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

Want Better Gains? Drink Coffee!

Did you know that coffee can improve your workouts by as much as 33%? Yes, you read that right. According to a 2014 Daily Mail article by Deni Kirkova, the British Coffee Association found that instant coffee taken around an hour before working out can help exercisers perform about a third better. And it’s not just limited to weight training. The performance boost applies to virtually all forms of workouts, so you can do pretty much any type of exercise you want and still reap the benefits.

Better resistance against fatigue

According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), caffeine can help athletes train longer by delaying the onset of fatigue. In addition, it can also aid in the facilitation of force production by the body’s motor units. What all this means is that coffee gives you the ability to squeeze more out of your workouts and consequently see better gains.

Of course, sugar-free black coffee is the way to go for this purpose because it adds virtually zero extra calories to your diet. Unfortunately, if you are like most people, you are probably not a fan of drinking bitter liquid. But don’t worry, though, because by simply adding a little salt to your coffee, you can not only easily neutralize its bitterness, but also bring out its natural sweetness without having to actually use any sugar.

Increased fat oxidation

The second way coffee helps you crush your workouts is by literally giving you the energy to do so. In another NCBI study, coffee is shown to improve fat oxidation, giving you more readily available fuel for exercising. Of course, the more energy you have, the more work you can do in the gym.

But that’s not all improved fat oxidation gives you. By burning more fat during your workouts, you also increase the visibility of your muscles. This is probably why a lot of bodybuilders and professional fitness trainers swear by their pre-workout cup of coffee.

Just don’t go overboard

Unfortunately, there is such a thing as too much coffee. Experts suggest drinking no more than three cups a day. Any more and you could start experiencing problems like constantly elevated heart rates, sleeplessness and dehydration. In contrast, by keeping your intake within the healthy range, you get to enjoy the performance boost and resulting gains without putting your health at risk.

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

Tips to Beat the Curse of the Middle-Age Spread

The middle-age spread is not a myth. It’s an evil curse of aging that can be more stressful than wrinkles, joint problems, or other signs of time passing. Studies have found that for women, the middle age spread happens around the age of 38 while for men it occurs around 44. At these ages, our metabolism slows down, making fat harder to burn and on average, we gain 30 pounds before the age of 50. One good thing about the curse though is that there is a remedy. Check out these tips to beat the middle-age spread.

Foods that Prevent the Spread

A study conducted by Tufts University found that certain foods can help control blood glucose levels and control weight gain in the long run. Some of these foods include Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, fish, chicken breast, nuts, and eggs. These magical foods can help battle the curse of the spread, but you should also avoid bread, rice, alcohol, soft drinks, and processed foods. There are even diet programs designed for people over 35 that incorporate these food suggestions if you would like an outlined schedule to follow.

Eat Breakfast Later

The time that you eat could determine your glucose level and how much you are able to burn during the day. According to health coaches, you shouldn’t eat three hours before going to bed and then eat breakfast later so that you fast for about 16-18 hours. By fasting like this, the body uses stored glycogen for energy which burns fat faster. The process works even better if you exercise before breakfast.

Eat Smaller Portions

Smaller plates will help to maintain a good diet during our adult years. A good way to eat smaller portions is to eat on smaller plates. This allows your mind to match up with your stomach and ensure you don’t overeat. According to dieticians, your meat portion shouldn’t be large than your palm, while your carbs, fruit, or vegetable options should be about the size of your fist.

Exercise 150 Minutes a Week

We lose muscle mass naturally at the age of 40 so diet alone will no longer be enough to lose weight during our middle-ages. Once you reach the age of 35, you will need to allot 75-150 minutes of physical activity a week, and ideally about 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week. You should mix up your workout regimen between aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, biking, and swimming, with strength training at least twice a week. Studies have also shown that if you get at least 10,000 steps daily, you are sure to stay fit and maintain a healthy waistline.

Although we become cursed the older we get, these tips will help you battle against the middle-age spread. As long as you incorporate healthy eating habits and regular exercise, you can ward off the unnecessary weight gain associated with aging.


Once again, thanks to Jane Sandwood for this great contribution

Changing careers to become a personal Trainer! UK Fitness Certification explained

With 2017 now upon us, it is not just the time of the year to start picking those weights back up or hitting the treadmill, but it is also the time of the year where you may evaluate what we are doing with your career and where you want to be come the end of 2017.

The fitness sector is no different, more and more people enrol onto a personal training diploma in January than any other time of the year as the festive fun closes and New years resolutions kicks in. If you are dreading going back to work, fed up of working the mundane 9-5 and want a career that yields your passion for fitness, then becoming a personal trainer could be just what the doctor ordered. Before jumping head first, you need to know what you are actually looking for and to fully comprehend how fitness qualifications work in the UK, so you can find the right course for you.

Our guest Blogger this week is Luke Hughes, the Managing Director at Origym who will help you navigate your way to a new career. Visit for more info.



One of the most commonly typed in phrases in Google each month is “how to become a personal trainer”? Often companies’ websites are loaded with marketing jargon, inaccuracies and frequently there are terms that mean effectively the same thing, which causes confusion on what you actually need to get personal training qualified and what the best route to take is.

Well, this is where I am going to simplify things and show you what is needed to become a personal trainer and what fitness accreditation and level of certification that is required to start your career the right way.

There are two fitness certificates you need, your level 2 gym instructing qualification and your level 3 personal training award. This is the minimum requirement needed to be able to qualify as a personal trainer, whether you want to start applying for jobs, set up your own online personal training service or run freelance circuits classes, you need these two certificates to bring your aspirations to life.

You might be wondering though, where is the level 1 fitness qualification? Well, there is such thing as a level 1 course in physical activity, however you do not need this qualification to progress onto your level 2 gym instructing course also known as level 2 fitness instructing. Once you have achieved level 2 gym instructing you need to progress in chronological order up through the tiers of certificates on offer e.g. you can’t skip from level 2 gym instructing to completing a level 4 course in lower back pain management for example.



Firstly and most importantly, you need to know the accreditation you actually need in the UK to be able to get yourself insured and be in the knowledge that you are fully certified and can start legally conducting one to one personal training sessions.

There are four major awarding organisations within the United Kingdom, Active IQ, YMCA Awards, City & Guilds and OCR, there are a few other awarding organisations that provide fitness certificates, but these are the most common for the fitness sector. The awarding organization is the company that is actually being printed on your certificate, not the company you actually purchase your personal training course from. The company you actually purchase your personal trainer course from is an approved test centre of one of those awarding bodies, called training providers, who deliver the training in correspondence to the guidelines set by the awarding organization. To maintain the approval of the governing body they have to undergo vigorous checks, sampling of work and regular visits to make sure they are delivering the fitness courses the right way. Always, always, always check the website of the training provider to see which governing body is stamped on their website as this is what qualification you will receive. The UK has a standardized the fitness qualifications about 10 years ago to ensure every personal trainer has covered the exact same core modules irrespective of which awarding organization or training provider of those awarding organisations you elect to do your course via.

Most fitness education companies tend to use Active IQ or YMCA awards as they are the most well known for fitness certification and are very industry specific governing bodies. This being said, this does not mean that City & Guilds, OCR or any of the smaller awarding organisations are not equally as valid or recognised by prospective employers and you will have no trouble gaining employment from certificates from those governing bodies.



You may have heard or someone has mentioned the name REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) to you as an awarding organization. This is a very common mistake, REPs are not a an awarding organization, REPs provides a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the health and fitness industry’s agreed National Occupational Standards.

REPs is owned by SkillsActive, which is the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure and Learning. It has been established by Employers in Sport and Recreation, Health and Fitness to sustain quality in training and qualifications in the UK. When you hear the term “REPs recognised courses”, this means that training providers that have had their courses regulated from REPs and SkillsActive get a stamp of approval and with every major gym chain in the UK partnering with REPs you need to pick a “REPs recognised course”, otherwise when going for employment you will be turned away, regardless of the level of qualification you present.

If you ever need to check if a course provider delivers REPs recognised courses, you can contact REPs themselves or view SkillsActive’s list of approved centres and also a list of centres claiming to be approved. Spending some time doing your due diligence may save you a lot of heartbreak in the long run.



If personal training qualifications are standardized then why is there such a difference in price from one company to the next? Firstly, although the core modules are exactly the same within every personal trainer course, this does not mean that add on courses and extra modules are not included, which can influence the price you pay.

Secondly the service you receive from the training provider varies vastly, in terms of quality of tutoring, level of help and support, speed of support, quality of learning resources, if they have an aftercare program such as helping with interviews with gyms, the list goes on to what is going to determine the value that course provider concludes their service is worth to how much you are going to pay for that service. Think of it this way, if a Ferrari is the same price as a fiesta, you would buy the Ferrari every time, right? Why is that, they do the same job, get you from point A to point B. The reality as we know is very different and a Ferrari is about hundred times the price yet people still pay it. This is because of the quality it provides and the intrinsic value it generates and fitness qualifications are no different. Although the fitness qualification you come out with can be the same, the experience and quality of service you receive can be completely different from one provider to the next. As a general rule of thumb the more expensive the provider normally the more qualifications and higher levels of service you will receive. This being said, like any walk of life you can find personal trainer courses vastly over priced at one end of the spectrum or completely undervalued at the other end.

The third and most important reason that determines cost of personal training qualifications is the actual study method you choose to learn via. You can’t contrast the price of one provider that only offers full time personal trainer courses with an online personal trainer course. Full time courses will always cost more regardless of service or anything else for that matter, the provider would need to supply a tutor everyday and a venue everyday; therefore they cost significantly more. With online personal trainer courses, apart from paying for certification and registration to the awarding body, the overheads for a provider are minimal, hence why the course is normally less than half the price of a full time personal trainer course.

Finally you will find “personal trainer courses” on the web that have no accreditation, no stamps from any authority organisations and are not regulated by any governing body. These ”qualifications” unfortunately are not worth the paper they are written on and no employer or insurance company will legally back you.


Author Bio

Luke Hughes

Managing Director


Luke is the Managing Director of fitness education course provider Origym. He is passionate about everything education and fitness. As a cycling enthusiast he can often be found cycling up and down the hills in the lake district.

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We all know it’s a struggle for you to make time to find new clients for your bootcamps, pilates, yoga or zumba classes. In fact any exercise class.

You’re hopefully spending all your time with clients, so there’s just no time to search for more. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle – the more time you spend running classes, the less time you have to fill those last few spaces. And it’s those spaces that are your real profit.

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Are you a FITNESS INSTRUCTOR running BOOTCAMP classes with spaces to fill … you should really read this.

My Fitness Times is a FREE online Classfinder and Class Management system designed to help you build their business. Not only does it allow you to focus more time on your clients (and not the annoying admin), but it will make it much easier for new and existing clients to find your Bootcamp classes and book straight onto them.

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  5. Full support from a dedicated Instructors smartphone App, allowing you to manage classes and communicate with clients on the move.
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Good luck

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Motivating Yourself to Go to the Gym

We’ve all been there – you’ve got all the best intentions of getting up and motivating yourself to go to the gym, sticking with it and becoming the toned god or goddess you’ve always known was inside you, but somehow it never quite seems to happen because life gets in the way. Check out some of our top tips for getting motivated:

Our Top Tips on Motivating Yourself to Go to the Gym

1. Fitness Classes Near Me!

Fitness classes are a great way to ease yourself gently into gym-going, but don’t expect them to be a walk in a park. The motivation of being in a class full of people can be very powerful; all but the least competitive people find it hard to stop for a breather when everyone around them seems to be doing fine.

Find fitness classes near you to maximise your chances of attending; even better, find some that are near your work. That way you’ll have no excuse not to swing by for a bit of cardio on your way home from work, or attend yoga classes in the morning before you start.

Once you’re attending a class regularly you’ll build a relationship with the instructor and feel bad about letting them down by not attending, which is always good motivation. Even better, add other members of your fitness class to your social circle for added accountability.

2. Buddy up

If you’ve got a friend who’s also looking to get fit, going to the gym together can be an excellent way to stay on track with fitness goals. Your friend will be able to give you a pep-talk when you can’t be bothered, and you can do the same for them.

Someone to talk to could also help to make the gym more interesting for you because you can help one another out and work towards common goals – you might even find yourself looking forward to your sessions on the treadmill.

3. Create a personal reward system

We all respond well to rewards, and it’s a good way to psychologically programme yourself to enjoy the gym if you’re looking forward to a treat at the end of it. Why not book yourself in for a facial or a massage after every 10 or 20 gym sessions?

You’ll find yourself working towards it with much more enthusiasm – just try to keep your treats healthy and don’t make them all about food – sabotaging your exercise with too many sweet treats could cause your progress to stall and may create an unhealthy relationship with food.

If you’re looking for fitness classes near you to help you keep on top of your fitness goals, take a look at our yoga, pilates and zumba options, all of which will help you to burn calories in a fun environment.

Find a Personal Trainer that’s Right for You

If you live in the capital, to find a personal trainer in London might be one of your immediate goals in 2016. After many of us enjoy the eating and drinking that comes with Christmas, January is the traditional time to buckle down and improve our fitness with the new year upon us. There are many different types of personal trainers, and they can all help you in different ways – so where’s the best place to start?

Where can I find a personal trainer?

Looking in your local gym or fitness centre is a good way to begin, or there is the increasingly popular option of checking online for a personal trainer that meets your needs. My Fitness Times is a portal for personal trainers to advertise their services, and by checking the profiles of the various fitness specialists you can see what they offer. For more information, take a look at our personal trainers now.

Ask questions

Depending on your fitness objectives, you should have a stack of questions for your personal trainer. Do you want to bulk up and gain muscle? In that case, you should make sure the personal trainer you choose is knowledgeable in the area of weight training. Do you want to lose weight? If so, cardio activities, such as running and swimming, should be high up on the agenda in terms of what your personal trainer should offer.

Look for some rapport

It is important that you get on well with your personal trainer, to a degree. While you will be working hard a lot of the time, it is good to have a fun relationship with the person you will be spending a lot of time with. You can assess whether you will get on well with a personal trainer by talking to them on the phone or meeting them first.

Nutrition counts

Does your personal trainer know about nutrition? They should do. Every effective fitness programme needs to have a big focus on nutrition. Do you need more protein and less carbs? Are you taking in enough vitamin C? Your personal trainer should be able to guide you on the right kind of things to eat, and what not to eat.

Motivation matters

What kind of character will motivate you? Will they push you to do more or push you away? These are the kind of questions you should be asking yourself before you decide on your personal trainer. The success of your fitness programme, like many things in life, will be determined not by your personal trainer, but by the amount of work you are prepared to put in. With this in mind, which kind of personal trainer is most likely to get that extra 10% out of you?