Category Archives: weight training

FAQ about the PH Fitness Class

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A hypotetical conversation with Claire (35) from Stoneybatter. (Yes, I made up a person and made up a conversation)

Hi Philip, I just saw this flyer about your class and I was wondering who the class is catered towards?

Well Claire, it’s nice to meet you. We cater for men and women who aren’t happy with how they currently look and feel. Most of our clients are female between 25 and 40 who want to lose some weight, tone up and feel better about their fitness and health. We can provide a road map to help them get from where they currently are to where they would like to be. The class environment is great for people as it provides a social outlet as well as a fitness class.

Oh right that’s great. Unfortunately though I haven’t done much exercise recently, will the class be too hard for me?

We cater for all fitness levels. All exercises have regressions and progressions that allow people with different abilities to get a great workout. Many members have started with no experience of resistance training but have quickly learned the basics and are progressing at a great rate.

What is resistance training? That sounds hard?

No need to worry, resistance training is a super form of exercise. It means using resistance to challenge the muscles to get stronger and develop shape. It can take many forms such as bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, cable pulls etc. We try to concentrate on the main human movements such as push, pull, hinge and squat.

Won’t that make me big and bulky? I want to lose weight!

No, it absolutely won’t make you big and bulky Claire. That is a major myth amongst many women. Resistance training is the most effective training method to help women and men improve body composition. By building muscle, your body does many wonderful things that help turn you into a fat burning machine. Your metabolism increases, you burn more calories at rest and your new found strength will catapult your fitness and health to new levels.

Also women cannot build as much muscle as men because of hormonal differences so instead of having big bulky body, you are more likely to achieve toned and slender physique.

Great, sounds like just what I need. But what type of class can I expect?

It is a class that emphasises strength through a variety of basic human movements. Stand-alone strength exercises are followed by a resistance circuit that will really work the heart and lungs giving a strong cardio hit. We want our clients to be the strongest version of themselves.

We place a strong emphasis on learning proper form and technique. We also pay particular attention to mobility, if a person has restricted movement, we will make sure they perform various exercises throughout the session that will tackle particular issues.


I’m tired just hearing all that, are you sure that won’t kill me! Did I mention I haven’t done any exercise in ages?

There is no need to fear Claire, we are well aware some people may have absolutely no experience in doing any exercise or have done very little in many years like yourself. It takes courage to start a new regime. Everyone will work at a level that is suitable for them. Your body may be sore after the first few sessions as you adapt to the new stresses but our intention is not to flog people with incredibly tough workouts. We hope that everyone works from a level where they feel challenged to improve and progress in a sustained and fun environment.

Cool, that’s reassuring, thanks Philip, is there anything else that I will need to know before I sign up? 

Yes, there is a strong nutrition component. I encourage all clients to keep a food diary. Research has shown that people who keep regular food diaries are far more successful at maintaining healthy body weight or losing weight in the first place. We also give people nutrition advice and a template to help them improve their lifestyle habits to ensure progress can be achieved.

Remind me again, where and when do the classes take place? 

Oh yes, the classes are run in the hall in St Paul’s CBS primary school. It is located on North Brunswick Street around the corner from Smithfield square. They currently run every Monday and Wednesday at 7pm.

How much are the classes?

It’s ten euro for a pay as you go class and 50 euro for a block of four weeks. People can sign up whenever they like.

Don’t forget, the first class is free of charge so you can come and try out before you buy a four week block.

Brilliant, do the classes run the whole year? 

There will be some breaks, classes will not run on bank holiday Mondays, over the Christmas, Easter holidays and during August. We find that people like this break and are away on holidays at these times of the year. We follow the primary school calendar to some degree.

Ok thanks Philip for all that information. I am really looking forward to getting started. Do I need to bring anything for my first class on Monday?

Just come wearing comfortable workout gear but bring a bottle of water and a can do attitude. The first class is free of charge so if you want to join you can pay starting from next Monday on.

Super, I’ll be there, I look forward to it.

Cheers, will see you then Claire.

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Filed under Bootcamp, Exercise, Fat loss, Health, Nutrition, weight training

10 Weight Training Tips

These tips are designed for anyone who wants feel comfortable lifting some weights in a safe and productive fashion.

Lifting weights has many benefits for our health, fitness and body composition. Women should not fear doing weights. Many women think they will get big and bulky if they lift anything more than pink fluffy dumb bells. This is just a pure myth. It’s akin to fearing that you may get selected for the Olympics because you did a few 10k runs! Women just don’t possess the hormones in their bodies to easily grow substantial level of muscle. Those that do manage to acquire high levels of muscle must do colossal training and eat an exceptionally strict diet whilst taking particular dodgy ‘supplements’.

Rather weights or resistance training will give you that toned, lean and slim physique that most women desire. Men are easier sold on the weights training road and are generally easier to convince of its merits.

Building muscle is also every beneficial for increasing your metabolic rate. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat so if you have more muscle you, not only do you look better but you also burn more calories than someone with less muscle.

Other benefits include improved bone density, reduced risk of injury and improved strength (why be weak when you can be strong!)

So those are some reasons why should not fear some weights, here are some ways to do it effectively.

1. Warm up.
The purpose of a warm up is to increase your body temperature and increase blood flow, put your limbs through a full range of motion and stimulate muscle fibres for action. This ensure you reduce your likelihood of injury.
A warm up should replicate some of the exercises that will be done during the main exercise. Some dynamic stretches can be used in the warm up to improve mobility and range of motion.

2. Start off gradually.
If you are new to using weights then you will need to start off easy for the first few weeks. Your muscles will not be used to this new stimulus and will need some time to adapt.

3. Practice perfect form
Regardless of whether you are a novice or have been lifting weights a few years, you should never compromise on form. Your technique should always be spot on. There is nothing worse than seeing some young lad trying to impress his buddies by doing bicep curls whilst swinging his back to and fro to help lift the weight. Not only is he failing to work his biceps but he is also risking injury. He may also be failing to put the muscle through a full range of motion meaning only half the muscle is getting worked
If you are new to lifting weights and are not sure of your form, get a trainer who can help you or check out some videos on youtube. You are better off lifting a lighter weight with perfect form than risking an injury by lifting a big weight just to boost your ego.

4. Master your own bodyweight
Can you do full body press ups? Can you hold a plank for 30 seconds? Can you perform a number of body weight squats whilst maintaining a straight back? Can you do a chin up?
If the answer is no, then you need to become better at the basics.
These moves should form the basis of your programme if you are new to resistance training.

5. Balance muscle groups
Some people are vain and do weights to look good. Unfortunately when they look in the mirror, they fail to realise that their poor back needs to be developed too. Therefore many men will have well developed chests and biceps and poorly developed backs. This will cause poor posture with a curved rounded forward tilt because of the excessive pull from their stronger chest muscles.
It is very important to balance muscle groups. If you work your bicep, you must work your tricep. Agonist and antagonist.
When thinking about the arms, it is easier to think about pushing and pulling. Pushing exercises would be press up, bench press, shoulder press and pulling exercises would be chin up and varieties of a row.
With the legs we must try and balance hip dominant (glute and hamstring) exercises such as a dead lift with knee dominant (quads) exercise such as the squat.
If you keep this in mind when working in the gym, you will be less likely to have muscle imbalances and get injured.

6. Write everything down
As you progress, you need to keep a record of how many reps and sets you are completing. This enables you to see if you are actually making any progress or whether you are just doing the same as we did at the start. You should always be trying to beat old times and reps and to constantly improve. Get a notebook and pens and jot down every exercise you do and the volume of exercise.

7. Have a plan
We have all done it…you come to the gym and have a look around. You have a drink of water, you survey the free machines. Eventually you decide to jump on the bike for a few minutes . You then get chatting to some lad you know for 10 minutes and maybe decide to do a few weights, a few reps of this and that. You might check your phone a few times and decide ‘ah feck it, that’ll do me!’ And head off home having done very little.
The moral of the story here is that you must come with a plan. Aim to do certain exercises. Record your sets and reps and know exactly what you plan to do. Otherwise you are only shooting in the dark and it will be impossible to track progress.

8. Eat well
This doesn’t apply in the gym but it would be remiss of me not to mention food. If you are exercising hard your body will need the proper nutrients to refuel and regenerate. You will need sufficient protein to stimulate muscle and tissue growth, carbohydrate and fat to fuel the efforts. You need a vast array to micro nutrients and minerals from fruit and vegetables to preserve and improve health and vitality. Without adhering to a sensible, healthy,nutrition plan, any efforts in the gym not be maximised.

9. Rest and recover
Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Aim to be in bed by 11 and seven hours should be a minimum target. Our muscle and tissues regenerate as we sleep and growth is stimulated during this time. If we neglect sleep, our gym efforts again will suffer as a result.

10. Foam roll and stretch
Over the years our bodies may become used to various positions such as sitting at a computer or driving in the car. Unfortunately these positions tend to create a hunched bent over posture which can be difficult to fix. This causes various muscles such as the hip flexors to tighten up and shorten because of lack of use. We tend to think of a lack of mobility with older people but with many people spending hours everyday in sedentary desk jobs, it is becoming more prevalent issue for people a lot younger.

We should set aside 10-15 minutes every day to foam roll and stretch. This will not only help our ability to do the exercises better but will improve our how we move and perform in our everyday lives.

Check out the link for a guide to foam rolling.


This lassie here you can be sure wasn’t afraid of a few weights!

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Filed under Exercise, weight training