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Jeff's Thoughts

  • The Force Awakens – In Us All

    12 January, 2016

    Why do we in January inevitably declare that things are now going to be different – I am going to get that body, lifestyle, health that I always wanted? When we all know the odds – by Feb the old habits have crept in and 11 months of weight gain kick in before we do it all again.

    A lot of people are living in a state of frustration, they want something different to what their actions are doing. People are always thinking about the goal (in a very vague way) or thinking that they just don’t like their current level of health. But very rarely do people think about all the road blocks that will get in the way. That is why at Studio41 our personal trainers can help you keep on track when “sh*t hits the fan” so to speak – and it always does! I would say people who are successful at achieving a new level of health and fitness are very good at dealing with and realising their has to be sacrifice.

    Going to the gym 3 times a week isn’t just 3 times per week. Packing your bag in the morning takes new behaviours (did you wash your gym gear the night before). Then walking to the gym, training and showering. The 3 times per week could easily translate to 6 hours real time (and we haven’t even talked about food habits yet). Unless you were lying in a comatose state for 6 hours, you will have to sacrifice something in order to go to the gym. Understand what these things might be,

    1. Less time with kids, family love ones.
    2. Getting up in morning when all you want to do is stay in bed.
    3. Less social time as you are choosing a new you over friends (and maybe judgement from friends).
    4. Less money for other things.

    If you think about these things before hand, make a conscious decision on what is more important for you based on your values (Being for fit enough to play with my kids when I get home from a 12 hour day is more important than having a drink with good friends [both very important]) then when these things arise you will be in a better position to not let old habits overrule the direction you want to go.

    How many of us have seen “Star Wars – The Force Awakens”, yet did not have the time to exercise?

    If you are not prepared to make the sacrifice, then be happy. Realise that it is a conscious decision that you are making to stay in this state. At least this way you realise that you control the outcome and hence if you want to change it – it is up to you.




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  • Goal Setting – A Powerful Tool If Done Correctly

    4 January, 2016

    At Studio41 our personal trainers always want to know what you want – it is not about putting our expectations on you, our job is to simply help you move forward to your success. However people often don’t know what they want – they know what they don’t what — but focusing on what you will become is more powerful than  moving away from the negative.

    People set out to achieve goals for one of two reasons, they see it as moving themselves towards something they desire (I want to earn more money), or they see it moving away from something they no longer want (I want to get fit as I hate feeling tired and sluggish). You set New Years resolutions either because you want to achieve something or are sick of living in a state of fitness and health that you are not happy with – either way your motivation can be traced to either pleasure or pain.

    The first level of goal setting is understanding the bigger picture. I call it the VISION. This is your long term goal, the thing that will drive all other behaviours. This is the thing that you have to decide first. What is it that you ultimately. Do not concentrate on what you don’t want (I want to lose that 5 pounds, I don’t want to be out of breath, I don’t want to have this fat etc.). Focus on what you do want – I want to be 60 kg, I want to be able to run and feel breathless, I want to be 18% body-fat). Then make it quantifiable. Making a goal of “I want to feel fitter” is not specific enough. People dislike making goals specific due to the fact that they increase their potential risk of failure. However if you live your life trying to avoid failure you might also find yourself avoiding success as a by product. So…..get that vision specific and within a time frame and write it down – writing anything down makes it more serious.

    “By Aug the 13th I will be 53kg and able to run 10km in under 50 mins”

    …..concentrate on it, see it, in-vision it. How do you look, feel, act when you have achieved it. Once you have got this, ask yourself why you want it. And whatever your answer is, ask yourself why you want that? Do this at least 3 – 4 times. You are discovering your “values”, what really drives you to do the things you do. Often people do not just want to lose weight. But want the things that losing the weight will give them (self esteem, increased confidence etc.). Identifying these core drivers or “values” is what will keep you going when things get difficult. Understand your vision, and why you are truly trying to achieve that vision, are your strongest allies in moving forward and achieving great success.

    Once you have this Vision in your mind – concentrate on your first OUTCOME.

    Outcomes are things you have to achieve on the way to achieving your vision. You can think of it as breaking the vision down into smaller chunks. Often thinking of something 1 year away is too far, thinking about what you need to achieve in 3 or 4 weeks is easier to concentrate on. If you want to lose 18 kg in the year (something that would be easy for us at Studio41), then it would make sense that after 4 week you have lost 1.5 kg. This would be your first “outcome”. If you do not achieve this first outcome you have a choice

    Change the goal to what you now know is more realistic or
    Change your weekly commitments to achieving the goal

    Once you break your vision down into outcomes, you only need to concentrate on your first outcome. You have to ask yourself what you have to do this week to achieve your first outcome. These are called your WEEKLY ACTIONS. Concentrate on just achieving your weekly actions should lead to achieving your first outcome. Then this will put you on track to achieving your vision. By doing the small things you will achieve the large things. One final point to remember – even though you are concentrating on achieving your weekly actions, keep in mind both your Outcomes and most importantly your Vision. Your Vision is the ‘why’ behind what you are doing and is what ultimately drives you, and gives you the reason for working so hard on your weekly actions.

    So the essence of goal setting is to put in your mind exactly what you want to have, break it down into workable chunks and then go out and start achieving. One important principle to understand is the concept of NO FAILURE ONLY FEEDBACK. To understand this is to understand that you cannot fail at anything. Workout a goal, put your outcomes in-place and work on your weekly actions. If you do not achieve your weekly actions and therefore do not reach your first outcome, a lot of people give up at this point believing that they have failed. Just take this as feedback, remember when this happens you have 2 choices,

    Change the goal to what you now know is more realistic
    Change your weekly commitment to achieving the goal

    So….change something and go again, and again, and again until you finally experience success. People put a lot of pressure on themselves to get it right the first time. This is unrealistic if you are doing something without ever having done it before. True failure is giving up in pursuit of your goal.

    So good-luck, set your goal and don’t look back until you have achieved it in 2016.

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  • Why Health, Energy & Fitness?

    3 September, 2015

    We thought long and hard at Studio41 about what words best described what we do and to be associated with our brand. So often people perceive trainers as the ones who stand over you yelling motivational cues as the saliva sprays out of our mouths, demanding that one more rep. What is really interesting to me is to truly understand our job, is to truly understand someones goal (essentially why they are willing to invest in our knowledge and time), and for us to work together to help achieve that.

    People talk about wanting better sleep, wanting more energy – they want to be healthy again and lucky for us they perceived exercise as part of that plan. However we know that that is merely only a small part of the journey. To truly work with someone on their health and fitness journey – it has to be more than just exercise.


    Fitness and health are 2 very different components. Because you are fit does not reflect that you are healthy (infact there is a inverse relationaship, the more exercise you do past a point, the worst the health can become). For me healthy means  that there is no inflammation leading to a diseased state, your detoxification pathways in the liver are working well, your gut is able to take in and absorb nutrients (one of the biggest reasons why tiredness exists in my opinion) and your gut is able to detoxify all the toxins you take in on a daily basis. Most of this detoxificaiton and repair happens when you are a sleep. So how important is sleep? One thing I have learnt is sleep is merely a sympton – not the cause. If your sleep is bad then you have a disruption somewhere, but it will lead to ill health

    Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 11.52.15

    The World Health Organisation lists the night shift as a probable carcinogen. There fore they truly understand the consequences of a lack of sleep. Because once again this is where most of your detoxification happens. Simply put – if you not sleeping well your health will be compromised. Your weight loss journey will also be limited. Once again – people are coming to us because they want to get healthy and start a weight loss journey, there is no point pushing yourself through endless physical activity if there is no health benefit. Therefore we need to understand that health and fitness are not related, we need to be able to work on someones sleep, digestion and detoxification pathways just as much as their actual fitness.

    “Often people come to us to lose weight to get healthy, often we are working on peoples health in order for them to lose weight”. 


    For a molecule of glucose, to become energy (ATP), there is a magnificent process that happens in every living cell that is massively dependant on such things like Magnesium, CoQ10 and B Vitamins to name just a few. This process is pretty awesome. However most people that come into us are often tired and lacking energy. If we can’t help them at the cellular level then we won’t be effective at helping them get more energy. So our understanding of biochemistry works really well here.

    Click Here to See Bryan Walsh quickly emphasis what we need at the cellular level to create energy (ATP). (Video from Bryan Walsh’s Metabolic Fitness Course).

    You can now understand why we have such a large emphasis on nutrition here at Studio41. Just doing push ups and lunges is simply not enough.


    Even fitness is can be complicated. Believe it or not it, it is not just turning up and talking to your trainer about what you did in the weekend and having a laugh with no real focus. The one thing you must understand is for a system to improve, you must overload that system. Our bodies will adapt if you give it the circumstances to adapt. So systematic overload, micro progressions need to be in place to maximise your time. Your trainer needs to be recording every rep and every set so they know that those micro progressions are happening. However it is also not always about pushing, knowing when to back off is just a crucial tool as knowing how and when to push. Remember the goal is for our clients to improve – not just for us to talk a great game, and for your results not to come.

    Understanding Health, Energy and Fitness are exactly what we are about.


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  • Putting the Health into Health and Fitness

    18 May, 2015

    The terms “Fitness Professional” and “Health and Fitness Professional” are often symbiotically used. However these terms are so different and often personal trainers know nothing about health – simply fitness. Often I find those who are in the fitness industry are often hurt the most,  overworked, stressed and as a result unhealthy – yet they are fit – however fit does not mean healthy.

    The scientific literature is filled with data that strongly makes the case that long-distance runners are much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, atrial fibrillation,” cancer/’ liver and gallbladder disorders, muscle damage/ kidney dysfunction (renal abnormalities),” acute microthrombosis in the vascular system,” lira in damage,” spinal degeneration,1: and germ-cell cancers” than are their less active counterparts.

    McGuff, D. Little, J. Body By Science 2009.

    I have sat in many consultations asking people “what is your goal”. Oddly enough they don’t always talk about fitness. It is factors such as “more energy”, “better sleep”, in some way or form a better quality of life that drives people to us.  Just doing more sit ups and squats is such a limited thought process on what this person needs to accomplish their goals.

    Being a fitness professional is easy, give someone a fitness test, train them for a few weeks and then retest them and they will probably improve. However a Health and Fitness Professional is a completely different ball game. At Studio41 our personal trainers are considered health and fitness professionals. We have devised our assessment tracker from many functional medicine qualifications in order for us to see the roadblocks for clients. We are constantly asking about sleep patterns, digestion issues, adrenal stress. We also have the knowledge on what to do with these questions in order to ultimately help our clients – not just get them fitter (that is the easy part). Sleep and digestion are one of the many things that often improves under our guidance, this of course has the biggest impact on peoples results

    Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 13.25.00

    The irony is people come to us to lose weight and to get healthy. I often explain that we work on your health in order for you to lose weight. So being a health and fitness professional is crucial and not simply a fitness professional.  So if you want more than a trainer, but someone who will take you on a health and fitness journey that is so much more than just training – come and see us.

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  • The Great 9 Week Challenge starting the 4th of May

    13 April, 2015

    Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 14.57.42

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  • Are You Getting Your Moneys Worth?

    31 March, 2015


    After running a program design course in the weekend I realised a few truths about personal training. We had personal trainers from all over NZ come along to learn the methodologies we run here at Studio41. I realised how bad the industry was, not with the trainers who turned up, but the stories I was told on the behaviours of the other trainers. But lets get to that later.  Firstly – if you are paying for personal training, shouldn’t you be working out in an environment where that trainer can choose the equipment that you need? However gyms are so busy these days that a trainers often is lucky to get the piece of equipment he or she needs, and when they get it they have to guard it with their lives (literally). Most other services will give you a discount for not being able to give you good or full service – not personal training. When the club is busy you will still be paying top dollar, but you will be doing a program that is not optimal but doable in a busy crowded environment. Shouldn’t personal training be about choosing exercises that will help you – not choosing exercises based on how busy the gym is and what you and the personal trainer have access too? At Studio41 we work on a 2 to 1 basis. i.e 2 personal trainers per squat rack. That allows us to always be able to give our clients the most efficient workouts.

    The average life expectancy of a personal trainer in the NZ fitness market is currently 5 months. Yes that is right – not a mis print – 5 months. We have young kids being educated on quick turn around courses with no experience being thrown in to the deep end – and they drown. They don’t know nor practice the basics. Does your trainer use a stop watch for example? This is one of the most basic tools for a trainer. To understand what rest periods to use and when is the most basis knowledge your trainer should have, however I learnt in the weekend that most personal trainers don’t even time sets or rest periods. This basically means that your trainers is not using this most basic tool because they don’t know how.

    And god forbid turning up to a personal training session and the personal trainer asking you as a client “what shall we do today”. Nothing like a professional knowing how to take control and helping that client (who I presume one reason for getting a trainers was because they didn’t know what to do) achieve their health and fitness success.

    Stop paying for young kids to train you. Make sure your personal trainer records your sessions, has a plan and uses a stop watch. If none of that is occurring then run away as fast as you can (not on a treadmill though as you won’t go anywhere). If you are paying for a service – expect (or demand) top service for your money. At Studio41 we will strive to helps our clients to achieve their health and fitness goals with all the tools we have (one of which is a stop watch). Because that is what we do – and we are bloody good at it!!












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  • What Is The Point

    2 February, 2015

    iStock_000002311855SmallAt Studio41 Personal Training Studio and Gym we have the view that if your health was a bank account – The only times you would be adding to this bank account would be when you are sleeping, eating (depending on what you are eating) and drinking water. Everything else is a withdraw – Exercise, work, socialising.

    People don’t understand this simple principle – they seem to think that when they are exercising, they are adding to their health bank account. But you work hard, break your body down so it can recover and become better from the exercise, this recovery happens in sleep. I recently treated someone who was in constant pain, when I asked why does she run for 2 hours at a time? Her answer was simple – Why would you do any less?

    There are numerous times when I as a personal trainer have met people who think that simply more is better. However lets be very clear on the role of exercise – This is to break you down so you can recover and get stronger. But please note that the exercise is only half of it. The recovery is the other half. I prefer the phrase

    Train Hard: Recover Harder. 

    People are simply missing the point. We exercise to become healthy, not for it to wear us down. If our health bank account is added to the most when you sleep, and you reap all the rewards of all the hard work of exercise when you sleep – the question has to be asked “how well are you sleeping“? If your personal trainer does not know your sleep habits – you should be spending your money more wisely.

    Exercise: A specific activity that stimulates a positive physiological adaptation that serves to enhance fitness and health and does not undermine the latter in the process of enhancing the former.

    McGuff, D. Little, J. Body By Science 2009

    If you are in constant pain from your exercising you have a problem, infact you have an addiction. But if you are not losing body fat, constantly tired, you are not healthy. But many of these people are exercising, not recovering and therefore the exercise is contributing to their ill health. When they don’t get results, they often look at doing more!!!

    The scientific literature is filled with data that strongly makes the case that long-distance runners are much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, atrial fibrillation,” cancer/’ liver and gallbladder disorders, muscle damage/ kidney dysfunction (renal abnormalities),” acute microthrombosis in the vascular system,” lira in damage,” spinal degeneration,1: and germ-cell cancers” than are their less active counterparts.

     McGuff, D. Little, J. Body By Science 2009.

    I am all for exercising, but understanding when to train hard and when we need to address factors that are restricting an individual of reaping the benefits of that exercise is the skill of what personal trainers should do. Often going harder for longer is not our answer. Dressing the underlying issues that maybe stopping that person from recovering is the answer, these range from sleep, digestive health, liver detoxification, stress. How can we call ourselves health and fitness professionals if we didn’t take this holistic view? At Studio41 we look at all of these aspects and as a result, the training becomes only one aspect of the journey that we take our clients on.




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  • Both cars doing the same speed does not mean you drive them the same

    10 December, 2014

    100 Km:h

    At the Studio41 gym and personal training facilities we often use this analogy to explain our role in the fitness industry.

    If car A was doing 100 km/h we would think that was good for a motorway speed. This can can accelerate if necessary (lets say to 120 km/h) and get back to 100km with no problem at all. This is how the body works. When presented in a stressful situation the body needs to accelerate itself and then come back to normal. In acute stress the body does some pretty amazing things.

    1. The pupil of the eyes dilate. This actually makes it easier for you to take in more information in a stressful situation. Your lens of the eye also flattens. This is pretty cool as this gives you better long range vision.

    2. Your airways dilate – this allows your lungs to open up allowing you to take in more oxygen.

    3. Your heart rate increases. Higher heart rate – higher blood pressure. Higher blood pressure – more blood flow to the muscles that need it.

    4. Digestion is inhibited. Who wants to have the focus of the body on breaking down food when you need to run. The body is pretty cool at prioritising.

    5. Your kidneys reabsorb more water. More water means more blood volume. More blood volume means higher blood pressure.

    6. Increase blood flow to your muscles.

    All this is happening when someone is under stress. Unfortunately this short term stress can turn into long term stress and play a crucial role on someones ill health (how many people do you know who has constant high blood pressure – this is because they are constantly driving at 120km!!).

    Now lets say we have car B. This car is doing 100km/h, but the driver has his foot flat on the accelerator and all he is able to do is 100km/h. In-fact he is slowing down. As personal trainers we have to understand that we should not drive all our clients the same way. I see it all to often, one training style because it is about the trainer who has the mentality of – my job is to “beast you”.  NO IT IS NOT!!!. Often new trainers new to the industry rely on this because they have no other skill set. So they hide behind their ability to thrash someone. Our job is to help that individuals achieve their health and fitness goal. And unless you can determine whether you have car A or car B sitting in front of you, you will hurt a lot of people. At Studio41 Gym and Personal Training facilites we get you first to fill in our assessment tracker. This covers topics such as sleep, digestive health, adrenal stress and a mental/emotional component. We need to understand you – in order to work out how to help you. Makes sense really.







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  • The Demise of the Fitness Industry and What We are Doing About It

    1 December, 2014

    When I look at where clubs are going these days and the trends happening in the fitness industry (yes I have been around long enough to see trends which is a little worrying). Currently to be a successful gym owner, you need to know the magic formula,

    1. Have a lot of money.

    2. Buy a lot of Equipment (mostly cardio)

    3. Open your gym 24 hours and give people a swipe card.

    4. Fire all staff, including sales managers and fitness managers (you make more if you keep your costs down)

    5. Never engage or actually talk to your members (unless the members are willing to pay for it). 

    Most of the gyms in Wellington are owned by people who do not live in Wellington. I can only think of 2 others where the owners help to run it and are on the floor with members and staff on a daily basis.

    Actually to have a gym where the owners work in it and on it, know the results members are getting and help those who need to be helped seems to be an unfortunate dying breed. A gym has become just a place – a place about being as cheap as possible but yet giving you nothing in return expect for a treadmill to run on and weights to be lifted badly. A major chain (influence heavily by american trends) have just fired all staff including sales consultants. How do you buy your membership you ask? –  by going to the computer in the wall of course.

    Surely we can do better than this. To have a location that still wants to help people through what is an incredibly difficult time – to walk into a foreign environment and push yourself to get the results you have wanted for so long. These results do not simply come by sitting on a cross trainer.

    I am proud to be going against that trend.  I want to provide an environment that helps people to pursue their health and fitness goals, where you talk to fitness professionals who up skill and learn and who ultimately have the time to care. We write programs for people to use without going to a personal trainer and we have an experienced fitness professional there to help you through those programmes. We of course have high staffing costs and we want a smaller membership base (we are capping on 200) so we can still know people and care without over crowding. So yes we are more expensive – but proudly so.



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  • If You Are Going To Look After Anything……

    17 November, 2014

    If you are going to look after one thing – What would it be……

    I wonder if we asked people this question out on the street, what the answers would be. Your Heart?, Your Bones?, Your Diet? But really there is one aspect of you that controls so many other things in the body. It is labelled as your second brain – that is your gut.

    Odd I know, but truly my answer to the above question would be the gut. So many things happen as a consequence to an unhealthy gut. Appreciating how powerful this aspect of your body is will probably mean you don’t want to eat another transfat/flour ladened muffin or cake again.

    They say “You are what you eat”. This is simply not true. To be truthful – you are what you absorb. You can eat all the vitamins and minerals you like, but if you cant absorb them – you will still be malnourished and sick.

    Your gut has a lining called the Mucosal barrier. This is the one thing you should look after. If you look after this – other things fall into place. Here is what a healthy Mucosal Barrier looks like projections that increase the surface area of the small intestine.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.02.27

    This is where the magic happens. If this mucosal barrier is damaged, your ability to absorb nutrients is decreased. In this case, normal supplements don’t really have much effect – which is why you must always look at changing food first – before taking a one off miracle supplement (which doesn’t exist by the way).

    Why is this so important?

    1. The gut wall is responsible for absorption of nutrients. In my opinion one of the biggest factors that leads to tiredness is a damaged mucosal barrier. With a damaged mucosal barrier you simply cannot absorb the B vitamins that are coming in from your diet. At Studio41, an increase in energy is nearly always reported in the first 2 weeks of someones weight loss journey. I believe this is due to the repairing of the gut wall that is occurring.
    2. 90% of your immune system is made in the gut, so those people who are always sick may have an impaired gut lining. So health doesn’t start with aspirin, or any pharmaceutical drug, it comes down to your strength of your immune system – which comes down to the strength of your gut.
    3. 3.  70% of your neurotransmitters are made in the gut. Such things like Gaba and Serotonin are neurotransmitters. So your inability to relax (Gaba), or your ability to have happy thoughts (Serotonin) may all be influenced by the this mucosal barrier and your current gut health.
    4. Most importantly for our clients here are Studio41, you get rid of toxins through the gut. So if your gut is unhealthy – you can’t detoxify. Simply put – if your gut isnt healthy – you are not healthy. This is one reason we use an infrared sauna during the 6 or 12 week package, to enhance our clients ability to detoxify.

    What Damages The Gut Wall?

    Stress – Via the release of histamine – stress is the number one thing that plays havoc to your gut. Quite simply, you were not designed to digest your food and run at the same time. So if you are always stressed – your gut health will be compromised .And hence your health will be compromised and your ability to lose weight will be compromised. One of the best ways to stress your self out is a lack of sleep. How many of our clients are lacking sleep? Most of them!!! So if most of our clients are sleep deprived – their bodies will be stressed – and their guts can be comprimised. Can you see how our results of being able to help people as health and fitness professionals can change dramatically once you understand how the body works. Most trainers do not take this into account – then again most trainers to not get the results we do.

    Gluten -“Intestinal cells of both celiac and non-celiac patients exhibited increase permeability when exposed to gliadin”

    Drago S, et al. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal  mucosa and intestinal cell lines. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;41(4):408-19.

    If you want results, at Studio41 we look at all of this, because it can all influence your results. If we didn’t it would be looking at your health through a very small straw and thinking that training was all we needed to do. If you really want results, from better sleep, mood and less body fat – learn  how to look after your gut.


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Prudential Building
332 Lambton Quay
P 04 499 8516