Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t see the answer to your question below, please use the contact form at the bottom of the page to message me directly ? I’ll always aim to reply with 24 hours.
If you don’t see the answer to your question below, please use the contact form at the bottom of the page to message me directly ? I’ll always aim to reply with 24 hours.
No problem at all! My nutrition strategies cater for both animal- and plant-based individuals alike. In fact, I’m pretty comfortable accommodating most dietary requirements!
Your GymHippie SafeSpace is an online Google-Drive folder in which I’ll design and build your fat-loss and body-shaping strategy. Accessible only to me and you, not only are all edits saved automatically, but, since it’s online, it can be accessed from anywhere in the world!
Inside your SafeSpace there are two folders ⬇️
1️⃣ NUTRITION // containing your bespoke GymHippie Fat-Loss Handbook
2️⃣ TRAINING // containing your bespoke training programmes from Phase One (“Feel”) and Phase Two (“Numbers”).
There’s also a Digital-Handshake – a PT / client agreement – written to ensure we’re singing from the same hymn sheet before we begin! It’s nice and fluffy but also serves an important purpose.
You can access your SafeSpace via your computer, smart phone or tablet. For access on your phone or tablet, you’ll need to download the Google Drive app. In order to edit your Training Programmes and Nutrition Tracker you’ll also need to download the Google Sheets app. And, finally, to edit your Digital Handshake you’ll also need to download the Google Docs app. All are free to download from your app store & fantastically user friendly (I think so anyway! 🤓)
Other than liposuction, there is only ONE way to get rid of unwanted body fat, and that’s by creating and sustaining a calorie deficit. No calorie deficit, no fat loss – it’s as simple as that! There are no shortcuts. Period.
What IS a calorie deficit? We create a calorie deficit when we consume fewer calories than our body requires to cover activity. In this state, our body is forced to utilise internal fuel resources in order to cover the calorie shortage. These are typically body fat and muscle. However, with regular strength training and sufficient protein intake, we encourage the burning of body fat OVER muscle.
Since a calorie deficit is the ONLY way to burn body fat, this means that the ONLY reason why ANY diet or activity results in fat loss is due ENTIRELY to its ability to help facilitate and sustain a calorie deficit – and NOT due to any magical body-fat burning properties.
In fact, just so we’re absolutely clear, there exists NOTHING with the power to magically burn body fat. And despite decades of misleading marketing ⬇️
1️⃣ MAGICAL FAT-BURNING DIETS DON’T EXIST // I’m talking about Slimming World, Weight Watchers, juice diets, keto, Atkins, paleo, intermittent fasting, low carb – and ALL the others. Yes, absolutely, all of these CAN facilitate fat loss but ONLY because they facilitate a calorie deficit – and NOT because they have any magical fat-burning properties. The upshot: don’t buy into the diet, buy into the mechanism – and that’s a calorie deficit!
2️⃣ MAGICAL FAT-BURNING FOODS DON’T EXIST // Think skinny teas, fat-burning detox drinks, diet pills, or fat-burning supplements. Please, save your money!
3️⃣ MAGICAL FAT-BURNING ACTIVITIES DON’T EXIST // Fasted cardio, HIIT cardio, waist trainers, fat-burning abs workouts etc. None of these directly burns body-fat.
Can these things contribute towards fat loss? YES! Absolutely. But ONLY to the extent that they help facilitate and sustain a calorie deficit. Well, with the exception of fasted cardio, skinny teas, detox diets, fat-burning supplements and waist trainers – these really are just nonsense!
How do we achieve a calorie deficit? Simples, we consume FEWER calories or burn MORE calories – or both! For busy people, by far the simplest and most time-effective method is to take control of calories IN – i.e. manage food and drink intake. For GymHippies, this means learning to manage a calorie budget!
Ahh protein, my favourite macronutrient! So, what’s the big fuss about? Here are FOUR reasons why fat loss and protein go hand-in-hand ⬇️
1️⃣ PROTEIN HELPS US RETAIN MUSCLE // In a calorie deficit, our body must utilise internal fuel resources to make up for the shortage of calories. These are typically body fat and muscle. Since muscle is made of protein, by upping our intake, we give our body a STRONG message to PRESERVE the muscle and burn body fat instead.
2️⃣ PROTEIN HELPS US MANAGE OUR HUNGER LEVELS // The appetite-suppressing effect of protein not only reduces the likelihood of intra-meal snacking, it also means we feel fuller more quickly, thus making us less likely to overconsume.
3️⃣ PROTEIN FUELS REPAIR & RECOVERY // During strength training our muscles experience micro-tears. Those micro-tears have to repair so that they can come back stronger. Protein fuels this process by providing all the raw materials our muscles need.
4️⃣ PROTEIN BURNS MORE CALORIES DURING DIGESTION // Of the calories we consume from protein, about 30% of them are burned during its digestion and processing. Not a bad return huh! That’s much more than dietary fat and carbs.
A common fitness-industry myth is that fat loss can be targeted. For example, abs exercises can burn tummy fat, arm exercises can burn arm fat, leg exercises burn thigh fat etc.
Let’s be crystal clear, this is 100% gobbledygook! In reality, NO exercise is capable of causing fat loss in a specific area – and, for that matter, nor can any cream, lotion, tea, detox drink, waist trainer, fat-burning supplement or ANYTHING else! Frustrating, I know, but hey ho!
Whilst we might have no control over WHERE our body burns fat – as this is dictated by genetics alone – what we CAN do is control WHETHER we burn body fat. Here’s how …
1️⃣ A MODERATE CALORIE DEFICIT // creating and sustaining a moderate calorie deficit forces our body to utilise internal fuel resources – typically muscle and body fat. No calorie deficit, no fat loss. Period.
2️⃣ REGULAR STRENGTH TRAINING // strength training a few times each week helps us preserve muscle whilst in a calorie deficit. It also has the unique ability to reshape our body.
3️⃣ SUFFICIENT PROTEIN INTAKE // ensuring about 30-35% of our calories are coming from protein will further help us preserve muscle whilst in a calorie deficit.
4️⃣ BE PATIENT // provided the above are in place, we’ll steadily burn away unwanted body fat and begin to reveal a new body shape. Trust the process, be consistent, and you WILL see the results you’re after – even in those stubborn areas!
When it comes to body-shaping success, make no bones about it, CONSISTENCY IS KING. This means that, above all, our training strategy must be SUSTAINABLE – that is, it must accommodate your commitments, lifestyle and preferences. It also needs to be realistic and time-effective – since life can be hectic at times!
For me, when it comes to our training strategy, failing to plan is planning to fail. To this end, your weekly plan of attack – aka your TRAINING SPLIT – is something we’ll design in detail during our consultation. Key pieces of the puzzle include …
1️⃣ YOUR STRENGTH-TRAINING PLAN // To ensure we hit a balance between progress, recovery and sustainability, I usually find a x2-4 strength-training sessions per week is about right for most people. These can be either Luke-led sessions or sessions performed solo. That said, even just x1 strength-training session can be enough for great results – providing our nutrition is on point! Once we’ve established your WEEKLY TRAINING FREQUENCY, we’ll then lock-down the days upon which you intend to train.
2️⃣ YOUR CARDIO PLAN // As outlined earlier, calories burned through cardio are not central to our fat-loss plan – they are a BONUS. However, if you enjoy cardio – or you’re struggling to stick to your calorie budget! – we can sneak some into our plan. Buzz offer some great cardio classes (free with the membership) – such as spin or HIIT. Alternatively, I can write you a no-nonsense and time-effective HIIT programme for you to perform solo.
If we’re to achieve body-shaping success, we must be CONSISTENT with our training. Above all, this means ensuring our training strategy is SUSTAINABLE. I usually find x2-4 strength-training sessions per week is about right for MOST people. These can be either Luke-led sessions or sessions performed solo.
How many of my weekly sessions do I need with Luke? You might start by asking yourself the following questions …
1️⃣ Am I likely to train if Luke isn’t there – do I need the accountability?
2️⃣ How much of a lifestyle overhaul do I need right now?
3️⃣ How quickly do I want to see results?
4️⃣ Will I feel confident and competent training solo – are there any barriers there?
5️⃣ Which GymHippie package best suits my budget?
If you trust yourself to be consistent, if you can see no barriers, if you don’t require external accountability, if you have gym-based experience, if your lifestyle is goal-supportive, or if your budget is tight – then you probably only need to see me once a week!
If, on the other hand, if you KNOW that you won’t train solo, if you’re facing gym-based barriers, if you need a significant lifestyle overhaul, if you’re new to the gym, if you have the budget, or if you want faster results – then you might consider two or even three weekly sessions with me!
Categorically … no! In fact, for me, this is one of the most damaging, out-dated and disempowering myths in the fitness industry. In the context of a calorie deficit, lifting weights will NOT make you bulky – it will make you lean, toned, shapely and strong ?
How can I be so sure? Because the ONLY reason we gain bulk (muscle and / or body fat) is because of a sustained SURPLUS of calories – i.e. when we’re eating MORE calories than our body needs to maintain its weight. And, since a calorie deficit is our number-one, this just isn’t going to happen!
Absolutely not! In fact, the vast majority of those I coach began their Adventure with no gym experience whatsoever. Rest assured, wherever you’re at – whether you’re a newbie or a lifting veteran – I will guide you step-by-step through everything you need to know. I will equip you with the skills to feel comfortable, confident and competent at any gym. ALL you need to get started is a commitment to making positive changes!
Now, I totally understand that gyms can be daunting places! Let’s face it, there are LOADS of reasons to feel anxious. Classic examples might include …
1️⃣ Anxiety around lots of people
2️⃣ Anxiety around what we’re doing
3️⃣ Anxiety around what we look like
4️⃣ Anxiety around receiving unsolicited advice
I totally get it – I’ve been there! And, in fact, I’m sure MOST gym-goers can relate on some level! If any of these ring true, let me reassure you that I’m well versed at managing gym-based anxieties. And I’m always happy to discuss ways in which we might manage them. For example, having our sessions at quieter times.
As standard, training sessions with me are 55 minutes in duration. If time allows it, I’d advise arriving 5-10 minutes earlier for a light warm-up on the cardio machines – e.g. cross trainer or rowing machine (since they work the upper and lower body simultaneously). For any intermediates, I’ll also prescribe a pre-training activation and dynamic stretching programme. I’ll typically greet you on the cardio machines or by the gym entrance.
For reasons of demand and diary management, I work to fixed weekly session slots only – and, hence, am generally unable to offer flexibility on training days / times from one week to the next. That said, it’s always worth checking with me at firstname.lastname@example.org – as, from time-to-time, I do have more availability!
I don’t know about you, but my sleep is often the first thing to suffer when life gets hectic. This can be bad news for those of us on fat-loss and body-shaping journeys, as ensuring we achieve enough sleep can be a MAJOR factor in our success. For most of us, I’m talking about 7-8 hours per night. You see, when we’re sleep deprived and lacking energy, we are …
❌ MORE LIKELY TO CHOOSE HIGH-CALORIE OR ‘PLEASURE’ FOODS
❌ LESS LIKELY TO TRAIN
❌ LESS LIKELY TO RECOVER AND REPAIR
Moreover, when we’re tired, we’re …
❌ MORE LIKE TO RELY MORE ON CAFFEINE // potentially perpetuating sleep deprivation!
Whilst the occasional night of little sleep might be unavoidable, sleep deprivation over an extended period of time is something to avoid. Here are a few tried-and-tested ideas to help promote a good night’s sleep …
✅ AVOID DRINKING FLUIDS JUST BEFORE BED // otherwise you might have to get up in the middle of the night to wee!
✅ AVOID CAFFEINE POST 4PM – 5PM // don’t forget that a lot of teas also contain caffeine.
✅ AVOID BLUE LIGHT FROM ELECTRICAL DEVICES // I’m talking laptops, tablets and phones. Switch them off 1-2 hrs before bedtime – or adjust the screen settings.
✅ WRITE DOWN 3 THINGS YOUR GRATEFUL FOR // this has been shown to improve how fast we fall asleep and the quality of sleep. Honestly, this stuff has been studied!
✅ EAT KIWI FRUIT BEFORE BEDTIME // again this is an evidence-based recommendation. Apparently, eating 2 kiwis fruits before bed will help us fall asleep faster.
✅ PLAY WHITE / BACKGROUND NOISE // this is something that has always helped me – I personally like the sound of rain.
✅ USE EAR PLUGS // ever since the days I used to tour in my band, I’ve used silicone earplugs – the ones that mould to your ear. I absolutely swear by them!
✅ SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMIN D // a recent 8-week study found that vitamin D improves sleep quality and duration
Yes. I operate exclusively out of Buzz Gym, Reading. Hence, in addition to the cost of my services, a membership at Buzz Gym is required. The basic membership is £21.99 per month. However there’s various package options (one including access to a swimming pool at Novotel Reading!). There are no tie-ins with a Buzz membership so you can cancel any time. Payments are made via Direct Debit; and the easiest way to join is online. Here’s a link to the website: https://www.buzzgym.co.uk/. If you use the promo code GYMHIPPIE, you’ll be able to escape the £25 joining fee.
Located just a few minutes walk from The Oracle shopping centre and Broad Street, Buzz Gym is an exciting and dynamic place to be. Relatively new on the scene, the UK-based Buzz brand has grown rapidly in recent years, with 24-hour Buzz Gyms now open in Slough, Swindon, Oxford, Reading and Plymouth.
With passionate owners, friendly & professional PTs, low-cost membership and high-spec equipment – for me, it’s the perfect home for GymHippie. I regard it as a safe space full of individuals working hard to better themselves. The culture is typically welcoming and supportive.
Features include …
Since the members are largely working professionals, peak times are typically before work, lunchtime and after work – and it can certainly get busy at those times! Particularly in the evening. If you’ve any gym-based anxieties, I’d advise using the gym at quieter times – i.e. weekends or weekday late mornings / early afternoons.
For those travelling from afar, the absence of free on-site parking is, for me, the only downside to life at Buzz! There is 24/7 pay-and-display parking outside the gym on Kings Road – and also an NCP car park a few minutes walk away on Queens Road. There’s also a bike shed! Anecdotally, however, I find that most members tend to either live or work within walking distance.
Once you’ve submitted a questionnaire via my website, the next stage is sitting down together for a FREE face-to-face strategy-planning consultation. These are typically around 90 minutes in length and are held at the Wetherspoons pub next to Buzz – The Back of Beyond, it’s called. Not very ‘health and fitness’, I know! But it’s nice and quiet in there. I’ll usually arrange to meet you outside Buzz at an agreed time, before walking there together.
The objective of the consultation is to hammer out our plan of attack for the next 12 weeks …
I’ll take you on a tour of your GymHippie SafeSpace – signposting you to any particularly relevant chapters of your Fat-Loss Handbook
A 12-Week reshaping Adventure with me comes with TWO financial commitments …
1️⃣ TO BUZZ GYM // a basic monthly membership @ Buzz Gym is £21.99. Remember you can use the promo code GYMHIPPIE to escape the joining fee. There are no tie-ins with a Buzz membership – and you can cancel it at any time by cancelling your Direct Debit.
2️⃣ TO GYMHIPPIE // my Reshaping Adventures run for a minimum of 12 weeks. This will always cover a minimum 3 months, Hence, the minimum financial commitment is 3 months. If, after 12 weeks, you wish to continue your Adventure – which many do! – then we’ll move to a rolling month-by-month agreement.
In no particular order ⬇️
On such occasions where life clashes with your session(s), again, I’m pretty chilled – that is, providing it doesn’t become the norm! My rescheduling policy is 24-hours’ notice, which will typically afford me enough time to fill your slot. Failure to provide 24-hours’ notice will result in the session being ‘lost’ (i.e. charged for) – that is, unless I’m able to offer you an alternative slot in the same week. Please note that, in order to protect my business, I’m fairly strict at enforcing this.
First and foremost, the most important thing for me is that you’re comfortable! If that means you want to wear a chicken suit then go for it! You’ll notice fairly quickly that I never wear shoes – much to the management’s annoyance haha.
Generally speaking, I’d advise comfy and lightweight gym attire with non-slip flat-soled shoes (e.g. converse). Unbeknownst to most people, running shoes with big squishy soles are generally a hindrance when it comes to lifting – since they reduce proprioception.
I’d also recommend bringing a sweat towel and a bottle of water. There are free lockers in the Buzz changing rooms, however they do require a padlock. Padlocks can either be brought from home or purchased from the vending machines at Buzz. You can also buy Buzz sweat towels there too!
Yes, absolutely! As an experienced personal trainer, I’m very comfortable training both males and females.