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 unlimited access to our progressive transformation plans and a tailored eating plan designed by us for you. All plans feature HD videos walking you through every single exercise and delicious recipe. 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.

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. Subscribe to the plan you want.
3. Get to work!

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

1. Your training tab delivers all of your workouts to you with video tutorials, updated every month;
2. Your nutrition tab  hosts a library of delicious meal videos with nutrition designed by us and recipes created by our professional chef;
3. Your meal plan tab gives 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 allows you to manage your data and keep your personal information up-to-date; and
5. The FAQ tab answers 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 training, 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 multiple award-winning National Level Strength & Conditioning coaches, and the meals are engineered to cutting-edge 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. We also believe the SCI Smart Coach represents amazing value for money – not only do you get unlimited access to world-class training and tailored nutrition, but the same services bought at a gym might cost you anywhere from £200 to £500 a month!

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

We have worked tirelessly to ensure that the SCI Smart Coach will work for people of all ages, all abilities, and all shapes and sizes. The nutrition plan is individualised, and specific to YOU. Our 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?

Every human body responds differently to training and exercise (that’s why we tailor your plan!), so there is no simple answer. Weight loss will be determined by a number of interconnected factors, including what your nutrition and exercise history was like before you began using the SCI Smart Coach, 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. If you feel like something’s not working, just get in touch with us and we’ll help you out!

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 incorporates 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.

Enjoy!

Do I have to count calories?

NO! Absolutely not. Ever! This is one of the many innovative benefits of the SCI Smart Coach – we’ve done all of the complex nutrition maths behind the scenes, so you don’t have to! Every SCI Smart Coach recipe is standardised in terms of its (secret!) nutritional composition and caloric content, so once you’ve input your details, we use that information to determine how many meals and snacks you require each day. All you have to do is eat that many meals and snacks! Simple!

How do I stay motivated?

Well, we think you’re awesome for making such a positive move towards improving your health and fitness! Taking control of your life in this way is one of the most empowering decisions any of us can make. It helps to remember why you wanted this positive change, and to keep your eye on that goal.

When you stick to your tailored plan, the results themselves will keep you motivated. You can read some testimonials from other clients here, and don’t forget you can follow us and use the hashtag #NoOrdinaryPlan on social media to stay connected with us and 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 loads of 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. We also have a vegan meal plan in the works – please contact us if you want to test these recipes and be one of our vegan trailblazers!

I’ve forgotten my password…

Oops! It happens… You can reset your password on the home page by choosing ‘sign in’, then 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! Sorted!

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

Oh you had to be different didn’t you? If your internet device has an 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. When you’re finished, pop the HDMI lead back into Sky and everything will continue to work as normal!

Can I share my login with someone else?

Sharing your login with someone else violates our Terms of Use, but there’s a good reason for that, we promise: your programme is tailored for YOU based on the personal specifications you entered when you signed up, 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 hamper progress on their own health and fitness journey. Get your friend or family member to sign up to their own SCI Smart Coach subscription instead, safe in the knowledge that it will be tailored for them!

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

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 you can just multiply up the ingredients to multiply up the meals: if you quadruple the ingredients, you get four meals! Now you’re good to go!

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 the body may develop intolerances to certain overeaten 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, some of us love it twice, but we recommend you have only ONE of our breakfast meals PER DAY! We recommend you make this your FIRST meal of the day, too. This is because we’ve designed your breakfasts using 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 the lunches and dinners!

Can I have alcohol?

To get the best results out of your transformation we recommend that you avoid alcohol altogether. If you absolutely must drink, then clear spirits such as gin and vodka are going to impede your progress the least – but we still suggest you stay clear of alcohol!

Can I have protein shakes?

Protein shakes are really popular nowadays, and for some athletes and sportspeople they might be useful, but whey protein also triggers a spike in the body’s insulin levels, which for most people will be detrimental to the goal of weight reduction. The truth is, for maximum health and fitness benefits, nothing beats a whole foods approach! So go ahead and enjoy eating the meals from the growing library of delicious nutrition videos that we’ve already prepared for you!

Can I add sauces to my meals?

Sadly, most off-the-shelf sauces contain not only sugar but also preservatives, so we recommend you avoid them completely. The great news is, nature provides – you have a huge variety of natural condiments such as herbs, spices, salt and pepper at your disposal! Our meals and snacks make use of loads of these authentic flavours, and we’re confident that you’ll find the meals tasty enough without any extra sauces!

Can I switch meals and have 2 lunches if I don’t fancy breakfast?

We recommend you DON’T swap out the breakfast option: while all of our meals have the same number of calories in them, the breakfast options have a very special nutritional profile which enables your body to burn fat in the morning for longer. The lunch and dinner options are all completely interchangeable, so you can swap these around as much as, and whenever, you like!

What drinks can I have?

We recommend you stay as hydrated as possible by consuming water regularly. Exactly how much you ought to drink depends on several factors, but two litres of water per day is around 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 gradually increase as you start training, to help avoid dehydration through sweating.

Tea and coffee are fine on top of this minimum water in take (preferably black coffee), and green teas and fruit teas are fine, too. If you need the occasional sugar-free squash or diet drink, then go for it, but don’t consume them often

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

Don’t panic! Everybody makes mistakes from time to time (including us!), and the most important thing is to keep progressing regardless! If you slipped, it doesn’t mean everything’s ruined. Stick to your plan from here on in – YOU CAN DO IT!

Should I warm up and cool down?

It’s very 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 after your workout, do a couple of minutes of light static stretching!

I’ve got muscle soreness, should I 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! If you have an injury, however, you should stop training immediately and speak to your doctor.

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 training and to help you recover quickly from your workouts! Did we already say meticulously? This is expertly-planned and finely-tuned nutrition science – to get the most out of your programme, we strongly recommend you stick to the plan, which means sticking to SCI Smart Coach meals. 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 of the many popular commercial diets have some merit, many more of them don’t, most of them are ‘one size fits all’, and and a lot of the rapid weight loss diets are actively harmful to your long-term health. The nutrition plans we’ve designed for the SCI Smart Coach, and which are tailored to you, have been specifically engineered to support the training you will be undertaking, while maintaining stable blood sugar levels and a balanced hormonal profile. As well as being designed to burn fat and tone muscle, we’ve optimised our nutrition plans to improve and support heart health, brain function, hormonal health and healthy sleep. Following someone else’s diet is very likely to impede your progress, and may even be damaging.

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

Firstly, be patient! Healthy and sustainable weight reduction does not happen overnight. Get into a regular routine of consistent training and eating, and 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, because these details are used to tailor your plan. After that, the next thing to do is ensure that you’re being honest with yourself about how consistently you’re training. 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, we’re always happy to hear from you!

These weights are starting to feel easy…

Awesome, that means you’re getting strong! And there’s an easy way to keep getting stronger! Just by increasing the weights you’re using a small amount, your body is given a reason to keep progressing, and the benefits could rapidly increase! If you don’t have heavier weights to use, then increase the number of repetitions you’re doing instead. Both of these changes will create what is known as progressive overload, and will help move you past a plateau! Keep it up!

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

We love getting pumped! We recommend that you work out three to four times a week, but for those wanting more, it’s fine to add in another, fifth, session. We do recommend that you take a least two days off per week from your training, though, to allow your body to recover from the training and adapt to the increased effort by becoming fitter and stronger. 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, you must speak to your Doctor or Registered Physician before carrying out any exercise, and follow their instructions.

If your doctor says it’s okay to train, then contact us with the details of your injury and we’ll let you know 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…

Oh dear! 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 PC, tablet or smartphone. 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 likely to find in any good gym. If your gym is missing a machine or piece of equipment used in your plan, just contact us, holler, and we’ll provide you with some alternatives!

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.

If you can’t do a specific exercise for medical reasons, or your doctor has told you not to, just get in touch and we’ll recommend an alternative!

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