Shock news – going to the gym can make you healthy!

I could hardly believe my eyes – the headline in the news item was ‘Gym could make you ill’. Apparently some so-called health professionals carried out a survey and found out that some people go to the gym when they have a cold, and others don’t always wipe down the equipment after use. These shocking facts COULD make people ill.

What a load of old rubbish. I’d be much more interested if they had carried out a survey and discovered that people HAD actually become ill from going to the gym. I assume that they didn’t because they knew that they wouldn’t find any evidence. Going to the gym is famous for making people fitter, including boosting their immune systems. There are many studies which have shown that those who exercise more get ill less. But that doesn’t make a good headline does it?

This highly scientific study also found that 22% of people avoided going to the gym because of ‘excessive nudity in the changing rooms’. For heavens sake! It just goes to show that some people will come up with any excuse in the book to avoid going to the gym and instead sit on their fat bottoms scoffing the pies which will ultimately kill them.

On the other side I found a ‘shocking revelation’ on the front of one of the newspapers recently. Apparently scientists have discovered that the best way to minimise the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes, and of minimising its impact on your health if you do, is to take up regular exercise. You don’t say, Sherlock! Most other scientists and health professionals have known this and been advocating it for the last 20 years!

I think it’s about time people started understanding risk. Everything you do carries a risk. And so does everything that you don’t do. There is a risk that you’ll be struck by lightning when you open the front door in the morning, but I don’t see headlines warning you about the dangers of getting your pint of milk off the doorstep! More importantly, there is a very high risk that failing to do regular exercise will cause a wide variety of health problems, up to and including diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, heart problems and premature death.

We all have a choice about how we treat our bodies and our health. We just need to realise that every action and every lack of action will have consequences. Choose the outcome that you want for your life and take the actions known to lead in that direction. If you choose to avoid exercise and continue to eat unhealthily, recognise that you have made a choice. And if that choice makes you ill, accept that it was your choice and live with it.

Conversely, if you do want to change, and will start eating more sensibly and start exercising regularly, I’ll be first in the queue cheering you on and congratulating you on your fantastic, slimming, health enhancing way of life!

I’m just off for a run. What will you do today for your future?

Avoid the winter weight gain nightmare

Now that the evenings are drawing in and the weather is getting even worse I tend to find it a bit more difficult to keep fit and keep my weight under control. I’m not a fair weather runner, you understand. It’s just nicer to be outside when the sun is shining.

After the nightmare of putting on over 14 pounds last winter, I am certainly not going to let that happen again. But one of the problems is that pounds tend to creep up on you. I’ve never woken up one morning, looked in the mirror and said

“Yikes! Where did that 10 pounds come from?”.

Instead the weight creeps on, one molecule at a time. The daily changes are so small it is easy to miss them. Then one day you get a reality check and realise that the months have not been kind to you…

So what’s the solution Well I think now is the time to refocus on what’s important. Even when it’s cold outside I need to remember that the hardest part of a run is getting over the threshold. When I get back I will feel great! And the same applies to the mini-circuits which I sometimes use to try and keep the rest of me in shape. Not to mention the idea of going swimming, which I never seem to have time for in summer, so why not try something different for the winter? The swimming pool is nice and warm, it’s well lit even when it’s dark and gloomy outside, and it never rains indoors!

So now I’m going to focus on doing the exercise – I know I’ll feel good afterwards, and keep an eye on what I’m eating. It’s really just a case of doing what I know works. I found an interesting article about the secrets to long term success with health, fitness and weight management, which really lays out the key points very neatly. In case you are interested, have a look for yourself:

Good luck with maintaining your fitness through the winter. I’ll be in touch soon with more helpful ideas and a special offer for my own book Get Fit, Feel GREAT! Watch this space!

Help! I’ve put on weight over Christmas!

It turns out that I AM human, after all! I’ve been very busy at work for the last few months. And with the dark (and wet!) evenings I often find it difficult to get out and go running as I know I should. Also I couldn’t face wasting another £30 per month on a gym membership which I won’t use (like I did last winter!). Not to mention Christmas (I said don’t mention…oh what’s the use!).

End result? I’ve put on one and a half stone (21 pounds or 10 kg). My extra fat jeans, which my wife lovingly bought for me ages ago, but which I have flatly refused to wear as they are soooo over size, now fit me nicely. I feel like an over-inflated space hopper.

Not what you expected to hear from someone with a fitness and weight control website, huh?

As I said, at least it means that I am human. Unlike certain internet fitness gurus I could mention….

But now the good news. I know that I will shift the extra weight, get fit and generally get back to normal. I know this because:

  1. It was so easy heaping all the fat straight on, so it must be equally easy to burn off.
  2. I’ve done it before.

It turns out that you don’t need the latest New Year diet, or a personal trainer, or a super-slimming pill. What has worked for me, and will work again is really simple. All I will do is:

  • I will try to do some exercise every day. Somedays this will be the running which I (normally) love. I’m fully kitted out with reflective and waterproof running tops, and two head torches – one to illuminate the path in front of me, the other (showing red) facing backwards to make me even more visible to motorists, although I tend to prefer running on paths at this time of year. If I can’t run (e.g. apathy, no time, lazy, etc) I will try to do some simple circuit training each day. Nothing complicated. Just sets of abs, squats, pressups, weights rotated in sequence until I run out of time (and / or puff). Ideally a minimum of 10 minutes. Can’t usually manage 30 minutes as it’s too hard!
    If all else fails, I’ll go for a brisk walk at lunch time. It’ll get me out of the office. It will enable me to walk off the frustrations of work, and hopefully stop me from murdering one of my colleagues in the afternoon. And it will get my metabolism working Not as good as a run. But better that doing nothing!
  • I will only have a cappuccino where they make REALLY good ones. I admit it. I love having a coffee after work. So many coffee shops…but only a handful are worth having a cappuccino in. So why waste the calories? If I go somewhere where they make a great coffee, I’ll have one. One or maybe two a week should do. Everywhere else I’ll save my money and calories by having a mint tea (approx. 1 calorie, compared to 150 for a good cappuccino!). I’ll also forego the snack that often accompanies the coffee. No more toasted teacakes for me. Chocolate twist? No. If I fancy scoffing something it will either be a small (dark) chocolate bar (typically 100 calories) or a packet of crisps (‘potato chips’ if you speak American!). Either will be around 500 calories less than my favourite toasted teacake, heavenly though it might be…
  • I’ll try to drink a bit less – I do love a glass of wine with my dinner, but I don’t need to drink the whole bottle…. I’ll also stop having deserts. NOBODY needs to have a dessert after their meal. They tend to be high calorie / high sugar, and often high fat. Just don’t do it. Simple.
  • Finally, I’ll just try and cut down a bit on certain things. Smaller portions of pasta and potatoes. Low fat cheese instead of the real thing. You get the picture.

That is pretty much the plan. As I mentioned, I know that it works. It may take a bit of time, but I’ll easily be back to fighting weight, full running fitness and with a bit of muscle tone in time for Easter (Sunday 8th April, if you want to check up on me!).

I hope that you had a great Christmas, and will have a fit and healthy New Year. If you need a helping hand to get fit this year, head over to and see if I can help! Alternatively, please feel free to email me any time, and I’ll do my best to help.

The causes of obesity

I heard something on the TV news the other day that made me laugh out loud. The newscaster said ‘The causes of obesity are many and varied, and clearly much more research needs to be carried out to find a solution’.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think that obesity is funny. But there is just one cause of obesity – consuming more calories than you use. There are things you can do to change what you eat, and how much energy you expend each day, but the only cause of obesity is a consistent, day-to-day imbalance between the number of calories that you use and the number that you consume.

Going a level deeper into the problem, I can think of just 5 reasons that may have led people into the bad habits that create such an imbalance:

  1. Ignorance. They don’t know how harmful to their health being obese is. They don’t know about the health time bombs of heart problems and cancers that they run a serious risk of contracting, or about the likelihood of dying much younger than their healthier contemporaries. They are just happy going along, treating their body badly, without a care in the world. I would like to think that there is no one in this group in the world. Education is a good thing, and hopefully everyone should have the basic information about their bodies to make informed choices about how they want to treat them, and what the likely outcomes are.
  2. They don’t care about being obese. They are happy with the way they are, and with the health problems which they will inevitably face as a result of obesity. I don’t understand people in this group – why would you willingly put yourself through such a torture? But if people are genuinely happy in their skin, they have made a choice. I know some people in this group, and they have every right to be how they want.
  3. Those who can’t see the truth. They don’t see anyone fat looking back at them when they look in the mirror. Or think it’s someone else’s fault that they are overweight. Perhaps they were force fed with cream buns, or defied science by putting on weight despite only drinking water and eating 2 dry biscuits a day. I more info

    don’t think so!

  4. They have low self-esteem. They feel bad because of the way they look. Or maybe they feel bad for other reasons (bad relationships, stressful work, etc) which makes them comfort eat. They just don’t think that they are worth spending the effort on to improve. The only solace they get in life is from enjoying eating what they know they really shouldn’t.

    I suspect that many of this group would like to change but just can’t see a way out of the darkness. They can’t find the willpower to do anything about it. I feel really sad about this group, as they are living through hell, when there is a way of changing themselves, their health and their self-esteem.

  5. They have no willpower. I can sympathise with this group too. I know how hard it can be to make the changes that you know need to be made. It can be difficult getting out of bed early on a winter’s morning to go for a run. It can be impossible to resist eating too much at a barbecue. Only having one drink at a party can be unbearable. But again there is a way to overcome this. Anyone can learn how to have a will of iron, if they want to.

So what is the solution? For the first group, education is the essential ingredient. The more you know, the more you are able to make informed choices about your health and life prospects. So the more information you can read about health and weight, the better.

The second group seem pretty happy, so I won’t worry about them – just wish them good luck (they will probably need it later!).

The third group are really difficult to help, as they won’t believe anything you tell them. Their only hope lies in the patient and persistent support and encouragement of friends and family to help them see the error of their ways. It’s going to take some time though…

The last two groups really can be helped, and should be. I’ve written my own book about how I lost weight and got fit called Get Fit, Feel GREAT! which has a lot of information about how to transform your health.

Rob Knowles 23 July 2009

Lifetime Fitness – what is the most important thing that no one ever tells you?

If you want to achieve a lifetime of fitness, there is one essential thing you must do, but most ‘health’ websites won’t tell you what it is. THEY are only interested in promoting their own program, so they will always say they have the only way that works. However, that fails to recognise that we humans are all different. We all like different things, start off from different points and have different levels of motivation for improving our fitness. So what’s the key thing no one will ever tell you? It’s so simple, I’m almost embarrassed to say, but the most important thing is…..

…..that you start doing something to improve your fitness.

It doesn’t matter what. Just do something. Anything.

Sure, some combinations of exercise and diet are better than others. But almost any WILL improve your fitness. And it will do you more good to do SOMETHING rather than NOTHING. I know it’s heresy, especially as I have written my own eBook about getting fit (, which is mainly in favour of doing regular cardiovascular (CV) exercise (e.g. running, cycling, swimming) and gaining control over your diet. But if you can’t face that type of regime, it will help your health much more if you start SOME kind of fitness program rather than just keep on leaving it until tomorrow.

Another problem many people face in the current harsh financial situation is that they don’t want to waste cash on something that won’t work. It’s often difficult to know how good these health programs are until you’ve actually spent hard earned cash on them, so I have another helpful idea for you – why don’t you test-drive the top three programs on the internet absolutely FREE! If you go to you can download free samples of the top fitness programs without spending a dime! Then, if you really do want to achieve a lifetime of fitness, simply read through each and see if they speak your language.

  • Do they inspire you to start exercising now?
  • Do you think you could stick with the kind of routines they describe?
  • Will they help you to achieve your goals?

Only you can decide the answer to these questions.

So go now to to try out the top internet programs for attaining lifetime fitness.

If none of them suit you, you could try my own eBook It’s less of a formal system than the ‘big ones’, but it’s based on my experiences of getting fit, and staying fit, and my research into what works best. It is a lot more adaptable to your interests and circumstances than my more famous competitors, and it might just help you to make the change in your health that you are seeking.

And remember, it’s more important that you start doing some form of exercise, than what that exercise actually is. You can worry about how to maximise your health gains from your invested time once you have found a form of exercise you like and can keep to. So what are you waiting for? Try out the top fitness programs on the internet now from to see if they can set you on the course to a lifetime of fitness!.

Rob Knowles 21 May 2009

Exercise and diets – How to get both right

Newcomers to the world of fitness frequently are unsure about how exercise and diets go together. Most people who decide that they want to get fit are a little out of condition, and usually a bit overweight. There is no doubt that the maximum gains to be had from a fitness regime come from attention to three areas: cardiovascular training, resistance training (e.g. building muscle by weight training) and nutrition. Dealing with any one of these in isolation will have a positive benefit to your health. But dealing with all three is best.

In practice, I find that those starting out need to concentrate on cardiovascular training (e.g. walking, jogging, cycling…) and nutrition. Only after they have starting making improvements to their fitness should they start thinking about asking Santa for a set of dumbbells!

I’m always talking about the cardiovascular (CV) side of things, so today I thought I’d give you a few ideas about modifying your diet to support your new fitness regime. It’s difficult to give specific advice as I don’t know you, but assuming that you want to lose a few pounds whilst getting fit, here are some good general guidelines to follow:

  1. Try to eat less fat in your diet. That means more white meat (e.g. chicken, turkey) and less red meat (beef or lamb). Also stir-fry or grill the meat rather than deep fry or roast it, as these cooking methods minimise the amount of fat left in the food when you eat it.
  2. Try to reduce the amount of sugar you consume. That means no cola (or at least diet cola if you can’t live without). No sugar in hot drinks (use a sweetener if you need one). No chocolate snacks (try a single square of dark chocolate to overcome chocolate cravings).
  3. Try to eat more vegetables, fruit and nuts than before – you need the nutrients, and a good varied diet is essential if you are increasing the amount of exercise that you do.
  4. Be VERY careful about diet foods. Always read the carton before buying a diet food in the supermarket. For example, many low fat yoghurts being sold as healthy options are FULL of added sugar. You can find ones which don’t have all this sugar, but you need to check the nutrition panel before you buy it.
  5. If you drink alcohol, try to drink wine instead of beer or lager. If you must drink beer, try to go for ‘lite’ beers. You’d be amazed at how many calories a single pint of beer contains (around 200!).
  6. Finally, if you are doing more exercise than you are used to, you will probably need to eat more protein in your diet. That means a bigger portion of meat or cheese than before, but stick to the low fat versions.

I hope that this is helpful. My eBook Get Fit, Feel GREAT! has more information about exercise and diets, should you be interested. Click here to find out how to get fit and lose weight and enjoy the process!

If you want to find out more about nutrition, my wife Eleanor has written an eBook : It goes into a lot more detail about what is in food, what you need to eat to be healthy, and how to modify your diet without giving up the things that you love eating. It’s not a diet book – it is designed to educate you about food, so you can make the right choices yourself. It even tells you how you can eat some of your old favourites, but without heaping on the pounds. Click here to find out more about nutrition and how to cook yourself thin!

I hope that this helps explain the connection between exercise and diet – changing either one will help make you more healthy – changing both together works even better.

Rob Knowles 7 April 2009

Does jogging to lose weight really work?

Welcome to the new Get Fit, Feel GREAT! blog.   Here I’ll be putting up articles which I hope will be of interest to anyone who wants to get fit.   Please feel free to contact me if there is anything I can help you with!


People often ask me whether jogging to lose weight really works.   So many websites say that any cardiovascular (CV) exercise is a waste of effort.   And I know many people see obese joggers and think to themselves ‘That sure doesn’t seem to be working!’.   So what’s the truth?  


Jogging really does help people to lose weight.   You may lose more weight if you modify your diet as well, but jogging on it’s own still works.   Here’s why:


  1. Jogging uses up a lot of calories while you are doing it.  
  2. When you finish jogging for the day, your body’s metabolism continues running at a higher rate than your normal resting metabolism for some hours.   So even when you are sitting at home you are still using up more calories than usual.
  3. When people start jogging the amount of muscle in their legs and lower body begins to increase.   All that exercise quickly builds up muscle bulk.   When you are resting, muscle burns more calories than the rest of your body.   Jogging has found another way for you to burn more calories even when you are watching TV!
  4. I find that running allows me to think about all the things that I want to do, as well as enjoying the countryside, and the fresh air.   So I don’t tend to spend my life thinking about food.   And I’ve found that the less time you spend thinking about food, the less you tend to eat web link.
  5. When I get back from a good run, my wife is convinced I’ll be starving hungry.   But in fact the opposite is true.   I’m just not hungry for some time afterwards.   So again you tend to eat less.
  6. Finally, as you start to feel fitter, notice that your clothes start to feel looser, notice that you have some muscles developing after all, you get a real boost.   Then you find that you want to learn more about what’s more healthy to eat, and you end up eating better.   Again, less calories!  


All of this adds up to a great recipe for losing weight.   In fact everyone I’ve ever met who started running or jogging has lost weight.   That’s why I’m sure that it can work for anyone.   All you need to do is start out carefully (you don’t want to injure yourself before you start, do you?), follow the basic rules of starting exercising, and you can look forward to a great new you! 


And what about the fat jogger?   They are almost certainly just starting out on the road to getting fit, and losing weight.   Keep an eye out for them in future, and see how fast they morph in to a normal (i.e. thin) jogger.   They deserve praise for taking their long term health into their own hands.   Don’t you want to join them?


To find out more about how you can start jogging to lose weight, and what the basic rules are go to  There you’ll find all you need to know to start changing your life for the better.

Rob Knowles 30 March 2009