What is the SCI Smart Coach?

The SCI Smart Coach is like having your own world-class training and nutrition experts living in your pocket. By signing up, you get a 12-week progressive transformation plan and a 12-week tailored eating plan designed by us for you. The plan features high definition videos walking you through every single exercise on your plan, as well as a constantly growing nutrition library of healthy and delicious meals. The meals are designed around cutting-edge nutrition science and each one comes with a cookery demonstration by our professional chef! Your transformation plan is presented to you on a dashboard packed with simple-to-use and helpful features, no matter where in the world you are, as long as you have an internet connection! If you wake up at 3am and want a snack, you don’t have to wait until morning to call your coach; if you want to know what workouts you’ll be doing next week, the progression is already planned out for you and waiting to go. The plan is 12 weeks long, but when you sign up you receive 14 weeks of access to make sure you have some flexibility.

How does it work?

It’s easy!

1. If you’re doing a gym-based plan, then join your local gym; if you’re doing a home-based plan, then get your kit ready.
2. Sign up for 14 weeks of access to your 12-week transformation plan.
3. Get to work!

Once you’ve bought your package, everything you need to begin your tailored transformation is on your dashboard:

1. Your training tab, which delivers all of your workouts to you with video tutorials, broken down month-by-month;
2. Your nutrition tab, which hosts a library of delicious meal videos with nutrition designed by us and recipes created by our professional chef;
3. Your meal plan tab, which gives you your nutrition targets broken down into how many of our SCI Smart Coach-approved meals and snacks you should be eating each day;
4. Your details tab, where you can keep your personal information up-to-date; and
5. The FAQ tab, where we’ll talk you through common questions about training, nutrition, and using the SCI Smart Coach!

If it’s workout time, you click on your training tab and select your next workout; if it’s dinner time, you click on your nutrition tab and choose your dinner. As you work through your transformation, the nature and function of your workout sessions will adapt, making sure you are constantly making progress. Simple as that!

What’s so special about your programmes?

These are no ordinary programmes. They’re tailored for you by award-winning National Level Strength & Conditioning coaches, and the meals are engineered to our nutrition specifications by our professional chef. The design of your transformation is the culmination of more than 30 years’ experience studying and implementing health and fitness science. These programmes are world-class, and we’re confident you won’t find better programmes online, or a better platform for transforming your health and fitness from your own home, than the SCI Smart Coach. And from £49-£99 depending on the plan, we also believe the SCI Smart Coach represents amazing value for money – not only is your programme available 24/7, but a 12-week transformation incorporates a total of six tailored health and fitness programmes, which bought at a gym might cost you anywhere from £300 to £500.

How do I know if the SCI Smart Coach is right for me?

We have worked tirelessly to ensure that SmartCoach will work for people of all ages, all abilities, and all shapes and sizes. The nutrition plan is individualised, and specific to you. The SCI Smart Coach transformation plans are as close as you can get to having your own Personal Trainer and Nutritional Consultant, but without the huge costs associated with these services.

What is a ‘National Level Strength Coach’? Are Alex and Martin personal trainers?

Though we do offer personal training, we’re not simply ‘personal trainers’, which is an entry level qualification. A National Level Strength Coach is a highly-trained fitness professional who has achieved and demonstrated a level of knowledge and technical coaching ability far surpassing that of ordinary PTs and coaches. We are experts in the proper mechanics of exercise and sports performance, as well as nutrition, injury prevention and rehabilitation. These skills enable us to design the kind of world-class training and eating plans which allow our clients to transform their bodies, health and fitness in a short space of time.

We are completely committed to the ongoing development of our expertise, and we’re immensely proud that among our clients are numerous amateur athletes, whole football and rugby squads, and a Commonwealth Judo bronze medalist.

What is The Strength & Conditioning Institute?

The Strength & Conditioning Institute (SCI) is an award-winning training facility founded in 2012 by National Level Strength & Conditioning Coaches Alex Shoebridge and Martin Shyvers (that’s us!), with the goal of becoming industry leaders and a centre of health and fitness excellence. At the SCI we provide a level of training and expertise for people of all ages and abilities previously unseen in the sector. Our commitment to our members, our ongoing professional development, and the fantastic achievements we’ve had with our clients were recognised by the National Fitness Awards in December 2015, where we were named the best Functional Training Gym in the whole of the UK. Using our knowledge and experience as National Level Strength & Conditioning Coaches, we are now helping people around the world achieve their goals, change their lives, and dramatically improve their health through the SCI Smart Coach.

Do I need to join a gym?

If you want to train from home, then nope! The philosophy behind our Home Transformation Plan is to give you absolutely everything you need to change your life from the comfort and privacy of your own home. From the moment you sign up, where you live becomes your very own private home gym. Cool, huh? Just make sure you clear enough space around you before you work out!

If you want to train in the gym, then yep! Our Ultimate Fat Loss Plan is designed for those who already have a gym membership: the exercises in your plan use equipment and machines commonly found in gyms.

What experience is required? Does my fitness level matter?

We’ve carefully designed our 12-Week Body Transformation Plans to work with people of all ages and abilities. The plan is challenging – if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you! – but anyone can achieve it with the right mindset. Our exercise demonstration videos make it super easy for those new to health & fitness to follow a world-class training plan, and the training element is flexible: we recommend training a minimum of 3 times per week to get the most form your plan, but those with more training experience can train 4-5 times per week, and can use heavier dumbbells for the weighted exercises.

Will the videos play on my device?

The SCI Smart Coach is designed to work like a dream with all modern desktop computers, smartphones and tablets. If you’re running Windows 95 then there’s probably nothing anyone can do for you. If for some reason you’re having problems with playback, first try checking your internet connection, then resetting your device, then clearing your web browser’s cache and cookies, then updating your operating system, and then using a different web browser. We recommend Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers. If you’re still having technical issues, drop us a line via our contact form and we’ll get you back to your training programme ASAP!

My goal is fat loss/weight loss. How much will I lose?

Each one of us responds differently to training and exercise, so there is no simple answer. Weight loss will be determined by a number of interplaying factors, including: what your nutrition and exercise history was like before you began using SmartCoach; how hard you train; how closely you stick to your nutrition plan; your stress levels; your sleep levels; and many more besides.

We strongly encourage you not to gauge your progress solely by what the scales say, as a single figure from the scales cannot paint the whole picture in terms of fat loss and changes in body composition. We also recommend you take photos of your progress every two weeks, as well as record additional measurements of areas such as your waist, chest, thighs and upper arms every two weeks.

How do I extend my subscription?

You can extend your SCI Smart Coach plan by 1, 2 or 3 months at a discounted rate – the option to extend or upgrade your plan will appear one your original subscription ends!

What equipment do I need? / Where can I buy it?

If you’re signing up to our gym-based Ultimate Fat Loss Plan, then all you need is a membership at your local gym.

To make sure we give you the best results possible, the Home Transformation Plan and the Advanced Home Transformation Plan incorporate some simple equipment that you can own and keep at home. We’ve put together an Amazon wishlist here if you don’t already own what you need. If you can’t afford any new kit or can’t wait for the postman to deliver your shiny new gifts, we have some alternative suggestions so you can started straight away:

– Instead of a mat, try working out on a carpeted floor, using a rug or a sheet.
– If you don’t have dumbbells, a lot of the exercises can be performed holding large bags of sugar or flour.
– To replicate a step, you can use the first step of a staircase, or if you have one, some kind of sturdy low bench, or sturdy, preferably plastic box of equivalent height.

Do I have to count calories?

No! Absolutely not. And this is one of the many innovative benefits of the SCI Smart Coach – we’ve done all of the hard nutrition maths so you don’t have to! Every SCI Smart Coach recipe is standardised in terms of its nutritional composition and caloric content, so once you’ve input your details, you will be told how many meals and snacks you require each day. Simple!

How do I stay motivated?

We think you’re awesome for taking such a positive step towards improving your health and fitness. Taking control of your life in this way is one of the most empowering decisions you can make! Just remember why you wanted this change, and keep your eye on that goal. If you stick to your tailored plan, the results themselves will keep you motivated. We’ll send you emails and notifications to keep in touch and help inspire you throughout your plan, you can read some testimonials from other transformees here. Don’t forget you can follow us and use the hashtag #NoOrdinaryPlan on social media to stay connected with other people on their health and fitness journey! Now go and smash it!

I’ve got an allergy or intolerance…

We’ve created our recipes from a wide and rich variety of food sources, so that as well as having a library of amazing meals, you can also easily avoid any foods you might be allergic to. We’ve listed all the ingredients for each recipe with the video, and as every meal is created from scratch with whole foods, you’ll know exactly what’s in it – there are no hidden surprises!

I’m vegetarian/vegan…

Awesome! Our nutrition library contains veggie-friendly recipes and more are being added all the time. The nutrition library also has a built-in filter so that you can see just the veggie options. Vegan meal plans are also on their way soon – please contact us if you would like to be informed when these are available!

I’ve forgotten my password…

Oops! You can reset your password within the login popup. Underneath the username and password fields is a link, ‘Lost your password?’ – click this and enter your email address to have a new password sent to you at the email address you registered with.

Can I watch my SCI Smart Coach videos on my TV?

If your internet device has a HDMI port and you have Sky, you can easily take the HDMI lead out of your Sky and plug it into your internet enabled device to instantly stream whatever it is playing! Once finished, simply put the HDMI lead back into Sky and everything will continue to work as normal.

Can I share my login with someone else?

Unfortunately sharing your login with someone else violates our Terms of Use, but there’s a good reason for that: your programme is tailored for YOU based on the information you’ve given us, and there is only one you in the world! If someone else follows YOUR plan, it won’t be right for them, and it may even send them off in the wrong direction on their own health and fitness journey. Get your friend to sign up to their own SCI Smart Coach transformation instead, safe in the knowledge that it will be right for them.

What do I do if I’m away and can’t cook or prepare food from the nutrition library?

If you’re going to be away from the internet, we’ve made it easy for you to print out your nutrition recipes and take them with you – just click the ‘print’ button beneath the recipe. If you’re on the move and you’re not going to have the time or the facilities to cook each meal from scratch, you can cook your meals in bulk in advance, then store them in airtight containers and bring them with you. All the recipes are modular, so multiplying up the ingredients when you cook is easy!

Can I eat the same thing every day?

Whilst you can get away with eating the same thing every day for a short period of time, after a while then body can develop intolerances to certain foods. Not only that, but it can become quite boring, which means it’s more likely you’ll stray from your nutrition plan. There are plenty of delicious meals in the nutrition library, and we’re always adding more, to help you avoid both of these problems!

Can I have more than one breakfast meal per day?

Everyone loves breakfast, but we recommend you have only one of our breakfast meals per day! We strongly suggest you make this your first meal of the day, too. This is because we’ve designed your breakfasts with a special nutritional profile which helps to balance hormones and promote fat burning after a period spent ‘fasting’ during sleep. If your plan requires you to eat 4 or 5 meals, you would have 1 breakfast, and then make the other 3 or 4 meals up from lunches and dinners.

Can I have alcohol?

To get the best results out of your transformation we recommend that you avoid alcohol altogether. It’s only twelve weeks! If you absolutely must drink, then clear spirits such as gin and vodka are the ones to opt for.

Can I have protein shakes?

Whey protein triggers a spike in the body’s insulin levels, which for most people will be detrimental to the goal of weight reduction. For maximum health and fitness, nothing beats a whole foods approach, so enjoy eating the meals from the growing library of delicious nutrition videos we’ve already prepared for you!

Can I add sauces to my meals?

Unfortunately, most pre-made sauces contain not only sugar but also preservatives, so for the duration of the 12-week programme we recommend you avoid them completely. Instead, you can use a huge variety of natural condiments such as herbs, spices, salt and pepper! We can guarantee you’ll find the meals tasty enough without extra sauces!

Can I switch the meals around, i.e. have 2 lunches if I don’t fancy the breakfast option?

While all of our meals have the same number of calories in them, all of the breakfast options have little or no carbohydrates in them – this is to enable your body to burn fat in the morning for longer. Because of this important difference, we recommend you stick to having the breakfast recipes first thing in the morning wherever possible. The lunch and dinner options are completely interchangeable, so you can swap these around whenever you like!

What drinks can I have?

We recommend you stay as hydrated as possible by consuming water regularly. Exactly how much depends on several factors, but two litres of water per day is about the minimum an adult should be drinking. The bigger you are, then typically the more water you will need to stay hydrated. Your water intake should increase as you start training, to avoid becoming dehydrated through sweating.

Some other beverages are fine on top of your minimum two litres of water per day: tea and coffee (preferably black, but a dash of almond or coconut milk is fine), and green teas and fruit teas are good, too. The occasional sugar-free squash or diet drink is okay, just don’t consume them too often.

I broke! I ate/drank something I shouldn’t!

Don’t panic! Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, and the most important thing is to keep progressing regardless. Stick to your plan from here on in, you can do it! You can always extend your plan if you need to.

Should I warm up and cool down?

It’s important to get some blood flowing around your muscles before you train, in order to assist with injury prevention. This could be a couple of minutes of light stretching, or you can perform a few reps of the first few exercises of your workout without any additional weight. To cool down, do a couple of minutes of light static stretching.

I’m suffering with muscle soreness, should I still do my workout?

Delayed onset of muscle soreness, or DOMS as it is commonly known, is a totally natural occurrence – especially if you are getting back to exercise after a long break, or are trying something new! The good news is that it will reduce as you start to work out more, because your body adapts to the change in routine. You can still train the muscle even if it is sore, and sometimes training will even help to ease the pain in that area.

Can I eat foods that are not on my nutrition plan?

All of our recipes have been meticulously designed to help you make the most of your transformation and to help you recover quickly from your training, so to really get the most out of your programme, we recommend you stick to the plan. If you start to add in other foods, you may impede your progress.

Can I follow a different diet? I saw this great one on TV…

Although some popular commercial diets do have some merit, the nutrition plans we’ve designed for the SCI Smart Coach have been specifically engineered to support the training you will be undertaking, while maintaining stable blood sugar levels to limit the potential for falling ‘off the wagon’. We’ve also optimised our nutrition plans to improve and support heart health, brain function, hormonal health and healthy sleep. Following someone else’s diet is likely to impede your transformation.

I’m not losing weight – what should I do?

Be patient – weight reduction does not happen overnight. Get into a regular routine of consistent training and eating, and try to resist the urge to weigh yourself for at least the first two weeks. If there is no substantial weight loss after the first fortnight, the first thing to do is to double-check that the details you’ve given us are correct. After that, the next thing to do is ensure that you are training as hard as you can. You must push your body out of its comfort zone – if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

If you’re sure you’re training as hard as possible, and you know that your details are inputted correctly, and you are being consistent with training and eating, the next thing to do is to look at slightly reducing your calorie intake. You need to make small adjustments only, so cutting just one snack out per day, or having half of a serving of a main meal, instead of a whole one, will generally do the trick. As soon as your weight begins to drop again, look to increase your calorie intake by the same amount you reduced it by.

You can always contact us if you need some help or advice!

These weights are starting to feel easy…

Giving your body reasons to get fitter and stronger is one of the most important things you can do to progress with fitness increases and weight reduction. Just by increasing the weight by a small amount – giving your body that reason to get fitter and stronger – your body changes could rapidly increase. If you don’t have heavier weights to use, then try increasing the repetitions instead. Both of these changes will create what is known as progressive overload, and will help move you past a plateau.

I’m pumped! Can I do an extra workout?

We recommend that you work out three to four times a week, but for those wanting more, it’s fine to add in another session. We do recommend that you take a least two days per week off from your training, though. Giving your body time to rest will help you in the long run.

What should I do if I’ve got an injury?

If you are carrying any type of injury, we recommend you speak to your Doctor or Registered Physician before carrying out any exercise.

If your doctor says it’s okay to train, then contact us with the details of your injury and we’ll tell you which exercises in your plan you can do, and which should be replaced with an alternative!

Should I work out before I eat, or afterwards?

We recommend that you wait at least one hour after eating before you do any type of exercise. This is so that your body can send oxygen-rich blood to your muscles where it is needed, instead of using it to digest food in the gut. After your workout, however, you can consume your calories whenever you like!

I’m having problems logging in / I can’t see videos…

The SCI Smart Coach is a 24/7 streaming service, so first double check that you’re connected to the internet if your videos won’t play. If you’re still having trouble, reset your router and restart your device. If that doesn’t help, check with your Internet Service Provider that your broadband plan has enough bandwidth to stream videos. If all of this doesn’t get things working, you can reach us via email, and we’ll do everything we can to get you back to training hard and eating smart ASAP!

What if my gym doesn’t have this equipment?

We’ve made sure that our gym-based plans use machines and equipment you’re very likely to find in any good gym. If your gym is missing a machine or piece of equipment used in your plan, simply contact us and we’ll provide you with an alternative!

What if I can’t do an exercise?

If you’re physically struggling to perform an exercise in your plan, then try lowering the weights or decreasing the number of reps until you can make it through your sets. Then gradually build back up, ensuring you’re always making progress.

Some bodyweight exercises, like the press-ups and planks, might feel very challenging to those new to working out. But don’t panic! Do your planks or your press-ups with your weight on your knees to begin with, and gradually work towards doing them with your weight on your toes.

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