Looking out for a hero…?

Did you know that a tin of Cadbury’s Heroes which could contain 660grms would contain just over 3000 calories.

But the good thing is they have a really good shelf life so once open they can be enjoyed little and often. I mean, who would buy a tin of chocolates ready for the festive season and open them early, leaving them going back to the shops to restock ready for the Xmas break?

How many have sat and found themselves picking at these without thinking or looking and thinking they are only small.

Helpful tips:

If you have no self control, don’t buy them.

If you have them and allow for them as part of your intake, then that will help with the balance of energy in and energy out.

Not sure what to allow per chocolate? The easiest way is base each one on approx 50 calories so it’s easy to manage a daily allowances.

Set yourself an allowance of say 4 per day, but reduce or remove something else.

It’s ok to enjoy treats but it’s important to understand what they provide.

AWOL: a way of life

Your body is fit for life not just for Christmas.


Maybe, just maybe….

Maybe Just Maybe…

Maybe that person is not following a fad diet.

Maybe that person is working hard, learning constantly about their diet, what foods they like, what their diet delivers and from there they change it and keep repeating the process.

Maybe that person behind the scenes is quietly working away day after day, making the most of any time they might have from 10 minutes at home to a gym session.

Maybe that person doesn’t post everything they do on social media and state what they will do but than actually never do.

Maybe that person does not jump from one new fad to the next.

Maybe that person doesn’t follow the crowd and sticks to what they do and learn from results and outcomes not just long term but each and every day.

Maybe that person trains when they don’t feel like it, or they felt tired, they adjusted sessions to fit into their lifestyle and how they felt.

Maybe that person did what was required even though they didn’t really want to but they knew the importance.

Maybe that person prioritises their diet and fitness over other social options.

Maybe, just maybe, that person works their ass off everyday of the week. Yes they fail, yes they fall off the wagon, yes they enjoy treats. They have ups and downs but they work their ass off no matter what.

Before we want what others have, lets look deeper into what they did to achieve what they did.

Be you, have your own goals and then they will be important enough to you for you to do what is required.

If it’s important we will find a way, if it’s not we will find an excuse.


Learning to run…

Running can provide so much from improving fitness, contributing to weight loss while also helping with mindset and time out from daily life.

Running can also unfortunately lead to injuries ,but many can be either reduced or prevented.

Help prevent many injuries, reduce risk and train when injured:

  Try not to run to many times per week, often 3 times per week is enough and allows for adequate recovery.
  Keep your runs to a distance that is suitable for you, this is both per run and weekly mileage.
  When new to running, a progressive walk/run plan can work well, try not to jump from 5k to 10k quickly, progress slowly.
  Strength & Core work will enhance your running and help prevent many injuries.
  A maintenance plan which could be a list of exercises, sports massage/therapy appointments etc. can help you mange your training load, these exercises are often easily done at home.
  Try not to self-diagnose injuries, if you have a niggle or injury have it looked at, seek professional help.
  Often when runners have an injury they stop training. You may not be able to run but off feet conditioning & strength work can often still be completed, making the return to running much easier.
  Events/Races are a great way to stay motivated but make sure your training is adequate beforehand. Races/events can push you harder due to being around others meaning you run quicker, you push too hard which can lead to technique being lost quickly and injuries occuring later into the event/race.

If there was 1 key point I could offer it would be ‘don’t stop training when injured’, be proactive there is always something to do.  Work on your core strength & off feet conditioning and get a rehab training plan in place because the return to running can be either very difficult or very easy.


It’s a dog life…

It’s A Dogs Life (maybe we could all learn a thing or two):

Woody Msf has habits, he has a diet and he has a few treats. He can gain weight and he can lose weight or maintain his weight.

We are no different as we tend to stick to the foods we like. We have habits and can gain or lose weight.

But why is it when we want to lose weight we make drastic changes, altering food groups, creating big calorie deficits and use methods which may not be sustainable long term?

So Woody has been inured recently but with a little rehab, he’s back to his nutty self but during a check up, the vet found he has gained a few lbs. Thus highlighting he was over eating while being sedentary, so not moving as much as he normally would.

So we need to create a calorie deficit for Woody. Rather than changing his routine (he is a Lab after all…), looking for a quick fix, the answer was simple.

Keep him in his routine and having his normal food but rather than 1 x heaped filled cup twice per day, he would have flat filled cups. This created his daily calorie deficit and he has lost weight.

Did he lose weight over night? No but he is now back to his required weight, still eating his same food and maintaining his usual habits (generally being a boisterous 6 year old lunatic!).

We can also take this approach when wanting to lose weight. We can reduce our main meals slightly to create a deficit. This way we still have the same foods we enjoy, our habits are not changed but with consistency, results can be achieved.


Fitness & Wattbike Coaching…

The MSF Fitness studio is a constantly changing landscape with many different clients passing through, all with different goals in terms of their physical fitness.

One of our clients is Keith who has been with us for several years now.  A member of Black Country Triathletes, Keith has competed in events far and wide.  Keith’s training at MSF Fitness began by making use of a Wattbike through our drop-in service. He would book in and complete his own session. This worked really well for him initially and offered great flexibility as it enabled him to train at a time that suited him. He then got to the stage where he was looking for more structure to his training, to ensure his sessions had ‘purpose’ and were progressive, built around his goals.


We were able to offer Keith one of several monthly coaching packages. His coaching plan is based on completing 2 Wattbike sessions per week. He has been on this package since 2016 and is very consistent with his training, always making his sessions. His plan is progressive and is built week on week, depending on his performance in the previous sessions and what races and events he has coming up. His sessions are very specific and personal to him, including working to heart rate as well as an exact watt/power. As well as his coached sessions, Keith attends a weekly TRX class to work on strength & conditioning which supports his bike and running training.  He also continues to run and swim with his club every week.

To list just a few of the events Keith has excelled in:

2015 Geneva European Sprint Distance Championships – Bronze Over 60

2016 Lisbon European Sprint Championships – 4th Over 60

2016 British Sprint Championships – Bronze Over 60

2016 Stafford 70.3 Ironman – 1st Over 60

Keith’s most recent event was taking 3rd in his age category (60-64yrs) at the British Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in June 2017.  Completing a 750m open water swim, 20km bike and 5km run, he was just 14secs off 2nd place in a time of 1h 14.19s.

Keith at the British Triathlon Sprint Distamce Champs in Strathclyde
Keith taking Bronze in Strathclyde

Keith then went on to compete at the Staunton Harold Triathlon on 11th June. This new event saw Keith completing a 600m swim, 16.9 mile bike and a 4.8 mile run.  He came 11th overall and 1st in the Over 60 category. He was 5th on the bike leg.

To date, Keith has qualified for everything he has wanted to, including the Worlds (Sprint & Olympic). If only he didn’t have to work, then he could actually go and compete in them all! Great work Keith, well done! Consistency works.



Ladies who ride…


Way back in January 2017, this group of ladies embarked on a new training routine, with an end goal in mind: to complete the 100km Women V Cancer ‘Ride The Night’ cycling event on 27th May.

Lesley (2nd from right) had been attending Wattbike classes at MSF twice a week for around a 6 months.  She organised for the group to start training together for a private session on a Thursday evening at 8.30pm. Dark winter nights would normally make training difficult but the friends would motivate each other to keep it going.

They attended their first session on 12th January.  Following an introduction to the Wattbike, they completed a simple interval session with efforts going from 2 minutes down to 60 seconds. With a variety of fitness levels within the group, this allowed them to experiment with cadence and resistance levels.  It also built confidence through being able to work at their own level of ability.

This session was opened up to a few other ‘beginners’ as well as Lesley and Lisa’s husbands. So this made for a nice little group.  The sessions maintained an interval based focus for the following few weeks. With the intervals getting progressively longer, we were able to focus on efficient pedalling technique and cadence. By week 5, they were comfortably completing 6 minute intervals.

The regular Thursday group…


On week 6, we picked up the pace with some higher cadence/high intensity work.  This involved 1 minute intervals across 2 sets. This pushed them on and for some, pushed them right out of their comfort zone.  Again, this was a great confidence builder, proving that they were capable of much more than they thought they were!

By week 8, we were now able to follow the structured sessions that are available in all of our classes. The group were definitely not beginners anymore! Over the following weeks, we worked on conditioning (longer intervals), high cadence/high intensity (aimed at improving base leg speed and cardio fitness) and accelerating intervals (digging deep when we need to).

We also went on to complete a ‘fitness test’.  This wasn’t a standard fitness test – it didn’t involve any kind of data. We didn’t measure power output or heart rate. We worked on the simple RPE scale (Rate of Perceived Effort) and measured how far we were able to travel in 30 minutes.  We focused on maintaining the same leg speed, altering the resistance if we had to. This again, was a huge confidence builder for the ladies as they were the ones that had the stamina, fitness and motivation to keep pedalling the bike!

The sessions continued with the same pattern and over the weeks, it was brilliant to see not only the progression in their fitness levels but also, the huge improvement in base cadence.  Where some had a base cadence of 75rpm, they were now much more comfortable (and efficient) at 85/90rpm.

The final session before their big day was a leg-loosener.  We completed 4 x 8 minute intervals at an intensity where they could speak a short sentence.  During the session, we discussed nutrition leading up to and during the event as well as the all important hydration.  We also discussed safety in terms of eating and drinking on the bike – unless confident in doing this, it’s much safer to just stop for a minute or two rather than risk falling off trying to peel that banana like a pro!  We also had the all important ‘fun’ as we played ‘name that tune’ throughout the session!

The final session before the big night!


Their big night came. And apart from a mechanical within the group, all ladies completed the ride and had a great time in doing so.  They’ve enjoyed the experience and improvements in their fitness so much that they are going to keep their training sessions going, and are now confident enough to book into any one of our bike classes.

Well done ladies!

‘Wattbike…The Musical!’…from West End to Wattbike.

This is a guest blog by one of our lovely clients, Erica. She explains very openly, where she has come from with her training on the Wattbike and where she is at now…

If I recall the last time my posterior sat on a saddle it was when I was calling for my friends on my little pink Miss Peugeot! Little basket, little bell!! But this year a new journey and new relationship began on a Wattbike at MSF!

I am a born and bred Shropshire lass, but for the past twenty years I have lived in London. My whole life being dedicated to my career. I’m a professional actress and for fifteen of those years I’ve worked in west end musical theatre,  Billy Elliot, Oliver, Les Mis, Mamma Mia etc. A world away from cycling? Well actually not really, focus, stamina, commitment, discipline, so in some ways very similar. The same focus of an athlete, is indeed the same focus required for longevity of a professional actor/actress.

Erica in action in Mama Mia!


I moved back to Shropshire a few years ago to be close to my family, and indeed to have a family of my own. Taking a ‘sabbatical’ out of the business just for a short while.

Obviously within my career I have danced from a very early age, and indeed doing eight shows a week has kept me in fairly good nick! I’m hypermobile which means I have to be careful with hips and knees. But because of dance training this means I’m über flexible, but as I’ve hit forty, I now really have to know my limits with this, as well as maintaining it, I’m lost without it, as I’ve done it my whole life!

The only other form of exercise, which I have always loved is yoga, of any kind, and have always kept it up. But never-never contemplated any other form of training, mainly because I’ve never really needed to…. until this year!

After the birth of my little boy, now three, like many women, found things had changed! Exercising in the house like I had always done just wasn’t motivating me, and of course always something else to do. So things started to decline.

Then last year became the game changer. I suffered two consecutive miscarriages and my health mentally and physically as you can imagine really tumbled, worlds apart from my previous life.

After things had settled, I realised that if I didn’t do something that I could really go into a dark place, it was time for change. For the first time I wasn’t just thinking about keeping physically trim, losing weight etc, I was wanting to change my mental attitude. I looked around for ages trying to fathom out what was going to fit the bill. Gyms were just not for me, and after failing miserably at the Bodycoach programme, mainly because of too much pressure on my body, I was lost!

After thorough google searches, I found something! Cycling? Wattbikes? What the heck was that?! I came across a local business literally on my doorstep, walking distance. Cycling me?!! Cycling you?!! This was different, completely different, surely channelling Bradley Wiggins was going to pick me up!! I investigated!

Amongst all the ‘professionals’ as I call them, there was little old me…

I never thought for one minute I would even stay on the saddle! But was met with the most laid back, relaxed professional approach I’ve come across. Mark & Louise, the most down to earth adorable business owners. Amongst all the ‘professionals’ as I call them, there was little old me, and Mark and Louise treated me exactly the same. Encouraging, inspiring , but also enabling me to find my own rhythm so to speak (tap dance rhythms for both of them as payback though!!).

I have no experience of anything other than a Wattbike, but it seems to do everything I want it to! I commit to drop-ins and after stabilising myself with the bike, I am now feeling like I am going up a gear in more ways than one. Variations of HIIT & endurance Sufferfest Cycling videos are now starting my upgrade, after being a regular for two months, which feels like a lot longer as I feel so comfortable. I totally agree with the ‘getting it done’ moto.  And that’s exactly how it feels.

I cannot begin to explain how it’s helping me mentally. With everything that has gone on, it focuses me, it gives me drive and I am able to cycle away negativity, like a detox. And I really feel it, it pushes me forward, and I am quite frankly addicted. Now clothes are looser it’s also helping my confidence, that wasn’t the main reason of course, but it goes to show if your mind is stimulated in the right direction the body will follow. I don’t suffer any body pain, and my hypermobilty isn’t at all irritated by the training, in fact I think it’s helping. With many other HIIT I find I always hobble off with hip pain. But this feels incredibly healing in a sense.

I am so thrilled that I found a friend in a bike and so thrilled that Mark and Lou have given me the absolute lift I needed. I love seeing other clients going about their business all on their journeys, and in awe of their stamina and super fast spinning! Wow!

It focuses me, it gives me drive and I am able to cycle away negativity, like a detox.

I will be giving you all a wave on my sweaty bike in the future. And who knows I may actually purchase a new Miss Peugeot! But for now, me and ‘Wattbike the Musical’ continues!

Happy cycling 😘😘🚴🏻‍♀️!v