John Thomson is on a mission to turn the gym industry on its head by using the appliance of science to help people lose weight and tone up.

He says the majority of gym users have a misguided approach to weight loss and – instead of burning fat – are simply burning blood sugar, stored glucose and even muscle.

“One of the great myths surrounding exercise is that you burn fat effectively by exercising. In reality, you are largely using up the body’s sugar or glucose supply,” says the .49 year-old who runs a popular gym in Ilford Lane, east London.

“If you want to lose weight and be healthy, one of the worst choices you can make is running or aerobic exercise because it’s a high impact glucose burning activity that can lead to long-term joint problems.”

Instead, he prescribes heart healthy eating habits coupled with a maximum of 2-3 one hour weight training and resistance sessions a week to lose fat and create a toned body

John estimates that he has personally overseen an extraordinary 65,000 personal training sessions during his 25 years in the industry and says people should ignore the ‘pills, potions and fad diets.’

The framed testimonials lining the walls certainly bear witness to his approach and his belief that you should be judged by results.

John added: “I feel passionately about this because we have a growing problem with obesity. A lot of it is down to a lack of education about how the body works and that is something that could be easily addressed.

“People are mistakenly over-training thinking they will get better results as well as using cardio-vascular equipment like treadmills assuming it’s the best way to lose weight.

“What I want to see is some honesty about the facts regarding diet and exercise. It’s a multi-billion pound industry and people have a vested industry in not challenging the status quo.

“My priority is helping people get the point where they are happy with their body and a lot of time and energy is wasted by gym users who think the longer and harder you train, the leaner and strong you become. That simply isn’t the case.”

John admits it has been long journey and still meets widespread resistance.

He added: “It’s been a long journey. I took the gym over more than 25 years ago when it was a failing business and have slowly turned it around, becoming the world’s busiest personal trainer.

“I still do training but my focus is increasingly on consultancy work and retraining personal trainers so that they start getting their clients the right results. I’m passionate about health and giving people the facts so they can get the best out of their bodies.

John’s top five tips for losing weight and toning you body are:

  • Prioritise your nutrition if you want to lose body fat, and be healthy
  • Do not perform exercise, to lose weight, it will generally have no effect.
  • Only choose exercise to tone and strengthen muscles and improve posture
  • Never exercise over 45 mins per session.
  • Do no impact exercise or excessive cardio if you are overweight, it can very possibly make you lose muscle tone and cause joint damage.
 

The River Brent in north east London was the inspiration for one of Britain’s best loved poets.

Sir John Betjeman visited the area on the long walks that inspired much of his verse and immortalised the river in poems such as Middlesex.

The Poet Laureate was best known for playful light-hearted poems like Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

But admirers and critics of his verse were sharply divided over its worth.

Detractors dismissed him as a ‘minor poet who scribbles verse’ while his supporters, including the formidable Philip Larkin, thought Betjeman one of the country’s greatest talents.

He was seen as an establishment figure. His unashamedly royalist connections – he was the Queen Mother’s favourite poet – and dewy eyed reminiscences of a privileged  upbringing putting him at odds with the ‘angry young generation of the 1940s and 50s.

Academics accused him of dumbing down poetry for the masses and claimed his compositions showed ‘no more skill than the men who wrote jingles on Christmas cards.’

But it did little to sway public affection for Betjeman.

The publication of his Collected Poems in 1968 was an immediate bestseller and subsequent editions sold more than one million copies.

It was a remarkable achievement for a boy who C.S Lewis described in his youth as a ‘pretentious playboy’ and whose first efforts at verse were ridiculed by his school master.

Betjeman won an enduring place in the nation’s heart and went on to become the country’s Poet Laureate.

Much was written about the humour of his work but he was also a passionate opponent of what he called the ‘planster’s vision’ and relentless destruction of historical buildings and countryside.

He regularly appeared in letters’ columns of national newspapers waging a war of words against developers and submitted 70 letters to The Times during a campaign to save Waterloo Bridge from destruction.

The paper remarked on his death in 1984 that his ‘enthusiasm made him perhaps the most influential conservationist of his time.’

It is comforting to know that many of the buildings he championed, such as the Criterion Theatre and the churches of St Saviour, Aberdeen Park and St Mary-le-Strand have since been restored to their former glory.

The River Brent fared less well. Much of the river was corseted in concrete as a flood prevention measure in the 1950s or driven underground by the suburban growth of London.

Betjeman would have been sad to know that ‘the gentle Brent wandering Wembley wards at will’ met such a fate

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