Viva La Dirt League LOVE a warm up!

We all know the Viva La Dirt League boys are great actors... Makes it tough for us to know how hard they're working, but sometimes you can tell...


Can't make life too easy for them just because they're superstars... @vivaladirt

The Viva La Dirt League team came to us to transform their bodies... We thought a 12 week challenge would do the trick. We've worked with them and built their program, sorted out their food, and worked on mobility drills to keep them healthy as we've pushed the weights up up up. They're starting to see awesome results now, and time flies as we reach the last third of the challenge. They're training hard with us once a week, and following our training programme for their other sessions during the week.


A huge shout out to all of their fans who have supported us and them, and followed along with their own 12 week program that we released for them so they could change their lives too! When The Active Lifestyle gets hold of you - you'll never be the same. (Our online training programs are written bespoke for you and mean that you can get the same, awesome results as the boys, but without coming to the The Active Lifestyle studio!)


We can't wait to show you them when they've finished! (And I'm sure they can't either, as if you've seen anything they've done, they've been practising their 'I'm a Model' poses.) All their results will be well deserved, to say they are working hard is an understatement!

If you have any questions, or want some help to change your life, give us a shout. Here are some success stories from our previous clients!




#personaltraining #personaltrainers #mteden #theactivelifestyle #personaltrainingstudio #personaltrainingmteden #strengthtraining #expertise #warmup #training




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Congratulations Alisdair - 170kg deadlift

Nothing this guy does with weights surprises me now - training hard for a couple of months, we took his deadlift to 165kgs, then he travelled for work and unfortunately was away for a month. He came back, came back to the studio, and smashed this awesome 170kg deadlift like it's nothin' (almost).

An awesome goal smashed as he nears a 2x bodyweight deadlift!


This man possesses an exuberance for training hard, lifting weights, and smashing goals, so well done, *tips hat* and keep up the good work!

Super inspirational stuff, show's what can be acheived, and he's training 2x or 3x times a week!



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Deadlift Day at The Active Lifestyle

We love to deadlift!

The deadlift is a movement that works every muscle you can't see, eg every muscle in the back of the body. Performing it correctly helps improve your glute and hamstring strength, back strength, and also works your core. Many people's back pain can be alleviated with a carefully performed cycle of deadlifts.


Our awesome members are building their strength, removing their back pain, and setting personal best!



If you want to know how to deadlift properly, check out our youtube video Deadlift - Exercise 101.


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Relieve Upper Back Pain and Headaches in just 5 minutes a day

If you suffer from pain in your upper back, neck, and shoulders, and often get migraines or tension headaches from stress and your poor posture, take note of these three simple stretches which you can do in your own time to help reduce the pain and soreness.

These areas often suffer from pain due to the rounded posture we develop from sitting at a desk, or in a car, for many hours at a time. Think about it - you are hunched over for 10, 12 or even more hours a day - how is that going to affect your body?

Thankfully, with just 5 minutes a day of a focused stretching, you can alleviate your pain and enjoy better shoulder and upper body mobility and movement.


All you need to do is get hold of a long foam roller. (If you are in Auckland, New Zealand, get one from us today at The Active Lifestyle, 40 Mt Eden Road.)

Stretch 1. Lying on the foam foller.

Lie the foam roller flat on the floor.

Sit on the end of the foam roller, and lie back so that your head and spine is supported by the length of the foam roller.

Take a big deep breath, and lay your arms out to your sides reaching comfortably as far as you can.

You will probably feel a slight stretch in your chest muscles on the front of your body.

After 20 - 30 seconds, you can advance the stretch slightly.



Bend your elbows so that your arms are pointing upwards in the same line as your head. (Not upwards towards the ceiling). Try and relax your elbows down so that they touch the floor. The stretch at the front of your body going through your chest should intensify.

Lie here for 30 - 45 seconds and breathe deeply to help relax your chest muscles. Think about your chest relaxing and your arms and elbows touching the floor.

Total Time taken - 2 minutes

Stretch 2. Thoracic Extensions using the foam roller.

Position the foam roller on the floor, and sit down next to it as shown. Keep your knees bent so that you have some leverage to control your body and pull yourself back up.

Put your elbows by your sides - where your elbows touch the roller is a comfortable place to start.



The first time you run this sequence, put your hands across your chest. Take a big deep breath in, and as you exhale, open up 'over' the foam roller. When you have stretched as far as is comfortable, squeeze your abs and sit up again. Roll the foam roller up your back slightly so that it is a couple of inches higher up your body, towards your shoulder blades.

Breathe in, exhale and lie back over the foam roller. Go as far as is comfortable, before sitting back up and once again moving the roller up your body - you should now be at shoulder blade level. Once more, take a big deep breath, and as you exhale, lie back over the roller. Don't be surprised if you release your back and get a few loud clicks on the way.




Once you've done the three movements going up your back, return to the starting position and with your hands behind your head to support your neck, perform all three extensions again. Having your hands supporting your head should make the stretch smoother and allow you to really stretch your back. Make sure you breathe in a controlled manner and don't jerk or rush the motion, it should feel tight, but smooth.

Time Taken: 2 minutes.

It's really that simple. Most people underplay the importance that mobility has on their lives, but with this simple two stretch sequence you can seriously ease up your back and reduce your pain. Do it every day and you will really notice an improvement. I started doing it about 4 years ago - when I first started, I could barely get any movement at all. Now, I can rest my head on the floor when performing this stretch. The old adage, if you don't use it, you lose it, never rang any truer. Make sure you don't lose it.

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Three things to help you disembark a long haul flight feeling good

Many people hate travelling - however you look at it, it's a bit of a palaver. Arrive at the airport 3 hours early, check in, get rid of your bags, head to the lounge, try and get some last minute work done before boarding. Find somewhere comfy with food, get up to go to the gate and board the plane, but the gate has changed, now you have to trek 20 minutes across the airport to get to the new gate, you're stressed, tired, you've either woken up early to fly or been at work all day already. Now you're worried - you board the plane feeling distinctly average and know that after a 7, 8 hour flight you're only going to feel worse.

There ARE ways to get off a flight feeling good, but too many people either don't know how to, or simply haven't been told correctly what they should be doing to give themselves the best shot at feeling awesome upon landing.

Here are the three most obvious steps you can take - if you don't do these 3 things on your flight, you don't actually deserve to arrive feeling good. It's so simple to improve how you feel with very little work.

1. Set up your pillow to support your lumbar spine and your headrest to support your neck

Sitting on a plane fixes you into a very upright position, if not for the whole flight at least for parts of it. The first thing you should do when you get on is simply make sure you get as comfortable as possible. This means putting your pillow at your lower back to give you some lumbar support. Secondly, adjust the headrest so that it's a) at the correct height to support your head and b) you curve it around so it stops your head from falling to one side if you are sleeping.


2. Set your timer or stopwatch to get up at least every hour and a half.


Next, make sure that you have either a timer / stopwatch or you simply take note of the time so that you know how often you have to get up and walk around. If you KNOW that you are going to feel rubbish when you've been cooped up in an airline seat, ensure that you walk around enough for it to not be a problem. I always choose an aisle seat when I travel, so that it's easy for me to get in and out and allow me to walk around. I like to make sure I get up every hour and a half at the absolute minimum.

Not only are you getting up, you're walking to the toilets - usually there are bulkheads or a bit of open space around the toilet areas meaning that you can move laterally as well as forwards and backwards, which means you can stretch your legs and open up your hips in ways you simply can't do from your chair. Walk to an end of the aircraft, do some calf raises, put your hands over your head and stretch against the wall in front of you.

Stretches to do:

Calf Stretch


1. Use a staggered stance with the leg you want to stretch behind you.

2. Keep your rear leg heel planted on the ground, place your hands on the wall, and lean foward 'into' the wall as much as possible.

3. You will feel a stretch at the rear of your rear leg. If you don't, move your rear leg further away from the wall and try again. (The opposite leg, or leg closest to the wall, is being bent to allow you to keep the rear leg straight..) Hold for 20 seconds per leg.


Hamstring Stretch


hamstring stretch.PNG



1. Use a square stance (feet pointing forwards, equidistant to the wall)

2. Place hands on wall, push your hips and glutes back and you will feel a stretch in the rear of your legs, quite high up towards your buttocks.

3. Push your hips back more to increase the stretch - use your hands to support yourself if you can get low enough - hold for 20 seconds.

Lateral Groin Stretch


groin stretch.PNG



1. Place your feet outside shoulder width apart, and bend at the hips in the same way as for the above hamstring stretch. The further you bend down the more you should feel the stretch in the hamstrings and also your groin and inner thighs.

2. Increase the stretch on one side by leaning over towards the ankle on that side.

3. Relax into the stretch and try and go deeper as you relax more.


These stretches will really help to get your blood moving, warding off the dreaded Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and allows you to move your body and literally make yourself feel good.



3. Drink lots of water. ONE glass PER hour

You become dehydrated quickly normally, and being stuck on a plane with recycled air just makes this situation worse. You should be trying to drink a glass of water every hour at the very least. You'll feel better for it. And try and refrain from the alcohol - you're doing nothing but dehydrating yourself further.



These 3 tips are very simple, but will change how you feel when you disembark the aircraft. Most people know these things, but are too lazy to make sure that they do them. The difference is astounding - you can get off a plane feeling good, and well rested, rather than like you've just travelled thousands of miles.

The only person responsible for how your body feels is you! Look after your body and you'll be rewarded. Share this with anyone who needs to fly better!

#flying #healthy #health #flybetter #feelgood #fly #travel #vacation #businesstrip #holiday #longhaul #flight #frequentflyer #stretch #stretchy #personaltraining #healthy


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Buffed Up Nerds!

We are pleased to say we are working with the great guys at Viva La Dirt League! They have just started training with us for a special 12 week body transformation! Follow along with us on our blog as every week we will post how they are doing and what they are doing.


We are most excited to start working with these guys! Being gamers and videographers, they sit a lot (read all) of the day, so they have great reasons to make big changes, a great attitude and we think (and hope) great tenacity to really smash the program and make themselves into machines!!!



If you want to join and follow along with THEIR program for FREE for the 12 weeks, just head to the link below and sign up now by entering your email address.

It's completely free, no strings attached.

Follow along and check them out on youtube at

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What type of training is most effective for reducing my pain?

Most of the population live in (endure) pain EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Whether it's muscle and joint pain in your back, neck and shoulders when you stand up from your desk and get into and out of your car, pain in your knees and back when you tend to the garden at the weekend, or knee and back pain when you're trying to play with the kids, it means that the amount of pills and drugs we pop is higher than ever.

NEWSFLASH - You SHOULDN'T be in pain every day

You’re not alone. As we spend more hours in the office at our desks (often up to 10 hours a day or more), our bodies become increasingly tight and immobile. Add the car journey home through (stuck in?) Auckland traffic and then sitting again when you get home to the family, our bodies become accustomed to this seated position.




Many people, (and rightly so) are investigating different types of training in the hope of reducing their aches, pains and old muscle injuries as they age, and they always want to keep up with the kids and grand kids!

As we often remind our clients – when you are here with us at The Active Lifestyle, you are practising perfect form and perfect posture. This is important, as you probably don't keep perfect posture in your mind when you aren't training. You are becoming less and less supple and more and more immobile every day.

What does this mean?

It means that everything you do is becoming more difficult.

If you feel like it takes a lot of effort to get into and out of your car, in one years’ time, it will be harder. In five years’ time, it will be a lot harder.

What about your hobbies? Enjoy playing golf? As your mobility decreases, golf will be harder. Swinging the club to hit the ball will be harder. Getting around the golf course will be harder. The soreness you experience in your legs after a long day walking the golf course will worsen.

  •  How long are you planning on living?
  • What age would you like to live to?
  • What will your quality of life be like as you age?

Many clients remind me that they often do a lot of walking at the weekends. Walking is good for you, yes, but it doesn’t put your muscles or your heart under much stress. A bit more intensity is required if walking is all that you do.

When considering pain reduction, it’s important to train the right way to ensure that you don’t make the problem worse.

Different types of well-known training

Crossfit – For anyone with any serious muscle imbalances, old injuries involving ligament tears, cartilage or tendon issues, I would strongly advise against partking in Crossfit. It is fun, gives you a wide variety of exercises and you can also be part of the club, but one mistake could be very costly – often people with old injuries find that they are susceptible to re-injury or even flare ups, so if you know you have potential injury issues I would be very wary of recommending Crossfit.

Functional Training – Functional training spans a very wide catchment and its basis of strength training is a good one. Functional training usually involves a lot of bodyweight exercises, a lot of basic movement patterns like sitting down and standing up, hip hinges (bending at the hips and not rounding your upper back) accompanied by a varying degree of weighted exercises, which will help keep your bone density higher (reducing the chances of bone breaks), help your quality of movement (as you are stronger) and also help you feel good (endorphin release from exercise).

Yoga – Yoga can be exceptional for improving range of motion, movement quality, and reducing pain. In the case of yoga, it depends what kind of rehabilitation the bodypart in question needs – if it requires strength, (often joint pain is related to weak supporting muscles) then Yoga can usually only take you so far. However, for maintaining suppleness and still imposing a strength aspect in your workout, yoga can be a fabulous choice as it can also be used to improve state of mind due to the breathing and meditative aspects.

High Intensity Interval Training – HIIT training involves a circuit of exercises arranged in various ways, usually incorporating strength work, bodyweight work and strictly cardiovascular work. Therefore, (like functional training), HIIT can be a great option for those wanting to improve their body shape and reduce their pain levels. However, it’s important to modify exercises where possible to avoid any danger to those areas with pain and get the best results possible.

Bodyweight Training – Many people promote utilising their bodyweight exclusively as a training program. This has both advantages and disadvantages - doing bodyweight work often means that you are less likely to re-injure yourself as the stress placed on your body is lower. Conversely, it means that you can only go so far with bodyweight training as at some point you will need an external load to help you progress. More specifically, if you are trying to alleviate pain and reduce the impact of old injuries, it depends if there is a safe / easy to do movement for that area - push ups can be a great rehabilitation exercise for shoulder injuries, but using your own bodyweight to help fix lower back pain or neck pain is another story. Often, these areas need external loading to stress the body enough to build strength in these areas. One advantage of bodyweight training is that you can exercise anywhere, quickly and easily because you are always with your own body, the only thing you need!

All that being said, any sort of safe training will be beneficial for you to help reduce your pain, improve your mobility and improve your strength. It's better than doing nothing at all. As with anything, seek out someone with expertise that you trust to ensure you are making the most efficient progress possible. If you have questions or would like advice, don't hesitate to share and reply to this article.




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Growing stronger legs

There are literally an unimaginable amount of exercises you can put into your leg day training.

Many people ask frequently what I do for legs, so here's a little compliation video of my last 4 weeks of leg day training (squat day, for me who wants to be stronger.)

My 200kg squat at under 93kg class in March 2018

My 200kg squat at under 93kg class in March 2018


I do a few main accessory movements which I have found to help - mainly working my hips and lower back. This short video shows the leg workouts I've been doing recently, only things not shown as I'm currently resting them are the pause squat and front squat. Generally I'll rotate two of this whole set of exercises in my normal training cycles at all times.

- Weighted Squat Jump
- Low Bar Box Squat
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Good Morning

For anyone interested in online training and coaching, I'm opening up online training spots for you Uk peeps as summer is coming - 12 week programs will take you perfectly through to the plethora of SUNNY TIMES the UK will be having this July / August.

Read more at and learn exactly how I do things!

If you want to know (and see) how to perform the perfect squat, read up here.

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Lisa gets a new deadlift record

Super proud of Lisa and her amazing work week in, week out which has led us to this awesome show of strength! She hit an 85kg deadlift which puts her easily in the 'lifting way more than I weigh' club!



Lisa has been training with us consistently for a while now and always shows up and gives it her all, she's been rewarded!

Well done Lisa we love seeing you and are excited for you to hit bigger and better numbers soon!


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What are the Benefits of a Shakti Mat?

This year we have seen a surge in demand for the Shakti Mat in Auckland, an acupressure mat that lets you experience benefits similar to acupuncture in the comfort of your own home. Coming in green or orange, the Shakti Mat is labelled as 'your personal masseuse'. It improves circulation and bloodflow, relieves tension headaches and tight muscles, and can help you recover from injury and muscle soreness. (Our studio is located in Mt Eden, Auckland).




How Can the Shakti Mat benefit me?

It helps to improve bloodflow and circulation resulting in:

- less muscle soreness and pain
- faster healing of muscle injuries
- improved relaxation
- improved sleep
- recovery from headaches
- relaxation of tense muscles
- can help with meditation practices
- overall improvement in well-being

How do you use Shakti Mat?

Lie the Shakti Mat down on the floor or bed. Sit down at the end of the Shakti Mat, and lie down on your back so that the mat is in contact with your upper back area. If you are worried about the pain, start in clothes so you can get a feel for it. Lie for 10/15 minutes as your muscles relax and bloodflow increases!

As it is a mat, it can be use to target different areas of the body depending on where you place it. This gives it great flexibility and allows you to target pretty much wherever you like! We have found it to be most beneficial for clients with upper and lower back pain, tight glutes and hamstrings, and also with particular issues around their knees. I even know some people that use it on their face for the relaxation properties!

The best way we have found of 'zoning' in and focusing on an area you want to target is to put a pillow under the mat, as it raises it up so that the pressure is more prominent on those areas. Doing this and then relaxing on the Shakti Mat is perfect when targeting your upper or lower back, glutes and hamstrings, or neck and shoulders.



Where Can I Buy Shakti Mat in Auckland?

The Active Lifestyle is an official stockist of the original Shakti Mat. We are located at 40 Mt Eden Road, Auckland but as we are a private training studio please text or cal 021 268 9271 so that we can arrange a time to meet you there!

Check out our Youtube Videos below to teach you how to use your Shakti Mat effectively!

Shakti Mat introduction and starting on your upper back -

Target your Calves and lower leg with the Shakti Mat -

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