At Roark, our programming doesn’t involve rushing through a quick fix programme and crash diet to get you ‘bikini ready’ – although that might be a goal of yours. Our aim is to teach you to use your body properly, to get steadily stronger, which will allow you to put yourself in better and more efficient positions during exercise, therefore increasing your fitness and making your body stronger, leaner and fitter.

Over time, this combination will build a lean, sustainable form that will empower you. The fitter you get, the fitter you will get. When you’re fit and healthy, you’re more likely to make choices that will keep you fit and healthy. When you’re experiencing the benefits of physical health – a lean, strong body, a clear mind and the fringe benefits (emotional stability, self-confidence, body appreciation), you’re probably going to make choices that will perpetuate this state of grace.

Ladies who’ve been training with us will be used to the strength part of the program, which we lead every session with. The point of these is to build and maintain base strength. We continue to build on this through every session. The stronger you get, the more proficient you’ll be at what your interval workouts require of you. You’ll be able to pull further in your rows, lift heavier weights more efficiently, and generally put more effort in. And the more effort you put in, the better your results become.

Barring the athletes who require bulk for their sports, the average Roark athlete is lean. This is because the way we train raises your heart rate while burning fat with weight-training. Usually our workouts combine the two in interval weight training workouts. We find this method works extremely well. Training in this way does not build bulk, it increases efficiency. Some of our athletes do require bulk, and achieve this by adding starches and grains to their diets, which is a sure way to put on and maintain extra body weight. Those who wish to remain lean do very well on diets consisting of high protein, high vegetable and a good dose of unsaturated fat.

For those who have previously experienced a ‘plateau’ in their training or maintenance efforts – a level at which the body refuses to change any more – strength training becomes even more valuable. Plateaus in training programmes are only broken through by getting stronger and by pushing up your heart rate, which will allow you to put in more effort later down the line, but you have to be willing to make the investment now, in order to perform better later. To maintain a state of lean fitness, you need to be continually pushing through your plateaus. And this is why we need you to get stronger.

If you still hold the idea that lifting weights builds bulk, and you feel you can report some kind of evidence or anecdote to support this, it’s time to start interrogating your diet. You will never find a bodybuilder who eats lots of vegetables, protein and good fats and doesn’t eat carbohydrates and starch, because the last two are essential for building bulk and size. It stands to reason then that removing them from your diet will eliminate the possibility of you building bulk. By eliminating weight and strength training, however, you eliminate the possibility of being lean.

When you change your ideas of what it means to get stronger, you’ll find you might just start getting the results you’ve always wanted.

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