Do You Plan To Fail? I know I do.

Those that plan are generally in control, even when things go a little wayward. They use their plan and adjust it to maintain control. Often it’s not a written plan, it’s just ticking along in the back of their minds and constantly being worked but because it’s important, it’s never forgotten.

Those that hope it happens, can find themselves feeling very busy, missing their training and losing sight of what they wanted to do. They say ‘yes’ to other options then realise they had wanted to go to the gym.

The same can be said about our diets.

There are those that plan, understand their diet and adapt.

Then there are those that allow their diet to control them.

I learnt along time ago to ‘learn to plan to fail’:

Well, I am sat on the sea front in Douglas on the Isle of Man, enjoying my holiday – ok, I’m working for Wattbike and  it’s Saturday night! – I am tucking into  fish and chips reflecting on my delivery of the Wattbike workshop to the team at Cycle360.

These fish & chips will have blown my daily calorie intake out of the water (or will it?) but that’s OK because I planned to fail.









Once I knew my trip was going ahead, I had an idea that my tea would be fish and chips by the sea. So for a few days before, I cut back. Not much but just enough to help create balance during my trip away.

I made sure I completed my training in the days leading up to the trip so if necessary, I could enjoy the trip, not train and use the time away for recovery.

With any travel, it can be difficult to know what will happen, what food will be available and if we get to train or not.

This is what I did:

Thursday: I made 2000 calories of scooby snacks, these would last me until Saturday.

Friday: Wattbike session before travelling to the airport. This was not planned as I didn’t think I would get to train due to work. If this had not happened, I would have done a hotel room body-weight workout and then a walk outside to explore.

Saturday: Breakfast at 7am which I chose to utilise and slightly over consume as I knew the day ahead was going to be full on and I didn’t have a finish time. It was a standard hotel type breakfast with cereal and cooked options.

I am glad I did and my scooby snacks worked well as a snack throughout the day because it was soon 5pm as the hours flew by.

I am lucky that I enjoy running and this provides a useful way to keep training when away with work. Since I had the evening to enjoy, what better way to explore and ‘earn’ my fish and chips.

10 mile run complete which is a bonus session as I was not sure if I would get to do it.


The balance is I am still on track, I won’t gain weight but I won’t lose weight. I will stay the same and that’s OK. I sacrificed my weight loss goal and focused on maintaining as this provided the best option for me to enjoy my fish and chips to not end up with that mental battle of ‘Oh I shouldn’t have had those’ or even trying to use my trip as the excuse.

Although there was no written plan, I still had a plan. I utilised the time before the trip and adapted during it to fit not just my goals but also to still provide flexibility, fun and motivation.



50/50 Coaching Plans

50/50 Coaching Plans: Semi Coached

Today we are looking at how 50/50 coaching (semi coached) packages work based on cycling.

Many cyclists will either be a member of a cycling club or a group of friends who cycle regularly together.

When club and group rides/sessions take place, fully coached plans are not necessary. Therefore this is where the 50/50 semi coached packages can work very well.

Firstly we look at the objective, so let’s say it’s to complete a 100 mile sportive/ride.

 2 x outside group rides take place each week, weather permitting.

 1-2 x coached sessions are prescribed, this may be either using the Wattbike studio, training at home or solo training rides which take place outside.

The coached sessions bring structure to the weekly training and will be based around working on aerobic based fitness and conditioning.

Some plans will also include gym sessions but this is all dependant on the client and how many sessions they can commit to over 1 month.

Some weeks only 1 session may be completed but on other weeks, it may be 2 or 3 due to weather or having more time available to train.

This type of coached package also works really well with runners who enjoy running with a club but would also like to add more structure to their own training.


Sunday Pause 4 Thought: Busy Going Nowhere.

Busy going nowhere:

It’s interesting when you sit back and take in what is going on around you. I see people rushing, always busy but busy doing what, rushing to get to where?

We maybe in a rush to be somewhere but rushing our training session to get it done probably is not achieving results or enjoyable.

For instance you’re in a rush due to needing to be at an appointment for 3pm but you have enough time to fit in a 30 minute gym session.

This session can go 1 of 2 ways:

  1. You rush though your session plan so you can say you completed it.
  2. You complete only half the session plan but by doing so you completed a structured and beneficial training session.

The end result is a 30 minute gym based session was achieved and can still provide results alongside enjoying completing it.

Work with what you have today:

When I plan a gym based session for a client, I look at all areas. Firstly what is the objective of the session, how long does my client generally have to complete the session and what other training will they be completing alongside it that week.

From this information I can now plan the session but I will also allow and structure the session so it can be split into smaller sessions.

A 60 minute session can:

  1. be split to provide a 45 minute minute session
  2. be split into 2 x 30 minute sessions
  3. be split into 3 x 20 minute sessions

Having a structured but flexible training plan helps manage those times when we find ourselves rushing but keeps the quality while also making the most of when time is limited.

Example of a 30 minute gym based training session focusing on primary muscle groups: (Lower Body – Back – Chest)


  • Hack Squat = Lower Body
  • Row = Back
  • Incline Chest Press = Chest

Both the upper body exercises will use secondary muscle groups such as arms and shoulders so this simple tri-set delivers a great time efficient training session, it’s easy to complete while also helping to provide results.

Example Session: Complete 12 reps of hack squat then row then chest. Once all 3 exercises are completed, take a 60 – 90 second rest, complete 3-4 sets.

Making sure the session is set at the correct intensity is key to results being achieved.

This session also makes up part of the larger 60 minute session offering full flexabilty and structure.

Keeping training simple so technique and intensity can be achieved is key to these time efficient training sessions, over complicated session plans can leave you losing too much time.

  • Simple
  • Specific
  • Structured
  • Progressive






More than just a weekly PT session:

As we head into Spring 2018, the MSF Fitness studio does go through a slight change and Mark our personal trainer has to adapt to these changes.


Spring 2018 will see clients review their commitments and manage their training around these. This is never easy and it takes time to get the balance right, but it can be done.

Each Saturday we have body blitz which is small group personalised training. Clients train within a group but follow their own structured and progressive training plan while being supported by us.

As we head into Spring, we understand the weekends will bring new commitments and priorities, the better weather will offer days out, holidays and many other options which clients need to enjoy as come Autumn, it will all change again.

Some of our clients are runners, cyclists and triathletes so they will be making the most of any nice weather, putting their winter training to good use.


To help maintain consistency we have added additional evening and daytime group PT sessions. We have also extended the Saturday Body Blitz times so that an earlier start is available.

Outside of group PT, clients can access the studio through our drop-in service so they can follow their present plan and continue to develop and improve.

A training plan can only deliver so much before it will need updating. To provide these updates, one-off PT sessions can be booked or blocks of 4 group PT sessions can be booked to help monitor, adapt and alter any training plans as necessary.

We know to improve fitness, consistency is required. Weekly training needs to be competed and a balance created to achieve this around leading busy lives. This is why MSF Fitness was designed around providing a facility which offers the ultimate in flexibility.

  1. PAYG offers one off sessions from personal training, fitness testing to group classes and can be booked last minute if necessary and online via our website.
  2. Loyalty cards provide discounted sessions while still maintaining a flexible approach – cards are valid for 6 months.
  3. Membership from 8 classes/drop-in sessions to unlimited access all area packages.

Personal Training is often seen as a weekly 60 minute training session with a PT but it’s so much more than that. Our clients may not be able to commit to booking a block of group PT but their training plans are there ready to be followed during a drop in session. Their training plans can be taken away and used if they have access to other gyms.

This is where Mark our personal trainer will support clients with online coaching, delivering one off sessions and generally doing what it takes to support some of our clients through the Spring and Summer.

For those that stay with us, it’s business as usual. Structured training from group classes such as indoor bike using the Wattbikes, circuit training, TRX specific classes, personal training and fitness testing which all run alongside our online and in-house coaching.

Flexibility. Structure. Progressive Training. Results. MSF Fitness.









Wattbike 20′ Warm-Up

Bike studioApril for many is a big turning point, especially for those cyclists amongst us. It’s time to take your Winter into Spring with more outside rides. In the next newsletter, I will be discussing getting the balance right to help you maintain and improve rather than lose what you have gained.

The Wattbike 20min Warm Up
The Wattbike 20 minute warm up can be used in many ways. In today’s newsletter, I am going to talk about how to use it and how you can manipulate the data to get the most from using it.

Picture #1 20 minute warm up profile


Picture #2 Screen for following the 20 minute Wattbike warm up


It’s not as easy as it sounds…
The Wattbike 20 minute warm up helps prepare you both mentally and physically for your session. But it also provides some very useful information which you can use there and then but also to monitor over weeks, months and even years.

The warm up can also be used as a session on its own.

The Wattbike warm up often catches people off guard. Within my role as a Wattbike Master Trainer working across the UK and into Europe, I am very lucky to be able to deliver a variety of Wattbike training from Advanced Technical Workshops to Express 60 minute lessons covering how to use the bike in the basic format. The Wattbike 20 minute warm up always features within these sessions and many have failed to complete it. Not because it was too hard but because they need to know or understand how to adapt the session to make it work for them rather than to going too hard and burning out.

With the introduction of the Wattbike App, following the Wattbike 20 minute warm up has become much easier not just to follow the timings and changes, but in monitoring intensity.

But how to use it?

For those without training zones or where the zones may not be accurate, one way to use the Wattbike 20 minute warm up is by following cadence only (this is shown on the right of the picture above). You would adjust the resistance based on the cadence and how it feels at the time.
• If you can achieve the target cadence but it feels easy, increase the resistance/gear
• If you are unable to maintain the target cadence, reduce the resistance which should then help achieve the target RPM
• Adjust the starting cadence if 90rpm is too high
Don’t worry, you will still get a great warm up session.

For those with accurate heart rate and power zones – cadence, heart rate and power will all be used.

A few attempts may be required before you get the full benefit but learning is a big part of training so nothing is ever lost.

Before going any further, the App promotes you start the warm up at 90rpm and finishes at 118rpm. If your higher rpm is only 100, then you would start initially at 80rpm, therefore always being 10rpm below the recommended starting cadence. Over time, you should find you can start at 85 and then progress to starting at 90rpm.

It may take a few sessions to work out your starting cadence.

Already, we have an objective or target which is what training is often about. Targets are required to help keep us motivated. If you’re starting starting at a lower cadence, over time the progression may be to get to the 90rpm starting point.

What the warm up can be used for:
1. Warm up so your ready to go into your main session.
2. Active recovery
3. Cadence drill & pedal technique assessment
4. 20 minute training session

Tips: picture #2
1. Swipe across so you see the bar chart rather than pedal technique while following the warm up
2. Set cadence to average by pressing on cadence block (right side of screen)
3. Set heart rate to max by clicking HR data block (next to cadence)
4. Set power to average by clicking power W block (next to HR)

1. Bottom right corner on all App workouts shows the count down to the next change
2. Centre of screen time shows completed time

Warm Up Format:
• 5 minutes at 90rpm (you may need to start at 80 – 85rpm then with every increase go up by 5rpm so you’re always the same amount behind the set guideline). Use this time to prepare the body and mind and asses how you’re feeling.
• 2 minutes @95rpm
• 2 minutes @100rpm
• 2 minutes @105rpm
• 90 seconds @110rpm
• 30 seconds @118rpm
• 2 minutes @90rpm – work really hard to return straight to this point or your original starting point if different, try not to drop too low or ride easy
• 6 second rev out, a smooth and controlled seated sprint
• 1 minute @90rpm again work hard to return to your starting cadence
• 6 second rev out, a smooth and controlled seated sprint
• 1 minute @90rpm – again work hard to return to your starting cadence
• 6 second rev out, a smooth and controlled seated sprint
• 2 minutes 42 seconds @90rpm – again work hard to return to your starting cadence

Warm Up to be used before the main set or as an Active Recovery Session:

During the warm up, this protocol can be followed to help manage intensity.
1. Start by achieving the average cadence
2. Use the Resistance/gear to achieve the target power (if the power you’re riding at is too high and you can’t reduce resistance or lower the gear, then a lower cadence will be needed)
3. Follow this process throughout the warm up, trying to match the power to the cadence
4. Now bring in the heart rate, if your heart rate is below the set target then continue using cadence and power
5. If your heart rate is higher than the set limit reduce resistance, maintain cadence and now use cadence and heart rate to guide you through the session
Overall, this warm up protocol will deliver a Zone 2 average heart rate and power. Many find if they complete the warm up following this protocol, they often find power is Zone 1 heart rate is zone 2. Over time and improving fitness, the aim would be Zone 2 power and heart rate.

Cadence and heart rate are your primary focus, power is the one we adjust to control the other 2 data points.

Cadence Drill & Pedal Technique Assessment:

Use the warm up the same way as outlined above but with much more of a focus around your pedal technique.

It’s often seen that users of the Wattbike find it much easier to achieve an improved pedal technique when working at a higher level; for example between Zone R & Zone 3, they find it hard to be effective, between Zone 3 and above it’s much easier to achieve a more effective pedal technique.

From experience, I also know many prefer a much lower cadence and find it easier to achieve an improved pedal effectiveness score. I will be discussing PES (pedal effectiveness) in more detail in later newsletters.

20 minute Workout:

Follow the Wattbike warm up protocol but ride matching cadence and power targets, leaving heart rate in the back ground to review afterwards.

Final Review

• It may take a few attempts to get it set up for you
• The 6″ sprints when using an Atom could be left out if they don’t work for you due to lag etc
• The warm up will help over time to assess how you’re feeling due to repeatably
• You can use the warm up in many ways and see clear progression over time from heart rate with a set zone, peak cadence to average heart rate and power over the 20 minutes
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and I hope you have found it of some use. The Wattbike is a journey of learning, while improving fitness.

Upcoming Blogs
1. Fitness Testing
2. Getting the balance right between indoors and outdoors
3. Not just for cyclists, how the Wattbike can benefit so many sports from general fitness to Rugby
4. PES – pedal effectiveness score
5. Improving conditioning and using training zones
6. Wattbike PRO – TRAINER – ATOM and the differences and comparisons

Thanks for reading!


Cardio: Endurance Based Session


Cardio within a gym/fitness facility can often be walking or running on a treadmill, not very exciting and for some people, cardio is completely avoided.

But it’s so much more:

Let’s keep this simple, cardio helps strengthen your heart and lungs. Your heart is a muscle that is needed more than any other muscle we have. Improving your cardio will help you improve your endurance from strength sessions, classes and improve daily life like walking.

But it’s boring:

One of the reasons its seen as being boring and not very exciting is there is often no structure applied to the session, there is no goal and improvement is not measured.

Within a fitness facility kitted out with a large amount of treadmills, cross trainers and rowers etc, we see people jump from one bit of kit to another fairly quickly.

Let’s make it more exciting and worth while.

Firstly you may only ever do cardio as a warm up but even then, it needs structure.

You may do cardio to improve your endurance, conditioning and it’s part of your weekly training. But it needs structure.

You may use equipment like a rowing machine, cross trainer or bike for off feet conditioning like many professionals sports do like rugby for example, but it needs structure.

To make it more exciting and worth while it needs structure, it needs a plan, many have nice sports watches with heart rate monitors but don’t know their heart rate zones. Heart rate based training is a great way to provide structure, motivation and when used alongside other data you can easily track your progression.

Most cardio equipment within a gym will have data such as pace, speed, resistance, time, distance and some even have built in training sessions.

Keep it simple: (example session plan)

Purpose = improve endurance/conditioning for someone new or returning to training.

 Use any cardio equipment which you like.
 Set up the equipment correctly if it needs setting up, this includes learning how to use it.
 Warm up for 10 minutes with the intensity increasing every couple of minutes. Focus on technique and the session ahead.
 By the end of the 10 minutes we should feel a little breathless, on a scale of 1-5 we are looking for 2-3, you can talk but breathless.
 Complete 5-15 minutes at this level of intensity (2-3) , if at any time it feels to hard or or cant talk reduce the intensity.
 Complete 5 minutes cool down (don’t just stop at the end of the main set).

So this session plan is between 20 and 30 minutes so we know how long our session is.

Throughout the session we warmed up, we had a main session and a cool down which provided structure.

We used a simple scale of 1-5 to create and monitor intensity while also offering a regression if the intensity was to high.

From this initial session we can now record time within each zone 10min w/up 5-15min main set 5min c/down, we can record the level of resistance, speed, distance in each zone, we can record how we felt and if wearing a nice watch with HR monitor we could have pressed lap when going into the next part of the session so once home we could review how HR was affected.

We now have the foundations for an endurance session that can be repeated, progressed or regressed if too hard. Over time by using basic data we will see improvement which provides motivation.

A simple session that can lead to many places.

This plan can also be adapted for those that have a high level of fitness, the main set could be increased, maybe have 2 blocks within the main set with a short recovery, intensity can be set to the individual and this plan could also be followed with a friend or even in a class environment because on a scale of 1-5 its personal; to each person therefore we all train at the intensity right for us.

The key to an endurance based session is not going too hard or too easy, comfortably uncomfortable is good, you can hold a conversation but breathless and reduce intensity if you can only say 1 or 2 words.

Where did that come from…?

There may be people that will take the approach “it’s Xmas, I am going to eat, drink, enjoy and not worry about tracking, planning etc” and that’s good. But there will also be people wanting a little help and support to try to manage their way through Xmas while still enjoying themselves.

Through experience I know there are several times per year when weight gain can be noticed… Bank Holidays, Summer holidays and yes, Xmas is also one of these times!

But where did it come from?

For many, it’s all those little extras they did not notice. Each day those extras creeping into daily routine. Then add to this more social engagements and we see our daily calorie intake increase and often our training time reduce. Our non-fitness activity like daily steps can also be heavily reduced = consuming more and moving less.

 Many will have work or club Xmas parties.
 There will be family and friends nights out.
 At work there may be more boxes of chocolates, crisps, snacks just sat on the side.
 Some may have to do many Xmas socials through their work and companies they supply to or get invited with.
 When at home or vising families, often there will be little extras to be had from the odd mince pie to handful of nuts or a few little chocolates.

 If your still reading this well done, lets go to stage 2…!

Let’s just say to make it easy, your daily goal is 2000 calories and alongside your present training, those 2000 calories maintain your weight.

 If you reduce your training but keep your diet the same, you could gain weight.
 If you keep your activity levels the same but consume more than your 2000 calories, you could gain weight.

Every little helps (with the gain).

It would be very easy in 1 day to have an extra 500 calories… 1 x mince pie and 4 small chocolates out of your favourite tin and that is approx 500 calories.

The odd handful of nuts and a glass of wine is 500 calories.

These little bits don’t fill us up. They are nice to eat & drink, we often ‘forget’ we’ve had them and then we still end up eating our normal daily food/meals.

If we did this 4 out of 7 days, we would have consumed an extra 2000 calories in 1 week, that is 1 extra days calorie intake.

If we do this over 4 weeks, that would be 4 days extra calorie intake.

Do this for 5-6 weeks due to having to empty the cupboards before starting the January diet and that is 1 extra weeks calories in just over a month.

I am not saying you can’t enjoy your meals out or those treats because you can. It’s all about balance and understanding your intake.

Walking is a great way to increase daily activity.

Training is a great way to improve fitness and can help to lose or maintain weight.

For activity to help with weight management, it needs to be part of a calorie controlled diet.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have found it of some use!dc0750de8b47988572695e49ce02c996--welcome-december-welcome-winter