Group Fitness And Healthy Ageing

“Exercise is the miracle cure we have all been waiting for” according to the NHS. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of chronic diseases, stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Physical activity becomes even more important as we get older, improving self-esteem, energy, mood and sleep quality. Recent research has shown that having an exercise companion means you are more likely to exercise and that group fitness classes have benefits that go beyond weight loss and muscle gain. Here are a few popular classes to get you started.


Over 5000 years old, yoga is a popular form of exercise which focuses on strength, flexibility, and breathing. Yoga increases joint flexibility, reducing muscle soreness, stiffness, and achiness and increases muscular strength. In turn, this improves balance and reduces the risk of falls as you get older. Yoga can also be effective in preventing or slowing bone density loss. Moreover, yoga has great benefits for the mind and relieves stress and the symptoms of depression.


Aquafit is a high energy aerobics class which takes place in the shallow end of a swimming pool. The movements are the same as in a normal aerobics class but with added benefits due to working out in water. Aquafit is a low impact activity where water supports your body putting less strength on joints and muscles. There is also less strain on the heart by being in the water which in turn moves blood around the body, improving cardio fitness. It builds muscular strength due to the added push of the water and the impact of gravity is reduced by the water allowing a greater range of motion and improving balance.


Zumba is a relative newcomer to the fitness class circuit, being created in Columbia in 1990. Zumba combines Latin music with moves from Latin dances such as salsa, mambo, merengue, and samba. Zumba has been described as a workout in disguise as the dance moves mask an intense cardio workout with free flowing movements. It is a great way to alleviate stress, reduce symptoms of depression and improve self confidence. Zumba also improves strength, posture and flexibility as well as benefiting coordination and balance.

These group classes all have one common advantage; they offer the social and motivational benefits of exercising with like-minded people. Exercising in a group reduces stress and increases quality of life at the same time as improving fitness levels.

Written by Jane Sandwood

Fitness Trends Set to Take the UK Market By Storm in 2018

The 2017 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report revealed that the UK health and fitness industry continued to grow throughout the year. The significant growth was primarily driven by the private sector which boasts more clubs, members, and a more impressive market value than before. Last year saw more than 9.7million fitness members in the UK, boosting the penetration rate to an all-time high of 14.9%.

During 2017 UK consumers were presented with more fitness choices than ever before. Old favorites such as Zumba and yoga found themselves competing with German volume training and calisthenics, while multi-purpose training equipment and nutritional supplements all evolved at a similar break-neck speed. While 2017 was considered to be one of the best for the wellness industry, 2018 is bringing with it a variety of exciting fitness trends that are bound to appeal to the multitude of exercise enthusiasts in the United Kingdom.

Fitness trends to look out for in 2018

While spin and climbing classes were very popular during 2017 we can expect to see a hybrid class that combines incline training methods with cardio. Performed on VersaClimbers the classes are performed to music and use interval training, speed and incline to mix up the workout. An added bonus to this workout is that there is less impact on the body than what is experienced during a spin class. The upright standing position will also do wonders for your posture.

Artificial Intelligence workouts

Like personal trainers in your pocket, AI is starting to infiltrate the fitness world in 2018. From slaying playlists to audio workouts, these apps will learn from and adjust to your preferences and progress to enable them to offer you tailor-made training plans that suit your own personal needs and goals. Amazon is said to have invested in body-mapping technology that will be able to monitor your precise movements when you exercise.

Changed rules for recovery

Stretching, massaging and foam rolling have always seemed to be merely an afterthought but this year a lot more focus will be placed on the fascia – the connective tissue that ensures we stay flexible and mobile. While Australia may be leading the way in terms of super physio’s it is also starting to trend in the UK. According to Zanna van Dijk, a Balance Festival ambassador the UK will definitely start to see a rise in recovery-based classes towards the second quarter of 2018.

Moon rituals

While gong therapy made it big last year, this year is all about the moon. Full-moon sound baths, guided moon rituals and new-moon ceremonies might sound like something straight out a Hollywood movie but more and more UK residents are looking to consult the planets as a guide for everything concerning their health and well-being. Women especially are becoming intrigued by the various prophecies of the moon cycle as it is said to be heavily linked to the menstrual cycle.

As a rapidly-evolving market, the remainder of 2018 is bound to see many more advancements within the fitness-related industries of the UK. As long as consumers remain open-minded and level-headed with regards to the imminent changes they will be able to embrace all developments with ease.

Once again, thanks to Jane Sandwood for this great contribution

Why You Should Stay Hydrated During Your Workouts

The NHS recommends drinking around 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, roughly 1.2 litres of fluids to keep the body hydrated. However, the amount of fluid needed by the body when working out increases, and many people still only drink water when they are thirsty during exercise. Keeping hydrated before, during and after exercise is essential for overall health and lack of water or fluids may have detrimental effects,

Effects of Dehydration on Performance

During exercise, the body’s performance is impaired when dehydrated. Studies have shown that performance is inhibited by approximately 30 percent when the body is dehydrated. Dehydrating cells also results in raised histamine levels in the body leading to inflammation and pain. Water revitalises the body at a cellular level by transporting oxygen in and waste products like carbon dioxide out. Without water, all cells, including muscle cells, would be poisoned by these waste products leading to loss in strength. Sticking to water is healthiest but an electrolyte filled energy drink can be added as dehydration and heat combined can lead to muscle cramping.

Effect of Hydration on Bodily Health

As your body is made up of over 60 percent water, the more you replace during exercise, the better. Dehydration induced before exercise has been shown to increase heart rate, body temperature and even reliance on carbohydrates as a source of energy. This is particularly worsened in hotter environments according to a 1999 study published on the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. Chronic dehydration can result in fatigue and energy loss, both of which will decrease motivation for exercise. Other adverse effects include high blood pressure and obesity due to craving foods to replace water.

Effects of Hydration on Appetite

Have you ever noticed you feel fuller when drinking fluids during or before a meal? It is not recommended that fluids replace meals entirely as we retrieve some of our daily fluid intake from food too. A 2010 study published in Nutritional Review shows that the total energy intake at meal times decreased with increased fluid intake.. Lack of fluids also increases craving for sweet things. The liver uses water and reducing this may reduce its ability to function and release glucose into the bloodstream. As a result, you may eat more sweet foods such as chocolate to compensate.

The body can survive without food for longer than it can without water showing how essential it is to get enough fluids. Avoid drinking only when thirsty and try to drink as much water as possible. Your body will adapt to the extra fluids and will thank you for it.

Thanks to Jane Sandwood for this great contribution

Some tips on successful outdoor classes

So the weather seems to be getting better and we all know that the warm sun and blue skies create a perfect backdrop for outdoor workouts. There’s some great health benefits to being outside: like boosting immunity, mental health and even increasing satisfaction with the workout – great for your clients, their fitness and your business. With so many advantages to outdoor exercise, you don’t want to miss out on taking your training sessions to the park or even the beach.

Just remember to keep in mind that heading outdoors to train clients can bring some unique challenges. Here are four tips to ensure the safety and success of your outdoor workouts:


The idea of outdoors fitness classes has growing in popularity, boosted by Bootcamps and the likes of British Military Fitness. Before starting an outdoor fitness class or boot camp you should just check with your Local Council to see if any permits or licenses might be needed – or if there are any restrictions on what you can do, where and when. Policies can vary and we’ve all seen the challenges Park Run have had recently with some Councils trying to start charging them to use the park. Most will be free, but worth not getting caught out.


Safety is the most important aspect of any type of group training, and taking workouts outdoors poses a few extra considerations. Once you have found a location, familiarise yourself with the space to locate any available medical and safety resources. Locate and avoid any hazards or debris that may interfere with your program or potentially injure your clients. It is also important to bring safety equipment with you, such as first aid kits, water and a mobile phone.


When running your outdoor class, you should always abide any restrictions. You must respect the park’s landscaping and fixtures by using exercise equipment that is portable, does not attach to trees and limits the wear and tear of the space and its resources. Remember there are a lot of other people who have equal rights to be there and want to enjoy the open space—parks and public spaces are intended for the use and enjoyment of the entire community. Don’t abuse it and avoid busy areas. When you’re finished the class, be sure to remove all equipment and rubbish that you and your clients may have left behind. Don’t do anything which will risk future use of the area for other trainers.


Just be professional. Do what you have been taught to do and do it in a safe and respectful manner and the outdoor class will be a great success. That professionalism should also extend to ensuring your professional liability insurance is up to date. What if that member of the public trips and hurts themselves on your equipment?

Converting Potential Clients to Paying Clients

OK, so you’ve got great reviews, a killer website, and you’re spending a pile of money on marketing, but you’re still not converting all those leads and potential clients into paying clients. Its tough, but there are some real lessons to be learnt from others and we’ve tried to pull these into 5 Top Tips for any Personal Trainer or Exercise Instructor.

  1. Give away some free high-quality content. This establishes value for potential clients by allowing them to see what using your services would be like and getting to know your expertise as an individual. This could be in the form of videos, blog posts, live streams, newsletters or more. This offers great exposure for your business and is generally the first experience potential clients will have with your services. The goal here is not necessarily to provide content with the intention of signing new clients, but to be genuinely helpful. Top Tip: Don’t market too heavily during this stage, it may make your efforts seem disingenuous and desperate.
  1. Be known as a trustworthy and likeable person. Each potential client must be able to connect with you on a personal level, know who you are and what you stand for, they must trust that you have their best intentions in mind before they will consider paying for your services. And most importantly, feel happy and motivated spending time with you. Get across your best and true self in all interactions, online content, and in-person relationships; what your clients see is what they’ll get.
  1. Entice potential clients with low cost, low commitment offers rather than full-priced long-term ones. Two of the greatest obstacles in converting clients is the financial and time commitment required. Committing to months of training, hundreds and even thousands of pounds is pretty scary when you aren’t entirely convinced that it’s for you. They’re thinking “Sure, others have seen results, but what about me?” Instead of marketing expensive “core” packages to potential clients, try offering a low-commitment package. A general rule of thumb is to keep these packages less than 30 days in length and less than £100 in total. Once your clients have seen the results for themselves, then you can offer your core packages. In general, a low barrier offer allows potential clients to try your services with low-commitment without devaluing your services with “completely free” marketing techniques.
  1. Over-deliver results. Once you’ve had the opportunity to show your clients your services, you should aim to go above and beyond their expectations. Simple gestures such as a “thanks for training with me” card, a heartfelt message, a freebie training session, or a free ebook really goes a long way in helping your clients feel valued and important. You don’t have to spend extra money during this stage or compromise your integrity–just make sure you’ve done your due diligence to provide the best service possible and your clients leave feeling positive about their purchase.
  1. Offer Incentives for referrals. If you’ve provided awesome service to your clients and they’ve seen great results, don’t hesitate to ask for a referral! Most people are more than happy to refer you to a friend or family member if they’ve seen personal value in your service. Offering incentives such as 25% off a monthly membership when they refer a friend is a win-win situation; they save on the training they love and their loved one gets to see the results for themselves. You can even make this stage fun! For example, you can enter your clients into a raffle when they make a referral. Every month one winner gets a free month of training, a sports bottle/fitness gear, a sports supplement, a fitness tracker, etc.

So give these tips some thought and see how they fit with your business and ambitions. Remember, it’s all about delighting clients who will come back again and again, happy to pay the money and happy to bring their mates. That will go a long way to helping build your business into a successful and profitable one.

Group Exercise is More Effective

Group exercise is typically described as exercise performed by a group of individuals led by an instructor. There are a wide range of group exercise classes available and many can be found with a simple web search. Studies have shown that group exercise is much more effective than going to the gym and working out alone. Could this be true? Could working out in a group setting be more effective and provide better results? We decided to take a look at this study and see why group exercise is being hailed as the best way to get in shape or lose weight.

Group exercise offers exposure to a social and fun environment, a safe and effectively designed workout, a consistent exercise schedule, an accountability factor for participating in exercise, and a workout that requires no prior exercise knowledge or experience.

  1. Group exercise keeps you interested in the workout and helps to avoid the boredom of working out alone. It also offers camaraderie and accountability among participants, as well as between the participants and the instructor.
  2. Group exercise shows you what to do and what not to do. Most people avoid going to the gym because they don’t understand the machines or they don’t know what they should be doing. Group exercise offers a workout for all levels, ranging from beginner to advanced and you don’t have to have any experience at all.
  3. Group exercise offers structure, something many people new to the gym want. Group exercise classes often follow a particular structure which includes a warm-up, workout and a cool down period. People who work out alone don’t often follow these steps and they end up getting injured.
  4. Group exercise classes offer consistency in scheduling and are perfect for those on a time constraint. Many classes last 30 to 45 minutes and offer a full body workout.
  5. Group exercise offers diversity. From boot camps at a local park or yoga on the beach, to trekking on the bike trails or fun fitness classes for seniors, group exercise offers people a chance to try new things and get in shape with others in a social setting.

Are you looking for an exercise class in your area? Try My Fitness Times and find one today!

Gadgets to help you exercise

Modern technology can help you make gains when you exercise and can help you monitor, adjust and improve your fitness regime.
Here are just a few of the best fitness gadgets on the market to aid you in your mission to build muscle and shift fat.
Jawbone UP3

This stylish bracelet comes with a built-in fitness tracker, heart health monitor and activity tracker. It’s water resistant, the battery lasts a week and it looks good enough to just leave on your wrist, too.

Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless

These wireless headphones don’t just let you listen to music on the go, they contain a fitness tracker, heart-rate monitor based on your in-ear heart rate and they’ll even provide coaching and motivation. It’s like a personal trainer in London, without the expense.

Go Pro Hero 4

This camera won’t actually boost your performance, but it will give you motivation. Record your runs, put the camera on the floor to check your form, even strap it to your foot for a pup’s eye view. It’s waterproof, too, so you can take it swimming.

Fitbit Aria

This high-tech scale goes well beyond simple weights; it can keep an eye on your Body Mass Index and body fat percentage. It can even transfer the data wirelessly to plot a graph of your progress and keep you pushing for the burn on those tough days in the gym.

Sensoria Smart Sock

Wearable tech is the next big thing and this smart sock epitomises the trend. Designed for runners, it analyses pressure from your feet and ankles to see how far you’ve run and your form, to give you feedback on how to up your game.

Umoro One

If you simply can’t handle the concept of taking two bottles to the gym, or adding powder to water, then the Umoro One is for you. It functions like a normal water bottle, but with the push of a button it drops in whey protein for your post-workout recovery drink. Of course you may have to refill the bottle with water before adding the protein.

Push Band

This simple band slips on your forearm and can be programmed with any number of parameters; for instance you can aim for 20 reps on a particular weight in two minutes. You can forget about counting, the band will take that off your hands so you can focus on your lifts.

Goji Play

Gamification is a trend that has gained serious traction in the worlds of business and education and now it’s coming to fitness. Goji Play works in conjunction with an iPhone or iPad and comes with several games that encourage you to cycle or run faster on an exercise bike or treadmill.

Zepp Tennis

This sensor sticks to a tennis racquet and comes with dual accelerometers and gyrometers that work across three axes. This measures your racquet input and analyses your entire game, from the amount of power you employ to the number of slice shots you use.

SmartMat Yoga Mat

The SmartMat works in conjunction with an app to let you know when your posture is wrong and your alignment just isn’t working. It gives you real-time feedback and helps you correct your position, which technically eliminates the need for yoga classes.

The Benefits of Group Exercises

Exercising alone can quickly become really boring and spending a long time on a single activity can really hit your motivation. Group classes are a great way to meet new friends whilst still gaining from gym training classes. Here are some of our thoughts on why group sessions really make sense:


Work with a professional trainer:

Most group exercise sessions are led by professional trainers who have years of experience in the fitness industry. So you’ll benefit from an expert who can lead you through the strenuous path of achieving an improved level of fitness. You can take advice whilst learning from their years of experience.


A clear, structured path to follow:

The instructor controls the class, making these sessions well planned and structured. By having strict rules and long-term plans will help you move in the right direction towards achieving your physical and mental fitness goals.


Time passes quicker:

When you exercise alone, each minute may feel like an hour. But time passes quicker when you are enjoying yourself and working with others.


Less chance to procrastinate:

If you are prone to losing focus, there is a high probability that you are missing out during your solo workouts. But with group exercise classes you have less chance of being distracted.


Be a part of the larger fitness community:

Group workouts can range from 4-5 people to hundreds of people at a time. Through these sessions, you have the chance to become part of the larger fitness community that sweat, workout and achieve greater fitness together.


Make new friends:

Group workouts can turn out to be a place where you build lifelong friendships. You’ll find like minded (or body minded friends) who help make exercise both fun and enjoyable as you all have a common goal


So get out of your office or home, leave your mobile and internet for a while to enjoy the experience of working out in a group by finding group fitness classes near you today.