Smartshaper Fitness - Graham Lawson Personal Trainer

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This area is aimed at resolving nutritional issues with simple and easy interventions that lead to better nutritional habits and ultimately improved health and lower body fat measurements.

Do You Have a Fixed Mind-Set About Weight Loss?

Do You Have a Fixed Mind-Set About Weight Loss?

''I can't lose weight''


''It's too hard''


''I don't have time to exercise''


''I've never lost weight before''


''I always struggle with diets''


''It's not fair''


These are all examples of comments that I hear on a regular basis when I first meet someone who's struggling a bit


These beliefs are common and normal.


These are usually caused by bad experiences, limited results or failed attempts in the past.


(despite genuine hard effort being put into them)


Unfortunately, this usually causes people to associate any diet or any attempt to lose weight in future with a non-enjoyable experience


This more than often lead people to stop trying or avoid it due to what the asscoiated discomfort with dieting.



These beliefs can all be undone and new beliefs formed...just trust me on this one!


It simply takes time and a specific plan that's suited to YOU as an INDIVIDUAL being put together!


Funnily enough the weight loss usually comes with this as well 



Categories: Nutrition


Why You're Still Not Losing Weight

Why You're Still Not Losing Weight

It's the harsh reality, each year, we as a nation are becoming more and more overweight.


Statistics show this however, it's not solely our own fault.  


In my opinion it's often down to the dieting methods and advice given to us that simply dones't work or in pain garbage and full of holes.


That being said....

Why do most diets fail?

Because they're not damn enjoyable!


We as humans always want instant or quick results.


Why do you think we reach for weight loss tea's, meal replacements shakes and fat burners.


We want a quick fix and we're on certain on how or where to start.


We're not interested in a twelve month option if there's a two month or two week one available. 


The media and magazines push us towards these fixed time frame dieting methods such as "6 week weight loss" or "8 week Ab's"


I used to think these were potentially helpful until I've seen how people can rebound from them and the psychological affect it has on them.


They simply reinforces the fact that a diet should be a very harsh, extreme and short-term solution...


This is basically yo-yo dieting...

(i.e. nutritional changes that are unsustainable long-term)


Because we aim and are often pushed towards these quick and extreme solutions it means we usually eliminate all the pleasurable and tasty food in our diet...


These foods change from person to person but they're the foods we crave on a regular basis. Chocolate, biscuits, cake and pizza are all examples. 


We typically in a strange way rely on these foods, we lean towards them in order to feel happier when we get upset, feel stressed, run-down or tired or after an incredibly hard week.


How long do you think a diet eliminating all of these is going to really last??


I know I wouldn't want to be the one at the end of a pointing finger in a circle of my friends all drawing attention to me and questioning me for not eating anything at a resteraunt or cafe because it doesn't fit with my extreme diet...would you?


It's just uncomfortable for most people.


That being said, ask yourself this question...


Do enjoyable foods ever have to be taken out of someone's diet if they're simply looking for initial weight loss?


I have an opinion...


I won't tell you it...but you can guess what it is ;-)


Diets and weight loss at the end of the day ultimately come down to one thing.


We simply have to use more calories each day that what we take in from food, regardless of which foods these calories come from.

(sounds strange coming from a weight loss coach, right?)


However, all this simply means is that as long as we can control pleasurable foods, factor in their calories and over time progress to healthier options as behaviours change.


Weight loss WILL happen and WILL be sustained.


Would it be better to eat more natural and healthier foods than chocolate for example?


Potentially yes however, not everyone wants to step on stage as a fitness model or bodybuilder and live off a chicken and broccoli diet.


Most people looking for weight loss simply want to feel happier about themselves and how they look.


More comfortable with their appearance and with higher levels of self-confidence so they're not intimidated to walk into a gym or party being afraid of people making negative judgements about them.


To get this, you don't need to put yourself through a torturous dieting method, you don't need extremes.


You'll have seen all different types of diets, paleo, Atkins, no carbs, no fat etc.


There's no ONE right diet...


The best thing for you and me as a coach to do is look at the pro's and con's of all of them and simply selects the best option and tailor it to suit you...the individual


Take Care,



For Coaching Enquiries: Coaching Session Request Application Link



Categories: Nutrition


You CAN'T lose weight?....or has the media just mislead you??

You CAN'T lose weight?....or has the media just mislead you??

You probably know your goal pretty damn well.


You know what aspects you're unhappy with.


You've probably had these targets for a while now,


Maybe you've tried several different diets.


Yet you just fell short or never really got to the point you wanted to.


You probably have a gym membership or already exercise...


You graft your arse off week in week out.


Whether it be classes, outdoors or in the gym...


Yet you simply just don't get the results you want or deserve.


I see this in the Fitness Industry ALL the time.


The funny thing is, when I speak to gym members about it...


I hear the same reasons and comments again and again. 


Usually down the lines of...


''I'm not gentically gifted enough''


''I'm just not meant to have that body shape''


''I don't have the will power to do it''


Let me tell you, these reasons aren't as true as what you may think.   


Everyone has the potential to make progress...even when genetics are taken into account!


Essentially, we all start exercising or dieting with an aim in mind.


Usually with an aim to better ourselves or change the way we look or feel in some way shape or form.


Basically looking to move towards what we see as an "acceptabel" point.

(myself included)


Yet the media has us all led to believe in grabage training pogrammes, ''miracle solutions'' or overnight results. 


The ridiculous celebrity endorsed "quick fix" diets all just rub this in!


They don't help move us towards progress.  


They simply mislead us!


Leaving us with no idea on which is the best route.


They confuse us all even further!


Statements on Facebook or in magazines stating


"This is how your diet should look" are quite frankly ridiculous!


Nobody knows what YOUR diet should look like...


Not without sitting down with you and assessing things in detail first.


Remember that when you see statements with no logic...


Which, are usually the ones that are basically just a marketing ploy.


Take this from me....


EVERY gym member or individual seeking weight loss, improved performance or improved health, has struggles or sticking points


Whether it be with changing habits, tweaking things or developing and putting together a clear exercise structure that's sustainable.


We all hit plateaus...myself oncluded.


It's NOT just you, rest at ease on that.


One thing YOU probably DON'T do however, is give yourself enough credit!


People such as yourselves are a very small minority!


YOU'RE making more effort than the average person sat at home.


YOU'RE actively looking for guidance.


YOU'RE reading this article for God sake!


That's proof and evifdence of what I'm saying right there.


Granted, maybe things aren't going the way you want them to just yet BUT....



(read that again)


Maybe you do need help, possibly pointing in the right direction or a bit of coaching BUT...




Hopefully you'll remember this the next time you're about to criticise yourself for not being at your target quite yet. 


Remember, CRITICISM alone is POINTLESS!


CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICIM with guidance and clear steps to follow afterwards is where it has a place and potential benefits. 


That's my rant over with, have a great rest of the week...


Hopefully one without too much self-criticism ;-) 


Take care,




Categories: Nutrition


Pass or Fail?










That's the way we think about dieting, right? 

It's not a case of us pin-pointing the individual points we did well




It's a case of us coming down on ourselves like a tonne of bricks! 

As soon as the scales don't move...

As as we give in to temptation with food...


All we feel is GUILT! 

Like we've failed almost! 


I've made mistakes, and felt that way trust me. 

(it's a hard feeling to avoid)


However, in my opinion... 



There's no fully accurate generic grading system for health, nutrition, performance or weight loss!   

(even BMI isn't 100% accurate)


So when you see promotions saying things such as...


"This is what your diet should look like"


Take a wide berth of them...there's no generic diet that suits everyone! 

There's simply lessons to be taken from different choices we make.

Whether that be nutritionally, training wise or something else health related. 

Some have the desired results we want and some don't.


Either way, it simply gives us feedback. 

Information to reassess and look for new choices or options that can be taken in the future.   

A major reason that people often feel as if they fail on diet is because they make it so damn hard for themselves!

Carrying out DRASTIC changes, or several of them at once is a prime example.


Joining an overly advanced training programme

Eliminating ALL food that they enjoy

Reducing calories to a crazy degree


None of these options are sustainable long-term...


It's simply a matter of time before someone reverts back to what their comfortable with. 

(will power alone only lasts so long and takes someone so far)


So please take my advice...


Do yourself a favour.

Stop gauging progress solely off numbers dropping or being "100% perfect" with your diet...

Guess what??? 

It's an IMPOSSIBLE target! 

Like I said...

There's no generic grading system!  

It's NOT pass or fail. 


Are there gradual progressions that can be made?.....Yea 

Can people develop new habits?.....Yea 

Can people make progress towards their own "specific" target?....Yea


This is just my opinion based on my experience....however I wouldn't be sharing it with you if I didn't think it was worthwhile.


Take care,



Categories: Nutrition


We ALL Want Them...

We ALL Want Them...

We all want them, they're far too tempting!


I'm talking about INSTANT RESULTS!


We say we're willing to commit long-term, dedicate ourselves 110% and do what's necessary...


Yet there's always that nagging voice in our heads that wants results NOW!


Not tomorrow...NOW! 


It's essentially the idea of getting to the carrot on the end of the string INSTANTLY!! 


Whether it's because we hate the situation we're currently in that badly or because we're just impatient...


It's hard to say which is true! 


Either way, are INSTANT or DRASTIC results EVER good? 


Long story short....NO! 




Whether it be drastic weight gain or drastic weight loss, why do you think the body would respond dramatically???


The short answer....STRESS!!!


CRAZY amounts of it at that!! 


The reason it has responded in that manner is in an attempt to try and deal with the intense pressure that's being put upon it.


Guess what...IT'S STRUGGLING! 


Otherwise the body wouldn't physically adjust so rapidly! 


Whether it be severe nutritional methods, psychological or physical stress, the body will attempt to adapt to it to maintain normal function!!


It's incredibly stubborn that way, it attempts to maintain homeostasis!

(aka. the same constant state)


If a drastic result or end product has occurred it's sending ONE message...




To paraphrase another top coach, 


"Drastic changes is like red lining a car.  If you do it continually somethings gonna blow" - (Phil Learney - Real World Fat Loss)  


So take this from me....


When you see all of the so called "Miracle Solutions" on Facebook that ONLY crop up in January...


Take them with a HUGE pinch of salt 

(or maybe even a shovel full) ;-) 


Whilst bearing in mind what I've mentioned above. 


Even if they ever could offer a DRASTIC result...

(which is rare by the way)


Would YOU even want it??


I just thought I'd throw this one forwards.


Giving you a little food for thought almost.


If you're skeptical, and maybe think that the drastic approach is the best way...


How's this for a statistic....


Close to 90% of all the 'Americas Biggest Loser' tv show contestants thus far have now actually gained ALL if not MORE weight back than before they started the show.


Funny how we don't see the down sides or potential negative consequences of the so called "miracle" approach isn't it??


Ask my clients and look at some of the most successful individuals around whether it be athletes or even an inspirational friend that's done incredibly well....


They'll ALL have one thing in common....


They'll have followed a consistent and progressive PLAN that's SUSTAINABLE. 


Something to bear in mind when choosing which route to take towards your end goal.


P.S. I'm still accepting applications for complimentary coaching sessions.  


If you're looking to stop proctrasting and putting things off, here's you're opportunity.


Link - Coaching Session Request Form



Categories: Nutrition


Do you deserve to binge?



Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scrooge, I love Christmas and it’s the only time of year I take time off work and training.  However, I apply myself for the rest of the year to take this time off and allow some flexibility. 

However, looking at the festive period as a health professional and a fly on the wall, I see things slightly differently. 

Every year leading up to Christmas, people start planning and preparing earlier and earlier. 

This is great for creating excitement and developing a huge build up for the festive period.  The down side is, it also starts to create distractions from people’s daily eating habits and exercise structure earlier and earlier in the year.

People start to binge and splurge on foods and alcohol more and more with it happening earlier and more frequently year on year.

Typically the excuse used is ‘’ahh well, it’s Christmas, why not, I deserve it’’.

For SOME people this is true.  The extra leeway and flexibility isn’t a problem but how do you know if you’re one of them?

Here’s my honest and open opinion.

Ask yourself the following question….

Are you in a worse position now health wise at this time of year in comparison to where you were last year?

If the answer is a resounding YES then you DON’T deserve it!


Mainly because you’ve clearly been indulging enough over the last year!

The physical results are there as proof of this overindulgence, they didn’t just appear solely to spite you.  They’re simply the end product of your last 12 months and nothing more!   

If you believe you do deserve overindulging even further, write down all the reasons that you can think of that can justify it.

I’m talking solely about the ones that your body health wise would agree with.


That being said, some of you do deserve that time and flexibility and be sure to enjoy it, you’ve earned it.

I’m talking about the people that have made a conscious effort to improve their health levels, exercise regularly or change their diet for the better over the last twelve months. 

Even better if you’ve managed to get yourself into a position where your health levels are better this year than what they were last year!!

That’s a clear reflection of what your invested time, hard work and effort to change things for the better has resulted in. 


If you fall into this category, give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve achieved and enjoy the reward over the festive period, you deserve it.   

If you don’t fall into this list, please stop kidding yourself or trying to justify that you deserve it just because temptation gets the better of you far too often.

That’s not an excuse from a health perspective.

That’s something that you clearly need guidance and coaching on in order to progress past it.  

Do you HAVE to take my opinion as ‘’the right’’ way of looking at it?

Nope, you can ignore it, close this article and pretend you’ve never read it. 

Just bear in mind that no one else other than you will have to deal with the negative long-term consequences of doing this repeatedly.

Categories: Nutrition


It's YOUR responsibility, NOT mine

It's YOUR responsibility, NOT mine








I'm at that point where I'm struggling.

Grafting to keep my own nutrition bang on. 

Forcing myself to progress my own training every week


Whilst doing this, I'm guiding other people with theirs.


I'll be honest, It gets really tough!


I've got no one to continually push me other than myself

Trust me, I'm no different to anyone else!

Everything is never perfect, regardless of who you are.


However, there's one incredibly powerful lesson to remember.


This CAN be the difference between success and failure!


I had to actually put this across to a loyal client of mine yesterday.

I had to be harsh to be kind with her.

I had to pretty much tell her EXACTLY how it is!!


She's done PHENOMENALLY well in the past,


Yet, since Christmas she's struggled.

Struggled to get back into things.

Struggled to keep the reigns on nutrition.


She was contemplating giving up!

(Throwing the towel in basically)


I had to explain that regardless of what she chose to do, she would be the one responsible for the end outcome!





This can be applied to everyone...


YOUR responsible for YOUR current situation

Getting YOURSELF into the position YOU'RE in now

Resposible for YOUR current body shape.


NOT your friends!

NOT your family!


It's YOUR responsibility!


YOUR the one that will have to deal with the results,

YOUR the one that will feel guilty afterwards!

YOUR the one that will feel angry afterwards!

YOUR the one that will feel self-conscious!




You see...


We always have a choice,


Whether it be to eat badly, 

or to eat healthily 


Whether to train consistently, 

or be lazy and do the bear minimum 


Whether to give up when when it gets challenging,

or to carry on and push through it


In any of these situations,

YOU always have a choice


It's NOT my responsibility to FORCE you to make a choice.

That's down to YOU!


There's no point in FORCING someone to change something


If someone wants to change the situation they're in now,

they'll make the right choice.


So take a piece of advice from my client from yesterday.


She decided to carry on and push through it, 

She's jumped straight back on it,

Training with me today and willing to work through it,


Despite it being tough both mentally and physcially.


She didn't decide to hide away and sulk about it.  

She didn't choose to feel sorry for herself.


(Like the majority of people would)


She decided to TAKE ACTION!

She decided to actually FORCE herself to work.


I can guarantee that it will be hard, changing habits and mind-set is NEVER easy!


Actually FOCRING yourself to do it  takes SERIOUS mental strength!


I massively respect her for doing it!


I Personally know exactly how hard it is.


All of that being said...


Whichever choice you make is down to YOU!


Just bear in mind that so are the end results!


Rememeber that YOU'RE the one that will either reap the rewards or suffer the consequences!


So, for the dedicated few,


You know where to find me,


Just click the link at the bottom.


Speak soon,


Graham ' Harsh to be Kind' Lawson


Link -

Categories: Nutrition


The Truth about Fat Burners

The Truth about Fat Burners

The Truth about Fat Burners -


Almost everyone looking for quick and effective weights loss has at some point at least considered looking in to using fat burners or a fat burning supplement as a solution.   The fact is they won't work if there are nutritional deficiencies in any shape or form.  There are supplements that can be used for weight loss which I will get on to later on but these are based around giving the body what it needs in order to breakdown saturated fats.  However if the underlying nutritional issues aren't resolved first they too will have minimal effect with regards to fat burning.  The first thing that anyone looking to lose weight should initially prioritise is stabilising blood sugar and insulin levels.  This can be done relatively simply by eliminating sugar from your diet and controlling carbohydrate intake.  If your blood sugar is constantly fluctuating throughout the day certain hormones necessary for muscular development/maintenance will fluctuate also which will lead to much less progress both performance wise and fat reduction wise. secondly, If there are higher levels of sugar held within the body especially in and around exercise there is absolutely no chance of the body switching to a lypolytic state (using fat for energy) as the body will always prioritise glycogen or sugar until it is fully depleted.  If you are taking in any form of carbohydrate or sugar based drink during or prior to exercise STOP Immediately!  I guarantee you will make little to no progress fat loss wise regardless of how hard you work!

Without going in to too much detail, the main things you need to focus on if you are looking to accelerate fat reduction prior to using any supplements are the following.

Eliminate refined or added sugars from the diet.

Eliminate processed cereals or minimise them.

Prioritise veg over fruits and ideally green veg and aim to eat predominantly dark thin skinned fruits (i.e.berries, plums etc.)

Reduce caffeine (this causes the body to release blood sugar through adrenaline release.  As mentioned above, if the body is releasing glycogen you aren't in a lypolytic (fat burning state).

Following this, the things that need focusing on are the balancing of deficiencies in the body, which everyone has in some shape or form.

There are key signs and ways of identifying deficiencies easily and quickly.

However, if you want to get a good indication of what your body is struggling with then visit –

Take the free Lifestyle Analysis.  It's a tool you can use yourself that is easy to use but very useful.  Take a look.

I hope this has helped clarify a few areas but if you have any questions then just drop me an e-mail.

Speak soon,


Categories: Nutrition


Three simple tips

Three simple tips


 Three Simple Tips


People are often looking for simple and easy steps to take to assist Weight Loss -


Here's three ridiculously simple tips -


 No.1 - Coffee 

Prioritising when Coffee is drank and caffeine is taken in is hugely important! Coffe raises the stress hormone cortisol, this hormone peaks twice throughout the day.  Raising the levels of this hormone at unnatural times and overdoing coffee/caffeine can cause ignificant diegstive issues and decrease the absorption of food.  

If you're going to drink coffee, priortise these two times in the day when the stress hormone rises naturally -

- 1 cup first thing in the morning 

- 1 cup about 45 minutes before exercise

Sticking to these two timings consistently as opposed to hammering coffee throughout the day will imporve mood stability, more stable stress levels and improve sleeping patterns.  All of these things are vital for Weight Loss and general health.

No. 2 - Fruit selection

Try to base the majority of your fruit intake around berries or dark purple coloured fruits.  Dark coloured fruit and berries are lower in sugar than almost all fruits.  They are also significantly high in vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants.

Regular fruit and veg intake is vital for Weight Loss and general health.  They help maintain high levels of digestible fibre which assists with nutrient absorption due to the regulation of the bodies digestive speed. 

I could go on to explain a bit about how to select portion sizes however, I'll leave this for another Blog article as it's a huge subject. 


This may sound basic but the body relies upon water! FACT! Almost every action and reaction in the human body requires water in some way, shape or form.  Without it the body struggles to carry out basic daily tasks and activities.

I'm not going to give you a generic water intake such as 'you should drink 8 glasses a day'. 


Becasue it's often inaccurate.  You're water intake should factor in several things such as weight, age, training structure, protein intake and exercise goal.  

Howver, what I will do is goive you a basic calculation that you can use that gives you an approximate figure based on body weight.

Use this equation to calculate your water intake -

Body Weight (kg) x 0.033 = water target in Litres

(e.g. 100kg male x 0.033 = 3.3 litres per day)

Give these a shot.  They're basic but when they're are done consistently they're more effective than you think.


Speak soon,




Categories: Nutrition


The Truth About Fat

The Truth About Fat
Do fats make you fat? Many people are under the impression that fats and fats in foods are responsible for making them fat and increasing the size of their waistlines. Many people react to t,his by reducing the amount of fat in their diet. This is completely the wrong way to go about targeting body fat reduction!! Cutting out fats will actually detract from fat loss and make your body deficient in a massive amount of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids which will decrease the quality of your health and well being as well as contributing towards unstable blood sugar and insulin levels in the body. If you have constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels you are massively contributing towards fat gain, muscle wastage/breakdown and worse of all increasing the chances of developing a huge number of diseases and medical conditions such as diabetes. So how do you go about keeping fats in your diet? Step 1 - In order to improve your health and maximise fat loss your priority should be to minimise processed carbohydrates and sugars. By doing this your blood sugar and insulin levels will remain much more stable, your energy levels, mood, sleeping patterns and muscular recovery and development will all be significantly improved. Step 2 - Base every main meal around proteins and fats (I.e lean red meats, nuts, dairy, fish, eggs, chicken etc). Fill 1/2 to 3/4 of your plates/bowls with predominantly protein and fat based foods and fill as much of the rest with veg and low sugar and high vitamin and mineral containing fruits (I.e. blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or any type of berry). Step 3 - keep starch/processed and generally foods with poor nutritional quality to a maximum of 1/4 of your plate (I.e. breads, cereals, pastas) Final Step - Due to many people if not almost everyone being deficient in omega 3 fatty acids and it being very hard to eat good quality oily fish such as salmon and mackerel everyday, introduce an omega 3 supplement. Using a Fish oil supplement or flaxseed supplement with every main meal will massively improve your health and accellerate fat loss. I personally use Krill oil capsules myself and with my clients as they are very very high quality and very effective. Take action and introduce these simple changes to your diet straight away. Take waist, hip and arm measurements before you change things and then after two to three weeks measure again. I guarantee your measurements and waistline in particular will have reduced. Your sleep, mood and geral feeling of well being will also have significantly improved. If you have questions on this please do not hesitate to get in touch - Email - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Enjoy.

Categories: Nutrition

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