Tag Archives: charlie launder


5 Sep

What a good week!!

Last week I was in Cornwall, and even though I made sure I kept up the fitness side of things with the gruelling workouts Jonny and Olu planned for me on the sandy beach, I would be lying if I said  that the holiday food didn’t find it’s way to me! I was not too hard on myself because a holiday is a holiday, but I did prepare myself to really work when I returned to London.

This week it was straight back to the program and there was definitely no mercy to be had!! Monday was a lifting session with Jonny at The Lomax. I did this entire session with no shoes on so I could feel the floor properly and concentrate on where my weight should be. We worked up from a 50kg back squat to 70kg, which was my previous PB. Just as I was feeling very smug and pleased with myself, Jonny decides to add on more weight taking the total bar weight up to 80kg! My heart was racing at the thought of it and if I am completely honest, I instantly lost my confidence and didn’t believe I could do it. Jonny assured me I could and he promised me he would be there 100% of the way to help me. He was, and I managed to get 4 reps done, an extremely shaky 4 reps but 4 reps nonetheless! So, even though I could barely put my shoes back on after this session because my legs were so weak, I left feeling very pleased that I had progressed my squat PB from 70kg to 80kg (just about!)

Wednesday was a rigorous cardio workout with Olu. He came up with some weird and wacky exercises such as combining reptile crawls with extreme bunny hops across the gym floor. Whatever we did, it racked up a whopping 700kcals in one single hour so it must have been worth it and hopefully helping to build up some stamina.

My 3rd olympic lifting session showed some progress as I started off prepping for my power cleans with the weight I had used initially and it practically flew to the ceiling. Very quickly Olu loaded up the bar to 40kg and this did feel really heavy to me. It took some getting used to, but by the end of the session I could do a few full cleans. I still need to be much more aggressive in using my hips and arms but I can definitely feel a difference in my strength and technique. See the picture below for a comparison in technique from 3 weeks ago to now. Notice the extra hip movements…


Gymnastics this week is where I really started to notice my progress. My coach was very pleased with my new found power and he said it was clearly making a difference to my technique in my tumbles and vault which is exactly what I wanted. Clearly all this hard work in the gym with the lifting is paying off!

Still a lot of work to get done over the next two months but I am getting there and it’s always nice to see some progress and get a boost in motivation! Big thank you to all the people helping me along the way!


It is always nice finishing the week with a good session, leaving with confidence and satisfaction. Now for a weekend of stretching and lots of rest!


10 Weeks til I Flip

22 Aug


I have come to the end of my second full week of training and I’m loving it. I have experienced a few hurdles that have knocked my confidence this week, but I have managed to turn it around with the help of a few encouraging words here and there, and knowing I have the support of a fantastic team behind me helps a lot. Positive thinking and sheer determination is what is going to get me to the end, so head up and lets carry on!!

This week I have trained three times at The Lomax (www.lomaxpt.com), with three different trainers, each pushing me in a different way. I have had one core & endurance session, and two strength & power sessions. I did some very light cardio and stretching on my day off and finished the week with an exhausting gymnastics training session.

My strength session this week taught me a hell of a lot. I had the extremely talented Jordan Lue on my case and i thoroughly enjoyed our session. He is passionate about performance enhancement which is perfect for me. He watched my squat and discovered that due to my large range of motion, my hips and back were losing form as I reached the floor, and my glutes were disengaging therefore putting heaps of pressure on my already weak lower back. He assessed where my form was lost and had me do numerous sets to that point, making sure I pushed my knees out as far as possible both on the way down and up. Once he was happy that I was maintaining correct form, I was able to start squatting lower again and sure enough, if I did what he said and pushed my knees out and hips back, I was performing them with the correct form!

Sometimes it takes a new person to look at your posture and technique for them to pick up on something that no one else has. I think this will really help me as I go forward with training.

In gymnastics it is extremely important to be powerful in executing your skills to give you enough height to perform the entire movement correctly. I have been focusing on the power aspect of training in my olympic lifting sessions, focusing on a slow decent before coming up as fast as I can. Through engaging my core and glutes, and pressing my feet hard into the ground, I am able to do this without losing form which is important for injury prevention. It’s taking me a while to get the whole movement pattern correct but I am getting closer and closer with each session. With Olu Adepitan, olympic lifting legend, I have been working on getting the technique right for a ‘clean’ using a barbell starting at 20kg working my way up to 35kg so far. I am feeling more and more confident with this now as I progress through the stages. He is sure this is still too light for me and threatening to increase the weight next time, so I am sure this confidence will be short lived!!

Gymnastics training this week has involved plyometric work, with lots of jumping and quick explosive movements preparing for events such as vault and floor. I have been trying out some new skills to add to my routines, hoping to increase my difficulty score overall. We are still in the trial and error stage with choosing the skills to compete, with hopefully not too much error going on. It won’t be until closer to the competition that routines will start going together, for now it’s about learning and perfecting each individual skill in isolation, slowly building up the connections.

Next week I am taking an annual trip to cornwall for a week of surfing. I was initially looking forward to a week off but I soon realised that there is no point in taking a big step backwards when we only have 10 weeks to go. Johnny and Olu have put together a list of gruelling exercises to do whilst I am there so watch this space for sand sprints and other fun things I will be doing.

Taking a Break from Routine

4 Jun



People talk about routine, about finding a good routine and then sticking to it. Now, this can work for certain things and can actually help to keep you on track but it doesn’t mean that breaking away from the routine sometimes will ruin everything.

When it comes to exercise and especially beginners I always say they need to find a routine because it will make it easier to monitor what they’re doing. I set their routine and help them to monitor the intensity, for example they may have exercise sessions set on mondays, wednesdays and fridays with a structured nutrition plan. This way they can tick off the boxes each time they complete a workout or eat something and it is an effective way of staying on top of things.

There are a few ways in which routine doesn’t give the desired effects however…

Your body becomes used to the intensity and doing the same things week in week out. You will start to see a plateau or decrease in results and this means that something needs to change, whether that means the type of exercise, the intensity or even the amount you are doing.

– If you start to feel guilty for having to change the routine for something that has come up unexpectedly. The idea of creating a routine is to help you, not to force you into a rigid schedule and it is certainly not there for you to punish yourself mentally over not sticking to it once or twice. Be realistic, there are always going to be things that get in the way but all you must do is figure out a way to fit in your workout another time, its as simple as that!!

– When you have been pushing your body to it’s limits in order to achieve results sometimes it can get over worked and can become exhausted. This is very important to take note of and sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore your routine and give your body the rest it needs to come back fighting.

I have certainly found that when I take a break from exercise and focus on letting my body recover (stretching, yoga, sleeping), I come back with a remarkable amount of energy and actually it always does my body a whole lot of good. I am guilty of over working my body at times don’t get me wrong, but I can tell immediately that my body doesn’t react well to it.

Taking a break from your routine does not mean abandoning it altogether and pigging out on the sofa, but it means giving it a break from working so hard, fuelling it with clean and healthy foods, and preparing it for hard work again!

Get your sweat on…

21 Jun




London is trying it’s best to heat up, but this week we have just had “muggy” which gives us hot and sweaty journeys on the tube, sticky days spent in the office and even some restless nights. Sweating is mostly associated with feelings of discomfort and stress, whether it is physical  or emotional stress. I get asked about sweat regularly by my clients so I thought I would go through some basic facts to see if I can answer some of your questions.


What is sweat?

There are 5 million sweat glands in the body but not all of them produce the same kind of sweat.

Apocrine glands become active at puberty. From that sentence I am sure you can guess which sweat glands these are. They are mainly found in the arm pits and produce the smelly odour many of us worry about regularly, especially in stressful situations. This kind of sweat actually contains very little water, it is made up of proteins, lipids and hormones and is brought on in situations of high emotion, stress or exercise.

The second type of sweat glands are Eccrine glands. These are found all over the skin and start to function almost as soon as you are born. These sweat glands are responsible for keeping the body cool when it starts to heat up due to outside temperature, exercise, fever or anything else that causes the body’s temperature to rise by producing a dilute salt solution composed of 99% water. The eccrine glands produce a far larger amount of sweat that the apocrine glands in the arm pits but it is far less smelly!


Am I unfit if I sweat a lot?

For most of us, sweating is a pretty good determent of how hard we have worked when exercising am I right? It is actually a pretty good indicator as it shows you that the body has reached a temperature that it is uncomfortable at and it is attempting to cool down by causing the sweat to evaporate from the body as water. If you sweat a lot during physical activity, this is not a sign of decreased fitness!


Do men and women sweat differently?

Yes, this is absolutely true, men and women have different sweating patterns. The average male produces four times more sweat a day that a woman of the same age. Research is still ongoing as to why women need to exercise to a higher intensity than a man does in order to start sweating, but the guess is that the reasons are hormonal.


Does sweating burn fat?

In a nutshell the answer to this question is no. When you sweat, you are losing water, not fat however due to the loss of water the body is forced to find energy elsewhere, normally in the form of stored calories and body fat. So no, sweating itself does not burn fat but the act of sweating can help the body to burn fat in other ways. It is a sign of the muscles working hard if the body heats up to a temperature that the body sees as too high.


Remember that there is absolutely no reason that you should limit your water intake while trying to lose weight, in fact you should increase it. Feeling dehydrated can make you feel lethargic and lacking in energy, which leads you to reach for the comfort foods!!

Go and fill up that water bottle and … get your sweat on!


Caffeine – good or bad for you?

14 May



As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant and a drug and we are all warned that if we consume too much of it, we are at risk of addiction and the associated health problems. However, the reason most of us are confused at how much we are supposed to have is because there are contradicting articles telling you that caffeine will help lower your chance of getting cancer and suffering from heart disease etc. Too much information leads us to huge confusion and so I am attempting to simplify some of the information out there about caffeine and the effects it has on your health – both the good and the bad.


  • Caffeine can be a mood booster. It stimulates the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine which activates the area of your brain responsible for productivity and alertness. The amount it may boost your mood and the time it lasts for depends on the amount of sugar consumed with the caffeine. For example, if your put a lot of sugar in your coffee, your mood may be boosted a fair amount however once your blood sugar level drops down again, you will notice a pretty sudden decrease in alertness and productivity!
  • Coffee has been proven to help lower the risk of oral cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that there is a strong connection between the increased caffeinated coffee consumption and the lower death rate from oral cancer. Research is ongoing on this topic.
  • Having too much of anything is a bad move and it is no different with caffeine. Too much of it can cause nervousness, “the shakes”, insomnia, irritability, upset stomach, muscle tremors and irregular heart beats. Everyone will have a different tolerance so the amount of caffeine that works for your body will be individual to you but any more than 500mg (equal to 4 cups of coffee) can produce these effects on most people, especially if you are not used to taking in this much caffeine.
  • A healthy individual should try to remain under 300mg of caffeine a day which equals around 3 cups of coffee or 4 cups of tea. Pregnant women should limit their intake to under 200mg and children should consume no more than 50mg daily. Remember caffeine isn’t only in coffee and tea, it is also in sugary energy drinks that you may give your children.
  • Caffeine may NOT help weight loss!! Although many people use the zero-calorie coffee as a diet aid, research has not confirmed that it helps with weight loss. Caffeine does temporarily speed up metabolism leading to a few more calories being burned, however it also leads to the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone which is linked to weight gain and of course stress!! Research has also shown that the extra calories burned does not equate to an amount that will drastically help with weight loss.
  • Be careful which source of caffeine you choose! Health professionals always prefer you the get your caffeine fix from a natural source such as coffee or tea. Energy drinks are design to give you a quick boost of energy, and generally do just that, however the amount of sugar that is added to them can add up to about 70g. That is the equivalent to 17 teaspoons of sugar. These energy drinks can be dangerous to consume because as well as the huge amounts of caffeine and sugar in them, there are additives and stimulants that are thrown in there as well. These can cause the shakes, anxiety, irregular heart beat and also decrease the effect of any prescription drugs or antibiotics being taken.
  • Caffeine is used by athletes for exercise benefits. When caffeine is consumed in a fasted state, it stimulates the release of fatty acids into the blood therefore making it the preferable source of energy over carbohydrates or lean muscle.

The list of positive and negative effects that coffee has on our health is ongoing and there is no way I could talk about it all today but I hope those couple of facts have perhaps taught you something new, or cleared up something you weren’t quite sure on. We do not have a clear cut answer to the question in my title, the answer is that in moderation there should be no problem but you have to find the right amount for you as an individual!

Enjoy your day, stay healthy, stay active and … watch that caffeine intake!

My first Hot Yoga experience

5 Dec


Recently, I have been persuaded to try “hot yoga” similar to the well known yoga “Bikram”. The reason I say I was persuaded is because I was convinced it was going to be a swelteringly hot room full of people fainting and this did not appeal to me at all! I am also the kind of person who if I decide to exercise I was it to be fast and energetic, so yoga has never been something I thought I’d try. I have heard so many people say they love the benefits they feel from doing hot yoga so I had to see what all the fuss was about.

I went to The Yoga Haven in Clapham Old Town (Wingate Square) to sign up for the introductory deal that they have on offer. This gives me 20 days of unlimited yoga classes for just £25! There was absolutely no excuse not to give it a go. Here is my honest description of my first class there…

I went with a friend which was great as we both had the same urge to try it, but a fear of the unknown. We got ready in the silent changing room where I can only imagine that everyone was mentally preparing themselves for the hour ahead. We filled up our water bottles and made our way to the studio, frantically grabbing our last breaths of the cool air before we walked in. There was an immediate rush of heat as we entered but not as hot as I had imagined. We found a space, making sure not to be under an air vent like the receptionist had advised us, and we lay down on our mats like everyone else was doing. They all seemed to be breathing in a heavy and rhythmic way, so we started to join in with the occasional glance at each other with the look of “what have we let ourselves in for?!”

The teacher came in and calmly introduced himself and said that if at any time we felt like it was too tough we should lie down rather than leave the room. We then started straight away with some easy breathing patterns slowly moving different body parts to stretch them. From the moment we started moving the sweating started, I started to feel noticeably warmer and I couldn’t help but think how on earth I was going to get through an hour of this!

The poses started getting a little more difficult and I found that the ones I can hold perfectly still usually, were becoming more difficult with the intense heat. My balance wasn’t nearly as good as it is normally, but I was enjoyed the challenge and found myself focusing really hard on each pose.

One thing I found to be a challenge was that there was no clock in the studio, and because you focus so intensely on each movement, you become unaware of time and when you begin to get tired and overheated, you have no idea whether you are only half way through or nearly at the end! As a personal trainer I am used to counting every second of every exercise so this was new to me!

Towards the end of the hour, the breaks between the poses started to become shorter and I found my heart rate and body heat increasing lots more. This is where I finally understood why everyone had been breathing in such a rhythm. It is very common to hold your breath when you’re concentrating on holding a position, but as i started to join in with the breathing patterns I found it much easier to flow from one pose to the next.

We did a lovely set of relaxation exercises lying down on the mat right at the end which I really appreciated because I felt my heart rate slow back down again and my body start to cool off a bit.

As the class ended and we all walked out of the room, the cold air hit us and I felt a mixture of relief and accomplishment. I was relieved that I finally had something other that hot air to breathe in but I was so happy that I had made it through the whole hour without fainting or any of the horrific things I had previously associated with hot yoga. I couldn’t believe my body was able to sweat that much in an hour, my face was less than desirable to look at, but we had enjoyed the class and had huge smiles on our faces as we showered and prepared for the cold walk home.

The rest of the evening left me feeling so clean and energised, it was such a great feeling. I have since been back for 3 more classes and continue to enjoy the challenge. I am feeling more and more confident with the poses that I have learned and continue to feel great after classes. The staff at yoga haven are so friendly, I would recommend trying out their introductory pass to anyone!