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Our Official Blog

keeping you up to date with the latest industry news

We are pleased to announce 100% ownership of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) as we strive to enhance the offer to members and ultimately improve the service of the register. While doing so, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that REPS is current and fit for purpose.

Throughout all of our work we will ensure that the qualification and CPD offer from REPs meets the current national and professional standards expected by employers. We will also work with an independent endorsement provider to ensure the provision of our service meets the required high quality.

Fitness professionals make a significant and vital contribution to an active nation. Whether this is a personal trainer, leader or an instructor, these individuals provide the excellent experiences needed to ensure that people across the UK become and stay active. We intend to provide the necessary high quality support to help them in their everyday efforts. To do this we will:

  • Bring the register back to life and make sure more people can access the opportunities available from being part of the most recognised register for the fitness industry.
  • Provide benefits that work for our members.
  • Keep members up to date with the latest industry information.
  • Enhance our customer experience.
  • Make it easy for members to promote themselves as fitness professionals.
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Following on from my recent blog about information overload, I wanted to share the following story, told to me by one of my mentors a few years ago when I was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of I felt I needed to learn, wondering how I would ever know as much as those I looked up to.

A brash tourist is on safari in Kenya. He asks his guide to take him to see a lion on his own so he can take photos up close.

“No no”, says the guide, “lion does not like photos”.

But the tourist insists he wants to get close to a lion and nags the guide until eventually he agrees to take him.

Before they set off, the guide takes a small rucksack from his truck and slings it on his back. The tourist briefly wonders what’s in the bag but thinks nothing more of it.

After walking for some time the guide spots a lion in the distance. “Take photo here” he says to the tourist.

“No, I want to get closer” the man replies.

“Too dangerous” the guide warns, but again the tourist argues and convinces the guide to go further towards the lion. So they carry on walking, the tourist with his camera, and the guide with his rucksack.

After another minute the guide stops. “Lion too close,” he whispers, “you must be quiet”.

“He won’t hear us” says the arrogant tourist loudly and begins setting up his camera, with all its clicks and whirrs.

“Uh oh”, says the guide, and the tourist looks up to see the lion has noticed the two men and is staring at them closely. Then it starts to take a few steps towards them.

“What do we do?” asks the tourist nervously.

With that, the guide quickly but calmly takes the rucksack off his back and out of it produces a pair of trainers, much to the tourist’s surprise.

“What are you thinking??” he exclaims, “you can’t outrun a lion!”

“I don’t need to outrun lion”, the guide replies coolly, “I just need to outrun you…”

 

As a personal trainer, there will always be other fitness professionals you aspire to be as good as, and you will likely always feel there is more to learn than you could ever know (that’s a good thing – it means you don’t get complacent). But don’t put undue pressure on yourself - you don’t need to be the world’s best trainer to be successful. Remember that as long as you are able to coach, educate and support your clients more than they could help themselves, you are offering them a valuable service.

 

Paul Swainson is Head of the Future Fit School of Personal Training, a role to which he brings over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. Having run his own personal training business and worked as a PT manager and tutor for some of the UK’s leading brands, his aim with the

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REPS EZINE PIC05

Total Fitness have announced a partnership with Pulse Fitness, to continue a multi-million pound investment across its 17 clubs. The new kit to be installed for exercisers consists of spin bikes, cardio pieces, rowers, strength machines, a full refurbishment of Hammer Kit, plus brand new Functional Training Areas, including Functional Training Rigs. To introduce the latest equipment to members, Total Fitness will hold a variety of charity challenges, special classes and induction sessions. Several of the clubs will also undergo a completely new layout for a more spacious, comfortable training environment.

Craig Battersby, Company Fitness Co-ordinator, managed the deal with Pulse Fitness, saying ‘After a very successful refurbishment of our new Wrexham club, we were very impressed with the quality, service and delivery of the Pulse Fitness equipment and are excited to be delivering the next stage of the Total Fitness investment plan together. The Pulse Fitness kit compliments Total Fitness vision of offering the highest standard of fitness expertise to our members and the best training facilities whatever your level or goal.’

Total Fitness has 17 sites across the North of England and Wales, for more information go to www.totalfitness.co.uk

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REPS EZINE PIC04

Virtuagym, the leading Dutch provider of fitness software for fitness clubs and personal trainers, has announced it has signed a deal with industry leader Fitness First Germany. Virtuagym’s all-in-one software solution will be implemented in their new concept, ReLevel.

The cooperation with Virtuagym is focussed on their second brand, ReLevel, which is a completely new and specialised concept in Germany. Christophe Collinet, Chief Strategy Officer at Fitness First said: 'We had an extensive pre-selection process and determined that Virtuagym delivered what we needed for ReLevel, especially when it came to user experience. In a time where consumers are used to high quality software experience, it made sense for us to work with Virtuagym, as they have proven to be succesful in both the consumer and the professional market.'

For Virtuagym, which has been growing rapidly these past years, 2015 will be a year focused on further international expansion. Virtuagym already supports over 1300 businesses in the health and fitness industry in over 20 countries worldwide, including several clubs in Germany. Germany is the second-largest fitness market in Europe, and as such provides the company with great opportunities for expansion.

Visit www.virtuagym.com/software

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REPS EZINE PIC03

A recent study confirmed that inactivity is twice as likely to lead to an early death than obesity, with the research revealing that people who engaged in moderate levels of daily exercise were 16% to 30% less likely to die than their inactive counterparts.

The study, which looked at the effects of obesity and exercise on 300,000 European men and women over a course of 12 years, has shown that a brisk 20 minute walk every day is all it takes to counteract the risk of premature death. Study leader Professor Ulf Ekelund from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University said: 'This is a simple message: just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive.'

DancingClasses.biz are using these interesting stats to encourage men and women, adults and children to get moving, and find a local dance class via their online platform. Providing a comprehensive range of dance classes available in a range of different styles, DancingClasses.biz showcases ballet and ballroom to Zumba and jazz, with classes helping to develop fitness levels, tone the body, trim the waistline and above all, counteract the risk of premature death due to inactivity.

Find out more at www.dancingclasses.biz

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REPS EZINE PIC02

Amer Sports brands Precor and Suunto have announced the integration of Preva and Suunto’s online sports community, Movescount, allowing users to access and record indoor cardio equipment-based workouts, as well as outdoor exercise in Preva, making it easier for exercisers to track progress towards fitness goals, whether they opt to hit the treadmill, or their local park.

At the gym, Preva automatically captures workouts on any networked Precor 880 line cardio equipment, whilst the Preva Mobile App can record strength and functional training. For workouts outside of the gym, exercisers can sync to Preva via either Movescount.com or the Suunto Movescount Mobile App. A Suunto sports watch can track outdoor sport activities and relay information including heart rate, speed, elevation and recovery rate.

Jonathan Griffiths, Precor UK Marketing Manager, said: 'We know people don’t train exclusively in the gym or outdoors, they do both. Knowing this, we wanted to give fitness enthusiasts a way to track their indoor and outdoor training effectively and help them follow their progress. By connecting Movescount and Preva, exercisers can work towards their fitness goals regardless of where they train.'

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E-zine

Women across the exercise sector joined forces on Saturday 7th March to celebrate the first ever all female fitness professional conference, Women In Fitness Empowerment (WIFE), tying in with International Women's Day. A top line-up of speakers, including Katie Bulmer-Cooke from BBC1’s The Apprentice, Charlotte Ord, former trainer on ITV’s The Biggest Loser and regular contributor on Sky News, as well as Rachel Holmes one of the best known female presenters in the UK, covered topics such as mentoring, eating disorders, social media and marketing as well as public speaking and successful presentation skills for trainers.

Attended by 80 women, the event was founded by fitness tutor and personal trainer Jacqueline Hooton, who has been working in the industry for over 12 years. Jacqueline says: ‘Women working in the industry are outnumbered by men, we often find ourselves in the minority at training events and many industry days are dominated by male speakers. The aim of the conference was to give women a platform to speak, celebrate the contribution we make to the industry, and raise our profile. I also wanted a place where professional women could network and support one another as many of us work isolated, free-lance, or from our own facilities which can leave us lacking the support of our peers. Many women working in the industry share similar pressures and concerns, the objectification of women in fitness, and the success of Sport England’s “This Girl Can” campaign were just two current themes that caused much debate and discussion’.

As well as the talks and presentations throughout the day the delegates were able to enjoy networking over lunch which was included in the ticket price as well as during refreshment breaks. Due to the success of the conference, Jacqueline is promptly making plans for future events, including WIFE Rising Stars on Saturday 19th September, as well as new networking group WIFE on Wednesday.

For more information on WIFE, contact Jacqueline on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07708 839330.

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E-zine

Leading fitness equipment supplier and manufacturer Precor has announced its latest addition to the Preva network fitness portfolio, the Preva Exerciser Activity Report, a new way to gain visibility into member activity on cardio usage equipment. Located on the Preva Business Suite dashboard, the Exerciser Activity Report provides a variety of data that operators can use to better target members and get the most out of their cardio equipment, while providing them with user insights to help attract and retain members.

The report will display useage trends, as well as offer contest participation so that clients can engage in friendly competitions over distance travelled or calories burned, for example. It can also highlight personal weekly workout goals, also offering insight in clients' cardio sessions.

Jeff Bartee, ?Principle Product Manager for Networked Fitnessat Precor, said: 'We discovered that operators face a huge barrier when it comes to running personalised in-club promotions that keep members engaged. The Preva Exerciser Activity Report gives operators a business edge – it offers detailed information about members’ equipment usage, patterns and preferences, which operators can use to deliver personalised class and service recommendations.'

For more information, visit www.precor.com

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E-zine

With figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealing that there was a marked increase in the proportion of adults that were overweight, from 57.6% to 67.1% in men and from 48.6% to 57.2% in women, BodyPower have chosen the ideal time to launch their exclusive Body Transformation Challenge. Beginning back in January, currently more than 2,000 people have registered to the scheme, which aims to help exercisers achieve their health and fitness goals.

The 17 week challenge is designed to motivate and incentivise participants to achieve their goals, with registration free for all entrants, and entry remaining open so that people who wanted a shorter challenge could do so too. Each participant also benefits from access to free fitness articles written by some great contributors from the fitness fraternity. To help encourage participants, weekly emails have included training tips, nutrition advice, competitions, and masses of inspiration.

Winners of the contest will be announced on Saturday 16th May, 2015. There will be two grand prize winners, one male and one female. For more information about the 2015 BodyPower Transformation Challenge sponsored by Musculi, please visit www.bodypowerexpo.co.uk

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E-zine

UK vocational training provider Lifetime Training have brought their Personal Training Diploma online so that students can access learning resources no matter where they are, or how busy their schedule is. The online diploma includes all the modules currently available in the Level 2 Fitness Instructor certificate and the Level 3 Personal Training diploma, such as Anatomy and Physiology, Planning and Instructing Gym Sessions, as well as Nutrition and Business Planning.

Within each course there are multiple ways of learning, including resources to read, videos with tutors to highlight teaching points, webinars with slides to illustrate underpinning theories and learner videos which provide course participants with the opportunity to analyse and correct via peer assessment. An app, which is available on Android and iTunes, is also available so that learners can download and access content on the move. Lifetime Training's brand new social learning hub ‘mylifetime’ is also featured in the portal, where all members.

Mike Jones, Commercial Director at Lifetime Training, said: 'By providing our PT diploma online, we can make this qualification accessible to different markets of learners, including professional athletes, who simply cannot attend course days due to training and competition commitments, and people whose busy working lives don’t afford them the flexibility to attend the tutor led sessions which form a key part of our intensive and part-time PT diplomas.'

For further information visit www.lifetimetraining.co.uk/onlineptdiploma

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Working in Fitness

Findings from the Working in Fitness Survey 2015, conducted by SkillsActive and the Exercise, Movement and Dance Partnership (EMDP), have revealed that:

  • 70% of fitness professionals want to work in the fitness industry because they have a genuine passion for fitness
  • 44% of respondents came into the sector because they wanted to be a help to other people
  • Women working full-time in the fitness industry earn 97% of a full-time male salary
  • London has the highest average wage, and East Midlands the lowest

SkillsActive & EMDP surveyed the 35,000 members of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), which works to support, develop and unite the brightest and best fitness professionals in the UK.

Download Working in Fitness 2015 report
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Barefoot running, fasted cardio, when to eat carbs… the fitness world is awash with videos, articles, podcasts and webinars on just about every controversial topic you could think of, and we've all seen the social media debates (in some cases all out wars) on some of them.

For those of you who like doing your research and staying on top of current thinking, it can get very confusing with so much information, often contradictory, flowing into your inbox and Twitter feed on a daily basis.

While the internet has provided an open forum for anyone to give their opinion, it’s the established experts that actually give us the real headaches. When an authority figure you respect has a seemingly differing view to another, or takes a stance that conflicts with what you believe, you’re left thinking ‘who’s right?’ Up until a few years ago I too often felt overwhelmed by the confusion. Then I realised 3 things which took the stress out of it and actually inspired me to become a better trainer. Here they are:

  1. It’s a good thing to be made to think
  2. The PTs that aren't bothered by all the new information available are those that haven’t changed their practices since they started, be that 5, 10 or 20 years ago. Sure, there are some fundamentals that have been universally agreed for years - and if what you do works, stick with it - but there’s a difference between that and sticking your head in the sand when it comes to anything new. I know I sometimes cringe at some of the methods and approaches I used with clients before I knew better. The differences that exist force you to question why you do one thing and not another, and that makes you more credible.

  3. No one knows all the answers
  4. There are some incredibly knowledgeable PTs, coaches, researchers and authors out there, true leaders in their specialist fields whose opinions I value greatly. But even they would the first to admit they don’t know it all. The best teachers are still students, constantly learning and developing, so all they can ever pass on is what they believe to be ‘correct’ right now. What is fact today might be disproven tomorrow, so the best course of action is to take all views on board and make your own decision about what you believe to be the best option at the current time. Humans have an in-built need to be consistent, but when we accept we are allowed to change our minds it takes the pressure off.

    It also means you are perfectly entitled to come up with your own approaches, based on your experience and research. You may blend certain techniques from one school of thought with those from another which produces great results for your clients, and that’s hugely rewarding and motivating. Indeed, that’s how many of the world’s top trainers got to be so successful themselves!

  5. Experts’ clients are different to yours
  6. This is probably

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change

A potential client, Martin, calls me on the phone to ask how I could help him. Martin wants to lose around a stone he says, and improve his muscle definition. After explaining that the best way forward is for us to meet for a consultation (a free one I might add) so I can do an assessment and get a better idea of his goals, he explains he is looking at a number of personal trainers and doesn’t want to commit to anything yet.

“Not a problem” I say, “there’s no obligation to sign up to anything”.

I’m quite impressed he’s doing some research and commend him for putting some thought into his decision. But Martin is adamant he just wants a chat for now. So I spend a good ten minutes answering as many of his questions as I can, and offering whatever advice I can based on what he tells me (incidentally many trainers are reluctant to do this, but in our internet age where an almost unlimited amount of freely available information is just a click away, you can’t expect to charge for every bit of knowledge you offer. Instead you need to convince people that you are the best source of that information and therefore worth paying for. That’s a topic for another day).

So following our conversation, Martin says he’ll be in touch if he wants to work with me.

A fortnight later he calls me back.

I answer the phone, feeling pleased that my efforts to help him must have paid off and he is now ready to become a client. Very quickly my heart sinks as he says he’s now looking at other options besides personal training and wants my thoughts on DVD and mail order training plans. At least he values my opinion I guess…

Martin says he’s heard good things about one particular product (for legal reasons I’d best change the name, let’s call it ‘Madness’). I give my honest views on it, explaining that regardless of the actual exercises involved, any plan you follow has to address all aspects of your lifestyle that impact on progress towards your goals; nutrition, stress, sleep, etc.

Martin agrees with me enthusiastically and seems to be convinced that personal training is the best option for him after all. “I just need to do a bit more research” he continues, “to make sure your style of training is right for me”.

Another three weeks go by and this time I follow up with Martin. He’s still doing his research but hopes to make a decision ‘soon’.

I don’t hear from Martin for a further month but he’s on my email list so I know he’s been reading my newsletters and tips, so I call him once more. Now more than two months since he initially contacted me, Martin still hasn’t begun any sort of training plan, is the same weight he was before (if not a little heavier) and doesn’t feel he’s made any progress

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mc wif
 
We are delighted to announce that REPs member Maureen Chitty has won an iPad after taking part in the ‘Working in Fitness Survey’ back in November. 
 
Developed in partnership with The Exercise Movement & Dance Partnership (EMDP), the 2014 survey, which is the largest and most extensive of its kind, was open to the fitness industry’s entire workforce, and covered a host of key issues including:
 
• Training
• Career pathways
• Earning potential
• Professional development and much more.
 
The Results of the survey are currently being analysed and will be announced over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out on our website. 
 
Having been a member for 10 years, REPs spoke with Maureen to find out a bit more about her and her experiences of working in the fitness industry. 
 
Maureen started in the fitness industry after retiring from competitive athletics. She represented Great Britain in the long jump between 1968 and 1974, but after having a second child, Maureen was looking for a career that would fit round her children and commenced teaching aerobics in 1980.
 
maureen
Maureen competing for Great Britain
 
Telling us about her experience starting out Maureen said: 
 
“I have always enjoyed being fit and once my athletic career had ceased I needed something to help me stay in shape.  Having trained as a PE teacher at Chelsea College of Physical Education (now Chelsea School of Human Movement) and having left teaching in 1974 to start my family I decided, having attended a fitness class locally, that I could teach one myself.   
 
She continued to say:
 
“Deciding that I should probably embark on some training I contacted the London Keep Fit Association but there were no courses at that time.  Whilst attending a Laban based dance class I met a member of the Surrey Keep Fit Association who informed me that there was a Keep Fit Association teacher training class due to start locally and she was to be the trainer.” 
 
Maureen told us that what keeps her motivated to work in fitness because she particularly loves the dance aspect and she also likes to stay fit in general. She said: 
 
“I really love the camaraderie of the industry, particularly when working as a member of a team for displays and competitions. The Keep Fit Association and REPs have helped me to further my career by providing lots of valuable CPD.  The Keep Fit Association also encouraged me to take the Teachers Advanced Certificate and then to progress to the Regional Trainers Qualification.”
 
Like many others within the fitness industry Maureen felt it was important to join REPS to stay in touch with the latest news in the fitness industry and to gain valuable CPD.
 
“The clients who come to my sessions know that I have a recognised qualification and that what I give them to do is designed to be safe and enjoyable.” 
 
Upon giving her advice
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CharlotteOrd

“Are we part of the solution or are we part of the problem?”
Jacqueline Hooton, WIFE Conference Founder

Saturday 7th March marked a day for Women in the fitness industry. Thirteen women stood strong at the front of the Holiday Inn Guildford conference room sharing their stories, successes, business know how and most importantly their passion, so we sent along our very own Customer Experience Executive and Personal Trainer Raschique Narwan along to the event to find out more.

The WIFE conference was a day dedicated to empower, motivate and encourage females working in the fitness industry. Jacqueline Hooton brought together an array of speakers and presenters who have been highly successful in business within the fitness. We asked Jacqueline what inspired her to put together the WIFE Conference. She said,

“I really wanted to provide a platform for women to speak in the industry, because I don’t think there are enough women that are vocal enough and I don’t enough of them speaking out in the industry. I think we have enough issues, unique issues, perhaps we want to address and I wanted to give women an opportunity to come together to express that.

She continued to say:

“I think a couple of the speakers today have touched on this, this morning; there is a really strong male rhetoric in the industry. We don’t need to resort to speaking in a manly way; Christianne was talking about that as well. We can still talk to people in fitness but use a feminine language that people can relate to.”

Key themes of authenticity, fearlessness and passion threaded through every speaker and presentation. The event was fearless to address issues that are unique to women but are ignored in the mainstream representation of the fitness industry; mental health, the visual representation of women in fitness across social media platforms, eating disorders, and spirituality in fitness. Every speaker was unique, honest and forthcoming in sharing their experiences, tips and advice.

From a business perspective, the information and advice relayed to delegates was useful and tunnelled towards the needs of the many roles women in fitness fulfil; friend, motivator, confidant, life coach to name a few.

In my opinion, this event will be a huge inspiration for newbies joining the fitness industry and is a think tank for those who are already in the industry. You will walk away from this event on a mission to making that fantastic idea, that’s been stored at the back of your mind, into a reality.

You can read the rest of Jacqueline Hooton’s interview below.

For more information on the WIFE conference and future events: www.wifeconference.co.uk

For EducatedFit training enquires: www.educatedfit.com

For more insight on each speakers success and advice, blog updates and helpful information, follow me on twitter @thechiqueexpo.

Why do you feel it is important to have an all female event?

“There are plenty events in the industry but I found myself, when I go to events, the they are very often very male dominated.

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REPs is proud to announce the introduction of the new Level 4 specialist category of Strength and Conditioning. It has been a long time in the making but now Level 3 Personal trainers that undertake training specific to S&C will now be recognised on the register. Strength and Conditioning is the physical and physiological development of athletes for elite sport performance, and the cross over from general public to athletes will provide a great transition for PT’s looking to make the leap into the athletic world of training.

For those that have historically completed their S&C training a mapping form will be available for completion and assessed by REPs Compliance and Standards Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download the application form hereYou can also read the National Occupational Standards for the new Level 4 category here.

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burlexercise

Recently endorsed by SkillsActive, we decided to a little bit of digging to find out more about the ever so popular Burlexercise!

Founders of Burlexercise Sarah-Lou and Katie told us about their story.

“We founded Burlexercise, our Burlesque inspired fitness class, in May last year. The aim was to create a fun and exciting workout that really gets results. Working as professional Burlesque dancers we decided to combine Burlesque with our fitness backgrounds - The Ultimate Showgirl Workout was born!”

Burlexercise is designed specifically for an all over body workout, burning calories in the cardio section, toning and tightening during the resistance part, all whilst incorporating fabulous showgirl moves. The great music, fun atmosphere and showgirl sassiness means you get a class that is energizing and entertaining as well as a good workout,

Telling us a little bit more about their journey Katie said to us:

“We were having so many requests for classes around the UK that we decided to endorse our instructor training course through REPS, so we could find fantastic instructors to teach Burlexercise across the country. We held our first training day in London at the start of this month and had a great day introducing ten instructors to Burlexercise.”

The day involved learning about the history of Burlesque and some of the classic Burlesque moves, to see where the inspiration for the class came from. The classes start with a Burlexercise masterclass, moving on to teaching the technique of incorporating this style of dance into cardio. This included Burlesque dance moves such as the 'wiggle' and the 'shimmy', and showgirl genres such as the Charleston and even a bit of the Cancan! They’ve also added weight training into the classes and teach instructors a segment on how to use their own weighted boas.

We went on to ask Sarah-Lou how the classes have been received,

“We had brilliant feedback from our new instructors; they loved the content of the course and they’d left the day feeling inspired! They are now looking forward to setting up their own Burlexercise classes in the very near future!

She added:

“We are really excited about our next training day on 1st March in Birmingham. If you are a fun fabulous fitness instructor and would like to be one of the first to teach Burlexercise, whilst earning yourself 10 CPD points, we would love to hear from you!”.

Next Burlexercise Training days coming up - Sunday March 1st, Birmingham & Sunday April 12th Manchester.  Book with a friend and save £20 each! Visit www.burlexercise.co.uk to find out more. 

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seniors weights

Perhaps it was when a 74 year old woman approached me and said "I want to get fit" and weeks later, she was speed walking on the treadmill, working with light weights, balance boards and Swiss balls and making great progress.  Maybe it was when a 68 year old man came to me and said "how long should we be holding a plank position for because I'm holding one every morning now for 8 minutes".  Perhaps it was me, qualifying as a Personal Trainer aged 42, a couple of stones overweight, not particularly fit but three years down the line, two stones lighter, fit and strong.  Any one of these scenarios tells me one thing.  It is NEVER too late to review a diet and exercise regime and improve, big style!

Barriers to fitness?  There are many and age is just one.  It is a  thought to get a tired, inflexible and perhaps overweight body to move.  It is far easier for people to believe that the potential for change has passed.  It is up to us to inspire, motivate and encourage in as many ways as we can.

Over the course of each week, I see around 60 female clients through a mixture of one-to-one PT, group PT and classes.  They fall into two categories; 40 – 60yrs and 65yrs and over.

Let’s take the first category.  With no wish or intention of putting everybody in the same basket, having worked with this age group for some time, there are a number of things that I see and hear on a regular basis.  Many women neglect their fitness after having children, not through choice, more through lack of time and a change of priorities.  Stepping back into an exercise environment after several years is brave.  I acknowledge this and spend time making sure every client builds self-belief and regains confidence in the fact that they’ve made a really positive decision for themselves and will benefit greatly over time, both physically and mentally.

Secondly, people have busy and often stressful lives.  Exercise is an effort so it needs to be enjoyed.  Most women in this age bracket are not looking for a GI Jane style of instructor.  Some are, in which case they will enjoy Bootcamp, Metafit or Insanity but a more gentle approach works with my clients and I have great rates of retention.  I create an environment where we can all laugh at ourselves.  A loud ‘harumph’ by one lady ten seconds into holding a plank allows everyone to relax and have a giggle, despite the fact that others may be holding their plank position for two minutes.  I make sure that we are all supportive and encouraging towards each other and this allows me to provide adaptations easily, without causing embarrassment or making anybody feel less able.  One of my clients said to me recently, “I work hard all day and despite the fact that exercise is good for me, I would not be rushing home, sorting

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astley sports

Astley Sports Village


Astley Sports Village in Dukinfield, Cheshire, owned by secondary school Astley Sports College, has launched an innovative programme – Make a Difference (M.A.D.) - to tackle childhood obesity, with impressive results.

“There are lots of reasons why children become overweight and eat unhealthy foods. We want to help them choose the right pathway to improve their health and wellbeing and make a difference to their lives,” states Mark Storie, Director of Astley Sports Village and M.A.D. programme coordinator.

M.A.D. was created to help re-educate young people to participate in sport or activities with their classroom peers, support them with associated emotional issues and encourage them to be health conscious and take on a healthy lifestyle.

Students that meet the M.A.D. guidelines of being significantly overweight, in-active and having low self-confidence, participate in a 10-week programme using their once-a-week tutorial periods to visit Astley Sports Village for an hour of group physical activity such as basketball or dodgeball, followed by a 30-minute session in the gym.

Pupils exercise in the newly refurbished 150 sq m fitness suite, which features state-of-the-art Precor equipment, all equipped with Preva networked fitness, a cloud-based software platform that helps both gym operators and exercisers achieve their goals. They also use integrated RFID tags, giving access to the fitness suite, lockers, all programmes on the Precor equipment and Preva, so they can monitor their workout progress.

A commitment to fitness:

Storie comments: “It’s essential to provide a fun team work environment, but pupils also need to engage in the fitness suite with a more independent effort and commitment and use the machines on their own.

“Students are drawn to the high level of technology provided by Precor equipment. Preva Personal Accounts enables them to input a long-term focus, such as losing weight, and set targets, such as distance or calories. They can monitor their progress with the weekly goal summary, which even indicates if they’re on or off target, giving them a visual reminder they can work to achieve. They can strive for milestone badges too. They love they can access their data via the app on their mobile phones and iPads, and the fact they can access their favourite TV programmes and listen to bands via the equipment while they workout.

Why it works:

Students are encouraged to be active by running, throwing and catching, and to try to ensure their team wins whichever game is being played. The motivation for this is one of the biggest barriers students need to overcome Storie states: “It’s a big thing to get them to actually want to run for that ball and win that catch against a fellow student.”

The Sports Village experts are essential for the planning of activities and their knowledge of fitness and skills helps students to achieve not only weight loss, but improvements in their cardiovascular system, reduce their resting heart rate and see the transformation in their body shapes.

A healthy diet and a new way of thinking:

Nutrition education

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older women

As we all know physical activity is a cost effective measure in reducing the risk of diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, while fostering social interaction, community participation, and improved levels of social cohesion. 

SkillsActive and REPs are delighted to be taking the lead in developing a training package to be used by exercise professionals involved in a new study - The Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Ageing (PAHA) project - and will be co-ordinating the delivery of the activity intervention in the UK.

The PAHA project is a tailored intervention for older adults with different functional capacities. Through a supervised and structured exercise programme for those aged between 55 and 65 years old, PAHA intends to convert currently inactive people into regular exercisers at a level that is beneficial to their health, supporting the EU Guidelines on Physical Activity and the European Week of Sport.

Commenting on SkillsActive’s and REPs involvement, Compliance and Standards Manager Rob Wilkie said:

“It’s fantastic that we can be involved in projects like Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Ageing.  With a growing ageing population in the UK it’s important we develop the right programmes to ensure the future health and wellbeing of adults.”  

In each one of the 8 project partner countries – Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom – 3 fitness centres will run 3 trial sessions of supervised exercise of 6 weeks duration, for 15 participants at each session. The aim is to create a methodology that can easily be adapted and replicated in different settings, allowing more citizens to take up regular exercise and health-enhancing physical activities.   

If you would like further details on the project, please contact Rob Wilkie This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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