The Art of Communicating at UK Exhibitions

Are you communicating effectively with your customers at UK exhibitions? Cathy MacDonald discusses how to ensure you are getting the most of your investment at an exhibition.

Communication can be simple but there are layers surrounding our belief systems and emotions that impact on communication and they go beyond talking and listening. Because of those layers and the fact that we like to take shortcuts (without even realising it) we actually unintentionally miscommunicate more than we think.

Keeping it simple, there are some things I can suggest that will help. There is science behind everything I coach and while I will provide some of that science, I also need to keep the blog reasonably sized. If there is anything more you need to know, or understand then please contact me. I could truly write pages but for now I will offer one piece of advice in relation to initial contact, one in relation to communication and one about influence – a good balance to start a communication blog.

Lets start with initial contact with potential new clients.


UK exhibitions

This is massively important because someone will make sense of what they see in a split second, much quicker than it takes for you to turn around and notice them. You will be subconsciously analysed by your potential customers by the way you look and from that initial split second they will simply decide whether they like you or not. Do they like you and your display sufficiently to approach?

You can encourage cognitive bias from the minute people see you – it is known as the halo effect but I tend to use the term halo or horns. In simple terms, when someone meets you for the first time they will very quickly decide whether they like you or not?

The more you can appeal to the Expo visitors on first impressions then the better chance you have of them approaching you. So, who are your audience likely to be and does the profile change throughout the weekend? If you know, then you can perhaps adapt within reason. Thinking about they way you look from personal grooming through to your choice of clothes may be beneficial. Considering how your display looks and the message it sends out matters. In fairness marketing professionals will be able to help with that more than me.

What I can offer is reassurance that you cant appeal to everyone all of the time BUT there are things you can do that makes you universally approachable in those first few seconds?

• Smile – it must be genuine (we can all spot a fake smile!!)
• Greet customers, even if it is simply a group ‘good afternoon everyone’ and thank them for showing interest
• Show interest in them without hard sales pitch


Once there is interest in you and your display, the most important piece of advice for dealing with customers is to listen to them and let them know you are listening which means responding to what they say. As human beings we need to know that we matter – its called status and is one of 5 core concerns we all need to function. If someone doesn’t listen properly then that is easily interpreted as ‘They don’t care and I don’t matter’ Customers need to know they matter to you. Here is a short list of dos and don’ts

• Avoid distractions – mobile phones are the most obvious. When a message sounds you will likely react, perhaps just with a look or a head turn but that immediately tells someone you are not listening to them and you would rather be reading your message. Allowing your mind to wander, looking at your watch or being distracted by what is happening around you can easily convey to someone that you are not listening.
• Try not to overtalk someone else. If you do then you are both competing for air space and listening ability is limited.
• When someone speaks, respond to what they have said or the emotion behind their words. That is the most effective way of reassuring someone that you are listening.
The most important word to someone is their name – if they introduce themselves – remember their name. A handy way to recall a name is to say it a few times when you hear it, sometimes relating it to something memorable about that person can help your recall.
• If you have a rehearsed sales pitch and people hear it a few times then they can feel ‘processed’ so be careful to respond to people in a way that makes them feel valued and not just another potential sale.
• No Surprises – if you know that there is a chance that your phone will ring or you have only a short timescale to talk, explain that at the beginning. If you start a conversation then there are subliminal rules that dictate you must continue, otherwise it’s rude. Some people find ending a conversation very difficult so setting a timescale at the beginning is one way of making it easier.

The BIGGEST mistake anyone can make is NOT LISTENING.


UK exhibitions
The power of reciprocity is exceptionally strong and is used daily by most people, in every part of the world. It is one of 6 social influential skills that Professor Cialdini, the expert of influence has researched and documented. There is an automatic human response that creates a feeling of being in debt to someone who gifts something and we try to balance that by gifting something back. It doesn’t have to be of great financial value and it may be an exchange of time for goods but one gift is normally repaid by another.

Freebies fall into the category of reciprocity, in exhibition terms that tends to be a freebie in return for an email address, a sign-up or a sale. If someone feels that the gift is given genuinely and graciously then that expectation may be fulfilled BUT, and this is important, as soon as that freebie is seen as an attempt to manipulate then it loses all its power to induce something in return.

It may be wise to carefully consider what you really expect to get in return for your free gifts. Most people attending Expos probably expect to pick up samples and freebies and providing they are useful after the event then there may be some true reciprocity value but the likelihood of bringing a return on the simple basis that you have given a gift is unlikely.

Go above and beyond what someone expects and that is more likely to bring a return. Think of your own reaction to someone going out of their way and encountering challenges to find product information for you and compare your appreciation to that action over someone giving out free keyring.


Irrespective of whether you are meeting someone for the first time, discussing products or services or trying to influence someone, your ability to consciously communicate well is essential. Quite simply treat them as you would wish to be treated.

If you have any questions on communication contact Cathy directly on

Transformation’s of the Year 2015: Nathan Peel

Meet Nathan Charles Peel, 35yrs old, from a small village called Waddington which is in Lancashire. This is his excellent transformation story!

Before Nathan’s Transformation

To start with, I was not in a very good place emotionally.  I had all intentions of taking part in my 2nd successful USN 12 week challenge in the January.  However, suffering the death of my best friend’s fiancé on Boxing Day 2014 and then also losing my Grandma (who raised me from the age of 7) shortly after, the start of the year was dreadful.

Having been in some kind of reasonable shape the year before, I disappointingly let myself go, and despite signing onto the 12 week challenge, I disgracefully kept letting my coach down and found myself back in the pub more than the gym.  It had got to the point where my wife was dragging me to classes and I was starting to ruin everything I had previously worked toward in my 1st USN BMC at the start of 2014.

Physically, my BF% was creeping back up to the 20% mark, my complexion and self-esteem had dropped right off.  I was doing little or no activity.

It was only one Friday evening around March time, when I actually dragged myself to the gym at which point I met Kerrie Donaghy.  The meeting totally changed my life, and from that day forward, my main aim was to get in the best shape I could ever be.

Nathan Peel USN Body Makeover Challenge Transformation SFN EXPO

Nathan’s Amazing Transformation Story

To start with, I wasn’t clear exactly what my goals were.  This was because I didn’t have the knowledge to know what my body could be; I didn’t know about correct form and extremely little knowledge about what it would take nutritionally to achieve what it was I didn’t know I was aiming for!!!!

Luckily, my coach Ben Dewhurst was amazing.  He guided me nutritionally, and taught me a lot about using correct form and about pushing myself physically and also mentally.  I worked hard in the gym, and prepared myself mentally for each session as if I was taking part in competition.

I even started running, and took part in a 10K race for a charity in aide of my mate’s fiancé.  This was something I had never done before; I posted a <50nin time which I was quite proud of.  Another achievement was breaking the world record for the most amount deadlifted in 12 hours.

I started to use carbs as a tool and really worked on eating more, which until that point I didn’t realise was the thing to do.  I also began to base my training around the Neil Hill Y3T methods which was extremely helpful as it forced me out of my comfort zone.  The strength and size gains were amazing, and also my fatigue levels were improved.

Portion management and calorie counting became a staple part of my routine, and towards the latter half of the year, really began to learn what macros were and how they affected me physically.

Finally, as it was approaching November, I was lucky enough to be chosen to take part in a USN photo shoot.  I had to get my body prepared for this, so started to reduce my carb and calorie intake.  I also started working on an area of my body that had previously been left redundant; my abs and core!!!  It was hard work, but eventually, they started to show, and come the time of the photo shoot, I was relatively happy.

How Nathan Stayed Consistent

I kept my focus on the photo shoot, and made working out a priority outside of work.  My wife was, and continues to be the most supportive person ever.  Knowing what I was like prior to being so involved in fitness, it makes us both happier; eating cleaner and not drinking so much.  It made me a better person, and if I ever had a bad day, I would bottle up all my energy and use it in the gym.  I started to go to the gym religiously, and as such, everybody around me started to become really encouraging.  They even tagged on, and since I have really got into it, we started up a member’s forum and now I constantly share with others what I have learnt……knowing that other people are taking notice of your change is massively encouraging, and as such, there was a drive to remain consistent even from them.

Locally, people were mentionin my change in physique; people who before, had never even known who I was… was an amazing feeling, and one that spurred me on even more.

What Was The End Goal You Achieved?

I managed to get my relative Body fat from around 17-20% down to about 7%.  I also managed to develop my physique so that it was more defined.  In the end, I wanted to look good, and for me, the final result was something that both my wife and I was happy with.

It still feels amazing to have transformed.  It has changed my mind set totally.  I have changed from a person who looked in on the fitness world and didn’t understand why people were so into it, into a person who wants to focus on fitness and fitness related goals moving forward.

Nathan’s Advice For You & Your Transformation

For me, the USN 12 week challenge is definitely a starting point.  The help and guidance I received from the team at USN was mind blowing.  I have to just say to people, that if I could do it, then they can.  People already ask for nutritional advice now, what products to use and best techniques to use in the gym, so in essence, I am feeding them the advice they need to transform.

The biggest thing I would say to people though is that it takes hard work and dedication; it doesn’t happen overnight, and to not feel too dispondant when things don’t change as quickly as you want.  The end goal is what matters, and if they work hard enough, they will achieve their goals!!!

To see more incredible transformation stories added every day this month, visit the Inspirational Transformation Stories page!
PS… want ultimate INSPIRATION? Two full days of inspiration at SFN EXPO 2016 – over 100 interactive stands, two seminar theatres, HUGE new live demo area, 5 incredible live events, interactive work shops, hundreds of your favourite athletes on hand for inspiration and advice! Get your Early Bird Tickets now before Early Birds end!

Transformation’s of the Year 2015: Naomi Johnson

Meet Naomi Johnson, 30 years old, from Bristol. This is her amazing transformation story!

Before Naomi’s Transformation

I was very over weight which affected my confidence in work and outside work. I was very shy, quiet and insecure

I wanted to lose weight and feel good about myself and needed help on how to eat the right things. I turned to a personal trainer for some help and guidance.

Naomi Johnson weight loss transformation story

I managed to keep consistent with the help my personal trainer and help from family and friends to keep me motivated.

My aim was to lose the weight and help to keep it off, which I achieved.

It made me feel more confident, happy about myself and less quiet.

Naomi’s Advice For You & Your Transformation

Go and get help and guidance it does work because they do not judge on what you look like.

To see more incredible transformation stories added every day this month, visit the Inspirational Transformation Stories page!
PS… want ultimate INSPIRATION? Two full days of inspiration at SFN EXPO 2016 – over 100 interactive stands, two seminar theatres, HUGE new live demo area, 5 incredible live events, interactive work shops, hundreds of your favourite athletes on hand for inspiration and advice! Get your Early Bird Tickets now before Early Birds end!

Transformation’s of the Year 2015: Jennifer Underwood

Meet Jennifer Underwood, aged 32, from Edinburgh. This is her amazing transformation story!

Before Jennifer’s Transformation

I had been through a period of significant stress (work related) which had taken a massive impact on my health. I was suffering from gallstones, a stomach ulcer and bad anxiety. I was lucky to find a new job which put me in a great place emotionally. Feeling happier in some ways, I suddenly realised my weight was a problem. I was always an active person but I found myself struggling with things that I previously found easy. I also began to feel invisible appearance wise and had to “make do” with clothes that fit rather than to suit my tastes. The last straw came when I found myself panicking if I would fit into aeroplane seats.

I came to the realisation that I couldn’t deny that I was far too big. My body was holding me back from the fun seeking, adventurous life I wanted to lead.

Jennifer’s Amazing Transformation Story

I had always found the idea of bodybuilding transforming the female physique fascinating. Previously a cardio queen, running and cycling regularly, I had a feeling lifting weights would be the way forward for me. I felt shy to say this as it seemed ridiculous for a female several stones overweight..

I also had to address my diet as I was increasingly filling my body with junk and too big portions! I would run 10k and then stuff my face with sugar filled food for the rest of the day!

Desperate to change, I would then try starvation diets to lose pounds fast.

In January 2015, I joined a friendly functional gym near my house. They had everything for the nervous but aspiring bodybuilder!

I decided straight away that I needed proper assistance so I hired a personal trainer.

I tried one trainer initially but finally came across Sheona Lindsay, who joined my gym in March. A competing bodybuilder herself, she immediately understood my goals of building muscle and stripping fat. She writes my programme every month and adapts my macros as necessary. The plan I follow allows me to enjoy life and meals out but also see changes.

I quickly built up a group of friends at my gym who were genuinely interested in helping me improve. Hearing their praise each week really kept me going.

Someone told me a quote- “you take on the lifestyle of the people you surround yourself with.” With that in mind, I surrounded myself with people devoted to fitness and lifting.

I also decided against taking small steps- I threw myself into bodybuilding style training four times a week and read everything I could on the subject. I begged people to constantly check my form as I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting my effort doing it wrong!

Jennifer Underwood Inspirational Transformation Story

Jennifer’s Transformation Results

From January to November, I went from 15 stones and 7 pounds to 10 stones 10 pounds.

I am able to deadlift more than my bodyweight, bench press at least two thirds of my body weight and do high intensity sets of sprinting/burpees and other horrible things!

It’s taken me several months to work on my squatting technique (involving a lot of frustrating unloading to improve technique) but I can now back squat around 50kg. This seems a massive achievement to me as I couldn’t seem to even manage the bar for such a long time!

It sounds corny but it feels absolutely amazing! I am now living the adventures that I dreamed off. I can now count freestyle wrestling as one of my favourite pastimes. I have also recently plucked up the courage to try professional wrestling and Olympic weight lifting!

Instead of waking up bloated and hungover on a Saturday morning, I rush out of bed to grapple with fully grown men on the wrestling mats or I head to the gym to try to beat my lifting PBs! Lifting weights and wrestling does wonders for confidence- every woman needs to try this.

I have even bigger goals for 2016, this is just the beginning and I’m making up for lost time!

Jennifer’s Advice For You & Your Transformation

Find something that sparks your interest fitness wise- for me it was bodybuilding and it still fires me up now a year on. You need to love something to get out of bed at 6am for it!

Do your research on gyms.  I knew I needed a community of like minded people where I’d look forward to going. Some people prefer an anonymous setting. Find what works for your personality.

I kept it in my mind that today was the worst I was going to look (weight/body wise). It may sound negative but it really helped me put my choices into perspective. That box of cookies today will make your future self look worse. That heavy going lifting session will make your future self look better!

Personally I need structure for improvement- plan your meals carefully in advance, plan when you will fit in your gym sessions and constantly look to improve your performance (ie lift heavier!)

To see more incredible transformation stories added every day this month, visit the Inspirational Transformation Stories page!
PS… want ultimate INSPIRATION? Two full days of inspiration at SFN EXPO 2016 – over 100 interactive stands, two seminar theatres, HUGE new live demo area, 5 incredible live events, interactive work shops, hundreds of your favourite athletes on hand for inspiration and advice! Get your Early Bird Tickets now before Early Birds end!

Transformation’s of the Year 2015: Joanne Hetherington

Meet Joanne Hetherington, Age 36, from Newcastle Upon Tyne. This is her incredible transformation story!

Before Joanne’s Transformation

To be honest before I began my journey I was in a really dark place I had just broken up with my boyfriend and had my heart ripped out, so I just turned to food and alcohol every day to numb the pain and try and get on with my life as best I could.

I was at my heaviest at 11 stone and size 12 but bordering on a size 14 and for me being a short girl at 5’4 I didn’t carry it too well. I was always conscious of my arms and photographs taken, so if someone did take a picture of me I was always saying ‘give me a look at it do I look fat’. I hated that and was so disappointed in the pics.

I had let myself go. I wasn’t always that big I was a size 8 right up until my 30’s and I had 3 kiddies by then too.

Joanne Hetherington Transformation Alcoholic Fitness

Joanne’s Amazing Transformation Story

The drink and alcohol did work for a while but I knew deep down I needed to sort myself out I just seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. I used to sit and look at other fitness models and think id love to look like that but even saying that when I began my journey this wasn’t my plan to look like one. I just wanted to lose the weight and get back to the old me.

First year of my journey I did very well, I cut out the alcohol and changed my eating habits.

I lost all the weight I had planned to do so by training most days and eating clean. It wasn’t easy and still to this day I will advise people it’s a battle and its true. To control what goes on your plate 24 hours a day and  To drag your back side out of bed 4-5am when its cold and dark and go to the gym alone 5-6 days a week that takes dedication, and that’s what I became. Dedicated.

I got myself involved with various groups on Facebook and Instagram and because of my own personal results I found that helped inspire others like myself. The fear of going back to how I was helped me stay consistent and kept that driven within me, it was therapy for me also I do believe that helped me a great deal and still does.

Then one of the guys who works within the bodybuilding industry messaged me saying ‘Jo now u have the weight off why don’t u go for it, start weight training, dial in on your diet more and those fitness models you look up to could be you one day’, and that’s what I did I started weight training with other people in the industry, I absolutely loved the change that began over the next year.

I looked and felt so much better for it, I went abroad to turkey in Oct 2015 and some local guy seen me walk past and he shouted ‘hey I have seen your pics on Instagram u look great’, that will live with me forever that moment, it was funny as hell and surreal. A total stranger thousands of miles away recognised me walking along the road for what I have done with my transformation… I felt fantastic. No words.

Joanne’s Advice For You & Your Transformation

The best advice I would give somebody who wants to transform their body is to keep pushing every day, try and always remember the reasons why they have chosen to do this, as you don’t know who is watching you and who your inspiring. Keep going.

To see more incredible transformation stories added every day this month, visit the Inspirational Transformation Stories page!
PS… want ultimate INSPIRATION? Two full days of inspiration at SFN EXPO 2016 – over 100 interactive stands, two seminar theatres, HUGE new live demo area, 5 incredible live events, interactive work shops, hundreds of your favourite athletes on hand for inspiration and advice! Get your Early Bird Tickets now before Early Birds end!

Transformation’s of the Year 2015: Mankit Cheung


Meet Mankit Cheung, 25 years old, from Glasgow. This is his incredible transformation story. 

Before Mankit Cheung’s Transformation

Before my transformation I was emotionally neutral in day to day life, I didn’t feel too much either here nor there, but I had desires to accomplish bigger things, things that I could never do in that current state. I had a feeling of ambition inside me, but felt I lacked the power to do them. Above all else, I wasn’t where I wanted to be physically. I was over 300lbs and felt horrible in everyday life. 

Mankit’s Amazing Transformation Story

I changed my lifestyle from one of excess and gluttony, to one of swimming, and gym-going. I took up many things like food prepping, and nutrition and exercise researching. My personality allowed me to be very calculated and precise with my plans to go forward, so in that sense I had a head start.

I started by using the MyFitnessPal app, and by writing down all my numbers in the gym and during my swims, and I would also do regular weigh-ins and again, write down all my stats.

Mankit Cheung Transformation Story Personal Trainer PT Glasgow

The end result is to be able to do a half marathon, the great scottish swim, and also a tough mudder. I am also now a Personal Trainer trained by Bodycore, where I can apply the knowledge I’ve gained to help other people.

I felt unstoppable, now I can finally say I have the ability to do whatever I want. If I want to go for a run, I can, if I want to go to the gym, I have the confidence and knowledge.

Mankit’s Advice For You & Your Transformation

You have one body, and one life. Don’t let it go to waste. You owe it to yourself.

To see more incredible transformation stories added every day this month, visit the Inspirational Transformation Stories page!
PS… want ultimate INSPIRATION? Two full days of inspiration at SFN EXPO 2016 – over 100 interactive stands, two seminar theatres, HUGE new live demo area, 5 incredible live events, interactive work shops, hundreds of your favourite athletes on hand for inspiration and advice! Get your Early Bird Tickets now before Early Birds end!



Transformation’s of the Year 2015: Gabriella Waller

Meet Gabriella Waller, 26, from Basingstoke, England and this is her amazing transformation story!

Before Gabriella’s Transformation

Before my transformation I felt really miserable, and could not find anything what would me me happy. I used to play professional handball back in Hungary, but when I moved to England 4.5 years ago I had to give that up because I haven’t found any team near by.

I found happiness in food and eating a lot every day and night. Slowly I have started to put on weight and had to buy bigger and bigger clothes. I started from a size 10-12 to a size 18. Food made me happy andI didn’t care about how I look.

Gabriella Waller Transformation Story

Gabriella’s Amazing Transformation Story

At the beginning of 2015 one day I was sorting my clothes out and found an old pair of jeans, size 12. I got completely shocked and couldn’t stop crying. That was the point when I realised that I got huge. My friends and family tried to tell me that i got bigger but I never really believed them.

I have started to watch workout  videos on youtube because I kew that I have to do something about myself. Also started to go for  a longer walks and slow jogs around the pond near by. I haven’t signed up to the gym because I felt completely ashamed about my look and was scared that other people going to stare me at the gym.

Around April-May time I have signed up for the local gym. They have a ladies only section and thats where I started to go slowly. I have downloaded a workout app to my phone and did that plan. I have started to lose weight slowly but steadily.

Also I changed my diet completely. I having 5-6 small meals a day and I make sure that I have enough protein in my diet and less sugary and ready made foods.

In January I took a photo about myself and every other month I did a new one. When I feel a bit let down or lazy I just open the “before” photo on my phone and I see where did I start. This reminds me that I never ever want to be back there.

Also I love taking lots of photos about my meals and workouts and share it on Instagram. This keeps me motivated because I can see all the love and motivation I get from completely strangers.

I’m not at the end yet. I have started to attend pro wrestling classes a few months ago and one of my goal is to debut as a pro wrestler. But for that I have to be healthy and I have to be the best shape in my life. This keeps me going. But I know for sure when I will reach that goal I will set other ones. But firstly I want to be the best pro wrestler I can be. Also I do love healthy eating and working out. Hopefully one day I can give advise to other people about healthy weight loss and tips about working out.

My transformation made me feel really good. I have an incredible amount of energy and I fell better in my skin. My friends and family told me that they have never seen this happy before.

Gabriella’s Advice For You & Your Transformation

I always read lots of transformation stories and thought that its the easiest thing in the world . But its not.

I’m really proud that my old self was capable to change. Committed myself to a new routine and new lifestyle. Without that dedication and fight I would be  here today.

Everybody is capable to transform . It won’t be easy but with lots of small steps its achievable. And when you are off track after a crazy weekend you still can continue the route on the next day.  One bad day won’t ruin anybodies journey.

My favourite motivational quote is : “ What happened yesterday no longer matters. Today is an other day so get on track and move closer to your dreams and goals.”

If I could do it you are capable to do it as well.

To see more incredible transformation stories added every day this month, visit the Inspirational Transformation Stories page!

PS… want ultimate INSPIRATION? Two full days of inspiration at SFN EXPO 2016 – over 100 interactive stands, two seminar theatres, HUGE new live demo area, 5 incredible live events, interactive work shops, hundreds of your favourite athletes on hand for inspiration and advice! Get your Early Bird Tickets now before Early Birds end!

Transformation’s of the Year 2015: Imran Tai

Meet Imran Tai, 35, from Leeds who used the USN Body Makeover Challenge to transform his physique in just 12 weeks!

Before Imran’s USN Body Makeover Challenge Transformation

Before taking up the USN Body Makeover Challenge I was mainly eating what I wanted and training like mad to try and out train a generally high carb, high protein, cheat meal inclusive, drinking on weekend diet!

Although I was eating plenty and training generally for strength and size, I was happy with my mass filled body sitting around 16/17 stone. At the time I was looking for the size and bulky look which obviously carried a far bit of fat.

At the time I was ok with that as I could through the weights around and that didn’t really both me, there was no nutrient tracking, no MFP, supplements were on and off, but I was happy just coasting along! Or was I??

Imran’s Amazing Transformation Story

Plan of action: started tracking food with My Fitness Pal, found my balance of food intake was all totally wrong. I adjusted, emptied the house of all the crap! All naughty food gone, no temptation if it’s not there!

Had a word with myself to say NO! No to any offer of naughty food, nights out drinking, takeaways etc and my mother’s lovely but unhealthy Asian food!

Training wise, I continued with the heavy weights side of things, which was the type of training I preferred, however I needed to incorporate cardio on a more regular basis, in the past I would with the best of intentions set out to do my cardio at the gym but generally would get skipped!

So I got myself a secondhand spin bike, the bike has a big significance to my fitness journey as I spent some serious hours on it. I got into the habit of doing a hour fasted early hours and some in the evening before bed, some days I was so excited and would get up in the middle of the night and go on my spin bike, loved it!

Unlike my partner, I could eat the same food day in day out which made food planning very easy! Yes boring but that was one less thing to worry about! I was happy with my chicken, salmon, rice, broccoli etc! I’m easily pleased like that. I found my favourite USN Body Makeover Challenge products and stuck with them. I was now regularly using protein, BCAA, Glutamine and pre work.

Mentally I was getting stronger and stronger as I was seeing the change and the effects of my hard work, it was driving me even more to work harder, after starting the USN Body Makeover Challenge I decided I was going to compete in a bodybuilding show so that became my driving force and as there was no initial goal in place but to improve my body and diet this was now the goal to get my competition body, I didn’t have to change much as I had already doing what I needed to do. Obviously, training and diet changed as the weeks drew closer.

As my mind was focused and I was seeing so much change this drove me to want to succeed even more, it was like a never ending circle, the more I trained the harder I wanted to train, the better my diet got the less I would think about straying, the more cardio I did the more I wanted to do, the more abs and oblique’s. I more of what I wanted to see! I was obsessed and loved it!

USN Body Makeover Challenge Success Story Imran Tai Transformation

Imran’s 12 Week Body Makeover Success Story

At the end of my 12 weeks I had made some significant changes to my body, lost aprox 2 stone, reduced my body fat to under 10%, learned lots about diet and nutrition, learned bodybuilding posses, made a 60 sec posing routing for stage, learned the in’s and out’s of bodybuilding, stage prep, peak week, tanning and posing pants!!!!!!! Not one of my favorite things! Ha!

I learned I was mentally stronger than though, I had a lot more stamina than I thought I had, who my real friends were, who laughed at the idea of me competing and who were influenced my journey. I completed the USN Body Makeover Challenge and was very happy with the transformation, initially I was planning on one competition at the IBFA in York as a first timer which I won, but decided to do another at NABBA competition the next day which I placed 5th out of 15, from that I was invited to the UK final which was in 2 weeks which I got Bronze!

All in all a fantastic end to my first ever body transformation challenge and a great end to my first bodybuilding quest, the day my first 12 weeks ended I started the next! Start as you mean to go on I say!

I feel amazing!!! Truly amazing, gave me lots of confidence, I was in the best shape of my life. I had influenced lots of people to change their eating and training habits and that also felt great, this was massive achievement for me and I had finally done something with me training other than throwing weights around in the gym for a hour!

Imran’s Advice For You & Your Transformation

Be true to yourself! Make a plan, know your limits or you will break, train hard, eat smart and stay humble! No one likes a smart arse! Try different training methods to see what works for you, experiment to see what food works for your body, cut negative people out as its your body and your life not there’s! Be patient, these things take time, you might not see results straight away! You might need more than 12 weeks! BUT you will get there!

To see more incredible transformation stories added every day this month, visit the Inspirational Transformation Stories page!
PS… want ultimate INSPIRATION? Two full days of inspiration at SFN EXPO 2016 – over 100 interactive stands, two seminar theatres, HUGE new live demo area, 5 incredible live events, interactive work shops, hundreds of your favourite athletes on hand for inspiration and advice! Get your Early Bird Tickets now before Early Birds end!

How to Sell at a UK Fitness Exhibition

Are you looking to maximise your sales at a UK fitness exhibition, but you don’t want to lose customers by being too pushy? A.B.C (Always Be Closing) was an expression from the film Glengarry Glen Ross where Alex Baldwin plays the role of the stereotypical cold and ‘successful’ salesman. Below is the clip from the film which portrays this:

However, the world of buying is changing. People are more educated and are able to access information in minutes thanks to the internet. By trying to force a sale you risk potentially making a sale, but losing a customer. The role of the sales person is now to listen and help the buyer or as Zig Ziglar puts it, ‘be the Assistant Buyer.’ So, how does this work in an exhibition?

Below are my three tips for selling at a UK fitness exhibition.

1. Make sure people know exactly what you are offering. Too many start ups try and treat their stand like a shop with wide ranges of products and expect people to queue up to buy. Make your stand engaging by running competitions, meet & greets etc and make sure people know exactly what you are selling with clear marketing.

2. Be willing to say no. Know exactly who your product/service benefits and say no to people it doesn’t. It’s a very powerful thing in sales to be able to say ‘This isn’t for you, but I would recommend …’ Saying no creates a sense of exclusivity and value. If you are prepared to say no to a customer your passion when you say yes will show and people will want to buy from you. Answer your customers questions and relax. As Jeffrey Gitomer says, ‘People don’t like to be sold to, but they love to buy.’

3. Be engaging. Run competitions on your social media before the exhibition and create tiers for the performance of the people taking part. The better the performance the better deal they will receive at the exhibition. People will be more likely to buy as they will feel like they have earned it. People are competitive so embrace that.

It’s important you listen to your customer to find out their needs. The majority of us are ‘competitive listeners,’ so we need to re-evaluate how we communicate with customers. Next week I will be interviewing Cathy MacDonald who previously worked as police hostage negotiator and will discuss how to communicate effectively with your customers.

If you have any questions on SFN EXPO, contact

UK Fitness Exhibition

Lucy Goes Veggie – Week 2

I can’t be the only woman who likes to imagine they have an organised and normal lifestyle, but behind closed doors – absolute mayhem. This second week has really made me question firstly how disorganised I am, but also how little time and thought I put in to each meals. I would say I am sporadically inspired!

Lucy Goes Veggie – What I USUALLY Eat

This may come as a surprise to those who follow me on social media, as I am rather partial to sharing a picture or two of my meals, but what about the other meals of that day, that I don’t post a picture of? Only last week did I write about the life we tell on social media and then the life we truly live.  Both are often different and let’s be honest, most of our lives are far less sparkly than they appear on bowl of reality check.

Yes I eat fruit, yes I eat vegetables and yes I eat nuts.  However when I break that down, what I actually mean is that I eat berries (doesn’t the fitness industry just love their berries because, antioxidants).  I eat sweet potatoes, you have to eat them if you are into fitness and I love peanut butter by the spoon. If you do not eat peanut butter then you basically don’t count as a fitspo and I really don’t want to not be some form of fitspo.

This is of course all tongue in cheek and you shouldn’t have to subscribe to these foods, but the truth is my vision of myself being this woman who eats a huge variety of fruit and veg does not exist.  Yes I tick the food group’s boxes, but my diet is nowhere near varied enough.

Now if this means I have to hand back my “healthy foodie” crown, then so be it because I would rather start from scratch and see where it takes me as a person, than worry about producing the odd #cleaneating image for Instagram.

It will probably come as no surprise, if you have been following me on My Fitness Pal, that whilst I succeeded in getting near to my macro goals, it was achieved with a pretty repetitive approach.  I now feel that having confessed all and with the help of expert foodie Toral from Urban Kitchen, I can start to broaden my horizons experimenting with a wider variety of fruits/vegetables/lentils/nuts/seeds.

Now to fill you in on actual progress, see below;

Lucy Doyle Goes Veggie Week 2 Results

Lucy Doyle Goes Veggie Week 2 Results

For detailed daily breakdowns, don’t forget to follow me on My Fitness Pal

It wasn’t all doom and gloom this week, honest! I began to lose what I felt was “meat hunger” by Wednesday. This was not a hunger for meat per se, more the hunger I was left with after my veggie meals that made me feel a bit ratty.  However by Wednesday this had gradually started to reduce and I felt less moody. I was hand delivered a stunning vegetable and paneer curry by a fellow Sisterhood member Lucy Platt (and she walked my dog, but that’s another story) and I felt truly spoilt.  The curry was loaded with lots of yummy stuff including cashews, raisins and the paneer almost left me thinking it was chicken.

I began devouring it cold; because I am greedy like that and as a mum always feel excited when someone cooks for me. That one meal gave me the breathing space I needed to not just think but also acknowledge its ok to get support from others when you are new to something. This week I hope to do a little cooking session with Lucy as she is a skilled vegetarian.

Don’t forget to comment below if you have a question or would like me to explore a particular area of vegetarianism.

Until next time