Category Archives: personal training

Swindon Barbell at South Midlands Classic Championships 2015

Junly 26th 2015 saw 3 of Swindon Barbell’s Powerlifters, Yasmina, Roger and Matt, competing at the South Midlands Powerlifting Championships.

Yasmina has been working with coach, Charlie, for her entire program building up to this competition on all aspects from programming to technique work and it seems to have paid off dividends.

Yasmina and her coach planned out a strategy for Personal Best’s on all 3 of the lifts, which started off with her squat.  After 2 successful attempts at her opener and second lift Yasmina went for her PB of 97.5k and completed it with ease.  Her coach commented that Yas definitely had 100k in her legs on the day, no question.10830609_10153067023489461_1038289663135081626_o

So pleased with this Yas moved on to the bench and opened with an easy 42.5k, moving on to her second attempt she failed it completely.  Yas and her coach was shocked by it and strategised on how to cope with that weight again, before Yas was told the weight was misloaded and it was 50k instead of 47.5k.  That may not seem much to some people, however when we look at %’s for Yas to go from 42.5k to 47.5k that’s an 10.5% increase, for her to go straight to 50k that’s a 15% increase! can you imagine going from a 200k squat opener to a 230k for your second? No.

So the correct second attempt weight was given to Yas for a repeat attempt at it and she managed to press it, slowly, but surely.  However, because Yas had to take this second attempt again at the end of the round this meant she only had 2 people to go between this attempt and her third attempt which was the 50k she had previously failed!

Needless to say Yas struggled to press 50k and left the bench press section with an equal PB of 47.5k.

Yasmina was nervous about the Deadlift as recently she had been experiencing some inner thigh niggles, however you would never have guessed it.  130k and 140k for both first two attempts flew up like there was nothing on the bar, a discussion between Yas and Coach Charlie went on whether to go for 147.5k or 150k as her aim had been for 145k.  Then compromised on a sure thing and went for 147.5k.  Hindsight  is perfect vision, and once Yas pulled the 147.5k so easily, they both realised that 150k would have been on, giving her 2nd place in the competition.

What this means is with lots of hard work over the coming 7 weeks before her British Classic Championships on September 19th Yasmina is well in place to reach numbers she has been after for a long time.

Lifting in the 66k category was Roger Hamilton-Smith who entered this competition knowing his preparation wasn’t optimal – spending a week out on the English Channel sailing and having only had 3 weeks solid training since his World Championships in June – however Roger was optimistic in trying things out and looking forward to having a coach by his side for the first time.

Roger managed to get an equal PB on his second attempt in the squat with 155k and just missed out on the 157.5k.  Roger’s bench looked really solid in warm up and with his opener of 95k flying skyward faster then a Jet, Coach Charlie felt he was definitely on for a PB.  A successful equal PB on his second attempt of 105k meant Roger went for 110k on his third, unfortunately just missing the completed movement so settling with 105k.

 Deadlift was next up for Roger and after a slower-than-wanted second attempt of 195k both him and his coach decided to go for an equal PB on the third of 200k, rather then push for 202.5k.  Roger completed it, with the help of the crowd and everyone in the side wings, and finished his competition with an equal PB on his total of 460k.

2nd place in the competition, increased the Divisional Squat record (South Midlands) from 142.5k to 155k and the Total record from 452.5 to 460k, 7 weeks after his world championships and with only 3 weeks of training.  I would be happy with that!
Also competing was Matt Watson.  Still relatively new to Powerlifting, Matt entered this competition with the hope of qualifying for the national championships.  This was a big ask for Matt as he was 40k down on his total, which meant potentially silly jumps for weights that both him and his Coach knew were risky.

Matt’s build up for this competition, albeit more consistent then Rogers’, was also not optimal having spent a week away the week before the comp and having his flight upon return, Matt wasn’t feeling hugely prepared.

However his squat was looking good and he opened it on an equal PB of 165k (with his coach sh*!ting herself on the sidlines!) however it was a smooth and easy squat, so they decided to jump 10k to 175k.  This is not the tactics normally applied to a competition scenario, however this competition was the definition of ‘Go hard or go home’ as he had such a mountain to climb for the numbers.

Matt managed to complete 175k but it was a slow and heavy lift.  After a length discussion with his coach they decided Matt was there for 1 reason only – to hit big numbers – so, against all of his coach’s better judgement, they put him in for 180k.  He didn’t manage to lift it.

Matt was looking forward to the bench press more so as it had been going so well in training, opening on 115k he completed well and went up to 125k for an equal PB.  He managed to successfully press this so Matt made a big jump to 130k, unfortunately he just missed his one.

Matt was now feeling quite tired and weak after the squat and bench and was nervous about the deadlift.  He managed to achieve his opener of 175k however the day had taken too much out of him and he could not get 185k off the floor.

Matt finished the day with a 10k PB on his squat, a 2.5k PB on his total and 3rd place (in numbers only, as he was lifting as a guest) in the Bench Press.

Although Matt was disappointed on the day to not qualify, he has learned a lot from this competition and after realizing he still did so well on his PB’s considering the sub-optimal preparation the week before, I feel he has a lot to be pleased with.  Matt is now aiming to spend the next 9 months working on his muscle mass, technique and movement patterns to return strong and ready to qualify for the nationals at next years South West Championships.

A huge congratulations to everyone who lifted also, many new faces and some older ones!

Next competition for Swindon Barbell will be the All Englands Championships in which Beverley will show just how much hard work she has been putting in at training and aim to break her exisiting British Bench record, Helen will be lifting in equipment for the first time ever and Coach Charlie will be competing Raw again Bournemouth Barbell’s 19 year super star Charlie Chester for title of the strongest Heavyweight!


Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Macaroni Pie – 45 mins from first chop to eating.

Balanced nutrients that you can alter.

No Rubbish.

Easy to make.

Cook up some meat and veg in a pan. I’ve used Turkey mince, Kale, spring greens, onions, garlic, mushrooms.

Crack a whole bunch of eggs in a bowl and whisk them up. I used about 8 I think but I didn’t have milk to thin it out. Plus I love eggs.

Cook up some pasta. I’ve used macaroni but you can use any you like.

Mix all the ingredients together. I did it by putting in the meat mixture, adding and mixing in the pasta then pouring over and flattening down the egg mixture.

I’ve then grated courgette on top.

Then added grated cheese for my other half to enjoy.

I then baked it for about 30 mins on a moderate heat (gas mark 7) or until the centre of the mixture feels firm to the touch.

Serve with salad or eat just on its on.

Great to keep as a snack also

You could put these in casings to make handy snacks on the go!

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Swindon Barbell Club at the South West Classic Powerlifting championships.

Saturday 30th may saw Swindon Barbell Club take 3 of it’s members to the South West Classic Powerlifting Championships in Bournemouth.

First up was Jodie Driver, new to competitive Powerlifting having not even completed a year in the sport to date.

Jodie has been working very hard on altering her squat technique and this showed by an impressive 2.5k PB on her second attempt with 110k followed by an attempt at 115k on her third and, although she did squat it, she was failed as she did not squat deep enough for the ref’s on the day.

Moving on to her bench and Jodie has had a varied training experience leading up to this competition however her bench was looking so good in warm up the opener was upped by 2.5k to 52.5k which was no trouble.  Jodie was pushed to go for a PB by 2.5k on her second attempt straight to 57.5k and was successful.  The only way to go from there was 60k which Jodie was not expecting to do and was not ready for, so did not manage to press it off her chest.

The deadlift was always going to be the big lift for her today as it is one of her favourite lifts and she has been very happy with her training recently.  Jodie’s opener of 135k was so easy her second attempt was upped to 142.5k which she, again, completed easily.  Her coach decided to push Jodie and put in 150k, a 5k PB, which Jodie pulled successfully for a 15k PB on her total.

Beverley, also a recent member of the Barbell Club and a competitive Powerlifter for only 2 years has been working equally as hard as Jodie on developing her squat, which was demonstrated on how easily she completed all 3 squats finishing with a 115k squat, a 2.5k PB, that could easily have been so much more.

Beverley is the current British Masters 1 bench record holder and was hoping to break her PB today.  Although she couldn’t break her own record as it was a regional championship, Beverley experienced a bad case of influenza recently that saw her out of training for 2 weeks so she was very nervous what could bring today.  After achieving both opener and second attempt very well Beverley went for 82.5k on her third, although it was a slow lift, she got it and was over the moon.

Beverley’s deadlift has always been her nemesis, however with some gentle urging from Husband Duncan and words on encouragement from her coach, she went for an equal PB on the third attempt of 140k giving her a 5k PB on her total.  A fantastic result for a spotty lead up to the competition.

Iszy entered this competition nervous through a couple of small niggles recently and this showed by missing her first 2 squats.  However, after listening to her coach shouting as her completed her last attempt and having the heart to pull herself through she managed to get a successful attempt.

Iszy’s confidence was knocked slightly for the bench, although she managed to get a 2.5k PB of 47.5k she was disappointed to miss the 50k.  One thing to aim for in the future.

However, Iszy really shone in her deadlift opening with an easy 120k and moving on to an equally suitable 130k.  This gave her a total of 267.5k, only 12.5k off the British qualifying total of 280k.  After some encouraging words from her coach she stepped up to 142.5k deadlift, more then she has ever encountered before, and pulled it so well her team, family, friends and fellow lifters were cheering with excitement at her achievement.

In total, Jodie increased her PB by 15k, Beverley by 5k and Iszy by 25k.  Fantastic numbers from 3 great women.

Next competition for Swindon Barbell will be the All England Championships August 16th at Northampton.  This will see Helen Tom competing for the first time as an Equipped lifter, Beverley and Jodie chasing their numbers and reaching for more records and Charlie Shotton-Gale – SBB head coach – coming back from injury to test her Raw numbers.

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Why Squat?

The squat exercise has been used by Sports professionals and leisurely athletes for decades and has been shown to be a very effective mechanism for developing muscle strength, size and tone.  But why should you do it? What if you have a bad back, knees or ankles, should you still attempt to squat?  What type of squat should you do?

This short article should help to answer some of those questions.

What is The Squat?

The squat is where a person bends their knees and hips to lower their upper body without bending over – as seen in the video.
You can squat with no weight at all (Body Weight), with a barbell (Barbell Squat), or with weights in your hands such as Kettlebell or Dumbbell squat’s.

The Squat strengthens leg and buttock (Caterisano et al., 2002. Schoenfeld, 2010) muscles and can enhance knee stability and in healthy individuals.  This means that the Squat exercise is using all your leg and bum muscles to work, making them stronger with better tone and shape.  It also means that if you have healthy knees, keeping your squats to a depth of parallel (which is where the hips are lowered to equal height of the knee), the pressure through the knees shouldn’t cause any damage (Escamilla, 2001. Fry, Smith, & Schilling, 2003).

But what if you have had a knee injury? Esamilla (2001) shows that squatting to a knee rang of 50 degree bend can still help to develop the leg muscles without putting pressure on the knee.

This could be a simple act of sitting on a dinning room chair and standing up again, repeatedly over a number of weeks until you are comfortable with the movement through your knees.

How can I learn how to Squat?

The best way to learn to squat is:

  1. Hire a professional to teach you
  2. Watch the videos on this post over and over again, film yourself over and over again until you are happy what you are doing is what you are seeing here!

The second option, granted, is slightly more risky then the first however it is cheaper and you might get a terrible professional who teaches you wrong anyway!

If you are going to learn how to squat make sure you follow these rules:

  1. if you do hire a professional, make sure you get them to show you how they squat and make sure it is like a video you see here.
  2. If you are going to learn alone, don’t just be the only one watching you, get others to watch the videos here and watch you to compare.

What about my back? Isn’t squatting bad for a back?

If you have never squatted before, or are still learning, read this section carefully.
A Rounded back will incur greatest amount of pressure on the lower back due to smaller amounts of back muscles being recruited (Holmes, Damaser, & Lehman, 1992, (Delitto, Rose, & Apts, 1987).  This means that if you do not keep your back muscle ‘tight’ and ‘engaged’ they will not help with the movement, which will cause your back to ‘round’ and increase the amount of forces being sent through your spinal column.  The great news is this is easily fixed and once corrected prevents almost all lower back pressure when squatting for healthy individuals.

A Narrow stance will increase lower back strain due to pelvic movement at deep squats (Chiu, Comfort).  You can see in the picture someone doing a narrow stance (feet hip width apart) and a wide stance (feet wider then hip width).  The narrow stance will increase the strain on the lower back when squatting because the structure of the pelvis is that if the thigh bones are closer together the pelvis struggles to stay still and so has to move backwards, causing strain on the entire lower back.

However, if the feet are wider and the toes are pointing outwards (like your hands when you were taught to drive, at ’10 and 2’) then they thigh bones don’t get in the way of the pelvis allowing it to stay in a neutral alignment with the spine whilst still developing the leg muscles, regardless of stance (Swinton, Chiu, Comfort, Acaw, signorile).

The distribution of forces through the knee and hip depend on how far the knees travel in front of the toes during squat. Knees forward means there are more forces going through the knee (weightlifting style squat).  However, if the knees stay still and hips move back this means more hip and lower back forces are experienced (powerlifting style squat). (Fry, Smith, & Schilling, 2003).


Wretenberg, Feng, & Arborelius (1996) demonstrated this difference by studying weightlifting style ‘high bar’ vs powerlifting style ‘low bar’ squat and showed the the powerlifting squat put more emphasis on the hips, whereas weightlifters had a load distribution that was more even between the hip and knees.
The Squat can also enhance ankle strength, however if you see the knees collapsing together whilst squatting it could be due to poor ankle flexibility (Shaub).  This can be remedied by sitting back in squat (powerlifting style squat) which can also activate the bum muscles (Gluteals) more and reduce need for ankle flexibility by keeping lower leg upright. (Chiu, 2009).



What is the difference between weightlifting and powerlifting squats?

Here is a video, I’m not that great at weightlifting squats however the bar is higher on my shoulders and my body is more upright at the bottom of the squat.  The powerlifting squat means the bar is lower on my back and I lean forward more.

Notice that my spine stays straight throughout and my hips move only minimally.

What sort of squats are there?

2 Foot Squats (Bilateral)

Weightlifting ‘high bar squat’

Powerlifting ‘low bar’ Squat

Front Squat

Overhead Squat

Kettlebell/Dumbell squat

Single leg squats (Unilateral)

Split Squats

Bulgarian Squats/ Rear Foot Elevated Squats


Caterisano, A., Moss, R. E., Pellinger, T. K., Woodruff, K., Lewis, V. C., Booth, W., & Khadra, T. (2002). The Effect of Back Squat Depth on the EMG Activity of 4 Superficial Hip and Thigh Muscles. Journal of Strength, 16(3), 428–432.

Chiu, L. Z. F. (2009). Sitting Back in the Squat. Journal, 31(6), 25–27. doi:10.1519/SSC.0b013e3181bb397c

Comfort, P. Ms., & Kasim, P. (2007). Optimizing Squat Technique. Journal, 29(6), 10–13.

Delitto, R. S., Rose, S. J., & Apts, D. W. (1987). Electromyographic Analysis of Two Techniques for Squat Lifting. Physical Therapy, 67(9), 1329–1334.

Escamilla, R. F. (2001). Knee biomechanics of the dynamic squat exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33(1), 127–141.

Fry, A. C., Smith, J. C., & Schilling, B. K. (2003). Effect of Knee Position on Hip and Knee Torques During the Barbell Squat. Journal of Strength, 17(4), 629–633.

Full Text PDF. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Holmes, J. A. M., Damaser, M. S. B., & Lehman, S. L. (1992). Erector Spinae Activation and Movement Dynamics About the Lumbar Spine in Lordotic and Kyphotic Squat-Lifting. Spine, 17(3), 327–334.

McCAW, S. T., & Melrose, D. R. (1999). Stance width and bar load effects on leg muscle activity during the parallel squat.  [Miscellaneous Article]. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 31(3), 428–436.

Schaub, P. A., & Worrell, T. W. (1995). EMG activity of six muscles and VMO: VL ratio determination during a maximal squat exercise. J Sport Rehabil, 4, 195-202.)

Schoenfeld, B. J. (2010). Squatting Kinematics and Kinetics and Their Application to Exercise Performance: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(12), 3497–3506. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bac2d7

Signorile, J. F., Kwiatkowski, K., Caruso, J. F., & Robertson, B. (1995). Effect of Foot Position on the Electromyographical Activity of the Superficial Quadriceps Muscles During the Parallel Squat and Knee Extension. Journal of Strength, 9(3), 182–187.

Swinton, P. A., Lloyd, R., Keogh, J. W. L., Agouris, I., & Stewart, A. D. (2012). A Biomechanical Comparison of the Traditional Squat, Powerlifting Squat, and Box Squat. Journal of Strength, 26(7), 1805–1816. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182577067

Wretenberg, P., Feng, Y., & Arborelius, U. P. (1996). High- and low-bar squatting techniques during weight-training: Medicine &amp Science in Sports &amp Exercise, 28(2), 218–224. doi:10.1097/00005768-199602000-00010

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Big Is Beautiful VS Small Is Sexy

Little Charlee and Big Charlie showing that #BigIsBeautifulVsSlimIsSexy

Little Charlee and Big Charlie showing that #BigIsBeautifulVsSlimIsSexy Photos:

Recently I was listening to the song, “all about that bass” by Meghan Trainor, in which a line says ‘skinny bitches’.
I have many slim friends and non of them I would term a bitch.

Why should big people hate small people and vice versa just for their size.

You can listen to our message on The Beard Of Zeus Podcast if you can’t read just now!


So I asked friend and fellow Personal Trainer Charlotte Blake to give me her opinion of being small, along with mine of being big.

I was asked by the lovely Charlie Shotton- Gale to write my perspective of size shaming emphasised by the recent song “all about the bass”. The pros, the cons and the perception of society as a small person.

I found it hard. While I consider myself small- I rise to the dizzy heights of 5ft 3 in the morning, and a size 10 on “fat” day. But I consider myself to have more junk in my trunk than the average carboot sale, and bigger “guns” than most guys. So this took a lot of thinking.untitled-100 (1)

  1. Cons of being small
    I need to get a step or a tall friend to help me reach stuff…or learn parkour…
    low bodyfat means I get cold quickly, so while my clothes are smaller, I actually probably spend more on clothes and layering.
  2. Vulnerability, because I’m small I feel vulnerable, in crowds I stand a foot lower than everyone else, don’t dominate as much space as everyone else. In terms of being a female, it would be stupid to deny that the risk of getting into a vulnerable situation is very real whether you are large or small. But I am often aware of how I may be seen as an easy target to pick off the runt of the litter….this may be part of what fuels my passion for fitness!  
  3. Perception: Social perception views smaller women as “dainty” and is synonymous with “feminine”and not in a good way. Hands up, I am guilty of sometimes playing to this. Cant be bothered to cue at a bar? Flutter your eyelashes and job sorted. Cant be bothered to carry your own bags across the train station? No worries “oh gosh, i’m terribly sorry, I don’t suppose you could help me could you?” *flutter flutter flutter* however as a professional I have seen it in many companies, not just to myself, but other small stature individuals, especially in the fitness industry where they have been overlooked because they are perceived to be “just not up to the job”
    In a study in America, taller men were perceived to me more successful than shorter men.

Pros of being small:

Small means power vs bodyweight is greater = you can jump higher more easily!

Small means power vs bodyweight is greater = you can jump higher more easily! Photo’s:

  1. when you do get underestimated as just another “small girl” it opens opportunities that others may not see. Often you get to see the true colours of an individual, and get to see through those who are just blowing smoke up your arse, and those who you would genuinely want to work with you.
  2. Turned 30 in July….still get ID’ed….WINNING!
  3. Childrens section…VAT free.
  4. I am EPIC at hide and seek.

I think we can add to the ‘pro’ list the fact that society sees her as an ‘attractive’ or ‘sexy’ size to be.

My pro/con list.


  1. I am big and STRONG. This body of mine had led me to being 6 time British powerlifting, British and commonwealth record holder along with a ranking of 4th in Europe and 5th in the world.
    This means I can lift what most men cannot. This doesn’t bother me, because I know if those men started training they would soon overtake me. It’s more that my big physique, that I was bullied about at school, has amounted to a huge something as an adult.
    I found my niche with being big, and it feels fantastic!!
Charlie Shotton-Gale half way through a 1RM attempt in a conventional style Deadlift

Charlie Shotton-Gale half way through a 1RM attempt in a conventional style Deadlift

  1. I do not fear life as much as I would imagine I would if I were small and dainty, I feel I have the strength, size and confidence to defend myself.
    This is a personal thing because I know many small ladies who can perfectly well defend themselves!
Being bigger means I am SO strong

Being bigger means I am SO strong Photo’s:

  1. I feel I have the freedom to say ‘I enjoy eating cake’ and people don’t think I’m a secret eater stuffing myself. Equally they don’t look at me and think ‘lucky cow can eat what she likes’. They realise that if I eat this I have to work harder in the gym.
    It’s more like a realisation that you can enjoy food but you’ve gotta be sensible. I’m not lucky, I just work hard.
Bigger often means Strength comes easily


  1. I used to think my size was a downfall as a personal trainer. However, I received more feedback that people enjoyed the fact I looked like a ‘woman then a little girl’.
    Once again, this is not to negate the look of smaller leaner women, it’s just that many people still believed in my ability as a trainer even though I didn’t look fresh out of a magazine.
  2. and although this is my final point it’s the most important – I have found the love of my life who loves me when I am 90k and when I’m 80k. He loves my curves and wobbly bits and wants me to be happy whatever size I am.
    If you don’t truly think your loved one feels that way…. Maybe it’s not truly your love.


  1. I go through jeans like no ones business because of the size of my legs.
    Also, jeans waists are never the right size to my legs so I always have to wear a belt.
  2. if I’m in a group picture with 3 small ladies – I do look weird!!
  3. I can’t wear skin tight fitting clothes. Oh wait, I’m not a chav. So who cares!
Even picking up the smaller people!

Even picking up the smaller people! Photo’s:

We shared this message to others for their opinion and found the following:

  • Jacob Paul Common and caveman attitude: small = weak. When I’ve had verbal abuse in London, I wonder if I was 6ft. how the story would pan out. Perhaps more accurate than small = weak, is “smaller than me = weaker than me”.

a bodybuilding ‘double bicep pose’ highlighting the differences in our bodies

Katie Sandford Sometimes when I tell people I lift, they express shock that someone “of my stature” actually does that. I’m 5’1″. People seem to believe that strength sports are reserved for big men and a small woman is automatically disqualified.  Sometimes I do have to get things off the top shelf in tesco by using other items to knock them off, then catching them. Also I can’t reach the ceiling handholds on the tube so if I can’t grab a pole I can end up falling. Sometimes people lean on the poles while holding the overhead handholds so small people can’t hold onto anything.   Also I can’t buy trousers like a normal person. I always have to take them up. Always. Well… I can always fit on a skateboard withorut considering the weight limit. I know that sounds weird, but I have a big lifter friend who wants a longboard and actually has to check the weight limit. I don’t ever have to think about it. I always have legroom on planes and trains. That’s pretty nice.

  • Sarah Louise Mawby i am a bigger taller woman who has dealt with massive confidence issues due to my size! Over compensate for these insecurities with faked confidence and make up to make myself more attractive to everyone potential friends and partners. Clothes are a massive issue as nothing fits right and feel there is too much shaming in the world for being bigger! However being tall has its advantages in my youth as Charlotte knows. Looking older due to being taller! I could write an essay on this subject!! Lol if you really need me to go into it hun I shall email you lol!! Is this what u had in mind?
We all look silly now!

We all look silly now! Photo’s:

Jess Attree Definitely have trouble getting trousers to fit length wise – same with length of dresses / skirts is always a bit off as well. 
I’ve had to climb supermarket shelves, jump on kitchen counters to get things and have also used the hook by hanger method
Whenever there’s a large cardboard box it seems to be assumed that I should be able to fit into it – same applies to small places in general
Gym wise – have avoided using squat rack on occasion as bar has been left full of weights above a height I’m comfortable getting them from – and only other people in free weights were idiots I didn’t feel I could ask for help. Plus the fun of not being able to reach overhead bars to start with! On the plus side I can happily watch something while on a treadmill whereas my 6’2″ husband has to basically lean over to watch the tv while running!  
I’m pretty happy being short – never really thought of it as a hindrance, easy to hide and blend in if required. I can happily sleep on most forms of transport as don’t have legroom issues! If I want to be taller I can wear massive heels!

  • Christopher Keighley Having longer levers, I find some gymnastics stuff harder to pick up or learn as quick as shorter people. Otherwise my life is awesome.
Becuase I am bigger I will naturally have more muscle mass = stronger.


Terri Newnham I was tallish 5ft 8 .and I have a 5ft sister. men always thought she was little and help less although she is far from it whilst I was the big capable one who didn’t have feelings and could do the donkey work. Now im older 51 people think I must be weak and in capable even though I squat and dead lift and have muscles and im stronger and fitter than I have ever been.

  • Joe Whiteley I bang my head a lot, and little old ladies ask me to reach things for them in supermarkets. Finding skinny jeans with a long enough inside leg used to be an issue in the 80s when I wore them. Being tall and skinny attracts piss taking. If any of this is any use…

Matt Griffiths  If blokes can play too then I am not the smallest chap in stature.  I get comments from time to time, doormen all nod at you, security guards do as well.   It’s not uncommon for people to point and or nudge their friends and talk about you, quite obviously as well.  Silly little things like “Big enough?” get said which is interesting as I am certain similar rebuttals using observational skills such as “Fat enough” wouldn’t be appreciated. 

I forgot about the clothes issue, I can’t often buy off the peg – usually I have to see something I like and search online for a xxxl variant.  Shirts have to be tailored to fit, rarely jeans will fit over my bum or thighs and often even things like flannel shirts etc in a larger size etc I will struggle to get my arm into as they don’t make the girth of the arms any bigger.  On the plus side, people move out of your way, you are always offered leftover food first.   It’s easy to push to the bar in a pub.   Most men and women in general are more respectful of you and has to be said you seem to get a lot more female attention being a big strapping chap.

Us bigger girls are not always so good at the posing!

Us bigger girls are not always so good at the posing! Photo’s:

  • Sarah Frost As a person of the teeny tiny variety I often get an incredulous ‘really’ when asked my height and I tell them 4’11” – almost as if I’m lying or have chosen to stop at that height! I was always very slight weighing between 6 1/2 & 7 stone up to the age of 30ish and had to deal with the ‘your so lucky you can eat anything’ comments ignoring the fact that I exercised regularly and ate well, plus a little helpful genetics thrown in for good measure! However I have discovered over the past 15 years that it’s entirely possible to override all these factors with an increased consumption of cake & chocolate! Nobody says I’m lucky anymore lol!
Katy Lee I find it a lot easier to barge my way through crowds of people (with liberal elbow use) as a small person. Most people will move out of the way after a jab in the kidneys.
  • Laura Porter  I definitely can’t throw my bodyweight around. And buying clothes can a nightmare (“petite” ranges tend to stop before my size).

    anonymous I really really like being the size I am (no complaints here) but I can’t think of any real advantages! Except maybe that I can buy bras in fabulous brands like Curvy Kate and Freya?


Jo Whiteley Disagree with Katy! I reckon being big stops me getting buffeted and knocked around in a crowd. Little people would just bounce off!

  • Sarah Hima I can reach things on supermarket shelves. I don’t feel the need to wear heels. I can see where I’m going in a crowd.

Katy Lee There may be something in the fact that because I am short, I have developed crowd-induced aggression. But I would love to reach things on high shelves

  • Charlie Shotton-Gale well i’ll chuck in my 2p worth….i love being my size and the way i fill clothes, i love the way my hips look in dresses and trousers…although i stay aware from onesies! I also love my big thick legs because I get a lot of attention from them hahaha

Sarah Hima I don’t think I can ever hide in a crowd. I’m over six foot in heels. I would like clothes to fit me better though, they are always too short in the body so the waist is never in the right place.

How little people fly so easily Ill probably never know!

How little people fly so easily Ill probably never know!

  • Rachael Armstrong Very much with you on the big legs Charlie! I LOVE my quads and like wearing short dresses and shorts to show them off. It’s only since I got into lifting that I’ve appreciated them though, before I hated them and hid in baggy jeans. I think it’s the fact I see them as ‘strong’ now rather than how big/small they are x

Daisy Leahy Benefits of being tall: seeing EVERYTHING at gigs being over 6ft in heels has its advantages at a bar too! Disadvantages? Trousers and dresses… Too short every time. Size-wise, I prefer being this shape to a smaller size (nothing to do with clothes ) plus bigger bods should, in theory, lift bigger weights!

  • Charlotte Blake Ha ha ha Daisy Leahy as a short person I used to love gigs until they banned crowd surfing. Now I just listen to the radio! Lol!
Charlee is a Parkour instructor which is a great sport for her small frame

Charlee is a Parkour instructor which is a great sport for her small frame Find her at

Molly Chapman Being 5ft on the dot is good because I fit into age 14 clothes etc which are cheaper but also a huge disadvantage with reaching things and finding appropriate sized men !!xx

  • Kelly Phasey Being shorter and bigger, allowed me to become a very good scrummager
  • Kate Sweatman ^^ what Kelly said.  Our pack was immense.  Also rucking. I love to ruck

Naomi Wekesa I like being small but curvy, I can squeeze through in a crowd. I fit comfortably under my hubby’s arm. I’m very strong and people underestimate me because I’m small. I like my strong powerful legs good for cycling, running and hill walking. Since living in kenya I’ve learned to love my bum and hips which previously I hated. Being pregnant in enjoying all my extra curves.

  • Karon Killick You really need to come and see the excellent razzle dazzle netball team, currently storming up the league, and all with curvaceous booties
If you have a story of how it is great being big or small comment below and spread the love of what you are and who you are.
Many thanks go out to Greg Spalding of ShutterFace for the stunning pictures, and to Nicholas Smith of ‘The Beard of Zeus Podcast‘ for helping to spread our message of happiness and healthiness.
 And of course to Charlotte Blake for writing it with me.  If you would like more information on Parkour, Bodybuilding or other sports that Charlotte has been involved please do get in touch.
Just as a side note, Megan Trainor has now lost loads of weight and is a ‘skinny bitch’ that she claimed to have hated in the first place…

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness




Charlie Shotton-Gale Powerlifting Progress 2010-2014

Preparing for the IPF World Powerlifting championships 2014 got me thinking as to my progress leading up to this day.

So, sat on my hotel bed listening to the history channel trying to avoid how thirsty and hungry I am whilst trying to cut the last little bit of weight before it’s time later today, I thought I do some analysis.

csg progress 2010 to 2014

Squat progress 2010 to 2014

We can see that the Squat progress has increased steadily over the period with a regular dip in incline.  These lower readings represent international championships in which the amount lifted is often lower then at national.

Bench progress 2010 to 2014

The Bench table indicates a long term injury in the shoulder, affecting progress hugely since July 2013.  Fortunately recent training has shown this to be healed and progress to be continuing up again, the competition later on will show if this is true.

Deadlift progress 2010 to 2014

Deadlift has show the greatest amount of progress with a large increase initially and consistent but smaller growth since the beginning of 2012.

Total progress 2010 to 2014

The progress of steadily increasing total is similar to that of the squat and represents accurately the difference of international and national competition results.

I hope that I can add some much bigger stars on each of these graphs after today.

I also hope that someone find this analysis beneficial, particularly anyone who is looking to go from national to international competitions and what you can expect from your numbers.

Keep Lifting!

SG Fitness