The Do’s and Don’ts of Hydration


Ensuring that your fluid intake is sufficient and comes from the right sources is an integral component of having a complete and healthy diet.  Whilst this may seem like an obvious fact, it is one that is lost on so many fitness enthusiasts who view their hydration as being separate from their diet plan – it’s not!

Of course it’s essential to focus on eating the right foods that will support your body in carrying out its intrinsical functions but focusing on hydrating your body through the right sources is just as important. Most people don’t consume enough fluids or/and get their fluids from beverages that are more detrimental than helpful to their body.

So let’s lay it out in black and white, what should you do and what shouldn’t you do with regards to fluid consumption?

DO – Drink Ample Amounts of Fresh Water Every Day

Gimmicky detox drinks are a dime a dozen these days but the fact of the matter is, nothing is better for your body than water. 8-10 cups a day is generally recommended although there’s no need to be overly dogmatic and it is important to remember that fluids and vegetables (which of course you should also be consuming an ample amount of every day) along with herbal teas and broth-based soups count towards your daily water intake so be sure to factor them in.

DON’T – Consume Commercially Prepared Smoothies

On the face of it, commercially prepared smoothies may seem healthy providing a variety of fruits; helping you towards your five-a-day not to mention giving a good dose of dairy. However, what they also contain is a high amount of calories and an excessive amount of sugar.

This doesn’t mean you have to cut out smoothies altogether if they are something you enjoy however, if you are going to have them, prepare it yourself. By doing so is that you can be sure exactly what’s going into it and use lower calorie, healthy ingredients, something you’re unlikely to find in commercially prepared smoothies which are often loaded with high-fat yoghurt or ice cream.

DO – Drink more whilst exercising

Whenever you sweat profusely, you lose water considerably faster than usual. This lost water needs to be replaced therefore whenever you’re doing intense exercise, it is important to increase your fluid intake.

As a rule of thumb, you should aim to drink one cup of water before exercise and then one additional cup for every 15-20 minutes of exercise that you do. If you happen to be exercising outside in a warm climate, you’ll want to nearly double this as the increased temperature will lead to increased perspiration during exercise.

DON’T – Rely on sports drinks

Most sports drinks are loaded with sugar and excessive calories that you don’t need. The main purpose of sports drinks is to replace electrolytes lost during exercise however, unless you are partaking in an endurance-based event, water will serve that purpose just fine.

If you are partaking in an event of this nature or doing a particularly long gym workout, then it would be appropriate to use a sports drink however, watch the sugar content.

DO – Count Calories of Any Liquids Consumed

Ideally, with the exception of home-made smoothies/shakes, one should avoid almost all beverages that contain calories. This may seem excessive however, the problem with beverages that contain calories is that most people will not consume less food after drinking them, so those calories simply get added onto their daily calorie intake, exceeding their targeted daily intake. This of course leads to unwanted weight gain. Calories consumed through food are significantly more satiating than those consumed through fluids, which is why sticking to water is a smart move.

DON’T – Drink Fruit Juice

What about fruit juices? Aren’t they healthy? This is a common misconception. Many people see fruit juice as a healthy option since it’s made with fruit but the problem with fruit juices is that they also contain excessively high amounts of sugar and as such, will spike blood glucose levels rapidly. This can in turn lead to unwanted weight gain and could even set you up for insulin resistance and diabetes. This is why you’re considerably better off getting your fruit intake from whole fruit and not fruit juices.

DO – Add Lemon/Lime to Your Water

If you find water more boring than refreshing and struggle to consume multiple glasses on a daily basis, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to that glass. Not only will this will add a nice hint of flavor, but both of these fruits are also great for detoxification purposes. Moreover, they won’t add any calories or sugar to the water, making it a perfect, low calorie choice to help you meet your hydration needs.

DON’T – Drink Diet Soda

Whilst diet beverages contain very few or in some cases no calories and are free from sugar, you still do not want to be consuming them on a regular basis. Why? Diet beverages contain a high amount of artificial ingredients including sweeteners and other additives which can over time, lead to side effects such as headaches and bloating and have even been linked with reduced bone density in some studies. It is not necessary to cut them out altogether just limit yourself to the occasional treat if you feel you have to have them.

Following these simple guidelines will help you to keep your fluid intake on track and leave you feeling considerably healthier as a result.

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Comfort Food – Friend or Foe? by Matt Kelly


We’re a funny bunch us people. We lament the shape we’re in… and we attribute positive feelings to the foods which lead us to to be unhappy about the shape we’re in… weird….

I am firmly of the opinion that as soon as you can see through the complete fallacy that eating certain food types and groups makes you ‘happy’ or ‘feel better’, you are somewhat on the road to success. Most people have some form of abstract reasoning when it comes to happiness, it’s more than a series of chemical responses, triggered by neuro transmitters – right?

So why do we bury our heads in the sand and so readily rely on chocolate or alcohol or whatever it may be to make us feel ‘happy’ when we all know it’s just a temporary chemical state!?

Being content with your own body and the work it might take to get there has a much greater permanence to it than being content because you’re full of fast food or sugar. Remember this FACT next time you feel like you NEED something which isn’t ideal for your cause!



Matt Kelly – Personal Trainer


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Food Labeling – A Dog Eat Dog World by Matt Kelly


Oh pistachio-nut-man, is the net weight inclusive of the shells or not? And if so, what is the net weight of the actual nuts?

I’m not a big macros guy. I like to try and balance blood sugar and have my clients aim to have a nutritionally dense diet first and foremost, then a rough idea of caloric intake and macro break downs – I believe this to be a much more sustainable way of living and one which will hopefully stop development of unhealthy relationships with food.

Having said that, you need to read your labels and understand what you’re having – whether you aim for a rough number of calories with a 200 calorie margin for error, or you have 1874 calories religiously etc.

Some guidelines I’ve heard in the past are not to eat any foods that have more than 8 ingredients, or if it has multiple ingredients you’ve never heard of or are mostly comprised of numbers – Steer clear.

I personally believe in taking each food on a case by case basis, you cant live by such a simple rule.

That being said, this level of general awareness is highly recommendable. If you’re not checking your labels when you shop it’s reflective of a lack of interest in your health, and you can have the best trainer in the world but if you don’t independently consider your health, well being and what’s going into your body, it’s going to be hard to change your lifestyle long term.

Unfortunately the vast majority of food companies want your money, not your friendship, they don’t have your back, so you better have your own!



Matt Kelly – Personal Trainer


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Why Paleo is the Way to Go


The growth in popularity of the Paleo diet (also commonly referred to as the ‘caveman diet’) has been one of the most prominent nutrition trends in recent years with millions of people across the globe switching to this diet every year. So what is it about the Paleo diet that has seen it achieve such widespread popularity? Making such a drastic lifestyle change is ultimately done in order achieve a long-term goal and whether your goal is aesthetic-based or functional-based, the Paleo diet can help you achieve it. Listed below are some of the most common reasons people turn to the Paleo diet:

  • Lose weight (in 2013, the Paleo diet was Google’s most searched for weight-loss method)
  • Gain muscle
  • Improve digestion
  • Feel younger
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Have more energy
  • Lower blood glucose
  • Reverse diabetes
  • Eliminate the need for prescription medications

It is important to realize that in order for a lifestyle change to work you need to make it work for YOU. Finding the best way to integrate the Paleo diet into your life so that it still fits in with your life and your personality is integral. This will allow you to sustain this lifestyle change long-term and not fall off the tracks in the early stages. Actively participate in the process, evaluating your progress along the way.

Organic Products – Does it Pay to Spend The Extra Bucks? by Matt Kelly


Are there benefits of organic produce over those which are not oversold? It is a resounding NO from me personally… Do you have to eat exclusively organic produce to maximize your health or training goal, certainly not, but it will help you massively in achieving your goals.

Organic is an expense of course, a worthwhile one, but an expense nonetheless. If you have a budget that can’t facilitate a lot of organic items I would advise you to attempt to get as much of your fat intake from organic sources over other products. Why? Health risks from heart disease to cancer are increased by, and arguably widely caused by fat intake imbalance in our diet.

Meat, nuts, oils etc. which are produced poorly will invariably contain a greater degree of omega 6, contributing to this imbalance in the diet. Organic meats, nuts, avocados, oils etc. will contain a better balance of fats and less harmful additives and contaminants then their overproduced counterparts. That’s not to say there isn’t a massive advantage to organic vegetables etc. but if budgetary concerns are the issue then make sure the fats you consume are quality ones, preferably organic ones in order to stay healthy, lean and energetic!



Matt Kelly – Personal trainer


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Exercising Your Perspective by Matt Kelly


Check out Bruce Wayne in the depths of depression after being on the session all bank holiday weekend! If there’s one thing I would like you all to remember after what was perhaps a similarly debaucherous bank holiday weekend, it is the phrase – ‘Perception is reality’

A lot of you out there probably drank a little, or a lottle… You may have eaten excessively or sub optimally for your current goals… You may have done a lot of regrettable things either linked, or not necessarily linked to your health and well being! But no matter what you did or didn’t do, what you do next is completely in your hands…

You can sit there and feel guilty, unmotivated, defeated even… But all those things you ate, drank or did,are in the past now, and you cannot change them, it’s time to focus on the day ahead, the next workout, meal etc.

A habit synonymous with success is the ability to live in the moment and not rehash the past – And oh ye, by the way, did you forget all that drinking and eating was intended to make you HAPPY? Now you are just affiliating what was theoretically enjoyable exploits with negative emotions like guilt and helplessness, way to ruin your own buzz!

Something simple to always remind yourself of is the fact you are in control. Clients often come to me and say they feel out of control, usually relating to food. The great irony is that the one thing you almost always have is control – I hope everything you did over the weekend you did with free will, otherwise I suggest you contact the proper authorities!

So… Why ‘perception is reality’… Well, to put a bit of a personal spin on things for a moment… I went out and had a few drinks over the weekend, I ate some things I wouldn’t normally, my stomach doesn’t feel the best, I have some middling levels of ‘the fear’.

This weekend coincided well for me personally as I am starting a new training cycle today, and I had the chance to go out with an athlete friend of mine who is one of my best friends, but we rarely get the chance to have a few drinks together.

Do I feel guilty – NO – I DECIDED to do that, it was 100% my CHOICE, and I can live with any consequences just fine thanks. An attitude of guilt presumes a completely negative connotation to your actions – so not only do I not see this weekend as a set back despite my sub optimal behavior, I CHOOSE to see it as renewed motivation.
You can choose to be guilty… You can choose to be refocused
You can choose to be defeated… Or you can choose to be refreshed and renewed
You can choose to be lazy… Or you can choose to see motivation off the back of indulgence.

Perception is reality. AND you are in control. Stop thinking 500 meals ahead, sure fitness goals are long term, but all that matters now is that next meal, that next workout, and the next decision you make that will impact that goal.
If you can show restraint for the sake of this desired goal (this is important for this kind of attitude to work!) then periodically having controlled ‘break outs’ or deviations from the path, you can, and should, use these deviations as renewed vigor e.g. – ‘I had a great weekend, I got to have a few drinks and eat some tasty stuff, I am not set back that far by one day – sure how could I be!? Oh well onto the next meal and workout’
You can think like that and always be on course to your goal despite periodic sub optimal days, or you can lock yourself in the dark and give up.
The point is to exercise a little perspective, balance, and turn all that emotional energy into something positive!
Why do we fall Master Wayne…?



Matt Kelly – Personal Trainer


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Fad Diets – A Short Term Fix or a Long Term Problem? by Matt Kelly


I can honestly say, I would rather people do things the right way, and not lose any weight, than do them the wrong way and lose. The former will yield issues, but I have confidence in my methodology, and I will never resort to irresponsibility, or clearly questionable methods. Having said this, here are some questions that you really need to ask yourself about these ‘diets’ (juice/aloe/fad/clean this and that etc.) that are cropping up….

– If they really care about your health, then why are they so outrageously and shamelessly predominantly pushed in the new year when people are most emotionally susceptible/vulnerable? (I for one, shamelessly self promote all year!)

– Fuck your ‘diet’ anyway, get a sustainable lifestyle, what is the plan/goal long term…. Do you want to lose 7 pounds in a few days, or actually be healthy and happy long term.. Think about it…

– When has a juice diet or a ‘eat sachets of aloe vera’ diet that you have seen, ever given any mild allusion or reference to a long term, follow-on solution….

– If this no calorie, no protein, starvation, metabolically scrambling ‘diet’ is so good, why can we only exist on it for a certain amount of days?

– If such an effective quick fix existed, I would not be in business.

I am going to presume the majority of you are discerning human beings, and at this point are at least experiencing a mild arousal of your suspicions. It’s cause this shit doesn’t work….

‘But I lost ten pounds in a week’ – Shut your face, I am sure you did. Ever heard of muscle glycogen? Well, strangely enough, energy isn’t stored in your muscles like small lightning bolts that your body shoots around your body as needed. That energy is stored in your muscles, when you deplete it, you will invariably lose a good few pounds – The more overweight you are, the more this will be! You have also starved your body, which in turn ramped up stress hormone massively, which in turn caused your body to enter a catabolic state which led to it eating up your muscle mass.

But hey, you lost ten pounds… It’s not like your metabolism is damaged or anything… Oh no wait, that’s right, you just spent the last two weeks eating about 400 calories every day, I wonder what’s gonna happen when you go back to your usual 2,000. Your detox won’t save you then…

The fact is, people are repeatedly disrespectful of their body’s intelligence. They resent it, hold their belly fat in their hands, and curse their ‘genetics’ etc far too often. Your body is on your side, if you are fat, it is almost invariably because you have not reciprocated this friendship. Your body is the friend trying to tell you your girlfriend or boyfriend is cheating on you, and you just think they are some asshole – The point is, the signs are always there.

When you consume one quarter of the calories you normally do, your body is going to adjust, you may perceive ‘oooh, upper middle class juice detox – super!’ – Your body perceives ‘In the jungle like John Rambo, let’s stay alive’.

So your metabolism slows, then you eat normally again, but your metabolism is slower so… You are going to have to do something with those excess calories, and that thing is carry them around.

Not to mention the endless problems with eating such a high fructose diet, fruit – inherently designed to inhibit fat metabolism for countless centuries…. While we’re at it, how about removing all the fiber by juicing it, and thus increasing the insulin (storage) response from that already sugar laden drink you’re having. You’re removing one of the few good parts!! If you want to heal your intestines, gut bacteria, digestion etc. I am all for it, have your aloe vera, but eat food too. Wanna detox? Drink loads of green tea, sugar free Nutribullet style green drinks, magnesium, b vitamins, probiotics…. But, eat food too.

Stop smashing your metabolism to bits by trying to find a quick fix. Your body and your digestion probably do have issues, which need real sustainable solutions. Ones that shouldn’t involve starvation, metabolic damage, and a sickening amount of commercialism, fueling an irresponsible and dangerous culture of fad dieting which discredits the responsible, passionate and informed members of the health and fitness industry. Stop being fooled, you are not that stupid.

…And if anyone wants to suggest it made them feel great, or did them wonders, more power to you, but science doesn’t lie my friend.



Matt Kelly – Personal trainer


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The Truth About Fat by Matt Kelly


Misplaced focus leads to a lot of misled dietary practices. We constantly seek out the things we ‘shouldn’t’ be eating rather than what nutrient dense foods we need to be healthy, functional and which facilitate us to continue to move towards our goals. There always are, and always will be, fads, the widespread desire for a simple solution that is widely applicable has fueled a number of ‘eras’ or dietary trends which have come and gone… But the broader issue with any fad approach, even after it has been widely discredited, is that the notions behind it still hold some power over the masses.

Think of the ‘low calorie’ era, its popularity (mostly) behind us… But how many personal trainers will tell you they regularly encounter female clients extremely hesitant to eat calorie dense foods without fully understanding the different effects and necessity of certain macro nutrients. Similarly, the low fat dieting fad,  MOSTLY removed from popular practice, still fuels an irrational fear of fats, and an ignorance of just how important having the right types of fat in your diet is for everything from body composition to general health.

Maybe fat is actively avoided less at this particular time, but it’s dietary importance is either misjudged, or disregarded. Perhaps this is understandable, because quite simply, it has the same name as the very thing we are trying to rid ourselves of on our body!

Reduction of carbohydrates, is an effective, and often necessary tool for fat loss for those who have abused them  It allows the body to rest the systems which assimilate ‘carbs’, once again allowing these systems to become properly functional, and efficiently utilizing carbohydrate or glucose as a fuel source. This can be a slow progressive process depending on a myriad of factors, so you need fuel in the mean time – fat!

Dropping out carbs can be a solution for many, but those calories needs replacing to keep the fires of the metabolism stoked. Healthy fats such as avocados, olives, coconut oil, fats from high quality meats, oily fish and some limited portions of nuts are the ideal sorts of fat to eat regularly, especially on a lower carbohydrate plan. Carbohydrate reduction should not mean drastic calorie reduction, replace what you remove!

But fat isn’t merely an energy source, it plays a vital role in the very structure of our cells. Every one of our cells is surrounded by a lipid bilayer – what’s that you say? Two layers of fat which control the cells permeability, the movement of nutrients and essential items through the cell wall into the cell. Intake of healthy fat allows for more ‘sensitive’ cells which function better to absorb and utilize essential nutrients. Want better functioning cells? You should if you want to get lean, or gain lean mass. Both require a turn over of nutrients, and this starts at the cell wall…. and both require dietary fat!

Putting aside body composition goals, too often it is forgotten how the right sources of fat are essential for general health. Many have heard of the health benefits of omega 3 fat, yet most of us would be doing well to intake 1 to 2 grams per day, for all that many put the intake which our neolithic bretheren had at up to 40 grams per day (!!)

Modern food production methodology has led to an increase in the consumption of unhealthy fats, and an excess of omega 6 fat specifically. This imbalance in fat intake between the good 3’s and the 6’s (which are not inherently bad, but just consumed in excess!) Those consuming highly imbalanced levels of omega 6 to omega 3, will not only struggle greatly with fat loss, have poorer cellular function but will also live in a much more inflamed, acidic state. In doing so, they are compromising not only the health of the invaluable vascular system, but bones, organs, joints, connective tissue, as well as production of ‘stubborn’ fat sites, and a general drain on well being, energy and long term health. Translation – eat your fat and supplement with high quality fish oil for health!

The correct dietary balance of fats can contribute to curtailing the inflammation process, this can be bolstered by a diet high in vegetables, leafy greens like spinach, rocket, cabbage or kale. Good levels of hydration from quality water, with added lime or lemon juice, along with cups of green tea, supplementing with curcumin, vitamin c as well as the essential mineral magnesium all have been shown to be extremly practical ways to lower inflammation greatly!

Fat is even an essential component in hormonal production. If we take it that a great deal of health problems, as well as fat loss issues are rooted at a hormonal level, is it not fair to presume fat is an essential macronutrient in remaining healthy and lean? Steroid hormones, such as cortisol and the sex hormones, are all synthesized from cholesterol (another old villified friend!) – which is of course a fat! Hormonal balance is a prerequisite in optimizing health – it is the same reason we limit carbohydrate intake so often, to restore balance by resting an over stimulated hormonal process/system. Optimizing sex hormones will contribute positively to any fitness goal, lean mass gains, fat loss, general health… even if you want to get pregnant obviously! So give your body the fat it needs for these essential processes.

So…next time you have a relic of a thought influenced by the misinformation of the low fat era, remember, you need fat. You need fat to stimulate metabolism, as a fuel source, to produce healthy and efficient cells, as well as an optimally hormonally functional system. You need the right types of fat to lower inflammation, to optimize health and to feel better and best meet your goals.



Matt Kelly – Personal trainer


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