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keeping you up to date with the latest industry news


The International Confederation of Exercise Professionals (ICREPs) admitted the National Fitness Leadership Alliance (NFLA) as its first North American member, which represents 10,000 exercise professionals in Canada.

Richard Beddie, ICREPs chair, said he is very happy with the outcome as the demand for independent registration bodies increases steadily. He stressed this move as timely and important as many training providers in Canada and around the world are trying to establish an accreditation system, but ICREPs only recognises the registers that work independently of training providers.

Following are ICREPs key criteria for independent registers to join:

  • Non-profit legal entity
  • Operating independently from training providers and exercise facilities
  • Operating a register on a national level
  • Supported by the industry

REPs UK is part of ICREPs, which is a membership based organisation with members operating in four continents, over seven countries, and collectively register over 60,000 individual exercise professionals.

Jean-Ann Marnoch (REPs UK Registrar) stated “We are very excited that Canada is joining ICREPs and look forward to the mapping of our standards to facilitate the reciprocal arrangements so that our members will be able to work in Canada.”

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We’re delighted to announce that REPs UAE has achieved full membership of the relevant global organisation for national fitness registers. Following a rigorous application process REPs UAE was admitted to ICREPs at a major global fitness convention in the United States.

REPs UAE Chief Executive Naser Al Tamimi and Technical Director Ben Gittus attended the annual IHRSA convention in Las Vegas from 18 - 21 March. At the convention REPs UAE were able to present the application for full membership of ICREPs in person. The ICREPs Board who took the decision to admit REPs UAE includes representatives of fitness registers in UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

REPs UAE can also announce that Richard Beddie, CEO of Fitness New Zealand and Chair of ICREPs will join a new 'REPs UAE Oversight Committee' which will oversee general running of the register and confirm REPs UAE operates on a non-profit basis.

Global acceptance as a high quality fitness register is a key milestone in the development of REPs UAE. Working with partners including Dubai Sports Council REPs UAE will continue the drive to increase and maintain standards of instruction in the UAE fitness industry.

REPs UAE Chief Executive Mr Naser Al Tamimi said 'I was very pleased to attend IHRSA 2013 in Las Vegas and interact with the global fitness industry and the other fitness registers from around the world. Full membership of ICREPs confirms REPs UAE is being set up in line with global best practice and allows us to move ahead with increasing professionalism in UAE fitness and promote exercise to the community'.

Richard Beddie, Chair of ICREPs said 'it is fantastic that we have been able to admit REPs UAE as a full member, we look forward to working with them to improve industry standards in UAE, the wider region and the world. On a personal level, I am delighted to join a committee to support the operation of REPs UAE'.

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We are afraid to announce that the new Level 4 Strength and Conditioning category will not be available from the 1st April, as previously mentioned. However, rest assured that we are working hard to have it ready in the coming months.

The new category is being created following significant demand from REPs members, for a new Level 4 role amongst Personal Trainers. This will allow them to reach the highest level of their profession (without needing a specialism in a medical area).

This category will be available to REPs instructors who have achieved the UK Strength & Conditioning Association UKSCA accreditation, which supports employability via this route.

An instructor will require a prerequisite of the Level 3 Personal Trainer Category on

We will keep you updated and let you know as soon as the New Category is ready for you to sign up for.

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This year our South East Convention is taking place on Wednesday 15 May and Thursday 16 May at Raynes Park, David Lloyd in London. Simply follow this link to book your place now.

Entry fee for each day is £45 for REPs members (£60 for non-members) and this includes refreshments and a buffet lunch.

The 2 day Convention is the perfect opportunity to keep on top of your Continued Professional Development this spring and gain valuable CPD points.

Both days, doors open at 9.15am, with sessions starting at 10.00am and concluding at 4.00pm. Both days will also have keynote presentations from some inspiring fitness professionals.



Day 1

  • Keynote presentation on “Weight Loss – What Works, What Doesn't and Why!” Led by Dr Ian Campbell from TV's The Biggest Loser.
  • 12 interactive and informative workshops, including: "Advanced Weightlifting & Functional Training", "Move More - Physical Activity and Cancer" and "Bulgarian Bag Training".

Day 2

  • Keynote presentation on "Great Trainers: Born or Made?" from Fred Hoffman, author of “Going Global: An Expert’s Guide to Working Abroad in the Fitness Industry”.
  • Another 12 great workshops including: "Metabolic Training using Ropes and Bands", "Dynamax Med Balls" and "Integrated Bodyweight Training".

We really hope that you can make it as we’re sure that it’s going to be an informative and fun-filled couple of days!

For more information on what’s on offer follow this link.




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Nichola Curran, Founder and Director of Evolve Leisure, speaks about how the introduction of new Health and Wellbeing Boards will benefit public health and offer a great opportunity for fitness professionals.


There is a big shake-up on its way concerning public health. From April 1st onwards, new Health and Wellbeing Boards are being introduced with ring fenced health budgets for local communities. Their aim will be to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities and reduce health inequalities.

This new approach to public health offers a great opportunity for fitness professionals who are qualified to offer exercise referral. As we all know exercise can do wonders for our health and wellbeing and the introduction of these new boards gives us a great opportunity to really become part of the conversation. We in the fitness industry need to open up to the idea of engaging with local government and GPs. This way, we can really shape the health and wellbeing agenda.

The Health and Wellbeing Boards are very much up for meeting and engaging with the public. They have a duty to meet their targets to improve local health outcomes. If fitness professionals can successfully prove the importance and effectiveness of exercise then there is a real chance that partnerships can be forged.

We in the exercise profession understand the benefits of exercise. However there is often a lack of understanding, amongst both the public and the medical profession regarding just how effective exercise can be in treating a range of ailments. For example, exercise can help combat diabetes, obesity, depression, stress, arthritis, high blood pressure…the list goes on.

Exercise can often be just as good as prescribed medicine in battling a range of health issues. As we know, prevention is often better than cure, so make sure to look out for ways in which you can engage with your local Health and Wellbeing Board. Its important to remember that we as fitness professionals are well placed to offer advice which can improve the health of our nation whilst potentially saving the NHS money.

Nichola Curran will be at the REPs South East Convention on both days and will be speaking more about this subject. To see Nichola and a whole host of other speakers, book your place now!

Also, to view Nichola’s webinar on the changes taking place, follow this link


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Over 40% of us regularly take at least one vitamin or mineral supplement, but do they really improve our health, or are they just money down the drain? Matt Lovell, performance nutritionist and Ambassador for Kinetica Sports explains.

Matt Lovell

In an ideal world people would follow a regime of regular exercise and healthy eating, such as a fully varied and nutritious diet. There then wouldn’t be a need for additional vitamins and dietary supplements (e.g. protein drinks). However, we all know that time pressure, combined with modern food choices and farming methods has reduced the range of nutrients available to us.

Supplements can help provide convenience and make up for short falls in our diets. If diet alone was adequate then we wouldn’t have a large percentage of the population showing deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as omega 3 fats, b-vitamins and things like vitamin D.

Statistically, people are buying more supplements and this is both good and bad. It’s good as people might be more health aware but it is bad if they are using them instead of a varied diet. Advertising probably has a lot to do with it, as do diet programmes which rely overtly on shakes as meal replacements.

In the real world people are simply not eating appropriately. This is due to an over emphasis on omega 6 fats, a generally inadequate level of proteins and omega 3 fatty acids, combined with excess grain consumption and severely restricted vegetable and fruit consumption. B-vitamins are also hugely lacking in people’s diets, along with magnesium and other essential minerals.

It should be noted that if you supplement regularly it is advisable to get your bloods checked from a medical professional.

Also, make sure to look out for brands with a pharmaceutical grade, they should follow GMP manufacturing standards, drug screening and use quality forms of ingredients – e.g. no fillers or binders. They should also keep to bioavailable forms of minerals and vitamins – using the enzyme activated forms where possible.

Therefore, if you are going to use supplements make sure you do your research and also ensure that you follow a healthy, balanced and varied diet plan.

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There seems to be a fear amongst women that lifting heavy weights will cause them to bulk up and leave them with unwanted muscles.

Amanda Khouv from Women’s Fitness recently outlined six good reasons as to why the ladies out there should be lifting heavier weights. Her number one reason for lifting weights is that it prolongs your life. She explains that the essential muscle mass which you build when lifting heavier weights can play an important role in reducing blood pressure, tackling obesity and reducing the risk of developing diabetes.

The article also outlines that although maintaining a healthy diet is important, adding heavy weight training will also help to fight off toxins from pollution, stress and alcohol. Your bones and muscles store minerals which support your immune system and weight training keeps these cell spaces healthy.

liftingStrength training plays an important role in weight loss. Research shows adding strength training to a calorie restriction program (diet) results in maintenance of weight loss (DL Ballor, et al 1988). Gary R. Hunter, et al (2000), who also conducted research in this area state that performing strength training and gaining muscle you will burn more calories while resting as strength training increases your metabolism.

The table below gives you a guide to how many sets and how many reps you should be performing depending on your exercise goal.

Training goal



Rest period

General health and fitness




Maximal strength








Hypertrophy (muscle size)




Muscular endurance

12 +



Baechle, T., Earle, R. (2008)

In addition Science Daily has also made clear that despite decades of doctors' reluctance to recommend weight training to pregnant women, a new University of Georgia study has found that a supervised, low-to-moderate intensity program is safe and beneficial. A recent keen advocate of weight training when pregnant is Nell McAndrew who is expecting her second child.

If you would like to read any of the mentioned articles in full please see the reference list below:

Baechle, T., Earle, R. (2008) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. National Strength and Conditioning Association 406-408.

DL Ballor, VL Katch, MD Becque and CR Marks. (1988) Resistance weight training during caloric restriction enhances lean body weight maintenance.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (47), 19-25.

Gary R. Hunter, Carla J. Wetzstein, David A. Fields, Amanda Brown, and Marcas M. Bamman. (2000) Resistance training increases total energy expenditure and free-living physical activity in older adults. Journal of Applied Physiology (89), 977-984.

Patrick J. O'Connor, Melanie S. Poudevigne, M. Elaine Cress, Robert W. Motl, James F. Clapp, III. Safety and Efficacy of Supervised Strength Training Adopted in Pregnancy. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Volume 8, Issue 3, March

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According to medical experts February 18 was the sickest day of the year due to increased socialising, following January detoxification and Valentines celebrations. This leads us to ask: should being sick put you off training, or should you power through?

There are of course arguments both for and against. Exercising is after all good for you and often getting up, and out of the house is better than staying cooped up in bed. However, others would argue that being sick is your body’s way of telling you to slow down and you should therefore take the opportunity to rest.

An article on The Huffington Post recently weighed up the pros and cons of exercising whilst feeling ill.

On the whole it argued that exercising whilst ill was the right approach, providing that you kept the intensity low to medium.

However it did outline the following Do Nots:

  • Do NOT exercise if you have a fever.
  • Do NOT work out at the gym whilst you're contagious.
  • Do NOT give up altogether.
  • Do NOT immediately try to make up for lost time.

Ultimately, is up to the individual, everyone is different and if you are unsure of your symptoms you should of course consult your GP.

What are your thoughts, do you power through or do you indulge in some R&R?

To read the full Huffington Post article follow this link:

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Skills for Care, in partnership with Skills Active, have commissioned research in order to develop an understanding of the benefits and practicalities of developing a shared workforce development programme. The research aims to explore the opportunities that may be available for greater dialogue and collaboration between social care employers and employers within the sport and fitness sectors. The research also aims to identify existing examples of sport and fitness providers/professionals engaging with social care providers and commissioners in order to deliver activities for adults in receipt of social care.

The research team is keen to speak to REP members that are either exploring opportunities to engage with the social care sector or who are already delivering services to adults in receipt of social care. Interested members should contact the research team manager Andy Parkinson on 07713 357386 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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WIN a FREE Polar Heart Rate Monitor!

This annual survey is an informative resource, which:

- Has shaped many recent changes and improvements to the Register

- Enables us to learn about your experience of joining REPs and the services you use and value

- Allows us to review our offering, highlighting any aspects of the Register that require attention.

In order for us to get a full picture, it really is crucial that we gain feedback from as many members as possible.

This survey should only take 15 minutes and will be conducted independently to guarantee anonymity.


Survey closes on Friday 15th March.

Please note: All results will be treated confidentially in accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct. SkillsActive will report the aggregated results to REPs, and no individual responses will be identified in the report. We may contact some, but not all, of those that tick the box stating they would like to be contacted.


Enter your email address at the end of the survey to be in with the chance of winning a Polar FT80 Heart Rate Monitor. The lucky winner will be selected at random and contacted directly!

Prize draw terms and conditions

  1. The closing date for prize draw entry is Friday 15th March 2013.
  2. The email address supplied will only be used to contact the winner.
  3. The winner of the prize draw will be randomly drawn on Monday 18th March 2013 and the winner will be notified by email within six weeks.
  4. Permission may be sought from the winner to have their name published in marketing material – however, there is no obligation.
  5. There is no cash alternative.
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Food and farming charity Sustain is calling for a new tax on sugary drinks with the proceeds going towards child health.

soft drink

In a pre-budget report, the charity claims that the government could raise £1billion a year from a 20p a litre rise in tax on high-sugar drinks. It suggests this extra revenue could be used to pay for free school meals and initiatives encouraging children to eat more fruit and vegetables.

According to the report, the levy would also help save lives by cutting consumption of sugar-laden drinks, which has been backed by more than 60 organisations including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Friends of the Earth, the National Heart forum and the Royal Society for Public Health.

Sustain’s Campaign Manager Charlie Powell, said: "Sugar-laden drinks are mini health time bombs, contributing to dental diseases, obesity and a host of life-threatening illnesses which cost the NHS billions each year.

"We are delighted that so many organisations want to challenge the government to show it has a public health backbone, by including a sugary drinks duty in budget 2013.

"It's a simple and easy-to-understand measure which will help save lives by reducing sugar in our diets and raising much-needed money to protect children's health."

The chairman of Sustain, Mike Rayner, of Oxford University's department of public health, added: "Just as we use fiscal measures to discourage drinking and smoking and help prevent people from dying early, there is now lots of evidence that the same approach would work for food.

"Our obesity epidemic causes debilitating illness, life-threatening diseases and misery for millions of people. It is high time government did something effective about this problem."

Follow this link for more information.

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Physical Activity Advisor


Have you completed the Walking Instructor Training?

If yes, and you hold a REPs entry Level 2 qualification in Gym, Exercise to Music or Water based Exercise, we can update your profile qualifications to include ‘Physical Activity Advisor’.

Please upload your Walking certificate to your activepassport™ and we will then add this category to your profile qualifications.

To do this simply:

  • Login to your activepassport™ account at
  • Click on ‘Entry Qualifications’ and then select ‘Log Qualifications’
  • Next, select ‘Level 2 Fitness Walking’,  and Enter Your Awarding Organisation.

Level 4 Specialist Instructor - Strength and Conditioning


Following significant demand from REPS members, for the creation of a new Level 4 role amongst Personal Trainers allowing them to reach the highest level of their profession (without needing a specialism in a medical area), the Register is adding Strength and Conditioning to the career framework.

From 1st April, 2013 this category is available to REPs instructors who have achieved the UK Strength & Conditioning Association UKSCA accreditation, which supports employability via this route.

An instructor will require a prerequisite of the Level 3 Personal Trainer Category on REPs, in order to gain this new category.

Training providers that deliver training in this area will need to emphasise to their students that the requirement to gain L4 REPs status is UKSCA accreditation via successful completion of the UKSCA assessment day.

If you have already successfully completed the UKSCA assessment day (and therefore hold UKSCA accreditation) and wish to be recognised in this category by REPs, please scan and email a copy of your UKSCA certificate after 1st April 2013 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or alternatively, upload to your activepassport™ account at (instructions below):

To do this simply:

  • Login to your activepassport™ account at
  • Click on ‘Entry Qualifications’ and then select ‘Log Qualifications’
  • Select ‘L4 Strength and Conditioning’.  Awarding Organisation ‘UKSCA’, and Level ‘Level 4’.

If you are interested in attending an accreditation day please contact the UKSCA This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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We’ve teamed up with these great health, well-being and fitness brands to offer you fantastic discounts on a range of products and services.

Choose REPs as your ‘go-to’ for everything you need to stay on top of your game!


Nutricentre Sports – 12% OFF


Kinetica Sports - 20% OFF

  • Enter REPS20 at Checkout!
  • All Kinetica products are rigorously tested and scientifically proven to work, to help ensure peak condition before, during and after training.
  • Follow this link to start purchasing today.

KINP812-Kinetica-EmailSignOff-V2 (4)


  • Simply enter REPS20 during checkout for any shoe purchases.
  • In 2003, VIVOBAREFOOT™ became the pioneer of barefoot movement by launching the first barefoot shoe with a patented, ultra thin puncture resistant sole, offering maximum sensory feedback and protection.
  • Follow this link to make your purchase today. Offer ends 30th April 2013.


Zaggora - 10% OFF

  • Enter REPS at Checkout!
  • Follow this link to start purchasing now.


Bupa – 15% OFF

  • Includes discounts on Everyday Healthcare Costs and Bupa By You Health Insurance
  • Follow this link for full details, including terms and conditions.


Kinetica offer terms and conditions:

  • The promotional code entitles you to 20% off any Kinetica Sports Products purchased online at
  • Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion, discount or offer.
  • Offer is subject to availability, whilst stocks last.
  • The promotional code can be used in multiple transactions.
  • Retailer reserves the right to refuse any promotional code if it suspects misuse, abuse or fraud.

VIVOBAREFOOT™ offer terms and conditions:

  • The promotional code entitles you to 20% off any VIVOBAREFOOT™ shoes via – It cannot be used for any other product or at any other websites.
  • The promotional code is valid for use between 8th Jan – 30th April 2013.
  • Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion, discount or offer.
  • Offer is subject to availability, whilst stocks last.
  • The promotional code can only be used once in one transaction.
  • Retailer reserves the right to refuse any promotional code if it suspects misuse, abuse or fraud.
  • By making a purchase in conjunction with this offer at you are consenting to receive marketing communications from REPs and VIVOBAREFOOT™. You will be given the option to opt out of further communications should you wish to. We will not pass on your details to third parties not previously mentioned without seeking your permission first.
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An article, posted on discussed the benefits of protein powder, in aiding muscle growth.

We would be interested to hear your thoughts…


Research explained that dietary protein had been found to increase post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rates and inhibit muscle protein breakdown during the post-exercise recovery period.

The real question for them was the need and merit to advocate additional supplementation for healthy individuals already achieving relatively high protein intakes from diet alone.

With so much ambiguity around this topic, researchers carried out an investigation (on 22 randomised controlled trials of participants on a resistance-type exercise training with one subject group receiving a protein supplement or a modified higher protein diet), with the following findings:

  • Protein supplements significantly augment the adaptive response of our muscles; increasing skeletal muscle mass and strength compared to non-consumers.
  • In ‘younger’ individuals (< 50 years) the introduction of protein supplements to resistance training regimes produced a staggering greater than fourfold increase in fat free mass accumulation, and an impressive demonstration of 20% greater strength in one rep max leg press compared to the placebo groups.
  • Results for the over fifties were intriguing. Examined individually, every study failed to observe a significant benefit on fat free mass gain from protein supplementation. But when compiled together, bringing about an increase in one’s power to detect an effect, it was found that supplementation actually increased fat free mass by 38%, compared to placebo, after three months of training.

Follow this link to read the research conclusions and for further information.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Leave your feedback in the comments section below.

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Check out this great article from Janet Thomson, Mind-Body Health & Fitness expert, on the power of the mind during exercise.

The Tortoise Or The Hare?

How many of your clients started the year with resolutions that are already fading?

Are some less motivated than they were a few weeks ago?

spinning class

You are giving them good advice, designing great programmes that you know will work, if they put in the work in between sessions, but what they are doing when they are not with you may be negatively impacting on their resolve. If you don’t help them change their behaviours, you can’t change their bodies.

We have two minds, a conscious mind that we are aware of, which process approximately 7 pieces of information simultaneously, and an unconscious mind which simultaneously processes billions of chemicals and thought-based signals.

These thoughts are based on past experiences and learnings and they dictate everything we do. When someone eats a cake even though they want to lose weight, something in their psyche is telling them it’s OK and that they want the pleasure of the cake more than the pain of being overweight.

This won’t change without some reprogramming. The good news is it is easy to change the way you think, the bad news is that it’s just as easy not to change.

Sometimes the fear of change is enough to stop the process before it’s begun. By giving your clients one small change to make, “allowing” them to keep the other behaviours (for now), and asking them to repeat this one small thing again and again, you can desensitize their fear.

As they see and feel the benefits of even one small change, they become open to the next change.  Whilst in reality it would be great if clients took on board all of our advice and made huge changes, for most people this is too much to ask. We should remember the story of the tortoise and the hare…..

janetJanet is one of the UKs leading experts in Mind-Body Health & Fitness.  She combines an MSc in Nutrition and Exercise Science with advanced certifications in a range of psychological therapies. Formerly Head of Training for a National Slimming Chain, she ran her own chain of successful  health  clubs and is now a Best Selling author and regularly contributes to TV and media. She is an endorsed training provider and runs Life Coaching for Weight Loss courses. Visit   or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Earlier this month, REPs Register Jean-Ann Marnoch joined representatives from 18 other core partner organisations in Valencia, Spain, to discuss ‘next steps’ in creating a European platform for e-Learning in fitness.

Based on European standards for fitness, the e-Learning Fitness project (eLF) aims to produce a template for national registers that can be used across European countries.

It was explained that a pilot register platform is currently under construction, allowing graduates of the e-learning courses to become registered.

The e-learning training provision for Exercise to Music, Gym, Aqua and Personal Training is also being developed, with learners for a series of pilot trials being recruited across relevant partner countries.

The eLF project involves partners from 14 countries, including REPs UK and the University of Rome, in Italy.

REPs Registrar Jean-Ann Marnoch said: “We hope that the provision of standardised e-learning will increase participation from the many instructors around Europe that find it difficult to access courses for instructing and training that meet the agreed standards.”

Follow this link to find out more about the e-Learning Fitness project (eLF).

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core strength

A survey for The American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal (ACSM) predicts that the number one fitness trend for 2013 will be the demand for educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals.

The ACSM’s survey was completed by 3,346 health and fitness professionals worldwide.

According to researchers, the number of employed Fitness Trainers in the US alone is projected to rise by 29 per cent from 251,400 to 311,800 in 2020.


The survey revealed that top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2013 are:

  1. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals.
  2. Strength training – Most people now incorporate some form of weight training to improve or maintain muscle strength.
  3. Body weight training – Using the body’s natural resistance rather than lots of complicated equipment to train. Think push-ups, pull-ups, planks and squats.
  4. Children and obesity – The ACSM’s survey predicts that exercise programmes aimed at addressing childhood obesity will be a major fitness trend in 2013.
  5. Exercise and weight-loss – According to researchers the most popular diet plans incorporate exercise for weight loss.
  6. Fitness programmes for older adults – The fitness industry looks set to capitalise on an aging baby-boomer generation with age-appropriate exercise programmes.
  7. Personal training – As more PTs qualify, the notion of having a Personal Trainer is branching into new arenas including corporate wellness, community-based, and medical fitness programmes.
  8. Functional fitness – as the idea of exercise as medicine grows, so will the trend for functional fitness (using strength training to improve balance, co-ordination, force, power and endurance to perform activities of daily living).
  9. Core training – as well as Pilates this year’s on-going popularity for core training will see equipment like; balance balls and wobble boards becoming more mainstream.
  10. Group personal training – Ideal for budget conscious clients (and a good way for a PT to increase their revenue) PTs are increasingly offering sessions to small groups of two to four clients, at hourly rate, rather than paying for a one-to-one session.

Leave us your thoughts on these predictions in the comment section below…

Follow this link to read more.

Recieve 25% OFF ‘The Complete Guide’ series - 18 quality titles for those in Sport, Health and Fitness @SkillsActive @REPsUK

Follow this link to make your purchase today.

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Check out this interesting article written by Jules Twells (from the Inclusive Fitness Initiative and English Federation of Disability Sport), which focuses on how the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) is driving change across the UK…

It is estimated that around 17% of the UK population have an impairment, yet after a year of National sporting success, disabled people are seriously under-represented as users of fitness and gym facilities.

Excellent customer service, training and marketing is vital in providing accessible fitness provision to support the growth of disabled users using gyms.

The Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) was set up to drive this change, encouraging disabled clients to use gyms by:

  • addressing inequality in physical activity for disabled people,
  • reaching inactive populations and,
  • raising awareness of the benefits of exercise for disabled people.

Inclusive Fitness addresses inclusion as a whole, to encourage a cultural change within the leisure industry and support facilities to achieve the IFI Mark of accreditation. To get this, gyms and health centres must undergo an assessment inclusion across the following elements:

InclusiveFitness Circle

The assessment process accredits facilities at three levels; provisional, registered or excellent. The level awarded depends on a facilities commitment to inclusion and includes the number of Exercise Professionals who have achieved REPs disability categories and considers the additional benefit of trained staff with Exercise Referral and specialist population categories.


The Inclusive Fitness Initiative is committed to continuing a cultural change within the leisure industry to not only market and cater to disabled people so that service provision is available to them, but to change disabled people’s attitudes towards the leisure industry.

Recent research reveals that psychological barriers are the biggest barriers preventing disabled people to participate in physical activity.  Through inclusive marketing and awareness, the industry can change attitudes through more inclusive imagery, messaging and mapping and gapping where service provision doesn’t meet the needs of this market.

It is essential that Exercise Professionals are well trained and confident to support disabled people to achieve and maintain levels of health and fitness.

For more information on the Inclusive Fitness Initiative and the IFI Mark visit

Jules TwellsJules Twells has worked within marketing roles for both the leisure industry and third sector for over 12 years.  Now working for the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) she supports the development and delivery of the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) to influence the health and fitness industry to become inclusive and encourage disabled people to participate in physical activity.

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vitality show


We are very excited to announce that REPs will be exhibiting at the Vitality Show, for another year and would like to invite YOU to join us!

Held at Earls Court, London from 21st – 24th March 2013, this is the UK’s largest health, beauty, fitness and well-being event and is now in its 14th year.

To redeem this great offer, simply visit and book your tickets here quoting:

REPSWD for £10 weekday tickets, saving 50%

REPSWE for £12 weekend tickets, saving 40%

*Booking fee applies. Codes expire 20 March 2013.

We hope you can make it!

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We spoke to Para-athletes, and REPs Registered Instructors, Craig McCann and Mike Hanney for the latest issue of the Journal. 

Craig was selected for the London 2012 Team GB Wheelchair Fencing team just two years after taking up the sport. He was registered disabled after suffering severe nerve damage, following surgery to remove a brain tumour. He is a REPs Level 2 Gym Instructor and is aiming to be selected for Brazil 2016.

craig mccann

Mike represented Team GB in the 1988 Paralympics in Fencing and now works as a REPs Level 3 Advanced Fitness Instructor in Bristol. He is also hoping to qualify for the 2016 Games in Brazil. 


Read the full version of the interview…

REPs: What has been your greatest sporting achievement?

Craig: Being selected for Team GB was just incredible news; I’d say making the team has been my biggest achievement to date.

Mike: Obviously for a sportsperson the ultimate goal is an Olympics or Paralympics and I was fortunate enough to make selection for the Paralympics in 1988 which took place in Seoul, Korea.

Other than that I am very proud that I became a PADI Divemaster in 2005 and to my knowledge I am still one of the only paraplegics in the country to hold a full commercial dive medical which gives me teaching status as a Divemaster. I took up skiing (on a mono ski) about 2 years ago, so still have goals which I want to achieve. I am also currently working towards both coaching and refereeing qualifications in fencing.

 REPs: What advice would you give to REPs trainers who may have clients with disabilities?

Craig: Every individual is different and every disability is different. So it’s about being able to alter your approach, this may include devising different exercises to suit different needs. The key might be to work more closely with your client.

Mike: My personal feeling is that, as with anyone you are working with, you need to get to know them.

Don't be shy just ask. As a trainer you need to know a client’s limitations, or if they have pain/lack of sensation in areas of the body. Only when you have this knowledge can you really come up with an appropriate exercise plan.

One thing to keep in mind, the progress may be slow and in your eyes minimal. For some of your disabled clients, just gaining a degree of control over movement is a massive achievement.


REPs: What advice would you give to people with disabilities who want to get more involved with sport and fitness?

Craig: Just go for it. There’s often no reason why you can’t get involved in sport and fitness in some way – it’s about being able to adapt. I suppose you have to learn to work around your disability.

Mike: If you are thinking about making fitness your career, you may already have a list as long as your arm of the barriers which will stop you. Believe me

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