I’m designing a little class just now with exercises to strengthen knees, unfortunately the exercises that strengthen are often the ones that are difficult initially.
But, in the meantime, it’s really important to set your range to suit your pain threshold, this will mean keeping lunges higher and squats narrower.
In both squats and lunges, to prevent pain, it’s imperative that you maintain good form and alignments.  Keeping your knees in line with your toes at all times.
During squats, push the knees back towards the back of the room to prevent them from rolling inwards.
During lunges, keep yourself on a ‘train track’ not a ‘tightrope’ this means stepping back with your feet remaining hip distance | | apart, not closer together | like on a tightrope – train track distance maintains knee alignment, feet too narrow together does not keep knees in alignment.
Try these little tweaks and see how you get on, reminder: keep the depth higher until you build up additional strength.
Here are some suggestions on replacement exercises if you’d like to use these instead.
If you find you are putting on weight there could be a few factors at play.  It wouldn’t necessarily be because you have started weight training but over the course of a weight training program you most likely will see weight gain but this would be alongside inch loss (measurements) as your body composition changes.
This is when you are building muscle which is more dense but losing fat which is why there is inch loss but muscle gain.
If you are gaining weight just now have a look at a few things, hydration, portion sizes and how your meals are placed throughout the day.  It can be good to keep a food diary for a week or two to identify habits.  Is the weight training making you feel more hungry?  If it is, make sure you are eating enough protein throughout your day which will help you feel fuller for longer.  How do your portion sizes look?  Are you snacking when not hungry?
A few questions where we could quickly answer and then the smallest little tweak can get everything working for you.
Now, on the other hand as I mentioned before – if you are gaining weight but losing inches, your clothes fit better etc – this it the elixir of training and exactly where we want to get to.
I’m more than happy to continue the conversation if you’d like a little extra help or guidance but I’m sure you’ll nail it in no time.
Keep showing up, move your body, drink your water and know that the plan you are working with will give you the results you are looking for.

Both stretching and strengthening can be beneficial for tight muscles, but the approach depends on the underlying cause of the tightness. Here’s a breakdown of when to stretch or strengthen tight muscles:


Muscle tightness: If your muscles feel tight due to lack of flexibility, stretching can help. Regular stretching exercises can improve flexibility, lengthen muscles, and reduce stiffness.

Post-exercise: Stretching after a workout can help prevent muscle tightness and improve overall flexibility. Focus on dynamic stretches before exercise and static stretches after.


Muscle imbalances: Sometimes, tightness can result from muscle imbalances. Strengthening the opposing muscle groups can help restore balance. For example, if your hamstrings are tight, strengthening the quadriceps can provide support.

Weakness: Tightness can also be a result of weak muscles. Strengthening the weak muscles can help alleviate the tension in the tight ones.

Dynamic stretching: Incorporate dynamic stretching into your warm-up routine. This involves controlled, active movements that take your muscles through their full range of motion. It can help prepare your muscles for activity and improve flexibility.


Pay attention to how your body responds to stretching and strengthening exercises. If stretching provides relief and feels good, continue incorporating it into your routine. If strengthening exercises seem to address the root cause, focus more on those.

I don’t recommend you track progress through weighing yourself but I do understand that this can be hard, so if you want to weight yourself I recommend every two weeks so that you can really monitor progress, any sooner and you aren’t giving your body time to adapt.  Remembering that taking measurements and photos is a much more effective way of assessing progress as you can remain the same weight but lose inches as body composition changes might be taking place where you are losing fat but building muscle.

thank you so much for this question.
I’ll add it to the FAQ section in case anyone is wondering the same.
I’m going to start by saying it absolutely is possible to build a strong healthy body in only 20-30 minutes 5 days a week – YES
I don’t do more than this and with the current challenge am building muscle as I’m consistently showing up in my training.  I don’t do additional, so for example if I am recording, that will become my workout for the day – the 20 minutes of recording, I don’t add another workout on top of that.  I am very up and down with my steps as I’m so busy at the moment but when I am on point with my steps I notice my clothes feel better but I don’t worry too much as it’s a lifestyle, we aren’t in a race to the finish line so it cannot become stressful.
What I do is increase my weights when I feel I’m ready and set a good pace so each rep of each exercise is good quality.
On the food front I am sometimes better than others, I like to enjoy life and am building a strong body rather than chasing skinny.
It does take time though, it takes time but it does happen.  When you establish a good routine and find consistency you’ll notice a change in your body composition too.
You definitely don’t have to do more than 20/30 minutes per day (make them good workouts though) and when you address your nutrition – the magic happens.
I hope this provides you some hope and determination that if you trust the process good things will happen.
Use the challenge as a kick start to establish good habits that you take with you throughout the next few months.
Have a lovely afternoon,
Lynne x
I’m wondering have you ever thought about getting a walking pad?  I have one for winter, rainy days etc and it is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever purchased.  They are compact and don’t take up a huge amount of space.
I got mine on Amazon and it hasn’t missed a beat, you can store them away easily and move them around without trouble also.
Here’s a link to one which will give you an idea of what I’m talking about.
Literally the best investment!
What a great question! One I’ll definitely be adding to the FAQ’s as I know many will also have this on their minds.
I’m going to break it down as there are a few elements to your question.
“Timing of when to eat surrounding our workouts”
You mentioned about doing early morning workouts and should you eat beforehand if you don’t feel like it?  Fasted workouts do not help you lose weight quicker nor do they contribute to an overall increased weight loss if you do them.  The only thing you need to consider is your energy levels, this varys from person to person, so if you wake up and can get through a workout full of energy you do not need to worry about eating beforehand.  If (like me) you have no energy to complete a good quality workout in the morning as you haven’t eaten the you should consider eating something to get you through.  You should avoid high fat meals as these take too loge to digest to provide energy for your morning workout so something like greek yoghurt with berries would be ideal.  Protein and quick access energy plus nice and light to take you through.
If you don’t need to eat, don’t but always refuel afterward.  You should try have your post workout meal within 1 hour of finishing your workout, again you don’t have to be too strict but definitely don’t skip it.
After a workout you should prioritise carbs and proteins with a dash of healthy fats if you want.  Carbs and protein provide the nutrients for rebuild and repair.  Protein being essential for muscle rebuild.
If we are talking about breakfast a great post workout breakfast could be eggs with toast, toast with peanut butter and banana, porridge, overnight oats, Greek Yoghurt with berries and a sprinkle of seeds or granola, whole grain toast topped with mashed avocado and poached/fried egg, protein smoothies, omelette, bagels as a side to your protein etc…
I hope this helps but if you’d like to continue the conversation please do not hesitate to hit reply!
Hope you have had a lovely day,

Hi! You can of course repeat a week of training if you wish to.  Don’t beat yourself up through, work within the range of thought that 3 workouts are good and 5 workouts in the week is brilliant.  Allow for flexibility of life that sometimes you smash it and other weeks you do what you can with the time that you have.

Building in flexibility allows you to repeat a week if you wish to before moving on so go for it!


A lot of people who have a dairy intolerance can tolerate Greek yoghurt due to it’s extremely low level of lactose, I’m wondering have you tried it but totally understand if you haven’t, just thought it might be interesting to share. 
However, there is a brand of yoghurt called SKYR which add lactase into their products which breaks down lactose making it a good product for anyone with a dairy intolerance.
 If you are getting on ok with the Aplro Greek Style yoghurt then it’s ok to continue, it has less protein per 100g (think around 6g vs 10g in Greek Yoghurt) but again that’s not detrimental.

There are a few things you can try like foam rolling, stretching, Epsom Salt baths and massage.  In addition you may want to try.  

  • Increase your protein: Protein is so important for muscle repair and it’s also great for satisfying hunger, if you have trouble eating enough protein don’t be afraid to supplement with a good quality protein powder, this can be used to bump up your intake easily.  
  • Also, have a think about your hydration.  It might not do you any harm to take a rehydration sachet now and again as this replaces lost salts and electrolytes in the body and can make a world of difference to muscle pain and fatigue.

You mat be surprised to hear that DOMS (Delayed onset of muscle soreness) can improve quicker with exercise!  So, keep going and you’ll recover quicker.

For consistency and mindfulness it really can be just about setting your intention and I always say “Set your intention and don’t let it go until it’s done’
Planning your time – setting a time of day that’s not adding stress, but also when you are talking yourself out of it – just don’t listen to that voice and get it done.
Mindfulness is something you should take your time with, start with 5 minutes and see how you get on.  Say for example last week I provided guided meditations, you don’t have to create quiet space and take time setting it up, I put headphones in and hit play as I’m brushing my teeth and getting dressed.
It’s about making it convenient and removing complexity.
Start small and the when you’ve established the habit you can choose to do longer sessions.  
Mindfulness comes in many different forms, it can be simple breath work, taking a moment to notice the birds or simply taking a peaceful moment to yourself to be present.  It’s such a lovely practice so try find something you enjoy and repeat.

Between 12 and 15 reps is perfect:  This varies slightly between exercises but roughly this should do it.  If you wear headphones at the gym I use a Tabatha timer that I set up and it beeps through the headphones.  Really handy when working out at the gym but only if you wear headphones.

Here’s the one I use:

Apple Store:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tabata-timer-interval-timer/id1255964203

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.evgeniysharafan.tabatatimer&hl=en&gl=US

Yes!! Resistance Bands made an appearance in Strong & Lean,  Sculpt & Tone, Body Blast and FIT&FIRM week 4 

if you have time do a third round.  If you don’t – up your weights.  You want to be feeling challenged certainly by day 4/5 you can go for it. 
I tend to do a 3rd round and soon find myself increasing weights for my next session for all rounds – play around with whatever suits your time and routine best.

Your choice of walking/biking 30 minutes 5 out of 7 days is fab and if you wanted to add in a short walk on your rest days too that would be wonderful.  It’s really just thinking about getting a little more movement in if we can because it’s so good for both our mental and physical wellbeing.  In saying that you don’t have to be really strict with it.  Keep your additional movement in mind and do what you can, when you can.

You can absolutely mix up and have a bit of freedom with your classes, Pilates is incredible, there’s also a great program called EMBARK – it’s down as a beginners program but the workouts are 15 minutes and are really good so you might enjoy exploring those too.
For the dumbbell program, it is suitable for all levels including beginners as you modify by reducing the weights of dumbbells you use.
When you start a dumbbell class – if you have sore hips or knees, simply be mindful to keep your range under control for any squat or lunge movements and keep weights light for the first round as this will help you become familiar with each exercise before adding additional weight.
If you have subscribed for ‘Challenge Only’ access you can access your resources by clicking in to challenges section of the app.
The full platform access, which gives access to everything on the App including all workouts and programs under the fitness category is on a membership basis – Monthly, Quarterly or Yearly options which all have full access.

To sign up as a member you can use this link to register: