Bodylab Training

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by chriswilson

In recent months Chris has worked with several North London groups and individuals to help them improve their mechanics, running efficiency and speed.

Chris has pulled a variety of exercise types based on his experience and knowledge of how sports injuries manifest and how the body adapts to training. Chris’s work is useful to all, helping with core stability and balance, improving posture and avoiding the onset or development of chronic pain. Talk to Chris about how you can improve your posture and become a better athlete.  It really isn’t just about how much you do or how strong you are, it’s about having a ‘smart’ muscles working together as one unit to move faster, more powerfully.

Over the winter, Chris will continue to work with small groups and is always available for impromptu sessions or organised courses, please ask him for more details.    

Sports Massage – Regular Massages to Reduce Injuries

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by chriswilson

Hopefully, if you have come along for some treatment on an injury, Chris has managed to sort you out or helped with the healing process,  It’s one of the key benefits to sports massage, the different techniques Chris incorporates will bring about a healing response in the tissue and so after a number of sessions, appropriate rehabilitation and return to full activity. 

Whether or not you are injured, there are lots of great benefits to regular Sports Massage.  Chris’s goal is to enable you to train regularly and consistently, improving your performances in competition. Sports Massage aids recovery, flushing out muscle cells and pumping energy rich blood into the tissue to help repair and energise it whilst deep tissue work and stretching return muscles to their natural length. Identifying weak or tight muscles and addressing the possible cause, helps prevent minor niggles becoming chronic injuries.  

Treatments aren’t just about muscles.  Joint mobility is another key reason that injuries can occur, easing tissue around the joints enables freer movement, of course having achieved this we need to ensure that muscles are ‘activated’ to perform their correct function.  When there is a specific problem in a joint, Bodylab Osteopath, Andy Hodgson, is referred to for assessments and appropriate treatment. 

A buzz word of the last few years in the Fitness World has been Myofascia, the connective tissue which enwraps cells, bundles of cells and bundles of bundles, indeed the whole body.  Working with this concept in mind helps us understand how tissue stressed or damaged in one area can connect to dysfunction in another and so give you the right treatment.

Make a Sports Massage part of your training plan, a reward for completing a hard week’s / month’s training or achieving a set goal.  Feel those free muscles and limbs again, stretched out, supple and energised — Ready for action in peak condition. When you are at that stage, I’m satisfied I have done my job. See our Christmas Special Offer and organise a series of sessions 

Winter Warm Ups

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by chriswilson

Dark, rain, wind and snow, it’s never very inviting to train at this time of the year.  With the colder temperatures your body may not work quite as efficiently—muscles feel tight, joints feel stiff and a general feeling of sluggishness.  To help overcome this, it can be really beneficial to spend a few minutes warming up before heading out.

Starting with a light continuous movement, you’ll feel your heart rate increasing almost immediately; it’s preparing the body for exercise. The increase in heart rate, is pumping fresh oxygen rich blood around the muscles, with the increased exertion, the muscles and the body heat up.  The muscles ‘wake up’, become more elastic and flexible allowing an increase in the range of mobility around the joints.  Include some stretching at this stage, these can be static or dynamic.  Whichever you include in your session, always start with easy movements not over stretching muscles, then gradually increase the range of movement as the muscles warm up and become longer.  If static stretches, don’t over stretch, but when feeling as good (not painful) stretch, hold – relax and breath out gently increasing the stretch.  Always be in tune with your body, notice the differences in symmetry between each side/ body segment and ask why is a muscle feeling tight?  It could be overworking to compensate for some dysfunction elsewhere or it could just be a reaction to a heavy weeks training.  Dynamic, functional movements, can be more specific to the actions the body is going to perform. Start with easy controlled movements slowly increasing the range and complexity of movements.   The exercises require strong core, balance, stability and motor control.

Always follow stretching with some functional movement specific to the actions you are about to to perform. 

Here’s a sample full body warm up—12 exercises, 30 seconds per exercise ready to go in 6 minutes!

Head movements  (side to side , forwards/backwards  – not full circular motion)

Shadow boxing (shoulders, trunk rotation)

Shoulder rotations (forwards and backwards)

Standing Press ups (press up against wall, pushing away from wall and absorbing the movement to wall, creating one continuous rebounding movement)

Side bends (lower lumbar vertebrae/ muscle groups, ITB)

Trunk rotations (lower lumbar vertebrae, internal/external obliques)

Tip Toe Rolls (warm up calf’s and ankles) – rise up on the foot into a tip toe position and lower

Jog on the spot (increase heartbeat, warm up legs)

Gentle squats (warm up/ stretch glutes, hamstrings, calf’s, quadriceps and lower back)

Lateral lunges (stretch adductors, ITB and medial hamstrings)

Straight Back, forward bends (glutes, hamstrings)

High knees (stretch glutes, warm up hip flexors, hamstrings & quadriceps) (functional resetting)

‘A’ Skip (high knees, feet horizontal to ground, pull heal up parallel to standing leg, foot strikes underneath the body)  (functional resetting)

Feel free to chop and change this, it will need tailoring to the activity, your personal strengths and weakness and the time /space available.

If you need any help, pop in to see Chris.

2014 – Back on the Triathlon Scene

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by chriswilson


Inspired by friends and clients endeavors this year, it seemed appropriate to celebrate a ‘biggish’ birthday and my 20th year in Triathlon with a return to racing. I was able to catch the tail end of the 2014 season and loved (nearly) every minute of it.  I took advantage of the quieter time at Bodylab with summer holidays and the great weather, to increase training volume and try to prepare for the intensity of racing. 

I did of course jump in towards the deep end, my first race being the Cotswold Classic Half Ironman Distance Triathlon. Competing alongside 15/16 fellow Tri Londoners made the race into a fantastic day out.  The race went amazingly well, I felt strong and relaxed in the swim and then stunned myself on the bike leg, 56 miles in 2:21, 39th fastest of the day.  Once on the run, i paid the price, legs were heavy, feet ‘numb’ and little energy.  I was fortunate to have Annah and Sophie from Tri London, marshalling and cheering us all on.  They were about  1 KM  from the finish line, each time I past I was reminded to keep going, three laps 13.1 miles total, the Finish line couldn’t come soon enough.  I pushed on to the finish, the solid run led me to a to a top ten finish in my age group. ‘i’m back ‘-Job done.

Alas next time out, my lack of recent experience was exposed.  Although a relatively calm day (and very hot ), I had a torrid time in the Perranporth Surf Triathlon, an idyllic  setting, beautiful weather, great atmosphere, BUT being tossed and turned  in the sea, knocked me for 6!  It wasn’t the physical effort but the mental battle to carry on into the surf which I struggled with.  Finally, after the first bouy and around 1200metres to go, I got myself into race mode and started to work on all the time I had lost.  the swim was followed bya 1KM run ovwer the beach to the transition – ouch.   A hilly roller coaster of a bike section, tough on a Tri specific bike and slightly hampered by traffic on the road, I was happy to see the running shoes and tackle the 8.5km run along the sandy beach. It was really hot out there and running along the beach seemed to take an eternity, I was gasping by the end – I had a really tough day in the ‘office’, once again, having the camaraderie and support of my friends around had made it a truly brilliant day.  I later found I had come 5th in my age group so memory of any pain was quickly forgotten.

My finale for the year was Barcelona Olympic Distance Triathlon, a race with a draft legal bike leg, meaning we could work in packs and it could be potentially very fast.  The run course takes the competitors into the older parts of the city, crystal blue waters and a nice summers day, we were in for a treat.  We woke up to torrential electrical  storm.  For safety we had stay away from the bike racks for the chance of being struck by lightening, the area resembled a lake rather than a sports field!  So, we sat shivering in a sports hall, wondering if we were to race at all at this stage the temptation was to pack up and find a MacDonalds!  Alas,an hour later the storm blew over and an hour plus, after the official start times, we were on the start line.

It was a huge field, 4-500 athletes per wave, ready for a Sea Swim after Perranporth, the Med proved no problem, I swam well and weaved through the mass of swimmers…  Myself and the bike were standing in a few inches of water / mud, getting shoes on was messy and by the time I had pushed the bike to the mounting line, it looked in a sorry state.  It was great, the roads were still wet and slippery, so racing demanded 100% concentration.  I completed the course in 1:00:22 for the 40Km!  A complete c0ntrast to the rest of the day, the sun was out, phew – hot.  I focused on the tempo and that this race wasn’t as long or as hard as the previous two. It wasn’t long before I was back on the sea front and running to a 2:15 finish time – a top 5 in my age group and a great way to finish my 2014 race ‘season’.

 What made all of these events such memorable pleasures was sharing them with my friends from Tri London, visiting new places, having lots of laughs, moments of pain, occasional glory and always the satisfaction of finishing a race, roll on next year!!!

 Of course, there are many of you who are constantly taking on new challenges and racing regularly, please let us know how you get on in your races next year, join our Facebook community 

Two groups of friends entered two extreme Nordic challenges, a quite new concept of Swim /Run races, consisting of multiple swim legs separated by multi terrain runs.  These are ‘Ultra’ distance races with extremes of very cold water followed by undulating, rough run sections, whilst having to wear wetsuits.  Naomi Shinkins and Patricia Richardson completed the 65km (8km swim/57km run) Xterra Swim Run in Norway, winning the Women’s event. Mean while in Sweden, top friend and athlete, Amy Pritchard paired up with fellow Tri Londoner Olivier Tourre to take on the OtillO, the original race of this nature.  With water temperatures plummeting to 10 degrees and a sprained ankle to endure from the first hour, they overcame injury and near Hypothermia to complete the race.  Oustanding performances from both teams, inspirational, so much so, watch out for myself and Anthony Flick racing in the Swiss Alps (6km Swimming / 48km running) alongside Amy, Naomi and Patricia.


More recently long time regulars Dave Ball and Ian Jamieson flew out to South Africa to compete in this year’s Augrabies Ultra Marathon. The 7 day, 250km race runs along dried river beds and deserts in temperatures rising over  40 degrees in the day and almost freezing at night,  whilst runners must haul all their own equipment and nutrition for the duration of the event.  Dave is now something of an old hand at the event having competed in 2011 and 2013, for Ian this was his debut not on at this event but at this race distance and type, running about 6 marathons in 40+ degrees, he’d really taken on a challenge.  In doing so, he and Dave raised lots of funds for the Hope and Homes charity, ( . A big well done to both, who knows what their next challenge will be!

Closer to home, after several weeks of searching for a second hand bike Bodylab Osteopath Andy Hodgson, jetted off to Italy to ride 400 miles from Venice to Rome in four days, after only 6 weeks training!  He completed the challenge comfortably and raised funds for the ‘place 2 be’ charity (

Of course, I have barely touched the surface of my year of rides and runs OR of yours! Lots of you have raced from 100 metre sprints to 10km races, to Ultramarathon’s and Ironman’s.  Possibly you have achieved personal bests or personal goals, overcome injuries or simply taken the first steps to starting a new activity.  You are all an inspiration. Through Bodylab, I am here to help, regular massage, injury prevention or treatment, conditioning training and coaching.  I have a lifetime’s involvement in sport, my primary goal is to support you. 

Friday – Bodylab Run Day

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by chriswilson

Since moving into the Business Design Centre in 2002, I have ran every Friday morning.  

Over the years several friends and clients have joined us, it’s a social run rather than an all out training session, but a perfect start to the weekend.  If anyone wants to have a harder session, they can simply speed up.    What’s the reward for getting up early, cycling 9 miles in cold wet weather, to only go out running along Regents Park Canal or the Thames?  Breakfast, a fantastic self service breakfast and piping hot cup of coffee and of course, great company.

In recent years….maybe the last 5 or 6! David Ball, Ian Jamieson, Anthony Flick and Richard Stabler (and myself) have been the steadfast attendees, but all Bodylab clients and friends are welcome.

Ask Chris for details of the run… we’ll be out there on Friday!

The Year Ahead – Tips from the Therapist

Posted on: January 15th, 2013 by chriswilson

January is always an opportune time to think about the following year, selecting events, setting out goals and planning the training to come.  Whatever you are going to do, here’s some simple tips which we believe will help you through 2013.

  1. Set out your goals for the year. Are they realistic and achievable? A goal can be to get to the start line, complete an event, achieve a new personal best or a team goal –win promotion.
  2. Try to train consistently, follow a mini plan, identify a few key sessions, like the Bodylab Friday Morning Run, make them a permanent feature in your diary and build your plans around these sessions.
  3. Try to train with friends/groups, it’s far easier to motivate and push yourself when you are with friends, they may be stronger/faster than you, but you will catch up with them. It’s a lot more fun too.
  4. Set some lifestyle goals as well as performance goals. Your goals don’t just have to be about completing an event or getting a personal best. It’s a good time to look at your lifestyle and base some goals around things you would like to change or try – get more sleep, follow a certain diet, stretch more etc. Note the benefits as you train.
  5. Find a few local races to compete in regularly to monitor your progress, keep you focused and motivated. Recording PB’s and seeing performances regularly improve is great motivation.
  6. Incorporate regular stretching sessions into your weekly routine. These should be separate to training sessions. You can ask Chris for advice in setting up a short routine.
  7. Far too often, clients come to me when they are injured, regular sports massage is about preventing injuries and having you in the best possible condition before your event/game. A Bodylab massage session will keep your muscles in check, make you aware of possible muscle in-balances and help you tailor your training to incorporate specific stretches and exercises to deal with these. Remember, use the massage to prevent rather than cure.
  8. Monitor your diet, keep a record of what you eat and the time you eat. It may discipline you to avoid those treats and larger portions.  You can also relate this to your training… not feeling great…check the last few days of your food diary.
  9. Think about your technique, as you build up the length of the sessions, not only muscles become fatigued but also the nerves controlling them. When you feel you are losing the technique, make a slight change – cadence, stride length, stroke length,power output, to re-ignite those muscles. Whatever the sport, be disciplined over technique, always aim to be the best you can.
  10. For runners, build up distance / time /effort slowly, most studies suggest an increase of no more than 10% per week. If you miss some sessions through illness or injury, don’t try to catch up, it’s better to regress and start building again rather over training and exacerbating an injury.
  11. Cross train.  By varying the sports/activities, you are conditioning yourself for different stresses on the body and so developing a stronger more powerful body. Also it can be great fun and help keep you fresh both mentally and physically.
  12. Have FUN. It should be all about enjoyment. Never lose focus of that.  If training solo and thinking ‘I have to’, then try to organise training with friends or joining local clubs to meet new people. Remember why you are out there.
  13. If at any time you feel soreness, aching or injured, talk to us, we are sure we can help you.

For more contact Chris, 0207 359 4555

TRX training in Bangkok

Posted on: October 17th, 2012 by chriswilson

Whilst in Bangkok, my brother invited me along to the FIT gym for a TRX class.

I have long been interested in TRX training, thinking it would be beneficial to my swimming by means of developing strength and power in the my upper body and shoulders.

TRX is a simple device, adjustable straps, hanging from a frame with handles and loops at the end.  It can be used, close to the ground in a plank like position, with either feet in the loops or with the hands holding onto the handles. Simple exercises could be say press ups, or bringing knees to the chest.  Shortening the straps allow you to work the core, shoulders and arms, performing exercises such as triceps curls or flies. The trainer is basically using bodyweight and gravity to provide force to work against.  As it is suspended, it is unstable so add the need for stability so directly works the core and the myofascial line.

The session was an hour long, starting off with simple running on the spot and general movement exercises to warm up.

 For each exercise with the TRX, the degree of difficulty could be varied by changing the stance. I found most of the shoulder exercises doable, working each exercise for 3×30 second intervals, if I was doing this regularly, the aim would be for longer reps and changing the position to require greater effort.  Working with the feet in the straps, in a plank or press up position, I found the most challenging, the need for stability and muscle balance was paramount, with weaknesses,   more effort was required by the arms.

The hour passed really quickly, I felt like I could do a lot more, but sure enough the next day, my chest and shoulders knew they had been worked and I could see definite uses for the trainer in relation to both swimming and also running, as lots of conditioning exercises could be performed with the TRX. 

Back in the UK, I am left wondering what to do.  TRX Are available in some gyms, but I am not a member of a gym.  I could purchase one, but having a good venue to practise is important, I wonder whether I would get good use out of it.  The cost is also off putting at around £150.  Cheaper suspension trainers are out on the market from around £40.

I will gauge the interest in the Team, we can see if we can work out a solution or find other ways of performing these exercises.




Posted on: July 9th, 2012 by admin

Inspired last July, by the reports of Ironman Austria (swim 2.5 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26 miles) and with slots still available the following day, I decided to enter the 2011 race.


Since then, it’s been an interesting journey, I started swimming in October/ November once per week and after 7/8 weeks, found I had rekindled my form, if not my speed and endurance. Cycling, was going to be a gradual build up and in the new year we started riding both weekend days rather than one longer day in the saddle. Running I have some regular runs and hoped that with an increase in miles I’d establish a good endurance base to see me through the marathon leg of the race.

I adapted my time trial bike to a less aggressive position and trained on it from March, so come race day, it felt as familiar as my armchair.



Posted on: July 9th, 2012 by admin

Ironman SA Race Report


Pete “Casey Ryback” Hayward and I had trained well although the harsh UK winter had thrown a few grenades at us with me crashing on ice twice and nearly breaking my neck and Pete being taken out by a twig whilst going around Regents Park. We left for South Africa in good spirits and Pete was eager to get racing as he had unfinished business to take care of. We landed in Jo Berg and transferred to Port Elizabeth where the Ironman takes place settled into the hotel rooms built the bikes and checked all was in order. Pete’s energy powder had exploded over his kit so I had visions of people sucking his race kit on the marathon in a desperate effort to get hydrated, he would be like a walking gel. We went for one of our many walks soaking in the sun and trying our hardest to intimidate anyone who looked like a triathlete with our Bodylab death stares learnt from Grand Master Wilson.




Posted on: July 8th, 2012 by admin

Quelle Challenge – Quelle Equipe Bodylab


13-07-08 – 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26 mile run.

Overall Time ; 10:58:00



Quelle Challenge Roth was the original Ironman Germany until a few years ago when it broke away from the Ironman ‘corporation’. The race has a fantastic reputation, great rolling and fast course, thousands of spectators particularly on two climbs and really well organised. It’s also the largest ‘Ironman’ distance event in the world (I think) with 2800 individuals and 600 relay teams starting in waves of 250.