Personal Training Blog

Pregnancy & Exercise

posted Oct 24, 2018, 8:22 PM by Difference Personal Training   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 8:27 PM ]

There are numerous potential health benefits for women who exercise during pregnancy, including better weight control, improved mood and maintenance of fitness levels. Regular exercise during pregnancy can also decrease the risk of pregnancy-related complications such as pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia.Before exercising when pregnant, consult your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional. You may need to modify your existing exercise program or choose a suitable new one if you were exercising very little before getting pregnant. 


Benefits of exercise during pregnancy




Increased Energy

Improved Fitness

Reduced Back Pain

Faster recovery from labour

Improved posture

Improved circulation

Decreased risk of complications

Weight control

Stress relief

Reduced risk of anxiety & depression

Improved sleep management





Exercising and changes associated with pregnancy


Your body will undergo many changes during pregnancy. Some will affect your ability to exercise, or require you to modify your exercise routine, including:


              Hormones such as relaxin loosen ligaments, which could increase your risk of joint injuries

              As pregnancy progresses, your weight will increase and you will experience changes in weight distribution and body shape. This results in the body’s centre of gravity moving forward, which can alter your balance and coordination.

              Pregnancy increases your resting heart rate, so don’t use your target heart rate to work out the intensity of your exercise.

              Your blood pressure drops in the second trimester, so it is important to avoid rapid changes of position – from lying to standing and vice versa – so as not to experience dizzy spells.  

Suggested exercise activities during pregnancy





Muscle strengthing exercises (pelvic floor)



Resistance Exercise


Exercises to avoid while pregnant


During pregnancy, avoid sports and activities with increased risk of, or characterised by:

              abdominal trauma or pressure – such as weightlifting

              contact or collision– such as martial arts, soccer, basketball and other competition sports

              hard projectile objects or striking implements – such as hockey, cricket or softball

              falling – such as downhill skiing, horse riding and skating

              extreme balance, co-ordination and agility – such as gymnastics

              significant changes in pressure – such as SCUBA diving

              heavy lifting

              high-altitude training at over 2000 m

              supine exercise position (lying on your back)

Muscle Growth Tips

posted Sep 17, 2018, 12:53 AM by Difference Personal Training

Muscle Growth Tips


Maximize muscle building. The more protein your body stores—in a

process called protein synthesis—the larger your muscles grow. But your

body is constantly draining its protein reserves for other uses—making

hormones, for instance. The result is less protein available for muscle

building. To counteract that, you need to build and store new proteins faster

than your body breaks down old proteins.


Eat meat. Shoot for about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight,which

Is roughly the maximum amount your body can use in a day, according to a

Landmark study in the Journal of Applied Physiology.


For example, a 160-pound man should consume 160 grams of protein a

day—the amount hed get from an 8-ounce chicken breast, 1 cup of cottage cheese, a roast-beef sandwich, two eggs, a glass of milk, and 2 ounces of peanuts.



Work your biggest muscles. If youre a beginner, just about any

workout will be intense enough to increase protein synthesis. But if youve

been lifting for a while, youll build the most muscle quickest if you focus on

the large muscle groups, like the chest, back, and legs.


Add squats, deadlifts, pullups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and

Military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of eight to 12

repetitions, with about 60 secondsrest between sets.



Lift every other day. Do a full-body workout followed by a day of rest.

Studies show that a challenging weight workout increases protein synthesis

for up to 48 hours immediately after your exercise session.



Down the carbs after your workout. Research shows that you'll

Rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed your body carbohydrates.

Post-workout meals with carbs increase your insulin levels,which, in turn,

Slows the rate of protein breakdown





Eat Enough Good Fats. One mistake wannabe lifters make is to not eat enough good fats. When I first began lifting and eating seriously, I would try my best to steer away from fats. Little did I know that fats were actually important in growth. One good thing to know about good fats is that there is a direct relationship between fat and testosterone levels.



Drink Plenty of Water. One of the most overlooked factors in exercise is adequate water consumption. This should be a no-brainer since water comprises up to 70% of the body and if you're dehydrated, your muscle size suffers as well. I believe that one pound of muscle can hold up to three pounds of water. Now if you add it all up, that's a lot of size.

Stretching Blog

posted Sep 3, 2018, 4:29 PM by Difference Personal Training

Benefits Of Stretching and Muscle Release



We all know how much we should be stretching and how it makes us ‘feel’ better and how ‘loose’ our muscles become, but we don’t stretch as near as enough as we should be to get maximum benefit for our bodies! I will go through and talk about the benefits of stretching and myofascial release and how often and a few tips to maximise the benefits gained!


                            Benefits of Myofasical Release


         Increases blood flow. Research has shown that self-myofascial release can increase vascular function. By getting rid of knots and tension in the fascia that may be restricting fluid flow in the area, self-myofascial release techniques helps to keep your muscles and connective tissue well hydrated. That means that you’ll recover and heal faster.


         Improves muscular range of motion. Studies have also shown that self-myofascial release can increase range of motion without decreasing muscle force or activation. By breaking up the adhesions in the fascia, your muscles and connective tissue can move more freely and you avoid muscle restrictions when you exercise.


         Reduce muscle soreness. With better circulation to your muscles and connective tissues, you’ll experience less muscle soreness.


         Maintains normal functional muscular length. Self-myofascial release relieves tension in the myofascia network and helps your muscles return to their normal length, improving muscle function.


         Encourages movement of your lymph – a major component of your immune system that helps to fight infection int he body. However, the lymph system relies on movement pressure to move the fluid. Self-myofascial release can encourage the flow of lymph back to the heart.



                                     Benefits of Stretching


                     Increased flexibility and joint range of motion:      Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.

                     Improved circulation: Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you've had any muscle injuries.

                     Better posture: Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.

                     Stress relief: Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.

                     Enhanced coordination: Maintaining the full range-of-motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older.



                                      Tips for Stretching


                     Warm up first: Stretching muscles when they're cold increases your risk of pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favourite exercise at low intensity for five minutes.

                     Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds: It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area. That can seem like a long time, so wear a watch or keep an eye on the clock to make sure you're holding your stretches long enough. For most of your muscle groups, if you hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds, you'll need to do each stretch only once.

                     Don't bounce: Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears (microtears) in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, making you even less flexible — and more prone to pain.

                     Focus on a pain-free stretch: If you feel pain as you stretch, you've gone too far. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.

                     Relax and breathe freely: Don't hold your breath while you're stretching.

                     Stretch both sides: Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body

                     Stretch before and after activity: Light stretching after your warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after your workout is your best bet

Common Mistakes With Nutrition

posted Jun 19, 2018, 8:47 PM by Difference Personal Training   [ updated Jun 19, 2018, 8:52 PM ]

Common Mistakes With Nutrition  

Image result for nutrition weight loss

With any exercise program, the nutrition component is important, if not more important, but a lot of people may not know a few common mistakes that you are making while trying to change your diet! Breaking a habit in regards to nutrition is hard, it only takes one slip up and you’re back to square one, therefore it is very important to nail these first go and keep your nutrition on track.

Under Eating 

Many individual think that to lose weight, you simply just cut out a few meals and therefore your calorie intake will drop, therefore resulting in weight loss? Sounds fairly easy in concept, but it is not correct and you are only harming your body and depriving your body of crucial nutrients!!

Our bodies typically have around 2 days worth of glycogen (carbohydrate stores=energy), which maintains blood sugar levels. By continuing to ‘starve’ yourself in the pursuit of weight loss, the opposite happens, this will in face slow down your metabolism, leading to a lack of energy. As the process continues your body is pretty much solely relying on protein and ketone bodies which are made from fat as its only source of energy. So in saying that, do not under eat, see a fitness professional, work out what calories you need to be consuming and do not starve yourself to lose weight, you are only damaging your own health!!!


Image result for carbohydrates

Im sure by now most of you would have heard the saying that carbs are bad, or to avoid carbs because they make you fat… in reality a healthy portion of carbs are important and are important for weight loss. You need to understand that when the term ‘carbohydrates’ is being used, it is a broad term and that not all carbs are the same, its about the quality and quantity of carbs in the diet that is important. 

Carbohydrates are generally the bodies main source of energy in a balanced diet, they are broken down in to glucose (sugar), which is used by our body for energy, fuelling all our activities. 

Lets get into the fun part, should I cut out carbohydrates? 

If we were to cut them out, we could live without the glucose (sugar), it is unrealistic to think we can cut them out completely, but having a balanced diet requires carbs. Without carbs, it will be difficult to obtain enough fibre in our diet, which is important for a healthy digestive system.

By cutting carbs out, it could put you at an increased risk of being deficient in certain nutrients (calcium, iron, b vitamins to name a few), this would also mean you would need to substitute by increasing amount of fats and proteins which is generally higher in saturated fat, and we do not need that level of cholesterol to rise in our body! 

So in short, don’t cut out carbs, they are important in our macronutrients, just adjust what type of carbohydrate you are eating, more starchy foods, such as fruits, vegetables (5 serves a day), wholegrain varieties in comparison to the sweets, cakes and pastries which will affect weight loss.

Thinking That You Need to Eat 5-6 Times Per Day

Image result for meal frequency

Im sure you’ve heard of this one as well, you need to have breakfast first thing in the morning and every 2-3 hours have a small/medium meal, it will help your metabolism and help you lose weight. While eating does slightly raise your metabolic rate while digesting and metabolising food, it all comes down to calorie intake throughout a 24 hour period, not the number of meals you have. Some individuals will only have 2-3 meals per day, large in calories, whereas, other individual may have 4-5 meals of medium calorie intake.

Our bodies are well equipped to handle short periods of ‘famine’ (5 & 2, intermittent fasting - topic for another blog altogether), so don’t get caught into the whole ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ topic or needing to eat 5-6 meals per day, every individual is different, remember that, what works for me, may not work for you, we need to individualise our nutritional intake and implement something that works for you and your time schedule also.

 Protein Intake

Image result for protein for weight loss

By now, you should know that protein intake is a key part of weight loss, this can be due to many different factors, including; reducing appetite, increased feelings of fullness, decreased calorie intake and a increase in metabolic rate!

In every meal you have, you should include some form of protein, carbohydrates and fat, so you can space your calories out throughout the day, every individual’s protein intake a day is different, the general rule is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, this can be increased to 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight once training intensity and days increase to supplement the muscle growth and repair.


posted May 2, 2018, 7:18 PM by Difference Personal Training   [ updated May 2, 2018, 7:42 PM ]

SMART goals are an important tool in helping you achieve the end goal whatever that goal may be, weight loss, fat loss, muscle mass, the list can go on forever, but this cannot be reached without implementing smart goals into your training and lifestyle!

Lets break the smart goals down;

S - Specific 

When starting on your journey, it is important to set and end goal, which in fact isnt going to be specific. For instance you may say you want to lose 40 kilos or may want to squat or deadlift 100 kilos, this is the major goal that you may be working towards, but for this to happen, you need to break down this into small weekly, or monthly goals so you can be kept on track and have some sought of accountability. For example, you have set a weekly goal of losing 500 grams, by keeping track and accountable for this goal it is more likely in the long term you will achieve that major goal!

M - Measurable 

By setting measurable goals it is seen and feels like it is easily attainable, instead of stating just you want to lose weight, by setting a goal of 500 grams per week, it gives the client an incentive to train and eat well to reach this goal.

A - Achievable 

This relates to evidence based practice, is the goal you set, will this be achievable with reference to research and science. If you set a goal of say 5 kilos a week for 4 weeks, this seems hefty and in all seriousness not achievable, which then leads to disappointment and a loss of motivation. You need to set something that you know you can reach and is achievable, we all like over achieving and it bodes well for future performance and self-confidence. 

R - Realistic 

Setting realistic/relevant goals are important in the journey also, they need to tie in with the long term goal! There is no point saying you want to deadlift or squat 100 kilos and you are doing just cardio work! They both need to work hand in hand, in order to reach that final goal!

T - Timely  

A timely goal ties in well with the previous mentioned, as you need to put a timeline on the goal, for instance, losing 500 grams per week is a timely goal that allows you to see the weightless and is a good motivational tool.

5 Fitness Apps to Keep You Motivated

posted Apr 10, 2018, 12:03 AM by Rebecca Smith

30% exercise and 70% diet, a statistic we often hear. The app yummly makes a nutritious and holistic diet easy to adhere to. The app includes loads of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts, whilst taking into account recipes for individuals who are lactose intolerant, vegetarian or follow a paleo diet. It even gives option for the cuisine you are craving, Yum, Italian!

To go hand in hand with your new Yummly app, track that you are consuming the correct amount of nutrients including your carbohydrate, fat and sugar intake, based on your height, weight and weight loss goals.

As the name suggests, a running app!! Track your run via a GPS tracker, which records your daily activity, distance ran, time taken, and calories burned! A great app to see your progression through your fitness journey and set personal goals with yourself. Bring a pal on this journey, interact and engage with their progress! A great way to help each other stay motivated.

Set goals you want to achieve. This app keeps you motivated by sending daily reminders and goal tracking. Almost like one of the Difference Personal Trainers inside your phone all week!! A fun way to keep you accountable and be the best version of you. What is your goal this week? Make sure you come to the gym 3-4 times? Drink 2L of water every day? Let us know what you goal is.

HIIT has been scientifically proven to be awesome for your health! It improves aerobic capacity, cardiorespiratory fitness, glucose tolerance, exercise endurance and burns more calories than steady state cardio! Set fast paces routines by adjusting working intervals, rest periods and amount of sets completed to suit your person fitness levels.

Let us know what your favourite app was!

The Quick Fix to Weight Loss

posted Apr 10, 2018, 12:00 AM by Rebecca Smith

Now that i have your attention, there is no quick fix! Surprise! The key to exercise in general, whether it be attributed to weight loss, % of body fat or building muscle, you need to be consistent and it will take many months and years of hard work to feel like you have achieved the goal. Once you reach this point it is important to re-evaluate the goal and keep pushing yourself to be the best version of you that you can be. While this journey may be daunting, it can really teach you some life lessons such as patience, determination and drive, there will be bad weeks, there will be good weeks where you feel untouchable, this is all apart of the journey.

The ‘Quick Fix’ that you see advertised on many different platforms such as television and mainly social media, gives individuals a false sense of security. No matter the goal, training can be broken up into many different parts, such as the actual training program or whether it be nutritional coaching, can be more specific such as sleep patterns, it has to take into account your life as a whole and every individual is different.

For all of us, even the practising personal trainers etc, it is imperative we have a plan on how we train and how we train our clients. If there is no plan, we are just setting up ourselves for failure and we are hoping for that quick fix that is shoved in our faces. A plan on how to keep a client motivated for the long haul, for the bad weeks, how to keep a client on track in regards to macros and counting calories, otherwise we are just guessing right?

So in short, the quick fix that is advertised so readily for all individuals, is not quite what we expect it to be, yet we need to be ready for the long haul and put in the hard work month on month, once you commit to this, you will feel accomplished once the results start to show.


Difference Personal Trainer Narellan

What makes a Successful Training Program

posted Feb 6, 2018, 4:33 PM by Rebecca Smith

When starting out with a new training program, many clients have the best intentions for success and will jump into training with little to no knowledge regarding training and training principles. There are many tips that when put in place will help a new or an exisiting client with adherence to training and therefore, reaching their goal whatever that may be.


A tip i will always give my new clients is to set a measurable goal, whether it is training one day a week or losing 1 kg per week, whatever the goal, this needs to be measurable, something that can be achievable and be repeated week on week. By setting a measurable goal it helps keep motivation levels at a high level and will assist in the long term success of your training journey. In adding to that, everyone loves when a goal has been reached and it helps with self-confidence and that feel good feeling will help keep the client on track.


Another major tip when training is in regards to exercise choices you make and how you progress them and also how long a program can last for, for your body to still achieve results. When starting in the gym it is obviously not the best idea to jump straight in the deep end and start lifting heavy weights without correct technique and programming. When starting a new program it is important to have a fitness professional be present to watch and help coach you through the prescribed exercise. By having this professional with you it will help iron out any creases in regards to technique, what is achievable and also, any questions that may arise.


In regards to an actual program and the exercises it is important to understand fundamental basics such as progressive overload and getting deeper into programming, such as undulating periodisation. With progressive overload it is important not to chop and change between exercises because there will be no benefit from changing between exercises from one training day to the next. I recommend staying on a program for around 4-6 weeks as this allows for true results to be seen, throughout this time period you can change variables such as rest breaks, amount of receptions, amount of sets and of course, the weight. By manipulating these variables it allows for adaptation to occur, rather then just a standard 4 sets of 10 repetitions per exercises for all the exercises, by changing the stimulus the body and muscle endure, it will allow for change to occur, for instance weight loss, hypertrophy or strength depending on the client and their goal.


This ties in well with setting a measurable goal, this means being consistent in the training and the amount of days training, hours spent training, the nutrition aspect also. Consistency is important, everyone has good intentions of attending the gym and exercising, until the time where your body is too sore or you’re too tired because you’ve overtrained those 5/6 times in the gym that week. By setting a realistic goal by saying you’ll attend the gym 2/3 times per week for 6 months is better then attending the gym 5.6 times for one month, you need to realise this is a lifestyle change and by changing everything at once can be problematic, you need to ease yourself in and it may take months until you’re ready for that extra day of training.


The nutrition you undertake while starting an exercise program can be the difference between being successful and failing, nutrients are the driving force behind all bodily functions which means we need to meet those requirements in order to be active and achieve results. The tricky thing in regards to nutrition is that you need to be able to sustain this long term, while restricting some foods will work for you, there is no guarantee it will work for another person, a high protein and low carbohydrate diet may work for you it may not. I could go on all day about different types of ‘diets’ out there, but the basic building blocks when talking about nutrition is calories. In order to lose body fat, you must eat in a calorie deficit, basically, consume less calories then you will burn throughout the 24 hour period.


Lastly, if you’re having fun, you are more likely to keep coming back and stick to the above principles which will in the long term provide you with good results whether it be lose of body fat, decreased % of fat etc. While you’re exercising and you’re having fun, you are likely to form a social bond with fellow clients and also trainers, these friendships that you form can also keep you on track and feel a sense of togetherness in the chase of that your ultimate goal and help motivate each other going forward in their lifestyle journey.

Consistency and results - it's all about mindset!

posted Nov 15, 2017, 4:16 PM by Rebecca Smith

Throughout any training program everyone will come across a plateau period, a time when they think, is it worth it, why am I doing it, this is getting hard, maybe I wont go into today, I’m too busy with the kids to train today, the list could go on forever.  

For some people this may be a daily for others it might come once in a while, either way these, it is important to remember that being consistent is the base for results.  Weather your goal is weight loss, body building or just for general fitness and well-being being consistent day in day out, week in week out, is what will ensure you get your goals.   It is actually these times, when you push through the days you “don’t” want to do it, that you will see your best results.

So what strategies can you use to help with consistency

1.   Awareness!

Be aware that in reality getting to your goals is not always going to something you “feel” motivated for.  Accept that you are going to have days when it gets hard, when you don’t feel motivated, when you could think of a million other things to do.  Knowing that this exists, helps you to catch it when it arrives

Focus on the Positive

On those days you have these negative thoughts it is easy to buy in to the “bull” that you are spinning yourself.  The “reasons” why you shouldn’t have to train today, so you need to focus on the positive. Remember all the hard work you have put in already, be proud of the results you have already achieved, remember why you got started on this journey, think of how good you will feel when you finish that workout, when you pushed through a challenging day!  You will feel amazing!  

3.   Tap into the fear of not succeeding

Sometimes the positive is not enough to motivate us, so we need to think about what it would feel like to fail at this goal, not to hit our desired weight, to continue putting on weight or being unfit and unhealthy.  The thought of not being able to run around with out kids, or being in hospital with illness.  Sometimes the best strategy for motivating yourself through the hard times is to tap into your fear of failure.  Fear can be a stronger motivator than pleasure!

Remember turning up of these days and putting in the hard work in the gym you will feel a lot better physically and mentally moving forward, by just turning up to the gym is a win in itself!

By being consistent with your training and your diet and keeping this discipline will help you to see results and will keep you strong in both body and mind. There are many different tools that can be used to keep yourself accountable and on track, some include;

  • Make a conscious decision to remain consistent - Say out loud to yourself, “I am committed to remaining consistent each day in my goal. I am doing this!”
  •  Have a plan, or see a personal trainer who can give you a plan and help to hold you accountable.
  • Remember that feelings and thoughts are temporary and subjective.  You do have the power to change them
  • Do one thing at a time. Be in the present moment.
  • Remember to change “I can’t” to “I can” or even “what if I can”
  • My favourite “don’t think just do!” Sometimes we think too much and talk ourselves OUT of what is best for us.  So don’t think about it, do it.

By following these steps it keeps the individual accountable regarding their fitness journey it will help keep them on track when they have the negative thoughts and the bad days, reminding them not to give up and to stick at their task and long term goal of health and fitness.

How do I stay motivated when it's 100 degrees outside?

posted Oct 5, 2017, 9:26 PM by Rebecca Smith

Staying Motivated to Exercise When it’s 100 Degrees Outside!



With the Aussie summer heat on its way, it’s easy to decide to stay in the cool air-conditioning instead of working out. We have all had the thought pass our minds ‘oh, I’ll just wait till it’s a little cooler’. Not this year!

Here are some of my favourite tips to beat the heat, stay cool and smash your workout:


1.      Exercise early


Take advantage of the cooler mornings! Get up early, do a workout and feel great for the rest of the day.


2.      Time to lose the hoodies


Avoid wearing dark colours which attract the sun making you hotter. Light, loose fitting gym gear will be a lot more comfortable during the summer heat. If you are outside, don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.


3.      Stay Hydrated


Water, water, water!! An essential part of any workout, water helps regulates your body temperature. If you're not hydrated, you will not be able to complete your workout with your best performance and might start to experience muscle cramps and dizziness.


4.      Listen to your body


Don’t push yourself if you’re going to end up hating your workout. Reduce the intensity if your body is telling you to. Maybe complete your 60min run along the beach where you can cool down, or just go swimming! Swimming laps is a great workout, your body will love you for it.


5.      Stay Indoors


If it’s just too hot outside, not a problem at all! We will see you at your personal training session at Difference Personal Training. We’ve got the indoor coolness all sorted and ready for you to go.



Summer is the best time for you to be the best version of yourself! So keep exercising, dress appropriately, stay hydrated, and kick your goals with no excuses.

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