Make 'BEING ACTIVE' a lifestyle change

To carry out our day to day tasks, we all need a basic level of fitness. To carry the shopping in from the car, requires a level of strength. To walk up stairs, requires a level of cardiovascular fitness. Even though we may not think that we are fit, we actually need to be more fit than we realise.

Let’s think about it from another perspective. Imagine you are unable to lift or carry anything. Imagine you get too tired or too out of breath to walk up stairs. How would that feel?

Many of us compare ourselves to people with a greater social media following, to celebrities or sports athletes, to other people who we look at or follow. As a result, we then feel that we are far far behind. We feel that we will never look or be like that, which makes us depressed and demotivated. Can anyone relate?

In a previous article I spoke about how important it is to ignore what you see in magazines, on television and on the internet. The most important comparison is one you can make with yourself. Compare yourself to you and strive for progress not perfection. 

Whether you work in a 9-5pm office job or whether your a taxi driver, if you spend time sitting down all day, you need keep active. What happens if you don’t? A lot of bad stuff can happen. Your weight will increase. This is mainly due to the fact that you’re eating but not burning so your energy expenditure doesn’t counteract your energy consumption. Another consequence of not keeping active, is that your blood pressure will increase along with cholesterol. At rest, our pulse, for most adults, should be between 60-80 beats per minute. This can increase if we don’t keep active, which means we become less fit. In terms of anatomy, this means our heart has to work a lot harder to pump blood around the body. Over time this can add more stress to the heart increasing it’s cardiac output and stroke volume. An increase in cholesterol will have an impact on our arteries, which transport the blood away from the heart, which may cause arteriosclorosis, leading to the parties getting narrower and a potential blood clot.

I often get asked ‘what type of exercise should I do?’ and that is a great question. One which depends on what type of person you are. It’s much better to do something that you enjoy, which is something you are more likely to continue to do. 

Does exercise have to be walking or running on the treadmill for 10-20 minutes? No. If anything, that is one of the machines I limit my clients to, when they’re having a session with me. Anyone can walk or run on their own outside, right? If we associate an exercise like that with the gym, the chances are that we won’t enjoy it. We associate walking and running as a negative emotion, which makes going to the gym seem like a chore. Therefore, as a result, we will stop or give up. Can anyone relate to this?

After explaining this, the client then asks me ‘so what should I do at the gym?’

Firstly, you don’t need to go to a gym to be active. Secondly, you can choose a variety of activities that will get you fitter. Thirdly, choose something you enjoy, which doesn’t cost too much money and isn’t too difficult to replicate weekly. 

To summarise...

One of my biggest satisfactions about being a Personal Trainer, is helping people make lifestyle changes. For me, I like to educate my clients. I want them to not only learn the exercises, what muscles they’re targeting with the correct form and technique. I want more than that. I want my clients and you reading this to make behavioural changes and better choices. How? By teaching and educating them how to make ‘being active’ a lifestyle change. 

Ultimately this is down to our daily routine and what we do consistently. It requires discipline but like anything think about the consequences of not changing. Think about you in 5 years from now without change, how does that look and feel? Now try to visualise yourself in 5 years from now…healthier, more active, fitter, stronger, happier, motivated. How does that feel?

Small lifestyle changes like eating one vegetable a day or going for a 10 minute walk after work. Parking the car further away so you have to get more steps in to get to the office or supermarket. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. All of these are simple but effective. For more help on how you can increase your NEAT, get in touch.

In the meantime, start doing more, start being more active and make it a part of your lifestyle. 

Personal Trainers can put your health in danger

What is the main reason for getting a Personal Trainer?

Most people would say it helps to motivate them, to structure their training, to achieve a specific goal or to make sure they exercise, because without one, they wouldn't train at all.

As a Personal Trainer myself & a Tutor who delivers fitness courses...

to aspiring Personal Trainers, I understand all of these reasons and more. But the reality is frightening as more and more Personal Trainers are putting people’s health in danger. How? I hear you ask. Let me explain. 

Imagine you have to go to the doctor because you need an operation. Would you prefer a person with lots of experience or a person who is newly qualified? I have nothing against either but ask yourself what would you prefer. Then imagine if you could find out the doctors qualifications, would you prefer a person who has the proper, relevant qualifications or would you prefer a person who says they are qualified, but has nothing to back it up?

Here’s the thing…fitness is a big part of most of our lifestyles. The industry is becoming more and more saturated with Personal Trainers, which are not qualified or don’t have the relevant qualifications. Forget about obesity, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and bad lifestyle habits. Those will take care of themselves if we choose to follow the guidance of qualified Personal Trainers. 

In Dubai, Personal Training is quite common.

In other parts of the world, it is seen as being a luxury. As I visit many gyms across Dubai, to train my clients, I often see some very bad exercises and some very bad trainers. Some are demonstrating poor technique that can cause injury, while some are on their phones texting or on social media. Others are taking selfies or videos whilst training and some are just rep counters who count from 1-10. I must add, there are some very good Personal Trainers in Dubai but there are also some very bad and unfortunately these are on the rise. 

How do you choose a good one?

My advice is to do your research first. Don’t jump to the conclusion that they are good ‘just because' they are in good shape themselves…that’s great, but can they TRAIN YOU? Don’t be afraid to ask to see their certificates or qualifications, this will give you piece of mind and you will be able to establish if they really are qualified from day one. Speak to their clients to find out about them as a person and as a trainer. Both are important if you are going to be spending time with them 3-4 times a week. This will save you time and money. 

I’m going to leave you with a little quote, you can decide if you agree with it or not.

‘If you think investing in a Personal Trainer is expensive, try paying for hospital bills, doctors prescriptions, medicine and other health related remedies’ 

Energy Expenditure for a healthy lifestyle


How active are you? How many times a week do you exercise? How many times a week do you get out of breath?

Most of the time, we associate exercise as walking round the shops or going back and for on the school run. Yes, it is tiring and yes it is exercise, but will it help you lose weight?

Last months article spoke about BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate. This is our maintenance calories or our daily calorie intake, which we need to consume each day. For Males this tends to be between 2000-2500 cals and for Females between 1500-2000 cals. These are just estimates but should give you a good idea.

But what happens if we exercise? Our body uses the food we eat as energy. Carbohydrates are stored as Glycogen and get broken down into Glucose to give us energy. Exercise burns calories. Therefore, the more exercise we do, the more calories we can consume to replace what we have burnt. This is just to maintain. 


Let’s say our goal was to lose weight, we would need to create a calorie deficit. See the simple equation below:

Exercise more + Eat less = Calorie deficit = Weight loss

If our goal was to gain weight or muscle, we would need to be in a calorie surplus. See this equation below:

Exercise less (in terms of cardio) + Eat more = Calorie surplus = Weight or muscle gain

We can track how many calories we burn, every day, from our watch. Wearing an Apple watch or a Fitbit can monitor how active we are, how many calories we burn and how many steps we do. But that alone, isn't always enough.


Studies show that Obesity is on the rise...

There are more and more ‘fast food’ restaurants than ever before. Natural local produce is being outnumbered by the amount of processed foods from the bigger chain companies. So what can you do? 

Researchers believe that the daily requirement for exercise in terms of physical activity, for adults is 30 minutes x 5 days a week. How many people are currently exercising, increasing their heart rate, getting out of breath, sweating or feeling fatigued by exercising x5 a week? This is a government standard. For children, the requirement is 60 minutes of exercise x5 days a week. 

Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, get stronger, improve the function of the heart, help circulation, improve breathing capacity and many more. Think about what you want to achieve, whether it is to lose some belly fat, get more stable on your feet or build muscle, the foods you eat and the exercise you do on a daily basis, will determine your results. 

I teach my clients little habits. When they train with me, they train hard but there’s more to living a healthy lifestyle than just going to the gym x3 times a week. My clients are also improving other aspects of their lifestyle such as making healthier food choices, avoiding too many sugars, cutting back on smoking cigarettes or drinking too much alcohol, only ordering a take away once a week instead of three times, attending exercise classes in addition to gym sessions. It all contributes to helping you to have a healthy and balanced lifestyle. For more information, get in touch.

What does it mean TO BE FIT?

Ask yourself this one question…what does it mean to be fit?

Many people will have their own opinion on what ‘being fit’ actually is. If you were to ask someone randomly, they may reply with one of the following… ‘it’s about how you look’ 

‘it’s about your body shape and how much fat or muscle you have’

‘it’s about how far you can run or how much exercise you do’

To me, fitness means ‘to be able to complete daily tasks without getting tired easily or getting out of breath too quickly’

So Nicky, what does that mean? 

Well, everyday we carry out basic tasks. Some include, walking up and down the stairs. Some include standing in a queue at the bus stop or at the shop. Pushing a trolley around a supermarket. Running around after your young child. These are just some examples where we need to be fit. As we get older, we will not be able to do some of the above, because we are not fit.

When we do any form of movement or exercise we are working our circulatory system, where blood is pumped around the body by the heart. The blood contains oxygen which gets transported to our muscles to help us move. Our lungs also play a part here by helping the body to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. 

If were were to focus on our Cardiovascular system, by doing exercises or activities that raise our heart rate, we will then see our fitness improve. 

Below are some tips which you can do to improve your fitness levels…

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Stand up every 30 or 60 minutes 
  • Go for a walk to stretch your legs every hour
  • Perform a brisk walk, faster than your normal walking pace 
  • Run, cycle, swim once a week
  • Walk up 20 steps every day

Initially, you might find yourself getting out of breath from doing some of the exercises above and that’s ok, as long as you are not feeling too faint or tired. You know your body better than I do, so make sure you don't over exert yourself. A good way to measure this is using the ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion scale’ 

This is basically a scale of 1-10 where 1 = easy, very light and 10 = exhausted, can’t do any more need to stop.

When you are performing any exercise, you can ask yourself this question ‘on a scale of 1-10, how do you feel?’ From the answer, you will be able to judge whether you are working too hard or too light. Then you can increase the speed or the amount you do. It is important to note, everybody is fit. Some more fit than others but fitness can change if you work at it!!

Check out my Instagram page for more tips and videos @nicky__fitness 


Common Mistakes - Top 5 tips


Top 5 tips

There are many rules and regulations that we should follow and many decisions we have to make on a daily basis. So many that we often get bombarded with so much information, we don't know what to do with it. The important points are sometimes overlooked.


What are the key points?

In this article, I have highlighted 5 key points which can be categorised as 'Common Mistakes'

  • Food shopping

Don’t go food shopping when you are hungry. This can be a big test of willpower as we are more likely to overindulge when we are hungry. Therefore we put more of the ‘bad’ foods in our trolley, more of the foods we want but don’t need. 

  • Intermittent fasting

We starve the body all day, then eat one big meal at night. This causes us to increase portion size and doesn’t give out body enough time to break down the food before we sleep. The digestive system can only break down food quickly if we eat often, which affects our metabolism. If we don’t exercise, this food will then be stored as fat.

  • Hydration

We don’t drink enough water or fluids. We wait until our body tells us we are thirsty before drinking, which is the way our body tells us we are dehydrated and need to drink.

  • All or Nothing approach

From experience in years of Personal Training, people will either be really good, training hard and eating clean or…really bad, not exercising and eating anything and everything. Small adjustments are needed for sustainable results.

  • Results 

We expect results too soon. Usually, on average it takes 4-6 weeks for your body to adapt to exercise. Therefore our fitness will improve. It takes 6-8 weeks for our strength to improve and 8-12 weeks for our physical shape to change. Trust the process, be consistent, results take time.


Where can I get more tips?

Each month a new topic will be written which will help to give you invaluable information, that can change your mindset and help you get more positive results. 

If we take these tips board, we are more likely to see better results. Health is important and we need to look after our bodies order to live longer. Avoid these common mistakes and by combine a well balance nutrition plan with an exercise programme can help you get the results you want.

Check out April's edition of Outdoor UAE magazine for a better read.

Summer body


Want to get in shape for Summer? Get what you want!

It’s that time of year again where the sun makes an appearance and we are frantically trying to lose the extra pounds gained during the winter months. We want to look good and feel good about ourselves when we are out sunbathing or on holiday. 

We’ve all been there and its not an easy process…But, this article will highlight some key tips for you, which will help you be more confident in your body. Follow these steps to get results.

Let’s dive right in, with one of the most anticipated questions which, as a Fitness Professional, I get asked the most…


What is the quickest way to lose weight or change body shape?

Some people believe that starving the body or not eating will lose weight, then if they exercise, that will help lose even more weight and speed up results. Yes and no. I’ll explain…

First of all, starving is never a good idea, it’s not healthy. Your body needs food as it uses it as energy to function. Think of it like fuel for a car. A car needs fuel to go, however it is your choice how fast you drive. Just like the type food you eat and how much is your choice. We all know the foods that make us put on weight, such as fast foods and take aways because they are high in fats and high in carbohydrates. So reverse this by staying away from fast foods and eat more protein. 

I believe the most reliable way to lose weight is by being consistent with your daily intake and understanding your Macros. Macronutrients are the amount of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats in our diet.

How can you do this? Write down what you eat everyday and keep a food diary. Include meal times and also portion sizes. From that you can estimate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) also known as your daily calorie intake. The app MyFitnessPal is great for this as you can input and scan foods, then it calculates it for you. Once you know your BMR, you can try to reduce this number. Smaller sized meals, eating more frequently throughout the day will mean your body is constantly breaking down food, which means we feel fuller and are less likely to overindulge in bigger meals, with bigger portion sizes that contain higher calories. Try it!! If you aim to reduce your daily BMR by -500 cals, then by eating less, you create a negative. This is known as a calorie deficit. Exercising on top of this will speed up your results.

The next question that I get asked the most is…


What type of training should I do?

Cardio is important. That doesn't mean 1 hour on the Treadmill everyday, as that’s just boring, but you should mix it up by doing Cardio-Strength training. My clients tend to get the best results when they do this.

Strength is resistance, so what type of exercises should you do?

Use compound and functional exercises. This activates a series of muscle groups, working more than one muscle and joint at a time, rather than isolating just one. The big muscle groups will also work the smaller ones so it will save you time and give you greater benefits. Below are the best exercise techniques you can do to lose weight. However, cardio alongside these is key such are running, rowing, cycling, jumping, skipping  and swimming. You can start with the following exercises for x3 sets of x10 repetitions.

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Pull Up
  • Push Up
  • Plank

I hope this will give you a better insight into exercise and nutrition, whatever your goal may be.  Eat less calories and exercise more. 

Check out my Instagram page for more tips and videos @nicky__fitness this!

Leg's, Bums & Tums workout.

Myself & Chiara put together this workout for YOU. 8 Exercises targeting Legs, Bum, Arms & Abs.

1a) Jump Squats into Bodyweight Squats 1b) Lateral walk with Resistance band into Leg Kick back

2a) Tricep dips 2b) Tricep Kickback with DB

3a) Leg circles 3b) Sit ups

What Women Want...


Have a target, a goal, a vision...

One of the main downfalls in people achieving their goals is that they don't see themselves achieving them. That could be down to the Goal being set unrealistically due to the amount of work needed or in the timeframe it takes to achieve it. Alternatively, it could be down to the lack of confidence and self belief. Remember, results don't happen over night. You need to be consistent.

This article will be able to help you with that.

Many women want to look good. They want to feel confident going out with friends, fit into that tight fitted dress, they want to make people jealous when they wear a bikini on holiday and walk along the beach. They want heads to turn when they elegantly walk passed in a nice restaurant. I'm sure you can all relate.

Like being a man, it's not easy. I'm joking. What we experience is actually a viscous circle. We train hard to look good for an event, a wedding, a holiday etc then afterwards we let ourselves go a little bit by putting on weight, then we start to train hard again to look good. In an ideal world we would remain the same bodyweight and keep our perfect body shape all year round...but that's not the case.

In reality, women are faced with obstacles such as falling pregnant, being ill, not having the time to train to name a few. But we can still achieve a good physique and be happy with the way we look.


The Perfect shape

What is the Perfect shape?

What does that mean to you?

Close your eyes and visualise what you want. Think of what you look like now and imagine the perfect you, what would you like to improve?

People will often choose to be like the models or celebrities they see on TV or in magazines. This is down to the misconception that we see. We are lead to believe, that the person looks like that 'all year round' which is not true.

For example, people don't see the intimating fasting, hardcore dieting, double PT sessions, make up and grooming, airbrushing, liposuction etc that takes place before appearing on TV or for a magazine shoot. 

What have I learnt?

In my years of experience as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional in the industry, I have worked with lots of women of different ages, sizes and abilities. The majority of them that I have trained, want to lose weight or tone up. The area's where they want to target and focus on are -

  • Legs (Thigh's)
  • Stomach
  • Arms (Back - Triceps)

They want their legs to be thinner, their stomach to be flatter and the back of their arms not to be saggy. 

However, recently, women want to gain too. They want a bigger, more curved, peachy bum. The narrow waist and bigger bum look means 'Growing the Glutes!'

Therefore, you must understand that as a woman, if you lift weights, you will not get big and muscular. This is a fear which puts people off resistance and weight training. In order to become muscular, you must first increase your calorie intake and you must perform weights at a high volume. This is called Bodybuilding and takes years of practice, which will not occur when you are lifting weights or following this programme.


Training Programme

Here are some exercises which you can try, that will help you get fitter and stronger. It will also help you target the areas women want to improve.

You can do this workout on your own or with a partner. 

Warm Up: 5-10 mins 

  • Bike
  • Treadmill
  • Cross Trainer.

Stretch: All main muscles

Main Session: 15-20 mins Cardio

  • Treadmill: Incline walk min of 5km/h at 3-8% gradient
  • Rower intervals: 100m row 30 secs rest x10 sets
  • Cross Trainer: Steady pace Level 5-10 at 120spm



  • Squats: 15-20 reps x3 sets. Start Bodyweight then progress to barbell
  • Glute bridge: 20 reps x3 sets, using both legs. Progress to single leg
  • Split stance single leg Lunge: 10 reps each leg x3 sets. Start Bodyweight then progress to dumbbells in each hand


  • Plank: 30-45 seconds hold x3 sets
  • Side Oblique crunches: 10 reps each side x3 sets
  • Scissor Crossovers: 20-30 secs x3 sets, straight legs

Arms - Triceps

  • Tricep dips: 20 reps x3 sets
  • Overhead extensions: 10-15 reps x3 sets with 5kg plate or dumbbell
  • Tricep kickback: 10 reps x3 sets each side with 3-5kg dumbbell

Now to grow the bum or tone your Gluteus Maximus, you can follow the exercises below:

  • Lateral half squat walks: 10 steps right then 10 steps left x3 sets. Start Bodyweight then progress to using resistance band 
  • Curtsy squat: 10 reps x3 sets each leg. Start Bodyweight then progress to using barbell 
  • Kneeling reverse leg kick back: 10 reps x3 sets each side. Start Bodyweight then progress to resistance band.

Rest period between sets should be 30-60 seconds. When completing the resistance exercises, focus on the area you are working. Think about contracting the muscle each rep so you feel the movement and isolation. Keep the reps controlled and challenge yourself so you feel the burn on the last few reps or toward the end of the set.

Follow me on Instagram for more Fitness Tips and Videos @nicky__fitness


Training tips

Find out if you are training right. Are you performing the best exercises in relation to your goal? Is your technique correct?

Read more for training tips

Health risks

Many of us work long hours and have jobs that make our lifestyle sedentary. This causes heath risks as we put extra strain on our body. Our posture, workload, stress, depression takes a negative turn, unless we do something about it.

Along with those variables above, our blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat and heart rate will increase, whilst our flexibility, fitness and range of movement will decrease.

Exercising releases hormones and endorphins which not only helps us look and feel good but keeps our body in working order.

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Why is Health important?

Invest in your health, to save your wealth. Train smart as you get older and reduce the risk of injury, high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.

Know your individual balance between exercise and nutrition to maintain good health. 

Read about the other variables that affect our body such as posture, workload, stress, depression and how to improve this.

You should take your body for a Fitness MOT. This will identify any concerns based on the following parameters.

  • Height, Weight, Age, Gender
  • Body Fat %
  • Muscle Mass
  • Blood Pressure
  • Water Retention 
  • Segmented Fat
  • Overall Fitness score

From these, a Fitness Professional will be able to help you with your goal and improve your overall health.

Invest in YOUR health

How the body changes?

The human body is very powerful. As we age, our body changes...our skin, our fitness, our hormones. It is inevitable as we get old that the body starts to slow down, but it is in our control and we can do something about it.

Also, our lifestyle changes. We become less active which also has an impact on our health, mental and physical well being.

Little and Often

It's much better for our body to eat and exercise consistently well. The 'Little and Often' approach will keep our organs ticking over and we will remain fit and healthy. Balance is key so make sure you are committed and driven as they say...every little helps.

Make the most of now

It's never too late to start or to put things right...

Get in touch for a tailored General Health & Fitness Training Programme specific for you.

Training Programme


General Health & Fitness

There is no doubt that exercising along with eating healthy, will help us live for longer. Our General Health & Fitness can vary from individual to individual. However, the more that we can do to stay fit and healthy, the better we will look, feel and the better our health. 

Below is a basic training programme you can follow.

Warm Up

The aim of a warm up is to raise the body temperature, get the blood pumping around the body to the working muscles and to prepare the body and mind for exercise. 

  • 5 mins - Any cardio equipment, gradually increasing the level and speed
  • Stretch - All main muscles, dynamic movements 

Main session

Now that we are warm, the main session is where we specifically focus on the area we want to work and improve.

As this programme is for General Health & Fitness, the following exercises are for a total body workout.

  • Squats x15-20 reps x3 sets
  • Stepper 30 secs up and down x 3 sets
  • Push ups x10-15 reps x3 sets
  • Mountain climbers 30 secs x3 sets
  • Lat Pull down x10-15 reps x 3 sets
  • Kettlebell Swing 30 secs x 3 sets
  • Sit ups x10-15 reps x 3 sets
  • Plank hold 30 secs x 3 sets

Cool down

The aim of a cool down is to lower the heart rate and return it back down to resting. 

  • 5 mins - Any cardio equipment, low level, low speed
  • Stretch - All main muscles worked. Hold for 10-15 secs

The above workout is a good way for you to work all the main muscles of the body. Some of them may get you out of breath as it elevates the heart rate. The recovery time and rest period between exercises and sets is completely down to you based on your fitness levels. If you feel any pain then stop immediately.

For more training programmes or a customised programme for your and your goal, get in touch today!


Complete this Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire before exercise so we can understand YOU and how to help YOUR needs

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