January 15, 2015
Did you know that next Monday, the 19th January is otherwise known as ‘Blue Monday’, the day where most Brits suffer from an overwhelming combination of Post Xmas Blues, holiday debt and a lack of sunshine? Well, the UK’s largest gym chain Fitness First are joining forces with the UK’s best loved Olympian and fitness enthusiast, Victoria Pendleton and Team GB gymnast Max Whitlock to turn the day Red instead.
Now I have never been what you might describe as an avid gym goer really for the following reasons
- I am a bit useless at motivating myself with gym equipment
- I have often felt intimidated in that space
- I prefer to be outdoors
- I can never justify paying for a membership that I am unlikely to use
But, and this is a big but…this says more about me than it does about gyms and how they do and can help some women reach their fitness goals.
As you know I am marathon training right now, and I know that my general fitness could do with improving, and although it will gradually improve with my training, I would quite like to fast track it a bit. I also want to build up strength, and one of my favourite ways of doing that is through a class called Body Pump, now I discovered Body Pump in 2012 in the lead up to my first marathon and I think it really helped. It’s unlike any class I had ever done before, basically a weights class to music, but not piddly little handweights…I’m talking a big old weights bar with squats, lunges, chest press, deadlifts the works.
But I’ve never been able to find anywhere that just does that class, without having to have a full gym membership, but recently whilst giving a talk about how the fitness industry can work with bloggers I happened across a lovely gentleman from the marketing department of Fitness First who said he might be able to help, not only in terms of getting me into one of these classes, but also in challenging my negative views of gyms…this help came in the form of a complimentary membership and last week I found myself at my local Fitness First branch to check out their newly refurbished gym.
I had done a bit of research online before hand and could see there was much more going on with Fitness First than what I remembered, more high intensity stuff and challenges on the gym floor, which sounded interesting, what I wasn’t expecting was to be roped into one of those classes so early on in my investigation. But hey what did I have to lose? Other than my dignity and my pride of course!
Well lets just say it was one of the toughest 30 minute classes I have ever done, with kettlebells, sandbags, burpees, jumping squats and doing it all in front of a gym load of other uses which wasn’t exactly at the top of my list of ways to work out, but after the first 30 seconds, I kinda forgot all about the glaring eyes and focussed on staying alive through the class and I’m not even joking. This probably sounds like your worst nightmare being chucked in like that, but the instructor was really nice…very supportive, and the session was over before I knew it. Phew.
The point is, the HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) is exactly the kind of work out I need right now to improve my fitness and my strength, but often its the kind of work I often wimp out of by myself.
And it hasn’t put me off, even the resulting DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) in my buttocks, and since my card was activated last Thursday, I have in fact been back to the gym another 3 times…which is kind of a record for me, and all of this on top of my running and swimming sessions for #Jantastic I have seriously surprised myself over the last 8 days.
On Sunday I checked out a Central London venue with a view of using this one when I have meetings in the city, and then on Tuesday evening I did an amazing Legs, Bums and Tums class and get this earlier that day (yes I went twice in one day) surprisingly I found myself really pushing myself in my own little lunch time gym session too, using the treadmill for some interval work…I can actually run with the machine on 10, and for 3 minutes at a time…whoever would have known.
I have a feeling this membership is going to be a real blessing for me, as I am planning sessions in advance around my work meetings, and popping out when I have childcare. But I guess the trick with any gym membership is to absolutely make the most of every second you are in there, and to utilise all of the expertise and support you can get your hands on. That is when your subscription starts to earn its keep.
That’s OK for me to say…but guess what?
You too can get a taste of the action for free too on Blue Monday…or should I say Red Monday? Well anyway, this Monday Fitness First will open gym doors across the UK for free visits, welcoming members of the public to experience ‘Fitness Reconfigured’, a campaign providing new insights into fun and dynamic workouts with a difference. Back to back complimentary gym floor classes will run throughout the day and expertly trained staff will be on hand in the brands newly ‘reconfigured’ gym spaces to answer fitness questions to help Brits see and understand the gym in a new and motivational way.
What’s more, for Londoners who need a bit more encouragement to get them into the gym, they can enjoy a stress free journey to the gym with exclusive Fitness First Cabs, where special guests including Victoria Pendleton and Max Whitlock will be on the back seat ready to share fitness tips and motivational psychology advice ahead of a Red Monday Workout check out Twitter #RedMondayFF to find out more.