• 112g of protein x 5 = 560g of animal flesh

Protein requirement = 550g per day
• Breakfast: 120g
• Snack: 40g
• Lunch: 150g
• Snack: 40g
• Dinner: 200g

Weigh your protein after it has been cooked to make sure you are getting the right amount at each meal. Do this for just a few days so you can get an idea of how much things weigh, after that don’t get anal about it just make an educated guess on your portion size and don’t stress out if one day you are slightly over the required amount or if on another day you are slightly under.

However, make sure to eat quality organic meat and fish to avoid oestrogens, growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides stored in animal fat.

Principle number 2

For 14 days eat a 100% strict LOW carbohydrate diet (NO alcohol, grains, fruits, dairy, starchy vegetables etc…) except:

Artichokes, avocado (1 a day), asparagus, aubergine, bamboo shoots, beetroot greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, raw carrots, celery, chard, collards, courgette, cucumber, fennel, green beans, kale, lettuce leaves (all types), mushrooms, olives (3 a day), onions, parsley, peas, peppers, radishes, sauerkraut, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts and watercress.

You can eat as much of these fibrous carbohydrates a day as you can as they are in low carbohydrate content, high in fibre, rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and they cause only a little insulin to be released.

Aim to eat 4-5 servings a day of these vegetables (yes that includes breakfast). Fibrous carbohydrates DO NOT include any grains, breads or starches – only the vegetables on the list above.

You can also eat:

• 2 eggs a day
• 2-3 servings a day of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter
• Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, horseradish and pickles.
• Ginger, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, basil, thyme, oregano, black pepper, sage, cardamom etc…
• Butter, olive oil, walnut, avocado and sesame oil.

Here’s an example for a 75 kg male

Breakfast: 7am
100g salmon, 6-10 nuts, black coffee and water.

Mid morning snack: 10am
Large Romaine lettuce leaves, 50g of sliced beef, horseradish – crepes.

Lunch: 1pm
170g chicken breast with mixed leaf salad, tomato, ½ avocado, radishes and 1 tbsp olive oil.

Mid afternoon snack: 3:30pm
Crudités of carrot, pepper and courgette with 50g of prawns

Dinner: 7pm
150g steak, steamed broccoli, cauliflower and a small slice of butter to season the vegetables

1.5 l of water throughout the day
2 cups of green tea

• HCL every meal
• 2-3 g of fish oil every meal
• Multivitamin and mineral 1 a day

This is also a great programme for women especially if you need to get in shape for a wedding.

Weight loss for brides and bridesmaids

So if you need to get in shape and lose some weight go here to find out how.

Share Button

Ditch the sandwich – it’s junk food

The ubiquitous sandwich, it’s as if the nation’s lunchtime would fall apart without this staple of bread and butter. However, our thirst for this easily accessible and reliable meal is costing us our health. I’m going to throw it out there – sandwiches are junk food! Why? For many reasons:

Share Button

The stomach acid challenge

They say that digestion begins in the mouth, hence chew your food thoroughly. There is some truth to this. Chewing mechanically breaks down the food and there are enzymes in the saliva that help to breakdown carbohydrate. But digestion really begins in the stomach with the secretion of stomach acid, otherwise known as hydrochloric acid (HCL).

Share Button

Male fertility and omega 3

I’ve written a little bit lately on male fertility (see links below) and I came across (no pun intended!) this interested article today.

Male fertility

The importance of zinc

It looked at the omega 3 to omega 6 balance in the blood and sperm of fertile and infertile men. This research from Tehran demonstrated that fertile men were found to have blood and sperm levels of omega 3, where as infertile men were shown to have higher levels of omega 6. The authors reported that a higher proportion of omega 6 fatty acids in the sperm was a distinct feature of infertile men.  This adds to the already well known fact that balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fats plays a role in many aspects of human health including fertility. By eating more fish and taking fish oil supplements you can improve fertility.

Share Button