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  • How exercise boosts your mood

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health | on June 6, 2017

    Well, I write this article in the week of the election and by the time this is being read, the results will be in. It’s fair to say that the whole process has been a rather depressing one to observe. Rather than promoting any true message of positivity, debates and discussions have centred on: ‘if […]

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  • Lessons for marathon runners

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Marathon training, Outdoor | on May 12, 2017

    It’s the end of another marathon training programme. After the elation of completion, with the pain beginning to subside, for me, the most important element is learning – what went well, what went wrong, how can things be improved. This is my fourth marathon training programme. I have completed races in Dublin, Edinburgh and now […]

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  • Obesity is a real problem

    By Darren O'Toole | In Health, News, Nutrition | on May 12, 2017

    Two years ago, an outrage amongst some with too much time on their hands, led to an advert getting banned. Was it photoshopped? Yes, probably. Was it showing an unattainable figure? Nope! No more so than the hair on a model modeling shampoo; or the skin on a model advertising moisturising cream!  So what was […]

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  • High intensity workouts

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Workout | on May 12, 2017

    If you are short of time and want to fit quick-fire but effective workouts into your lifestyle, then high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are perfect. They torch fat, raise metabolism and have you buzzing for the rest of the day. Here are three different workouts which you can crack on with on your evenings […]

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  • Ab attack workout

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Gym, Health, Outdoor, Workout | on April 15, 2017

    Abs are made in the kitchen – so they say – but without also doing a variety of different abdominal exercises to target the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles from different angles, then you’ll never see that elusive six-pack. This ab attack workout, to be performed twice per week, will help you to develop a firmer torso, […]

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  • 6 top tips for tip-top shape this summer

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Nutrition | on April 10, 2017

    The clocks have sprung forward, evenings are lighter and before we know it, summer will be here. Whatever your starting point, the truth is, all of us like to feel a little lighter, firmer and ‘in shape’ once the glass of Pimms and summer shorts make an appearance. Whilst it’s not super easy, there are […]

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  • Put back problems behind you

    By Darren O'Toole | In Health | on March 16, 2017

    Back pain seems to be a growing issue amongst office workers and new mums. Time spent in hunched positions and the effect of carrying loads causing uneven spinal deviations are leading to this increased prevalence of pain. However, this isn’t something new. We are finding out more about it due to a broader range of […]

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  • North London half marathon 2017

    By Darren O'Toole | In Marathon training | on March 16, 2017

    Sunday 12 March was the north London half marathon and my first race of the year. Beginning and ending at the iconic Wembley stadium, it is one not to miss. But would I run it again? I’m not so sure… It is the hilliest race that I’ve done. Well, actually, I’ve completed this course twice […]

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  • What is insulin and why is it important?

    By Darren O'Toole | In Health, Nutrition | on February 16, 2017

    For those looking to lose weight from a position of being overweight or obese, the term ‘insulin’ and variations such as ‘insulin sensitivity’ and ‘insulin resistant’ may crop up when discussing why a specific nutritional plan may need to be initiated for your health. But what is insulin and why does it matter? Insulin is […]

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  • Returning to fitness for new mums

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health | on January 19, 2017

    Waking up at 4am for the third time in a night, eldest child running wanting to run and climb when you thought you had found a 20 minute window for a nap and added to this the expectation that you should be out ‘exercising’ too. Not my thoughts, but those of a friend, previously a […]

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  • Everyday changes for a healthier 2017

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Gym, Health | on January 2, 2017

    Hello New Year! Hello the January brigade. I’ve missed you. It must have been eleven months since I last saw you in your new gym kit and it seemed I saw you super often and then you seemed to disappear. As ever, this January you’ll be bombarded with the diet and fitness industries each trying […]

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  • Make this year’s resolution count!

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Nutrition | on December 28, 2016

    You will no doubt be inundated with various articles declaring that they have the perfect way to ensure that you stick to your new year’s resolutions. Unfortunately I cannot guarantee the same, however I will provide some helpful advice so that your nutritional or fitness goals should be more attainable than ever before. First and […]

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  • Marathon training plan

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Marathon training | on October 3, 2016

    The autumn is upon us which for the advanced recreational runner usually means competing in the last race of the year or beginning in earnest the training for a spring race. After a busy summer of work and my wedding, a race in autumn was always going to prove too difficult to train for effectively. […]

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  • The fitness message is not loud enough!

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, News, Nutrition | on June 23, 2016

    At the airport after a short break in the sun, the inevitable delay to the flight has given me a chance to put down some thoughts. With a busy few weeks coming up, I took the opportunity to catch some vitamin D which seems to have bypassed London so far this summer. Also a short […]

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  • Balancing work and life

    By Darren O'Toole | In Health | on June 9, 2016

    Since taking on the life of a ‘freelancer’, my struggle – thankfully – has not been about where the next pay check is coming from. Instead, it’s been about downtime. Initially, what to do with it and then secondly, guilt for having it. There is seemingly a pride amongst freelancers, entrepreneurs, business leaders etc. about […]

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  • The fitness industry is full of myths. Some based on assumptions, others based on clever marketing and some are based on small studies being extrapolated to the broader society. One of the main ones revolves around cardiovascular training – namely, the ‘fat burning zone’. I’ll attempt to clear the wood from the trees in this […]

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  • I was recently delivering a teaching session on a YMCA Fitness Industry Training course to a group of budding personal trainers on the topic of small portable equipment. I posed the question: ‘If you could take just one piece of kit with you everywhere as a PT, what would it be?’ A few suggestions were […]

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  • Motivation to exercise

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health | on March 3, 2016

    It’s a cold Thursday morning as I write this blog and am faced with the prospect of a long training run this afternoon. “I don’t know why you do it!” was the comment from an early morning client. Strange comment given this client had clambered out of bed at 6.30am on this same cold morning […]

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  • Making healthy eating easy

    By Darren O'Toole | In Health, Nutrition | on December 21, 2015

    Nutrition is a vital and often misunderstood factor in achieving fitness and aesthetic goals. To lose weight, is in essence, a simple calorie in versus calorie out equation. But more so, we should be eating the foods that will provide us with the alertness, energy levels and comfort to achieve everyday tasks with vigour. In […]

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  • The diet secret

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Nutrition | on November 6, 2015

    Occasionally I’ll write a blog and know that whilst it is topical at the time of writing, it’ll soon be outdated and consigned to the blogging archives, never again to see the light of day. Today feels a little different. The topic I’m discussing is one which is current and will only continue to be […]

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  • Kettlebells: What are they and are they good for me?

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness | on October 12, 2015

    Kettlebells are a great tool for improving various aspects of fitness. They are a useful alternative to the traditional dumbbell and barbell combinations utilised when devising a free weights workout. Whilst they may seem to have only appeared over the last few years, they are, in fact, another shining example of the world of fitness […]

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  • Breakfast – the most important meal of the day

    By Darren O'Toole | In Nutrition | on September 3, 2015

    It’s the meal that is most likely to be skipped. An extra half hour in bed or an inability to eat first thing means that the most important meal of the day is often the most missed meal of the day. I am of course talking about breakfast. But why is it important and more […]

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  • Why we should do strength training

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Gym | on August 24, 2015

    Being strong and with muscular definition has been a source of admiration and awe for a long time. In days gone by when free weight rooms or even the concept of gyms were but a mere pipe dream, strongmen would be paraded around at circus events to the bemusement of an astonished crowd. It seems […]

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  • Do we need supplements in our diet?

    By Darren O'Toole | In Health, Nutrition | on August 11, 2015

    Supplements are big business. Everyone wants a quick fix and in the UK, and more specifically, London, where a large proportion of people are money rich and time poor, supplements are viewed as the easy nutritional choice. Of course they are aided by clever advertising invariably listing the faces and bodies of fitness models showcasing […]

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  • How to search for a personal trainer

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Gym, Health, Marathon training, Outdoor | on June 28, 2015

    In addition to personal training with my fantastic clients at Dynamic Fitness Training, I also spend time tutoring and assessing on fitness industry courses for YMCAfit. The more vigilant amongst you will recognise that I am essentially developing my competition in years to come – probably not the wisest move I guess! However, in reality, […]

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  • As I write the second blog of my marathon week, I am sitting on a train returning from Edinburgh, knees sore but feeling smug. I had achieved a personal best time and exceeded my earlier predictions. Without question I am learning from every race. Foolishly, prior to my first marathon in Dublin in October 2013, […]

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  • Training for running events can be an arduous task but training for two in the same week is bordering on madness. That’s exactly the challenge that I set myself and over the next two blog posts, I will outline: how I trained; how I tapered; and how I got on. Realising that I haven’t updated […]

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  • Resistance band workout

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Outdoor, Workout | on March 18, 2015

    The lighter evenings and warmer weather are no doubt encouraging thoughts of the summer ahead. Envisaging the sun, tanned skin and, of course, the beach body. However most of us strive for the beach body in a panic with just a few weeks to go until the big exposure. Instead, let’s change our approach this […]

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  • Outdoor fitness in north London

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Outdoor | on February 23, 2015

    As I write this blog on a rainy Sunday evening, it would seem strange to be talking about the joy of training clients outdoors – but that is definitely the case. I’m not going to pretend that I love being out in the rain – I don’t – and invariably I’d conduct personal training sessions […]

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  • Why hire a Personal Trainer?

    By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health | on January 13, 2015

    A recent enquiry asked a fairly simple question: ‘What does hiring a personal trainer offer that a gym membership doesn’t?’ It’s a question that my business is based upon, but one that I haven’t answered in any of my blogs…..until now. For anyone reading this blog who works hard alone in the gym and believes […]

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