Middle aged white man eating a rice cake, wearing a suit. His blue tie is covered in a red sauce, possibly jam, and his face is covered in white dust around the mouth. He looks distressed and is staring straight at the reader.
Middle aged white man eating a rice cake, wearing a suit. His blue tie is covered in a red sauce, possibly jam, and his face is covered in white dust around the mouth. He looks distressed and is staring straight at the reader.
credit: Ryan McGuire, pixabay

You’ve probably heard the statistic that 80% of diets fail, and thought: “diets don’t work”, resigning yourself to a life of yo-yo-ing back and forth, or giving up entirely.

My name is Pennie Varvarides and I’m a personal trainer and nutritionist, and I’m going to explain why diets don’t work — And why sometimes they do.

There are loads of reasons why diets don’t work. In fact, the truth is, only about 20% of dieters maintain weight loss after five years.

So what’s happening along the way that’s causing so many people to regain the weight they lost?

1. Adherence

First up…

This routine could off-set your day-job

Coach Pennie Varvarides demonstrating a prone Y

Sitting all day is bad for our health, yet more and more of us spend most of our day at our desk or on the sofa. The NHS (the UK’s national health service) recommends we do at least 150 minutes a week of exercise and to reduce sitting time.

But hitting the gym three times a week isn’t enough to undo the damage from sitting. You need to actually get up and move throughout the day too.

Studies have linked being inactive with type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and even early death.

11 tips to help newbie runners love each run

Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

Running is hard. This is a generally accepted universal truth — at least amongst beginners. But there are tonnes of things every runner can do to make the process a lot more enjoyable, helping you become the sort of runner who actually really loves it.

These are some strategies I use with my clients to help them get back into running — or to start running from scratch.

1. Make It Easy

Most beginners go out too hard and fast and run themselves into the ground. It doesn’t have to be that hard, especially when starting out.

Try breaking the run into chunks of…

Runners always neglect their shins — then face the consequences

Photo by Malik Skydsgaard on Unsplash

Runners love to run (mostly) — they don’t particularly like doing anything else.

This is something that became especially obvious to me when I used to lead a couple of running groups in the evenings. The runners could run for hours but would panic at the thought of a few burpees or squats.

Over the years I’ve helped a number of runners rebuild after knee or ankle injuries, using strength training to help them get back to the thing they love most: running.

Something that seems remarkably true across the board is the almost complete neglect of their anterior tibialis…

Stop ruining your progress by doing these things

Pennie Varvarides demonstrating a pancake stretch

People think flexibility training is the easy option — but it’s not. Flexibility training is strength training, and as such follows the same rules. I’m going to share the most common mistakes with you, and then give you an outline of how to approach your flexibility training.

If you’d like to be able to do the splits or a pancake — or heck, even just touch your toes — you’re going to need to tear up what you think you know about flexibility training and stop making these common mistakes.

1. Not holding the stretch for long enough

This is the number one culprit for a failed flexibility…

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Lockdown has gone on longer than anyone really expected, with most people never getting round to (or never having the money for) a proper at-home desk set up. Cue the awkward positions all day working hunched over a laptop.

I type this sat crossed-legged on my sofa, laptop in lap, listening to Bowie — so this isn’t a criticism. It’s just how it is. We’ve collectively spent months moving less and sitting more and working longer hours, and that comes with a price.

For many, it’s a pain in their back, for others their neck or shoulders. I want you…

Our whole world changed over the last couple of weeks. It changed faster than anything I’ve ever seen before and it has left a lot of people feeling a bit lost for what to do now.

If you’re trying to hold on to your muscle mass during quarantine, or you’re just trying to stay active until this is all over, this article is going to help you.

And if you’re reading this in a post-covid world and you just want to know how to train at home, it’ll still be helpful then too.

This isn’t about how you build a…

Because I know most people only stick around for a minute or so, I’m splitting this article into the short answer and the long answer.

Lift heavy weights, close to failure, 3–4 times a week

Follow a progressive overload training protocol

Eat 1.6–2.2g protein per kg body weight daily

Eat 20–30g servings of protein at a time

Emphasise food high in leucine (dairy, meat, pea, hemp)

Eat about 200kcal over maintenance

Eat plenty of carbs

Get between 7–10 hours sleep a night (especially after training)

Supplement with daily creatine — 5g

Women are generally still quite under-represented in the research…

A fool-proof guide to habit-building

Building new habits is like learning any new skill: it takes practice

We’ve all tried to do something new, only to find ourselves doing what we’ve always done before we even noticed. I bet there’s something you’re working on right now: a habit that you’re trying to kick, or a new one that you’re trying to form. Maybe every time you “slip up” you worry that maybe it’s self-sabotage or maybe you’re just not strong enough.

Why is it so hard to change habits? And why do we revert back to what we’ve always done?

The main answer to this question is humans are inherently lazy. I…

Pennie Varvarides

Strength & flexibility coach | Certified Nutritionist | Run coach. I build strong humans, with the movement-freedom to live the lives they want.

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