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By Phil Graham

Pain inhibits quality movement.

If you experience pain when you exercise it is important to identify the root cause, report it to a professional and modify exercise activity.

Key Note: The saying ‘no pain, no gain’ is without doubt one of the most foolish mindsets to have when it comes to training the body.

If you want a catalyst for injury and burnout – these four words would be it.

Don’t be DAFT!

If you decide to train on, you’ll encourage the body to find alternative ways and means of moving. Think of this as compensatory movement.

The body shifts stress/load from the intended area and onto other tissues. If repeated it is likely to aggravate the problem and cause secondary movement problems if left unaddressed.

Don’t go there – if it’s sore, stop, rest and do something else.

Train smart.

Injured Man


Poor health can seriously impair your ability to recover and perform. Some illnesses have a greater impact than others.

Exercising whilst suffering from common ailments like the flu or food poisoning will have obvious implications on performance and recovery.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the gym is one of the most unhygienic environments known to man.

You must learn to manage stress and listen to your body’s internal cues to avoid stressing the system even further.

1. Modern Day Posture


Modern day movement patterns are toxic to a hard-training individual.

We sit too much. We spend too much time on computers, phones and tablets.

How many times have you held your hands above your head today? Have you sat more than you’ve stood?

Many of the important muscles involved in strength and total body conditioning become weaker, tighter and inhibited with our modern day lifestyle.

Take sitting for example.

We all sit. It’s inevitable in almost everyone’s daily routine. The problem arises when we sit more than we stand.

Spending eight hours in a chair at work then another three-to-five hours on the sofa at home is not uncommon.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can decease lung capacity, which leads to fatigue, encourage lordosis (when the spine curves inwards on the lower back) and tighten the hip flexors, calves and connective tissue.

All of these reactions can hinder movement quality – when coaching I refer to this as ‘gummed-up’ mobility. It’s exactly how I feel after sitting all day.

A standing desk can be a great way to prevent this and keep the system fresh for training later in the day.

Another issue I see that contributes to poor mobility is excessive use of smartphones.

2. How many times have you checked your phone today?


Relentlessly checking your smartphone every 10 minutes could be the root cause of your neck and shoulder pain as well as impaired performance in the gym.

According to a recent study by marketing agency Tecmark, a person looks at their smartphone on average 221 times a day for a total of 3 hours 16 minutes.

Over a year that’s 1,200 hours spent moving your neck up and down 80,000 times to stare at your phone. This can only get worse as apps and technology evolve.

How many times did you move your neck up and down 10-15 years ago? Nowhere near as much.

And, smartphones were supposed to make life easier?

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