Strong Not Skinny

We have had quite a few emails recently regarding our female only class on a Friday evening ‘Strong Not Skinny’.

‘What does it involve?’

‘Am I strong enough to come?’

‘Will it make me too bulky’?

Our main aim behind the class is to make you stronger. Plain and simple. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like knowing they’re getting stronger. However, like with most things, strength is relative. There are no initial requirements to come to the class, just a positive attitude and the ability to work hard. Continue reading “Strong Not Skinny”

Southern Qualifiers for ESM u90kg ’14

Setting up my own gym was one of two goals I set at the start of year. The other was qualification for England’s Strongest Man 2014, the path for which was by qualification of the top five strongest in Southern England on March 16th at Strength Tec gym in Fareham.

The run up for this had been pretty smooth, under the guidance of Winning Health Solutions Owner and 2013 England’s Strongest Man Tom Hibbert, I’d increased my strength greatly and was feeling pretty good about my chances for top 5 based upon what I thought I’d make on the day. Continue reading “Southern Qualifiers for ESM u90kg ’14”

Elite-Bodywork’s Classes

Group 1

Classes…bootcamps…circuits. Everyone has had experiences of some sort of group training scenario, so what makes ours different? Why will ours provide superior results?


Upon attending one of our group training classes, we will know:

– Your name (As simple as it sounds, very important, as anyone who has ever attended a 20+ person session will attest to).

– Your ability (Meaning we can make the session more specific for your strength levels).

– Injuries (We will know what exercises you should be avoiding and what exercises could help accelerate recovery).

We also will provide nutritional guidelines which will help to accelerate your progress as it will indicate an eating structure to follow to help to fit your goals. (In the future we will also be putting on FREE monthly nutrition seminars that any client will have access to).

We have had quite a few queries and a fair bit of confusion surrounding the details of our classes so hopefully this blog will help to clear some of the issues up.

Our main goal with the classes? To make our clients as lean, muscular and strong, until they say they’ve reached their target. To look better with their clothes off is generally what most people want, our classes offer one of the fastest and most affordable ways to reach that objective.

“Your name has Elite in the title, does that mean there will be just people already in great shape”. It’s true that a fair amount of our clients are in great shape, but that’s because they have been working with us for a while. Everyone starts with insecurities however we hope that they disappear quickly as our Coaches and classes are welcoming and inclusive of all abilities. We have middle aged housewives and executives, to competitive athletes and teams but are proud to say that we’re able to accomodate anyone who’s willing to work hard.

There will be a MAXIMUM of 8 clients in the gym at one time (essentially a large Personal Training session) and we will have access to all the equipment available in the gym. Often we see there are muscle groups under utilised within a class environment, as the exercises needed to target areas such as the upper back, hamstrings and lower back effectively without causing injury is difficult. We will have access to equipment such as:

– Cables, Benches and Power Racks

– Lying Leg Curl

– Glute-Ham Raise/Back Extension

as well as many other bespoke pieces of equipment.


To secure your spot in the same class each week, we just invoice you for the amount of session’s that fall within that month. You can pay as you go but it does mean that we cannot guarentee you a spot each week. We have already lots of classes fully booked, which indicates that at popular times we will probably be at capacity and booking ahead of time will be essential.

Prices are £8.50 per class which some people have mentioned is rather expensive. The reason why we feel the price is justified, is firstly the increased contact time you will receive with our experienced Coaches. Secondly, we have been running group sessions at our old facility for over 2 years. We started with a group of 6 and increased to 3 groups of 12 throughout the week. We know this system works and once you start, you will love every (ish) minute.

If you are looking for a class where there is a lot of running, bodyweight exercises and ability to shy away from working hard then these sessions probably aren’t for you. If however, you are looking for a group training environment which provides results in a hard working but enjoyable atmosphere, then these sessions are definitely the right choice.

For any more information please email


I wanted to write a short blog based upon a recent post on our social media.

Following on from a competition we posted last week on our Facebook page, we asked the following question.

What do you think is the most important element in fat loss and why?

We had lots of great answers; sleep, hydration, no magic bullets etc, all correct in part but not the main answer we were looking for. So what was it?


Nobody wins by accident. Everyone who has succeeded has set out with a plan to be the best at what they do. Therefore when you apply this to a fitness context, it would appear that for the most part, those who get the best results believe that they can achieve this.

This certainly is not always the case from the outset and that’s where a good coach can become a great coach. It’s not about comparing one individual to another to make them understand what’s possible, it’s about helping someone believe that they DO have the ability to get the results they desire.

Here are just a handful of the individuals who have had great results from our coaching methods.

As always, every great transformation whether it’s physical or more importantly emotional is achieved by the client. As a coach, we provide the tools, the client is the one who has to use them correctly. In actual fact, seeing people overcome emotional hurdles is so much more rewarding than seeing an emerging 6 pack. Even in the last week I can think of two stand out instances that make me feel incredibly proud, as I know just how long these challenges have taken to overcome.

Mindset is a powerful thing. Before setting any goals related to fitness (or life) you have to make sure that you believe it’s something you can do.

E.g. ‘I want to lose 5 pounds in 4 weeks’.

Achievable? Yes. However just hoping the weight fall’s off whilst continuing to succumb to the dietary indulgences that have created the psychological desire to rid that weight in the first place makes this goal unachievable!

Fat loss is extremely simple but not necessarily at all easy. The two words although similar, have completely different meanings. Be committed, make sustainable changes and get your mindset to a place which will allow you to achieve your goals.

This is the key to fat loss.

Qualifying for the British Olympic Weightlifting Championship…

by Ben Ross

This is a short blog of how in my last comp, I managed to overcome a big mental block from unexpected sequence of events. Funny how things work out isn’t it?

My last comp was the regional championship for London & South East England. This was defiantly the highest profile comp to date I had done as the venue was bigger, the equipment better, much stronger lifters who had to qualify just to be there and officials to double check your weight as well as drug testing.

I had been very dedicated with my nutrition going into this championship, I was leaner, lighter and stronger then I have ever been before. Needless to say this gave me a huge mental edge as most of you know so much of lifting is in your head. Weigh in went as smoothly as expected, a light 66.7kg for my under 69kg class. As soon as I had weighed in it’s off to get my breakfast in.

I sit down and tuck into my chicken, pepper and cous cous, having to force most of it down as I never really have an appetite before lifting. Looking around seeing other competitors eating sandwiches, crisps and flapjacks….

90 minutes after weigh in its off to the warm up room, find myself a platform and begin going through my warm up procedure, I’m feeling good at this point. The warm up room is quite quiet and all the lifters have different ways to prepare, every now and again you catch someone looking at what I’m doing or vice versa.

I warm up quite quickly and am keen to get going, most defiantly the pre-workout kicking in. I warm up a bit too quickly and am ready to go about 15 minutes before I am due to lift, I decide to slow it down before I over cook myself. A short while after I began to re-warm up, this was a massive error.

My second warm up never felt as good, lifts felt labored and sluggish,  I missed a few warm up lifts and start to stress out, this made me miss a few more. My last warm up lift is 80kg; in a few minutes I would go on stage and do 90kg as my first attempt. I miss the 80kg warm up, my head is a mess, a combination of a badly timed warm up and nerves start to kick in. If I miss my first 3 lifts I get disqualified from the whole championship (referred to as “bombing out”). The lifter before me does just this, more pressure.

My first attempt is a 90kg snatch, I clear my head, grasp the bar as wide as I can, and just before I lift I remind myself I had done 10kg more than this is training. This works a treat, I throw it overhead catching it perfectly, the over head squat is easy, the feeling of relief floods my mind.  I then go on to miss my next two lifts at 96kg. As you can imagine I’m pretty pissed off at this point, but was just happy I got one lift in after that horrific warm up.  I’m sure I just blew my chances of qualifying for the great British championship and any sort of podium.

The comp then moves onto the second lift, the clean and jerk.  This lift was 100% my nemesis, I could almost snatch the same weight I can C&J, this is very odd. I had never done 110kg before, 109kg easy, 110 impossible. I had formed a complete mental block about this weight. I knew if I still wanted to qualify for the Great British champs I would need at least 115kg.

First C&J was 105kg, no problems at all. Second lift I ask for 110, I don’t let the thoughts of the countless times I have missed this weight enter my mind. The clean feels great lands a little high on my shoulders and squashes my windpipe slightly. I stand up quickly and give myself a few seconds to adjust the bar on my shoulders. I drive the bar above my head I catch it a little low and stager with the bar over head. Mid drive above my head I caught myself thinking “ah crap, I didn’t drive enough and have lost it” instantly I think no way! Keep pushing up. 2 out of 3 judges give the lift so it passes, I was happy I had finally got that weight, but felt lucky do have done it wasn’t smooth at all.
My last clean and jerk had to be 115kg, a weight I had never even attempted to clean before let alone put it above my head. Before I had any time to dwell on this thought I hear the announcement, “Bar is loaded, if Ben gets this lift he will qualify for the Great British Championship!”  As if I didn’t have enough pressure anyway!
I dust my hands with chalk, take a few stamps on the ground to get me fired up and walk through the door to the stage.
I hear the roar of the crowd as I walk out and can pick out the familiar voices within it. I just look at the bar as I walk towards it, making sure I don’t look at the large crowd that’s amassed. I run through the motions, toes under the bar, strong grip, sit back and take a deep breath, at this point the crowd is silent.
I sit up and pull as hard as I can, the bar hits my thighs perfectly and I drop to get under the bar, it lands heavily on my shoulders, the squat feels good though. Standing up with it I let out a roar of aggression. I let the bar settle, take a deep breath and dip and drive the bar overhead punching hard, I catch it perfectly overhead. I take a few steps to recover and hold the bar tight to keep everything still waiting for the buzzer, it feels like lifetime.The buzzer goes, I’d done it. I release the bar to the floor and give an emotional cheer with arms stretched out, I take a second to absorb the crowd’s cheers, and it feels amazing. Months of strict training, all the travelling to various gyms and eating perfectly weighed food has paid off.

I walk off stage into the back and am fired up! I take a seat and try and comprehend what I had just done, I feel a rush of emotion run through my veins, almost like pins and needles all over.

Not one but two personal bests, achieved qualification to the great British champs and overcome a massive mental hurdle.

A great day indeed.

Below is a video of that last Clean and Jerk.

115KG @ 66.7kg BW

Five tips to improve your Deadlift!

By James Smith

The Deadlift has always been an exercise I’ve enjoyed. Having long arms and a relatively short torso has meant that I’ve always had favorable leverage which has resulted in the following PB’s so far:

260kg Deadlift from floor

275kg Deadlift from 16″

220kg x 19 Axle Deadlift from 18″

All at 86kg bodyweight. Certainly not up to scratch with some of the best u90kg Strongmen competitors in country; Arram Eghoyan, James Ward, Shane Jerman and of course England’s Strongest Man and personal mentor Tom Hibbert but not terrible.

My target is to have hit a 3.25 x bodyweight Deadlift in my first phase of 2014 as my current training goals are to increase my Squatting patterns in my quest to qualify for England’s Strongest Man.

The following tips are five important things that have helped to increase our clients and my own levels of strength. The internet is saturated with advice on training technique but I hope I can try to provide something slightly different. The advice provided is for someone who is not a complete beginner and already has an understanding of the exercise and has the flexibility required perform it safely.

1. Set a goal and timeframe and make yourself accountable.

Without a time frame, a structured plan and a finish date, most programmes result in mediocrity. Having a training partner that not only motivates you but also has a similar goal will also help tremendously, you’re not always going to be to motivate yourself and be able to complete the plan for the day. Alternatively, hire a coach, even if it’s just to write the programme for you and to keep you on track. This is the simplest but perhaps the most important point. Without intent and without desire, even the best written programme will be ineffective.

My current target (albeit not for Deadlifting):

Back Squat – 172kg (2 x bodyweight) by 24th December. Secretly I want 180kg!

2. Improve your unilateral strength and weak links.

We’ve all heard the phrase, you’re only as strong as your weakest link and this applies to max effort lifts more than anything. When we look at the Deadlift, imbalances could come from a multitude of muscle groups; lumbar erectors, hamstrings, VMO’s (quadriceps) and scapulae retractors spring to mind immediately. Periodising your first phase of training to include strengthening your weaknesses is important. Again if you’re not sure what these are, get yourself assessed by a qualified coach. One of my phase 1 training protocols looked like this:

A1 Front Foot Elevated, 1 1/4 Split Squat (4 x 7-9, 4110, 60s)

A2 Lying Leg Curl, Toes In, Plantar Flexed (4 x 6-8, 50X1, 60s)

B Seated Good Mornings (4 x 10-12, 3210, 75s)

C1 Rope Pull-Through (3 x 12-15, 3010, 10s)

C2 45′ Back Extension (3 x 12-15, 3010, 90s)

This was mainly to overload my posterior chain but also to improve hamstring and adductor flexibility and to improve my deficit between left and right quads and hamstrings.

3. Deadlift!

This may seem obvious but unless you Deadlift frequently, with good form and with different volumes, tempos and recruitment patterns it’s going to be hard to improve for long. My training has included all forms (chains, bands, isometric holds, different heights, RDLs etc) and even 2 x per day, 2 x per week. Initially you should be able to make consistent improvements by slowly increasing the weight and slowly changing the rep target e.g.

Week 1-3 – 6 x 6-8 reps

Week 4 – Deload (Cut sets by 50%)

Week 5-7 – 6 x 4-6 reps

Week 8 – Deload (Cut sets by 50%)

Week 9-11 – 6 x 6-8 reps (You should now be able to have increased your week 1-3 weights to 5-20% more depending on proficiency.

This is a very basic template and specificity is key but it gives you a basic idea of a very easy way to make progress.

A more advanced version may look like this:

Phase 1 – Giant Sets (Posterior Chain)

Phase 2 – Descending Height Rack Pulls

Phase 3 – Chains and Speed work (2 x per week)

Phase 4 – Deload and Peak for 1RM

Breaking down the lift itself is also important. If you’re slow off the floor, use a snatch grip, deficit or chains. Slow through the middle of the lift, use isometric pauses or RDL’s. Each part of lift can be broken down into a smaller component which can be overloaded through different techniques.

Bottom line – get your technique assessed and follow a programme designed specifically for you.

4. Learn to develop as much muscular tension as possible.

Trying to lift to your maximum without activating and effectively using every muscle at your disposal will result in limited amounts of weight being lifted. Too often I see people trying to Deadlift with no thought for glute, hamstring and lat tension which is a huge mistake. Learning how to contract these muscles and firing them at the set position will transfer to more poundage being used.

Glute/hamstring tip – Use a glute activation sequence through your warm up so you start to build a good mind/muscle connection. (Info on this on our YouTube page). When you’re in the set position, extend your hips backwards until you start to feel your hamstrings tightening.

Lat tip – Grip the bar as tight as possible with arms completely straight and slightly internally rotate your elbows until you start to feel your lats developing tension.

Also without a correct breathing pattern max effort lifts will be near on impossible. Creating as much intra-abdominal pressure by having your breath held at the set position and exhaling as you rise is essential.

5. Drag the bar!

The last (and possibly most important tip) is to make sure you keep the bar as close to your body as possible. Unfortunately this may result in sore shins/knees but keeping the bar close to you means that the risk of injury is reduced on your lower back (as leverage is lessened) and the bars able to travel in a more vertical pattern putting you in a much stronger position throughout the lift.

One of the main reasons people are unable to do this is through being unbalanced through the 3 points of contact in their feet before they start. We recommend Deadlifting either with no shoes on or using trainers with very little cushioned sole so you’re able to get feedback through the balls and heels of your feet that you’re balanced.

That’s it! Hopefully these short tips have been helpful and you’re able to implement some of the points into your own training. Unfortunately, for such a simple looking lift, there is a huge amount of technique involved and brute strength will only get you so far for so long.

For any more information on the above or for advice with programming etc, please email or leave it below or on Facebook.

Five take away points from EBW Nutrition Seminar #2

As we only have around an hour to talk at the seminars we hold, we have to break the vast amount of information regarding nutrition into sections. Here are a few of the top take away points from our most recent one.

1. Make sure your food choices contain one ingrediant. Foods with added chemicals and preservatives will mean more exposure to toxins and less nutrient value. Try to get the majority of food through red meat, white meat, poultry, game, fish, vegetables, good quality fats (coconut oil, fish oil etc) and fruits. Some grains and legumes are indicated for most, just don’t over eat and make sure timings are correct (after training, later in the day etc).

2. Supplements are important for most but the quality is the main thing to be concerned about. You get what you pay for. Less quality testing, more chemical fillers and reduced nutrient value is prevelant in cheaper brands. Digestive enzymes, multi-vitaminss and omega 3 fish oil would be good additions for most.

3. Sleep is one of the most under rated recovery agents as well as being vitally important for health and body composition. Reduced sleep quality and quantity results in reduced energy, more stress, less ability to handle carbohydrates and more cravings amoungst many other things. Making sure your room is as dark as possible, turning off electrical equipment 30-45 mins before bed and by focusing on going to bed and waking up at the same are just a couple of simple steps you can take to help improve your sleep.

4. Cholesterol and heart disease. The latter is definitely something to be concerned about, the former perhaps not so much. The original studies done on saturated fat and cholesterol were flawed and misinformation, corporate greed and marketing has allowed us to believe that saturated fat is the enemy. Trans fat (man made) is definitely the type of fat to avoid but good quality saturated fat such as organic butter and coconut oil should be included in your nutrition plan. Steps you can take to decrease your risk of heart disease include making sure you don’t overeat sugar to manage triglycerides and inflammation and to manage your stress levels. The subject is vast and mechanisms complex so for more information you can check out The Cholesterol Con by Dr Malcolm Kendrick.

5. Maple syrup is good for you…Maple syrup is thought to contain up to 54 beneficial compounds including anti-oxidants and anti-cancer compounds. In an age were artificial sweeteners are used so frequently, good old maple syrup could be a much better option.

Katie Dixon – Britain’s Strongest Woman U75kg 2012 Write Up

Date: September 9th 2012


4 fried eggs, 4 rashers of bacon, small handful of pecans


Admittedly this had to be forced down. I never struggle to eat breakfast so looking back at it now, I must have been nervous. Today was the day, the day id been training a good few months for. I was more excited than nervous, until I got there and saw lots of women weighing in at just under 75kg’s….and then I definitely felt more nervous than excited. The competition was held at ‘Pro Strength and Fitness’ in Swindon and luckily I had trained here before which I definitely think helped.

Weight: 63.2kg

In order to decide the running order of the 1st event, every competitor picked a piece of paper at random with a number on, I drew 4th. I was glad I wasn’t 1st. I did feel for the competitor who had never done a competition before and drew 1st…but I wasn’t swapping!

1st event:- Truck pull. Time Limit: 75seconds

The idea of this event was to sit in a tractor tyre and pull the van in the quickest time possible.  Id practised this several times, pulling a prowler and even pulling a truck in the gym car park so I was feeling fairly confident about this event. I just kept saying to myself “once you get it moving, keep the momentum going, and you will be fine”. When the whistle went to begin, I got the van moving much quicker than I thought I would and it flew down the track. It was all over in 17seconds, 7-10 seconds quicker than second place. 1st place. To win the first event really leaves you buzzing and ready for the next one.


2nd event:- Log Lift. Points: 40kg (1 point), 50kg (3 points) or 60kg (5points). Time Limit: 75 seconds.

Having only ever done a 60kg log once, I wasn’t even going to attempt it. Before you do a competition, you should always make a plan and stick to it! My plan was to do the 50kg. Having placed 1st in the 1st event meant I was last in the running order for event 2, which meant I knew exactly how many reps I needed. I tried not to watch the other competitors compete, earphones in, keep warm, keep focused. So I relied on the others to tell me how many reps I needed to win the event, and I needed 5! I did 5 reps in about 45seconds and still had 30seconds left, so I did one more and left it there. 1st place. It was also pleasing to know that I was the only u75kg competitor to pick up the 50kg log.


3rd event:- Deadlift. Points: 100kg (1point) or 120kg (3points). Time Limit: 75 seconds

As always, stick to the plan and mine was to do at least 5reps at 120kg and then drop down to the 100kg. Having only ever done 3reps at this weight consecutively, five and I would be happy. So I asked the guys how many I needed to win this event, and one of them replied ‘a lot’ which honestly made me feel sick. Id won the last 2 events and I really didn’t want my deadlifting to let me down (nerves kicked in). Looking back at this event now, it’s a bit of a blurr. It went so quickly, I pulled and pulled and they just kept coming up! The adrenaline rush was amazing. All I could hear was ‘one more’ and people counting out loud how many I was doing.  Nearly fainting afterwards was minor, I just pulled 120kg for 12 reps, 7 more reps than I was hoping for. This for me was 1 of my highlights of the day. 1st place

4th event:- Farmers. Distance: 15metres. 60kg (each hand) and then straight into 80kg (each hand).  Time Limit: 75seconds.

Out of all the events, farmers walk is by far my least enjoyable, which is why I haven’t written much about it. Having England’s strongest man Arram Eghoyan help me with this event in training and on the day really paid off. Done in 24secs, thank god that was over. 1st place.

5th event. Loading medley and wheelbarrow. Load 30kg, 40kg, 50kg block into a wheelbarrow 15m away and then push the wheelbarrow 15m. Time Limit: 75secs

This was originally supposed to be a block press medley but was changed to a loading medley on the day, which means nobody had really trained for this event. Before the event I practised picking up the blocks jus to get a feel for the best way to do it. They were more awkward than anything. Unlike the other events, I actually watched some of the competitors in this one. I was last in the running order again because of the previous event so I watched and tried to work out the best way to pick the blocks up and put them in the wheelbarrow. I was quick with moving the blocks from one end to the wheelbarrow and then running it back, but my pickups and drop offs were a little slow, leaving me in 2nd place for this event.


6th event:- Atlas stones over yoke. Points: 30kg (1 point), 60kg (3 points) or 90kg (5 points). Time Limit: 75seconds

This is definitely my strongest event. The tacky you use to put on your hands and arms is not very nice and it does leave you with a few bruises…but I still love this event. Mathematically, I was already fairly far ahead and could probably have got away without doing this, or even just doing it once, but I enjoy this event far too much to sit it out. As I have already mentioned a few times, always stick to the plan. I had no intention of using the lighter stones so I went straight in for the 90kg and got a comfortable 5 reps. 1st place

The day before this competition I had said to myself “if you get 4th then you have done well”. I never expected to come 1st so as you can imagine I was somewhat shocked to win the title of Britain’s Strongest Woman 2012 u75kg’s. Massive thank you to everyone who helped me, especially James and Tom. Everyone on the day competed to a high standard and the competitors, supporters, refs and loaders all made this a great day.

The next few days were painful and I ached, seriously ached. I took a much needed 5 days off the gym to recover before starting the preparation for my next competition…

Five Clinical Pearls from Biosignature 2012

Me and Ben have just got back from Charles Poliquins Biosignature Modulation in Southampton. This was James’ third re-certification, Ben’s second but yet we have still picked up some fantastic information. Below are the top five points from the three days…

1. If you don’t have enough saturated fat in your diet (organic butter/coconut oil etc) you can’t absorb nutrients from vegetables effectively.

2. The two years before puberty for children are when genetics are laid down for how lean they are going to be in their life.

3. Probiotics are the most important supplement to take post-partem to help to lose body fat.

4. Sodium Benzoate (a chemical in fizzy drinks) and skimmed milk are the two biggest risk factors for prostate/breast cancer.

5. Salt intake causes loss of energy in low carbohydrate diets. Increase salt intake per meal but MUST be coloured salt (Himalayan etc).

We learnt a lot of new information, improved our skin fold ability and found out new ways to improve our business.

For more information about the Biosignature, please check out