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This blog is my professional view and opinions on anything related to massage and fitness. This may range from new therapies, training modes, interesting aspects of massage or fitness, to food, recovery and other aspects to remain in good overall health.


By Lee Weston, Jan 9 2018 04:14PM

Even when I say it the saying makes me cringe, New Year, New You. As you many have read in my pervious blog I don’t really buy into the possibly misinformed and biased goals of new year’s resolutions. I am very keen on balanced, well thought out goals.

So whether you have set a new year’s resolution/goal to smash a couch to 10km or to regain control after the indulgences of the festive season it would seem it is the time to get up and get out doing some exercise after the festive season. In either case I fully support such a movement to more exercise and healthier eating, whatever time of the year.

What I would like you to think about is to THINK about your training and the exercise you are or planning on doing. To get the most out of what you are doing and more importantly to avoid injury.

It is impossible to give you a complete outline of how to train for every potential goal out there however I can help you think about a few things to consider and to seek more advice if needed.

More often than not two things will inform you in the best way in gauging your training:

1. Listen to your body

2. Common sense

More and more I hear stories/ accounts of people ignoring both and it being a cause or contributor to injuries.

Listening to your body doesn’t mean meditating or any obscure practices, it is simply stopping and thinking is this good for me or my body? Is this too much for it or me? Physical stress like exercise is the same as mental stress so treat them as equal. This requires dialling into how you are feeling and it takes trial and error in knowing when to push and when to rest.

Common sense is sometimes forgotten when goals are set and the mind is focused. It is vital to use common sense as a guide as normally its pretty spot on. Doing 5 days back to back running after not running for two weeks goes against common sense and training principles for most individuals.

So things to possibly ask yourself to make sure you avoid injury and don’t overdo it this January:

What are you doing? Do you like it? Is it suitable for your goal? Is it attainable?

Have you done it before? How long ago? Is your plan a gradual progression?

Are you giving yourself enough recovery time between exercise sessions?

Have you considered any existing injuries or medical conditions you have or may have developed since last exercising this intense?

If you have considered these items above into your plan of action then great but if not then you might want to consider a few tweaks here and there or to gain further advice. Little and often is best approach in starting out and getting back into it without the pain or discomfort of mega sessions and becoming injured, sore or disheartened.

I support any activity, whatever shape or form it comes in from bowls to tai chi or cross fit. As long as safe practice, common sense is used and you listen to your body. Don’t blindly follow others whether it be friends, class peers or even an instructor/PT. Don’t be afraid to not do an exercise, question technique if you’re not sure or doesn’t feel good. Ultimately asking why or sitting out an exercise is better than an injury of any severity.

Further common things to consider regarding specific exercise types that I have seen as an exercise professional myself are the following:

Insanity work out – due to its Intensity and high impact nature care must be taken and also suggest a foundation level of body weight resistance training before starting. Quickly highlights imbalances and can lead to injuries if not technically done correctly.

Cross fit – A great form of training however does comprise of a lot of Olympic lifting which requires attention to detail in the technique and in my opinion, should be considered carefully in the volume that is performed within the training week.

Tabata – a form of high intensity interval training – a great form of training however exposes underlying conditions very quickly, whether it be musculoskeletal or cardio respiratory.

A large increase in the distance running per week can expose imbalances very quickly and increases chances of injury. A common on is not having the appropriate footwear to support your feet. I would recommend an essential bit of kit is a new pair of trainers from a running shop that assess your gait (running style).

If you are in any doubt with regards to how to train for a goal, technique or a program to get the end point then I would always suggest seeking professional advice. Seeing a personal trainer, like myself, can guide you in the right direction, give you feedback and encouragement. The cost of this isn’t comparable to the discomfort of being injured and the cost/wait to see the physiotherapist.

Final top tips for the new year’s exercise frenzy to a better you (not a new you):

1. Consistency

2. Little and often

3. Recovery (stretch, massage, cross train/low impact exercise & sleep)

4. Don’t do it alone, get a partner in crime, a social support network of a friend you can rope in, an exercise class or a PT.

Good luck in making a better you in 2018.

By Lee Weston, Dec 3 2017 09:27PM

So winter is well and truly set in with the clocks changing and finally a change in temperature, for the moment anyway. With this comes the eternal battle of making yourself head out in the dim dank weather for that run or cycle.

Unless you particularly have an event coming up in winter or early spring then why put yourself through it. Embrace it or do something different from the norm. It may even compliment your current training, add some variety or help with the tedium.

So instead of dreading the winter slog of cold/wet runs or struggling with the motivation to get to the gym in the dark mornings, maybe try the following suggestions.

Embrace the Winter or Limit your exposure:

Embrace the winter:

Trail running – try off road running, embrace the mud and explore the local woods. This is great for those who are road runners as it gives the body a change in stride length and frequency. Reduces the likelihood of stress fractures or overuse injuries from the repeated road pounding.

Mountain biking – hire a mountain bike and get out and about. Going to a local mountain bike center can be a great day out with friends and again choosing to cycle back up to the top of the runs adds a great cardio component.

Hiking- not all cardio has to be fast, you can still gain great muscular endurance and a cardio component from hiking mountains and is a lower impact on the body. If you are really keen then add weight to your pack to add intensity.

Intervals, keep it short and sweet- there is no need to always slog away with a long slow run, however effective they are. It is sometimes good to have a shorter more intense tempo run or pure intervals.

Limit your exposure - stay in the warmth but work hard or in a different way:

Resistance training (home or gym)- a commonly neglected element of training for the majority of endurance athletes. Also, correct resistance training Is of more importance. Whether this is at home or in the gym there is nothing stopping you doing a 30 min work out. Working on endurance won’t add muscle bulk, it will reduce risk of injury but help with posture, movement efficiency and many other psychological benefits like stress relief. Add a 4 minute round of Tabata (20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds) of large body weight compound movements like burpees and you have a great way to improve CV.

I can suggest focusing on pelvic, scapular and torso control “core stability” as some people call it as its commonly the missing link in all sports.

Pilates &/or Yoga- Flexibility & activation is the key to all sports and so often neglected within peoples training. Try either classed based exercise as a different focus to your training in the winter months. It however does take a bit of time and experimentation to finding a teacher and style that you click with. But open your mind and give it a go.

Exercise classes e.g. spinning – this can be a great way to add competition, intensity and fun back into your training and there is definitely no way you will be cold afterwards. Go with a friend and explore the huge variety of classed on offer at your local gym or leisure center.

Climbing - Whether it is bouldering (no ropes) or top rope climbing (rope and harness) can be a great way to improve your relative strength and also movement patterns you’re not use to. This can be a really good activity to do individually (bouldering) and with friends.

Squash, tennis or badminton – a variety of racket sports to keep you entertained however good you are. Just make sure you pick your opponent carefully.

Swimming- not my cup of tea but horses for courses. It again can be a long and slow total lengths or some short sharp intervals to work on anaerobic capacity. Low impact and kind on the body.

These are just some possible ways to boost your winter training instead of feeling guilty about what you keep on shying away from in the cold wet weather.

Most importantly, you are more likely to do something you enjoy so therefore pick something you enjoy and not something you think you have to do.

By Lee Weston, Nov 13 2017 11:23AM

“Now is the time to set your goals for next year, without the crap of New Years resolutions and forced change. Take ownership and don’t let the guilt of the festive season and the new year drive your ambitions. #goals”

After posting the above on a week Saturday ago it has been on my mind about goal setting and especially with the new year coming up. However, I don’t think it should be a catalysis in willy nilly goals and targets being thrown around as soon as 1st of Jan comes around.

Having time to reflect and think about what you have achieved in the last 10-12 months is really important, however small or big. You may find yourself doing this regularly or it may not even come up in your thought process. It should be done regularly evaluating your actions and intension. It could also happen spontaneously, thinking about good times or bad times and then wondering how you managed to deal with it or achieve it. Making note of all of these helps to shape our future thoughts, intensions and goals or markers for success. Whether it be in work, quality of life or physical achievements.

So before we even know it we are subconsciously setting goals which guides your actions. Goal setting traditionally is perceived as sitting down and making a goal and sticking to it until the end product is achieved OR more often than not, scrapped and forgotten about if it isn’t achieved.

I feel a better way to set your intensions for the new year is to do it throughout the year and not to set goals but understand that they evolve, you shape them and they grow from a thought, an intension. Many say setting SMART goals is the best way but that is only half of it.

Two things I feel are neglected is the process in how a goal comes to fruition and also how it is managed and evaluated.

Using these two aspects you can make goals far more effective in your motivation and reaching your targets.

First off don’t sit down one day and go “I am going to set all my goals for next year”. Don’t do it on a whim (like new year’s resolutions). Your intensions and aims should be collected over time from those thoughts of desire, from your evaluation of what is missing from your current state of health, life, work, physical ability. Keep a note of these thoughts over time and then when you have more space and time reframe these thoughts and see if it’s the correct time to address them.

If it is then that is when you can make a goal or conscious effort to achieve the target. Traditionally you would set a SMART goal but I feel its missing aspects. There are many acronyms but the below is a tweaked/individual variation on the theme.

To set a S.M.A.R.T.E.R goal you need to reframe an idea or goal so it has structure and a process so it’s easier to achieve.

E.g. I want to run the “midlands ” 10km trail run in July 2017.

Specific – goals are precise and clear. For example, you have stated the distance and event you want to run.

Measurable – goals are quantifiable. You can attain whether the goal has been achieved. For example, if you run that race you have a clear outcome and it’s been achieved.

Attainable – Are you capable of achieving the outcome, is it within your ability. This is very subjective and so it’s good to set easier goals to start with until you know how far you can stretch and push yourself. For example, you are road running 2-3 km every so often and have 8 months until the race in July. This I attainable, there is enough time to train and no reason why you couldn’t reach that target. A trial marathon on the other hand could be more unlikely, however depends on your past experiences

Relevant – what is its importance to you and what is your motivator? Is it relevant to you or your life? For example, you are currently running atm and you have friend running the race in July. You want to run together as it will be socially good to train together and you want to improve your health as you aren’t sleeping very well and running will be a good way to destress from work.

Time bound – Setting a date and time to complete the goal so you can measure if you have achieved it. For example, there is a date the race is run and at that point you will know if you have succeeded the overall goal.

Evaluate – am I on track? How is progress going? Evaluation is key, not just at the end point of the goal, in this example in Julys run, but at every stage. People who don’t evaluate their progress end up failing or quitting goals. This leads in to the next part as if it’s not going as expected you may have to reframe your goal.

Reframe – a process of editing your goals to make them more attainable or more challenging. Or all together a different goal. For example, you may have an injury and have to pull out of the July race and then postpone for another one in October. Or if training is going really well you may add a half marathon in October and use the July race as a short-term goal leading to the bigger goal. You may find out your friend has pulled out from the race in July and that was a large motivator for you and so you are going to go cycling with them instead or play squash etc.

Equally you could be: “I am fed up of feeling so tired”. This is where you have to analyse the possible causes of this. First is sleep. Are you getting enough sleep, If not then why? Are you stressed? If so then what is causing that stress? Have you enough time to unwind? There are many SMARTER goals you could set depending on the analysis of the situation. If it was quality of sleep due to poor pillows it would be “I will go shopping for a pillow on the weekend”. Then the evaluation of this would if your sleep improves. Reframing this goal if the pillow is wrong or not helping it would be changing the pillow or if success you would address the next factor.

Hopefully you can see from this it’s a process. A mindful process.

You can only concentrate on a few things at a time successfully. Don’t try to change the world in a day. Start small, gain success and then move on. Evaluate and reframe goals so once initially set they evolve into and onto the next. It’s a constant merry-go-round of evaluation, plan, action, evaluation. You could say that this is where the short-term goals lead and evolve into the medium and hence into the long term goals.

So don’t set numerous, implosive, unplanned, ill-considered goals come the 1st of January as you are setting yourself up to fail. Take time, make it a process and take action towards small achievements.

Good luck and be mindful in the process.

By Lee Weston, Nov 2 2017 11:36AM

So the aim was to scale the national 3 peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) and cycle in between each one within 4 days just to increase the physical challenge in an effort to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.

The challenge, complete. The body, broken. Money raised, £1982.50 to date (and still going, donations are open till the 1st of Dec, see the website below, hint hint).

This blog is just an observation of a few things from my training (which always seems to be never enough), the challenge itself and also the incredible power of mind over body.

Where to start, the top 3 things learnt from this challenge:

1. Always set a goal you’re not 100% sure you can reach. There is nothing wrong, or fear, in failing. If you do, which you probably won’t, then you will learn a lot more from it. It’s about the process not the end result.

2. However big the task make a start, however small it may be, and keep chipping away at it. No one can know everything or do everything, so just by making a start is a step in the right direction and with each step you build momentum and with it confidence.

3. The power of support and purpose. I believe in this 100%. If you really want to do something you will get it done whatever it takes. Although you have to really want it. Really want it. It always helps to have the backing and support from others, but the motivator has to be strong enough from within.

Training- as expected training never goes to plan, life, work and generally best laid plans and intensions get disrupted. With a challenge like this of long distance, slow pace over consecutive days my plan was to get bum in saddle and get up to high mileage and start to then build in consecutive days of ridding and try to squeeze in a few walks. All went well but a very big reminder was that as you train more you have to look after yourself more! Getting planta fasciitis (inflammation of the fascia on the sole of the feet) meant it was two weeks of decreased training, massage and stretching. This led to less time in the saddle and only getting one ride in over 100 miles (113miles) in training with a 50 mile cycle the next day. That was my peak. So going into the challenge I was feeling under prepared for certain.

All Plain Sailing? Never, although I didn’t quite realise how much of a challenge I had given myself before it was too late. After the day long journey heading up to Fort William and driving some of the roads I would have to cycle I just wanted to get stuck in and start.

Day 1 – 6 am start for the climb up Ben Nevis which was finished by noon. I was on the bike by 12.30pm and in Glasgow by 8pm. 14 hours in total of which 10 miles walking (1323m elevation) and 106 miles cycling (1542m elevation). This was an uncomplicated day and all went to plan, flying on the bike and feeling humbled by Andy who we walked with. He had set his own challenge of reaching the summit of Ben Nevis every day in October raising money for the local mountain rescue team whilst raising awareness of depression.

Day 2 – 6 am start and another 14 hour day solely on the bike for a 160 mile cycle (2304m elevation) from Glasgow to Wasdale Head at the base of Scafell Pike in the Lake District. This was the probably the most sapping day as it was very tedious, boring route on A roads and when things started to slide sideways, with the knowledge of worse to come, its anything but encouraging. The turning point was 120 miles in, it starting to rain, getting cold and knowing I had 40 miles still to go. The legs felt heavy and the ITB on both legs started playing up. To top that the bike breaking with 15miles to go so then I only had 2 gears and finally the battery pack for my bike light running out. Cycling one handed holding my phone as a torch cycling the last couple of miles to Wasdale head was grim. The sole aim was to get in, eat and deal with it tomorrow after a rest and start over. I even had to stop looking at my speedo, distance, time and average speed stats as it was getting me down calculating how far I have to go and how long it would take. It was head down, keep the legs turning, keep the food going in and the thought of “I will get there when I get there”.

Day 3 – waking up knowing it was the hump day was the biggest motivator for me. All the support, messages and amazingly generous donations from people were the only reason why I didn’t say “let’s split this day, do the walk and then delay the cycle until tomorrow whilst we get the bike fixed”. Knowing I had a 122 mile bike ride (1893m elevation) on two gears after a 6 mile walk up Scafell Pike (896m elevation) was just a little inconvenience in getting the job done. The walk was great, dry but steep. I was off the mountain by 10 am and on the bike at 10.40am for a brutal first 30 miles. To get out of the lakes it involved the 33% gradient of Hardknott pass. It helped knowing that if I got over this pass it would be 90 flat miles to Liverpool. The alternative was trying to find a bike shop to fix the bike whilst being in the middle of nowhere, or an extra 20-30 mile detour to avoid Hardknott pass. Not knowing it was 33% gradient until cycling past a sign at the bottom certainly helped with the decision to go up and over. Ignorance is bliss! So head down and slog away. Bit by bit I ate away at the miles. By this time my Achilles had started to swell up from over use but I managed to enjoy the small things, like lunch in the sun by Lake Windermere. Then counting down the miles until the next stop. Small chunks at a time breaking down a big task. By 10 pm I got to Liverpool. Thinking the last day was the easiest…. how I was also wrong.

Day 4 – Thinking the worst was behind me, I set off cycling in to a head wind for 81 miles from Liverpool (1282m elevation) with deteriorating conditions as I climbed towards Snowdon. This was the hardest day. When you think you are in for an easy ride, literally, and then being slapped around the face with wind and rain wasn’t how I wanted to finish. It almost broke me, especially being so close to the finish. There was no other option but to keep plugging away as to quit or stop was just logically not the best choice. Trying to ignore my Achilles and plug away I got on to Betws-y-coed cold and wet. With 10 miles to go, all up hill, the wind got worse and rain harder. Cycling at 5mph in my easiest gear cycling through standing water on the road, into the wind feeling like I was crawling along those last miles took me an hour and a half. I stopped a couple of times, for what I am not sure, probably just to have a little talk to myself. Finally getting to the top of the pass at 12.30pm I tried to get dry, warm and fed before setting off up Snowdon to get wet again. 4 hours up and down Snowdon wasn’t a bad effort. When I got to the top the wind dropped, the clouds cleared and sun poked its head out. A fitting scenic end for the walk down.

Mind over body or just stupidity & stubbornness- I would say the mind rules over everything but it definitely helps to be stupid and/or as stubborn as they come. A motto when it comes to any race or challenge is “ignorance is bliss”. Deal with it when you have to. Obviously, there is some need to know enough to plan, be safe and that you’ve got a fighting change (70-80%) of completing it or in the time you want to. Training is essential and the more you can get in before the better chances you will have to reach your goal. However, if you don’t have the right mind set, drive or motivation in why you are completing it, for what purpose, then you will never reach your full potential in any task/goal you set out to complete.

A massive thank you to those who have supported me, sponsored me and helped raise an incredible total towards a fantastic cause. Without this support and the focus of doing this challenge for a charity I would have probably climbed into the van and had a nap multiple times and taken a week to do it. Also a massive well done and thanks to my brother for supporting me in the van and also putting up with my many sense of humor failures along the way. Without him taking a week off work to come with me I wouldn’t have been able to do it and a great achievement for himself in climbing the 3 peaks alongside me.


By Lee Weston, Apr 26 2017 07:55PM

So a lot of people ask what I do day to day between clients and as part of my job. So here is an insight into what I get up to in between putting my PT clients through their paces and the hands on sports massage work. This will hopefully also show that we (PTs) are human and have the same challenges as everyone else such as cravings, energy slumps and work-life balance.

This is a snap shot of no particular day:

In a day I could do anything from say 4 hours of contact time to 10 hours (averaging 6-7 hours a day) plus any admin work required. This could be spread over the day between 6 am to 9pm but is totally dependent on the day, my clients and what works best for them and fits with my own schedule. Normally it would build up of 2/3 Pt and 1/3 massage.

Wake up: 5-6am an hour before my first session and wake myself up with a coffee pre work. I need to make sure I am awake for my first clients.

Prepare my food for the day which would look something like:

Breakfast is normally consisting of jumbo rolled oats, whole milk, dried apricots, and milled linseed, sunflower seeds, chia seeds & goji berries.

Lunch: is normally salad (nice mix of green leaves with tuna/chicken, seeds, tomatoes, feta/cottage cheese and maybe another veg like peppers/carrot) or a soup low in salt and sugars.

If I have time I will quickly sit down to respond to email, complete more planning for sessions for the day that weren’t done the day before and make sure no clashes and diary is all in order for the next day.

A short 10 min walk to work and unlock the gym, set up the massage room or gym for the day’s clients.

Pre work PT: Kick start the day with 2-4 hours of Pt pre 11 am for the clients before their days work to inspire and push them. This is my favourite part of the day as people have energy and are leaving the gym feeling ready to tackle the day. Reinforcing given advice and providing guidance is one of the things I do the most often. Making sure people are doing their stretches/exercises or questioning and revising their lifestyles. Posing questions to people in why they are or aren’t doing certain things. From there hopefully people will find the intrinsic motivation and the purpose behind the choices of doing more activity, stretching, or defined bed times with time away from their screens prior to bed.

Breakfast: between 8.30-10am depending on gaps and sessions and my second and final coffee for the day unless it’s going to be a long one! This is another opportunity to make notes, email or text clients regarding the session we have just had.

My own Training: If there is time get outside for a run, swim and bike now the weather is getting better. I normally leave any long endurance work (bike or run) until the weekends as coming back in for the afternoon/eve after this is hard if more than 1-2 hours. I feel amazing for an hour or two and then want to sleep. It’s really good to get out of the gym environment during the day. Resistance work normally consists of 15-30 minute short sharp sessions 2-4 times a week. At the moment this is lacking behind so I know my own areas to improve on. I do yoga once a week as well as volleyball (Monday eve 8-10pm) and touch rugby wed eve (7-9pm) and maybe the odd game of squash if I can fit it in with work.

Late morning/ lunch time PT/ Massage: This can be a busy time for people trying to fit a session in on their lunch breaks. As I offer an off peak massage between 11.30am-2.30pm its normally busy with this. This can be again another 2-4 hours of work depending.

Lunch: Whenever I have time to eat it from 12-3pm ish. If there isn’t time or I don’t have anything prepared I will default to my snacks of: Boiled eggs, fruit (apple, orange, banana) or tin of tuna or carrot sticks and spicy hummus. Emergency lunch: wholemeal bagel toasted and cottage cheese or mackerel fillets in spicy tomato sauce and wholegrain microwave rice.

Post work PT / Massage (3-9 pm): This is the hardest time of day for myself, as most I get a slump in energy and fatigue. I try to combat this with doing one or all 3 of these: a short exercise session, shower or food’ to perk me up. Then the post work clients come in for sessions and massage. It is so noticeable, for some, that exercise is a cathartic way to relieve stress and to deal with the work / life stressors. It is great in seeing clients that start off not overly engaging in exercise, for various reasons, to wanting to come and really missing it if unable to get their session done. This is a really rewarding part of the job as you see people grow into different people with a healthier lifestyle. On the flip side, if I have a client I see twice a week (say tues and thurs) you can tangibly see the difference in energy, draining away from the effects of work/ stress that week.

Planning/admin: this is will fit in with the odd gaps I may have in the day, if I have cancellations that I can’t fill. All of the things from planning sessions, researching new exercises or preparing advice for specific populations/conditions such as kyphosis, Parkinson’s or rehabilitation related conditions. It could be used maintaining online presence, updating Facebook, twitter or my website; keeping on top of my book work/finances and the odd day off keeping up with courses (like a myofascial release course in Oct).

Dinner: This is normally totally dependent on how busy my evening is and also whether I have time to cook before work starting at 6pm or whether I have time after work to cook so I am not eating too late (7.30pm). Otherwise it is normally grabbing something that is prepared from a big cook on the weekend or super simple to eat between clients or on the run (like switching my cooked dinner with my salad/soup lunch).

My Time: This is more often than not at the end of the day but could also be in gaps mid-morning, lunch or mid-afternoon. If it’s in the day I try to switch off by using my time for training, food shopping, general life admin or if it’s the evening it will be to cook, exercise (sports) or a total escape via TV, reading or socialising before getting to sleep between 10-11pm. As most it’s always a battle between getting a good work life balance and some weeks you get it right, others you don’t but it’s constantly trying to improve it and changing things. If you don’t give it a go you will never know.

If you are interested in personal training or massage then give me a call on 07890632948 to arrange a consultation/ treatment.

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