General News

We’ve moved!

We’ve moved!

We’re thrilled to say that we’ve happily settled into our brand new premises!

The building work was carried out over a few months at the end of last year and we made the big change over one weekend just before Christmas. Fortunately this meant that we were able to move without causing any real disruption.

It took a long time as we started off having to undertake substantial work to get the building looking as we’d like.

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We were lucky to have such a great team turning it into the building we wanted it to be.


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Before we got to move in all of our equipment.

Fitness Matters 2

And finally were able to open our well equipped spaces

Fitness Matters 3


You can now find us at Unit 4, Cofton Road, Marsh Barton, which is just around the corner from where we were.

One of the best features of our new premises is our 24-hour dedicated indoor-rowing room.

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Also our whole complex is contained within one space rather than being split up as it was in our old premises, which makes everything much easier.

We enjoyed our old units and all that you achieved there and we look forward to helping you reach your fitness goals in our brand new home.

Please get in contact with Sam if you’d like to start you fitness journey in our brand new premises:

  • Keep up to date with Fitness Matters

Fitness Matters is Moving Premises!

Fitness Matters is Moving Premises!

In case you haven’t been following us on social media, Fitness Matters is moving premises this weekend!

It’s an exciting time for us, and still lots of work to be done – but here are some early pics of the new space. If you get the chance, why not pop in and say hi!

This is how things looked just a few weeks ago:

The FM gym under construction

How things looked just a few weeks ago

But now we are nearly there!

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

The Exeter indoor rowing community will enjoy this new space:

Indoor Rowing Exeter

Ideal for indoor rowing!

Come and visit our new gym!

Our new gym!

Our new gym!

More details to follow throughout this weekend, so follow us on Twitter and visit our Facebook page to be kept in the loop.

Or, if you’d like to book an appointment with Sam to come and visit and learn about our services, drop us a quick message using the form below:

  • Keep up to date with Fitness Matters

Intensive Wednesdays!

Intensive Wednesdays!

Fitness Matters is delighted to launch a new concept in group training…

We’re launching a new, comprehensive training session aimed at getting you in shape in short, sharp bursts. These high energy, intensive 60-minute classes will be designed to challenge mind and body. We will show you how to make the most of your training time, increase fitness levels, your metabolism and accelerate fat loss.

With no more than 6 in a group these classes will have a personal touch, with a fun competitive edge. They will be held at the Fitness Matters studio enabling access to equipment and outside space, though can be tailored to cooperate environments. Taking place early on Wednesday mornings, these sessions will give you the mid-week boost in energy that will see you through to the weekend.

Ideal for beginners and advanced athletes alike; we will tailor the level to suit you. Just be prepared to work hard, be challenged and reach a new level of fitness.

Sessions run weekly on Wednesday mornings at 7am.

To book your place or for further information, contact us on 01392 829 713 or at




The key to becoming fit and healthy is to eat the right things and in the right way, and to avoid neglecting your diet. The quantity and type of food you consume has a major impact on your weight, and shedding the pounds can, more often than not, be achieved by making small changes to your diet. Changing your eating habits will not only revitalise your fitness and health, but it will also encourage you to live a happy, more nourishing life. The best bit is that all this can be achieved by taking relatively small steps.

Healthy Living Key Shows Health Diet And Fitness
Here are a few key tips to help on your way to finding the perfect healthy, sustainable diet:

  • Eat little and often. Blood sugar levels should be constant and not spiking all the time.
  • You can’t out-train a bad diet, so remember that no matter how much exercise you are cramming in, you need to change your eating routine before you can expect to lose weight.
  • The Paleo diet is a good place to start. By consuming more protein and fibre, and cutting down on the processed carbohydrates, you’ll be well on your way to revitalising your health.

It has been proven that eating less calories has a direct link with longer life expectancy, whilst generally eating healthier leaves you feeling more revitalised and happy, and of course contributes to weight loss. We at Fitness Matters offer training schemes and schedules that suit you. We’ll give you the training you need to lose those pounds, and provide the nutritional and lifestyle advice to ensure you are following a healthy and sustainable diet.

Call us on 01392 829 713 to make your first appointment.




Early start today with the first session at 0600 at the home gym. Following a decent warm up, it was time for 5 x 1250m (4 rest) – targets were stroke rate 28-30 and pace 1.35-137. I have finally decided that this is close to the worst session there is. Always find it hard and today was no different. Maybe a mindset thing. Last time out I did only 4 reps with 5 mins rest, so that meant today was definitely going to be hard!! That feeling when you complete the first interval, are blowing out of your a*$e and wonder how you are going to manage 4 more lol. Maybe you just don’t want to do them, because you somehow get yourself home. I hit target, but on each rep the doubts crept in around 850m down to 600m. My aim was to stay on the lower end of the SR and the faster end of the pace. Managed this for the first two, but then found myself at 28-29 and towards the end 30 crept in a bit. Never convinced the PM gives a fair reflection of your stroke rate, not actually sure how it works it out! Let’s see how this effects my lunchtime session…..

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5 x 1250m (rest 4m) @28-30 SR

So next up today, a few hours later at work, was 3 x 2500m (5 rest) – targets were 28 SR and 1.38 pace. The previous 2500m sessions at lower SR I have found ok, but was aware I had the earlier session in the body. Did a shortish warm up then headed out bang on the targets and soon got my answer whether the previous session would make this one harder… yes!

From the first 500m I knew it was going to be tough. Equally I knew I would do it and, but for a slight error of judgement at the end of the last interval, I achieved what I was tasked with. The HR does however suggest that there was not much more in the tank (max is ~180). A tough few sessions today in a short space of time. Good to come through them on target.

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3 x 2500m 5 rest @28SR




So my last blog was not that positive, which was pointed out to me by a client today! My reply to her was that it was honest and not all weeks can be amazing (hangovers don’t help lol). This week however has been an altogether different experience.

All my life, outside of rugby specific training, I have been the master of my own destiny when it comes to programme writing. It has always done me well and I have got great results from them. More recently I have begun to realise that some of my Concept 2 rowing times have been a bit more than reasonable, so I decided to investigate how and if I could get to the next level. I had my own ideas on this and they will always remain, but I chose to look further afield this time.

Following some research, I decided to leave my comfort zone and take some guidance. I headed up country for a morning of testing and for the foreseeable future have decided to team up with Eddie Fletcher, a proven indoor rowing coach. I knew doing this would mean a lot of my rowing sessions would follow a different style and this would take some time to get used to. Patience is not my number one strength so we are both in for an experience! But what is the worst that could happen….so I have given it a go.

I still take care of all my nutrition and strength and conditioning, but have passed the responsibility of my rowing sessions to Eddie. This is week one of my new chapter and has gone fine. The sessions have not reached my usual intensity as yet, but I am sure there is time for that. There has been more focus on stroke rate and heart rate which will take some time to adapt to, but I am happy to be asking more questions of myself and to be stretching that comfort zone! Now I just have to find some patience…….


FM Indoor Rowing Logo

Why settle only for a beach body, when you can have a great body for life?

Why settle only for a beach body, when you can have a great body for life?

It’s that time of year again and summer is upon us. But you know what that means… going to the beach. And you know that means… having that perfect summer body! But while many people may be thinking about getting that perfect ‘beach’ body, why not aim higher and aim for that perfect ‘life’ body?

But how can you achieve this?


See ‘getting fit’ as a lifestyle change rather than as a quick fad to get in shape for the summer. Although you can get sidetracked, remember that keeping a diverse array of activities and sustaining an exercise routine is the best route to continued fitness, even during busy or hectic periods. If you adapt you can maintain sustainable fitness.


Take small positive steps, little and often towards your end goal. Change doesn’t happen overnight. And giving yourself a deadline and cramming exercise in may help in the short term, but focus and consistency is important. After all, change doesn’t happen overnight. Remember: eat smaller portions, little and often. Exercise little and often to keep your metabolism going.

Make sure that you seek sustainable fitness, rather than a fad diet this summer!



And what better way to do that, than with us?

We offer training schemes and schedules that suit you; whatever day of the week, whatever time of day. We’ll be there to help you get a body that you’ll want to show not only on the beach but in the office as well! We give you the training you need (and want) to lose those pounds and provide the nutritional and lifestyle advice to ensure that the body you’ve worked so hard to get, stays.

Call us on 01392 829 713 to make your first appointment. Don’t worry, it’s a no-obligation consultation (but we’re sure that once you’ve talked to us, you won’t want to look anywhere else).





The end of the ranking system on the Concept 2 website is upon us and I thought I would take a look back at my experiences, progression and achievements from this year.  It has been a good first year and I am glad to have found the indoor rowing community, something I didn’t know existed, let alone as big as it is. Rowers are a friendly bunch and, although competitive, are always full of support and keen to help whenever they can.

I have always used the rower as part of my overall training as it has so many benefits we are all aware of. As a Pro rugby player it was frequently used as a conditioning tool, or a punishment (2000m) if you were late, wore incorrect kit or did anything wrong in fact!! A far more effective deterrant than a monetary fine it seems. Although rugby players are fit, the vast majority would do all they could to get out of any extra training!!

In the last 6-12 months rowing has become a far bigger focus for me. As I say I always trained hard on it, but I have certainly become more fit for purpose now. I have also kept up all the other aspects of my training: conditioning, weight training, running and cycling etc. There has definitely been a swing towards rowing, which has come at a slight cost to my overall strength, but certainly not my body composition, weight or physique.

It all started to get a little more serious as I decided to enter the British Indoor Rowing Championships (BIRC) in Cardiff last December. It was always something I had thought about, but a commitment that rugby had never allowed me to do. I trained specifically for it for a few months, won my age category and set a PB. The favourite had raced earlier in the day in the open to make the win feel little empty, but still a win is a win and it proved the springboard for me and the focus I needed  to fill the competative void rugby had left in my life.

Throughout December I decided to try to set new personal bests for all my distances (including the 500m on Christmas Day!) This I did successfully in a 21 day period. The following month brought about the of birth of a yearly charity event I set up called  ‘Janurow’  ( My part in this was rowing well in excess of 1,000,000 metres (at a fair pace) towards the collective target throughout the month, raising over £8000 along the way. I am hoping Janurow grows year on year and we continue to help those who are less fortunate.

My interest in rowing had gathered momentum considerably following Janurow and I decided to enter the EIRC with the aim of going under 6m 10s for the 2000m. The turn around from the volume training the month before to speed and power had to be sharp! Silver was my reward (a fully fresh field this time), but I did row a decent race, gaining more event experience and hitting another PB.

All was good at this stage, until a failed bid to break the world record in aid Sport Relief in the tandem 1,000,000m. At the time of pulling out we were 4 hours ahead of target, and as disappointed as I was, I was not in the right place to take on such a feat. I think I knew that too. You learn far more in adversity than you ever do in success and it has turned out to be a pretty defining moment in my life, just not the way we had planned it. Perhaps that will be an event for another day!

I received huge support following that disappointment, so it was time to pick up the pieces and get back on track. I had 6 weeks to improve some of my other times before the rankings reset. I have worked hard to do exactly that and the biggest lesson I have learned is that if you have the balls to give it a go, far more often than not you will come out the other side surprised. And if you don’t succeed….. then you have something to work on. In exercise, and perhaps life as well, the finer the margins we are chasing, the greater the effort required. This in turn generally comes with greater reward.

As one season ends and another begins I looking forward to taking on new ideas and influences and pushing myself further from my mental and physical comfort zone. Just aiming to be the best I can be, time will tell what that is…


concept 2 rowing

This year’s best times on the Concept 2.






Tomorrow, Sam and Shane of Fitness Matters will be attempting to break a rowing world record challenge; 1,000,000 metres in less than 3 and half days! It’s all in aid of Sport Relief, a fantastic nationwide fundraising event that helps those in poverty in the UK and across the world.

Sam and Shane’s attempt follows a spate of rowing challenges organised by the pair already this year and will build on their success so far. In January, Sam and Shane kicked off with “Janurow” – a new annual event that raised money to help children in the UK and in the Philippines. Last month, Sam entered the English Indoor Rowing Championships in Manchester and beat his personal target of 2000 metres in 6 minutes which earned him a Silver medal.

“I have always kept myself fit, strong and healthy, and rowing has been a part of my overall training programme,” says Sam, “this year it has had a bigger presence than before as my goals have become more specific to rowing. The other aspects of my fitness have definitely not suffered! Rowing is a great physique builder.”

As a personal trainer and founder of Fitness Matters, Sam describes better than anyone some of the brilliant fitness benefits you can get from rowing. One of the great plus points is that rowing gives you a full body work out without any impact on your joints, which means you can go for longer without too much fear of damaging your body. Workouts can be so varied depending on your individual goals and it is suitable for all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels.

From the outside, it looks like Sam and Shane are becoming rowing fanatics! “I like the fact that it is you against the machine and there are no excuses. I have always been into indoor rowing as it was a great training tool throughout my rugby career and have now found it a great personal focus for me.”

So tomorrow at 7 am, Sam and Shane will be starting their next rowing adventure – based at Sainsbury’s Pinhoe. If you want to learn more about this fantastic form of exercise, and support the guys and the Sport Relief charity – why not come down and visit? The big question is are THEY ready? “Can you ever be ready for that?” says Sam. “It is not really something you can do very specific training for but I feel I am in a good place to give it a shot. I am certainly looking forward to it. We will be giving everything to beat the previous record and I believe the mind is going to be the most important thing.”

At Fitness Matter’s private gym in Exeter, we have a range of workout options, including the “Concept 2” rowing machine so if you really want to improve your fitness and health, why not think about getting in touch?



@FMPTExeter #Janurow

Since I stopped playing rugby a few years back, my life has very much changed. Along with my family, my main focus has become building a successful business. My training has become less specific and is now based on all round conditioning and remaining fit and healthy. But more recently I have found myself searching for a new physical challenge to grab my attention….

It needed to be one that was tough, but could realistically fit somewhere into a busy life. After seeing all the amazing feats individuals achieve for events such as Sports Relief and Comic Relief I had also found myself thinking about attempting it for charity. After a lot of thought I came up with the idea of rowing One million metres on the Concept 2 rowing machine throughout the month of January. That will equate to 32,258m, or just over 20 miles, per day everyday. Whilst I do a fair amount of rowing, that felt like a challenge, and also one that I felt was extreme enough to be able to ask for sponsorship for.

January is a great month for a physical challenge. There is huge attention on health and fitness following the festivities at Christmas. I hope to grow the idea and involve my clients and the public, as it will be a great way to burn off those excess pounds gained.

Alongside me for every metre will be my close friend Shane Kingsland. He is super keen, although I am not sure he will be thanking me as we get a few weeks into the challenge!! Who knows if we can raise the profile of the event enough then maybe it could become a yearly event involving many others.

We have chosen two charities that are both heavily involved with children as that is close to my heart. One is a national charity and one is based locally in Exeter. Full details on how you could get involved will follow, along with all relevant challenge updates. The link below has information on our charities and how to arrange sponsorship.

Make your New Year’s Rowsolution…..