Compound Movements Vs Isolation Movements

A few days ago I explained that I’d stopped doing heavy rack squats, because my quads are pretty big nowadays, and no matter how I change my stance (hip width, wide stance, sumo etc) I cannot get my glutes to fire when squatting.

However, I also talked about wanting to keep squats as a staple of my training because they are such a great compound movement.

At this point I want to talk about the term ‘compound movement’.

When you do resistance training, there are 2 types of exercises you will find yourself doing – Isolation movements and Compound movements.

Isolated Movements see you targeting one specific muscle while the rest of your body stays relatively inactive. Think bicep curls, front and side raises, chest flyes, leg extensions. Most seated weight machines will be isolation movements, but not all, rows and leg press are 2 exceptions to this rule.

Compound Movements see you hitting various muscle groups at the same time while performing the exercise. These movements tend to be the big, dynamic lifts – think squats, deadlifts, pull ups, dips, rows, presses, push ups etc.

Which is right for you?

It totally depends on your goals.

For those who are looking to bulk up and improve specific muscle groups, isolated moves are ideal for you. The big boys are always fans of really targeting specific areas like chest, biceps, shoulders etc, and avoiding stepping anywhere near the aerobic arena.

For those leaning up, compound moves are best. Not only are you hitting a hell of a lot of muscle groups with one hugely dynamic exercise, in doing so you will really get your heart rate up, meaning you are using both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, burning more calories and getting more bang for your buck in terms of your workout.

I stick to compound moves because I enjoy them so much and they are more in line with my training and aesthetic goals. Unless it’s a row, you want catch me sat down on a gym machine.

However, there is absolutely room for both types of training in your set up. Switching up your training and bouncing between the two is only going to benefit your results.

Overhead Squats

I don’t do training videos often because I’m a member of a commercial gym and I don’t want to be disrespectful to them or other members. However, a few days ago I had the pleasure of training in my boyfriend’s at-home-gym, which allowed me to film some of my workout and upload it to Instagram.

The snippets were so well received that I’m going to start filming more for you guys…I mean any work excuse that allows me to stalk a boy and a gym at the same time makes perfect sense to me!

The training I chose to film was a leg /glute day, and today I want to talk in detail about squats…

I was first taught to squat on the Smith Machine by a PT, which is exactly how I recommend you start. This is because when it comes to form, squats really do need perfecting.  Your feet have to be the right distance apart.  Your knees have to come directly above your toes, without inverting.  Your back has to remain straight and upright at all times and you need to get used to the exercise within the stability of the Smith before you move on to an Olympic bar and a squat rack.

After a few weeks on the Smith I did move on to the rack. My first few squats were with the Olympic bar alone and NO added weight whatsoever. I perfected my form and got over the fear of getting it wrong and being embarrassed. I got my ass sat down more than once and still do to this day. Ain’t no shame in perfecting your game, remember that and you will get better, quicker,  for it.

After a few more weeks I began gradually adding weights, and a few months ago I was squatting very heavy with ease. However, I haven’t done standard squat rack squats in months. This is because my quads are pretty big now, and my glutes don’t fire from squatting no matter how I change my stance (hip width, wide stance, sumo etc). But it is SUCH a great compound movement that I still wanted to keep it as a staple of my training, so I went to a qualified Olympic Lifter and got him to teach me how to clean and snatch and overhead squat. I figured if I love it because it’s a compound movement, I may as well hit as many muscles and get my heart rate up as best I can.

I now do 3-4 sets of 15 reps overhead squats, usually working my way up to 30kg with each set.

Overhead squats are GREAT resistance training and hit almost every muscle you got, while giving you that cardio burn. Do not be fooled, big movements like this will have you gasping like you’re sprinting!

Anxiety and Caffeine

Morning Fondues!

Yesterday I posted a picture on Instagram and mentioned that I suffer from bouts of anxiety. I’ve had anxiety on and off since my early twenties and I tackle it with various tools, including exercise. I actually explained on this site quite recently how long breaks from training are not good for me mentally, and that if you struggle with it also I highly recommend getting your butt to the gym.

In the picture I was taking ‘Fire’, my pre workout fat burner, which is very high in caffeine. This promoted a lot of people to ask if caffeine isn’t an anxiety trigger for me, and lucky for me, it’s not.

A third of women in this country suffer from anxiety and or panic attacks and I’m sure for a good chunk of them, caffeine is a no-no. Obviously if you’ve had issues with caffeine in the past I would recommend you stay away from any and all pre workouts, but if you can’t directly link caffeine to your anxiety, you should be absolutely fine.

I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again now; training changed me more mentally than it did physically. It gave me a goal, a structure, discipline, focus and a methodical challenge. If you suffer from any kind of mental illness I really cannot recommend it enough.

If you want to start training but don’t know how, take a look at 12 week diet and exercise download at the top of the page.

Fitness Fondue Supplement Range

Today is the day Fitness Fondue launches its supplement range and I want to talk you through the products so you can decipher whether any of them are right for you.

First of all, I am at pains to express that NO supplements should replace any part of a healthy diet that is in line with your aesthetic or training goals. Supplements are there to SUPPLEMENT your diet and in this case, with these specific products, to aid your training and eventual aesthetic results.

Secondly, supps are NOT magic pills. A fat loss pill won’t shed your fat overnight and a protein shake won’t magically grow your muscles after a week of consumption. It does not work like that.

However, if you train often and your diet is on point, they can absolutely aid your results in terms of time lines and aesthetics.

Every supplement listed on this site I have been trailing for months now and have responded extremely well to. Every single supplement I have chosen is now part and parcel of my daily diet.

FIRE – Fire is a pre workout and fat burner. The reason these 2 go hand in hand is because this specific product is high in caffeine and other ingredients that will fuel your training, increase your metabolic rate and push your body to burn more calories as you workout and throughout the day thereafter.

REPLENISH – Replenish is a BCAA, a branch chain amino acid, aka a protein. This product should be taken pre or post training to feed your muscle and ensure you don’t go into a catabolic (muscle eating) state, ensuring you will burn into fat and glycogen stores and keep your muscle in tact. I take this before every workout.

RECOVERY – Recovery is our portable protein powder, just add milk or water, shake and go. It’s extremely low in carbs, fats and calories, making it ideal if you’re trying to lean up. I drink this or cook with it daily in my pre or post workout meal. It’s a great snack as well and tastes like top quality chocolate milk, which for those of us who have cut sugar, is an absolute life saver. I suggest you buy the x12 bundle as because of the size of the bottle, the postage and packaging is quite high on this product, and you want to get more bang for your buck.

HEALTH – Health is our multivitamin which was my newest addition to the mix. I was getting ill consistently and as soon as I started taking it, my immune system started to sort itself out, so I added it into the mix. I suggest you take one with lunch daily like I do.

If you have any questions at all about supplements please don’t hesitate to email us, the Fondues that do know I always get back within 48hours and am happy to help and advise.


Well, this is quite literally a dream come true for me.

Almost a year ago now I started looking into creating my own supplement range.
Perhaps rather foolishly I assumed I’d be able to work with some brainiacs and create what I wanted from scratch, but quickly discovered that would be running before I could walk…more like flying before I could crawl to be honest!

So, instead, I started to wade through the supplements that were already out there, choosing which ones to trial based on the ingredients I already look for and agree with.
I eventually found a company that I was in line with in terms of what they used in their products and what I believe work well for me, and then I set about convincing them to let me buy some of their stock, play around with it, and get it out there for my Fondues who are always asking me about what supplements I take and why.

So here we are…

Next Tuesday November 10th I will be releasing my Fitness Fondue supplement range, sold here.

The range consists of a multivitamin ‘Health’ , a pre workout and fat burner ‘Fire’ , a BCAA ‘Replenish’ and a protein powder ‘Recovery’.

The multivitamin is something I take every morning with breakfast. I train a lot and I need my immune system firing top notch, so they are a necessity for me.

Fire is my fat burner and pre workout , every ingredient in the mix is designed to boost your workout and get your metabolism firing like crazy so not only do you burn more calories , but more fat too.

Replenish is a BCAA – a branch chain amino acid to be taken pre or post training to ensure you hold on to as much muscle as possible, especially if you’re doing cardio and or are in a calorie deficit.

Recovery is a chocolate protein powder to drink or cook with post workout to ensure your torn muscle is in recovery.

There is no magic pill, no quick fix, but if you train properly, the right supps will give you an edge and a push.

Launching Tuesday 10th November

Macros / IIFYM

I get a lot of emails from people who want to know more about macros and whether or not tracking them is pivotal for body transformation. The simple answer to this is NO, not initially, but eventually, it is something you will benefit from hugely, yes.

I want to talk you through macros step by step so you can understand what they are, why they are important and whether or not you need to be tracking them yet:


Macronutrients  are the nutrients our bodies need in order to function and stay healthy. Technically there are 2 – complete proteins and essential fatty acids – but carbohydrates are so important and so full of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, fibre etc) that we count them too.

So there are 3 macros: complete proteins (not things like veg and nuts which are incomplete proteins our bodies already make in spades, think more dead animals, sorry), essential fatty acids (omegas) and carbohydrates (fruit, veg and starches).


First and foremost, clean up your diet. If you cut out refined sugars (chocolate, pastries, sweets, sodas etc) and trans fats (processed foods, junk food, takeaways etc) your body is going to be able to use your food intake as FUEL instead of storing it as FAT. Not to mention how much healthier you are going to be, look and feel.

After you’ve gotten used to a clean and healthy diet, and it does take some getting used to, you need to get your calorie count right. Any kind of aesthetic transformation comes down to energy input (calories from food) VS energy output (movement and exercise). IT’S THAT SIMPLE!

Everybody has  basal metabolic rate, this is the amount of calories your body needs to survive and function in day to day life. If you train, you obviously need to add to this count if you want to maintain your aesthetic physique. If you want to lose, you obviously need to make sure you are hitting your BMR number but that you are not in a calorie surplus so training has the desired effect. If you want to gain, you need to make sure you hit your BMR number and are in a calorie surplus so your muscles are fed and up to the task of growing. TO FIND OUT YOUR BMR NUMBER USE THE HARRIS BENEDICT EQUATION.

Once your calorie count is where you need to be, you can start thinking about your macronutrients: so do you have a BALANCED diet of fats, proteins and carbs? And do you know when and why to eat the above?


Mr Smith wants to gain some muscle, so he gets his BMR sorted and adds enough calories to fuel his training and ensure muscle growth. He will then download My Fitness Pal (as there really is no better way to track macros) and split his calorie count into the 3 macro %s. For example 40% protein, 50% carbohydrates, 10% fats.

There are ways of determining EXACTLY how many grams of each macro your body needs daily, according to each 1lb of your bodyweight. To be honest I have never had to do this, but if your goal is to compete, I suggest you do.

At the end of the day how you split your %s is completely up to you and dependent on your goals, but it will take some time and trial and error to figure out what works best for your body. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

You MUST ALWAYS have a % of all 3, so please don’t think you’re being clever by cutting out fats or carbs, that really is NOT the point and you’ve got it all wrong if you thing that’s what tracking macros is all about.

Remember that complete protein aids the repair of torn muscle tissue, so it’s a good idea to fuel up on it pre and post training.

Remember that starchy carbs convert to glycogen in the muscle, fuelling it, so again it is a good idea to have them pre and post training.

Remember that fats regulate our hormones and aid the break down of adipose (fatty) tissue, but they are high in calories, so have eggs, avocado or nuts in moderation, somewhere in your daily diet.

Be patient. My Fitness Pal is a schlog initially but it does become second nature eventually. I promise.


Hello Fondues!

After my last update which was 10 days ago now, I have found it really difficult to stay consistent in the gym and with my diet. This happens to everyone sometimes, so please don’t feel like a failure if you experience it too, it’s just about pressing on and continuing to try, eventually you will pull through and get going again.

I have been ill on and off for a couple of weeks now, which is a nightmare and has left me feeling a bit helpless. I’ll go to the gym one day and fight through, actually training pretty hard because my diet hasn’t been so strict lately and I always reap the benefits of that in the gym. But then the next day I’ll wake up feeling like crap and even though I often drag myself to a workout anyway, I will leave half way through training when I know my body doesn’t want to play ball.

I always say to people, if you’re ill, don’t worry about training. By all means try, but it’s not a great idea and if you need rest, rest. However, if your diet is clean and healthy, it’s a good idea to stick to it through your poorly spell, and if you do so you will do minimal damage, if any at all.

This can be a hard balance to strike for us all or nothing types. I know when a training day doesn’t go the way I planned or wanted it to, I will often throw in the towel and go home and eat toast or whatever else is in the house that requires minimal effort. This is stupid and annoying and I am trying to sort it out, so if you can learn from my mistake, do!

What’s really interesting, though, is how my mood changes. I have often said before on this site and in interviews that I am quite an anxious person. Depression runs in my family and even though it’s a bullet that I’ve managed to dodge thus far, I am definitely prone to panic attacks and generally feeling negative.

Every time I take a break from training that lasts longer than a week or so, my mood and general thought process start to shift on me. I go from feeling focused and happy, to anxious and somewhat helpless.

It reminds me why I became so passionate about health and fitness in the first place – because it changed me for the better. When I first started training and had a goal, it focused me and gave me a structure. I had to stay strong and keep my eyes on the prize, and it worked wonders for me mentally. I stopped having panic attacks, my anxiety disappeared and I became, dare I say it, a positive person. Something about having a path to follow and a reason for following it, and the eventual visible rewards and  feelings of achievement, bled into my every day mentality and thought process.

So I am trying now to really get back into the swing of things, not for my body, but for my noggin. If you can relate to any of this, I urge you to keep trying, and push for consistency, because it does more for your body than just the physical.


Sleep Study

I recently took part in the Bensons for Beds and Sleep School Sports Experiment, and although I can’t say I’m surprised by the overall results, I am thrilled that my obsession with and prioritising of sleep is finally founded!


I took part in various tests that monitored my reaction time, strength, pain threshold, sprint speed and endurance levels.

The first set of tests were done after 1 week of 7 hours sleep.

The second set were done after 1 week of 9 hours sleep.


It is fair to say that I saw improvements in every single experiment after a full week of 9 hours kip, most astronomically the pain threshold test, which I found fascinating.

When I first placed my hand in an ice bucket after week 1, I honestly wanted to punch someone. It was aggravating, annoying, painful and really tested my patience. I was not in a very good mood that morning, and couldn’t deal with the stupid challenge, so I held on for 92 seconds and then irritated, I gave up.

The second time I did this challenge I was really enjoying my morning. I felt strong, happy and well rested. I thought I’d maybe double my time if I concentrated hard enough, but as it turned out, I held on for an amazing 420 seconds.

It was all about my mental strength as it turned out, and it was significantly better once I was rested.


As someone who trains daily, I’ve always known how important sleep and rest are to the recovery of muscle tissue and development, so I wasn’t surprised that my strength test of an Olympic deadlift was 5kg heavier in week 2.

However, I definitely underestimated sleep’s effect on my mentality, and this amazing experiment showed me what a significant effect rest has on self confidence, patience and emotion.

To read more about the study check out the Bensons for Beds website


Last Monday I was in pretty good nick. Not quite my best, but far from my worst.

I had been training hard, hitting cardio and weights daily, alongside a spotless diet for 4 weeks solid. No cheats, no rest days, just hard ass work and commitment to the cause…aka my abs!

Because I have been training for nearly 3 years now and my knowledge is the best it’s ever been, I’m never really 5 weeks away from my goal aesthetic and weight. This in itself is a dream come true, and although I wasn’t quite as lean as I have been in the past, I am actually more comfortable and happy with my body lately than I ever have been.

Some of you may have been reading my OK!Fit blog, in which I mention what my holidays are like in terms of diet and training. I always go into time off with good intentions. Of course I want to keep my abs and I genuinely do love training every day. However, a buffet is a buffet and a sunbed is a sunbed and I am human! As is always the way, I was great day 1, but by day 2 I had been attacked by a pastry chef and a cocktail maker, both lulling me into a pretty consistent horizontal position for the entirety of my holiday.

Sometimes I do actually manage to keep training and eating well on holiday, although alcohol is always a staple. But lately, I have been enjoying my breaks as much as I enjoy my hard earned results, and I don’t feel an iota guilty for it.

I am a big believer that time off and time away – be it from work, people, general thinking, dieting and or training – is just as essential to progress and ironically, to consistency, as continuity is. You have to know when to switch things up, when to breathe, and when to allow yourself a little leeway.

There are some people out there who live, eat and breathe health and fitness every day, week, month, year of their lives, and that to me is astounding. I am not wired that way – I need chocolate and wine and rest sometimes.

As it happened, the second I started resting my body is the second it started to break on me – a sure sign that it was ready to stop. It started with cramps in my calves, which I had to stretch out in public in order to keep walking, which was a little mortifying because calf stretches are beyond obnoxious. Then it moved up into my quads, and before I knew it I had pulled my hip flexor and even if I wanted to train there was no way I could have.

Once all the cramping had subsided I got tonsillitis, which is now a cold to boot.

I started training again this morning as I have 2 more shoots come November / December, and to be honest the last few days have been uncomfortable for me, I am ready to go again now.

Just a little side note that I’ve teamed up with Groupon this week, and I have designed a FREE 20 minute workout download on their site. Check it out if you don’t have a gym membership, or need to look after the little runts, you can do the circuit at home and or at work if you like.

Weight Lifting

Before I started training and eating properly, I was never bigger than a big size 10.

I always liked my body, I was always body confident, but if you had given me the tools to change it, I absolutely would have. Why? Because it’s fun. For me, personally, I think what I do is fun. I get a lot of heat for it and I go blue in the face trying to explain myself so often, but the bottom line? It’s fascinating to me.

The picture on the left was taken a few months before I knew the first thing about nutrition and training. I would run 3-4 days a week for up to an hour. I would cut out carbs for weeks at a time before a holiday, and I had never even thought about changing my body properly. How could I when I had NO concept of how to?

The picture on the right was taken nearly 3 years into my training, after 4 weeks of ‘cutting’. I am not always that lean, I like to take little breaks that allow me to eat cake and drink wine which will obliterate my abs in a matter of days, but that’s what I can do when I get my consistency on.

The funny thing is, the left pic is all cardio and Atkins, the right is lots of weight lifting, a little cardio and actually understanding food.

I want to write a little bit about how to weight lift for your goals, but first I do actually need to address cardio…

Cardio should be added to a weight lifting programme to A, keep you fit and healthy and B, keep you somewhat lean.

If you are looking to gain muscle, I would say 20 minutes of HIIT or LISS twice a week is fine, ideally as fasted cardio so you can separate it wholly from your muscle building routine.

If you are looking to get lean, cardio should be an almost daily occurrence, 20-40 minutes of HIIT or LISS, again ideally fasted so you can separate it wholly from your muscle building routine.

If you are looking to gain muscle, you should still eat clean and healthy. Protein and veg should still be your staples, but starchy carbs can also play a frequent role in your meals. Portion control is less important.

If you are looking to get lean, protein and veg is going to get you there. Starchy carbs should be timed around workouts only. Portion control is pivotal to keep calories in check.

Now let’s talk about lifting…

1. ENDURANCE – Endurance is high sets and high reps, so think 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps per exercise. It’s going to get your muscles working and if you have short rest periods between sets, can be a great form of lifting in a cutting programme. However, you still need to be exhausting the muscle by the last few reps if you want this form of training to have any impact whatsoever. Those handbag weights can be left at the door…or in the rehab centre where they belong.

2. HYPERTROPHY – All hail hypertrophy. Unless one of my muscle groups is seriously outgrowing another, Hypertrophy is my Mecca. Hypertrophy is hitting 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per exercise, going as heavy as you can so you exhaust the muscle by the last couple reps. Hypertrophy is going to tear your muscle, forcing it to grow, and is responsible for those glorious DOMS.

3. STRENGTH – Strength training is good for those who have hit a plateau in their muscular growth. Think 1-2 sets of 1-2 reps, going all out, as heavy as you possibly can. It’s great to apply strength to an exercise that you can’t seem to increase your weight on, or a body part that is refusing to grow, in the hope that once you return to hypertrophy, you can increase your previous weight or reps and get that muscle firing again.

Lifting is a 5-6 day a week occurrence for me, training a different body part each day (legs, back, abs, upper body), stubborn areas twice a week. Not only is it MUCH more entertaining than cardio, but it has a HUGE impact on your hormones, metabolic rate, body composition and eventual aesthetic results.

If you’re scared of weight lifting but want to change your body, it’s time to face the music and pick up a bar.