The Trouble with Phones in the Gym

As a personal trainer I see all sorts in the gym. 

What I saw the other day (and I've seen before) is someone stepping on a phone that had been left on the floor of an exercise studio. What ensued, was nothing short of a cat-fight. 

Woman 1 - who trod on the phone - let out a small squeal, alerting woman 2 - whose phone it was - to rush over (she was busy putting a mat away at the time). Woman 1 apologises, adding she didn't see it because it was on the floor. Woman 2 picks up the phone to find that the screen has shattered and launches into a tirade of abuse. Woman 2 stands her ground and protests that it's not her fault because the phone shouldn't have been left vulnerable on the floor and it was an accident waiting to happen. Woman 1 suggests she must be blind not to see it, and starts name calling and using foul language.

This exchange  goes on for a couple of minutes by which time the studio has emptied of other people and a member of the gym staff rushes in, advising them to carry on their argument outside.

It was an unedifying sight which could have been avoided with a bit of common sense:

I am totally with Woman 1 on this:

If you bring your phone into a gym, do NOT leave it on the floor. It's plain STUPID and if someone does tread on it, you've only got yourself to blame.

I understand why people bring phones into gyms - there's a number of valid reasons. But, they can be a menace. 

What I DON'T understand, in addition to abandoning  them on the floor, is people who spend more time talking on them than working-out.But that's a whole different subject which needs a blog of its own - watch this space!


As a personal trainer, I'm in and out of gyms all day. Something I've noticed lately is the emergence of an 'athleisure trainer'  being used instead of a bona fide sports one.

Be aware: fashion trainers might look cool and stylish, they might come in more colours and styles, they might even cost less, but - in the main - they are not suitable for working out in. 

That's because they're not made for athletic functionality or to help prevent injury. 

The grip on the bottom is likely to be inferior to fashion ones and the cushioning and support at the rear of the shoe is unlikely to be suitable for supporting the ankle and instep - particularly if you're running or jumping. Also, the impact on joints will be greater, which is a classic pathway to knee and hip problems.

Also, the materials and fabric used in fashion trainers are often 'hard', inflexible, heavy and without wicking to help release heat and moisture.

If you're an athleisure-trainer-wearer in the gym, it might not be your fault. When you walk into the trainer section of a sports store, the two varieties are often not de-lineated and if you ask a member of staff, they don't always know the difference.

So, do your research before you part with your money. Once you've worn your trainers (whatever type they are) you won't be ale to return them.

D‚Äčon't Run Out of Steam

So much has been written about coronavirus and how to keep fit while we're locked down. So much information, so many You Tube videos, so many Instagram posts and so many people to like, follow and watch. It's overwhelming and exhausting - and that's before you've even done any exercise.

 My advice is this: find a type/s of exercise that works for you and keep doing it. Change it when you feel your body's got used to it or when it gets boring, The most important thing to do is keep going during this period. Those people who maintain an exercise regime throughout lockdown are the very people who are likely to remain committed when this is all over. They are the people who will stand out and flourish back in the gym/exercise classes and they are the people who will be able to feel proud of themselves from a fitness perspective for a very long time.


The Honest PT

Posted on October 5, 2015 at 3:10 AM

In this weekly feature, personal trainer Aylia Fox shoots from the hip about some aspect of the health, fitness and weight loss industry. Unafraid, upfront, provocative and honest you'll either love or hate her views. Either way, you won't be able to ignore them.

This week's rant:


PROTEIN products are everywhere, you can't escape them. Once the domain of specialist sports shops and health food stores, now you can't even go to Sainsbury's without being distracted by bars, shakes, powders and protein-enriched concoctions. The internet is awash with them.

Retailers aren't stupid, they've simply responded to market forces and jumped-on the protein bandwagon that seems to have infected anyone who has the slightest interest in health and fitness.

As a personal trainer I am often asked by clients if they should be stocking-up on this sort of stuff. I tell them 'NO' and advise them to eat plenty of lean meat - particularly chicken - along with some salmon, tuna and mackerel. I tell them to Include kidney beans, chick peas, cottage cheese eggs and wholemeal cereals and grains in their diet and if they can throw in a bit of Quorn and Quinoa washed down with skimmed milk and a low fat yoghurt, they'll be getting more protein than they need and - more importantly - it will taste better and it's real food (this is not an exhaustive list, by the way!)

Another bonus of getting your protein the 'real' way, is that it won't cost you the earth. Have you seen the price of pre-packaged protein products? You're lucky if you can get a tiny (tasteless) bar for under £2 and protein powders normally come in bucket size portions that start at around £30. I saw a pre-mixed protein shake in a leisure centre vending machine that cost a staggering £3.80 - that's nearly twice the amount of TWO skinny lattes at High Street coffee shop.

There are other factors to consider too. These products are, in the main, artificial. They have to be made this way in order for them to be palatable and so that they have a long shelf life. Some of them are also full of sugar and many of them are calorific. For anyone trying to lose weight, they are best avoided.

Here are a few facts about protein: it is needed for the growth, maintenance and repair of body tissue. Protein is part of every living cell and some tissues like skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments, hair and the core of bones and teeth are predominantly made of protein. Unless there is insufficent carbohydrate stored in the body, protein will NOT be used for energy production and compared to other nutrients, the body's protein needs are quite small.

Government guidelines say that a 'normal' adult should be getting 10-15 per cent of their total calories a day from protein. That's approximately equivalent to 0.8g per kg of body weight. For example, a 60kg person would require 60 x 0.8g = 48g per day.

That increases to 1.2-1.4g per kg of body weight for those people who are working-out hard, regularly (3 to 5 times a week) For a 60kg person, that's still only (approximately) 78g - which can easily be sourced through diet.


There are NO health or performance benefits in taking more protein than we need. In fact there are health risks associated with a surplus - for e.g accumulation of ammonia which can, in some circumstances, lead to kidney and liver damage.

So, don't get caught up in the protein frenzy and stop wasting your time and money on products that you really don't need if you're eating sensibly - and properly.

Protein IS important - I'm not saying otherwise. I personally include a sizeable amount in every meal I consume and I advise clients to moniter their intake to ensure they're getting enough. But let's keep the matter in perspective. Unless you want to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger  or Kelly Holmes, leave the protein supplements to those who actually need them.

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Reply David
1:48 PM on October 7, 2015 
i have been following your weekly blog as they are extremely thought provoking. However, I felt compelled to respond to this one as it really exposes an issue that has troubled many of us as we get sucked in to glib advertising. I agree that we are fooled into believing that supplements are better than a healthy balanced diet. Thank you for this excellent blog and for sharing your thoughts with us
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