Top Tips to Warming Up

After my last blog about my top training tips I have had a few emails asking about top tips for other areas, so I thought I would start a series of blogs with this in mind. Here goes….top tips on warming up

1. Have a plan, just like your training, your warm ups need to be planned out. A good warm up can take anywhere between 10-30 mins, however if you are second guessing what to warm up next then this can soon start to take away time from your main session.

2. A sample format to follow could be:

  • Pre Warm – this can be anything just to promote a bit of blood flow
  • Soft Tissue Work
  • Stretching
  • Hip/T-Spine Mobility
  • Activation
  • Movement Drills
  • CNS Activation

Who said foam rolling was not fun!!

3. Everyone should foam roll, but this doesnt mean you have to do it everytime you train. Soft tissue work is just like training itself, some days go hard and as deep as you can and then some days make it quick and light. Plan it into your training just like you would with any exercises.

Stretching is good!

4. Bottom line, a tight muscle is a bad muscle. Tightness in muscles can cause many issues and not just in the muscle itself but pain in the surrounding joints will usually be the first sign of any issues. So if you know you are tight in a particular area then stretch it before training for approx 2x60secs. When stretching try to move slightly in all planes of motion to hit more muscle fibres. Stretching in one plane of motion is old school!!

5. It is all about activating at the moment and I agree, sometimes you have to wake muscles up that are lazy or are just not used  in our society as much. This may include your core (planks), glutes (bridges), psoas (leg lift), serratus anterior (scap push up), lower traps (wall slides) to name a few. In addition to this walk around barefoot for your warm ups and your training session if it is indoors. Training in barefoot is where its at, get on it!

Glute bridge in action!!

6. On the same note as activating muscles which are lazy, I feel the same is needed to wake up your CNS. Your central nervous system is your power house, so to get the most out of your training session you have to get this fired up. The best way for this is to start your session with some form of jumps/mb throws/plyos/sprints, give it a go and see how you feel. On another note, you could also scream out loud and turn the music up, that sometimes works as well!!

7. Stop reading the internet about what you should and shouldn’t do, just do it and if it works use it again and if it doesn’t then scrap it for next time. The internet is good but it has also stopped the natural learning process that we all have.

Dont just read, sometimes experimenting is best!

8. If you are lifting then make sure you warm up properly with the exercise, especially if it is your key/main exercise:

  • Dont skip warm up reps.
  • Dont treat warm up reps like they are nothing.
  • Warm up reps are just as important as the main sets.
  • Warm up reps are where you perfect your technique.
  • Aim for at least 20-30 reps below 50% of your max
  • If your form is good, keep your warm up reps nice and fast.

You dont squat this type of weight without warming up properly

Check out Chad Smith’s warm up for his bench session, this guy is strong so take note.

9. Its ok to talk and catch up on the wknd with your training partners while you warm up, although this chit chat needs to stop when you start training.

10. If after your warm up you dont feel upto training then dont, simple!

11. Last but most important – Remember to make YOUR warm up specific to YOUR session!

Let me hear your top tips to warming up

Until next time

Lift Big Get Strong



Strength & Performance Renovation

New Look S&P

Here at Strength & Performance we strive to provide the best possible service we can offer. We provide a service that no one else can and we pride ourselves on our results with both your hard work, determination and our guidance, goals will always be achieved. We train a variety of people from Paralympians to UFC Fighters to Everyday Mums. Our gym is for everyone as long as you are willing to work!!

With the support of our members over the past 18months we decided once again to extend the gym to a level not matched by anyone else. Below is a short clip along our journey and to show you the end result, please watch

With this new expansion we are offering the first 10 people who join S&P in October, the first month half price. This is something that we would not normally do so act now and take this opportunity.

Email info@strengthandperformance or check out our website Strength and Performance to find out more details or to book your trial session

Until next time

Lift Big Get Strong


Interview with Jo Perruza BNBF 3rd Place Finalist

Thanks for doing this interview, I guess you feel like a minor celebrity doing this? Many people have seen our posts on various social media sites about you but now at least we get to here straight from you and Im sure people would like to find out how from nothing you finished 3rd in the British National Bodybuilding Federation.

1. For people who don’t know you, talk a little about who you are?

My name is Jo Perruzza and I am a 45 year old woman with 3 children ranging from 9 years to 5 years.  I work full time as a senior Manager within the NHS.  As you can imagine my life is very busy like most women, I have a lot of challenges in achieving a work life balance. I have always trained and with that I am competitive, mainly with myself.

Jo Jo at the beginning!!

2. Why and when did you decide to train to be a figure athlete and do you think anyone could do what you have done?

On the 31st December 2010, I always write my list of what I have achieved over the last 12 months and what I would like to achieve over the next 12 months.  A reoccurring theme was to train as a figure athlete so in February 2011 I discussed this with my coach, Sean Keefe and decided this was going to be my year. For me it was important to set out how I was going to achieve my goal and break it down into achievable small goals on a monthly basis.  I think that people can achieve their goals no matter how large or small, if they really want to do it. You have to remain focused and remind yourself of what you want to achieve. I once saw a great logo from Paul George who is a champion body builder. ”It’s not impossible… It just takes longer than you think.”

3. Talk me through your weekly training schedule?

My training was split over 3 days, the main focus was strength work and I let my diet take control of my fat loss. The days were usually split into upper and lower using both compound and isolation exercises with various training techniques and I also used different equipment such as sleds, prowlers, sandbags and chains. Three weeks before the competition I added a fourth day which was a metabolic circuit. In the week prior to the event, I tailed back the intensity and volume to let my body fully recover.

Different equipment was used in Jo's program

4. Do you think more females should lift weights? 

Yes I do, if you want to change your shape, its no good just doing cardio, you need to lift the weights, feel strong and reap the benefits.

5. You are very strong and dead lift an easy 90kg x 10 and can do chin ups all day.  Do you think STRONG is the new sexy?

Yes I do think strong is the new sexy.  Women who have muscle, who lift weights, to me are very sexy and I think can still look feminine. For me this made me feel more confident in myself and therefore I portrayed that confidence on the outside. We live in a society where people will stereotype the over 40 working mum of three. I’ve never been one for conforming and want my daughters to grow up believing the same. There is a great saying “why do you try so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out”

Happy Jo Jo

6. What is your favourite gym exercise?

I have many favourite exercises in the gym but they become my favourite when I know that I can do them well and I have to say that I have two favourite exercises, they are dead lifts and chin ups

7. Do you use any supplements, if yes which ones and why?

I use various MyProteins supplements from whey protein powder three times a day always first thing in the morning and after training. During training I have BCAA, Branch chain amino acids, this helps the body cope with the stress of exercise CLA assists in weight loss, vitamins C /D, I also use daily Udo’s oli which is full of omega 3.6 and 9 and lovely.

 8. How much does diet play in competing as a figure athlete?

Diet plays a huge part in competition preparation.  The training and the diet have to be as balanced with each other.  I started my diet earlier than most competitors as I was not sure how my body was going to respond.  The diet is challenging to say the least but what I have learnt from dieting is to listen and respect the human body and the dieting for me then became a lot easier.  I made mistakes along the way and depleted my body of carbs and to a certain degree became carb phobic.  This had a massive impact on my training and when I realised that I could not lift the weights I had to change my diet and increase my carb intake.  I found carb cycling worked for me and once I began to understand the science I look forward to the days that I could eat carbs.

9. What was the hardest part about training?

The hardest part about training is when you are really tired having been at work all day and finding that last bit of motivation to get you to the gym and taking the motivation to take you through the session.  It was always important for me to remind myself  why I was training and what I wanted to achieve at the end of it, to remain focused and see improvements, by that I mean being able to lift more and noticing small but positive changes in my body.  Knowing that you want to lift more but that fear of failure, of not being able to achieve extra weight or another rep

10. How did you cope with the fear of standing on stage in front of hundreds of people?

The more I became confident that I could achieve this goal, I realised that I had to conquer my next fear of standing in front of people in a bikini and letting my body do the talking.  I decided that if I could put myself in “work mode” as a manager with authority who is used to presenting in front of large audiences, then this would help me…and it did.  I believe that everyone finds their own way of coping with their fears and this is what worked for me; it does help when people tell you your looking good!

11. Posing plays a huge part as a figure athlete, how many hours do you think you spent posing?

I didn’t know anything about posing until I decided to take on this challenge.  When I watched DVD’s and video footage, I thought there is no way I can do this!  I can train all day, I can diet but I couldn’t pose.  I sought advice from the BNBF (British National Body Federation) who taught me the compulsory poses and also told me that I would need to do a “T “walk, which sent me in a spin.  I practiced for 5 or 10 minutes everyday and eventually got the confidence to start posing in the gym and then in front of people and eventually got in my bikini and did my “T” walk in the gym with a small “select” audience which was the most terrifying experience.  I realised that once I could do this posing in a competition in front of people I didn’t know, wouldn’t be quite so daunting

12.You have been a big inspiration for many people at S&P, they see what hard work you have put in and they want to do the same, does this make you feel?

I feel that even if it encourages and motivates one person to make a small change then I think that is a positive step in the right direction for them.  I feel proud to be part of the S&P family, without Sean and Zoran’s support, encouragement and challenging behaviour….at times I wouldn’t have achieved my goal

13. What are your future plans and will you be competing next year?

I have decided I want to get bigger and stronger for next year I know where I need to improve so I will be sitting down with Sean and getting his thoughts and feedback too, I want a bit of time to reflect on what I have achieved and savour the moment before it comes to distant. It’s really important to get feedback from people, even though sometimes it can be quite painful, but that only makes me more determined to improve. I will be competing again next year, I have found  something that I love, I have been  challenged emotionally, mentally, and physically and have proved myself  wrong on so many occasions.

14. Have you enjoyed your journey?

The answer to that is easy  Yes…..Its been a love hate relationship but a journey that I learned so much about myself , my drive and determination have surprised me and my ability to be very snappy and irritable have not.. I hold the diet fully responsible for my forgetfulness. Like all journey’s they can be lonely at times, on this one I have had so much support encouragement and lots of laughs from the S&P Family.

S&P Family

Hope you have enjoyed this interview, and this just shows that anything is possible

Until Next Time

Lift Big Get Strong


Zach Even-esh Part 2

Continuing on from part 1, take notes on what you learn from Zach and post below

  • You need to commit to your goals
  • USG is only for the 100% dedicated
  • You have to take action if you want to succeed
  • Dont just look at one area of becoming a champion, you have to look at the whole package
  • Commitment and consistency is key
  • Always look to improve your training knowledge
  • If you want to start a business, you need to know how to run a business
  • Zach is always looking to improve his business and training knowledge, so maybe you should?
  • Always think about your family
  • Dont run before you can walk
  • Zach may come to the UK soon (ill try speed this one up)
  • Underground Strength Nation will be a new breed of strength coaching
  • Zach really does want to help everyone
  • USG 2 could be on the cards very soon
  • The human body is a piece of equipment, dont forget that
  • No excuses when it comes to bodyweight training
  • People need to work together to improve the health of the nation
  • Smash it up
  • Zach is a top guy

Thanks very much to Zach for this interview, I hope everyone has taken something from this I know I definitely have. Think I might need to do a part 3!! This man has so much knowledge and passion that anyone looking to do what we have done needs to get in touch with him at

Until Next Time

Lift Big Get Strong


Zach Even-esh Interview Part 1

Check out my interview with Zach Even-esh on life, training and everything in-between, which he has answered via video. I suppose I did ask quite a few questions. Myself and Z went over to see the man himself back in October 08 to do his Underground Certification, and to this day it was the best decision we have ever made cause 3 years on our company Strength & Performance is going strong and we are expanding, which is due to be completed very soon. (stay tuned)

These are the points that I have taken from this video, what bout you?

  • You can design the life you want if you want it enough
  • Passion in anything is key
  • Zach does not work, he lives his passion
  • Sometimes in life you have to take a risk, nothing is free or easy in life
  • You may have to experience what you dont want to understand what you do want
  • No one persons opinions or thoughts are final, like Bruce Lee says, read everything, absorb little
  • You have to invest in what you believe in
  • Being your own boss has many perks, but you have to earn them
  • Family is everything
  • Zach is a very passionate man about what he does
  • Zach will help you if you if you want to be helped and if you value the help
  • Everyone should do want they want to do not what they are told to do
  • Have control of your life
  • Zach will do what it takes to succeed, but first you have to identify the barriers
  • Paul Reddick is a top guy, I know because I have met him
  • Having a coach/mentor can help with you achieving your goals
  • You have to live the dream not dream to live
  • You have to take action

Thanks very much to Zach for this first part, I hope everyone has taken something from this. Stay tuned for Part 2

Until next time

Lift Big Get Strong


My Top Tips to Think About Before, During and After Training

Entering the gym can be the best feeling in the world, a world that many dont understand!!! Having time to compete with only yourself thrives us on. Fighting battles with oneself is what we live for, with the only goal to keep on pushing harder and harder, to keep getting stronger and stronger, while achieving goals over and over…this is what we do down at S&P

So here are my top tips to think about before, during and after training.

1. Make sure you have a training plan before you start your session.

2. Are you in the right frame of mind to train, if not why not – clear your head.

Black coffee is the future...

Black coffee is the future...

3. Have you taken your pre-workout drink (if needed), mine is a coffee.

4. If your ill and run down then don’t train, rest is what you need right now.

5. If you cant be bothered to train, then get to the gym and you will soon want to throw some iron around. Just watching people push themselves is a big enough stimulus to kick your lazy a** into gear.

Sometimes its best to rest

Sometimes its best to rest

6. If you get to the gym and feel like lifting another weight will break you then listen to your body, and dont train, your body never lies. Foam rolling and stretching is a better option.

7. If you get caught in traffic on the way to the gym, dont skip your warm ups, skip the guns at the end of the session.

Have a goal

Have a goal

8. Knowing why you are training will motivate you.

9. Dont let other people distract you while training, chat before and after, not during.

10. Know your PR’s in the big lifts, whether this is a 1rm, 2rm, 3rm, 4rm, 5rm, 6rm, 7rm, 8rm, 9rm, 10rm and so on. Have a target to aim for.

11. Assistance work is just that – assistance work. You have to know when to push and when not to push.

How many tho...?

How many tho...?

12. Dont forget reps can get you stronger.

13. Mobility exercises will save you getting injuries.

14. Do exercises that you dont like doing. There is a reason why you dont like them, because they are hard.

15. If you have a tight muscle, then stretch it, even if it is the muscle you maybe training.

16. On the same note, wake up the muscles that dont want to work through activation exercises.

17. Chat to people while you stretch and foam roll.

18. Dont cheat on exercises so you can push more weight. A small deadlift done with perfect form gets more respect than a big deadlift done with bad form, remember this.

19. Who cares how much you bench, what else can you do?

BCAA's during training are perfect

BCAA's during training are perfect

20. Have you drank your during shake?

21. Stretch during your rest periods.

More weight needed!!

This man always pushed hard

22. Are you training as hard as you can, its only one hour, what have you done for the other 23?

23. Is the music loud enough? Or do you need a certain genre to get you fired up?

24. Just because you feel sick, does not mean that you have had an awesome session. The best sessions are when you leave hungry for more.

25. Do you need to rollout or stretch after your session? If so, then do it.

26. Do you know what you are having post workout? meal or shake? If not, why not?

Always put your weights back

Always put your weights back!

27. Did you put all your weights back? Respect the gym.

28. Do you know when you are training next?

A training log is everything

A training log is everything

29. Have you filled in your training diary?

30. What are you planning on doing for your recovery, ice baths, contrast showers, massage sports therapy?

What else do you think about before, during and after training, comment below

Until next time

Lift Big & Get Strong