Monday, 18 June 2018

Food: Use your brain

When it comes to the very basics of nutrition and the foods you put into your body, there is no excuse for ignorance in modern society. Whatever you are doing, be it scrolling through social media, watching TV, listening to the radio, reading an article or even chatting, you are never too far from the topic of “dieting” or weight control. I would even go as far as saying (and excuse the pun) it’s rammed down our throats.

The ideas and dietary research found on the previously mentioned media platforms can provide some sound information and with a small amount of common sense applied, it is possible to make simple, easy improvements to your diet. However, many of these eating plans and methods can be confusing, misleading or in most cases, inappropriate.
I often find the advice given in the media to be very weighted towards its own purpose. By that I mean the primary parameters of the subject (the person and / or the particular “diet” being promoted or examined) are extremely narrow and rarely apply to the wider public. Yet they are advertised as the answer to all our weight loss problems. The parameters are seemingly manufactured to relinquish the desired results under a strictly controlled set of environments which wouldn't be practical for the every day person going about their routine. I do not believe in fad diets, crazy eating regimes, starvation or water only detoxes. Nor for that matter do I believe in the vast majority of gimmicks advertised on infomercials and celeb fashion magazines.
I put my trust in proven good honest hard exercise and sensible food choices containing the correct balance of:

Macro nutrients: Carbohydrates, proteins, fats
Micro nutrients: Vitamins and minerals

It goes without saying that anyone dedicated to making a significant change to their nutritional intake and individuals with unusual requirements (medical conditions, athletes) should seek professional guidance from a qualified nutritionist but for those going it alone I strongly recommend not getting hung up on special diets that you may hear about, but instead focus your energy on getting the basic principles of healthy eating right first.

10 basic tips:

Consume natural and varied whole foods

Try to eat 5 or even 6 small meals per day 

Dink plenty of water throughout the day

Take on nutrients from a wide source of foods. A good guideline is to include fruits, vegetable and salad items of different colours

Don’t eat large meals late at night

Avoid processed, fried and fast foods

Chew your food properly. It is the first stage of digestion!

Stop eating when you are full

Where possible prepare and cook your own foods from scratch

Reduce salt intake

I would never suggest totally cutting out treats as I think that can make for a boring existence but perhaps limit yourself to once or twice a week. The key word is moderation.

This is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. If you would like further information on healthy eating or you would like to know how much of which foods and when you should be eating them to meet your personal nutritional requirements, please me at email

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Monday, 11 April 2016


Asthma is a respiratory condition that is characterised by an increased sensitivity of the airways resulting in the air passages, principally the bronchioles, narrowing for a period of time.

There are a variety of potential ‘triggers’ that can induce an "asthma attack”

·         Infection
·         Dust
·         Air pollution
·         Pollens and air-borne allergens
·         Specific foods
·         Drugs
·         Exercise

Most people who suffer from asthma know what their triggers are and very few suffer from all the above.  Usually suffers have the potential for Broncho-constriction with exercise, however the response and severity can vary greatly from person to person.  

If you do suffer from asthma and are looking to get involved in exercise, I highly recommend that before you join a gym, you recall and record any times you have had an exercised induced episode.  
Include where you were, time of year, weather conditions, what you were doing on these occasions and detail as much information as possible. Include any past experiences with daily activities.

When you decide to begin exercise, consult a trainer and share with them all related information and experiences.  This will allow your trainer to reduce the risk of inducing similar events by eliminating likely contributing factors.

To reduce the risk of developing exercise induced asthma

·        -  Intermittent physical activity 
·         - Work out in warm moist air
·         - Swimming (trigger dependent)
·         - Low to moderate intensity exercise
·         - Exercise in clean fresh air with low pollution and pollen in the environment
·         - Always have your fast acting bronchodilator in your possession when you exercise
·         - Make gains in physical conditioning
·         - Always listen to your body and be patient with progress – It WILL work!

Exercise guidelines for asthma

Goal: Improve cardio respiratory conditioning (breathe easier and more efficiently)

What to do: Weight training - work large muscle groups, low resistance and conditioning based. 15-20 reps, 2-4 sets.
Cardio vascular (walking cycling, swimming, rowing, jogging, running) Start with 5 minutes and build up to 20-30 minutes working intermittently depending on your fitness levels.

How often?: 3-5 times per week – time of day may be trigger dependant.

Intensity: Low- moderate and then after time progress to high (trigger dependant)

You may also find Tai Chi useful in regulating controlled breathing through exercise.

I hope this has been useful.

Please visit my other channels where you can find out more.



Thursday, 29 October 2015

Weight Loss: Lean or Fat? ... Be Patient

One of the most common reasons people join a gym is to lose weight. I have spoken about fad dieting and the media / fashion industry (pressure to be sickly and stick thin) before so wont dwell on my feeling toward that too much here. What I do want to focus on is the process and resulting psychology of weight loss.

When clients, friends and family ask me how to lose weight they look disbelieving and dejected at me when I say you should aim to loose between 1-2lbs per week. They expect (because media and fads dictates) to lose 7 or 8 lbs per week. It rarely works like that in truth. Rapid weight loss is routinely followed by rapid weight gain. I strongly suggest to them that they exercise patience and trust in the process of losing weight for the long term. Unfortunately many still find it difficult to foresee the end game and therefore become demotivated and depressed. People need to understand that weight is made up of more than just fat therefore rendering overall weight on a set of scales as only partially relevant.

For new exercise beginners, I recommend that for the first four weeks you try to look for some alternative benefits so you can to prove to yourself that you are on the right path.

1.      Clothes feel looser

2.      Feel healthier

3.      Carry yourself better – improved posture and confidence

4.      Look slimmer in mirror, new curves / others people noticing

5.      Heightened alertness and more energetic.


Of course everyone is built slightly differently. We all have different genetics, natural abilities, varying fitness levels, different sizes and body compositions so first off DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! What works for one person may not work for you. For example a person with more body fat to loose, who has never exercised before will likely lose more fat, initially, than an experienced exerciser who is only 7lbs over weight.

If you train 3-4 times per week and eat healthy, natural and organic foods in frequent small doses you will lose weight. Your calorie expenditure will outweigh your calorie intake. You will also increase your muscle mass and therefore metabolism thus burning calories and emptying fat cells more efficiently.

All the while weight comes off people are happy. That’s great but I would like to make it clear that it can take a couple of weeks to kick start so try not to despair!  

When you join a gm or start a vigorous exercise routine your body may initially do two things

1.      Go into a survival mode – Your body panics at the sudden increase in calories being used up and expended. It can actually hold on to fat cells ensuring you don’t run out of your vital fat stores. (it goes back to early hunter gatherer days where we didn’t know where the next food source was coming from) This doesn’t necessarily happen after one workout but more after a dramatic change in lifestyle from sedentary to active. It is important to keep eating and not starve yourself, otherwise apart from making yourself very ill you will encourage your body to heighten its survival mode further, therefore making it even harder to lose weight.


2.      Slowly begin toning up. At JW CORE a large proportion of what I teach is full body functional training movements utilising as many muscles, all working together, as possible. This type of training increases healthy lean muscle and promotes strong movement patterns and posture. I am not saying my clients rapidly pack on size but the extra muscle tissue is very dense compared to that of fat…. 3 times as dense.

Many clients, for the first couple of weeks claim they have not lost weight. They feel fitter and look healthier but on the scales they are the same….. Muscle gain will slow down overall weight loss but it will increase BODY FAT loss. All the time we are sitting behind a desk at school or work, we are defying what we are evolved to do and that is living off the land and, moving around. Hence we are atrophying as a species. (loosing bone density, muscle mass, healthy tissue)


Continuing from my second point, once you have improved your muscle mass you will naturally burn more calories up, just maintaining the extra muscle volume you have acquired… even when your asleep! Weight loss while you’re sleeping, can’t be bad! You just need to be patient for it to kick in!

Give yourself four weeks for your body to acclimatise to exercise and your healthy eating plan. This time will allow for you to improve your muscle function and mass. Then if you haven’t already, you will begin losing weight.

Remember weight is only one piece of the puzzle. I personally recommend you pay more attention to your shape, how you feel and your clothes sizes and fitting. Get out of the old mentality of weighing yourself every day. Weigh yourself once a week maximum. Give yourself a pat on the back if you have lost 1-2lb. When you repeat that for 6 months and you will have lost 2-3 ½ stones and that is significant. You will have better lean tissue and essentially you will have actually built up a permanent habit / lifestyle, meaning the chance of putting the weight back on is dramatically decreased.

In conclusion

·        Build muscle mass to loose fat.

·        Don’t panic if you haven’t lost weight in the first 4 weeks. See it as your body stabilising so be patient.  

·        Understand the difference between lean weight and body fat weight.

·        Avoid becoming depressed if you haven’t lost weight on the scales – think long term.

·        Look for other improvements and differences rather than depending on scales.


I hope you find this article useful.


Please visit my other channels where you can find out more.




Tuesday, 8 September 2015

An Exercise in Fluidity

Question: What do Roger Federer. Pele and Mohamed Ali all have in common apart from being masters of their chosen sport?

Answer: They all have or had an unrivalled grace and fluidity about their movements.

Another question: How many times have you known Roger Federer to be injured?

Answer: Not many. A smooth, flowing manor allows for a much gentler, body-friendly execution of technique without losing power or accuracy. Take Rafael Nadal. He is one of te greatest tennis players off all time – arguably the greatest, but his high impact approach to the game has caught up with him and before his time. Too many injuries have riddled his body and sadly he is not the player he once was.

Is it mere coincidence that the world’s very greatest athletes in their respective disciplines are also the most fluent moving competitors? They all seem to have pretty long careers too.

Every day, training clients in my gym JW CORE, I endeavour to teach them how to move gracefully. This works very effectively in both gym sessions and martial arts classes. Some clients find it easy but many do not.

Teaching points:

Firstly I begin with correct starting posture. Are all the joints in strong alignment?

Secondly I instruct my client to breathe WITH the exercise, utilising all their lung capacity and especially in Martial Arts classes, their stomach. Then I will encourage them to stay relaxed.

Finally I instruct them to move as smoothly as possible maintaining an even pace and balance. Being smooth and graceful is not easy but is always worth aspiring toward. It does not necessarily equate to being slow either. Once my client has mastered the technical aspects of an exercise I will encourage them to inject appropriate pace. For example when lifting weights, be explosive but smooth. When focusing on speed and agility drills try to “glide between / over /around hurdles, cones and ladders” Keep impact to a minimum and reduce wasted movement.  Try to avoid hyper (over) extending muscles and joints especially in an uncontrolled environment.

Personally I think movement is an expression of one’s self and I can often tell a lot about a person’s character from the way they exercise in the gym.

As you exercise, be relaxed, free, smooth and graceful. Like Bruce Lee said. “Be like water my friend”


Mental Approach

Instead of focusing on the difficulty of the movement immerse yourself into it. Be at one with your body and the movement pattern. I appreciate it all sounds a bit airy fairy but I truly believe in the benefits if you give yourself over to it.

Take virtuoso guitarists like Eric Clapton and Brian May. Fast, smooth and immersed in what they are doing – expressing themselves through their music in a way unique to them. It’s the same with exercise.


Everyone is built differently and will achieve grace in motion to varying degrees with practice. Fluidity in exercise is more of a personal preference than an industry standard. I just like to see people working at it in my gym. I am convinced it is not only conducive to reducing injury but also great for physical and mental wellbeing.

Your approach to exercise is what you want to make of it at the end of the day but if it’s good enough for some of the greatest sports stars of all time is good enough for me and probably you too.


On a related side note I have an old friend who also happens to be one of the world’s premiere piano teachers. He shares a similar philosophy in his teachings to great effect. He founded the idea of “Water Pianism” - well worth a look at his website:


Thank you for reading,


Please visit my other channels where you can find out more.




Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Osteoporosis is the most common disease that affects the skeleton. You may also know of it as “brittle bone disease”. It affects the whole body and is characterised by low bone mass (bone density) and deterioration of bone tissue subsequently resulting in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporosis affects women and men but is more common in women.

A few scary statistics; In the UK there are approximately three million people with Osteoporosis (10 million in American, with some 34 million more at risk) and it is responsible for 200,000 fractures every year! It affects a whopping 20% of women between 60 and 69 and the most common fractures occur in the hips, wrists and spinal bones. Shockingly, of the 60,000 individuals who suffer osteoporotic hip fractures every year 15% - 20% will die within a year from related causes!

80% of our bone health is in our genetics but there are other factors that can influence our chances of developing osteoporosis. Before explaining a few simple ways to prevent or reverse the effects of Osteoporosis, I would first like to list a few of the lifestyle decisions and choices which can be contributing factors to increasing your risk of developing the disease.

- A hysterectomy before the age of 45
- No menstrual periods for more than six months, due to over exercising or extreme dieting
- Eating disorders such as anorexia

- Corticosteroid medication used for the treatment of asthma and arthritis.
- Alcohol abuse

- Physical inactivity or long periods of inactivity such as bed rest
- Heavy drinking and cigarette smoking
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Diet lacking in calcium and vitamin D (get some sun too!)
- Low body mass.


I have worked closely in the gym with several clients who suffer from Osteoporosis. I am very pleased to report that through carefully monitored, low impact, functional compound exercise prescription they all reported significant improvements in their strength, well-being and balance (important not to fall over with Osteoporosis). Also of significant note, when checked by their specialists, all my client’s bone density readings had improved (and continued to) resulting in increased bone density.

In preventing and reversing the effects of Osteoporosis it is firstly important to remember that as humans were are designed and built to move about, lifting, pushing, pulling and generally moving objects, and of course ourselves.  The very movements and postures we assume encourage our bones to fulfil their functional and genetic potentials. In other words, weight baring movement based activities stimulate and increase gains in bone density therefore counteracting Osteoporosis.

Exercise prescription and advice
- Regular weight baring exercise 20-40 minutes, 3 days a week (static lunges, squats, press ups)
- Low impact aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week – (Walking, swimming, cycling)
- Free weight training (with supervision) Controlled movements through a large but comfortable plain. 15-20 reps – low to moderate intensity.
- Exercise must be pain free
- Preferably go the gym at quieter times to avoid trip hazards!
- Functional training – replicate life movements that require multi joints and muscles to sync and work together, therefore improving overall body strength, awareness and overall body bone density. (Squat down, pick up a 3-5kg medicine ball, stand up pressing it above your head.- Replicates lifting something up of the floor and putting it into an overhead cupboard)
- Avoid crunches / sit-ups and any rapid trunk twisting.
- Provided you are supervised, safely destabilise your body on some exercises. This works wonders in increasing your balance and encouraging your muscles, joints and nervous system to work harder together, resulting in less chance of future falls and improving bone density.
- To reiterate, please make sure you are supervised by a professional who can instruct you, check your posture and keep you safe.

Dietary recommendations


- Dairy i.e. Milk and Yoghurts
- Fortified juices, cereals, and oatmeal
- Beans and legumes
- Dark leafy greens, like broccoli and bok choy
- Salmon and sardines with bones
- Certain nuts, such as almonds

Vitamin D
- Sunshine
- Eggs
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- Cod liver oil
- Fortified dairy products
- Fortified cereals
- Beef liver
- Fortified orange juice

In summary, if you stay active and eat a well-balanced natural diet you should significantly decrease the risk of Osteoporosis. If you already have it, start following these guidelines and you will be well on your way to an improved quality of life!

Thank you for reading. For further information please visit any of my following channels:




Jamie-lee Weller



Thursday, 25 June 2015


Two common questions I am asked are: “Should I stretch?” and “When should I stretch?”

Unknowingly they are asking a bit of a loaded question. There are many different forms of stretching, some relatively modern, some more “traditional”.

My routine answer is “Yes you should stretch, but there are certain forms of stretching you should utilise at specific intervals in your workout”

Pre Workout

DON’T static stretch (holding a stretch without moving for 15-30 seconds) at the beginning of a workout.

Most people are taught the importance of warm-up exercises at school, and likely continue with pretty much the same routines in adult life. Science, however, has moved on. The old presumption that holding a static stretch at the beginning of your workout primes your muscles is wrong. It actually weakens them. Think about it; as part of your preparation for a dynamic, possibly explosive workout / training session / sporting event, why would you do the very opposite with your muscles and joints to what will be required of them in a few short minutes?

As a martial artist I am more than aware of the hundreds of clubs around the UK that still adopt this old fashioned static stretching way of warming up (or more accurately cooling down) before engaging in a quite explosive activity.  It is a problem across sport, even in some professional clubs!

In a 2008 study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent! Not ideal for gym goers and certainly not for athletes! Stretching one leg’s muscles can also reduce strength in the other leg as well, due to the central nervous system rebelling against the movements. The straining muscle becomes less responsive and stays weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching, which again  is not how anybody wants to begin their workout. Stretching muscles while moving, on the other hand, a technique known as dynamic stretching or dynamic warm-ups, increases power, flexibility and range of motion. (ROM)  Muscles in motion don’t experience that insidious inhibitory response. 


Dynamic Stretching at the beginning of a workout

Yeah Baby!

Effective, safe warm ups should increase body heat, blood flow and loosen your muscles and tendons enabling an increased ROM in your joints. When at rest, there’s less blood supply to muscles and tendons, and they stiffen.

“You need to make tissues and tendons compliant before beginning exercise,” ‘Duane Knudson’ - a professor of kinesiology at California State University.

Dynamic stretching involves repetitively moving a joint or group of joints (whilst keeping the heart rate elevated) in order to increase your ROM and open up your neuromuscular pathways.

Guidelines for dynamic stretching:

  • Carry out 8-20 repetitions each movement
  • Progressively increase Range of Movement
  • Gradually increase speed of motion
  • Do not sacrifice good technique for additional ROM

Dynamic stretching is an important physical rehearsal of the movements you are about to undertake in your workout / activity.  It also helps to mentally prepare and motivate you for the workout ahead and also reduces the risk of injury.

Basic dynamic stretches include squats and lunges for the legs, arm drives for the shoulders and stretching the arms out to the side, back and forth for the chest. Athletes should also replicate “match movements” in their dynamic warm up / stretching.


Post workout stretching

At the end of a workout I always prescribe static stretches. When you exercise, you increase tension in the muscles which are also in a slightly contracted state. It is always good to take 10- 15 minutes out to calm down physically and try to re-lengthen your muscles slightly. Hold each stretch for approximately 12-15 seconds. Stretches should feel uncomfortable BUT NOT PAINFUL. Never bounce your stretches and always try to maintain a straight back.

Working with several clients who come to me with back, knee, hip, shoulder injuries ect, over the years I have found stretching incredibly useful in reducing tension in surrounding muscle groups and joints which therefore, in turn, alleviates stress on the injured area and allows it to heal efficiently.

Static stretching is relatively basic and quite safe to do on your own.  It can increase flexibility if undertaken regularly on warm muscles. I personally find that stretching makes me feel relaxed physically and mentally after a workout.

When I am working ‘hands on’ with my clients, I regularly employ further advanced (and more effective) methods of stretching. If you feel you have significantly tight muscles or have an injury, it may be worth consulting a recommended trainer and ask them about PNF stretching – Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation.  Muscle tightness, if left untreated can lead to poor posture, undesirable skeletal alignment and further injuries.

In conclusion, I do recommend static stretching as part of a cool down routine but certainly not at the beginning of a session. As for dynamic stretching, I love it and highly suggest you integrate it into your warm up routine. If unsure please consult a professional (not a magazine, internet or TV article) to ensure are doing the stretches correctly.

Please visit my other channels where you can find out more.




Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Too self-conscious to join the gym?
Throughout my career I have encountered many people who wanted to join a gym or exercise class but felt too self-conscious to do so.  I know as you read this you may be thinking “what does he know, he is a personal trainer!”. But actually I do feel I am qualified to empathise. Apart from the fact I have worked with countless clients who felt just like this and helped them to overcome their insecurities, I have personal experience….                                                       
I (try to) play the guitar and thoroughly enjoy doing so in the comfort of my own home. However, when I go into a music shop and see all these amazing, expensive guitars I feel very self-conscious about picking one up and playing it in front the staff and other enthusiasts who are sitting down playing some complicated solo or riff. I think the insecurity I have in my playing ability probably equates to a similar feeling of inadequacy you may have in your body. I do appreciate my scenario is not quite as emotionally charged and personal as this, but as far as walking into a foreign environment and putting yourself in front of others goes, it is the same.  
The big question is WHY should you feel like this? The simple answer is you shouldn’t. The gym is a place where you can build and develop your confidence which in turn makes you a more confident person in everyday life too. Try not to worry about how you think you may look to others. Everyone starts somewhere and presumably we all want to improve ourselves– that after all is the reason we join a gym in the first place. We are all in the same proverbial boat. Everyone has to start from scratch.                                 
My argument is that you are not going to help or change anything by avoiding taking action.  Be brave, choose to be fitter and healthier. I guarantee if you select the correct training environment, you will truly surprise yourself and surpass your own expectations. Lose your fear, take the plunge.  
Tips on how to choose your first gym.
Listen to recommendations – What do your friends and family say about places they have used? At JW CORE we believe very firmly in creating a comfortable, non-judgemental environment for our clients to train in and I think this is key. Unlike big chain gyms perhaps look for a smaller privately owned one where you are more than just a membership number.
Take a look around – It doesn’t take long to get the feel for a gym’s atmosphere. When you walk in, how quickly does a member of staff meet you? HOW do they greet you? Remember, you are the client and you will be spending your hard earned cash on a service / facility that can potentially be life changing. It has to be right for YOU.  It goes without saying that you should be treated and spoken to with care, consideration and respect. Far too many times have I seen customers walk into a gym only to be left standing at a desk or grunted at in response to a question! You should be and made to feel valued.
No doubt, the gym isn’t the place to stand around having long chats about nothing in particular but when you walk in take the time to notice: Is there a buzz to the place? Are the trainers interacting with the clients? Are the clients working out together and maybe even engaging in a bit of banter. I think these things are extremely important. A gym where people are smiling, laughing but working hard is a much more inviting prospect than those where everyone is stony faced with their earphones on, staring at other members or themselves in the mirror. I would firmly recommend that if there are a lot of gorgeous, made up people in all the designer gear standing around and posing in the mirrors, it probably isn’t the gym for a first time nervous exerciser. It is constantly mentioned to me that this is something people do not like about some of the more expensive gyms and that is why I set up JW CORE with no mirrors or TV’s, as a place to come and workout, not caring about what you look like. Look nice when you go out in the evening not when you are running around and lifting weights in the gym!
If you want to achieve results you must be seen regularly by a professional member of staff so check how often you are entitled to see a trainer. At JW CORE our trainers will interact with and train members every time they enter the gym. This ensures high motivation, constantly evolving programmes and correct techniques are being used by the clients. (It is also what our clients tell me sets us apart from all our competition.) At the very least, you should expect to have an induction and programme when you first join and to be seen every 4-6 weeks thereafter for a check-ups and updates to your programme. Unfortunately, this seldom happens so do check the gyms policy on this before you sign up.
The overriding factor in choosing a gym to join if you are insecure or self-conscious is comfort.  Ask yourself these following questions when you look at a new gym. If all your answers are yes then you will likely feel confident enough to exercise there in front of other people and achieve great things. If you answer no to any, please don’t just accept this as the way it is at all gyms. Take a look at some others. There are facilities like JW CORE where the aim is for our clients to answer yes to each question below.
1.      Do I feel comfortable here?
2.      Is it clean and tidy?
3.      Are the staff friendly, approachable and informative?
4.      Does it look like there is a strong support network amongst
         the trainers and other members?
5.      Are there any supervised classes or activities going on?
6.      Do the customers look like they are enjoying their experience?
7.      Does it have an authentic, genuine feel to it? 
            Remember too much fancy cosmetic imagery probably 
         means not enough substance.
8.      Is it functional for me? Is everything in good working order and can I see myself working out and improving here?
In summery don’t be put off going to the gym because of how you feel about yourself. Use these feelings as motivation to change. You can find the right place to work out and you can guarantee there is already someone there who felt just the same as you do when they started but now they feel 100% better in themselves. They took a chance, they joined up, persevered and got fit. So can you!