Jake Hinson

Short and snappy review here from gym member and client Jake Hinson. Plus, a fantastic “Blue Steel” type pic for your viewing pleasure!

“I’m currently undergoing a programme written by James at RWF,

and I have to say I’m incredibly surprised with the results in both strength and size.

As a pretty experienced lifter I was surprised to see such improvements so quickly and with such subtle changes. We recently changed a few things up with the programme, to give it a different focus, and James took the time and went above and beyond expectations to talk me through all the changes in a lot of detail.

I can’t wait to finish this block and hit a very large PR! Couldn’t recommend James’ programming more, drop him a message!”

Access this kind of quality training for yourself – drop us a message below to start a conversation, and come in for a free chat about how we can help push you on!

As you can see, even experienced gym-goers can benefit from being nudged along!

Sam De La Bertouche

Want to be coached by one of the best?

How about a two-time British champion and Commonwealth Games athlete?

Gym member Sam has coaching from RWF’s Laura Hewitt for his Olympic lifting goals:

“I got in contact with Laura after playing around with the Olympic lifts after several years of bodybuilding.

From that very first session I’ve seen tremendous gains in not only my technical proficiency, but my power and flexibility as well.

I return time and time again and will continue to do so as each session I have provides me with invaluable feedback and coaching, as well as a new training block specifically designed for me and my needs as a lifter and the needs of my lifestyle.

I always feel as though we have a short term and long term plan and I continue to make great progress.

Laura is always on hand to answer my questions and regularly helps me out when we’re in the gym at the same time. She shows great enthusiasm in coaching you, and certainly keeps you motivated.

I really feel that I get the benefit of Laura’s experience and expertise as an International lifter and the training and coaching she’s received, and it’s an added bonus that she’s a top notch person”

Joe Wright

Another very happy RWF client, Joe Wright 

“Although I am unable to get to RWF often enough to take up membership due to location, I got in contact due to the excellent reputation of the gym and haven’t looked back since.

James went through each of my ‘big 3’ lifts in thorough detail and took me right back to the very basics if necessary.

Specifically I’ve always been a big fan of deadlifting. James saw that I was struggling with my positioning, we went right back to basics and began to build my mobility, and I’ve seen great results – James certainly isn’t a ‘yes man PT’, he’s very down to earth and matter of fact.

Since those first meetings I’ve continued to make good progress from James’ programming – it’s certainly the best I’ve had (before I was just finding random programs from the internet).

James is very open and approachable, I’ve felt comfortable asking him any queries I’ve had about lifting and he always replies in encyclopaedic detail which is great!”

Thanks Joe!

Steve Cantellow

***Olympic Lifting in Nottingham***

Have a read of what RWF client Steve thinks about two-time British Champ Laura Hewitt’s coaching:

“Work and life can be challenging sometimes and it is important to have an outlet to energise you and give perspective.

I chose weightlifting because I was looking for a sport that would not only develop strength but also engage my mind. I chose Laura because of her credentials as a weightlifter and as a teacher.

I’ve been training with her for about a year and a half now and it has changed my life in so many positive ways, not least in terms of strength, flexibility and confidence.

Initially I had planned to just ‘learn the lifts’ for my own satisfaction and not make any long term commitments but I can’t stop coming back because it’s really addictive and the learning curve never ends.

When you get a lift right and you’re in the zone everything just flows and you feel amazing. Laura helps you not only learn the principles, but also knows how to help you with your mental blocks that prevent you from progressing to the next level.

She has an uncanny knack of saying the right thing at the right time.

Laura is everything that the perfect coach should be – she knows her sport inside out and is relentlessly encouraging while also being totally honest and having an eagle’s eye for detail.

She is also a true inspiration having gone through her own gruelling training programme to achieve international success.

Her energetic personality alone gives you the strength to lift a few more Kg! Weightlifting with Laura is one of the few things that has genuinely made my life feel better and more fulfilled.

I would 100% recommend Laura, weightlifting and RWF without any reservations”

Thanks Steve!

Emma Cockcroft

I began training with Laura Hewitt just after becoming engaged, a mere 8-months before Jonathan’s and my wedding day. I’ve been a regular gym goer from the age of 29 and wasn’t it bad shape, but I needed Laura’s help to get in fabulous shape for my special day.

My sister was married on 31st December 2013, and her couture gown was the most beautiful wedding dress that I had ever seen. She knew how much I loved it, and when I told her of our engagement she suggested that it should be my wedding dress too. I was thrilled!

My sister was tiny on her wedding day, and had had her gown taken in two times in the last few weeks before her wedding. As I was borrowing it from her I was very reluctant to alter it. If I couldn’t alter the dress to fit my body, I had to sculpt my body to fit the dress!

Laura was such a pleasure to train with. We trained together once a week and Laura designed written programmes (complete with stick figure diagrams) for me to perform by myself in the gym to supplement. I have some foot and ankle injures which can make weight training particularly challenging, but Laura always found a way to adapt my training accordingly. Laura also counselled me regarding calorie intake and dietary composition with solid, sensible and healthy advice.

My wedding day to my gorgeous husband Jonathan was the best day of my life so far! I felt strong, healthy and beautiful. My sister’s gown fit me like a glove, my shoulders were square, my waist nipped in, and my arms looked toned. I can’t imagine that there have been very many 43-year-old brides in better shape!

I wholeheartedly recommend Laura as a fantastic personal trainer, and consider her contribution in that capacity to be as important to the success of my wedding day as that of the florist, hair and make-up artist, and wedding planner. It was a lot of hard work, and we had lots of fun doing it together!


Mike Grogan


I found Real World Fitness after googling back pain recovery training and saw some of the recommendations from their clients on the website so thought I would give it a go.

This was October 2015. After stopping playing rugby in 2013 due to niggling injuries I had flared up a back injury caused by a mixture of driving 2,000 miles a month with work, sitting in an office all day and not doing enough core strength or flexibility work.

I had a prolapsed disc, causing sciatica and due to the pain I had stopped any training for about a year and a love of beer and food had helped me pile on some weight. I also had reached a point where I couldn’t put my socks on in a morning without pain and a struggle, which for anyone who has had a similar issue is a really morale sapping way to start the day.

Derran and Tim worked with me to understand what I could & couldn’t do (at this point I couldn’t squat or deadlift an empty barbell without pain) and talked through where I wanted to get to in the future. They then built an initial 3 month plan based on building my core strength, weak hamstrings and glutes and working me back up toward some of the main lifts. Previously during my rugby days I had squatted 100kg+ comfortably and neared 200kg for my deadlift so I also didn’t want to start from literally the bar in a public gym, so the private 121 PT was perfect for me as I rebuilt my confidence.

By December 2015 I had got a good level of strength and confidence back at the end of the three months, but I hadn’t really looked at my diet or nutrition. I had done a triathlon through work for fun and enjoyed it, so decided to sign up for a ‘Half Iron’ distance event in August 2016 to train toward.

Derran helped me build a new strength programme to supplement my triathlon training and also some nutrition parameters and targets for my body weight.

So, at the 1st January 2016 I was 112kg (17st 6lbs) and 31% body fat. The long road ahead had a number of milestones built in to it, which always meant I had short terms goals to achieve and every time I strayed or missed them a raised eyebrow from Derran was usually enough to quieten my excuses and regain some focus for the week/month ahead.

I need to be held accountable and the RWF team found just the right balance in holding me to my own personal commitments but with focus 90% of the time I could plan the odd boozy weekend with friends and family and not feel guilty as I knew it was part of the plan. These planned ‘cheat’ days or weekends actually helped me stay on the wagon.

And so on 21st August 2016 I completed my ‘Half Iron’ triathlon, a total distance of 70.3 miles in a time of 5 hours and 52 minutes. (Swim 1.2mile: 35m 25s / Bike 56mile: 3hr 5m / Run 13mile: 2hr 4m).


My target had been under 7 hours, near 6 if possible, but that meant I had to set PBs in every individual event. I weighed in before the event at 100kgs, so in the previous 8 months I had lost 12kgs, almost 2 stone. But in the final two months I had actually stopped worrying about the scales as my training had got harder and I had increased my calories to support the training. Plus I felt much more confident with how I looked so the number on the scales became secondary.


I will now be signing up for a full Iron Man triathlon in 2017 and will be working with the team on my programming for the next 12 months!

I cannot speak highly enough of what the team at RWF have done for me to support all aspects of my life and training over the past 10 months. Thank you!!!

Follow Mike’s continuing progress over on Instagram

Gareth Bates

September 2013 was when I realised I was fat. Not just a little bit overweight, but FAT (17st3lb at 6ft)!  I did what lots of other people do, I started to eat less and exercise more.  I started going to the work gym, but after an induction of how to use the machines, I was left to my own devices. There were also free weights but not knowing how to use them safely, I stayed away.

12 months later I had lost a stone but also gained problems with my knees, ankles and shins, which pretty much stopped me exercising.  This coincided with a medical requirement that I need to bring my weight to a healthy BMI, so I started half-heartedly looking for a PT. Fortunately I was then contacted by Steph at RWF, asking was I interested in getting fitter?  So I went and spoke with him about my goals, my situation and my injuries.  Steph then explained how RWF works, it would be a one to one session in a private gym and they would provide guidance on nutrition – exercise and nutrition working hand in hand – so I thought, let’s give it a go.


At my first session, I was surprised that a lot of time was taken with nutrition and I was guided on what I should and shouldn’t be eating and also how much. It’s surprising if you eat the right way, how much you can eat and still lose weight.  Then it was on to the dreaded free weights. I’d always stayed away from free weights in gyms as I had no idea what I was doing and was bound to hurt myself or someone else, but Steph spent time explaining and demonstrating the correct way to lift, whether it was prone rows or bench press or straight leg deadlifts (if you don’t know what those are, trust me you will do – and in a good way).

Six months later, I’m another stone lighter, stronger, fitter, healthier and also find I’m standing taller than before.  To get to this point wasn’t easy, the exercise sessions are tough but Steph provides feedback throughout the session on all the exercise and pointers on how to improve in a calm manner: there’s no drill sergeant shouting here.

The nutrition side of things for me is harder than the exercise and I still need help with this. Steph helps a huge amount, and making himself contactable outside of sessions for advice is a huge benefit (telling me to eat more bacon!). He will kick your arse (motivate you) when its needed, but in a nice way.  For me there is still a way to go before I’m at a point where I hit a healthy BMI but I know with Steph’s and RWF help I will reach it.

Rachel Gimson

I knew Tim from when we both worked at David Lloyd together and always heard great reports from his client base.

After trying different personal trainers I knew Tim had moved onto Real World Fitness and heard he was doing well so I decided to give training there a shot.


I had initially lost weight on my own with the crash diet approach. I’d had been put on an 600 calorie a day diet by a previous trainer and was made to do some embarrassing exercises in front of an entire gym such as bunny hops and bear crawls. I couldn’t take that humiliation anymore. I also couldn’t take the way the restricted amount of calories was making me feel.

Tim taught me the foundations of a good diet. He provided recipes, meals plans, weekly instructions, tips on preparing food and always made sure I was track with my nutrition. Having the accountability really helped me keep on track.

Since training in the private gyms at Real World Fitness without feeling like I am constantly being watched and judged. I have learnt to deadlift with what I’m told is perfect form, squat with perfect form and have set myself the target of being able to do a pull up on my own in 2016.

I am a nurse and moving and carrying of older residents used to be very difficult, sometimes impossible, but with the increased strength I have got through lifting weights I am so much more aware of my posture and lifting technique in all aspects of work and life.

I’ve found Tim has made my nutrition and exercise fit my lifestyle, not the other way round. The holistic approach has helped me not only lose a lot of weight, but also keep the weight off and be healthier and stronger.


Simran Purewal

When I was younger I always hated how I looked and I was teased at school for being overweight. I tried different diets and mainly sat on the bike at the gym thinking that I was doing the best I could do to lose the weight I had but on through my teenage years.

My mum and I decided to have some weekly joint sessions with Tim

In our first 2 sessions, we didn’t even step foot in the gym. After filling a food diary and finding out our food habits, he was unwilling to start training us until we proved that we could make significant changes to our nutrition, and that health is always the number one priority for clients of his.


He took the time to explain through everything we needed to know about diet and how we were being counter productive to our goals through eating so poorly. The biggest things I’ve learnt through these sessions with Tim was the nutrition side of things and the information he passed on is something which I will be able to carry with me for a long time helping to sustain the weight I’ve lost.

We learnt how to use machines and free weights in the gym without feeling silly. My goal was to go to university with a flat stomach and more confidence, and I went away with not only that, but also the knowledge and drive to keep moving forward on my journey.

Lee Batten

I have been training with RWF for a little over a year now and I have to say that training here is one of the best decisions I have made. Having suffered with injuries over the years, I have shied away from a lot of cardio based activity but have absolutely loved strength training with Steph showing me how it is done correctly.


It is not just about the training though. I have learned a lot about my nutrition and how it affects me and what I need to consume to help achieve my goals. Steph is always on hand when I need advice on my nutrition or training, as is Derran. Both are more than happy to help and support where they can.


It sounds cheesy but the thing that stands out for me about RWF, unlike many other PT’s is that money is secondary. They genuinely care about my goals, my progress and my wellbeing. When I started with RWF I was fast on my way to hitting 21st and with the help, support and guidance I managed to work down to 16.5st whilst improving my strength and fitness. RWF is health and fitness without the BS that surrounds much of the industry and for that I am thankful.


James Coleman – 94kg to 81kg (and still going!)

“The long road back…”


My journey to fitness originally started in 2012 when three very busy years after opening a Specsavers franchise, I decided that at 32, 5’7” and 14 stone (89kg) enough was enough, and I needed to make some serious changes.

I played a lot of sport through my teens and twenties, but as my career developed I found myself doing very little/no physical activity and eating too much food and drinking too much alcohol. Having very little time, I knew it wasn’t practical to join a club to participate in a team sport and as for gyms, I had no idea about weightlifting!

As a result, I decided that running would be an easy way of me being able to train when I could, and hopefully give me some increased fitness and help with shifting the weight. I set myself the challenge of running a half marathon in under two hours. I embarked on a reasonably strict training regime I managed to compete the Greta North run in 1 hour 54 minutes. I hated the training, but did feel satisfied with my achievement and I did benefit from some decent weight-loss too; now weighing a more respectable 82kg. whilst I never looked forward to a run, I accepted that at that point it had served me well in terms of fitness and weight-loss and so I thought I would stick with the status quo.

Through 2013 I continued to train for the 2013 Great North Run, and whilst my weight-loss had very much plateaued, the times I was running meant that I might be in with a shout of running an even better time than in 2012. Then, in August of that year, a month before the event, I started to experience constant knee pain whenever I ran more than a mile or so. Against the advice of a physiotherapist, I still entered the GNR, and whilst my knee injury hampered me severely, I still managed to hobble round. By the time I had finished the race I could barely walk. From this point onwards, the slide back into my previous habits began.

The knee injury kept me from running for 3 months, and during that time I jumped onto the food and booze wagon spectacularly and the weight started to pile back on. I attempted running again in February 2014, but soon became injured (again) after twisting my ankle on a boozy night out (whilst dressed as Ace Rimmer from Red Dwarf, I might add!) and so again I was confined to the couch. This became the recurring cycle over the following months; every attempted comeback quickly followed by an injury…ankle, knee, hip, lower back. In essence, I had stopped exercising regularly for about a year, and the weight had crept up past its previous high to around 94kg!!!

I then saw a photo of myself at a black tie function, and I was mortified. How had that happened? I knew something had to change, and I knew I couldn’t go back to running as I was getting injured all the time and also because frankly, I didn’t/don’t enjoy it.

Through a chance reading of an advert for a strongman/bootcamp class on Twitter, I though I would give that a go as it sounded hard but fun, and something completely different from what I had done previously. I started attended the bootcamp classes at Real World Fitness in October 2014, and I had finally found something that appealed to me. From attending these classes, I started to read a lot of the testimonials on the RWF website and began to understand that if I wanted to make some lasting changes to my body, then I would need to look at my body composition; something that running just didn’t address.

I took the decision to start training with Derran in the December of 2014 after taking him up on the offer of a free PT session that he advertised. From that point onwards I knew I was in very capable hands after we discussed what my goals were, and what sort of frequency I would like to train. I decided that I wanted to train three times per week and the ultimate goal was ripped straight from the film American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey is asked about his training goals and he responds “I just want to look good naked”. That was my goal.

I was completely new to weightlifting and so Derran took great care in teaching me the specifics of technique, explaining that this would give us a solid platform upon which to build. Each training cycle was laid out for me and we discussed indetail the benefits of me doing large compound lifts as much as possible so to try to build as much muscle as possible to give me the biggest bang for my buck in terms of raising my basic metabolic rate. Also, at each stage of my training thus far, I have received continual guidance on nutrition and the ratios of macronutrients I need to try to achieve to give me the greatest fat loss whilst also building my strength.

At no point in the training have I ever felt hungry. Sometimes there have been things that I really craved, but I tried to factor these into my daily allowance, and if I didn’t have the remaining calories, I went without (obviously not all the time, because I am not a monk, and there have been many times along the way where I have fallen off the horse; however I always made sure this was only a day or so, and never stretched into more than that) One of the best examples, and personally most satisfying aspects of my strength improvements to date, relates to chin-ups. On January 1st 2014 I could barely do a single chin up. By the middle of the summer I was able to do 4 sets of 8, and some sets even woth a 5kg weight bet added. To many this may seem like nothing, but for someone who had never done a chin-up I his life, this was a major achievement!

Over the months my training remained varied and challenging, and Derran’s support and knowledge gave me the confidence to get some of those extra reps out!

My strength gains have continued through the whole process, and when suffering from various niggles, Derran has always found a way to adapt the training accordingly, meaning I wasn’t having to miss any training sessions. This was extremely important to me, given my history with injuries and how I had very quickly fallen down the slippery slope previously.

As the year has progressed, I have begun to become more interested in the strength training programmes, and we have worked a lot on my squat and deadlift (the bench press has been sidelined for past couple of months because of shoulder tendon injury) and I feel that pleased that having never squatted or deadlifted before May and June of this year, respectively, my current 1RM are 132.5kg squat and 160kg DL. We are due to test these next week  and I am hopeful that we can eek out a new PB on both!

In summary, this year has completely opened my eyes to a new way of training and eating, and has provided me with some very real changes in my physique and strength. It has given me much more confidence in my appearance, and I have started to read much more about the science of training and nutrition and as I’m naturally quite a competitive person, I am really keen to carry on with the strength gains and see what I am actually capable of achieving when the weight-loss part of my journey is fully complete.

It has been a tough, but extremely rewarding year on many levels. My weight has come down from 94kg to 81kg and my old clothes now drown me. I have come a long way over the past 12 months and hope that my story can spur other people who have suffered setbacks like me. Real World Fitness is a place where I have felt completely comfortable in every way, and would really encourage anyone who is nervous about training to make that step.

Its given me a new focus, and I cant wait to see what 2016 brings.


Lydia Sansome

I started training at RWF four months ago, and I have never made a better decision in my life. As a student with a part time job I try to be very careful with my money… And I will tell everybody this; personal training with RWF is the best thing I ever have spent my money on.

As a teenage girl I am constantly bombarded by the media with images of stick thin women and fake fitness. Personal trainers from other gyms had previously told me that it wasn’t attractive for a girl to get “too big” or “too muscle-ly” so I never had any encouragement to get fit and healthy.


My goal was never to be thinner, because I have always been skinny; I just had no tone whatsoever and was generally unhappy with my body. Everybody has different goals, and I have found RWF to implement my specific goals into my training routines.

My inspiration came from wanting to be STRONG not skinny. As a teenage girl it’s hard to stay on track in terms of training because eating rubbish and drinking a lot is hard to avoid at this age. Since training with RWF I have learnt so much more than how to squat and deadlift. I have learnt the importance of eating right and keeping the right mindset to achieve your goals. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a booklet of healthy food recipes and advice alongside my training sessions, which I love and am able to easily make!

The trainers that work at RWF aren’t just legally qualified (which in most gyms that’s all there is to the job). They are accomplished, knowledgeable and skilled people who will go above and beyond to help a client, even if it means going out of their own way. Training doesn’t start and stop as soon as you leave the gym with them. They are fully committed to helping and supporting you.

I am happier than ever with my body at the moment and I can’t thank my RWF PT (Tim Wheatcroft) enough. I love training at RWF and couldn’t recommend them more.

Clare M

“In January 2013, I found myself recovering from surgery, grieving and heavier and more unfit than I had ever been. I resolved to lose weight and ‘do some exercise’. I had an idea of what to do about my diet but no idea about the exercise part of the equation. I’m not someone who particularly enjoys exercising and have never managed to make a habit of it. An internet search and an email exchange led me to Derran. In our first meeting he explained his approach of weight training and established what my goals were. I wanted to lose 10kg (1 stone 8lbs) in 3 months and my ultimate goal was to lose 20kg (3stone 2lbs) but I didn’t really believe that would ever happen.

Clare’s before and after (well, during – we haven’t finished yet!) pictures:


With regards to Derran’s approach to exercise, I was happy to give it a go. As far as I was concerned, any exercise was better than no exercise and building muscle seemed a good place to start. I did think he was a bit bonkers when he wanted me to do a press up. I have never been able to do a press up and didn’t think I ever would. (I still can’t but I’m getting closer and the big difference is I think I might actually be able to one day!). However I decided to just come and do what I was told. I had never done this sort of exercise with heavy weights or kettlebells before, but the benefits were very quickly apparent.  Each week I have seen clear progress. I am so much stronger which makes everything in life easier. I have started to develop muscle definition in places that have only wobbled before. As for my goal, I’ve lost 16kg (2.5 stone) in 17 weeks and really do think I might lose 20kg eventually.

Derran also spends a lot of time talking about food. This is clearly vital if you want to lose weight. These conversations have made me think a lot more about everything I eat. Derran will check each time you see him how the food side is going. I think this is a key support when you start a new eating plan and certainly helps me stick with it.

I have had a personal trainer before but didn’t really notice any progress. At the time I didn’t even think about progress I was just satisfied because I was doing something. Training with Darren has been a completely different experience. It started with him finding out what my goals were and explaining a process. At each session he documents progress and checks up on what you have been doing since you last saw him. He is positive and motivational and really seems to think that I will do a press up one day, which makes me think maybe I will!”

Clare has now (as of 15th October 2013) lost over 20kg, and her most recent ‘progress pic’ can be seen below:


Clare has since had a baby, and we trained with her until around 7 months of the pregnancy. She had a successful labour and now trains with us again, with her little boy Josh – who, at six months old, often wants to spend more time on my shoulders watching his Mum train than asleep in his carry cot. Start them young, eh? Clare is already back at her “pre-pregnancy” weight and strength levels.

Sandra Sharp, RWF One to One Client

“I joined Real World Fitness on one of their free trials. The timing wasn’t perfect for me as my mother-in-law had just died but not knowing when or even if another opportunity would come up I grabbed it.

Training with Steph has been fantastic. During the initial 6 week period I learnt a lot about where my diet was going wrong and how to lift properly. I went from never having lifted before to a straight-leg deadlift of 75kg. My body changed shape quite quickly and I lost over a stone in weight which was my goal.

I stayed at RWF after the ‘freebie’ and have since moved onto further strength training. I’m enjoying it so much.


RWF really is all about how you change in your own environment, there is no pressure to start powerlifting and entering competitions. The gym is also totally private and professional!”


Armand Brevig, RWF One to One Client

“I had suffered from debilitating back pain (including sciatic) for almost 5 years when I first met Derran on recommendation of an acquaintance. Previously a physiotherapist had helped me gain enough core strength to make training with weights a feasible next step. My goal was to continually build muscle in order to never suffer back pain again. In only 5 months Derran helped me achieve much more than I had dreamed possible. Given my recent memories of back pain hell, I was anxious to lift weights of even 5 kg when I started training. 5 months later I could confidently lift in excess of 100kg on a trap-bar deadlift while strengthening my back in the process, and without fear of any pain relapses. A side benefit, which I had not anticipated, was more than 15 kg weight loss by effortlessly changing eating habits – mentored by Derran. Overall I feel lighter, happier, stronger, more energetic and much younger than I did 5 months ago.

There are 3 key ways in which Derran works, which have enabled him to be a catalyst for my dramatic transformation:

1. He builds a trusting client relationship, which starts by listening to the client and taking a very tailored approach. Derran always puts the client’s goals, well-being and interests first. This includes giving the client the tools to ensure that improvements remain sustainable in the long term.

2. Derran is uncompromising on lifting form and technique, and will ensure you know how to do an exercise right, rather than just piling on more weight. Because the right technique quickly becomes second nature any anxiety about getting hurt disappears, and I am now confident enough to undertake my ongoing training alone. However, I always see Derran regularly to ensure I am on track and to keep my training programme evolving.

3. Derran relentlessly pursues more knowledge in the areas of training and diet – but not just knowledge for the sake of it. The type of insight Derran seeks is knowledge that he can apply to improve clients’ life quality – from how to get the most out of your training efforts to effortless dieting. I say “effortless” because I feel fuller, yet eat less calories. Impossible? Not, with Derran’s intelligently applied insight.

Money spent on training with Derran is the best investment I have ever made, and I would warmly recommend him to anyone wanting to improve their well-being.”

Check out the video of Armand getting 5 back squats at 60kg – this has been along process getting the confidence to this point to even try exercises like this one, let alone do it well (this is around 11 months into training):

DJ, RWF One to One Client

This guy has been training with us approximately 18 months. He’s mid 40s, has a busy job in a demanding industry and a family. He wanted to get strong, add some muscle and have a focus to his training. He’s now hitting a 120kg bench, 160kg squat and 160kg deadlifts, amongst other stuff. Anyway, this is the email we got today:

“Just thought I would let you know how happy I am after my BUPA assessment today.

Headlines are:

  • I have stayed virtually the same weight (gone up from 97.1kg to 97.3kg)
  • 4cm off my waist measurement
  • My bodyfat has gone down from 26.3% to 24.2%
  • My cholesterol has gone down from 7.3 to 5.7 (which they said was a massive leap and takes me down a risk category)
  • I am now in a ‘better than average’ risk from heart disease for my age, instead of ‘average’ last year
  • My ability to handle workload (VO2 Max and efficiency of my heart in delivering oxygen to my body) were outstanding for my age apparently?!  They had to crank the wattage on the bike up to get my heartbeat registering!
  • My resting heartbeat of 56 is good for my age as well (and I had just travelled over to their offices, so I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘resting’ either).

I’ve done the calculations and I have exchanged 1.99kg of fat for 2.19kg of lean body mass.  Not sure how happy you are with that…….but I am thinking good progress all around!

Thank you – I wouldn’t be making these really important health changes without you.  It means a lot to me and my wife”

Now THAT is what PT is all about. He’s a strong guy, balancing a very demanding job and a young family. He puts the work in, and is getting the results. I’m mildly nervous he’ll start catching me up on some of my lifts soon…


Steve P – RWF Virtual PT Client
“I hit my 85kg for two reps benching yesterday having failed on it the last go round. The second was slow and I may have less molars than I started with but it was a proper full rep and it felt, frankly, brilliant.

The perspective here is this.  I’ve been lifting weights since I was 16.  I’ve worked really bloody hard for long periods of that time. On the whole I’ve got absolutely nowhere.  No strength gains, no size gains and a propensity to bloat every time I tried to gain muscle. My squat and bench have been static for years.  Since starting with you I can see genuine strength gains and whilst I’m still embarrassed about the numbers I’m no longer embarrassed in my fairly average gym environment.  More than that though I’m genuinely proud that pushing myself is delivering in ways I can see and feel.  That’s the other thing, for the first time ever, from every angle, I have pecs.  Not big ones but actual chest muscles that look like I actually train chest. At last I’m seeing the process of super compensation. Bigger lifts equating to greater strength and bigger muscles.

What I get though is that I could have carried on working my ass off and whilst I have at least shown I can get lean (which was a revelation) I don’t doubt I’d still be getting nowhere in terms of strength and hypertrophy.  The difference is your knowledge, patience and practical approach for which I just wanted to say thanks.  Thanks to you I really enjoy my hobby and get a huge amount out of it”

Rob Marsden

“Hello, my name is Rob Marsden and I recently was given a 6 week personal training experience for free from Real World Fitness, the aim of this is to keep a brief record of my thoughts, feelings and give an insight into Personal Training in particular that of Real World Fitness. 
So my first meeting came around and I met Stephan, before I attended the meeting I was nervous, apprehensive and even concerned I would not be able to meet the high standards of personal trainers. I consider myself really out of shape, over weight and as a result lacking confidence. All these negative thoughts were instantly gone as soon as I went into the building (which by the way is in a fantastic location and a easy walk from the city center of Nottingham) I met Stephan who was so welcoming and as excited to help me succeed it instantly put me at ease, his words work hard, stick to the diet and we will gain results no problem made me feel for the first time in years that it was not only possible but that I could stick to a program and stick to a diet plan. All in all from the first time I stepped into Real World Fitness I was made to feel welcome and supported which for me personally gave me the drive and determination to make a complete life style change.
The weeks flew by and Stephan consistently challenged me by changing what we were doing in the gym, I put 100% effort in when I was there and feel I was rewarded with acknowledgment this inspiring me to push myself even harder very session. My main worry when starting these 6 weeks was no alcohol and a controlled diet… When you think of a diet, you instantaneously think oh I have to be hungry or eat boring food this is not the case at all, with Stephan’s help my diet changed I was eating 2000 calories a day, 40% protein, 20% fat and 20% carbs (yes people CARBS! every diet I have ever tried was destined to fail as it was missing this vital ingredient!). 2000 calories may not seem a lot but when it is healthy and nutritious food I can honestly say most days I struggled to consume enough. I was never going to bed hungry and I was never energy deficient. My biggest concern was cutting alcohol out, after 3 years at university a habit had definitely formed, one I honestly did not believe could be broken. After the very first session even I was drinking water-water-water and I have not looked back, I believe the support that Stephan and Real World Fitness has given me within this journey of a lifestyle change has aided and eased this process. Even in sociable situations now when I would once never say I am not going to have a pint I feel more comfortable, as I know the results will show the next time I walk into Real World Fitness and lift that extra couple of lb.
Overall what can I say about my experience, it has given me confidence that I believe will continue to grow, I have most likely improved my overall health via weight loss on a healthy level and I have changed my lifestyle all thanks to Stephan and Real World Fitness (this combined with plenty of squats and the throwing of medicine balls!). Stephan has supported me throughout the 6 weeks and not only aided my development but encouraged me to improve consistently and as a result improved my confidence and health. 
I look forward to continuing at Real World Fitness and continuing my journey in fitness. All I will say to anyone considering personal training at Real World Fitness is forget the misconceptions of getting shouted at and starving on a diet its fun, hard work but you are fully supported 100% in every aspect in achieving the goals you wish to achieve”

Gary Wood

I am an active mid 40’s guy and I have worked with Derran now for nearly a year. During that time I have achieved my weight goal in losing about 6 kilos, but more importantly my body shape and composition have really improved.

Derran is very supportive and friendly and has a straight forward, no-nonsense approach  to training which has made a big difference to me.  The approach and programmes have been flexible as I do some running and need to adjust my diet to suit. I have also had the odd niggle injury which we have always managed to work around to achieve results.

I always look forward to the sessions even the ones where I have a tight calf and the roller is deployed, and now even enjoy straight leg dead lifts and the GHR machine!  The dietary advice is brilliant and still leaves you with food you enjoy, but it does get you thinking about types of food and energy balance.

I’d recommend Real World Fitness for the really honest trainers who get the best out of you. I am really pleased with what I have achieved over the last year and am looking forward to setting and attaining future goals

Tamsin Baldwin

I initially attended Real World Fitness on an 8 week fitness and nutrition trial that Derran had advertised on Twitter.  How glad am I that I got picked!

It has been the first time in my life of yo-yo dieting & lack of fitness, that something has actually worked & I have seen real results – 1 stone off in the 8 week trial!

Not only have I seen physical results but my whole outlook has changed.  I found myself not obsessing over food or getting on the scales on a daily basis – I have never not done this!  I couldn’t get over how much I could eat & the fact that I didn’t have to do endless hours of cardio.

I suppose the hardest thing for me was getting my head around not buying “low fat” this or “fat free” that.   I am allowed to eat cheese – CHEESE, people!

I found that I loved the sessions in the gym.  At first I was nervous of what I considered to be the “man gym” but was soon put right about this by Derran who told me straightaway there is no reason why women need to exercise differently to men.  I had no idea how much fun doing weight s was, having always avoided those areas in the gyms that I had been a constant member of but not a regular attendee! ( I would like to stress that “loved” and “fun” would never have been words I would have used in relation to fitness “Pre-Derran”).

Derran himself, well, without wishing to give him an inflated head – he’s great! It’s purely down to him & his wise words that I have had such an enormous change in my outlook to food.  Everything he says makes complete sense & he leaves you wondering how you ever thought that the food choices you were making before were healthy.  Yes they were low fat but you don’t need to stop eating fat!!

Another Pre-Derran thing of mine was that if I ate something I considered “bad” I would strike that day, or weekend, or week off as a failure and give myself the green light to continue in this thread.  No more!

If any of this makes sense to you in terms of how you are, i.e. yo-yo dieting, no or little fitness etc, make an appointment to see Derran.  You won’t regret it, I definitely haven’t.  Before the 8 week trial was up I knew I needed to carry on & I have continued to see Derran.  Responding to the Twitter advert was one of the best moves I’ve made.


Donna P – from 16st 5lbs, to 10st 2lbs (and still going!)

I have been working with Derran for nearly two years now, and I haven’t felt this fit in my life. My goal was to lose 67lbs, and this has come off with the help, support and motivation of Derran. I’m now carrying on and deciding to lose even more weight, and get even fitter.  Not only on the fitness side of things, Derran has helped me in the nutritional side also, its great that you crave the right foods your body is wanting. So with fitness and healthy eating I am getting to my goal weight.

Donna’s ‘before’ pic in 2009:

An ‘in progress’ pic from July 2011:

And Donna in May 2012:

I would be lying if I said my workouts were easy, they are tough and you do sweat and ache after each session, but how good does that makes me feel. There have been a couple of days where I have felt I couldn’t do the hour’s workout, but with Derran’s motivation you push yourself even further and feel so much better for it.

I had never worked with kettlebells before, what a work out they are! You would not believe how they work muscles you never knew existed. I really look forward to my workouts with Derran (so do my cats, they get away with anything!), as each workout is varied working with kettlebells, boxing, ab work, push-ups and even burpees which I do not like, but hey you can’t win them all!

If you are wanting to work hard, and challenge yourself I would recommend Derran, he is very motivational, and pushes you, as he knows you have got it in you to do those extra leg raises, punches or swings.

I look forward to many more workouts with Derran, I bet there will be a few more surprises added to my workouts as time goes on, what’s life without it’s challenges?

Derran has been a great support in my progress, and has become a friend, he is only a phone call or e-mail away to offer you those few words of inspiration or advice to put you back on track again.

Thank you Derran.

Tracey Elliott

I have always hated exercise.  Seriously hated it.  I was the kid who always had a note to excuse me from PE – a cold, cramps, nits, you name it I would use it (true or not so true) to get out of exercising.

So Derran had a real challenge on his hands when he took me on as a personal training client.  His patience is legendary.  He has never given up on me, even though I have often given up on myself.  I used to hate burpees.  Now I don’t.  Loving them may never happen, but the improvement is obvious.  My fitness and stamina have improved no end.  The weight is coming off. I no longer feel tired all the time, and I miss Derran and the exercise if I cannot see him for any reason.  For me, this is nothing short of a miracle.

If you want a sergeant-major who shames you into exercising, dont ring Derran. If you want a trainer who encourages you to exercise, and makes it (almost!) enjoyable, even for a lazy git like me, get in touch.  You won’t regret it.

Allison Dobbs

Having a dysfunctional SI (sacro-illiac) joint has inhibited training severely in the past.  This has made me cautious about exercise and what I can do. I started training with Derran a while ago and explained the problem with the joint.  He understood my concerns and re-assured me that training would help improve the joint’s stability and strengthen my core.

The strength and conditioning training I do with him has helped enormously with the SI joint as well as really improving my fitness levels.  It’s very different to training I’ve done previously – I’d always thought I’d never be able to do this type of training (deadlifts, squats, standing presses etc) because of the SI joint. 

He’s great at explaining what you’re doing, why you’re doing it that way and makes sure that your technique is right.  I’ve spent a couple of years avoiding weights because of the SI joint when Derran’s proved that with the right training and support, weights are just what I needed.

My osteopath has seen a marked improvement in the SI joint and I now see him every 8-10 weeks rather than every 3 or 4.  That, along with the improvement in my fitness and strength is real progress!

Lisa Walker

I used to be quite fit, but after having my little girl in December 2008 spent the next two years sitting on my sofa talking about what I was going to do to loose my baby weight and get fit again. I finally decided it was time to stop talking and take action. I thought about joining the gym but knew, particularly trying to balance a full time job and looking after my little girl, I would find every excuse not to go, and when I did go, would not work as hard as I should. I needed something that would fit into my routine and give me the motivation I needed. I decided to give personal training a go. I looked at a few different personal trainers on the internet, but Real World Fitness caught my eye – no magic solutions, no promises of super fast weight lost, just practical, sensible advice. When I phoned Derran and found out that he lived on my road and that he would come to my house, I really had no more excuses!

Derran immediately he put me at ease. He wanted to know what I wanted to achieve and what my goals were, instead of trying to impose his goals on me. He gave me some realistic advice on my diet – no cabbage soup diet in sight! He gave me the confidence I needed to start exercising again after such a long break. I have now been training with Derran for about 5 months (once a week for the first six weeks increasing to twice a week thereafter). I have lost a stone in weight, but more importantly my body shape has changed. I am leaner and more toned than ever before. At first I didn’t really notice the changes, but when people at work started commenting, I know the changes were significant. Two sizes down in jeans and counting, so I know it is working. I also feel fitter than ever before (despite having run the London Marathon in 2007). I trust Derran implicitly. He knows me and my capabilities. He constantly challenges and push me, something I know I wouldn’t do if I was training by myself, and have me lifting heavier weights than I ever thought possible.

Derran has also helped me improve my diet, but what I love is that he is realistic about it. I have not given up chocolate or chips, but it is all about balance and moderation. Derran understands this and never lectures me.

Whilst there are still occasional days when the last thing I feel like doing is training, I am glad that Derran turns up and when he says 100 burpees, I just get on with it. I ALWAYS feel so much better for it. Derran is not just my trainers, but a person I enjoy spending time with and I have even persuaded my husband to start joining us once a week.

Thanks Derran.

Mark Fowkes – making it through a cricket season uninjured!

I worked with Derran for 9 months and in that time, doubled the strength in my back and my shoulders. Derran has a great balance between pushing you to your limits and yet keeping it friendly. I really enjoy working with him, his flexibility around my busy schedule is great. I’ve almost achieved my goal of playing an entire cricket season without injury due the fact that I’m stronger and fitter, just 4 games to go….

Alexander Lewis – 23 – 107kg (17st) to 68kg (10st10lbs)

Before starting with my personal trainer, Derran, my relaxation and exercise consisted of playing on my PlayStation, cycling to work, and being pushed into taking the dog for a walk. My diet wasn’t healthy either. I was picking unhealthy foods to make up for my lack of self-esteem – and as a result, turned into a couch potato!

Alex’s ‘before’ photo from April 2009:


…and at June 2011:

Having dyspraxia meant I was no good at sport, having poor balance and co-ordination skills, which led me to get my ‘activity’ from computer games.

Then the telephone call came from Derran, and my life changed. I didn’t know what to expect…could I do it? Would he be able to help? The answer was ‘yes’. Over the last 9 months I have gone from weighing just under 17 stone (at a height of 5’7”) to 12.5 stone. My strength and fitness have increased beyond all recognition. When I first started, a 30 second jog would leave me out of breath and tired, but I now manage hour-long weight training sessions, kettlebell circuits and boxing rounds. I’ve gone from being barely able to deadlift 20kg, to 125kg. I’ve also managed to complete 25 full press-ups, when I couldn’t even support my own weight on my arms seven months ago. The next goal is getting some full chin-ups!

Alex in mid-deadlifting!:

Through training with Derran, I’ve met like-minded people who are into exercise and help motivate me even more. My diet is much improved too (with the occasional cheat here and there!), and the weight is still coming off as well as getting stronger, fitter and definitely gaining more muscle! I feel I’ve turned my life around with my own will-power, the commitment of Derran helping me, to prove to everyone I can do it and will achieve my goal – to have a physique I can be proud of, and be able to take off my t-shirt on holiday without being self-conscious about my weight.

I’d say to anyone else: don’t think it is easy. It isn’t, and there are times when you don’t want to train, or don’t want to do another rep, and don’t want to eat something healthy. It’s hard to stay focussed, and it would be easier to pick up the phone and cancel a session…but do I really want to do that, now I know what I can achieve? No! I just think of all the effort I have put in already, and how much fun I have training now, when it used to be something I dreaded. Like Derran says to me, he’s only the guide – I’m the one who has to actually lift the weight, run the extra few meters or keep hitting the punchbag.

On a more personal note, Derran is no longer just my trainer, but also a friend who has given me back my self-esteem and worth. If you want to change your life around like I changed mine, I can’t think of anyone better to recommend to help you.


Anna G – 20lbs down and counting!

Anna had trained with other PTs, but hadn’t quite seen the results she wanted. We addressed nutrition as a priority, and also upped the intensity of her twice-a-week training sessions.

In the 5 months we  worked together, Anna shed a total of 32lbs and is well on the way to achieving her target of a 3st loss. Her fitness is also completely unrecognisable from those first few sessions. Well done, Anna – the results you’ve had are all down to the determination and effort YOU have put in!

Anna S (I train a lot of Anna’s!)

Anna  came to me with pre-existing knee, back and foot problems, some of which had required surgery in the past and ongoing physio to make day-to-day life manageable. Despite having a number of injury setbacks, and having to work very hard to strengthen muscles around the weakened areas, Anna kept plugging away and training around her injuries and refused to let them get in the way of her progress.

In the time we’ve been training, Anna’s knee issues are now completely resolved due to strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Her lower back issues are also non-existent now, through again strengthening her spinal erectors and improving her core strength. Recently, she has also managed to avoid surgery on her foot by putting in some serious effort with her physio and her training. All in all, her determination to beat her injuries has meant she’s avoided the operating table – something everyone should try to avoid if they possibly can!

Anna has managed a single rep deadlift of 115kg at a bodyweight of just 55kg, which is an awesome achievement for anyone, let alone someone with her injury record and relatively short length of time training. She also regularly deadlifts 80-95kg for 5 sets of 5 reps. Just proves a woman can be strong and not look like a Russian shot-putter!

If I can persuade her to become Internet famous, we’ll get up a video of the deadlift!

Lou Silver – training through pregnancy

Having been training as a kick-boxer 3-4 times a week for a few years, I was really worried about losing my fitness whilst pregnant.

Being teetotal for the first time, I re-allocated my beer money as fitness money and started training with Derran at 6 weeks pregnant (slightly odd that my personal trainer was the first person to know about my pregnancy!) and he supported me to push myself as far as I was able to go during my first trimester when I was very tired and sick. Everything was tailored to suit my stage of pregnancy and my energy levels on that particular day. I was more toned than I had ever got through kickboxing, and in spite of being pregnant!

As my pregnancy progressed we modified some of the exercises to take the pressure off my abs (and my bladder!), but added in a bit more boxing to keep my stamina up. I am absolutely certain that without Derran’s help with training, motivation and pushing through when you feel you’ve nothing more to give I would have found my labour (3 and a half days induction ending in emergency c-section…!) far harder than I did. As it was I was able to manage without pain relief until half way through the third day, and only then due to fatigue.

When my baby was 7 weeks old I was back at the gym, and after another 10 weeks of light training I was back at the kettle bells. I eventually lost the 17lb of baby weight which I’d piled on after the birth, largely due to the fact that every visitor came laden with cakes!

I would definitely recommend Real World Fitness to support anyone throught their pregnancy!

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