Ladies Transformation Course in Chepstow with owner Claire starts Sunday January 14th.



Our next 6 week Ladies Transformation Course in Chepstow with owner Claire starts Sunday January 14th.

Looking for some extra motivation in the gym? Want to learn more about weight training? Want to feel more confident in the gym and change your lifestyle? This is for you!

Includes weekly sessions Sundays 8.30-9.30am plus full access to gym and classes
Workout videos
Nutritional advice
Online support
Induction to the gym

For more information drop us an email at

Price is £99 for the 6 week course.

Personal Training……how we can help you decide on the right thing for YOU ?

When all is said & done, it’s about YOU

Personal Training, PT, Programming, Coaching, On-Line Programming, Transformation, Physique, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Carbs, Protein, Fats, Bootcamp, and on and on and on…………………………………………


It’s a minefield out there and how are you supposed to know what is the right thing to do? ……more importantly how can you decide on the right thing for YOU?!


Health, Wellbeing, fitness and YOUR personal goals are the things that matter most to us at the Hub, which is why our current approach is to ensure that anyone associated with the Hub, in any capacity, whether they are directly employed, or Associates,  are suitably qualified, by that we mean we have seen evidence of their qualifications, they have proven in depth experience of the areas they specialise in, are available for you face to face and have deep knowledge in the specialist areas.


For example our coaches come from backgrounds of being multiple competitors over a number of years and/or have spent their money and effort in gaining the qualifications and /or practice exactly what they preach.


Theory will only get you so far, it is the experience of living and breathing it yourself and understanding that everyone is different, that sets the experts apart from those who just throw the theory at you and take a lazy approach to training others.


There are of course a lot of people that offer great on line programming, however, sadly, there are many that offer a poor or ineffective service. In particular the approach can be far from targeted towards the individual, they may not be appropriately qualified, lack proven experience and passion, have no experience over and above theory and will attempt to charge you a lot of money.  Some of the things to help you navigate around these issues:


  1. Look at their profiles (Facebook, Instagram, web etc). A professional profile is a strong indicator of the level of professionalism of the person.  Are they promoting their service & their experience? Or is it really just about them? Do they mix person elements of their life with professionalism?

  2. Check out their qualifications – have they completed their qualifications? Ask for copies, check the professional body they say they trained with. If they have been competitors or athletes, this is easy to check out.

  3. References – Ask for references from other satisfied customers & make sure this is a not a long list of their Facebook friends

  4. Expertise/Experience – Have they ever worked in a professional environment, i.e. a gym, Health & Wellbeing Centre, Athletic & Sports Clubs, Community Clubs are they, or have they ever been a professional/semi-professional athlete. If they have,  this could be a higher indicator of their experience and commitment to the ethos of Health & Wellbeing.


We are lucky at the Hub, (think of lucky as we commit to ensure),  we have an excellent cross section of expertise and knowledge. This means whatever your personal goals, starting level, or aspiration, we will be able to match you to the right professional to support you.


We are going to be spending some more  time looking at this particular sector,  with a view to enhancing our current offering for you.


Our view is that Health, Wellbeing, doing things correctly, safely and face to face motivation… all the things that impact your body (after all you only get one, unless you are a Kardashian), are some of the most important decisions you can make in life, which is why it is important you make the right choice and that we make sure you have the right information and options to do so.


Watch this space, more great things are coming.



Hub Gyms



In the meantime a reminder of the Hub Professionals:


Claire Cleeves – Hub Owner

Claire’s focus is ensuring people feel confident about being in a gym environment. A fully qualified Personal Trainer  of many years, Claire also enjoys teaching classes and running Body Transformation Courses. She remains focused on constantly increasing her knowledge including; Crossfit, Crossfit Kids and Weightlifting to name a few.  As the mother of 2 small children Claire doesn’t just understand the theory of fitness post pregnancy and the difficulty of fitting it in, she has done it,  so an advise from a place of experience and Will Do/Can Do/Did Do.  This outweighs theory every time.


Andy Cleeves – Epic Martial Arts Owner

Andy has been on the Kickboxing circuit for  many, many years. A former World Champion Kick boxer,  his style of training is unique. Andy is a subject matter expert in Strength and  plyometric training for which he and his clients an athletes benefit from measured results. Andy owns a successful Martial Arts Club where he also trains individuals from 4 upwards.  Andy’s experience comes from a place of in depth experience and remember this is his professional full time job.


Jeff Nutt

Personal Trainer, Bodybuilding European Champion 2005 and placed in Mr. Universe 2007 and 2009  Geoff specialists in Bodybuilding Competition Training, Transformation & Physique.  Jeff is unique in his style and proves popular across the board.


Charlie James

Personal Trainer with a personal passion & expertise in Calisthenics, Strength training and most recently CrossFit.  Charlie is one of the most passionate individuals in the world of Health & Fitness

James Allen

Personal Trainer and placed third place in UKFDA 2016, his first competition.  James has a personal interest & specialises in Competitive Bodybuilding and training for Aesthetics.  James is competing again in 2018.

Sarah Matjyasik

Personal Trainer.  Competed in British PCA finals in 2016 and 2017. Specialises in training for Aesthetics. Passionate about Nutrition, Weight Management and lifestyle change.




Rakan Sabbah

Personal Trainer.  Specialist in Plyometric Training together with expertise in many other specialist areas. Also a competitive kick boxer and most recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach.



Feel free to speak to myself or Andy, if you are unsure about any of the options available. Whether these options are via the Hub or elsewhere and we will always give you an honest response.  After all why wouldn’t we, this is our business, our personal enjoyment and the way we run our lives.


I hope you have found this helpful and we look forward to speaking with you.



Hub Gyms





Our next 6 week Ladies Transformation Course in Chepstow with owner Claire starts Sunday January 14th.

Our next 6 week Ladies Transformation Course in Chepstow with owner Claire starts Sunday January 14th.

Looking for some extra motivation in the gym, haven’t stepped in a gym for years, want to learn more about weight training, want to feel more confident in the gym and change your lifestyle then this is for you!

For more information drop us an email

Price is £99.


Read about one members experience of the Ladies Body Transformation Course

We interviewed Pam Scammell about her experiences of signing up to the Ladies Body Transformation Course

These were her replies:

  1. Why and what was your motivation to sign up to the Ladies Body Transformation Course?


My daughter saw the course advertised in January and was interested in joining, I said I would join with her, feeling I needed to shed a few pounds after Christmas, and after paying for the course, the panic set in – I was going to be the oldest and the most unfit and I was worried about not being able to keep up with everyone else!  I filled my head with lots of negative thoughts and was panicking even walking through the door on the first Sunday of the course and if it hadn’t been for the fact I was with my daughter, I might have turned round and walked back out again.  But having made it into the gym and meeting Claire for the first time, all the negativity disappeared, and turned into positivity and from then on I enjoyed every single minute of the course.


Besides the fact that I wanted to lose a bit of weight, I also need to stay healthy.  Three years ago, very suddenly I lost my eyesight in my left eye and was diagnosed as having had a retinal stroke, almost certainly due to high blood pressure.  Exercising and being active now, has to be an essential part of my life in order to keep my blood pressure down and my heart as healthy as it can be.  I monitor my blood pressure at home on a regular basis and since starting at The Hub it has been noticeably better.  I also now don’t have to take medication for high cholesterol.


  1. How has it helped you?


Do you feel more gym confident?

Absolutely – I amazed myself at being able to do the sessions every Sunday morning.  I was so much stronger than I gave myself credit for and fitter than I thought I was.  I really enjoyed learning new things and felt so good after each session.  Since the course, I was slightly concerned about being in the gym on my own and felt a little intimidated, but as before it was all in my head, I had no need to feel worried, no-one was looking at me!  Its such a friendly place, all the staff are very helpful and supportive.


Do you feel more food confident?

I have always eaten healthily, I also cook from scratch and enjoy cooking.  But I have changed my eating habits, I have tried to reduce my sugar intake and eat more protein, which has kept me feeling fuller for longer.






  1. How has the course stretched your confidence and abilities?


I learnt so much on the course, about how to use different equipment in the gym, about how different exercises would affect my body, about a different way of eating, most of all it has given me more self-confidence about my ability to keep fit and stay healthy,  I feel so much stronger both mentally and physically.  The group was so friendly and Claire was so supportive and encouraging, never once did I feel embarrassed or lacking in ability.


  1. What has been your biggest lifestyle change?


To keep on moving and to try and drink gin and tonic instead of so much wine!!!!


  1. What is your favourite class and why?


After 15 + years I got on a spin bike again and loved the classes, even though I felt I might have to be carried out on a stretcher after most classes, but I could feel my fitness improving as each week went by, unfortunately I have had to temporarily give up spin due to a long standing hip problem, but I intend to go back to the classes when my hip is better – I really miss them.  I also enjoyed doing the Kettlercise class, although I did have to take a few more rests than most others, but I felt they offered me a challenge.


  1. What’s next for you?


To keep on going to the gym, to keep pushing myself.  I was delighted with the inch and weight loss I had after the course and I’m trying to maintain that.


Despite all my initial reservations, the Body Transformation course is the best thing I have done this year, I will never regret making the decision to join.



Sign up now to our next course starting in September!!



James’ Blog – Road to heart of England, 12 weeks out

So, to follow on from my previous blog back in February, I thought it was about time I do an update on what I’m doing…


This year I decided to do an 18-week prep, compared to 12 weeks last year. I’ve already been dieting 6 weeks, cruising through and seeing what works for me. At the end of my off-season I was weighing in at 82kg, compared to last year when I started prep at 73kg. Right now, I’m down to 74kg – this could mean that I’ve gained around 1-2kg of muscle since competing last year (which is good – remember I compete naturally).


I’m currently on a low carb, high protein and moderate fats diet. This is a whole new approach for me as last year I stuck to 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fats macros split throughout my entire prep. At the moment, I have the same macros and meals every day because this is convenient for me. It makes it so much easier to prep food and keeps me consistent so I know what’s working and what’s not.


Progress over the last 6 weeks has been slow and I feel like I’m behind schedule, so I’ve just added in cardio post-workout doing steady-state on the Stairmaster (and thank god for the Netflix app to pass time quickly). I seem to be holding a lot of water around my abs and lower back, so hopefully the extra cardio will help to tighten things up. Last year I didn’t do any cardio, but with the extra weight to lose this year, I’m trialling this approach.


I did say in my last blog but in case you didn’t get a read, I’m looking to compete in the juniors and I’m also on track to do the under 70kg men’s category as I’m most likely to lose another 6kg over the next 12 weeks (bearing in mind I’m holding a lot of water, so this won’t just be 6kg of fat). You never really know what you’re up against until you get backstage, so I’ve got to bring the best package I can and hope for the best.


Although I was planning on it, I decided against getting a coach as I felt I would like to trial different methods myself and not be dependent on what someone else says. It’s important to me to see what I can achieve on my own, with some help from Ian Scammell and Jeff Nutt.




The guys give their views on working with Personal Trainer Charlie James – Instructor of the Hub Mens Summer Blast Course

The idea of  The Summer blast course evolved from a small group of men that worked with Charlie on some Sunday mornings to improve their fitness and head towards their own personal goals and men requesting a course ‘about them’.
The Hub then created ‘Men’s get into fitness/Summer Blast course’ , a course that every man can get involved with
 ‘Orginals’ – Paul Probert & Tim Ayres
We asked Paul and Tim to give us their  thoughts on working with Charlie within a group to help him towards their goals…
1.  Why and how did you start working out with Charlie on a Sunday morning?

Paul – I started working out with Charlie after I had completed a 6 week transformation program where I lost a stone in weight and became much fitter over a 9 week period.  During the program I took part in a number of Charlie’s regular classes and found them great fun with all abilities taking part and this really helped me towards my goals.  Charlie puts together classes that are wide and varied in content making it more enjoyable than just routine exercises.  After we finished the program I got together with 3 others and we arranged sessions with Charlie altogether on Sunday mornings.

 Tim – I started off having individual PT sessions with Charlie as I needed to gain the extra fitness knowledge from an expert.  Charlie was brilliant and provided interesting and varied workouts each week, tailored to my requirements e.g. arms and chest one week and shoulders and legs the next.  The sessions were challenging and each time I learnt valuable information on what weights and exercises to use to work out certain muscle groups.

When a few friends suggested adding a group PT session with Charlie on a Sunday, I jumped at the chance as an additional training session would add to my training regime.


2.  How would you describe your Sunday group session with Charlie?

Paul – Charlie put the sessions together to help us with what we wanted to achieve.  We each had different strengths and weaknesses which meant we could support each other as well as having a good laugh at ourselves and together.  As well as being hard work the sessions we great fun, challenging us to do new things and to learn how to exercise whilst getting the maximum benefit.  During the classes Charlie gave us all advice and we gained a repertoire of exercises that we could do in our own time between classes.

Tim – Our Sunday sessions with Charlie were a great way to add to my individual PT sessions.  Working within a small group was an added motivation to work at my maximum capacity – it brought out the competitiveness in us all!
3. How did the Sunday group keep you moving forward
Paul – The Sunday group was great to help us continue with our fitness after the program and was more tailored for our individual needs.  We timed it so that we could do the spin class for cardio after our session leaving the rest of the day free to recover!  During this time we each got a lot of support, advice and motivation from Charlie and he is always around the gym available to give a view pointers.  We all had good fun during the sessions but they were tough – exactly what we needed.
Tim – Adding in another session meant that I could see results quicker.  Each week I could see improvements and working in a group meant we could motivate each other to give our best.


4. Where are you with your training now – plans moving forward?

Paul – Unfortunately I picked up an injury playing football and lost a couple of months training whilst I ate and drank too much!  The Summer Blast 6 week program for Sunday mornings is perfect timing for me to get back in shape before my next holiday!  My plan is to continue these sessions when I return to help me to main my physique and fitness.

Tim – I am still using all of the knowledge I learnt from Charlie and ensure that I work on different areas each time I go to the gym, in addition to spin classes and cardio workouts.

Without the knowledge I learnt from Charlie I would not get anywhere near as much out of my workouts.


Sign up now and see what results you can achieve!

The next Hub Body Transformation Course with Sarah Matyjasik in Portishead begins in May !

The Ladies Body Transformation course is back! The next 6 week course starts Tuesday 18th May.

Call reception on 01275 217003 now to book your place…. 


Back to Basics: Push ups- 3 common mistakes and how to fix it – Charlie James

Push ups – the purest, most powerful tool in your training arsenal. That is, provided you know how to use it! In this article, I’m going to show you 3 common mistakes made while doing push ups and some quick fixes you can use right now to make your push up safer, more efficient, and much more effective.


Put simply, there’s doing push ups, and then there’s doing push ups well. Now, you already know that sagging your head or hips toward the floor is a mistake, which is why I have not included it on this list. Aside from that obvious one, here are the three most common push up technique mistakes I see plenty of athletes and even fitness trainers making.


Common Mistake #1 – Arm Angle


Put simply, the longer the lever arm, the less leverage you have, and the shorter the lever arm, the more leverage you have. When applying this to the push up, to maximize your ability to create force and get better leverage on each rep, keep your elbows closer to your body instead of flaring them out at a 90-degree angle, which is typical for how most people do push ups.





The Quick Fix: Keep your elbows closer to your sides at roughly a 20- to 40-degree angle from your body. This shortens the lever arm, which gives you an immediate mechanical advantage when doing push ups.



Common Mistake #2 – Elbow Positioning


When done well, the push up strengthens the entire upper body pushing musculature, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. However, many people allow their elbows to move past their wrists, either behind or out to the side of the wrists. This not only places unwanted stress through the elbow joint (which elevates risk of an overuse injury at the elbows), it also makes the push up less effective because it reduces the chest and shoulder involvement, and makes it more of a triceps-dominant movement.





The Quick Fix: Keep your elbows above your wrists through the entire push up action. Your elbows should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom position of the push up.



Common Mistake #3 – Hand Positioning


If your hands are pointed slightly inward, as is often the case in how many people perform push ups, it usually encourages people to flare their arms out away from their sides, which is the issue we covered in mistake number one. Not to mention, pointing your hands inward also forces for your elbows to move out beyond your wrists in the manner I just addressed in mistake number two. In short, better hand placement encourages better elbow alignment and shoulder positioning.



The Quick Fix: Turn your hands outward slightly, pointing your fingers outward, away from the middle of your body at roughly a 45-degree angle. Doing this will help keep your elbows and arm in a better position for maximizing strength and minimizing unwanted joint stress.


Practice and play with these quick fixes until you’re comfortable and stronger with your push ups. If you still struggle with the basic push up, then these quick fixes can be applied to push up progressions such as knee push ups or incline push up. Keep a strong count on your push ups with a slow controlled downward phase of about 2 seconds and a fast/explosive upward phase for 1 second. Keep all these fixes in mind and work on full range of motion and I promise you’ll see a big progression within your push up ability and strength.




Bro, do you even Primal squat?

What is a primal squat?  Charlie James explains…..

Primal squat is a passive or relaxed position at the bottom of the deep squat.  It is a sign that a person has functional hips, knees and ankles.  A healthy person at any age, should be able to drop into a deep squat and hang out there for at least 10 minutes without any discomfort.  You do not need to be a contortionist or a yogi, just a functional human being with normal mobility in the ankles, and some basic stability in the knees and hips.  This is an innate position that all babies possess.  Older adults who maintain and practice this position regularly can just as easily get into the primal squat.

primal-s1        primals2


Unfortunately, these days it’s rare to see a healthy squat not only in adults, but even teenagers. We could blame, chairs, shoes, toilets and other aspects of modernized society for making us dysfunctional.  The good news is, if practiced daily, this position comes back pretty quickly to most people.

A full primal squat takes your ankles, hips, and knees through a full range of motion while at the same time decompressing the spine.  Squat is not only a great mobility exercise; it also strengthens and nourishes the connective tissues in the lower body and aids digestion and elimination.  If you don’t use it, you will lose it.  So, practice this position daily and maintain it for the rest of your life.

primal-s3                 primal-s4


  1. Maintain an athletic stance with feet about shoulder width apart and toes facing forward.  Depending on your ankle mobility, you may need to turn your feet out slightly or widen your stance.
  2. Heals must stay on the ground. Read tips, if you are unable to do this step
  3. Get down to the deepest squat you can, relax and stay there for at least 30-60 seconds. Feel free to stay there longer while you are relaxing, resting between exercises, part of your morning ritual, waiting for a train, texting, eating, reading this article or even working on your lap top.
  4.  To fully challenge the ankle mobility, it is ideal to face your toes forward and maintain heals on the ground.  A small, 5-15% turn out is ok, but not more than that. If you cannot maintain straight feet, read my tips below.
  5. Knees should stay over feet or outside your feet.  Do not let knees collapse inward, as that places unnecessary stress on your knees.  For added stretch, push your knees out as wide as possible using your elbows.  Knees out will place you in a better alignment and will stretch your groin and open your hips.
  6. Keep your chest up, knees forward and lower back as flat as you can.
  7. Practice this exercise daily.



In most cases, people who cannot get into a full squat have limited ankle mobility.  They will struggle with keeping the heals down or feet straight.  If that’s your issue, you can still practice the squat with a few adjustments.   Slightly elevate the heals by placing a small (2.5 or 5 lb) plate or a thick magazine under the heals while you are in a squat.  You could also hold on to a sturdy object to help you balance or have the wall behind you, so you don’t fall.  These are just quick fixes that will let you do a squat immediately, but it’s important to take care of the actual ankle mobility issues so you are able to perform a primal squat.

To improve your ankle mobility:

  1. Perform soft tissue work on your calves like foam roll.
  2. Stretch your calves.  Find an effective calve stretch and practice daily.  Spend a few minutes in that stretch
  3. Mobilize your ankles by keeping your heel down and pushing your knee past your ankle.  This can be done in a lunge or a squat.
  4. Practice primal squat more often



Flexibility v Mobility – Charlie James explains….


Flexibility v Mobility – What’s the difference?   Charlie James explains….


Muscle, strength, endurance, fat loss; those are the most common terms we associate fitness with. But there’s an important component to fitness that isn’t openly discussed as much. It’s called mobility.

Surprisingly, many people mistake mobility and flexibility as being “one in the same.” In other words, they feel that if they’re flexible, they must have ample mobility (and vice versa). This couldn’t be further from the truth.


Flexibility and mobility: What’s the difference?

Flexibility is the ability to take a joint through a range of motion passively. For example, if someone takes you through a hamstring stretch whilst you are lying on your back, it is a test of your hamstring flexibility. They are passively assisting you in taking your joint through its range of motion.

Mobility is the ability to move a joint or series of joints through a range of motion and allows a perfect interaction with muscles, joints and the central nervous system. This means you don’t only try to passively increase a range of motion like for flexibility but instead work with exercises which move your joints actively, while improving strength at the same time.

Most people don’t understand that flexibility won’t help you to stay free of injuries or fix a mobility problem. The reason is passive flexibility movements won’t improve your range of motion. it’s very important for our body to be able to move actively and free and for that reason you need mobility training.


What happens to your body when your mobility is bad?

If a joint works only in a specific part of a motion the unused parts get kind of rusty. That means that an even distribution of pressure over the the full range of motion is necessary to supply your joints in an optimal way. The articular surface will wear out much faster if the joint only gets moved in a small range and the pressure is applied to the same few areas. If your muscles and their neural control are used to work in a certain range of motion they can stabalize the joints, much worse when the range of motion gets wide, so it can lead to injuries if you suddenly reach an unusual range of motion in your training. Your muscles also adapt to a bad functionality of a joint which may lead to musclar knots, in turn they can lead to impact you joints which creates a vicous circle.


You could say that flow forces and motion sequence, don’t fit together with missing mobility impaired muscles and that’s why your joints can wear out faster, your muscles and central nervous system can’t work like they should and the risk of injury increases due to a modified perception.

You should definitly not underestimate the benifits of mobility training which can also be intergratted into your warm up, training  and as separate sessions on an off day.

This is not to say that flexibility is not important. As you can see, they are pretty similar, important and neither is better than the other. Often they will complement each other.  We need to have a passive range of motion through our joints in order to be able to have the active range.


Mobility and stretching can be built into your workouts in three unique ways.

The key is to spend time working on the areas of your body that need it most, rather than just doing random stretches and drills. Begin to assess your individual movement patterns  to find restricted areas while also spending time on mobility exploration to determine your individual needs. This means goes through mobility drills to ascertain which areas are restricted. This will begin to fill in your personal movement profile and what is limiting it.


System #1 – The Classic Approach to Stretching

  • Before workout – Warm up
  • Workout – Full range of motion exercises
  • After Workout – Static stretching

Static stretching should not be used before workouts as it is actually linked to lower power output, reduced endurance, and high risk of injury. Dynamic stretching has had much better results opening the joints and muscles up to their current limits but without the negative side effects. Dynamic stretching will not often result in large mobility gains, and therefore should be reserved as a warm-up.


System #2 – Integrated Training

  • Before workout – Dynamic stretching, self-myofascial release (aka foam rolling)
  • Workout – Mix power and strength training with mobility exercises as supersets
  • After Workout – PNF, active isolated stretching, and static stretching


System #3 – Mobility Training Sessions

  • Spend ten minutes to two hours stretching and mobilizing

Example: Squat mobility workout

Warm-up – 2x10m walking knee pulls, walking quad stretch, walking figure four, walking lunges and walking leg kick.


  • Then perform 15x arm circles forwards and backwards, and 15x squat jumps.
  • Spend 3 minutes in a deep squat working on good form, use assistance if needed.
  • Foam roll thoracic spine for 2 minutes.
  • Spend 3 more minutes in a deep squat.
  • Foam roll hip flexors, or use a tennis ball to perform self-myofascial release.
  • 4×8 bodyweight squats working on good form and full depth
  • Foam roll IT bands, and calves.
  • 4×5 kettlebell goblet squats focusing on upright torso.
  • Then spend 3 more minutes in a deep squat.




Spending dedicated time to mobility and stretching will pay dividends in the long term, allowing you to train more effectively and have reduced risk of injury. Always remember to keep within your personal threshold and that it is possible to overstretch in a workout. Your focus should be optimal movement patterns, and full range of motion for all your joints. Specific range of motion will be body specific to your makeup, and the goal is efficient movement, not to win a stretching competition.  Go out and spend some quality time taking care of your body and it will thank you for years to come.