Testing? But I’m not good enough….



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I’m not a professional, why do I need a fitness test?

How many times do I hear that?  You might be surprised!  Many people think that they are not good enough to warrant the cost and time of a full fitness assessment that we undertake at Sportstest.  They think it is the preserve of only elite athletes!  But you’re not a professional are you?

Fitness testing is not just for professional athletes. Anyone with a goal will benefit.

Fitness testing is not just for professional athletes. Anyone with a goal will benefit.

No! In that case I may surprise you….

Fitness testing can prove to be more valuable to a developing athlete, or even to someone new to a sport than the elite or professional athlete!  Why’s that you ask.  Well there are many reasons, the most important are: Continue reading

Zwift… A curse, or a blessing?


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I realise that for many training indoors is an essential way to make sure you can meet your training hours.  Whether it is because you live in the heart of the city and there is nowhere appropriate to run or ride, or because the climatic conditions (cold or hot) mean that training outdoors is virtually impossible.

A while back indoor training was the domain of the ‘gym bunny’ on the treadmill or the hard core rider on rollers or facing tedium of riding through glue on a turbo with zero momentum.  In recent times this has changed significantly with the explosion of availability of ‘smart’ trainers.  These have become increasing advanced, and led to all kinds on online offerings of cycling simulators such as Cycleops Virtual Trainer, FulGazTrainerRoad, and of course Zwift.


Training with Team WBR on Zwift

Of course each platform has its own merits, but Zwift seems to have an ever growing following with the game play platform allowing group rides, racing, structured training sessions and a variety of routes.  But is Zwift a blessing or a curse?  Many of my athletes have been using Zwift for a while, and been convincing me to look at virtual riding, rather than turbo tedium, so over the past few weeks I have immersed myself in the online platform and my thoughts are  Continue reading

Racing indoors? What’s your best nutrition strategy…


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One of the key elements in success or failure of your training is ensuring optimal nutrition, both in terms of basic nutrition, and what you consume whilst exercising.  With the advent of indoor racing on platforms such as Zwift, the principles might be the same, but the requirements may differ slightly.  So have you thought about your race nutrition sensibly?


Good sports nutrition is essential to optimal performance!


During early season, Continue reading

Choosing a training plan, is like buying a suit (blindfolded)!!!!


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Thanks to the guys at the Sweat Cave, this is becoming a regular habit again….and I do hope you like my weekly blogs.  They are designed to get you thinking about your training, rather than just doing it.  Ultimately I want you to perform better…..

So would you be happy buying one of these, without seeing the contents:


Whats in the box??? They look pretty, but you don’t know what you are getting, and whether it will really suit you!

So how do you choose the perfect training plan for you? Continue reading

The latest review…


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Since our inception around 14 year ago, we have been fortunate enough to have a variety of people review our services.  These have included professional journalists for established publications like the Financial Times, or online media such as Road Cycling UK.  There have also been many individual athletes who for their own personal blogs have “reviewed” our services.  To date I am incredibly proud to say every single one of them has been positive, and each has looked at what we provide in a slightly different way.


The Titanium Geek visits Sportstest….


A few weeks before Christmas I was introduced to James Gill, aka The Titanium Geek for an event he was running for the many fans of the indoor riding and racing platform Zwift.  The Titanium Geek is well known for his outstanding manual covering all aspects of Zwift, but is also the UK’s answer to DC Rainmaker, constantly providing independent reviews of cycling related technology.

I felt it would be great to get James to undertake an independent review of my services, to see what the technology slant would offer (both for me to learn from, and for others to benefit from James’ unbiased views), and just a few short weeks ago James spent the afternoon with me in the lab.  This is what he made of the process:


If you have not visited us at Sportstest before, I hope the review inspires you to pick up the phone.  If you are a current or previous client of ours, hopefully it will give you the nudge to book your next assessment.

Either way, take 5 mins to have a look at what James says about us, and hopefully share it with your friends.

I hope to help you in your fitness journey again soon!



Are you training, or just riding???


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Here is a question I ask many cyclists and triathletes that I meet.  To me it is REALLY important…

So are you training, or just cycling???


It’s great to stop on a ride for a photo, or café break, but how does this fit in with your bigger plans?


I had a chat to the guys from The Sweat Cave on the subject.  Have a listen to my thoughts on the subject, it may give you some more clarity in your training, and ultimately lead to improved performance:


Hope it helps, and look forward to your thoughts and feedback!



Into the Sweat Cave…


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It’s that time of the year again when the weather has mostly turned against us, and many cyclists are forced to dust off the turbo trainer, or rollers to get some extra winter miles.  For some the pain cave, sweat box, or sweat cave are part of year round training to allow training at unsociable hours, or to avoid the inner city roads.  As a result there are more and more “smart trainers” appearing on the market, and the virtual world of training platforms is enhancing rapidly.


Is the virtual world of indoor cycling taking over from riding in the real world, or is it all just a game???


There is, however a distinct lack of coherent information reviewing the available apparatus, and providing sensible constructive information about training and nutrition for indoors endurance exercise.  So, we bring you the world of The Sweat Cave…. Continue reading

The madness of winter training

Some great reasons to get on the turbo from Sportstest coached Karen Poole….

After all Winter pain = Summer gain 🙂

Sportstest RT

Most people who get to know even a little about me think I’m mad; for cycling to work in heavy rain / snow / gale force winds, for riding a CX bike round the 7 Stanes forests (red loops), for racing 3 Peaks less than 4 months after breaking my collar bone, for naming each and every one of my bikes and holding conversations with them, or for taking my cuddly zebra (Zeb) with me everywhere I go! The thing that throws even hardened cyclists is my winter-long love affair with my turbo trainer.

It’s not the fact that I do training on the turbo that other cyclists find mad, everyone does some turbo training right! It’s the nature and style of the training. Working with my valued coach Garry Palmer (Sportstest) we use the turbo to increase my aerobic capacity and lose a bit of winter blubber in the…

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To the Dark Side…


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We have teamed up with Elite mountain biker Verity Appleyard to deliver an MTB training day…

What is it?  A day of discussion, seminars and practical sessions looking at the elements involved in improving your mountain biking. Aimed at the regular cyclist (mountain bike or road) thinking of making a transition into mountain bike racing events, or who would simply like to to go faster. The day will be targeted at women but both genders are welcome. To keep the day personal to each cyclist, the group size will be a maximum of 8.


Verity will be using the time on the bike to help you develop your skills….but she won’t be showing this off again….unless you really want her to!

Who? The day will be delivered by Dr Garry Palmer and Verity Appleyard. Garry is a sports scientist, runs Sportstest coaching and has a long history of coaching athletes in cycling, running and triathlon. Verity is an elite cross country mountain biker and physiotherapist in Sports and Exercise Medicine, and has a special interest in lifestyle coaching.

Continue reading

First Running Race and Rehab

More brilliant insights from Sportstest coached Alex Taylor…. his summary:
Running races are really friendly and supportive
When adrenaline kicks in, things that hurt, stop hurting. Until after.
Trust your coach (as long as you have a good one!)
Don’t underestimate what you can achieve
Spend money on seeing the right people rather than Gucci kit.

….but read the whole post!!!!

Alex Taylor - Project: Donkey

Saturday 12th November saw me run my first ever running race, the Cheshire 10 at Arley Hall.

It was also the first time I’d run 10k as a discrete, ‘in anger’ effort. The fastest I’d covered 10k in before was 49:25 during an interval session. I’d only really started running in November last year and, as per previous posts, I was RUBBISH back then. 10k took me comfortably over an hour.

However things have improved significantly with Coach Garry‘s help and I was nervously excited to see what I could do, despite a recurrence of a very painful ankle that had initially hampered me in the Spring.

I had no idea how I’d do or how to pace it. About a month ago I did a park run in a time of 20:50, which was a huge improvement of over 3 minutes from my last one a year ago…

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