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Our Official Blog

keeping you up to date with the latest industry news


Last week Future Fit won ‘Innovative Training Programme of the Year’ at the ukactive Active Training Awards, an accolade we are immensely proud of. After posing for photographs and splashing our achievement across social media, it got me thinking about the ways our industry defines success.

Whilst it’s fantastic to receive recognition for what you do, clearly as a training provider we don’t exist with the sole aim of winning awards and trophies – if anything these are reward for success. There’s a parallel with music business awards such as the BRITs – I can’t imagine many world-famous bands are fixated on winning the ‘best album’ title and give that more significance than playing to 50,000 people in stadiums and arenas. 

So what about personal trainers? How do we measure success? This is a question I often ask fitness professionals and the answers are both varied and insightful. On the face if it, it may seem like an easy question; but it will very much depend on your own perception of what success is, and that in turn is closely tied to your personal goals.

Let’s have a look at some common markers – which would you focus on?:

Number of sessions

Being fully booked may be your aim. ‘25 sessions a week’ seems to be a common target for a lot of gym-based trainers, although many do far more. The classic model for most one-to-one trainers is to have perhaps 15-20 clients at any one time who have 1-3 sessions per week. However I once worked with a trainer who had around 60 clients and saw each once a month. Either option can deliver the same level of income but the point is that enough people value your services to keep you busy, which indicates you are doing something right.

Digging a little deeper, we could ask how you become fully booked in the first place. Is a successful personal trainer one who is exceptional at marketing and sales? Undoubtedly this is an important set of skills to have – it’s the entrepreneur mindset that’s necessary for self-employed trainers to build their business, but is this enough?


I know of a trainer who was ‘fully booked’ within 3 months of starting at his gym. He gave up PT 3 months later as he wasn’t making any money. Why not? He’d started with a ‘2 for 1’ offer which proved very popular, to the point where he felt he had to continue it to retain his clients. So whilst he was doing 30 sessions a week, he was only earning £12.50 a session, something that wasn’t sustainable financially. So the number of appointments you have may not be the key statistic when it comes to being successful. With higher fees you can do far fewer sessions and still make good money. There are top PTs in the UK charging the equivalent of £200 a session and more. So if you’re making a small (or large) fortune from your PT

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Disabled people can face many challenges when they think about going to the gym but for deaf people the biggest issue can be the communication barrier.

Now two deaf people, who use British Sign Language, have qualified as gym instructors and are currently based in leisure facilities in the West Midlands.

Husband and wife, Ishtiaq Hussain and Kerry Ward Hussain from Stourbridge recently qualified as fitness instructors through the multi-award winning InstructAbility programme. The project, funded by Sport England, was created by Aspire, the spinal injury charity in partnership with YMCAfit, to enable unemployed, disabled people to train as gym instructors. The newly qualified instructors then work to engage more disabled people in fitness sessions.

Ishtiaq and Kerry who are both profoundly deaf, have personal experience of the difficulties in communicating with staff and members whilst in the gym. They were often unable to access the advice and knowledge of how to develop their fitness.

Kerry, who has recently started a placement at Fitness First Sollihull said,

“I would have loved to have a fitness instructor who could communicate and support me in the gym environment. Now I am in a position to assist other deaf people in a way I didn’t get when I joined a gym. I am really looking forward to developing my skills as a fitness professional with Fitness First and making people of all abilities feel welcome."

Ishtiaq, who recently completed a work placement at Wolverhampton Swimming and Fitness Centre, managed by Places for People, has now been offered a contract to continue his work supporting deaf people in fitness activities.

Jason Pitman, General Manager commented,

“We’re absolutely delighted the InstructAbility work placement has proven a resounding success and provided the opportunity for us to continue and expand deaf friendly sessions at our facility. I am extremely thankful for Ish's determination and the support provided by BSL interpreters that has proved instrumental in incorporating deaf friendly sessions into our core activity programme.”

Ishtiaq is now excited about his future and for other deaf people in the local community, he said,

“I have learned and achieved so much since becoming part of the InstructAbility project. I understand the frustration and feeling of being isolated that so many of the deaf community experience when visiting a gym. I am thrilled to be able to overcome these barriers and directly support the deaf community into an accessible fitness environment.”

Hilary Farmiloe, National Manager of the Instructability programme concluded, “By working in partnership with leisure operators the scheme is enabling disabled people to demonstrate the unique skills they can bring to the industry workforce. The potential for these particular instructors to support deaf clients is very important. Sport England’s Active People Survey shows that disabled people are much less likely to participate in sporting activities and people with a sensory impairment have the lowest participation rates. We hope that this is the start of a new way forward for deaf people to participate.”

See Ishtiaq's signed video here:

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Shoulder injuries are common not only in the sporting arena but in the health and fitness environment as well. Recent research by Kolber et al (2013) found a significant association between doing exercise in the ‘high-5’ position and anterior shoulder instability leading to a range of common shoulder injuries. The high-5 position (or ‘at risk position’ as it is otherwise known) is when there is 90° or more of shoulder abduction and 90° or more of shoulder external rotation as depicted in figure 1.

Fig 1. The High-5 position

high 5

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket synovial joint where the head of the humerus (ball) meets the glenoid fossa (socket). This creates a mobile joint that can be stabilised by way of ligament and muscular tension. The joint is surrounded by tissue known as the joint capsule which can also contribute to its stability. As a result of the balance between mobility and stability, the shoulder joint is often susceptible to a range of injuries especially when the humeral head is placed in certain positions. Stability is increased if the head of the humerus is compressed into the glenoid fossa thereby reducing the potential for excessive translation (movement of the humerus away from the fossa). Strengthening the rotator cuff and other scapular musculature (trapezius, rhomboids etc) can help provide the compressive force required to stabilise this particular joint.

Exercises performed in the high-5 position have been shown to increase the risk of humeral translation and thereby the risk of injuries such as joint capsule and ligament damage (Tzannes 2002). In the health and fitness industry, exercises that are often responsible for this include behind-the-neck pull downs, behind-the-neck shoulder press, bench press (to chest) and dips. Performing these exercises with good technique however, can reduce humeral translation and in turn reduce the risk of associated injury.

Lat pull down
These should be performed to the front of the chest instead of behind the neck (Kolber et al 2013) to avoid shoulder instability. The bar should be pulled down to chin level only to avoid excessive strain on rotator cuff muscles (going below chin level would require a degree of internal rotation of the humerus).

Shoulder press
The starting point should be with the upper arm roughly parallel to the floor and the hands about 20 degrees angle forward (colado et al 2009). Perform the exercise in a standing position to activate core musculature (Harman 1994) and bend the knees slightly to reduce pressure on the intervertebral discs (Wilke et al 2001).

Bench press
The bar or dumbbells should be lowered until the upper arm is roughly parallel to the floor. This would mean that when performing a bench press with a bar, the bar should stop about 3-4cms above the chest (Colado, et al 2009).

It is impossible to keep the shoulder joint in a stable position when performing dips using a bench or chair. It is possible however to perform dips using a specific dip machine but care

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We are delighted to announce a new entry point onto the register with the inclusion of Level 2 Exercise, Movement and Dance qualifications. This decision has been made to reflect the growing popularity of, and participation in, dance based exercise classes.

Commenting on the new entry point, Head of Membership Greg Small said:

“With the growing popularity of danced based exercises classes, I am delighted that we are now able to offer this as a point of entry for Level 2 qualifications to the Register.”

The practicalities of this change is that the current Exercise To Music category will be renamed Group Exercise and will encompass those members with either the traditional Exercise To Music qualification or the new Exercise, Movement and Dance qualification. The certificate you receive from your training provider will still say Exercise to Music or Exercise, Movement and Dance, the only difference will be the name of the REPs category.

If you have any further questions about this new category then please do not hesitate to get in contact our Membership Advisory team by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 020 7840 1919.

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As some of you may already know, and for those who don’t I run, my courses and a couple of other businesses on the move (mainly from coffee shops!).

As long as I have my trusty backpack and wifi then I can work from anywhere in the world. This gives me a lot of freedom with time, location and working around other commitments however there are days when it is very easy to get distracted and even more so as a society we are becoming more and more connected via social media, email and the myriad of other different methods of communication.

So here are my top three tips if you are working on the move but they are also applicable to most working environments.

1) Delete emails and social media from your phone

In a recent workplace study it was discovered that the two top distractions in the majority of workplaces were social media and pointless emails. 

In all honesty how important is social media to your business? 

I keep two social media apps on my phone, Facebook messenger and Instagram, why?

Because these are apps that are required for mobile working for my business and a lot of my customers, prospects and contacts communicate via Facebook message (I don't give out my number to a lot of people!).

The rest of my social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter are auto scheduled to post for me and are also accessible from my laptop and iPad so I have no need for them on my phone.

On a personal note I also detest parents that ignore their children whilst browsing social media so that was another motivator for me and my little girl.

2) Turn off wifi on your laptop while working on offline tasks

About 75% of my working tasks are based around offline software such as Microsoft office so when I'm writing blogs, power points or editing videos I turn off my wifi to ensure that I don't get tempted to quickly login to Facebook, check my emails or watch epic fail videos on YouTube.

The same goes for if I'm working from my iPad, I'll switch on airplane mode until I've finished the job I'm working on then once the allotted time is up or the job is finished I may have a short break then crack on with the next task.

3) Set times of the day where you pick one to three tasks and disconnect from the online world

Typically after my morning training session I will choose one task that is the most important for me to get done then two other tasks that are time limited. I will then set two to three hours to get through all the tasks or get as much done as possible.

Once I've decided on the tasks and the timeframe all of my electronic devices either get turned off or put on airplane mode depending on what I need to use to get the

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emd logo


REPs are delighted to fully support the Exercise, Movement and Dance (EMD) Academy’s launch of their new training grant opportunity - the Open Bursary Scheme. The scheme aims to offer financial support to passionate individuals hoping to train or develop their career in teaching Exercise, Movement and Dance.


Commenting on the launch, Head of Memberships for REPs, Greg Small said:


“In the current financial climate, it’s fantastic that the Exercise, Movement and Dance Academy have launched new bursary scheme as it means those who perhaps couldn’t afford to take up a qualification now can.”


He continued to say:


“I would highly encourage anyone wanting to take an exercise, movement and dance qualification to apply for the bursary.”


The bursary is available to anyone wanting to take an exercise, movement and dance qualification or course so long as EMDP are happy it’s of a good quality - we want the best for you after all. Please see the criteria document for more details.


You can apply for up to £100 towards Continued Professional Development (CPD)/ short courses and workshops and up to £150 towards recognised qualifications. EMD Academy will pay up to these amounts or 50% of the cost (whichever is lower).


Applicants can use the bursary in addition to other bursaries or funding they may have found, like Government Grants or Coaching Bursaries from your local County Sports Partnership for example.


All teachers who receive the bursary will also get a year’s free affiliation toThe EMD Community, where you get all of your teaching essentials all in one place.


Please click here for more information and to apply. Remember to check the criteria before applying. 


Not sure it’s for you? Give EMDP a call on 01403 266000. 


For more information about the EMD Academy visit:


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online biz

We’re excited to announce the launch of a brand new resource guide, Taking your fitness business online.

Creating a website for your fitness business does not have to be a complex project. The website experts at Yola have created this handy resource guide that is packed with helpful advice on how to plan and launch your business online.

Whether you are looking to hire a designer or create a website yourself, this resource guide will provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to make a successful fitness website. From domains to search engine optimisation and image selection and content, planning your website can be easy and fun. This guide provides step-by-step instruction on:

• Online personas - Write website copy that resonates with your target audience.
• Search Engine Optimisation - Create a website that can be found on search engines by using keywords and meta data.
• Images selection - Choose the right images for your website and brand.
• Content - Get inspired with ideas on how to create ongoing, quality content that will keep clients engaged and website visitors returning.

By the end of the guide, you will be able to create a fitness website that stands out from your competitors.

The resource guide is available to all members and can be downloaded immediately within our Members Area. Take your business online today.

Happy reading!

This resource guide has been put together courtesy of Yola Inc.

About Yola Inc.
Yola is a free website builder for small businesses, non-profits and everyday users to painlessly build and publish a professional website. When users are ready to grow, Yola helps them establish and develop an online presence without hassle or high cost with our premium packages.

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BHFNC conference

REPs are delighted to be endorsing the British Heart Foundation National Centre’s annual national conference, which is taking place on Thursday 20th November at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire.

This year’s conference will be taking a look at the concept of stealth interventions and exploring how the latest research, theory and practice can be applied to the promotion of physical activity. REPs members will be able to gain 3 CPD point by attending, so please make sure you provide your membership number when booking.

SkillsActive’s Head of Professional Development Tom Bell said:

“It’s fantastic to be endorsing The British Heart Foundation annual conference 2014. This is a great opportunity for those REPs members who practice in this field to be able to up skill their knowledge in new research, as well as gaining recognition through Continuing Professional Development points.”

Leading the Keynote presentations will be Professor Tom Robinson, Endowed Professor of Child Health, Stanford University, California. His presentation will outline the background and conceptual model behind using stealth interventions to harness motivations to promote sustained behaviour changes. It will explore ideas and opportunities for piggybacking onto existing social causes or movements to effect behaviour change and look at some live health by stealth interventions.

There will also be keynote presentations from Peter Gilheany, Director of Foster Communication, who will be exploring what we can learn from commercial marketing techniques to sell the benefits of physical activity to an audience who may be resistant to the whole issue. Smorgasbord will be delivering the final keynote which includes a series of exciting short talks about a range of projects that have encouraged people to become more active by stealth.

Delegates will leave the conference with the following:

• Knowledge of how stealth interventions can help to encourage people to become more active
• Ideas for promoting physical activity through conservation, nature, fundraising, volunteering, education, arts, culture and history
• An awareness of how we can tap into people's values, interests and motivation to encourage people to become more active
• Ideas for building partnerships with organisations, movements or causes that could use physical activity to achieve their key objectives
• Practical tips on how to design and evaluate a stealth intervention.

Tickets will cost £195 full delegate rate and £165 students and the voluntary sector. For more information and to book your place visit 

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REPs blog

As a personal trainer, do you find that when you meet people for the first time, maybe at events or through friends, that as soon as they find out what you do you get a barrage of questions? "So what's the best exercise for your arms?", "how do you get a six-pack?", "does strawberry ice cream count as fruit?" (I was actually asked this once, and joking aside, it's a great example of how people cling to anything they can to make them feel better about their less than ideal habits).

One of the questions that crops up frequently from potential clients is the amount of personal training you 'need'. "How many sessions is best?", "is twice per week enough?", "can you just do half hours to make it cheaper?"

Often PTs make the mistake of trying too hard to give the client what they want (after all, the customer is always right, right?). 'You can only do one half hour session a week? No problem, we can work to that'. Now, we can make sure those clients have great sessions, but for their goals they’re clearly not always appropriate and it's no wonder some struggle to make progress.

(Note: That’s not to say half-hour sessions are a bad thing of course, it's all about quality not quantity. However there's only so much you can do in 30 minutes and it may not be enough to fit in everything necessary for every client. Equally, an hour may be too long for some people).

Once we realise the underlying motivation for those original questions we can see how to get around this problem - people are usually more driven by cost and time benefits than the actual gains they could potentially make through effective training, at least initially. This is closely related to the issue of what value potential clients place on your services and is as much of a marketing discussion as a motivational one - how can you present yourself and what you do to make it irresistible?

So how about changing approach to match the client's needs? Rather than thinking in terms of sessions and hours, focus on what they’re actually trying to achieve. How long will it realistically take to reach their goals? What do they need to be doing on a monthly, weekly and daily basis to achieve them? How much support do they need? What type of exercise is going to be most appropriate for them? What will a typical session consist of? Then you have the information you need to decide how often you need to see your client and for how long. Anything less is a compromise and it's then the client's decision what quality of results they want. Tip: this might mean different lengths of session on different days and you might need to be flexible if, for example, your client has had a stressful day and what you had planned would mean too much overload. Making someone work out for a

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OM Yoga

Last Friday saw the Nation’s Yoga community came together for OM Yoga Show at Olympia, London.

Our Compliance and Standards Manager Robert Wilkie was invited to speak at OM Yoga as part of The Accreditation Debate, along with representatives from British Wheel of Yoga (Paul Fox), CYQ (Lori Randall), Independent yoga network (Peter Yates), Yoga Alliance UK (Brandon Hartsell) and Yoga Scotland (Joy Charnley).  

Chaired by Peter Clifford, the session gave the opportunity for an open debate around the value of accreditation across the yoga discipline.

Robert discussed the value of REPs recognising National Occupational Standards (NOS), and how employers and practitioners benefit from a structured and recognised training and career pathway:

“Being invited to be a panel member was a good opportunity for SkillsActive/REPs to explain the processes which underpin the writing of National Occupational Standards and how qualifications are produced from these.  It also allowed us to explain how entry onto REPs was achieved through achieving qualifications based on the NOS, and how this allows some degree of reassurance to the public that yoga teachers on REPs had achieved competency in pre-determined standards of knowledge, skill and ability.”

The panel raised interesting questions that looked to the future of Yoga Accreditation without a standardised process for developing qualifications standards. Both Yoga Alliance and British Wheel of Yoga, although critical of each other’s training framework - particularly concerning correspondence courses - did agree that protecting the diversity and quality of training was key. Furthermore, CYQ clearly demonstrated the value of a spectrum of Yoga courses that mapped to key knowledge, and allowed for further specialisms to be focused on with CPD, such as pregnancy and rehabilitative care.

Although the session created further debate around labels such as ‘Governing Body’, it was clear that a closer relationship from all parties was required to help breathe new life into the accreditation system. Yoga Scotland were keen to develop relationships outside of Scotland and into the rest of the UK to ensure that qualifications and standard were met to clearly guide qualifications and standards

Bringing the session to a close, Peter Clifford gave his conclusion and asked for the Yoga community to work with standards setting body such as SkillsActive to improve and drive the standards of training; without this he warned that a third party, such as the government could step in and regulate the industry.

Furthermore, Robert Wilkie added:

It was clear from the debate that there are passionate and committed individuals working in the field of yoga education and training. Given the disparate nature of yoga and the many interpretations of what constitutes proper yoga practice, it is understandable that there would be disagreement on certain points.  However, if such differences could be overlooked, then SkillsActive and REPs would have a clearer understanding of what the consensus viewpoint was, and would be able to incorporate these views into better NOS, which could themselves be formed into better qualifications.  This would help to bring greater recognition of the

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The winning photo - Gemma is the second from the left!

As many of you know at the beginning of October we held our National Convention during LIW at the NEC in Birmingham. During the three day exhibition we ran a competition with the Belrobics team encouraging attendees to show us their shimmy and to share this online using #shimmyingselfie. So we asked Jenny Muhlwa, the Managing Director for Belrobics, to give us her thoughts about the day and to announce our winner!

The alarm waking me at 5.30am told me to get ready for a fantastic day ahead where I would be shaking things up at Leisure Industry Week!

Packing the all-important shimmy belts, I made my way to the NEC in Birmingham. Working with REPs we were on a mission to get fitness professionals wiggling and giggling. Arriving at the stand I got everything ready, the twitter hashtag #shimmyingselfie was set up and the competition began! Participants were asked to show us their shimmy and tweet it to be in with a chance of winning a place on a Belrobics instructor course (the first endorsed belly dance fitness programme which is suitable for women of all ages, shapes and sizes). The prize was worth up to £345 and the crowds loved getting involved. Soon the entrance to LIW was awash with shimmies and laughter - everyone took part with people in workout gear and suits alike. The REPs team were also itching to get a shimmy belt on and show what they could do and so they each gave a blast of energy through the legs and took their #shimmyingselfie too!

The day got even better as I taught a Belrobics session at the REPs convention - 'Getting Women into Fitness'. The ladies in the class were brilliant and passers-by stopped to also have a wiggle and hear how we are changing the way women find fitness who wouldn't perhaps otherwise exercise - the secret? Our Belrobics belly dance moves are in tune with the female form meaning women feel great after just one class, the low impact nature means that a 16 year old and a 60 year old can enjoy the same programme without segregation, there is no obsession with losing weight and of course, there is the magic of the Belrobics shimmy belt! The result? Women aren't coming to a traditional 'fitness' class, but a social environment where the instructor really cares about them...a lot! 

After a day of shimmying and shaking we are pleased to announce that Gemma Hesketh won the #shimmyingselfie prize and will be joining us at the Belrobics Essentials course in November - we look forward to shimmying with you more Gemma!

Here's just a sneak peak of the action and some of our favourite #ShimmyingSelfie's 


shimmy 3


Even our Group Events Manager, Tim Jolly had a go! (see below) 

belrobics tim



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working in fitness

REPs, the Exercise, Movement and Dance Partnership (EMDP) and SkillsActive are delighted to be working in partnership to launch the Working in Fitness 2014 survey.

Launching today (23rd October 2014), the Sport England supported Working in Fitness survey will remain open until 5th December.

Commenting on this new partnership Head of Membership for REPs Greg Small said:

“Working in Fitness will prove an invaluable tool as we continue to safeguard the public, ensure exercise professionals feel empowered to progress and that we can offer a structured career pathway to this committed group of professionals.

“The best way to improve our understanding and knowledge of the fitness industry is to engage directly on the key issues, and this is exactly what Working in Fitness 2014 is doing. I am delighted that our partnership with EMDP allows us to do this.

“I encourage as many REPs members as possible to complete the survey – the more information we obtain, the stronger we can become.”

The 2014 survey, the largest and most extensive of its kind, is open to the fitness industry’s entire workforce, covering a host of key issues including:

• Training
• Career pathways
• Earning potential
• Professional development and much more.

Daran Bennet, CEO of the Exercise, Movement & Dance Partnership, added:

“We are pleased to be partnering with REPs and SkillsActive on this extensive piece of insight. Gathering the thoughts and feelings from a vast array of fitness professionals is going to be extremely enlightening. The Working in Fitness survey will aid us in expanding and growing both capacity and quality in our dynamic, inspiring sector. We’re certainly looking forward to the results and the positive outcomes that follow. I urge all those who love working in fitness to complete the survey to help improve your sector.”

Access the survey here.

The full report will be available early 2015.

To keep up to date with the research just follow the hashtag #HaveYourSay on twitter and if yould would like more information on Working in Fitness, please get in touch with our marketing team by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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Rachel Hobbs

From all corners of the globe fitness professionals have been submitting their entries to Life Fitness’s Personal Trainers to Watch Competition, and whilst entrants may come from the United States to South Africa and New Zealand to right here in the UK, the Life Fitness top 10 Personal Trainers to Watch finalists are united in their commitment to exceptional leadership, client support, motivation and inspiration.

The top 10 elite finalists, including REPs member Rachel Hobbs, will be meeting tomorrow at the DavidBartonGym – Astor Place in New York City to compete for the title of the world’s best Personal Trainer to Watch.

On the eve of the final we spoke with Rachel, who has been a REPs member for the past 8 years, to find out how she was feeling:

REPs: Firstly congratulations on reaching the final you must be ecstatic! So what would winning this competition mean to you?

Rachel: Winning the competition would be lovely, but I am honoured to have made the top 10. To be recognised by industry experts as someone who is passionate about improving the lives of others through top quality training and nutrition is wonderful. I love my job and work from early in the morning until late at night, balancing it with caring for my young family, powerlifting for Great Britain and studying; it is tough but vey worth it.

REPs: Why did you decide to enter the LifeFitness Personal Trainer to Watch Competition?

Rachel: It was the gym manager at Surrey Sports Park where I train my clients that discussed the competition with me. I thought it would be a great way to meet other professionals in the industry, to share training and fitness ideas, to encourage not only individuals to get involved with fitness but also show what a rewarding career it is.

REPS: So do you have a particular story or client that is most memorable or really had an impact on you as a personal trainer?

Rachel: All of my clients inspire me, whether it is overcoming an eating disorder, running a marathon, winning a gold medal in their sport or overcoming bad habits and forming more healthy ones. It is simply great to be able to have the opportunity to have a positive impact on client’s and their families lives.

REPs: And finally what made you want to have a career in fitness?

Rachel: I have always had a passion for sport, health and fitness but it was after I had my son and struggled with postpartum depression and disordered eating that training became my therapy. I ran a marathon for charity 5 months after his birth and realized the amazing benefits that exercise training has on the body and mind. It was then I decided to pursue a career that combined my love for fitness with supporting individuals gain the monumental physical, psychological and emotional benefits that regular exercise has on health and wellbeing.

Now in its fourth year, the Personal Trainers to Watch programme recognises

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pt help

‘Abs are made in the kitchen, but glutes are made in the gym’.

The industry has long debated the relative importance of nutrition versus exercise when it comes to improvements in health and aesthetics (for the record, both are clearly key no matter what your goals), but there’s one key point that until recently we’ve overlooked:

Those doing the debating are health and fitness enthusiasts.

We’re the trainers, ‘gym bunnies’ and athletes who love exercise and nutritious food. We’re the motivated ones who don’t need any convincing. What about our clients? Or the people that aren’t even working with us yet?

Most people don’t share our exercise and health mentality, as demonstrated by various papers and studies such as uk active’s Turning the Tide of Inactivity report.

I remember reading about a survey a few years ago which reported that, even if they knew it would increase the length of their life, 47% of people in this country would not be motivated to do more physical activity. “Brits would rather die than do exercise” was the rather sensationalist headline, but it illustrates the point - you can be the most technically competent and qualified personal trainer in the world with intricate knowledge of the latest exercise techniques and cutting edge nutrition research, but if you can’t get your client to actually do their programme or follow your advice they won’t get results.

It’s strikingly obvious and we’ve known it all along of course, but too often we’ve wondered why clients haven’t made progress, perhaps blamed them for not being motivated, or been too quick to say ‘well all I can do is tell them what to do’. You can lead a horse to water and all that…

Let’s take a step back. What’s our role as a personal trainer? Isn’t it to support our clients to achieve their goals in the most effective way we can? There is still a perception of personal training being all about ‘tailored exercise plans’ which, although a marked step forward from the stereotypical image of a muscle-bound young man shouting at someone whilst they sweat away on a treadmill, is quite a narrow view. Things have moved on.

The reality is that it’s about addressing all the areas necessary to reach those goals; fundamentally that’s nutrition, other lifestyle factors such as sleep and stress, as well as exercise/physical activity. More specifically, it’s about effective behavior change in those areas.

The key to success is therefore not just technical knowledge in the topics above but first and foremost a sound understanding of client psychology and motivational skills to help your clients actually make the changes they need to. This is why the term ‘coaching’ has become a buzz word in the industry - simply instructing isn’t as effective when it comes to changing behavior.

The ‘fitness’ industry versus the ‘change’ industry

In today’s fitness world then, the responsibility for motivating clients over the long term, not just in the hour you’re with them, has to

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Well it certainly has been a few days for all of the team here at REPs!

First of all we’d just like to say thank you to all of our incredible guest speakers and presenters over the past two days here at the REPs National Convention, which was hosted by LIW, and an even bigger thank you to all of our members who made the trip up to Birmingham.

In case you were unable to attend not to worry we thought we’d give you a bit of an update of what happened.

Day one of the REPs National Convention was kick started with our very own Head of Membership Greg Small, who gave our introductory speech on both mornings, discussing all things REPs with our members.

Speaking to us Greg said:

“It’s always great to be able to come to the REPs Convention as it means we are able to interact with our members face-to-face and to gain vital feedback in order to understand the wants and needs of our members.”

He continued to say:

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself here at the REPS Convention, and felt that this year we had an even better line up than before with some fantastic speakers such as Louise Hazel and Anna Turner who were able to inspire our members and give them new ideas to take into the workplace, which is what it’s all about.”

Highlights over the two day event included our keynote speech on day one from REPs ambassador Louise Hazel, who gave our members a bit of an insight as to what we can learn from the training regime of athletes and making sure as exercise professionals we plan properly to get the best out of our clients. 

We also had a fantastic range of workshops including a great session from Sam Dovey at KBTEducation, who brought Olympic and Commonwealth Weightlifter Zoe Smith along with him for a great session over in the CPD masterclass arena, teaching our members some advance weightlifting techniques and skills.

Day two’s highlights included an inspiring talk from Paralympic Skier Anna Turney, who got our members thinking more about inclusive fitness and what we can do as exercise professionals to help individuals with access requirements and to inspire training and setting goals for our clients.  Anna also got our members thinking about the personal barriers they may face as personal trainers, and how to engage and communicate clearly with individuals with access requirements.

Speaking to REPs after her Keynote speech Anna said:

“The REPs Convention was really interesting for me. Meeting trainers to understand their challenges on working with disability and how they can improve their performance was really enjoyable. I hope I’ve helped them realise new ways to engage with and inspire people to commit to health and fitness.”

But it wasn’t all just going on at the REPs Convention, we also had some fantastic activity happening over on the REPs stand including our competition with Louise Hazel who was challenging attendees to

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The REPs National Convention blog series continue. Following on from the announcement of Paralympian Anna Turney delivering the keynote on day two and the contribution of Belrobics, we now are treated to Paul Russell from THE FIT BOX, who shares his thoughts with REPs.

So anyway, it turns out that the fitness industry is a round hole. And it’s a really exiting round hole, made up of really cool things, and full of really fun people, wearing really tight shorts.

The good thing about it being a round hole, is that those of us that choose to work in the fitness industry, just so happen to be round pegs. This is ace, because essentially it means we are the perfect fit.

Round hole, round peg. Boom.

But maybe the thing about it being a round hole that isn’t quite as good, is that pretty much all of the people who haven’t chosen to work in it, but wish to benefit from those of us who have chosen to work in it, are not round pegs.

They are square pegs.

This means getting them in is harder.

But we, the round pegs, are not the type to give up easily.

So we grab hold of these square pegs and with all our energy and might we push, and we pump, and we jiggle and we wiggle and cajole and coax, wheedle, jostle, flatter, tickle, thrust & shove, and if you think we’re getting tired you’re not even close, because then (next Tuesday at 18:00) we’ll start the whole process again.

And that’s cool, because we are highly motivated and conditioned individuals. We can repeat this process time and time again and still have enough in the tank to break out a PB in the weights room at lunch.

But also this might not be cool, because actually the square pegs may not enjoy this process as much as we do. I know, right?

Maybe when someone is yet to experience the joy of having the right peg for the right hole, the motivation to keep trying after what seems like endless failure, is pretty tough to find.

So what if we stopped pushing, and instead used our skills, strength & energy to help the square pegs cultivate and establish a new shape. In fact, what with them being entirely different pegs to us all together, what if we tried to find them their own different holes too, rather than the ones that so perfectly fit us so well.

Maybe that would work.

**A thesaurus may have been used in the development of one of these paragraphs.

THE FIT BOX will be presenting at the REPs Convention this October at Leisure Industry Week. Get your tickets here.

Paul is a highly motivated & experienced Industry Tutor, Personal Trainer and Small Group Training Specialist.

In 2009 Paul conceived the idea of a Small Group & Personal Training Club, so as to serve more people, while increasing time efficiency, training accessibility &

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Power Plate® vibration training has long been recognised as a highly effective element to gym-based training.  Now it’s time for personal trainers to take Power Plate to the next level and literally shake up their clients’ workouts by combining whole body vibration training with resistance training using functional equipment. 

The science behind this integrated fitness concept is undeniable but in order for it to catch on, people need to be know where to get started…. and that’s where you come in.

Performance Health Systems – makers of Power Plate – is challenging REPs members to devise a Power Plate Power 5 integrated fitness workout that combines functional moves with vibration training.

The ‘Power Plate Power 5’ workout should comprise either five minutes’ integrated exercise or five consecutive integrated moves.  It should include upper and lower body moves and use at least two additional training modalities such as ViPR, kettlebells, resitance bands, dumbbells and medicine balls. 

The Power Plate Power 5 workout must be filmed in high res – iphone or tablet quality is the lowest resolution accepted – and show clearly how to perform each exercise.  Imagine someone has downloaded this to their phone to follow in the gym.  The moves must be clear and easy to follow so avoid stylised angles and close-ups.  You can include an explanatory voice-over or let the moves speak for themselves.

“This is a great chance for personal trainers to use their initiative and skills to develop a short, effective workout on Power Plate,” says Rob Wilkie, Head of Compliance and Standards at REPs. 

“Power Plate is very well established but here is an opportunity to use it in a whole new way by integrating functional kit and moves with the challenge of the vibrating platform.  We are looking forward to seeing how the best trainers in the business can bring this concept to life.”

Top tip: Power Plate will be at LIW from September 30-October 2 and will welcome any entrants to come to Stand H610 to show or discuss their ideas.  The Integrated Fitness concept will be set up on the stand making this the ideal chance to try out your workout and expert trainers will be on hand to offer advice and answer questions.

What you can win

The winner will receive a year’s REPs membership and EXOS training from Power Plate worth £1,000.  EXOS is the leader in integrated performance training, nutrition, and physical therapy for elite and professional athletes.  The winner’s club will also benefit by being given an integrated fitness package which includes a functional mat, banner with links to exercises that can be downloaded and an onsite integrated fitness workshop with a Power Plate Master Trainer.   From this, trainers can create a bespoke zone for integrated fitness training which is bound to attract attention and business in the gym.

For details of how to enter download the entry form here

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NFD logo

As exercise professionals it our role to inspire others to get active but to also enjoy it, which is why we are fully supportive of National Fitness Day and highly encourage our members to get involved in the free taster sessions which will be happening right across the country on Friday 26th September. National Fitness Day is the largest celebration of physical activity in the UK, the nation will become a hive of activity as thousands of people don their exercise gear and flock to gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and parks around the country to take part in free ‘Power Half Hour’ exercise events.

Run by not-for-profit health body ukactive, National Fitness Day sees the health and active lifestyle community unite to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity and make it easy and fun for members of the public to try something new with free taster sessions.

Better Gyms, British Military Fitness, Club Company, Energie, Everyone Active, Fitness First, Lifestyle Fitness, Gym Group, Places for People, Pure Gym and Spirit Health Clubs are just some of the major fitness providers inviting the public to try a variety of free sessions at more than 1000 sites - from indoor cycling, exercise to music classes and swimming to yoga, boot camp and pilates. More venues are joining daily and are searchable through the digital activity finder at

As well as major gyms being involved, National Fitness Day will also play host to a series of mass participation and showcase exercise events engaging hundreds of people in London (Covent Garden), Birmingham (Victoria Square) and Bristol (Centre Promenade), on Friday 26th September - ‘National Fitness Day LIVE in association with Les Mills’

‘National Fitness Day LIVE’ events will comprise Les Mills BODYCOMBAT™ and SH'BAM™ sessions led by A-list instructors from the global group fitness brand. Taking the cities by storm, the events will celebrate the fun that physical activity delivers and will look to inspire onlookers into an active lifestyle. National Fitness Day LIVE is supported by Sanofi and their Sanofi Challenge programme which encourages everyone to get out of their comfort zone and take on a physical challenge to improve their health and the lives of others.

Greg Small, Head of Membership for REPs said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many of our employer partners involved and opening their doors to those who are perhaps unfamiliar or scared of the gym environment by hosting National Fitness Day sessions. By going to one of partners members of the public can assured that they are in the safe hands of qualified, registered exercise professionals when taking part in physical activity.”

He continued to say:

“Collectively as exercise professionals we a duty to improve and ensure the British public have access to quality instruction and with this in mind we should aim to inspire a new generation of physical literacy.”

National Fitness Day was founded by the Energie Group in 2010. Individual clubs will be running fundraising drives in aid

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We are very pleased to announce that we have selected Timely as the recommended business software supplier for our members. This software provides fitness businesses with a range of features that will directly improve the way you operate.

Timely is appointment scheduling software that launched to a global audience in 2012, and has since developed a strong customer base within the fitness industry.

Being cloud-based, Timely is affordable for the sole business owner and offers a range of features. With an initial 30 day free trial available, it is possible to try before you buy and have a good look around the system to make sure it suits you and your business. Plans start at only £15 a month for an individual and an additional £5 for every extra employee (or you may wish to consider the £60 offer that covers an unlimited number of staff). If you are currently using pen and paper, you will make that money back in one day in saved admin time

As a REPs member, we are able to offer you 20% off for the first 12 months, as well as 200 SMS credits to help you get started. Coupled with unlimited support and the 30 day free trial, this software will prove a valuable addition to your business. This offer can be accessed from the REPs Members Area.

How many hours a week do you spend ringing up or texting clients to arrange session times? The features available in Timely mean that you won’t need to do this anymore, saving you time, allowing you to spend more time running classes or sessions, growing your business and doing what you love.

If you’re more interested in the specific features, here is a breakdown:

Beautiful design and very easy to use

While not necessarily a feature, we had to mention this one. Timely is just really nice to look at and intuitive, which means that it is very easy to use. Jacob Moller-Anderson of MaX-Fit in County Durham looked at a range of appointment scheduling options, but couldn’t go past Timely because it was so easy to use.

Wherever you go, Timely can go too

The real beauty of Timely for personal trainers is that it can work anywhere. If you use an iPad with your clients, you can also use it to book them in for their next session. You can use it on your smartphone or on your desktop at home.

Another bonus of this cloud software is that if you lose or break one of your devices, all you need to do is log on with another device, and all of your information is there waiting for you.


SMS and email reminders

Get rid of no-shows from your personal training business! Timely offers the ability to send SMS reminders out to your clients, at a given time frame before their session that you can select. The SMS credits are additional but you get 200 free SMS to get you started if

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Jenny Muhlwa Belrobics

With the REPs National Convention drawing ever closer, Belrobics’ very own Jenny Muhlwa guest blogs for REPs ahead of her group fitness workshop on Thursday 2nd October at 15:00

As Leisure Industry Week approaches, it can be a time to reflect on how fit we are as a nation.

According to the Department of Health 2011 Start Active, Stay Active report, only 28% of women in England are reaching the recommended levels of physical activity. But why? Why, when fitness has become so accessible are there still such low levels of activity in this group?

This is a question Belrobics wanted to tackle. We wanted to help women to start being active, stay healthy and enjoy it!

We found that one of the biggest barriers was that women feel they don't have enough time to exercise. Many see it as another chore and with so many other chores in life, why add to the list? What we did find, however, is women will make time to socialise, connect with friends and do things that help them feel good about themselves. So, we designed a programme which is inspired by an ancient dance that has been helping women for centuries to do just this.

Belrobics is a belly dance inspired programme, it is low impact meaning that women who are 16 can enjoy the same class as those who are 60, doing the same routines, laughing and connecting with one another. The moves used work in tune with the female form to help boost self-confidence for women of all ages, shapes and sizes. The programme isn't about numbers on a scale or quick fix, slim down, it focuses rather on sustainable healthy living. This is reflected in the number of years members have now been attending classes, healthier body image, healthy life style choices and mind body shift.

I'm very excited to be presenting this programme at LIW with a Belrobics session on Thursday 2nd October at 15:00 at the REPs Convention. Participants will get the opportunity to partake in a class where they will shimmy, have fun and leave full of energy and ideas to help attract more and girls into fitness.

Not only this, we will be giving away a FREE instructor training place to one lucky winner on Thursday between 10am - 12pm on stand W200.

I look forward to shimmying with you there!

Want to take part in the Belrobics group fitness workshop at the REPs Convention?


Follow this link to secure your place at LIW


Find out more about REPs Convention here

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