Spartan 70: 10 Week Boot Camp Transformation Programme

Louise Taylor (side) week 1 & week 10
Louise Taylor (front) week 1 & week 10


18 lbs (1 stone 4 lbs) – the equivalent to the average car tyre or a 40″ flat screen TV!!


* week 1: 141/89 (hypertensive)
* week 10: 109/82 (ideal range)

* week 1: 37
* week 10: 34



* week 1: L 3.7
* week 10: L 5.3


Claire Jack (side) Week 1 & 10

Claire Jack (front) Week 1 & 10


17 lbs (1 stone 3 lbs) – the equivalent to 2 gallons of paint or 3 bricks


* week 1: 122/78
* week 10: 111/73


* week 1: 28
* week 10: 25


* week 1: L 5.6
* week 10: L 6.5


Shona Calder (side) Week 1 & Week 10


9 lbs – the equivalent to a large watermelon!!


* week 1: 150/93 (hypertensive)
* week 10: 136/87 (almost ideal range)

* week 1: 29
* week 10: 27



* week 1: L 6.4
* week 10: L 7.8


Donna Harvie (side) Week 1 & Week 10


15.5 lbs (1 stone 1.5 lbs) – the equivalent to a medium sized bowling ball + an average sized table lamp


* week 1: 127/76 (ideal range)
* week 10: 124/68 (ideal range)

* week 1: 25.5
* week 10: 23



* week 1: L 7.4
* week 10: L 8.6


Anika Watkins (side) Week 1 & Week 10


12.5 lbs – the equivalent to 4.5 human brains or 6L of water


* week 1: 129/76
* week 10: 109/70


* week 1: 25
* week 10: 22


* week 1: L 7.1
* week 10: L 8.3


The Hero & The Coward

“I’ll walk right into hell

To face my beast within,

To live my life a coward

Would mean to live in sin”



THROUGHOUT MY CHILDHOOD and adolescence, I was persistently overwhelmed by feelings of fear. I avoided anything that challenged me or caused me to step out of my comfort zone because I was ignorant of my body’s natural response to unfamiliar situations. I feared change, rejection, being alone, intimacy, making wrong choices, public speaking, failure, even success; the list goes on. Most of all I WAS AFRAID OF CONFRONTATION.


These feelings were so intense, I was at times paralysed by them, unable to think or act. My fear led to depression and apathy, and I consistently underachieved in many areas of life. I even allowed people to push me around both mentally and physically. I remember asking my peers on numerous occasions, “don’t you ever get scared”? “NO!” they always replied. How could this be? WAS I THE ONLY ONE WHO FELT THIS WAY?




These feelings were still with me when I reached adulthood and, I believe, were a contributing factor in the breakdown of my physical and mental health. As a young man, with a young man’s ego, I MUST ADMIT TO BEING VERY ASHAMED OF HOW I FELT. Having concluded I was the only person who lived with such intense feelings of weakness, I labelled myself a coward, a failure even. PERHAPS I WAS A SHEEP IN A WORLD OF LIONS?


Several years ago, I decided to talk to a friend about how I was feeling. She recommended a book she thought would benefit me to read. The book was about ‘Fear’ and ‘how to turn fear into confidence and action’. I was somewhat sceptical, but I had nothing to lose so I began reading. PERHAPS ALL MY FEARS MIGHT MAGICALLY DISAPPEAR with my new-found knowledge? Or maybe I would become fearless, even indestructible, in the face of adversity?


Needless to say, I did not become fearless. And if I thought this book, or any other book, was going to make these feeling go away, I was mistaken. Instead, I received an education that was of far greater value. I learned several truths which granted me the power to TURN FEAR INTO MY GREATEST ALLY. In his aptly named book, FEAR: THE FRIEND OF EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE, Geoff Thompson states “the world is your oyster, it is only you who holds yourself back”.




And so, my journey began. I was about to embark upon an adventure where I would find myself in extreme situations and go far beyond what I once thought possible.


Before I continue, it would be wise to differentiate between the two different types of fear. The first is instinctual and healthy fear, alerting us to real danger that could cause harm or threaten our existence. The second is destructive and imprisoning fear which affects our ability to grow and work towards our dreams. This type of fear is often the result of conditioning and poor education. It is, of course, the second I refer to in this entry.


I learned much from the book my friend recommended, and I have learned much from many books on the same subject since. I have expanded my knowledge through seminars and documentaries and I have learned from experience. However, the 5 TRUTHS ABOUT FEAR was my starting point and I always return to them when I find myself moving back towards the dark cloud of negativity and self-doubt. THESE TRUTHS GAVE ME PERSPECTIVE AND CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY LIFE, and I WISH TO SHARE THEM WITH YOU…




Paradoxically, this realisation provided much needed comfort because I now understood MY GOAL WAS NOT TO RID MYSELF OF FEAR, IT WAS TO ACCEPT IT AS A NECESSARY PART OF LIFE, and I was going to have to change my relationship with it so I no longer lived under its oppression. I had been stagnant for years, waiting for my fears to vanish so I could begin my life. I no longer had to work so hard to free myself of these feelings, because it was not possible. INSTEAD OF TRYING TO RESIST THESE FEELINGS, I WAS GOING TO WELCOME THEM AND VIEW THEM AS OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW. But where to begin?




Dr David Mickel once said “IF YOU’RE AFRAID OF DROWNING FIND WATER AND JUMP IN!” I would begin by finding water. Fear will always be present in new and unfamiliar situations, but it is possible to overcome fear of a certain situation – by confronting it. In the words of Helen Keller “THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH”. I was going to look at each of my fears individually, then tackle them one at a time. Each time I conquered something that scared me, my comfort zone would expand and I would grow larger. I WAS GOING TO HAVE FUN WITH THIS. So, like the cowardly lion in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, I began my journey on my very own metaphoric yellow brick road. The only difference being, I was no longer searching for courage. Instead, I was going to ‘FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY’. No confrontation no desensitisation. No pain no growth.






As a personal trainer, people frequently tell me they are going to come along to one of my Boot Camps when they feel better about themselves or they will start my classes when they are ready. I call this tomorrow thinking. I too thought this way for many years. But in truth, there is no tomorrow. THE DOING IT COMES BEFORE THE FEELING BETTER. If you sit at home waiting to feel better, you will be waiting a long time, an eternity perhaps.


When I began experimenting with this concept, I joined a local amateur dramatics group. Given how low my self-confidence was at the time, this was possibly the toughest thing I had ever done. Fear is relative you see. I have since conquered bigger opponents and completed greater quests, but nothing required more courage than it did to make that first step. It was winter and I will never forget the dark, lonely walk to my first rehearsal. I remember thinking I could easily just turn back and tell my friends the rehearsal was cancelled, or they did not have space for me. After all, no one would have known it was a lie – except me, and MY DAYS OF LIVING THIS WAY WERE OVER. FEAR WAS NO LONGER A SIGNAL FOR ME TO RETREAT, IT WAS NOW MY CATALYST TO GREATER THINGS.






The realisation I WAS NOT THE ONLY PERSON FEELING THIS WAY was a welcome one. Of course, I would not like to see anyone crippled by fear the way I was, but knowing FEAR IS PERFECTLY NATURAL brought me great solace. With hindsight, I can see now MY PEERS WERE LYING. They too were afraid, because TO BE HUMAN IS TO BE AFRAID. I can also see now I was NOT weak for feeling this way. But why did they lie about being scared? Perhaps because we are taught fear equates to weakness? “Admitting your fears is the first and foremost step in overcoming them” Geoff Thompson.


“The coward and the hero both feel the same feelings, the only difference between the two is that the hero handles the feelings and the coward does not” – Cus D’amato.  




No matter how scary facing my fears was going to be, it surely could not be worse than feeling helpless all the time.  At least I would no longer be imprisoned by these feelings. And if I was stuck with fear, then it was going to have to come along with me. There was room. In fact, I didn’t mind it watching while I did all the things it once convinced me I could not do. I WOULD BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH DISCOMFORT. I would put myself in situations where I was at risk of experiencing all the things I was afraid of. If I was going to be alone, rejected, a failure, a success or in a situation where I had to adapt to change or confrontation, I WOULD HANDLE IT.


I did just that and I continue to do it. Guess what? I still experience fear every day. In fact, I continue to go in search of situations that provide challenge and cause me discomfort, because that is where the growth lies. A necessary evil if we are to become the fullest expression of ourselves and achieve our potential.


“We can’t escape fear, we can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures” Susan Jeffers


By following these 5 simple truths, I have travelled alone to the far corners of the world. I have acted on stage, skydived from 11000 ft and I have confronted many of the things that held me prisoner for many years. I now run my own personal training business where I am constantly required to talk in front of groups of people. I have been rejected, embraced change, made mistakes, experienced discomfort and I have grown in ways I never thought possible. I never did go all the way to Oz to find my courage. I didn’t have to, turns out I had it in me all along.




I know now, I AM A LION NOT A SHEEP. Do lions experience fear? I’d bet my life on it!





(March 2017)



  • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
  • Fear: The Friend of Exceptional People – Geoff Thompson
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Man’s Search for Meaning – Victor E. Frankl
  • The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
  • The Elephant and The Twig – Geoff Thompson



Spicy Venison Sausage & Chickpea Casserole

4 meals in under an hour! Not a bad return and a great balance of macros when served with a small helping of sweet potato or a wholemeal pitta. This dish works as a lunch or an evening meal. Delicious!




Ingredients (serves 4)

10 butchers venison sausages (I use thin medium sized)

1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil

150g red onion chopped

1 large red chilli finely chopped

1 red pepper chopped into sizeable chunks

1 yellow pepper chopped into sizeable chunks

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 litre beef stock

400g tin of chickpeas drained

60g chopped Spanish Chorizo

Low sodium salt & black pepper to season

Additional chilli flakes if required



1. Heat a grill or George Foreman & add the sausages. Once brown on the outside, remove and set aside (usually takes 5 minutes each side or 5 minutes total in George Foreman)

2. Heat the oil in a large pot or wok & toss in the onion, peppers & chilli. Keep the veg moving around the pan until the onion softens & the peppers start to brown



3. Add the chopped tomatoes, paprika & stock. Turn the heat down & keep the sauce bubbling away for 10 minutes

4. While the sauce is coming along, chop the sausage into bite size chunks then throw them in when the 10 minutes is up

5. Drain & rinse the chickpeas & get them in there too along with the chorizo

6. Season with salt & pepper & a few chilli flakes if you like it spicy

7. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through

8. Enjoy!







The Benefits of Resistance Training

In some cases, and with certain medical conditions, a resistance training programme may not be advisable. If you are in any doubt about your suitability to partake in a resistance training programme, always first consult your G.P.


We most commonly associate resistance training with free weights and fixed resistance machines. However, strength can be increased in several ways using suspension, body weight, kettlebells and medicine balls to name a few. As long as the exercise challenges you, strength gains will occur.

 “Gone are the days when people thought weight training was just for body builders and power lifters – gone are the days of doing long, slow, boring cardio for fat loss!”


  1. Fat loss – Unlike steady state cardiovascular training, you will continue burning calories for 24-48 hours after a strength training session. This is due to the production of ‘post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)’ aka ‘the after burn effect’. Get lifting and get lean!
  1. Improved sports performance & injury prevention – Resistance training increases muscular strength and endurance and strengthens connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) providing extra protection from the stresses of everyday life


  1. Increased bone density – As a result of resistance training, the skeletal system adapts to additional forces by producing extra minerals and proteins. The extra mineral and protein production decreases the likelihood of several bone disorders, such as osteoporosis, in later life
  1. Increased energy levels regular strength training increases energy output when performing everyday tasks making it easier to cope with the unpredictability of daily life. This is known as transferable or ‘functional training’
  1. Improved posture – A safe and effective weight training programme will improve posture and promote balance in the muscular skeletal system, thus alleviating a number of everyday aches, pains and soft tissue complaints



(November 2016)

Chicken, Prawn & Chorizo Paella

To make this tasty main course from sunny Spain even healthier, swap the paella rice for wholegrain brown rice and half the chorizo


Ingredients (serves 4) 

1 tablespoon olive oil

100g chorizo finely chopped

300g lean chicken breast cut into strips

15og brown onion roughly chopped

150g red pepper chopped (I like them chunky)

120g green beans rinsed and halved

2 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped

a few saffron strands

900ml chicken stock

225g paella rice

170g pre-cooked king prawns

reduced sodium salt and freshly ground black pepper

smoked paprika to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan or wok
  2. Add the chorizo and fry for 2-3 minutes until slightly crisp and it has released some of its fat, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside
  3. Add the chicken to the oil/chorizo fat and stir fry until cook through, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the chorizo
  4. Add the onion, red pepper and green beans and sizzle away tossing around the pan or wok constantly for 5 minutes until the veg starts to soften
  5. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes
  6. Add the saffron, rice and stock and bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes 
  7. Add the chorizo and chicken to the pan and continue cooking for 10 minutes on moderate heat or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed
  8. Toss in the prawns, season with salt & pepper and continue cooking for 5 minutes
  9. Serve on warm plates with a sprinkle of paprika


Nutrition (per serving)

490 Kcal

Protein: 35g

Carbohydrate: 52g

Fat: 14g

Sugar: 5g

Ideal Rep Range



when teaching resistance exercises, be it body weight or free weights, is ‘how many reps should I do?’ Repetition or rep refers to the number of times you repeat a movement when performing a specific exercise.

A very good question! And my answer largely depends on several factors…

First, the number of repetitions and sets you perform ultimately depends on your training goals. For example, are you undertaking a resistance training programme to increase muscle mass? To correct muscular imbalances? To improve sports performance? Or is your primary goal weight loss (that’s right I just suggested that a weight training programme could be undertaken to promote weight loss – didn’t expect that did you!)


Second, once you have established your reasons for undertaking a resistance training programme, it can be useful to establish your ‘one-rep max’ on one, or several, exercises. The one-rep max is basically the maximum amount of weight you can lift correctly for one full repetition – as the description suggests.

There is a number pros and cons when it comes to using the one-rep max method, which I will talk more about in a future post. But for now, let’s assume you have safely and accurately established your one-rep max with the assistance of a trained professional.

The table below shows the ideal number of repetitions for different muscular adaptations to occur:

Fitness Goal % of one rep max  Number of repetitions Resistance
Strength/power 85 -95% 2 – 4 very heavy load
Strength 75 – 85% 4 – 8 heavy load
Strength + endurance 60 – 75% 8 – 12 Moderate/heavy load
Endurance 40 – 60% 15  & above moderate load

Third, and most important of all, RESISTANCE TRAINING AND MUSCLE BUILDING ARE NOT THE SAME THING. Body building or hypertrophy training is a separate discipline centred mainly on nutritional habits. STRENGTH TRAINING WILL NOT STIMULATE LARGE AMOUNTS OF MUSCLE MASS (don’t just take my word for it, any credible source will validate this point).


Avoiding resistance training because you are afraid of developing large muscles is like avoiding learning to drive because you are afraid of becoming a formula 1 driver.

To tone muscle tissue, ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres must be placed under regular tension. Fast twitch fibres are anaerobic in origin and require moderate to heavy resistance to be stimulated into action. By establishing your ideal rep range and applying the principle of progressive overload (increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system by challenging the body to do more over time), adaptations will occur (assuming your nutrition is in place of course).


The American College of Sports Medicine recommend a minimum of 2 strength training sessions per week. Whether the resistance is from weight training (external) or body weight training (internal) is entirely up to you.

If your goal is to achieve a toned lean physique, cardio alone is NOT going to cut it. Swap the cross trainer for the squat rack and the results will speak for themselves!

Get lifting and get lean!

Want to know more about this and related topics? Subscribe to this blog and receive my next post ‘The Benefits of Resistance Training’ directly to your inbox.


June 2016

Tuna & Wasabi Burgers with Tomato & Onion

With a delightful balance of macros this dish can be served as a lunch time or evening meal, a post workout snack or to impress on a first date.


Ingredients (serves 2)

for the burgers

2 tuna steaks (average size 115g)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons wasabi paste

1 tablespoon flour

low sodium salt & black pepper

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil


for the topping

120g cherry tomatoes halved

120g red onion

medium strength red or green chilli (or a blend of both)

juice of 1/2 a lime

100g gluten free ciabatta bread



  1. Half the cherry tomatoes and finely chop the onion and chilli then set aside at room temperature while you prep the burgers




2. Place the tuna steak, sesame seeds, wasabi paste, flour and salt and pepper in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste

3. Remove from food processor and make into 4 patties with damp hands




4. Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan and cook the burgers for 3 minutes either side (or until cooked through)




5. Serve the burgers on lightly toasted ciabatta bread and top with the tomato, onion and chilli

6. Garnish with a squeeze of lime




Nutrition (per serving)

Kcal: 377kcal

protein: 39g

carbohydrate: 30g

fat: 10g

sugar: 6g








Who’s for lemonade?


SOMETIMES WHEN MY PAIN LEVELS ARE HIGH, I allow the grip of self-pity to tighten and I think of the (perceived) negatives in my life. I start to feel hard done by and I find myself focusing on what I DO NOT have.

I ruminate on how illness changed the course of my life and prevented me following a certain path (just one path that wasn’t pre-set anyway) and I see the world through the eyes of lack and limitation…

If only I hadn’t been robbed of my health these past two decades I would be more financially secure and would own my own property, I’d be able to work out more, develop my physique and train to become a high level martial artist as I had once dreamed about…I’d certainly be less dependent on others for my survival and I’d be well enough to start a family…the list goes on!

Then I gives myself a right good slap like they do in the old movies (sometimes a bit of tough love is necessary isn’t it!?) and I remind myself what I DO have; a brother who loves me, great friends, the good fortune to live in a beautiful safe part of the world, a job I love and a roof over my head.

Life has a habit of presenting us with circumstances out with our control. And it is entirely up to us how we respond to the hardship and adversity. We can either become bitter because it’s unfair and things haven’t worked out as we had hoped, or we can choose to create a life of meaning with the hand we have been dealt.

As the saying goes, ‘if life gives you lemons…make lemonade!’

I don’t know about you, but when my time is up I want to look back on my life and say “you know what, I made a difference”. I want to be able to say I did the best I could despite my circumstances.

I may never have or be the things above. But this does not mean I cannot become the best version of myself. It simply means I must find another path to access my unlimited potential and use the adversity to learn and grow in ways I never thought possible.

So, what’s the point in all this?

I have a question for you (actually I have two)…

WHAT HAS LIFE GIVEN YOU? And what do you intend to do about it?

Whatever your circumstances, you CAN be the person you want to be and every passing moment is a new opportunity to become that person.


April 2016

Chicken & Prosciutto Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

This dish epitomises ‘clean eating’. For extra protein add a chopped pre-boiled egg to the salad. To turn this flexible meal into a post workout carb refueller, boil 100g baby potatoes, leave to cool then mix through the green salad leaves.



1 slice prosciutto ham

150g free range chicken breast

10g soft goat’s cheese

20g basil pesto

70g juicy cherry tomatoes

40g green leafy salad (I use a blend of spinach, watercress & rocket)

100g asparagus tips & tender-stem broccoli

Small tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

low sodium salt & pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lay out the ham then cut the chicken breast widthways (leaving a hinge so that you can close the parcel once the filling is inside) and spread the goat’s cheese and pesto evenly inside, then season and close




2. Wrap the ham tightly around the breast and drizzle a small amount of oil over the outside. Place in a preheated grill (I use a George Foreman) until brown on outside (3-4 minutes should do it) then turn




3. Place breast on a foil lined baking tray with the tomatoes and drizzle half the balsamic and half the remaining olive oil over the top. Cover lightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through)

4. While the chicken and tomatoes are cooking, spread the salad leaves evenly on a plate and drizzle over the remaining oil and balsamic

5. When the chicken has 5 minutes remaining, steam the broccoli and asparagus then toss on top of the salad

6. Place the chicken and tomatoes on top of the greens, then pour the remaining juices left in the baking tray over the top




How can something so simple taste so delicious??



Kcal: 460

Protein:  46g

Carbohydrate: 9g

Fat: 26g







“You won’t worry about your fitness level at Alan’s classes. I had some fears before I begun but they have long since vanished. Alan will make you feel at ease and caters for everyone’s level of fitness. For the first time, I look forward to exercising and always feel good after a class. The group is very friendly, welcoming and encouraging which again is a contributing factor. Alan is serious and professional in his approach but we always have a good laugh. If anyone is thinking of coming to the classes I would highly recommend them” 

(Eilidh Ross)


“I enjoyed my first PT session – I’m going to be sore tomorrow! No pain no gain they say! Huge thanks to my instructor Alan Goodwin for putting me through my paces. If you want to get fit in a fun, welcoming and non-judgemental environment, this is for you. Check out the Facebook page. Here’s to a fitter new me”                     

(Colin Graham)


“If you are looking for a fun but meaningful workout, then Alan’s boot camps are what you need! A great mix of different exercises that will use the whole body and push you to your limits. Alan makes each class worthwhile – a great way to stay fit!”                       

(Stuart Mackinnon)


 “Alan’s friendly, engaging nature combined with his enthusiasm and knowledge of fitness makes for a unique and involving well-being and social experience. He provides an interesting and safe environment which pitches fitness at all levels of capacity and challenges the participants to better themselves while having fun! I would definitely recommend Alan’s classes to my friends” 

(Martin Devlin)                                                    


“Alan has helped me gain confidence in carrying out exercises I had avoided in the past due to lack of understanding of the exercises and the benefits of them. Alan is great at keeping everyone motivated and is quick to notice if you need any encouragement when your enthusiasm or drive dwindles. I have never felt bored and I now look forward to my sessions – something I have never been able to say about exercise in the past! Alan’s classes and 1-2-1 sessions, combined with his advice on diet and nutrition, has helped me lose 2 stone in four months”   

(Emily Shorten)


 “Just a note to say how much I enjoy attending Alan’s classes. The sessions are well laid out with a great variety of exercises and unlike many gym sessions I’ve attended, the outdoor scenery at the Boot Camps certainly made a welcome change. Alan is a keen, knowledgeable instructor who for me got the balance of exercises right. I would certainly be interested in continuing attending”   

(Barry Mackellaich)